Family portrait California Style!

Family portraits¬†come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t need to do a portrait shoot for your wall, or an album…you can actually schedule a portrait session for your Christmas card! This is exactly what this couple and their fur babies did. Right here on the beautiful Central Coast on Monstone Drive in Cambria.

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Portraits for Christmas!

I have taken photographs of this family for several years now. I can’t believe how fast these little kidlets grow. These were taken as a special Christmas gift for the grandparents. I hope they love them. ūüôā

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Birth and Beauty

If you have followed my site or blog at all, you will see some differences occurring. These are very exciting changes for me and hopefully for you.

I am redirecting my sweet little business. I love photography. I am passionate about it. If everyone just sat and thought about what they love best and then pursue that, practice it, live it, breathe it and mold it into a little business, I think our society would be a happier one.

I have a little boy all of 2 years old. It would be so much easier to go to a 9-5 and not worry about marketing, equipment maintenance, seminars, practicing new posing and lighting. It would be so much easier, not to worry about liability insurance, medical insurance, equipment malfunctions and finding a sitter in the middle of the night when there is a birth to photograph. Did I mention worrying about website maintenance, keeping images¬†fresh, writing new blogs, paying the mortgage each month, having a social life and being a mom. Why would I do this? I could just come home from working a shift and not worry about anything…no deadlines to meet and no inquiries to respond to. Just relax with my son. I chose to do this. ¬†I do this because I love it. I love image making and while I may not love all those little worries that come with it, I do it all to satisfy both myself and my creativity and make beautiful images for people.¬†¬†It is my little business, my little creation and it’s something I can do for people that can make a difference. Making beautiful portraits or shooting the miracle of life as it unfolds makes a difference in a persons life.

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The image above will be with this momma forever. A tiny moment in time that nobody else saw. That tiny baby when grown up will have that image of her mother and their first kiss to keep her warm at night long after she has had her own children. You can’t tell me, this one image doesn’t make a difference in a persons life. I know it does and that’s why I do this. This is why I have my sleepless nights worrying about those little stresses a mentioned above.

So whats is all of this about Birth and Beauty? Instead of trying to please everyone with different types of photography, I have decided to specialize in Birth photography and Beauty Photography.

First off, birth photography is so special to me that it is so hard to put into words. It is not just blood and gross stuff. It’s not just a woman giving birth. There are so many misconceptions out there. What birth photography is, is beauty. It is the emotion so very present. It is the interaction of the people there witnessing the event. It is the pain, the struggle, the excitement, the feeling of jumping out of your skin…all of that is captured…all those wonderful, scary and overwhelming feelings are all there and captured to tell the perfect story. It’s so much more than a physical act. To be able to document that. No, document isn’t the right word…to be able to bear witness and tell a unique journey on film is unbelievably gratifying and to have that for your very own…well, let’s say I would have given my pinky finger to have had that with my own son.

Beauty portraits holds a big space in my creative soul. Beauty portraits come wrapped in a family portrait, a child’s portrait or a contemporary portrait that celebrates you and where you are right now in your life. When is the last time you had a professional portrait of yourself, you and your children, your mother or your significant other? Photographs are so important in our lives.

Does that mean I no longer offer wedding photography? Heck no, but I only take a few a year since I still do love them!

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Family portrait

When this young man came in with his mother, I was astonished how much he looked like a young Leonardo DiCaprio. I mean seriously? This young man was all of 12 years old. I am not entirely sure he wanted to be there, but the connection he made with the camera was unreal.

Momma of young Leo was striking in her own right; gorgeous blond hair, luminous blue eyes and such a delightful personality. Lovely and gracious. Julie , our make-up and hair artist, just brought the package together perfectly.

Looks aside, these two were definitely mother and son¬†as¬†there was a ferocious love between them which is really what portraits are about. ¬†They will have some new art to decorate their walls with for sure.¬†Family portraits are something that really shouldn’t be put off. Capture your loved ones now. This will never be a purchase you regret.

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Idaho

A couple weeks ago, I packed up my two year old and headed out to visit friends in Idaho….road trip!!!!! In case you didn’t catch that…ROAD TRIP WITH A TWO YEAR OLD!!!!

Actually he is a great rider and good company…Well unless he is not a good rider and in that case, not great company.

We took our time going and stopped at local parks. Once there I met up with my friend and took some images of her daughter.

