Marie Skerl Photography »

  • Welcome

    Hi! I'm Marie :) I'm a photographer specializing in engagements, weddings and portraits and I love LOVE. I try to capture as many real, natural moments as possible. I truly enjoy getting to know my couples and clients and always try to create photos that embody their personalities as well.

    I am a photo-school graduate and have been running my own business since 2011. A little random fact about me: I hiccup at least once a day! I can almost guarantee you will hear at least one while I'm taking your photos.

    Photo by Danielle Dobson

Hey wonderful friends!

It is that time of year again! Maybe you thought I wouldn’t do it this year, but I feel the need now more than ever to create special memories for others. With that said, it’s time for the VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY!! The one time a year I give away a FREE portrait session. <3

This isn’t just for couples in love, it’s for everyone! This photo shoot could be headshots, a family session, a boudoir session, a friends photo shoot, whatever you want! The winner will receive a FREE portrait session by me.:)

At the bottom of this post you will find a box with ways to enter the Valentine’s Day Giveaway. Each type of entry has a number value. You can tweet about the contest, share it on Facebook or share it on Instagram once a day and get multiple entries from doing so. Remember to use the hashtag: #marieskerlvday2018 and tag @marieskerlphoto when you are posting.

Two years ago I added a new form of entry; “Do a Good Deed.” We are doing that again and it’s worth the most entries by far (5 per day). I really want people to take the time to do something special for someone else. Spread the love this Valentine’s season! I loved seeing the little things that people were doing to make someone smile; like “paying it forward” and buying the person behind you in line their coffee order, making a surprise dinner for a friend, leaving someone a note of encouragement, doing laundry while letting your significant other relax, donating to bottle drives, etc. so please continue to do so. Do this everyday for the most possible entry points.

The more entries you make, the more likely you are to win. The winner of the contest will be picked randomly using Rafflecopter on February 15. Entries will end at midnight on February 14th, Valentine’s Day.

Because no post can be without photos, I have included a selection of some of my favourite shots from portrait sessions taken in the last year.

Good luck you beautiful, brilliant and awesome people! Now start entering! <3

Lots of love, Marie

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: And the winner is Zoe Mandell!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

  • Lauren - Love these photos!ReplyCancel

  • Jana - I love that you have this giveaway every year! So exciting!ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Wiebe - I love you and how God is working in your life <3ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany - Our baby girl has started to wave at all of the pictures in our house and I absolutely love it!ReplyCancel

  • Janella - I am loving recipes from http://www.onceuponachef.comReplyCancel

  • Kirsten - I am loving getting adventurous with new recipes in my instant pot! Tomorrow night I’m making Mongolian Beef (revised to be Mongolian Moose haha). I’ve heard so many great reviews about it so I’m excited to see how it turns out!

  • Ali - Thanks so much for posting this! Praying for you often.ReplyCancel

  • Caleigh - Beautifully written as always, Marie. You have such a lovely way with words.ReplyCancel

  • Samantha Lorette - I love my “tribe” my girls, so blessed to have them and I’m going to love them hard for life.ReplyCancel

  • Zoe - I am loving the inspiration I get every time I see your lovely posts online! Your blogs about hope as well as your glorious photos remind me that you continue to see beauty in the world through everything life has thrown you. You inspire me, Marie! <3ReplyCancel

  • Jessie - Always thinking of you.

    Thank you for having this giveaway Marie <3ReplyCancel

  • Kaylin - Love you Marie! ❤ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - Your photographs are beautiful and show so much love and honesty! God has truly blessed you with the gift of photography <3ReplyCancel

  • KIRSTY PROVAN - Right now I’m loving the book “the broken way.” And loving your beautiful photos, as always. <3ReplyCancel

In tragedy there is hope. In tragedy there is also sometimes more tragedy. That has unfortunately been the case for my friends, the Ekren family and myself these past few months. Just last week, late Friday night, Chris’ Grandpa passed away. He couldn’t take the pain of having lost his wife a few years ago and then losing his grandson and best friend; Chris. He decided he didn’t want to be here anymore and overdosed on pills. He regretted his actions and was taken to the hospital where doctors did what they could, but Grandpa sadly didn’t make it.

