Similarly to my last post, this is a mini “first time in the snow” session from our annual Tahoe trip.
Matt & Jessica Wilhite have been our snow travel buddies for many, many years. Matt and my husband Kris became friends in college through a mutual friend (and other previously referred to snow travel buddy, Galen). Matt was also a groomsman in our wedding and Kris in his just a month later. Not only do Matt and Jess have snow-fever, they also have travel-fever in general which pairs nicely with Kris’ and my desire to travel as much as possible in our never-ending quest to “chase the fun dragon.” We have been everywhere from Tahoe, to Colorado, to Utah, to Whistler, to Banff with these two.
As you can imagine, when they told us they were starting a family (actually they didn’t have to tell us, we guessed when on one of our frequent Tahoe trips Jess would not snowboard, enjoy even a single traditional apres-ski beverage, or sit in the hot tub) we were concerned. I know that sounds like a horrendously selfish statement; it is, but when your #1 travel buddies have a kid you know that your frequent adventures are going to be fewer and further between. That all being said, who can’t help but be thrilled for your friends doing something they have been talking about since before they got married. We knew they would be fabulous parents and were and are positive the second they’re able to get back to their frequent adventuring ways they will do-so toting our newest little travel buddy, their son Reid, along.
Seeing Reid in the snow for the first time got me so excited about so many things, namely the first time they get that little man on a snowboard. You know me and my sneaky camera will be sure to be there to document it. Dad Matt grew up quite the adventurer himself, doing everything from traditional team sports to bull-riding, so we know as soon Reid is old enough to stand up and balance himself, his parents are going to have him up there on slopes with the rest of us. Enjoy some of my favorites from his mini session:
Every year we travel up to South Lake Tahoe at the end of January for an annual trip to celebrate the hubby’s birthday with all his best friends (going back as far as High School). What is really special about this trip is that it has been going on for 9 years (and counting) and despite the enormous amount of life changes everyone has gone through over the years, from new relationships, to engagements (we got engaged on this trip 5 years ago as a matter of fact), to marriages, and now kids, everyone still makes a point to save this weekend and make the trip up. It really means a lot to both of us and is an awesome tradition.
Despite not having any of our own kids, it has been fun for the hubby and I to see the evolutions of many of these longtime friends becoming parents and getting to play pseudo auntie and uncle to the all little ones. I especially enjoy using said children as my personal family photography guinea pigs. This year I had to opportunity to shoot a couple of “first time in the snow” sessions which are always super fun. It is always interesting to see how the little ones respond to this foreign, cold, white stuff all over the place.
Our first “victim” was little Jolie Brunnings who belongs to our friends Matt & Leah. And she is actually their second child! They call her JoJo for short, which is just too cute and fitting for this little ball of personality. Matt and my husband Kris are friends and former teammates since High School. Kris was a groomsman in Matt’s wedding and Matt in ours. His wife Leah is best summed up as “Super Mom.” She has always attended these weekends, despite not being into the snowboarding aspect of the trip, always willing to come along for the ride. Like a champ has done so while pregnant multiple times and now with the little ones to watch and entertain while the “big kids” do what big kids do on snow weekends; that is enjoy the slopes all day followed by apres-ski beverages followed extended hot tub sessions. A beer pong game or two has also been know to break out after the kiddies head off to bed.
For this trip they opted to leave their oldest daughter Allison at home with Grandma and Grandpa as at 3 years old she is a little active for the size and varying degrees of “life stages” everyone is at in this group. So unfortunately this is just a partial “Brunnings Family photo shoot.” Leah, again being the super mom she is, had a fabulous snow outfit all ready for JoJo’s little snow adventure. Enjoy the adorable outfit and some of my favorite shots from the mini-session:
While brainstorming ideas for her family holiday shoot, which you can see a couple blog entries earlier, my good friend Chelsea shared with me some images she had found of children with Christmas lights strewn about them that she wanted to try. I had seen similar shoots from some of my favorite photographers recently as well and was excited to give the idea a go. I can always count on Chelsea and her little family to be my #1 photography guinea pigs.
