Orange County Family Photographer. Luna Mommy and Me Session.

Spring time is here and I would love to share this sweet Mommy-and-Me session I had with fellow OC mom and photographer, Gina. We met online, as we were both photographers, and moms- often leaving comments for the same “I need a photographer…” post on Facebook. She said I had my panties in a twist when I complained about late night parties and I thought she was pretty outspoken and knew, and friended, pretty much every single photographer- locally, and some of my heroes.
Come to find, she’s just a sweet, busy mom and photographer.
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She wanted a Mommy-and-Me session to remember this hectic life of hers, in which she is always behind the camera. You see, we photographers practice what we preach. We don’t just say that images are important, we live it. We want, and need these images that redefine ourselves– as a mother and a competent one at that. We need to see in print, the look that our little one gives us, at age two, when life is either sunshine and giggles, or the sweltering pits of hell– determinable by which color bowl you get with your cereal. Priorities, people.
Little K gave me a run for my candy! I usually don’t give them out in the beginning, for fear this very thing might happen, but she, in a snap-snap diva way, dictated that the shot would run on Pez candies. Ms. Sassypants was in charge and mom was left with a soft smile, probably guessing that fighting would be futile. So, I hand over candy after candy, with mom’s approval, and the little ball of sass, continued on with her bad self.
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WORTH IT! Am I right? As a mom, one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is to ebb and flow. Especially, as a photographer. Especially, if you stay at home. We can stick to our rigid values and our formal “beliefs” regarding the best parenting platforms to follow, or we can learn the fine art of ebb and flow- or, choose your battles. You will crack under the pressure. If, for one night she is able to consume a little sugar in exchange for pictures soooooo sweet, this one is marked as a win for mom! I mean, that little nose tip to nose tip is so adorable, and very little prompting or convincing for this one! A true photographer’s daughter.
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Such an adorable duo, these two.
Gina, I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day with your fiance and your little spunky nugget. I know you feel me when I say it’s a struggle but you blink, and it all does go by so fast. Snuggle her close for me, and give a kiss to her “baby” for me. You guys are beautiful and I hope you keep these images close to your heart.
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Orange County Family Photographer. Liu Family Session. Irvine, CA

There is a special time in a woman’s life- the time when she first becomes a mother. That joy- that gift- and all the little ups and downs that come with it, is an experience that truly and forever changes a woman. She is never the same, although there are times she may sit down and enjoy a (rare) quiet moment to reflect- she may miss the person she once was. The hopes for her own self that never really came to fruition.  The longing for the dreams and goals she may now need to place on the back-burner because of this babe. The idea that she may never ever again pee in peace. Then, she kind of shakes it off, realizing the fact that this baby was going to change everything, and color her whole world with love. With an all-consuming Big Love that will change her to her core.
This baby will become her hopes, her dreams, her every big goal. Being a first time mom is not easy, but it sure is damned rewarding. The joy you feel when you see your baby’s smiles and giggles- you’ll begin to live for those. Filling up your phone with picture after picture, insisting that each is special and unique and you can’t bear to delete even one photo.
Then comes pregnancy number two. That in-between phase that resembles the calm before the storm. With the main concern being how #1 will react. This deceptively peaceful time where mama will shower her eldest with all of her love and then some, for the fear that when baby #2 comes along, that #1 will somehow be displaced. Well, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When Jennifer contacted me for maternity pictures, she was adamant about having these images of her current family of 3, and one in her belly. It was so important to her to document this in-between phase- before everything changes- for the better.
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Because when we have another, we don’t give up some love and take from the first child, our hearts grow outward and we open up more space for the welcoming of the new child. Our hearts grow bigger.  We become what they need of us to be- the loving, caring, patient mother and first role model our children see and need. I get it, I was worried about the same thing before having my littlest. I worried for no reason. Because I wasn’t taking anything away, I was growing and providing even more.
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Jennifer, you look so lovely, so serene- as you face the upcoming changes. You so got this. I can tell by the way little J looks at you that you will be everything she could want right now.
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And little J made me work for it. All the hooting and hollering didn’t work and finally the little cutie began to laugh crazily when daddy made the puppet dog attack my head! I had to scream and put up a fight, of course. What a little sweetheart, she is so cute I just want to squeeeeze her cheeks!
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It was such a pleasure taking these images for your family. I had so much fun with you guys.  It is my hope that you have a smooth delivery, Jennifer, and your new baby girl steal your hearts- even big sis’s.
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Orange County Family Photographer. Valdez Family Session.

