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Photographs are a time machine. They allow us to relive moments and reconnect with children, family and selves from years past.

In the blur of new parenthood, we lose track of just how small a newborn baby's hands were as they wrap around our finger. We forget the wrinkles in their feet. As we get excited about our toddler learning to walk, we quickly move past their bowed legs as they take their first steps. We forget just how round our belly was when we were pregnant. Photographs help bring back those memories. It is why I fell in love with photography.

My favorite images are those that capture the really small gestures: happy or sad -- the way a kid holds a pencil when they draw... the way they look at a leaf in the park... the way they pout. The portraits preserve their appearance and personality, all in one.

I want to document your family's journey, and give you the chance to relive these memories.
I want my portraits to capture you.... being you, being comfortable... being yourselves.

Welcome to Zemya Photography! Thank you for taking the time to visit my site.

--- Ava

Tuesday, November 29 2016

Half Moon Bay Family & Pet Portrait Photographer

Half Moon Bay Family & Pet Portrait Photographer preview photo: 0
Tuesday, October 18 2016

Half Moon Bay Family Portraits: A fall day… in summer

Half Moon Bay Family Portraits: A fall day… in summer preview photo: 0

I only began photographing J and J 3 years ago. We started off with J saying they feel like “Chandlers” when it came to being photographed. To this I say “no way!”, because their smiles are perfect and the time we spend together is always full of jokes and laughter. In the past their doggie, Chloe, had joined us for family portraits. Alas the newness of a beach and the long drive for them meant Chloe got to sit this year out. Chloe is more scared of squirrels than they are of her, so her anxiety was not something we wanted for anyone involved. She got to nap at home while Mom and Dad cuddled on the beach with me. One of the advantages I have of photographing adults is that I can take “holiday card” photos throughout the year. I don’t have to worry about my grown-up subjects changing too much in between. Well, J is maybe an exception — I believe her hair has changed no less than three times since this photo session. We did this family portrait shoot back in August. That August day was colder than any day in recent weeks. I posted a photo of myself on Facebook showing how I dress for a summer beach session in Half Moon Bay: yep, there was a sweater, a fleece jacket and hat involved. I’m amused that doing this shoot in the summer gave us more autumn-appropriate weather/photographs than if I was to do those today. Thanx for another great year, J & J! I’m looking forward to many more!

Sunday, September 18 2016

Half Moon Bay Portrait Photographer: Talent

Half Moon Bay Portrait Photographer: Talent preview photo: 0

I have some remarkably talented friends. A has been creating some marvelous quilts and watching her progress and growth over time has been really inspiring. When she asked if she could incorporate one of her quilts in our portrait session, I thought “Of course!” I encourage the moms and dads to bring special toys their kids are into for our family sessions all the time; the same applies here. Great idea A! A helped me kick off my fall season mini-sessions. We met at Poplar Beach in Half Moon Bay. I’m really digging this spot, because of it’s versatility. I get everything from sandy beaches, to lovely fields. A joined me down on the beach 🙂 On the day of our photo session the sun wasn’t really sure what mood it was in — it flipped between sunny to overcast in a manner of minutes. Sure kept me on my toes! It was a lovely day regardless, which of course meant that lots of people headed to the beach too. I had a hard time finding an empty enough spot so that A’s portraits didn’t feature everyone else on the beach that day. I loved the mood of that day and how different it was over our last session. In our last appointment, I photographed A, and her family. It was great to photograph adults then, but it was awesome to have just some one-on-one time with A too. Thanx A!

Saturday, August 27 2016

San Francisco Family Photographer: Back to the beginning

San Francisco Family Photographer: Back to the beginning preview photo: 0

It was about a bit over a year ago that M reached out to me. She was just getting her photography studio off the ground and was looking to connect with other Peninsula-based photographers. We setup a time to meet in Redwood City in the middle of a week-day, my work got jumbled up and I flaked on her. Hard! I felt terrible. I called her a full hour later apologizing profusely for the jerk that I was. She gave me a second chance, because she’s cool like that! As we got to know each other, M shared a dream with me that she and her husband had always wanted to put down roots and run a small family farm. And now they’re making it happen. They set off to Colorado just a few weeks ago and asked that I photograph them in San Francisco to commemorate the family they formed and grew in the Bay Area. Thanx for choosing ME you guys! Did you know that Friday nights Fort Mason has a huge Off The Grid foot truck setup? I hardly head to SF for dinner these days, so I was pretty stoked that our family portrait session had the promise of a food truck dinner to follow. I’m such a fan! Awesome pizza, yummy bread pudding treat to follow and great company following a memorable and sentimental San Francisco session – I call that winning.

Sunday, August 14 2016

Belmont Family Portrait Photographer: Ow!

Belmont Family Portrait Photographer: Ow! preview photo: 0

For those of you doing family portrait mini sessions in Belmont with me this fall, and took a risk on an unknown location, take note — this spot is gorgeous!!! I LOVED the beautiful, golden light bouncing around this little gem of a spot. I’m super excited to share it with you guys. I arrived to my session early as usual to scope out where we should focus our time. Usually on these walks I don’t take my blankets with me, because it’s easier to move around. When I got back to my car and started pulling everything out, I did something I never have before — slammed the hatchback trunk door straight on my face. Yeah, NOT a smart move! I was teetering my container of blankets on my leg and simply didn’t step far enough away that the door came over the bridge of my nose in full force. I got a cut right away, of course bleeding as hard as can be. I seriously thought I might need stitches… but only AFTER my session, because my clients would be there in 10 minutes. Nothing more awesome than meeting people with blood streaming around your face. Good thing this wasn’t the first time I photographed S’s family — this is generally not the first impression I want to make with a new family with a kid. Luckily by the time they arrived, the bleeding had mostly stopped and wasn’t as noticeable. I had some fun explaining to do for the following week though. I really wanted to come up with a much funner story that didn’t make me sound as ridiculous as the reality of what happened. And… it appears the resulting scar is here to stay. I told the universe it owed me an awesome family portrait session, after the whole nose thing… and it delivered. I had a ton of fun, and really enjoyed photographing their football game toward the end 🙂 I hope you will too!