From the category archives:

Mothership Photography

Sometimes, no matter how carefully you plan a photo session, you have to throw out all your research and ideas and just go with the flow. That was the name of the game yesterday when this big family came together from locations across Canada and overseas for a family portrait. Because there were to be no opportunities for do-overs, we had a plan and a backup plan. And in the way life often works, we ended up forgoing all of that and throwing together a Plan C on the fly to get this portrait while stormy skies threatened a deluge.

Family reunion

Lucky for me, they were a great gang with a fun sense of humour, and this was only one of a series of fun family shots we got. My favourite thing about photography is still meeting new people and learning a little bit about them and their families, and it’s always such an honour to be invited to be a part of days like this. But yeesh, big group portraits are tough. Give me a couple of toddlers to wrangle any day! ;)


This sweet family came for portraits on the porch today. Aren’t they lovely – erm, I mean lovely and handsome.


I am so used to chasing toddlers and preschoolers lately, it was a bit of a relief to work with people who actually sit still for more than three seconds at a time. :) Sadly, they weren’t too interested in posing on my little red wagon though. (Actually, they were such a fun and funny group that I am pretty sure that if I pulled out the wagon they would have totally rolled with it!)

Their mom had asked me for advice about how to dress for the session and I loved how she pulled everyone’s outfits together. I always suggest choosing two or three dominant and coordinating colours and dress the family as a unit, in the same way you try to coordinate your own outfit every day. They all had various tones of blues with bits of greys and white for accent, and they all came together so well!

I’ll share more photos from this fun family portrait session soon!


I am the first to admit that when I launched my portrait business four years ago this month, there was a lot I didn’t know. I’ve learned so much about using or creating light, posing, interacting with subjects, the effect of various focal lengths, and digital post-processing to name but a few.

In the end, though, sometimes all you have to do is show up and point the camera in the right direction, because the cute speaks for itself. I mean, really, does it get any cuter than these two?

Portrait of sisters on a red wagon by photographer Danielle Donders

Sometimes the hardest part of a photo session is not keeping the adorable kids for myself at the end of the day!

More photos from this fun porch portrait photo session soon – if you think these two are cute, you should see the whole family!


Home-made Father’s Day gifts are the best, aren’t they?

Father's Day

I’ve got a whole post of photos about our Father’s Day ramble in Perth – stand by!


I was poking around in the “drafts” folder of my blog and realized I have over a dozen blog posts I’ve started to write over the past six months and never completed. Last autumn was so busy with fun family photo shoots that I plum forgot to share some of them with you.

This particular shoot was one of my favourites from the year, so I’m surprised I forgot to share it. The family were funny, sweet and introduced me to one of my new favourite locations. It was one of the first truly chilly mornings as winter tried to crowd out autumn, but we had a wonderful walk and I loved exploring this location on the Ottawa River.

Fall family photos

Fall family photos

Fall family photos

Pretty in a pink hat

Is she not adorable? They both were. Heck, all four of them were! And so nice! You know how I love taking photos, but I really really love the wonderful people I get to meet along the way.

It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, but I’m delighted that portrait season is starting to heat up again, even if the weather isn’t exactly doing the same. I’m particularly enjoying specializing in these kind of excursion photo sessions, where we go on a little adventure and have fun shooting photos along the way. Get in touch if you’d like to book a picnic, park, walk or other photo adventure – spots for this summer are already starting to fill up! For more information, you can visit Mothership Photography or feel free to drop me a note any time at danicanada (at) gmail (dot) com. :)


I love Photoshop. I don’t always use it, but it sure is fun to play with sometimes when I feel like stretching the possibilities of a given photo. There’s a handful of blog posts I’ve been thinking about writing on the subject of Photoshop in a more philosophical sense, but this one is just for fun because I’m happy with how this turned out.

This photo of Lucas and Tristan from this past weekend was a nice enough photo. The boardwalk leads the eye nicely to the subject, their jackets pop nicely from the background, and I think it tells a lovely little story.

outdoor portrait of brothers on the jack pine trail in winter

But by the time I’d finished it, I took a hard look and thought, “Meh.” It was a perfect candidate for a little tweak.

Although I’m pretty comfortable with a lot of Photoshop’s tools, there are some menu items I’ve never clicked before. Up until last month, the Oil Painting filter was one of them. I kinda thought the idea of rendering a photo as an oil painting was kind of cheesey, to be honest. But then I saw some amazing work in a photography forum and I was inspired to try it. I don’t love it at full strength, but look at the dreamy quality of this as compared to the version above.

outdoor portrait of brothers on the jack pine trail in winter

I love how subtle it is – you don’t really notice you’re looking at something with a filter on it, but the colours are richer and there’s a lovely dreamy quality to it. When I zoom way in, you can see how the details have been rendered smooth and sort of swirly – I love the effect on Lucas’s hair and the winter grass.

portrait of brothers on a winter walk detail

I think this would be really neat on a portrait of a girl taken from behind with really long, curly hair, or a whimsical sort of shot with lots of details, like a little tea party in the woods or something. I can see hanging this on the wall as a canvas – it really takes an ordinary shot and gives it that wow factor, but I really think you need just the right photo to pull it off.

What do you think? Do you like the effect?


Five years of Project 365 and my photo on a book cover!

23 January 2014 Mothership Photography

I love anniversaries. I keep track of the most esoteric dates so I can reflect and wax nostalgic on them, to consider the difference between then and now and to wonderingly consider all that has happened since. Next month will be the 19th anniversary of the day Beloved and I met, for example. In October, [...]

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(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: 50 favourite photos from 2013

1 January 2014 Life, the Universe and Everything

I was going to post my top 10 favourite photos from 2013, but I couldn’t get it whittled down to anything close to that. Oy, if there was ever a girl in need of an editor, it’s me! Oh well, it’s my blog and pixels are free, right? Heh, just be glad I didn’t post [...]

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Funniest use of a photo yet

27 December 2013 Mothership Photography

Ha ha ha ha! This may be the best, weirdest use of one of my photos yet! You know I license some of my photos through Getty Images, right? I’ve been collecting some of my favourites on my photography Facebook page – they’ve been used in calendars, flyers, websites, books and in magazines like Good [...]

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Beautiful Baby M’s Baptism

30 October 2013 Mothership Photography

Way back on the Thanksgiving weekend (seems like a year ago already!) while everyone was stuffing themselves with turkey and fixings, I was on my way out to a church in Orleans, where I had the very great honour of photographing the baptism of gorgeous, blue-eyed Baby M. I loved the idea of photographing a [...]

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