Mothership Photography

Oh hey bloggy friends – long time, no see! Sorry I’ve been a little lazy with the blog updates this season. I’m just coming to the end of the most amazingly fun and busy photo season ever: I’ve had bookings, sometimes double and triple, almost every weekend since Labour Day. I’ve been so busy trying to keep things moving that I just didn’t have time to keep up my “photos of the day” habit. There have been lots of fun families and great stories, though, so as we settle in to the relatively calmer holiday insanity season (!) I thought I’d do some catching up.

I really enjoyed working with this fun local family, and we’ve since become friends. They moved just this year to Manotick, returning to Canada after a stint in Los Angeles, so we based our photos around Watson’s Mill.

Family photos at the Mill-6

Beautiful family, right? The light was soft and delicious on this day as late summer gave way to autumn’s colour, but it was the black and white that carried the moment here.

Family photos at the Mill

I like how the colours and style of their clothes are complemented by the industrial feel of the Mill and the weir.

Family photos at the Mill-5

This was my favourite shot of the day, and I have to admit, it wasn’t even my idea! She was actually taking a photo of the dad and kids and I was trying to catch it, and the dad was encouraging her to turn on the selfie camera as a joke. It didn’t quite work, but with a little photoshop magic I was able to make the shot.

Family photos at the Mill-2

Fun, right? If I haven’t made the families I work with laugh at some point during our photo sessions, I haven’t done my job right. I love this sort of playfulness! Add “sense of humour” and “court jester” to the ever-lengthening set of skills required to run a family photography business. Lucky for me, both of those come pretty easily to me. Now asking me to be serious for a minute – that one’s a bit more of a challenge. 😉


October was a rough month for outdoor portrait photographers. At least one day of every weekend in October was rainy and cold, and I had to reschedule more sessions this year than ever before due to poor weather conditions. In fact, this lovely family and I had to reschedule not once, not twice, but three times between late September and early November. And when they did finally make it out to the porch on a day that wasn’t raining, the wind was fierce and cold. Lucky for me, they were happy to try to make things work with the help of a couple of blankets and the bit of shelter from the wind that the porch provides.

And hey, don’t the blankets make them look extra snuggly and cuddly?

autumn on the porch (1 of 5)

A couple of well-placed kisses helped warm things up, too.

autumn on the porch (3 of 5)

autumn on the porch (5 of 5)

autumn on the porch (4 of 5)

It was late summer and lovely when we first planned to meet for photos, and there were snow crystals in the feisty wind when we finally managed to meet, but I think this family’s sunny warmth and playfulness would shine in any sort of weather.

autumn on the porch (2 of 5)

It’s been such a busy portrait season that I haven’t had a chance to share any of the dozens of lovely families I’ve met this autumn – not only my busiest but my most weather-challenged season ever as well! I’m hoping to catch up now that the season for outdoor portraits, like the daylight, is waning. Stay tuned, I have lots of happy families and beautiful portraits to share!

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I had heard about Pianos in the Park, but didn’t realize until this week that they had installed a piano right around the corner from us at our favourite place. The Ottawa version of Pianos in the Park (apparently it’s an international movement) is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing pianos to local parks. They’ve got them downtown, in Carp, Barrhaven, Riverside South, and about a dozen other location, including one right here in Manotick. This is in the gazebo at AY Jackson park.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

As soon as Tristan heard about it, he wanted to check it out. He’s been teaching himself to play piano from YouTube videos using Synthesia (not unlike Rock Band or Guitar Hero) on our electronic keyboard, but he doesn’t get a chance to play on a real piano very often.

Safe to say, he quite enjoyed it!

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

And so did Lucas, though he was more inclined to discordant banging than any actual harmonies.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

I was intrigued, so I did a little digging to find out more about the project. Founder Nicholas Pope launched Ottawa’s Pianos in the Park in 2014, modeling it on Play Me, I’m Yours, a project started in Britain that now has more than 1,300 pianos in 45 cities around the world. In an interview with the Ottawa Citizen, Pope said all the local pianos will be painted with Ottawa-specific themes, and that they take anywhere from 40 to 80 hours to finish. So the Manotick piano is in place but not yet painted – although I did notice it smells of fresh varnish.

Amazing, right? I love this so much that I joined the Pianos in the Park group on Facebook, and found out about THIS amazing project being cooked up as a tribute to Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, a traveling piano set to go on tour across Canada this October.

Piano in the Park at the Manotick Mill

Have you been to any of the other pianos in Ottawa parks? I’m thinking it would make a fun adventure to tour them all before they’re packed away until next spring.


