Parenthood can seem like whirlwind of moments to say the least! Time goes by so fast. What do you want to remember about the time when your kids were babies, toddlers, or even teenagers? How about all the small details? All the everyday moments you shared together that somehow fade away into the back of our memories as children grow up and life gets hectic. Sometimes, the only things we have to pull these moments into the forefront of our memories after years gone by are photographs. Moments documented in a photograph. Moments preserved forever. I know for myself, it seems like a whole other life when my kids were younger. I’m very thankful for all the photo albums I’ve created over the years and my whole family loves looking through them from time to time. My kids absolutely love looking at themselves when they were little. Life changes so quickly and drastically with every passing year or month! Melissa Maahs Photography is introducing documentary style sessions, otherwise known as lifestyle sessions. These sessions can take place in any environment that is meaningful to you, whether that be in your own home, at your family cottage, or even at a local park that you and your family spend a lot of time at. What ever location you choose, I will follow you around (with my camera of course 😉 ) and document you and your loved ones just doing what comes naturally. I do very minimal directing in order to let you interact with your family in the most natural and genuine way, but sometimes a little minor direction from me will place you in the right light and right positions in order for me to get the best photographs of you and the environment that you choose to be photographed in.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner why not treat yourself, or your wife (hint, hint hubbies 😉 ) to an in-home or on-location lifestyle session?!

Below is a sample slide show of some of the moments documented during a recent in-home lifestyle session. Enjoy!

Please feel free to reach out to me for more information. You can contact me here.

~Melissa~

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Below are some more photos captured during this in-home lifestyle session:
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Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I’m Melissa, the photographer behind the camera at Melissa Maahs Photography, a Durham Region, Ontario, full service family photographer offering custom family portrait sessions. I’m sure you’ve already come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about photography! Besides begin passionate about photography, I’m also passionate and dedicated to the experience I provide to  my clients and the process of making pictures into tangible pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy daily. Your art pieces will truly be treasured family heirlooms.

I thoroughly enjoy meeting, getting to know my clients and listening to their family stories. I love collaborating with clients on the endeavour of transforming their family stories into tangible art pieces of moments shared with their loved ones that will be frozen in time – forever in a photograph.

Lastly, I believe in photographs. Printed, tangible photographs that can be held in your hands, enjoyed on a wall, or flipped through in an album. My mission is to help every client create their photographic family heirlooms that can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come!

If you love photographs as much as I do feel free to contact me and we can chat about how I can help you to create timeless photographic art to display and enjoy in your home.

For detailed session information, click here.

To see more of my work please view my portfolio here.

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This extremely gorgeous and equally as sweet family of four came to me this past fall for their family portraits. It was a beautiful, warm fall day in Whitby, Ontario. Their littlest boy was not feeling the best that day. In fact, we were so close to rescheduling the session until we looked at both of our schedules and the weather forecast, and realized if we didn’t go ahead with the session that day we wouldn’t be able to reschedule for a few weeks out. The temperatures were supposed to dip dramatically in the coming days, so we went ahead and met for their family session and we were all happy we went ahead with it as planned. The littlest guy wasn’t as smiley as usual, but we went with the flow. We managed to document lots of cuddly moments between everyone and I couldn’t be happier with how the session turned out. The fall colours were amazing, the weather was amazing, and this beautiful mama ‘killed’ it at the wardrobe game!! I loved everything about their style and wardrobe choices. I always offer wardrobe guidance and advice to all my clients. Jade and I texted pictures back and forth quite a few times and finally pulled this outfit together a few days before the session. Jade purchased the dress first, as she knew she wanted to wear a floral dress with red in it, and we co-ordinated the rest of the boys outfits around the dress.  Luckily mom loves to shop! Haha 😉

Wardrobe styling is a major part of your photo session. A wardrobe can ‘make or break’ your portraits. While it’s important that everyone is comfortable in their clothing during their family session, the ‘look’ is also extremely important. Here are a few tips to think about when you are trying to decide what to wear for your family photo session:

