Lights, Camera, Sparkle in NYC | Guelph Portrait Photographer

This past November, I took a leap and attended a workshop in the U.S with a photographer and artist whose work I have admired for quite some time — Meg Bitton.  Taking this workshop had been on my bucket list for a couple of years, and last December when it was announced, I quickly grabbed my spot.   I had given myself enough time to prepare — 10+ months to save up and budget for the trip, and to prepare myself for the actual time away from my family.  You see, this was an epic step for me, not just for myself as photographer and business owner, but as a mom; up until this point I had never left my three young kids for more than just an evening away…so the thought of leaving them for 3 nights was a bit daunting.  Also add to the mix that I had never traveled or stepped foot on a plane by myself.  Needless to say, I had a bit of anxiety built up and a few butterflies in my stomach upon my departure to New Jersey.

Once on my way, I realized that traveling solo wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be, and although the quiet and solitude was a bit uncomfortable at times (especially on the first night when I arrived at the hotel), it gave me the chance to reflect on why it was important that I pushed myself to take this journey.  I had several reasons for wanting to take this particular workshop.  Within my own business, I  focus on maternity, child and family photography, but I wanted to learn a different approach to carrying out these types of sessions.  Meg’s images always draw me in.  They are interesting, soft, sometimes moody, and always evoke an emotion and tell a story.  I wanted to learn how to better incorporate these facets into my own style of work.  I also hoped to learn how to nail the connection with the subject being photographed…particularly a young child who may have their own agenda at the time of the session.  Finally, I hoped that this experience would help me feel more confident about my own work.  Confidence is a challenge for me, period.  Both in myself, and in my work. For me it really is a daily struggle.  I know that confidence cannot be learned, or gained simply from attending a workshop, but I am hoping that as I continue to grow and learn (enter ‘continuing education opportunities’), my work will get better too.  I eventually hope to have the confidence to just put myself and my work out there, without doubting and second-guessing myself, or worrying about what others may think.  I truly admire Meg’s ability to do this and wish it came more naturally to me.

Going into the workshop, I tried not to have any expectations.  I simply hoped that it would be a fun and valuable learning experience, and it was.  I learned some new things about myself too. I did come away with some really great tips that I think will help me with my overall workflow, while also enabling me to better enhance my images in post-processing as well.  An added bonus was that I made some inspiring and talented new friends during the process and have enjoyed re-connecting with them online since returning home!

Our models were wonderful and despite the very cold temperatures (I’m Canadian, so you know if I say it was cold, it was REALLY cold!), they rocked their sessions.  And we did get to see how one may deal with a child who wants to do anything but stand and smile in front of the camera…so although it may have been a “hiccup” at the time, I am glad that the situation presented itself so that we could learn from it.  My favourite sessions were the ones shot in NYC.  I had never been to New York City before, so for me just being there was an experience in itself!  I had never done an urban shoot prior to the workshop either, and I loved having the opportunity to try something new, and get outside of my comfort zone.   I enjoyed it so much that I hope to do some more urban sessions in the future with my own clients here in Guelph, or in surrounding areas such as the GTA.

I had a lot of fun shooting and editing this collection of my favourite images from the workshop.  I enjoyed trying some new techniques in Photoshop, and even let my creativity run free by adding some magic and whimsy to a few of the images.  Although I can’t take credit for the pre-planning, styling, directing,  and concepts behind the photos, I can say (with confidence!) that I am happy with how these images turned out.   Looking through them truly make my heart happy.  Coming away from the workshop made me realize that I need to shoot more for myself, both personally and professionally.  I need to seek out and shoot the type of sessions that I want to shoot, and in the way that I envision them from start to finish.  Going forward, I want to continue to create images like these in my own way…depicting smiles, details, quiet moments, beauty, and most importantly, images that speak to me.  I have so many ideas running through my mind about some things I’d like to try, so stay tuned to see what unfolds ;)

Without further ado, my favourite images from my time in New Jersey & NYC…
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A Look Back at 2014 | Guelph Family Photographer

The New Year will be upon us in just a few more hours, and I am so excited to see what 2015 has in store!  I am looking forward to introducing some new changes and session offerings in the coming months, and am anxious to work with some repeat clients and meet some new faces as well.  Thank you to all of my family, friends, clients, supporters and photography friends for making 2014 a memorable one.  Here is a look back at some of the wonderful families that I had the chance to work with this past year!

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An Early Christmas Gift: Baby Sienna | Guelph Newborn Photographer

My adorable baby niece Sienna Jasmine (pronounced ‘Jasmeen’) made her grand entrance into the world on December 6th, a bit earlier than anticipated as her actual due date was set for Christmas Eve.  Though she was received with no less excitement or love!  Her older siblings adore her, and I am a proud auntie once again!  My sister and her family made the trek from their home in Niagara Falls, Ontario to mine in Guelph, so that I could photograph her newborn session at 7 days new.  This little princess really made me work.  She was so cute and calm for most of the session, giving me lots of opportunities for beautiful awake shots, but after almost 3 hours of being wide awake, she finally caved and let her auntie play a bit while getting some sleepy shots too.  The waiting was worth it…I think so anyways.  A big thank-you to my lovely sister for all of her help, and most of all, patience!  It was a very long session, but I didn’t want to miss any opportunity to shoot her while she was sleeping, because it literally took FOREVER to get her into that state.  I’m sure you will be seeing more of this beauty on my blog in the future.

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2014 Client Appreciation Giveaway | Guelph portrait photographer


In the spirit of giving and the holidays, and to show my appreciation to my clients for making 2014 such a memorable year, I am giving away a $250 gift certificate and an 11×14 canvas to one lucky winner!

