Lynne McEachern

Say hello to talented Instagrammer @apebalsom

Posted by | Photo Prints, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized | No Comments
This past week, we were lucky to have Aprille Balsom, the talent behind the @apebalsom Instagram account, take over our feed and give us a little tour of LA on a recent work trip.  Besides crisp and cozy photographs, her feed is also chock-full of adventures, fashion and a cute French bulldog named Bug.  Below, we get to know Aprille a little bit better and get a glimpse into what makes this girl tick…

[LA palms from @apebalsom’s takeover of the Impressed Instagram feed]


Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

You in 25 words:

I’m a social media-obsessed fashion junkie who likes to document my life in pictures. I also love nothing more than watching movies with my boyfriend & puppy (when I have time).


Where do you currently live and what’s your favorite thing about your city?

I moved to Toronto about 2 ½ years ago for school. I always wanted to live in a bigger city and be in the middle of everything. I love how Toronto is made up of different neighborhoods that are all so different from one another; it gives the city more character.

What do you do for a living?

I currently work at Brandy Melville Canada as the stock manager. I also run their social media and play around with the visuals.

It’s obvious that you have a very creative spirit-what do you do when you encounter a creative block?

I spend a lot of time on social media, partly because it is my job but also because I enjoy it. I always keep a photo album on my phone of images that I come across on Instagram, Pinterest or Tumblr, it’s kind of like a mood board. Outfits I like, home décor, or even the way the photo was taken are some of the reasons why I’ll save an image. Whenever I am in need of a little extra inspiration I will look through the album, it usually does the trick, or I will go shopping. I always get inspired to show off my new shoes or décor I just bought.

Do you remember your first ever Instagram post and how do you feel your feed has evolved since then?

My first post is actually still on my feed. It’s from the night before I moved to Toronto. I took it from my boyfriend’s backyard as the sun was setting. At that point I was using Instagram simply for a personal use and to connect with my friends. After a while, I began to look at my feed more as a way to be creative and started using it as a portfolio. I now focus on showcasing my personal style, travel adventures, favorite foods, and decor taste all with a minimalistic feel. I also try to stay consistent on how my photos are taken, edited, and captioned, it flows a lot better that way.

[My first-ever Instagram post: taken from my boyfriend’s backyard as the sun was setting, the night before I moved to Toronto.]

What do you normally shoot with?

Lately I have been going back and forth between my Canon Rebel T3i and my iPhone 6. I use my iPhone when I am out and on the go, however if I am home or have my camera with me I opt for my Canon.

Do you have a go-to photo-editing app?

Although I use a few different apps to edit, my go-to is definitely Afterlight, it has everything you need and more. I also love how customizable it is.

Top 3 Insta-crushes?
  1. Rima_rama
  2. mija_mija
  3. Piggyandpolly
Favorite items for a quick space refresh?

Crisp new bedding: Add a couple pillows, or change your duvet; it can dramatically change a space in an instant. Plus, who doesn’t love fresh new sheets?

Plants, especially cacti: They’re cute, easy to look after, and make every space a little happier. Once your bored of them, change up their placement throughout your home and it will feel like new

Photos: Polaroids, posters, photographs, and prints are all simple and easy ways to add a personal touch to any space. You can add just one or create a wall of photos depending on where you want to put them and your personal taste.

[My favourite space, my bedroom.]

What décor trend are you lusting over at the moment?

I’ve always been a huge lover of white décor, which conveniently seems to be trending right now. I also really love the minimalistic feel, simple and basic, which in my opinion is always in style.

Describe your perfect Sunday?

The perfect Sunday would include waking up without any alarms and exploring a different part of the city with my boyfriend and our puppy, Bug ( Grabbing some food at a new restaurant, doing some shopping, and ending off the day on the sofa watching a movie.

What is currently at the top of your wanderlust wish list?

