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.  ❤️

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-holding-hands-with-full-sun-in-garden

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-photography-oak-tree-with-lights  san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-family-holding-hands-in-a-circle-in-garden

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-young-children-grabbing-kissing-parents-in-garden

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-holding-hands-with-smiles-and-sunshine

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-young-boy-with-sparkly-big-smile  san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-wooden-birdhouse

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-fathers-hands

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-young-boy-leaning-into-dad-to-wear-his-watch

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-children-happy-preschool-girl-running-away-from-family

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-children-photography-young-boy-using-bubble-machine-on-wooden-patio

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-devoted-father-carrying-stuffed-animals-in-jeans-pockets

san-francisco-bay-area-lifestyle-family-photography-happy-mother-holding-preschool-daughter-in-arms

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.)

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-children-photography-hugging-and-son-playing-with-moms-necklace

East-Bay-lifestyle-couple-photography-laughing-by-golden-hills  East-Bay-lifestyle-couple-photography-hugging-by-golden-hills

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-young-boy-smiling-with-arms-on-head-in-golden-sunlight

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-hillside-and-dried-marshland

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-children-photography-brothers-giving-moose-ears-and-bunny-ears-to-each-other-while-standing-with-parents-on-boardwalk

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-children-photography-brothers-playing-and-laughing-while-standing-with-parents-on-boardwalk

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-little-brother-points-while-big-brother-protects-him  East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-dried-plants-in-nature

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-children-photography-father-watching-over-sons-climb-large-tree

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-smiling-in-golden-sunlight  East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-smiling-woman-in-navy-with-arms-folded

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-children-photography-playing-on-dirt-path

back to top

Pin It. · Share on Facebook · Follow me on Facebook · Link to this Post · Email a friend · Comments Off on Sun-Soaked Quality Time

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.

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-playing-on-wooden-ramp-closeup

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-playing-on-wooden-ramp

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-children-photography-playful-siblings-sitting-in-morning-sun  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-children-photography-young-boy-smiling-at-big-sister

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-walking-hand-in-hand-down-sunny-alley

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-photography-black-bird-flying-overhead-by-old-theater

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-father-and-son-playing-monsters

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-and-sister-reacting-to-young-boy-monkeying-around

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-father-and-daughter-talking

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-happily-hanging-out-on-curb-by-decorative-window

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-couple-photography-gazing-into-each-other-after-eighteen-years-of-marriage  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-photography-store-sign-downtown

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-photography-pink-roses-in-morning-sun

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-Los-Gatos-lifestyle-family-photography-dancing

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. ❤️

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-two-young-girls-smelling-a-flower-in-tall-garden

San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-flowers-in-garden  San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-reaching-to-smell-flower-in-garden

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girls-hopping-in-garden

San-Francisco-lifestyle-photography-lone-purple-flower-in-garden

San-Francisco-lifestyle-family-photography-young-daughters-twirling-while-parents-watch

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-two-sisters-standing-on-bench-and-laughing-together

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-two-girls-grabbing-pretzel-snacks-from-mom

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-grasping-fistful-of-pretzel-snacks-tightly

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-closeup-of-young-girls-face-with-missing-teeth-smile

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-looking-away-closeup

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-sitting-together-and-playing-rock-paper-scissors-in-garden

San-Francisco-lifestyle-children-photography-sisters-laughing-together-and-touches-own-face

Behind-the-Scenes at the end of the shoot:  (I ❤️ these girls!)

3DDB9F62-EE3D-4FB3-A026-610953B3564D

back to top

Pin It. · Share on Facebook · Follow me on Facebook · Link to this Post · Email a friend · Comments Off on Smells Like Sunshine

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!

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-parents-and-toddler-girl-sitting-on-bench-and-laughing-at-funny-son

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-closeup-of-peach-rose  East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-family-walking-through-rose-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-wild-turkey-drinking-water-in-reflection-pool-in-rose-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-looking-closely-in-rose-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-justice-sign

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-blows-bug-off-leaf-while-family-looks-on-and-toddler-girl-is-horrified

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-boy-reaching-up-to-give-candy-to-photographer  East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-closeup-of-lilac-purple-rose

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-father-chasing-young-son-in-rose-garden-with-flower-spinners

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-toddler-girl-looking-down-while-holding-moms-hand

East-Bay-lifestyle-children-photography-little-boy-holding-frightened-younger-sisters-arm-in-rose-garden

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.  ❤️

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-photography-young-girl-smiling-closeup

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-gathered-on-the-patio

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-photography-playing-with-purple-robots-while-seated-together

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-young-children-sitting-on-parents-laps-in-opposing-ways

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-dancing-in-front-of-wall-with-city-illustration

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-lovingly-looking-at-son

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-playing-on-rooftop-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-father-laughing-while-putting-child-down-in-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-young-boy-and-mother-playing-foosball-game

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-children-playing-game-while-mother-watches

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-father-kissing-daughter-during-game  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-succulents-on-glass-table

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-father-and-daughter-high-fiving-after-game

Behind-the-scenes with my fun playdate buddies:

A5A50688-DD2C-44BB-A508-971AE4368C2D

back to top

Pin It. · Share on Facebook · Follow me on Facebook · Link to this Post · Email a friend · Comments Off on The Way They Are

Endearing

[ENDEARING:  adjective.  Manifesting or evoking affection. To give rise to love.  Beloved.]

