From cake and crinoline to flowers and favors, weddings are a lot of hassle.

Hire a photographer and shed convention, counsels Tristha Cruz, who seeks to expand her wedding and lifestyle photography business to embrace elopements this summer.

“Why should you elope? Because there is not another love story like yours. Why not plan a wedding day that’s never been done before?” challenges Cruz. “I believe your wedding day should be easy. I feel like there’s way more creative freedom in general (with an elopement) and I love how unique it is to the couple.”

Cruz shoots weddings, too, even though they’re not as much fun in her estimation. Her business is still in the honeymoon stage, having just launched this past Mother’s Day.

“It marked a new chapter for me — the working Mom life!” she said. “I have a one-year-old I love spending time with and it just made sense for me to start my business.”

Her proverbial shingle reads: Heart and Hue Studio.

“’Heart’ for the human connections I love to photograph and ‘hue’ for the artful approach I take,” she said. “I work with families and couples to make meaningful images.”

Boreal beginnings

Born and raised in Yellowknife, Cruz bought her first camera in middle school.

“It was a purple Nikon point and shoot from Roy’s Audiotronics,” Cruz recalled. “And then I eventually got a DSLR in high school.”

In adulthood, photography matured from a hobby into therapy.

“I hit a very low point in my life. Photography was one of the things that helped with my depression. It allowed me to express myself when I couldn’t find the words, which was very healing,” she said. “I started taking more photographs and then my friends and family began asking me to shoot for them. If you look at my photos from that season of my life, you’ll find they are a lot moodier with darker tones compared to what I create now. Isn’t it neat how our art evolves through different life experiences?”

Cruz said “I do” to marrying photography with entrepreneurship in early 2020, while living in Australia.

“But then Covid hit and that’s when I moved back to Yellowknife,” she said, adding she brought her Australian husband, Matthew Jackson, North with her. (They didn’t elope, incidentally, choosing instead to hold a small, picturesque wedding with some family in B.C.)

“Fast forward to today; I am incredibly grateful I can finally do work I love and stay home with my baby,” said Cruz.

Though she flirted with inanimate commercial photography briefly, Cruz prefers people to objects because of the narratives that their photos help to share.

“I love photography because of the stories,” she said. “It’s helped me tell mine and now I want to give others a way to document their story, a space to be vulnerable, and the feeling of being truly seen.”

Heart and Hue Studio hosts a kiosk at the Yellowknife Farmers Market.

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