Peyton - Future Top Model!

I'm sure many of you will remember this gorgeous girl from last year.  She's hard to forget with those luscious curly locks, her fabulous freckles and her mature beyond her years looks.  Yup, I got to play with Peyton again this year and it was, as always, SUCH a treat.  This girl is such a delight to be around, sharp as a tack, witty in spades and a BREEZE to photograph.  She makes it look so easy and effortless, which it isn't by the way, she just happens to be a complete natural!  We walked around downtown for a while trying to avoid the swarms of tourists and then headed to a slightly more remote spot for some sunlight and Vitamin D.   It was REALLY hard to narrow down some favorites for the sneak peek, but here's my final selection.  I think she's got everything she needs to start that modeling portfolio!  YAY!!! :)

Jay, Carolyn, Emily & Ollie

I am SOOOOO far behind on updating my blog and my website that I'm utterly and completely embarrassed by how long it's been since I've posted here, especially considering how I used to reliably and regularly post a new blog post every single week... Mea Culpa!!  Life has been crazy!!!  So, I'm going to do my best to catch up by starting with my most recent shoot and working backwards from there!  And this one is SUCH a gem!!!  I rarely get "new" families anymore because my calendar fills up so quickly with my long-established client base but every once in a while, some new family will find their way into my life and I'm just DELIGHTED beyond words that this particular family did.  Within about 5 minutes of the shoot I think I had gone through my pre-allotted usage of the amount of times one can use the words "OMG YOU GUYS ARE SO CUTE!"... Seriously.  They are THAT cute.  Each and every one of them.  So stinking' cute.  I simply could not get enough of them.  I'm surprised they weren't completely weirded out by my instant infatuation.  And their quite palpable love, affection, comfort, ease, respect and adoration for each other coupled with such a solid foundation of respect and partnership just absolutely melted my heart.   I could not possibly have fallen in love with them any harder or faster than I did.   Emily and Ollie are 9 years apart but they might as well be soul-twins.... finishing each other's sentences, making the same silly face at the same time, always in perfect step and harmony together.  Jay & Carolyn, you two have raised two AMAZING young ladies.   I could go on and on but you all don't come here to read my words, you come here to see my pictures, SO, without further ado....

My girl.

When Ellie was really little I dragged her to tap and jazz classes for many, many years.  Then life changed rather suddenly and dance classes were no longer in the budget for several years.  Then we discovered an incredible dance program at the Tannery World Dance Center in Santa Cruz  and my daughter was given a HUGE opportunity to start dancing again.  This time she decided to delve into Contemporary Dance.   She has yet to take a ballet class but she definitely has what I consider a natural affinity for it and I think we may have to explore that option at some point.  For now, she is THRILLED beyond words with her Contemporary and Tap classes she takes at the Tannery.  The teachers are AMAZING.  The program is INCREDIBLE.   My heart swells knowing that someone was willing to believe in her and give her this opportunity to explore a talent she didn't even know she really had until she was given the CHANCE to rise to the occasion.   Dance has become her entire focus in life.  When she 's at home she is constantly practicing moves, stretching, strengthening, twirling, leaping, boogieing and making very good use of the wide variety of music that is always playing in our home.  This past year I started teaching Worldanz classes after a year long certification program and Ellie frequently comes with me to the dance classes I co-teach.  Dance has become our little language of love.  We are both completely immersed and passionate about dance and music.    I sense that this will be a very strong bond for us as we navigate the teen years on the horizon and I'm holding onto that with great hope that it helps us weather the ups and downs that lie ahead.  We eat, drink, breathe and LIVE dance.  She is my enthusiastic date for every dance performance we can manage to go to.  I realized today that I hadn't had a shoot in a while and have been VERY busy with all my (many) other jobs along with being back in college to finish my degree.  I have missed being behind the camera creating art and I thought it was pretty darn silly that I wasn't taking advantage of my most favorite muse and so off we went to catch the last moments of sunlight - on a whim!   I'm amazed at her athleticism and tough grittiness.  She never complained once as her bare feet were pounding the hard ground, or when I asked her to do the same move over and over and over again until I was satisfied with achieving my vision for it.  She has what it takes not because of her raw talent (which she has) but also because of her determination, tenacity and toughness.  She is one fierce little girl.   I know the long line of very strong women in my family did NOT skip a generation with this one....  Here's my girl doing her thing.  I am INFINITELY proud of her.

