Waiting for Baby | Kitchener Family Photographer

This family is one of the good ones.  The kind that are loving, playful, extremely kind and always well-dressed. The kind that come to see me year after year and continually make me remember why I love this job. I was so very excited when they messaged to say that a new little one would be joining them for their annual fall session and even more thrilled when they decided to do a maternity session to celebrate their last few weeks together as a family of three.

We lucked out with a beautiful, sunny night that wasn't too hot and had jut the right amount of wind to make this gorgeous mama's lovely locks blow in the breeze.  We picked flowers, romped through the golden rod and generally had a blast as usual!

Thank you all for continuing to trust me to capture all of your life's moments.  I cherish your friendship and our time together.  Can't wait to meet your babe!

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Baby Charlie | Kitchener Lifestyle Photographer

I was so thrilled when Melissa & Scott connected with me again after I photographed their wedding last year, to see if I would come to their home with to capture life with their new babe.  I just love photographing families in their homes, so quiet and relaxed, it makes the perfect backdrop for family photos.  And even though this little man wasn't too keen on sleeping for us, we had a great time seeing his wide-eyed expressions. His big brother was so proud of not only his new baby brother, but to show me all of his toys and his train set.  We spent a bit of time building some new rail sections - apparently engineering is not my forte as he had much better ideas than me! After we were finished, dad served me the most delicious homemade peach pie that he made from his Grandma's recipe.  The perfect end to a beautiful evening with this growing family.

Thank you all for inviting me into your home and back into your lives, it is truly an honour to watch you build your lives and family together.

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Holly & Greg | Kitchener Couples Photographer

Holly & Greg met me on a beautiful, sunny evening near the Waterloo Region Museum to spend a little time taking some couples images.  They were up for anything and so fun, I loved photographing they way they love each other.  The kind of love that just makes your heart happy to witness. Thank you both for braving the mosquitos and standing in the perfect light - I had a blast working with you!

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Late Spring Family | Kitchener Family Photographer

After being thwarted by the rain on our first couple of attempts to make this session happen, we finally found a beautiful evening to photograph this lovely little family.  After welcoming their youngest nearly a year ago, they hadn't had an updated family photo of all four of them together, so we set about making that right. While there were a few clouds still threatening to make us wet anytime, we played and smiled and laughed, and with a few tears we accomplished our mission.  There was even a little moment of panic when the oldest little girly began to cry, pointing to her ear.  Fearing a bug bite or bee sting, we checked it out, only to realize she was upset that the flower placed behind her ear had been lost.  New flower placed, crisis averted.  All was right again in her two-year-old world!  Phew!

Thank you all for being so patient and fun - I loved spending the evening with you!

M xo


Lisa + Mitch | Engaged | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

There is something about Elora Gorge that is so peaceful yet powerful.  It is a place I have explored before with my family while camping, but I had never been right down to the water's edge, nor had I ventured along the winding paths near the quaint town.  But on this night, with this amazing couple, we did just that.  Meeting at the ruins of the Little Folks Furniture Factory, we wound our way towards the lower basin below the Tooth of Time, stopping along the way to check out fallen buildings and the gorge's rugged beauty. Once we got down to the quiet pool, Lisa + Mitch gamely climbed rocks, hung out in caves and braved the freezing water to take advantage of all of the natural beauty surrounding us.  They are so sweet and connected, it was the perfect fusion of love and nature.

We headed back up the cliffside to find the sunshine again, Mitch sweetly guiding Lisa over the rough, loose stones (even though she was way more sure-footed in those cute sandals than I was in  my hiking shoes!) and we did a few more portraits before calling it a night.

I am so excited to photograph their wedding in a couple of weeks.  They are so laid back, fun and sweet, I know that it will be a day full of love and celebration with their family and friends! In the meantime, enjoy the images from this beautiful evening.

