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About MDWRIGGS Photography

So many people ask me what the heck is an MDWRIGGS. So, I will give you a small breakdown so you can see how it came to be. Not that it matters, not that you are asking but I need SOMETHING to write in this section and so this is it. M is for Michelle :) Simple enough right? D is for my maiden name *unimportant really* WRIGGS is just a short nickname from my married last name. Those who know me will appreciate the shortened version because its a fun tricky last name to say and spell :) Thats it, there you have it.

Archive: ‘Uncategorized’

A piece of the past | Here today, Gone tomorrow

Monday, July 28th, 2014

This is a farmhouse.  Built in the late 1800′s and sold to my aunt and uncle in 1980.  I remember being a young child, maybe about 12 years old.  I remember visiting my aunt and uncle and being intrigued by this house.  Somewhere between when I was 12 and now (never ask a lady her age, lol) they moved from this house and built another house on the same property but this old house remained the same.  A piece of furniture on the old farm.  A favourite rocking chair if you will, that maybe no one uses anymore but everyone has to stop and give a try.  OK, maybe not everyone, but I sure did/do :)

There are pieces of this house that I remember all too well.  Which says a lot because I was just a little girl and we only use to come visit once every year or two.  It wasn’t until 2005 that I moved here and began to see the old farmhouse more often.  I remember the cow skull my aunt kept at the front door, lol.  Strange but true. I just assume its what you do in the country :)

I remember the kitchen.  I remember where the kitchen table sat and I even have images of my aunt cooking up something in the kitchen.  I remember the cold storage room, I remember the wood beams in the living room. I also remember the large gaping hole between the upstairs and the living room that we as kids were told NEVER to play near.  (FYI, its still there)

I remember the old wooden steps up to the upstairs, the bedrooms, one in pink and one in blue.  Oddly, I do not recall the bathroom, lol.  This made me chuckle today as I walked through what was once a family home.

Dawn dragged me down (flip flops mind you) into the basement.  Not something I anticipate doing again any time soon.  I’m not sure what freaked me out more.  The mouse that scurried across the floor or the spider I was convinced ran up my sleeve.  In hindsight, I am happy I didn’t drop my camera.  I believe I may have been mistaken, lol.  I think it was a string from my sweater :)

Things about the property in general have changed a lot.  I remember a chicken coop in the back of the house.  There is also now more modern buildings, but in all this time the one constant has always been the old farmhouse.








A farmhouse that will slowly over the next couple of weeks, come down.

I plan to document it here.














CALLING 2012 GRADS!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Unhappy with your school grad proofs?  Why spend money on pictures you aren’t happy with!  Do something different this year!  Email me for details!


Beautiful girls | Ottawa Valley Family Photographer

Monday, October 31st, 2011

I wasn’t too sure what the weather was going to bring us but we got  lucky on this sunny almost warm … end of October day.

Was great to meet your family and it was an even better surprise that you managed to get EVERYONE home for the session.

Hope you enjoy :)  I’m still working on this session but wanted to put two up since I have them and I am trying to catch up on blog posts, lol





Love the last one best of all.  Makes me wish I had a sister *sigh*

What I’ve been up to | Ottawa Valley Photography

Monday, July 25th, 2011

My attempt to catch up PART II

I will try to do this in the order that they were taken :)

First I had the honor of photographing Will.  Will was born to Brandi and Mike :) I love me a BOURQUE baby :)
Here is the newest addition to their family :)

Jordyn ~ Beautiful baby girl with sweet cheeks!

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

Had the absolute pleasure of meeting sweet baby Jordyn last week when her auntie brought her in with her mom for a little photo session.  Not only is she BEAUTIFUL and has gorgeous eyes, she has the MOST AMAZING cheeks.  She reminds me of a porcelain doll with her rosy round cheeks, her button nose and perfect complexion.

A few times when Jordyn didn’t want to play our game of “look over here” she would rest her head on the rim of the basket and her dear sweet Auntie Paula would pinch her chin and she would pop her head up and smile.  It was SO sweet and she was absolutely adorable.

… and her dress was simply to die for

I can’t wait to convince Auntie to bring her back when she is about 6/7 months old.  *wink*


So without further ado . . .




…. going over these images again, I know I said she had all those beautiful features but seriously, check out her perfect pucker.



