Monday, 28 November 2016

Photo Projects for the Holidays


What are your favorite holiday traditions? 

Are there memories that take you back to your childhood?  Those moments you look forward to or that help to define the traditions you take part in now. Routines like decorating the tree or leaving cookies out for Santa are what memories are built on. Maybe there are non-negotiable activities that are at the core of how you celebrate like making grandma’s stuffing recipe or hosting the entire family for a meal. It’s not even about the actual activity but how it brings people together, creating a sense of history and a feeling of home.

Now that I have you thinking about those moments, do you have photos of you and your family that incorporate those traditions? If you weren’t there to tell the story of your family’s traditions, how would others remember? You may not have photos of all of your childhood traditions but you can always start now.

I challenge you this holiday season to make a point of documenting your time as a family and what you want to remember. The mad dash to wrap presents, the cookie decorating, searching for that perfect tree, time spent with family and friends. 

5 simple photography related holiday projects to get you thinking:

1)      Take the time to write down your top 3 traditions for the holiday season. Explain why they are your favourites, where the original idea came from and why it is meaningful. Think about what specifically you want to remember about them or what you want your children to remember. Putting these down into words will help you to become more aware of the moments when they happen. Now, with your answers in mind, start taking photos to capture those traditions, to preserve those memories.
2)      Document details: a favourite ornament, your child’s expression as they unwrap a gift, that mug of coffee waiting for you on the counter after getting up early, Christmas lights, snow covered yards. Any detail that reminds you of this time of year.
3)      Dig out those holiday photos from years past and display them around the house. Print them, frame them or add a few as decorations to the tree. These personal mementos are a great way to decorate in a meaningful way. Leave them around to remind you of your childhood and to teach those you love about the traditions you grew up with.
4)      Ask those closest to you what they love about the holidays and make an effort to capture those ideas in photos. 
5)      Holidays often center around food, food and more food. Do you have a family recipe that you can’t wait to pull out for the holidays? What about documenting the process of making the dish with others and a photo of the dish before it is devoured? Or maybe take a photo of everyone gathered around the table as the meal is served to capture the end result of all of that work.

Don’t forget to get in  the picture as well – use that timer or remote if you have one and snap a few that include you.

Friday, 18 November 2016

4 Instagram Accounts to Follow

yellow heart made of leaves by Melanie Mathieu Photography

As much as I love telling stories through my own photographs, seeing how others view the world is really inspiring. 

If you are looking for accounts to follow on Instagram, check out these talented artists.  If you aren't on Instagram yet, you are missing out! 

1) Jennifer Tonetti Spellman
I came across an article that Jennifer wrote about how she had shifted her style to a documentary/lifestyle approach and it was a game changer for me. I came across this article at a point where I thought the style of photography I loved so much wasn't what others wanted. Seeing Jennifer's work and taking one of her classes opened up a whole other world for me. 


2) Amy Grace
When I see her name pop up in my Instagram feed, I always stop to study her images and the words below them. Her words and her photos have a soul to them that just draw you in. Poetry with pictures, it doesn't get better than that.


3) Katy Bindels
If you think everyday moments can't be full of emotion and beauty, go take a look at her work. The expressions she captures and the stories she tells through her images are real and full of life. 

Instagram: @katsbi

4) Maureen (@letsmosy)
I just can't get enough of her feed on Instagram. It is minimalist with some pops of colour and lots of places I will likely never go but that I can experience through her eyes. There are so many of her photos that I would love to see on my walls. 

Instagram: @letsmosy

Who are you following on Instagram??

Monday, 14 November 2016

Maternity Session with M+O

To be at the edge of welcoming a new life into your family can be both exciting and terrifying. All of the books and advice in the world won't prepare you for it but at the same time, you join this community of parents that will completely understand the indescribability of the whole experience.

Black and white maternity silhouette by Melanie Mathieu Photography in Gatineau QC

Black and white maternity portrait by Melanie Mathieu Photography taken during in home photo session

Black and white photo of couple expecting first child taken by Melanie Mathieu Photography during home photo session in Gatineau QC

Maternity photo session in Ottawa Gatineau by Melanie Mathieu Photography

Maternity photo session by photographer in Ottawa Gatineau. Close up portrait in black and white

Maternity session with couple in Ottawa Gatineau.

Ottawa Gatineau photographer captures couple expecting their first child. Maternity lifestyle photo session

In home lifestyle session in Ottawa Gatineau. Maternity photo session by Melanie Mathieu Photography

In home maternity photo session taken by Melanie Mathieu Photography in Ottawa Gatineau

Natural maternity photos taken during in home session. Ottawa Gatineau couple.

Natural light maternity lifestyle photo session in Gatineau Ottawa.

In home maternity session in Gatineau QC


Monday, 7 November 2016

J: The New Addition

Being invited into a person's home to document family moments is a huge honour that I don't take for granted. When you add a newborn to this situation, there is a whole other level of respect. I remember what those early days were like with my own children! The beauty of an in-home session is that everyone has room to be themselves -  there is a comfort level when you are in your own personal space.

Recently I was invited to document some of the details of baby J and his family. This family was amazingly relaxed and easy going during our session. I was so obsessed with the cuteness happening in this home. There is so much I forget about those early days with my own kids and so one of the things I love most about these sessions: giving clients a visual story to help them remember these fleeting moments.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Frances: A Caged Mind

I think of my photography as a form of visual storytelling about real life. Most often, for me, this means capturing real life moments with families. However, if you are going to tell stories about real life, that also means showing the darker side of what life sometimes brings. Some stories are harder to tell but they are equally important.

May Mutter, through her project: A Caged Mind has been collaborating with various photographers and real life models who know first hand how concussions can change your life. Using the models as her canvas, May transforms them using her talent as a body painter to bring to the surface the otherwise invisible disability. The end goal is to turn these photos into a coffee table book to raise awareness about concussions and brain injury.

I was honoured to be able to help tell Frances' story. After suffering a concussion as a teenager, her life has been altered but she is working hard to put back the pieces and to accept the new direction her life is taking. I was inspired by Frances' honesty, her vulnerability but also her strength and hope for the future. Thank you May and Frances for including me in this project. I learned so much spending the day with both of you.

concussion awareness, black and white portrait

concussion awareness, black and white portrait, puzzle body paint

concussion awareness, black and white portrait, body paint

reflection, concussion awareness, black and white portrait

black and white profile portrait, body paint, puzzle