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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Dinosaur Head

Stories by the garden, leaf races at a waterfall, songs while climbing a giant tree on the cliff.  These were some activities The H Family had this past weekend, just to name a few.  However, I bet if we asked Max, the expert 3-year old rock collector, he would say the best part of the photoshoot was finding a rock the shape of “a dinosaur head”!

Or maybe it was picking up one of the other 50 rocks and sticks that adventurous morning.  ;)

It was so fun to play with Chase and Max, to see how much they have grown, and to catch up with their parents, Nichole and Clark!

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The Pink Balloon

Hmmmm….what could the pink balloon stand for?!!  ;)

SQUEEEEE!!!  I’m so excited for The S Family!

This Lifestyle Maternity Photography session was a relaxing stroll through Louisa’s alma mater:  Stanford!  We went to areas that weren’t as iconic because, let’s be honest, those areas are… “been there, done that”!  :)  However, we did stumble upon areas that were unknowingly closed for construction, dried up, or scary-looking (haha), but we still had fun wherever we went!

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Twirling in the Garden

Lifestyle Family Photography sessions with young children are all about being flexible and going with the flow of whatever the kids feel!

So in this beautiful garden setting, we had doll-eating, twirling, silly face-making, hopping like a bunny, hand-holding, high-flying feet kicking, gummy-chewing, flower-smelling, and wearing of special hats for the parents!  You’ll see what I mean about the “special hats” below.  :)

And loving.  There were hugs and love to be found throughout my afternoon with The G-L family!

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My Candy Store

Quiet moments, laugh-out-loud moments, sweet tender moments, serious moments.  Having all of these things and beautiful sunlight in one Lifestyle Shoot is my “candy store”!  I am gasping in delight at the plethora of emotions and stories that unfolded that morning.  Take, for instance, this first photo below of the dad walking with his youngest daughter.  That was my first frame.  My very first shot.  When a shoot starts like this, it’s just…WOW.

There is no magic pill or fancy formula.  My advice to you, if you have a photoshoot coming up, is…

Relax.  Be yourself.  Have fun.  Don’t have an agenda.  Let your kids be kids.

Now come check out my “candy store” of moments from this past weekend!

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Urban Playground

San Francisco is full of urban playgrounds, whether it’s an actual children’s playground or cool things around the city you can play on!  With imagination and a free spirit, we can find fun things to do anywhere, right?!!  :)

My Lifestyle Shoot with The Y Family this weekend had both types of playgrounds.  Add to that, great people and nice weather during an El Nino Winter.  It was fabulous!

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One of the things I love about shooting in the city is having the contrast of nature and man-made materials, like a park in front of giant skyscrapers.  It’s a visual Yin and Yang!

IMAGE ANALYSIS

In the below image, I yearned to break up “the pattern on top of pattern” (shadow against the brick wall) with these two amazing women who describe themselves as opposites, so I stood them apart from each other for symbolism.

It’s one of my favorite photos of the shoot because of the patterns, coolness in colors, and compositional balance of the two women, who are obviously different, but in that second, their mannerisms mirrored each other!  <3

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