I had the most wonderful time in LA last weekend at my sister & brother-in-law's house. They threw an all day shindig with a gorgeous patio dinner that just melted away all my stress. For the whole day, I didn't worry about what was going on at work, or on my Facebook, or in email, or with my photo business, or the recent election, or anything that tends to creep in and take over from time to time. Instead I was treated (and I do mean treat, this was my first time ever just being a guest somewhere without a single responsibility or dish to prepare) to a glorious time and all 3 of my sisters were there. It was so nice. I took pictures all day and it made me so very happy. This particular set up is one of my favorites to photograph, people coming together around food in a beautiful space to spend time with one another. It's just so fundamentally wonderful. This one will stand out to me for years to come.
Meet the Fanelli family: Tom, Renee, and little lovebug Scarlett. Team Fanelli was all about getting into the beautiful outdoors for our family shoot come rain or shine. As is Seattle's November custom, we got rain. Plus side? Weather apps are becoming increasingly more accurate and bonus, we found a magical forested area smack dab in the middle of town to provide a little canopy for us. I couldn't believe how perfectly things aligned. This little trail (Jackson Park Perimeter Trail for all your north Seattlites) is only 3 years old and it runs alongside Jackson golf course. In literally 5 minutes you leave the parking lot and enter a forest so magical it feels like you've been dropped into Harry Potter. It was the most spectacular backdrop to capture some family portraits. Little Scarlett was such a trooper and let us put her just about everywhere to get the shot. When she finally said enough is enough mom and dad comforted her and I was able to capture even more moments that just melted my heart.
I met Beth before she was a Burns. We worked together at an ad agency and found ourselves working on the same client account. One day we learned that we were both traveling to Hawaii on the same day. She was going for her honeymoon and I was going for a family trip. Eventually we learned we were also on the same flights, not only to Honolulu but also for our short flight over to the island of Kauai. If memory serves, I met James at the airport and I was immediately excited to talk to him about our shared Michigan roots. It's hard to remember many other details exactly now, that was many years ago. But what I recall was how kind and fun they were. Over the years we've done several photo shoots together and I've seen how that spirit has translated to their daughters. This shoot marked number 4! I've been so lucky to witness and document this incredible family as they blossom. This past shoot, I was particularly touched by the sister dynamic that is developing between Clementine and little Harlow. It reminded me so much of myself and my younger sister Michelle. Clementine the big sister, full of energy and a bit of a ham. And then Harlow wide-eyed and observational, trusting in her sister to take her for a fun ride, who knows where. Each time I photograph the Burns Family, I'm humbled by their love. It's really inspiring to see.
I've known Lelia for almost 10 years. What's super fun to me about this particular shoot is that we've worked together at 2 different jobs and seen each other's careers go every which way but I would venture to say that neither of us ever expected to be where we find ourselves now and in this moment, I had the supreme honor of taking portraits for her new business venture. Lelia is a super talented lady who frankly is more on top of it than pretty much anyone I've ever known. She has what I affectionately call, the producer gene. I've got it, a lot of our friends have it, my sister has it (am I talking about the force? perhaps), and really it's quite difficult to explain but believe me when I say, it's elusive and very, very handy. Well, let's just say not only does Lelia have that gene in spades but she also has a keen eye for design and an uncanny ability to synthesize information and translate that into something beautiful. I got to see this first hand as we prepared for this shoot. As she jumpstarts her interior design business she is also turning into quite the globetrotter and I love seeing how she has been incorporating all that inspiration from her travels. It's funny how much things change and yet stay the same. I had such a great time photographing her. I've been very keen to hop into environmental portraiture as well so this was an incredible opportunity to highlight other aspects of my photography. To think we used to drag ourselves out of the office for coffees in the pouring rain just to get a break from our cubicles not too long ago. Super excited for what's ahead for this lady.
I met Nicole and her husband Eric a few years ago through some mutual friends. Nicole has been such an incredible supporter of mine as I have worked on refining my photography skills over the years. I recall before I shot my 2nd wedding I wanted to do some tests with my new camera and she agreed to model with a friend of mine just out of the kindness of her heart one afternoon. Since then she's hired me 3 times to document special moments in her life. It's such an honor and I'm super grateful to her for placing her trust in me and rooting me on. She's such a sweet human. I had such a great time photographing her family last weekend. We hit up Stocker Farms up in Snohomish. They had a pumpkin patch, corn maze, animals, and little cute setups around the property. The folks over at Stocker did an incredible job decorating and organizing the experience and 2 year old Oliver was fascinated with everything around him, especially the puddles.
I've been trying to carry my DSLR along more often so I can practice new things and continue refining. Today at brunch I was struck by how many reflective surfaces I was drawn to. It got me thinking about the notion of reflection in the first place. As awkward as it has been for me, I'm realizing how crucial it is to clients that they get to know you a bit. When someone is looking for a photographer, they're no doubt looking for different things but I know what I bring to the table, and that's me. Sure it's my skill set, and my photo style to some degree - but it's also me. How I make a person feel behind the lens, what are we going to talk about, do we want to hang out after? Oddly, that has forced me to be much more open than I would want to be on the good old interwebs. I'm slowly but surely embracing my selfie stick (calling those pics "Self portraits" though, come on), and making sure to take time to reflect (haha, I crack myself up) on progress and life around me in general. 2016 has brought some incredible gigs my way, and I have a few more before it's over and a few more on the horizon next year! It sort of happened all on its own - and then again, with a lot of hard work. It's something I'm proud of, and happy with, and I think today I had a moment of appreciation. This all brings us to this morning's brunch! I got to hang with my pal Nicole and we had a fab brunch over at Stateside on Capitol Hill and we followed it up with one of our faves: General Porpoise for a little post-brunch delight. Nicole let me take her photo (such a trooper, rain and all) and we caught up as pals do. I'm hoping when I look back on today I'll remember this pause, this moment of reflection where I looked at things and said - yeah girl, you're doing pretty alright and you have some pretty amazing people in your life.