To enter: Email me your favourite image from our session together this past year, and tell me what makes this photo special to you. Please send your entry to Entries will be received until December 20th. The winner will be selected by random draw on December 21st.

**If you did not purchase the digital file of your favourite image, feel free to send me a quick snapshot of your photo…even if it’s up on the wall. I love seeing how my clients display their images.

Good luck to everyone, and thank you again for making 2014 a wonderful year for myself, and my little business!


XO  Dana
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Baby Brother | Guelph newborn photographer

I know I have said it before, but I just love watching my client families grow!  I had the privilege of photographing this couple’s first born as a wee babe, and have had the opportunity to photograph her since.  I was thrilled to learn that they were expecting a baby boy, Benjamin, this past October.  This little guy is just so handsome, and I look forward to watching him grow and change in the coming year!  Thank you again C & S for choosing me to photograph your baby boy.  You have such a beautiful family!

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The Mock Family | Owen Sound Family Photographer

I have known this family for many years, and have now photographed their extended family on two occasions. I loved having the opportunity to photograph them on the shoreline of Georgian Bay, just outside of my hometown of Owen Sound. Although some Smarties & Skittles were required for bribery, a lot of fun was had, and I am thrilled with the shots that we got that evening. Thank you again Mock Family for having me photograph your beautiful family!


Baby Thomas: A Guardian Angel | Owen Sound Newborn & Family Photographer

I thought about this blog post for awhile, and didn’t know where to start.  I often post session shares here on my blog, but this is a unique situation. Every family has their own story, but in this instance I thought it would be more fitting for Sarah to tell her own family’s story.  Thank you, Sarah…for being so open, honest, courageous, and brave.   You are a true inspiration, and I am proud to be able to call you a friend.  Thank you for graciously sharing your journey with us.  We continue to pray and send positive thoughts your way.  Stay strong, friend.  Hugs!

Sarah’s Words:

Not every baby saves his mothers life. Not only is Thomas a miracle himself, he is also my guardian angel. Thomas was born prematurely at 27 weeks weighing 1lb 13oz. He came at a critical time…when doctors refused to deliver him, and I was given only weeks to live without chemotherapy treatment. You see, I only learned that I had cancer when I had unusual pains at week 21 of my pregnancy that left me hospitalized. I was eventually diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer that has spread to my liver. Thomas seemed to sense his mother’s struggle, and knew the only way we both would live was if he was born naturally. That way we could both fight our own battles side by side at the hospital.   Today Thomas is a scale tipping 9lbs and  is doing amazing.  Doctors are pleasantly surprised with his outstanding growth and development.  I continue to receive chemo with hopes of shrinking my tumours until they can be operated on–praying this will all be behind us one day and that I will be able to watch my miracle baby grow each day, for years to come.  

Dana has been a long time friend of my husband and I.  We struggled for years to have a baby.  When we did, we knew immediately we wanted Dana to capture our special moments. Her natural talent made her an easy choice.  We didn’t know that our circumstances would be so unique…Instead of a maternity session, Dana came to the neonatal intensive care unit to photograph out preemie son.  And instead of doing a newborn session, she kindly packed up her studio and came to our home to photograph Thomas as a 4-month old babe…who was now just the size of a newborn.  Her photos mean the world to us.  They will transcend time and stand as a testament of our love- as a mother’s love-for her son.  I couldn’t be happier with our photos.  No matter what the future holds, Thomas will always be able to see and know the love and tenderness we shared.  He will witness our special bond and know that I’ll always be there for him.



New Addition | Guelph Newborn photographer

This past summer I had the pleasure of reuniting with a family who I had worked with 2 years ago, when I photographed their first daughter  Jayd, at 5 weeks-old.  Sometimes toddlers don’t really understand what’s happening when a new baby is on the way, but Jayd seemed to be quite excited about the prospect of having a new baby around.  Even at our maternity session, she wanted to snuggle mommy’s tummy to love on her baby sister Kyra.  I’m sure these two girls will have a beautiful bond as sisters, and will also be close friends.   Thank you S & C for choosing me to photograph these special milestones in your lives — you have such a beautiful family!







Christmas Minis | Guelph photographer

Christmas Mini session

Our Christmas Mini Sessions are open for booking!  There are two events to choose from:  the {Kids Only} Christmas Minis, and the outdoor Family Minis.  The details for each event can be found below.  There is limited spaces for each day, so please book early to avoid disappointment.  What-to-Wear suggestions will be provided upon booking.   Email to secure your time slot.

*Note: a 50% non-refundable retainer is required at the time of booking to secure your spot


{Kids Only} Christmas Mini Sessions
Details:  We will be bringing the outdoors into the studio…complete with snow (of the fake variety, of course!) for the {Kids Only} Christmas Minis. Our Winter Wonderland set will be designed in mostly whites, grey and silver with a touch of sparkle too. When planning your child’s wardrobe, feel free to go casual, dressy, or even add some stylish winter accessories that they would normally wear outdoors. Keep in mind that footwear will be worn, and may be visible in the photographs.

Date:  October 18th, 2014.

Package:  15-minute in-studio session for up to 3 siblings, two sets, all edited images via digital download (maximum of 8), and a set of 25 holiday cards

Cost:  $225+hst

Outdoor Family Christmas Mini Sessions
Details:  These styled sessions will take place at an outdoor location (tba) and are available for up to 5 family members.  The set will include a antique-style couch, and some natural and simple festive props.

Date:  November 22nd, 2014.

Package:  20-minute session for up to 5 family members, all edited images via digital download (maximum of 12), and a set of 25 holiday cards

Cost: $325+hst