a cozy home :: a walk to the lake :: wildflower crowns :: chilled rosè :: evening light :: loud laughs :: a yellow paddle :: love
Sometimes the hardest posts to write are the sessions I loved the most; This is definitely one of those cases. Bee contacted me through Instagram about booking a session when we were on our California road trip in June. She told me she had 9 babies (NIIIIIINE) and wondered if that would be too much for me. She said all kinds of wonderful things about my work, and then she said the magic words: "I kinda love the crazy and different so even dressed in what they choose and not even looking but just being in the frame doing whatever kinda speaks to my heart..." (she also told me she had a daughter named Posie, so yeah: sold, sold and SOLD).
We met at their home in Los Gatos, California on a hot-as-blazes kind of afternoon. Baby Otis napped, while sweet Meme gave me a tour of the house, and Posie flipped me all kinds of sass, that made me grin from ear-to-ear. I have never in my life interacted with someone with the same name as mine and it was an interesting experience indeed, but she absolutely owns the name and has the perfect personality to accompany it. She made me proud in the two hours I was with her, and she isn't even my kid. Ha!
I could draft paragraphs about each of the nine children. Truly, the thing that I took away from this session more than anything is that raising nine incredibly kind, respectful, funny, and unique people is entirely possible. I'll be honest, I expected this session to be chaos and hard work, and while it's true we may have temporarily "lost" one of the children (side eyes to you, Amos), overall the afternoon we spent together was completely enjoyable. I am in awe of this family and their seemingly effortless bond. I was honored to be invited into their world and asked to capture it. I sure hope I did them justice.
When Andrea requested I shoot their entire family session on film this year I may or may not have flinched and attempted to talk her out of it. For like a year. But we did it, and I'm pretty damn happy about the result; while embracing imperfections isn't really my jam, I am all about pushing people out of their comfort zone, so I've done my best to practice what I teach. It helps that I love these people, this location, and the look of film, but you know, I love these photos too...
I recently had the honor of teaching alongside the one-and-only Yan Palmer at her Yan Fam Way, Portland workshop; and because she is a magical magnet who attracts other incredible beings, the workshop was hosted by one of my nearest-and-dearest Kati Dimoff, who also modeled for the workshop (in front of 12 photographers) and made it look effortless, because in addition to being smart, talented, and hilarious, Kati is also breathtakingly beautiful (as is the rest of her family, of course). I think that might have been the longest run-on sentence ever, but I haven't blogged in a hundred million years so we're just gonna keep going before I decide to scrap it and never blog again. Ahem, where was I? So not only was I beyond honored and thrilled to be invited as a special guest at Yan's workshop, I was excited to play with shooting film while there. I'm pretty dang pleased with the results...
In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony. ~ Nietzche
You've asked and now, I'm delivering, but not alone. Because that's how we mamas do things right? As a village. It's just so much more fun to do things with friends! Kelly and I are thrilled to offer a workshop for mamas who are specifically NOT professional photographers; mamas who strive to take better photos of their kids on the day-to-day, both with their phones and with their "big girl" cameras. And why not do it at the beautiful Oregon Coast, with our silly (and often uncooperative) girls as our "models"? We'll eat cookies, talk photography, take some photos, take some more, do a little editing, do a lot of laughing, and then maybe we'll finish with bubbly and a splash in the hot tub. Three spots were scooped up before we could even announce it, but 9 spots remain... Please email me to secure your spot: firstname.lastname@example.org. Yay! *One little extra note: while our girls will be present, they will be cared for and looked after, and will only be involved in part of our workshop. We want you to have a fun, low-stress, mostly-kid free afternoon!
(Top three photos of our girls were taken of me, bottom three were taken by Kelly with her iPhone 6.)
xo, pq & ks
There are four things I want to share with you from this session. One: After Meg booked her photo session, she told me that her family's favorite thing to do on the weekend was FIB (Family In Bed), so naturally that is where we started. Not dressed up fancy sitting on top of a made bed, but as they normally are on the weekend, all cozy in jammies, reading and snuggling under the blankets. And jumping on the bed, of course.
Two: She also shared that their eldest son was obsessed with all things Super, and as a result the family had acquired matching super hero capes, thanks to a very crafty grandmother. So yep, those were going to have to be included too!
Three: Meg told me that she picked up my card at a Portland toy store, while visiting from San Francisco THREE YEARS AGO, and hadn't forgotten about me after they finally moved here. I mean, I don't even know what to say about that except, WOW. Thank you, Meg.
The last thing I want to share about this session is Meg herself, because I've re-read it at least ten times and I smile each time I do: Thank you for so miraculously and perfectly capturing the spirit of our family. These photos are a perfect reminder that we are just fine, and absolutely perfect thank you very much, exactly the way we are. I love that you captured that, not anything about who we are trying to be. For me, and for our kids, these will serve as a wonderful reminder to be just exactly who we each are. My friend has a hysterical amazing boyfriend who is always telling her "you do you, girl, you do you." Thanks for capturing the spirit of us doing us. - Meg, also know as "Super Mom!"
