Mine: Seven | Guelph Child Photographer

My son Owen celebrated his seventh birthday this past May, and as I always do, we commemorated his new age with a photo session. This last year was a big one for him — he now has Grade 1 under his belt, has been doing well with reading and writing, and he also lost his first tooth (he’s up to 4 now!). I remember at the first sign of his first wiggly tooth, I grabbed my camera to capture one of his last “baby smiles”. I’m glad that I have that image, but I’m grateful for these ones as well. My boy is growing up, and although his smile is a bit “holey” at the moment, these images will serve as a good reminder to me (and to him) of this stage in his childhood. My fun, happy, silly, curious, thoughtful, intelligent, complicated and sweet boy at seven.

Oh Canada! | Guelph Photographer

Happy Birthday, Canada!  Did you take in a fireworks display last night?  Each year we take our family to see the Canada Day fireworks display that is offered at Riverside Park, here in Guelph.  We have found a nice little location outside of the park where we can watch the show in our lawn chairs, or perched on the tailgate of our SUV.  The kids loved the beautiful colours and “booms”, and I had a lot of fun playing with some long exposure techniques.  Here are a few of my favourite shots:


New Arrival: Baby Adriana | Guelph Newborn Photographer

I have loved getting to know this family recently, first at their maternity session, and then more recently at their newborn session to capture their newest family member, Adriana.  I’d say about 95% of my newborn sessions include family shots, as I feel they should.  Welcoming a new baby is a family affair, and I love it when all immediate family members are eager to participate in the session.  Even Butters the retriever made an appearance in a couple of the shots.  Big Brother Charlie was one of the most well-behaved 2 year-olds  that I have had the pleasure of working with, and I am sure he will be a wonderful big brother to his new baby sister.  Thank you J & M for entrusting me to capture these special milestones in your family’s lives.  It has been a pleasure!

newborn sessionGuelph newborn photographernewborn and siblingnewborn session in guelphnewborn portraitsportrait studio, guelphGuelph newborn photographernewborn photographer in Guelphnewborn photography in GuelphGuelph family photographer

New Arrival: Baby Thomas | Cambridge Newborn Photographer

I had the pleasure of working with this wonderful family back in May, who were referred to me by one of my past newborn clients. I absolutely love referrals, and am so appreciative when clients come to me based upon hearing about someone else’s positive experience. Baby Thomas came to be photographed at 10 days new. He and his Big Sister were so well-behaved, and I’m sure they will be the best of friends as they grow up together. I’m looking forward seeing how much little Thomas grows and changes over the next few months, as I will be photographing him again around his 6-month mark!


My Own: Reagan Turns Five! | Guelph Child Photographer

Birthdays are such an important occasion in a child’s (and parent’s!) life. Children grow and change so quickly, and each year they are achieving new milestones and developing their personalities. Birthdays are pretty much the equivalent to Christmas for a child. Immediately after celebrating a birthday, my kids are eager for the next one to come. I’m not sure at what point birthdays lose their appeal for adults. Actually, I sit here writing this on my own birthday. Although it is nice to receive birthday wishes via cards, texts, phone calls and social media, at this point in my life I really don’t have the same excitement for my birthday as I once did…even early in my adulthood years. I find that now one of the best things about my own birthday is watching my children’s excitement for me to celebrate my day. They love giving me hand-made cards, watching excitedly as I unwrap my gifts, and singing the birthday song. They always try to make each birthday a special and memorable one for me. I want to do the same for them as well. For each birthday that my children celebrate, I make a point of documenting their new age with a small photo session. Although they aren’t always willing to be my models and muses, this is the one time every year that they ASK me to take their photos.

My oldest and middle child celebrate their birthdays nine days apart, and so the end of April into early May is a very busy time in our household. Reagan celebrates her birthday first, and this year she turned five. She was so excited to turn five, because five means that she will be transitioning to SK (senior kindergarten), which also means that she is allowed to play in the “big yard” at school. It’s the little things the mean the most, apparently :)

I took Reagan to a nearby location one evening, as a newly turned 5 year-old. Here are my favourites from our time together…
It was a bit of a windy night, and I kept reminding her not to let go of her balloon…and then this happened…
She was absolutely distraught that her birthday balloon soared up, up and away. I’m not gonna lie…there were some tears.  But luckily they didn’t last too long.  On a side note — I wonder what that poor bird was thinking!?
I am proud to say that this last image has a permanent home on my wall in the form of a 20×30 canvas. I love looking at it every day!2015-06-18_0012.jpg

