Summer Camp

because when you and your girls are artists and you want some pictures together, you go above and beyond

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inspired by bruce weber's summer camp

want your own summer camp session with your girlfriends? your sister? your puppy? book now! 

 

Maui Beach Boudoir Session

I was so excited when my friend Sarah came to me and wanted to do a session. I've been encouraging her to do one for years now and despite wanting to, she is always putting it off saying she wants to lose weight before. It breaks my heart because this girl is so beautiful. So when we both were in Maui together, she couldn't pass up the location - her mama is from the islands and she grew up with a deep connection to these waters - so we planned a bikini shoot! Hip Hip Hurray! 

I believe every woman is treasured beauty. Often we just need a little help uncovering or remembering that reality. I've been blessed with the ability to see each woman's beauty and it is my purpose and mission in life to share this blessings with others. Especially those who cannot see it in themselves. 

When I first meet someone, my mind starts creating images that best encompass that person's unique allure - from the light, the colors, the ambience. Maybe it's a certain angle that you just can’t see in the mirror. Maybe it's the perfect lite environment. Maybe it's a mood or expression waiting to be released. Whatever it is, once discovered, an entire rush of positive feeling, confident emotion and authentic love is released. I believe this is where “sexy” starts and this is photography becomes so fun and rewarding for me.

For Sarah, it was here in the blue waters of Maui, sand beneath her bare feet, and the thought of surprising her love that she was able to see and feel the incredible beauty she is. 

Below are some highlights.

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on location in West Maui, Hawaii 

Bikini Boudoir Portrait Session

 

 

 

Matt and Greg's Rooftop Session

I got to shoot these two adorable human beings this year. Shot on my rooftop (finally!!) the results are just so beautiful. Here are some highlights from up above and also from within the confines of my studio. 

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Long Beach Couples Portrait - Riley + Kylie

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New Year, Rebirth

Resolutions, 2018

 

A little late for myself, nevertheless I'm doing this! YES, another post about New Years. Ha! But still here it is. It feels almost incomplete without it...

and last year went by for me, in a blur--a big big blur. This year in order to hold myself accountable, and be able to look back, I am writing out my intentions for the next year,

as both a creative and a human being.

Here they are in no particular order 

  1. Start working with motion again
  2. Create one self portrait a week
  3. No instagram looking at night in bed; pick up books again, watch documentaries instead
  4. Write in a journal at least twice a week
  5. Finish 4 Family Albums for Billy
  6. Have a more carbon conscience diet, less red meat
  7. Bring my camera on more everyday events, stop relying on my cellphone camera, document what might seem mundane
  8. Connect with more local people
  9. Find a charity that I can become passionate about
  10. Wear heels more
  11. Connect even more with the people I'm shooting
  12. Allow more spontaneity to occur in my daily life
  13. Continue to take care of my body
  14. Read more ART books!
  15. See more Art
  16. Continue to learn experiment with cooking and new recipes
  17. Make my work more like the masters
  18. Ignore any fear
  19. Show more women how beautiful they are
  20. Look for, find, be, and create the beauty in a sometimes dark world

A bit of a manifesto for the new year. Like a giant todo list for me. I'm so happy I'm writing it here! What are your guys'?

Wishing all the success in yours on this time of new birth...

"The only way to deal with an unfree world

is to become

absolutely free

that your very existence

is an act of

rebellion."

-Albert Camus

and hug your own curves // an intimate portrait session

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Finally sharing this most beautiful intimate boudoir session. Below are the highlights. We wanted to mix the modern boudoir ideas of the white sheet and bathtub with a warm, relaxed vibe. Drawing inspiration from classical paintings, the session was all about embracing oneself, connecting with the body in order to see the soul. 

Kiss your own fingertips

and hug your own curves.

You are made of waves of honey

and spicy peppers when it is necessary.

You are a goddess,

I hope you haven't forgotten.

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poem by Emery Allen

Mother Daughter Self Portrait Series - Long Beach

Happy Mama's Day! I can vividly recall a moment in time, long before my daughter was in my arms. It was in this moment, that it was so very clear to me what I wanted to be.

You see, I went off to college thinking I had to go. I had to learn something, that could get me a job and basically set up my life forever and ever. I had applied to colleges in an interesting matter. Each college I applied to was with the intent of studying a different material. I didn't really want to be anything. So when the acceptance letters came in, my choice came with not only a school--but set up what I thought I'd be doing for the rest of my life. I throughly enjoyed art; I appreciated it earnestly and so after careful consideration the school that was my art path was selected and off I went.

But it was later in a moment of hysterical tears streaming down my face, brought on by a stressful, competition riddled college and a beautiful case of PMS, that I dramatically blurted out, to my boyfriend at the time, that all I really wanted to do was be a mom. I had broken down and thought I was never gonna make money (I was doing a lot of free work at the time). Therefore I would never have the funds to support a kid. I thought for sure I was just destined to never be able to have them. And the one thing I wanted, ever, was to be a mom. That's all I wanted.