I don’t tell you all this because I am expecting sympathy, I want to bring more awareness to the pain of grief and depression. Grandpa had such wonderful qualities like his love for children, his talent for gardening, his sense of humour and his gentle yet competitive spirit. But he suffered from depression ever since losing his wife. He couldn’t see all the positives in his life anymore. He constantly dwelled in the sorrow and pain and negativity. He was a very kind man and a wonderful grandfather, but he struggled a lot, which was really hard to see. I loved him dearly and he will be missed. We hope and pray that Grandpa has found the peace that he was searching for.


Please please please if you are suffering from depression, having a hard time grieving or just struggling with anything; talk to someone! Get help. Get counselling, seek prayer, seek guidance, etc. Don’t let it send you down a downward spiral. God made us each perfect in His own image and He has a plan for us. He desires the best for us. To come to a place where you would rather die than live is absolutely heart breaking. In the end what really matters is how we choose to live our lives with our limited time and energy. Please don’t spend your time dwelling in such a dark place.

After all that, I do believe that in tragedy there is hope. There is hope that Grandpa is right where he wanted to be; in Heaven with Chris and Grandma. There is hope that our family will continue to draw closer to each other and closer to God. There is hope that we all learn from this; that we show more compassion and not be afraid to ask for help if we need it. There is hope that me writing these blog posts will affect at least 1 person’s life. There is hope that that 1 person will choose life and live it to the fullest, bringing more awareness to others that might be suffering. There is hope that in the midst of all this sadness and pain we find the light. We choose to love and be happy and bring joy and positivity into people’s lives. I’m getting real tired of being sad. Let’s get out there and LIVE.

Love you all lots,

Marie <3
Tulips-blog-3Photos were taken at the: Abbotsford Tulip Festival

  • Shelley Coates - Dear Marie,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences of pain and loss.
    I can imagine that is incredibly hard to do; however by doing so you normalize a journey that we all will walk at sometime in our lives. By bringing grief, loss and and the shadow of depression into the light it does provide hope.
    Hope that says your not alone and that’s a great gift indeed.
    My warmest regards,

  • Su Watson - Marie,
    Thank you for sharing! I appreciate your God given courage and empathy! Bless you! Praying for peace and comfort all around!ReplyCancel

  • Christina - ReplyCancel

  • Leanne - Thank you for sharing Marie! Loss is hard and depression is a downward spiral! Everyone needs help when dealing with depression. Please seek help! I did and I’m glad!ReplyCancel

  • Gloria - 💗ReplyCancel

  • Carol Molcar - Dearest Marie,
    I’m So sorry to hear about Chris’ grandfather. Thank you for sharing and bringing light and hope to others.
    We love you!❤
    We’re praying for you, your family, and Chris’ parents, brother, and friends.
    You are a very special and precious person! Thank you for your words of wisdom.ReplyCancel

I feel like the full title of this post should be “Learning to Grieve and Educating Others on How to Be a Positive Support,” that’s a little too long though. But, it is what I want to talk about and I feel a strong need to share from my experience.

Grief is hard to put into words. Especially when you lose the one person in the world who truly knew you inside and out. It’s an overwhelming feeling of loss and I will never be the same because of it. And that’s okay – I’m becoming stronger now. I feel for those that have gone through similar losses and wish I had reached out more in the past. I wish I knew the right words to say or actions to take to comfort others. Everyone grieves differently, but these things helped me and I think they might also be helpful to others who are suffering too:

  1. Be present. Especially at the beginning of a loss, having family and friends to support you and each other is so important. Even if you can’t find the words to say and you just cry together, at least you don’t feel like you are suffering alone. I had my best girl friends and my mom alternately sleep with me for about the first month or so.
  2. Bring food. People were really good at doing this for me right away, I don’t think I have ever seen so many baked goods in my life haha. I had no appetite and everything tasted like cardboard for about the first week or two of losing Chris, but I could at least share food with others who were with me and freeze things for later. I have just recently started cooking again, which took me a while to get back into.
  3. Write things down. There were so many phone calls and conversations I had between the police, coroner, funeral home, for memorial service preparation, etc. It was a lot for one person to handle. Also, Decoy was missing for the first 2 days, so we had a large group of us calling shelters, putting up posters for him, sharing his image on social media and family friends of Liam’s that actually went out to the area to find him in Liam’s trailer. So, my mind was focused on finding my dog, I couldn’t remember everything else that needed to be done. I was so grateful to have organized friends and someone to write or type things out for me. Thank you to all of you!
  4. Make the small decisions. I was generally able to verbalize what I needed, but often friends just had to make basic decisions for me like; what to eat, what shoes to wear, etc. My mind was constantly racing with my own questions and then to answer questions that I never thought I would have to answer like; Do you want to see him? Cremation or burial? Casket present at the service or not? What kind of floral arrangements? How many programs do we need? was too much for me.
  5. Give them space. It was wonderful to have loving family and friends over for support, but I also really needed alone time. I needed to be alone to cry, pray and grieve myself. I may be a known extrovert, but I still need my alone time and privacy.
  6. Pray. If that’s all you could do, it was and still is a very meaningful action. Knowing that there were so many people out there thinking and praying for me definitely gave me the strength and courage to face my days, speak at Chris’ memorial and continue growing and healing.

Those were all actions that were very relevant in the first couple weeks and are still quite relevant now too. I was in such denial at first, I think I was just in a constant state of shock and disbelief. This obviously wasn’t something we expected would ever happen. I didn’t know how to respond. I don’t think any of us did. I got a kind phone call from one of my elementary school teachers who told me to “Enjoy the denial.” I really appreciated that advice, although it may have seemed odd at first he knew that what was to come was going to be really tough, so enjoying the denial is what I did! Once that wore off is when it became more difficult. But, I do believe that God has a greater plan than I could ever know and I am trusting in Him that my future is still bright and there is still hope in my life even though my world has seemingly turned upside down.

In the past 3 months I have experienced many emotions and encountered some frustrating situations. I feel I need to share for my own personal healing, but also in hopes that we can all learn from them in the future. We never really know what to do for someone who has just lost an important person in their lives. So, here is some advice to you when you are talking to me or someone else who has just lost a loved one (and really just advice in general):

  1. Have some empathy. When talking to new people, if someone tells you they just lost their spouse (son, brother, cousin, etc.) don’t just stare blankly at them, say something! Anything really! Even if you say “I don’t have words,” that is so much better than changing the subject or acting like you didn’t hear what they said. This happened to me a surprising amount of times. I know it’s not something you hear often, but please don’t completely shut down.
  2. If you know, say something. If you already know about Chris, you don’t have to let me be the first one to bring it up. Even if you just say “I heard and I am so sorry for your loss,” that means a lot. I know it is the elephant in the room, so let’s just address it right away.
  3. I like talking about him! You don’t have to tiptoe around the subject of Chris in fear of upsetting me, he is always on my mind. I enjoy talking about him and I want to keep his memories alive. So please don’t feel like you can’t bring him up in conversation. He was the love of my life and best friend. I will always cherish our memories.
  4. Use the word “widow” carefully. Much too soon someone said to me something like; “I know it’s going to be hard now being a widow and all.” I wasn’t ready to hear that word yet. I can just barely say it out loud now to be honest.
  5. Don’t be nosy. I mentioned already that it’s nice to talk about Chris, but it isn’t always easy talking about the accident. What happened is my story to share and if the information is needed, I will tell you, otherwise please don’t ask me for specific details.
  6. Let me grieve my way. A few wonderful ladies who have been through unfortunate similar experiences reached out to me right away and something they all said was “Grieve how you want to grieve, don’t let others tell you how to grieve.” I have been through feelings of denial, confusion, anger, depression and acceptance and it’s important to feel all those feelings.  It’s okay for me to feel them when and how I feel them. My friends have been really good about making sure I go through all those emotions.


I can actually say that I have been through all the stages of grief now and I know I will continue to cycle through them. I am slowly learning to accept this new reality and move forward in a more positive way. I want to help others! Let my story be an example to others and although its’s sad, I hope it is also inspiring. Because of my openness and honesty here, I hope that this in some way can be helpful to others out there too.