M xo


An Hour With My Girls... | Kitchener Family Photographer

It is not very often anymore that I photograph my own girls.  They are at ages where they are willing to stand still for a moment here and there for an iPhone photo, but tend to rebel a little bit when the "big camera" finds its way out of the bag.  But on this sunny late-spring evening, we hopped in the car to check out a little spot I found on a drive one afternoon, to splash in the creek, dig in the mud and just have fun together. They quickly got wet, muddy and silly, found a hiding toad and poked some sort of weird web-nest.  They threw stones, had a flip-flop "boat" race and generally played hard in the sunshine and water.  After they were tired of bumming around the creek, we sat in the meadow above, soaking up the sun and laughing at each other's silliness.  They tried hard to make a piggy back work, even though they are exactly same weight and while Emery munched on clover flowers like a rabbit, Brielle executed some of the wildest cartwheels I have seen.  And then I took a few photos of them together. Sisters, friends, bickering partners, protectors. Two-thirds of my heart.

I may have cried more than once putting this post together.  I am just a big sap when it comes to these two little blondies.  They drive me crazy - with equal parts frustration and love. It is these moments that I put in my heart for those days that aren't as sunny and smiley.

Love you, girlies.  More than you can ever know.

I also made a little video of our adventures but my blog is being difficult about the file size, so if you want to check it out, I posted it on my Facebook page! It made me cry just a little bit more...

M xo

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Pop Up In The Park! | Kitchener Family Photographer

Join me for this special event in Victoria Park!  Limited spaces are available, so don't wait to book. :)  Connect with me at mandy@mandyblakephotography.com for details!pop-up-in-the-park-mandy-blake-photography

A Road Trip with Scribsy + My iPhone | Kitchener iPhoneographer

A road trip.  That thing that to some is daunting, to others boring, to many, an absolutely amazing adventure.  Hours in the car with no one for company but your chosen travel companion, nights in hotels and ever-changing scenery. It can make or break a friendship and can spawn both irritability and inside jokes. When Scribsy (aka Hilary) and I set out on our journey to Nashville, Atlanta and Orlando, we knew that at the very least, we would survive this trip as friends, having done a similar excursion only two years ago.  We set off early and only had one slight detour 45 minutes in the wrong direction before getting in the groove for the long haul.  Before we even reached our border crossing, we were laughing hysterically at our own silliness and officially named our trip the "Shake-a-Deuce Road Trip."

The first day we powered through all the way to Nashville, wondering how long Ohio could possibly go on while counting deer carcasses left on the roadside (okay, that might have just been me.  There was a exceptional amount of roadkill). We tried hard to predict the next lyrics of the country songs on the radio and nearly lost one flip-flop at a gas stop.  Before we knew it, the temperature was climbing and we opened the sunroof to soak in the sunshine.  Scribs loved keeping close tabs on the dashboard thermometer, letting me know every time it rose even a degree.

We rolled into Nashville late in the evening and tiredly but excitedly tumbpled out of the car and into a magnificent hotel called The Hermitage.  The lobby was expansive and elegant and we couldn't wait to get to our room, which it turns our, was equally fabulous.

For the next couple of days, we explored downtown Nashville, visited friends and checked out some of the cultural sights.  It was during this time that I decided that I would do an iPhone "Art Series" of Hil during our trip.  Sure, my big camera had been lugged along, but I felt like my phone images would be more interesting and immediate.  Scribs was a very cooperative "muse", leaping on cement barriers and sitting in narrow window ledges at my request.  I am sure some of the locals thought we were slightly unhinged, me with our collected array of bags and purses at my feet, shouting to Scribsy across a distance to move her head or arms as directed, sometimes mimicking the actions if she couldn't hear me.

After taking Nashville by storm and getting a bunch of fun "art series" shots under our belts, we set out for our next destination: Atlanta.  It was an absolute whirlwind of friends and fun, a late night and early morning, but we had a blast.  It is amazing the amount of visiting you can squeeze in in less than 18 hours!

We set off from Atlanta under a bright, white sun and were en route to sunny Orlando.  Along the way, we realized that our original estimate of 6 hours to our destination was somewhere around 2 hours off base but we resolutely kept on, stopping for emergency Dairy Queen and laughing at the mysteries of Google Maps.  Soon we were seeing the trees and flowers along the freeway turning deep green and bursting with life, the temperature climbing again after cooler temperatures in Tennessee and Georgia.  We scrambled for toll money and held up the line with our lack of US coinage but eventually made it to my hotel.

