The Blog

Family Documentary Session

Cyber Monday deals have been flooding in my inbox all weekend, but I think I may have something for you that takes the cake. Have a seat, grab a warm beverage and keep reading. This exciting announcement has huge savings and a big donation to a wonderful local charity.

Before I get to the details, I must state that there’s absolutely nothing better than spending time with families in their home on a regular day and making meaningful photos of the love, chaos and sweetness that happens within that unique family dynamic.

Being invited into your home is not something I take lightly. In a world where everything is Pinterest-perfect, it does take guts to say “yes, our everyday life is awesome; come photograph us as we are.” I know it’s not for everyone, but for the record: your house does not need to look like it belongs in a magazine, you are not boring and ‘as you are’ IS PERFECT.

After every in-home session I can’t help but have a perma-smile because I know how valuable it will be to look back see yourself WITH your children and your spouse, all doing your thing, in your sacred space. I can’t tell you how fast all of the little things that you are doing now with your two year old will change drastically in five years. The bedtime routines, their favourite activities, all of it changes in the blink of an eye.

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All of my sessions are designed to help savour this season of life for you – whatever that may be.

This is your opportunity to try out a documentary-style session in 2017 with massive savings. I’m even sweetening the deal by making a personal donation for each session booked through this sale to an incredible local charity near to my heart.

Enough with the delay, here’s the big news:

Save 15% on 2017 Storytelling Sessions
OR
Save 25% on 2017 Savour This Day Sessions

For each session booked, $50 will be directed to the 2016 RVH Foundation Tree of Lights Campaign.

 


 

UPDATE: The Cyber Monday Sale-abration has expired. To be the first to learn about upcoming promotions and news, be sure to join my mailing list!

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It’s close to seven years ago when I started out photographing families (other than my own) and it’s been one wild, adventurous ride so far and it’s only getting better. Why is that? Well, it’s simple – I stopped worrying about composition, lighting and all of the rest of the technical know-how and started concentrating on what really matters: people and what they do, how they interact and the way they show how they care for one another.

Last month I had the opportunity to work with one of the families who hired me in those early days of my photography business. Back then, it was all about frame-worthy portraits. They actually came to my house and the session took place in my yard and on our trails. Don’t get me wrong, that session was great (and I especially loved seeing those photos framed on the wall), but meeting up with them again last month was all about bringing their family story to life. There’s nothing wrong with pretty portraits (in fact, we still took time out for a few relaxed, fun poses). Yet everything is so right about showing what it really looks like on a random Tuesday summer evening.

Now those little cuties are full fledged tweens and a teenager. There was no elaborate plan for our session other than hanging out with the kids. Mom had explained that the evenings were still the “coming together” time for her family – 11 year old triplet girls and a 17 year old son.

“The kids are getting older and more independent, but we still have a strong family bond.”

Showing that bond became my mission. I could barely wait for the session.

It turns out Mom wasn’t kidding – they are all as tight as can be. She also mentioned they are generally quiet, but failed to share how energetic they all are at the end of the day! The kids played in the backyard on the trampoline and then we moved out to the front to the basketball net in the street for a solid hour and they genuinely enjoyed being together. It seriously was non-stop action (even when we went inside, the girls continued practicing splits and kartwheels in their gymnastics room!). Throughout it all, Mom didn’t miss a beat – watching their every backflip and free throw with great enthusiasm – and I know it wasn’t just because there was a camera around. This family understands what it means to spending quality time with each other.

Whenever I’m invited in to a family’s home, my only hope is that show me their real. After just a few minutes with these people I could feel the tingling deep down in my bones; this is where I’m supposed to be and what I’m meant to do.

Here is the M Family doing what they do best and showing nothing but their unscripted, magical real.

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Just for fun, we had to take one of the four kiddos and their old Gemma photos:

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Thank you all once again for opening your home and your hearts and embracing me as part of your summer fun, even if only for an hour or so.

 


KANATA FAMILY DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY

If you live in Ottawa, Kanata or surrounding areas and are interested in savouring these types of simple memories with your quickly-growing children, we need to chat. Please visit the Session Information page or send me a note to learn more.


 

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The last time I met with this gorgeous mama, little Sakku was in her belly. Michelle and her family live in Nunavut, but her parents have recently moved back to Renfrew and they were here in the fall for a visit with Grandma. As you can imagine, compared to Nunavut the fall chill in Renfrew was balmy. As a bonus, this little fella was all about playing in something unfamiliar to him — the grass. He could have sat there for hours running it between his fingers and yanking it out of the ground.

Inuit traditions are a major part of this young family’s life. Michelle takes Sakku on walks in a custom baby wearing wrap and Johnny feeds his son the same way his ancestors fed their babies; by pre-chewing meats and feeding it directly by mouth to the little ones. And if by chance Johnny looks a little familiar to you – he’s  an actor and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient for his work improving the health of Northern communities. He’s also a champion Inuit High Kick athelete (check out the awesome video here).

