All portraits are beautiful

This past weekend I was asked to photograph two baby dedications at my church.  I was glad to do it.  My little church is small and I love that.  I know them, not all by name but I find comfort being surrounded by people who open their hearts to Jesus.  The first baby dedication was cool.  It was for our worship leader and his is a beautiful story.  But its his story, so all I’m going to say is God planned this baby to be with them from the start.  It was meant to happen just not in their time but in Gods time.  The second service baby dedication was for my softball coach.  (funny story, and this one IS mine!)  Last year about this time Adam asked at service if anyone was interested in joining the softball team he coached.  Steve said, “you should do that.”  I thought sure, I mean it couldn’t hurt to at least, right?   So after service I asked and he told me yes, its very low key, our pastor is on the team and so is this person and that person.  I only heard the “low key” part.  Being “older” then my younger days of softball, I didn’t want to sign up for something I would have to quit and walk away from.  so a couple weeks before the first game Steve and I went out every morning to practice.  I hit, I ran and I did pretty good.  I even was able to throw the ball straight (after a few minor fly aways.  lol)

Game day!  I’m excited this is going to be fun.  the crowds were gathering, I walk up to the field we are at and I see several parishioners from our church.  No doubt they are here to cheers us on!  In the dug out I hear my name, “Sylvia!  your second base!”  Great!  I use to be a catcher not infield, but I thought this is “low key” Adam said so.  I start to walk out to the field to warm up.  I’m feeling good, the night air is blowing a cool breeze.  I start to look around and see our pastor on third, our worship leader walking to shortstop (I think, it was all a blur after that moment.)  Then with one step forward and a quick thrust of his arm our pastor, Mr calm cool and the man I ask for guidance, lunges forward thrusts his arm and blazes a ball to first base!  All I saw was what I thought was a white line of fast!  The next sound I hear is a loud whack!  First base person caught the ball without fail and quickly throws it to second base!  WAIT!  That’s me!!  (I missed the ball (someone I don’t remember out of embarrassment got it and kept the rally going)  At that moment I thought this is NOT your casual “low key” game!  These guys mean business!

The following week I practiced and practiced hard.  I wanted to do my part and play at the level my teammates played.  Second game came the following week.  Again, I am called but this time I hear “Your catcher!”  Great, I can do that!    I walk up to my position, my eyes are intense.  I look around and see a couple of friends with Steve.  I think to myself play hard Sylvia, play to win.  the batter came to the plate.  I crouch down in catchers position.  First swing he hits the ball but it slides off the bat and spins backwards I reached out and thought I caught the ball (I heard a crack, but that was NOT the ball!)  It hit my finger and broke it!  lol that was the end of that.  but I did finish the game (only because I couldn’t feel my finger!  lol)  To me, Adam will always be my coach.  and this story will always be the game I finished.  lol.

So back to the baby!  Adams baby is a cutie.  I wont say pie, because she was more then that.  She was adorable laying in mommas’ arms.  Dressed in her little tutu.  Adam had the look of a happy father.

I love babies.  They are by far my favorite to photograph.  They look so sweet sleeping.  I could photograph babies all day long.  I once did just that when I worked at Sutter Hospital before I stated my business as a portrait photographer.  I would stay after and look at the babies sleeping and think about how they have their whole lives ahead of them.

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After Pastor Andy finished explaining what the baby dedications meant he held her in his arms and prayed.  Prayed for her, for her parents and for us her congregation.  Because we are part of her family too.  Her church family.  And I love that thought.  I love knowing that the community I photograph, babies, children, senior high school, and families are part of my family.  My church, my town and my intimate circle of friends.

So remember, when your out playing a friendly game of “low key” softball or walking into your church, the store you frequent, or the park your kids play in.  I’m there too, waiting to photograph you and your family.  With open arms and a broken finger.  lol Have a blessed day!

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Love can conquer all things

My son Christian is not a photographer by trade.  He does it as a favor for the few.  But this beautiful couple were the brother and fiance of my son and he could not say no.  After taking the images, he explained to them that he could not edit these because he did not  have the program but he told them I did (“my mom is a professional photographer and I’m sure if I smile real pretty she would be happy to do them.”)  Well, my son knows me well.  I was sitting in my living room wondering what would be the best way to work on these and not take away the beauty that my son captured in the image.  Kyle and Caitlin are super cute and fun.  I just look at Caitlin’s smile and know they are happy.  That told me a lot.  I really didn’t have to edit these other then a quick lighting or shadow increase.  But these two showed their love for each other in each pose.  So relaxed, like they were meant to be exactly where they were.  DSC_0100-Edit-2.JPG

