Autumn in the Park

After photographing Evy and Ethan since they arrived into this World, I can’t help but feel connected to them.  Thus, it was imperative that I spend part of their shoot playing with Evy and holding baby Ethan.  <3  Admittedly, I breathed in Ethan as much as I could.  We’re talking my face was in his hair.  Can you say awkward?  The fresh scent of a baby is like sniffing a bit of Heaven!  Well, Brent called it something else, but I’ll leave it at that.  ;)

There is always a lot of joking around and laughter when I see Heather and Brent.  I love it when clients turn into friends because the shoot feels just like we’re all hanging out.  In any case, we had a lot of fun and the kids were incredibly well-behaved.  The weather in San Francisco was bright and crazy-hot that day, even in the early morning hours, so I had to “find the (good) light”.

Now check out Heather, Brent, Evy and Ethan in the park on this gorgeous Autumn day…

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The Golden Forest

When I started my business, I didn’t know if it would become more than a hobby or if it’d fizzle out after a year.  So with each booking, I’d ooh-and-aah.  At the end of each client shoot, I’d marvel at the fact that I was able to do something I love and someone liked my work enough to pay for it.   It still blows my mind sometimes.  Maybe it’s from the kind of childhood I had (cue violin – haha), but it’s with this kind of attitude that makes me want to improve and continue to grow.  Complacency is a virus I never want to have.

So this brings me to my recent shoot with The L Family.

I’ve been photographing Julie, Chris, Callie and Ian for 8 years.  Each year, I am excited when they book their shoot (and Julie books early too – yay!)  And each year, I can’t wait to see them.  I have watched Callie get braces and get them off!  I’ve watched her become a preteen.  I’ve watched Ian grow into an inquisitive boy who starts most conversations with “You know what?”  ;)

Seeing my clients is seeing old friends.  I am grateful.  <3

Take a look at The L Family in The Golden Forest…

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Love is Love

In one of my Psychology classes at UC Berkeley, I learned about the different kinds of love.  I remember pondering which kind “was the best”.  I was probably 19 years old, so the topic of love sounded mystical.  Almost fictional.  Now, at the age of *cough cough*, it’s entirely different.  Do I label love?  No.  Do I weigh which kind is better?  No.  Are there many forms?  Sure, but…

Love is love, it’s that simple.

That brings to me to the photoshoot I had last weekend in San Francisco.  I’ve known The M Family for many years.  Over the years, things change.  For instance, the kids get older, taller, wiser.

One thing, no matter what, stays the same:  their love for each other.  There’s a realness in true love that you just. can’t. fake.  Joe, Yolanda, Teo and Nea have that!  It’s in the way they look at each other.

It makes my heart melt a little.  <3

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Lemonade Stand

From shoes that keep falling off to making and selling lemonade… from koala hugs to massages and giggles on the swings.  These are only a few things I encountered (and photographed) last weekend with The T Family.

Michele and Albert had just installed this killer patio (Al painted it) and planted a plethora of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruit in their backyard.  It was the perfect location for their Lifestyle Shoot.  [Last year, they were at a rose garden.]

Not only do I absolutely ADORE this family (we’re talking eagerly hopping like a bunny to get to their front door), but also, I was reminded of how much I love doing home shoots!  There is a certain type of “chaos” that occurs when people are at home that doesn’t always come out when people are out in public.

Home Shoots put me in a creative high, if you will — like every second, there are layers of emotions and activities unfolding in front of me, so all my senses are heightened in order to spot them and quickly decide the best way to capture that story.

Ahhhh, it was so much fun!  :)

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To Pieces

It is that merry time of year again.  No, I don’t mean Christmas.

It’s that time again when I get to photograph my dear friend Brenda’s family!  (By the way, she goes by Mamacita, at least to me.  The name is pretty ironic because we don’t speak Spanish, though we’ve needed to tap into our very limited vocabulary when we traveled to South America together, but that’s a story for another blog.  Hola!)

