All I Want For Christmas

Anthony, Elaine and Ian remind me of my favorite holiday song, which goes something like this:

(Imagine me singing this, but with a much better voice and a full band in the background!)  :)

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There’s just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true…
All I want for Christmas is you.

The C Family are just like that.  They are happy just being together and need very little to laugh and enjoy themselves.

It is a joy to be around people like that.  What a great photoshoot to end the year.

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And this NOW and THEN is for Anthony…  :)

Look at how much your little man has grown from our first photoshoot together in 2008 til now.

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Couldn’t Ask For More

This Lifestyle Family Photography session had fun activities that resulted in high-pitched squeals as well as quiet activities that were so beautiful that pedestrians stopped to look.

My favorite time was this peaceful moment when Sabrina laid with her mom on a hilly slope and watched the leaves fall over them.  It was as if time had stopped for this to happen.  Had 5 minutes passed or 50?  It was really breathtaking.

By the way, if I could give out awards, I think Dave and Winnie would win a “Coolest Parents Award” because not only were they totally fine with their well-dressed kids getting wet during their shoot, but also, they encouraged it!  Right off the bat, Dave put his hand in the fountain (filled with rain water from the day before) and then sprayed Sabrina and Oliver’s faces!  My jaw dropped when I saw that!  Good thing Winnie came prepared with a suitcase of “just in case” clothes because it wasn’t long before Sabrina was soaked to the bone.

Winnie and Dave’s intention that day was to let their kids have fun and be themselves.  And well, the kids love water!  :)

I couldn’t ask for more.

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San Francisco Fog

One of the coolest things about little kids is how they don’t worry about many things adults worry about, like weather or getting dirty.

Just check out the faces of Maddie and her lil’ sister Vivi, and you’ll see what I mean!  Through dense morning fog to the wet ground, they ran around the San Francisco park like any other day.

It was great to see The P Family again.  Last time, Vivi was just born!  Um, yea, I’d say she has changed a little;)

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[Check out The Dream Shoot if you want to see images shot in super dense fog.  Or how about a Typhoon Shoot?  There is beauty in all kinds of weather!]

My Philosophy

To create this video, I scoured through thousands of my client photos and pondered my philosophy on photographing people.

What I realized was that my philosophy was incredibly simple.

Looking at all these gorgeous faces and families, my heart melts a little.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.   ~annie

Beach at Low Tide

A darling family who live and play at the beach had a very specific goal in mind:  to capture photos of them doing their thing!  Things like walking on a wooden bridge, exploring caves, climbing on rock walls, and investigating the tide pools during low tide may sound exciting, but they are not out-of-the-ordinary activities for The W Family.  This is their life in Half Moon Bay.

To make this shoot of a gorgeous family in a gorgeous location even better, the rain storm that sat over the Bay passed through just before the start of their shoot.  This unveiled the most beautiful sky!

So Tom, Heather, Quin, Rouri and Noni enjoyed the beach, as they usually do.  :)

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Let Kids Be Kids

With plenty of balloons, shiny confetti, markers, the comfort of their home, and relaxed parents, the kids of the L Family were happy as clams.

Lucy and Scott knew that they could plan and plan, but in the end, their photos would turn out best when they allowed their kids to be just that… kids!  Lucy even told me that the morning after their shoot, her kids asked if they could “do more photos with Annie today”!  That is the true measure of a successful shoot because it speaks to the family’s experience.  Well, that, plus the photos!  :)

So check out this super fun Lifestyle Photography session at the L Family’s gorgeous home.  There were so many cute surprises!

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My Final Shoot

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Recently, I went to my son’s soccer game where I brought my camera for the first time.  When I returned home, my vision was suddenly hazy.  Everywhere I looked — the kitchen, the livingroom, outside — there was incredibly dense fog.  Nothing was clear.  It was so bad that it looked like my house was on fire from all the smoke, but I knew there was actually nothing there.  It was really scary.

Hours went by and nothing I did helped my vision.  So I cried.  Hard.  Was this going to my be vision from now on?

I thought I had just had my final photoshoot.  I was glad it was of my own child, but was sad I wouldn’t be able to continue my business… a business dependent upon my ability to see!

My mind raced with things I needed to do, like contact my clients who had booked photoshoots to tell them the news and refund their money.  Then my thoughts snowballed.  How would I take care of my kids?  How would my husband continue to work away from home when I could no longer drive or take my kids to school?  Wait a minute.  Will I ever see my children’s faces clearly again?!! 

[Just a bit of background:  I have retinal issues with both my eyes, so losing my vision is not farfetched.]

Long story short, I saw two Opthamologists in one week, and they came up with two different diagnoses — the final one being the correct one.  It appears that the foggy vision can be controlled and was temporary — however, the lesson it taught me was permanent.  Everything changes; nothing stays the same.  So be grateful for the things you have and don’t dwell on the things that aren’t going right because everything changes.

On the nights I’ve been able to control the foggy vision, I spent minutes gazing at my children’s faces.  Minutes may not sound like a long time, but you try it!  Sit in front of your child and hold their faces in your hands.  And just look at them.  REALLY look at them!  Your child will probably think each minute is an eternity, as mine did.  Ha!  But I am so grateful I can see their cute little faces, dried-up food smears and all!

So go out there and do something you love.  Or do 10 things you love.  And be grateful you can do them.

xo

annie

Below are some photos of what I thought was my FINAL photoshoot.  My 7-year old son scored a goal during a Soccer game, and I was there to see it and capture it with my camera!

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Final Thoughts:

I know my experience may sound a bit dramatic because there are plenty of people who have lost their vision or acquired debilitating diseases and injuries, and they are doing great.  I am inspired by people who go through a loss and come out stronger.  I am in no way saying that my World would stop revolving if I had not gained my vision back.

What I was reminded of was how anything can change at anytime, including my ability to be a Photographer and ability to see my children’s faces!  It may not be right now, but perhaps some day.  It is up to me to make the most of what I do have, right now.

The lesson I learned seemed important to share with others because, in my opinion, we all can use a little reminder to put down our phones when we are with our loved ones or take an extra minute to enjoy the world around us.

Picnic by a Piazza

Lili and Eddie are more than clients.  They’ve become friends over the years.  (I’ve known them since their first photoshoot with me when Lili was pregnant with Benji 5 1/2 years ago.)

This year, I counted down the days to their shoot for the last two months.  I hopped over to them out of sheer excitement when I saw them in the parking area!  How can I explain this?  They’re the kind of people who aren’t embarrassed to show affection in public or laugh out loud.  They are passionate people with integrity and coolness.  :)  And their boys.  Oh, their boys.  They are respectful and playful and thoughtful.  I adore them!

When it came time for their shoot, we decided to have a theme that reminded them of their recent trip to Italy.  Here’s the set-up:

Stopping for a snack on a sidewalk near a piazza in Florence, reading storybooks (set in Italy), and just being happy to be together.

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Published in Daily Dog Tag

One of the sweetest write-ups ever and from a delightful publication too!  Thank you, The Daily Dog Tag!

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To see the entire article on The Daily Dog Tag, click here!