This mini photo session was not  planned.  They went on a family camping trip.  My son and his husband,  their parents and Kyle and Caitlin.  The next day Kyle and Caitlin said it would be nice to get some shots from the trip to use on their save the date cards.  My son said he would like to do some photos with them.  And that’s how it came to be.  The day was beautiful.  The sun was shinning bright, it was a bit cold, but that is why the beautiful colors were so nice.  A clean crisp morning.  As I sit here editing these, I can see the love these two have for each other.  Kyle has such a sincere look on his face.  He was told to pose and to smile, but I think the fact that he is marrying the girl of his dreams, made him realize, this is it.  My life begins with her.  And Caitlin, well her smile says it all.  She has a smile that never ends.  But the look on both theirs eyes says so much more.  DSC_0056

I was once told that to marry a person it takes patients, understanding and commitment.   but what you really need is the ability to smile and look at each other even when you are in a big fight, or when he keeps the tooth paste tube messy.  That is love.  Its during those moments that you say  “I can still look at him and still see love in his eyes, I can still stand with her and know she is the one. ”

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This session that I edited reminds me of a bible verse: 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way’ it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.”

My blessings to Kyle and Caitlin, I pray they give each other all that this verse says.  Because God does.  He is love.  And that is what its all about.

 

Don’t panic, its just June

Today I woke up and noticed that the air was still on I walked out to the back and opened the door to let some fresh air in, but to my surprise it was 90…at 830….am…..for me in Northern California, that is hot.  But I began to think of the other 49 states and what the weather was like in those neck of the woods….Florida has that great backdrop of skies and greens, and the humidity.  I spoke with my sister the other day and she was telling me it was not that bad, you get use to it.  My parents live in Texas and they have the heat start early…like May early.  So I guess I can think don’t panic Sylvia June’s heat will come and go this too shall pass.  (then July will jump out)

May and June were eye openers.  I mean I didn’t know I could book, shoot, reveal and print as fast as we did .  But we did.  We had senior sessions, birthday bash, and Oplove back to back.  We were also able to book an event near and dear to our hearts.  Yolo County Spring Show 2017.    It was a rockin an rollin month straight out the gate.  I try to book our sessions  far enough in advance to make sure I don’t lose your desired time.  The Senior session for Mr Eric was no exception.  Mom contacted me and booked it for an early Spring session.  She made sure she booked us way in advance.  Like December in advance.It was fun, it was exciting and it was her last one.  s  I have photographed all her children and this young man was the last and bittersweet for her.  We consulted and she decided a card with favorite images was her choice.  After the session we did her print reveal and yes, there were tears there too.  Mom picked out 9 7×10 prints that captured her son to a tee.  She also picked out the images we were going to use for his graduation announcement cards.  I created this card for her and she loved it.  Again, tears were all around.  This is her last one out of high school.  I remember when my youngest graduated high school, I felt good and sad at the same time.  So, I kind of knew what mom was going through.  You bring them up the best you can.  Raising them from the toddler years.  Guiding them through the preteen moments and then see them off to adulthood.  yea, I get it.   (and yes, I’m shedding a tear…again.)  Eric

around mid May we were called to do a Sweet Sixteen Birthday smash the cake session.  Fun fun fun!  I said, “hum YEA!! we booked it and started to give mom some ideas for portraits.  Sweet Jacqueline was just that Sweet!  At first she was a bit shy around us, who wouldn’t be with all the equipment and the lights its kinda intimidating (even for me sometimes.) But she quickly felt at ease and showed us her heart.  She is such a great girl.  After the session we did her print review where she expressed an interest in photography.  That is always good to hear especially from a girl.  I love to help our youth find their passion in the art.   She had so many questions.  I was the teacher for once.  (hahaha)  Mom loved the prints but wanted an album to be able to look back on the day her baby girl became a young lady.  (truth be told, she was a young lady before turning 16) They choose a beautiful 8×8 faux leather book they will have years to be able and look back at and not have to worry if it will be obsolete.  Albums never grow old they just become beautiful memories.

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Just about the beginning of June we got a call to do the Yolo County Spring 4-H show.  Talk about a lot of animals.  No, really A LOT of animals.  I started to get a bit nervous a week before.  Steve said, “you can do it, just point the camera and I’ll take care of the lights.”  Yea, and who’s gonna watch the animals!?  We photographed goats, pigs, chickens, hens, rabbits, sheep, eggs, (yep, you read that right, eggs)  And I have a confession to make.  I am afraid of cows.  (well not deathly afraid, but hey they are HUGE!)  We took about 380 pictures of animals. (Noah has nothing on us with this one) But I must say it came out great.  The crew they assigned to us were awesome.  They had those kids and the animals going in and out in record time.  After the event we edited and had to post a link to the 4-H site, (yea, still working out the “kinks” for that, but they will go up.