This was the end of our journey together, but we were not yet finished travelling.  Scribs was heading to meet her awaiting family for a much-deserved vacation while I would be boarding a flight home in the morning.  But we had done it. Five days, three cities, twenty-one hours on the road.  And still laughing.

After taking a few last frames for the "art series", we parted ways sadly, even though we knew we would talk on the phone every day until she was back and we would see one another in a week.  But somehow, the was a magic being broken, let go, from our road trip.  Memories that were being cemented and archived.  I waved to her as she drove away, happy and tired, ready for a quick dip in the pool before re-packing to head home the next day.

Once I was home, I decided that I would share some of my favourite iPhoneography from the trip, partly to share with family and friends who were not following along on Instagram, but mostly as a way to relive it for a few moments.

Thank you, my dear Scribs, for being the best road trip partner-in-crime a girl could ask for.  I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.   Shake-a-Deuce Road Trip FOREVER, baby.

M xo

Tennessee sun and clouds.


Visiting our dear friend Mandy Johnson at her phenomenal studio in Franklin.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-5

At Belle Meade Plantation.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-6

The Hermitage Hotel had this cool window in the stairwell that I was kind of obsessed with...kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-9The infamous Scribsy top knot.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-11Her favourite.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-10My favourite.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-7Downtown Nashville.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-8Last Starbucks of the night.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-1

Hotel morning light falling on "command central".kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-2She makes me take the stairs. I love her for it.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-13Our dear friend Elizabeth opened her home to us in Smyrna.  Isn't it just the most adorable little slice of Americana?kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-14

Love wins.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-16

The last light together in Orlando.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-15

My view of New York City as I flew into Newark on my journey home.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-4

The shores of Lake Ontario call me home at last.kitchener-iphoneography-mandy-blake-road-trip-3

Ten | Kitchener Family Photographer

Well, double digits.  Little did I know a decade ago how my life would be changed and made better by this beautiful, sassy, willful, kind girl who made me a mother for the first time. She is not a morning person.  Never has been.  She is a night-hawk like her Mama, preferring to finish the last few pages of the book than give in to heavy eyes.  She loves makeup and fashion and hair - not exactly like her Mama in that regard.  She is equal parts loving and mean to her little sister, but in the end is always the first one to jump to her defense when the going gets tough.  She is a drama queen with a flair for spectacular meltdowns, but also a soft-hearted friend who writes surprise notes to cheer people up and donates her carefully saved money at every opportunity.

She likes to sing in the shower, sometimes forgetting the whole purpose is to wash and finds prat falls and physical comedy exceptionally hilarious.  She is obsessed with preganacy and birth but panics in an emergency so maternity care is not likely in her future.  She counts to ten and gives herself pep talks to get through struggles and has conquered her fear of public speaking (well, mostly).  She is easily distracted by reflective surfaces and yet can be so focused on getting what she wants.  She is the first one on my bed, pouring out her heart when there is an issue and the first to offer a cool cloth for my headache. She is the last to pitch in when it is time to do dishes or yard work.

I love her to pieces.  Sometimes I want to scream, she drives me so crazy.  She is already slamming doors and getting embarrassed by us - oh, pre-teen years, here we come.  But deep down, under all the silly, the crazy, the slow-poking and the attitude, she is the little girl who turned our lives upside down forever and I wouldn't change a single thing about her.  Okay, well maybe the meltdowns.

Brielle, we love you more than you can ever know and we adore watching you grow each year into a more beautiful, kind and unique person.


Mom, Dad, Emery & Charlie xoxoxoxo

Here a couple of portraits of my girl to commemorate her tenth birthday.Brielle-10-Web

Rachel + Allan | Married | Kitchener Wedding Photographer

The first weekend of October.  It was cold and raining on and off.  The skies were threatening to open up any minute, maybe with some snow.  Noses were running and fingers were numb.  But none of that matters when it comes to this couple.  They could warm the entire world with their kind, laughter-filled love. As I said in their engagement post, these two make me smile.  And once I met their family and friends, I could see that they both come by their lovely joy quite naturally.  One of my favourite moments was watching Allan try to hold back tears as his stunning bride made her way ethereally through the forest, coming to meet her prince.  They joined hands in front of their guests and spoke to each other directly from the heart, causing both laughter and tears.

