Brand New Baby Girl | A Berkeley Fresh 48 Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Meakins Family; Andy, Brook, and brand new baby girl, Coral:

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I had the pleasure of working with the Meakins Family after the birth of their first child, Pacific, where we did an in-home newborn session. For the arrival of their sweet baby girl, Coral Valentine, the family opted to do a Fresh 48 session instead. One thing I am in awe of from this session was just how SUPER CHILL the parents were! Classic second kid, no worries vibes. No worries over every little sound or movement the baby is making, because it's familiar territory. Coral was definitely already a real mama's girl, too. She was the calmest anytime she was in mama's arms. So sweet.

Fresh 48 sessions take place within 48 hours of your baby's birth, and they might be my favorite type of session. There's something so special, so real and so priceless about these very first moments of life. 

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From the moment they placed you in my arms you snuggled right into my heart.
— Unknown
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Waffles and Music | An Albany Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Lee Family; Jason, Jane, Elyse, and Andrew:

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I met Jane over four years ago when our girls were mere months old. We were actually in the same moms group, so you can imagine how excited I was for this in-home session. Elyse, the older daughter, was so adorable, and so confident. Seeing a confident girl is seriously the BEST thing in the whole world! She started off the session making waffles with dad, and then the whole family ended up playing music together in the living room, which was so sweet. Elyse was incredibly content in creating music and playing her ukelele, putting her fingers on the correct strings, and going from chord to chord. Very impressive! You could tell Dad was so proud of her, and it was such a beautiful moment to witness. Later in the session, Elyse took a picture of her mom, and she really took the time to compose it correctly, which, as you can imagine, I totally appreciated ;)

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Music is the song the heart sings.
— Unknown
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The Motherhood Memoirs | Fresh Cuts

When I was a little girl, your grandma never allowed your auntie, or I get a haircut. She'd point to one of the ubiquitous Sears photo studio shots of us and our glorious manes, exclaiming, "You want someone to chop off all of this beautiful hair?!... The answer is NO!" Ugh.

 The "before" shots.

The "before" shots.

 Classic Vera.

Classic Vera.

 So. Ready!

So. Ready!

But, I rebelled. Second grade picture day rolled around. I just *knew* the super-short, asymmetrical bang look would work for me. And I went for it. Your grandmother was none too pleased. At five, I promised myself I'd NEVER make my children endure such brutal oppression.

 
 Lookin' fly with my sweet bangs.

Lookin' fly with my sweet bangs.

 

Flash forward thirty years. It's bath time. You two 4.5-year-old divas are reenacting Mama Imelda's epic rendition of La Llorona at Ernesto de la Cruz's sunrise spectacular.

Then a pause.

"Hey, moooooom! When can me and sissy get our hairs cut?!"

Time to uphold my childhood promise. We went for it. Found example images. Despite the disappointment of not being able to get longer hair, or change your hair from curly to straight (and vice versa) we trudged on.

Ru, as usual, your inner *spa girl* took the reigns. You sat up on that chair, said "I'm the qweeen  of the wuuwld!" and let the professional do her thang. Delightful. Every few mins since you've done a little hair toss, mixed with a duck face lip pucker. Big success.

Vera, you cracked me up. Always suspect, I was SURE you'd end up changing your mind the second we walked into the shop. Your excitement to have a new 'do won out, however (thank GOODNESS). Anyway, even though you were letting her cut your hair, your face said something closer to, "Is she sure, I mean REALLY SURE, she knows what she's doing?" But, every single time I pointed the camera at you, you smiled a huge sh@t-eating grin. Eventually, I got a shot of your classic "Vera the Skeptic" expression. It was all worth it. You hopped up and down for joy after checking yourself out. Too good.

 Gotcha!

Gotcha!

All in all, it was a lovely day with you newly-coiffed cuties.

En Esta Casa | An Oakland Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Rico Rangel Family; Alma, Roberto, and cutie pie Carlos Amari:

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This session was so much fun for me because I got to do something I don't usually do during typical family sessions. Alma wanted to highlight Oakland and where they live before making the transition to move to Texas, so we got to explore the town together. Our session started at Roberts Regional Recreation Area, which is just phenomenal for a rustic, natural feel. These beautiful redwoods are so accessible, yet they feel like a million miles away! Gorgeous AND easy for a family with young kids to access?! YES PLEASE!

After the redwoods, we dotted over to the grizzly bear murals in the Laurel District, dubbed the "Laurel space bears" because of the galaxies painted within the silhouettes. (These murals are actually part of a national campaign to save endangered species and reintroduce them back to their former habitats. Super cool!) 

Once back home, the little guy, nicknamed Pollito (little chicken), snacked on some broccoli and had fun playing guitar with dad. He was in the best mood during the entire session. Well, maybe except during diaper change, but that was very quick. Even his little cry face is sweet, though!