I was blessed to be able to get away about a month after the accident with Chris’ parents and visit his brother in California. It was a healing time for all of us and so good to be together. I had one day alone in Malibu in a beautiful beach house right by the water. I needed that alone time to reflect on everything that had happened. I started journalling that night and took these photos when the sun was setting. I found a peace there that was so fulfilling. I continue to journal, pray, read books and have been getting counselling – I highly recommend all of these things to those who are going through a loss. Making time to grieve is so important for yourself. I am very thankful to have people that constantly remind me of that, so now I am reminding you too.

Lots of love, Marie

  • Shannon McAllister - Such a well written post Marie! Thank you for sharing some of the hard parts with us and allowing us to better understand how we all need to respond. You are a light that shines so brightly and I appreciate and admire your honesty so much! You have, and continue to honour Chris well with your words, strength and kindness.ReplyCancel

  • Doreen Mills - Dear sweet Marie
    Thank you in so many different ways.

    First thank you for being the wonderful person that you are.
    Thank you for the kindness you share with others even in your most difficult times.
    Thank you for posting your thoughts to help not only yourself but for others.
    Thank you for posting your beautiful pictures of you and Chris,I’ve never met your amazing Chris ,but seeing the love in both of you I can feel your passion.

    Marie thank you for sharing your faith ,that reminds me and everyone that we are not alone,and learn to take one day at a time .
    I’ve learned that ,the pain never goes away ,but it gets easier in time,and the memories get stronger .
    in my thoughts of you Marie I will always say a prayer for you and Chris,
    God Bless you both.
    I’m always here if needed.

    Love and hugs
    Auntie Do ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ReplyCancel

  • Sophia - Thank you for sharing this Marie. Beautiful words and thoughts. Praying for peace for you this season and for God to be very present in all the big and small ways. May you always be filled with the abundance of joy, beauty, and love I’ve witnessed during the brief times I’ve hung out with you xReplyCancel

  • Matt Dennison - Beautiful, Marie. Very of generous of you to offer this. Thank you. Your photography has inspired me for many years. You have an incredible eye. And your love with Chris was inspiring as well. So sorry for your loss, but inspired by your spirit. Thanks again.ReplyCancel

  • Laurie Pezzetta - Dear Marie, I have never met you. I am a friend of Rosemarie and Chad and our family was fortunate to spend time with them in B. C. when we went to visit them in 2009. They are a wonderful family as you know and my boys had a great time with Christopher and Nicholas. I am inspired by your strength and the strong love you and Chris have. He is still watching over all of you. May your journey inspire everyone to love hard and keep in mind that only the Lord navigates our journey on earth. Thank you for sharing your story and the difficult journey of healing. Laurie Pezzetta and family.ReplyCancel

  • Gloria - Yes to this on so many levels. Yes to the small decisions thing! There are so.many.decisions. Lifting you up in prayer often. ❤️ReplyCancel

Happy Birthday Chris! Today you would have been 25 years old my love.

I wanted to throw him a big surprise party for his 25th, but instead I am hosting a different kind of party today. We will still get together with his family and close friends. We will have all of his favourite foods and drinks and play his favourite games at our place. Our dog; Decoy, will be greeting everyone at the door, but Chris won’t be there.

We won’t get to hear his thoughtful questions, witty one-liners and contagious laugh. We won’t be able to see his excitement when he wins a round of darts or gets really into the card game; Exploding Kittens. We won’t be able to give him a hug or pat on the back, but he will be there. He will be with us in spirit and we can take comfort in the fact that Chris will definitely be partying it up in Heaven today. <3


After Chris’ memorial service I received so many cards, gifts and messages from people. They have meant the world to me. I have loved reading about positive changes that have been happening in people’s lives since Chris’ passing and his memorial service. PLEASE keep sharing them with me, they bring me so much joy. It was our hope that this would be a wake up call for everyone to mend broken relationships, always say “I love you,” get life insurance and life assurance through Christ.

Also, if you attended the service, but didn’t get a chance to sign the guest books (I know there were long lines for that), I would love if you could let me know in the comments below or message me on Facebook or email me; Thanks so much!


