Hope and Memory Photography bio picture
  • I help clients capture their child’s personality. Oh, and I’m really good at acting (I used to be a performer in a former life), terrific at eating dessert (my fat jeans would definitely agree), and my Russian accent is stellar (Russians have confused me for an actual Russian until I give them a blank face when my Russian vocabulary runs out). Clients love my creative whimsical photos and are always commenting on how I’ve captured them in such a unique and beautiful way. Personally, I think my ability to return emails faster than Superman’s flight speed is pretty impressive. My Momma thinks I’m determined and that I have great hair and beautiful eyes. My friends envy my ability to balance everything on my overly full plate (they should be envying my husband because I certainly couldn’t do it without him). My clients love that I effectively capture their family and bottle moments in time for them to savor for years to come; I help them hold on to their memories.

A Canvas Review

Before I write this post, I have to do the whole disclaimer thing about not being affiliated with either Pixel2Canvas or CG Pro Prints. I am just a dissatisfied/satisfied customer that wants other photographers to know about this great company I have found.

I have been a brand loyalist to Pixel2Canvas since the beginning. They had a premium product (at a premium price) and a good

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reputation. I loved them and swore that I would never use anyone else. In fact, I have 6 of their canvases hanging in my home displaying my personal photos. I’m not sure when I became disenchanted with them. It may have been when I started noticing my canvas backings getting all wonky or when I saw the photos chipping. Now, in the interest of honesty, I will say that I am very rough on my canvas samples in toting them to client homes and coffee shops, they do take a beating and I have always just assumed that was why this was happening. Until I realized it was happening on all of my canvases (and not just the ones that travel).

A few months ago, a group of local photographers started talking about this other canvas vendor that they had discovered at WPPI. I didn’t really pay much attention until I saw one at one of our meetups; everyone was instructed to bring a canvas from all the different vendors that we used. Off the top of my head, I know there were canvases from all the main vendors (Pixel2Canvas, Simply Canvas, CG Pro Prints, and a few others); we also had some Costco, H&H Lab, and I think a few others that I can’t remember. The point is, we had a lot of canvases to compare their build quality, color, and price to. One canvas stood out leaps and bounds beyond the others and that was CG Pro Prints… so I decided to order a sample.

Meanwhile, I had a client order to place and still had credit with Pixel2Canvas. After about two weeks, I still had not received my canvas and had a client (moving out of state so I was on a deadline) waiting on this order. I checked my account and it said the package was untraceable; upon calling Pixel2Canvas, we discovered that FedEx had indeed delivered it and left the box on the side of my house next to my recycling. Of course, this is not Pixel2Canvas’s fault and their packaging is actually what saved this canvas since it had been raining for like a week straight at this point. I immediately opened it and discovered that the photo was, at first glimpse, unharmed and happy but the backing was all kinds of wrinkled and messed up. I emailed iPhone photos of this to Pixel2Canvas at their request so they definitely saw it and agreed it was a problem.
Initially, I attributed this to the whole box-left-in-the-rain issue, but a couple days after the phone call it dawned on me that the photo was totally unharmed by the rain since it was wrapped very tightly in plastic. At most, it might have been affected by a little humidity, but I really don’t even think that happened since the issues that I saw do not appear to be caused by humidity. Thus, I attribute all this to just being an inferior product.

Really, the biggest issue I have with Pixel2Canvas at this point is their customer service (although their shoddy work sure doesn’t help my views on them). When they saw the photo on the left, the response was “Do you have a JoAnn’s or a Michael’s near you? Take it to them and ask if they will fix the back for you.” Really?! Thinking this sounded a little off, I called our local JoAnn’s and they laughed at me when I asked if they could do this. I emailed Pixel2Canvas to let them know the response and was told “Okay, we will send you another backing and you can reattach it.” The backing comes in and I nervously get ready to transplant this sucker when it occurs to me that the hanging wire is screwed into the back of the canvas. Terrified that I would mess up the canvas, frame, or somehow cause it to come undone, I emailed Pixel2Canvas again and told them of my concerns: “The hardware is easily removed with a star screw driver…” Not knowing what else to do, I went to a local framer and asked for help. He told me that I shouldn’t even bother with that because reattaching the current backing would lend a better result than trying to undo the hardware and so on and so forth. So, he kindly did his best to fix it for me. The backing, although smoothed out, was just – for lack of a better word – crappy. Now, I already told you I am hard on my samples… but this was not a sample and had been carefully tucked away in my office. It wasn’t until I had this canvas in the daylight, right outside the framer’s, that I noticed the chipping on the corners.