Oh one more thing! Nordstrom asked me recently what I thought the best Mother's Day gift for any super mom, and I'll bet you can guess what I said...
Kelly and I met at Field Trip last year, well that's not quite right, we "met" in InstaLand sometime the year prior, but became true friends after spending some real time together. Because she and her darling family live in Santa Barbara, they were a natural choice for me when I was considering a live family session for my class this year. I also liked the idea (from a teaching perspective) of working with a dynamic family, one with step-children and half siblings, ranging in ages from 4-14, in a location I had never worked, under the bright hot California sunshine (alright, so I could have lived with less overhead sun, but we dealt with it). And lucky for me (and all the rad peeps who signed up for my class) they were totally game for driving into El Capitan Canyon and casually having their family portraits made in front of 40+ strangers. I wasn't sure how that would all go down, but I'd like to think these photos don't show anything other than a beautiful loving family in a gorgeous area of California. And while I would also like to take credit for that, at least some props are owed to this crew, because they were just completely relaxed and up for whatever I threw their way. And for that (and the pizza Will made me a few nights later, but that's another blog post) I will be forever grateful.
and so my love affair with all things California continues...
There was this one time I hosted a workshop right here in Portland, and thought maybe, just maybe, nobody would sign up. And then eight wonderful women did; I crossed all my fingers and toes that I wouldn't stumble and fumble and mumble, and all around eff it up. And then the workshop day came and it wasn't just not horrible, it was wonderful, and easygoing, natural, and best of all, FUN. Well, for me anyway (hopefully those lovely ladies who attended would agree). This sweet family was nice enough to let all of us enter their home and pretend that's normal for a family session. Honestly my only complaint about them was that they were too easy on me! They barely made me work, which was precisely what I was supposed to be showing to the workshop attendees. But I can't really complain about a loving, fun, and relaxed family session, now can I? See for yourself just how darling they are...
I did feel the need to take a tiny breather mid-session, just to regroup and make sure I was doing everything I should; I snuck off to the bathroom only to be greeted by this pennant. YOU GOT THIS. I chose to believe that little green triangle.
PS- I don't have any upcoming workshops scheduled at this point, but I am about to teach another round of Driving Your Business for The Define School. Registration is open now, and classes begin May 6th. If you'd like to hear what previous students of that class have to say, you can read reviews on this cool new site. Oh, even though I know I've already said too much, I also have to share my new page with info on all my teaching gigs here. Okay okay, that's it. Smooches!
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.
And yeah, the highlight was teaching. Actually it wasn't. The highlight, just as it was last year, was human connection: a whole lot of chill time with my people without constant interruptions from my [beloved] child or daily responsibilities. But teaching was incredible and I'm going to blog about that in another post, because I think I've said enough for today. Also, I miss you all, Field Trippers, seriously, why can't we do this more often (and now I sound like my kid whining about birthdays).
Our family is hitting the road after school gets out and driving down south, and back north, and stopping in between at a variety of beautiful places and friends homes, and.... I'm offering up a handful of sessions along the way, because, well how can I pass up the opportunity for family photos in Big Sur, or Yosemite, the Redwoods, LA, or my favorite place in California, Santa Barbara?! We'll be making pit spots in other pretty spots too like San Luis Obispo and Sonoma. I can only offer 1-2 sessions per location, so they'll be first come first serve. The fee is $850, includes all the edited digitals and a set of 3.5x5 proof prints, and is due at the time you book. I am stupid excited over this, I hope some of you are as well. Wahoo!
Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero.
Poor sweet Lottie was quite a "grumpy knickers" when I arrived, which I'm pretty sure is British for teething. But it was nothing a little nip, some snuggles, and a chance to play with her mum's makeup bag, couldn't fix (also, a dose of paracetamol helped, which is British for Tylenol, btw). Documenting your life sometimes means capturing the less-than-ideal moments, but in the end, I believe they are just as beautiful and worthy of remembering. I'm so pleased I was able to capture Lottie's range of emotions at this sweet age.
Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.
Shoshana is a mama, attorney, photographer, and all around goddess, living in New York City, who just happened to find herself and her cast of characters, ahem, I mean family, in Portland last summer; And even better, they asked me to capture their magic while they were here. I know, I am just beyond lucky. ANYWAY, because I'll be seeing two-thirds of these peeps at Field Trip later this week (whoop! whoop! happy dance), it feels like the perfect time to share this session.
A cute girl loaded with personality (and a love of books), her doting (and patient) dog, fall colors, an adorable baby bump, loving parents, and many, many kisses; I really couldn't ask for more.
So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable. ~ Christopher Reeve