Going back to work after maternity leave is a pretty daunting prospect for most moms. The fear and anxiety you sometimes experience can be similar to the feelings you have leading up to giving birth! But unfortunately there aren't any classes available (or pain-numbing drugs!) to help you through THIS transition. It can be a pretty emotionally crazy time, but also an exciting one! Seeing your little one go out into the world seemingly on their own. That's big!⠀
So when Vivienne Macy mentioned that her maternity leave is ending and she'll be returning to work this fall, I knew it was a great time to capture some images of her with her husband David and their two daughters.⠀
From start to finish the shoot was a joyful event - you might be able to tell from all the kissing going on!
The couple's youngest daughter really set the tone and pace of our session (as one-year-olds are known to do!) and she was quite taken with the park's large population of geese.
But there's nothing quite like the charm and friendly chatter of a four-year-old little girl and it drew me in immediately! She also made quick use of the bubbles I gave her near the end of the session as a 'thank you' gift.
It was a true privilege to be let into this young family's life, even just for an hour, and capture some honest and sincere moments with them.
Vivienne and David - I wish you all the very best as you begin this new phase of your family's life. I hope these photos can serve as a reminder to take a break from the hustle and bustle now and then and enjoy each other.
Living in our country's capital city, we have a lot of great museums and other sites of historic and national importance in close proximity. Although they might not have the kid-appeal of places like Legoland or a Six-flags, they're relatively inexpensive to visit and most of them offer some pretty amazing programming for kids.
So last weekend, despite a rather gloomy forecast, we packed the Caravan and headed to Kingston to visit the historic Fort Henry. We had fond memories of visiting the Fort back in 2013 but this time the kids were a bit older and we thought they might get more out of the experience.
Now, if you're imagining trudging through old military barracks while reading tiny placards that describe the war of 1812, you'd be way off! The staff at Fort Henry have done an amazing job in making this site super interactive and accessible to its visitors. There are hands-on demonstrations throughout the day and free tours, in both French and English, are available every half-hour.
At practically every corner you'll find staff dressed in period costume, prepared to answer any and all of your kids' questions about the Fort. From "where did the soldiers pee?" to "what's behind THAT door?" nothing seems to stump these guys. And they don't break character for a second!
The highlight of our visit was watching the boys get 'recruited' into the British infantry. They got to don the customary red coat, learn to salute and march and, much to my 8 year old's delight, even got to fire a 'weapon'!
So if you're looking for a quick day trip this summer, the 2 hour drive is well worth it! And your kids might even learn something about our country's early history - I doubt you could say the same about a visit to Six-flags.
However you're spending it, I hope your summer is a fun one!
As an entrepreneur, the path to a successful business and 'ideal' clients is almost always a winding and bumpy one. My dream business is to capture honest, high-quality images for families through relaxed, natural-light photography sessions.
But recently my path crossed that of Maria's. A few years ago, Maria Kurylo left a position with the federal government to pursue her life's dream and went into business for herself. She requested my photography services to capture some images for her new website. Although not the direction I thought my path should take me, it was an opportunity I felt compelled to explore.
If you visit Maria's website (mariakurylo.com) and read about her journey, you'll be struck by her honesty and personal bravery. Like so many of us, she grew up being told she could be whatever she wanted - but never quite knowing what 'whatever' was. After university she landed what most new grads would consider a 'dream' job in the federal government. Security, good pay, full benefits - she was set for life. She started her family. But a restlessness told her there must be more.
Maria did what most of us so often dream of doing but don't often have the strength or personal conviction to pursue. She walked away from it all - the secure job, the great salary - and followed her heart.
I often shake my head in wonderment. Laughing at how far I have strayed from my path, but knowing that it was simply the journey I needed to take to find my way home to my heart.
After a lot of hard work and perseverance Maria is now a certified Energy Healer, a Spiritual Guide and trained Priestess. She offers her services through Private Energy Sessions, Sacred Sisterhood Woman Circles and a Sacred Evolution Group Program.
Maria is an entrepreneur, a mother, a dreamer and a beautiful human being. It was a privilege to work with her to capture such honest and compelling images. If you're interested in Maria's work, I encourage you to visit her website www.mariakurylo.com
As for me, I shall continue to follow my path - wherever it shall lead me.
