Fall Sunshine | KW Family Photographer

It was a lovely, sunny evening when I met up with this gang to take some updated photos.  I first met their mom on a field trip last year with my youngest's class when we both volunteered and a few times since as our daughters became friends and attended the same birthday parties. It is always both fun and interesting to photograph kids who know you a little bit, with that unique mix of familiarity but in a new situation. We enjoyed a nice little walk to the location and then set about our business - which essentially meant chasing little Mr. H and trying to find things to keep him interested long enough to stay in front of my camera. The girls were champs though, gently (for the most part) guiding him back into the frame, but eventually we just let him do his thing and they had an epic leaf fight instead!

Thank you all for your patience and cooperation (and especially to Dad for fetching wagonloads of leaves when we needed more!).

M xo


Personal iPhoneography 2014 | Kitchener Family Photography

Looking back through 2014, a few things come to mind.  Adventures in the woods.  Swimming, lots of swimming.  Skateboards and scooters. And family. This year was one where I put down the "big" camera and just brought my phone.  My phone, that I can slip into my pocket after the not-so-perfect-but-memory-capturing photo is taken and then engage in the moment.  Play with my girls. Kiss my husband. Pet my old dog.  These moments are what can get lost when my big camera comes around, as I struggle to get just the right frame rather than just the right moment.  That split second where my kids laugh a true laugh, or hit the water after a huge cannon-ball or stick out their tongues playfully.

Now don't get me wrong, lots of these images were taken with a vision or because the light was pretty or because I love me some Instagram and like participating in that community, but underneath all of that, this is our life.  And I love our life.  That is what I take away from these images as I reflect on the past year.

I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination.  And these photos are the proof.

M xo

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The Last Days of Summer | Cambridge Fall Fair | Kitchener Family Photographer

This super cool family met me at the historic Cambridge Fall Fair on a gorgeous late summer night for some rides and smiles.  I loved the idea of heading to the fair - the lights, the roller coasters, the small of cotton candy, popcorn and caramel apples in the warm air, the laughter of delight and screams of terror, all underscored by a local band rocking the main stage.  A perfect end note to summer. I really wanted to do my best to capture this awesome family as they truly are, loving, kind and truly bonded.  They had a blast carnival games and riding the various amusement rides, stopping for a few quick photos in front of the fun house and then wrapping it up with some cotton candy and a few more stomach-twisting turns on the Tilt-a-Whirl as the fair's bright lights started to light the night sky.

Thank you all for being such great sports and for spending a great evening with me at the fair.  Enjoy the images!

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I have started taking my iPhone along to my sessions, capturing a few extra images to show some of the little moments that just seem to  be better translated through a less obtrusive lens.  I am loving the results!  Here a just a few of my faves from my phone:



Summer Nights | Cambridge Family Photography

I met this wonderful family at the gorgeous Dumfries Conservation Area in Cambridge, Ontario for a session on a sunny summer evening.  Mom is the talented photographer behind Melissa Avey Photography and she did an awesome job dressing her family in a stylish way that really suited the summery weather! We headed out with the goal of getting a photograph of the entire family together, something that can be easily overlooked in the home of a photographer, since we are used to taking the photos rather than being IN the photos.  I was determined to give her this image, even if it meant crawling on my belly, making crazy noises and even a little bit of begging... ;)

We did have success in getting everyone in the frame, as well as having a bunch of fun and making lots of silly faces.  I think these images show the essence of this family - fun, caring, goofy and ultimately, really full of love.

Thank you Melissa and Brendan and kiddos for choosing me to capture these moments and memories for you.  It was a good night.

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Celebrating Motherhood | Kitchener Family Photographer

So far, this summer has been pretty spectacular, and the evening of this family's session along the Grand River in Kitchener was no exception. We met on a lovely Sunday night to celebrate motherhood with a session that was all about Mom and her kiddos.  Of course, Dad joined in the fun for a few as well, so we also celebrated the love and connection that this family has together.