I was walking with the family at San Diego Zoo when I got the call from Joleen. She had a special family celebration and wanted to spotlight it with family photos. A few days later, we had confirmed that it was a good fit and we were ready to rock and roll. We exchanged texts about the weather on the session date (rain would be the big reason for me to reschedule), outfit choices, etc. She was friendly and personable and I had such a good feeling about this session. Mostly, because I loved the connection and the feelings of mutual trust. She felt as though she was in good hands, and I was so eager to prove that, she indeed, was.
Just as a hairdresser knows her craft, and a chef knows his seasonings and knife-work, a photographer truly shines when you give her full reigns. Don’t be that person who winces each time the scissors snip in that chair- you will have messed up the stylists’ confidence and that’s a surefire way to wind up with a cut you don’t love.  The same reasoning applies to photography. Now you may not know the specific reasons why you love someones images, but simply that you love the tones and the emotions you feel when you look at the images. Choose a photographer whom you connect with-not for a crazy low price but for images that pull at your heart. I posted before about my road to photography here, and I can attest that I honestly fall in love with each family that comes my way and hope to grow old with them- to celebrate all their victories, and even the occasional loss.
Enter the Valdez’s. They drove for about half an hour to meet me for our sunset shoot and, as luck would have it, kiddos were both passed out in dreamland when they arrived. Cue the cute couple shots. Every couple needs a photograph of the two of them. Even more so when they become mother and father. Amidst the seemingly never-ending HUSTLE of mom-ing and daddy-ing- the importance of breaking down and reconnecting and recharging is so relevant.
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Before there was a family, there was you two. Their happiness both runs on yours and fuels your own happiness. A family is a connected unit.
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Little B was just a sweetheart, and warmed up to me instantly– even though he was rudely roused from his nap. He is the same age as my own eldest and it made the session a bit more fun to be able to roughhouse with him. A true sign of a successful session shouldn’t only hinge on images alone, but the friendship that was made with the family. Little B was begging me to play tag with him at the end, and it was really hard to leave when it was over.
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Joleen and Brian I am thoroughly impressed by your sweet, subtle, sincere temperaments– the way you listened to each other and shouldered on to empower one another– I see it. Of course, I see it all. I see an adoring husband a little out-of-place, but wanting what his beautiful wife wanted. And supported her all the way. Your secret glances towards one another to check if the other is alright… it’s so sweet guys, and no wonder your children totally reflect that. Brian, thank you for being the huge support system to your wife and family and for providing me with my very first behind-the-scene image of myself working! So awesome.
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Thank you Joleen and Brian, little B and baby girl S– our little showstopper. I hope these memories of your little ones- so little still, will be able to adorn your walls and give you a smile at the end of a tough day. You have so much.
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Joleen, it was an absolute pleasure, and like I told my hubby, I’m going to miss texting you and all the back and forth! I hope the family party was a total success and everyone saw the love that I saw.
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Orange County Family Photographer. dePaolo Lifestyle Newborn Session.

It was such an honor to be asked to return to the dePaolo’s when their beautiful baby decided to grace us with his presence. I was greeted at the door by two silly, graceful and vibrant girls– whom for some unknown reason fluttered around quietly and disappeared. Their tutu dresses flurried away and was gone. I looked around, taking in all the style. The walls can hardly contain all the style. It was an artist’s retreat, a boho maven. So so stylish. It all made sense since the lady of the house is, in fact, a stylist. I had hit the jackpot again.

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Baby S has got the dearest parents and the sweetest sisters to grow up with. There was no usual dark, quiet, moody house- where the newborn reigns supreme. This house was softly lit and so warm. The sisters enjoyed each other while having a great amount of grace, patience, and curiosity for the newest little one.

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Aren’t they the MOST ADORABLE? I mean look at their matching outfits and alllllllll the white. It is a photographer’s dream. The white crisp room, linens and outfits– made way to a classic and boho look that was momma’s specialty.

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Baby S was a total snuggler. He wanted no part of being separate from his parents. Would start pouting and huffing when he realized he would be apart from them while being wrapped.