Ok, I’ve complained enough. It’s time to get to the good stuff; now I get to tell you why CG Pro Prints is so awesome-sauce! Their corners are the tightest and flattest that I have ever seen. Every canvas is finished off with a clear acrylic coating, providing a very scratch resistant protective layer with a satin luster. And, this is the one that really sold me, their finished solid backing; you can knock on the center of the canvas, that is how well these things are built! Oh, and did I mention that they are less than 1/4 of the cost of Pixel2Canvas?! So, to recap: better build quality, more durable, and less expensive! I think that is a dream combo right there. My singular critique would be that I wish the wrap depth was 1.5 inches instead of 1.25 inches, but they are still new and I have hope that there will be more options like this in the future. But all in all, AMAZING product!

If you’ve stuck around this long and read my extreme praise for CG Pro Prints, you probably want to try them out for yourself. It just so happens that the wonderful people over at CG Pro Prints have offered a discount to all y’all! Go, order some inexpensive and amazing canvases, and tell them I sent ya! Then head on over to my Facebook page and tell me what you thought.

cg pro prints discount code, cg pro prints coupon, coupon codes, canvas deals

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Chris V. - Nice write-up. Those dings and wrinkles would have driven my OCD crazy.

Dave - I dunno… I’m hearing lots of good things about CG Pro too, but comparing a sample left outside in the rain and horrific heat to a new one that wasn’t abused is unfair to Pixel2Canvas.

Sarah Vasquez - Just for clarification, it is JUST NOW starting to warm up in Seattle, so it definitely was not left in heat. Light rain for a week, yes, but no heat.

I agree that it isn’t an exact comparison, but I am also operating off my prior experience with P2C that has been going downhill for a while. The backing is really an issue for me and it is consistent in all the canvases I have received from them. That being said, a big issue for me is the way they handled the situation. Had they been a bit more professional, I probably would have just stopped using them instead of going through the trouble to write this post.

Chris - Great review. I’ve purchased about 5 canvas from CG since seeing them at WPPI. They are GREAT. BUT…(there’s always a but, right.. LOL) Don’t ever have one of their canvas’ drop shipped to your customer. Their consistency in quality is lacking. Out of the 5 I have ordered, 2 of them had to go back. When those 2 that I had to send back were coming off the printer…I think the QC person was on break. :-) Anyway, just thought I’d run this by you. Other photogs that I know have had the same issue and we’ve all alerted CG to please watch their CQ more closely. So, we’ll see! Thanks!!

Sara - I ordered a 16×20 canvas to ‘test it out’ but just a heads up that the coupon code wouldn’t work!

Sarah Vasquez - Was it your first order with CG Pro Prints? It only works for new customers and on prints that are 16×20 or larger. If you still have problems, let me know!

Kirsten - I can’t get the coupon code to work either, and I am a first time customer and am trying to order a 16×20. The prices are still great, but I’m going to hold off submitting my order in hopes the coupon code can be figured out. Thanks for the review!

Sarah Vasquez - Passing on the info… I’m working on it! :)

Jennifer Zumwalt - I love CGPro :) I order all my canvas’s there and have been very pleased. Just received 4 canvas’s in the mail today and waiting on 3 more as I type.

Rocco - I

I cannot say enough good about CG Pro Prints. Everything from portraits, landscape and my forte, rock and roll shots are stellar.

Sharon - Hi, I appreciate your input, as I am trying to find a quality canvas company…I came across your review in my search.

I did also come across a photographer who purchased one of these canvasses only to discover it was made of cardboard and substrate glued together. Her canvas tore and she saw the insides, and then opened the back to discover how poorly it was constructed.. In my search for a food canvas comkany, I keep coming across people who have been asked by CG Pro to review their products complimentary, so I feel those reviews are biased, but your seems a little more honest.

I would like to know if there is any way you could verify with the company CG Pro what their canvasses are constructed with. All I see on their site is it’s durable and solid, but no mention if it’s wood or particle board. Customers who purchase photography expect their products to hold up through the years….and canvasses (like furtniture) are either made cheaply with glue and cardboard or particleboard, or they are made with real wood bound with tongue and groove construction.

