Photo Session Blog: Growth

I have finally wrapped up my biggest session yet that involved both the growth of a lovely family, as well as growth in terms of myself as a photographer, and I’d love to share.

What started with a grandmother-to-be of a friend asking me to take some candid baby shower photos, this ‘session’ turned into a several months-long photography journey for me, following the family from the baby shower through to photos of twin boys at a few months old. Basically a total of five separate sessions, which covered the shower, a maternity session, a couple’s session and two separate baby sessions of twin boys. And among all that I also took photos of their 4 cats and their dog!! The journey allowed me to explore my strengths as a photographer and presented me with new challenges and types of photography that I had hoped to explore. I also discovered the areas where I need to learn more and improve. Ultimately I feel so grateful to have had this opportunity, and I feel so proud to now have all the prints and products to turn over to the new parents.

When a photographer is invited in to take photos during times like this, it’s not just an experience for the client or family, it is also a journey for the photog. I’ve seen (and personally experienced) the joy and hope that comes with expecting a baby; it was enlightening to see it all from the outside, as I documented it all. I still regret not having my own maternity photos done when I was expecting (or a proper newborn session), so this story unfolding gave me much to reflect on, and it became very important to me to make sure I treated it with the same care and hope as if it were my own photos being done. When I went through my own pregnancy and labor/delivery, I also didn’t have the fortune of having family here, so I was also in awe of this loving, supportive family being a part of it all (and thank goodness, since it’s twin boys!).

A few things that I think are worth sharing:

  • Having maternity photos done is an intimate experience, and one where you are asking the expectant mama to share herself with you and the camera, to capture a time in her life that may only happen one time. I found it to be more fulfilling than I expected, and I appreciated the openness of someone willing to let me in to experience that. It’s a time when you feel vulnerable but there is something so beautiful and amazing about it, it’s just hard for that beauty to not show through in the photos. Plus this was the part where all the animals ended up being models too!! Their intuition about the changes to come was pretty obvious!
  • Taking photos of a loving happy couple about to have a baby (wait, two!!) brings an infectious enthusiasm for life and was a reminder to me of how precious that time is for a couple together before babies take over! The love they have for each other just shone through. Being that I have sadly few couple’s photos of my own (pre-baby and otherwise), I can’t think of a better time to capture that connection and excitement and love on camera.
  • Taking photos of twins babies is quite the bigger challenge than taking them of one, but can be twice as cute. Quite predictably, when one baby was asleep, the other was wide awake, crying or feeding (and then repeat with other baby!). This also was partly why I scheduled two sessions to do baby photos (with one being about a month later) so as to get enough of each twin being a happy, quiet, sleeping baby as opposed to being crying and fussy. As you know, we do like to pretend that they are always quiet little angels and preserve our memories of them like that! The twins are fraternal, so this also means they look different and are quite feasibly running on separate clock, and they also conspired to have ‘baby acne’ at different times to make my editing work ‘interesting’. It made for long sessions and required a lot of patience, but hearing mama ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over the proofs has already made it worth it. Just wait until she sees her finished prints, wraps and large collage standouts for their walls! Patches (the dog) made sure he continued to be in the baby photos…as if they could possibly show him up, eh?! Piha Babies 69
  • Extra notes: thank goodness the internet makes global communication easy these days. We were able to stay in constant contact about editing and ordering choices while I was overseas in England. Although the process may have gone quicker without a vacation, illness, indecision over which images are favorites, being busy with the twins now that they were born (that’s a lot of work!), but since hundreds of photos were taken over all these sessions, I think extra time made the anticipation greater, my work more thorough, and I think I feel more accomplished with the results.

