family
August 6, 2017

Ignore it! 5 things to ignore when taking your family portraits

fathollahi20A dear friend of mine (Catherine Pearlman,The Family Coach) and I were walking the hills overlooking the pacific when she announced she was writing a book. She told me this like she was announcing that she was buying new shoes, or she was going to try out the new Vietnamese restaurant down the street. And now, a few years, and many hill-walks later, she is preparing to release the baby (Ignore It!) she has been laboring all this time. Besides the joy you get from watching a good friend work so hard towards a goal and getting to the end, this is a really good idea for a book. It is a parenting book that helps take the pressure off our supposed need to nag, correct and force our kids into good behavior.

In honor of her efforts, I am writing my top five things to ignore when you are taking your family portraits. For more than 10 years I’ve watched the struggles, fights and resistance that can happen on a family photo shoot. Under all the pressure to get a perfect shot, we often resort to tactics we would NEVER even use while we are at home. We feel the urgency of getting this done and getting out of there.

It has been my joy of joys to see the final result of a beautiful photo shoot. So to help you end up with the best results with the least amount of fussing consider these five things to ignore the next time you sit down for your family portrait.

1. Ignore the attitudes- Let it go! If you see a kid acting like a pill, often times they just want a bit of attention from you. Most photographers are ok with a little attitude, and they often have a trick or two up their sleeve that might help that. Remember this is most likely not their first child with an attitude, so it is ok to relax, let them do their job, and you can take all the pressure off yourself to put all your kids in the best mood.

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2. Ignore matching outfits- The goal is to capture your kids being themselves. It may not be worth the fight to get everyone in white tops and khaki pants if it will cause a meltdown from one or more people. Try bringing extra clothes, and let them wear what you pick first. If they take a few pictures in your outfit then you can let them wear what they like. I always say, it isn’t hard to Photoshop a stain, but it is super hard to Photoshop a smile where there isn’t one.

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3. Ignore your Pinterest Board- Don’t imitate another family doing what they do. Try doing something you love as a family. Do you all love the park? Fine! Do you love the ocean? Great! Do your kids love the swings or making cookies or the water slide? Just find a way to capture the joy in your family, and ignore the idea you have in your head on what the perfect background has to be. It’s better to have a happy family doing what they love than a grumpy one copying another family.

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4. Ignore Punishments- At the least, wait till you get to the car. It’s completely impossible to get a child to smile once you offer to take their phone away for an entire week. Instead, refer to tip one on letting the photographer step in. Let them come up with a few things that might help, and save all the discipline for the ride home.
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5. Ignore your Insecurities- Ok, this one might just be for me. I have a ton of things I don’t like about myself, and when I look at a picture, that is all I see. So when I know someone is pointing a camera at me, my anxiety level rises, and I want to turn around or run away. Most of the time I just get all bunched up in the face from that anxiety and over think my smile. I look so unlike myself, and I can barely change a profile picture anywhere. My friends and I always say we had no idea how beautiful we were 10 years ago! So try and imagine yourself ten years down the line looking at how young and pretty you once were!

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June 12, 2017

New Work: Educational Insights

 

Of all the days I spent teaching in the classroom, the ones that stick out the most are the ones of discovery. It was a scene you could count on, though less than I would hope as a teacher, when you could see the light in a student’s eyes flash on brightly. It could be a book, author, subject, or simply an interesting animal, but to watch a child’s imagination wake up to something they realized, this is something I miss about that job. I remember Amy obsessing about owls, or Xingya falling in love with Beverly Cleary, or Matt asking me to find more out about space travel.

When my own children were able to be outside with thoughts of their own, the best part of the day was to be out there watching them interact with the world and nature around them. Maybe that is why the beach offers us so much joy.