 

The last session for the month (or almost last still working on some scheduling conflicts:)  was this beautiful Oplove session.  When Krystal contacted me via email she stated that she had three beautiful kids.  My heart belongs to the kids.  They wait for mommy or daddy to come back.  Some understand why they are not there to tuck them in.  Some are acutely aware of their absence.  Some just miss them.  They long to hold daddy’s hand again.  They try to be “brave” and sometimes it works, but sometimes they just ask,
“when is mommy coming home?”  They question “when can daddy walk me to school again.”  My heart belongs to them.  Every time I do an Oplove session I pray.  I thank God for bringing these men and women into my life.  I ask Him to protect them from harms way, but mostly I pray for the kids.  I also feel very thankful.  I feel blessed to be able to photograph these families that are struggling to keep going.  They stand strong with each other, and I see that.  Hug your son or daughter.  Tight.  Then the next time you see a military family passing by or a soldier sitting at a coffee shop having a cup of coffee, thank him.  Thank him/her, because of what they do, we are free to do what we do.

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So Grateful!

New year new birth!  Welcome to the world Mr. Nathan!  It was such a pleasure to photograph this little tyke!  Not just because its my niece’ baby, or that it’s my big sisters second grandchild, but because every time I have the pleasure to photograph a newborn it gives me pure joy!  God is Great and I am humbled by His creations.  Mr. Nathan was also the studios first of many to come poster child for our Bellies to Babies Campaign for 2017-18!  So, we will be seeing a lot more of Mr. Nathan in the future.  On top of coming into this world, he had some grande entrance of a week.  Northern California just experienced its first “monster” storm of the year.  (right now my family in Texas are rolling their eyes. ha ha)  The day of the shoot we drove to the hospital in 30 mph winds, rain and heavy traffic.  Once we arrived we began the video taping of our first Facebook Live portrait session.

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We decided for 2017 we were going to start doing live feeds on our sessions to show how we work.  I was being asked more then not “how did you photograph in such cramp rooms, or why did the photo you took come out lighter then the one I took, and I was standing right behind you.  (there are some rules to my letting family/friends photograph behind me that’s in our portrait contracts. But that’s another blog post) So we decided to begin the year with informative live feeds to show how we can do that.  Not really “how to’s ” they will be more inspiration for those who are on the fence about having a portrait session.  The videos are also a great way to put our business in prospective.  To help us see what we are doing and to stay on track on what is important with this business….YOU!  our clients.  2017 brought us to our 11th year in business!  Wow, seeing that makes my heart pitter patter (wait, maybe its the coffee.)  We are so humbled by Gods grace and all the people He has brought before us to photograph.  I have always said, “it’s not just a photograph, it’s your life.  I truly believe that.  One day years after the kids have grown, or my clients have moved on, someone  will be looking at a family portrait hanging in their living room or a newborn collage in the hall way and say “do you remember when grandma had that done?”  Those are the moments I am talking about.

Yep, Baby Nathan may have had an eventful week, but I have a feeling this kid is going to have both hands on the wheel, he will know who he belongs to and that will give Him joy.  Have a great weekend everyone, be safe and take care of one another.

First Friday Art Walk

Hi all!  Its FRIDAY!  Yea, The end of the week the beginning of a new month, the start of a new season, and don’t get me started on the smells in the air. Ah, Fall. I love the crisp air.  Especially during an evening walk around town.  September 2, is Woodlands First Friday Art walk. Those are fun.  I rarely get a chance to participate, let alone walk around and view all the great art. Usually I am in the studio or on location or editing (come to think of it, there has been sooo much editing). So when the downtown historic association of Woodland called and asked if I would be interested in being a featured artist at one of the participating businesses, I checked my calendar…TWICE and said yea!  I CAN DO IT!!   Its all coming together. So this Friday September 2, 2016 from 5:30 pm-9:00 pm I will be at Kevin Cowan, Financial Services, 426 Main Street.  I’m excited and nervous at the same time.  The last First Friday I had participated in was roughly 3 years ago, or more.  I don’t think I was able to stay for that either, I had to leave early. But once again I get a chance to participate and I am super excited to be in town and around for this Friday Art Walk. This is such a special break for me. Sometimes as an artist I need to recharge. To quote Bill Cunningham, a world renowned street fashion photographer “the eye needs to be re-educated”. Sometimes I need to take a break from my normal business of taking portraits, as much as I love this aspect of photography, the families, the smiling faces, stories, and creating a memory to last a lifetime, it helps to have another aspect of photography I can re-channel my energy and “re-educate” my eye. I like to think of creativity or really, any passion we have in life, as a knife. Sometimes the knife needs to be honed once in awhile, because over time it becomes dull. Doing Creative photography is almost just like that for me. It is my great outlet; my muse, my chance to resharpen so, I can go on location with a new eye each time. Creating something beautiful so you can display it in the home.  When I book my session, I don’t think about the time, the location (well, maybe a little) what I really think about is how blessed I am to be invited into families lives and capture those special moments.  I ask myself “I wonder if they know how beautiful they are?”

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