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Baby S and his momma. I have no doubt she can be a growly momma bear when need be, but she is just the epitome of softness and loving warmth. She would happily hold S, who hated to be away from her touch. Mom and dad are parents for the third time, but they are SO HAPPY with their newest. Dad had a hard time not shooting heart eyes at baby S the entire time. When baby S make a cry, both mom and dad looked a bit nervous and pained… as if they were parents for the first time!

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Lovely, lovely mama.

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These two are absolute pros at baby snuggling. I barely had to pose them, they fell into it so naturally. Here, I simply told them to love your baby, and they were so happy to oblige. In the months that follow, when little babe gets bigger and bigger, they have these memories to look back on and remember when, during those first few days, he fit in dad’s arm so tiny and so so precious.

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Little one, you are completely blessed to be born into such a wonderful loving home and have such a wonderful home in the arms of your parents. Lucky and adorable…

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The girls were getting a bit restless at this point and since mommy promised some fun, they got to each have a chocolate popsicle and jumpies in the air! This here, is real life. The underpants, messy hair, and craziness of our babies. They can wreak havoc on our stress levels, drive us crazy with their toys and backtalk, but they are the best reasons we live. Just by them being here, we have learned to give of ourselves, to never run out of the endless patience required… and completely make our hearts full.

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Take a peek at the dePaolo’s AMAZING family session here.

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Orange County Family Photographer. Lai Family Session

*Lai Family Session*

A friend referred her to me, and reminded her that with her littles, yearly family photos are a must. These sentiments I wholeheartedly agree with and I personally love to see the progress a year makes on our/your babies. A year ago my own youngest was afraid of the camera and upset with the process of taking photos, this past year she was cheesing and playing up for the camera as if she was born for it. Frances and Tams and their adorable kiddo earned one of the most mellow, light-drenched, most beautiful yellow sunsets I’ve ever photographed.

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

Baby K wasn’t really having it that day but we managed a few great ones before he decided to just have fun with my wagon. Sometimes, being a 2 year old can be touch and go. It’s either rainbow cupcakes poopin’ unicorns, or desperate times trying to get out of the parents’ hugs.

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

My favorite moments of the session occurred during mommy and me time. Sure, daddy did great getting baby K to play peek-a-boo with me eliciting many bursts of happy laughter. But, will you look at mom…

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography a caption

 

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

 

How the light shined and loved on the both of them as they snuggled and loved on each other. Frances, you were so patient, and so full of kindness and love, that baby K felt it all in your arms. During the session, you never once raised your voice, even at the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of your photographer. You were full of heart and sacrifice, a strong-headed baby has nothing on you. I hope these images resonate with the mother bear I see in you.
I see the trying times as my parents struggle during your sessions. I see your forced happy smiles, and inward pressure to make the best and the most of these moments because everyone wants a happy family portrait. And it honestly doesn’t have to be so difficult. We will GET those happy shots, and we will get everything- even the things you think you may not want to remember– everything in between. Because life happens in the in betweens.

 

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

In between the smiles, and my silly songs, in between all the “look at me’s” and the peek-a-boos, in between the waxed smiles almost frozen in place by the wind… I catch you giving each other a look– to convince, to encourage, to say “WE GOT THIS” together. And if I’m worth my salt, I’ll catch it on film and it’ll look completely natural, unposed, and beautiful.

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to show you what I see when I see your family, Frances. And for agreeing to put baby K in the wagon for a bit even though he wasn’t even phased by fruit snacks, toy treats, a dog puppet, and only seemingly interested in the wheels of my blue wagon. Because the harder we parent, the blurrier the lines between self and the parent role. We need to remind ourselves of Who We Are first and foremost- and, using that as our strength, empower us in our journey. Without losing who we are as individuals– as a couple– as married partners.

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Jennifer Chinn Photography- Orange County CA Family Photography

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My Five Month Journey on the Pill

