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.
Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.
Shot on location in Long Beach.
Makeup by Brittany Mercer
Photography by Sidney Kraemer
Inspired by the word lovely, light pink florals were mixed with a wardrobe of long laced nightgowns, grey robes and sweet negligee. We didn't want Banke to appear to made up. The makeup was kept natural with strong highlights. That extra bit of glimmer, adding a bit of fantasy. The smallest of flower petals were placed below an eye for one look, with tiny white pearls. A loose bundle of spray roses is held as a bouquet and a short white veil made an appearance with roses attached to the bottom.
In a world that demands loudness and seems made for extroverts, stillness can often be overlooked. In the quiet though, there is much beauty. In our natural state, we are lovely.
In a world, that can often be painful and ugly; be the beauty, be the light.
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.
poem by Emery Allen
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"
I am so excited to share with you some highlights from Korryne and Keller's wedding! Marine and southern stud met Socal beauty Korryne, a no fess, laid back, say it like you mean it woman...Keller was hooked and how do they say it?--the rest was history! These two know how to have a good time and their wedding reflected just that. Priorities were made for this day and it was all kinds of fun, filled with dancing, laughter, and heartfelt tears. This is what love looks like!
Blessed by southern California rain in the weeks prior, the beautiful canyon where their ceremony took place was lush and green.
Chandeliers sparkled above their heads as they smiled, laughed, and shed a few tears.
Enjoying a few intimate moments together after becoming husband and wife.
Love capturing those in between moments like this.
Driven away in chic red falcon...
First dance goals.
Mother of the bride's tears matched her daughters as the father-daughter dance took place.
Bride and groom were surprised with these Mr. and Mrs. cups when they took their seats.
Grandma on the bride's side, shared with me she wore this same dress to her wedding and wanted to wear it here for good luck to the young couple!
A little selfie action on the dance floor.
Sharing special moments on their dance floor.
Ceremony Venue: Oak Canyon Nature Center
Photography: Sidney Kraemer Photography
Florals: Kat's Creations Floral Design
Reception Venue: Yorba Linda Community Center
Catering: Blue Agave
I had the pleasure of meeting this beautiful little family a little bit ago. Pregnant with her first child, Jensen reached out to me eager to set up a shoot in the last weeks of her pregnancy. She confided to me that she hadn't thought of documenting this time but now aware of the practice really wanted to make it happen. I was so happy we were able to set it up. Photographing motherhood holds one of the most dear places in my heart. It was during my own pregnancy path that I truly gained a new perspective on life-on myself. You are growing a little person inside yourself! Mothers are strength. They are goddesses. They are pure beauty, pure life.
It make me the most happiest when I am able to capture this time-this new life.
I know for a lot of women, a lot of times, being pregnant is hard. But I encourage you to take lots of pictures despite what you feel like. To hold this memories in your hands after and know that is your baby growing in there, is absolutely amazing.
Congratulations to these lovelies--who welcomed a baby boy into their home last week!
"A mother's love for the child of her body differs essentially from all other affections, and burns with so steady and clear a flame that it appears like the one unchangeable thing in this earthly mutable life..."
Model: Azaria L @ Brand Models Makeup: Brittany Ball
This was one of those weddings were I went home and I was so happy with what I do. I am a firm believer that photography should be one of the biggest investments in your life. It might be from the many many times my family would look through the giant albums my mom made, but photographs have always been a big part of my life. I love looking back and being able to recall a memory because of a photograph or asking about an image that goes beyond me and learning something about my family history. When I began photographing weddings, I felt like a part of history. These are the images tell a family's real story.
Mikaylah and Evan's wedding was by far a favorite of mine. There was so much family, so much love throughout the day. The baby of all her sisters, Mikaylah was surrounded by her best friends for life. As the evening progressed the bride and groom danced surrounded by all their nieces and nephews. It was truly a sweet, sweet affair that will be remembered fondly from all different perspectives, all different generations.
Below are some highlights...
Venue: Plaza de Magdalena
Coordinator: EVENTS by Robin
Photography: Sidney Kraemer
Videographer: Ellie Meade
DJ + Lighting: VOX DJs
Florist: Fantasy Floral
Hair: Dry Bar
Cake/Desserts: Nothing Bundt Cake
Officiant: Jeremiah Ramer
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
Everyone, I'm pumped to share this story with you all. Shot in Los Angeles Art's District, Model Lily shows off some california winter basics for any budget.
Forming a relationship with the subject of your lens has great benefits. While I often think photographers are worried about shooting more models, shooting with someone you already have before has its benefits. Where do you think muses come from? There's a level of trust that is there and often a smooth flow, like dancing. Having a level of comfort is essential for me when shooting. I'm asking someone to be vulnerable. I might ask them to show intense emotion or do something that might seem really silly to them. If they don't trust me, it will show, seeming forced or unnatural.
This is preciously why I like to speak to my models as much as I can before shooting. I try to have everything ready even before everyone's arrival, if its possible, and that way I can talk to my people. Get to know them a little bit before I start directing them from behind the camera. I find this is especially helpful for new faces.
Shooting with Lily again, I wanted to do something very different from the beauty shoot we had done previously. Her own personal style influenced my choices and this sort of vintage street style became the movement for the shoot. I was super inspired by the makeup trends for winter this year. I've always been a fan of the classic looking cateye, in the hands of my makeup artist, Crystal came out so beautiful.
I'm a big fan of Zara and they show up a few times in this story. Proving fashion does not have to cost an arm and a leg, Zara has become a major staple in many women and men's closet. I can still recall my first time in their store. I was in high school shopping with my sister at one of our favorite places, South Coast Plaza, known for its luxury designer stores, and she exclaimed that we just had to go in to Zara. Previously, I had always looked longingly at the dressed mannequins in the window and continued on assuming it was one of those stores I could never really purchase anything at. She led me in and years later it is still a must visit during shopping excursions. Oh my goodness and now with their kids line! I can safely assume Billy's closet is over half of the Zara brand. If you haven't checked out their kids line I order you to do so right now. For some more adult looks check out our story below.
Shirt: Ella Moss
Ear Cuff: Leith
Blouse and Skirt: Zara
Model: Lily McCune
Makeup by Crystal Martinez @ Iconic Artistry
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.