  • Dress for comfort. This is important. If you are not comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will come across in the photos. During your session it’s likely that you will be sitting on the ground, kneeling, or even laying down! Make sure you are comfortable in your clothes so that you are able to move freely during your session.
  • Co-ordinate, but don’t match. Think of it this way. You wouldn’t dress your family in matching outfits to go out to dinner at a nice restaurant, so why would you dress in matching clothes for your family photos? It’s not normal for your whole family to wear the exact same outfit on a regular day, so don’t dress like that for your family photos! The easiest way to ‘build’ a wardrobe is to start with one key piece. Usually this is mom’s outfit. For example, if mom is wearing a dress with a coral flower pattern, one child can wear a solid top in a similar coral colour (pulled from the dress). Dad can wear a solid top that compliments coral, such as navy blue. Here’s a past blog link to another family that did a great job co-ordinating their outfits.
  • Accessories, layering, and textures add interest to outfits. As long as accessories aren’t overwhelming and don’t take the focus off the subject, they can add interest to your wardrobe. A long necklace, or a subtle patterned scarf are always good choices. Accessories and layering pieces such as vests, cardigans, and light jackets can add variety to your final image gallery. You can wear these pieces for some photos and take them off for others. Different textures, such as knitted sweaters, or a lace skirt, etc. can also add interest and variety to your wardrobe.
  • Use patterns in moderation. one person in plaid is fine, but don’t dress everyone in a plaid shirt. Same goes for stripes and other patters. You don’t want patterns to take away from the subject and overwhelm the photo.
  • Stay away from florescent colours. Bright fluorescent colours tend to cast the colour onto skin (neck and face) and hair. If bright colours are your style just make sure they aren’t too bright. Try to wear muted versions of  primary colours such as mustard yellow, maroon, burgundy, royal or navy blues.
  • Footwear is important too! Footwear choices can make or break your wardrobe. Don’t get all dressed up, and then wear your white gym shoes. They just don’t go with the outfit. Wear nice shoes or boots that match the style of your outfit.
  • Choose timeless wardrobe that won’t look too dated in a few years. Trends come and go, so try to stay away from extremely trendy looks. Choose softer, neutral tones and add interest using layering or accessories as mentioned above.
  • Choose a wardrobe that compliments the environment you’ll be photographed in. For example, if your session is in a field type setting with lots of green grass and trees, stay away from wearing bright green. Wear colours that compliment green foliage, such as greys, blues, yellows or muted shades of red such has maroon or burgundy.
  • Lastly, think about where you will hang the portraits from your session. It’s a good idea to think about where you will display your portraits. For example, if you plan on hanging a large wall portrait in your living room, you may want to make sure your wardrobe colours and tones co-ordinate with the colours and tones of your living room decor.

I know that’s a lot to think about and consider when planning your wardrobe, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Family photos are a BIG DEAL! Planning and having your family portraits taken is not an easy, quick task. You are investing time and money into an important gift for you and your family to enjoy now, and to enjoy in the years to come. Take the time to plan your wardrobe. When you book a session with Melissa Maahs Photography you have unlimited email or phone consultations to help you plan your session, including guidance and advice with your wardrobe so that you are happy with the end result!

 

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I’m Melissa, the photographer behind the camera at Melissa Maahs Photography, a Durham Region, Ontario, full service family photographer offering custom family portrait sessions. I’m sure you’ve already come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about photography! Besides begin passionate about photography, I’m also passionate and dedicated to the experience I provide to  my clients and the process of making pictures into tangible pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy daily. Your art pieces will truly be treasured family heirlooms.

I thoroughly enjoy meeting, getting to know my clients and listening to their family stories. I love collaborating with clients on the endeavour of transforming their family stories into tangible art pieces of moments shared with their loved ones that will be frozen in time – forever in a photograph.

Lastly, I believe in photographs. Printed, tangible photographs that can be held in your hands, enjoyed on a wall, or flipped through in an album. My mission is to help every client create their photographic family heirlooms that can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come!

If you love photographs as much as I do feel free to contact me and we can chat about how I can help you to create timeless photographic art to display and enjoy in your home.

For detailed session information, click here.

To see more of my work please view my portfolio here.

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Celebrating 50 years married with an extended family photo session!

This fun family recently reached out to me as they were trying to think of the perfect gift for their parents to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. I’m so happy they decided to gift them with an extended family portrait session for their anniversary! I cannot think of a better gift that will last a lifetime and beyond for the Imeson family. The young grandsons likely don’t realize the importance of these photos right now, but I know they will definitely appreciate the fact that their parents and grandparents valued family photography enough to go through the tremendous effort to arrange this family session. If you’ve ever went through the process of co-ordinating schedules and outfits for 9 people you KNOW it takes a lot of planning and effort! When planning an extended family portrait session everyone has their own ideas when it comes to wardrobe, location, posing, and what to do with the final portraits from their session. It takes patience and understanding amongst everyone involved to pull this off! Part of the full-service experience you receive when you hire Melissa Maahs Photography for your portrait session is unlimited pre-session consultations to help with anything from wardrobe, to deciding where to shoot your session. The consultations do not end after we have photographed your session. I provide post session consultations and advice to help you decide what you would like to do with the portraits from your session. I can help you design wall galleries or a beautiful custom heirloom album (check out some product examples here). This is all a part of the experience I love to provide to my valued clients.  I can’t tell you how honoured I am that this family choose me as their photographer and that they trusted me with documenting them during this special times in their lives. Their young sons/grandsons are growing up right before their eyes and I’m so happy to be able to preserve these moments for them, forever, in photographs.

