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Holiday Portraits on Film

It’s about that time when you might be thinking about holiday photos! This year, I will be offering a couple of dates for Holiday Portraits on Film!


I am offering mini sessions for those that are looking for holiday photos for cards, that don’t need a full on lifestyle session with me. For those looking for updated family photos that can be used for holiday cards, gifts, etc, updated headshots or social media profile photos, expectant mom photos, or simply milestone kid photos.These simple sessions will be roughly 15 minutes with one roll of film and photographed outdoors.

Sunday, November 1, San Francisco

Location: TBD


Again, who are these sessions best for?

Families, Kids, Engaged Couples, Maternity, or even Business Headshots. These sessions will be kept short and simple! If you are looking
for something a little more lifestyle, please consider booking a longer session.

What is included?

The basic session includes your 15 minute portrait session, my creative ability :-), a roll of film, a private gallery with 10-12 images,
and one digital file of your choice.

Are there other collections available?

Yes. You would have the choice to pick a different collection. For eg. Collection 2 is available for $550 with five digital files. Additional print
and digital products will be available for purchase at a special pricing.

How many people are included in the pricing?

Your immediate family of upto four people. If you would like to add any other additional members, you may do so for an added $25 each.

What time should I arrive?

Please be sure to get to the location at least 15 minutes prior to your scheduled time. Since the sessions are scheduled back to back, late arrivals
would result in your losing some shoot time. And, I really, really do not want to do so shooting film 🙂

What is your refund policy?

Since your session time is reserved only for you, no refunds will be given. If there is some sort of an emergency, and I am notified 48 hours ahead of time, I will be able to apply the paid amount toward a future full session. Please know that this is a special event and I do not offer these sessions
on a regular basis.

Why film?

I have had a love affair with film and wanted to offer them to you! Here is a recent couples session on black and white film. There is
a special quality to the film images that I adore besides the art of creating a film image. I will most likely use digital as well and shoot
one roll of film. If you are curious about seeing what film images look like please check out this film portfolio gallery. Often a single film image is my favorite from an entire gallery of images!

How soon will I be able to view my gallery?

It will take 3-4 or so to have your gallery ready to view. Film processing can take a bit of time so please keep that in mind. If timing is a concern,
I can shoot digitally and the turnaround is generally 2-3 weeks. Also, depending on your order (if you would like additional products,
it may add to the time).

To BOOK YOUR SESSION please click below
Eventbrite - San Francisco Mini Sessions on Film

I will have limited sessions available in the East Bay on Oct 25th. Please contact me for info.

Newborn in San Francisco

This lifestyle newborn session was with a brand new five day old little boy in their San Francisco home. When I walked into their home, I loved this moment. The way the little guy fit right into daddy’s strong hands. And mom’s hands holding the baby’s little hands. They only stay that big for so long. Our memories fade and my hope is that these image will keep them alive for a very long time.

When I have a potential newborn client, I often get asked what is the best time to do a newborn baby session. I love photographing babies at various stages and here are some things to consider to help you make your own decision.

1. Brand new. You might hear a lot of newborn photographers talk about the best time being the first two weeks. This might seem a bit crazy for a brand new, sleep deprived mama (and dads). So, what is the hurry? In the early days, your baby will generally sleep soundly, curl up and also most likely be acne free. However, being brand new your baby is likely not on a schedule. You might find out that the baby might behave a little differently on the day of the shoot that they would otherwise. Whaaat? The baby might be fussy and it is perfectly normal as they are being handled quite a bit more and made to have a workout. New-born sessions can be time-consuming for documentary style sessions however I invite moms and dads to feed and change babies as needed. Often, it is also a part of the session that might be documented. Beautiful connection images of holding the baby, feeding the baby are all important for posterity. I try to keep the sessions relaxed and ultimately, it is not about perfectly posed babies (which I tried for a while and didn’t enjoy. You might want to consider if you are looking for a more posed approach to find a photographer that does it well. And safely.

2. Three Months. I love this stage when babies are a little older and might be on more of a schedule. Developmentally they are increasingly more aware of the world and you have had a little more time to get caught up on your sleep and rest. At this age, they can be on their stomachs and support their heads. Here is a lifestyle session with this lovely San Francisco family with their two month old baby girl and older toddler sister.

3. Six months. Your baby is not brand new and is probably starting to sit up by herself. From a photography perspective they still need to be supported and the best ways are with a parent holding them or sitting in some type of a prop. And there is of course lying on the bed or the floor. However, this is quite a different session from when the baby is a few days old. Here is a six month session on the blog.

If you have the budget to sessions at various stages, it is great however most try to pick a milestone for professional photographs that would be be cherished the most. I also think as individuals with varying tastes and most importantly knowing yourself as a new mom, it is best to take it all into consideration to make your decision. Don’t cheap out on these early photos… book a photographer that will create beautiful timeless memories that will be priceless for your family.

If you would like to book a professional newborn session, please contact me through the website.

Fishing with Grandpa | San Francisco Family Photographer

boy and his grandfather out fishing boy holding bait
fishing with grandpa
boy looks at grandpa
generations at lake fishing
grandpa takes bait to fish
preteen fishing with grandpa
the catch
the catch
boy with grandpa at lake
grandpa at lake

As summer is going to be soon a faded memory, I wanted to edit some of my favorite photos from our trip to the midwest before they get buried in the dark abyss of my hard drive. My twelve year old got to go fishing with grandpa to this beautiful lake close to where they live out in the country. What made this special is that my father-in-law is a charter member of this conservation club and was instrumental in helping create it. My husband and his younger brother used to go there as kids and I shared an old photo with the story in my instagram feed here. Grandpa showed him how to present the bait, and cast the fishing rod out in the lake. They caught one little fish and released him back in the lake in the end.

These are a mix of film on the Contax 645 with Kodak Portra scanned by State Film Lab and digital photos.

East Bay Mini Session | San Francisco Film Photographer

film portrait of young child in black and white film_portraits_professional_photographer

lifestyle_family_photos_storyboxart yong_boy_family_session

Here’s to an amazing summer and trying to squeeze in the very last of it before school, which for us is tomorrow. Mini Session, Anyone? Thought I would share some images of this lovely family that was referred to me by a dear client turned friend, whose family photos can be seen here. I loved working with this lovely family and let me tell you the seven year old was a mature little first grader that was more than happy to pose for the photos. Haha, this never happens so it was quite a nice change. But then his little brother decided to do the opposite and I got the usual toddler workout. A few of the black and white images here were photographed on film with a Contax medium format and Tmax 400. If you would like to book a session, please contact me through the website. If you are a referral please be sure to let me know so I can send a thank you print.

rachna - Lovely photos, Alpana! I am sure Vani is over the moon with the adorable expressions you captured of her family!

vani - Alpana, you are a true artist and there is no other way to describe these pics as anything other than art – Prasad and I love the images you captured and like i said, you have to take our family pics for years from now on (at least till the kids are willing to pose). Thanks much!

Lindsay Madden - I always love your portrait sessions!

Emily Anderson - Aww! These are great! What cuties! 🙂

Kel Ward - Too cute!

wendy laurel - always so cute!!

melanie - these are adorable!!

Kelsy McCartney - what a sweet family!! adorable!

True Love in Napa Valley | San Francisco Film Photographer

Kate and Matt found each other through a chance encounter at a bar. After a few years of back and forth, and Matt battling cancer and surviving it, they were able to move toward their happily ever after. When Kate contacted me for a couples session, I was intrigued as it was not a typical request. Most couples book engagement sessions. But this was a session to celebrate them and their love during a trip to Napa from the midwest. When I peeked at Kate’s instagram and got to know a bit of their back story, I knew I had to document these two beautiful souls. I am so grateful for this opportunity. We met at the North Block Hotel and drove down the Silverado Trail to the Frog’s Leap Winery. These are a few of my favorite medium format film images from their session. My hope is that the album of images I am creating for them will be a treasure for them and a wonderfully cherished memory of the summer they spent in California. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness Kate and Matt! You are meant to be and what true love looks like!

* Black and White Images on Kodak Tmax 400 and Color on Kodak Portra 160


kodak film session

kinfolk-like portrait


napa winery session



Their story in Kate’s words…

Matt and I met in Dec. of 2007 at a local bar in Columbus. He was funny and charming, but just having come off a not so great relationship, I wasn’t interested and wouldn’t give him my number. Matt was pretty persistent in getting to know me and found me on Facebook (this was when Facebook was still relatively new) the next day and preceeded to ask me out every week for about 6 weeks until our schedules finally synced.

We went out a few times, but the relationship didn’t really take off, not for any particular reason, but I think just because of where we were in our lives. A few months later Matt ended up moving to Cleveland for grad school, so it made sense anyway that we didn’t continue dating.

Fast forward two years and it’s the fall of 2009, I’ve continued to date unsuccessfully and contemplate why my relationships never work out, and suddenly Matt Hare enters my mind. “He was a great guy, why didn’t I give him a better shot!?” I asked myself. Apparently, timing is everything. The next day, I logged on to Facebook and the first post in my newsfeed was Matt updating that he was back in Columbus. “Fate!,” I thought after just having thought of him the day before.

I reached out to him to ask if he’d want to get together. He said he’d love to, but that he needed to let me know he had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer, and was back home in Columbus undergoing chemo at The James after spending 7 weeks in the ICU at The Cleveland Clinic. I was completely shocked, I had no idea he was sick. I really hadn’t had much experience with cancer, so I didn’t know what his diagnosis meant, what to say or what to expect. However, the fact that he was sick wasn’t going to keep me from reconnecting with him.

We started talking on the phone and texting the next day to arrange the details of getting together, and from then on were literally in constant communication from morning to night every day until we got together. I think during that time is when I really starting falling for him because he had the best attitude despite what he was going through, and he had the most awesome sense of humor. I found myself endlessly inspired by his positivity and laughing till I cried when we would talk. A week later for our first, second date, we had a 3-hour breakfast. I remember sitting there talking non-stop to each other and just thinking to myself, “I’m going to marry this guy.” After that day, we were inseparable. In late December of that year, after 8 rounds of chemo, and weeks of physical therapy his cancer went into remission.

Prior to his remission status he was planned to have a stem cell transplant in January of 2010. The idea was that if the chemo didn’t put him in remission, the stem cell transplant would have a much higher success rate. Of course, he already had achieved remission, but we went forward with the transplant as a precaution. That was 3 more weeks in the hospital, plus several more to recover.

We got engaged in April 2010, 3 months after his transplant, and were married in September 2011 and have been having fun and loving life ever since! While cancer played a large role in our beginning, we don’t let it take the focus in our everyday lives as we move forward, but we forever grateful for the perspective it has given us. And that perspective is something we truly remember and carry with us every day.

Steve - Genuine smiles are the best!
Great session Alpana!

Danielle - I am always so uplifted by hearing triumphant stories of couples who encountered hardship. Love and marriage is never a promise of perfection, in fact it is typically a guarantee there will be suffering but the beauty and truth that manifests within that suffering, amidst the pain, is what makes it all worth it. Gosh these words and these images shake me to my core. So beautifully done Alpha! Bravo

Danielle - Sorry for the typo Alpana;)

Lindsay Madden - Wow. Seriously, stunning!

Kel Ward - Wow, these images are stunning!! What a gorgeous couple (and I’m obsessed with her freckles).

wendy laurel - gosh.. could that girl be any prettier?

melanie - these are so perfect!! i love the way you capture portraits!

Kelsy McCartney - Absolutely blown away by this gorgeous couple’s story and the way you captured them so beautifully!! Thank you for sharing their story, it really touched my heart! (and I LOVE her freckles too!!) <3

bobbijo - love love these!

mpmp - stunning photos, love the b&w photos especially!

Chicago in three days | iPhoneography

We spent three enjoyable days in Chicago this summer. It was a lot of fun as we stayed close to the Magnificent Mile and got in a ton of exercise. We walked anywhere from 5-10 miles in a day! Thought I would share some of the iPhone photos I took around Chicago. I did buy a battery charger and it proved to be handy for my older iPhone that needs to be replaced soon.

Thought I would share a few fun things to do with or without kids in Chicago. A friend asked me what we did and I thought I would share it through a blog post. In hindsight,  I wish I had purchased the City Pass so do yourself a favor and get one if you plan on seeing going to any of the museums as well as the Sky Deck. You can save a considerable amount of money and skip lines to see these attractions. The booklet is valid for nine consecutive days. You can check out the attractions that are available on the City Pass website.

The Cloud Gate and Millennium Park. This is one of the places I visit every trip to Chicago with or without kids. One tip is to bring a change of clothes as it is likely your child will run around and get soaked in the fountain! And a towel to dry off. You can spend a good part of the day or an afternoon there.

Chicago Public Library. I popped in real quick into the library and wish I had been able to spend a little more time. It appears to be quite huge and lovely.

The Art Institute of Chicago. This was one of my favorite museums while I lived in Chicago and it is even better now that they added the new modern wing designed by architect Renzo Piano. The cafe is also worth a visit even if you are not able to spend time at the museum itself.

Navy Pier. It is certainly is a pretty touristy spot however it takes me back to being a kid and enjoying the ferris wheel which is such a fun ride. Rumor has it that it will be replaced with a larger one where you won’t have a clear view as you do now through the glass exterior. So get on it while you can!

Lincoln Park Zoo. It is a great way to spend a few hours and best of all the zoo is free! We took the CTA transit to get to it as your one ride ticket can be used multiple times within two or three hours.

Wrigley Field. To travel like a local and fast, we took the “L” to get there from downtown which was a pretty quick ride. Sadly, when we got there we found that it was closed for construction. But we got to walk around and peek through the gates. They offer some tours out there so check ahead of time if you plan to go.

North Beach. On a week day, the beach was not too busy and we spent an enjoyable hour out there. We rented a chopper (a three or four wheeler) for a half hour and cruised up and down the beach. When you pack in a lot in a day even a half hour ride can be perfect!

Maggie Daley Park. Can’t get any better than this new park in downtown. There are rock climbing walls and various play-structures to engage various age kids. It is such a pretty lavish play-space for kids and I know my boy and his cousins had a wonderful time.

Architectural Boat Tour. I did this on my last trip to Chicago and it is a great way to see the amazing architecture of the city. I can’t recall the name of the company I used but I was able to walk down to Wacker Drive and book one for the same day. Our guide was pretty good and was able to share a lot of the historic facts about the buildings in the downtown area.

There is so much more you can do in Chicago depending on the time of the year you are there. If you are a foodie, you are in for a treat with so many great restaurants of various Top Chefs. A few favorites are Xoco, The Girl and the Goat and Volare. If you go to Volare, the black spaghetti with shrimp is to die for!

Did you know I have a newsletter that I send out every so often? You can sign up for it to get some tips and find out about the specials I offer on portrait sessions. What are you waiting for? Sign up here. I promise to keep your info private and not send out frequent emails.



Kel Ward - The fact that you took these with your iPhone only solidifies that you’re a true artist. These are fantastic!

wendy laurel - you are so great!!! I love how you see

Trish Barker - I love that you took these with your iPhone. So awesome!!

melanie - these were taken with an iphone?! they’re fantastic!!!

kelsy mccartney - almost looks like these were shot with a holga camera! awesome!

Jen O - You have a gift – So so great!