Beautiful Things : Buttercup Children's Decor | Kitchener Children's Photographer

I am excited to introduce you all to my new monthly feature, "Beautiful Things".  Each month, I will be exclusively featuring handmade baby and children's products made by local vendors.  I love buying handmade and unique items for my own girls and really wanted to find a way to showcase all of those creative entrepreneurs out there! My first featured business is Buttercup Children's Decor, who specialize in framed wall art, pillows, mobiles and ornaments made with new, vintage and up-cycled fabrics to create unique decorative items.  Started in early 2010 by Lisa Fox, a stay-at-home-mom and Vilaylack Fox, a teacher, school administrator and expectant mother, Buttercup is a true creative partnership, with each gal creating about half of the designs and artwork.  As a result, each piece has that Buttercup style with a dash of their individual flair.  And thus, what began as an idea to create special gifts for friends and family (and beautiful decor for their own homes) has blossomed into a thriving small business for these talented ladies.

Buttercup has been a hit at local arts and craft shows and they have been kept busy filling custom design orders.  I was lucky enough to have a chance to photograph a few of their pieces to show you here - I think you're going to fall in LOVE!

The first image is of a beautiful, hand-painted canvas.  Isn't the colourful wing awesome?

These are some of their framed pieces, all with gorgeous detail and texture.  I absolutely adore the fact that each scene has some elements that extend out onto the matte - so fun!

Here are a couple of more cute canvases that would really add style and whimsy to any child's room.  Hedgehog = Adorable!!!And finally, here is a plush pillow with hand-stitched elements, perfect for little arms to wrap around as your babe drifts off to sleep.

I think that these ladies have done a wonderful job of creating special, fun and decorative pieces that can really liven up your rooms!  And even better, they accept custom requests and can even create pieces  using your very own sentimental items (baby blankets, favourite dresses, etc.) or personalize it with your child's name.  How cool is that?!

Make sure you check out Buttercup Children's Decor on Facebook to see more of their work, and look for their Etsy shop to be up-and-running in the near future!

Stay tuned for next month's Beautiful Things when I will be featuring some lovely knits!

{M} xo

The Golden Rule | Kitchener Children's Photographer

We all know the Golden Rule : "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  It seems so simple. But lately, I have noticed an alarming trend in the photography community (not to mention the wider world).  It appears that the Golden Rule has been replaced by the motto "Do unto others whatever you need to do to get ahead."  I see this on forums, on Facebook, on Twitter and in person.  I have personally had some not-so-friendly interactions with fellow photogs that have left me feeling sad and discouraged.  And I am writing this, not to elicit pity, sympathy, to complain or to point fingers, but rather to point out that we are all professionals and we can all ACT like professionals.  We can help, support and encourage our peers without having to feel threatened or worry about our ideas being stolen.

This is how I feel when the negativity starts to fly:

On the flip side. I have also had some wonderful experiences with my colleagues in this craft, and it's the positive attitudes and helping hands that keep my faith in this industry.  I have met, chatted with and developed friendships with some amazing women who have helped me grow and flourish in this business.  Thank you to Hilary, Jenn, Martina, Kate, Sandra, Ashia and many others for your support, friendship and honesty.  *Hugs*

Now go out there, be positive and help to turn the frowns upside down! :)

{M} xo

Snow! | Kitchener Family Photographer

It is finally here (again)!  My girls had anticipated a snow day yesterday, when the reports were hyping a big storm set to arrive in the wee hours of the morning.  We woke up early, only to find a disappointing dusting of snow that was quickly turning to mush as the rain started to fall.  So they headed off to school dejectedly and I have to say, I was hoping for snow too.  We have had a pretty mild winter and I was looking forward to curling up with a book on the couch and watching the flakes fall. But then, last night, the "storm" arrived!  Right before I was heading to bed the wind picked up and the snow started to swirl.  And before I even before I opened my eyes this morning, I could tell by the light in my room that there was SNOW!  The next thing I heard was my girls hurriedly dressing as my husband fired up the snow blower in the garage.  I helped the girls bundle up and out they went, joy stamped on their little faces.