Until next time,
There's no doubt I caught the shutterbug from my Dad. One of my earliest memories is of my Dad's Nikon with its hippy multicoloured macrame strap he must of got at some roadside trading post somewhere.
Thanks to both of my parents we have dozens of family albums filled with photos of my sisters and I looking at the camera, all cheesy grins (often with me, ever the ham, striking some ridiculous pose).
So naturally when I got my own DSLR camera as a gift from my husband when our first son was born I took loads of cheesy-grin pictures too.
But it was the shots I happened upon between the cheesy grins that really grabbed me. Images that portray an emotion or feeling I never want to forget.
Capturing these type of images for myself was one thing, could I do the same for someone else? And would they even like the photographs I took?
This is a moment I captured at a recent family photo shoot. It was one of the last photos I shot that day. I just adore how the mother's hand caresses her daughter's face and the daughter is touching her mother's face in her own way. Neither of them are smiling or looking at the camera directly but there's such a sense of preciousness and joy. No cheese required.
Until next time,
"Mom, what did you want to be? Ya know, before you became an ordinary Mom?" - my six year old.
"Well buddy, I've always wanted to be a Mom. Ever since I can remember."
It's the other stuff I've never been very sure about.
I'll never forget when a good friend came to visit us days after our first son was born. "What are you going to do now?" he asked.
"Have another one?" I replied with a smile. I was so certain, so confident of my capabilities. And when our third was born - a girl! I was truly overjoyed. I kept thinking to myself, "This, this is what it must feel like to win the lottery."
And after many teary conversations with my husband. A lot to do with university tuition, the size of the house and where we'd like to travel someday, we decided three was a good number. With the first two in school and my daughter starting daycare, I went back to work full-time. We figured out a new rhythm, tried as best as we could to find balance.
Then the unplanned happened. I found out I was pregnant on Valentine's Day, 2014. I told myself, "You've got three. What's one more?" But children aren't pets or tattoos. My confidence waned. I blamed it on the hormones.
Wesley was born in early October, 2015. Exactly a week from the birthday of my first son. And it felt like I was reliving those early days as a new mom but this time I didn't feel capable at all.
After a year and a half I'm still fumbling my way through. Slowly I'm getting used to this new modis operandi. I have a feeling it's going to take the next 20 years or so. And every day as I become more entrenched in the role of 'mom', the more I have a need to be something more. A need to preserve other parts of my identity. It's because of this that I have pursued my photography journey with such passion and dedication. Suddenly it is because of and for my kids that I need to be more than just an ordinary mom.
Thanks for reading,
Since starting my photography journey, I've come to learn that taking a self-portrait is sort of a big deal. So when I got my new camera a few months ago, this was definitely on the top of my list of photos I wanted to capture.
But life sort of got in the way. As my fellow mamas (and papas!) can relate, it can be hard to get a few minutes to yourself without a kid or two hanging around. Much less a few minutes to yourself WHILST your hair is washed, you're wearing a clean shirt and the sun is still out.
Enter Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher). A renowned photographer, podcaster and educator, Jenna is building quite a name for herself sharing tips and tricks to mastering social media. I signed up for Jenna's Instagram Challenge. For one week Jenna posts out challenges that will help participates build mad Instagram skills. So when Jenna challenged me to post a photo of myself, I had just the motivation I needed to finally conquer my self-portrait.
After a full day of errands, grocery shopping and swimming lessons I got myself all gussied up while the fam ate dinner, set up the tripod and started firing away.
I took literally 213 shots. Most of them were out of focus. My original plan was to place myself looking cool and casual on our front steps (easier said than done!), facing into the evening sun. But the sun kept popping out of the clouds causing shadows from the nearby pine tree to fall on my face.
And that's when inspiration struck! I turned the camera around. With the camera faced into the sun, the nice warm light lit up my hair giving the picture a soft warm glow.
All it took was a little shift in perspective - and skipping out on dinner!
Thanks for reading,
There's only a few days of the year when I can ask my kids to pose in front of the camera, multiple times over, without a lot of guff. Mother's Day happens to be one of those special days (I also get coffee brought to me in bed - which in my book is as close to being treated as a queen as I can imagine!)
This year I decided to use this rare photo-taking opportunity to get in the frame with the kids. It took a little fiddling with my camera settings and tripod, but eventually I figured out how the self-timer works and plopped the camera in front of the couch. At that point I simply had to sit on the couch. I knew this tactic would work since I haven't been able to sit on a couch by myself since the summer of 2008. Sure enough, in a matter of minutes I had the kids right where I wanted them.
