Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Belmont, CA Family Photographer: Growing up before my eyes

Although I know it shouldn't surprise me, I am always blown away by how much children change in the span in a short period of time. In six months you have almost an entirely different person.

My life is an adult isn't that different over that time but for a newborn? The last time I photographed these guys they were snuggling brand new Miss E in her nursery. Today, she is smiling,  and just about sitting up all on her own. Incredible! Big brother Q is so much more talkative now too: he's growing up tons too. He talks about his pre-school and is becoming such a big boy.

We photographed our mini session at the entrance-way of Belmont's NDNU. I love how versatile the little area around the small theater is. The Taub Center itself is so remarkably pretty: I love the symmetry, colors, and classic details. Q got a kick of counting all the bird carvings decorating the front archway. You'll see more views of this location over the coming weeks -- and I've been really enjoying this spot.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

San Mateo, CA Family Photographer: A little change of pace

One of my favorite lifestyle sessions this year was with photographing this family. We had a great time, at their home. E was just a little shy of being 1, and a crawling machine we worked hard to keep on the bed.

E is now a year and a half. We met for a mini session on the Bay Trails of San Mateo and a little change of pace. We've had a pretty dry year here in California, and I feel like our version of fall foliage is a ways off, if it even happens this year. In lieu of golden leaves, we get some golden grass fields. I don't mind. That earthy look works perfectly.

E was joined by her older furry sister, Belle. I've photographed a few pooches this fall season and have been striving to get a puppy portrait too. Between the birds, other dogs and even jack rabbit that crossed our path the morning we met, there was no way we could let the leash go even for a second with this pup.


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
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Belmont, CA Family Photographer: Those eyes

Look at these ladies growing up. A year ago, little M was just a year old. We celebrated her first birthday with a fluffy, big tutu and balloons. This year I have two lovely and lively girls with eye-lashes that go on forever. I mean.... look at these eyes. Not one, but both of these sisters played the "born with it" lottery and scored big time. Next time I photograph these two, I'm envisioning lots of mega close-ups.

I want to give myself a little pat on the back for this session. it had been a little while since I'd photographed this family, and with an afternoon session E was not quite up for it. Understandable: a stranger points a big ole lens in your direction when you just want to go back to your toys.... I wouldn't be up for it either. So think opposite of "camera hog" :) But you know what? Being patient with her, being silly for her and letting her come out of her shell and play on her own time paid off.

I'm also going to give kudos to Mom and Dad for not getting frustrated and instead letting things take their natural progression. I know with a mini session that is tough: it feels like there's not enough time to let kiddos come around, but really no-one wants to be forced to do anything. This is true for kids and adults, so being patient and letting things come as they will is the best approach. I ask my parents to be ready to be silly for their kiddos (and me), but also to be patient with them. Kids have their own minds, and needs, and moods. If we could control all of these things, life wouldn't be as exciting. You don't need to impress me with your parenting skills. I have my own two will-full monkeys. I get it :) Photo sessions with toddlers can be exhausting. But you know what? It also produces some incredible portraits too of kids just being themselves. So be patient, and have fun... even if it's fun without them. That's when they'll want to join.

Oh -- my winning image for my session with these guys? The sister hug. It was all worth-while for this.


Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Thursday, October 16, 2014

Belmont, CA Family Photographer: Beep beep!

Hey, remember the road runner? You know: tail feathers; cute; runs fast... has a coyote chasing him and goes "Beep beep". Well, this little guy was definitely channeling the road runner the evening we met. He was fast and energetic, and everything you expect a 2 yr old little toddler man to be. I wish I could tell you I was channeling the coyote, but my anvil delivery didn't come in time.
We still captured some really fun portraits for these guys, and took advantage of the set Belmont's Elevator Trail had for us to keep N occupied just enough to snag a few pictures before he was off running and jumping all over again.

R's request when we talked over the phone was that we capture a lot of family portraits. I can get behind this 100%! I love how essential camera phones have become in documenting and photographing the every day. I rely on mine so much. Yet what I see in my photos at the end of the day, is that someone in our family is usually missing -- the person taking the picture. As those snapshots document what we observe, they fail to capture the full family participation. So I love having the opportunity to focus on getting the parents in every picture and photograph a little bit of playtime too.

Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Belmont child & family photography
Monday, September 22, 2014

San Mateo, CA Family Photographer: Sorry I'm not sorry!

It's remarkable to think back and remember that these guys are the very first family I ever photographed. I almost want to link you to that first session with them, but looking back on my work I'm almost a little embarrassed to do so. You see, just as these kids have grown in the past five years so has my photography. So if you're dedicated enough, go back and see for yourself :)

They help to make kick off my mini session season this year. We met on the quiet campus of San Mateo Adult School and took advantage of the totally rad architecture of the grounds and the freedom to run loose on an empty week-end campus.

M and J asked for some photographs alone from our session. I was happy to oblige, and honestly, (since them) am making more of an effort to get some photographs of just the adults together. This works when you have older kids, that can self-entertain (or watch out for one another) for the 3 minutes we take for just mom & dad. I mean the last time (most of us) got photographed sans kids was at our weddings. Sure there are the party/restaurant selfies and all that, but those don't really turn out frame-quality too often, right? So, if you and your other-half would like a couple's portrait to round out your family and child photographs, let me know. I might nudge you into it too ;p

After I presented M the portraits from our session, she told me she had a problem: there were too many she liked. Also too many different photos the grandparents liked. This is one of the few times I take pleasure in saying "Sorry, I'm not sorry!" It's simply a problem I strive for all of you to have.

San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
San Mateo family photography
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

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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