Real Life Photography


family picture

three brothers

the fight begins

brothers fighting


Here’s a little peak inside my life.  I came upstairs this morning and found my boys sitting on the couch together.  Sure, they were all playing on tablets, but the light was great and they looked decent, so I had them put the tablets down and smile for me.  And then the rest of it happened (note the eyes on the middle kid in picture number two…).  At least they were having fun.  Happy Mother’s Day out there to all you moms who know what this is all about.


Photographing Everyday Life | Halifax Nova Scotia Child Photographer

child putting on socks

There’s an old saying that shoemaker’s wives go barefoot and doctor’s wives die young. Essentially, it means that people are so busy doing their jobs for others, they don’t do their job for their families.  I could take it a step further and say that, at least in this house, photographers’ children don’t get their pictures taken.  I know how I want pictures to look:  pristine, distraction-free, 16″x20″ canvas worthy – the kind I would take if I were setting up a shoot.  But, my house is rarely distraction free or pristine or – well – perfect, and so, I rarely get out my camera and document the every day.  And I miss a lot of every day moments because of it.  I love this picture of my boy.  I think it was the first time I had him put his socks on himself and I actually got out the camera.  I captured the moment.  I’m glad I did and I really need to do it more often.  I know eventually my house will be clean enough to take pictures all the time, but I have a feeling that it will be because they’ve grown up.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Getting Great Expressions | Halifax NS Children’s Photographer

These kids are two of my favorite people to photograph.  I’ve been doing shoots of them together since they were four years old (when they first met and decided they were getting married) and this one makes session number four.  These two have taught me something very important about children’s photography: if you want a great shot that captures the personality of the kids you’re photographing, it’s all about working fast, doing what you can, and then capturing what comes naturally.

young love fb

While this lively, lovely red-haired girl and mischievous boy do take direction fairly well, they’re still kids and they don’t want to stay in the same place for long.  With this in mind, I leave them out of “boring” poses until I get my camera settings straight.  Then, I pose and try to get as many shots in as many slight variations as I can while they’re willing.

children outside

And once they start to get a little bored, it’s all about the change-up.  This allows for some moving around and silliness, and fun between shots.  One of my favorite things to do, though, is to get these kids into a pose…

super cute kids fb

…and then catch what happens next.  And, more often than not, that’s when I get some of the pictures of these kids I love the most.

Children laughing

These two are like a real-life Norman Rockwell painting, and really look forward to photographing them.  Oh, and just to let you in on an upcoming session, the little red-haired miss is coming to visit soon.  I’m thinking a 1950’s themed session is in order – stay tuned!

children running


P.S. If you’d like to see the other posts of these two, you can click here, here, and  here.

How to Hopefully Take Great Pictures of Your Own Kids | Halifax Nova Scotia Children’s Photographer

Although I love candid pictures of my kids, sometimes I want a picture that’s a little more formal for the wall or hand out to grandparents.  However, that’s not always easy to do. Often, people think that when you’re a photographer, taking great pictures of your own kids comes naturally. This may give me a bit of an edge because I do it more often, but sometimes, being a photographer just makes taking pictures of your own kids worse.  See, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to posed pictures. I know what I’m after, and it’s very frustrating when I feel like my boys aren’t making it happen.  When I’m taking pictures of someone else’s children I can almost always get a nice, natural smile or expression, but if I so much as whisper “Picture Day” to my own, their memories of past experiences result in groans and gnashing of teeth the likes of which aren’t often witnessed in pre-apocalyptic times.

With all this in mind, here are some things I’ve learned that I thought I’d pass along:



cool preteen boy

1. Bribery works.  Period. Especially when you have a kid or two who would much rather be doing something else. Taking nice pictures of my kids is usually a once or twice a year thing and it’s worth it to me to make it worth it to them.  Tell them what’s expected of them, pick something that your children want and use it to your advantage.  For my kids, money talks, and so I pay my kids to be in pictures.  I don’t pay them a lot, mind you – usually just $2 or $3 – but if they complain it’s not enough, I just remind them that, as their mom, I could just MAKE them do it for free.

kid acting cool web

2.  Relax.  Once you’ve established what’s expected of your kids and what the reward is, relax.  If you’re constantly getting in their faces, fixing their hair, telling them to smile and getting frustrated when they don’t do it “right”, they’re going to get uptight, and feed off your frustration.  And when everyone is angry and/or crying, the pictures just aren’t as pretty.


