Category Archives: Waterloo Children’s Photographer

NAPCP Photographer of the Year 2013

There is only one way to write this and that is from my heart. Yesterday, the National Association of Professional Child Photographers announced the 2013 Photographer of the Year.  I am proud and honoured to be the recipient of this award. Thank you to all of the judges, Alice Park and the team at NAPCP for this recognition.

I read a post a few weeks ago from Chase Jarvis. He had me from the first line since I am a firm believer in not doing everything alone or needing to be a hero for doing absolutely everything in isolation. We, as human beings, did not get where we are no matter what we do…alone. The last line resonated with me and I find it fitting to reference it today, “In short, it takes a village. Want to be a successful creative? Cultivate your village. Cultivate your network, your relationships, your support, your mentors and friends. Without them, your journey will be a short one”.

Two of my favourite words are “thank you”.  I believe in giving thanks to those that love, guide and support us in this life. So on the day after this exciting news I would like to do just that. I received over 500 messages yesterday. I have read every single message. I could not even fathom the love, excitement and genuine happiness from all of you.  The fact that so many of you emailed, posted, called, texted and stopped me for a hug yesterday tells me one thing. You all feel a part of this. It is not just mine. It is all of ours. Thank you to every person, family and company that has hired me. Thank you to my family, my friends, my neighbours and my beloved photography friends. I have done my job. I have created more than just these photographs with you. I have created the feeling I wanted all along in my business. A feeling of connectedness and team work. I could not have taken these without your trust, faith and belief in me.

I know this isn’t the Oscars but….this is an opportunity to thank my village that I don’t get every day! (And the music can’t cut me off here…)

Thank you to my family, friends and neighbours. Thank you to all of my clients. There are many times in a week where I am overcome with emotion when I think of all of the wonderful human beings I get to work, laugh, hug, cry, vent, connect and create with. To say that I am lucky is the greatest understatement. The winds of photography have brought many interesting, beautiful, fascinating and kind people my way. This I am grateful for. I take a piece of you with me after every session. I might forget your names (that I do right at the session) but I never forget your face:)

My photography friends and mentors locally and in the USA!  This can be a challenging field to navigate. Thank you to the greatest group of photography pals I could ever ask for. This group is diverse. They are supportive, kind and loyal. We reach out to celebrate and pick each other up when times are tough. I am thankful for you all. Mandy B, Michelle B, Robyn R, Melissa V, Katy B, Dana P, Illona H, Kelli T, Angie A, Amy L, Jess T, Melissa H, Monica W, Jennifer P, Jennifer K, Crystal J, Brian H, Brian R, Wanda O, Samantha P, Mandy J, Barb S, Danielle E, Priya M, Lisa T, Tessa S, Marie V and Dave K.  You all inspire and push me to be better every day.  Not just as a photographer but as a human being.  An extra special thank you to Mandy Blake for being in my life.

And to my OFTW Team!  Mandy, Christa, Rachel, Jessi and Leanne. This would not be nearly as fun without you to laugh, vent and dream with!

Special thanks to Deb Schwedhelm for the example she sets for this industry and for being my mentor and guide long before you knew you were. And one of my all time photography crushes, Cliff Mautner. Best lighting course I EVER took:)

Thank you to the members of WINC. This is a women’s business networking group I co-chair in Kitchener-Waterloo. This group of women inspires me every day. We help each other navigate the waters of business ownership with intense support and respect. Within this group I would like to say a special thank you to Gillian Rees. A trusted friend, an enviable business woman and my business coach!

A huge thank you to this most amazing community of Kitchener-Waterloo! You inspire and cultivate an environment of entrepreneurship like no other city. I am a proud business owner in this community! Special thanks to KW GLEE, The Hummingbird Centre for Hope, Kitchener-Waterloo Skate Club,  the Speakers Bureau and the Dunfield Theatre for having me work within your organizations.

Best until last? You bet. So the hubby sent the announcement off to his head office in NYC. Claire jumped up and down screaming. Kate stared at the computer screen and said, “Did you mention me?”  Ahhhh, my family.

Thank you Mom, Dad, Elaine, Andrea, Clive, Owen and Alex for years of love and encouragement. xo

I have always said, “It’s not about the journey but who you take along for the ride.” Thank you for standing by me.

Many thanks. Much appreciation.

And much love always,


PS: Thank you to the Last Forty Percent for the rockin’ headshot!:)

2013-2014 Image Competition Placements….



Julianne Dreisinger

Congratulations Hilary! So proud of you and appreciate your partnership with us. Thanks for mentioning us in your blog, I noticed you referenced speakers bureau which is great, thanks so much. But noticed there is no link to our website and wondering if you could possibly do this, we need all the awareness we can get.

Angie Arthur

I’m so incredibly proud of you Hilary and feel honored to call you my friend. What an amazing way to be recognized for your lovely work!

Allison Cordner


Brian Reilly

You have a way with words as well.;) Hilary, you are the real deal and I’m guessing these people knew that before your recent accolades. Congrats on being you!

Lorri Jane Baier

Congratulations, Hilary. Your work is as amazing and beautiful as you are!

Libby Blakely

Congratulations Hilary! On being awarded this very prestigious honour! Thank you for capturing the beauty of children and families in K-W. This hometown is so proud of you!


