It's that time of year again!!

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It's that time of year again! Time to book your holiday storytelling session. This year I'm doing things a little differently. Because I am so passionate about capturing the beauty in the unique rhythm and rituals of your family, I am only offering in-home sessions this holiday season. And don't worry, we will get a nice posed photograph suitable for holiday cards and all that good stuff. Here are some FAQs that you may be wondering about:

Tell me again, why are you only offering in-home sessions?

The short answer is: your home is where your story is.  There is no more perfect a backdrop than the home that your family has made together.  These are where your memories are made. The paint on the walls, the furniture in the dining room, the kids art posted on the fridge are all beautiful details that are uniquely yours. Five, ten, twenty years from now when you look at the photos from your session, your marvel at how small the children once were and chubbiness of their cheeks and toes, but you'll also notice your old beloved cat snoozing in the background or the art on the walls or the glider you used to sit in each day to nurse.  Another reason I prefer to shoot in your home is that this where your family, especially your children, are most comfortable. They feel safest there, and because of that, they are usually much more open to being photographed than outside at a park in the middle of the fall. In your home, I photograph your family on your terms.

You call yourself a documentary photographer.  How does that work when photographing families?

I follow the action. It's really as simple as that. I don't pose you (unless it's for the holiday card shot I mentioned above). When I come into your home, I get to know you and your children. I get down on the floor with them and play. And as I start build trust and comfort, I begin to photograph them doing what they do-play, laugh, cuddle, and even cry at times. I don't direct you, unless you need a little help getting an activity going.  My job is to stay out of your way and capture you doing what you do as a family. 

But my house is a mess!

You might already know what I'm about to say.  Your stuff is part of the story.  And don't worry, you and your family will be the stars of the show, not your stuff. I have a few camera tricks that I use to minimize any distractions in the photos.  But at the end of the day, your house is lived in and I fully expect it to look that way. And your stuff provides texture and color to the pallet. 

When are you scheduling sessions and how much do they cost?

I am scheduling sessions from September through December. Most session openings are during daylight hours on Saturdays and Sundays, but I can also work to make a few weekday sessions work.

Sessions are $350. That includes the session fee, a web gallery of fully- edited story,  and 5 high res images. Other packages are available should want to purchase a few additional images or your full story. 

Ok! I'm ready to book. How do we make that happen?

Awesome! Just click the "Contact" link above and drop me a quick line to let me know you'd like to further explore booking a session. I will then send you pricing info and brief questionnaire that will help me get to know you better and plan for your session. I look forward to it!


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Christmas 2016- Oakland/Bay Area Family Photographer

I didn't grow up loving Christmas. Perhaps I've shared that in my blog before. My mom wasn't a fan of Christmas when I was a kid. Not exactly sure why. It probably had much to do with making ends meet and the scarcity of resources as a young single parent. Maybe it had to do with the fact that we lived far away from family and so Christmases were rather quiet. Whatever the case, it wasn't a holiday that held much meaning for me. That is, until I had children of my own.  That first Christmas after my daughter was born was almost like a light was turned on inside of me. I was suddenly all about Christmas. I wanted the tree, the perfect angel, the holiday songs, gifts, food, etc. I wanted the entire quintessential experience-for her.  Through her, I was finally able to feel the full joy of the "holiday season", and it felt good. And it still does. It probably won't  ever be my favorite holiday, but I'm in it now and having the opportunity to spend time with those I love most is worth more than the cost of admission. 

So this was December 25, 2016 and I am grateful for every minute of it. 

Meeting Max- Oakland/East Bay Newborn Photographer

Some days I wish I'd majored in Anthropology in college. I am a people watcher, curious sometimes too a fault. I want to hear about your journey and where you hope to go next. One of the things I love most about my job as a photographer is getting a chance to meet new people and hear new stories.  I love that, in many cases, I've never met the family on the other side of the door when I arrive for a session, and it's a pleasure to spend the next hour and half  getting to know each other.  Photographing in one's home requires a certain intimacy that your typical outdoor session at a park does not. And that's what I like about it. 

So when I knocked on the door of the F family on a crisp, sunny Thursday afternoon just two weeks after the birth of their little boy, I had a rush of anticipation. I was curious to meet the person I'd corresponded with over email for nearly two months beforehand. And what I found on the other side of the door was a couple with a deep love and commitment to each other and a contagious excitement about their new baby.  As brand new parents, they were more at ease than I ever was at that stage. And while I took photos, we talked about how they'd ended up in the Bay Area, musical inspirations, work, and the lessons their son had taught them so far. 

I love making beautiful images that freeze time and tell the details of a story that might otherwise be forgotten. But photography also affords me, and my clients hopefully, an opportunity to honor human connections.  My primary goal is to use my camera to capture relationships. And in the process, if I am also able to make a stranger into a friend, well...that's icing on the cake. 

Welcome to the world, Baby Boy!

Cooking with the Baileys- Super Easy Raw Cookie Dough Balls- Oakland Family Documentary Photography

I will be 40 years old in a few short months, and I love dessert. I am come to understand the hard way that those two facts do not agree with one another.  As my metabolism has slowed and my doctor's warnings have grown louder, I'm come to realize that I can no longer partake in after dinner delights of cookies or chocolate. And rather than completely go cold turkey, I have been on a quest to find "healthy" treats that will satisfy my sweet tooth while also staying on course with my health goals. Easier said than done, for sure. 

My kids and I recently discovered a recipe for Raw Cookie Dough Balls, I've we've made a bath of them just about each week for the last few months. We make them so often that my four year old now knows the recipe by heart, and I'm convinced he could make them all by himself if only I'd let him use the food processor. They are delicious, don't require cooking hence the term "raw" in the title- duh Rhea!), and are gluten/dairy/soy free! Oh and they are SUPER easy to make.

We made them AGAIN tonight, so I thought I'd document the process and share the recipe. I even make a cameo in the photos below. Huge shoutout to Veganela.com for the recipe. Here it is:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats (use gluten free if your diet requires)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup grated dry unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. In a food processor, add the oats and pulse for 20 seconds in order to break the oats down slightly. 
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (EXCEPT the chocolate chips) and pulse until fully combined. 
  3. Stir-in the chocolate chips.
  4. If the dough is too sticky/soft, refrigerate for ten minutes to harden it slightly, then roll in to 12 balls and refrigerate for 1 hour. 
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. 

And there you have it! Yummy goodness! Try them and leave a comment below to let me know how you like them.