Mother's Day Gift Guide 2017

Mamas are such an important part of our everyday lives. It can be hard to find a gift that says you love her, but also that you know her well. You want to find something practical, and sentimental too.

Think about what makes her smile. Does she love to bake, or often stop to smell beautiful flowers? Does she love to read a good book or attend Yoga classes? Is one of her favourite things just playing with, and being with, her little ones?

Instead of being empty handed because you're overthinking it, as a mom myself, I've put together a guide to help you along. All of these gifts are available from retail locations right here in the Niagara Region, so you can shop local too!

Floral twist on wire headbands from Overstitched

Create something custom with these cute pottery painting ideas from Crock A Doodle

Lunch at the Good Earth Bistro

Dinner out and a bottle of red or white wine from Peninsula Ridge

Fresh baked goods from Puddicombe Farms

A Motherhood Session at Reflections of Life Photography. They're for expecting mamas, their babies and their husband if they'd like. These sessions are more than including her in the portrait session. I want to document the essence of her and the connection she has with her little ones.

Mamas spend their lives ensuring their children are nurtured and loved, and I love to document the care and affection they show as a keepsake.

Motherhood sessions are available at Reflections of Life Photography until Sunday, May 14, 2017, and they include a handmade MAMA bracelet and a $50 gift card that can go toward your collection. Contact Karen for details.

Gentleness Is Beautiful

You know that feeling when someone is truly gentle with you? It is almost as if they are full of this peace and kindness that invites you to be yourself, to be okay with where you are in life and to just breathe deep because it is good.

Gentleness is something I strive for every single day in my parenting, my work, my play, and in my walk with God.

I can think of so many moments where God has been gentle with me. In the way that He most lovingly reminds me and speaks hope into me and nudges me in just the right way. In the way that He sings over me when I am afraid and puts people right there when I need them the most. The way in which He never gives up on me, never resorting to anger but always being so full of love.

I have learned gentleness from the way He loves and I think it is His gentleness that makes me gentle.

It allows me to be gentle with my children, in my work, in how I play, even allows me to be more gentle with myself. It is like this slowing down, this breathing deep, this kindness; this way of saying, “It’s good. It’s going to be good.”

Stephanie and her mama were so gentle with little Lincoln through every moment of his session, and I can tell this carries on at home. I've photographed all three of Stephanie's littles now, and she's been the same kind of mama through each one, patient and kind.  She has a huge heart for letting her children be themselves, all while showing them with her actions to lead little ones in the way they should go.

Let’s be those who learn gentleness and practice it every day.

Gentleness is powerful. Gentleness is beautiful.

Expecting a baby?  Visit Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

When You Really Play

There is this feeling you get. You can feel it in your soul. It comes when you’re watching a family play, like really play, with their kids. And if love could be seen, it would be bursting out of every single moment and every single interaction.

It is this moment where all the busy is set to the side and forgotten and all that matters is the connection between family.

It is almost like you can feel love take over. And everything that has ever been stressing or frustrating is made small by the power of these ones who love one another. You can see it on their faces and hear it in their voices. You know it by the way that little one is pursued, how that husband holds his wife, how the giggles erupt out of the well of a five-year old who knows joy intimately.

See the thing is, love is powerful and compelling. It is the most beautiful thing we can live out and capture.
 

This session with Crystal, Rich and their 4 little ones was so adorable and sweet, and it's not just because of the amazing images we captured. You can tell how much they love, nurture and genuinely care for every single one of their children.

Little Harrison, you're in great hands. xo

If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Watch Them Grow

Last month my beautiful little girl turned the big 1-0.  I can't believe how much time has passed since I held Lily in my arms for the first time. Her photo sessions have always been magical and this session was no exception. You simply must scroll down and see those gorgeous brown eyes, and those freckles!

It is amazing how fast babies grow right before our eyes. We see it in they giggle, as they sit up, as they discover their hands, and in how they grow just a little bit taller by the day. Before we know it, they’re running around our halls, throwing toys, finding out just how loud their voices can really get.

They are moving through clothes and shoes faster than we can count. Soon, they have that one toy they just can’t let go of, that teddy bear they love, that colour that is their favourite, that movie they can’t stop watching, that song they love to dance. Before we know it, they are being revealed for the beautiful treasure they are.

Lily is a beautiful and amazing treasure.
 

We get to see our kids move through every single stage of life. We get to see them snuggle deep against our chest, clasping onto our fingers. We get to see them discover how to crawl, how to walk, how to use their voices. We get to see them move through school and find those bold gifts that are inside of them. We get to see them get married, go to college, move out and find their passion. We get to see them on the hard days, the good days and the in-between days.

And isn’t it the most beautiful thing to just sit back and watch? To soak up these moments with our little loves and see the world through their eyes? To lose count of the memories and the stories that we have with their precious hearts?

It is a stunning thing to watch your baby grow. It is a brave thing to let them.

