Monday, November 29, 2010

Falen's Two-year Portraits: Fun in the Forest!

After shooting his Mom and Dad's wedding, I was honored to capture Falen's transition to being a two year-old with this fun session at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.  Falen (that's said with a short "a," as in apple) was full of energy and wonder that morning- two qualities that make for GREAT photos in a beautiful landscape like this one.  The lush forest provided a perfect cover from the very windy day that raged just outside the trees.  The only hint of how chilly it was might be in those adorable green gloves he's wearing...

 For those of you who live in Western Washington, you should know that Point Defiance Park is the ultimate wilderness playground.  What you're seeing isn't limited to a small area- it covers miles of beautiful coastline and is free to the public.  All we had to do is start walking  and we found plenty along the way to keep any little boy entertained for hours.  I always feel like I'm in Jurassic Park when I come here.  :)  Of course, we weren't totally roughing it, so Falen had time to catch up on some important calls...

Love that confident little stride!  He was having a ball and I was glad- fun always shows through in the photos.  :)

No adventure would be complete without a good pair of shoes to get dirty...

I was so grateful to get these last two shots (above and below).  The top one was candid; he was handing his Mom her cell phone and I caught him in a moment of patient waiting (which doesn't happen too often with a toddler, I hear).  The one below was the most traditional, and the only formal posed shot we did.  Sometimes, as a photographer, I worry that this type of shot will turn out stale, but with a little guy like Falen in front of the camera, I'm pretty sure that would be impossible.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Day with the Audets: Portraits on the Waterfront

One of the most challenging aspects of being a photographer in Western Washington is our rapidly changing weather.  Last month, the Audet family and I braved a potentially rainy Saturday for a chance at some much-anticipated family portraits.  Luckily for us, the day turned out beautifully- and here are the photos to prove it!

We met at Marine Park off Ruston Way in Tacoma and set about finding a dry spot to begin.  The two youngest Audets were in fine form and full energy, so we were able to use the natural landscapes of the park (along with a fun fish sculpture) to turn our portrait session into playtime!

This next set just cracks me up.  Sometimes I wish I could step into that imaginary world children find so entertaining.  I guess I had my turn once, and now I just take pictures of it from the outside.  Well, that's better than nothing, right?  :)

After about an hour of shooting, the sun broke through the clouds and lit everything up.  It's amazing how the light can change the mood of a shoot entirely.  We all really perked up once those clouds burned off!

I was delighted to capture these pictures of Debbie and Andrew in between more formal shots.  Even if only for a few moments, this little ball of energy calmed down enough to give his mama some sweet little kisses.  Precious!

As is usually the case, our session ended right about the same time that the kids started going a little stir-crazy.    Thankfully, it was not before I was able to nab some lovely shots on the big grassy hill overlooking the Port of Tacoma.  Many thanks to the Audets for their flexibility and playfulness.  What a great day we had!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Drew's 9-Month Shoot

Most of you will recognize this little cutie by now- I've been taking pictures of Drew every three months since he was 5 days old, and he never fails to impress me with how he's grown!  This time was a little different, though...

Instead of our standard portraits, we dressed Drew up a bit and brought in some fun props!  Take a look below and enjoy some of the adorable and comical shots that resulted.  (By the way, we did all of this with indoor lighting and a white sheet.  I can only imagine what I could do with a studio!)

It's amazing how valuable one simple prop can be; I will never again underestimate the usefulness of a box!  (Keeps a squirmy baby contained and looks cute to boot!)

Drew made a very cute teddy bear, and he didn't even complain too much about all of the outfit changes!

Since there wasn't any candy in the bag, Drew decided to munch on fabric leaves and the edge of the box instead.  Yummy!

We topped off the shoot with some good old fashioned family-photo fun.  What do you do when your little subject is fussing and just wants to be done with his photo session?  Well, tickle him, of course, and have the camera ready!

Thanks once again for looking at my photos, everyone, and check back next week (I hope) for some more photos.  I'll be posting selected shots from our wonderful outdoor session with the Audet family- including lots of pictures of their two adorable little ones.  I'm predicting a good batch!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Chambers Bay with the Cowans, Part II

For those of you who have visited my official website (, you may recognize the photogenic family below. This year, I had the opportunity to spend another afternoon with the Cowans down at the Chambers Bay Golf course and walking trails for some enchanted sunset shooting.  We tried to keep certain themes consistent from their 2009 portraits, but with a new bridge and beach access, we knew we would have the pleasure of introducing some new elements as well.  Here are just a few highlights from our session.  Enjoy!

