Thursday, September 18, 2014

San Mateo, CA Family & Child Photographer: A little different

These faces should look familiar to you guys. They were some of the first families to allow me to photograph them (in their jammies, none-the-less) and have stuck with me ever since.

Most of our portrait sessions, so far, have been outdoors. We've done woodsy... we've done golden fields. I was ready for something a little different and as always, they were trusting enough to let me pull out a spot from my "location library" that I've been dying to try out for awhile.
I drove by this San Mateo building the last time I had jury duty. The red wall... the bench... the stairs... (the super easy parking)... I kinda fell in love! I'm going through a "color crush" period right now, and the colors of this space just made my heart go pitter-pat. Hope you enjoy it :)

As the years go by, it's been interesting to see how kids react to my camera over time. Now granted, these guys probably see more of me than they like, but K was really into having her photos taken. As a matter of fact, any photograph she was NOT in, she wanted replicated so that she can be in it too. I actually kinda dug this: my oldest still needs to be bribed for pictures, so this is refreshing for sure. Getting genuine giggles out of her though was a bit more of a struggle, and I appreciate that her daddy left his humility in the car and endeared us with some bootay shaking.

All in all, that evening was a fantastic way to kick-off mini session season. Stay tuned for more (lots more) coming to you over the next couple of months. Meanwhile, if you're still looking to book a mini-session for this season, I still have two slots left. Check out details on the where & when, and drop me a note if you're interested.

San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
San Mateo child & family photography
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bay Area, CA Photographer: 2014 Fall Mini Sessions!

2014 mini sessions photography

They're here!!!!

I am now accepting bookings for mini sessions this 2014 fall.
If you're interested in reserving a portrait session for your family, read on here for full details on how to reserve, available session dates, times and locations.

***

What are mini-sessions?

Mini-sessions are a great way to capture your family in portraits. You can use them for your family albums, updating your walls, and many families choose to use the images from these events for their holiday greeting cards. Similar to regular sessions, you will receive a personal use release, and the ability to print from any lab you like. Of course, you are welcome to print through my fantastic lab, but you have options. They differ from regular sessions, because mini appointments only last 20 minutes -- this is great for young children, or those of you with constrained schedules, or some of you looking for a more affordable alternative. See examples of my past mini sessions.

How many family members can I bring?

As mini-sessions are relatively short, it's best to keep groups to 5 or less.

How quickly will I receive my photos?

Your should have the photos from our mini-session events within 2-3 weeks of our session. They will be available for download via an online gallery.

Can I bring my pet?

Fur-kids are welcome as long as they are comfortable outdoors, and being leashed! Unfortunately, some of the locations for our mini-sessions do not permit pets, so please note the pet permissibility in the locations above.

Can you provide holiday cards?

Absolutely! I partner with TinyPrints.com to offer you an incredible array of card options for you to use as announcements, invitations and holiday greetings. All clients that book a mini-session will have their selected images from our session uploaded to a private TinyPrints gallery, complimentary. My upload to TinyPrints on your behalf is my Thanx to you for booking with me this season.

How much?

As always, all session costs are listed on my pricing page!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Palo Alto, CA Children Photographer: Grace

This was my third family portrait session for There With Care. Every family I've met with, over the years, has been so incredible. I've walked away feeling energized and grateful. In turn, I hope to have contributed, at least a little, in each family's healing. While the logistics are always a little harder to arrange, it's such a worth-while experience for me. Meeting J and her family was no exception.

I don't know about you, but when I'm sick I become selfish. Woe is me, and I want to lie around the house feeling sorry for myself. I want a TV remote in my hand staring off until I fall asleep, wallowing in how crummy I feel. Yet, I look at J, and as she's undergoing chemotherapy AND radiation, she runs, she dances, she helps out her siblings and picks up her little cousin to keep her from running too far away. That, my friends I call perspective... and grace. On this day, a 9 year old reminded me of that simple word: grace.

J has 4 sisters. Her family was blessed with not one, but two sets of twins. And each girl is beautiful, and fun, and silly. They came out with their younger cousins. I haven't done a session with 7 kids in a looong time. Usually, the idea of this many kids all at once raises my blood pressure a tad, but these guys were so sweet. Even down to little 18-month old A, and her 3-year old brother. They listened to my ideas, and there was very little chasing (on my end) to be had. In turn we got some incredible photographs and the kids just got to be kids.
I noticed too, that all the girls brought dolls with them... and each doll had an identical dress as their girl. Their hair styles even matched! How cool is that? It's the kind of attention to detail from these young ladies that just blows me away.

