Mothership Photography

Traditional head shots aren’t a genre of portrait photography that I’m drawn to, but when Maranda wanted some photos of her being herself in her amazing condo for her business website, it sounded like a lot of fun. She’s a non-traditional sort of person, and she wanted photographs that would show her personality. Now THAT is something I love to do!

There were costume changes, and props, and I’m not at all surprised that her adorable wiener dog Sadie totally stole the show. Here’s a sample of the fun we had.

non-traditional head shots and professional photography in Ottawa

Isn’t she stunning? And fun and kind and smart, too. If you find yourself in need of a registered nutritionist with expertise in essential oils and life coaching, reach out to Maranda. And if you find yourself needing business pictures of you being YOU, give me a call – I’d love to work with you. Bonus points if you have a sassy attitude and adorable dachshund.


{ 0 comments }

I don’t generally accept requests to take photographs at weddings, but not because I don’t like them. Being invited to document someone’s most important day is a huge honour, and there are always so many beautiful moments to capture. (Truthfully, it’s photographing wedding receptions that’s not really my jam, mostly because they occur to close to my bedtime for comfort. The travails of an inveterate morning person.)

So anyway, when Sarah and Richard said they were looking for a photographer to document their simple elopement ceremony, I knew I had to say yes. Informal, candid and playful — and did I mention it happened to be at the Manotick dog park? Most! Fun! Wedding! Ever!!

Elopement photography at the dog park

The late afternoon light was warm and soft as they exchanged their vows with the witnesses looking on. The maid of honour read a lovely poem about how falling in love is like owning a dog. It was delightful!

Elopement at the dog park

It’s not always easy to get two dogs looking at the camera even when you don’t have a park full of much more interesting things going on behind you. You see the look on the dogs’ faces? I had just warned the humans to beware of pending screech and then let out the most high-pitched, annoying squeal I could muster to get the dogs to look at me. Worked like a charm, and the humans laughed too. Win-win!

Ottawa photographer at the park

And then they lived happily ever after.

Elopement at the dog park

Thank you, Rich and Sarah (and furbabies Audrey and Timmy), for letting me be witness to your amazing wedding in the park!


{ 0 comments }

When this family and I planned a fun family adventure photo session at the Log Cabin Orchard south of Ottawa in mid-September, we weren’t anticipating blazing heat and high humidity, but that’s exactly what we got. Lucky for me, we also got two adorable girls and two patient parents, and bunnies! And apples – lots of apples!

A family outing at the Orchard in Ottawa

I love everything this photo says about childhood: dirty knees and pretty dresses and chipped nail polish and careful fingers gently stroking a fuzzy bunny.

Family photography in Ottawa

Those eyelashes! Those freckles!

A family outing at the Orchard

Maybe it’s from chasing behind my boys all these years with my camera, but my favourite pictures of kids are often when they’re busy concentrating on anything BUT posing for the camera.

A family outing at the Orchard

A family outing at the Orchard

Candid lifestyle photography by Danielle Donders

Then again, there’s something to be said for candid shots that become poses with a quick hug and a bit of direction. 🙂

A family outing at the Orchard

Candid lifestyle photography by Danielle Donders

I’m booked up for fall family portrait sessions, but have some openings in November and December for holiday family tradition sessions. How about candid, funny photos of you and the kids making cookies, going for a hike in the crisp autumn air, or making a messy family breakfast? (Almost!) anything you do with your family that you want to remember in years to come, I can turn into an easy, informal photo shoot. Send me a note and we can chat about how!

Thanks to this sweet family for persevering through a July-like blazing hot day!


{ 0 comments }

No lining up in a row! No poses! No stiff or cheesy smiles for the camera! No Sunday-best outfits! Just fun photos to remember your family as they really look and play in this beautiful moment in time.

This September, I’m offering candid family photography sessions at the delightful Log Cabin Orchard near Osgoode. These are documentary-style photos of you and your family having fun – and yes, YOU are in the pictures this time. Plus, you get to keep the apples!

The Log Cabin Orchard is lovely. There are tractor-drawn wagon rides, a little petting zoo, and yummy churros and cider for sale, as well as a nice selection of baked goods.

We’ll spend 30 to 45 minutes in the orchard picking apples. I’ll be your own personal mamarazzi, taking photos of you and your family picking fresh Lobo, Paula Red and McIntosh apples (depending on what’s in season.) Your package even includes one-quarter bushel of apples — feel free to buy more, though, or get some yummy churros or apple cider on site.

You’ll receive an online invitation to a private gallery, from which you can choose your favourite photos. The package includes 10 high resolution, fully edited digital images, with the option to buy prints or additional images.

The cost this package, including apples AND 10 digital files, is $325. This rate applies to the apple picking family photography session only, and is valid only during September. If you’d like more information or to book a session, please email hello@danigirl.ca or contact me via this form.



