Log in the Fog

So a few years ago when my youngest was in Kindergarten, her class had a project to make a 3D Dr. Seuss character.  While most made their favorite character, like Horton and Thing One, Ava made up her own, named Pig in a Wig.  It was light pink, her favorite color, and even had a cloth piece over the head that was made of yarn and could be removed and attached with velcro — hence, a wig.

In light of Pig in a Wig, who still exists today and is prominently sitting on a counter, last Saturday’s shoot was on a log in the fog;)

The Masse Family started visiting nature preserves this year, so it was only fitting that we have their family shoot in a preserve.

Check out how much fun you can have on a log.  In the fog.  Or is it smog.  Look at that dog.  Hey there’s a frog.  Let’s go for a jog.  And then drink nog.  (OMG seriously, I have a problem.  I can’t stop!  Oh the joys of blogging late at night.)

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Sink Into Joy

I started writing this loooong blog post about why Mini Sessions don’t work, at least not for true Lifestyle Photography, but it became kinda, well, long.  Even this sentence is long — DOH!

Plus I don’t want to sound like I’m poo-pooing Mini Sessions because it can work for some people, especially those who are great at posing subjects.  It’s just not my style of photography or cup of tea.  Hey, I’m actually sipping tea right now, but I digress.  I’m like a puppy right now with my attention span.  SQUIRREL!  ;)

The point I am trying to make is:  Make sure you have enough time to sink into joy.

Not everyone can arrive on-location feeling relaxed, gleeful and fun-loving, yet those are the photos most aspire to have.  So make sure you have enough time to get to that emotional and physical space, and make sure the rest of your choices — clothing, location, activities — allows everyone to get there too.  ❤️

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Sun-Soaked Quality Time

So it’s wildfire season in California right now, which means rescheduled shoots because of bad air quality, planned and unplanned blackouts, horrific news of increased destruction, and smoky skies.

The only positive in all of this is it’s a great reminder of what’s important in our lives, and that’s our health and spending time with our loved ones.  Kim and Ashish know all about this, so I photographed their family having sun-soaked quality time together!  We picked a location that allowed their boys to run, jump and climb since Adventure is their middle name. :)

Last year’s jaunt through a dragon’s lair had imagery that is almost the complete opposite of this year’s shoot.  Which location and light do you like best?  (I love them both.)

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Conga Dance

Life is like a Conga dance.  It is rhythmic.  It moves in a direction — can be right or wrong, and sometimes moves erratically.  You’re part of a larger group, made up of family and friends.  Even when you’re not in the mood for it, it always turns out alright. 

Jennifer and Jonathan and their J-kids are first-time clients, and they arrived with THE best attitude:  willing to try anything!

This is what I sounded like throughout their shoot:  “Ooh ooh, I have an idea!”  And sometimes I’d throw in:  “But you can say no.”  They never said no.  Once I saw a spooky outdoor corridor and suggested to “do something scary for Halloween!”  I was able to imagine what the eerie light would look like photographed, and I also imagined they’d say no – haha.  I am so glad they trusted me.  See monsters below.

Sometimes I’d spot beautiful light or colors, so I’d ask them to hang out.  What they did was up to them.  Once they broke out in a musical theater number, a few times they hugged it out, and once they did the Conga.  :)

This family was so much fun to photograph.

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Smells Like Sunshine

What does the flower smell like?  Grape.
How about this one?  Cotton candy.
What does that one smell like?  Sunshine.

I adore kids for so many reasons.  The way they experience the World around them lands somewhere at the top of my list.  Ask 10 adults what a flower smells like, and I’m sure the answers would not be as interesting.  Just try it!  I asked two (that’s all I could handle), and their answers were:  flower and good.  Yup, for real.