I hope you enjoy their portraits. If you're a photographer, please consider giving a little of your time to families like J's, and if you're local to the Bay Area Peninsula, please assist There With Care with any support that you can. It makes a difference. I promise!

Want to see more sessions with There With Care families? Check them out now.

Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Palo Alto child  photography
Saturday, July 19, 2014

Belmont, CA Child Photographer: Before & After

I tend to like very clean, simple editing in my photography. While I touch every image that comes out of my camera, rarely do I bring in elements and textures into the composition that weren't originally part of the scene. But every once in a while, I know that a little bit of extra can bring a pretty good image to something so much more.
Today, I want to show you one of these examples, and tell you a little bit of what I did to get from the original to the final result.

San Mateo child & family photography
A few months ago, I posted the final of these two images on facebook. I was just so pleased with it. As the mom of the two monkeys this photograph is probably in my top favorite of them to date. I was shocked that they cooperated enough for me to take it, and other than the fact I had originally envisioned they would be sitting on the log behind them, this is actually pretty close to the vision I had in my head.

This (original) image was taken in Foster City, in the inlet facing Coyote Point. If you come out to kite-board or watch the kite-boarders, this is where they lay out their gear to dry, or set-up. The sunset that day didn't quite have the deep color in it, so... I gave it some help.

Belmont child photography
My first step was to do color correction, adjust the exposure, and bring in some of the blown-out highlights back. This helped re-shape the boys' heads and bring back the outline of their shoulders too.

Belmont child photography
The next step was to introduce a better sky photo. It was critical that I matched the direction of the sun to the original. If you're trying to do something similar yourself, in the absence of an image of your own that matches what you want, you can turn to stock photography. BUT.... you have to be careful what you get. Your stock image usage rights must allow modification. In my case, I would also want one that allows commercial use if I ever want to share it on this site.

Belmont child photography
I had to carefully mask out my foreground and boys. In some regards, shooting back-lit really helped here, because halos are part of back-lit setups, and if I missed any bit, it still looked natural.

At this stage things were looking pretty good, but now things felt too washed out. I turned down exposure a tad.

Belmont child photography
Lastly, I went through to give this image a summer-kissed, later evening feel, by making it a bit more golden all-around. Added just a little bit of sun-haze to the left as well.

Belmont child photography
And there you have it! Post-processing magic. Don't ask me how many hours this took, but it was worth it :)


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Belmont, CA Photographer: Booking a 2014 Fall mini session

It's barely July, and I'm already planning out how fall is going to go. In my head I already have a list of locations brewing. I will be announcing the full details of my mini session schedule in a few weeks, but I did want to send out an announcement ahead of time, because this year I'm going to try things a little different from the past. I'd like to show my appreciation for those of you that have supported me over the years, and I'm inspired to do this.

I have been so remarkably lucky to have such wonderful clients, and followers. During my summer time off, I've received some very sweet notes from you, and it means a lot. Thank you! As such I'd like to show my appreciation to those of you that have been supporting me by giving you the first access to session openings.

My calendar for fall will open first to my clients from the last two years, then to those of you subscribed to my mailing list, and then to the general public.

Getting on the mailing list is really easy. Please fill out the following form. You will have to confirm that you want to be added to the list (by clicking on a link in an email you'll receive shortly after subscribing). Please remember to do this -- otherwise you won't be on the list.



I will NOT give your contact information out to anyone, and for those of you that are already on it, you know that the only time I use this list is to announce mini session availability. So, you won't get spammed. Promise!
Saturday, July 5, 2014

Redwood City, CA Photographer: The night's sky

Two months ago, I came across a blog post on photographing the night's sky. I'll be honest -- I'd tried it before, but without much guidance I just didn't get particularly excited about it... until that post entry. Seeing someone deconstruct what they were doing, and how to consider your location for this type of project got me energized and excited to try it. For real this time. I posted on my Facebook page, looking for a buddy to join me, and I lucked out. My friend Lizz was up for the task, so we met up on the next month's New Moon.