I have a special affection for Everitt and Eileen and their parents. Not only was Everitt the subject of my first-ever family portrait session, but they are the stars of one of my favourite photos of all time.

When I met with Everitt and Eileen and their parents on a sunny Sunday morning at their favourite Centretown Park, however, Everitt wasn’t overly interested in our shared history. He was more interested in being a typical six year old boy, which means he was not particularly interested in sitting nicely for the camera. I’m pretty sure his mom had something a little bit like this in mind:

Family photography at the park with E and E

Everitt and Eileen were more on board for a little bit of chaos disguised as family playtime:

Family photos at the park with E and E

I don’t know about your family, but this second one looks a LOT more like our reality! 😉 In the end, I think I won him over.

Candid photos at the park with E and E

At the park with E and E

Remember this photo? It’s is from two-and-a-half years ago, and I still laugh when I look at it. So much story about being the big brother to a new baby sister here, isn’t there?

family photography at the park

To my delight, the family loves this photo as much as I do, so much so that we thought we might try to do a “then and now” version — and IMHO it turned out as unpredictably adorable as the first one.

Photos at the park with E and E

My marching orders with Everitt and Eileen are clear. Photos of climbing and cartwheeling and running and laughing? No problem! Photos while sitting still and posing pleasantly with your sibling? Not so much. Noted! 😉


Didn’t everyone learn to make dessert by starting with Rice Krispie squares? I tried to stay out of the way so they could do it themselves, but I did want a few photos of the action. Part of my new “day in the life” series.

Making squares (1 of 4)

Making squares (2 of 4)

Making squares (3 of 4)

Making squares (4 of 4)

(He’s not glaring at me, I swear!)

Looking at them again, I’m second guessing myself for not going with black and white. Hmmm. Still, I love having these simple stories to store away. They’ll definitely last longer than the Rice Krispie squares will. :)


What better way to save and remember a fleeting moment in time than photos? This family is leaving behind a home they loved for a new adventure, and wanted a custom photography session to document their affectionate memories of the home where they were married and started raising their young family.

The morning was grey and drizzling rain as I made my way to Hintonburg. It didn’t rain while we were shooting, but the humidity and slightly muddy ground did not do much for the look of the photographer – good thing I was behind the camera. However, the muted light from the morning overcast made for some lovely, contrasty portraits.

At home in Hintonburg

See that yellow dump truck? The mother laughingly mentioned that it was like a fifth member of the family. Watch how many times it appears in the photos.

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

Did I mention three-year-olds are AWESOME? (No irony or sarcasm intended – I seriously love the personality in this photo.)

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

Speaking of personality:

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

I have a soft spot for the in-between moments, too.

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

While this looks scripted, most of it came together organically. I was posing the grown-ups and the kids were just being kids in the foreground, so I stopped and grabbed my camera. The kiss was just a lucky capture. I think that’s where my favourite photos come from: a little bit of direction, a lot of personality, one eye on the composition and the other eye on the light, and a whacktonne of serendipity.

Photos of a family at their home in Ottawa

And just like that, a morning of memories of a favourite place, a moment in time, and a beautiful family full of love.


Photo(s) of the day: Backyard shenanigans

13 August 2016 Mothership Photography

When Liz got in touch to book for family portraits, I knew we’d have fun working together. She had been looking at her backyard to see which time of day had the best light. Yay! The only thing photographers love more than fun, friendly subjects is fun, friendly subjects in awesome light. There may have […]

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Photos of the day: Ben and Melanie at the park

6 August 2016 Mothership Photography

When people ask me if I photograph weddings, the answer is usually a tentative “sort of.” I love love love the idea of weddings, but I find them a dizzying mixture of touching, terrifying, inspiring, exhausting and amazing. It’s such a huge honour to be invited to document such an important day, but I fret […]

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Photos of the day: Five little monkeys on the porch

2 July 2016 Mothership Photography

I‘ve joked before that I will yet ban three year olds from my photography practice. They are, in my experience, equal parts willful and wonderful, and of all the ages for family portraits, I find three to be the most challenging. Imagine my delight, then, to have not one, not two, but THREE little three […]

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Photos of the day: M&J at the park

26 June 2016 Mothership Photography

You might remember back in October when I had the great honour of being the photographer for Mat and Jasmine’s wedding. It was a perfect autumn day, and their adorable toddler Jack stole the show. We’ve been trying for a few weeks now to get out to the park to celebrate their growing family (new […]

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