Missy Mayo – Dallas Family Photographer » Dallas Photographer Missy Mayo captures joyful and genuine family, child, and senior portraits throughout the DFW metroplex.

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Bucket List: I’m a Travel Photographer in Banff, Canada!

We all have bucket lists – things we would love to see/do/accomplish in our lifetime. I like to think that I have a “reality bucket list” and a “dream-world bucket list.” I’m going to go ahead and give you a spoiler alert – being hired to photograph a couple in Banff, Canada was most definitely in the “dream-world bucket list” pile. Having a severe case of wanderlust and a love for all things travel, I have long dreamed of moonlighting as a vacation photographer or even doing travel sessions in other states (so, feel free to contact me about that LOL).

I first met Jessica, of Fat Baby Photography, a couple of years ago at a photography workshop I hosted. She had just given birth as a surrogate to TWINS! I was amazed at her selflessness and her passion to follow an instinct that she knew in her heart. On top of that she was incredibly friendly and sweet. Fast forward to seeing each other at a few other photography meet ups and I eventually took family Christmas photos with her girlfriend and their sweet doggies. When I met Ana she immediately gave me a big hug and told me how she had heard great things about me and was excited to meet me – you know those people that do that, right? That make you feel special, immediately comfortable, and relaxed? That’s Ana. She is easy going, funny, and the perfect match for Jess.

A few months later I had heard through facebook that Jessica and Ana were engaged. What happy news!! Then I heard from Jess, asking if I would take their engagement pictures.

Would I mind traveling? Maybe Austin?? 

ummmmmm….. Are you kidding? Of course! I felt honored that they wanted ME to photograph them again. Of course!

Well, as you can predict, Austin never happened. The location wasn’t quite right and Jess and Ana wanted their photos to be EPIC. In a random moment of serendipity, a great deal on flights to Calgary, Canada popped up just as we were feeling the time pinch of nailing a location. In a matter of hours Banff was given a quick google image check, flights were booked, and we were all squealing that WE WERE GOING TO CANADA!!!!

I won’t lie – there were plenty of things I had on my mind….

Travel to another country, rent a car, stay in an Air BNB – all by myself???

Photograph at a location I know NOTHING about? 

What if it rains?

Or I get eaten by a bear? 

What if my gear gets stolen? Or I somehow lose their images?

I like Jessica & Ana, but what if we annoy each other? 

But, my greatest fears were not even close to being realized. We shot the images on our first full day and everything went perfectly according to plan. Banff is every bit as gorgeous as its reputation boasts and I did not lose my gear/images/limbs due to bears. (Although take a moment now to please scroll down to see that we were, indeed, just feet from a real live grizzly bear that was munching grass on the side of the road. Surreal life experience, for sure.) Also, Jess and Ana were a dream to travel with  – in fact, we spent quite a bit of time together apart from the shoot and had an absolute blast. We made SO many great memories and insider moments cemented a friendship (pizza + honey, mosquito swatting, glacier crossing, gondola riding, and more!). They were so sweet to me and I will forever treasure this trip with them.


And, now, a peek at some of my favorite images from Banff!!


At Vermilion Lake – first look at Jessica’s wedding dress:


After leaving Vermilion lake we headed to Johnston Canyon to hike and take pictures by one of the waterfalls. Along the way we saw “The Boss.” You guys. We were seriously FEET from him. (Don’t worry, Mom, we were safely inside our vehicle and were ready to hightail it if needed.) I will say that there were a few other vehicles that had stopped to admire him – some of those people actually GOT OUT of the car. crazy! I later heard about it on a Calgary radio station – the game warden came and had to get people back in their car! Nuts!



Our second stop was Johnston Canyon. The paved trail follows the Bow river, cutting through the forest and leading to several waterfalls along the way. It’s an easy and very rewarding hike.



Our final shoot location was actually in the town of Banff. Although sunset isn’t until almost 10:00pm, we were able to get some “golden hour” light as the sun slipped behind the mountains. It truly couldn’t have been more gorgeous! I love these images because I think it shows the playful relationship that Ana and Jess have – lots of laughter and fun!



The next few days exploring Banff were nothing short of incredible. It is a photographer’s paradise, for sure. And there is so much to do! One day we took the gondola up to Mt. Norquay and spotted this incredible view. Those red chairs are placed by Parks Canada at some of the most scenic locations in the Rockies. It was fun to see them! We also knew that the location was too good to pass up – so on our final day we did one last mini shoot to capture a few images in this scenic vista.



And that is a wrap! I’ll leave you with a few “behind the scenes” images of the rest of the trip. Some of these were taken with my DSLR and others were taken with my GoPro. It was an incredible experience and I am so grateful that I was able to capture these images!