Commercials shoots only make up a small part of my business that is mostly wedding photography and family lifestyle sessions. But, that’s not to say I don’t love them just as much.

In fact, this assignment was a blast.

The Heights Merchants Association, in Burnaby Heights, reached out to see if I could photograph 10 businesses within their association. The goal: a collective ad-buy with the local transit authority.

Also of note, I was so flattered when Sam Wong, an Emily Carr Photography student, had approached me about providing him with mentorship. The amazing thing about being a mentor is that there is an opportunity to both teach and learn.

I thought this assignment was a fantastic opportunity to call Sam in. This was our first time working together and we both grew so much. Now, he works with me often.

I don’t know if you’ve spent much time in the area, but if you were to stop by you’d quickly notice how much community there is in the Burnaby Heights. Long-standing businesses line Hastings Street welcoming passersby with incredible service.

Peter, a developer and owner at Censario, grew up in the area. He spoke of his first re-development, with kindness and love for the space. He and his Grandfather had frequented that very location to grab a few VHS movies to watch together.

On the other hand, Jane’s at the Heights, has held onto it’s old-school charm. And, this cozy diner has prices that just can’t be beat. There is something about this place that makes it seem like more than a diner – it’s a lifestyle. I love that many of their clients eat there nearly every day – and they’ve done so for years.

Adele-Rae Florist will arrange for you the most beautiful flowers from their family-owned and operated business. When I stepped into the shop for the first time, I could not believe the wonderful colours and floral scents. Really, I wish I’d gone home with an orchid or two.

Milan, Italy. I mean where else do you get your Gelato from? Lucky for Burnaby Heights this amazing couple brought the recipe over to Canada and started a classic Italian gelateria. Let me just say, their gelato was OUT OF THIS WORLD!

OMG – imagine your favourite gelato sandwiched between the most delectable brioche bun – there is no other ice cream sandwich like Nuvola Gelato’s gelato brioche.

Need insurance. Seems like a painful task, but not with GNK Insurance. Everyone was super friendly and in for a laugh or two.

Credit Unions rock, don’t you think?! I was given the most gracious welcome by the staff at Community Savings. Everyone was kind and the space was wonderfully bright and open, not like your old school stuffy banks one bit.https://www.comsavings.com/Personal/

Butchers Block BBQ is for the meat lovers out there. The ribs, chicken and pulled pork are all smoked in-house. I managed to slip a French fry or two – they were KILLER!

Head Waze Salon and Spa is owned by a mother-daughter team! Michelle and I hit it off so well that she’s become my regular stylist. And, she’s enlisted me for a few more shoots down the not so distant road.

I love a company that embraces parenthood. And they do just that at North Burnaby Physiotherapy: the owner brings her baby to work – I love it.

Urban Fibre. These folks know that all you care about is great service when it comes to the internet. That’s why they offer 1000 mbps in download AND upload speeds – I guess that’s the beauty of fibre optics. It’s FAST. I don’t know that it’s available everywhere yet, but don’t hesitate to check with them. They’re fun and friendly.

It was a delight to work with Sydney from the Heights Merchants Association’ BIA. And, I just loved interacting with local small businesses who care a lot about their customer – that’s important to me.

Okay! My images are being used for the Burnaby Heights bus ads – and I’m so curious to know what you think and how often you’ve seen them. Let me know when you find a bus with the ad (running through the end of October) by taking a photo of it, and posting it to Instagram while tagging me @michelemphotog and @burnabyheights. Thanks, you guys rule!

Here’s a screen capture of each the ads – so you know exactly what to look for.