Baby Milestone Session: Ben | Guelph Baby Photographer

It doesn’t seem like that long ago I was photographing this little guy as a newborn, and last month I had the opportunity to photograph him again for his 6 1/2 month Baby Milestone session. These sessions are popular amongst parents who would like to document the “sitting” stage, and they are a favourite of mine to photograph. Babies are often full of facial expressions at this age and are thrilled to show off their sitting skills, taking in the world from a whole new perspective. The milestone sessions last approximately 30-minutes, which I find is the perfect amount of time to keep baby’s interest while capturing several different set-ups. Here are a few favourites from Ben’s session…

Digital Files — Printing at Consumer Labs versus the Pro Lab your Photographer Uses | Guelph Photographer

Digital files.  We live in a digital world and it seems that the majority of my inquiries are interested in digital image collections.  Although I do offer digital collections, I always have an uneasy feeling about how the images will look when printed through a regular consumer lab.  Today my feelings were 100% validated.

I have seen this experiment done before, but wanted to try it out for myself.  Although I knew that there would likely be some variation amongst the different labs, the results were astounding!   As a photographer,  my job is to produce quality imagery for my clients. I also want my clients to have high-quality products that are truly representative of the time and work that I put into every single image that I deliver. When I edit my photographs, I do so on a calibrated monitor to ensure that what I see will closely match the printed version that can be obtained through my professional printing lab. I have done a great deal of research and testing through various labs in order to find vendors that provide quality products and prints that I am proud to present to my clients.

Currently my business model is set up in a way that allows my clients to choose to order prints through me, or they may opt to purchase digital collections and print their photographs at the lab of their choice.  I do have some clients though, that purchase digital collections but also order prints and products through me. It’s a win-win situation :)   When a client walks away from their session with professionally printed products, I genuinely feel like I have done my job well, and am proud to standby my work that will be shared and displayed in those client’s homes.

When clients do opt to print their images through my studio, I look over every single print that comes from my lab to ensure that it meets my expectations and is a close match to the original file.  If for any reason something doesn’t meet my standards, I contact my lab and the issue is corrected and the product is re-ordered. Unfortunately when I hand off a USB to my clients and they choose to print at a consumer lab, I don’t have the opportunity to provide that same quality-control. :(

What most people aren’t aware of is that when photographs are printed through consumer labs, the printers often run on default settings.  These default settings spit out prints that have set levels for adjustments such as exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpening.  When your photographer’s images are printed at these labs, basically all of the time and effort that they put into editing that image is undone…or messed with, at the very least.  Obviously this results in images that look entirely different than what was created for you by your photographer. At first glance, many clients may not even be aware of the difference, unless of course they do a side-by-side comparison of their photograph with the original image on their screen.  Read on and you will be wowed by the various outcomes that are possible for a single image.

For my little experiment, I chose three different images to print. There  really is no rhyme or reason as to why I selected these images specifically, though I did want to ensure that one of them at least had some solid, bold colour to it, just to see how that printed across the different labs. I printed each image four times, at four different labs: a pro lab, Walmart, Blacks, and Costco. I then scanned the printed images in groupings so that they could easily be compared . This step slightly altered the appearance of the images, but you can still get the general idea of the drastic differences between the labs. Aside from scanning the photographs, no adjustments were made by me. Below you will find each grouping along with the original edited digital file — the image that depicts how I intended the photograph to appear.

Example 1:

newborn session in Guelph^ Original File ^

Example 1

As you can see, there is a noticeable colour difference between the four images.

Pro Lab — It’s a very close match to the original file.  I’m happy with it, and I’m sure my client would be too!
Black’s — This image is very saturated and has a lot of contrast to it. Baby’s skin is looking very red, the highlights are over-exposed and in person there is a noticeable pink shadow to the left of the bench.
Costco — Saturation, contrast and exposure was definitely messed with here.  Baby’s skin also has an orange tinge to it.
Walmart — This version of the image is heavily saturated, and the whites are looking more blue-green.  Baby’s skin is also quite orange.


Example 2:

Guelph newborn photographer^ Original File ^


Wowzers. All four images are noticeably different and seeing how some of these could possibly be displayed in client’s homes makes my heart sink.

