The morning after St. Patty's day, with the beach all to ourselves, I met up with Jordan and her husband Nick to photograph their growing baby bump. They chose the same beach they were married and it made it a super special shoot. Jordan's inspiration for the shoot stressed a casual lifestyle, that is the epitome of their personalities. Just the two of them enjoying a most lovely day at the beach, waiting patiently to meet their new one!
Location, location, location. When it comes to your portrait session the perfect location makes it much easier to get amazing photographs. For the Meckley family the perfect location was an old mission in South Orange County. Not only did the scene encompass beauty, but it held meaning for the family, the wife, a California Native can trace her roots back to the first Spanish settlers in the area. After living in several different states, she came back to Orange County with her husband and their son and is now able to look back on these family photos with affection, feeling everythings come full circle. My heart skips a beat thinking of the history, the ancestral roots within the images now captured for the future, for generations to come.
The mixture of crumbling architecture and elegant black and white fashion creates a stunning juxtaposition. Capturing all this beauty combined with the family's obvious love and happiness is what makes me happy to be a photographer. For me, photographing a family is much more than shooting a couple pretty portraits. It's about providing the family with something tangible that they are able to look back on and see how they smiled together, laughed together, and gazed with affection towards one another. Husband, wife, and son together - what a joy to capture!
This ball of sunshine turned one last week! He got to celebrate at home with cake. Pure sweetness, check out that smile.
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.
With Mother's Day right around the corner, I started reminiscing about when I first became a mother. I remember being worried that I wouldn't know what to do. I still can recall the first night with my baby and thinking I shouldn't go to sleep--I thought I should be doing something (How silly is that?) I ended up watching my kid sleep and missing out on those precious hours that could have helped a few nights later! Oh well, first time mom mistakes! What I do know is that taking pictures, even though that is probably the last thing you want to do in the first few days, is so incredibly special. Babies change so quickly in the first weeks/days/hours. Having those images, you can recall just how you felt in that moment.
Below is a newborn session I never shared more than a few images despite how beautiful these pictures show mom and dad with their week old babe. I always have a heart for moms, but it gets worse at this time of the year. Share in it with me here through this session!
"And so the adventure begins"
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...