If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

What I Want To Say To Every New Mama

I get to hang out with new mamas here in the studio all the time. I quickly get a sense of who they are as people, what kind of mother they'll be, and often they share their concerns about being a mom for the first time. Here's what I always want to say but sometimes it doesn't come out right, or at all.

Mama, try your hardest not to worry. There will be times where you'll wonder and where you'll hope. Times when you know you don’t have all the answers and you pray that your best will be good enough.

Thoughts are probably dancing in your brain like - Do I have enough clothes for the baby? Will I be able to breastfeed? Is the nursery room ready? Will I know what my baby wants? Can I give them every single thing they need? This is normal.

I know you want to be a good mama. I know you want to love this baby so well. I can see it in your eyes and hear it in your voice, in the whispers you say to that baby during our pregnancy photo session.

You will be able to help your baby discover their dreams. You'll kiss away their fears at night and play with them in the day. You will be the one to tell them the words they need to hear most and I want you to know it is all going to be okay.

You may wonder if you're ready. Will you ever be ready? I don't think any of us are ever really are.

It's so hard to get through the long and painful days, through the back pain, getting in and out of the compression stockings.  Know you have the strength to do it, and that you're incredibly beautiful just the same.

And I pray that the images we've taken together will be a consistent reminder of how beautiful you are, how wonderful your pregnancy was, and how amazing it felt to share your feelings with your unborn baby in my studio.

And when you feel your baby subtly move within you, please take a deep breath and know that you've got this. You're going to be an absolutely amazing mama, and this baby will always have you. xo

Expecting a baby?  Visit Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

The Lincoln Community Midwives

Choosing to use a midwife for all of my pregnancies was easy. They encouraged home births, but also delivered in the hospital if that's what I needed or prefered. They answered all my questions, about epidurals or trying with no meds at all. They met with me, got to know me, and literally helped me every step of the way.

I didn't realize how much I needed these kind, gentle and knowledgeable ladies until after my baby arrived. They inspired me, pushed me and cared for me.

You know, the people we surround ourselves with matter. During pregnancy and after, who we choose to fill our life with matters. Keep people close to you who encourage you, who challenge you and who call out the greatness that God has put inside of you. And let’s strive to be those people. The people who inspire and encourage, who challenge and call greatness out in whoever we see. Let’s be people who listen more than we talk, who fight for hearts more than we  complain, who make time to see people just as they are and love them Right there. Just as they are.

The midwives do this for mamas every day. xo
 

Here's a new pregnancy and newborn display I just put up at the Lincoln Community Midwives office.

If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Everything About You, Baby

I could write an entire blog post about that hair.

But the truth is, everything about you is wonderful. You are perfectly made, perfectly framed, perfectly put together.

The way your eyes gush with being captivated. The clasp of your little fingers around your daddy's. The rising and falling of your chest as you breathe. The slight grin of your lips and the way your toes wiggle when you’re excited. The softness of your cheek. The way you always want your tiny hands near your face. The perfect curve of your ears that will hear all the best songs. The weight of a life on purpose.

Babe, you are perfect. You are absolutely perfect.


There will be days where you won’t feel perfect. But you are. And there will be moments when you’ll wonder if you have what it takes. You do. And there will be hours when you’ll wonder if it matters. And it does. Because you do.

Everything about you is wonderful. Everything about you is perfectly put together. Everything about you is on purpose.

And you have two parents who love you so completely.

xo

"This brought me to tears! Thank you so much for capturing my sons first few weeks in the world and the precious moments between my husband and I with our new son. Your work is beautiful and you have a great touch with handling newborns! I can't wait to hang the framed work on my walls in my home. Thank you again! - Janessa Martin"


If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Local Business Feature | Grimsby's Happy Baby Shop

I love doing these local business features! It's so great to get a glimpse into the lives of the people in our community, and of course, I also love buying local!

This month's featured business is The Happy Baby, owned and operated by the lovely Mary Jo Clements. She super pretty, funny, and never seems to run out of energy. If you haven't been to her store yet, you're seriously missing out! It's amazing, and already a favourite of all my clients with little ones.

"We are a specialty boutique for infants, toddlers and their parents, we carry a large selection of local, handmade and natural products.  Our shop is located at 2 Main St West in the heart of down town Grimsby, Ontario. 

We decided to get into this line of work when our daughter was born. She was the inspiration for the opening of the shop and it's name sake. She’s one Happy Baby. 

When I was younger I definitely dreamed of running my own business. Now I gain a lot of inspiration from social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest as well as many of the amazing makers in our little corner of Ontario. Niagara has an excellent and diverse number of talented people."

"Finding balance with home and work is definitely tricky, there is something that always needs to be done. I do my best to not do work “stuff” outside of business hours and when we are all home. Sundays and Mondays are off limits too. 