Pro Lab — Although this is the best out of the four in my opinion, I would have been happier with a bump in the exposure to brighten up babe’s skin and the pink rug.  If this was for a client, I probably would have made some adjustments and re-ordered.
Black’s — This looks so bad.  The fur is a completely different shade of pink than it is in actuality. Overall the image is darker and more saturated than intended.
Costco — Yikes. The image is yellow, and way over-exposed.  It looks washed out, and well…yuck.  What more is there to say?!
Walmart — Probably the closest to the pro lab in terms of colour, but still heavily saturated and more red than the original file.

Example 3:

newborn photographer in southwestern ontario

^ Original File ^

consumer lab versus pro lab printing

Black’s — So for starters, the backdrop appears to be a completely different colour all together. It is looking more grey, rather than taupe. Baby’s skin is very red and saturated, and the wrap is dark and contrasty.
Walmart — This image is quite yellow, which can be seen when comparing the colour of the backdrop and baby’s skin.   It is dark, contrasty and also appears to be over-sharpened.
Pro-Lab — I’m quite happy with the results here.
Costco — The highlights are noticeably brighter,  there is a red tinge to the entire photograph, and no doubt that saturation and contrast were altered.

In addition to the exposure, contrast and colour differences, there is a big difference in how the photographs feel as well. The pro lab images are printed on high-quality photo paper, and also include a lustre coating that protects the photograph. The consumer lab papers feel very thin, flimsy, and cheap. The worst one in my opinion is from the Walmart lab. I’ve had the images for a day and already the edges are curling up.

So, now that you have seen the results for yourself, you are probably asking where should you have your images printed?  Well, I suppose it depends on how important the images are to you, and perhaps what the intended use for them will be. Custom photography is an investment.  When you hire a photographer, you are investing in their experience and talent…and in the end you should have beautiful prints that are a true representation of the art that your photographer created for you!

When my clients purchase digital collections, it is recommended that any enlargements or wall art printed through the studio.  The reason for this is clearly outlined in the results of this experiment.  I want my clients to proudly display imagery that is representative of what the original work looks like…and when someone asks my clients who their photographer is, I would like to be proud of, and fully standby the final printed product too :)
The outcomes in example #2 specifically – yikes.  I would feel horrible to see results 2,3 or 4 enlarged and up on someone’s  wall.

This little project definitely has me thinking about some possible options and changes that I may make within my business to ensure that all of my clients have at the very least, a tangible reference to compare their own consumer lab prints to.

‘Just Baby’ mini sessions | Guelph baby photographer

Another round of ‘Just Baby’ mini sessions are open for booking!  This will be the final baby milestone mini event until the fall/winter months.  These sessions are ideal for babies between 6-12 months of age.  Set-ups will be simple and timeless so that we can focus on baby and capturing beautiful images of his/her features and personality.  Some simple props and accessories (ie. knit baby pants, rompers, headbands/tiebacks) will be available to incorporate into some of the shots.  Email info@definingmomentsphotography.ca or call 519-824-1459 to secure your time slot.


baby photography in Guelph

Project 52 – Weeks 13-19 | Guelph photographer

Week 13 – Solitude

My youngest waiting for her brother and sister to arrive home from school.

guelph child photographer
Week 14 – Love

My own.  I love them with everything in me, and it warms my heart so see the love and adoration that they have for one another.

Week 15 – Quiet Moments

My boy. Freshly turned 7.

Guelph children's photographer
Week 16 – Freedom

One windy day just Owen and I headed to a nearby field to fly our kite.  We both enjoyed ourselves and shared a few laughs.  He loves running free…
kite flying

Week 17 – Freelensing

Freelensing is a technique whereby you photograph an image without your lens actually being attached to your camera body.  Early one morning I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful the dew looked on the grass in the sunlight.  It took a bit of playing around before I was able to capture an image that I really liked using this method, but I’m happy with how this one turned out.

morning dew
Week 18 – Floral

Tulips are my favourite flower…
Week 19 – Sunset

I took this image of my daughter Reagan while we were camping during the Victoria Day long weekend.  The sunsets over Lake Huron are simply stunning.
Guelph photographer
Week 20 – Double Exposure/Growth

So the photographers that are a part of the Project 52 group that I belong to decided to change-up some of the themes so that we could work on some technical skills without having to shoot specific subjects.  The new theme was Double Exposure, which is essentially taking a photograph, and then taking a second photograph that overlaps the first frame.  Unfortunately my camera doesn’t have this feature, so I tried to create a similar effect in Photoshop.  I hated it.  So I decided to go back to the original theme which was Growth.
double exposure in photoshopspring blossoms