What gift should I get? That is the question I am faced with every holiday season and gift giving occasion for my family and friends. Yeah, I keep a list, as throughout the year I get ideas, but even then, some people are harder to shop for than others. What do you get the person that has everything? Or the person that is always so particular?
The type of gift, however, I have never regretted giving (or receiving) is that of experience. An experience that I can build memories around.
P and her sisters decided to give their mom this gift of memories and they booked an extended family photography session with me. We waited until her niece was back in the Bay Area, on break from college. Three generations, and 4 families. It was my last session of 2014, and a fantastic way to close out the year. They all came with their families and we had such a great afternoon together. The weather was beautiful, and surprisingly warm for December, and we had an fun time exploring the College of San Mateo campus together.
P and I met earlier in the fall for her own family mini-session. She, her husband and son have such a great sense of humor. They were so at ease with each other, and me, and we got some great photographs that day. It was wonderful to see that sense of ease and sense of humor extend itself through her sisters and their families too. Some of my favorite images from that evening are of the three sisters together. I love seeing those family bonds, and I find P so fortunate to have such a great family that is so close.
Therre was a point in time where photographing large family groups really intimidated me. And it’s been awhile since I’ve done a large family portrait session. I don’t know what’s changed with time, but doing this felt so natural to me. It was wonderful to see a big family come together for something like this, and I’m eager to do more sessions like this.
Drew is the talent behind Andrew Sherman Photography, based out of Belmont (just like me). He and I met at a photography class a few years back and stayed in touch, forming a small critique group and working on a few playful projects together. If you ran into a couple of “kids” playing with their off-camera flash setup in the underpass of the San Carlos train tracks: that was probably us.
Drew and his lovely wife, D had been expecting this little man for quite awhile. Drew mentioned to me some time ago that he would like for me to photograph his son’s newborn session, and I had been waiting patiently since to make it a reality. It was worth the wait.
I won’t lie: working with another photographer is a bit intimidating. I don’t know if other professional photographers feel the same way. While we learn a lot from one another, it feels a little scary to step in as the one working in professional capacity. Sure we’ve modeled for one another before, but this was different. Turns out the anxiety leading up to the session dissipated the moment I rang their doorbell. Then they were just a set of friends, greeting their new baby, and I was there to document those moments.
Now, one neat aspect to working for another photographer is that Drew knew exactly what I would need the day of our session. He could see the best light, and get things ready for that space. He also brought out his reflector for me, and acted as my human stand for it. I never thought I’d say this, but I really, really liked having a reflector around. Yes, I work with natural light, but at-home sessions tend to be a different animal because (unless I know that home already), it’s a bit of a dice game on how much light will be available for me that day. Since that experience, I’ve decided that, going forward, a reflector will be one of the items I will bring for my newborn sessions. While I won’t use it much for the larger family portraits, a welcome hand by Mom or Dad will be great for those kiddo close-ups, when having as much light as possible is always welcome.
Little M comes into a home, already occupied by a furry kid named Rufus. Rufus was a very protective family member, and really needed to make sure I was treating his younger brother well. Good boy, Rufus! Drew and D mentioned that each time Rufus comes into a room he checks on M by peeking up in his crib. I was really, really happy to get a chance to capture that — it’s those moments that make newborn photography so endearing.
Congratulations guys! And Welcome to your little man.
I am incredibly, incredibly excited to announce today that I’m one of 35 photographers nominated for 2015 Bay Area Best Children’s Photographer. This list is compiled by SF Bay Area City Voter. It is your input and your votes that have brought me here, and it means a lot. Thank you!
If you would like to vote for me, I would really appreciate it. Follow this link: http://sf.cityvoter.com/zemya-photography/biz/693223, and cast your vote. If you’re not already a member of Cityvoter you will need to create an account, but registering is remarkably easy, and you can sign up using your Facebook, Google, Twitter or Yahoo! account. It takes a click.
Thank you for your support, your faith in me, and your appreciation. Regardless of where I place in the end, I KNOW I have the best clients who think I’m the best.
When C and her family arrived for our mini session, D was in a super shy and clingy mood. Ok, 4 year old; hasn’t seen me in awhile — totally normal. But I gotta say, I was pretty thrilled over how quickly he got over his timidness. This kiddo went from hiding behind Daddy and clinging to his leg to making silly faces at me and begging for me to take more pictures of him by the end. It was awesome! Thanx Mom and Dad for going with the flow and helping work this out.
This session took place on the campus of San Jose City College. It was my second of three sessions, on the morning of what started off as a terribly rainy day. While I hid under overhangs with my first family of the day, the sky cleared up by the time these guys arrived. It was remarkable! The rain reprieve gave us the ability to explore more of the campus grounds and take advantage of it’s beautiful color and textures. Not only did we get awesome vibrance from the architecture, but the trees greeted us with gorgeous foliage, complementing fall mini session season: in short, a dream for this Bay Area photographer Now that I think about it, amazing colors seem to follow this family when they appear in front of my lens. I’ll take it! Bright colors make me happy and go hand-in-hand with child photography.
If this family seems familiar to you, they should. I followed them last year through C’s pregnancy, E’s birth, and following newborn session. That first year of life? Man, it goes by quick, and so much changes. From a squishy, tiny baby to a kid that crawls, and has a personality all of his own: it’s pretty incredible humans do this, right?
Enjoy their photos!
Ok, picture this: a woman, walking alone in the dark, through an open field, with a flash-light, frantically searching the ground for something lost. Yep! That was me. And I lived one of my professional photographer fears that evening: losing my client’s photos.
I had an awesome, fun, incredible family portrait session with these guys. I’ll get into this more shortly. Apparently the “fun” didn’t end when I drove away from Los Altos’ Hidden Villa. No! On a hunch, I decided to pull over, and account for the cards I had used during that evening’s appointment. During a regular portrait session, I usually shoot through one card, and start-up a second. My second was safely in my camera still. But the first??? Missing! Mistake number one: I didn’t take a mental note of which card I had used. I number all of my cards, partly for this reason, but in the excitement of everything, I spaced. I pulled out my cards and started looking. The first was no-where to be found! 95% of the photos from that evening were on that card. We had such a fantastic evening, that these were images we simply couldn’t just-recreate. It couldn’t have been lost!!! Plus holidays were getting nearer, both of our calendars were already jam-packed, I couldn’t just try to re-shoot. So back to the property I went. It was past closing. Since our appointment was in the evening, the sun had already set and it was getting darker by the second. I searched all around where I had parked. I walked into the field and proceeded to walk, scouring the ground in front of me. Let me tell you now that I’m afraid of the dark. Most everyone had left the property already, so I was more or less completely alone, as far as I could tell. Oh… and there’s no phone reception there, so my thoughts of the start of a horror movie were only impeded by how mad and upset I was over this missing card.
After about 20 minutes of doing this pacing, I gave up. I went back to my car, and on a whim decided to do one last check inside my car. I guess some angel had decided to help me out that night, because hidden under my center console, my lost flash card re-appeared. I guess when I had pulled out everything to look for it, it slipped in there. Yes, I rejoiced! Yes, I went home happy… for so many reasons. And I didn’t have to tell a client that I lost their portraits.
I really didn’t want to have lost these images, because we really, really had a great evening. I heard laughter throughout our time together, and hopefully you’ll see that in these portraits. The kids were fun, and silly, and Mom and Dad got in the grove of that silliness with them. It was perfect!
In the five years I’ve been a Bay Area photographer this had never happened to me. I know, there’s a first time for everything, and it worked out fine in the end. Just not an experience I care to repeat again