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Monday, April 3, 2017

My Outdoor/ Indoor shoot with the Medawars! ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Before spring had even sprung this year, I had the opportunity to do a family shoot for my friends, the Medawars.  Though I didn't know it at the time, this session would go down in the history books of my photographic career as one of the most potentially disastrous, with (thankfully) a wonderful finished product. With high hopes, umbrellas, and wardrobe change options, we planned their session for a weekend day with a reasonable-looking weather forecast and hoped for the best.  As many of you know, I shoot outdoors for almost all types of sessions- even in winter.  I will admit that that's even a point of pride for me.  But on this particular day, my resolve (and theirs) was about to be tested.

The Medawars had to drive a decent way to get down to the Tacoma area, but when they arrived, the sun was shining and the only hint at what was to come was the persistently cold wind coming in from the Puget sound.  Undeterred, we loaded into the car and drove the quick 5-minute trip to Blueberry Park (one of my favorite locations year-round).  As we got out, I remember saying "Wow, it's getting colder, isn't it?"  About 30 seconds later, rain began to pelt down on us at a 45-degree angle.  I considered getting out the umbrellas that we'd planned to incorporate into the shoot, but the wind was too strong, so I left them.

As the Medawars' son climbed out of the car about a minute later and commented on the cold, we grown-ups tried to reassure him that once we got moving, we would hardly notice the bad weather.  It was about this time that the rain turned into snow, and then hail.  The changes in the weather were so fast and so detrimental to our cause that it was almost comical.  Almost, but not quite.  At that point, we all wanted to be done with the session (which is not so good when it hasn't even begun yet), so we walked through a small forested area to get to the clearing where we'd be doing most of our shoot.

As the junior verbal member of our expedition, the Medawar's son again stated the obvious fact that this weather was terrible.  I think it went something like, "Daddy!  It's TOOOOO COOOOOOLD!  I wanna go hooooome!"  I have to hand it to his Dad, though.  He put forward the best effort I've yet seen of turning a Pacific-Northwest "sleet-blizzard" into a hot day at the beach- all with the power of imagination.  Their son, bless his heart, was doing an amazing job of playing along.  He imagined the bitter cold was actually warmth, and the blustery wind was actually crashing waves.

But everyone has a breaking point.

Needless to say, I am amazed that we even got the two pictures we did (see below) before they, out of an understandable concern for their children's fingers and toes, asked me if we could just leave the park and try something indoors.  I wasn't about to argue with them.  Even my stubborn photographer's optimism was waning, and no Photoshop editing can turn a frozen and tear-stained grimace into a smile.  So, for the first time in the history of my photographic career, we stopped the session and went home.  To be honest, it felt so good getting back into the car.  We had been at the park for an admittedly miserable 10 minutes...






Once we had come to our senses and our eyes, noses, and fingers were thawing out on the drive home, I began to formulate plan B.  Though I haven't done it for a family shoot in years, I pulled out my backdrop stands and backdrops, along with my photo lights, and started setting up a portrait studio in my living room.  (The blessing, of course, was that the weather conditions in my living room were much more controlled than the craziness outside.)

The rest, as you can see below, turned out swimmingly.  We had warm, serene, and sweet family photos with happy children and parents, and not a single incidence of frostbite!  The real kicker was that about an hour later, the sun came out, the wind stopped, the sky was blue, and it looked like June outside.  All I could do was shake my head.  I guess the Medawars were meant to have a mostly-indoor session!  And considering how our shoot began, I was beyond grateful for the way it all turned out!  Take a look through the photos below and see for yourself.  It's *almost* like we planned it this way!  ;)

Look  at these two!  Quite the dynamic little duo.  :)



I just love that Mother-Daughter tenderness.






So there you have it, dear readers!  We started out with lemons and came out with lemonade.  Let's hope I never misjudge the bad-weather risk so completely again!  I want to extend a big thank you to the Medawar family for being so flexible and good-natured, and for being such an adorable family for me to photograph!

