From the category archives:


Some babies are jolly and full of chortles and some babies are more reserved. And then you have babies like this little charmer who came to the porch for portraits yesterday. She watched me and my camera with careful contemplation for most of the morning, neither smiling nor crying. In the vast majority of the photos, she is regarding me with a thoughtful, pondering gaze, which is why I love this photo so much. That hint of a smile that says “I own them!” to me.

And baby makes three

Don’t they look like they should be in a magazine, or maybe in the dictionary under the definition of “happy family of three”? And one more, because there were just so many cute shots – how’s this for a fun way to illustrate the idea of a family without actually showing their faces?

Boots and booties

I seriously love the mom’s boots in this, and the light, and the saturated colours, and how this tells such a fun story with such a simple pose.

If you wanted to tell a story about YOUR family without showing your faces, what do you think that would look like? Bicycle tires and running shoes or piano keys and high heels or iPhones and matching flip flops?


You might remember this beauty from her Hollywood-style portraits on the porch this summer. Those portraits were in preparation for this weekend’s big event, Rachel’s Bat Mitzvah at Stonebridge.

Rachel's Bat Mitzvah family photograph

I’d never been to a Bat Mitzvah before, and I really enjoyed researching the traditions behind the event. The ceremony and party were warm and full of affection from family and friends. Here’s a taste of the day:

Candid photographs and family portraits from Rachel's Bat Mitzvah

It was a little bit of Hollywood, a lot of family and friends, a whole lot of smiles, and at the centre of the fuss one lovely girl, beautiful inside and out. It was an honour to be a part of your day, Rachel – thank you! :)


Another book cover!

by DaniGirl on September 20, 2014 · 1 comment

in Mothership Photography

You might remember I was pretty excited earlier this year when I found out that one of my photos of Lucas was being used on the cover of a book by author Brando Skyhorse. That came about through Getty Images.

Around the same time, I was contacted by a tiny independent press in Tennessee. They had found one of my photos of Manotick’s famous mill on Flickr and wanted to use it on a cover of a book of poetry. It took a while, but the book is now for sale on and How fun is that?

Book cover!

Here’s the original photo, taken way back on New Year’s Day 2011.

Watson's Mill in the fog photograph

Funny, it’s not even my favourite image of Watson’s Mill. I offered them several others, but the publisher felt this photo was just the right evocative image to go with the collection of poetry. From around the corner in Manotick to a publisher in Tennessee for a book of poems written in New England. How can you not love the Internet?

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Photo of the day: Writer’s Block

by DaniGirl on September 17, 2014 · 0 comments

in Photo of the Day

Oh the photos! Oh the cuteness! Oh the fun!

It has been a really spectacular week in photos for me. From meeting new neighbours and working with old friends on the weekend to photographing my first-ever Bat Mizvah this coming weekend, with a quick stop for mid-week adorable today, it’s an insanely busy week but oh so much fun!

You might remember this young lady from the spring session I did with her family. Mom wanted a photo of her showing off her newly acquired habit of sitting up, so we did a few traditional portraits on the porch (I’ll share those soon!) but then she let me have a bit of a creative play. I had originally conceived an idea that involved giant colourful balloons and a basket and a ladder – but maybe it’s best that I never did get organized enough to execute that one. (See aforementioned reference to crazy busy!) Instead, we came up with this:

Writer's Block

I call it “Writer’s Block.” :)

Stay tuned, more unbearable cuteness to share soon!


When it comes to editing portraits, I tend to prefer a “clean edit” – tweaks for contrast, exposure, and vibrance (I love saturated colours!), but not too much more. Well, I also have a hopeless addiction to vignettes. But sometimes I see something that just cries out for a more artistic play, like this crate that was lying around in the apple orchard just begging me to take its photo.

apple box after

I’ll freely admit that I really went to town on this one. I used not one but two texture layers and the oil painting filter in Photoshop. It comes very close to what I wanted though – an impressionistic interpretation of the original image. Just for reference, here’s the *coughboringcough* clean edit before I started heaping layers on it.

apple box before

I had to really pull down the contrast to make the apples stand out more, and then I used textures with lots of warm golden tones and a bit of edge burning for the vignette effect. I like it, but I’m not totally in love with this one. It’s still too much just a picture of a box to me – I think because the original photo wasn’t quite as strong as it could be. THAT’s a lesson I’ve learned over and over again — all the fancy digital editing in the world rarely helps a mediocre photo be anything more than mediocre. It’s still missing a little je ne sais quoi – but because it’s just a photo I was playing with for funsies, it’s good enough for sharing.

What do you think? Are you interested in the details of how to do stuff like this?


It’s not every family that would let you pull out the silly props on a stick for their family photo shoot. But when it IS that sort of family, it makes for a REALLY fun family photo session!

Silly prop family portrait fun by Danielle Donders

It wasn’t all silliness, but laughter comprised a good part of the morning. That and a truly lovely family made for a whole lot of great photos.

Adult outdoor family portrait by Danielle Donders

My first love will always be taking portraits of kids at play, but it turns out playful grownups can be just as much fun — and maybe even a whole lot less work!

Thanks to Kerry and your sweet family for a lovely Sunday morning out! :)

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Photo of the day: Sitting pretty

14 September 2014 Mothership Photography

Bright blue eyes, adorable blonde pigtails and a sassy attitude? Check, check, check! This lovely little miss came with her big brother and big sister for porch portraits early on Saturday morning, and we squeezed in some photos just before the rain started. Isn’t she adorable? Sometimes, the hardest part of taking photos of two [...]

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Photo of the day: First birthday portraits on the porch

8 September 2014 Mothership Photography

Steady yourself. This photo has dangerous levels of adorable in it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you! This lovely little lady came to the porch on the weekend for portraits for her first birthday. Is she not the most precious thing? But oh, if you think THIS photo is cute, you should see some of [...]

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Photo of the day: Shine, baby!

29 August 2014 It IS all about me

Guess what I did today? Okay, so it was supposed to be a 45th birthday present to myself and I’m a little late, but it’s still my birthday month! Why “shine”? Because it makes me happy, of course! It’s an imperative, for one thing – a sort of reminder to myself that “shine” is exactly [...]

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Photo of the day: Splashing at the beach

28 August 2014 Photo of the Day

We spent the day with some friends at the beach. This is pretty much how it went. I like how the black and white reduces the moment to the movement and the moment, and I put just a bit of warmth in the shadows because it was warm and sunny. I’m really liking black and [...]

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