About Me

Hello and welcome to my photo blog. I am Karen McKinnon, a Vancouver Island based photographer - a gal fortunate to be living my passion. The blog is where you can see recent sessions, keep in touch with what is new around here (and I promise you it is never dull) and get a better sense of who I am, what I love and how I show it. 

Thanks for visiting. Please leave a comment and let me know you were here - it really does make me smile! 

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The session has been planned on and off for months, for those of you who have ever lived in renovations or built a house, you understand, time and completion schedules are not what you expect them to be. It was worth the wait though, because despite the weeks before, the week after, and the weather forecast we had beautiful light streaming through the window. We photographed the Robertson's as a "lifestyle session". The session was planned to be in their home, that deserved its moment in the spotlight. This house was meant to be, it has been quite an ordeal for them to get to a point where they could put their feet up in their home and I am sure they would say it was definitely worth it. The house screams peace and modern at the same time - I fell in love with their kids, and loved playing with them on the great staircase that as well as being a fabulous design element seems to be a play focussed area of the house. 

Matt and Monique, you have give your kids a beautiful home to grow in, and obviously it is filled with love, joy and creativity - what a pleasure it was to document your beginning under this new roof. 



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Myra Wilson:

Loves these! A great house for pics, and the adorable kids help too!

(01.23.12 @ 04:07 PM)
sheila petersen:

Love it! Perfect ending to a long year of building your dream home! So happy for you all!

(01.24.12 @ 06:15 PM)

Fun family !! Cute shots Karen !

(01.25.12 @ 01:15 PM)
Amy Englemark:

Great job Karen! You captured their family so naturally! Mo, Matt, you guys look great!

(01.28.12 @ 07:18 PM)
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It could have been the beautiful art on the wall, the warm, welcoming and cleanly designed house, but chances are it was what happened when they opened the door. When I went to check out their home in preparation for shooting I was greeted by the warmest smile. Mom Lauren radiates warmth and cuteness, then behind peeks out Sophie who with a smile equal to her mom's led me around for a tour. In the background was Charlotte who watched us carefully giving me the occasional smirk. 
When I came back the next day for the session hubby Aaron, also charmed me right away with his easy kind demeanor and the attention he paid to his gals. 
The Clarks opted for what I call a "lifestyle" session, one that isn't about looking "just so" but has a more casual feel. I love the chance to document a family relating, and we did just that, the family together, the girls together, the gals individually and even some of just mom and dad. 
It really was the type of session that the kids will look back at years from now and be able to get a sense of how much in love with them their parents are. Thank you Clarks for sharing with me. 
Here are a few of my fave of all four of you. 

There is buckets of love  -




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(01.21.12 @ 11:48 AM)

fantastic photos!!

(01.23.12 @ 11:30 AM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: A family full of magic - the Clarks . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.mckinnonblog.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/513
Seriously! At three weeks old this adorable bundle was just a joy to work with. Yes, I said work - because it was like she knew she was coming in to "Get-er done!" 

She came in and charmed me with her fine pretty features and beautiful skin, then she happily played along throughout the session. I think she is the first babe in a long time to not even have an "accident" in the studio. 

Her baby sweetness definitely gave me goosebumps and made me all mushy ....


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Awe she's sooo cute! Love the big eyes! Can't wait to meet her :)

(01.20.12 @ 12:22 PM)

What a little princess! Love her!!!

(01.21.12 @ 04:06 PM)
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January 9, 2012 // my life / news
At some point last year it was suggested to me that I share a photo of the week. I didn't go for it because I don't like to be tied down in that way. However I realized a photo of the week doesn't have to be every week, I can set the rules here! 

This morning. Kids running outside of the school. 


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Love it!!! So much more you

(04.10.12 @ 08:06 PM)
Listed below are links to blogs that reference this entry: Photo of the week . TrackBack URL for this entry: http://www.mckinnonblog.com/darkroom/mt/mt-tb.cgi/511
I always want to buck the trend and not give into the reset that the date of January 1st gives us, I am a bit cynical about it. Perhaps it was years of bartnending on New Years Eve. I tend to set my resolutions on my birthday - but really why is setting it on my birthday so much better than joining the swell of enthusiasm that January 1st has behind it?  This year I am owning my hypocrisy and embracing the  beauty of resolutions - whether they succeed or fail they usually point you in a healthy direction.

- I will continue to take risks and embrace failure as a sign that I tried. Further to that, I will be bolder in making big decisions. 