After the vows were said and the commitment secured, we snuck off to the woods for a few moments of quiet celebration before heading back to join their guest in celebration.  After a wee mingle, we all packed up and headed to the Timeless Cafe & Bakery, on the grounds of the Timeless Material Co. in Waterloo.  There we had fun hanging out with the wedding party, sneaking up on R + A and just generally being silly! I also had a small heart attack when Rachel's gorgeous pearl engagement ring nearly got lost among the many stacks of wood on the property, but I managed to rescue it without delay! Phew!

A delicious meal followed and then the party moved out to the tent, where their talented friends performed for the gathered masses who came to wish this phenomenal couple a life of happiness and joy together.  Honestly, it could not have been more perfect.

Thank you, Rachel + Allan for inviting me to be a part of your breathtaking day and I can't wait to share many more moments of love, happiness and hilarity as you grow your family in the years to come. Love you both.

M xo

PS Special thanks to Rachel Keyes for coming out to second shoot with me - you are awesome!


Matt + Lauren | Engaged | KW Wedding Photographer

I was so excited to meet this wonderful couple at the location for their upcoming summer wedding, the Detweiler Meeting House, near Roseville.  This quaint, sparse little meeting house is so beautiful and full of light, I can't wait to photograph their wedding!! We were lucky enough to find the caretaker on the grounds, which allowed us the chance to do a couple of images inside - AMAZING!!  Then we just walked around the small area surround the building to capture a few more moments. This couple has been together for a few years, which I love because they know each other so well - how to make each other laugh, how to make each other comfortable and how to just be together.  Plain and simple love.

Counting the days until we get to go back to this fabulous location in August and watch these two seal their vows!

M xo

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Waiting for a Winter Babe |Kitchener Maternity Photographer

This family has had a pretty spectacular year.  Last year around this time, I was photographing them to celebrate their commitment to each other as a family after Brad + Jen's engagement, and then in the spring they sealed their wedding vows at the gorgeous Pillar & Post in Niagara-On-The-Lake.  And now, they are welcoming a new life into their family.  There is a lot of love going around here, folks! Jackson arrived on December 5th at 8:43pm, but just a few short weeks before that, we got together to take a few images of Jen's perfect baby belly and to celebrate Jackson's iminent arrival. I am so happy and excited for this fabulous couple.  Their new little guy is going to be surrounded with more love than he will possibly able to imagine!

M xo

(PS My lovely friend Katy Brunkard took some absolutely breathtaking images of Jackson after he was here - check out her awesome newborn work here!)

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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


In the Yard| Kitchener Family Photographer

This super fun family won their session through my daughters' school silent auction and I was so excited when they connected with me to plan their session.  Mom right away suggested that we could have the session in the backyard of their gorgeous home and I quickly agreed.  There is just something so special about photographing a family in their own space. We had a beautiful fall evening and the leaves were falling as the light began to fade, but we had gorgeous, soft light from the sky and we had a blast hanging out in the backyard, chasing Luke the dog and throwing leaves.  There were lots of laughs and many silly faces.  What more can you ask for?

Thank you all for welcoming me to your home and into your lives.  I had so much fun laughing with you!

M xokitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-2kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-10kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-1kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-3kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-5kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-4kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-6kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-8kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-7kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-9A big shout out to my awesome friend Lisa of Lisa Kwan Images, who tagged along to check out how I work with a family during a session and took a few behind-the-scenes photos of me in action! kitchener-engagement-photographer-harris-11

Six Months | Kitchener Family Photographer

My lovely friend Michelle, from Miche L Photography, asked me to do a quick little session with her beautiful family this fall, to photograph her adorable baby girl around 6 months of age.  I love that 6-9 month age range, where babies are starting to sit, crawl, cruise and just develop the cutest personalities! We played dodge-the-rain for a few days and this day was not perfect, but the clearest we had in awhile, so we decided to make a run for it!  I am so glad we did, because the fall colours were just starting to come in and they made a lovely backdrop for this session along the Grand River Trail in Waterloo.

