Nguyen Family Session
It’s been a while since my last in-home lifestyle session, but getting to document your good friends is quite a special treat. I arrived to a near spotless kitchen and a family getting ready. Mama is quite the planner and paid extra attention to make sure our session ran smoothly and with so much fun and vibrancy.
We began the session with one of little A’s favorite activities- reading. For a girl in kinder with a cayuuute boyfriend to boot, little A is quite the bookworm. She chose a book about princesses and her little brother chose one about animals. Ever since he was a baby, little A was into animals… farm animals, animal sounds, animal videos, animal cartoons… you name it!
We lost little bro to a dinosaur calling his name (and mine, he just had to show me… graowlllllll) but little missy kept on reading her book until…. DANCE PARTY! These photos totally crack me up! I mean girlfriend werk it! Hair toss and eeerrrthang! But look at little bro’s moves in the back, oh man, crack me up!!
Next, we moved into the kitchen where we were prepping to bake some chocolate chip cookies. The kiddos were enjoying every minute, A sported a new apron that was to die for, both retro and pretty.
Then came the ultimate time consuming, gut wrenching, soul draining effort of waiting…. for… cookies…. to… bake.
Then, we rushed upstairs to do some quick digesting, *ahem* jumping on the bed like little monkeys.
The cutest kiddos you ever did see!
Loved their matching jammies. Phew!
Lots of fun was had today and these irresistible images are testament to the importance of cherished memories in the home. Jenny specifically wanted this magic captured so that they can all remember, clearly, what fun was like growing up. The moments that pass us by in a quick blur of messy buns and endless days, are actually quite beautiful when preserved in a way you can appreciate. I’m confident these images will bring silly smiles to the kids and adults alike and remind them of just how little they were, how hard they loved on one another, and how liberating it feels to just be free for a few hours. We don’t want time to pass us by without having something to remind us. The squirmy-wormies, the contagious laughter, the bright-eyed-bushy-tailed Bounciness– of kids being kids.
Thank you Nguyen Family, for being our friends and our neighbor.
Also, feel free to note Jenny’s AMAZING skin and her uber lush lashes, she is a local R&F consultant so feel free to contact her with any of your skincare/lash needs.
de Paolo Family Session
As with any other photo session, I plan and left early. I didn’t know the area and figured I could use the time to scope out the scene as my family was in Legoland for the day anyway. What I wasn’t prepared for was the frickin Ortega Highway. It was all dangerous curves, fast speeding cars, and two lanes (no passing), Oh, forgot about the mountainous terrain and the inability to see 50 ft in front of the car. It was my first time. People who live out in SJC are probably laughing at me now, but I was legit scared! I white-knuckled it as I tried to maintain the speed limit because some truck thought it’d be fun to get super close and honk me from behind, just to make things more interesting.
But I made it there alive in one piece, breathing too.
Drove all the way to the back after asking the rangers where to go, and I found pure bliss. It was all dry landscapes, cactii, and tall rock formations. There were also tons of families with their campers and BBQ stuff out preparing for a snack or early dinner. The sound of kids chasing each other as they kicked up real dust from the ground.
The de Paolo’s show up, all sunshine and magic wands. (Did we lose those, by the way, Jacqueline??) The little girls run right up to me, not one bit shy. I tongue twisted their names a bit as I tried to maneuver our way to see the last vestige of the sun.
When they say the sun sets at 4:30 and you’re in the woods amongst tall trees, they actually mean 3:45 or 4:00pm instead, because the sun gets completely covered by the tall trees that it’s impossible to see. Just a PSA.
Well, shucks, folks. Just look at this.
Really take a second and breathe in the freshness of the outdoors. It really is amazing to be out in nature, amongst the huge living trees.
This family really knew how to love. They were all snuggles and kisses and hugging into each other. I rarely had to tell them to get closer– with my two arms motioning in, lol, they just were naturally close. One kiss from dad to mom would mean kisses all around… and I really loved it.
We played a game with the quilt, but little G got a bit flustered and scared, not comprehending that it meant fun, unlike the older C had just the most fun running back and forth before the blanket “caught” her.
