This past fall, when I last photographed E and Q, E was just getting the hang of sitting up on her own. We propped her back as best we could, and Mom stood by, just off the side of my frame, ready to catch a wobbling baby. She’s moving so fast now, crawling up a storm and taking her first supported steps. We met for this portrait session at the end of January, so I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s walking all on her own now too. I find it wonderful to see how a family portrait changes over time as more and more little feet get added to the frame. I’m pretty sure I have a photo of big brother Q walking in between his Mama and Dad at this age. Now as his little sister does the same, where in the past we had the serenity of landscaping in the background, I see the silhouettes of the other little people in the family. I love seeing that! Each new person adds a wonderful, hectic, unpredictability which makes these family portraits so much more special and vibrant. Each family brings their own unique dynamic to our session, which coupled with time makes each time we meet different. It’s pretty awesome!
College of San Mateo was our backdrop for this last meeting. It gave us a great space for E to crawl around and Q to hide in the tall grasses with me. Plus benches! Who’d thunk that flat, stone benches would be that much fun to run around on. Well… other than toddlers As a child photographer it’s amusing for me to see kids embrace the most common of objects and make them their own. Really — this job is a wonder!
In a few months I get to meet these guys again. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be like and up to then.
Little E has been one very awaited little man. He took his sweet time to make his appearance, to a point I was proposing rescheduling his newborn photography photo shoot. I usually schedule my newborn sessions at least a few weeks past a due date, but he had us going all the way to the wire. S had gotten to a point where her identity had become “the pregnant lady”. Eh — worthy title for the mama of such a cute nugget. And he really IS adorable.
S, M and (now) E live in Portola Valley. For those of you not quite familiar with the Bay Area — it neighbors Palo Alto on the Peninsula. I’ve never ventured on that side of 280 (except for the one time I got lost!), and my jaw I’m pretty sure was agape all the way to their front door. It’s seriously a slice of heaven. I drove by beautiful roads, with rustic fences, amazing landscaping: from the well manicured to the forgotten tall grasses and early flowers. It’s a photographer’s dream, and I imagined myself trespassing on SO many properties ;p I’m really going to invest some time in finding some public spaces out here because it was seriously beautiful. Oh — and there was the lady I drove past who was taking her horse on a morning ride. S, if you lived closer, I’d volunteer to bring you groceries just so I can drive through your neighborhood, more often! As I said: heaven!
When I arrived E was napping happily in his swing. As much as I hate to bother a newborn baby during his slumber, I had to grab some photos of E in his amazing nursery. It’s beautiful, and cozy, and perfect! And those Darth Vader throw pillows really show you the sense of style and humor he’ll grow around.
E joins a home already occupied by two four-legged siblings. Jub-jub and Maggie were very eager to join us for pictures. Usually cats are so indifferent to me that I struggle to get them involved. Not so that day: the two were eager to make their household presence known and documented. Actually while I was trying to get some solo portaits of little E, Jub-jub planted himself square behind his younger brother and refused to move. He NEEDED to be in the photos. It’s all good: typically I deal with toddler siblings. I can handle a protective older-brother cat
Welcome, E! Congrats S and M! I’m very, very excited for you. E is lucky to have you as parents, and I’m lucky to be invited to document these moments with you. I hope to see you grow.
I sang this song to our littlest almost nightly. I still do, upon request, to my boys. So this pillow gives me the feels.
Jennifer drew this picture for S: her Fairy godmother. It’s hanging in the nursery, where S gets to gaze at is as she rocks little E. It’s incredibly special, and I’m so glad Jennifer gave her this amazing gift.
Are we having a chilly winter or what? I woke up early for this big family portraits session in Cupertino, defrosted my window (yes, it was frozen!), and drove past the frost-covered grass fields of my local Belmont parks. I was greated by a fantastic sunrise, though, as I drove to Cupertino’s De Anza college. I wore two pairs of socks on top of one another, along with my Beartrap fuzzy boots, a shirt under a sweater, a scarf, and a warm jacket with my gloves and I was STILL cold. Yep, an outdoor session seemed like a great idea at the time when we booked this morning… I guess we just weren’t expecting the 34 degree weather. I guess it was apt that little D wanted to play “Freeze!” with his super powers.
I guess this weather is just a preview of what C and her family are about to encounter. They’re moving to upstate New York. It’s cold there. COLD! 34 is maybe the high of what they get this time of year. I’ll miss her a ton, but I know that pales in comparison to how much her mom, grandma and brothers will miss them. They’re so close… which is a big inspiration for us meeting today. With the impending move it felt right to do a session with everyone. I’m really thrilled that C’s grandma participated too. We covered 4 generations of this beautiful family. I still can’t get over the incredible smiles of C and her brothers. I photographed those smiles a few years back at the Stanford campus, and they still remain beautiful.
I’ll miss you, C! Visit often. Please!!!
Oh — I kind of had to include this one for you guys too: remember how I said D was playing a “Freeze!” game? Well, he was not only trying out his super powers on me, but he was “helping” me with his mom and uncles by getting them to freeze too. He’s good at it, let me tell ya!
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.