Sophia and Isabella crack me up. I can’t imagine them in the same room without talking with each other or laughing or making a funny noise with their mouths. Combine this dynamic duo with an interesting location and some props — like instruments, leaves on the ground and long-stemmed flowers — and you have a photoshoot full of fun and silliness!
[Fun Fact: Their dad, Tim, used to play in a band I listened to when I lived in San Francisco! No wonder their kids are musically inclined too!]
As they grow older, make new friends, have breakups with boyfriends (they’ll be heartbreakers, I’m sure), I know Izzie and Sophia will always be there for each other and will recognize they have an unbreakable bond that allows them to feel safe to be themselves. These lyrics make me think of them…
Everybody wants me to be who they want me to be except you
All I wanna do is be with you
~Michael Franti, “I’m Alive”
They got rained out last year, but if you want to see their artsy urban shoot from 2013, click here!
It was hot and bright even in the evening. There was smoke in the air from the 7 fires just North of the city. And there was what seemed to be hundreds of people everywhere we stepped! Despite all of that, The F Family had a great time exploring an antique arcade, had a snack on a pier overlooking Alcatraz, and hung out in a swanky urban lounge in Fisherman’s Wharf. If that sounds like fun, it’s because it was!
I love The F Family so much… The parents are one of the kindest, most generous people I’ve met, and I’ve known (and photographed) their kids for the past EIGHT YEARS!
I get so excited to see them every year, and I feel a little sad when their shoot is over. *Sniff*
In any case, their shoots always have a nice combination of mostly True Lifestyle (where they do what they do and I photograph it) and a smidge of semi-posed family shots, as you’ll see below!
Dani and Charlie have the type of bond that young adults think all siblings have, until they have their own kids. ;) And then they hear them arguing about the tiniest little thing: “Give that back to me!” “But you said I can play with it.” “That was 5 minutes ago, but now I want to play with it!” Okay, maybe that’s just at my house this last year.
But not these two girls.
They are genuinely sweet towards each other. All. The. Time. We’re talking… cute whispers in the ear and holding hands every time they walk. It’s funny because I see them every year, and every year they are like this. And every year, I am in awe by them. In fact, I remember blogging about it once or twice before.
Dani and Charlie also have parents (Alex and Roberta) who possess the perfect balance of giving parental guidance and being fun companions to their daughters. So their shoots are usually just like that too.
Take a look at their latest shoot. There was a bird in flight, some peek-a-boo action, and an animal attack! heh heh.
This weekend, I met with Rebecca, Frank, and their kids at a beloved area of San Francisco: Ghirardelli Square. The H Family have had photoshoots before, every year in fact, but never a Lifestyle shoot. So when we stopped for pizza at the start of the shoot, the kids — Kyle, Kelly and Kayden — were a little stunned. heh heh.
When tummies were full, they walked around the city, enjoyed the view of the Golden Gate Bridge, and sat in the sun to watch the beautiful bay rippling with sailboats and swimmers. Then we finished the shoot with scoops of homemade ice cream. Isn’t Lifestyle Photography cool?
By the way, this shoot marked a very important chapter for the H Family that is worth noting: Kyle just graduated from High School and will be headed off to College! I am so honored to capture this slice of their family’s life. What a big milestone!
Sometimes life throws you curveballs. You go about your day and suddenly, something unexpected happens and you’re forced to sink or swim. Afterwards, you can choose to reflect on what happened and learn from it, or you can push it into the deep recesses of your mind and go on your merry way.
This Father’s Day weekend, my father-in-law was in the hospital, needed emergency surgery and had to be in the ICU. It was not only stressful and caused us to worry, but for me, it also revived a frightening memory of when I was at the hospital with my father who passed away. No way could this happen to both my dads!
Today, I feel incredibly thankful for his daily recovery, good medical care at the hospital, and our ability to be with him during this time.
I learned from the two experiences that I am not a bystander when a loved one is in the hospital. I make sure I understand the process and communicate with the doctors. I also learned that when you think there is nothing you can do, there is a power in prayers and being surrounded by loved ones.
This brings me to this weekend’s family shoot. I have known The C Family for about two decades. (I had their shoot on my calendar for many months and decided not to tell them about my father-in-law until right before we were leaving as to not worry them.) As expected, our time together was a breath of fresh air. Watching Marissa coloring with her mom in the warm breeze, Sam cuddling with her puppy, Alex and his father racing each other, and the kids catching bubbles IN THEIR MOUTHS reminded me that life, though rough at times, is about togetherness and that happiness, when stripped down, is made up of “small” things.