Our family is made up of myself, my husband Joe, our two year old daughter Darwin, Grandpa and Solo the German shepherd.

In our free time, like weekends, we do things together as a family. Trips to the aquarium, zoo, butterfly conservatory and the like. For Darwin’s 2nd birthday, which is upcoming, we are taking her to the Strong Children's Museum in Rochester. Also I recently started horseback riding early mornings twice per week for fun and exercise.

When she was younger, Darwin came to work with me every day. I would wear her in the shop as she napped, breastfeed and work the register and hold dance parties while we closed up. Now that she is an active toddler she attends daycare around the corner. I drop her off on my way into the shop and pick her up at the end of the day, on the longer evenings she helps me close up. 

What I love most about what I do at The Happy Baby is seeing how much joy you can bring to someone, be it a person buying a cute pair of booties for their baby or providing a place for other small business owners to showcase themselves."

You'll find Mary Jo's favourite products here on her website: The Happy Baby.

And here are a few favourites from her mama & baby photography session with me.

Niagara Photographer Client Testimonial

"Karen is an amazingly caring and attentive person, I've done several sessions with her and she has always shown the same attention to detail. She's was fantastic and patient with my baby and captured stunning images. Her studio is gorgeous and you really can't go wrong choosing her." - Mary Jo Clements


If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Portraits That Capture Personality

I remember what it felt like when I had school photos taken. I hated the fact that I had so little time, but also could not wait to get out of that chair. I had to sit so stiffly, and my hair had to be just right but I was too young to really know what that meant so it wasn't. I remember one year the photographer parted mine right down the middle and I looked ridiculous. It is still in my childhood photo album.

The portraits you have taken in my studio are SO different. We discuss wardrobe, hair and make up. You're prepared so there are so surprises, but also have time to ensure you look your best. Once we begin, you basically just sit, talk, play games, read stories, and take time to be together, as a family. That's it. We're not rushed but that's when the best photographs happen!

Personalities shine through and we create real connection, moments and memories.


It's a huge part of why I love what I do. And you'll see it come through in every one of these images. She went from happiness to wonder, then sadness and back to happiness again. Babies are so unpredictable, and I love photographing all those sweet expressions.

In December and January I ran a Mama & Baby Giveaway. These lucky winners, Amanda, Dave & little Emelia took home a prize worth $1,100! It was such a pleasure to work with them, providing them with a custom baby & family session as well as a whole bunch of great mama & baby gifts. Here's a peek at the images they received. Emelia is such a ray of sunshine. Enjoy her expressions, some insight into who she is, and to who she'll be. Someday. xo

Client Testimonial

"Karen was great to work with from the moment we arrived. She was so welcoming and her studio was absolutely beautiful. I love how personal she is and how casual her photography style is. She captured us in the moment as a new little family and we will have keepsakes of this special time to cherish always." -Amanda Moore


If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Photography For Mamas Workshop

The course that is going to teach you to how to use your camera, take photos you're proud of and document your family memories IS FINALLY HERE!

Let me ask you a question.

If I told you that I could explain how to use your DSLR to it's fullest and see your photographs improve because you had the knowledge to control it, would you be interested in that?

"It's not the camera, it's the artist using the camera that makes a great photo." This is partially true, but not completely. A good camera and lenses eliminates many of the obstacles, but it takes both a creative mind and deep knowledge of your gear (both things you can learn) to really make the photographs that will thrill you for a lifetime.

You're one step away from loving the images you take.
 

There's an online, watch anytime at your own pace course OR a live, hands on, in-person workshop that will walk you through it all.

There are also some awesome swag bags that await you if you purchase the live class.

I am passionate about teaching you this content. You'll even get to see before and afters from when I was learning how to use my DSLR. It's going to be awesome (and embarrassing for me, just sayin)!

"It may be crazy but I only ever used my camera in auto mode, I did not have the knowledge to use the other settings and the camera manual was no help! This course helped me through those settings in an easy to follow and visual way, I can finally get the pictures I want of my little boy! Thank you for helping to catch life's quick little moments!" - Jess Wasylin

What are you waiting for?

Are You Watching Your Children Closely?

Before I became a mom for the first time, I realized that raising children would involve many emotions - joy and happiness, sadness, confusion even.

What I didn't realize is how young they would be when I actually had to let go.
 

In my mind I figured this moment would be like in Gilmore Girls when my 18 year old daughter went off to college but she still came home every weekend for Friday night dinners. It didn't occur to me that I would also have to let go when my husband and I went out for the night for the first time since they arrived, on that first day of daycare or of kindergarten.

We may not necessarily feel it until we reach those milestones, but now that my youngest is in full time school, I find myself mourning his loss of baby teeth, every story he reads by himself and the fact that he can put on his own seatbelt and close the heavy van door. When I look at photos from his baby years I tear up and feel a deep sadness like somehow I missed it all. I miss who he was, and I just want to silently hug the kid he is now, but he won't sit still long enough. And reality is - he just keeps growing. 

