this one's for my field trippy friends

Cookie Crunch at midnight (Cereal From a Van you changed my life); expanding friendships that only existed online into a real live sisterhood (ahem Becky, Brooke, Ashley, Aunj, I miss you so much it hurts); making new friends (too many to list, though Wyn you are at the top with jazz hands); and bonding with three badass roommates who will always occupy a little corner of my heart stamped Cabin 243. Indie Film Lab got me well on my way to loving medium format film (totally nailed that focus on Yan's left shoulder, am I right?!) and Tim from Kodak kept my camera loaded with Portra 160. I pushed myself out of my photo comfort zone and almost exclusively shot film (with the exception of the last seven frames of this post, taken on the first day before I remembered my film goal). I'm not entirely happy with the results, but I'm re-learning this whole film thing, and I kind of love that I don't love them because that gives me a place to continue pushing myself. And a goal for next year.

The weather. Can we all just take a moment to talk about how much the good weather changed the whole vibe? I mean yeah, last year we were all in the muck together, and I'm sure plenty of you found joy in that (those of us from the PNW not so much). But that sunshine and warmth brought us all outside and you know what you do when you're outside? You talk to your neighbors, you meet new people, you ride a bike to the beach and get sun kissed shoulders, and you walk into the ocean at 7:00 a.m. in your pajamas because you "forgot" your swimsuit (you also don't ruin your vintage Frye boots because you absolutely refused to pack rain boots for a trip to Southern California).

There was also that evening we piled into Becky's van with bottles of wine and plastic cups and headed to the beach while Logan shouted "Mom's Night Out!" out of the window, and Yan fed my soul (and ego) by giving my a stellar teaching review. That night might have been my favorite.

I have some regrets, I didn't photograph enough people outside of my inner circle, I didn't even photograph everyone IN that magic circle. I didn't spend enough time with a few people I really wanted to connect more deeply with (I'm looking at you Angie S., Caroline G., Sydney M.), but overall Field Trip '15 was beyond expectations, and mine were pretty damn high after last year.

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Smooches, PQ

Mo Phillips Monster Suit GIVEAWAY

As you already know, Mo Phillips is a super rad mega star in our house, so when we heard that he and his band would be kicking off the St Johns Bizarre we were pretty dang psyched. It didn't matter that we also had to ready ourselves to be in the parade (with F's preschool), first we'd have to hit the St Johns plaza and get funky with Mo. Oh, and eat a hand-dipped corndog, because that is what parade day is all about, ya'll. Here's a video of our sweet friend Lux twirlin' to the song Twirlin' which appears on Mo's brand spakin' new album Monster Suit.
Because Mo is a totally awesome dude, he gave me a CD to give to one of YOU. All you have to do is leave a comment here answering one of the following questions: What's your favorite Mo song? What's your favorite carnival food? Got a Worst Party Ever Thrown story to rival Mo's (that the title of a song on the new album)? If you were a float in a parade, what would you be? 
Okay so answer one of those four questions here, and next Monday I'll come back an announce the winner (using random.org's number generator). 
Also, if you happen to be one of the many clients and/or friends I'll run into at Pickathon this year, and you think Mo would be a perfect fit for a morning kiddo performance, email Pickathon and tell them so: info@pickathon.com. Seriously, Dudes, it would be so fun to have him there!
xo
PS- if you're wondering where my excited Mo-loving girl is in that video, she's clinging to my leg. She rushed to Mo and gave him a handful of flowers when we arrived, and shouted at him once during the performance, but she is also exceptionally shy and does not twirl in public! Thankfully, she wasn't too shy to belt out the lyrics to the songs she knew, and I think she let go of my hand and shook her hips a few times during the last song.

UPDATE: The winner is comment #7, Stacy Smelser! Congratulations, Stacy!!!

Mustaches, Trapeze, Hula Hoops, Graffiti and a Train

 
 

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Ari's parents throw kick-ass parties. Remember when Ari rocketed to the moon for his 4th? Well clearly Allison and Tom had to outdo themselves for their boy's 5th. And boy did they! There was a request for attendees to wear costumes, and a mandate for them to sport mustaches; there was a trapeze class and a mustache cake; there were playmats and a bean bag toss (constructed by Ari's parents, of course). Spider Man came, and Captain America too. There were a few tears shed, many laughs had, and much love spread. I can't wait to see what these guys come up with next year!
xo

Mavis Turns One

I was going to write about how much I love photographing birthday parties, but I have already done that (here and here and here). Just to be clear: I REALLY LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING BIRTHDAY PARTIES. Moving on.  

 Autumn is One Crafty Mama. She’s also a blogger, who just so happened to already blog about this big day. You can read it here.

 
Preschooler-style height comparison. Is EVERYTHING a competition at this age? It sure seems so. I've been calling it the "st" stage - I'm talleST, firST, fasteST, strongeST, oldeST... Hmm, it seems this is going to be a stream of conscious blog post. Alrighty then, moving on...
 Step off my tater tot, Cuz.
 
