All About Play for this Family of Four | East Bay In-Home Lifestyle Photographer

As an educator, I often emphasize the importance of play as an essential component for all learning. Play helps children build connections between ideas, their worlds, and with loved ones. For those who know me, it’s no surprise that play is a cornerstone of my family sessions. I want families to look back on their sessions with me and remember fun, meaningful moments together that not only represent who they are as individuals and as a family, but also help them relive the feelings of those memories through their photos. When children and parents focus on play and are engaged with each other, everyone relaxes and magical connections unfold!

I had so much fun with this family of four who were all about play! They were so connected as a family and there were so many beautiful moments to capture. We played in the backyard with favorite toys and activities, roughhoused, snuggled and read books in the bedroom, explored favorite toys in the playroom, got silly on the stairs, celebrated Mom’s birthday, had a dance party, and found time for a few quiet moments as well. Time flew by with everyone engaged with each other and I hope I we captured memories that they will cherish for years to come.

My Birthday Boy is 6! | A Personal Note

Before having my son, I never realized how much it would change me in so many ways. I’m also an early childhood educator, so I had some insights in working with other parents for many years, but nothing really could have prepared me for parenthood. Priorities shift, interests change, relationships change, but I wouldn't have it any other way. He just turned 6 and I can hardly believe it. I recently found a photo from a year ago and it really hit me how much he’s matured this past year. He’s probably grown a foot, finally lost those little chubby cheeks and two primary teeth, started kindergarten, learned to ride a bike, and is reading! Sometimes parenthood feels like a blur, where you get so caught up in the day-to-day tasks of living life - working, caring for your children (and trying to manage some things for yourself!) - that you don’t realize the incremental changes. And then it hits you. Your baby is growing up and becoming more independent. And with each passing year, I realize how much I’ve grown and changed and how much he’s taught me. The lessons aren’t always easy and I’m not always perfect, but I’m so grateful for my little boy who made me a mom. Here’s to the best 6th birthday ever and a fun year ahead full of many more lessons for us both.

Anniversary Celebration in the East Bay Woods | Oakland Family Photographer

Family is where it all begins and and I was thrilled to capture shared moments with extended family in celebration of a wedding anniversary! Many family members traveled in order to be together for the celebratory weekend, so this was a special time. We headed to a beautiful wooded setting in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland to explore, play, and spend quality time together. This is what family sessions are all about! Everyone enjoyed rocking on the fallen log see-saws, collecting interesting sticks and rocks, reading together during a rest, and discovering (and eating!) huckleberries. Nature’s playground at it’s best! There was plenty of laughter and joy to commemorate this special occasion and I had a great time documenting the good times!

It's a baby...BOY! | San Francisco Newborn Photographer

When first pregnant, it's so hard to wait until you find out...boy or girl...especially with your first baby! So much to plan for and think about and hard to know what to expect despite the number of books you read and classes you take to prepare! So why not find out one (BIG) detail before your baby arrives, and even better, in the company of your family and closest friends!

I was so excited when asked to capture candid moments of this soon to be family of three's gender reveal party and document this momentous occasion. The party included fun games of predicting the baby's gender, naming the baby, providing parenting advice for the new parents to be and just spending time with loved ones. And then the the big reveal! The canons were released and it's a...BOY! This was a special moment to capture and I can’t wait to actually meet this little guy in a few months for a Fresh 48 session! They will be such sweet family of three!

Magical Family Beach Session | East Bay Baby Photographer

Whether at home or on location, my primary goal as a lifestyle photographer is to keep families relaxed, having fun, and enjoying meaningful moments together, so that I can capture these memories authentically. And sometimes a session is just magical - full of love, connection, and joyful interactions. I was thrilled when asked to do a family session for this sweet baby girl and her parents at Crown Memorial State Beach in Alameda, a special location for them as a family, and as a way of documenting their tenure in the East Bay before their journey back east to be closer to family. Icing on the cake -- these are good friends and we had a blast! We played games on the beach, checked out the water, and explored and this little cutie kept us busy and laughing! Of course, we also had to capture time with her four dogs since these are prized family members. We all had a lot of fun and time flew by with this loving and connected family. I hope they will cherish these moments as much as I've cherished our friendship and time together in the Bay Area. I wish them the best as they settle into their new home on the East Coast and will miss them and this sweet little explorer!

A New Baby Boy | San Francisco Newborn Photographer

Newborn sessions hold a special place in my heart. Not only do I get to capture an adorable new baby and document this fleeting time for families, I get to sneak in some baby time for myself, which as a mom two times over I always treasure. I was thrilled when this wonderful family invited me into their home in San Francisco for a newborn session to document their new baby boy just before he turned 4 months. This little guy was alert, calm, and so sweet! And, because he was so intrigued by a new face and my camera, he tracked me wherever I moved, which made it easy for me to capture these precious moments. His parents brimmed with such love and dedication to their new baby boy, that it made for a wonderful session. I feel honored and lucky to have such opportunities as a photographer, and to capture these special moments that I know this family will cherish.