I watched from the window as they chased the dog, bombed down the slide and ate mitt-fulls of fresh, clean snow.  I ventured out, only for a minute to get one simple snap of them together, before the frolicking resumed.  And right now, as they sit on the floor near my feet, wrapped in blankets, thawing out and putting a puzzle together, my book and a cup of tea are calling my name!

Have a wonderful "snow day" everyone!

{M} xo


Impact | Kitchener Children's Photography

Do you ever wonder why some photographers present most of their work in colour?  Or why some prefer to use black and white?  The answer is simple.  Impact. Sometimes, the emotion that is being conveyed in an image may get lost in colour, or inversely, in black and white.  The photographer's goal is for your eye to be led to the subject and sometimes tints and shadows affect how you see the image.

First, let's talk about colour.  Colour images tend to stimulate a variety of responses within the viewers mind.  Bright colours foster happiness, joy, warmth and radiance.  Muted colours often convey sadness, boredom, silence or peace.  And if a colour image  gets the viewer to experience these emotions, then it has served part of its purpose.

However, the colours in an image must work in harmony to create an overall viewing experience.  If there is a bright colour amidst a dull scene, and it is NOT part of the intended subject, it can be distracting to the viewer.  As well, if the colours in the scene seem not to compliment one another, the viewer may get more caught up in these variances than in the actual image content.

Here is one of my images in colour.  I like how the red wall and green grass play off of each other to create a frame for the subject.  The viewers' eyes should be drawn directly to the subject`s face, since it is the lightest part of the image.  His jeans add a pop of blue, which is complimentary to the red and green.  Finally, I think the colours in his shirt tie in well with the over colours in the image, making all of the elements of colour work well together.

I think this image speaks of solitude, warmth, and reflection.

Next, let`s look at the same image in black and white.  With a monochromatic colour scheme, the photographer is relying on the subject matter to capture the viewers`full attention.  Often, black and white images are very dramatic in their lighting and subject matter, and the absence of colour further creates dramatic tension.  In a world, that now, more than ever before, lives in colour, the starkness of an image without colour can have a big impact.  Sometimes, it makes the viewer have to think more about the subject matter, since they are not immediately dealing with the visual stimulation of colour.

In my opinion, in the black and white conversion of this image the subject is the sole focus.  We no longer see the interplay between colours, nor the pop of the blue on the green and red, and thus, our eye is brought straight to the subject, with no hesitation.  I like that the subject seems to be surrounded by a lighter space within the darker elements of the image, as well as the fact that I am more inclined to wonder `What is he thinking about?".

I think this image also speaks of reflection and solitude, but also of loneliness and a touch of sorrow.

So the next time you are looking at an image, whether in colour or black and white, try to think about what the photographer was trying to show you, and what the subject matter is expressing.  Through the use of these two forms of image presentation, photographers are telling a story.  We just hope you are following along!

Phew, that was pretty heavy stuff for a Friday morning!  On a lighter note, spring is around the corner, and I cannot WAIT to get out shooting ins some glorious sunshine and warmth!! :)  Spring and summer sessions are starting to get booked up, so if you are planning a session for your family, don't procrastinate too long! LOL

{M} xo

The Race Goes Not Always to the Swift : : Kitchener Children's Photography

In today's world, where anyone with a DSLR can take fairly passable images on "Auto", "photographers" are cropping up all over the place.  I understand the lure.  Snap a few photos, burn them to a disc, and walk away with a pocketful of cash.  Easy, right?

So many "photographers" hang out their shingle WAY before they are ready to compete in this market.  And I definitely put myself in this category.  After my first term in photography college, I was out there doing family and children's session for $70-90 including disc.  Ugh.  Just admitting it makes me cringe, shudder, self-flagellate and laugh at the same time.  I figured "Hey, while I am getting my formal education, I might  as well do my "on-the-fly" learning at the same time, AND make some money!"  Stupid, I know.

