16 December 2014

Avoiding "The Prom".

I don't do weddings.  I tried a small backyard ceremony once, and I learned quickly, it's just not my thing.

But families are my thing.  And a really important part of family photo sessions for me, is the Mom + Dad time.  It's a priority for me.  Mom took a lot of time to look gorgeous, Dad is trying his darndest to enjoy the process, and often the photos I take of them in our family photo shoot, are the first professional pictures of just the two of them they've had since their wedding.

But here's the thing.  I was really not good at it.  My whole session would flow great, and then we'd get to Mom and Dad, and I'd tense up and get nervous and before you knew it, it was looking like Prom from 1992.  Not kidding.

I decided I needed help and pronto, before the busy season began.  And I could not afford to waste my time or money.  So I enlisted the help of Amy and Jordan Demos, premiere wedding photographers here in Phoenix.  When I saw their engagement photos, I saw connection, and movement, and light.  All things I needed and wanted.  Teach me!

And they did.  I got them all to myself for 3 hours one beautiful afternoon.  And after I had absorbed their incredible brain dump, I mean really, they just opened up their couple posing toolbox and said "Have at it!", they even let me run through a whole practice session with them.  We wrapped up doing another practice session on my good friends, Ryan and Michelle of Michelle Unscripted.

 Not only have we been friends for a couple decades now, they're also incredible photographers.  So yeah, a little nerve-wracking.

But look at this!  I mean, seriously!  Huge improvement and in the nick of time.  Any of my clients from this last season will recognize my new bag of tricks.  Now instead of dreading the Mom + Dad time of the photo shoot, I really look forward to it!

Hurray for Amy and Jordan!  You saved dozens of parents from the woes of looking "Under the Sea" circa 1994.

That's me.  And The Demos.  Seriously.  

Such a fun couple and amazing teachers!

15 December 2014

Family Pictures at the Farm

When you have a family whose go-to weekend activity is going hunting together, you know you need a beautiful outdoor setting for their family pictures.  And there's nothing better than the private farm here in Gilbert.

It was so fun to play with three teenagers and then let the little one be his own star.  We played A LOT of running games that day and it reminded me that that's a huge joy of childhood.  Finding a wide open space and just RUNNING.

That is until we almost ran into the snake.  Then we stopped.  Some of us screamed and ran away.  Others said "Cool!" and went in for a closer look.  I might have been the former.

08 November 2014

Cotton fields? Check.

You gotta be open to new things, right?  So when a long time client says, "I want to do cotton fields this year."  And even though you've heard, gulp, snakes exist in said fields, you push down the anxiety and you say, YES.  Especially when she called the farmer herself and got permission.  Let's do this!

No snakes that day (that was the next weekend on the horse property.  seriously.).  Just the most amazing sky and bright, white cotton, and two gorgeous boys.  And can we talk about Mom's hair?!  I mean, seriously.

I am one of those rare Arizona natives (of my generation), I grew up on the west side of town, surrounded by cotton fields.  I remember field trips just about every year, learning all about how it grew, how it became our clothes, when the cotton gin was invented, and all the good stuff.  It was pretty surreal to be in the middle of it again.  This time as a mom, helping another mom, make some memories with her own sweet kids.  Life get so crazy sometimes, it's nice to appreciate the full circle it makes.

30 October 2014

I remember the blur

I remember.  I remember leaving for the hospital to have my second, thinking I was leaving a baby boy at home.  I came home 3 days later, newborn in tow and realized "He's huge!  He's practically full grown!"

Jonah was 21 months when Marcus joined our family.  Jo became a Big Boy instantly.  And I became outnumbered.  How do you diaper two bums when one of them runs away?  How do you do anything when a toddler needs you just as much as the newborn?

So life became a blur.  I honestly don't remember much about the first two years of Marc's life.  And because that was before the age of cell phone cameras, there aren't too many photos around to help me remember.

I wish I remembered the little stuff.  Cuddling on the couch, playing trains, learning letters.  I know it happened but the memory, it's blurry.

So when Christy contacted me, 7 months along with baby #2, I knew how important this newborn photo shoot could be.  I knew this day at least, wouldn't be a blur.

24 September 2014

And then there were five.

Moms know that family pictures can be a necessary evil.  I LOVE family pictures and even I know that they can be fairly torturous.  And when you have four boys, you might as well poke your eyes out.  But this Mama added a beautiful baby girl to the mix and knew it needed to be done.  Her oldest is turning into a man faster than we can blink, the baby is practically crawling, and don't even get me started on the other three and how fast they are growing.

So family pictures it is.  Freeze a moment in time.  And if that moment happens to also have yummy-licious sunlight, a beautiful private horse property here in Gilbert, AZ, and a rope swing?  Well, then you've got it made.

10 September 2014


Lisa, the Momma of this great family, isn't anything but real and authentic.  She doesn't have time or energy for fake or posed or playing a facade, and trying to be something she's not.  Lisa is Lisa, and her family, well they are real.  And because of that, they're pretty dang great.

I have had the distinct pleasure of documenting her family for a few years now.  We make a little bit of photography magic every time.  She trusts me to find the love amidst the chaos, and that trust allows me to push harder in my technique every time.

This is an in-home newborn session.  This is lifestyle photography.  This is documenting the modern family.  Put any label you want on it.  It's still real.  And because of that, it allows all of us to be little more real.

18 August 2014

Baptism photos at the Gilbert Temple

I've said before and I'll say it again.  I love photographing boys this age!  My two boys are a bit past this sweet stage but now I work with Cub Scouts so I know it's not all shy smiles and giggles.  These boys can be crazy and nutty and wild.  But put them in a new suit, with their own scriptures, and knowing they're the star of the show, hey just can't help but turn on some amazing charm!

This awesome kiddo and his Mom got up super early to catch the sunrise at the new Gilbert Temple.  The light was stunning and it was worth every lost minute of dozing.  Anderson rocked his Baptism photoshoot!

26 June 2014

Mother's Day gift - Shabang!

When a family hasn't had family pictures taken in well over 10 years, giving Mom the gift of family photographs is a freaking home run.  This husband and daughter knocked it out of the park.  I had worked with their daughter Ava on her senior pictures and we had a really great time.

And frankly, kudos to Mom for jumping on it and making it happen.  When it's not something we do regularly, scheduling the photo shoot, coordinating some decent looking clothes, picking a fun location, and even driving quite a ways to work with a photographer you like, it's all a big deal and a bit stressful.

But she made it happen.  And now this time in their lives is recorded.  Smiles and laughter and a memory made and documented.  There aren't too many Mother's Day gifts that can accomplish all that.