We even got our toes wet in the river (okay, well, I got wet up to the knees, but that's my job!), tossing stones and checking out some nearby mama ducks and their ducklings.   I am really enjoying a slightly new way of photographing, a little more loose and casual, a style that is more about the moments and memories and less about having everyone smiling perfectly in my direction (not to say that I won't get that one for Grandma's fridge!).  I really want to capture the unique bonds and dynamics that make up a family, which is what draws me so intensely to photography.

All in all, we accomplished our goal of getting this wonderful Mama in the frame with her babes and we had a fantastic time doing it! Win-Win!

Enjoy the images,

M xo


Neighbours | KW Family Photographer

When we purchased our home over 10 years ago, we moved into a neighbourhood that was not exactly full of families.  There were plenty of kindly retirees and senior citizens to pinch the cheeks of our new baby, but not much prospect of a group of playmates for my children to grow up and create mischief with... Or so we thought. A couple of years later, a toddler wandered into our front yard, followed by his pregnant mama.  I was also pregnant with our second and we struck up a conversation.  She happened to mentioned that she may be offering child care once her new addition arrived and we would be looking for a new sitter soon.  It proved to be a rather fortuitous meeting.

Fast forward 7 years.  Our children, her boys and my girls, tear up and down the street on their bikes, built forts and argue like siblings.   In fact, as I type this post, I can hear them shouting gleefully together outside.  The doors of our respective homes are ever-revolving, and we are never entirely sure how many kids may be requesting a snack or drink at any given time.  My girls skate on their rink in the winter and we take turns accompanying the kids to the local skate park.  My kiddos still go to her house for after-school care - not because they need to but because they want to.

I feel so fortunate to have neighbours and friends like these.  You know that they will always be there when you need them and you will be there if they need you.  We love each other's children and treat them like our own (even when it means laying down the law!). And we never judge each other as parents - we know that sometimes you just lose your s**t and it doesn't make you a crappy parent.

We hung out on a gorgeous, sunny, slightly mosquito-y Friday night in Kitchener, along the lovely Grand River trailway.   We splashed and played and they did their best not to hit me with the stones they were tossing.  ;)  I am so happy to have this family in our lives and thankful that I was able to capture them as they are together - fun and loving.

Enjoy the images,

M xo


Celebrate Motherhood | KW Family Photographer

If you are like me, you call your Mom every day. You know the smell of her face cream and can immediately call up an image of her laughing in your mind.  She is your friend, your guidance counselor, your cheerleader and sometimes your most honest critic. If you are like me, your kids are your world, even when you feel like you might lose your sanity if they track mud into the house one more time. You kiss them while they are sleeping and feel like your heart might burst when they are proud of their own achievements.  You want to them to stay young forever but are equally excited to see them grow into the people they are meant to be.  They make you laugh, cry, scream, feel the need to take deep breaths and above all they are a part of your heart and soul.

I know us mamas are not always kind to ourselves, wanting to wait until we look our very best before stepping in front of the camera, but just remember your kids love you no matter your wrinkles, muffin top, cankles, double chin, crazy hair or monthly acne break-out.  Just get in the picture!

I invite you to Celebrate Motherhood with me this spring. Evening session times only (after 5:30 pm), and times are available April through June, 2014.  Connect with me by clicking Contact above or at mandy@mandyblakephotography.com!


Here is one of me, my Mom and my girls taken last Mother's Day.  I cherish this picture and I am so glad I have it to pass on to future generations.   I am also pretty sure that my girls will be happy to show it to their children one day, certainly while saying, "WHAT was up Mom's hair that day?" ;)Mother's-Day-2013-Web

Waiting Patiently | Kitchener Family Photographer

This was my first ever true maternity session!  When this glowing mama, a friend from college and fellow photographer at Miche L Photography, asked if I would capture her baby bump, I agreed with (nervous) excitement! They drove in from Kincardine to meet me on a relatively warm day (-1° Celcius is practically tropical around here this winter!) and we met at Waterloo Park to capture some snowy scenes.  It may look pretty, with the cedar hedgerow dusted in fluffy snow, but believe you me we waded through knee deep banks to get to the location.  Soggy pant hems really add to the experience though, wouldn't you agree? ;)

After braving the cold for a we while, we decided we needed to warm up and so headed to the nearby Clay and Glass Gallery to explore the amazing art pieces and take advantage of some spectacular light.  Once changed in to some dry clothes, I worked on getting a few images of them with the art installations, but also to capture the wonderful, loving connection these two have together.  It is easy to see that with the amount of love that is flying around, the awaited babe will be one lucky little person.