Now that I have nearly completed my photography program (three long years later), I can look back with that 20/20 vision of hindsight and see my mistakes.   I should have waited until my skills and knowledge were up to snuff.  I should have waited until I was ready to dedicate a significant amount of time and resources to promoting and sustaining a business, not an under-the-table side enterprise.  I should have learned to use Photoshop/Lightroom (which I did learn fairly early on, but still, some of the first edits - yikes!).  I should have had enough respect for the photographers that I admired, appreciated and blog-stalked to wait until I could set my prices appropriately without undercutting.  All these things I should have done, but didn't.

And now, from the viewpoint of a professional photographer, I think I see one of the reasons why this has become the trend.  Photography has lost its exclusivity.  For better and for worse.  It used to be that photography was a skilled artistic profession, or a really expensive hobby.  There was nothing in the middle.  But as the price of equipment dropped and the digital age of take-and-erase came upon us, the gap began to fill.  Photoshop and other digital editing software made it possible to "fix"images and thus it was perceived that less skill was required to do the same work. Wrong.  It still takes a level of skill and knowledge to be a photographer that can take years to refine.  You still have an eye for subject and composition.  And you definitely cannot put it on "Auto" and hope for the best (despite what your mother tells you.)  However, with the wider availability of prosumer equipment and more flexibility with digital technology, it has also opened the door to a whole host of new talent who may have been overwhelmed by the challenge of film  photography and would have never taken up the camera.  And we would be missing out on some incredible talent.  You win some, you lose some.

I say this not to offend any up-and-coming photographers, nor to judge anyone else's practices or work.   I just know that I made some mistakes when I was starting out that I wish I hadn't and if I can help another photographer avoid these pitfalls, or give a client the information to make a wiser decision when they are choosing a photographer, then I have met my goal.  Education and information are powerful tools, make sure to use them when choosing a photographer to capture your memories.

And now, because no rant,, is complete without images, I have some before and afters to help illustrate some of the things you should try to notice when browsing portfolios looking for a photographer.  There are some doozies...laugh along with me, people!  I used the same subject in each before and after to keep the images as comparable as possible.   And as a disclaimer, I am not saying that my images are THE BEST, but I hope you will see that I have definitely improved!   Consider this an official MBP public service advertisement.  :)

Okay, let's talk about subject.  The subject should be obvious in the photo, and the viewer's eye should be led to the subject by proper placement in the frame and the lack of distracting background/scenic elements. In the top image, I did a poor job of keeping the viewer's eye on the subject, since the dark lines in the background compete for attention.  In bottom image, I fixed this by filling the frame, allowing the viewer to truly focus on the subject without and distracting background.  A simple fix but an effective one.

Next, let's look at light.  In the  image on the left, the light was coming from the top and side, creating dark shadows in the eye sockets and a big contrast between dark and light on each side of the face.  The subject's eyes (which are a stunning ice blue) can't really be seen.  I should have had the subject either facing the light or with his back to the light to minimize the harsh shadows.  Plus, the image is a bit overexposed.  In the image on the right, I used back lighting to give the subject definition from the background and exposed properly for his face to ensure that I could see those dazzling eyes.  I also used the truck to frame the subject to have more visual impact.

In the next example, I want you to notice colour.  The top image has a very strong red-orange tint.  This could be due to poor White Balance (every type of light has a colour temperature that is not perceived with the naked eye, but is captured by the camera's sensor), or the colour of the leaves around this scene may have caused a colour cast.  It is particularly noticeable on the skin.  Either way, it could have been fixed in post-processing.  In the bottom image, after carefully selecting the proper white balance in-camera and with a little bump in post to warm it up, the skin tone is natural and even.

Okay, moving on to composition.  In the image on the left, the subject is slightly too far right in the frame, and his foot is cut off at the bottom, losing the feeling of the subject being grounded.  Whenever possible, the photographer should try not to cut  off limbs.  If limbs are outside of the frame (for stronger composition), they should not be cropped at a joint.  In the image on the left, the subject is well-balanced in the frame and the feet are in the shot, showing the viewer that he is grounded and whole!