But I was watching closely every time I shot a frame that included his long, messy morning hair that I refused to cut, his cute little baby teeth, his numerous expressions, paint covered fingers, his relationships with his siblings and us through family professional portrait sessions.
 

And Marianne has been watching her littles closely too, especially now that little Portia has entered the world. I've never seen parents of 3 children so relaxed and in the moment with their kids.

Her and Carter have been coming to me since their oldest was 1.  We've documented their growing boys and their family's love in the studio and outdoors. Aidan's gone from little brother to big brother. This September, as Marianne is bringing little Ryder to kindergarten for the first time, it's going to be one of those "letting go" moments. There's no worry about whether or not she's been watching closely though, because she has, and so have I. xo

"We have worked with Karen on several occasions and have yet to be disappointed. Karen has done an amazing job capturing our family as we are-we love how there are no artificial poses, just candid moments of our connections to one another. We have trusted Karen with newborn and one year photography collections of our children and family, as well as a recent maternity session. We are in love with every picture she has taken for us. We look forward to our upcoming newborn session with Karen- we know that we are going to cherish these pictures forever, like we do the others she has taken for us." -Marianne Dumont


Expecting a baby?  Visit Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, also specializing in family, newborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

When You Allow Kids To Be Themselves

There was a time when everything I did as a photographer was so carefully thought out. I would purchase large paper backdrops and props, ensure children were sitting in JUST the right spot, and once all the conditions were perfectly met, I'd start photographing. Those days are gone.

It's become so apparent to me that the best images are taken when I am not directing at all.
 

During my last 12 years as a photographer I've spent a great deal of time learning. One of the biggest lessons was that the images I love most are authentic, they happened naturally, and they truly reflect who my subject is, as a person.

These lovely images of my own son Henry make me so happy! I've photographed him countless times, but I never know what to expect with him, as he's a little hyper and unpredictable. :)  So how did we create these gorgeous captures?

I just told him that he could play with the toys in my studio while I photographed.
 

Just like these images of Henry, I love it when parents let their kids be kids.  When they can see their little ones in images the way they really are. Authentic and honest, adorable and sweet. It is amazing to be able to capture their little lives as their personality comes out to play and their grin splashes on their faces. We get to watch as they discover the world and the people in it, as they learn how to do things, as they are loved just for who they are. And their journey is worth capturing, it is worth photographing, it is worth being held in frames and wallets and up on walls. It is worth celebrating.

These days with our babies are so very important. We are shaping who our children are as people. It is no small thing, we are making a difference, so they can as well.

These little ones we hold in our arms now, the ones who crawl on our floors and race up and down the hallway, these ones will do great things.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

5 Awesome Places In Your Home To Photograph Your Children

When it comes to photographing in your home, there are endless possibilities. Every room has it's own unique qualities and unless there are no windows at all, you can utilize the natural light in those spaces.

I enjoy looking back at images from my childhood and remembering the 70's carpet on the walls and how much fun we had in the unfinished basement. Not every room needs to be photo ready in order to make and keep these memories in photographs. When you're taking photos at home, there's no need to clean up. You can choose to use a wide aperture and let your backgrounds blur, or embrace the mess. Both are beautiful in the own way. Here are a few of my favourite locations for photos of my kids throughout the years.

Your Kitchen

Your kitchen is the perfect place for portraits because you can easily get your kids involved in doing something that helps them forget the camera is there. Whether it be eating a cookie, drinking from a sippy cup, baking cupcakes, or playing a board game, you'll get images that look very much like them and how they are, every day.

Your Bathroom

Photos in the bathroom, just doing every day things, are so adorable. Brushing their teeth, in the bubble bath, standing on the stool in order to reach the sink, watching mom and dad get ready to go, it's so neat to see them grow through these images.

Near A Window

Everyone has a natural light source in their home, whether it be a window or a door. Bring your child into that light, at different times of the day.  See how the light falls onto them and enjoy!

Baby's Nursery

The place where you and your little one spend a great deal of time, rocking in the rocking chair and napping in daylight. Imagine how amazing it would be to remember those little things like what your mobile looked like, and the bedding on your bed. These precious moments of calm and quiet are so meaningful and enjoyable. You're both going to want to re-live them.

Your Backyard

There is SO much beauty in the every day. Here I've just followed my Lily around the backyard during our regular outside playtime. It was full sun, but I embraced it and did the best with the light we had.  A few things I love about being outdoors-the wind, the excitement, the ability for them to just play, play, play.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

LOCAL BUSINESS FEATURE | Organic Baby Teethers

I love buying local. The closer I can find something, the better, and there are so many local businesses that offer amazing products! Here's the first I'm going to share with you on this monthly feature. Sarah makes the cutest teething jewellery, high quality and so pretty. I'm sure you'll love her products just as much as I do.

