Joy

While editing last weekend’s photos of Jeff, Louisa, and their adorable, playful munchkins, I can hear upbeat music… wait for it… even when I’m not playing music!

I know, I know how this sounds, and it’s not good.  However, that’s what Joy is like to me.  I can hear happy music.  I can feel joy in my heart.  And it makes me want to go out and hug someone or volunteer in a soup kitchen or rescue another puppy.  (In case my husband is reading this…. honey, it’ll only be 5 more puppies.  heh heh)

Check out my visual story of Joy…

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From National Parks to Airlines

This two-day Commercial Photography project was ACTION-PACKED!  I toured all around the San Francisco Bay Area to meet managers and senior executives who hired City College of San Francisco (CCSF) students and graduates.  It was a diverse set of businesses in terms of industry, company size and job type.

Some businesses I photographed were:  Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, BMW of San Francisco, McCalls Catering and Events, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Michael Raifsnider Law Office, and United Airlines.

Photographing real people in their actual workplace during work hours in a lifestyle way is exciting.  There was constant movement all around us, limited time, and distracting elements at each location.  Yet, very quickly, I had to decide how and where to shoot that will tell the visual story I wanted.

See what I mean?  Exciting, right?!!  :)

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A Whole Lot o’ Love

I am washed with a feeling of calm and friendship whenever I see Sara and Brian.  They just have that way about them, I can’t explain it, but it’s somewhat magical.

And I’ve known their boys since they were babies.  I still pinch myself that I get to watch these cuties grow up as part of my “job”!

At the end of their photoshoot, Aidan walked up to me completely unprompted and said in the sweetest voice, “Thank you for taking our pictures!”  Awwwwww.  I feel so much gratitude for being able to do what I love…with the people whom I love… in a city that I love.  That’s a whole lot o’ love!

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The B’s Knees

Just like the slang “the bee’s knees”, this family with all B names is the best of the best in generosity, kindness, compassion, and (with the girls) athleticism!

I had such a fun morning photographing Bella, Bailey, Brianna, Brenda, Benny…and their newest addition, Baci, who just turned 1 year old.

I’ve known Brenda since our College days at Berkeley, photographed her engagement to Benny, walked down the aisle as her bridesmaid, photographed her belly when she was pregnant, and known her kids since they were born.  There is so much history between us that it makes for our time together even more precious and her shoots that much more intimate.

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Baci:  “Where’d She Go?”

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When a family takes selfies at the end of their photoshoot, I… PHOTOBOMB THEM, of course!  :)

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Tots To Teens

When you’ve been photographing a family for 11 years, you get the awesomeness of watching tots turn into teens!

It means feeling excited to see how much the “kids” have grown and catching up with the parents.  It also means your subjects can feel comfortable enough to be serious or playful — or anything!

Ahhh, I had a wonderful afternoon hanging out with friends… whom I happened to photograph simultaneously.  heehee.

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Best Maternity Photographer of 2018

I love photographing baby bumps and expectant parents, but KAWABUNGA!!!  I was handpicked for the 2nd time by Expertise.com over hundreds of amazing photographers in the San Francisco Bay Area as one of the Best Maternity Photographers of 2018.

*picking up jaw off the floor*

Expertise.com is a resource site that provides a carefully curated list of top service professionals in 1000+ cities around the country.  They considered not only imagery, but also reputation, credibility, expertise, availability and professionalism.

Wow.  I am honored and humbled!

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Here are both badges since I didn’t get to post about my first award by Expertise 2 years ago:

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Commercial Photography: Enjoying Life

When I was in my 20s, I realized there were three things that make me stop and let out an “AWWWWWW”.

Babies was the obvious group.  The largest group was puppies and pretty much any furry animal, which is what led to a slew of travel to destinations where I could see animals in their natural habitat.  And the group that surprised me was seniors!  Even if I were driving, I would always notice the elderly couple holding hands or the senior who was doing something they loved.

Enjoy life at any age is a great mantra to live by.

Last week, I had the privilege of photographing residents of TODCO, a community-based housing development company in the South of Market neighborhood of downtown San Francisco.  I met many vibrant seniors and residents in SRO housing.  Some opened up about their life’s struggles and achievements… one super woman was 98 years old… many couples were married for many many decades… and one even gave me a gift.  Awwwwww.  (See what I mean?)

My time at TODCO reminded me of all that I am grateful for with my business, which is the opportunity to make real connections with people, so that I can capture them in an authentic way.  ❤️

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Being Away

This week, I left my youngest for a few hours, and when I came home, I found out she cried for most of the time I was away!  After she caught her breath, I reminded her that I was always with her — “in her heart and her mind” — even if I wasn’t physically right next to her, in hopes that she’d find comfort next time.  I pointed to my chest and forehead when I said this.

Avie lifted her hands and pointed to her red swollen eyes and said softly, “But you weren’t here.”

All I could do was hold her tightly.  Sure, part of me wanted to ‘toughen her up’, but mostly, I wanted to embrace her loving nature and respect that she still needs me.  Plus, today marks the 17th year anniversary of my dad’s passing, and I remember feeling the same way about my dad as Avie does about me, except she still has the ability to see me, hug me, and talk to me after I’ve been away.

Life is fragile and unpredictable, and it has a way of toughening us up (unfortunately) without us needing to force it.

So for now, I will hold my little one as much as she wants me to.  ❤️

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Her Everyday Self

There you have it.  I blinked, and now I have a teenager!

Some things I expected with a teenager (a little bit of envelope-pushing that keeps me on my toes) and some things I didn’t (her interests remained the same as the last few years).  Mia still loves reading, collecting stuffed animals (curses to whoever invented Pusheen – haha), creating handmade toys, and the color aqua.

She still wakes up at 6am no matter what, laughs at my jokes, and can’t resist picking up any book she passes on her way to eating/sleeping/showering/leaving/doing her homework.  :)

She is the same big-hearted, caring soul as when she was a toddler giving away all her snacks to her friends even when she was hungry and the preschooler who rushed to cheer up crying strangers at the park.

For her birthday shoot this year, we agreed it needed to represent her everyday self.  It can’t be “styled”, like the Fairytale Shoot.  Or while wearing things she doesn’t normally wear, like the hat in last year’s shoot.  So Mia wore clothes she’d wear to school, brushed her hair, and grabbed her favorite baseball cap and a book that was lying on the table.  Simple.

We drove 5 minutes from our house since the location wasn’t the highlight; it was my Mia Pie.  ❤️

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Published on Digital Photographer Magazine

An editor at Digital Photographer, a UK-based magazine for enthusiasts and pros, interviewed me for their Professional Photographer careers section, Go Pro.

The topic was about how to stay on top of trends, which is funny because “trendy” I am not — so the article reads more like I’m a black sheep among the pros!  heehee.

It’s an interesting article, but my hubs pointed out that the article doesn’t sound like me (ie, I don’t use filters or data research, which the article ties into, and I’m not gear-focused like the write-up sounds).  He may be right, but I am still humbled they wanted to interview me (woohoo).  As long as the article can be helpful to others and nothing is inaccurate, it’s all good!  What do you think?

One of my quotes in the article makes me chuckle:  “It’s your job as a business owner to know your market and industry trends — whether you decide to follow those trends is entirely separate.” 

What can I say?  I march to the beat of my own drum! 

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