The rule of thirds.  This is one of the most simple yet dynamic "rules" that photographers use to make their images look more polished and professional.  It basically means that the image is divided into three vertical and three horizontal sections, like a grid, and the most interesting placement for a subject on this grid is along the top or bottom line, or where the lines intersect.  If I knew how to put a grid on this image I would have! ;)  In the top image, the subject is in the centre of the frame, and though her eyes are in the top half of the image, the centering offsets this placement, all making for a boring image.  Plus the processing sucks! LOL  In the bottom image, the subject is slightly off centre and her eyes are near where the lines would intersect, making it a more appealing image overall.

Expressions matter.  In the top image, the subject looks like he turned around and was caught unaware.  In the bottom image, I simply waited until he was relaxed and playful, to capture a more natural expression.  Patience is ALWAYS key to capturing your subject at his or her most natural.  And whoo, what is with the weird fluorescent yellow undertones on that before shot? LOL

So there are a few examples of how I screwed up, and most of the "before" images are from when I was charging for my services.  Clearly, I should not have been taking people's money back then, but I was truly ignorant of how detrimental my actions were, not only to  me, but to the entire profession of which I was striving to become a part.  I have had to grow from each failure, misstep and missed opportunity.  However, all of those mistakes led me to my present standing, and I can proudly say that I am now running a totally legitimate part-time business while continuing to grow and learn at every opportunity.

Now go and have a good laugh at my before pictures...that's what I am going to do!

{M} xo

Happy Valentine's Day : : Kitchener Children's Photography

Today is the day to celebrate love, kindness, caring, friendship and family.  Tell the ones you love just how much you appreciate their presence in your life.  Pay it forward.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

{M} xo

Hold you Tight : : Kitchener Family Photographer

Emery has always been a snuggler.  From the day she was born, she has been happiest curled up in my arms or sitting in Daddy's lap.  She is just that kind of kid. And I have to admit, I truly dread the day when she outgrows my arms and wants nothing to do with snuggling.  I love having her cuddled up  with me, her fine hair smelly sweetly of fresh air and her heavy weight warm and soft against me.  Sigh.  Pure bliss.

As a photographer, it is hard enough to find time to be in front of the camera, but particularly, to capture those everyday moments that you cherish for a lifetime.  The morning kisses, the midday snuggles and the bedtime stories.  Sometimes I wish I had my own personal photographer to follow me around to capture these memories, and show the world "I was there too!".  But for now, I have to settle for some stolen time, on a warm fall afternoon, to sneak out into the backyard, put Brielle on a stool, set the camera settings and hope for the best.  She took 64 frames and this one was the only one that was even remotely in focus or had our heads in it.  But one is all I needed.

Love you Em-er!

{M} xo


Birthday Portraits - Part Two : : Cambridge Children's Photographer

Okay, here is part two!  The location we chose for this part of the session was the Hespeler Library in Cambridge.  It is a gorgeous building with a glass exterior, lots of light, modern features and really friendly staff.  Redesigned in 2007, it wraps around and preserves the historic Carnegie Library, and it is an architectural wonder. We got there a little later than planned, after taking advantage of the gorgeous winter-afternoon light outdoors, and we arrived with around 45 minutes to shoot (including an outfit change!).  Brielle was a real trooper, and we moved quickly and quietly through the library, shooting right down to the wire!  Brielle did stop for a few minutes to read some pages from Charlotte's Web, the first novel she and I read together.  Even though the light was fading fast, I couldn't refuse her request to take a reading break.

Brielle has blossomed into a very confident and avid reader over the last few months, progressing quickly through the reading levels at school and becoming more interested in deeper stories.  This makes my heart so happy.  I am a MAJOR bibliophile, often reading three or four books at a time, getting lost in each story with equal intensity.  I am so glad that Brielle will have the ability to lose herself in the world of literature, to always have a way to fill the spare moments.

Here are a few images from our time at the library, a new entry on our list of favourite places to hang out.

