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.

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The Light Within

There’s something about Brooke and Emmy that is undeniable.  They have some kind of energy that radiates from within when they are together.  It’s a light that makes others want to be around them, to laugh with them, to be better people because they incite inspiration without even trying.  Especially during a time when we are bombarded by negative news, being around Brooke and Emmy felt like a little vacation for my soul.  ❤️

Now with Fletcher and Annie, their energy has grown.

While in San Francisco, we visited all the same places we did on their wedding day.  To no surprise, many strangers around us were friendlier and happier, even at 8am in the morning.  At one point, we found ourselves testing out sirens and sitting on motorcycles because… a couple of police officers insisted!  (When does that happen, right?!!)

Happy 5 year anniversary, Brooke and Emmy!  I am unbelievably touched to be a small part of your lives and incredibly grateful you returned to San Francisco to see me!  xoxo 

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“Stick ‘em up!”

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Magic Flute

One weekend over the Summer, this story came to me, so I grabbed a camera, a willing child (haha), and shot it.  Styled Shoots can be playful and whimsical, like this one.

❤️

A long time ago in a distant land, there was a young girl who lived in solitude and was wistfully lonely.  One night when she gazed into the deep dark sky, she witnessed a shooting star.  She closed her eyes and made a wish. 

The next morning, she woke up and found a shiny gold pipe laying next to her in the grass where she slept.  She looked all around, but saw no evidence that anyone had even approached her.  And why would anyone give her a pipe anyway?

She waited a long time before deciding to pick it up, and when she did, she produced sounds on the pipe that brought her to tears.  Beautiful poetic sounds.  This made her so happy that she didn’t notice she was playing for hours.

By the end of that day, she discovered this pipe wasn’t any pipe.  It was a magic flute!  Kind and friendly animals came to her when she played and followed her wherever she went.  The young girl was never lonely again.

The End

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The Greatest Gifts

I think one of the greatest gifts is creating a memory with someone you love, and a bonus would be to have a photoshoot that captures it!  ❤️  Rashmi believes this too (SQUEEEE!) so she scheduled a shoot as a gift for her photography-enthusiast, family-loving husband.

It may not have been that big of a surprise to Sat since their very first shoot with me in 2008 was also a gift.  I still remember hiding at a park while Rashmi brought Sat and their then-toddler son on a walk towards a stranger (that’s me — haha) that led to some fond memories.

It is obvious to anyone who knows Sat that his family is his Everything, and having boys he can play sports with as well as climb cliffsides and trees with is like a kid-at-heart’s dream come true.  Add to that, he and Rashmi have raised boys who are loving and caring, so there are always sweet moments of closeness.

I feel so honored to get to photograph this special family throughout the last 11 years!

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Day in the Life: Peter and Jenny

When you and your spouse are both turning the big 5-0 AND it’s your 20 year wedding anniversary AAAAND you adopted your first puppy, you have a Day-in-the-Life Photoshoot to capture your life as it is right now.

It’s a way to celebrate as well as commemorate a big year!

We started in Peter and Jenny’s kitchen with making shakes, cutting flowers, and playing with their pup.  It was a scorching hot afternoon, so the fruit shakes and watermelon smoothies were refreshing.  They played a frisbee game in the backyard with made-up obstacles, which is how most of Peter’s games are played – heehee.  And as part of their anniversary milestone, they flipped through their wedding album where the kids giggled at how young their parents looked.  Afterwards, they went on a hike, a beloved activity they do as a family and ended the day with a game of basketball.

The 4-hour shoot was truly a slice of their life at age 50 with sporty teen children and young puppy, and it was an honor to capture it all.

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Interested in seeing another Day in the Life session?  YES!  Okay, here are a few more:  Chris & Sinead, The S Family, Larry & Juana.
[I don't shoot a lot of DITL, though I love them, so be warned that you'll see a big evolution of my editing style with these 3 blog post links, which spans 10 years!  The way I shoot and visual imagery I prefer have stayed the same.]

Let me know what you think of DITL shoots!  Do you see the value of them or do you think it’s better to have several shorter shoots instead?

Ray of Sunshine

Lawrence and I told the doctor not to reveal the gender of our third baby when I was pregnant… but I already knew it was a girl.  Or maybe it was because I prayed and prayed and hoped for one.  SO BAD.

So when my third and last baby entered the World, and my doctor held her up and announced “It’s a girl” like what I’ve seen in movies my entire life, I cried.  I cried the ugly cry, but no one, including myself, really cared at that point.  I had a healthy, pink, perfect baby girl!  She arrived 3 weeks early, but based on her already squishy baby face and body, you’d never know that.