I cannot wait to meet Baby Robertson and wish them all a swift, wonderful birth experience.  And look out world, this promises to be one good-looking baby.  Have you seen her hot parents?! :)

Enjoy the images and stay warm,

M xo

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Love Is In The Air | Kitchener Family Photographer

It was a misty, grey early winter day and I wasn't sure the light was going to hold.  But boy, was I wrong!  The light was some of the prettiest I have seen and it made all the colors so rich! After meeting in north Waterloo, we started the session with some family fun, with little man Q winning us all over with his adorable smile and giggles!  He is always cracks me up with his silliness!  I think some of his biggest smiles came when he was telling me about his girlfriend - lucky little lady!

After we had fun laughing and playing together, Grandma and Grandpa came to pick up Mr. Q so that we could celebrate this lovely couple's engagement with some more intimate images.  They were such good sports, as I made them trail through wet, cold grass and follow my bossy instructions! ;)  They are so connected and just good at being together that they made my job really simple.  And like I said before, the light was STUNNING.

I am so excited to be photographing this gorgeous couples wedding this spring - it promises to be a fantastic day!

Enjoy the images!

M xo

Three | Kitchener Family Photography

This session was almost a bust from the beginning.  The little man had fallen sound asleep in the car on the way over and was not entirely pleased to be awoken to find he had to have his picture taken.  But soon enough, he was regaling with tales about his cowboy boots (his favourite footwear of the moment) and giggling as we sneaked away into the long grasses to take some "secret" photos without Mom & Dad. We had a rather chilly day, with the wind blowing across the nearby Grand River in Kitchener, but we all trooped around through the weeds and bushes like nothing was going to stop us!  There may have been about a million tiny fluffy seeds on us when we finished, but we managed to have fun and some laughs along the way.

This family of three has so much love for one another, you can just feel it in the way the play and laugh and act silly together.  A connection that will only grow beautifully in time.  As long as they can keep Mr. Personality from lifting off the ground with his enormous stores of energy!  Something tells me Dad does little to help keep the sillies at bay, as evidenced in the second image... I hope Mom knows what she is in for!   ;)

Thank you, you three, for sharing your moments with me.  I had so much fun capturing your family!

M xo

Personal Images 2013 | Kitchener Family Photography

  Reflecting on 2013, I can't help but smile.  My family brings me such joy and happiness on a daily basis.  I am so grateful to be surrounded by the people I love, having the chance to enjoy their company in the places I love and making memories along the way.

We travelled frequently to the cottage this year, a family haven in beautiful Tobermory.  My girls are free to explore and discover, swim and play, build fires and catch minnows.  I read, nap and swim when the water is not bone-chillingly cold. My hubby works through crosswords, soaks up the sun and takes long walks to clear his mind.  I  think each of us feels at home, at ease and perfectly relaxed in this space.  We live the cottage life to the fullest.

We also had the chance to go home this year to Twillingate, Newfoundland, a place of rugged beauty where amazing family and friends welcome us with open arms.  I love the fact that my girls are able to wander off to climb the hills, catch crabs in a bucket, get a slushie at the store and pick wild berries, all without ever worrying about where they are or whom they are with.  It brings me back to my own childhood and it makes my heart happy that they have the chance to enjoy that carefree childhood, even for a short time.  Hubby and I often take off, leaving the girls with their doting Nan & Pop, to check out the local hiking trails or drive to his youthful haunts.  On the plus side for me, there are no snakes on the island, which makes my hikes much less anxiety-ridden, however, the nippers is some bad!  Bonfires at the beach, fresh meat soup and toutons with partridge berry jam are some of my favourite things about going home. :)

When we were not on the road or in the air, we spent our summer nights in good ol' Kitchener with friends and neighbours, the kids playing late into the warm nights on their bikes or on the trampoline.  The girls begged every day to go to the skate park down the street or for an ice cream cone at Dairy Queen.  I cleaned scraped knees, administered AfterBite and slathered the sunscreen. Ahhh, summer.