We decided to photograph this family session at a beautiful outdoor location in Whitby, Ontario. I love this location because it has a lot of variety of natural backdrops. We shot amongst the trees, long grass, and then ended the session at the edge of beautiful Lake Ontario. Their wardrobe co-ordination and colours were perfect for this lake location.

 

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I’m Melissa, the photographer behind the camera at Melissa Maahs Photography, a Durham Region, Ontario, full service family photographer offering custom family portrait sessions. I’m sure you’ve already come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about photography! Besides begin passionate about photography, I’m also passionate and dedicated to the experience I provide to  my clients and the process of making pictures into tangible pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy daily. Your art pieces will truly be treasured family heirlooms.

I thoroughly enjoy meeting, getting to know my clients and listening to their family stories. I love collaborating with clients on the endeavour of transforming their family stories into tangible art pieces of moments shared with their loved ones that will be frozen in time – forever in a photograph.

Lastly, I believe in photographs. Printed, tangible photographs that can be held in your hands, enjoyed on a wall, or flipped through in an album. My mission is to help every client create their photographic family heirlooms that can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come!

If you love photographs as much as I do feel free to contact me and we can chat about how I can help you to create timeless photographic art to display and enjoy in your home.

For detailed session information, click here.

To see more of my work please view my portfolio here.

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I’m always so honoured when someone chooses me to document their family at any stage in their lives. When this beautiful family of four (plus one fur baby) decided that I was the photographer for them I was surprised to learn that this session was their very first professional family portrait session! We were lucky to have such beautiful fall weather for their session in such a fabulous spot in Whitby, Ontario. The fall colours were at their prime and the family did such a fabulous job with their wardrobe. Everything really came together nicely. I’m so happy that this family finally has some portraits of them together.

I’d like to talk a little bit about preserving your family portraits. As a full service photographer, my job is to help my clients plan, design, and decide what they’d like to do with the portraits from their session. I always encourage my clients to invest in tangible, archival photo art products. You always hear people say that if their house ever caught on fire, or flooded, the possessions they would try to save (aside from the obvious things, like people and pets) are their treasured family portraits and photo albums. Photographs are some of the most important objects to us, yet in this highly digital age, a lot of us take them for granted. Often times, people don’t realize just how important family portraits are until it’s too late. What do you do when you lose someone important to you? You often go looking for photographs of that person. You treasure the  photographs you have even more than you did because they are usually the only tangible things you have left to help you remember them. Printed photographs are part of your family legacy. I truly believe everyone should have tangible prints of their family portraits, whether they are framed on a wall in your home, printed in an album to have at your fingertips to browse through over the years, or prints in a photo keepsake box that can be kept on a shelf in your home. There are so many options when it comes to displaying and preserving your portraits in a tangible way! My favourite way to preserve and archive family portraits is in a beautiful, custom album. I have many albums of my own family portraits and I encourage all my clients to consider one for theirs. Too many people just store their family photos on digital mediums and think they will be safe there, forever. The fact is, digital mediums such as computers, tablets, hard drives and USB flash drive have a limited life span. They do not last forever and at some point they will fail and/or become outdated as technology swiftly changes (remember the floppy disk?)! Unless you continually back up your files, which most people don’t, it’s highly likely you’ll lose them at some point, forever. Take some time and think about how you’d like to preserve your family legacy in a tangible way! Now, I present to you the Anthony family’s portrait gallery. I cannot wait to share how they are displaying their treasured family portraits in their home!

 

 

Hello and thank you for visiting my blog! I’m Melissa, the photographer behind the camera at Melissa Maahs Photography, a Durham Region, Ontario, full service family photographer offering custom family portrait sessions. I’m sure you’ve already come to the conclusion that I’m passionate about photography! Besides begin passionate about photography, I’m also passionate and dedicated to the experience I provide to  my clients and the process of making pictures into tangible pieces of art for you and your family to enjoy daily. Your art pieces will truly be treasured family heirlooms.

I thoroughly enjoy meeting, getting to know my clients and listening to their family stories. I love collaborating with clients on the endeavour of transforming their family stories into tangible art pieces of moments shared with their loved ones that will be frozen in time – forever in a photograph.

