lovebird maternity session

It's true I absolutely adore chasing kids around, and the victory of capturing their true spirit and relationships between each other, and their parents. But there is also something special about spending time focusing on the two people who created their family. I've known Tiffany and Shanon for over 5 years now, and I'm pretty sure if you've been following this blog for more than 5 minutes, you know them too, along with their brood. We decided this time around, for their fourth and final babe, but first-ever maternity session, that we would try something new: no kids (except, you know, the one still baking). So just before Valentine's day we met on a beautiful sunny morning in a gorgeous public garden and captured these sweeter-than-sugar belly love photos.

The icing on that extra sweet cake? This feature on Let the Kids today. Click on over there and show me (and them!) some love. And after you do that come back here, I've got more to say! (Please and thank you.)

I can't sign off on this post without sharing that after years of talking about it, my girl T finally launched a blog all about her adventures in parenting, and beyond. You can find her and her "hoodlums" here. I've gotta be honest, although I love the way she writes, my absolute favorite column over there is "sisterly small talk" in which she reports complete conversations between her two daughters. Those girls are too much; I laugh till I cry every time.

Alright that's about enough out of me today. But come back here tomorrow, okay? I've got something extra special to share with you, or rather, someONE (hint: 2+4=6!).

xo, PQ

 

 

favorite moments captured in 2012

I could type out thank you in every language; I could thesaurus the heck out the word gratitude; I could drive over to your house and bow down at each of your feet (well actually, that would just be weird); none of it would accurately convey the love I feel for those of you who have invited me into your worlds, and trusted me to capture your magic moments. Looking over this year in photos and zeroing in on my favorite moments of yours makes me feel all heart fluttery and bursting with love. Love for you, my clients, my people, YOU made 2012 an incredible year, filled to the brim with unicorns and rainbows. And though it feels inadequate just typing it, please feel the hugs, see the tears of appreciation, and know that I say it with as much love as I have in my heart: THANK YOU!

xo, PQ

 

last of fall families

Alright so yes, I'm piling three photo sessions into one post again, and yes, there are a handful (or so) of fall family sessions that never made it onto the blog, and YES I'm probably going to blog some 2012 families in 2013, but I've got a supah Christmassy session to blog and before I do that I want to send the fall family sessions off with a big kiss. So here goes {smooooooooch}....

Fall you nearly kicked by bum, but dang you were fun! Until next year...
xo, PQ

you, at home, doin' your thang.

November in Portland... well, it can give you plenty to complain about. It's often dreadfully gray and wet for days on end, with a chill that when added to that dampness can go straight to the bone. But the awesome thing about this time of year is it often forces us to skip the wild adventures around town and instead we stay home, your home, where we do everyday things like playing on the floor with blocks, reading stories in bed, mixing up a batch of granola, maybe have a little tea party with your daughter's favorite doll, and, you know, get our fingers messy in the art studio. Oh you don't have a naturally lit art studio in your home?  Well that's okay, I'm quite sure you've got something that is totally YOU and therefore perfect for your family photos. But Mara here is an artist, and granola chef, so we incorporated those things into their family session.

What I love most about capturing your at-home moments is the idea that when your children grow up they will have these photos of themselves in the home they grew up in, doing the things they grew up doing. Whether it's ring-around-the-rosy in your living room, laughing around a big pink box of donuts on Sunday morning, making waffles with Dad, or dumping wiffle balls down your staircase, it's what you do as a family and what your children will remember. And that's a mighty special thing to be invited into. (Where's the emoticon for warm squishy feelings? [insert here please].)

One thing I need to say about these folks before I wrap this up: they were lovely, like super nice, and easy going lovely, and when I called that adorable bouncing bubbly girl of theirs Elizabeth when her name is totally and completely KATHARINE they didn't even bat an eyelash at my serious faux pas. And for that, I love them a little extra.
xo, PQ

the westwoods: bubble up. kiss. crush.

 

The Breyer Horses Hannah played with as a child. The swing in Ryan's playroom. Miso the cat. The family music room.  Hannah's dad, gone but oh so present.  The Westwood skipping path. Chad's love for his girls. Oh yeah, and did somebody say retro sodas and rootbeer floats? Dang that was a fun at-home session!
***
Although I know I shouldn't be, I am compelled to tell you that the moment when Ryan reached up and hugged on her dada just under the picture of her mama doing the same to her own father, well that one just happened. It's true I hollered out for them to hold it so I could throw myself on the floor and capture it. But how could I not? It's one of those things that would have felt cheesy if I'd created it, but when it happened on it's own, well that was a magical moment right there.
xo, PQ

not perfect, just perfectly YOU

I am totally down with thoughtfully outfitting the family, conjuring up dreamy locations, planning, primping, and prepping, as long as everyone is on board with all of that flying out the window when we add kids and Mother Nature to the mix. Children stick out their tongues. Busy parents forget to pack diapers. Potty accidents happen. Newly walking babies refuse to sit down. Sibling kisses lead to wrestling matches. Vintage dresses rip. Controlled chaos is the name of this game, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I mean, how boring would these photos be if everyone was just sitting and smiling at the camera, right?