Kassidy & Avila

The last time I saw this family was five years ago when we did a photo shoot for Kassidy at 6 months old so it was perfectly fitting that we reunite for Avila's 6 months as well!   It was SO fun to see Kassidy after all these years and notice just how much the two girls look alike at the same age!  Kassidy is an INCREDIBLE big sister and did such a great job with Avila during the shoot, from holding her to making her laugh and being my assistant.  We even had the privilege of having Grandma around to help with logistics which is always wonderful!  It's that time of year for those formal Christmas photos so we definitely accomplished that but we also had time at the end for Avila's little solo shoot and it was EXTRA special because I was able to capture her on her VERY FIRST TIME EVER sitting up on her own!!!  I'm shocked she wasn't frightened by the amount of clapping and loud cheering that was happening as we all went bonkers when she managed to sit up on her own.  We were all SO excited and she was looking at us like we were all crazy.....  :)  I'm thrilled to bits we were able to capture that moment, they're so fleeting and so special and I'm honored to have been a witness to it!

Boris & Briana, such a pleasure to see you all again and meet the new addition to the family!  ENJOY your images!!! xoxoxo 

Austin & Hannah

My little family trio has been close friends with this family for several years.  It all started when back when our children attended the same school together and our boys totally hit it off (same class) and our girls became BFF's forever (same class).  It was really hard on the kids when we all went to different schools this year.  We have been on family vacations together and weekend outings and sleepovers and just really been able to enjoy each other's company and the wonderful dynamic between our 4 combined kiddos.  It's a really easy, fun, active vibe that we are all in sync with.  I've been wanting to photograph them FOREVER but it all finally happened this past weekend and I was positively GIDDY with excitement.   FRECKLES, people, FRECKLES.   Like, more freckles than you could even imagine.  It's like I was in a heavenly dreamland of freckles, adorable kids, awesome parents and fabulous scenery.   Needless to say, I was a happy little photographer.  The great part about photographing your friends is that you REALLY know everyone's personality so well and you even know about their history as a family, their genuine dynamic and inside jokes.  It adds a whole layer of intimacy and ease.  I had a truly wonderful time with this ridiculously sweet, kind, loving and beautiful (inside & out) family.   Katherine & Steve, thanks for spending the afternoon with me!  Enjoy your images!!!

Juliette, Anna & Joshua

These kiddos were SUCH troopers!! It was absolutely FREEZING the day of our shoot.  I wore gloves the entire time, something I rarely do, and my fingers were still blue for an eternity afterwards.   I was so proud of them for not whining and complaining endlessly like my own children surely would have... hahahahaha!  

I've known these kiddos forever (as in I literally photographed each of their newborn sessions) and I always feel as though they are as excited to see me as I am to see them, which is such a treat for me.  This year seemed to mark some huge transitions and growth, especially with Juliette who is suddenly on the cusp of Middle School.   She seemed all grown up to me and it kind of took my breath away.  That combined with their inherent birth order dynamic which is just absolutely fascinating to me.   After 10+ years of observing the realities of birth order as a photographer and 40+ years as the oldest sibling of three, I can attest to the value of the theories behind it, it's legit! :)

Joshua was determined to make us all laugh and was definitely the family entertainer, as per usual.   Anna was the peacekeeper, and my little assistant in making sure harmony was maintained.   

The past few years Juliette and Anna have been heavily involved in their horses so we figured it was about time we included them in a family shoot.   The horses were super muddy and completely uncooperative so they ended up not being as much of a focal point as expected, hahaha, but we were still able to get the meaningful shots I had been seeking to capture.

I'm just proud of everyone for hanging tough despite the ridiculous temps and biting wind!  Deborah and Charlie, love you all so much! xoxo

Quinn, Reilly & Tyler

I've spoken at length about my deep love and affection for this family.  About how they were my very first "real" client 10+ years ago.  How we all instantly found a great affinity for each other and how our friendship and bond has only cemented itself over the years to the point where I practically feel like we are family now.   I'm a huge fan of theirs, how they parent with humor and flexibility, how they encourage playfulness and tenderness, how they value teamwork and each other.  How they are verbally and physically comfortable with showing their love and affection for each other.  How they go with the flow and cherish every moment, living more in the NOW than any other family I know.   I'm truly reminded of what's important in life every single time we hang out, whether at a shoot or just when we are spending time together, their family and my little trio. Basically, I kinda love them a whole lot.