So tomorrow I get to hand deliver prints, a gallery wrap, a flash drive of images, a couple of 10×20 triptych standouts, two 16×20 collage standouts, plus a few surprises, all in some fun hot pink wrapping and I am just so excited. I have learned so much from this, both personally and professionally (and photographically), and I am grateful. Many many thanks to the Piha/Amato family! I can’t wait to hopefully take more images of the beautiful family again.

xo ~ K

“Growth is the only evidence of life.” ~ John Henry Newman

Photo Session Blog: Spidey in Seattle

I thought I’d post a wee kiddie session that was fun and colorful that I did just recently…

To raise some funds for my Walk MS efforts (the walk is in a week!!), I have been offering mini sessions. I think this was our first truly warm and sunny Spring Day here in Seattle; if you’re from here, you know that means while we have clear skies and sun, it could well be  just in the 60’s, and suddenly everyone and their grandmother is out in shorts and T-shirts, and busting out the SPF.

For some 4 year-old’s pics, we went over to Queen Anne to Bhy Kracke Park (yes, really), where there’s a small playground with a path that leads up to another area where you have insane views of Seattle – from Lake Union to downtown to the Space Needle and West of that. That’s quite the panorama. Our Spiderman did some wall-balancing with the skyline behind him, and then we went to Wallingford for some wicked bunny mural shots (appropriately it was Easter Sunday) by Archie McPhee. It’s just about the coolest store ever, where you can find everything from unicorn masks to yodeling pickles and toupee tattoos. Sadly the holiday meant it was closed but I at least didn’t have to drag my son in there (he’s always worried that the freaky Halloween decorations will still be everywhere) or have to drag him out (because there are way too many sweets and plastic toys to tempt him with).

I’m still fundraising for the walk, so if you do want to stop by my fundraising page and sponsor my TENTH year of doing it, please do!! Raising money for the National MS Society is a super important cause for me, and every dollar helps; my story and why I keep on doing the walk is all on my page. I truly appreciate the support.

Must go and edit baby photos; hoping to do cat photos next week! Busy and tired but must keep on…

xo ~ K

“A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” ~ Kin Hubbard

Seattle 'Queen Anne" photo

Rolling into 2013 | Reflections

It’s already a week into 2013 and I have yet to add my two cents to the blogosphere about the passing of the old year to the new…so, Happy New Year!!

I always look forward to the new year, far more than the holidays preceding it. It signifies a new beginning, a fresh start, a chance to move forward on existing goals, and to create new ones. If I didn’t do something right in the previous year as I had wanted to, it’s time to take a look at what I can do better from here on out. I achieved some of my goals for last year and even superseded my own expectations with some things.

But then there are more personal challenges, some that I have to wrestle with others for control of, where I feel I am failing. I have already taken steps to try to pull me/us up out of the proverbial quicksand; it’s just not good to feel as though you are sinking! I’m trying to hold on to my inner strength that has served me well in the past, to get beyond some of the current hurdles. Quite aptly, I came across a picture today with the quote “The worst part about being strong is that no one ever asks if you’re okay”…

As far as my photography goes, I look forward to every day that I can learn more, try new things and challenge myselfhelp more rescue animals, and add new creative avenues to my work and endeavors. Already this year, I’m moving forward with all sorts of new projects and sessions and it’s exciting (if not exhausting!). I’m grateful to those who have lifted me up so far and inspired me to do more.

When I made a resolution at the start of 2011 to get back to volunteering, and so began my photography venture with Animal Talk Rescue (where I had previously spent hours volunteering cleaning out crates and so forth), it got me back to not just a creative pursuit  that ballooned into so much more, but it also filled me up in terms of my spirit. If there’s anything I can suggest to anyone else who has yet to make a resolution for the new year, it’s to give back. Give back and volunteer your time and your energy to something or someone other than yourself. When you look outside of yourself, however fortunate or unfortunate you think you are, it truly does your spirit good. When it comes to animals in particular, there’s always a rescue that could use your help, your donations, a home to foster animals in…something.