It is hard to believe that the fall saw both my girls in school full-time, me alone to work in my too-quiet house with the snoring dog.  Sigh.  I knew they would grow, but why does it have to be so fast?  I am so glad that I am able to capture them, as I see them, nearly every day, so that I can look back each year and remember. Just remember.

We finished the year with a beautiful Christmas and New Year, surrounded by family and full of love.  The perfect way to complete a heart-filling, wonderful year.

Before I get too sappy, below are a selection of some of my favourite images from this past year, divided into Colour, Black & White and iPhone images.  Bring on 2014!

M xo


Intensely Carefree


Body Art

Straw Gazer

Cottage Life

Granny Face

Rock Hoppers

Six with Attitude

The Old Man

Favourite Red Hoodie



Black & White


Sisterly Love

Up the Creek

Fashion Show

Puddle Inspector

Summer Braid

Piggy Back!

The Woods


Charleston View

Summer Beach Sunset

Skate Park Gang

Weathered Pines

Smoke Signals

In Pop's Store

Tuckered Out

Hair Echoing Bush

Back Harbour Swell

Through the Sprinkler

Late Summer Garden

The Chase

Calling to Friends


Strike a Pose

Morning Kiss

Incognito Attitude

Summer Clouds

Weird Light, Big Eyes

Winter's Bones

Welcome Winter | Kitchener Family Photographer

Some of you may know that in my former life I was a practicing massage therapist, as well as a massage therapy instructor at a local college.  Through this experience I have formed some truly amazing friendships and connections that are so special.  I love keeping up with my former clients and students, through social media, tea dates and gatherings, and when one of this circle hires me for a session, I feel incredibly honoured and happy. Considering that I started working at the college nearly 8 years ago. many of the students I have worked with are now getting married, starting families and growing in their lives in amazing ways.  This lovely lady is no exception.  She is a busy massage therapist, to whom I entrusted my own clients six years ago when I took a brief maternity leave.  She has an infectious smile, positive and caring attitude and shares my sense of humour.   When we hang out, laughter is the order of the day!

When we met up for our session near the Grand River trail in Kitchener, I was so excited to finally meet her little girl in person.  She seriously has one of the most radiant smiles I have seen - she just lights up! It may have been a cold, gray day with light snow, but she smiled as if it were the middle of the summer.  Of course, even she had her limits and the smile didn't last once her fingers got cold, but we had fun while it lasted!  If only we could have convinced her to stop throwing her mittens in the snow... ;)

Here are a few of my favourites from this quick, fun session!  Thank you all for being such troopers in the cold and the snow - next time we need to plan for summer!


M xo

Fall Light | Kitchener Family Photographer

This fall has been, well... a bit dicey.  The cold temperatures came earlier than usual and the sun was not shining as often as I had hoped.  There has been a lot of schedule shuffling and last minute phone calls as the rain suddenly erupted.  Mother Nature is having an off year, I guess. But there was one GLORIOUS day in November, where the sun shone in a bright blue sky, the temperature was not balmy but not freezing  and the leaves still had some of their yellow and orange hues.  The perfect day for a fall session.  And then I met this lovely family, with their awesome wardrobe selections and sparkling smiles and I knew that it was going to be one of those sessions that I walked away from knowing with certainty that I had some keepers.

We met on the outskirts of Kitchener at one of my favourite locations - in fact, it is where I take my own family when we feel like a tripod session!  The goldenrod was in its full, puffy goodness and the grass was just starting to take on its winter hues.  We laughed, we played, we ate chips and Smarties (okay, that was just the little man but I totally would have shared). There may have also been a "stinging needle" incident, but a lively round of song and a few Smarties took care of that!

