The Summer Photo Marathon! Hamilton Family Photography :: Hamilton, Ontario

Back in the cooler days of June I hosted the first bi-annual (possibly even tri-annual!) photo-marathon at a lovely park in Hamilton/Ancaster.

We had six sessions lined up for 20-minutes each and even though the sessions were really short we were all super excited by how many fabulous shots we were able to capture in that time!   I would highly, highly recommend this type of session to everyone!

If you’re considering family portraits but are nervous your little ones won’t be able to focus for an entire session a Marathon session is perfect for you!  It’s also budget-friendly :)
I have the Fall Photo-Marathon coming up on September 22nd–just in time for Christmas cards and presents!   Email me for booking info!  info@clairedamphotography.com

Enjoy Session #1!

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Session #2

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Session #3

Yeah, they know they’re adorable…

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Session #4

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Session #5

I don’t know why but every time I see this shot I think of Mexican drug lords…

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Session #6 (my cousin!)

Thanks to everyone who took a chance on a weird concept–you all made my job really easy and fun!

Next Marathon is September 22nd!   $120 + HST, includes a private online gallery and TWO complimentary digital files (worth $45+HST each).   Email me info@clairedamphotography.com

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A Ladies’ Cocktail Picnic Party :: Hamilton Whimsy Photography

Dear Hilda was nominated by her loving daughters in my Mother’s Day Draw a few months ago–hoping to win a mini-session for their mother.   If you were around my Facebook page at the time you’ll remember that contest was hoppin’ towards the end–but after 111 votes Hilda beat out the competition and won the mini-session–which she chose to use with her daughters.

One of her daughters, Carolyn, is also a photographer, so she and I had fun planning the session and dreaming up something unique!  I think we achieved that goal and because of all the girls’ planning and creative energy (and actual energy moving furniture around!) we created a really whimsical little vignette for Hilda’s Mother’s Day mini-sesh.

Happy Mother’s Day Hilda!  You are very clearly much beloved by your girls.

Not Just Skin Deep photo marathon :: Part Five :: Courtney & Dan

We ended the NJSD marathon sessions at the end of a hot day with a romantic couple’s session–just as the sun started to set and that ‘golden hour’ started.   It was great timing for a couple’s session.  And not just any old session–it was their anniversary AND they had just moved into their new home that very morning.  I still can’t believe they even came out after moving the same day!

But I’m so thankful they did–thanks for your support you two.  And Congratulations…on all of it!

NJSD Part Three! Hamilton Family Photography

This sweet young family is one of those families who I SHOULD know because we have something like 893 mutual friends on Facebook–yet it wasn’t until they signed up for a NJSD session that we finally got to meet.  (And now we’re FB buddies…)

Once we got little Bea warmed up and smiling we had no problem snapping up a bunch of happy family shots.  She even started to “work it” for the camera after a bit!

Thanks for your support Laura and happy to finally meet you and your family!




Not Just Skin Deep marathon sessions :: Hamilton Family Photographer :: Part Two!

Finally part two!

I was so happy to see this Hamilton family’s name on my list of people who signed up for the NJSD fundraising marathon!   I had the pleasure of going to their home a couple years ago to work with their family and their little baby, Izzy, who was just a few months old at the time.   So it was a happy reunion seeing the kids again and getting to work with this sweet little gang again.

Make sure you check out the black & white shot of little Izzy at our first shoot together.  (She looouurrved the fur rug against her naked baby skin…who wouldn’t?)

Vintage Izzy:

Not Just Skin Deep marathon sessions :: Hamilton Family Photographer :: Part One

A couple weeks ago we shot the first marathon of the year!  And it was to raise funds for melanoma awareness!  I had 5 families on-location in a park, all one after another for 20-minute sessions each–and it was really a lot of fun.  I was impressed (with myself?) by how many great shots are to be had in just 20-minutes!

As some of you may know, it’s been about 16 months since my husband Ken received the triumphant news that he had beaten a life-threatening diagnosis malignant melanoma!   So this project was/is very personal as well as fun for me.

There are too many photos to post so I’m going to post each session separately and in the order they were shot.

So let’s start with my dear old Winking pals–Josh and Esther!

So much jumping that day…it was awesome.

We lost some clothing–but these shoots are clothing optional, you know? (4 and under)…

You say you want more jumping?!?  OK!

(Sorry–don’t know why the watermark is on J’s face on the first shot…)

It was SO great to shoot with Esther and Josh and their little monkeys–we really started the day off with a bang…or a jump.

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.


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.

Baby Harper:: Hamilton Newborn Photographer

Through my dear old doula friend Shannon at Birth on Earth I was happily connected with Sarah & Matt and their young, energetic family of three little girls.    I’ve had a lot of newborn boys through my doors lately, so I was really looking forward to doing some girly stuff with baby Harper.

I know Sarah might feel otherwise, but the girls were so well-behaved and had a lot of fun hamming it up and playing around for the camera.    I’ve worked with a lot of small children and it was fun to be around a bunch of little girls who just wanted to twirl :)

Harper was a little doll–figuratively and literally.  Once she settled, which was really quickly!, she slept easily through the rest of the shoot and allowed us to create a few different shots.  My favourite shot was one I had been saving for a little girl–and it was the Princess and the Pea shot–pictured above.   For all you beginner newborn photographers–please note: this is photoshopped!  Babies should never be put into situations where one false move or accident could harm them!

For this image I started with Harper just on the one mattress on the bed, then after the shoot I set up the bed with all the other mattresses and the gigantic ‘pea’ and then put the two images together.  Takes some of the magic away, I know, but it’s important that people know I’d never put a baby on top of 9 wobbly mattresses.  And neither should you.

Anyway!  It was a joy working with Harper and her adults and I hope the playfulness and tenderness in this family will shine through their photos.

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Baby Sarah :: Hamilton Infant Photography

Oh Sarah—I finally got to meet this delightful little suitcase-dweller after way too many months of NOT meeting her.   I can’t say that Sarah is directly related to me, as nice as that would be, but her aunt is my sister.  So…therefore I claim familial rights to her cuteness!

I’ve known her mother, Jenn, for about 25 years now and count her among one of my ‘sisters’–so it was un petite pue torturous when I had to wait all these months to even meet Sarah–since Jenn and her family live up North.  Like, waaaaay up North.  Not cottage country North, not even Sudbury North…in fact, when you hit Sudbury, you’re half way.  Yes, I mean North.

Anyway, I hope you grasp that they live North.   And I hadn’t met Sarah yet because every time Jenn would come to visit I’d be away, or shooting a wedding somewhere out of town or something.  GAH!  The agony!    But all was made well once I got to see them all and have this really fun shoot!  Sarah is at that perfect age that’s AMAZING for photos–she isn’t mobile yet, but she can mostly sit up on her own, she’s responsive to her name and can be made to laugh and smile.  So, it’s great for me!

We even got to spend some time together, Sarah & I, after the shoot, just hanging out on the shag rug in the studio.   I love these shots from her shoot, but probably my favourite time with Sarah was making her really, really laugh as I tickled her and pretended to eat her curious fingers that kept finding their way into my mouth.  Nom, nom, nom…   Ah, my job.  It’s OK.

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Congratulations Jenn, Chris & Noah!

Also–you can check out Jenn’s maternity shots here!

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