"My name is Sarah Dietz. I'm a follower of Jesus, I'm 27 years old, mother to 2 boys and another babe on the way. I've been married to the love of my life for 7 years. I love to cook, adore all things crafty, and enjoy spending time finding ways to make my house a home. 

I run a small business called SD Designs and I design and create high quality teething products in Burlington, Ontario, Canada.

When my son was going through his teething stage I was desperate and on the hunt for a natural product. I discovered silicone teething jewellery in stores such as Babies R Us and Snuggle Bugz - but was shocked by the pricing. I ended up creating some products for my own personal use, but not long after had friends messaging me for orders.

When I was first married I always dreamed of starting a small business one day but never knew in detail what that could possibly be. With the encouragement and support from some close friends of mine and my husband, I finally started SD Designs

I find inspiration first by seeing which colors blend well together and then I start testing out different styles. Actually, a lot of my inspiration comes from my customers. Special requests and custom orders always open my mind to new designs and products.

What I love most about what I do is that I get to do what I love from home. I get the best of both worlds and I'm so grateful for it. I enjoy so much to play, read, and cuddle with my children and also have office time to be creative and interact with my customers during nap time. 

There is never a dull moment with my boys. They love to follow me around, ask lots of questions, and enjoy feeling needed. I often try to include them in some small tasks for the business and they are always eager to help. They love stamping the logo stamp on the envelopes and going on our weekly post office adventures. 

It took me awhile to figure out how to balance home and work life. Trust me I'm no expert and often times I find myself struggling with it...but the one thing I always tend to focus on in that my family comes first. My role at home and in this family is such an important one and I never want to take it for granted. So always make sure loved ones feel that they are first priority. My other tip would definitely be having a schedule. A plan. I'm constantly running around with my notebook and pen making lists. A list from most important down to the bottom, of things I want to accomplish for the day and check them off as I go. Super simple, but so helpful for staying on track and being productive! My dollar store notebooks are my saving grace sometimes!

When I get some free time I really enjoy watching YouTube videos! Checking out different recipes, DIY's or organizational videos. I just find so many of them so inspirational and they're relaxing to watch! My husband and I enjoy a competitive game of rummy from time to time, or I'm one of those Mama's that you'll see roaming the cosmetics aisle by myself at 9:30pm. Getting out by myself some evenings for a breather always helps me to feel calm and I always savor those moments when I have them. Especially when it includes taking a detour through the Dairy Queen drive thru. That is always a good use of spare time in my books."

You'll find more of Sarah's designs here on her Etsy page: SD Designs.

Client Testimonial

"I have been getting so many messages about the pictures and of course I'm recommending you to everyone I know. Couldn't be happier with everything it was such a joy to work with you! You were able to capture our family in such a beautiful way so thankful for that. We're so in love with them can't even explain it:) Can't wait to share them with family!" -Sarah Dietz


If you'd like to reserve your portrait session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Creating A Meaningful Newborn Portrait Experience

I remember the studio was bright and welcoming that Friday afternoon. I prepared the room while listening to my favourite soundtrack from the movie Like Crazy. It was so calm and peaceful, and those feelings continued after this little bundle arrived.

Most people don't realize how much careful thought goes into creating the warm and inviting atmosphere of a newborn session here in the studio. What you see, smell, hear and feel are all part of the experience you have. What we talk about is part of what makes it personal, and it makes you feel connected to your baby. The images you receive afterward-they represent more than what you came here for. It's truly meaningful.

It's just like a painter placing the blank canvas on an easel, mixing paint colours and choosing the best brushes for my next creation. No two paintings are the same, and neither are two beautiful babies. 

Brooke Elizabeth was relaxed, content, yet curious at the same time, just taking it all in. She yawned and looked up at me with wide eyes, as a 10 day old baby does. She wiggled and moved, watched and listened. Her wild hair made me wonder about who she'll become, in what seems like the blink of an eye.

Brooke's mama, Jessica, looked so young and energetic for a mama of four. She was gracious and kind, excited to have her baby's portraits taken to be displayed on the hospital wall. Oh yes, Brooke's also the first baby born at West Lincoln Memorial Hospital in 2017.  

Welcome to the world, Brooke. xo

testimonial from newborn photography session in Southern Ontario, Canada

"The minute you walk in from the busy street and into the studio you enter into a peaceful, calm environment. Right away Karen made me feel welcomed and relaxed. She handled my daughter very gently and confidently. She took her time to make sure my daughter was calm and relaxed before the camera was even taken out. This was my first experience with newborn photography and the environment Karen has created is as beautiful as the photos she captures!" - Jessica Rameder


Are you expecting a baby?  Visit Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in familynewborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

The Secrets of Baby Happiness

Marianne was comfortable, beautiful and having a great time, but the look on her face when Carter and her boys arrived to join her at her pregnancy session here in the studio was sheer happiness. She is so gentle and kind, and yes, this new baby is going to bring a little more chaos to their lives, but also whole lot more happiness.