Ottawa Valley Portrait Photographer gets serious but only because I was asked :)

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

I tried to post this discussion on facebook but apparently it was too long.  SO I ‘m going to move this to my blog for the world to see . . . heh heh

I’m completely open to conversation/comments as long as they are respectful.  I understand this can be a touchy subject but its important to me because its a part of who I am.

This is in response to a few questions about NEW photographers.  Why they charge so little.  What it usually means.  And why it gets under my skin.  And probably the skin of most professional photographers.

Here are my thoughts and experience.
Its kind of a catch 22.  On one hand I want to be disgusted when I see a beautiful “newborn session” completely ruined because the photographer clearly has no idea how to operate their camera to produce quality images.  Not to mention has little to no skill in photoshop.  If that same photographer actually accepted money (indicating that they are a business) for such poor quality workmanship, its very frustrating.  People are going to be biased to their images no matter what because its their family.  Its personal.  So no matter how much a photographer has botched a session, there is still going to be a part of that client who loves their images because its their family.  Its hard for a professional photographer to respect fauxtographers (or shoot and burn photogs) because 1) its clear in their images that they don’t know how to use their camera or are shooting in AUTO with pop up flash and claiming to be a pro 2) most of them go around and offer cheap sessions, and cheap work making people believe that they’ve found a great deal.  When in fact, they have not found a great deal.  They’ve found someone who will take mediocre images with no CLUE what they’re doing.  Or very little clue. So sadly, once its over, the family is left with images that anyone could have taken.  And it shows.

The “catch 22″ part for me is, there IS a point where a new photographer SHOULD charge for their work. And a new photographer NEEDS experience in order to improve.

The world we live in, is such that people tend to go where there is a good deal.  I’m no different.  I bargain shop.  I look for a good price.  Its nature. Its how I’m wired.  Its probably how MOST people are wired.  Sadly, quality IS lost when you bargain shop for a photographer.  Guaranteed.  NO professional photographer would give their work away for peanuts if they valued their time, their knowledge, their work and their passion for the industry.  No one.

Its a slippery slope and no ones journey into a photography business is perfect or “the right way” but it disheartens me when I see a fairly new photographer, view their work (lots of glairing NO NO’s (out of focus images, full sun squinting, dappled light, under and over exposed images, dear in the headlights FLASH) and see that they’re offering  wedding photography.  I have been in business for three years and I still won’t take on a wedding because I value my potential clients THAT much.  That doesn’t mean I don’t know how to shoot a wedding.  I do.  But there are certain things that I have always promised to myself as a photographer and one was to ALWAYS offer only the very best quality in my work and my products.  And I won’t shoot a wedding until I am ready.  My nerves keep me from that place of readiness.

However, Bobbi-Sue (fictitious name) who just got a new DSLR and wants to go into business, is already booking weddings for the upcoming wedding season, lol.  I see this ALLLL the time.  ITs terrible!!!!  You just hope that the bride and groom to be did some research.

So someone asked, well . . . how DO you do it then?
I think that its important to start with the basics.  KNOW YOUR CAMERA INSIDE AND OUT.  Know the manual modes on your camera and if you don’t know them, what they do, why you use them and how they apply to other modes, then you need to take the time to play with it and learn it.  Its actually important.

Secondly, PRACTICE!!!!!!!!!  Practice on your children. Practice on your pets. Practice on your family, you mom/dad, sisters, WHO EVER!!!!  Find a friend, go out and play around.  Go home, find your style (this doesn’t come overnight.  I’m only just starting to find my groove)

This is where that fine line seems to sit.  At what point do you charge someone for the Practicing you are doing?  In my opinion . . . YOU DON’T!!!!!  You take this opportunity to gain a bit of confidence in your ability.  In your work.  In the knowledge YOU have about photography. About post processing.  Besides, you don’t charge your mom/dad/sister/kids to be your model so you can practice.  Its just tacky.

At some point while you are enjoying your practicing, because TRUST ME, if you love photography . . . you will love practicing.  Someone will ask you if you will do their friends pictures.  “so and so is looking for some pictures, loves mine, wants you to do hers. will you? how much?”

Meet the fine line.

1* You should be paid for your time and your product
2* But you don’t want to charge a LOT because you aren’t confident that you can pull it off.