A personal post, because I feel family planning and its effects to be rather linked to families and general health. Hopefully, this information can help a mommy out somehow. These are all my personal matters, but it is my hope for us to share as much of ourselves so that even if this doesn’t help anyone, at least it is relate-able. So, you’re not alone. In motherhood, as we get older, we are often alone and resorting to Dr. Google for our myriad of problems with hopes of a diagnosis. I hope this helps someone out there find some answers, and if it doesn’t I hope it made someone feel a little less alone.
Many of you don’t know this, but I suffer from chronic TMJ pain and intermittent (sometimes severe) lower abdominal pain when the time of the month hits. Most days, I am experiencing some type of pain in my jaw, whether it’s at a very low and manageable state (0, 1, 2 on a pain scale) I try my best to grin and ignore it. Take that with a grain of salt, however, since I have 2 little ones at home– so the stress level can be high at times, and grinning through even a low grade pain level isn’t really very fun.
When it’s bad, though, it’s bad. It’s face the guilt and the nausea and pop a painpill bad. I think I might be slightly allergic to narcotic painkillers, unfortunately they’re the only things that help. It starts as a radiating pain and just like the sun- shoots rays of crippling pain throughout my jaw and into my face and even my neck and surrounding areas. It literally feels as though I’m walking about with a knife stuck in my right jaw.
The last year or so I thought I hit a breakthrough and noticed that my pain level changes for the better a few days before my period and then goes through the roof a few days into it. I began doing research into the effects of hormones and TMJ pain. I was determined there was a connection, and I just happened to have some progesterone cream so I rubbed it right in and I FELT RELIEF! So, I thought, I should go on the pill. I was on the pill for a steady period of time between the ages of 19 to about 29 when I broke off to have my babies.

becoming a mommy; jenniferchinnphotography.com

2015 after the birth of my youngest, who is now a spunky 3 year old girl. TMJ symptoms improved.

This most recent bout of birth control left me with some pretty annoying symptoms.

  1. Dry skin/Peeling dry lips. This was one of the first symptoms for me. Immediately I noticed my skin wasn’t producing very much oil, and my wrinkles seemed deeper and more pronounced. My lips began to peel- they didn’t feel chapped- the skin just kept peeling. I couldn’t leave it alone, and would keep trying to keep the surface smooth to the point where I was ripping my lips and causing some bleeding. I didn’t make the correlation and thought I had become allergic to my eos lip balm and asked the Irvine Moms Group for a good replacement. I tried about 6 natural and chemical brands and ALL of them made my lips peel. I then decided to give up lip balm altogether. This lasted a whole day and a half of sahara desert lips to which I finally waved the white flag and said eff it, I’m just going to deal with the peeling.
  2. Hunger/Weight gain. The hunger wasn’t a very intense, grating hunger, but I was eating an extra solid meal in the late night after putting the kids down– every night. This, of course, caused me to gain weight. Only about 3-5 lbs but enough to notice a difference in the first place that my weight gain always goes… to… my…. face. My freaking face- neck and jowls to be more specific. Not a great look. Everyday I look in the mirror as I’m brushing my teeth and think, “I’m not that fat…” but I just felt thicker and not myself.
  3. Sleep Issues/Insomnia. I was having issue sleeping and would feel myself waking up after about 5-6 hours of sleep, not able to get back to sleep for more rest.
  4. Foul Mood/ Mood swings. This was actually a non-negotiable. I refuse to have my kids around a crazy raving mother, who apologizes once she isn’t fuming blowing-her-top angry. I found myself really angry a lot, for no good reason, at the poor kiddos. I mean, they’re no angels but they do kid stuff- stuff that deserves a time out and maybe a lecture but not a red-faced screeching mother.
  5. Hair Fallout. I’m not sure if the birth control is solely to blame or the keto I did a few months back, but no amount of biotin can fix my ponytail- which is now about half of what it used to be. I have been so embarrassed I haven’t even gone to the salon for the 9 months.
  6. TMJ Pain Relief. I believed my TMJ pain was alleviated while starting on birth control. After a period of about 2 months- it felt about the same as before beginning the birth control, so no long term benefits here. The reason I began hormonal birth control didn’t really pan out so after 5 months… I was done.

I’ve since stopped birth control and the skin improvement happened so fast. My skin gets nice and oily again, and man- I’m not sure the oil is that great, but compared to having dry achy skin- it’s a welcome change.  I have been sleeping great, and much earlier than my previous 1:00am bedtime. I have also been more tired during the day. Mood swings have improved and I don’t find myself unable to recognize the sweaty pink face of rage in the rearview mirror anymore- thank God! But, the initial reasoning I had with regards to TMJ pain being linked to hormones and hormone (birth control) helping was, unfortunately, not the link that worked for me.
The search continues to live life without pain.
If you also suffer from TMJ, please reach out to me, it’s so isolating at times, when even your hubby can’t relate and probably thinks you’re half making things up. I’m here if anyone needs to talk.

