Photo Marathon 2013 :: SPRING! :: Hamilton, Ontario

The first Marathon of 2013 was over the weekend and it was great for a few reasons:

1-the weather was perfect!  Not too hot, not chilly, not wet….just right.

2-we shot it at the new outdoor studio: our farm!

3-no one got lost and missed their session!

4-there was great variety from session to session–young families, older families, extended families and just the girls :)

5-everyone did SUCH a great job on their wardrobe!   It makes a HUGE difference and you all looked fabu!

6-very, very little crying.   It’s true–I hardly cried.

7-a smaller group!  Instead of 9 or 10 sessions in one day I settled on six and it was so refreshing.

Ok, I could go on and on–but the point is, the Spring Marathon was a great success.  A HUGE thank you to my faithful assistant who made a special reprise just for this session–Rita!    And thanks to my husband for dropping EV-REY-THING to help me prep our property and locations for the sessions.  And finally, thanks to all the new and old friends who booked a session and made such an effort to look swell and arrive early–you made the day fun and easy!

Private galleries should be ready soon–I’ll email you when they’re ready and we can schedule a time in-studio or online for you.


2013-marathon-claire-dam-1ps. Amy I PROMISE there are a bunch of great family shots, but I couldn’t resist posting these two of the boys :)


We had two session with ‘just the girls’ which is always a lot of fun for everyone–typically lots of awkward giggling and really close contact.   I can’t wait for the day I had an all-guys group ;)


You might recognize these cuties from the Fall 2012 Marathon.  This time they brought more family!

2013-marathon-claire-dam-5Another just-the-girls session–can you guess who the star of the show is?

*Special thanks to Aimee for doing such a gorgeous job on Katie’s make-up!   Which you can’t see in b&w…oops.  Trust me…it looked awesome.

2013-marathon-claire-dam-6These kids…I mean, come on.   They can’t stop being so CUTE!

2013-marathon-claire-dam-4Last session of the day–but no lack of energy and affection<3

And please leave a comment if you like what you see…Thank you!


Baby Brighton | Hamilton Newborn Photographer | Hamilton, ON


Katie and James are one of my newer Bump-to-Babe clients and we’ve had SO much fun with all their sessions.   I can’t encourage all of you out there enough to trust your professional to do their job and they will surprise you!  (And this applies to most tradespeople and professionals.)   Putting restrictions on & trying to control creative professionals will stifle them and bore you with the results.   So do yourself a favour and collaborate with your creative professional–you’ll be so happy with the products–I promise!

Anyway–all that to say, Katie and James encouraged me to do my thang and also brought a lot of great concepts forward and together we’ve brought them to life!    You should check out their very popular maternity session here.  It was so well-received that it was featured on a couple different baby blogs in Canada and the US!

Little Brighton came pretty early–about 3 weeks–so things were a little bumpy for the first week or so, but by the time we shot this lovely newborn session at Katie & James’ house she was doing awesome and was SUCH a great little model!

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After some family pics and pics with Mom and Dad we got her to sleep and she stayed asleep–it was awesome!    She was so cooperative to get posed and moved around and have things put on her head and moved around–she was totally conked out!



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The day before this session I’d been doing some reading on newborn photography and in that article the author mentioned that babies almost always smile during newborn sessions, but you just need to be ready for it.   In retrospect of all the newborn sessions I’ve done I realized she was RIGHT!   I just wasn’t ever expecting it–when I should be.  So once we got Brighton in this position we waited….and waited…and before long we got a sweet little smile.   But not before an awesome frown.   That girl can frown!


If you remember the maternity session you’ll remember the above little birch-bark crown I had made—we included it in the shots in the bookstore and outside on the bed.      And if you’ll also recall, we did a number of shots in the bookstore–a special pastime for Katie & James.   So to finish we hung out in Brighton’s room reading books and snuggling.   (I say ‘we’ but I didn’t snuggle.  Although that would have been nice…)     Finally, please note the pic of their cat–this guy….just blows me away.  I’m not a ‘cat-person’ per se, but, wow.   Right?



Congratulations Katie & James!   Look what you made!  She’s lovely.


If you like what you see–check out some of my other posts too!   But more importantly please leave a comment to let me know you liked it!

Sometimes I feel like I’m in an empty auditorium.   Sniff…

Elijah’s 6 Month :: Hamilton Baby Photographer :: Hamilton, ON

Yes!  The latest and greatest blog post is up and on this little man’s birthday.   I totally didn’t mean to schedule it this way–it was meant to be!