To you, maybe happiness is when all your kids are at home, the laundry is done and you can finally curl up with that good book. Maybe it's when you’re sitting with your husband on the couch after a long day. Perhaps happiness is a good conversation, or doing something you love. Maybe it is long walks, homemade cookies and snuggles. To you, maybe happiness is silence. Maybe it is the roaring of laughter or the sweet melody of music. Maybe it is something just in between.

To babies, happiness is when you walk into their rooms after the sun comes up, in the middle of the night or just after their nap. To babies, happiness is seeing your face and knowing that you’ll always come back and that you’ve never stopped.

To babies, happiness is bright colours and interesting noises. It is the way you scrunch your nose at them and sometimes they catch you singing and it makes them giggle. Happiness is knowing that when you look at them, they feel your love before you even say those three syllables.

To babies, happiness is getting to see and feel and discover new things. Every single thing and every single moment feels like such an adventure where the treasure just doesn’t stop. Happiness is feeling like it is just waiting for them to find it, to play with it, to see it. 

Happiness is the look on your face. Happiness is the way you hold your child. Happiness is knowing that when he or she gets a little bigger, you'll cheer for them. Happiness is that you’re here.

I can't wait until Marianne & Carter's little bundle arrives; until Ryder & Aidan get to hold him or her gently for the first time.

To babies, happiness is these moments.

client testimonial for maternity photography services in Grimsby Ontario Canada

"We have worked with Karen on several occasions and have yet to be disappointed. Karen has done an amazing job capturing our family as we are-we love how there are no artificial poses, just candid moments of our connections to one another. We have trusted Karen with newborn and one year photography collections of our children and family, as well as a recent maternity session. We are in love with every picture she has taken for us. We look forward to our upcoming newborn session with Karen- we know that we are going to cherish these pictures forever, like we do the others she has taken for us." -Marianne Dumont


Expecting a baby?  Visit Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer.

If you'd like to reserve your session with me, call 905 309 5000 or email karen@rolphoto.ca.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara Region pregnancy photographer located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, also specializing in family, newborn and baby portraits for clients in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto and surrounding areas.

Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer

Your Guide To Hiring The Right Newborn Photographer

In today’s fast paced world, I have more and more mommies wanting to slow things down, to enjoy their newborns and the lives they’re living.  My professional newborn photography in done a natural, organic style.  I adore this, as it means your images are going to be a true reflection of your child.  It’s my preferred style of photography.  This organic way of looking at your baby’s images will give you a window into their little lives, and will be even more treasured as they transition into adulthood and have babies of their own.  As a Niagara newborn photographer, I’ve compiled a quick list of links to help you guide you through the process of creating natural newborn portraits, how to choose the best photographer for you, how they’re created and some suggestions on what to do with your finished pieces.

1. Choosing A Newborn Photographer

Aren’t you incredibly excited for that moment when you first meet your baby?  When you’ll finally get to hold her in your arms?  For me, it was like all of my insides had been hugged, like all the empty spaces got filled, like I found the answer to the questions my soul had been asking.  The love that we have in our hearts for our children is special and powerful. It is a beautiful treasure when we are able to have that photographed and preserved for forever.
Newborn photography is a once in a lifetime thing.  I’ve had clients call my studio when they’ve had a bad experience with another photographer and by the time they know the images aren’t any good, it’s too late to truly capture that newness.  Even at three weeks your newborn is going to look so different, and they won’t curl up as they did when they first entered the world.  If that was your vision, you can’t go back again.  Please read over and follow this handy list of qualities a professional should have when choosing a newborn baby photographer.

2. Why Lifestyle Newborn Photography?

My preferred type of photography is a blend of styles, with my main goal to document the life of a brand new little person. It is about capturing the personality of each baby and celebrating their uniqueness. It is about the feelings between two parents as they realize the future years of their life have been forever changed for the better.  Through newborn lifestyle photography, I get to immerse myself in their life even for just a couple hours and enjoy and capture the love that is naturally surrounding them.  In order to capture these feelings, an environment needs to be created that facilitates connection. Lifestyle photographers often need to be able to photograph their subjects as if there is no camera in the room. It takes time for parents to feel completely comfortable, so these sessions can never be rushed. With newborns, I always follow their cues, their position likes and dislikes, and if they should move their arm, stretch out those tiny feet, give me a great big yawn, I photograph it. Those moments are just as, if not more important. Being able to capture the personality of a newborn baby in images is something new parents are sure to treasure completely. You can read more about lifestyle photography here.