As the evening progressed, the light only got more and more dreamy and beautiful - I was in photographer nirvana!  Eventually our fingers and noses were a little red and chilly, so we called it a day, but not before one last game of peekaboo in the car. Even Barkley the dog seemed to have enjoyed himself and only had a few burrs from his adventures through the bushes.

Looking forward to meeting this family again in the future...maybe when their new addition arrives?

M xo

Little Mister Turns One | Kitchener Family Photography

Just over a year ago, we were waiting for my friends Mike and Kelly to let us know when their baby had arrived.  When I got the text that he was here, I was overjoyed for them.  One year ago today, he came into their lives, a healthy  baby boy who was thankfully weighed not nearly as much as anticipated! ;)

Over the past year, this little man has given his parents a few grey hairs with an early hospital stay and a couple of mysterious rashes, but he is one tough little cookie!  Surrounded by love, it is no wonder he bounced back stronger than ever after each little fall.  I have had the chance to snuggle him when we have our monthly breakfast dates with my CCMH ladies and trust me, he gets more kisses in that hour than may be safe for the average baby.   He puts up (mostly) with our non-stop chatter while trying to swipe food from Mom's plate, until we push him past nap time and then he lets us know just what he thinks of our conversation!

It has been so wonderful to watch my friends blossom into such amazing parents!  It is hard to believe that a whole year has gone by since I held him, a tiny bundle in my arms.  He has grown into such an adorable, sweet little man.  I could just squeeze him!  But really, the thing I look the most forward to is the day that he chooses his favourite hockey team.  Senators or Maple Leafs?  Maybe he will create a panic and choose THE HABS! ;)

A special thanks to Michelle from Miche L Photography for hanging out with me at this session too!

Love you little mister!

M xo

Summer Nights | Kitchener Family Photographer

When this family invited me to come out to their beautiful farm property, I was so excited!   I was greeted by their friendly pup and warmly welcomed into their home and life.  We toured the property, marveling at the pear trees drooping with ripe fruit and checking out the tent that was ready for a camp out that night.  The newly-installed pool was also inviting but alas, I had forgotten my suit...  The perfect excuse to be welcomed back, right? ;) I loved every sun-filled minute with this fantastic family and feel so lucky to have shared this gorgeous summer night with them.  I have a feeling there may be a few more summer nights together in our future...

M xo


Six | Kitchener Children's Photographer

My youngest turned six this week.  Holy moly!  She came whirling into our lives early on an warm late-summer morning, hungry and full of energy.  She is still a morning person, still hungry and the energy has only grown six-fold. I love her because she talks to herself, makes silly faces to crack us up, says hilarious things,asks constantly for snacks, goes to sleep within 2 seconds of closing her eyes, loves to paint, is a kind friend who gets along with everyone, knows how to get what she wants from her "boyfriend" by making it sound like it was her idea, loves her sister and will share her last piece of gum with her,  has the craziest hair EVER, rides her training wheels at the skate park like she owns the place, is quick to forgive and apologize, sings when she wakes up, can work an attitude pose like nobody's business and is always laughing.

You bring joy, laughter, energy and serenity into our lives every day, Emery.  We love you <3

Mom, Dad, Sissy and Charlie Boy xo

Sun, Surf and Snuggles | Kitchener Family Photographer

Nothing is more linked with the summer season than the beach.  Soft sand, warm water, the shrieks of gulls.  Ahh, bliss. When Michelle, my dear friend and the talented photographer behind the lens at Pitter Patter Photography, asked me if I would be up for doing a family beach session for her in beautiful Saugeen Shores, Ontario, I jumped at the chance!  I have a soft spot in my heart for these beaches , as I grew up swimming, playing and building sand castles on these very shores.

We started off with some play time in the water, which included a three-person race that ended in a lot of splashing!  We got dry and then headed back for a sunset session in the long grass and silky sand.  Finally, we hit a spot the next morning to grab a few more to round it all out!  I am so happy that I was able to give Michelle images with each of her littles, since I know how how hard it is to get into the frame sometimes.  Mom was there too!


Thank you all for your patience and for braving the mosquitos for just a few more!  It was a whirlwind, that's for sure! ;)

M xo