I was so happy and loved her so much from that very second.  When she was only 2 months old, we had regular moments where we’d lock gazes, giggle together, exchange smiles… and when she was an older baby, we ‘sang’ together in her quiet nursery before she’d sleep.

It is now nine years later, and Avie is still that person who makes me smile just by looking at her face.  She still follows me around like the cutest shadow and thinks her mommy is the best, most important person ever.  She makes sure I know this from her love notes and drawings whenever there is a piece of paper or foggy mirror.  She is my own personal ray of sunshine, and I feel incredibly blessed.

Happy 9th birthday, Avie.

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Best Moments of 2018

Now, onto Part Two of last year’s winning images.  This one is about moments!

A “moment” is defined as a split second of time ~OR~ a moment that tells a story, whether sweet, emotional or humorous.  My all-time favorite images are the ones that capture a story and have incredible light, so some of these have both! ❤️ *swoon*

BEST MOMENTS OF 2018

#1

A Father’s Love

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#2

This Way, Together

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Tied for #3

Too Many Kisses

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Cracking Up

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Tied for #4

Left:  Happily Married
Right:  Teaching the next generation how to pray

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Autumn Leaves

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Tied for #5

Where’d she go?

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Uncontrollable Laughter

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Click here to see last year’s winning images:  Best Moments of 2017, Most Delicious Light of 2017.

Most Delicious Light of 2018

It is time to reveal the winning images from last year!

The photos that made it into this category were chosen based on the role light played in the image. Specifically I answered the questions: “If the light was different, would I like it as much?” “Did the light effect the mood or story of the image?”  Then that collection of images went into a Facebook album for public voting during a set time period.

Aaaaaaand the winners are….. ☺️

MOST DELICIOUS LIGHT of 2018

#1

The brownish fog in the woods, the vertical lines of the trees, the perfectly balanced boys to their father, the gently curved sticks that mimic a rainbow.

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#2

The spotty light highlighted the rainbow bubbles, which complemented the joy on the little girl’s face.

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#3

Sunlight can be a softbox-spotlight.

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Tied for #4

Candles at twilight held by children means blue light on white shirts and a warm glow on faces and hands.

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The Bay Area fog creates a romantic mood for this couple.

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#5

The haze and glare from the strong sun on the San Francisco Bay made this sailboat image surreal.

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Wait, what?!!  You want more? ☺️ Alright, click here to see last year’s winning images:  Most Delicious Light of 2017.

Walnut Dynamic Duo

I love the feel of wood under my fingertips, sun on my face, and sand under my feet as the waves sweep over me.

So when I saw this dynamic duo made of premium walnut wood with laser-etching and magnetic closure, I was smitten.

This is an exclusive custom USB drive with case that has a limited production, so I am thinking of a special way to use this.  Maybe it’ll contain an e-book that I’ve been wanting to write!  Or if anyone has any cool ideas they want to throw into the hat, let me know in the Comments section.  I’d love to hear them.

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Note:  This is from USB Memory Direct.  Here is 10% off code, if you wanted to try them out:  PHOTO10.  (I am NOT an affiliate and don’t receive commission from them.  Just sharing what I like!)

Back Light vs. Direct Light

My favorite time to shoot is when the sun is low in the sky.  I can shoot with the sun behind me, so the light is shining directly in front of my subjects — called direct light.  Or I can have the sun behind my subjects, so the light shines behind them — called back light.

There are also many other types of light, but today I am only talking about these two.

Which one to use is mostly about artistic preference.  And sometimes, you don’t have a choice, like if you’re shooting an event with a designated time, so it’s important to know how to shoot in both kinds of light.

Okay, with that said, I have a preference

Who knew?  Apparently, my clients!  haha.  When I’m on a shoot, I don’t shoot with my head as much as my heart, so I usually look for moments and images that tell a story or create beautiful lines and shapes.  I didn’t think I had a preference in light direction, until…

My recent Boat Shoot.  I was boarding the second boat and heard my clients tell the captain to get into a position where my clients’ boat was backlit.  The captain quickly turned to me like that must be wrong.  I just nodded in agreement and probably wore a surprised look on my face.  Gosh, my clients know me well!  :)

Here are some recent side-by-side examples of back light versus direct light (displayed in that order) of the same subjects, during the same shoot, shot within minutes apart, so you can see the differences.

Example 1

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Example 2

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Example 3

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Example 4

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*PHOTOGRAPHY TIP*

As you can see, there are significant differences between back light and direct light.

There are also merits in both kinds of light!  Back light is more moody with softer colors, but also have softer details.  Direct light has more vivid, saturated colors with greater details, but also has shadows.

If you could choose, which light do you prefer?