I'd scoped out some locations where the light pollution was supposed to be not so bad. We went halfway to Halfmoon Bay. There's a little parking lot right where the 92 and Skyline Blvd meet. It was convenient to park, and an interesting view back toward the inner Peninsula, as we watched cars climb the hill. I was really glad to have a buddy that night, though -- there were certainly some interesting passers by, and I would've chickened out and gone home before sunset if I was all alone.

We arrived WAY too early. While I wanted to have enough time to setup gear and all, the stars didn't really come out until a few hours after sun-set. I'm not a coffee drinker, but if I end up taking more of these projects on, I'm going to have to learn how.

That evening was a learning experience for sure! Next time I do star photography (and there will be a next time), I'm ready to go all out, and head in a place where light pollution is really low. I'm determined to see and capture The Milky Way for myself. My friend, Kenneth Chan, from Globe, AZ has a capture of his own I'm chasing after and am feeling fully inspired by. Hopefully I won't have to move to AZ, like him, to get that view, though ;p

So stay tuned. This is just my start. Won't be a frequent occurrence, but I'm excited to try something different for me.

San Mateo photography
San Mateo photography
San Mateo photography
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Belmont, CA Photographer: Model Call!

In my head I have a vision for a number of images I want to capture. They’re a stretch for me to grow as a photographer: whether it’s about portraits with a style of lighting I don’t usually rely on, a different approach to my work flow, or a whole new genre… it’s about learning experiences. And of course, a way to re-inspire myself and have fun.

One of the ideas I’ve been batting around in my head is a collaboration with an artist. We will transition from different media and genres to create a genuinely transformative experience. I want to tell you more, but I won’t! Ha! Sorry to tease, but I partly want it to be a surprise, but also want to protect this idea, because it is a little ambitious, and worried it might not work out. But if it does, it will be super cool!

The first phase of the project will require my contribution and I will need models. This is where YOU come in and I really hope you are interested in this challenge. We are not looking to do a FB contest. There will be no voting here, so please don't worry that you might not have enough (insert-social-network-name here) friends to make it happen. The final model selection will be done by yours truly. Take a look at the criteria listed below, and submit if you’re interested. Please, also spread the word :)

Models will be paid $75 (cash or amazon gift-card) for their participation. I expect to take an hour of your time, although likely closer to 30 minutes. Each model will be photographed individually, and at a separate appointment.

All applicants must be:
-    over 8 years of age. No maximum age
-    able to illustrate a facial expression in response to an instruction
-    available on a week-end day prior to Aug 31, 2014. We will find a mutually convenient time
-    willing to pose in a bikini (ladies)/boxer briefs (dudes), or neutral-colored skin tight clothing
-    willing to agree to the following model release
-    able to travel to Belmont, CA

If you’re interested, please send in two pictures of yourself (or your applying child):
-    One showing your face clearly. Think something you’d use for your profile image
-    The other showing your face illustrating any one of the following emotions. Feel free to choose any one.
   -   surprise
   -   anger
   -   pure joy

Don’t worry about sending me anything fancy. A picture from your phone will do. Submit your photos via email.


All submissions must come in by 9pm PST July 6th.

I’m excited!
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Menlo Park, CA Family & Child Photographer: A photo web

Working in photography is a little bit like working in a spider web. So many connections and great ways to meet new people (without the being eaten part). Meeting this family came to me as one such connection. Over the past several years I have been working with a family with two boys (close to my own boys' age). As a gift for the mom's birthday, her father in law purchased a gift certificate -- something he knew she'd enjoy. Yet, he didn't stop there. Having seen her portraits, he decided to give the gift of memories for another family, and gifted another certificate to these guys right as they met their baby girl. We used that certificate for her first birthday portraits.

We happened to schedule our portrait session on what has probably been our hottest day this summer. I got out of my nicely air-conditioned car out into a wave of heat. Meanwhile, these guys were enjoying the afternoon on a parachute blanket in the park. They were so fun to photograph! And little H is taking her first steps. I love being able to photograph those first attempts. Capturing firsts is one of my favorite things.

Enjoy their family portraits!

Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography
Menlo Park child & family photography

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Zemya Photography specializes in on-location, natural light, lifestyle family, maternity, newborn, baby, child and couples portrait photography, serving Belmont, San Carlos, San Mateo, Redwood City, Los Altos, Palo Alto and the greater California Bay Area.

Copyright 2014 Ava Hristova & Zemya Photography