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Orange County Family Photographer. Mom Power

Mom Power

When a woman takes that first step into motherhood, a very big change occurs in her being. Her goals, dreams, and visions of herself immediately and forever- shift. Those who say otherwise are lying. We make rooms in our hearts for those we love, and when our very own baby comes to live, the entire heart is re-shaped to acommodate all the love and joy, shock and tenderness, and everything EVERYTHING motherhood represents. I say with complete honesty, that motherhood is both draining and hauntingly beautiful at the same time.

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Mothers are the shadows that move silently between scenes, the supporters, the open arms of comfort and oftentimes, these shadows are overlooked. Unthanked.
Mothers are the givers, who despite it all– need to give of herself every moment of every day, and attempt to do this all while wearing her brightest smile.
Mothers are the ones who pack the lunches, silently curse the traffic lights, and always feel just a little behind, and a little guilty. Not good enough.
But you are. And you’re enough. You even look beautiful and strong doing it.

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It’s amazing to me, that some of you don’t see it that way. How beautiful you shine, and just how magically you mother. Secret, quick-passing moments stolen from a session where it’s just a parent and his/her child are becoming my favorites. I’d like to think that I’d rescued this moment, this touching scene between mom and child from being erased by poor memory or a busy life.

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Because mom is inherently beautiful. Not 20 pounds lighter, not after your tummy tuck, right now. It’s not just your child that thinks so either, although hearing it from the mouths of babes is just so sweet, right?

I was laying with my almost 3 year old daughter yesterday and she had roused from her sleep, gently caressed my face (the way only a 3 year old with barely enough hand control can- she slap/caressed/stroked unevenly) then with both hands on either side of my face told me, “I’m just looking at your beautiful face.” And, in that instant, all I felt was a deep pounding love course through my veins. Because I knew she was only partly talking about my physical beauty. It was her own way of saying she sees me, she feels me- my love for her, and she thanked me for it.

I know that if my daughter thought I was beautiful then every daughter must feel the same way.

But it’s a shame that most moms don’t know this.

That’s why portraits are so important. But don’t do it for the children. Do it for yourself. The 10 lbs too heavy you who is busy running out of the door with coffee splashing in the mornings screaming at the kids to “hurry”. It’s not actually the grinning cheesy perfectly sitting portraits that I’m referring to here, but rather those stolen moments. Because under the hustle and bustle of motherhood, there exists so much love, and tenderness. There is so much growing to do, and learning and applying things learned, and YOU get to be there to witness all of this. You’ll be the one they run to with a skinned knee, crocodile tears washing down their faces– the end of the world if there is any actual blood.

And YOU get to hold him until his world feels better again. Safe.

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Looking back at my own childhood with my own mother- who I assure you, is the most beautiful woman in the whole wide world, I cannot for the life of me, think of a single image of just her and I, as a girl — sharing a moment. Not one. And that makes me feel so sad. When I was growing up we didn’t have money for frivolities such as photography. In all fairness, I don’t think anyone around me did either. We did do a few “glamor shots” aka, fuzzy weird lighting shots at the mall, and that was it. I did not have a settled childhood where kids grew up in the same neighborhood and knew each other from kindergarten to high school prom. I was moved to a new school almost every. single. year. There were many reasons my parents did this, and whatever they were, I don’t believe the benefits outweighed the developmental and emotional weight I carried from never feeling like I belonged anywhere. Stability is such a strong builder of confidence. Yet through it all, I felt secure with my family. But I don’t have many images to show for all of this.

Imagery is so important.

It is my wish that every mom reading this sits a little bit taller, is a little bit more thankful for her life and those of her littles, and nods her head in agreement to the fact that she IS beautiful. The way she is, right now.

Find time to intentionally document the moments. As beautifully as you possibly can. These will be the moments your children flip through as they’re compiling wedding slideshows, or as your grandchildren’s chubby fingers almost rip out pages. Keep your memories protected, so you have plenty of time to cherish them.

 

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Orange County Family Photographer. Aho Family Session

Aho Family Session.

I have started and stopped this blog many times before and each time it becomes harder. On the one hand, I’ve promised to be true to my voice and vision, on the other hand– I don’t believe the story is always mine to tell. And, with that, I leave the reader and hopefully photo enthusiast with a link to Erin’s FB page here.  Feel free to get lost there, and read up on her blogs as I have.

I still tread lightly and with much love for this amazing family.