3. How To Reduce Stress During and After Your Photo Session

This article is wonderful, but you may want to bookmark it and read it again a few days before your session.  Imagine, you have waited nine months, your new baby is finally in your arms and newborn portraits are happening tomorrow morning. You are excited to have your family documented, celebrated and to leave your children with beautiful images that include you.  At the same time, balancing a brand new baby, and all the things that come along with that responsibility, plus making sure you have everything in order can be stressful.  I have put together some helpful hints that will make it not only stress free, but oh, so enjoyable.  Reading these over and following them will be sure to help you feel completely informed, and to reduce stress before and during your photo session.  From clothing choices to rest, communication to relaxation, this will help you feel like you have a good handle on what a wonderful experience this will be.

4. The Best Way To Order Your Newborn Portraits

Choosing your finished pieces is a very important piece of the puzzle.  I’ll request images of your chosen wall(s) in your home and use them to determine how I’ll compose the session images, and also to decide on the colours I’ll incorporate during our time together.  Approximately one week after your photo session with me, you’ll be invited back into the studio for your ordering appointment, where I’ll unveil everything to you on the studio projection screen.  Using specialized software and the image(s) of their wall, I show you the wall collections I’ve pre-designed. These are images of the portraits from your session that I think work best together and are the correct size for your space. During your Ordering and Design Session, we select your favourite images together, comparing images side by side or in groups. We also decide on the appropriate portrait sizes for the walls we have chosen. We play with the pre-designed wall collection images until you’re completely in love with them. This creates an environment that allows you to have increased input into your finished pieces, quickly and easily, with minimal frustration.

5. A Tangible Photographic Experience

During our time in the studio, you’ll be able to hold our products in your hands, and to envision your images within them.  When I create newborn imagery, isn’t created for viewing on any old computer screen. It’s made to be touched; to be held; to tell a story you can feel, and to be remembered. A linen album tells your story so much better than a folder on a computer ever will, and it’s so much more valuable.  I believe in a tangible photography experience, encouraging you to have your artwork printed, whether it be in an album, image box or as wall portraits.  Life is just too short to let those digital files sit in a drawer, corrupt, or become an obsolete file type.  Your baby and your relationships are worth more that that.  They’re worth preserving.  Your newborn baby is beautiful in every way, the way their lips curve just slightly they’re happy. And you, in how you soothe your little ones just against your heartbeat. In that way you look at your children like you’ve just stumbled upon treasure. In how you lay down your life to see them cared for as if you’re writing a song to them with your life that they are loved beyond measure. You are a glimpse of heaven on earth.  Having tangible products to showcase that love is just the beginning of your story together.

Taking The Time To Be Genuine

How many images do you have of yourself and your family where you're all just sitting there, side by side, attempting smiles on your faces but your heart isn't really in it? One of the hardest parts of being a photographer is getting everyone in the right frame of mind, educating clients like you on what to expect when you get to the studio, and then helping you to forget the camera is there and just having a great time together as a family.

There was no sit still and smile in this natural light baby session, but more of a "let's have a seat here and see what happens." It wasn't rushed, but also it didn't take long, as I know just how to lead families in the direction we need to go. In my professional experience as a photographer, that's when the best images are taken.

That's not to say there isn't a lot of preparation done on my both of our parts, of course. Weeks prior to my photography appointments, we're planning wardrobe, make up, discovering your true vision for your session so that I can be sure to provide you with images that you love beyond measure. We're talking about printed products, where they're going to hang in your home, and feeling the soft pages of the album that will grace your coffee table.

It was a beautiful, sunny day here in the Grimsby, Ontario studio when I photographed this family. Little Emmett was completely in love with my camera, as you can see, or maybe it was me  :) It was rare that he wasn't looking in my direction. but with children it's so different. It's actually really hard for children to be fake, as they're naturally honest, and you can see everything they're feeling written on their little faces. And there is so much joy in these!

This was my second session with Kimberley and Emmett, and he's grown a whole lot since he was a newborn. One thing that hasn't changed is his sweet, calm nature though. He just loves to absorb everything about the world around him, taking it all in.

client testimonial for baby photography in the natural light Niagara Ontario studio

"Karen did an amazing job with our images. We decided to do a photo session to show how much my son had grown in a year, as Karen was his first photographer when he was first born. When we arrived my son didn't want to get photographed by himself right away, so we quickly moved to doing family pictures while he was comfortable. Later moving back to solo photographs once he became comfortable with his surroundings. She really takes her time with everyone to get the best image possible of everyone. You can really feel the love through the images." - Kimberley Young


Wouldn't you love to have your own baby or family photographed like this? Click these links for more information on having your pregnancynewbornbaby or family portraits made. Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara baby photographer specializing in natural light pregnancy, newborn, baby and family photography.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara baby photographer located in the Niagara Region of Southern Ontario, also specializing in family, newborn and baby photography in Mississauga, Oakville and Toronto.

Ordering Your Portrait Artwork

So, what happens after your portraits are taken?