I’ll start the New Year as I mean to go on, by posting a photo of a beautiful rescue kitty by the name of Sally, who needs a new home, and also with the same eternal wish for peace, strength and good health. And not just for me either!

xo ~ K

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties. ~ Helen Keller

Sally HS web

 

 

Learning about Lightroom, Scissors & Mud | Reflections

It never stops, does it? The learning, that is…

I learned quite a lot about the above said things over the last few weeks. I’ve got Lightroom 4 up and running on my computer and I’m finding out how best to streamline my photo editing and organizing. And I know I’ll continue to learn more about what LR4 can do for my photography ‘habit.’ I’ve also learned that little boys like mud. They really really really like mud. So much that you have to strip them down to their birthday suits in the ‘Tulip Town’ parking lot so they don’t get into the car like dirty muddy piglets. Side note: Roman was born in the Year of the Pig.

I’ve also learned that my 4 year-old should not be left in the living room with his craft scissors (aren’t they supposed to be blunt?) while his parents have a bit of a lie-in lest he starts cutting his hair off. Okay, maybe he did need a haircut and it will grow back, but now my boy has a ‘fade’ on one side of his head and the shortest hair he’s had since he was a baby (the lop-sided mullet he gave himself had to be fixed). I will now cross this experience off my parenting bucket list.

As usual, I am posting to my blog in the wee hours of the morning. I’m still a night-owl, even though I’m actually exhausted with a headache…but I must sleep. I have a lot of kitten and cat editing to do ‘tomorrow’ (adorable photos coming!). It’s also Mother’s Day here in the States; maybe my boy will let me sleep in bed a bit longer as a treat (and if I bribe him probably). And yes, I have hidden the scissors.

Happy Mama’s Day, everyone!!!

xo ~ K

Tulip Town


Proud Muddy Piglet

My tricky little Valentine | Reflections

Long week, longer weekend, and lots of tricky subjects in between…

My first tricky subject, as in one that I photographed, was my little stinker who despite the pouts, still pulls it off as a cutie-pie. I think that these moments of unplanned imperfect photographic moments are what keep photography fun; most posed shots would have everyone believe that all children are angels that comply to every request, and as in the case of the many cats that I take photos of, they are magically entranced by the camera. I laugh when I think of myself (now) trying to get Valentine photos of my little boy at the gorgeous Kubota Gardens http://www.kubota.org/ with my Seattle Momtog meetup; there we were trying to get cute-as-pie photos, but what we really end up doing is having to bribe and threaten for anything that will work with our own children (as they’ve heard all the posing cues many times before, and our two boys hadn’t seen each other in ages so they just wanted to goof off). It was chilly and grey out but luckily no rain…the boys kept themselves warm by running off and we get warm chasing them.

And it’s probably needless to say that it’s also beyond tricky to get photos of my feline friends sometimes; cats may well be the most uncooperative animals of all; no sitting, rolling over, coming when name is called, none of that. They seem to do the opposite of what you want so you just have to go with the(ir) flow when you plan to get great cat photos. When I get photos of the rescue cats at Animal Talk, I literally am trying to keep the cat up on a 2 by 3 foot space on top of a filing cabinet in a tiny closet room space, and usually have 5-10 minutes to get the ‘winning shots’ with often nervous or shy kitties. This week though, I got to take some pet cat photos in a private home, and naturally it’s the cat’s domain, so I must naturally work around what they want! I will get to posting those – General Zod & Ursa – on my next post.

Valentine’s Day itself doesn’t have to be tricky; my man will be working a double shift at the restaurant as usual, which means (I joke) he will be wining and dining other ladies all evening and not me. It’s just another day though; I should be getting chocolate and flowers on many a random day, right? 

My biggest tricky subjects this last weekend involved none other than our usual blended family drama; it makes everything else so much harder to bear, and other tasks and projects slower to complete, but they end up being the respite from the chaos. Focusing on something that brings us joy removes us from our complicated lives, even for a short while.

This week I have much planned in the way of photos; a location scout tomorrow, a foster cat shoot ( I will only ever talk about shooting with a camera, btw), much editing, and more rescue cat photos too!! And I guess I will still feel like I am owed a Valentine’s date at some point…

Much love to everyone for Valentine’s Day and EVERY day; show the people you love, how you feel very single day, not just when a stupid Hallmark holiday tells you too, and well before it’s too late.

 

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.  ~ G.K. Chesterton

xo ~ K