Oakland Family of Four | East Bay Lifestyle Photographer

Being invited into a family's home to document special moments is an honor I don't take lightly. My goal as a lifestyle photographer is for families to feel comfortable and have fun, so I can capture who they are -- what makes them unique, the personality of each family member, and who they are together. I love to spend time with families so everyone can warm up to the camera before we really get going! I also enjoy those times that I work with a family or children that I already have had the pleasure of knowing and we jump right in!  I met this wonderful family of five (including their beloved dog, Samurai!) through a mutual friend when we moved to Oakland; our boys will be off to elementary school together in less than a week!  So, this was a special session for me with new friends.

We had so much fun playing during this family session -- board games, reading, tickles, and using Dad as a human jungle gym! We played outside -- drawing with sidewalk chalk, playing hide and seek, soccer, riding in the wagon, and even took a quick visit to the house they are remodeling down the street before their upcoming move!  We kept things flowing, following the children's lead, and everyone was engaged and focused on each other (rather than on me while I snapped away). I captured these moments so that they might place them on the walls of their new home and treasure for years to come ;).

A Send Off to SF and Bernal Hill | San Francisco Lifestyle Family Photographer

This summer has been filled with families relocating and creating new memories outside of the Bay Area. I was thrilled when this wonderful family asked me to document moments together in their home and at Bernal Hill -- a place they loved to explore together before the move. During this family session, we headed up to the top of the hill for some breathtaking views of San Francisco where they had fun on a tree swing and taking in the view of the city beyond. They brought a kite along which soared high on a typical brisk SF breeze.  Their son brought his own camera along and decided he should be the photographer and capture some shots of his parents ;).  Back home, everyone read books together, nurtured a prized blueberry plant in the backyard (bearing delicious berries!), played games together, drew with sidewalk chalk, and visited with Grandma who joined us at the end!  A fun filled session with lots of memories to cherish.

Family Reunion and Connections | Bay Area Lifestyle Photographer

Last week we traveled to meet up with family for our biennial reunion and our kids could not have been more excited to connect with their cousins, many of whom they haven't seen in 18 months! We always have a lot of fun on these trips and I love to capture as many memories as possible. We love going through these photos from past reunions and it brings back so many memories for the kids. It keeps them connected to family even when we can't see each other more often. But the trip was not without a few initial hiccups. How can you travel with small children and not have a few hiccups, right? A 5 hour delay at our connection, motion sickness for my son (grateful for those bags in the seat back pockets!), soaking wet suitcases left outside in the rain during our long layover, and a 3:30am bedtime for our kids but we made it! Phew! And we had a great time relaxing by the pool, hanging out at the beach, and connecting with family we don't get to see nearly as much as we'd like. Thankfully the trip home was less eventful and we've now closed the chapter on another family reunion and created new memories that we will cherish.

Leaving Hearts in SF | San Francisco Lifestyle Family Photographer

'Tis the season to move! I had the honor of shooting another family session focused on documenting memories in San Francisco before a move! I understand. I first visited San Francisco at age 19 and absolutely fell in love. I knew THIS was the city I wanted to be and made it happen 2 weeks after I graduated from college. I was motivated. I had been trapped in the middle of corn fields in college in Ohio and needed urban living and SF was the city for me! And it was my home for 20 years, but everything changes when your children reach school age and you re-evaulate. I understand the need to hold on to this beautiful city and the memories made here, especially when it's the city where your children were born. Just moving from San Francisco to Oakland was hard for me emotionally, so a move across country is big. 

Before making this major transition back east, this wonderful family whom I met when our children went to preschool together, decided to document some moments together in SF. San Francisco was home for them for a long time, so I was excited to help them document the places that were most special to them! We set out for a morning adventure at Baker Beach and then on to The Palace of Fine Arts - two amazing locations and we...had...a...blast! The girls enjoyed playing and exploring and I loved capturing all of it! 

We started at Baker Beach where the clouds in the sky were incredible! All week long the weather was predicting fog (typical SF!), but we ended up with a beautiful and sunny San Francisco day - perfect for the beach! And a perfect San Francisco day to remember. The girls found all kinds of interesting places to check out and we played some fun and silly games as we made our way down the beach to the rocks.

Both parents participated in the Escape from Alcatraz Marathon, so the sand stairs were special to them after having to run up them after a long swim! So we made sure to capture some special moments there.

We made our way to the rocks and had lot of fun climbing, exploring, and later dipping toes in the ocean! Yes, it is freezing, but with the warm day, it was enticing! And the landscape here is just incredible! THIS is why I love the Bay Area, such gorgeous scenery!