I improvised with the lighting. I was backlighting and needed a thinner material to diffuse the window light than the curtains provided.  I grabbed a shower curtain, which was a thin white material, and it was the perfect light modifier! The fill light was a flash with an umbrella off to the side and  her mom held a reflector on the other side. My son was the vigilant photography assistant. This was a true group effort.

Afterwards, I packed up my 2 year old and we did a day trip to Glacier Park in ¬†Montana. Super fun…even saw some mountain goats. Traveling the road was seriously nerve racking! The narrow two lane road wound around the mountain with just a little rock barrier between me and certain death. yikes!

As we wound down our trip in Idaho, my beautiful son took in some light reading. He loves books! So I made a wee series of them.

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A Family Portrait

I would like to talk a little bit about wanting “just the digitals“. Besides the fact that a digital file is a photographers actual negative and when did that become common place to give away? What does “just the digitals” mean? When you come and want professional portraits and want “just the digitals“, what are you planning to do? I am assuming you want to go and make prints, right? How many times does that actually happen? Chances are your images are gathering dust on a CD, a USB or on your hard drive (how many of you actually back up your pictures?). Sure they may make their rounds on Facebook, but then what? A¬†couple of you out there will make a print, but where will you go to do that? Do you know where to go to get custom prints? ¬†Why go to the expense and time to hire a professional photographer, get “just the digitals” and then go to Walmart for a print? Wouldn’t you want that photographer you hired to give you a custom product from start to finish? Something that was ready for your wall or album?

This is the day and age of digital everything. The time for having an image framed and on your wall is a distant memory. Having tangible photo albums, framed family portraits are a thing of the past. Remember that beautiful picture of great grandma you found the other day? That print that you can hold, touch and feel? That tangible product that told a story? That is a feeling you will never get from a digital file.

I will tell you a quick personal story. I have a 2 year old son that I take a million pictures of. I beg people to take pictures of me with him so he will know what I looked like at different stages of his life. When you are behind the camera all the time, you forget to be in front of the lens sometimes. I have to consciously ask random people to take a picture of me with my son. But I digress…

I have been guilty of storing images of him on my hard drive (I do back up on an external hard drive though!). ¬†I have even put some images on a USB for a “time capsule” of sorts for him. I have made prints from time to time, but not like the days of film…a bygone era.

Then one day I was moving some boxes into storage and I came across my mothers pictures. She has been gone from me now for 9 years. I opened the box and picked up beautiful photographs. Some were of her as a little girl, some were silly ones we took together, some professional, most impromptu captures. I held them in my hand. I felt their weight. I touched her face. I could hold her one more time for just a moment. Now, of course, I am not really holding her or touching her face, but the feeling that comes with holding a photograph…a piece of paper that she held…gives me so much more of her than a computer screen could ever do.

The next day I went out and bought a little memory box for my son. I print. I print the important stuff. I am not so silly as to think I will print everything…after all, being in a digital age means a ton more pictures than in the film days. But I do print. I want him to open his memory box and touch and feel me, to know what I was like when I am long gone. I want family portraits around the home. I want him to have a feeling of love all around him. I want him to see his grandmother’s photograph hanging on the wall. ¬†A bunch of “likes” on a website will mean nothing to him. Heck, CDs, USBs and digital files themselves become obsolete overtime. The print will not.

Why this long winded post about digital files VS a tangible print? I have transitioned beyond being a photographer that hands out digital files, says thanks and sends you on your way. I want to give you art, something that can be hung on the wall. Images matter. Your experience with me matters. I want to take you from the beginning and give you full experience. I want to know what you are looking for. What you want out of your photography session. I want to know who you are and make photography for you.

I then want to make that portrait session as fun and easy for you as possible. I want to make it all about you, your family, your child or whoever it is I am photographing. I take portrait making seriously, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a fun experience.

I then want to take the time to show your personally the best images from your session. In case you missed that, I want to show you, in person, your fabulous images. This is called the reveal session time. I take 20-30 of the best images of your session and reveal them to you. You can take them home immediately in a beautiful folio box or order larger prints for your home or  even order an Artbook.

From start to finish, I want you to feel taken care of…because you are.

Back to the whole digital file thing. Yes, I realize we do evolve and people still want the digital file, this is why I include the high resolution matching digital file to each print you purchase.

So why is this post titled “A Family Portrait”? Imagine the¬†family below if they received “just the digitals“? It would be a shame for them to share them all over Facebook then into the drawer they go. Wouldn’t their grandchildren just love to have these? Will their future generations really care they got 200 “likes”?