Lastly, I believe in photographs. Printed, tangible photographs that can be held in your hands, enjoyed on a wall, or flipped through in an album. My mission is to help every client create their photographic family heirlooms that can be enjoyed by you and your family for many generations to come!

If you love photographs as much as I do feel free to contact me and we can chat about how I can help you to create timeless photographic art to display and enjoy in your home.

For detailed session information, click here.

To see more of my work please view my portfolio here.

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This little guy just started school! In fact, the day these photos were taken was at the end of his very first day of school! It’s so hard to send your precious baby into the big wide world and start the journey of school and growing up. I know this from experience! From the day they start school, you know that things have changed forever. It’s the start of a new adventure. You realize that they are not babies anymore! They still need you, but they are embarking on the journey of becoming independent, making new friends and relationships, learning many new things, and experiencing new things. As a parent, you start to realize that you are slowly losing control over things that happen in the every day life of your baby. They now have to start to learn to make their own decisions, make mistakes (and learn from them), build relationships with people outside of the family and friends circle that they’ve been in since the day they were born. Although it can be stressful adjusting, it’s an exciting time, for both the parents and the child! It’s really true what people say when you first have a child….”they grow up way to fast, enjoy every moment when they are little, because before you know it, they will be moving out”. It’s true what ‘they’ say! Give lots of hugs, snuggles, and kisses. Spend the time being ‘present’ when you have the chance. Be a friend, yet teach them values, responsibility, and kindness. Also — get in the photos with your kids! I cannot stress this enough! Kids don’t realize the importance of it right now, but they will love you for it and thank you in the future. That’s a promise!

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This sweet little girl recently celebrated her second birthday! When the family contacted me for a family session, during the session planning consultation, they mentioned that their baby girl was about to turn two and they really wanted to celebrate by having their first family session held at an outdoor location on Lake Ontario in Cobourg. Their daughter absolutely loves the beach and they spend a lot of time there in the summer. We agreed that Cobourg beach was the perfect location for the session. During the planning meeting, mom mentioned that she wanted a large bouquet of balloons in some of the photos to show that they were celebrating their daughter’s birthday. To be honest, we didn’t have high expectations on how this would go with a giant bouquet of balloons, a two year old, and a beach location which could potentially be very windy!! Thankfully it wasn’t a windy day and she didn’t get carried away…although that would have been an amazing shot! Ha! 😉 This little girl and her mom and dad were a dream to work with. We ended up having enough time for two locations and a wardrobe change due to the fact that their toddler was so happy and easy going. I truly believe that when photographing young children, you have a better chance at getting amazing photos by just letting them play, have fun, and not force them too much into specific poses and restrict them by having them stay in a certain area. We just let this little girl and her family do what they usually do at the beach. They played in the water, played in the sand, picked up rocks, picked flowers, and got wet! After all, that’s what you do at the beach! By just letting the family be ‘in the moment’ with each other we were able to document some genuine, candid, and emotive moments for them to look back on and cherish forever. The family decided the best way to preserve their treasured portraits was in a large, 12″x12″ heirloom family album. I can’t wait to receive and deliver their album to them. It’s going to be amazing! They will be able to flip through this album and enjoy the photos from this very special time in their lives when their baby was so little. Their album is archival, and will survive the test of time and be able to be passed down to generations after their own. Be sure to scroll to the end of the photo gallery to see the end product.

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Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a very sweet family and their beloved fur-baby, 16 year old O’Malley. O’Malley was a very happy old boy but unfortunately, his family had to make the very difficult decision of saying goodbye to him. It’s never easy to say goodbye. I’m so happy his family decided to do this family photo session starring O’Malley. They will forever have these images to cherish.

We took O’Malley on quite the little adventure for his photo shoot! I’m sure he slept really well after his adventure. We started off at their home, just outside of Cobourg, Ontario. After a spending some time photographing O’Malley and his family in their beautiful yard, we took a little drive to Cobourg Beach. O’Malley took it all in. We walked along the boardwalk and he even had his little paws in lake. It was a very hot and humid summer evening and the cool water of Lake Ontario was just what he needed to cool down. There was definitely no shortage of kisses and cuddles for O’Malley. He was (and still is) loved so much and I’m certain he will be deeply missed, but never forgotten. RIP O’Malley <3

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This family sure knows how to have fun at a photo session! This gorgeous family of five are return clients of mine. I photographed them for the first time almost three years ago. I love when families return for a family session because I get to see how much the kids have grown over the past few years. Kids change quickly and it’s so important to periodically update your family portraits so when you look back over your family photo album in the years to come you can spark the memories of how their personalities and looks were at different stages in their lives.