We spent a quiet afternoon together playing outside, going for a little stroll, having a snack — and the down for a nap!

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RENFREW BABY DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY

If you live in Renfrew, Arnprior or surrounding areas and are interested in savouring these types of fleeting moments with your quickly-growing baby, we need to chat. Please visit the Session Information page or send me a note to learn more.


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OTTAWA VALLEY EVENT PHOTOGRAPHER – Turning 20 is a big deal. Turning 40 is another milestone event. But imagine turning 90?? Now that’s something not everyone gets to experience. If you’re fortunate to be the matriarch a great family like this one, there’s no way they will let it slide by without a real celebration.

Renfrew Family photographer

The birthday girl was only expecting a quiet dinner with just her two children, their spouses and a dear friend. However, behind the scenes you can be sure that everyone was scheming to make it a memorable event. Part of the surprise plan was to have the all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren travel from Toronto and south of Ottawa to Deep River for the festivities. All four generations in one place over the Thanksgiving weekend.

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They also made sure to include Olga’s brother who couldn’t make the trip in person – they had him set up to chat with his sister on Skype. A Skyping great-granny, it really doesn’t get much cooler than that.

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The other surprise was that Olga’s granddaughters contacted me to document the whole evening. They wanted photographs partly as a gift to their beloved grandma, and partly because they wanted just to be in the moment. It was important that they be able to enjoy the mini-family reunion during their limited time together without worrying about taking their own pictures.

birthday celebration photographertoast to the birthday girl

A few minutes after Olga walked into the lobby, it was evident that the effort to organize a birthday party (with a scrumptious homemade birthday cake) was well-deserved. This young lady is a firecracker who should let us all in on her secrets to raising a thoughtful, loving, very warm family. Cheers to many more years of special celebrations together!

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FAMILY + EVENT DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER

If you are planning a special celebration or small informal event in Ottawa or the Valley that you would like to have documented, we should chat. Please send me a note for availability and pricing options.


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ARNPRIOR DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY – This right here is the reason that I love what I do. First of all, repeat clients are the best. They don’t have to come back to me, but they do. The G family has recruited me a few times – first to photograph their son when he was just 18 months old, again for maternity and newborn photos of their daughter, and an extended family session. From the first encounter we have become friends and it’s an honour to watch this beautiful family grow (take note: if I photograph your family, there’s a good chance that will become friends too!).

We’ve done more of the look-directly-at-the-camera-style sessions in the past, and I explained that my philosophy about photographing families has shifted since our last session. Since our last session, they have moved from my neck of the woods here in McNab Township to a new home in Arnprior. We decided that it was time to photograph a typical Sunday morning with everyone. Coffee in hand. Kids playing. Very little direction from me. Mom and dad are free to be involved with the action and I’ll hang out with my camera.

Understandably, mom hesitated at first. When anyone thinks of professional family photographs, you instantly imagine people sitting together in a picturesque park. It’s hard to envision how the scene would play out in your home. I totally get it. But as a valued, loyal client and friend, I wanted to give her something more than just a few pictures to hang on the wall.

After a little more chatting, I was thrilled when she came around to the in-home documentary session concept. I said we could start off just spending some time inside and if she wanted, we could end up at the nearby park to run around with the kidlets.

(As you see, I also guarantee to take a few ‘everyone look at the camera’ shots for Grandma and Grandpas, however, the majority of the time is spent ignoring the girl with the camera.)

Not surprisingly, the day before our photo shoot, up popped this message:

“My house won’t be clean… So bring a filter that will hide dirt and dust.”

Which brings me to the second reason I love my job: I don’t see the same things that you see.

It’s not about the cleanliness of your house anyway (by the way, their home is gorgeous!!). Documentary sessions are about pressing the pause button on this phase of life. The phase where there’s an entire room dedicated to tons of tiny toys, you hunt for bugs in the back yard, you have a mid-morning snack of Goldfish crackers, and you’re exhausted by 12:30 p.m. after chasing around two little kids. Our morning together depicts so much about what this family does in their down-time away from work, school and other life obligations.

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We need give ourselves a break and remember that our homes don’t need to like the pages of a magazine to be brimming with incredible beauty and warmth. Our routines, or lack of a regular schedule on weekends, are an important part of the little memories that should be remembered as much as the big milestone events.

 


FAMILY DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER

Let me show you the magic of a typical day in your home. If you live in Ottawa, Arnprior, Renfrew, Pembroke or surrounding areas and are interested in savouring these types of moments with your own family storytelling session, we need to chat. Please visit the Session Information page or send me a note to learn more.


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savour the moment

Fun, stress-free, meaningful in-home and outdoor adventure sessions for people who appreciate the magic of an ordinary day

Storytelling photography for extraordinary events and weddings across the Ottawa Valley, including the greater Ottawa area

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