The answer is different for everyone.  For me, I did it for free.  I did a few sessions for people I didn’t know and I didn’t charge them.  I gave them a disc of images.  (My professional self would despise my Starting out self)  But in my heart of hearts, that was fair.  I lacked MAJOR confidence and I wasn’t positive I could produce what I considered to be great amazing quality.  So I didn’t want to disappoint people so I thought that if I didn’t charge them, they really couldn’t be disappointed.  And this is how it was.  I only did this though for a couple of months.  And only for a few select individuals.  And MOST of them, I knew.  A friend of a friend.  So-and-so’s sister.  You know?  Once I decided that I was consistently producing a solid 15+ image gallery, I knew I couldn’t do it for free any more and that I’d have to make the jump from disc to prints.  This scared me more than even seems reasonable.

SO, I set my prices out for what I wanted to charge and then I discounted the HECK out of it.  So, I advertised on my website that I had a session fee of $50 (don’t get me started but we all start somewhere) and then I listed my print prices.  And for my first year in business I discounted the HECK out of my prices.  I waived ALL session fees that year, and also offered 50% off prints.

At the end of that year I attended a workshop of a VERY talented photographer who I deeply respect and admire.  She looked at my work and went over my pricing and I have never been SO embarrassed in my life!  She went up one side of me and down the other.  She viewed my work.  She critiqued it and then LAUGHED at me.  Ok, not ME exactly but at the value I had placed on my work.  She was BANG on.  If I don’t value my time and my work and the quality of my work, then why should I expect someone else to value it?  I was charging $50 for a session.  (ok, I wasn’t even though as I was waiving it at the time)  Thats $50 for a 1-2 hour session, shooting outdoors.  Then I would come home and sit for 14-18 hours (straight time) and edit.  When she put it like that, I was a joke.  Its not that I set out to MAKE money in my business but lets be honest, you can’t keep up with the equipment, the expenses of having a legitimate business, without taking money in exchange for product.  Period.

I came home from her workshop and went on a two month hiatus where I banged my head on my desk for days/weeks trying to work out my pricing happy place.  I couldn’t enjoy this business if I was taking time away from my family for sessions and editing without being able to get some compensation.  It was hard.  To me, photography was a hobby.  A hobby I was passionate about.  How can I take money for something I love?   Then I saw how many hours I put into it.  Learning.  Trying new things.  New equipment so I could get the effects I was aiming for in my work.  Programs, insurance, marketing, business cards, websites. Hosting.  Fees.  Ughhhhhh . . . this hobby was getting expensive.  I had to do something about it or I’d end up hating it in a year.

And I did.  I started to respect my time.  My work.  My clients wants for quality products.  Sometimes people will say, how come you charge almost $30 for an 8×10 when I can go to Walmart and pay $3.00.  I want to shake my head and say, “seriously?”  I’m not charging $30 for the print.  I’m charging $30 for the work that went into the print.  The 2-3 hour custom session.  The experience.  The way your session was customized to your wants. Your needs.  Its the work that goes into the image.  Did you know that one image can take me up to 25 minutes to edit?  ONE IMAGE~ 25 minutes.  And I usually edit 20-30 in a full gallery.  Every single detail, painstakingly edited.  One mouse click at a time.  That makes my 8×10, worth more than $3.00.  Period.

SOOOO, (what were we talking about again?) lol
I get a little frustrated to see a new photographer claiming to be a professional photographer but only charging $75.00 for a session plus 10 prints plus a disc.  Its a slippery slope.  Usually it means they are new.  They need practice and don’t value their worth.  Maybe they don’t have a lot of worth yet.  But if that is the case, they need to advertise that fact.
“NEW Photographer in need of practice sessions.  Lots of discounts”.  This way people (being the client) know what they are getting.  Without a doubt.  And I think this is where I get angry.  Its ok to charge that when you’re starting but you shouldn’t be in business with business cards and flyers when you are at this stage of the game.

I use to schedule sessions around shade.  I’d only book a session for a certain location based on when I could shoot in shade.  Shade was safe.  Aside from a little blue/and adjusting accordingly, it was safe.  I hit a point somewhere between 09/10 where I knew I could increase my prices because my product had greatly improved.  My confidence went through the roof.  I still struggle with my comfort level since I’m a very shy person.   But instead of hoping for overcast, I started begging for sunlight.  Begging for a beautiful sunset.    I knew when this happened, that I had turned a major corner in my journey.  A journey that still continues.  Every. Single. Day.