It is another great joy of mine to have had the opportunity to work with Educational Insights to create lifestyle images for some of their products. For these images we were able to spend three days in three of my favorite spots, with some of my  favorite kids. It was fun to spend the time looking for tidal animals and exploring brightly colored flowers under close inspection. All of these products for this shoot were wonderful outdoor activities that encourage children to play and discover the world around them. Here are some of my favorites.

children scientist moon scope for children toddler exploring the tidepoolshermit crab observatorytide pool exploringchild photographer for commercial los angelescommercial photographer los angeleschildren photographer commercialtelescope for girlschildren's commercial photographer los angeleschemistry toys for childrenchildren curiositychildren's telescopeeducational toys for childrenchildren's commercial photographercommercial Photographer Los Angeelstelescope for toddlers children education

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March 23, 2017

Baseball Baby

 

T-ball is something this four-year-old has been looking forward to his ENTIRE life. Sound dramatic? Well that doesn’t even do it justice considering his passion for the sport. He has gravitated to watching, and playing baseball in a way that is so natural I feel as if I have been witnessing a love affair from afar. Since this is also his first year in preschool, he relishes in seeing his friends on teams he plays. Watching him start his journey in baseball is a huge gift to our whole family. So even though this may be the start to a long journey, it has a prequel, and this is it in a photo journal.

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Climbing the fence to get in the gamebaby loves baseball

A drive and focus on the ball:tball toddler

His favorite family activity:
baseball at salt creekweb

Sippy cups and baseball fences:
sippy cup baseballbabybaseball2kellen and cjbaby loves tball

Brother and coach chasing him around between innings:
chasing kellen tballkellen slidingTball first gamefirst at battball duggout Outfield tball

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  1. Gretchen

    This is so precious! I love this so much!

October 1, 2016

More Beach Love and Water Sessions

 

Another water session that was completely good for my soul! Loved every second, especially that I love these kids like family. Watching families grow up is by far the biggest perk of this job. We couldn’t have been luckier with the sky this night! It just went from pretty to poetry at the end. We were lucky to follow Emerson’s advice and simply,

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air.”

kids on a rockmom and daughter huggingfamily at the beach kids reflection at the beach girl running into the waves boy in the waves kids playing in the water siblings at the beach siblings playing in the water girl being covered by white water girl watching waves at beach boy riding the waves at beach girl chasing birds ar the beach kids playing in the beach

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  1. Theresa

    Stunning work!

September 18, 2016

Summer Travels, Nicaragua

We drew an imaginary circle around Los Angeles whose radius would be about a five hour plane ride in any direction. It was summer, and we wanted to find an adventure that would satisfy the surfer, explorer, culture curious traveler without the long day in the plane with a three year old. Looking at our options, we created a pretty long list of places we could possibly go, and Nicaragua fell right near the top. It turned into an adventure that included monkeys, bumpy car rides, volcanos, butterflies, warm water, gorgeous sunsets, empty beaches, and great surf. Fortunately for us, not so many people are dying to practice their english, so it was good for the Spanish speakers in our family too! We heard friends describe Nicaragua as the Costa Rica of twenty years ago, and it was a great way to explain the underdeveloped beauty of central america.  We learned that Nicaragua at one time was a passage from the east coast to the west coast during the gold rush, and that made our beach exploring that much more interesting thinking we may happen upon a treasure of sorts hidden in the secluded caves of the shore.

This trip helped me realize the need in my camera arsenal for a much more discreet tool to capture the life of a traveler. It was not ideal to have a huge camera walking around, it felt somehow out of place. Because of that, I didn’t take my camera on too many of our adventures, and opted instead to use my iPhone.
fishing village in nicaragua toddler swimming nicaragua pig on the beach nicaragua vultures on the beach nicaragua fishermen nicaragua fishing town nicaragua dad carries son on shoulders hermit crab collection brothers playing on beach nicaragua nicaragua beachocean play boy on board

And a few from my iPhone:
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  1. Gretchen

    I LOVE this post! Should have read it sooner but it is beautiful!

June 4, 2016

Baby-in-the-sink Bath

 

The first day I was hired to come shoot for this family I stopped in my tracks once I saw the kitchen sink. How the light fell onto the big farmhouse sink had me drooling to shoot more there. It didn’t work out on the newborn shoot we had, and two shoots later we still couldn’t find a way to fit it into our sessions.

It turns out, if you have an idea in your head, it is healthiest to just get it out, good or bad results aside, just follow your gut. When the news came that they outgrew their charming first home, I knew we had to do something in that sink before they packed up and left, so I scheduled a “fun” shoot, and just invited myself over to play. A joy comes over you when you follow your creative soul, and shooting this was just that. Grateful for this precious baby, and her adaptable parents.