This family decided on a folio box of 10 images. Since the folio images come mounted and matted, they bought a little easel so they could display the images they wanted and switch them up at will. They also purchased a wall display cluster of three images. This way they are guaranteed to get custom prints from a lab I have a relationship with. This is a far better option than having a bunch of pictures on a CD in a drawer. Do you agree?

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Santa Rosa Chapel wedding

Cambria is not lacking in gorgeous places to tie the knot. There are beautiful beaches, cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean, lovely hotels and of course, there is the quintessential small town white clapboard church: The Old Santa Rosa Chapel.

This quaint church overlooks the village of Cambria. There is no power and only lit my candlelight. It is small, but not in a bad way, and has a magic to it in a way that no other venue can quite capture.  Those that are lucky enough to say their vows here, never forget this little classic beauty.

The couple below traveled from Tahoe to wed here. Cambria and all her natural beauty, holds a special place in the bride’s heart. A lucky couple indeed.

They chose Moonstone beach, with the weathered rocks, small tide pools teeming with life, crashing waves and rugged cliffs for their post wedding “formals”. I couldn’t think of a better place.

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Baby Girl “E” – A San Luis Obispo Birth Story

After 19 hours of labor this beautiful mommy and proud daddy welcomed a healthy baby girl into their lives on July 3rd, 2015. I am truly blessed to have witnessed this miracle here in San Luis Obispo.

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Adoption Birth Photography

I am sitting at my desk today wondering what to write about. I have a newborn session coming up in a few hours and something has been weighing heavily on my mind.

 

Since I have entered the world of birth photography, I have finally felt that I am photographing what I was meant to. You know that feeling you get when you are finally home? It is sorta like a relief, comfort…like you belong…like you are doing what you were put on this earth to do. That’s how I feel with birth photography.

 

This is no way implies a dislike for any other genre of photography. Oh my, I love the itty bitty babies that come to my studio, the children, the parents…I love “love” and photographing couples and weddings. These are all extensions of me. The art I create doing these portraits is immensely gratifying.

 

Birth though. It’s an entirely different animal. So as I sit here I think not only about births, but my birth. I think about adoption and how many people would love an opportunity to savor those moments. What must a mother feel like giving¬†birth and know that someone else will be raising that child? The fear, excitement and joy an adoptive family must feel knowing that their dream is about to take place?

 

Having gone through birth adoption myself, I feel qualified to understand this situation a bit better than the average person who has not. I don’t pretend to know your specific emotions, but I am sensitive to your wonderful and individual situation. There are so many thoughts and feelings¬†with the people involved. So much love going around. ¬†At the same time hearts can break. It is such a delicate time for everyone, but it is out of love for a little newborn child.

 

Looking back on my time going through adoption, I may have given up my little toe to have that journey documented.

 

So as I sit here, I think the world of adoption birth photography needs to become a real part of me and what I can offer people. Like I said, I would have given anything (including that pinky toe) to have my journey documented.

 

I have decided I will offer my normal birth photography package to adoptive parents. This includes an amazing Artbook of the day’s journey, a slideshow presentation set to music and the high resolution images matching those in the ArtBook. To see more information about these handcrafted Artbooks: click here. To view a sample slideshow, click here. The thing about this is that the birth mother would be gifted a duplicate version of everything. She may not want to look at it immediately, but in a year, two years or 10 years, she may be thrilled to see what she did and be proud of her decision.

What a fabulous heirloom to have. Whether you are the adoptive parent(s) or the birth mother, these books will always mean more than just a picture on a page to both you and your child. What a precious memory to give a baby Рbeautiful documentation of how he or she came into the world and the adults that loved them so very much.

 

I also understand that there are special circumstances surrounding adoption. Everyone is working on good faith and that includes me. After photographing this blessed event and if  the adoption does not go through, the images will be immediately deleted and all monies will be returned to the adoptive parents (less any PayPal transaction fees). This is the chance I am willing to take to give these memories to both the adoptive parents and the birth mommy.

 

Please contact me for more information on this service. It truly is what I was meant to do. I do have an e-zine with a bit more information if you would like. Please make sure you click the little arrows at the bottom right for full screen. The horizontal toggle bar at the bottom near the little arrows has the -/+ symbols to magnify the text if you need.

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maternity session

My latest maternity session. She was radiant in her images. I have posted just a few sneak peaks here. Enjoy ūüôā

 

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