(sorry don’t know why the images are all mis-sized!  Looks like amateur hour over here…)

I’ve happily know this wee family for a long time now–I was there for his parents engagement, their wedding, this little man’s newborn photos and then his 6-month photos.   It’s so fun being able to watching a family grow from two individual people into many people belonging to one family unit.   Pretty cool actually…








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Wardrobe change!



We had grand plans to recreate a special shot that we did for his parents’ engagement photos–involving a lot of balloons and a baby floating away in a cradle while mom & dad jumped after him.   It would have been really cute, but alas it was so incredibly windy the balloons knotted, popped and were basically blowing horizontally.   Fingers crossed I get another chance to try again!


I love this series of photos below–the lighting, the evergreens, the blanket–it’s all just sweetness.





Happy Birthday little E!  You are TWICE as old today as you were when we took these photos and I’m guessing twice as cute!


Little Julija :: A Summer Tea Party :: Oakville Family & Baby Photographer

Aw…it makes me a little sad to think that this was the last session in Denise & Nick’s Bump-to-Baby sessions.   You can see their maternity shots at Bronte Creek here, and I’m going to post one of baby Julija at the end of this post–because apparently I never blogged it!    (But you can see a mix of both shoots here.)

What an adorable, gorgeous, loving little family!   We’ve had a lot of fun shooting all three sessions and we’ve always ended up with some really beautiful images–if I do say so myself.   It’s difficult to make these guys look bad.

It’s been a fun road–paved with humidity, a little fusing, the ‘cupcake incident’ and lots and lots of smiles.   Thanks for making me look good, you guys.

Sweet little Julija just six months ago!

Baby Benjamin :: Hamilton & Toronto Newborn & Family Photographer

I was so happy to receive a phone call and email from the Parsons who had had a third baby in the time since I photographed their 2nd newborn–Claire.   This time it was a little boy, Benjamin!

We wanted to recreated a few classic shots and then the rest of the time we focused on candid shots in and out of the house.

The eldest, Noah, had turned into quite the little scholar since I’d seen him last, asking lots of smart questions and using really big words–big words for a big brother twice over, I suppose.

With the help of Christine and dear Monkey we got the kids smiling pretty quickly–good ol’ Monkey.  Oh, and Christina too… :)

Just the boys together…

Noah is such a tender, protective big brother!   By the way, none of these photos were specifically ‘posed’.  Noah’s just like that…cutie.

And of course, with my luck, the little baby who apparently can sleep through anything wouldn’t really sleep much for me.   Classic.   Oh well, I can work with anything–and we got some really lovely waking close-ups and some sleeping smiles shots!   Ben’s a smiley little man.

Just the girls…who are outnumbered now!  Uh oh!   Although with smiles like that I can’t see them ever being overlooked.

While we were shooting in the bedroom Christina was with the kiddies in the backyard.  After an unfortunate tumbling accident–some clothes had to be changed and a little boo cleaned up, but everyone was all smiles once again as we shot some more family shots on the back deck.

While we finished up with Ben, the kids happily played in the backyard–and with the sun at just the right angle, I couldn’t resist a few backlit shots around the yard.

Congratulations on the safe arrival of Benjamin, you guys!   Hopefully see you for #4?   No pressure….but you make cute kids.

Saiyaa’s 18th Month! :: Burlington & Oakville Family Photographer

Saiyaa was in top-form for her 18-month shoot last week!  She’s gotten pretty used to the routine by now and is at the age where she’s able to enjoy the process (and the attention!) a bit more.

This time little S. was really mobile–wanting to walk around and look at the ‘ducks’.  But she was so cooperative with us adults posing her with each person and even dressing her up like a cute little sailor!   We also taught her a new game–being swung between her parents…which her parents might not be too thankful for anymore.  I have a feeling she’ll be hard to walk with for a while…

Unfortunately all the gorgeous sailboats that usually dock at the Bronte Outer Harbour Marina in Oakville hadn’t been launched yet–but with the sparkles on the water and all the docks in the background, you still get that nautical theme we were reaching for.

Since the family is taking off for Australia in a couple days, for her 2-year shoot we’ll have to dress her up like a kangaroo or something …or maybe a surfer?

See you in 6 months Sai!

The Owensbys :: Hamilton and Toronto Family Photography

It’s been over three YEARS of trying, failure, and regret over an old house on Upper James in Hamilton.  It’s just around the corner from my house, but I’ve had my eye on it for years.   It’s an old, OLD house set far back from the street with a yard full of mature trees, and a tire swing hanging from one of them, of course, and in the Spring a lawn FULL of tiny little blue flowers.