Until next time,
~ Kathryn

Saturday, February 18, 2017

STILL Keeping up with the Joneses ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Last year, you may remember that I shared with you all a photo shoot I did waaaay out in Fort Collins, Colorado for my brother and his beautiful family.  Well, they must have liked my work, because they asked me to do another shoot for them!  And of course, I was eager to do it.  How could I resist another chance to photograph a beautiful family, whom I love, in a picturesque location- which also happens to be right in their backyard?

Because of the shortened days of winter, we started our session racing against the setting sun.  We did get some lovely shots while the sun was still above the horizon; in the first few photos you can see that golden sunlight just lighting up the whole sky.  And for the shots that took place after sunset, we caught the blues and pinks and purples that followed.  They made a really nice frame for my subjects!

All the locations you see in the photos are in a protected wilderness area right behind my brother's house, which means that I didn't have to worry about random structures or vehicles or roads ending up in the background of their photos.  We also didn't see any other humans along the entire route.  By the time the light ran out, we were almost frozen anyway, and their dog had decided to take off into a lake after some wildlife.  It was quite the exciting end to an otherwise peaceful photo session.  Amusingly, their dog ran right through the corner of the frame as I was taking some of the last shots, so we have photo proof of her misbehavior!


Cutest little nephew award!  :)

He did that "Mr. Cool" pose all by himself.  No prompting needed!


What a beautiful family!




Excellent choice on the leg, Sarah!  ;)

Here it is!  The moment she made that fateful choice to run into the lake, while her owners were yet unaware!

This was one of the best smiles of the session.  I believe his Daddy was asking him which flavor of ice cream he wanted when they got home.


We took the opportunity to do a little baby #2 announcement photo during our session, too!

I'll end with this adorable mother-and-son shot.  So sweet.  :)

Well, thanks for looking, everybody!  Stay tuned for more photos from my Colorado trip in a few weeks, and stay warm out there!

~ Kathryn

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Waiting for Baby: Yadon Maternity Shoot ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Around Thanksgiving time, 2016, I had the unique opportunity to do three photo shoots in the span of one week- all while on vacation in Northern Colorado.  It may sound stressful, but really, it was a fun challenge.  One of those three shoots was a maternity mini session for the Yadon family- an adorable couple about to welcome their first child into the world.

Maternity shoots are always a good time, because we're all very clear about the reason for the excitement that's being documented.  Mom and Dad are feeling a lot of lovey feelings for each other, Mom is glowing, and there's an underlying anticipation that permeates every shot.  We all know that something amazing is going to happen in the next few weeks, but the details remain a mystery.  And I get to capture all of those feelings on "film!"  It's quite an honor.

On this particular day, it was bitterly cold (says this maritime climate gal) and the wind made our ears numb by about five minutes into the shoot.  Thankfully, my shutter finger still worked.  We chose a rustic little location called Jessup Farm and found a few well-positioned barn doors and brick walls to use as our backdrops.  The Yadons were great sports- going along with all my ideas and bringing changes of clothes, a few perfect little props, and willing (if frozen) smiles.  I could not have asked for more!

Scroll down and check out these two lovebirds at less than a month out from meeting their baby!  (Click on a photo to view it larger.)









By now, of course, their adorable baby girl has made her appearance!  If the love between her Mom and Dad in these photos is any indication, I'm going to say that she is one lucky little lady.  And hopefully, she'll be very well documented!

Stay tuned for more Colorado shoots!
~ Kathryn

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Newborn Days with the Callahan Family ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Last month I had the opportunity to work with new clients, which is always exciting!  The Callahan Family had just welcomed their first child, a sweet little boy, but they wanted something a little different from the typical newborn shoot.  I suggested we take a cue from photojournalists and try what is sometimes called lifestyle photography, in the form of a combination Newborn/ Family photo shoot in the comfort of their own home.  As the days got closer to our session, I was super excited!  Planning out a photo shoot "shot-for-shot" (as I usually do) offers me a greater sense of confidence and control going into the shoot, but the photo-journalistic approach was really fun, and all the possibilities were definitely exciting.  Plus, there is a sense of familiarity and honesty in the shots that definitely comes through in the finished product.