In honour of Chris’ birthday I have set up an online gallery within my website galleries called “Honouring Chris.” In it are photos of him we used in the service, video and more photos. I have opened it up for people to view and download photos. I would be so grateful to receive more photos of him and see more memories. Friends, please contact me for the password to upload and download photos. Click HERE to access it.

Joffree_Chris-blog-1All these photos are from our last hike together at Joffree Lakes celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary.


I haven’t written all that many personal posts here, but I have been feeling the need to share. On September 16, 2017 I found out my husband passed away in a car accident. I won’t begin to express all my feelings here (because there are a lot), but I will say that without my faith, I have no idea how I could make it through this time. His memorial service was just over a week ago, we called it; Honouring Chris(t).

Losing Chris has been a shocking and painful experience, which has also left me with a lot of questions about my future. I’m still working out the details of what I will pursue now, but I am not going to stop taking photos. Of the many things I have learned from this awful experience, I have realized how important having your photo taken truly is. Without me taking all the photos I did of Chris and our life together, I wouldn’t have those visual memories. They would just be memories in my mind that would slowly fade away. How depressing that would be. So, even though Chris may have slightly cringed at me at the time for taking yet ANOTHER photo of us, I am so thankful I did.

That’s what this weekend is all about right? Being thankful. So, even though it’s incredibly hard for me right now, I am thankful for all those photos I took. I am thankful that I have the honour of capturing other people’s memories in photos. I am thankful for the many friends, families and strangers that have reached out to me. I am thankful for the kind hearts who have been bringing me food, walking Decoy, sending money, delivering flowers, writing cards and messaging me to see how I’m doing. I’m thankful for friends who have stood by me through the toughest moments of my life so far and continue to comfort me. I’m thankful for my amazing parents and brother for keeping me close. I’m thankful for my Ekren family for continuing to embrace me like one of their own, like they always have. I’m thankful for our dog; Decoy – that he was found and unharmed after the accident. Having him feels like a small piece of Chris came back to me. I am thankful for the time I had with Chris, although it was cut short, it was a time I will never forget.


Chris’ memorial service was on September 30, 2017 and for those that weren’t able to attend or for those who want to read it again, this was what I said through my tear soaked eyes and shaky voice:

Honouring Chris

Before I begin I want to thank everyone that has come out today, it truly warms my heart to see all these lives that Chris’ life has touched. Chris had an ability to make friends wherever he went and he genuinely cared about each person he spoke with. It was easy to talk to him; he was quiet but relatable and accepting of everyone. A few times when we were dating he even stopped to buy lunch for homeless men that we passed on our walk, he was constantly thinking of others. Although he may have seemed like this strong, tough man who loved the outdoors and sports, he also had such a wonderful, big heart and generous spirit, that’s what drew me most to him.

As most of you will know Chris and I got married last year September 10, 2016 after having dated for 7 years. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary recently and were so excited about it. I had always heard that the first year of marriage would be the hardest. While the first few months were a little up and down as we got used to living with each other, the rest were incredible. If that was the hardest part, we were looking at a very bright future ahead. We were dreaming and making so many plans; we bought a home, got a dog, we wanted babies, eventually a farm and more dogs. We wanted to be the next Chip and Joanna Gaines; a husband and wife team building and designing homes together. We were so happy. So content just being with each other. It was blissful.

I still have a hard time believing Chris is gone. It took a couple days after I got the awful news that I finally had a moment alone. I got into Chris’ truck and wept. I prayed that God would show me a sign that Chris was really in Heaven. I knew his heart, but I just wanted a sign for myself to know and feel at peace. I spent a few more minutes in the truck just sitting in the passenger seat and then headed upstairs to our condo. Some of my friends were present and one of them noticed the most beautiful, vibrant sunset happening outside. I excitedly said, “That’s the sign!” That was the sign I had been wanting. It was the most gorgeous red/pink sunset I have ever seen and it took up our entire view from the balcony. As I stood out there with Decoy (our dog) beside me, a flock of geese flew overhead and some people blaring country music pulled into the nearby restaurant. So just in case I didn’t catch it, this was definitely God letting me know Chris was with Him. That has given me the peace and strength to continue on each day.