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It’s the love of a family that makes a house a home.
— Unknown
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When Siblings Meet for the First Time | A San Francisco Fresh 48 and Baby Naming Documentary Photo Session

Meet mom, dad, big brother and their brand new baby girl:

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Anytime a special activity can be incorporated into a session, something that goes above and beyond the everyday, makes me SO EXCITED! For this family, it was big brother meeting little sister for the very first time in the hospital, and it was an incredibly sweet moment. Big brother was very curious at first, and then like a typical older sibling, he got a little confused and upset. Mom and dad were super laid back, though, big brother was very happy when mom let him have her big water bottle! It's truly the small things that can bring on the biggest smiles for kiddos, huh?

Fresh 48 sessions take place within 48 hours of your baby's birth, and they might be my favorite type of session. There's something so special, so real and so priceless about these very first moments of parenthood. 

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I also had the honor of documenting the baby naming ceremony, which is a beautiful and vibrant Jewish tradition, where Dad shared the meaning behind the baby girl's name. The ceremony was full of love and family - and nobody knew what the new baby girl's name would be until it was announced! How fun is that? Can't wait to work with this sweet family again over the summer! 

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An Endangered Species | A San Francisco Newborn Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Bellona-Wong Family: Dad, Mom, and new baby, Remy:

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Okay, this new family of three is SO CHILL. If I just met them at a park, I would definitely think they were second-time parents. But alas, adorable baby Remy is their first, easily making them an endangered species!  

During our session, Dad, David, busted out incredible documentation genealogy logs from his family. How incredible of a gift to have this for their son?! But what touched my documentary heart the most was when he showed me journals his mom wrote during her pregnancy. Such beautiful memories to have! 

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What good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is usually best after all.
— Benjamin Spock
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New Bundle of Joy | A San Francisco Newborn Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Gagliardi Family; Dominic, Lauren, and new baby, Elena:

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Back in early December, I had the honor of photographing Dominic and Lauren's maternity session. Even then, I could sense these first-time parents' profound anticipation of wanting to hold their baby girl so badly. So I was beyond delighted to see them and their sweet new bundle of joy, Elena, in their loving embrace.

Two-week-old Elena was the sweetest thing ever, wrapped up in her swaddle and wearing her little headband. And with two weeks of parenthood under their belt, it was a blessing to see some of the new routines Dominic and Lauren developed; enjoying a cup of coffee together, sorting through some of Ms. Elena's adorable outfits, milk-coma snuggles, and the timeless new parent ritual of watching baby's every movement, hiccup, blink or yawn in sheer amazement.

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The littlest feet make the biggest footprints in our hearts.
— Uknown
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Double the Sweetness | A San Francisco Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Alperin Family; Jordan, Erika, and one-year-old twins, Elliot & Lars:

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This family is so near and dear to my heart. Not only have I had the pleasure of working with them for three sessions, from maternity to newborn to one year later, but this sweet family also has TWINS! You may or may not know this, but the twin thing is a big part of my personal narrative - being a twin, having twin brothers, and also having twin daughters. I know, those are some crazy twin genes!

It has been so remarkable witnessing this family grow. During their newborn session, the twins were so itty bitty. Getting to document them a whole year later, with full-on personalities, completely melted my heart. Lars was the most charming little guy in the world, continuously giggling and smiling. Elliot, the fierce little lady, was so happy to be back home after our first portion of the session, pushing her cart around with a huge smile on her face. Clearly a homebody (girl after my own heart)!

The last bit of our session took place in the nursery. We ended up taking pictures within the same space and frame as we did during their maternity and newborn session, which warmed my heart SO MUCH. This time the kids could sit up all by themselves on the couch, serving as a beautiful reminder of how quickly time flies and children grow.

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A child’s laugh could simply be one of the most beautiful sounds in the world.
— Unknown
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The Biggest Little Personality | A Berkeley Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Patch Family; Dave, Stephanie, 9 month old William, and golden retriever, Chloe:

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The star of this session was William, of course, and (as you'll see) he was immeasurably adorable. At nine months old, his personality is really beginning to develop, and it was so fun to see the different elements of his shine through. This cutie took so much pride in picking himself up, cruising along the couch, and feeding himself like a big boy (maybe with a little help from dad at times). Needless to say, this was a fun one!

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Childhood is the most beautiful of all life’s seasons.
— Unknown
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Walking on Sushine | A San Francisco Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet mom, dad, and their adorable son:

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This one year old is the sweetest, silliest, most expressive little guy EVER. We started out the session with snack time, which was his first time ever feeding himself with a spoon. Such a monumental occasion to capture! He was so proud, as he should be!

After snack, mom put on some music for the family to dance to, and I was totally expecting to hear children's music. But then all of sudden, "Walking on Sunshine" comes on! Everyone is jammin' along, and the little guy starts swaying side to side, trying so hard to snap his fingers. It was such a hilarious moment!