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Because, you see, these kids totally embraced me as one of their own, right from the get-go. The girls both ran up to me- friends from the start. The younger two are boy/girl twins and so excited for what the day had in store. This was one of my first shots taken and very true to their personalities. Miss M with the curtsy and little E with his tongue out, and little S snuggled up to dad. I later introduced E to my snowman Pez dispenser who only gives out candy to deserving boys with nice happy smiles, and imagine my surprise when all of a sudden, his tongue stayed where it should be- in his mouth and behind his nice smile.

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I’ve said it so many times before that while posed photos are nice– the candids grab my heart. They can make me smile, wonder what is happening here, and remind me of the laughter we shared. Just look at their cheeky grins!

On this day, daddy was there. And boy, was he ever there. I absolutely love a daddy that is in love with his family and Garrett, your love truly shows.

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Just look at how beautifully it shows.

I never want you to appear “forced” or “cheesy”, so please, just wipe that thought out of your head. I just want you to be in the moment with your loved ones.  I really live and breathe these lovely images and just editing them make me feel a bit of a wizard. Like I’m tampering with something magical. These moments.
These moments are YOUR moments.

The ones that will remind you of your kiddos at 3 and 5, when they’re full of spunk and animation. When they want to non-stop go-go-go! And, how you kept up with that. Well, on this day you allowed yourself to stop and breathe for a second, and enveloped each other in the feelings you don’t often show.
And they look so lovely.

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When these living, breathing, feelings are given life, they should be printed- and hung. For a chapter, for a season. To be admired, to spread the joy. To remind ourselves that happiness is not a goal or a destination. It is the brave and steadfast smile we put on each and every damn day as the youngest pours her cereal and milk all over the hardwood floors.

We can all smile at the pretty things.

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Especially when the pretty things are moments of your children in love with each other, on an amazing day- however mundane. That we get to call our life.

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We are all so blessed, when we count up all our little wonders. So so very blessed.

Erin, you are an amazing woman and Garret, such a beautiful soul. I thoroughly enjoyed our time together from the beginning to the end. Your children are such a joy to be around- I especially loved M’s incessant “girl-friend” chatter,  and the way little S’s quiet friendship. They are strong and resilient and have such a great source of hope and love in you and Garrett. Please give them a hug for me.

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Orange County Family Photographer. Ly Family Session

The Ly Family

Before I begin this wild ride, I preface with the definition to the term Irish Twins-

Two children born in short orderHaving two children as close as 10 to  18 months is  comparable to having unequal twins, and they are even called  Irish twins  (dictionary.com)

Ok, so now that we have that little term understood, let’s bring in the Ly Family! They have been our friends since the hubs and I started dating, eons ago. Let’s not get into numbers, here- so not my forte. But this sweet couple have themselves a set of outgoing Irish Twins! The older, Z is 2 and the younger, A, is 1. She isn’t just a sit-down-on-her-bum-and-look-pretty 1 year old, no way… she is the bolt in whichever direction her brother wasn’t running in type of 1 year old. Yes, folks, we got ourselves two runners.

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Now, while not the craziest kids I’ve ever worked with, these two were not shy and approached people if they were curious about something, say, a bright red jacket, or a maple leaf– you know, whatever happens to catch a 1-2 year olds eye.  So Safe Shot first, thankful for them cooperating as much as they did, because the wildness of these parks do beckon…

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Honestly, to little ones this place has gotta seem pretty damn magical. Look at the trees! Are we in a forest? The grass has got holes around them, I bet I can stomp that part down! Ooooh, look there’s a bicycle coming right at me! I wonder if I can get extra points for stepping aside at the verrrry last second. Yay! I did it!
Sometimes, as parents we have certain visions, plans, or goals for our children. Sometimes, kiddos have easy temperaments and are wanting to comply, but oftentimes, most times actually, they don’t. And maybe just maybe, they know best.
We as parents are then taught one of the most important rules of parenting. It should probably be called the Golden Rule in photographing children.

Roll with the punches. Pick your battles.

Really, a toddler won’t have the mindset or the capability to sit there and cheese for you. Would you even want that? Oftentimes they KNOW exactly what it is they should do. Most often– it’s play. This was the exact moment Tim decided to eff the shoot and just sit down to play with big Z. Big Z soaked up his daddy’s love like a sponge, and lo and behold… stopped trying to run away from all of us.

