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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! :)


Bright blue eyes, adorable blonde pigtails and a sassy attitude? Check, check, check!

Family portraiture by Danielle Donders

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 year olds is just making them sit still for 10 seconds!

And how cute is her outfit? You think I could rock those leggings and leg warmers? Serious cuteness!


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?

Portrait of one year old girl

But oh, if you think THIS photo is cute, you should see some of the other ones. We’re talking pink tutus, fairy wings and chubby little baby toes, people. I’ll share more once I finish editing the rest of them, but this is one of those galleries that I can’t wait to share with the family.

You really have to work hard to get portraits of a moving baby (equal parts patience, silliness and sore quadriceps from getting up and down off the floor!) but with a beauty like this, they’re more than worth the effort! And lookit those eyelashes…. *swoon*


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 what I should always strive to do. And because my Granda’s song was always “You are my sunshine” and because I sang that to all three boys when they were babies. And because of John Lennon’s “We all shine on” and summer sunshine and Lake of Shining Waters, among others. And because we should all shine whenever we can, right?

And why stars? Because they are meaningful to me, and I’m always drawn to star patterns. And of course there are three of them – I do love things that come in threes. And they are red, blue and green, which happen to be two of three boys’ favourite colours. And if you know anything about photography or design, you’ll know what RGB means. I managed to resist getting an actual camera tattoo (barely!) but I couldn’t resist a little photo-geekery in the symbolism.

I love it. LOVE it! It’s better than I hoped it would be. I’ll share the whole experience of designing and actually getting the tattoo in a separate blog post.

What do you think?


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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Photo of the day: Silly string

27 August 2014 Ah, me boys

Summertime shenanigans in the back yard! I’ve got mixed feelings about the end of summer, but love that I get to spend this last week of it in the sunshine with my boys.

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Photo of the day: Kayaker at Chapman Mills

18 August 2014 Photo of the Day

We have long loved the Chapman Mills conservation area. It’s a beautiful little piece of nature tucked in between a busy Barrhaven suburb and the Rideau River. I was worried that the new Strandherd-Armstrong bridge would ruin this peaceful little oasis, but if anything the boardwalk is more lovely than ever. I loved the tranquility [...]

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Photo of the day: Simple little pleasures

17 August 2014 Photo of the Day

We were reading Anne of Avonlea the other night when I came across this quote and I had to add it to one of our PEI photos because it was so exquisitely true of our vacation, but also of our whole lives. Did I mention we’ve already booked for PEI 2015?

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