These two carefree sisters, Olivia and Emma, had the best time at a garden this weekend.  Emma had the best descriptions of flower scents.  Those were her answers above!  Olivia was a champion reader.  She read the flower signs:  Ageratum Houstonianum, Gazania, Alchemilla… wow.  And they both hopped like bunnies, flew like butterflies, twirled like dancers…

And laughed with each other like best friends. ❤️

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Commercial Photography: Connections

When you live in the San Francisco Bay Area — one of the most expensive areas in the country — it can take a few or even one unexpected life change to put you in dire straits.  I’ve always believed this shocking reality.  People who find themselves in these situations can be anyone:  our teacher, our friend, you, me.  So my Commercial Shoot at LifeMoves, a nonprofit that helps individuals and families in these transition stages get back on their feet, was one of the most touching shoots I’ve ever done.

I concentrated on the relationships/connections, whether they are of family members who are residents at LifeMoves, of staff who work there, or of case managers with their clients.

They are the connections between people that make life meaningful.

And connections to helpful services, like at LifeMoves, is what we need sometimes. ❤️

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All The Feels

Jeff and Louisa’s shoot this weekend with their 6-year old talkative charmer and 3-year old living doll (heehee) had all the feels.

There was loud laughter, running and playing, a few tears, some fearful hesitation of bugs and grass, and lots and lots of joy.  Or was it snacks?  Lots and lots of snacks.  ;)

My favorite things that happened were:
1.  Jacob told me he “loves mommy and you”.  That’s ME!  Me!  How adorable is that?!!
2.  Little Kate gave me a long gentle hug to say goodbye. ❤️
3.  Jacob helped his little sister when she was scared.  See the last photo!  *melt*
4.  My deep discussion with Jeff and Louisa after the shoot about philosophy of careers and life.

This shoot reminds me that photography is personal!

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Commercial Photography: A Clear Way

The idea of keeping only what “sparks joy” seems like a trend, but it is much more than that.

From what I learned from creative pro and organization queen, Amy Johnson, figuring out how to organize your home spans over to a clarity of mind that effects all areas of your life!

It was so much fun to hang out with Amy for a couple hours to capture images for her new KonMari home organization business, A Clear Way.  I won’t post too many photos, so her website — when it is completed — will be the big reveal.  I can’t wait to see it!

Fun fact:  I met Amy over a decade ago at a Mother’s Club that we were both in, and we hit it off while brunching.  She has such a positive attitude, professionalism and humbleness about her that you can’t help but trust her and feel at ease around her.  And she’s just downright cool.  (Can you tell I adore her?!!)

While you are reading this blog post, I’m going to organize a few drawers.

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Commercial Photography: Diversity and Authenticity

You probably know this, but I’ll say it anyway:  I love photographing schools.

Photographing schools means capturing constant movement, facial expressions, and complicated light in an uninterrupted way.  Photographing a masters program, like a business school, means there is an extra challenge of photographing adults.  (Adults are usually more serious about learning and don’t find my silly noises and faces endearing like little kids – haha.)

I was reminded of something during this trip to Houston.  When it’s a top-tier school, the caliber of students is high — which means photographing people who have led accomplished careers before even stepping foot onto campus!  From meeting a doctor to a music label executive to an army sergeant, there were times I had to remind myself to keep shooting.

This kind of diversity was thrilling to be around, and I was so thankful that my 3-day Commercial Shoot in Houston had a lot of pockets of time for me to roam freely and capture the authentic moments that I saw.

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[If you’re curious, here is my very first Commercial Shoot at Rice in 2016 and my 1-day shoot in 2017, Be Distinct.]

The Way They Are

I had another fun playdate, I mean, photoshoot with my little buddies, Rory and Dex!  :)

This time, it was at their mom’s workplace, which was truly the coolest office building ever.  It’s like workplace-meets-Disneyland, a place where innovation and productivity can blossom.  Get this:  there was a Library, gardens, a gym, Laundry Room, THE coolest chairs everywhere, gorgeous artwork, and even a Game Room!  Danny and I had to pick our jaws off the ground and ran around like little kids.  (It is a new building, so he hadn’t been there before either.)  Rory and Dex were happy with their purple bots and lots of snacks (I mean, where do they put all those snacks?!!)

We had such a fun time together, as usual, and I am so thankful this sweet family is so comfortable with me that they let me get reeeeeally close to them (haha) and let me capture them exactly the way they are.  ❤️

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