Well, my friends, I will tell you right now… it doesn’t get much better than this. First of all, Ojai. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will because every bit of this session was out of a dream.
A beautifully quiet and foggy morning in the mountains, chock-full of orange groves and tree swings, drawing and dancing in a restored trailer turned art studio, followed by a pajama party, snack break, and finished with a swim. All the while, snuggling their new baby girl and sipping coffee… um, DREAM?? Dream.
I don’t even need to go into how insanely fun and sweet and cool this family is, because they are every bit as awesome as they look in the pictures.
We all have these moments in life that remind us that most of our problems are really pretty insignificant. People we meet who have suffered unthinkable tragedy, and yet continue to somehow shine so bright. This beautiful human being is one of those stars.
As we celebrate her baby girl on the way, she grieves the unexpected loss of her husband just eight months after their wedding.
Go ahead and let that sink in for a minute…
In the days leading up to our shoot, I couldn’t stop thinking about her story. I walked into the session with the heaviest heart, and was greeted by this beautiful glowing goddess, Shelby. She quickly swiveled around in the makeup chair with open arms and we dove right into an honest conversation about all the things.
It was important to both of us to not only honor her late husband, Ernie, but to document this glorious time for her daughter, regardless of what people think grief is supposed to look like. Shelby carries herself with more strength and grace than most of us on a normal day, and continues to be this beacon of light, finding the silver lining in every way she can. I tried to soak up every ounce of her being, as she is truly just something really special.
[SAN FRANCISCO] Most museums fall pretty low on my list of favorite shoot locations. Not because I don’t like them, but because they get super crowded and the light can be tricky, etc etc. Generally speaking, shooting with kids comes with it’s own built-in set of challenges (that I personally love – but you know what I mean) so when you throw in more challenges with your location choice, it’s definitely a gamble.
But knowing this family, and knowing they loved this location so very much… I finally agreed to do it, and boy am I glad I did. All the stars really aligned for us at all the right times, and we have yet another slam dunk in the books.
My dad was a big fan of the scenic route. It was a running joke in our family. As a kid, it drove me nuts because it usually just meant more time in the car, but as an adult I fully understand it. It’s funny how the little things in our childhood can shape our adulthood so much.
I live for the scenic route these days. In many ways, I feel like I took the scenic route on my journey into being a photographer. I ventured into several other worlds before I drove full throttle into this one, and fortunately I feel it all prepared me for where I am now.
I have been taking pictures my entire life, but learning how to run a business is no joke. It’s hard work, it’s 24/7 and being successful has a lot to do with people liking you. But I want to take a moment to share something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately. Something I’ve learned is very important.
Boundaries. Set them and stick to them. Know your worth. Stay true to your vision. These are my mantras as of late.
I cannot tell you how much bad business advice I have received over the years, it’s really wild. Often times I would even take it and apply it, and quickly (er, sometimes not so quickly) learn that it was just not working for me. It wasn’t until this year, my ninth year in business, that things have become pretty crystal clear.
The more I go with my gut, the more my business thrives. Even if that means saying no. As a people pleaser, that has been a very hard thing to learn how to do. But I am learning, and it feels really good.
Here is a session that made me feel all the feels, with a family that shares my love for the scenic route.
Having rapport with your photographer is important. It’s like dating. If we go on our first date (aka photo shoot) and everyone lets their guard down and has fun, we all walk away feeling good and I know that I will probably be seeing you again. But, in the rare event that something feels “off” and we just aren’t meshing, I am not afraid to say that I might not be the photographer for you. It happens, not everyone is meant for everyone.
Thankfully, when I met this family – it was love at first site on all fronts. They were pregnant with their first baby and they were both, quite literally, glowing. Their energy was calm and full of love. We danced around a field at golden hour, and then laughed as we spent a fair amount of time picking the stickers out of her dress afterward. But there was chemistry. We all vibed.
Now every time I see them, we pick up where we left off and create more magic together. And, even though photo shoots with kids aren’t “easy” per say, there are many elements about them that should be… like connecting with your photographer.
Hello! I am so glad you're here. Thank you for taking the time to look at my work. There are few things in this world that make me happier than taking pictures. For me, the purest joy comes with creating art from everyday life.
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