‘no one’s ever made me feel so much like me.’

The Whitneys from maile wilson on Vimeo.

Maile (pronounced Miley), from Relish Photography, contacted me a few months ago, wondering if I would want to be a “model” for her camera bags, in a new ad campaign. (Sounds so fancy.)(I put “model” in “quotes” because no matter what anyone else says, I will always feel like I am making a weird face in front of  a camera.) Loving her bags and her photography the way I do, I jumped at the chance. I was thrilled to have been asked.

For my shoot, she wanted a California beach kind of vibe, and told me she was renting a red VW bus to use. She was speaking my language. I was excited. Beyond.

And THEN, she told me she wanted to photograph my family, as a thank you. Um, excuse me? What did you just say? My family? On the beach? With a red VW bus? Am I dreaming?

I think I was dreaming. I think I still am.

We had pretty recently had our photos taken by my dear friend Bonnie, yet it was a surprise to see how we have changed since May. My kids grow like weeds in the summer! It makes me feel like once a year is not enough for family photos. I think we need to do them quarterly. Hear that, Jeff?

…I am so glad I have those images that Bonnie took in May. I am so glad I have these, too. These, with Drew’s new favorite hat, Nate’s new favorite glasses, Anna’s new favorite boots. All accessories that we rarely see them without lately. I love that Nathan never took his glasses off. I love that she never asked him to. These, with Jeff in “casual office attire” since he raced straight from work to make it before sunset, and by the way, she got these family shots in a measly 15 minutes. And that he did it for me, when leaving work and driving in traffic and doing a photo shoot is his least favorite thing in the entire world. That he did it means a lot to me. These, with that glorious summer light. With Nate’s hand on Drew’s head. Drew’s arm around Ken. Me laughing while photographing them. With Mckenna and her impish face. Jeff’s one toenail that he allowed Anna to paint. Me with my face in his neck, my favorite place. Our hair flying around. These, with that glorious perfect little VW. The kind that I will own someday, or else. These, with so many little interactions that maybe no one else will pick up on, but that I see, and I treasure that they are caught for me to stare at whenever I want, forever.

I had never met Maile before, but one night together and I already want to be her friend for a very long time. After our shoot, we shared some meaty conversation over fishbowl margaritas and carnitas tacos. That’s how I like to woo the ladies. I dropped her off at her hotel and felt like I was saying goodnight to a long lost bosom buddy. Now, I feel that way even more so. Seeing how she saw us the way I see us. I think I might have photographed us just like this, had I been able to clone myself and do it that night.

She asked me for two of my favorite songs to make this slideshow, and since that is an impossible question for me to answer, I gave her two songs I just happened to fall in love with today.
Go Together by Jillian Edwards
Pea by Rabbit

Go, download now, listen, and be happy.

I will sit here and be happy too.

Thank you will never be enough, girl.



Join the Conversation


  1. Seriously Tara, your family is so beautiful. Drew is still my favorite, just because I love that he has read Harry Potter and that he is so unique at such a young age! You are a great mom, and it shows in these pictures.

    I need to come babysit with Alisha.

  2. I saw this last night when Maile posted it and I just fell in love! It is so perfect, it is so you! The first thing I said was how grown up and pretty McKenna looks! Like a young woman :) Drew with his guitar, so great. And the one of you alone, spinning and having fun, just lovely. They’re all perfect!! Absolutely perfect.

  3. 15 minutes? Whoa! That is so amazing. These images AND the music to go along with them made me smile a great big huge one this morning while drinking my coffee. What a treasure for you and yours. Maile is incredibly talented. Thanks for the introduction to her work/art.

  4. goose bumps all over. what a treat for you guys and maile!
    you are beautiful and so is your family connection…..maile is incredible too.

    I have her turquoise bag…so fun.

    (oh…i’m doing a blog giveaway on monday but I’m sure you have everything under the stars for photoshop fun, and some :)….thought I’d share the love just in case it’s something you don’t have….one I’m sure you have though)

  5. WOW!!!!So beautiful is right…..Words can’t express Tara the video is amazing. To have to Cherish always,to watch over and over again. This is what good Karma and a loving circle of friends gets you!Get to keep the van too, right??(You Wish……)Love you all. mom

  6. Breathtaking. And seriously, it meant so much more… Held so much more weight… Since you let us more into your world. The pic of M laying in the sand was stunning. And you look full of love. Loved it all!

  7. oh i never comment, but maile is one of my all time faves and i can’t stop watching this! she must have had her groove on from your modeling shoot to catch all this i 15 minutes. oh how i would have loved to see it! you guys are a beautiful family.

  8. Tara, your family is just so lovely, I can’t help but feel a smile stretch across my face seeing you all together. Every family has troubles and trials, but seeing the joy getting through them together is what creates love that is boundless.

  9. can I just say.. for some reason these made me cry? not sure why.. probably because the are so amazing.. because I wish I had photos like these of my family together.. interacting.. I really need to make that happen before they all grow up and dont want to hang out with my husband and I anymore… anyway.. thank you for sharing these.. they are wonderful

  10. You are so blessed to have these lovely little moments captured like jewels to cherish forever and always…I have so many Faves…Mckenna laying on her side looking so peaceful, Drew with his arm over your shoulder (you will so love this when he is towering over you someday soon), I love love love the bare feet pictures. Thanks for sharing the smiles :)

  11. You . . . YOU, Tara Whitney, are Gorgeous!!! The pictures you take say a lot about who you are, but photos of YOU, shines a light on your heart and soul! loved ’em !

  12. Love the shots of you and Jeff, where you are melting right into him. That shots of you behind the wheel…those expressions are so YOU! These are amazing.

  13. Seriously!???!!!! TARA!!!!! That was amazing! Oh and by the way, you look super dooper skinny! The kids really have grown up since May! This is just perfect, the VW bug is perfectly you and Jeff…loved the peace sign on the mirror!

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