Has ANY Of this made sense?  I think I’ll copy and paste it to my blog.  Feel free to comment on either and if you have any questions for me, I’m completely open to respectful conversation.

I’m going to go pull up a few of my images from early days.  Should be fun to see.

Ta – daaaaaaa

I’m going to critique my own work right here for you all to see :)  These images I am about to share were taken when I was just starting out.  I actually had probably been at it for a little bit but these are my own kids.  So I wasn’t ruining anyones family portraits, ya know?  And I certainly wasn’t even contemplating a business venture at this point…

So above is Luke.  Probably one of the very first pictures I took with my first dslr.  A Canon Rebel XTi.  Great starter camera for me.  See the little pinlights in his eyes?  RED FLAG RED FLAG.  Smack in the middle of the pupil like that? The culprit is likely those pesky pop up flashes.  Other than that, this image is pretty focus perfect.  I was quite impressed with myself that day and so I should have been.  It was a great picture of my sweet little boy.  His color is a little off but there was plenty of time for learning.  Why? Because I wasn’t passing myself off as a professional photographer :)

My oldest baby.  Justin.  Oh Lord, I loved this picture when I took it.  He looked so ruggedly handsome.  He is, he still is.  What you can’t see in this image (or maybe you can, I don’t know) is that this picture is terribly out of focus.  To the average eye though you might not be able to tell. Small like this you probably can’t tell.  To the trained eye, its soft.  I would scrap this image and not include it in a gallery for a client because my clients deserve the very best.  I would find another image that was spot on focus-wise.  Attention to details.  And focus, is a MAJOR detail.  Yet time and time again, I see images that are soft.  Sometimes fauxtographers soften the picture on purpose so that it has a soft look.  Some do this to mask the fact that they botched up the focus.  Just sayin,

My color in that image is very cool.  He looks blue.  Thats because he’s in the shade.  Remember?  I obviously didn’t know how to counter this in editing at the time.  That would take long hard hours/weeks/months online with some of the best photographers around the world to help me with skin tone and white balance . . . ughhhh.

At this point I believe I was still working on focus.  Focus is a pretty big deal for a photographer. It can make or break an image.  Sometimes you can finish a whole session only to come home and find your whole memory card is nothing but soft shots.  Then you hope that no one notices.  People shouldnt be in business if they can’t master focus.  That doesn’t mean I don’t get soft shots.  I do.  I’d say during one session, I have about 85-90% focused shots and aobut 10-15% might be soft.  Usually kids sessions I might have more soft shots because they move!   A LOT!

So with this image ….. first of all he is under exposed.  He is blue and underexposed.  This image is a smidge soft but not much.  It still wouldn’t make my gallery for a client.  If I loved it and wanted it, I could make it work because I know that a non professional photographer wouldn’t notice its slightly out of focus.  Again, SHADE!!!! Oh how I loved thee shade :)

God love me for trying.  Seriously.  I thought I ROCKED this shot.  I think I had just gotten my external flash and was practicing.  Whatever I was doing, I wasn’t doing it properly.  I didnt know at the time though but it didn’t matter.  I wasn’t a professional photographer offering quality sessions.  I wasn’t offering any sessions at all actually.  Just shooting my kids and their friends for the heck of it.   First of all he’s so overexposed he’s ghostly.  Its bizarre.  Aside from the fact that his face is dirty, I can’t make out any pigment in his skin, you can also see where I did something funky over his shoulder.  I was probably trying to eliminate the HUGE SHADOW around his head from the effects of flash.  See behind his ears?  The one on my right? Shadow.   I must have also just been learning photoshop.  But it didn’t matter.  These were my own kids.  Not someone else who was excited to capture their child during a session.

This image was one of my favorites.  FOCUS : BANG ON!  Exposure: BANG ON.  Everything about this image, excited me.  Plus it was my own :)

Now I will share two more images. Recent sessions.  Actually from the fall of 2010.  I would have shared really recent ones but they’re on here anyways blogged and since its cold as HECK, most of my recent work is indoors.  I’m sharing these so you will see I am no longer limited by the sunlight.  OH, and I rock my focus :)

Ahhhh a gorgeous yummy early evening sun……

Love this one too.  All i have to say is, Thank you A.H.