Right now I’m really obsessing over going to Fiji, it’s so beautiful and exotic. There’s an underwater hotel there that I would love to stay at. I also really want to go on a road trip across America for a few weeks, exploring and taking photos of everything along the way.

With the world as your playground, what is your favorite?
  • Bar: Trapper John’s, St. John’s, Newfoundland, it’s one of the top ten pubs in Canada according to Reader’s Digest, plus it’s also a museum.
  • Shop: Vintage Stores on Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, the best vintage I have ever shopped.
  • People-watching destination: Marina Boardwalk, Benalmadena, Costa Del Sol, Spain. There’s always so much going on- restaurants, street vendors, tourists, the beach. You can sit there with a coffee and a book for hours.
  • Date-night spot: Like I said, I love the movies so probably grabbing dinner and catching a movie.
Follow me on:


My dog Bug on Instagram:

Buy my prints at:

9 Tips for Capturing Photos of Children in Interesting and Beautiful Settings

Posted by | Kids, Photography, Tips | No Comments

Meet Danielle Chassin, the woman behind the @hippieindisguise Instagram account: self-taught hobby iPhone photographer, adventure-seeker and mama to the beautiful Ro and Sen.  We were recently acquainted with her through her Instagram feed and were instantly attracted to the gorgeous candid photographs she posts of her children in unique settings (99% of them taken within walking distance from her downtown Ottawa home!). 

This week, we were lucky enough to have Danielle share some tips on capturing great photos of children…

Capturing great photos is about actively looking around you, learning to spot beauty in the everyday.  I don’t travel great distances to perfect locations, I make the most of what’s around me.  Capturing great photos of children is about ensuring children are happy and comfortable around the camera; this will let you take candid or natural-looking photos, with a range of facial expressions. Here are some of my tips for capturing great photos of children.


  1. Look for beautiful features in natural and city landscapes, such as a flowering bush, or in infrastructure, such as murals. In wide landscapes you can get bright colourful backgrounds, like grass, gardens, and trees; their natural beauty will only enhance your photos. With natural beauty surrounding the children, your photos will look much more compelling. In the city, you can find beautiful and simple back drops, such as a brick wall or a mural on the side of a store. If you take adventures on foot in your city, you will find that lots of alleys and buildings have murals, stone work and other interesting features.
  2. Walk around your city, actively look at your surroundings, explore new streets, parks, fields and alleys. You will start to notice all kinds of beautiful backdrops for your photos, like a building with ivy growing on it, a bed of flowers in front of a government building, fruit and vegetable stalls at the market, or an old stone wall.
  3. Try to isolate a dominant or single aspect of the landscape to be the background. If you are at a park with treed areas, a play structure, and fences, this makes for a busy background that may draw attention away from the children, who should be the focus of your photo. Choose a simple background, for example, have the child lay back on the grass, this way the simple background of green texture, will allow the eye to focus on the subject of the photo. This tends to be particularly important when shooting with a basic camera like a phone, since you cannot adjust the depth of field and blur out busy background features.
  4. Remember that good framing can make an ordinary setting interesting. In parks there are often fences in the background; I like to make sure these aren’t in frame, as they distract from the natural landscape. Try a close up shot that cuts out the fence or ask the children to stand in front of a tree trunk or bush. However, if you can’t find an interesting angle that cuts out the fence, then use the fence to your advantage: make it the dominant aspect of your background by asking the children to stand in front of it. Being in a new setting, like a new alley that the children haven’t been in, will probably make them curious, they will be interested in their surroundings and will likely be less aware of the camera. They will interact with the space, and this will give you nice natural photos.
  5. Try different angles. A photo can draw a lot of interest by taking an extreme angle on the subjects. This means taking the photo from high above the subjects and aiming the camera down or a much lower angle and aiming the camera up. Try to experiment with angles; most people shoot straight on, this can make a beautiful photo, but it might not be unique or interesting.
  6. Take photos from behind and from the side, especially if the children don’t want their photo taken. This is a way to get a photo without their facial expression affecting the quality of the image.
  7. Adjusting the cropping your photos after can make them more interesting, or eliminate flaws, such as unflattering facial expressions or blur. With most people taking digital photos, this is easy to do.
  8. Don’t let the children know you are taking photos and/or Don’t ask the children to look at the camera. This is my number one tip. When children are asked to look at the camera and smile, or they know a photo is being taken, they often become too self-aware, they over-smile, or make a stiff pose. These photos don’t often look very good. I always take a set of photos with the children looking around, doing whatever they want, and then a final few frames with them looking at the camera. I call their name to get their attention, and they look toward me, with a natural expression.
  9. Take lots of photos. You will are more likely to get something beautiful or interesting this way.