Looking back I clearly was amazing girlfriend material, so many guys love a super-young-crying over wanting a baby-girlfriend! While that was not the prettiest moment in my life. I was vulnerable. I was embarrassed. I even remember thinking it wasn't right--so many woman had worked so hard for equality that  JUST wanting to be a mom seemed like a betrayal.

But every once in a while I like to remember that moment, that night. When my heart was breaking and I knew what I wanted, a single thing-my baby.

Maybe it was about a year later, that I got what my heart desired. My baby came without any plan. And despite the hardships, the trials that came with an unplanned pregnancy, I know She and I were planned, just by someone a lot smarter than me.


So when I asked Billy to take some portraits with my yesterday she said "sine" which is "fine." She can't quite get those Fs down. But as we went to her closet, she was adamant she didn't have the right clothes. After pulling out her entire dress collection I said then you'll just have to be naked. She looked at me, smiled, and threw off her shirt and that settled our wardrobe choices. However, I must say that taking self portraits, while trying to hide some delicate parts AND have your three year old insist she should click the wireless remote shutter and not  really know about hiding it, the "session" was one of the more difficult ones I have done.

 

From my Body

Here's to my little budding photographer. A mommy and me collaboration.

 

 

Portrait Session with Tommy

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A bit ago I was contacted to do a session for Tommy. A runner, he was looking to test his feet in some fitness modeling. Never been in front of the camera, he came into the studio a bit nervous but after just a few minutes was feeling like a pro! Here's the results.    

Studio Day with Male Model Matthew

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  I don't always shoot men, but when I do it's not a bad day. Check out this portrait session with Matthew R. taken in the studio. We had some good laughs and he was a pleasure to shoot. There's something about showing some skin, that makes one vulnerable and I like to thank everyone that gets in front of my camera and trusts me and my artistic vision. 

Ocean Calling

The ocean, the beach- it's like pure medicine to me. I need to live near it. Too much time without gazing at the horizon, too much time without touching my toes to the water, or walking on the sand and I break a little inside. While California water gets cold, dipping into it and floating on its surface, the temperature doesn't matter to me. It's healing and as I grow older, I become more and more self aware of a much needed connection I have to the sea that I just cannot ignored. During my time in college, a great professor, downright scared me. He scared me because he spoke of "burning out." He shared that many students he would talk with after graduating did not want to photograph anymore. Since then, I have burnt out, many times.  My relationship with photography has been a continual rollercoaster of love and hate. I'm always wanting to get better and in response to this, I've gotten angry. I push myself and I burn out. But, then I get anxious and I need to create. I need to pick up that camera.

The ocean helps. It inspires. It heals. It reignites the flame. It's a reset for me, a way of stepping back and acknowledging the grandness of the world. It's hard to do that in the world today. There is a constant demand of instant, new work. Share! Share! Share! But it's in those moments of rest for me that the seed of something great has time to develop, to be created. I need to live a life, in order to create something lasting.

The ocean is an inspiration to so many and means a great different things to people. But here, this story is a reflection of the calm, the quiet, and the stillness it can bring directly to one's soul.

Model Kelly Coker shows up as the ultimate beach goddess in Malibu, California.

Makeup by Maddie Buffardi

Photography & Art Direction: Sidney Kraemer

Photography Assistant: Alexa Smith

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Shoot and Be Shot + Being a finalist in the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards

One of the most rewarding parts about being a photographer is being able to document the important moments of my life. While you rarely see me take a selfie, a self portrait - on the other hand - is a different story. And I think it's probably time I embrace the selfie game anyway. But back to where I was going...when I first started taking pictures in college, I often had to use myself as the subject for assignments. As anyone knows, being in front of the camera is a lot different than being behind the camera. I think doing both is important. Ever see a model become a photographer or a model/photographer? There must be a good reason for that, right?

Being in front of the camera will make you a better photographer and picking up a camera will make you a better model. It allows you to step into the other persons shoes. For instance, after being behind the camera I am much better at communicating and directing my models. I learned that models need feedback. A successful shoot has plenty of communication. Saying the model does everything perfect, repeatably, will become insincere and loose its authenticity. Which is not going to make them perform their best. But, not enough communication leaves room for questions - What is the photographer looking for? What should I be doing? What do they want? Not to mention self doubt might creep in! Ah!! Same for the other side, those individuals that shoot in addition to modeling, know things that help make the shoot go smoother. They know how important light is and how it works. They play their bodies to the light. They might even know what a photographer is going to say before they say it!  It is just like another form of practicing, practicing from a different angle, a different perspective.

Now, after school, I found myself not as frequently in front of the camera. There were no friends calling me to shoot last minute assignments and my fashion work definitely did not call for a 5 and 1/2 of an inch small fry. But I wanted to get back in front of the camera to remind myself how the models feel, to sharpen my communication. So, I started shooting a lot of self portraits again, and mostly with my daughter to document our relationship and her ever-changing growth. Today, I wanted to share an image I took of the two of us that was chosen as a finalist in the 8th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards. As a finalist, my image will be exhibited in the Berlin Biennial 2016! I feel so grateful and excited to be honored alongside such talented artists from around the world. Check out the galleries of the awardees and finalists here. Now, if only I can get over there to see it all. I got time though, maybe it will happen...

