Langham Court Theatre

cvv_m2_banner – Creative Portraits, Serendipity, Serenity – by Leanne Allen

What I love most about the photography features is getting an insight into who the photographers are. It shows through their work, their friends, and their surroundings.

A creature of creative and concept shoots, having to do headshots for an agent that were very versatile and “not theatrical” was strangely a challenge. I was very fortunate to enlist the help of makeup artist, Tania Vassilikaki, owner of Home Spa by Tania (, to give me a “friendly mom” look, and come on set to transform that into an “intimidating cop” look. If you’ve never been in Tania’s space, you’ve got to experience it. So warm, so friendly, so professional. And check out her black and white striped nails in the photo – she’s the Okanagan rep for Jamberry – funky nail stickers that are incredibly easy to put on, and stay on for weeks. I was also fortunate to have the guidance of Luova Talent Management’s (a new talent agency in the Okanagan) Jennifer Hobbs for wardrobe and direction, as well as the clothing company I represent, Le Cheap, C’est Chic’s one and only Natalie Preston to help style me (black blazer and grey cardigan are available at

Driving out to just outside Penticton BC, my shoulders dropped a little. The view of the mountains and the lake, especially in the fall, is nothing short of breathtaking. Magically, as I pulled to the side of the road to check my GPS, Simon Kuhl, the husband of the husband and wife duo,  pulled up beside me and let me follow him the rest of the way. It’s this sort of serendipity I soon came to realize is part of this team.

Their garden – our location –  was out of a storybook: beautiful colors and variety transformed what could be a square of grass into its own mini ecosystem  – full of pathways and cozy hideouts.

And the garden is more than just a pretty face – it’s actually how this team got started. “We wanted to do something together,” says Deb, “to create a common interest.” Deb had a point and shoot camera she was using to shoot flowers out at a local nursery, and the rest… is history… Simon tells me:

“We  quickly fell in love with light and what it represents: life.  This grew into a passion for photographing people as we discovered the profound power of portraiture.  In this unpredictable life, there are few things as valuable as a treasured photo of loved ones.  Also, a beautiful portrait can bolster a person’s self image and self confidence.  We never get bored : working with each person is a unique experience and challenge.  While we try to bring our vision to a project, our primary focus is to make our subjects comfortable and allow themselves to let their guard down.  We love to select inspiring locations that add a natural and timeless quality to the photos, and allow the person to shine.  Simply beautiful portraiture inspired by light, life and love.”

“We really want to offer creative portraits,” says Deb as Simon is leafing through a coffee table book of photography. “This is something we’d love to do,” he shows me – it’s a hi-key (very bright whitewash) shot of a swan on a pond. The serenity was palpable.

And this is the vibe of this husband and wife team: serenity. They have a way of creating a complete calm to work within, without being airy fairy in any way. “I hate to interrupt ladies,” says Simon as Deb and I are chatting, “but look at that light out there.”

We went out to do the second set of headshots, and Simon had me laughing so hard during the “tough cop look” headshot (you’ll see in the photos). Deb brought it back. With her subtle but precise direction, she was able to get out of me exactly what we needed for my agent within literally ten minutes.

After the beautiful light hid behind the mountain that is their backdrop, we went inside to regroup. They showed me their website –, and told me the story of the woman on the homepage. She had cancer, and beat it, and celebrated with a portrait session with them at the six month mark. “It’s an important milestone,” says Deb. “We want to capture more milestones than just weddings and grad,” adds Simon.

Personally, I think that’s a brilliant idea. I know at the six month mark after my Mom had her mastectomy, I marked it by taking her to Mexico. There are many milestones in life that we could make more of a celebration out of, and capture that moment in photos.

Continually on the hunt for new beautiful locations, they recently shot a wedding at Cathedral Grove on the island.

Check this duo out at and start thinking about your next milestone.