Autumn may have said hiring me was her best party idea ever, and I can't really argue with that, but I'm gonna give her credit for her second best idea: hiring The Balloon Guy. Seriously, this guy is crazy just in the way you want your birthday party entertainment to be. He kept the kids completely entertained throughout the party, while their parents sipped beers and chatted. We cannot underestimate the power of parents being given the time to talk and drink a beer, right? Right. He also sent them home with amazing party favors, he even sent me home with one for Franny. His balloon creations were the best I've seen. 
Second. Best. Idea. EVER. 

 Favorite photo of the party. I love capturing these little moments.
 Yep, the guy juggles too. 

  Oh Mavis, how I heart your chubby cheeks and serious expressions.

 (this one is just for you, Kati)

I'll get in trouble if I say cutest family ever, so I'll just say this: I freaking ADORE these people.
Happy birthday, Sweet Mavis. 
xo
PQ

Welcome February! :: Valentine's Day Mini Sessions

Here they are, the results of this year's heart-filled mini session event.

 The ever-so-fabulous Shanna Schlitz designed these adorable cards.
 Lux lives on her tiptoes so this photo was a must.
A big huge THANKS goes to Posies Bakery & Cafe for the mini red velvet cupcakes! They kept me energized for the day, and the kids (and parents) loved ending our session with a sweet treat!
And of course heaps of love and gratitude goes to the awesome ladies Black Wagon, you rock!

Mother's Day Mini-Session LOVE :: Portland, Oregon Family Photographer

The day before Mother's Day, 2011,  19 mothers, 3 grandmothers, and 34 children celebrated their love for one another, and, lucky me!, I got to capture it.  The good times took place at the lovely Mississippi Treehouse, with music from the talented Miss Tylena Fairy Funk Mother,  cupcakes by Frost, the Art of Custom Cake, coffee from Mr. Green Beans, and gorgeous flowers from Emerald Petals.  The mamas received gifts from local businesses including Ruby Jewel Ice Cream, Jet Clothing, Jane Cowan Facials & Waxing, and a number of artists who sell their goods at the Treehouse!  I am so grateful to all the awesome business owners who jumped on board to celebrate the mamas!
Despite sideways rain, harsh-bright sunlight, gusts of wind, and yes, hail, we managed to get everyone outside, happy and beautiful!  The day was exhilarating and I was high on motherly love for days after.  And though I love individual photos from each mini-session for all their personality, joy and spirit, this one below makes me laugh the hardest.  It might just be my favorite photo of all time (for this week anyway!).  Much love to you mamas! xoPQ

Mia Marie is Three :: Portland Birthday Party Photographer

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I first met Mia when she was just eight months old.  I captured images of her then that I still treasure today, and since then have photographed her family 10 times, including her 1st, 2nd, and now 3rd birthday party!  Many of my favorite have been of this family, and as they continue to grow (Mia and Sophie's mama is pregnant with her third!) I will continue to be there to capture their memories.  This is a true honor and one of the greatest gifts I receive from being a family photographer.

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When I arrived to photograph Mia's party she was still asleep.  Under most circumstances I would wait for the child to wake up, or let the parents wake her and prepare her for her session.  But not with this family.  I quietly walked into Mia's room, sat on her bed and rubbed her back until she awoke.  She sat with me for a while, and when her dad walked by her room she exclaimed "Daddy, Posy's here!"  I then dressed her, photographed her, fed her, snuggled her when she bumped her head, and sang "Happy Birthday" with the rest of the family and friends.  Yes, I am there because I have been hired, but the beautiful thing about photographing a family time and again is the transition from hired photographer, to family member and trusted friend.  Although I would argue that I do a good job befriending children upon first meeting them, integrating myself into their worlds in order to capture the most honest portraits, there is something to be said for seeing children again and again over time.  I have bonded with so many children during this journey, and I hold all of those little relationships very closer to my heart.
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(It feel the need to tell you  that I did not request that these two do this, Jake and Mia have are good little buddies who have known each other since birth, and I have more than one image like this from previous birthday parties.  I am lucky enough to have photographed Jake and his family a number of times as well.)
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When I am hired to photograph a birthday party, that is my primary goal, making gorgeous images of your child's birthday celebration.  I get there before the festivities begin and have a mini session with the birthday girl or boy, and their family.  For the party, I usually set up a little photo station where I can pull each kid aside and snap a few photos of them before sending them back to enjoy their friends.  Of course I photograph all the sweetness of  little friendships and family interactions, and the party details as well; I stick around until after the cake plates have been licked clean and the floor is scattered with torn wrapping paper.  If you would like to see more examples, you can view a gallery of birthday party photos on my website under the "Events" section.  Happy weekend!
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Aw man, I just LOVE this girl.