Everyone enjoyed the rocks and, while a little tricky to maneuver with a camera, it was well worth it. One thing I always love to capture in any family session are the details; the little things that children notice or that are special to them such as a lovie, or adorable shoes. It's these little things that we don't want to forget as parents and that make kids, kids.

Our day was not complete without a visit to The Palace of Fine Arts,  place close to this family's heart as they lived closed by and visited frequently. And these doors are so fun and even better when you are getting a lot of love from your girls!

 I'm grateful I was introduced to this incredible family who have become good friends. I wish them the best on their journey and really hope they come back for a visit soon! And when they do, they found their ride - 80's style ;)!

Welcome to the World Baby Simon! | San Francisco Fresh 48 Photographer

Babies. For as long as I can remember, I've LOVED babies. So precious, vulnerable, and new. I've had two of my own and those early days are special, even when thoroughly exhausted from birth and meeting the many demands of a newborn. And with photography, I have the opportunity to combine two things I'm passionate about! Fresh 48 sessions are an amazing way to capture those fleeting moments that you think you will remember, but 2-3 kids later while busy parenting, those early moments quickly become jumbled and fade. What better way to hold onto those moments than through a Fresh 48 session!

I was thrilled to be able to capture Baby Simon and his family just 2 days after his birth. Our plan was for a hospital session, but he decided to take his time arriving and he and Mom were doing so well they were released early from the hospital. We opted for a session at home and included Simon's two big brothers!

Simon was welcomed into a warm, loving, and caring family. The way he gazed up at his parents (already!), calmed to his mother's touch, his father's gentle "shh," and his oldest brother's voice was amazing. The connection was strong even at 2 days old! He'd been hearing all of these voices for months and now they get to hear his!

Simon's oldest brother, now a brother twice over, jumped right in with the idea of a new baby. His other brother, however, wasn't quite as sure about giving up his spot at being the baby of the family. Being a big brother is a tough job for a two year old. Watching the moment felt raw, honest, and precious to me. His parents were extremely sensitive to all of this little guy's feelings about his new brother despite sleep-deprivation and caring for a newborn.

One thing I can never get enough with babies are the details! Such tiny features - the long fingers, all of the wrinkles, the yawns, etc. I could probably take photos of baby feet for days! And because babies change so quickly, I want to document everything, especially for new parents who are exhausted and caring for older children, too. You think you'll bring out your camera, but who really has time when a new baby arrives and is the 3rd in the family!

Welcome to the world, Simon! You are here and you are loved! And I'm thrilled I got to meet you when you were just 2 days old!

Never a Dull Moment with this Family of Four! | San Francisco Lifestyle Photographer

Jumping in the bouncy house, singing the YMCA in costume, and winding down with puzzles and a walk in their San Francisco neighborhood by the beach-- there were no dull moments during my lifestyle session with this family of four! The boys' friends, like sisters, joined in the fun, and the more the merrier! I always love to capture what is meaningful to families, so we made sure to document big brother's fascination with wanting to be in the navy - costume and all! Setting up activities helped to not only document special memories, but also kept the children engaged and enjoying themselves during the family session. This is what matters most! When kids are having fun, everyone is more relaxed and this leads to beautiful, authentic, and meaningful photos - the kind you look back on and smile from the memories created.

Moving and Creating New Memories | San Francisco Family Photographer

It’s the season of moving! So many friends are moving and starting fresh either in a new home or new city altogether. It’s been almost a year since we decided to take the leap and transition from San Francisco to Oakland. Not far, but still moving with small kids is never an easy task! And I remember the desire to capture EVERYTHING before we moved! 

I was thrilled when my friend asked me to set up a family session so that they could capture their own special memories in their first home as a family before the big move. I remember, all too well, those raw emotions - the excitement of new adventures intermingled with the sadness of leaving the home your brought your babies to from the hospital. Even more emotional when when moving to a new town! So we set out to document favorite family activities and Bernal Hill in San Francisco, where they spent a lot of time together as a family.

This adorable family is so sweet together that when I asked if anyone loved tickles the magic happened. Laughter, sweet smiles, and genuine connection - all made for some fun and meaningful memories captured.

No home session goes without activities to keep everyone engaged! So, we spent some time focusing on familiar and fun activities they wanted to remember such as playing music together and moments in the bedroom shared by the kiddos. They played guitar and sang songs, played restaurant, blew bubbles together, and we captured some solitary moments too. The educator in me is always drawn to what children are inspired by and I love those moments where a child can really be themselves  - demonstrating a full range of emotions.

And Bernal Hill could not be forgotten, a place this family spent so much time - hiking, running, exploring, and playing. A short walk from their house and they had a view of all of San Francisco and beyond, such a treasure. 

To me this photo means so much. Mom wanted a view of the city and what better way than to capture their love than a moment of reflection while looking out upon the city where their beautiful family began. So many wonderful memories for them in San Francisco, but so many new and exciting adventures to follow!