Family Photography

Our Dream Girl Turned Two: Pastels, Lambs and Babies

All my life now appears to be one happy moment,” Gagarin (the world’s first cosmonaut) said mere minutes before entering his spaceship. “Everything that was lived and done before was achieved for this moment alone.”

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California

We call her Delphine, mostly, but also Delphini, stinker pink, dream bread, chòudòufu, plinker, angel, bam bam, the list goes on.

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California
Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California

She’s sensitive, just like her parents. She’s fundamentally extroverted but takes her time in social situations. She’s loving, cuddly and completely hilarious. Her first, and favorite word, is “no.” She was an “easy baby” but now that she’s a toddler she’s very clear about her agenda, interests, and preferences.

Dreamy second birthday with animals in northern California

She’s been the brightest, shiniest light in our lives for two whole years! We’re astonished, and delighted, by her every single day.

Two Film Photographers on a Hill: a Corona Heights Portrait Session

As I was writing the title of this post I worried it sounded like the beginning of a knock-knock joke, "two film photographers walk onto a hill..." but it DID happen.


I recently had the pleasure of photographing fellow film photographer Tatiana Johnson, and her youngest son, at the top of Corona Heights Park (formerly, and in my opinion more appropriately, named "Rock Hill" for obvious reasons.) Corona Heights is one of my favorite spots to shoot portraits in San Francisco. The sweeping panoramic view of the city, the movement created by the wind whipping around our heads, and all the craggily terra cotta bedrock is so surreal. It looks like a hunk of Mars protruding out of a hilltop.


It was also my first portrait session since officially relocating to California. Yes, you heard it here first (maybe) I'm now a northern California based photographer (read: person.) There are a lot of reasons I'm really excited about this transition personally, but I'm absolutely thrilled professionally. I'm falling in love with the Mediterranean quality to the light, the ease with which you can slip from one entire climate/environment to another via a simple car trip, and of course the diversity of visual backdrops for photoshoots. I'm looking forward to sharing some of my favorite locations with you as I explore this handsome and sprawling state. In the meantime, I suggest heading over to amazing Solvang Film Photographer Tatiana's Website if you want to check out some gorgeous, really unique work. 

Barb and Goldie at home in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Before we look at these images, can we just stop to acknowledge that Goldie is absolutely one of, if not THE, cutest baby name? That's just science. This particular cherub cheeked Goldie is named after her late great-grandmother (a hilarious, loving woman who also happens to be my great-aunt.)


One thing I appreciated in our session was how unabashedly Barb loves her baby. When I arrived she presented with me with Goldie and beamed in a way that said, "now tell me this baby isn't the greatest living thing on earth?" She may have also added, "now tell me this baby isn't the great living thing on earth?" 

“Until you have a baby, you don't even realize how much you were missing one” -Jodi Picoult

“Until you have a baby, you don't even realize how much you were missing one” -Jodi Picoult

What to Wear to your Family Portrait Session

One important element to consider in advance of having your portrait taken is what each person will wear. In order to create a stress free day, I suggest planning each family member's outfit well in advance of picture day. 


Here are some important guidelines for styling your family:

Do: Consider colors.

Choose flattering neutrals (such a gray, beige, pale pink, white) and simple patterns (such as stripes or polka dots.) Avoid fluorescent colors (and green when shooting outdoors.) And don't forget to plan for the shoes!

Do: Consider the climate.

Freezing, or being unbearably sweaty, can ruin the experience of a portrait session. I suggest bringing layers that allow family members to remove or add pieces (such as a cardigan over a sleeveless dress) if the temperature shifts. 

Don't: Wear items of clothing with text, images or distracting accessories.

Avoid items such as tee-shirts with slogans or images printed across them. The same goes for giant bow headbands or clips. Items such as these will draw attention away from the subject of the photographs: your beautiful family!

Do: Consider the trendiness vs. timelessness of your outfit.

We've probably all had that moment where we uncover old photos of our parents or grandparents and marvel at (or make fun of) their fashion. Items that are particularly trendy will feel dated in the future. That may appeal to you (as it captures a moment in time) or you may prefer a more timeless look. As long as your choice is intentional, there isn't a wrong answer, so choose according to your personal preference.

Do: Coordinate. 

Often my clients will choose two to three main colors to draw from. If they are lovers of color, they may add a pop of color as an accent as well. Avoid dressing the family in outfits that exactly match, because it looks very forced.

Do: Check the fit.

Clothing that fits perfectly always looks best. Ironically, that means if you are purchasing clothing for your toddler or baby, consider sizing down (for example, dressing your 13 month old in size: 6-12 month.) This is because clothing for children often leaves considerable "room to grow" which, although convenient for everyday use, don't look best in photographs. For adults, just remember to try the pieces on in advance of the portrait day so you can evaluate if the fit is best for your current shape.

Do: Dress for comfort.

Mothers with a nursing child are encouraged to wear nursing dresses. Especially for newly post-partum moms, please don’t feel pressure to squeeze into jeans or pre-pregnancy clothing! Wear something that makes you feel happy, easy and unselfconscious. 

Do: Ask for help!

I love styling, and am happy to help you sort through your choices, as well as to direct you to some of my favorite places to shop for clothing that photographs well. Feel free to reach out with questions!