Meet this month’s inspiring customer: Sara, aka @saraspectrum.  She describes her life well-lived as balancing work with time outdoors, a little adventure and slow mornings (with tea!), which is easy when your backyard is the gorgeous Pacific Northwest.  Scrolling through Sara’s Instagram feed is like flipping through a lifestyle magazine and has got us inspired to add more of these elements to our own everyday.  Read on as Sara tells us how she achieves such beautiful natural portraits and her tips for playing with light. 

Homebase: 

Whistler, Canada

Your feed is full of magical shots featuring gorgeous outdoor landscapes.  What are your top 4 tips for stunning portraits, using the outdoors as your backdrop?

I’m lucky to live in Pacific North wonderland, the mountains being a constant awe-inspiring background and inspiration of humbling down a human.  In terms of tips and portraits, I would say light is the most important thing to understand, manipulate and play with.  Having an open mind and making the light work with your subject – I think it’s huge not to control/create these light situations, but rather, awareness around what is happening and how to handle and play with it!  I think there are no rules to what’s right and wrong in playing with light – I was told once to never shoot into the sun, but some of my favorite free-feeling images come from placing a human directly in front and doing just that – shooting into the rays!  Sometimes, it definitely helps to be picky in choosing when to shoot!  Golden light is always more magical to play with.  If I could, I would always choose the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset!  But if that’s not possible, working with clouds or rain or harsh light is always possible.

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Who are some of your favorite Instagrammers for inspiration?

My favorite Insta account has been and probably always will be @inkedfingers.  I found Carli when I first discovered Instagram, and the simple, raw authenticity that comes through her words and images is extremely resonating.  I’m also a very very big fan of @last.daze, an editorial that curates some reaaaally wonderful portraiture matched with very uncommon, non-cliché type quotes that get me inspired.

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Do you ever shoot on your iPhone?  If so, what are your favorite hacks for getting your photos just right from your device?

Definitely!  Sometimes it’s the only device ready to go quick enough!  I teach my kids at the Waldorf School that we should be able to create a “good” image regardless of what kind of camera we are using.  “Good” meaning an image evoking feeling!  There’s definitely some tweaks we can add with the iPhone that make the light look a little better – maybe some filters and fades (on my iPhone, I use VSCO and Afterlight to get nostalgic film feelings) but I think the most important elements come before and while the shot is being taken.  Enough sensitivity with our surroundings and every/anything can be beautiful and spark emotion!

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Describe your ideal Sunday…

MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE WEEK.  Easy flowy and slow wake up, a cup of tea in the backyard, a cruise down to the dock for some morning stretching/swimming… that’s the ideal one.  Sometimes it’s more simple: tea and a book, or tea and a phone call to mom, that kinda thing.  Usually tea though, and usually slow.

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Next DIY project on your list?

I’d like to make some homemade calendars next I’m thinking!  Perhaps a mix of some watercolour words over some photographs!

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Next adventure?

For the Fall, I think I’m deciding between semi-planning a road trip down the coast to the Baja for surf/photo/play/slow time or jumping on a trip to India, for some higher intensity yoga training and then some photo taking.  Very different experiences, we’ll see what happens!

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All photos by Sara Laking