What We Can Learn From The LGBTQ Community

I always come to the same conclusion–it’s not my story to tell. Every time I sit down to write about a session I ask myself, “Do I make this about myself or about them?”  I am honored to have the pleasure of meeting each and every one of my clients and getting to know them in my attempts to make them comfortable in front of my camera and in front of me–sometimes a complete stranger.

I figure this story I am telling is being told from my perspective. Afterall, it’s my eye that made these photographs, therefore the writing should also come from my understanding. These clients, friends, families, kids are trusting me to tell their story. I want nothing more than to honor that.

My personal experience with people who are gay and lesbian is rather limited. I don’t have any friends in the LGBTQ community and I have no explanation for why not. It was never an issue for me. I’m all for being the person you were meant to be and be with the person you were meant to be with! Friendships just never happened. I recently had the privilege to work with two different couples and they taught me so much probably without knowing it. I just wish I knew it sooner. 

Gender roles are just a ridiculous social construct. Yep. With LGBTQ couples, the “roles” are just more fluid. I cannot assume who will lead the dip or whose hand will land on top. But as I was preparing for these sessions it occurred to me that the roles in my heterosexual house are fluid too. In fact, many traditional poses can go either way. Once I embraced this and got over the fear of saying something offensive, I was able to get to work and capture the love these couples have for each other. And it was nothing but beautiful!

I can’t wait to do more of these! With any luck, I’ll be seeing more of these two. They are over the moon for each other. Their happiness is contagious.

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san diego military homecoming photographer

Welcome Home USS San Diego

Every military homecoming is different. It’s fun for me. It keeps me on my toes. One thing is for certain though, the service person due to arrive is adored by their friends and family.

Matt was serving aboard the USS San Diego and the aniticipation of his arrival was a heavy one. He would be arriving the day before his daughter’s 2nd birthday. He had been deployed in October so he missed all the big holidays that would normally bring family together. They also have a seven-year-old named Jack, who understood what it was to miss his dad and was very excited that the wait was soon to be over. 

I’m always honored to document military homecomings because they take care of me. I was so happy to be asked to be part of their big day because I absolutely fell in love with this family. Some families just have this energy about them that is just sweet and fun. These guys fit that bill to a T. Matt, his wife Alyssa, Jack and Jada are all smiles. To sweeten the day, Matt’s mom and dad flew in from Alabama just for the occation. It was a beautiful family affair.

This homecoming is particually happy one since this will be the last for this family. That is certainly something to celebrate. As a local San Diegan I know I these families are on loan until new orders come down. I hope I get to hang on this family for a little while.

Welcome home and thank you for your service! 

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If you’d like to document the joy that your family expereinces at your next family homecoming, let me know about it! I’d love to be there for you!

san diego pet photographer, family dog, family pet, kids and puppies, puppies and kids

The Family Dog

I had a pet cotton ball when I was a kid. I understand now why my mom didn’t need an added responsibilty on top of raising three girls under the age of five. No matter how much I begged, it wasn’t going to happen.

Oliver, the cotton ball, was cute and fuzzy, and he lived in a baby food jar. I even poked holes in the lid so he could breathe. I’d even go as far as tying a string around him and take him for walks. Sounds desperate, right?

Eventhough Oliver didn’t lick my face or require much of my affection, he was big part of my childhood. That can go without saying because here I am over thirty years later still talking about him. 

If this is how I feel about a cotton ball, I can only imagine how family pets are a huge part of our childhood memories. This is why I warn to include them in family pictures too. But enough about me.

This family has had Snickers before they had the kids. As ineveitable, the dachsund is getting up there in years. He was obvisouly not feeling well when they called to see if I could come by and get a family picture that would include their four legged family member. I wanted to convey how they felt about him. I came over immediately because things were, afterall, uncertain. We were all afraid what the vet was going to say.

I gladly snapped away, getting close ups of their hands on him. I wanted the family pulling together around him. I wanted him to look soft and loved. Since Snickers wasn’t his usual self we let him dictate what he wanted to do. Yes, the dog ran the show that day. After all, it’s all about him, right? We didn’t do a lot of posing or moving things to get an immacutlate background. This is not an application to get into Home & Gardens magazine. I love the kids art work in the background. This is childhood! Back up…this is FAMILYHOOD! 

Snickers went to the vet the same day. I was so glad to hear that it was just an ear infection! Nothing but some rest and antibiotic drops were needed. Happy happy ending! I’m so glad this wasn’t a good bye session. It woke us all up to making sure that we photograph what is important to us. 

If your kid has an inanimate pet as awesome as my pet cotton ball or if you want to make sure you capture your family pet, please let me know. I’d love to capture that magic!

san diego pet photographer, family dog, family pet, kids and puppies, puppies and kids

older kids, san diego military family, high school kids, parenting teens, family goals

Family Dreams

I remember when I was dreaming of what it would be like when I started a family. I thought about what that would look like when they were little. It was romantic with a bit of reality mixed in. It included cleaning the mess from the kids having too much fun in the tub, watching my dedicated husband teach the kids about football, and reading bedtime stories in all the funny voices. 

I forgot to dream of what that family looked like as we all got older. I didn’t think about the laugh lines my husband and I would share around our eyes and mouth or the early Saturday mornings we’d be piling into the mini van for a soccer tournament. I had no idea that my kids could trigger so many emotions and so deeply. I knew I would love these kids like no other on the planet but there are other emotions that I did not expect. This includes but certainly not limited to parternal pride, fear, protectiveness, and indicisiveness. It’s all a bit overwhelming.  

I had no idea that working with families with older kids–who have been doing this “parenting thing” a bit longer than I have–would give me such a sense that everything will be okay! It has given me new dreams as to what my family may look like. It is possible to raise teens that are polite to adults and love each other (to a point, haha!); that are confident and accept that they need guidence; that have their own interests and are independent thinkers. I know that my dream and it may be completley unrealistic–as unrealistic as an calm morning before school starts. But I saw it. I saw it in this family and it reminded me that it is possible to raise my kids this way. 

Now don’t go a pop my bubble. I taught junior high and high school for 3 years. I have stories. Let me dream and the kids, whoever they end up to be, will be just fine. 

san diego couple

newborn, newborn stretch, newborn lifestyle

Welcome Number Four

Welcome home little man. Here is your family. Here is your home. You are loved beyond your wildest dreams. You have two big sisters who are ready to to teach you how to use the ipad and maybe one day the car. You have a big brother who is dying to get into trouble with you. And let’s not forget your mom and dad. Oh how they cherish you! I know because I saw it. I saw all fo this. I am so happy that this is where you have been placed. These moments are not ones you will be able to recall, but you will hear all about them. Sweet dreams little man. Sweet dreams.

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