• follow me on facebook
  • follow me on twitter
  • follow me on pinterest
  • review me on yelp
  • follow me on google+

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

Wednesday, February 3 2016

San Mateo Mini Session Photographer: Lucky

San Mateo Mini Session Photographer: Lucky preview photo: 0

My life is pretty enriched simply by knowing this woman. She’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s ridiculously selfless. Fifteen years ago we met at work, and I’m a better person for having her in my life. In turn, I’d like to think her walls are happier for having ME in her life… because I get to fill them with family photos of her adorable monkeys. We had our mini session in San Mateo, and I’m really glad I got a second chance at this location. Oh, I love the light here. I love it’s surprise of beauty in a really unexpected corner. I love the woods right behind, and am kind of eager to do something with them in the future. What I don’t love are the flies. Yeah… you can’t really see it in their expressions, but on the warm day it was, these little guys were having a party with humans around. Still, I’d love to try it again…. in non-fly season. Then I can avoid editing out flies from the pictures. Ha! At this spot is a shipping storage container. I really wanted to take a photo of little K next to it, but she wasn’t quite as interested in it (as say, for example the hoe left behind by the crew). Her dad decided to come in and help though. This was his pose. Dads: I LOVE your help! Those giggles you see from K in the photo right above it? Daddy help! And no, you can’t hide from me when you do get silly. I love it, and I hope that in about 20 years, seeing this aspect of your personality will make you feel young again, too. Usually I keep these kind of photos for private amusement, but I know B might enjoy seeing this make the blog. Don’t you?

Sunday, January 31 2016

Menlo Park Family Photography: We gotta run for it

Menlo Park Family Photography: We gotta run for it preview photo: 0

M, A and their girls were the last session of the day for my mini Menlo Park family photography sessions last fall. I had it all worked out in my head, and I had the perfect silhouette image in my head that I wanted to capture with them. We started off at the base of the hill photographing for the gorgeous back-lit scenery, taking some adorable portraits for big sister R and little E. I loved even how the sun lowered behind the bush so it poked out just perfectly some some shots of mom and dad. I worked as quickly as I could, keeping a really close eye on the sun the whole time. I really wanted to grab that silhouette of these guys and wanted to do it before the sun set completely. Let me tell you — we cut it close. There was a point in time I pretty much said “Let’s run for it!” Seriously! We ran up a hill, which was truly the fastest way, and these guys were such great sports about it: running in a dress up a hill is doesn’t really make the top 10 list of activities for me on any day. It was worth it though. The clouds were perfect, and the colors brightening the sky by the sunset were awesome. We ended our session and headed right back down the hill. E was holding her dad’s hand as the two carried on ahead of us. While we followed, M told me that it was nice to see E hang out with her dad again. She had a big “No daddy!” phase recently and it was good to see them re-kindle that relationship. Things like that make me put my gear back down and bring the camera back up again. This photo might not look like much, but a girl appreciating her daddy (again) is worth it in my book.

Monday, January 11 2016

San Carlos Child Photographer: A little surprise

San Carlos Child Photographer: A little surprise preview photo: 0

Over a year ago, a friend of G’s reached out to me with a secret surprise gift for G’s baby shower. I was 1) super excited for G’s new adventure, and 2) really impressed that her friend had been paying attention, and wanted to give her the super thoughtful gift of captured memories with a photographer she likes. G’s family welcomed a baby girl! This San Carlos child photographer has been photographing them since their younger guy was barely walking, and it’s great to see their brood grow. Life gets busy. Plus whenever you add a new person into the family it’s a readjustment for everyone. So even though it had been more than a year that we got this gift certificate plan in action, this is the first G had had a chance to use it, and my first time to meet their little girl. Actually, come to think of it, I think I started photographing these guys when their younger guy was the same age as little miss. It’s great to see them grow! If you’re considering getting a gift certificate for a friend, let’s talk about it. Photography is a very personal gift, as each person has a photographic style they prefer. It’s a bit like jewelry — beautiful only in the eye of the beholder. If you’re considering purchasing a gift certificate for one of my past clients, that’s an easy one. If you’re thinking about a certificate for someone I haven’t worked with before, if they’re a fan on Facebook, or have talked to you about me, that helps too. Otherwise, let’s have a conversation and see if I would be the best match. I’m never offended if I’m not (jewelry, remember?), and I’m glad to help recommend another photographer that would be a better fit if need be. Of course, though, I always hope it’s me

Sunday, January 3 2016

Belmont Child Photographer: Bright

Belmont Child Photographer: Bright preview photo: 0

I’m going to let you into the world of child photographers for a minute. There’s a feeling of pure joy, and excitement… not unlike that of a little kid on Christmas day, when the card in your camera contains images that simply make you giddy excited to see in your editing software. Sometimes that’s because the light came through just the right way on the one pose that mattered, sometimes it’s about getting that one pose form your head just right, and sometimes it’s because you managed to capture the natural personalities of your families just the right way. In this session, it was the latter for me, and I reveled at the ease it was to photograph these guys. With that said kids are both a dream and an adventure for child photographers. There’s the magic period of time between 18 months of age and about 3.5-4 years where really no amount of pleading, bargaining or begging works for a photo (even for me), so I go with the flow (i.e. whatever it is THEY want to do). Their spontaneous expressions are theirs alone, and all I can do is leave my ego and self-respect to the side as I turn into the biggest fool I can. Ok, ok — they’re not all THAT tough. Even with these two little brothers we couldn’t quite get a closer, huggy shot I was hoping to try, but as I said — it was a great day, and I loved hanging out with them.

Friday, January 1 2016

Menlo Park Family Photographer: Bad jokes

Menlo Park Family Photographer: Bad jokes preview photo: 0

I really, really thought I would have finished posting all my family photo sessions of 2015 before the turn of the new year. Alas, didn’t happen. But… on the bonus side, I really can’t think of a better way to kick off posts in 2016 than this family photo session in Menlo Park. This session was 200% a blast! Three boys, light saber fights, and bad jokes. I laughed a good way through it, at least. Three boys! I am barely hanging on with two, so these guys have my admiration right there. They’re all a little older since the last time we hung out, and even funner to be around. Being in an open park area certainly helped, because how can you go wrong with a place that provides you with an unlimited number of long, pokey sticks/aka ninja sticks/aka light sabers? They showed me their cool poses, and then while I was trying to take some snuggly poses of just their mom and dad proceeded to have a stick fight. Those smiling faces you see on Mom and Dad’s face? I’d like to tell you that’s the sign of love in many years of marriage. I mean, it probably is, but for sure it’s also the two of them laughing at the epic battle five feet away. I mean being romantic comes so natural when you have a three, five, and seven year old competing for last survivor right behind me, right? Now… let’s talk about my jokes. I think I’m funny. Maybe not so much on the prepped jokes end, though. I was trying to get R to laugh by telling him the classic “Orange/Banana” joke. But I kept messing it up. Yeah, bad jokes. But maybe I was funny simply by how terrible I was at it. Ok, ok, I won’t start a stand up act any time soon.