{ 0 comments }

If you’re looking for a wonderful little spot to bring the family for lunch and a lovely view of the intersection of Ottawa’s two rivers, we had a really lovely lunch one summer afternoon at Ottawa’s new Tavern on the Falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It might have been because it was a Monday, or because the sky was threatening rain, or because it was mid afternoon, but we had the place pretty much to ourselves.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It’s a cousin to Tavern on the Hill, in Majors Hill Park. It’s a little tricky to find the first time. It’s tucked behind the Royal Geographic Society building on Sussex Dr, right in between it and the falls where the Rideau river meets the Ottawa river. The menu is simple, with gourmet hot dogs and an assortment of pre-made salads and wraps. We were impressed with the options for the hot dogs.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

(They are so different in almost every way, and yet every now and then I catch the family resemblance!)

There’s also what looks like a full service bar, but we weren’t there for drinks. We did, however, imbibe in some ice cream after our hot dogs. It was spitting a bit as we finished lunch, but the umbrellas provided enough cover to keep us dry. In fact, it was a little hard to tell the difference between the sprinkles and the spray from the falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

It’s a lovely area to wander, not too far from Rideau Hall. We didn’t make it that far, but we did poke around the falls a little bit, talking about how they’re the reason the Rideau Canal was built, and how Ottawa came to be settled because of them. Here’s the view of the restaurant from the other side of the falls.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

You can really see in this photo why they called these falls “Rideau” – which means curtain.

Ottawa family fun: Tavern on the Falls

We spent a lovely, lazy hour or so having hot dogs and ice cream and poking around the falls. I can imagine the sunset views are stunning, and plan to come back when the fall foliage turns colourful – won’t be long now! All in all, a lovely if not inexpensive lunch out with a gorgeous view, even on a rainy afternoon, and highly recommended.

If you go:
Tavern on the Falls is open from early morning (with Bridgehead coffee and Maverick’s doughnuts!) to late night, through the end of October, weather permitting. The street address is 1 John Street, but we found it by looking for the Royal Geographic Society and wandering around behind it.


{ 0 comments }

This was the third year in a row that I met up with this fun family for a “day in the life” candid documentary photo session. The first two were so much fun that they ended up being among my favourites of the year, and I was worried that we couldn’t possibly have as much fun for the third year in a row.

I needn’t have worried.

It was a bright, sunny late spring morning, and we had a lovely time exploring the historic locks at Long Island on the Rideau Canal.

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

I love the setting for the wide variety of backgrounds – grassy hills with trees, giant stone locks with wooden doors and bridges to clamber across, concrete steps and big wooden docks in the open sunshine. It’s a photographer’s paradise!

Playful family photography in Ottawa

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Of course, it certainly helps that this family is content to just hang out and have fun while I follow them around with my camera. And it also helps that the kids (and of course, the parents!) are super adorable and easy going.

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Family fun at the locks

Playful family photography in Ottawa

I really love this quiet little moment between mom and daughter. My favourite photos from a session are always the ones I wish I had of me and my kids, and this is definitely a keeper. No posing, no looking at the camera, so stress – just mom and daughter, being together.

Family fun at the locks

And how can you not love a kid who spontaneously dances like this?

Family fun at the locks

Seriously? Adorable.

Candid Manotick family photography

Documentary-style candid family photography sessions are my favourites. Invite me to come along on your family’s favourite summertime adventures: a day at the beach, a picnic at the park, family game night or a trip to the farm. If you love to do it, you should preserve those memories – I promise that those are the photos you’ll treasure in years to come, when you see your family’s quirky personalities caught forever.

I’m now booking for late summer and autumn sessions, and spaces are limited, so get in touch today!


{ 1 comment }

The school bus: A photo-story collaboration

20 May 2018 Creative licence

Over the years I’ve developed a fondness for photos of random things, photos that beg you to ask the question “why?” Lucky for us, the question “why” makes great inspiration for flash fiction. Each week, I send a photo to a growing list of players, and they riff on it with a piece of flash […]

1 comment Read the full article →

The workshop: A photo-story collaboration

13 May 2018 Creative licence

We have three players this week in our ongoing photo-story game. Each week, I toss out a photo to a group of players, and whomever has the time and/or inclination sends back a story inspired by the photo. I find it interesting that these stories have varying vibes of darkness and melancholy, despite the bright […]

1 comment Read the full article →

The gate: A photo-story collaboration (Now with more players!)

6 May 2018 Creative licence

Well this is wickedly fun! If you’ve been following along, for the past month or two, Christine Hennebury and I have been playing a little collaborative photo-story game. I send her a random photo, and she riffs on it with a piece of flash fiction. Last time, we invited others to join us and LOOK […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Photos of the day: Five things that make photographers happy

4 May 2018 Mothership Photography

Dawna and I have worked together on and off for more than a decade. While I’ve bumped about here, there and everywhere, she’s worked in the same building most of that time. So when she accepted an offer for a new job recently, she asked if I would be interested in a little lunch-hour photo […]

0 comments Read the full article →