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Family Documentary Session

a Sunday morning | Arnprior documentary photography

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.



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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happy family of three | Arnprior documentary photography

Documentary Family Photography – There are few homes in this world that from the second you walk through the door, you are hit smack in the face with pure, unconditional love radiating from those who live there. That’s how it is every time you enter the M-R home and it’s a privilege to be able to share their story.

These wonderful people are new-ish neighbours of mine and they are parents to 6-year-old Katie.  Often they can be found hanging out in their beautiful home where Katie spends time baking, dancing and snuggling up with mom for story time.  It was a very easy session to plan because we both know there’s nothing more special than documenting all of these ordinary activities that they enjoy together.  We also got to be entertained by their crazy pup, TJ.  That dog loves Katie to pieces!



There were so many of my favourite images from this session that I couldn’t help but share them all together in a slideshow. Sit back and enjoy!

At Home with Katie {The M-R Family Film}



If you live in Ottawa, Renfrew 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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Arnprior family photographer | mothers

“What I am, you helped me to be.”

Look at these gorgeous ladies.  During the winter, my friend Terri had asked if I would spend time with her family and take some special photos in honour of her father and step-mother’s 25th wedding anniversary. It was important to Terri to have some beautiful images of just her and her step-mom; I was touched to see such an incredible bond between these two.

Wishing everyone who inspires, encourages and supports their own children, and proud stepmothers everywhere a very wonderful Mother’s Day.



Looking for a special session with your mom and family?  Gem Photography offers modern family storytelling sessions across the Ottawa Valley and greater Ottawa area.  For more information, please get in touch by filling out the contact form or e-mail 


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in-home newborn session

“Little hands and little feet,
little toothless grins so sweet,
little eyes that shine so bright,
little arms to hug you tight.
Everything’s little,
except your joy,
when you have a new baby boy.”

They are only this little for such a short time and I was thrilled when Baby Finn’s grandma wanted to gift her son and daughter-in-law a special session to help remember these fleeting moments.

Here are a few of my favourite images from our in-home newborn session with adorable Finn at one week old:  in-home-newborn-session-renfrew-cobden

(Baby sneezes may be the cutest thing ever!)mom-baby-newborn-in-home-documentary-photographer


Expecting a new bundle of joy? I’d love to help document your this exciting, albeit exhausting chapter in your life! Newborn and family sessions take place in your home where you are most comfortable and relaxed. Contact me for availability or to learn more about my Signature Documentary Sessions.  


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Vacationing in Calabogie

I had the pleasure of meeting up with a Southern Ontario family who wanted to capture bit of their time with grandparents and new baby girl at one of their favourite places.  They make their way to the Ottawa Valley each spring and fall to stay on Calabogie Lake and watch their daughters get loved up by Grandma and Grandpa, who live in Ottawa. Since vacationing in Calabogie is such a special time for everyone, it was also an ideal time to make some memorable photographs.

On the eve of their last day of no work, no school and no chores we got to hang out by the water’s edge and enjoy the warm October day.  The girls had a blast playing in the leaves, on the rocks and someone showed off her elegant dance moves as the sun began to peek out from behind the cloud-filled sky.


16_gem-calabogie-vacation_photoShe could not wait to run into the water!  It was the perfect ending to our afternoon.


Planning a vacation in beautiful Renfrew County or Ottawa area?  I’d love to help document your precious time with family and friends!  Contact me for availability or to learn more about my 
Signature Sessions.


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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