They have a great low price, but quality is more important to me than selling bargain products to my clients so I am skeptical still about trying them.

I would DIE if I sold something low quality to my clients thinking it was high quality and I just want to know from An honest person who has done a complimentary review if their product is in fact made with cardboard in the middle and some type of pressboard/ particleboard for the frame instead of solid wood. Because in all honesty, I do not want any clients calling to complain to me or about me 5 years down the road when their canvas falls apart.

Thank you for your review, your honesty and time!

Curtis Benton - We certainly appreciate any time our products are reviewed as we feel strongly that they stand up for themselves and stand the test of time. As the owner of Pixel2Canvas, I can assure you that comparing products from CG Pro – a division of Commercial Printer Circle Graphics Online is NOT the same as a Pixel2Canvas piece.

Circle graphics burst onto the scene a few years ago offering canvas wraps at ridiculously low prices. After examining the situation we decided to go ahead and order a few samples.

Initially we could see why people were impressed…with the price, but as mentioned, these are prints GLUED to 1/8in MDF (which is NOT archival) and wrapped around a styrofoam core. The backing matte board is GLUED on and the hanging hooks simply pressed into the matte board.

The inks used are NOT OEM, NOT archival, and mixed on site. The canvas is cheaply imported and printed on monster machines which had previously been used for the commercial side of their business printing billboards and bus wraps. You will not find a staple or a piece of wood in any of their works. Just pressboard, glue, and foam.

Pixel2Canvas uses only USA forested real wooden frames joined together with Cassese equipment (like professional picture framers) and the canvas is stretched and stapled (just like artwork). The corners MUST overlap in order to retain maximum tension for the years we expect them to last. Our corners take up to 8 cuts each to ensure the highest quality wrap possible. There is NO glue.

The backing paper is certainly a problem, but we could not stay in business if we reprinted, or replaced every piece that is simply corrected by the photographer or in extreme situations, but taking it to michaels or a frame store to be corrected (at our expense).

So while we appreciate the opportunity to have our canvas prints reviewed, an honest comparison with CG Pro is an apples to oranges review. While the P2C Product is ENGINEERED to last for generations, sadly, the CG Pro product is not.

Sarah Vasquez - Wow, thanks for educating me! I had no idea. I’d be willing to try P2C again, but the customer service aspect really left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

The Importance of Photos | Seattle Family Photographer

Moms, I want to talk to you for a minute.  We all want gorgeous photos of our family with everyone looking gorgeous and happy and their absolute best.  What is stopping you from making this a reality?  Is it because you can’t find the right photographer (unlikely)?  Is it because you don’t have time (could be, but time can be made)?  Or is it because you are waiting for the perfect moment?

“I need to lose some weight.”
“I’ve got to get my hair cut/dyed first.”
“I don’t have anything to wear.”
“I don’t have time.”
“If I’m going to invest money in this, I might as well wait until my kids are a little older and easier to work with.”
“I just don’t know what I want.”

Does that sound familiar?  These are all my personal excuses for not scheduling my own session.  Hypocritical, I know, but I say this to show you that I am not immune to this insecurity that it seems all women, especially mothers, feel.  I’d like to respond to each of these excuses:

- Sure, we all want to lose a little weight, but trust me, whether you lose weight or not, this time next year you will be glad you had photos taken.
- So, um, make an appointment and do it! Maybe having your session scheduled will be that extra push you need to just pick up the phone and call your favorite stylist.
- Go shopping and find something you love.  Then plan your family’s outfits based on what you are wearing.
- What’d you do last weekend?  Could you have taken an hour out of that and still accomplished the same tasks?
- Kids grow and change everyday. 5 years from now, when they are perfect little models, you are going to wish you had not waited 5 years.
- That’s why I am here.  We work together to find what you love and is meaningful to your family and then to create some amazing photos.

Did you know my oldest child is 6 1/2?  In 6 1/2 years we have not had family photos taken.  I don’t think there are very many actual photos (as in, not cell phone pics) taken of my youngest child that were not taken by me… and the sad fact is that I have not taken near enough photos of her.  Kids grow.  They change.  You think you will never forget the way your babies look or the little details about those you love.  Today Ophelia brought me a snapshot she found of Juliet when she was her age (2 1/2); I was truly shocked at the child in the photo because she didn’t look like the way I remembered Juliet.  If it weren’t for that photo, my mind’s eye might have skipped right over that age and blended my images of a 1 year old and a 3 year old Juliet.  Is this trivial in the scheme of life?  Sure, but it is important to me as a mother, a wife, and a person that cherishes her family to remember every last special little detail about the ones I love because I know that one day they will be older or they may not be with me anymore.