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Love this genuine smile from daddy as I can visibly see the tension leave his body. I know it’s real– I’ve hung out with this guy years before he became a daddy and this is probably the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

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These images pull at my heart not because of the perfect lighting and the soft colors but because I know that Tim is a great father. It’s the little things that truly speak in an image- the way his hand gently but firmly holds big Z as if in protection, while the other hand is naturally holding his little hand almost mid-stroke with his thumb. Big Z feels safe, and protected- yet bold and free- to be a little kid.

But, oh my word, the bond between a mother and child is so so fierce.

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This little wild child took no direction but always found sanctuary in momma’s arms. Kym, you keep doing your thing… Irish twins- they had to make a word up to describe your kiddos’ ages but really it’s managing organized chaos and you do it so beautifully. The kids will get older and will outgrow this phase– no longer will you chase one and holler at the other one. They will start to walk alongside you, holding your hands. Then they will walk alongside you, refusing your hand. Soon, you will dream of the days when your kiddos are small and wild- and they did as they wished and left you tired- tired, but happy.
You are their mother.

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Tim and Kym you were made for this. And I’m so lucky to be a friend (and a photographer) to share in these memories with you. I hope you cherish these images as they will be something you look back on fondly.
Even if they weren’t totally perfect.

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Orange County Family Photographer. Yang Family Session

Yang Family Session

I sat as still as I could, in the firm cushioned salon chair, and squirmed a bit uncomfortably. I mean, realistically, how long can you stare at yourself in the mirror without starting to pick apart your features? I started to peruse my iphone, as so many of us do in these types of situations, because I would be sitting in that chair for about 3 hours. Yes, those of us not blessed with naturally straight hair or the wavy, curly types. There exists some of us creatures born with frizz for hair.
I said it, I’m not afraid of a little beautifying when things are extreme. Extreme cases like mine call for hair pros that can straighten it with harsh chemicals, and still have it feel silky and look shiny. I browsed some family images on my phone, when my stylist casually says,

Those are some nice pictures.
I’ve been meaning to take some family pictures.

And, not a sweeter word has met my ears. I did the whole, slow turn around towards her– one eyebrow raised… We set up a casual date in my calendar and a few weeks and some pinterest boards later, here we are.

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Riley Wilderness Park has a special place in my heart because of the dead fields and the amazing light. For all non-photogs out there, the reason these dead monotone fields make such a good backdrop/frontdrop/whatevertheheck drop is because it is a natural bounce light. It reflects a perfect soft beige (no colorcast-yay!) focus of light right back at the person of interest, and in our case, this adorable family.

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But hidden next to these popular hills are a wonderful delightful secluded area with tall trees both standing and fallen. These are the hidden GEMS I love to look out for. Especially if the light can just tipsy out of the corners of the trees while shouldering the sun’s harsh rays away from my families.
And, dads, please listen up dads!

Take a note from this amazing daddy, to be DOWN for images. Don’t do it just for your wife, don’t do it just for your Christmas cards, do it because this means a lot. It should even mean a lot to YOU. Don’t be grouchy, look at your watch, or even roll your eyes. LOL NONE of my dads have ever done this, by the way! But be present. Share this moment with the loves of your life. The loves you helped create. These moments will carry you through some dark times. I am just a careful observer, to capture my version of your chapter. This shouldn’t be uncomfortable in any way, but a joy to show off to the world. If you are uncomfortable in any way, please feel free to have a chat with me. I love getting to know you all and feel connected to each and every one of my families.

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Because when love and joy show up at the same time and is met up with Fun, then the magic occurs naturally.

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I love seeing palpable, feeling, moving, true love. It is true what they say about marriage. It’s the choosing that’s most important. Choosing to hold one another close, choosing to remain on the same side, and choosing to stay in love. Sometimes with little ones so young and needy, it’s necessary to put things on pause and to slow your own selves down to make room for your babies, but once they’ve taken that love and care you’ve given them and are allowed to really blossom themselves, you can take some of that back for yourself, and the one you’ve chosen to walk beside.

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As always, I loved spending the evening with this little family. For the first time in a long time, I had to bust out my Mandarin Chinese for a whole hour. FYI, my jokes are no where as funny in Chinese. Bah.

 

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  • Jen - Beautiful images and so eloquently written! I love reading posts by photographers who know how to write, and you definitely have that gift! Keep the gorgeous images coming!ReplyCancel

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