I love you and I am so incredibly proud of you. You worked tremendously hard for this honour and you deserve the recognition. Just happy to have been at your side when you accomplished this, the first of undoubtedly many amazing career achievements. Rocket ship, baby! xo

Michelle Bamberger

You always have the best blog posts, and I just love this thank you “speech”
It has been amazing to be your friend and see you receive these awards. Congratulations, photographer of the year!! Excited to see what you do next – I know it will be great! xo

Courtenay McMillan Mailloux

Well said Hilary <3

Krestena Sullivan

I told Ian yesterday about your award and his comment was “I can’t imagine there could be anyone better anywhere!” Congratulations on such a well deserved recognition, we are proud to have your pictures on our walls and of course to have one of your prize winning ones of Micah from 2012!

Michelle B

You always have the best blog posts, and I just love this thank you “speech”
It has been amazing to be your friend and see you receive these awards. Congratulations, photographer of the year!! Excited to see what you do next – I know it will be great! xo


Your images are so vibrant & alive. Your talent is outstanding!!

Michael Flores

This brought a tear. Or the onions. Thank you Hilary for being an amazing inspiration to me and likely to all you meet.

Dear Hilary, I was so happy when I saw the news yesterday. It couldn’t have been awarded to a more deserving person. You work so hard to take beautiful images. You encourage others always. You are always trying new things. This is wonderful news. WAY TO GO! The Road Not Taken
Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Hello friends!

This sums up how I felt about this day.  ELATED. My first spring session. Outside. Sun on face. Wind in hair. Coat abandoned. 

Processed with VSCOcam with c3 preset

New head shots for this young woman who happens to be in my favourite singing group KW GLEE. Thank you for a fantastic kick off to the 2014 outdoor photography season. Is that green I see…?

Much love and many thanks for coming to see me, 

Hilary xo 

27 copy
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7 copy

Katy Brunkard

WOW. Stunning images of a beautiful young woman!

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fall cover kid winners

Happy first day of February to everyone!

Here are my Cover Kid Winners from fall of 2013! I am so proud to blog this incredible group of children who met me at Martin’s Apple Farm on a gorgeous morning last fall. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them and their parents! I look forward to these sessions since it brings together complete strangers and challenges me to connect them all in front of the camera.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for entering and for bringing these beautiful souls to spend time with me. A special thank you to Martin’s for allowing us to use your property and to Vicki (my most amazing Office Manager) for organizing everyone.

Much love and gratitude,

Hilary xo 



Donna Louise Haley

Beautiful pics..beautiful kids..

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through your eyes….camera courses for kids

Today my latest personal project comes to life.

And before I get to all of the details I must tell you the story of how this came to be! You know how much I love to tell the behind story on everything:)

My first inspiration for this course was a little girl I photographed last summer named, Sara. She tagged me in a sweet photo of herself behind a big ol’ Nikon camera that she posted to my facebook page and said that she wanted to be a photographer just like “me and her Dad”. Her dad is a second generation school photographer. Sara’s Mom said that Sara came home from our session with a different view for her lens than the one that she had been used to seeing. This was followed by another message from a wonderful client of mine whose daughter had also become interested in photography and did I know of anyone giving courses. Hmmmm…..

Then in the fall, I was asked to speak to a highschool group for an arts and culture career day. This opportunity opened my eyes up to something wonderful. A sea of young faces. Hungry for information. Full of dreams. This lead to another four speaking engagements in local schools for youth aged 12 to 17. This experience reminded me how much I loved public speaking and that working with young people was the direction I wanted to go.

So began the planning for Through Your Eyes.

I have always had a very strong relationship with the people at Nikon. Our relationship began when one of my images was chosen for a national television ad over three years ago. Amanda and her team at Nikon have always treated me very well and been there when I needed it (and there have been some occasions let me tell you!). Knowing that not all children have access to cameras I sent a late night e-mail to Amanda explaining to her what I wanted to do. Without hesitation Amanda replied back that she wanted to meet with me.

NPS (Nikon Pro Service) has graciously agreed support this program by donating a camera to each child for the day. This allows children that don’t have access to a camera to be able to explore any interest they might have in photography. Thank you Nikon! I truly appreciate everything you have done for me this last four years. Proud Nikon girl here:)

I am most excited to share my passion for photography and everything in the world that can be photographed with these young people. I hope to inspire the way they SEE their own world…through their eyes.

I would like to close by saying that ALL proceeds from this first course will be donated to the Bosma family. They hold a special place in my heart. 

Much love always, 





Krestena Sullivan

I hope you’re still doing this when Quinn is old enough…she would love it!

Sheri Ruby

We’d like two spots for this course. The girls are 13 and 14 years old. How do I register?

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truly happy

Hello to everyone!
Now that the excitement of half time has come and gone I can get back to blogging….again!!

This is the third year I have photographed this family. It warms my heart to hear from them every fall. I called this post truly happy because this family is just that. Truly happy.

I always leave my sessions with them inspired in life and love. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reminding me what life is about and for thinking of me once a year to photograph another year in your lives.

Much love,



What a lovely session Hilary. The father/son interaction is so fun and sweet!

Gorgeous family images! Love them all, so sweet and fun! His expression on the one with him jumping in between, adorable!

Oh that first picture is adorable!

Oh wow Hilary this is beautiful! These images are so real and fun and full of love! Fantastic work!

What a great set! The light is gorgeous! The family dynamics are beautifully captured!! Lovely, lovely images!!

so beautiful, love the light!

Seriously so so beautiful! Lovely use of light, so dreamy!


Awwwwwww Hilary! I’ve told you this before and I truly mean it….our “Hilary” photos are truly one of the most treasured things I own. When I look back to the first year and see how much smaller/younger Max is, it puts a big lump in my throat. We’re so grateful for, and love these little glimpses of our family that you capture for us. And for what it’s worth…Max never fusses about getting Hilary photos done – he looks forward to being able to goof around and ham it up for the camera! :-)

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