These last several days were never something we imagined. I still hear Chris’ voice in my head all the time, telling me sweet things or making fun of me (in a loving way). Most people didn’t get to see the cute, sensitive side of Chris that I got to experience. He loved to hold me, kiss my cheek and tell me how beautiful I am everyday he got home from work. He was so proud of how much my cooking was improving and when we would pray before dinner he always thanked God for “his amazing wife.” He found so much joy in funny little videos and songs, we silly danced around the house all the time. I’m sure our neighbors must have heard us laughing quite often. Chris liked to call it “family time” whenever we were on the couch watching a show and snuggling with Decoy. He would never let a day go by without telling me that he loved me. Even when I was mad at him on the phone, he would say “I love you Marie” and wait for me to say it back because we couldn’t hang up without me saying it back. I always said it, I always did love him and I’m so glad that we made sure to do that and say those words to each other. I can’t emphasis enough how important it is to let your significant others and family know how much you love them everyday and to cherish every moment.

One of the most special moments, which I will never forget, was our wedding day. It was the Best Day Ever. It was filled with so much fun, kindness, joy and love. Such wonderful speeches were made and we danced our little hearts out. We didn’t make it home til 5:30 in the morning – we just didn’t want it to end. After the wedding Chris really liked being able to say “You’re my wife!” and I would happily respond with “You’re my husband!” Then we would just laugh and smile at each other in a way that felt so comfortable and right. I remember our vows from our wedding and hold them dear to my heart. I want to share them with you all today, slightly revised.


Christopher Raymond Ekren,

I started falling for you when I was 17 painting your face green for our high school’s Wizard of Oz musical. After 2 months of dating I knew I loved you and wanted to tell you, but you said it first when you signed my yearbook. I am so happy you did. Through these past 8+ years you encouraged me and challenged me in all aspects of life. We have been through a lot together and with all the ups and downs we continued to grow and strengthen our relationship. You changed me for the better.


Chris, I love your sense of humour even though I couldn’t tell if you were being sarcastic or serious half of the time,

I love that you were ambitious and hard working but knew when it was time to relax and enjoy the little moments,

I love the way your eyes lit up and you smiled like a child when I gave you a gift that you didn’t even know you wanted until you opened it,

I love your curly hair, your green eyes, your perfect eyelashes and your handsome face,

I love how safe I felt when I lay in your arms listening to your heartbeat,

I love how much you valued family and I wish I could have seen you as a father one day. You would have been such a great dad.

I love that you were strong and honourable, yet warm and compassionate, loving and accepting of all people.

But most of all, I love that you and I both love each other so much.


I promise to continue our dreams, goals and plans we made together.

I promise to always respect you and the unique talents and abilities you had.

I promise to be faithful to you, to trust you and to honour you.

I promise to cherish our friendship and continually do things that make you smile.

I promise to always keep laughing and having adventures you would want me to go on.

I promise to think of you in Heaven often.

I promise to love your whole family and keep them close.

I promise to love you with my actions, with my choices, with my words and with my time until we meet again one day.


You are my love, today and always.

I will love you with all my heart and with all my soul forever.


Click HERE to watch Chris’ Memorial Video put together by his brother! <3

  • Maryann Daase - Wow. It’s just so hard to find my words, Marie. That was…JUST. SOOO. BEAUTIFUL! 💖 & Inspiring. & Heartbreaking yet heartwarming all together. What an amazing tribute to your hubby, & the precious relationship you two shared! 💞

    Just as you expressed how blessed you were to have known Chris, so I believe all who know you will be truly blessed as well. Chris was, & you are, rare gifts to this world. Keep shining the light that is YOU. Our world so needs it! 💖 You are truly a gifted photographer, & I’m SO happy to hear you have every intention to continue sharing this amazing gift as well!

    May you find yourself truly enveloped by the love God has for you…encompassed by His peace, strengthened by His presense, guided by His spirit. & infilled with His hope. May you ever be aware of just how precious you truly are. 💖

    I hope our paths cross again, & I wish you all the best in your years ahead!

    With love & prayers,
    Maryann Daase 💖ReplyCancel