Armed with a variety of her own strings of Christmas lights, combined with some of my own I had pulled out for the shoot, Chelsea and I experimented with a variety of set ups and lighting scenarios. Big brother Nohl was a champ with the very fun, but very hot old string of “big bulb” lights that mama Chelsea had brought which put off enough light that we were able to turn out some awesome black and whites. Baby Kai was not so keen on said lights as they were quite hot; however, he did give us some straight Gerber-baby adorable-ness with the more dyanamic lighted garland. Nohl was not so much a fan of said itchy garland. Finally, we found a happy medium with a standard colored light string mostly hung behind the boys but also slightly strewn about them for some fantastic sibling shots.
I was quite pleased with the outcome of this shoot! I am very much an outdoor, natural light photographer, so anytime a shoot brings me indoors and/or uses a lot of artificial light I find it challenging. The light coming of the Christmas lights, combined with the reflection off the freshly polished wood floor, and topped off with the fact that mama Chelsea worked her butt off keeping her little men interested and smiling for the shoot are all to thank for these beautiful images. As always, thank you Chelsea for keeping the creative juices flowing and letting me get my paparazzi on with your children. Enjoy these favorites from the shoot:
Sometimes little ones just don’t feel like smiling for the camera. We can jump around, make goofy faces, funny noises, bribe them, and so on, and still not have any luck getting that coveted smile. In fact, in those cases, I am pretty sure they think we are crazy. That was exactly the case when I photographed the Brewer Family recently for their holiday photo session. Now to be fair, little Vivian is teething and let me tell you, if I had sharp objects trying to poke through my gums I wouldn’t feel like smiling for the camera either. Fortunately, Mom, Shanna and Dad, Kevin, kept their spirits up and looked great for the camera (all while also wrangling their handsome pup, Kobe, who is just as much a part of the family, and therefore, needed to be included in a few photos as well) while I fired off shot after shot hoping we could at least get a couple frames to work with despite Viv’s less than positive outlook on getting her photo taken that day.
I have to say, we got more than just a few good frames! As I started sorting through the shots from the session I was overjoyed with the outcome. Sure, we didn’t get any of those coveted smiles from Viv, but she still gave us some major “face” for some beautiful family photos. Here are some of my favorites from the session:
And just to prove little Viv has plenty of smiles in her…I wanted to include some photos from her 1 yr photo shoot we did back in late September (BB, AKA – before blog). Smiles galore!
Keeping with the theme of former teammates and long time friends, I recently had a family shoot for the Lack Family. In my blog post for my old friend Jenn’s newborn session I included an old sports photo of us to 1) embarrass us both a bit and 2) show how long we had known each other. In this post I am including an old sports photo of Candice and I for a very different reason. Look closely at Candice in this photo:
…And tell me her 10 year old daughter Chloe is not her spitting image:
It is uncanny. Candice passed some strong genes down to that not-so-little one of hers. And Chloe is a lucky girl for it.
I had never been to the CSULB Japanese Gardens before but when Candice suggested it I was game to shoot somewhere new. I am so glad she found it! What a beautiful location, both to photograph and just take in and enjoy. Jeremiah clearly has a great bond with all three of his “girls” and the photos show it. Here are the rest of my favorites from the session:
Chelsea & Paul Almquist were my very first photography clients. Chelsea and I are former teammates, roommates, and long time friends. When she had her first son Nohl 2.5 years ago I talked her into letting me make her new little family my photography business guinea pigs. Up until that point I had only done photography as a hobby and not yet professionally. She kindly acquiesced to this request and ever since then she has allowed me to photograph many of their major milestones, from Nohl’s newborn photos, to family holiday photos, to maternity photos for baby #2, Kai, Kai’s newborn photos, and now holiday photos for the family of four!
At Papa Paul’s suggestion we did the shoot in Laguna Beach at their wedding site with all sorts of fun and festive props provided by my dear and creative friend Chelsea. Thank you Chelsea for your continued support, creativity, and access to your adorable and growing family which has and continues to help my photography business grow. And without further adieu, a few of my favorites from the session: