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Dream a little dream | San Francisco Family Photographer

A few weeks ago, I photographed this lovely single mom and her baby girl Z for a Mother’s Day Portrait Session. She was nominated by a dear client and friend with the email below for this portrait session. Once I read it, how could I not? The adoption journey is not an easy one, specially for a single mom. In our time together, I got to hear her heart-warming story of struggle, love, hope and courage. I was happy to be be able to tell this happy story, and be a small part of S’s journey in creating memories of these new beginnings for her family of two.

S grew up in East Bay with my sister and me. She was in my sister’s grade. She’s a teacher, who then got her masters degree and now teaches teachers how to teach. She really wanted to be a mom so she applied to be a foster mom. A little over a year ago she was called and asked to foster a little girl who had just been born. She dropped everything and took a 2 day old little girl into her life. As of a month or two ago, she’s now officially adopted Z (as a single mom). S is selfless. She has an amazing community supporting her (thankfully!). S is a photographer, too, and I know she would love to opportunity to be photographed by you ! And her baby is SO cute! 🙂

Mother’s Day Portraits

As Mother’s Day is upon us, I thought I would share some recent portraits of family I have been photographing since Jamey was a newborn. After each session, I think the images are my favorites but you can see here through the Chronicles of Jamey why I love them so very much.

After my son entered his teens, I have been conscious about capturing motherhood with not just babies and young mothers. Our tweens, teens and beyond are just as important to document with the bond that connects us to our forever babies. Often, we start out with enthusiasm with the birth of the first born in hiring a photographer or taking photos. And all this time, moms are the unsung heroes who aren’t represented enough in the photos. We are behind the camera and the ones taking the photos. So seriously, get someone to take a photo of you with your kids. Now!

Are you afraid of being in the photos?

Perhaps you are afraid that you don’t look like your younger self.

That you don’t look skinny enough.

That you don’t have anything to wear.

Or you might feel awkward standing and posing in front of the camera.

There are a million reasons you can think of to avoid getting in the pictures.

What are the images of yourself that you see in your mind’s eye? Don’t hold yourself to any ideal of perfectionism. You can be real. You can be yourself. And your kids won’t care if the images will seem photoshopped or not. But, they will care about these images of the real you. The one who shows up for them. The one who holds them (maybe not now with teens but someday they will).

The time is never perfect. But in reality, now is as good as ever.

I hope you can join me in celebrating motherhood with some simple classic portraits with your children. Since it will be a shorter outdoor session it will be best suited for somewhat cooperative models. I want to make images of you being there. Being present. A tangible and special something that will live on forever. A legacy to hold on to.

This mini session will be offered by appointment on May 13th. Please CONTACT ME through the website for details. If your Mother’s Day weekend doesn’t allow time for a session, please contact me about redeeming your gift on another date.

PS. If you have a friend who might be interested, please feel free to share this email. I would also love to do a complimentary session for one mama in the spirit of giving back. If you know of someone who can otherwise not afford a session, please feel free to email me with their story. They need to be able to travel to the location of my choice for this session.

Boy to Man. A metamorphosis on black and white film.

Boyhood on black and white film. As I watched my son transition from boy to man, I wanted to document his metamorphosis. It felt like a good way to cope with the loss I felt watching my baby boy slipping away in front of my eyes with his physically changing body. Through this ongoing series, I want to be able to journey with him and capture this evolution that often evokes undertones of impatience of these in-between years.

This is the result of one roll of black and white Kodak Tri-X film photographed on my Contax 645. The film was processed and scanned by Richard Photo Lab. If you are interested in creating beautiful and timeless art, please contact me through the website.

The Family Narrative Part One

Earlier this month, I was invited to teach at the Family Narrative, a retreat for family photographers in New Orleans. It was my first time teaching a group of talented peers, and it was both humbling and rewarding. Little did I realize that I would walk away feeling inspired by this diverse group of women, who came from all over the country. As self-employed artists we live in our own bubble in spite of our many social media connections. There is no substitute for real life connections, and the boss ladies of TFN created this beautiful, intimate space that successfully filled that void. Thank you Annemie, Meghan, Posy and Kate! Most of us left feeling a renewed sense of belonging, with ideas that we can bring back into our businesses.

I taught a live family session on the streets of New Orleans which was a first for me. Typically when I do family sessions, I tend to plan ahead to ensure a fair amount of success. With children and moving parts, there are always things that happen organically and one has to be ready for it. Despite my type-A leanings, I didn’t have an opportunity to location scout ahead of time. Then, when demo time came, one of the children in the model family turned out to be sick. In so many ways, it was much like the challenges that we as family photographers experience in real life. In that imperfection, there are the make-it-work moments where you go with all of what you have to capture the beauty of the real-life humans in front of you. Ultimately, I love capturing moments – happy or sad – and was grateful for this opportunity to do so. My session was with a lovely local family from New Orleans, the parents and their three children. I am grateful to that family, and to the receptive and engaged attendees of the class. I wanted to give a shout out to Tim Ryugo of Kodak film for sponsoring the film which was also provided to the participants. And a huge thank you to Albany of Richard Film Lab who sponsored the film processing and scans.

The images below were created with a Contax 645 Medium Format Camera and Kodak Portra 160 and 400.

San Francisco Family Session in Oakland

I have given up on blogging and it has been felt sad to not share some of these sessions that I love so much. Here is a family session that I did before my trip to India at the end of last year. I have worked with this amazing family for the past several years and you can see the past sessions here, here, here and here. There is never a dull moment during their session and it has been great to see these little people evolve into bigger people. It can certainly be challenging to keep things fresh with a family one has worked with for a while however there is also a comfort in that relationship which is beyond them being “clients.” Recently, I met with mama to present her their lovely family album that will add to their past collection of yearly ones.

This session was partially photographed on Medium Format Kodak Film on Portra 160.

Medium Format Film Session for a San Francisco Family

Here is a medium format film session that I had to share! For the most part, as a client you might not necessarily care if the session is film or digital. To me as a film lover, there is just something special about photographing thirty-six frames intentionally. Invariably, the image on film wins over the image shot digitally. These images are the result of two rolls of black and white film added to this family’s portrait session. For film geeks, I shot one roll of Tri-X and HP5 that were developed and scanned by Little Film Lab on a Frontier scanner. I will be also sharing the rest of the images shot digitally as I love so many from this session.

This commissioned session started with am email from Louisa stating that she has been following my work for several years, and she wants me to photograph her with her girls. One of the things that was important to her was capturing her older daughter in a surfing environment which dictated the choice of our location of Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz. Now, I am not a sports photographer and it was important to go over limitations of what I could or not do in our time together. Ultimately, this family put their faith in me and I wanted to provide an amazing experience and art for posterity.

Things don’t always go as planned. When I got to the agreed location, the waves weren’t the best for surfing. I improvised. I wanted us to focus on the connection images while we had beautiful light so we drove around and stumbled upon a location which turned out to be the perfect spot for their session. It couldn’t have been planned better! Eventually, we drove back to the original location to get a few surfing photos with the not-so-great waves. It all worked out as we got a diverse mix of portraits, candids and the surfing images that were important to Louisa.

Another consideration for Louisa was creating some amazing black and white wall art for her living room. We had discussed this very early on and it is a very important part of a continued conversation. She also sent me some photos that helped me visualize her space and factor the choice of the black and white film into the art creation. In her proofing session, we have selected four beautiful images that will be printed poster like to grace the space. Currently, I am working on ordering some test prints to ensure that the resulting images are of the highest archival quality.

If you would like to create custom wall art please contact me through the website. I would love to chat with you.

PS. On a side note, I have been nominated by Red Tricycle in the photographer category for San Francisco. Please vote for me if you have a minute by clicking this link. Thank you for your support!

Family and Maternity session at Nestledown

A few family and maternity portraits done during a wedding at the beautiful Nestledown venue in Los Gatos. It certainly was a little crazy trying to capture this cutely dressed little guy during this busy event, following him around guests and the festivities. I was happy to capture a few on my medium format film camera with Kodak Portra 400.

Elise - These are gorgeous Alpana!

High-school Senior Portraits in Chicago | San Francisco Portrait Photographer

Since I haven’t blogged forever, I had a burst of ambition to share a recent urban session with a high-school senior while in Chicago. It is a different kind of session, one that I enjoyed with this young man against the city backdrop. When my photographer friend Dena hired me for these portraits there was that added pressure to deliver something amazing. In today’s increasingly photo-centric world, we have easy access to cameras and photographers which makes it difficult to invest in professional photography. It is not always inexpensive however great photography is worth its weight in gold. It is one of those lifetime investments that you won’t regret unless of course, the photographer and you aren’t a good match.

Also, I know from personal experience that it can be challenging for parents’ (even professionals) to photograph their own older kids. At this age, kids’ don’t necessarily want to be photographed however it is a lot easier to have them follow direction from someone other than their parents!

Here is what my friend Dena had to say, “Fun fact, I was a working photographer before I was a mother, so this was the FIRST time I hired
a photographer for my family. I even shoo’d away the in-hospital newborn ‘photographers’. As much as I have tortured my kids with my camera
over the years I promised each of them I would hire someone else for their high school senior portraits.”

Our session was walking and chatting… a fair amount as it was important to have a relaxed subject in front of my camera. These photographs are a combination of digital and film. The film images were photographed on a medium format Contax 645 with color and black and white film. If you are considering portraits please feel free to contact me through the website or at

dena robles - We keep coming back and looking at these! We both love them, it is all SO him. I am very partial to his smiley ones, as such a serious kid, nothing warms my heart more than his grin and laughter.