Every Spring I try to contact the owners, landlord, real estate agent etc. to get permission to shoot there before the flowers die (or are mercilessly cut down by a mower!!!!), and every year I can’t reach anyone in time.  Finally this year, after setting one of my new goals as ‘be fearless’, I just went up to the house and started knocking on doors until someone answered, damnit!

Once a stunning old home of affluence, it’s since been divided and sub-divided into characterless apartments–save the front entrance and stair case that still holds some of its old, elegant craftsmanship.   The only tenants remaining informed me that the house had changed hands a number of times in the last few years and they aren’t surprised I never heard back from anyone–they’ve yet to meet their new landlord after 6 months!

They happily agreed to let me shoot on their front lawn–saying they wouldn’t call the cops on me since we’d all met.   And just as I was about to leave they commented that it was a good thing I wanted to shoot now because the house was being torn down in June!  How bittersweet.

When I scheduled the Owensbys at this location for their family/maternity/birthday shoot I was literally jittery with excitement–many years of regret for not having been bold enough to just go to the house and ASK, and now I was shooting there, at the perfect time of year, with the perfect family and just before it was destroyed forever.  It’s like poetry.

*Due to the harsh direction of the setting sun there aren’t any clear shots of the house, BUT I’m scheduling another shoot at this location before it’s torn down–and you’ll see lots of house images then!*

The above shots were in full-sun, which is not ideal, and is why their temperature is really warm compared to the rest of the shots–but how could I not grab a few shots of this when Judah, then Taavi came by to ‘touch-base’ with Mum before running off to play some more?

Below you can see the flower-filled front lawn and just a corner of the old house.  It was incredibly challenging working with the lighting, but wanting to capture the flowers AND the busy kids while avoiding shooting Upper James–which is very visible in lots of the shots.  Thankfully a super-low depth-of-field covers up a lot of the imperfections.

Below there are a lot of shots of Aria–I wasn’t playing favourites, promise.  Her birthday is coming up in a week or so, and for a couple years now I’ve promised I’d do a birthday shoot for her, and wow, does she know how to work it.  And I have no idea where she gets that trait from… ;)

After being a little too serious I let the kids go through my Mary Poppins bag of props and costumes and let them play on the tire swing.  I always love getting the posed stuff out of the way and letting kids just play.  I get the most authentic shots when they’re playing.  And the most hilarious.   Brother Judah had my husband and I laughing that night as I dumped the shots onto my computer and starting culling.

And what’s childhood without swinging?  Again, it was hard to catch the kids as they swung around on the tire, in and out of harsh light and shade and in front of the ugliness of Upper James.   Thank goodness for F1.4.

Finally, we have the classic it’s-all-about-the-kids shot where the parents are headless caregivers merely present to complete the hand-holding chain and prevent any outbreaks of violence or ‘misbehaving’.  Personally, I prefer the ‘misbehaving’ look.

Let’s Get It Started: Brant County Family Photographer


Good ol’ Monkey came out to play again for this shoot with the lovely Pajunen family!   But it wasn’t what made the kids smile–nope, this time it was the infectious beats of the Black Eyed Peas that brought out the smiles (and all the sweet moves!).

We all had a great time playing dress-up, playing with the not-so-functional cameras, swinging on the hammock and rocking out at a dance party!    Thanks for letting me in to capture some fun, special, energetic moments in your lives.

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Saiyaa turns One: Burlington/Oakville Children’s Photographer


This family is another one of my special families who I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a few times starting with maternity photos for this little monkey–all the way up to her 1st birthday!

But man, did she ever make me work for it!  I think there were up to 6 or 7 of us, at one point, trying to get her to smile–dancing, making weird noises, making faces, bonking each other on the head, spinning sock-monkeys in the air–but nothing would make her crack a smile.  It was pretty hilarious to us seeing how disdainfully she ignored us, but once we took her mittens off she seemed to feel more like herself and morphed into the little ham we knew she could be.

In the end it was a gorgeous day, beautiful locations and lots of smiles.   Happy Birthday Saiyaa!

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Baby Rae: Hamilton Baby Photographer

I’ve mentioned this before but one of the perks of my job is the ‘continuity of care’ I get to provide to some of my clients.  I get to be there for their engagements, weddings, pregnancies, births and family photos and so on!  It’s pretty cool!

This is one little family I’ve had the privilege of knowing for a while but working with for almost a year now as we worked our way through their Bump-to-Baby package.  The first shoot was a maternity shoot, followed soon after by a newborn shoot and finishing up with little Rae’s 6 month shoot!   And what a frickin’ cutie…she’s been such a doll to work with.  And to top it all off this family has been one of those ‘do whatever you want because we trust you’ families–and that’s kinda nice sometimes.

Congratulations again Rezek family!

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