Miss E's adorable fly-away hair and her parents' adoring love were on full display and we laughed in between raindrops, having a wonderful time catching up and capturing the moment.

Thanks to you all for driving all the way from Kincardine to frolic in the rain.  So nice to get caught up!!

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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Urban Family | Kitchener Family Photography

When I first met this family, the little man was just 4 months old.  He was a bundle in their arms and now he is an active, chatty 3-year-old.  Who loves Thomas the Train.  And always gives me a run for my money.  Literally, a run. ;) I love clients who become friends and I count this awesome family among that group.  We keep in touch throughout the year and look forward to getting together for our annual session.  This year, we decided to ditch the fields and forests and hit an urban area.  And I am so glad we did!  I have been dying to work in the city core again and this was the perfect family to plan a session with - stylish, fun and super laid-back.  We just worked our way around the block, finding different textures and colours and having a blast.

And I think the final shot of them walking in the glowing light is one of my favourite images yet.  I am going to miss the sun now that winter is on its way...

Thank you all for being amazing friends, clients and willing subjects!

Love ya,

M xo


2014: Year in Review | Kitchener Photographer

At the end of each year, it always blows me away just how lucky I am.  I get to photograph people who are full of love, laughter and joy.  I am invited into people lives, even if just for a couple of hours and that is so very special.  This year has brought many return clients, giving me the opportunity to watch a family grow and change, which is such a cool thing to witness.  And there have been new clients as well, whom I look forward to meeting, year-after-year to see those wonderful changes.  Like I told one of my recent wedding couples, "You're stuck with me now!  I am YOUR family photographer!" The bottom line is that without all of your smiling faces, I would not be able to do this job that I love.  It is all of you who keep me smiling, laughing and crying along with you.  THANK YOU. From the very bottom of my big ol' heart.  Truly.  You are what inspires me to get better and learn more and find new ways to help you see your happy shine.

This year has seen a lot of firsts for my business, as I branched out into boudoir and wedding photography.  Now that I can make it through either of those without losing hours of sleep the night before, I am so excited to see where these paths will take me!!  I also worked hard to really bring out the storytelling aspects of my imagery, and to work in different locations that helped to guide these stories: the fair, the backyard, in the river, downtown Kitchener, in your home.  I am thrilled to keep moving in this direction of approach for 2015 - so get ready to have me storm your backyards and homes, people! ;)

Another huge part of this year was leaning on my amazing photography colleagues as I pushed into new and sometimes terrifying territory.  I probably wouldn't push myself nearly as far without their gentle nudges sometimes and having them to act as sounding boards is something I value beyond words and try never to take for granted.  To Hilary, the Oprah to my Gayle, the Scribsy to my Flash - I love being on the rocket ship with you and wouldn't want to be on this ride with anyone else. To Michelle B, Dana, Martina, Kate, Sandra, Lisa, and Michelle S - I love you girls so much and am so happy and thankful to have you in my life.

Thank you 2014, for being such a fantastic year.  Welcome 2015!

M xo


And Then They Were Four | Kitchener Family Photography

When I first met this lovely family, their little guy was on the eve of his first birthday.  I remember fondly singing Old MacDonald at the top of our lungs to get him smiling.  But this time around, we needed no such encouragement.  He was all smiles from the start, snuggling in his parents' arms and showing off his contagious grin. But we were not just there to capture his smiling face, but also his mama's bump, where rested his soon-to-be new sister.  It was such a beautiful warm night on the outskirts of Milton, where the summer sun filtered beautifully through the trees onto the boardwalk, highlighting that perfect belly and radiant happiness of this expectant family.  Here are a few from that night...



And then, a few short weeks later, she was here!  With a head full of hair and adorable button nose, she won over her unsure big brother and her wonderful parents.  I headed to their home to photograph the new foursome in her stunning nursery and to play some Wiggles guitar with big brother in between feedings.  I cannot wait to see this beautiful girl grow into her warm, welcoming, adoring family.  We already have her one-year session planned - I wonder if how much hair she will have by then??

Thank you all for welcoming me into your home and your lives.  I can't wait to see you in September to catch up!

M xo

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