That is the word that perfectly sums up Joe and Yolanda’s family.

I’ve photographed this endearing family for 11 years, and there have been many changes — but one thing that has remained a constant, and that is the strength of their bond.

For their shoot this year, we brainstormed all week and ended up at a location that was pretty much in their backyard!  What a little gem, and at golden hour too!  It was the perfect place for our endearing family shoot.  xo

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-teen-photography-siblings-sitting-on-tree-at-golden-hour

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-mom-and-son-laughing-together-on-woodsy-path  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-dry-grass-or-weeds

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-climbing-on-giant-fallen-tree

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-resting-and-pondering-on-bench-by-woods

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-giant-group-hug-near-woods  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-teen-photography-boy-sitting-on-tree-next-to-sister

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-standing-on-peninsula-while-airplane-flies-overhead

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-walking-on-narrow-peninsula-at-golden-hour  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-marina-view-from-woods

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-teen-photography-holding-hands-in-woodsy-park-at-golden-hour

Sunshine and Cacti

Roberta and Alex wanted to have their shoot in Arizona where they’d be around cacti and the warm sun.

Except we didn’t go to Arizona, and it wasn’t very warm.  🙂

We did, however, find cacti, and it was SO COOL.  It looked like we walked into a page of a Dr. Seuss book.  Oh, two out of five of us got pricked though.  (This story has taken a turn.)  One was to a child’s finger and drew blood, and one was on an old lady (ehem!) who thought the long leaf would bend when she walked into it, so it stabbed her in the noggin like a needle sword!  (Okay it was meeee!  I know, I’m graceful – haha.)

Anyhow, check out their sneak peek.  In case you couldn’t tell, we had a blast!

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-hanging-out-in-cactus-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-succulent-plant  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-man-in-cactus-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-mother-watches-daughters-playing-in-cactus-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-standing-in-cactus-garden

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-father-taking-photo-of-daughter-with-phone

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-flossing-in-cactus-garden  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-cactus-with-pink-buds

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-photography-girl-sitting-on-bench-with-sister

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-children-photography-two-girls-sitting-on-bench-view-of-feet

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-jumping-around-cacti

back to top

Pin It. · Share on Facebook · Follow me on Facebook · Link to this Post · Email a friend · Comments Off on Sunshine and Cacti

Things I Won’t Tell You

I won’t tell you how much I love this family.
I won’t tell you how special it is to have friends who believe in you, encourage you, and support you.
I won’t tell you how fun this photoshoot was and how much I laughed.
I won’t tell you how smart and cool and humble Alex is, and how teary I get thinking about how he’ll be in College next year.
I won’t tell you how talented Sam and Marissa are, and how much they blow me away.

I love this family.

Shoot, okay I lied.  I WANT TO SHOUT IT ALL!  🙂

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-leaning-into-each-other-while-on-footbridge-in-japanese-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-koi-fish-below-teahouse-in-japanese-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-teen-photography-senior-boy-looking-down-at-phone-while-airplane-flies-overhead

East-Bay-lifestyle-photography-cacti-with-baby-cacti  East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-relaxing-in-teahouse-in-japanese-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-family-photography-three-teen-children-laughing-with-mom-BxW

East-Bay-lifestyle-teen-photography-senior-boy-looking-over-bridge-BxW  East-Bay-lifestyle-teen-photography-happy-girl-licking-giant-rainbow-lollypop

East-Bay-lifestyle-teen-photography-girl-dancer-leaping-in-japanese-garden

East-Bay-lifestyle-teen-photography-senior-dancing-down-bridge-while-sisters-walk

A Trip Downtown

When you’ve known your client for over a decade, a trip downtown ends up being a trip down memory lane. 

I know I’ve said this before (I’m like an old record player, but hey, those are retro cool – haha), but I feel sooooo fortunate to be doing what I love for my business.  I get to meet amazing people, catch up with them like old friends, watch their kids grow up, and hang out in different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area all while playing with my camera.

Alex and Keiko’s eldest was now off at College (sniff), so the five of us jaunted around a cute little downtown area, sipped teas and lattes, petted pups, and shopped at a local farmer’s market.  It was a relaxing morning with friends and family.  ❤️

Oh, and at the end of the shoot, they surprised me with one of the beautiful bouquets from the market!  How sweet is that?  They are sitting on my dining table right now and brightening the room.

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-morning-sun-in-downtown-Palo-Alto

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-cafe-in-downtown-Palo-Alto  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-teen-photography-sipping-drinks-at-cafe-in-downtown-Palo-Alto

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-sipping-drinks-at-cafe-in-downtown-Palo-Alto

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-succulent-and-flowers  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-bicycle-parking-area-in-street-downtown-Palo-Alto

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-happy-teen-family-in-cobblestone-alley

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-tea-stand-at-farmers-market  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-tomatoes-at-farmers-market

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-teen-photography-walking-around-and=holding-flowers-at-farmers-market

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-teens-walking-with-parents-downtown  San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-photography-farmers-market-floral-bouquet

San-Francisco-Bay-Area-lifestyle-family-photography-petting-golden-retriever-dog-at-farmers-market