Jacqueline, besides being a mom to these 2 adorable girls, used to do styling for photo shoots. Their outfits fit perfectly with the outdoor rustic, but chic and boho. Exactly my style. These sweethearts got a chance to spin like ballerinas in a magical amazing place with the most wonderful light. And I got it all! I hope they treasure these when they’re older…
Such beauties. All three and the baby in the belly make four!
These daddy and me shots are perfection. The girls adore him and it shows in their strong connection.
I hope the girls grow up super sloooooooooow for both of your sakes, they are too precious and precocious at the same time. I wanted to take G home with me, I mean, just look at her! That sweet little smile…
de Paolos, I hope you enjoy your images, thank you for taking the time in the midst of moving to come escape for a bit with me in that magical space.
Chavez Family Session
I drive by these old trees every Tuesday and Thursday on my way to drop off my oldest in preschool. Every time I made a mental note to go check it out. Except on google maps it was un named. So I investigated further and although it wasn’t the same as the swampy location I wanted to place this family, I love the tropical feel of these trees and the golden dying light.
I sat in the parking lot as I watched the last glows of the sun disappear, and my heart sank. I wanted to give this adorable family the beautiful light they deserve. But traffic was a nightmare and things couldn’t be helped, so we attempted to try anyway, about 10 minutes before the sunset.
I got poked in the ribs many times by the little fiesty A, and he was a toughie at first but totally warmed up to me by the end of our time together. And, just for the lovely little E, who’s hobbies include makeup, I even put on some makeup! They both helped me lug my wagon of goodies around at the end, sweethearts!
Have I told you how much I like unposed candid shots, where the whole family just lets down their guard and is “in the moment”? I love them, LOVE them so much, they are just my jam.
And these mom and daughter images were so amazing– all the bold colors working together and warmed by the glowing embers of the sunset… I caught magic.
We ended the night with promises of ice cream for dessert, because, honestly, what is a family photo session without some form of
bribe, ahem, treat.
Thank you for trusting my vision, Chavez’s! I loved spending the evening with you all.
Why I Photograph
Everyone has these stories of what drew them to photography, why they love photographing what they love and how they got started. Mine started on the other end of the camera. I wanted to have pictures of myself taken! When I couldn’t exactly find anyone else to do that for me, I started with point-and-shoot cameras and self timers. And selfies, about 20 years before a selfie became a selfie. Does that make me vain? I’m not so sure. I found that in these photographs, where I went through pose after pose, kissy faces, and intense stares, I was learning about myself. I was learning to see me, as others do. I went through a period of time where I was very interested in photographs of myself, because my perception of myself wasn’t what I was seeing in the photographs. There was a sort of disconnect. It was either my vanity or my therapy, and in my own teenage way, I was learning to connect my spirit with my body.
Years later, while dating my now husband (then boyfriend), at a party with a drink in my hand, a friend of his asked me to take a picture. With a big, black, boxy, intimidating as all hell, DSLR. This was the first time I had even seen one up close. I shook my head, no. I couldn’t possibly.
Oh, I don’t know how to use that.
It took a few tries, to which he kept insisting– just press this button halfway then all the way. I look back and I truly appreciate the fact that he believed in me. He could have so easily passed the camera off to some other, more confident person. Halfway, all the way, Ok, I could handle that. I lifted the machine into my worried hands and I felt a reassuring weight. It wasn’t uncomfortably heavy- it was comfortably heavy.
I did what I was told, I got everyone in the frame as best I could, and pressed the button half way, then– all the way. Thanks, Scott M. for handing me my first DSLR and encouraging me to snap that shutter.
And I was hooked.
On the drive home, I told my then boyfriend I wanted to buy a camera- a DSLR. And I wasn’t satisfied with the kit lense so I upgraded. I practiced, and learned and researched. Back then, there wasn’t such an abundance of helpful youtube tutorials teaching you everything you wish to learn- from makeup, to computer and car repair. So it was a combination of trial and error, and a healthy dose of the delete button. And I upgraded, until I had a rather envious collection of Canon L lenses.