The newest little Callahan was such a sweetheart during our session- quietly gazing at windows, consenting to lots of changes in position, and enduring many kisses from his doting parents.  He even let me set him up in a little faux-studio shot with some pumpkins, fall foliage, and a vintage wash basin- and fell asleep that way!  Well done, little man!  I will mention that it was just as sweet to see the love his parents have for each other and for him.  I was encouraged as I finished up our shoot, and reminded of the freshness of life with a new baby.  In those first days and weeks, everything is new and real and life-changing.  What an honor for me to be part of it- even if only for a few hours!

As the final piece of the session, we trekked out to their local pumpkin patch and braved the cold wind for a few timely fall-themed photos.  We even got in free to the corn maze!  Their little guy was such a trooper throughout, and we finished our last photo just as the skies broke open and the rain started pelting down (of course, I took a picture even then...).

But enough of my blathering.  You want to see these photos!  Scroll down, take a look, and click on the photo if you want to see it larger.  Enjoy!


The classic baby-in-crib shot.  A good place to start.

For a little comic relief...

His face just strikes me as so friendly.  Like, what a personable little guy!

Oh, the kisses.  So many kisses!


Little man being soothed by his Mama.  Just a little bit of real life.

Baby toes!  I can never pass up an opportunity to focus in on those.

Mom and Dad Callahan celebrated their first anniversary a few days after our shoot, so we included that wedding photo of them in the foreground for a little perspective of what their first year has brought!

You can't tell very much here, but the wind was whipping those corn stalks around like crazy!  This must have been a brief moment of calm.


One of my favorites.  Holding hands, holding their baby.  So in love!

Standing in a field of pumpkins with a baby, laughing at a joke.  Oh the funny things we photographers make people do!

Parting shot.  The rain was coming down hard!


Adorable, am I right?  Now you all want to get in line for lifestyle portrait sessions, right?  ;)

Have a great weekend, folks, and stay tuned for more shoots coming up!

~ Kathryn

Monday, September 26, 2016

Mair's Debut: A Seaside Session ~ Tacoma Family Photographer

Blog friends, I am honored to introduce you to a lovely little lady by the name of Mair.  She wins the award for furthest distance flown (over 4,000 miles!) to have a photo shoot with me, AND the award for best back-story among my photo clients.

You see, this beautiful, thriving toddler pictured below came into the world weighing a mere 1 pound 11 ounces.  My husband and I have been praying for this sweet girl since before she was born, and fervently afterward.  We looked forward to every e-mail update we received about her successes, and we felt the weight of worry when she had setbacks, as so many micro-preemies do.  But God was faithful to Mair, and He brought her through that rocky start with flying colors!  She has been such an encouragement to me, and when her Mama asked me to do a photo shoot for her last month, to say I was honored would be an understatement.

When the day finally came, it was hot and sunny, with clear blue skies, so we chose a seaside park at evening time in the hopes that those factors would counteract the intense heat.  Thankfully (for the most part), they did!  By the time that Mair started to wear down, we had moved down to the shoreline, where the tide was coming in.  As a last resort, her Mama plunked her down right at the water's edge to see what she might do.  Quite surprisingly, she loved it!  She sat there contentedly playing, splashing, and grinning at us as the tide came up and soaked the whole bottom part of her dress.  Even after about 20 minutes, she still hadn't had her fill, and complained loudly as she was removed from the water.  What a funny girl.  :)

I really had such a lovely time photographing Mair, and I still consider it such an honor that I got the chance!  I hope to bring you photos of this sweet little lady for years to come!



She was very focused on her book.  Go Dog Go- of course!

When the puppy's string wouldn't cooperate, she improvised!

That light... that breeze... what a dreamy setting!

Mair's grandparents came along for the shoot, and her grandpa was the only one who could make her smile.  He was also the blessed recipient of this sweet hug!

Pure childlike wonder.  I never get tired of capturing expressions like this!


Isn't her dress adorable?  Yes.  It is.

Grandpa was standing behind me, making her laugh!  AND she did love that water.

By the end, she was one tuckered-out toddler.  Not too tired to flash those beautiful blue eyes, though!

Well, friends- thanks for looking!  Stay tuned for future sessions this fall, and enjoy the last bits of "summer" weather if you're lucky enough to have some!  Until next time...

~ Kathryn