About Danielle

Danielle works by day as a Government Advisor. Her passions are her children, adventuring, writing and photography. You can see more of Danielle’s photography by following her on Instagram or VSCO, or on her soon to be launched website.

Instagram: @hippieindisguise



Email: [email protected]

Instagram Tour of Toronto: Dundas St West

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We are embarking on a quest to feature some of the best independent design shops and studios in Toronto who work their brand on Instagram! Today’s little cluster of talent is on Dundas West, specifically in the stretch between Bathurst and Grace.

First we stopped by the shop and floral design studio of Lisa Collins, owner of Sweet Woodruff. Her shop is a well-curated collection of modern romantic decor items to accessorize your home and integrate botanical elements into your life. Her arrangements are elegant and lush with a polished handmade feel to them. If you’re looking for flowers for an event, definitely check out her feed for inspiration.

madedesign_blog1Our second stop was with Shaun and Julie at MADE Design. A mix of modern Canadian design to adorn your home and your table, MADE sells handmade works and small production pieces by industrial designers, craftsmen, architects, designers and artists. You can see some of their favorites and custom work on their Instagram account.

And our last visit was with Arounna and John at Bookhou. They are a husband and wife creative force that turn out inspired and timeless art, textile and woodworking pieces that any design-savvy home buyer would covet. Also, Arounna does an amazing job as photographer and curator of their IG feed. We’re not sure how she has time for it all!

And while you are on this stretch, a few options for lunch: Cafe Brasiliano for a fantastic and surprisingly inexpensive meal, or S.Lefkowitz, the only hummuseria (of course that’s a word) in Toronto. Yum.


Make Her Day This Mother’s Day: A Photo Book, Fresh Flowers, and a Hug!

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We have two Mother’s Day promotions to make Mom smile:

(1) Use code MOMFIVE at checkout to get $5 off any photo book for Mom. Order by 04/28/2014.

(2) Mom in Toronto? Use code TOMOM to get a free floral bouquet from BLOOMdarling with ANY Impressed photo book purchase! Our street team will personally deliver your mom’s book and flowers, wrapped in a big hug, on Saturday May 10th. Only for Toronto deliveries. Order by 05/05/2014.

Go ahead. Make her day.

*codes cannot be used together.

Where Has Baby Been? The Story Behind a Silly But Effective Facebook Ad Campaign.

Posted by | Kids, Photo Books, Uncategorized | No Comments

Facebook-02-05-2014We wouldn’t call ourselves Facebook advertisting experts by any means. We have, however, stuck around long enough to reach a plateau in the learning curve. In addition, we’ve recently completed a 4 week program with a member of the Facebook Account Team to help us optimize our ads on the platform. This program was fairly helpful in demystifying some of the nuances of how the Facebook machine actually works. However much of it remains a bit of a mystery, even to their veteran account team. Other findings were unfortunately the kind that make you want to never give Facebook another ad dollar, like the way they control who sees your posts on your Business Page. Essentially, only about 12% of your fans see your posts. You can boost views by posting stuff that those 12% will Like or Share organically, otherwise, you gotta pay for them to push your posts. Hm. If it weren’t for the fact that Facebook ads are currently the best way to specifically target iPad users that we know of (if you are not a game) then we might be spending those ad dollars elsewhere.