For family sessions, I like to take a fun, candid approach to documenting the relationships between family members. I keep sessions fun and engaging for the kids, otherwise they lose interest fast! By playing, joking, tickling, or even just talking to eachtoher, the photo session is engaging for the kids and the parents as well. True emotions come out when family members interact, and these emotions are what I want to document for your family. During the gallery reveal session it’s not uncommon for parents to look at a photo and say “That is so him. You captured his personality!”, when referring to particular photos of their children. Hearing this is music to my ‘photographer’ ears!  Also, FYI — if you shed a tear or two during your gallery reveal session, that’s the biggest compliment you can give me!! Don’t worry, they will be happy tears, and I supply the tissues. 😉

I have a limited number of summer session spots still available and fall session spots are also booking up quickly. If you’d like to book a summer or fall photo session and document your fun loving family please contact me via my contact page.

Happy Summer!

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With all the rain we’ve been having so far this summer in the Durham Region it’s a miracle that the date we picked for this session actually worked out! It was a beautiful, late spring evening down by Lake Ontario in Whitby. This session took place about 2 hours before sunset. Photographers call this time of day ‘golden hour’. This is when the sun is lower in the sky and the light is softer and creates such a lovely warm feel to images. It’s my favourite time of day to shoot by far. Sometimes you have to keep your little ones up a little bit past their bedtime, but I can assure you, it’s worth it for the beautiful light at this time of day. This little guy, who is just a little over a year old, rocked staying up TWO hours past his bedtime! From what I hear, he even slept in the next two days after their session.

I have to admit, when I was contacted by Tara to photograph her and her family I was a bit nervous as the outdoor session date approached! It’s always a tad nerve wracking when I’m asked to photograph other local photographers. Tara Graham is very talented photographer in Oshawa. I’m not sure what I was so nervous about before her session because I should have known that she and her family would be naturals in front of the camera. After all, she knows all the rules about posing! 🙂

Originally Tara wanted her family session to take place in the fall. Fall is definitely very pretty with all the colours and for that reason is the busiest time of year for most photographers. A few weeks back, Tara contacted me and decided she’d like to do the session in the spring instead and I was more than happy to accomodate her request. As you can see from the photos below, spring and summer portraits are also very pretty with the fresh grass and warm golden hour light. I also find it’s easier for families to have their sessions this time of year because the sun sets so late in the day. Parents have enough time to get home from work, have dinner and head to their session. In the fall, sessions have to start right around the dinner hour so that we have enough time for the session before sunset. Spring and summer sessions usually start around 7pm and go right until the sun has set! The last 20 minutes before the sun sets is my absolute favourite 20 minutes of the session.

Thank you for checking out this post, and if you’d like, please leave a comment in the comments section below. 🙂

If you would like to inquire about or book a sunset session this summer please send me an email through the contact page.

 

 

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What a gorgeous summer evening this was that we had at Lakeview Park in Oshawa, Durham Region. These sweet sisters had such a great time playing in the chilly waters of Lake Ontario. The cold water didn’t seem to affect them at all. This session was kept very candid; taken with more of a lifestyle session approach I guess you could say. I find children are happier and more co-operative for photos when you just let them be. I also find that the family usually loves the photos that show their children’s true personalities. Say goodbye to those forced, cheesy smiles and enjoy your family photos filled with honest emotions and the documentation of the joy of just being in the moment. These types of portraits are best displayed in a family heirloom album that can be enjoyed for many generations by your family and the future generations of your family.

 

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Motherhood Portrait Sessions now booking. We had so much fun celebrating Motherhood last year I thought we’d do it again!

I believe one of the greatest gifts you can pass down to your children are portraits of them with their family members! The ‘Celebrate Motherhood’ sessions were created for that very reason. I want to provide you and your child(ren) with amazing portraits to cherish in your home and eventually hand down to your child(ren) as priceless family heirlooms. This is why I offer beautiful, tangible print products that are archival and will last for generations beyond your own.

During your session we will strive to create formal portraits of you with your child(ren) as well as fun, interactive portraits of you connecting with them as you would in day to day life. Your Motherhood session can be held in the comfort of my home studio, or at an outdoor location.

I love meeting clients in person to discuss their photography needs and to show off samples of the variety of custom fine are products that I offer. If you would like to see the unique, beautiful products offered, please feel free get in touch with me and we can arrange a visit to my home studio.

If you would like more information or to book a Motherhood Portrait Session please email me via the Contact page.

~Melissa~

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