Love you Lulu!

{M) xo



if seven is a lucky number : : Kitchener Children's Photography

Brielle is seven today.  Holy moly, it is even harder to write than I thought it would be!  She has grown to be such a kind, smart, sassy, beautiful, stubborn, verbal little lady, and yet today I just want to hold in her in my arms and will her to stay a child forever.  Ah, the joys and sorrows of motherhood, all rolled into one special day. I think this is going to be Brielle's year.  She has started to learn to snowboard, and her smile while she is on the hill is RADIATING!  She has started reading chapter novels and I love watching her hunker down in bed each night to tackle a chapter, calling out occasionally to spell a word for us to help her with.  She is developing stronger relationships with her friends, and beginning to see the value of true friendships.  Not to mention dealing with ups and downs of the school playground and its complex social stratosphere.

This year, she decided that rather than a group party, she wanted to invite her bestie, Taylor, over for her first ever BFF sleepover.  Lord help me, this is moving way too fast for me!  The girls were VERY excited for this big night, which consisted of lots of play time, some Just Dance 3 on the Xbox, hide-and-go-seek and eventually, some sleepy snuggles.  Listening to little girls whispering in bed when they are supposed to be sleeping is pure joy.

In the morning, after an up-and-down night, Carl whipped up some pancakes for the girls and they watched a Bratz movie. And, of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab the girls for a few shots, even if they only cooperated for a few minutes.  They are so darn cute together, cracking each other up with potty humour and whispering secrets.  I just happened to have coordinating outfits in the closet for them to wear! :)


I think these two are going to be the stars of many misadventures together!

And add the third, look out world!!!!

On her seventh birthday!

I love you Brielle.  You are my sunshine.

{M} xoxo


The Season : : Kitchener Photographer

This Christmas, for the first time, I decided not to work at all during the break so I could spend extra time with my family.  Usually I end up doing at least a few massage treatments and a couple of last minute shoots but I always wish that I had just stayed home with my girls and hubby.  This year I was all about watching movies with my girls, going to dinner with my hubby and just enjoying the peace and (relative) quiet of being at home with no plans. I took the pressure off even more by telling myself it was okay NOT to have perfect images from the season, but rather simple snapshots that were technically imperfect, but captured all the memories as they happened.  I have found that as a professional photographer, everyone expects that all of your pictures will be amazing all the time and expect you to always have your camera at the ready.  Ugh.  Sometimes I want to just enjoy the moment without worrying about if I have enough light or if I have a good angle.

So, here are some snaps from my holiday season.  The best one I have had in a really long time.

I was so proud of Brielle for writing the note to Santa all by herself this year.  Emery drew the picture (don't ask me what it is, it was a very long and complicated explanation)...

And now to lay out some challenges for myself for 2012!  Last year, I promised to complete a 52 weeks project (I got to week 36 or so and it kind of tapered off), to photograph 32 strangers (never happened) and maybe one other thing that I totally forget.  This year, I am trying to set challenges that are a little less ambitious.  And I expect you all to hold me to them, so don't be shy about reminding me on Facebook, by blog comment or in person!

  1. 24 Frames - Essentially, I want to practice and refine the skill of getting everything right IN CAMERA.  Back in the film days, your couldn't just shoot to your heart's content and do the fixes in post, you had to nail it the first time, every time.  I have gotten much better at this, but it is always important to keep working on it.  So I will be posting, throughout the year, images that have come straight out of camera (SOOC) with just a bit of sharpening for web.  Phew, wish me luck!
  2. Monthly Portraits - I want to do monthly portraits of my girls, just to see them grow and change throughout the year.  I haven't told them yet, so it will be a surprise (or ambush, call it what you will.)
  3. Workshops - I want to attend at least two workshops this year, so I better start saving my pennies (or whole paycheques).  I love learning new skills and meeting other photographers and workshops let me do both at the same time!