What I mean is this: Do not be fooled by what appears “composed and collected”; remember the saying “there is more than meets the eye” exists with reason. Go ahead and plan your photo session, pick your style, give it thought, but please let go of your expectations for perfection. Real life is all about MacGyver-ing a diaper, re-fashioning ripped dresses, rolling with grumpy moods, looking beyond bumps and bruises, avoiding looming wasp nests (yup, that happened!), and children running wild and free. It’s the daily grind of being a parent. And I hope you can see in these photos, the great beauty in the mistakes and mishaps. Because when the sun sets at the end of the day, it's all about making memories.

xo, PQ

 

staycationing

Every summer Peggy, Eric, Aiden, and Anslee take a little staycation at the Lake Shore Inn in Lake Oswego; This year they invited me along to document this special tradition for them. We climbed on rocks at a local park, told age-appropriate jokes, blew bubbles onto the lake, and swam in the pool. Oh and the kids taught me the Meow Meow Dance! Two hours of magic summer evening light, laughs, and loads of LOVE.

unicorn and rainbow overload with a side of goats

I'll probably lose the majority of viewers to this post by the time these words even appear. I know this, and yet, I'm blogging a trillioness photos (that's Franny's new word and I'm going with it), likely my most photo-heavy blog post yet, because here's the thing, I could have blogged every single image from this session. I've been putting off blogging this one because I knew it was going to be a feat just picking favorites. It was dang near impossible. And then there are the words, I could easily say as many things about this session as there are images.  You should see the notes from my first phone call with Amber: weekends at parents house, big property, goat for each grandchild, playroom with different play stations, basement ice cream parlour, the family piano, a pool with a view, oh yeah and did I mention GOATS! (I know I did, but they're gonna get mentioned at least once more so let's just get used to it okay?!). And here's the thing, even though my mind was spinning while Amber rattled off one after another  awesome thing to capture, I knew immediately that I wanted to capture Amber and her sweet family, awesome location or not. We just had that magical connection thing happening right from the get go and I knew I had. to. make. this. happen! In a moment of sheer boldness on my part, I straight up told Amber I was born to shoot this session. It's a good thing it worked out too, can you imagine if I had failed after saying that?!

Amber, Shaun, Bella and Amelia, I had so much fun with you guys, but it was YOU that made this session, not just all these layers of fabulousness and fun. Okay, you and the goats, but I'm fairly sure I could shoot your wonderful family in a junkyard and your love would come shining through. I am SO glad I told you that you had to hire me! (wink)

xo, PQ

PS- My favorite thing about the jumping in the pool shot? The dog barking his head off at them. Love it.

PPS - How many readers to you think I lost just with the title of this blog post alone? And how many of you that stuck around anyway think I'm completely off my rocker? You might be right, but at least I'm having fun!

 

 

the rest of their gang

I blogged a while back with Eli's senior photos but failed to mention that I photographed his entire family that day. I don't think this post needs many words; the photos themselves reveal just how much fun these guys are.
not to be out-shined by the boys, I turned around to see this
Mark and his daughters, Jaeger and Keegan
Everett
Clayton
Mark and Kessina
You know, posed portraits have their value, but this is where the true story is captured:
yep.

Family Portraits, Portland Style

 
 
 
 
 
 
Fischer and Liam are thirteen. Their mom, Maureen, hoped we could capture their family together before life shifted from middle school to high school, because high school means college and college means... away. I could sympathize. When Franny started preschool I immediately went into a panic about when she'll leave us for college. Ridiculous, maybe, but as I saw it starting "school" was the beginning of the end. But I digress (I am the Queen of the River Digress, but you'll see that if you stay here a while.) Ahem, as I was saying, Maureen wanted me to capture her kids while they were still kids, and her family of four, authentically. She hired me because my work, she wrote, has a "distinctive Portland feel." I wanted to hug her through the computer when I read those words. In the same email I read that they have a fort in their backyard built by dad, Bill, that Fischer just started a blog, and Liam has a special voice he uses only with their dog, Zoe. She wrote that they love to watch the Daily Show together, and wanted to incorporate their love of biking as a family into their photo session. Add to all of that some February sunshine, kids old enough to do what I ask of them, an excitable labradoodle, and a walk through the neighborhood, and we were able to capture just what they wanted, and have fun in the process. File this one under: I love this job (again, and again and again). 

colorful grays

What can I say that I haven't said before? I love them. But yeah, I've said that before. Let me say it again: I love these dear friends, a lot
The Grays just get better with each babe they add to their gang. I am so grateful that I get to document them regularly, and feel lucky to bear witness to their amazing love and awesome togetherness.   
Sweet, yes indeed. I should probably show you the photo that follows, the one where the girls are yelling at the ducks.  They are fiery, these Gray girls.
It just doesn't get better than completely spontaneous dance parties. I don't remember what prompted Memphis and Odessa to bust out their Beyonce-inspired moves, but I am ever so glad they did!
These girls, they can be apprehensive, particularly of the camera. But something happened between our last visit and this one, and they just turned. it. OUT. Memphis, who has been described by her mama as "all business," completely let down her guard with me and gave me so much of her natural self that weeks later I'm still feeling all squishy about it.  Memphis Ella Merritt Gray, the biggest of the big sisters; I've known her since she was just a few months old, when Tiffany and I met in a group for new moms.  She and my girl rolled around on the rug next to each other, and Memphy gave my camera the stink eye. I'm telling you, serious business this girl. You can't really blame me for loving her a little something extra. 
 Raleigh "Roo," looking a little bigger (okay, a lot bigger) than the last time I saw him.
364 days apart, these girls, and even closer in their hearts.
Can we get a resounding "STUNNING!" amidst the chaos that is three children?!
Thanks for letting me and my camera into your world again, Gorgeous Grays.
I do love you five.