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 Family Urban Scape: Little Italy

I have the most wonderful job–watching families grow and change. This family has been with me for four years and every time I see them I am taken back with how much their beautiful little red head baby girl has matured. She has a sparkle and a spunk that makes any session a whirlwind and fun! I get to wear my running shoes and leave my camera in high burst mode just so I can keep up. The bright color palette mom chose fits their energetic personalities and the color we find in through out San Diego’s Little Italy and Downtown urban neighborhoods.

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Photographing the First Day of School

Can you smell it? Going back to school is in the air! New clothes, backpacks, school supplies, new teachers, and new friends. Yep! Lots to be excited about.

It’s a great time to get your kids in front of the camera and snap a milestone picture. And since you already have the camera out, here are some things you can do to make the most of the opportunity!

1. Get the details. That backpack looks pretty good right now, and so do those shoes. Get the details–hairstyles, missing teeth, and the like. Have your kiddo put everything on and zoom in on those details.

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2. Use signage. You’ve seen these. Have your kiddo hold a sign and answer a few questions like what she or he wants to be when they grow up or their favorite food. Include this on your sign. If your penmanship is daunting, then consider adding it in later in any kind of text over picture program, like Canva or InstaQuote. If you are going to go this route remember to leave space in the frame for the words to go.

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3. Friends are great too! Walking to school together? Great! Step back and get the pack walking away from you. Find a wall or another clean background and have them either lean up against it or lean on each other. Get low and think of a funny joke to make them laugh like, “Santa Clause wears Captain America underpants.”

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Wish them well and give them embarrassingly long hugs. And take a moment to hand the camera over to someone (even if its another kid) and have them take a picture of you with your child. They will thank you later. Good luck!

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Top 5 Things You Will Stress About During Your Family Photo Session

No doubt about it. The second you start to think about booking your next family photo session you are overwhelmed with questions and even anxiety. The To-Do List just grew by a mile–shopping, hair appointments, making sure you get off work on time, and that nap schedule… The list goes on.
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Any full service professional photographer will have some things set up to ease your stress level and help you answer most of those questions. Lean on them! But keep in mind, there are things we just won’t be able appease no matter how much support we give you.

Here are the top five things my friends and family have told me stress them out the most.

1. Your Personal Appearance
It never fails. My husband gets a zit and I have not lost the 5 pounds I swore I’d lose even before I hung up the phone to book the appointment. Here’s my two cents–the kids don’t care! We are making memories–heirlooms! How many times have you looked at your own childhood pictures of your parents holding you and thought, “Mom really should have spent more time in the gym before taking this.” It’s not about you. It’s about those kids. You will look your best because you are throwing those babies around and having tickle fights. And your kids will love you for it. And for that zit, seriously, that’s what Photoshop is for. It’s not part of who you are and it’s gone. Your photographer has already photoshopped it in her head. Now get back to smiling.

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2. Coordinating The Outfits
Ahh! This one is my personal nightmare. No, you don’t want to show up matching, but we aim for coordinated. Picking a color palette is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. But here’s the thing. You probably already have everything you need in your closet right now. But if you are looking for a starting point, Pinterest is a girl’s best friend. There are all kinds of great advice out there. Pick a color palette that complements your taste and keep it simple.

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3. Kids’ Behavior (or even your Spouse’s!)
Keep your expectations of them low and let your photographer win them over. You just get them in the car and let her do the convincing. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to talk to your photographer in person or over the phone enough to know that she’s a person you want to hang out with. It has been my experience that bribes don’t work so leave those out of the equation. Seriously! Games, laughing with each other, and group hugs, and even some quiet space will melt any reluctancy any of you may have. As soon as you let go of making this your responsibility, you let in that creative space your photographer needs to make the magic happen.

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4. Getting There On Time
This is critical for everyone involved, especially if you are not in a studio and the direction of the sun is part of your photographer’s equation. Leave early. Plan on getting lost. Know the kid is probably going to fall asleep and need a few minutes to cuddle before they are ready to play tag. Have the photographer’s number on hand just in case. It’s been a lifesaver on a few occasions. I personally have fibbed (ok, flat out lied!) to my family and said it was 15 minutes earlier than actually scheduled all in the name of sunlight. Frazzled families take even longer to warm up then those who are along for the ride.

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5. Not Liking Your Pictures
This is the number one stressor when you don’t trust your photographer. The first thing you can do to alleviate this is to understand who you are hiring. Look at their portfolio. Are they consistent in style? Do you like what they are putting out there? Don’t hire them simply because you know them or they took your friends pictures. You must like their work. Photographers put out there what they are good at, where they feel they hit their mark. Look for someone who specializes in what you want done. After all, you don’t go to a Chinese restaurant when all you want is a hamburger. You must match. Not everyone can be a match and that is perfectly okay because there are lots of us to chose from. And when you find one, hang on to them and they will hang on to you.

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You’ve got this! Ask questions if you have them and know that your afternoon will be a great one.  I’m looking forward to helping you have a great session with out as much stress as I can. Book with me soon!