Thank you for the warm welcome and the delightful music accompaniment, too! Pretty sure I've had "Walking on Sunshine" stuck in my head for the past two weeks. 

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Music is what feelings sound like.
— Alexander Mall
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When Three Becomes Four | An Alameda Newborn Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet the Wu Family:

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I had the pleasure of capturing these beautiful human beings when they were a family of three, soon-to-be a family four. And to get the opportunity to connect with this family again, with a precious newborn babe in the mix? How lucky am I?! 

Congratulations on your new bundle of joy! 

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Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.
— A.A. Milne
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Spring Has SPRUNG!

Had a blast running around with some awesome families (lots of growing families in the bunch too!) at the UC Botanical Garden for this year's spring mini-sessions! You guys gotta see these cutie patooties!

Quick reminder first. If any mommas with babies under 12 months are looking for fun activities tomorrow, join me, along with the 510families crew over at Studio Grow and celebrate the launch of Allyson Downey's new book, Here's the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood. There will be some light breakfast, goody bags, a raffle, pictures by yours truly... and of course fun for the kids at Studio Grow too ;)

And, don't forget (okay, a couple quick reminders), May's Capturing Childhood workshop is coming up! Check out all the info >here<. Scholarships available to those in need!

Now back to a glimpse at these beautiful families enjoying spring!!! WARNING: cuteness overload!!!

 

 

The Dynamic Duo | An Oakland Family Documentary Photo Session

Meet Oakland parents Temi and Matt and their beautiful twin sons, Isaac, in mommy's loving arms, and Abraham, gettin' all cleaned up by daddy (don't worry, more of their cutie faces soon):

Been catching up on some blogging and I have been getting so much joy from looking over this awesome family's photos again! Temi, a fellow Twins by the Bay mom, reached out to document her family right at the cusp of her sons' first birthday. Fully expecting to arrive at our consultation to meet two babies, I was (pleasantly) surprised to meet two exuberant, active FULL-ON young boys. I discovered, shortly after contacting Temi and Matt, that not only are they die-hard USC Trojans fans, but also that Matt is a basketball coach - so the fact that Ike and Abe were active and athletic little dudes was, in hindsight, absolutely no surprise!

Being a twin mom (and twin) myself, I feel like I have heard "it all" when it comes to beliefs/superstitions surrounding twin-dom. But, Temi, being of Nigerian ancestry, shared with me the coolest information regarding beliefs about twins in Nigerian culture. Check it out:

"Two of the most common destiny names among the Yorùbá are Taiwo (or Taiye) and Kehinde, which are given primarily to twins. It is believed that the first of the twins is Taiwo (or Taiye), whose intention in coming out first is to perceive whether or not the environment that they are about to enter is a good one for his or her superior to be in. When he or she is so satisfied, he or she grants the other twin, Kehinde (sometimes shortened to Kenny), the go ahead to come out."

Super cool, huh?

Mr. smiley and curious Abe:

Mr. Ike - making sticking your tongue look cool ;)

Brothers!!!

This family's energy kept me on my toes and was truly refreshing. The love they shed upon one another was abundant and I felt right at home with their welcoming nature.

What an honor to get a glimpse of this beautiful family's everyday life. Can't wait to for the next time!

Mini-Session Wrap-Up

What do you get when you mix a beautiful California fall backdrop, one super goofy photographer (a couple rad assistants I might add), a bunch of cutie patooties and their amazing families? Any guesses?! Some INSANELY FUN mini-sessions, that's what!

Here's a little sampling from my fun fall sessions at The Little Farm at Tilden Regional Park and UC Berkeley. Be sure to drop me a line >here< to stay up-to-date on future mini-session dates and other offers.

Enjoy!

As you can tell, I LOVE what I do!

Quality Time At Home | An Oakland Family Documentary Session

Back in June, I donated a photo session to Twins By The Bay's annual consignment sale raffle, and was thrilled to discovery this beautiful family had won...

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Right On Time | A San Francisco Newborn + Family Documentary Session

Meet beaming new mother and father, Jen and Jason, and their bundle of enchantment, Eliza:

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And I Feel Fine | An Alameda Twin Newborn + Family Documentary Session

Meet new mommy, Sharon, new daddy, Ian, and their beautifully basking twin daughters, Lillian Ada (in dad's arms) and (in momma's arms) Matilda Eliot...

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"I'm A Big Sister!" | An Oakland Newborn + Family Photography Session

Meet proud mommy and daddy, Diana and Greg, very excited big sis, Emma, and the newest addition to their joyful family, Payton:

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Serendipity + Smiles | An Oakland Family Photography Session

I met this lovely family the DAY of their session, due to some (quite unprofessional) circumstances with a photographer they had booked for a family session. Her loss = my incredible luck!

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