Now for the real reason we’re here - today marks the occasion of Baby’s 10th Facebook ad.  Yay! Let’s celebrate by taking a look back at the ads. Baby’s had an interesting journey to that idyllic beach on the island of Mustique (see above). It all started in the most unlikely of places, a Movember party and a handlebar moustache…Baby took it up a notch for ad number 2 by dressing for a black tie event in honor of the launch of our new Black Tie Photo Book. We admit, that tiny hat is a bit creepy and didn’t stick around too long.facebook-1200x627-11.25.13Being a die-hard Trekkie, Baby couldn’t resist getting into the Cyber Monday spirit with a little homage to Geordi: ‘Captain, traffic to our website is off the charts - we’ll have to jettison the warp core!’ An invitation to visit Santa’s workshop put a little rosy in everyone’s cheeks in anticipation of the Holidays. Less silly, more gooey. Our installs took a slight dip.facebook-1200x627-12.07.13Silly hit a new high with a little ‘Baby Rudolph goes to college’! While this particular ad was probably executed with the least graphical design ability, it did become our most popular. The lure of the big red nose - (whispering) ‘tap me…tap me”facebook-1200x627-12.11.13Baby’s new Facebook fame was now requiring a disguise in public to fend off admirers and errant cheek pinching. This one did the trick and allowed Baby to get some late Christmas shopping done for the Impressed Team.

Don’t put Baby in a corner! A wallflower, Baby is not. At only 7 months old, Baby has already checked ‘Party in Times Square on New Years Eve’ off the bucket list. The magic of Photoshop.

facebook-12.26.2013After a well-deserved break, where Baby indulged in a little too many mushy peas and Baby NumNums, the gym was high on Baby’s list of destinations. Never has purple spandex looked better.

With Baby’s new confidence, it was time to up the game for fans. A stylist was hired. Baby’s new look? Sweet, with a bit of a rock edge. The change did not go unnoticed, Baby was hired as an extra in Miley Cyrus’ new music video.So what’s the equation you ask? Silly (Humour) + Baby + Face + Call to Action = Installs. Facebook told us that food and animals also work equally well, so maybe Baby becomes a foodie and gets a yorkie. You’ll have to register to see what happens next :) Any guesses? If you have any Facebook ad secrets to share, we’d love to read them in the comments!

Photo Stories 101: Photos Inspiring Our Actions

Posted by | Photo Books, Photo Prints, Photography, Tips, Travel, Uncategorized | One Comment

Photography has really made huge strides over the last 10 years. Not just by going digital and creating a new visual way to communicate but by seeing our lives through a photojournalistic lens. Instead of how we spend our time dictating what photos we take, more and more, the photos we want to take are dictating how we spend our time. It’s fascinating to see this shift. Because people are using social networks like Instagram and Facebook as a kind of visual life journal, we are being inspired to act by seeing what others are shooting and doing. Here are some examples of photo stories that would inspire us to do something!

This collection of gorgeous Instagram shots from photographer @annanovak of her trip to Maine makes me nostalgic for my seaside place of birth in Nova Scotia - mental note, book a trip for the summer to take the kids exploring the beaches, seaweed, shells, rocks and creatures of the East Coast tidal 3American adventuress living abroad @quiteheatherly is always making me bump Europe to the top of my travel destinations list. So much so that I just booked a trip to one of my favourite Euro destinations, Italy, for the end of May. Carpe Diem, as they say. On a smaller scale, this particular story inspires me to visit my local market and have a French-inspired picnic spread and a great bottle of red for a stay-at-home date night this 2Our previous blog contributors and subjects @kate_inglis, @mikekus and @mainemomma have also inspired us to act. To plan a weekend family adventure at the seashore and end a crisp Fall day with a freshly baked loaf of pumpkin bread.1780bMike Favourite Instagram 12Mmmm. Now I have spicy pumpkin carbohydrate goodness on the brain - must squeeze some baking into this weekend…