Breakfast, Love and Light- East Bay Family Photographer

I met this beautiful family to photograph them while they cooked breakfast and simply enjoyed each other on a Sunday morning. The reason I love documentary photography so much is allows me the chance to use my camera to document family memories, but it also get to hang with some really awesome people who are so interesting and so fun! 

One of the biggest things that struck me when I was with this family is how deeply connected they are. They touched each other easily and often. Kisses and hugs abound, especially between the littles. As you'll see, big brother has such a strong love for his baby sister. Enjoy the love! 

Babies and Bellies- East Bay Maternity Photographer

I had the pleasure of photographing their first baby soon after he was born. Now it’s time for him to be a big brother! And it’s going to be amazing because since they’ll be so close in age, they’re going to be the best of friends. We had such a fun time together eating snacks, playing in the background, cuddling and tickling. This beautiful family is simply a joy to work with and I’m so honored to watch their family grow!

Love, Laugh, Dance- San Francisco Bay Area Family Photographer

This family loves to party! I haven’t danced so much at a family photography photo session in a long time (maybe ever!) The girls were so much fun and seemed to be enjoying having me and my camera give them so much attention. And they were so sweet, sharing with me their favorite toys and inviting me to play. As you'll see in these photos, this family exudes joy and it was infectious. It was a pleasure to photograph them and make memories together.

It's that time of year again!!

Oakland Family Photographer 1.jpg

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!


untitled-(33-of-82).jpg

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. 

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.

Jones Family- Oakland Family Storytelling Photographer

A couple years ago I put out a casting call to recruit a family that was expecting a baby so that I could do an in-hospital photo session right after the baby's birth. These sessions are generally known as Fresh 48 sessions. I got a few inquires and selected two families at random. Well, I realize now that it wasn't so random. You know how things just work out the way they were supposed to? This is one of those situations. And here's a link to their original Fresh 48 session so you can see what a difference a couple years make! 

Lily and Kevin are both are both super interesting and dynamic on their own right, and have an awesome partnership. Lily is an accomplished educator who owns Curiosity  Pack.  Curiosity Pack assists parents in supporting their child's learning by sending boxes of age-appropriate activities that teach children ages 3-10 about "letters, numbers, friendship, science, art, love, and every other intriguing subject you can imagine." Do yourself a favor and checkout her offerings. It's smart approach to supporting children and parents alike.  Kevin reports of the Bay art scene for KQED and you should see his record collection! These people are just cool. 

I am lucky to have met them, and even more honored to have photographed their family a few times. It's always a treat. 

This is their Saturday morning. Enjoy their story. 

In-Home Holiday Sessions Are Here!

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 October 15th through Dec 15th. Most session openings are during daylight hours on Saturday and Sunday, but I can also work to make a weekday session work for a few clients. 

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!

Fresh 48- Jones Family- Oakland Newborn Photographer

This post marks the 1st birthday of a beautiful baby boy that I had the pleasure of meeting on the day of his birth.  I met him and his beautiful family when I walked into their hospital room soon after his birth. What I found was a beautiful, fun-loving family whose joy was contagious.  They graciously welcomed me to photograph this amazing time of newness and wonderment in their lives.  In the end, I provided them with a series of images that marked the first few hours of their lifelong relationship as family of four (unless, of course, there are more little nuggets to come).  And what an honor that was. But the icing on the cake has been to have had the opportunity to watch them grow and thrive over the last year.

Happy Birthday, baby boy! And congrats to your parents and big sis! I hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane.

Fresh 48- Baby Dean (Oakland/SF Bay Area Newborn Photographer)

I walked into the hospital room about 12 hours after the birth of little Baby Dean. I was immediately struck by the air of excitement in the room. ln addition to the parents and baby, there were grandparents, nurses, and the delivering obstetrician. Everyone was joyful-lots of smiles, laughter and hugs. While the adults talked and the parents got a chance to ask the doctor the myriad of questions new parents ask, I had a chance to get some alone time with the master of ceremonies, Baby Dean himself. While he slept peacefully in his bassinet, I photographed him from every angle (without actually moving him :) The nurse then came over to check his vitals and I witnessed the gentle, yet confidant way in which handled and examined him. 

Soon after, everyone left the room and it was just me and the new family of three. I simply left them alone to cuddle with the baby and begin a beautiful lifelong relationship. I love photographing families from the perspective of a "fly on the wall". This is when the true emotion unfolds. And this is why I am called to this art-form. 

It is an honor and privilege to photograph new beginnings such as these. 

Dreaming of Summer, Light and Inspiration

2016-03-02_0051.jpg

I've been in a photography rut. It happens. I've experienced it enough times in my journey to not fear it. I actually embrace it. Many times I'm typed the url address of my website and looked around at all the pretty pictures, but didn't feel an innate connection to the images. It was almost as if I was admiring the work of someone else. And that was ok with me because I knew that with time I would reconnect. And I have. In fact, if I really think about it. I haven't really stopped taking images. I shoot a lot still. But the difference has been that I've simply dumped the cards onto my hard drive and walked away. So now I am working through the pile of raw photos enjoying the discovery of a few gems. 

So here we are, back in the summer of 2015- late July to be exact. A week in San Diego surrounded by sand, surf, the ones I love most in the world. The light was golden, as was our skin. The moods were light (as light as can be when you have a 3 year old in your pack), and the living was easy.  I am looking forward to our next summer time get-away where our only job is to have fun. Until then, I have these photos. 

The Jones Family is Growing Up! - Oakland Family Photographer

I had the extreme pleasure of photographing this beautiful family the day after their second child was born. I met them for a Fresh 48 hospital session. What made it particularly special was that this was the very first hospital session I'd photographed. And it couldn't have been a sweeter family. They we so at east, so welcoming, so sweet to each other and to each other.  Check-out their hospital newborn session here

So when they asked me to come to their home the following November to photograph their family in time for the holidays. They welcomed me in to their adorable home with the same smiles  I remember from their last session. This time, the baby boy was now deliciously round and alert and as happy as could be. And their sweet little girl was eager to show me her room and toys. As you can see in the photos, they really enjoy each other.  You can almost hear the laughter coming through the images. This is definitely my kind of family. 

Mommy and Me Session- Oakland Family Documentary Photographer

Back in February (yes, I am long overdue in blogging this session), I traveled down to my "second home", Los Angeles, for a long weekend. Although it doesn't happen often, it's always so good to get back there. So many memories and a handful of my most cherished friends, make it a special place from me. While I was there, I had a chance to see a few of those friends.  One of them was my dear friend, Jenifer. We've been close since our freshman year of college. We've been through  all the ups and downs of adulthood, and our friendship has lasted throughout it all. I was honored to be able to photograph her and her beautiful son. Her mom also makes an appearance, as well! I had a blast and I hope that they too. 

Mama and Baby Breastfeeding Session- Oakland Family Documentary Photographer

There are few manifestations of the bond between mother and child sweeter than the breastfeeding relationship. When I think about my children as infants and young toddlers, it's the thing that comes to mind first and the that which I miss the most. When my client, Rachel, inquiring whether I would be interested in photographing  a mama and baby breastfeeding session, I couldn't say yes fast enough. So, I spent a beautiful afternoon with them hanging out at their house, chatting about babies and life, watching them bake scones, and witnessing their precious. Here's their story.