I love this family. I am so lucky to call them my friends. And I hope that when things get busy and life throws me more curveballs, I will remember to take a page from their book… and eat bubbles.
If you are a parent, you undoubtedly know what I mean when I say a lot can go wrong when you have a toddler, like sleep schedules, disinterest in staying still, and injuries from just learning to walk. Add to that, a location you are determined to have for your shoot, but is reserved all day for a wedding — well, you are now adding a measure of risk to an already delicate situation.
So when I tell you that all the stars aligned for this weekend’s Lifestyle Family Photography session, I mean it! We ended up hedging our bets with the location by switching the shoot to early morning. The morning lended us a beautiful white light and also ensured that we had the location to ourselves (and that we wouldn’t get kicked out)! Jacob, who usually wakes super early, decided to sleep in the morning of the shoot, but did wonderfully! And his usual disinterest of a park after 15 minutes was nowhere to be seen.
This is what a toddler shoot looks like when all the stars align…
The first time I met this family, I found out I was allergic to bee stings. That was not the kind of buzzing excitement I was aiming for, but their shoot turned out nicely. For their second shoot, which was this past weekend, I am relieved to announce that there weren’t any bees in sight!
Some of my favorite family photos of David and Annie and their boys, Alton and Caden, are of them walking amongst the trees. You can see one of these shots at the end of this post.
Why is it one of my faves?
~ Mature trees have such interesting and unique shapes, so they can provide great texture to an image.
~ They can also block the direct sunlight, so you get a softer light on days the sun is blazing like it was this weekend.
~ There is a severe drought in California, which is terrible, but I gotta say… photographically, the dried grass and dirt ground provided terrific reflected light and added an airy, romantic quality to the scene. Who knew a drought could be beautiful?!!
~ Finally, the family was very relaxed and comfortable, so altogether with what I mentioned above, the image is one I keep coming back to.
As a parent, a former teacher, and someone who has always loved little people, I think children are…in one word, incredible. They learn at amazing speeds and absorb everything. They develop unique personalities from the time they are babies. And unlike adults, they always know what’s important: eat, sleep, play, love, poop.
So with that said, I have a fun little story to tell you about my weekend’s Lifestyle Family Photography session with Josie and her parents, Vivian and Freddy. It’s told through the eyes of a little one. Enjoy!
WHEN I GROW UP…
I will be taller.
I will have the World in my hands.
My parents will still be my Protectors and be by my side, even when they’re not.
My dad will always be the first man I’ve ever loved.
I will have faith — in myself.
I will continue to be an independent thinker. And a do-er! I will stay brave and do what I believe is right, even if it’s not the most popular view.
I will let you know if I like something.
And squash the things I do not like, such as negativity.
I will always remember that my mom is the most important person in my life. The one who brought me into this World.
The one who will always welcome me with open arms and a full heart.
Above all else, I will laugh. I will laugh hard! And often… with the people whom I love.
That’s what life is all about, right?!!
And of course I will always remember my photographer, Annie.
[If you want to see Josie’s first shoot with me back in 2012, here is The Best Medicine.]
Alright, so Connor isn’t really THE Hungry Caterpillar from the famous children’s book by Eric Carle, but there were similarities, like they’re both cute, they both have little round bodies, and they both eat everything in their way!
This shoot was for Connor who is turning one year old next week. His proud parents are Chris and Connie, who have San Francisco close to their hearts because they grew up here and still live here now. They even work here… in the same place actually! In fact, here’s a fun fact: Chris is a doctor and Connie is a registered nurse at the same hospital where I gave birth to my three monkeys!
Check out this San Francisco Lifestyle Family Photography session of a doctor, a nurse and the cutest hungry caterpillar in a cool, urban playground.
See what I mean?!!
Oh no, not Snoopy!
Disclaimer: No playground equipment or animals (ie, Snoopy) were harmed during the photoshoot. (Connor is teething!)
Twelve month old Bennett is enamored with his mom. And for good reason. She is all that and a bag of chips! (I used to work at Frito-Lay, so I can say that and mean it. Yummo. Chips!)
Bennett’s love for his mother, Jennifer, was apparent throughout their South Bay Lifestyle Family Photography session from the way he called out “mama mama” ever so sweetly whenever she left the room and would give her THE BIGGEST hugs whenever she was close enough!
Below is a peek into the life of Jennifer, Baelson, Lucy (the furry big sister) and Bennett. I’m sure you’ll adore them as much as I do.