Anyways, I hope this has been somewhat helpful :)

Edited to add: Today on facebook I saw the following post:

“Good hard hat criticism is the only thing that will make you better. None of this tiptoeing around and trying to put it nice so you don’t hurt feelings. The flip side is true as well. If you can’t take brutal honesty without getting your panties in a knot then the photography biz isn’t for you”  Seemed fitting.  I’ve taken a LOT of hard hat criticism.  Still do.  I call those people my teachers and some of my very best friends.

Ottawa Valley Portrait Photographer | f.r.u.s.t.r.a.t.e.d

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

UGHHH, I want to scream but its just inappropriate.  So I have had my new website template now for a few months.  I do love my new site.  Its just me.  I love the font, I love the colors, the softness to it.  (Last year I was feeling harsh, this year I’ve been feeling light and fluffy) and so I want my website to reflect my style and how I feel, make sense?

Anyways, I’ve been loving my site because when I’m looking at it on my big iMac, it looks great!  The proofing galleries look great, the image quality looks great . . . I’m just a happy camper buzzing along in my little happy camper world . . . UNTIL … it is brought to my attention that my proofing gallery images *the vertical ones, anyways* are about the size of a wallet print.


So I contact the company who I bought the template from and who I also host with, and they inform me that ‘its just the way it is’ pretty much.

Um, HECK NO!   I don’t expect people to view a little wallet size image as a proof.  I mean, it lacks detail.  Its small.  How can you tell if you love it if you can barely see it?  ‘

So back to the drawing board.

Here is what an image should look like vertical as well as in a proofing gallery on my site.  ITs what it looks like on my computer but apparently its only on mine ???

This above is a screen shot of what I see when I see a vertical picture on my site (yes its me)

Below is an actual screen shot of a proofing gallery image vertical.  But for some reason, others are only viewing it as a wallet sized image.  I’m stumped

So I just want you all to know, I am working on it.  May take some time but I’ll sort it out.  Maybe with a new template, maybe going back to my old one :(

I might even do in person proofing.. Its an option.


I hate when I’m the last to know about stuff like this.


Ottawa Valley Purse Photographer . . . heh heh

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

So this super sweet gal named Krista came here last week to get her sweet baby girls newborn photos done.  You might remember her, (shoot, I don’t think I blogged Miss Scarlett!!!!)  Will be doing THAT as soon as this post is done~

Anyways, I slightly drooled over mom Kristas Coach bag when she was here.  At first I thought it was a designer baby bag but upon further inspection I saw that it was the prettiest, sweetest piece of purse I have ever seen and from that moment on I knew I had to find it.  Well sadly, I live in Petawawa.  Those who know the area, KNOW how hard it is to find “good” shopping around here.  Love the town, hate the shopping options.

Anyways, Krista had to pop by the house yesterday and I did some slight begging to see if I could get a picture of her bag to aid in my search for this bag.

Its delicious.  It reminds me of butter.  I don’t know, its just the way I think.

Here is the bag I am on a mission to find.  I’ve already emailed Coach the picture….OH Yes, I did.

I’m certain she thought I was crazy.  I know my husband who witnessed this purse session sure did.

What can I say, I love a sweet bag

Ottawa Valley Photographer | Beware of Fauxtographers!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

If you read ONE THING on this whole entire blog . . . make it this article/website.

If you are looking for a professional photographer, please go to the link above and spend some time reading.

Portraits are memories to be cherished.  Hire the right person for such an important job.

Do the research.

Look at the work.

Compare the work.

Find the right fit.  If you don’t like your photographer, you can’t expect to be relaxed and enjoy your session and that will show in your portraits.

And for the LOVE OF GOD, if your photographer pops his/her camera into AUTO or Program mode . . . Run .  Fast and far.


Ottawa Valley Family Photographer | SALE SALE SALE

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

Its time for me to clear out some of my storage and that means that I will be deleting sessions from 2009 and 2010.

If you didn’t purchase a disk of images from your session, now is the PERFECT time to do so.

Why? Because I am feeling all sentimental about February and I want to do something about it :)

I will be selling the disk of digital files from your session for a ridiculously LOW price.

Email me for details.  Some conditions apply (but not many)


Offer ends Saturday February 12th, 2011 and after that, the purging will have to begin to make room for current sessions.



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