This wasn't just 'one lucky shot'. I had the self-timer set to go off twice every 10 seconds. This shot was one of literally dozens of pictures.
Technically speaking, this isn't a great photo.
It's under-exposed. Despite my attempts in post-production there's not much I could do for the shadow on my face. Ironically, all four kids are looking right at the camera.
But of the hundreds of photos I've taken these past few months, this one is my favourite.
It captures a real moment with my kids. I'm actually IN the picture. And smiling in the shadow of my kid is what it's like to be a mother.
Be good to your mom, you only get one!
I'm so thrilled to be writing this post! Yesterday was my first-ever photo session. Okay...so I didn't actually get paid anything AND I was taking photos of my sweet 3 month old nephew, Vincent. But otherwise an honest-to-goodness PHOTO SESSION!
The session was a dream! Even though photographing a 3 month old can have it's challenges. Unlike a newborn, 3 month old babies can move around quite a bit. But other than wiggle (and being completely adorable) they don't do a whole lot of anything else yet. Vincent, however, was a trooper. And luckily, Mom and Dad were also keen to be involved in the pictures which made things a lot easier for me.
As I often tell new Moms and Dads, the real fun starts around 3 months. By then you've hopefully found a rhythm and a way to survive on only a few hours of sleep each night. But the best part is you're finally getting a chance to get to know this little person you've brought into this world. Plus, those baby smiles? They totally make it all worth it!
But I really gotta hand it to my brother-in-law and his wife. They are totally rocking parenthood! It was such a joy to see them being attentive and considerate towards each other during our shoot. And they are completely head-over-heels for their adorable boy.
Well, this certainly won't be the last of Vincent on this blog as I plan to be taking plenty more photographs of this beautiful baby!
Thanks for reading,
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I think they can be worth far more than that.
This is a photograph taken of me by the talented Ana Gherasim in November 2013. Ana was taking photographs to promote a burlesque workshop that her dance studio, Azucar Latin Dance Company, would be hosting the upcoming Valentine’s Day. My instructor, Emilie Phaneuf, had asked some us girls if we’d like to get dressed up and pose for a promotional shoot. Never one to be shy around a camera ;) I happily volunteered.
I had started taking burlesque dance classes with Emilie just a few months before. And looking back now, deciding to take that first class really was the beginning of something truly incredible in my life. My third child, Gwyneth, was only 7 months old. Still on maternity leave, I was in full ‘mommy-mode’. Home all day with 2 young kids, never straying far from my yoga pants and rarely wearing makeup or shaving my legs - I was overjoyed to have a baby girl (after 2 boys) but a part of me was slowly slipping away.
I signed up for the burlesque class at the encouraging nudge of my husband. I’ve always had a love for dance. I can remember asking my parents to sign me up for classes as a young girl but living in a small town, we didn’t have access to stuff like that growing up. So it didn’t take me long to completely fall in love with burlesque! Emilie was so inspiring and encouraging - learning the moves got me in touch with something I’m not sure I knew existed within me. After only a few weeks, the classes had ignited something in me that I would never be able to snuff out again.
So when Emilie asked us to be in the photo shoot I was more than willing. I had a newfound feeling of being sexy and desirable and I wanted to look my best for the shoot. I got a fresh haircut and treated myself to getting my makeup done professionally.
Once Ana was finished taking the promotional shots I asked her if she would mind taking just one up-close shot of my eye makeup so I could use it for reference. I’m not sure what prompted me to make that face except that I was feeling more confident and beautiful than I had in a long time. Perhaps more than I ever had before in my life.
When I got to see the picture a few days later, honestly, it made me cry. Even to this day when I see it, it gives me a little thrill. I keep a copy of it on our bedside table - I see it every day. This photograph is my talisman - it anchors me to a feeling, a time and place I never want to forget. Even when I was nursing my fourth baby at some ungodly hour of the night, I’d see that sassy face staring at me - a constant reminder of my best self - despite my yoga pants and hairy legs.
Thanks for reading,
Hi! I'm an Ottawa Mom of 4 kids, passionate about capturing life through a lens. I've got a rockin' hubby with mad skills in the kitchen. And I will challenge anyone to a dance off. Any time. Any where.