Friday, 30 June 2017

Personalize your Space with Photos - Guest Blog Post by Melanie Neault

Several months ago I started following the very talented Ottawa Interior Designer Melanie Neault on Instagram (Launch Your Space). I just love her style and when I sat down and started to think about writing a post about photo display ideas, the light bulb when off - why not ask Melanie to give her insight on how to use all those moments captured in photos to personalize your home. Luckily she accepted the challenge and provides some inspiring ideas below. As I mentioned to Melanie, I'm so indecisive when it comes to hanging things on my own walls and her post helped me to finally get to those neglected walls and spaces in my home.

Thanks Melanie for the wonderful ideas and photos below!


Photographs are a moment in time captured in a still frame. These moments are beautiful, raw, and frozen while the world continues to spin, while you continue to grow, and while life moves forward. How you display these memories help to create the story of telling that particular time that you can now look back on forever.

Here is list of different ways you can display these framed photographs in your home:

Gallery walls 
Gallery walls are like a commissioned art piece that was made just for you. They hold a sentimental value, and represent many memories for others to see. They are best located above a seating area in a living room, or over the dining table, where people gather to eat, converse, and share stories along with bites of delicious food.

When creating a gallery wall, there needs to be a fluid theme amongst the frames. Having all one colour works, but if you want to make it a little more eclectic, having a collaboration of different frames works best if you use 3-4 colour tones only. For examples, off white, grey, and blues look great together. Or perhaps wooden frames mixed with some yellow and grey ones. Doing mixed frames this way allows the eye to focus on the photos rather than just the frames themselves.

The photos in the frames can be anything. A more modern monolithic look would be to use all black or white frames with black and white photos only. This look is timeless and looks great paired with any d├ęcor or style. Going to the more organic and rustic side, you can use coloured photos in the coloured frames, creating a dynamic gallery wall.

A tip for the wall layout is to lay the frames with the photos in them on the ground first. Position them in the shape and formation you wish. This way you see which photos and frames look best beside each other. It’s important to balance out the colours of the frames and photos within the gallery wall. Then, once you’ve gotten the layout on the ground to your desired look, cut out paper to match the sizes of the frames and lay them up on the wall, mimicking the floor layout. Once you’re happy with the look, put your nail in and pull the paper off. Hang your photos one by one, and voila! Your photo gallery is complete.

 (gallery wall)

Single Frames 
If you don’t have the wall space for a gallery wall, or simply have a few framed photographs to display, hanging them on the wall alone is beautiful and makes the focus more specific on that particular photograph. Hanging the frame at eye level is more aesthetically pleasing and having the frame surrounded by other pieces in the room creates a separate environment for the photograph. For example, if you have plants or a floor lamp near that wall, putting a framed photograph between the two creates a nice niche for the frame to look part of the overall design of the room.

(Single frames)

Shelves and Bookshelves 
One of my favourite ways to display photographs is on shelves. It’s non-permanent because no nails are required, and you can add objects and other small details around the frames. It can be on an open shelf, or in an enclosed glass cabinet. Regardless of where, you are able to add other memories with the frame. Shells from a trip down south paired with a photograph of you on the beach, your wedding veil draped around your favourite wedding photo, books of the places you visited beside photos of that place…the possibilities are endless. This creates almost like a shadow box for the photograph and items you wish to display.

Wedding Album 
You can treat a wedding album the same way as the shelved photography. Pair it with a vase of dried flowers from your bouquet, or even with candles beside it. Another fun part of a wedding album is to keep it on the coffee table. It’s a great book to flip through, and it’s also adorable catching your significant other glancing through it down the road. :)

(Open shelves)

(Glass cabinet and album above)

Blog post and photos by Melanie Neault of Launch your Space

Monday, 19 June 2017

Five Outings to Document Summertime with your Family

A few weeks ago, my talented photographer friend Myriam and I were scouting some locations together. We both brought along our kids and our cameras and had an afternoon of exploring and documenting our adventure. It was so fun to see how the photos turned out and how our styles and perspectives showed up in our work.

This outing inspired a joint blog post all about helping you document your summer. Now that summer is FINALLY here, it will be over before you know it. Think about it, how many summers will you spend with your kids being kids? 18 maybe?  And let's face it, those teenage summers may not include a whole lot of family time.