Okay, that seems like more than enough.  Hopefully at this time next year I will be able to say that I completed all of my challenges (don't hold your breath, people).  Thanks again for all the love and support this past year.  Look out 2012, here I come!

{M} xo


Christmas Tea Party at Langdon Hall : : Cambridge Ontario Photographer

This week the Dronyk Clinic, my dad's Chiropractic, Naturopathic and Acupuncture clinic (where I work as a massage therapist), had it's annual Christmas party.  Usually we go out and have a very lengthy meal at a local restaurant, but this year it was suggested that we go to afternoon tea at the fabulous Langdon Hall, located in historic Blair.  This gorgeous mansion was once the summer residence of a wealthy American family and now serves as a luxury hotel, restaurant and event venue.  Being the proud owner of a very expensive but often useless history degree, I was beyond excited to check out this piece of local history. Being a small group, we were able to have our tea in the guest house's beautiful conservatory, a bright, window-filled room filled with wicker furniture and a warm, inviting fireplace.  There we munched on freshly baked scones with Honey Butter made with honey produced on site, as well as an assortment of delicate pastries and savoury sandwiches.  Now, I am not much of a fancy food gal myself, but I tried most of the little delectables and was surprised how many tasted delicious despite their hard-to-pronouce names (and I speak French and Latin, so if they were hard for me to pronouce, trust me, they were tricky to say!).  They even had a special menu for my girls, consisting of mini grilled cheese, PB & J sandwiches and fresh fruit skewers.

I have to admit, I had anticipated a bit of the snobbery and nose-in-the-air attitude that I have come across at some other luxury establishments, but the staff and servers at Langdon Hall were exceptionally kind, warm, friendly and accomodating.  Our fantastic server Alun even took my camera to get some candid shots of our whole party so I could take a bit of a break to enjoy myself.  He treated my girls so well, taking them on a special tour of the house and kitchens, as well as giving them a key to a guest room so they could conduct their own little tours for Team Dronyk!  They were absolutely adorable, Brielle explaining that no one could touch the big feather bed or jump on it, and Emery saying that you could be as loud as you want because the owners were all dead (she had asked me if the people in the paintings were the owners and I told her they had been a long time ago but had passed away)!

All in all, it was an absolutely fabulous way to spend the afternoon and a wonderful ending to another great year in practice.  I have some images to share of our day.  Try not to drool too much over the food shots.

I can't wait to go back to Langdon Hall in the future.

{M} xo

Charlie Boy : : Kitchener Pet Photographer

I just wanted to share a few shots of my handsome lound (a word of my own creation that means lab-hound cross), Charlie.  Also known as Charlie Boy, Charles, Charlie Brown, Chuckles, Chuckie, and Charlie Chuckles.  He is a well-loved member of our family, as well as a part-time member of my parents' and best friend's households. Here are the things Charlie loves to do:

  • play ball
  • eat
  • sleep
  • walk
  • sleep (he really loves to sleep)

Charlie also snores (loudly), farts (also loudly), DROOLS, and occasionally eats food off the kitchen counter.  In other words, he is the perfect dog.

We had an impromptu session in the woods one day, involving cheese slices, a stick and lots of burrs...but I did get one for the canvas I wanted!  Success!

I love this next one.  He has such a great smile...for a dog!

What a great dog. Love him.

{M} xo

Thank You : : Kitchener Photographer

I can't believe that this year is almost at it's end.  For me, this has been a year of incredible growth and opportunity, as well as a year of change.  And as I look toward the coming year, I can see that it is only going to get better. It was just over a year ago that I finally made the leap into the world of photography as a business.  With my other jobs (yes, plural) and commitments as a wife and mother, I wasn't sure how I would manage to balance my hectic life if I added yet another "job" to the equation.  But photography is not a job, it is a passion.  And while it may have just as many hours of paper work, as much time away from my family and as many stressful moments as any other job, I love it more every time I pick up my camera.  It is a lot of hard work, more than I even anticipated, but well worth it  for the joy it brings to my heart.