happy child outside web

3.  Engage.  If you’re taking pictures of your own kids, don’t use “Say Cheese!”.  You’ll get a much better response if you talk or sing or tell jokes while you’re behind the camera. Once you see that look that’s your child at her best, snap it. And, if you need to pull in another family member or friend to stand behind you and make your kid giggle, then go for it.  In our family, few people can make my boys laugh for pictures like their brothers.

brothers laughing web

4. Let it go.  Some details are important, some aren’t – figure what hill is worth dying on.  For me, in the case of these pictures, sometimes it was about letting my 10-year-old pick out his own shirt.  Yes, I knew it wouldn’t match anything else that his siblings were wearing since it had giant neon stripes on it, but he was a lot happier about pictures wearing something he picked out. Sure, in 20 years his kids would make fun of him for his choice, but that just made it sweeter for me.

silly brothers web

5. Know when enough is enough.  I really wanted a great picture of all three of my boys smiling at me, but we’d been at it a while and the novelty had long since worn off.  I knew I already had great pictures of each of them individually and some of them together laughing.  They were tired, I was far from relaxed and we all wanted to be done and go home, so I decided to call it a day.  We never did get the last picture I wanted, but we did get this one.  I’d say that I definitely got my six bucks’ worth.

Boy vs. Mud Puddle | Halifax Children’s Photographer

all boy

I have this boy who absolutely loves anything that sparks of adventure or danger, whether it’s climbing to the very top of the playground equipment, skiing on the biggest hill allowed, or biking through the deepest mud puddle he can find.  So, when we came across just such a puddle on a bike ride after a rainstorm one day, he was dying to speed through it. Since I know his propensity for dirt and excitement, and since I happened to have my camera with me, I happily let him.  He wasn’t thrilled to hit the shower to get the dirt off when he got home, but he had a pretty great time getting messy in the first place.


This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge –


Sometimes They DO Get Along…

boys laughing togetherI have these three boys that I adore.  As with most brothers, there are times they fight so much that I’m certain the neighbors must think we’re harboring noisy terrorists.  But there are times when they get along.  This was one of those times.  In fact, at this point in our day, they were united against ME, being as silly as possible and having a great time with each other, rather than just posing for the original picture I wanted.  I did eventually get a shot of them all looking at the camera, but I’m pretty certain that I like this one more.  It’s of my boys at their best.  What mom wouldn’t love it?

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge –

Soccer Princess and Style

girl playing soccer

child playing soccer

soccer kick

soccer princessMore than two years ago, I showed up to watch my son’s soccer practice, which also happened to fall on school picture day.  When I saw this little miss in her beautiful dress, lovely curled hair and pink shin guards giving the practice all she had, I got my camera and started clicking.  I posted the pictures I took that day and now, two years later, it’s still one of my most viewed posts.  My style’s changed a little bit since then, though.  I like my pictures to be more natural and less processed.  So, I thought it might be fun to revisit the pictures and edit them in my evolving simpler style.  Now, they’re a little bit less about what my editing program can do and a little bit more about the fierce soccer princess in the pictures.

If you’d like to compare, you can check out the original soccer princess pictures here.

Better in Black and White? Halifax Children’s Photographer

child working hardI posted this picture on Facebook in two versions – one in color and one in black and white and asked people to comment on their favorite version, with the plan to post the one people liked best here on my blog.  So, the other day, I went with the color picture (you can see it in the previous post).  Because I couldn’t decide which I liked best, though, I decided to post the black and white picture as well.  I love the picture and I still don’t know which version I like more. I guess it’s all about the eye of the beholder.

A Hard Day’s Work | Halifax, NS Children’s Photographer

a hard day's work

I love this picture of this little chubby boy.  It isn’t posed or planned.  I had my camera out to take some pictures of him (he really is ridiculously cute), but he was more interested in getting the lawn finished before bedtime.  So, I just clicked away while he “worked”.  And it worked for me.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love a chubby baby belly.  And just about everyone I know can relate to working until a job is done, no matter how tough that uphill push can be.

rock the shot button

This picture was entered in a photo challenge at

My Boys Playing Ball | Halifax Children’s Photographer

football fan

little tough guy

little boy runningplaying football_1boy playing football_2brothers playing football togetherrunning with the ball_2

brothers walking together_1

Even though you can’t tell to look outside at our snow-covered ground, we had a couple of days back in January that were about 10 degrees Celsius.   My oldest got a new football for Christmas and, as it had not yet been tried, my boys decided to put the ball through its paces.  I know there’s a lot of pictures there, but I loved the looks of determination on the faces of my boys, the smiles they  had as they played together, and (as a photographer) how their clothes stood out against the winter wet.  It was one of those rare moments when they all got along and had fun. And I even have proof that it happened.

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