My next idea might be something you can help me with. I am currently looking for a good yard to do a slip and slide in! Email me for another passion shoot just in time for summer.

baby water poured over head mom giving baby a bath in the sink sink with a bright window for bath time baby crying in the bath baby taking a bath in a sink mother daughter sink bath baby bath in a sink

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May 17, 2016

New Work: Ergo Baby & Orbit Stroller

 

 

 

I still remember that nesting time, right before my baby was born. I scrambled around to make sure I had everything I could possibly need like clothes, toys, bags and such. A few weeks later as I sniffed in that newborn smell on my couch with sweet Kellen asleep on me. Only then could I admit to myself that all that I really needed was a healthy boob, a box of diapers, and my precious Ergo. The first two were inevitable. He will eat, and he will poop. But my survival depended on my sanity, and I usually find that out and about on adventures of the hiking or exploring type. We had countless naps, giggles, snuggles walking around in that Ergo. It was the only essential I recommend to those welcoming a baby in their lives.

Last fall I was lucky to shoot the summer campaign for Ergo Baby, and as the images are starting to pop up, I realize I am now able to share my favorites from that work. Here is our college of iPhone pictures taken with Kellen tucked safely into my pouch called the ergo, at the beach, dodger games, cave hunting, and just walking to school. With this campaign , Ergo announced a few great new carriers, one called the 360, where you can wear your baby facing outwards, and the award winning adapt that allows you to use it from infancy to toddler.

 

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mom and baby nashvillebig sisterergo babybowling inergoicecream toddlerergobaby 360farmers market baby wearingwear your babyergobaby carrierbaby stroller orbit babyOrbit Baby strollerNashville

A special team I was so lucky to be a part of, Raymie, Nicole, Taylor, Perry, Ashley and all the amazing models, big and small. We had so much fun, and I was so so lucky to work with them all!!!ergo team

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  1. Gretchen

    NICE!!! Great group and perfect results!

May 9, 2016

Kisses, kisses.

There are three children in this family, and somehow I cannot wrap my head around the fact that they are all three and under. Baffling! I know this kind of family is totally normal, and even my own mom was juggling four of us under the age of five, but the amount of energy needed to keep up is just so inspiring. So to all you mamas out there with littles so close together, my admiration goes out to you in this post.

Lucky mama, lucky kids, lucky husband, lucky in love having all this cuteness wrapped into one home. Of all the chaos packed into one day, there are the best memories made.

So congrats on the new addition, congrats on the adorable spirits that you are in charge of, they are spunky, joyful, and loving, and I couldn’t imagine a better combo!

brother kissing sisterdaddy with baby girl laughingbaby on blanket at beachmom and daughter laughting2toddler writing on the sand beachsandy fingers mom and son family playing at the beachmom and kids walking in a dream toddlers and mom

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  1. models' Sister/Auntie/Godmother

    BEAUTIFUL! I love love love these pictures! magnificent captures! ^_^

April 13, 2016

Full circle & weathering storms

 

This family came to me when their entire life was baseball, and the kids were both in Little League. We had a baseball themed photo session, and to this day, it is my most pinned photo at over 1000 pins. Typing that in I am actually not so sure what that actually means, but I definitely know it was a fun shoot and we had a ton of fun. Fast forward almost eight years ahead, and kids grew up like they were meant to do, and this sweet family is ready to send off the oldest to College. It is a very special time for this family of four, and I am especially honored and over joyed to have been able to see them again. And how could we not bring a bat and a baseball to this family/senior shoot!??

We were also lucky enough to have had an honored spectator through our shoot, the California Seal that watched over us for a bit.

couple weathering the stormfamily at beach at sunsetbrotherssenior high school studentfamily looking out to the oceanteenage brotherssenior high school photovisitor at the beach

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March 28, 2016

The stork brings another baby to The Stork and the Beanstalk

 

Almost a year ago Ashely and I met at the beach where her kids managed to keep their pants on, and of course Kellen ran around in his birthday suit. She didn’t seem to be fazed too much, so I decided she was automatically in my inner circle of trust. More than that, Ashley of the stork and the beanstalk keeps it real, all the time. This sweet little boy has his birth story up on her blog, birth stories being some of my favorite stories of all.  I love the way her mind works, and she isn’t afraid to let everyone know the inner thinkings of a clever mom. So don’t be intimidated by her style and beauty, and head over to her blog where her words are just as fun as her photos. But most of all, I just wanted to congratulate her on welcoming her third boy into the world. family on bed with newborn mom and newborn third boy baby boy

neborn baby boy

 

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