We got engaged, and found an amazing wedding photographer. While researching, I became immersed in the wedding industry and the glamour, beauty, and glory associated to all things “big day”. I wanted to be a part of that.
Then we got married and travelled to Asia, and I took image after image of scenes of night markets and fruit markets, buildings, and portraits. My love for photography grew as I was able to relate to these images and begin to tie in the feelings evoked to the image itself. We settled in Orange County, had a baby and I began to venture into newborn photography, which I still love.
But my biggest photography revelation came when I photographed my own family. My parents, my brother, along with my hubby and two kids. Capturing both the posed and the candids, editing them just so– and being able to share these images with your loved ones, and treasuring that moment for years and years to come is the reason I now commit myself to family portraiture.
I have always been looking for a connection.
This feeling began when I was just coming of age, searching for a connection with myself. It grew into something bigger when I met my significant other, and multiplied with the birth of my children. The look in a mother’s eyes as she shares her love with her child(ren) is so personal and yet unlike anyone else. And the quiet (sometimes loud) joy in the child as she stares back into her mother and father. She chooses them, because they are her first and most important teachers of love she is offered. And the parents choose her, because out of all in this world this child is the MOST precious. This choosing each other shows through in cuddles, squeezes, laughter, and the trust in a child to choose to laugh over being scared, when launched into the air by daddy.
Allowing each family to see and perfectly visualize the actual love they feel for each other is why I photograph.
My favorite images are never usually the perfectly posed. They’re usually the outtakes you get on the way to getting perfectly posed. Where your true selves shine. They may be off-centered (purposely), they may be grainy, there may even be blur, but those images are the ones I value most because I feel I’ve succeeded in truly capturing you.
As I stepped away from the broken parking ticketing machine, I caught a glimpse of their SUV pulling into the dry dusty lot– knew it would be a great session. Mom had put such an effort into their outfits and even had her hair and makeup done especially for today. We sludged through the tall weeds with little M following behind.
As luck would have it, we weren’t the only ones enjoying the expanse of the fall locale. Swarms and swarms of insistent flies and other flying creatures of the annoying variety followed us about, annoying us and making us laugh at the same time.
Oh, I’m sure there were moments where M didn’t want to be there, a playground for the buzzing things, and the only thing M said to me other than “spooky trees” was “no, flies!” Poor thing, but his momma kept him safe, like always, and protected. While his other momma, kept him rolling and giggling with tickles.
Kathleen and Katie, you were both so so sweet, in this moment between one child and two, thank you for letting me escape for a while with you and capture these beautiful moments.
Little M and the new baby are so lucky to be welcomed into their world by the love you two share. I love that every time I had you two looking at each other you both giggled like school kids.
I hope these images bring a smile to your heart and to the many out there who can see the evidence of what you both share. Kathleen, you were so fierce! Loved, loved meeting your little one and cannot wait to meet your new baby girl.
The Hernandez Family
I didn’t think when we scheduled for mid October we would wind up in 95 degree weather, but this is the cost of living in beautiful So Cal. When The Hernandez’s showed up I knew it would be a great session. The only caveat to this was the sleeping toddler. We had to rudely awaken him in order to change his clothes, and put him in socks and shoes, yep, 95 degree weather.
He did so good, and we were all very surprised. He probably awakened to find himself in a sort of green paradise and he totally comprehended when I joked that he needed to take “high steps” when walking because the grass and bush was so tall. It was so cute to see him high steppin.
We found a nice park bench to begin our session. Jeffery Open Space Trails is such a lovely place, with lush green landscaping and beautifully maintained tree lined paths.
I was able to use my new quilt from Stitched and Found. I admit to a quilt addiction. I have amassed about 5 quilts in 3 weeks- I can’t help it, I love them all. They give such a gorgeous pop of color and personality to a scene that is mostly landscape, and inject a bit of fun.
As the sun melted away into the soft jade and golden tones of fall, we finished up our session… Erin, you and your family are so loving and adorable. I love the way you hold your son and hubby. I love how comfortable and happy your son gets when he’s snuggling close to daddy. And, I love how I got to capture it all. Thank you.