Mamacita’s last shoot was a styled one (The Travel Shoot), so this year, we did the opposite:  Lifestyle!  There were times we did nothing and times we goofed around.  Certain times, I even thought maybe we’d get KICKED OUT of the garden.  Thankfully we weren’t, but if that happened, then I’d get to photograph that, so it’d still be a win.  ;)

Love this family to pieces.  Need I say more?  Check out their sneak peek…

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Hop, Skip and a Jump

I first met this lovely family six years ago when they only had one child, Charlotte, and a beautifully round baby bump.  We later had a second shoot after baby Philip was born.  I still remember his always-wet thumb — heehee!

Since then, they moved out of the San Francisco Bay Area, but not too far.  It was only a hop, skip and a jump… to GERMANY!  Waaahhh… but lucky me, they came to visit this week, and I got to see them again.

And this time, I got to meet their third gorgeous cutie, Marie, and photograph the entire family doing what they do best:  playing, laughing, eating and relaxing together.  Just look at these images and you will get a feel for what their shoot was like.  There is so much awesomeness in just being present!  <3

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The Gift

Sometimes you get gifts, and sometimes you receive gifts.

The best gifts are those that give you an experience of some kind.  And it can be small.  Like 2 packs of gum.  ;)

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Beach and Donuts

One of the things I love about The H Family is how they don’t fret when their kids get down and dirty because… hey, they’re kids and that’s how they play!  Add to that, Dave and Winnie get down and dirty too because they all play together.

To me, being amazing parents isn’t about saying “yes” all the time, buying their children the latest in electronics and toys, or policing them every minute.  It’s about knowing how to keep the important things in balance… and teaching them — by example — how to lead healthy, happy lives.  And that’s what Dave and Winnie do with their children.  They’re so humble that I’m sure they will say I’m exaggerating, but certain parents I bow down to.

*bow*

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How to Choose a Photographer

When you want to hire a photographer, there are many factors in your decision-making.  It could be the talent and expertise of the photographer.  It could be value, if you are on a budget.  It could be the artistic style of the photographer.  It could be the type of shoot — ie, posed in studio vs styled with props vs lifestyle/photojournalism.  It could be one thing or all of these things.

The part many people don’t often think about is chemistry.

I know this isn’t dating!  ;)  But your chemistry with your photographer makes a huuuuge impact on the end result:  your photos.  It impacts how much you can relax and be yourself — which is, to me, THE most important part of your photoshoot!

How you feel during your shoot will show in your eyes, your smile, your shoulders…in how you move and interact.  Unless you are a professional model or actor, you will be aware of the camera and the photographer, and thus, need to have good chemistry with that person.

How do you determine chemistry if you haven’t met them yet?

For starters, you can get a good sense from how they communicate with you in emails, texts or on the phone.  Do they make you feel at ease or like you’re bothering them?  Read their blog to get a feeling for their likes and dislikes, and whether they’re serious, quirky or casual.  How do they describe their photoshoots, clients or themselves?  You can generally tell if you will get along or are vastly different kinds of people.

For me, the main thing I want for my clients is to be themselves.  Whether that means telling jokes, singing a song, sitting and chatting, or making fart sounds with their mouth!  hahahaa…that hasn’t happened yet, but you never know!  It doesn’t matter what it is exactly, as long as they are being real.  Don’t subscribe to what you think I want or what you’ve seen online somewhere.

Do YOU.  Be YOU.

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Yoga Breaths

Supna and I talked about how we taught our children to take deep breaths when they feel angry, frustrated, sad…  Yoga breaths.  This is also important for us adults to do because our lives are filled with busy schedules and packed To Do lists.  As we get older, doesn’t it feel like the years are passing quicker than when we were younger?  It is philosophically unfair, but c’est la vie.

So what can we do?

Take yoga breaths.  Look at the colors and smiles around us.  Listen to the music and laughter.  Taste good food.  Smell pretty things.  Hold hands.

And that’s what Supna and Parag did during their visit to San Francisco from Florida for Parag’s big milestone birthday.  (It also happens to be their 15 year wedding anniversary AND their first adult vacation since having triplets!)  They enjoyed the Farmer’s Market, the sites and sounds of their favorite city, and, best of all, each other.  <3

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