Although we did several formal family portraits, this one remains my personal favorite.  It started out as an outtake, but I think it captures each member of the family so uniquely.

A bridge overlooking the Puget Sound at sunset is sure to be a winner, and I was glad it didn't disappoint!

Thanks for looking, and be sure to check back in a few weeks for a sneak peek of little Drew's 9 month portraits!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Kinetic Composition: Grandma's Printing Drawer

As I've mentioned before, we just moved into a new apartment this month.  What I may not have mentioned is that this has been the third move we've made in two years.  It makes me tired just typing that!  One of the rituals of unpacking and settling in that has come to mean a lot to me is putting together my Grandmother's printing drawer.  It's usually saved for the second or third week, once I've had a little peace and am ready to make whatever new place we're in into our new home.  It's perhaps my favorite part of unpacking, and it starts with this:

Next, I open a small box packed with bubble-wrapped miniatures, stones, bells, collectibles, toys, buttons, etc. and start looking for that perfect place...

I decided the first time that I arranged all of the little knick-knacks and mementos into their respective cubbies that I would keep a few placements as constant as possible.  I think back to the years when this drawer hung quietly in my grandmother's hallway in Temecula.  I try to conjure up the image of it then, and I do my best to mimic it here in my own hallway, hundreds of miles from its home.  It's a tradition that employs my photographic eye in a very kinetic way.  Instead of composing a scene through my lens and accepting all the little details I am presented with, I create the scene myself.  I build this "shot" from the basics on up, adding a complementary shape here, accenting a dominant color there.  Some corners tell stories, others are puns.  Some are tiny homages to my grandmother, my grandfather, my husband, my son.  There's a geometric challenge that I always enjoy; some objects can only fit in one particular spot, others migrate across the drawer with each successive apartment.

Before long, the printing drawer is pure nostalgia.  I can't help imagining my grandmother putting each piece carefully in its place.  I wonder to myself if she would like the way I do it, if she would approve of the placements, and of my little additions to her collection.  I wish that I had had the sense to ask her the stories behind the pieces when I was younger.  Some are easy enough to guess, but others are a mystery.  The little tools, for example, are fully functional.  I know my grandfather made clocks in his spare time, and I picture him hunched over his desk in the garage, prying little bolts with a wrench the size of his pinky finger.  The little batteries or gum boxes make me wonder if my grandma just plunked things into the squares to fill space at first.  Perhaps she would laugh to see that I've kept them in there- treating them with the same reverence as her ivory elephant pendant or little porcelain teacup.

The beauty of a photograph is that it has the potential to document and influence.  A photograph may be objective in a court of law, but it's subjective just about anywhere else.  Start looking at each individual piece of the image and soon enough, your mind will have wandered far beyond the edges of the picture.  Maybe that's why I love my Grandma's printing drawer so much...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Finally! Milo gets a REAL Photoshoot! (Part 2)

All right, I know I said I would get these next photos up within the week, but I underestimated how busy I would be with moving, I suppose!

Daniel and I were so happy with the way Milo's portraits with me turned out  that we decided to do some "Milo and Daddy" portraits the very next day.  The shoot took place later in the day, nearer to sunset, and the light was decidedly warmer and creamier, which I appreciated from an editing standpoint.  Some of these shots are just so sweet and tender that I keep looking at them over and over, while others make me chuckle aloud.  What an expressive little boy we have!

If you can't tell, Milo is teething.  It's not too bad most days, but he is becoming quite the little drooler.  Thankfully, pretty much anything- including a generous stream of saliva- looks good on babies.


I must take a moment to mention the adorable diaper Milo is wearing.  I've photographed babies in disposables and I find myself constantly having to avoid getting the diaper in the shots; they just look, well, like something you're going to throw into the trash in a few hours.  Photos of babies in cloth diapers, whether like Milo's Fuzzibunz shown here, or just in cloth prefolds, look so much simpler and more comfortable.  That being said, I would be more than happy to bring along a prefold and a cover for your baby to model if you'd like a more classic look for your little one's portraits!

As you can see, Milo was in fine form for our portrait session, and he sure seems to enjoy being photographed, which is a good thing since he's got me for a Mom.  :)

Coming Soon:
This week, we'll be shooting a family portrait session for our very good friends, the Cowan family!  We'll be revisiting the Chambers Bay walking trails, and hoping for a beautiful sunset like last year.  Stay tuned for a sneak peek late next week.