I was sort of forced into getting a website and blog up-and-running, after finding out that a Google search for "Mandy Blake Photography" turned up a LOT of links to  images of a plus-size porn star by the same name.  I'll wait while you Google it.  Go ahead.                        See?   So obviously I had to work quickly to separate my name and my work from any association with the other Mandy Blake!

As I created this composite of all the children I have photographed this year, I was astounded to find that I had had the chance to work with over 40 families this year!  Holy cow!  I am so grateful to all of you - my clients, my friends, my family, my colleagues, my cheerleaders - for helping to make this year a succesful one.  I am truly honored that you were willing to help me in this journey.  Here are each of the beautiful faces I photographed this year (I hope I didn't miss anyone!) :

And can I just say, as I was going through the files from early in the year, I was shocked to see just how BAD my processing used to be!  I was mortified by some of the crap I had produced.  But then my husband, in his infinite wisdom said to me, "At least you don't suck anymore.  You must be learning, right?".  And that is one of the reasons I love him so much.  Every step is one you need to make to stay on the right path.

I feel blessed and enornously relieved to have made it this far, but I know I have more growing, learning and exploring to do each and every day to make my photography better and stronger.

I can't wait to see what the new year will bring....2012, get ready, 'cause here I come!

{M} xo


A new cousin! : : London, Ontario Baby Photograher

Our family is so happy to welcome our new little cousin, Sydney Emily Dronyk into the crazy Dronyk clan!  She was born on September 11, so I am a bit behind on posting this, but I hadn't had the chance to meet her until recently, and I couldn't very well post without images! :) She is such a happy, expressive baby with chubby cheeks and a big smile.  She already loves to chatter and squeal, which is a good skill to develop in this family, since we are collectively and infamously VERY loud.  It was such a pleasure to hold a baby again, since mine are no longer willing to sit with me for very long (unless they are sick).  I only took a few shots, since my main goal was to squeeze in as many squeezes and kisses as possible, but I did get a couple that I liked!

Congratulations Liz and Corey on such a beautiful little princess.  We look forward to watching her grow!

{M} xoxo

Blog Carousel - Faceless Self-Portrait : : Kitchener Photographer

This month the theme for the blog carousel is Faceless Self-Portrait.  I had lots of ideas, but executing most of them would have required more time and planning than can be allotted in my schedule, so I had to stick with something simple. I decided that I wanted to try to be really literal in my interpretation, so I started experimenting with different ways of covering my face (think masks, pantyhose, my hair - are you laughing yet at the visuals?), but they were all a little too crazy once I tried them.  I decided just set up my camera on the tripod, kneel on the floor and see what I got!  I think the result is a little weird but a really accurate representation of a faceless self-portrait.  My nose is a little Gerard-Depardieu-in-Cyrano-de-Bergerac for my liking, but I am just going to blame it on a bad angle... :)

Make sure you go and check out my friend Martina Wendland's interpretation of the theme!  She is a really sweet person as well as a talented family and children's photographer.  You will love her work!

My Girls : : Kitchener Children's Photographer

Last fall, I headed out to take a few images of my girls to add to the calendar that I make for my parents, in-laws and grandma every year for Christmas.  My mother liked them so much that she chose one to print and sent copies to all of our friends and family in her Christmas card. So this year, when she casually asked if I was going to have an updated photo to send out, I said "Sure, no problem!".  So of course, I went out and spent a small fortune on matching outfits (since I know my mom loves when I dress them alike) and set a date for the shoot.  I made props and chose accessories, explained the bribes carefully and away we went.  I was so excited that I even invited a couple of my photographer friends with kids to come and shoot their children as well.  Let's just say I was confident that we were going to have a terrific time playing in the leaves, posing playfully and feeling the love.  So wrong.

I will not recount the gory details, but let's just say there were tears, tantrums, kicking and screaming and I won't even tell you how my girls behaved! ;)  However, I did manage to get some shots that I love (one is already at the lab being printed as a huge canvas) and  everyone made it out of the woods alive (barely), so I will put it in the books as a successful day.