Let’s say you’re sitting on your chair, looking lovingly at the images of your brand new baby wrapped up cozy and beautiful on your computer screen from home. There are 25-30 images, and each one seems to be even more gorgeous than the next. You want to take these from a screen and put them on your walls, but many questions are going through your mind. Which wall in your home were you thinking of? What colours can be incorporated into that room? What size should it be? What frame colour? How will the images look together, side by side? Suddenly, the sweet new babe needs your attention and once again you need to figure this out another time.

Printing photographs can be quite overwhelming for all of us. There are many decisions to be made, and many possibilities. Luckily, professional photographers now have the software needed to view wall galleries before you even purchase them. It’s much easier to review and choose your favourite portraits with help from a professional and here are some reasons why:

Ten Reasons Why Ordering & Design Appointments Will Benefit You

1 – You can relax, have a beverage and know that you have professional help in selecting the right images, sizes and layouts
2 – Receive help paring down to your ultimate favourites, seeing them side by side or in groupings to help you compare
3 – They can show you different cropping options to choose the best size to suit your space
4 – They provide assistance in choosing the best walls in your home to feature your new artwork
5 – If you provide images of the walls in your home, they can show you your portraits in actual size on those walls
6 – They will give you advice based on room size, face size and viewing distance
7 – Professionals can show you samples of high quality artwork finishes to find one that works best for your home
8 – The whole ordering and design process is faster than trying to do it alone
9 – Your photographer will take care of ensuring your portraits are perfect before you receive them
10 – Some professional photographers even offer the service of hanging your finished pieces

Every photographer does things a little differently, but upon booking a photography session with Reflections of Life, I touch base with clients regarding where they envision their artwork in their home. My clients love to select high impact or statement portraits that showcase their family and can be displayed in an area of their home where they can enjoy seeing it every day. I always advise them to choose areas in their homes where they ‘live’ the most, but also where others will see their portraits.

Images are then taken of their chosen wall(s) and used to determine how I’ll compose the session images, and also to decide on the colours I’ll incorporate during our time together.

About a week after photography is complete, we meet for an in person ordering and design appointment. Using specialized software and the image(s) of their wall, I show them the wall collections I’ve pre-designed. These are images of the portraits from their sessions that I think work best together and are the correct size for their space. During your Ordering and Design Session, we select your favourite images together, comparing images side by side or in groups. We also decide on the appropriate portrait sizes for the walls we have chosen. We play with the pre-designed wall collection images until you’re completely in love with them. This creates an environment that allows you to have increased input into your finished pieces, quickly and easily, with minimal frustration.

When choosing your photographer, it’s important to discuss how you will go about ordering the images afterward. Since each photographer does things a little differently, ensure this is one of the questions you ask. If you’re a very visual person, you may not need this type of help in choosing the correct portraits and finishes for your space. It’s necessary to make this clear before you book with your photographer so you both know what to expect during each step of the process. These newborn photographs capture a moment in your life, and in the life of your new babe that is so fleeting. Re-live it every day by walking into a room filled with portraits of the memories captured during your session.  You’ll be so pleased you did.


Click these links for more information on having your own maternitynewbornbaby or family portraits created. Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara baby photographer specializing in natural light maternity, newborn, baby and family photography.

Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Niagara baby photographer located in Southern Ontario, also specializing in family, newborn and baby photography in Oakville and Toronto.

Oh What Fun! | Grimsby Family Photographer

If you are not having fun during your annual family portrait sessions, then, my friends, you are not doing it right! Fun is a must have during all Reflections of Life sessions. Fun brings out real emotion and expression, smiles and laughs. Fun creates the memories that we want to last a lifetime.

Those who know me well realize I'm all about being real. I've curated your family session experiences so they're full of fun games to play, no matter the age of your child. Whether it be through making up silly stories or pretending we're superheros, we simply play and capture real expressions because we're actually having a great time. Reviewing the images below I am still in awe of all the emotion we captured. I'm so happy we got together at the beach that fall day.

I have been photographing Jessica and Peter's family since John Andrew was a tiny newborn. Together we celebrated his first birthday and welcomed his baby sister into the family.

Most recently, I met up with them at the beach for a family session, and oh what fun we had! One of the favorite games we played was a story game. Each person would make up a line to a story and then pass it to the next person. John Andrew is an imaginative and funny little boy. We were all laughing from his little stories, and how he kept playfully saying "Get out of hear!" Sweet Nicholina took all of it in, and I am sure just waiting for her turn to join in the fun!

I look forward to seeing this sweet family again to capture more fun memories!


Love this Grimsby beach location? Check out another session I've photographed there.

Are you expecting a baby?  Click these links for more information on having your own maternitynewbornbaby or family portraits created. Reflections of Life Photography is a Grimsby family photographer specializing in natural light maternity, newborn, baby and family photography.

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Karen of Reflections of Life Photography is a Grimsby family photographer located in the Niagara Region, in Southern Ontario, also specializing in family, newborn and baby photography in Oakville and Toronto.