I've also talked a bit about Tyler's Angelman's Syndrome, not because it defines her or the family by any stretch, but because I want to grab any platform I can to raise awareness and share info about ways to help fund research, thus this link to help share information about a big fundraising Angelman's Syndrome Walk that will be taking place locally in May 2016.  CLICK HERE for more info as details are being finalized.  My kids and I will be there alongside Tara, Bryan, Quinn, Reilly and Tyler. 

Speaking of the star of the show, it was Tyler's birthday the day of our shoot and the family had chosen to spend the weekend at Seascape to give Tyler access to her two favorite things (besides her family!): the ocean and a warm pool!  I even got to watch her literally running to keep up with her siblings, a huge physical accomplishment leap since the last time I saw them just a few months ago when they VERY graciously helped me tremendously with my big move.

The deep affection, patience, compassion and roll-with-the-punches approach to life that Tara & Bryan have so beautifully role modeled for their kids has created the kind of family unit that absolutely warms my heart and instills deep respect for all of them.  The kids really "get it" in a way that many kids don't.  I can only hope I'm doing a fraction as good a job raising my two as they are doing raising their three.

Here is a little sneak peek of our time together, we wandered and played and hung out.  It's what we do best.  :)

Cassandra, Sabine & Zoe

I have been blessed with 10 years of adventure, controlled chaos, laughter and memories with this  vibrant family.   Every single shoot has involved exploration and a whole lot of "rolling with the punches."   So it's a really good thing we have such a comfort zone and a solid foundation of trust and understanding because we were faced with a whole lot of obstacles during this shoot!  And yet, the results would never indicate that we had any challenges at all.  Because we just KNOW each other and we just TRUSTED each other and the kids were completely oblivious to the fact that we had gale force winds that were making it nearly impossible to even WALK or TALK.  We were being massively pelted by sand, with the wind throwing us around like rag dolls and completely impossible to use a reflector without fear of being launched airborne....  It was kinda cray-cray.   And yet... isn't adventure what our most fond memories are based upon???

Jolene & Peter, thanks for just going with the flow and letting this shoot unfold despite the pandemonium.   We certainly created some memories that day!!!  Hopefully, these images bring a smile to your face.  We earned them.  :)

Laila & Ricky

I so look forward to seeing this family every year for more reasons than I could ever list here without using up all my blog space!   I just adore them so!   They are quite possibly the nicest people on the planet.  No joke.  And the way they interact with each other is so sweet, and playful, and every time I'm around them I really get that sense that they just so very much are loving this process of being a family and raising kids and rolling with all the ups and down that go along with family life.  Rafael's face literally LIGHTS up with pride and joy when he talks about his kids.  And Magaly is the epitome of the kind of woman that I am drawn to in friendship and whom I deeply respect.  The kids?  They are all kinds of wonderful delight to be around.  Laila is more quiet, observant, introspective and yet still playful and engaging.   Ricky is a little firecracker, full of spunk, explosive energy, unbridled joy and a compete zest for life.   I'm always sad at the end of the shoot (which I think I make last way longer than it should just because I enjoy their company so much) because I know it'l be a year before I get to hang out with all of them again! 

Magaly & Rafael, I hope you love your images and thank you for being such wonderful human beings doing an incredible job raising two more wonderful little beings!  Love you all! xoxo


I have long asserted that women are at their most radiant and powerful when they are pregnant, which isn't to say we all carry our pregnancies the same way.  For example, during my first pregnancy I gained a million pounds and resembled a beached whale near the end...  And on the other end of the spectrum you have the professional athletes and dancers, like my friend Kelli, who for the first half of her pregnancy basically looked like how I look after a BIG meal....  hahahaha.  We kept asking her if she was SURE she was pregnant!?  But, eventually, her little teeny tiny belly popped into a respectable preggo belly and we were able to get a pregnancy shoot in that showcases her incredible athleticism and grace right up until her due date.  Her balance, strength and grace are mind blowing.  I was in awe of what she able to do, not to mention that spinning barefoot on a rugged forest floor is not the easiest thing to do no matter the conditions.  She makes it all look so effortless but that's years on end of training sustaining her.  She was an absolute delight to photograph and such a trooper, even "crawling" up a hill to get to a spot I wanted.   We were very pressed for time due to another commitment so we busted this shoot out ridiculously fast but I think we still managed to really capture Kelli doing what she is so passionate about and naturally gifted at.  She moves like the wind and the ocean combined and it's always such a pleasure to watch her dance in our dance classes that we take together.  I'm honored to have been able to take these images for her and can't wait to meet the new addition to the family!  Love you Kelli!  xoxoxo