Darlene McCowan bio picture

    Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I'm so happy to have you here!

    While photography was my full time career for five years, in January of 2014 it became a secondary career, as I accepted a position in a completely different field. I have since struggled with what to do with my photography business and am making some major changes in coming months.

    Please see my recent blog post entitled "Things Change" for more details. While I'm completely booked for the remainder of 2014, I will be taking some bookings on a limited basis for 2015. Please visit the "investment" page for availability and pricing.

    Love and smiles, Darlene

Things Change {Choose Your Own Adventure}

I may be aging myself here (as I’m not sure these even still exist), but do you remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books we read in school as children, where you were able to choose one of two directions for the story to proceed?  You kind of got to make your story, by choosing which direction it would go at different points throughout the book.  I don’t know about you, but if I started reading one of the options and didn’t like the way it was rolling out or just wanted to see what would happen if I’d have chosen the other route, I just switched…went back and chose the other option.  I was basically reading two completely different stories…reading through one first and then the other.  Then I would choose the one I liked best.

I think the process of these books can also be applied to both my business and my life too.  And while I understand, I can’t just roll back time, get the time back and start over…I can change the next chapters in my story.  So, here it is…I’ve gone back to one of the “Y”s in the story and I’ve started to take the other path, to see where it leads me.  I’ve gone back to where my photography business started and thought I’d try a different direction…slow things down a bit…make some time for other things that I love in my life…my hobbies, my friends, my family and me.  It all started a little over a year ago, when my 9-year-old asked me, “Are you ever going to spend a weekend with our family?”.  You see, when my children were younger, I spent lots of time with them through the week because I could be at home with them and make my own schedule.  Now that they have both been in school full-time for a few years, I haven’t had that same time with them, since I am out at sessions and weddings most evenings and weekends…when they are at home.  So, when she asked me this question, I just knew it was time to make some changes…because I didn’t like the feeling I had when thinking about the future direction of the chapters I was living.

So, just over a year ago, I began applying to career opportunities that would allow me to be at home with my family in the evenings, on weekends and on holidays.  The day before my daughter’s 10th birthday, I received a call.  I’d been the successful candidate for a 1-year contract with a local public school board, working in the curriculum department.  I accepted the position immediately…went back to that “Y” in the story and began reading in the other direction.  I’m liking the chapters I’m living through currently…enjoying some extra time with my not-so-little children and my husband.  We’ve had a chance to reconnect.  While I’ve still been running my business, along side being employed full-time, I’ve managed to start slowing down my photography business as time progresses.  (You’ll notice the lack of blog posts…yep, I’m over a year behind on them…sorry.)  The results for my family…less chaos…fewer arguments…less anxiety…more smiles…more laughter…lots of love!  It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the first route I chose in my story…I just like this one a little better…it fits my life better.

Then this week I got some great news…after applying and going through the interview process…the position I accepted back in January is now mine on a permanent basis.  A weight was lifted and I know that this path is the right one for me, especially at this point in my life.  However, this is going to mean a lot of change for my business.

I’m officially closing the doors of my wonderful studio space at the end of October and in order to do just that, I have a lot of furniture, props and gear that I will need to sell in the second half of October.  So anyone who might be interested, stay tuned to my facebook page for sale details to come in September.  It makes me a little sad to let this beautiful space go, simply because I love it…but, I do have someone else taking over the space and I hope they love it as much as I do.  As you may have read on my facebook page, I am fully booked until the end of this year and there will be some changes to my bookings for 2015.  I will only be taking weddings/sessions one weekend per month.  This means that I have little flexibility, which will probably lead to me not being able to photograph many newborns…because we all know they have their own schedules for arrival. ;)  And without a studio space or props, all sessions will be lifestyle…meaning that I won’t be carrying props or backdrops of any kind and will work with what is available on location.  I want to keep it simple and capture people’s memories…people’s immediate family, children, weddings and other events…as long a the timing is right and fits with my schedule.

There’s still more.  I won’t be blogging much anymore…one because I always seem to get soooooo far behind…and two because I want to be able to focus more on my own family.  I need to free up some time to give to those I love most.  So, you may catch a sneak peek or two from each session on my facebook page and a few photos here and there on the blog.  But the biggest change will be that I’m also going to let go of the Jakal Photography name.  It’s meaningful and people know me by that name, but I want to change it all.  I want to be connected to my photography because it means something to me.  Instead of having people say to me “Hey, you’re Jakal Photography!”, I want them to say “Hi Darlene.  I’ve seen your photography.”.  So I’m going back to using my own name for 2015…Darlene McCowan ~ photographer.

I want to thank my friends and family for understanding over the past few years, when I was missing out on functions because I had to capture someone else’s memories.  My husband and children especially…thank you!  I know you’ve had to put up with a crazy schedule and last minute schedules for what probably seems like a loooooong time.  It’s time for me to start joining in on those moments, making more of those memories with my family.  And last, but certainly not least…thank you to all of my FABULOUS clients.  Without you I wouldn’t have been able to build such a successful business and live my dreams of becoming a professional photographer.  While I poured my heart, soul and sometimes even tears into my business, I’ve learned and loved every moment along the way.  So…thank you all so very much!

Smiles, Laughter & Love, Darlene







Miss Rylin Turns One {first milestones}

She is always so sweet to photograph…as I’ve had the opportunity to do so several times throughout her first year.  While she’s always shy to start her sessions, after mere minutes…she’s all smiles.  And her first year session and cake smash were no different!  Such a beautiful, sweet, little girl and I can’t wait to capture her next milestones too!  Love!!!

Love & Smiles, Darlene



Little Man ‘H’ {newborn lifestyle photography}

While I’m sure that everyone is always excited to see their images appear on the blog and I know that I’m over half a year behind, I LOVE looking back through the images and memories that I’ve captured for others.  It allows me to relive the moments spent with these fabulous families, as they celebrate a milestone in their lives.

I’ve photographed this beautiful family again since this session, but Little Man Henry is just way too cute not to share.  Here are some of my favourites from their session last summer!

Love & Smiles, Darlene


Emy turns One {first year photography}

A couple years back, I had the pleasure of photographing Ryan & Marie’s wedding day celebration.  They are such a cute and wonderful couple.  And it’s no surprise that their sweet baby girl is such a happy, beautiful little thing!  She came to the studio for her first birthday and reminded me so much of both of her parents.  Just look at that SMILE!  I love it!!!

Love & Hugs, Darlene



Little Miss “M” {newborn photography}

I love this family….seriously!  They have been coming to me time and time again over the last few years and I feel like we’ve been friends for a lifetime, even though we’d never even met before their very first session.  We can chat about anything, we exchange gifts, we keep in touch (even when it’s not photography related) and they are beautiful inside and out!  I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason…and while I haven’t pin-pointed exactly why I’ve been so blessed to have these wonderful people in mine, I know that there will always be a bond that keeps us connected.

So, when Greg & Lisa announced that they were expecting baby #2…I couldn’t wait to meet this sweet baby girl.  Miss M is just as beautiful as the rest of them…and a wonderful addition to this fabulous family!  Enjoy!

Love & Smiles, Darlene