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Painted Gems

For those of you that don't know, over the last couple months I have had the privilege of being part of parsonsxteenvogue. I absolutely love, love learning and am always looking for ways to educate myself further, expand, and continue to be well rounded. When I heard that Parsons School of Design was partnering with Teen Vogue I immediately wanted to find out more about the program. The two icons of the fashion industry decided to get together and offer a boat load of information and as someone who shoots fashion, I thought it would be valuable to know more about each facet. While I primarily deal with a finished product before it goes out to consumers, It has been both eye-opening and inspiring to see the makings of this vast enterprise.

Recently we had the opportunity to make our own product. If y'all follow me on instagram you were able to see the final product of my own concept over there. For those of you that missed it check out the picture below.

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Inspired by an image I took of the American flag, I just kept mulling over the blue and the stars-Stars and shinning. Sparkles. Diamonds. Shine bright like a diamond-my mind is friggin crazy but let's not get into that. Without millions of dollars to spend on diamonds I thought of my options and the idea to paint the entire necklace came to me. I wanted to be obvious it was painted and lots of canvas to show.

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I had lots of fun with the details. A huge fan of bows, a big black ribbon was used to tie it around the neck. To secure the ribbon, I found a couple beautiful abalone shells (in the back drawer of my closet) and hand sewed them on with a thick gold thread.

It was so good to use my hands in a different way than usual and get back to my fine art roots in painting. As an artist I am super proned to self-loathing and criticizing, definitely my own worst critic, but I am so happy to wear this necklace I am thinking to create a few for some last minute holidays gifts!

Dressing To Impress This Holiday Season

Thanksgiving is officially behind us. I hope everyone can attest to eating as much turkey as I did. And now...onward to the Christmas season! I'm sure many of you will agree with me, there is something about Christmas that just makes everything good. There is nothing I love more than seeing all the lights and decorations. I absolutely love the window displays, each transporting you to magical world. I'll admit sometimes I head to the mall, grab a cup of cocoa, and my favorite almond croissant, just to look at the over the top holiday displays. The creativity that goes into everything is just one of the reasons I love the season so much.

Another reason it remains my favorite season is the holiday parties. Holiday parties are a chance for us to show that same creativity, luxury, and opulence. One of the few things in today's casual world we can still dress up for. Perhaps it is the cold weather allowing us to wear that outrageous fur coat that automatically ups the ante or the twinkling lights that provide the perfect ambience for our floor length gown we thought we would never have a chance to wear...but let us dress to impress this holiday season.

Last week I had the pleasure of shooting Miss Taylor Anne of Brand Models. Here she shows us some perfect holiday looks from the party, to after hours. Everyone on set was loving the sequined asymmetrical dress, vintage fur coat, black velvet, and classic lingerie. What do you guys think?

Model: Taylor Anne @ Brand Models

Makeup by Sharla Sobraska

Photography & Art Direction: Sidney Kraemer

Girlish Charm

Hope everyone is having a lovely week! Here's a fun little fashion editorial shot down at Balboa's Fun Zone, I'm calling it Little Miss (No) Fun Zone.

Model: Lizzie W
Art Direction & Photography: Sidney Kraemer

I loved shooting here! Born and raised in Orange County, my dad would bring my sister and I to the Fun Zone in the summer time. He would share stories of his own childhood summers staying with his grandmother on the peninsula. He and his brother would sneak ice creams on the ferris wheel the same way my sister and I did. The park has recently been restored to which I found such a great, classic SoCal backdrop for this shoot.

(I do miss the grimy ski ball machines and sparking bumper cars though!)

As for the looks...Having a daughter has encouraged me to really embrace my own femininity.I wanted each look to reflect this. While so much of the world is hyped up on androgyny, I currently am all about playing up the female form. Don’t get me wrong, androgyny is great, but I might have overdosed a few years back. I shopped in the men’s department, wore oversized clothing, and then balanced it with some killer makeup. Nothing wrong with that. I'm now obsessed with the classic feminine style, and I love putting a little modern edge twist on it. I want to celebrate a woman and her body. I want to appreciate it.

When you get your post baby body back, it just feels good and the last thing I wanted to do was hide it. I started buying clothes that flattered my silhouette and hugged my curves. On top of that, Billy was a girl and all of a sudden not only did her clothes show some strong girl power but my own style got a lot softer. Instead of completely ignoring the color pink in stores, I was drawn to it. All of the sudden pastels, lace, and teeshirts with sweet sayings appealed to me. I wanted my own closet to compliment hers and with that an innocence and whimsical feel was added to my boyish assemble.

Show our womanhood some love. Let’s wear those short shorts! Put on that tight dress! Wear some pink! Elle Woods may have been on to something there. Case in point – having a daughter might encourage you to really enjoy being a girl and you may find yourself throwing a bow in your hair or slipping on a pretty girl dress.

Visit the mood board here to see the inspiration behind it.

Shop These Looks

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