- I will learn something new (oohhh.. I am excited about this one, as the wheels,okay two sets of wheels, are already in motion.)  

- I will find a new way to make a difference. 

I don't know if it counts as cheating if the third point as already been started. As part of my Ten Years of Celebration I called for nominations for a charity that would benefit from professional photography. For five years I have been very active in helping Y.A.N.A. share the stories behind their efforts and I feel that I have room to do the same for another charity. 

I thank everyone who nominated a charity. One however jumped out. Not only was it nominated three times, however, it is something that strikes a chord for me and my family. 

I am excited to announce that I have chosen Dawn to Dawn, Action on Homeless Society

For many years I lived on the outskirts of the Downtown Vancouver Eastside. Many of my friends chose to work in the assistat living facilities in the area. They were working with a wide spectrum of needs, dealing with drug addiction, to abuse, to helping those fighting the final stages of AIDS live with dignity. They were helping those that could  transition to a better life, and providing support to those that wouldn't. No matter the direction, I was moved by what a difference their kindness could make. From what I know of the those involved in Dawn to Dawn, their heart is right there - not making assumptions, not discriminating, just helping. 

I have always lived by the philosophy, never say never, and always do unto others as you wish them to do unto you. I see someone on the street and I know they have a story, people they love and those whose lives they have left their footprints on. They could be me. I could be them. 

My family was strongly behind the choice of Dawn to Dawn. My daughters have recently become more aware of the homeless and some of their school peers whose parents struggle to provide a lunch for them every day. Two of our daughters has even recently begun campaigning to spend a few days on the street and see what it feels like. Another daughter has been strongly asserting a desire to help at the Food Bank. I look forward to further breaking down the barriers between them, and those whose lives have taken a different path.

I don't know what my work with Dawn to Dawn will result in or  what direction it will take. However I am so honored to find out. 

Of the three nominations for this charity I thought I would share this one. 


Respect, dignity, warmth, shelter, health... these aren't the items that you would find on a typical Christmas wish list.  These words shouldn't express wishes at all... these words describe basic human need.  There are people in our own community who find these basic human needs out of reach.  Homelessness lives right here in our community.  Dawn to Dawn was created to address the needs of the homeless population in the Comox Valley.  Dawn to Dawn offers two services; a residential program that provides accommodation in market housing and a mobile medical clinic that that offers care to those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in the Comox Valley.  A total of 33 volunteers: 13 nurses, 5 doctors, 3 dentists, 2 pharmacists and 1 optometrist donate their professional skills side by side with a group of dedicated volunteer outreach drivers.

After discussion with Helen Boyd from Dawn to Dawn I respectfully submit Dawn to Dawn as a nominee for the Christmas Charity promotion through McKinnon Photography.  I think that there is immense value in giving a face to homelessness in our community.  I would like to see Karen work together with this compassionate group of volunteers to help bring an element of realism to the issue of homelessness in the Comox Valley.  Homelessness isn't a glamorous issue...but it is a very real issue.  It is a very worthy issue... because there is worth in every life.  It is an issue that touches the lives of a very vulnerable population.  I believe that all people have a story, a history, a past and I believe that it is important to embrace the opportunity to offer a hand up towards a future to those who need it most.  I believe that Dawn to Dawn has identified a need and they are a charity in action.  Dawn to Dawn is 'doing' in our community.  If selected, Dawn to Dawn would like to work with Karen to respectfully share the story of homelessness in the Comox Valley while preserving the anonymity of the population they serve.

"These people are our sisters and our brothers. The right thing to do is to help them reclaim their lives and their autonomy. There is so much left to be done in regards to the issue of homelessness in our community. Photography is a strong medium that bares witness in a very privileged manner to our universal need to be seen and heard." (Helen Boyd - Coordinator CARE-A-VAN Program Dawn to Dawn: Action on Homelessness Society)

Submitted by: A.B.

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Roxanna Mandryk:

What a wonderful choice. Good for you, Karen, for offering to do this and all the best for you and Dawn to Dawn to create something really special.

(01.01.12 @ 10:27 PM)
Tasha J:

Karen, I am thrilled to see you have picked such a great organization to contribute to. I have no doubt that the work you do with them will make a positive impact on the individuals Dawn to Dawn serves while preserving the dignity and respect they so deserve.

(01.06.12 @ 09:32 AM)
Karen McKinnon:

Thanks Tasha and Roxanne

(01.07.12 @ 06:16 AM)
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(04.10.12 @ 08:06 PM)
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