To help make the next several weeks count, here is a list of 5 outings to do with the family, each of which will provide you with lots of opportunities to preserve summer memories with your family.

1. Exploring a trail
We are so lucky to have this amazing park just a short drive away. Gatineau Park has something for everyone. Seek out a trail that will work for your family and enjoy being surrounded by nature. Collect rocks, maybe spot some wildlife and stop to enjoy the wildflowers. Make your way to the look out for an amazing view that makes you feel small against the landscape.

2. Ice Cream Shop
We love La Cigale in Chelsea Quebec because of the homemade ice cream, the happy setting and the play area to keep the kids busy for a bit while you enjoy a spot in the colourful Adirondack chairs. There is so much potential here for beautiful shots. The colours really pop and add a playfulness. Having kids focused on eating ice cream gives you that chance to take some detail shots of them while they are still for a change.  From checking out the flavours to ice cream moustaches, this is summer at its its best. If ice cream isn't your thing, any frozen treat will do - popsicles, freezies on the front porch can just as easily make for a sweet moment.

3. Discover the museums
There will inevitably be those rainy days or maybe days when you just need a break from the heat. Take the fun inside and visit a museum in the area. Our kids love the Aviation Museum and the Children's Museum. It's so great to have a space dedicated to kids or a section with kids in mind where they are free to explore. Each museum has something great to offer - keep up to date on the latest exhibits for ones that will really speak to your kids. The more they are interested, the more you can catch those real moments of awe and excitement.

4. Splash pads and neighbourhood parks
Are you doing the park circuit this summer? We drive around to find new parks and the kids love discovering new structures and sprinklers to run through. Bring along the camera to catch kids in their element: their pride as they show off their new climbing skills or the monkey bars they can now conquer. Try to visit earlier in the morning or late afternoon not only to beat the heat but to avoid the harsh midday light.

5. By the water
Summer is short. Getting outside is what summer is all about. Pack a picnic and head to the marina, a lake or if you are lucky enough -  a family cottage. Feeding the birds (or kids are not big fans of being surrounded by geese and ducks), skipping some stones over the water, watching the sunset or going for a swim. Maybe your kids are still learning to swim - catch them with their floaties as they dip their toes in the sand or water for the first time. These will be the moments that you want to remember.

I hope you will try some of these outings or maybe do them again this summer!  For some great tips on photographing your kids this summer while you are out and about, check out Farah Photography's blog post: Out & About: how to document summertime adventures with kids

Myriam and I will be continuing our collaboration by launching a project all about documenting summer. Stay tuned!


Monday, 5 June 2017

First Birth

I still find it hard to believe that I had this amazing opportunity to shoot such an intimate and life changing experience. A big thanks goes out to Stacey and Cory who trusted me with these moments. I will remember it always.

I spent some time with the family the day before Piper joined this world while Stacey was in labour. The following morning I was asked to make my way to the hospital. I fought the early morning rush hour traffic to get back to the hospital, scrambled to find parking, ran through the hospital and when I approached her room, I was told by the nurses that she was delivering right now. I literally walked through the door and had time to grab my camera just as this tiny miracle was born. Not long after Piper was whisked away to be monitored and assessed as she needed some help breathing. That wait between the delivery and seeing Piper again is difficult to describe. As a mom, I can only imagine how that felt. When she finally made her appearance, so tiny, so vulnerable - I was so happy for Stacey to see her baby but also a little heart broken for her that she couldn't just hold her in her arms right away.

The one word that comes to mind when I think about Stacey is strength - from beginning to end. I think baby Piper was lucky enough to inherit this trait.

Photo taken at the Ottawa Civic Hospital during birth photography session by Melanie Mathieu Photography

Photo taken of baby just minutes old at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Ottawa birth photographer Melanie Mathieu Photography

Ottawa Gatineau birth photographer Melanie Mathieu capturing birth of preemie baby girl at the Ottawa Civic Hospital

New baby being born captured by birth photographer at the Ottawa Civic Hospital

Dad cutting the umbilical chord of new baby girl who was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital following labour.