These mommas understand the importance of photos… and more importantly the importance of being in photos with your family. Email me, right now.  Or, better yet, call me (253) 655-7848.  Text me, even!  Don’t wait because you’ll forget or something else will come up and that email you meant to send tomorrow will end up staying in your drafts folder for another 6 months (I’m speaking from experience here:)).  As an extra special incentive, I’ll throw in a complimentary 6×6 mini album if you book your June session before May 31, 2012.

6x6 Mini Album

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Lindy Mowery - Sweet photos, I really love the processing on these! The glow is perfect!

week 10: orange {a shot of inspiration}

I love my 5DM2 cameras. I really do. I love the idea of having them with me 24/7 (and I often do), but sometimes it just isn’t practical. I take tons of personal photos and rarely process more than just a few and I never print them out. I get tired of editing constantly but I know I won’t do anything with an unedited photo. So, on my hard drive they sit… hundreds and hundreds of gigabytes of personal memories never to see the light of day. I decided to really make it a point to find a solution to this. One way I am doing that is learning to shoot film for my personal stuff (I can’t wait to bust out my toy camera, a Holga 120N). The other way is using my iPhone 4s and Instagram as

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a point and shoot for everyday stuff. As much as my husband loathes it, I love that I can use the blur tool to fake depth of field and those quick little filters remind me of Lightroom. It just feels more acceptable to me than using an iPhone without Instagram. I’ve been taking a ton and sharing them and I even have plans to print them out at the end of the year as a canvas collage.

Why am I telling you this, here, now? Because I’ve been a bit burned out lately and so the idea of picking up my camera when I don’t have to was just a bit much… so I decided to use my iPhone for this assignment. I also used a frame app to put them together. As much as I was tempted to, I didn’t even sharpen for web! This is straight out of the iPhone and onto the screen, folks. If you are an Instagram-er, leave a link to your profile in the comments so I can find you.:)

iphone photos, iphone pics, instagram

Check out Lindsey Bergstrom’s take on “orange” and follow the link ring to see all the posts!

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Amelia - Wow! Fancy camera or not, you take amazing photos!

Tami - Love all the orange bits, its like a scavenger hunt :)


I am so excited to share the winner of the Pin It to Win It contest!  Laura McMullan, you wowed me with your attention to details.  I can’t wait to create this session with you.

“My Concept will be ‘Children Grown on the Edge of the Ocean’ a lyric from Fleet Foxes song ‘Grown Ocean’.” – Laura

I loved the attention she put into this.  I especially loved the flowing fabrics, texture, and rustic details.  Not to mention how much I adore the Fleet Foxes.

Check out Laura’s board on Pinterest!


seattle photographer deals


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Chris - Super cool. Love the minimalist sea-side aesthetic.

Queen Elizabeth | Seattle Concept Photographer

I’ve been looking forward to this Seattle children’s concept session for quite some time.  The images mostly speak for themselves, so I will just say this: I was really inspired by the movie Elizabeth: The Golden Age and wanted to explore the idea of a young Queen Elizabeth I.  I contacted SINchling by SINched and had her make me this GORGEOUS child-size Elizabethan gown.  I wanted to evoke the feeling of a bold and mischievous little princess; I imagined her in this setting with a governess forcing her to learn while she would rather daydream and play… sort of like an Elizabethan Alice In Wonderland… but decidedly royal as well.  Enjoy!Queen Elizabeth I, young Queen Elizabeth, themed photo shoot, themed photo session, concept photos, concept session, children

Queen Elizabeth I, young Queen Elizabeth, themed photo shoot, themed photo session, concept photos, concept session, children


Queen Elizabeth I, young Queen Elizabeth, themed photo shoot, themed photo session, concept photos, concept session, children

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Nichole J - I just had to tell you that I loved these. So adorable! I found you via clickin moms! I adore the idea of concept photography. I wish you lived closer to me or that I traveled up there more. I would love for you to photograph my children.

Sarah Vasquez - Thank you so much, Nichole!

In case you were unaware, I do offer travel sessions. :)

Victoria Hershman - This is so perfect I can barely stand it! I’ve never done conceptual shoots, but they seem like so much fun!