My mom hasn't chosen her favourite yet, so some of you may see one of these in your mailbox soon!

This next one is my absolute FAVOURITE!


Love you girls.  You are my everything.


Urban Gentlemen : : Kitchener Children's Photographer

I love to shoot in the city.  Sure, parks and forests and lakes and fields are lovely too, and I enjoy shooting in those locations.  But there is something about the urban landscape that is so fascinating to me. Maybe it is the fact that you can turn a corner and have a whole new location that is nothing like the previous, or maybe it is just that I appreciate that a building always has one side that has some shade.  No light hunting for me! ;)

I headed out with these two adorable guys on a crisp Saturday afternoon to capture some urban images for my commercial portfolio.  I am starting to make some contacts in the children's clothing market and want to have lots of different looks for all different styles.  Plus, I have a bit of a boy shortage in my world, so it is always fun to hang out with someone who is not talking about Justin Bieber or asking to paint their nails!

I was lucky enough to photograph these monkeys with their parents last year and I knew that they would be perfect models for this shoot.  Zaccardi, the oldest, has amazing ice blue eyes that are crazy beautiful.  He is gonne be a lady-killer someday, since he already has the "smoulder" effect down to perfection.  His younger brother, Milo, is a big personality with the most infectious smile.  He loves to be silly and can really appreciate a good fart joke.

I am so lucky to have clients that are willing to share their time and their family with me.  Thanks Mackenzie, Danny, Zaccardi and Milo for braving the cold!

~ M

Shannon Sewell Workshop! : : St. Mary's, Ontario Children's Photographer

I was fortunate enough to secure a space at the coveted Shannon Sewell workshop, held in St. Mary's, Ontario at the gorgeous Westover Inn. Hosted by the talented Hilary  of One for the Wall Photography and Angela of Angela Smith Photography, it was a day full of laughs, learning and sharing.  It was nice to be with such a wonderful group of women photographers, so full of mutual admiration and support.

After a delicious lunch courtesy of the Inn's kitchen and sweet treats from Flavour Cakes , we headed outside with some adorable little models to watch Shannon in action!  She is so amazing at planning every detail: from clothing to shoes to nail polish to hairstyles, she's got a definite eye for style.  We were so lucky to have clothing and accessories provided by ZozoBugBaby and Lisa's Mini Mad Hattery .  C-U-T-E!

I was so busy listening to Shannon and watching her work her magic that I didn't get many shots, but I do have a few to share.  Thank you to our models: Claire, Asia, Nina and Lilly for being so fantastic.  I am sure it was overwhelming to be surrounded by the "paparazzi"!

Thank you again to Shannon (and Hilary and Angela) for making this workshop one of the most wonderful learning experiences I have ever had in my life.  I am looking forward to next year! ;)
~ M

T and Q : : Kitchener Children's Photographer

I met these two handsome little men on a gorgeous Sunday evening, with the sun shining and the breeze blowing.  Perfect weather for early fall. With their blond hair and blue eyes, these two are sure to be charmers when they get older.  I know both their mom and dad, and there is no shortage of beauty genes in this family!  I had a great time chasing them around and playing magic chair and king.  They kept me on my toes, that's for sure!

I'm already looking forward to next September for round two!

~ M


Ethan : : Kitchener Children's Photographer

This handsome little man just happens to be my daughter's boyfriend of nearly three years.  It began as a budding playdate romance and has flourished into a very committed and serious relationship.  Well, at least on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons when she is being cared for by his mom after school! ;) When I was heading out for Brielle's photoshoot, Ethan wanted to tag along and gamely agreed to be my second model for the shoot.  Of course, I bribed them both with Smile Cookies and donuts.  I am NEVER above bribing.  Ethan was absolutlely fantastic and so great at posing for me that I actually ended up with more images of him than of Brielle.

I guess if he may be my son-in-law one day, I might as well groom him now for a life of non-stop shutter snapping!

Near the end of the shoot, the young lovebirds wanted to have some pictures together....hmm, I wonder if I will be doing this for real in twenty years?