After meeting and really falling in love with this crew on their first session at the beach in 2015, I was happily anticipating getting to do a second one on their home turf. I walked in the door to see their sweet old pup in her sunny spot on the couch, and pulled my camera out to take the first shot before I even said hello to everyone, half expecting an old lady smoker’s voice to come out instead of a bark.

They showed me their rooms, and how they play in the living room, and took me to their favorite bookstore, walking distance from home.


This isn’t something you usually hear about from photographers, because we all want to go along with the idea that photo shoots are all magic and easy and everyone always has so much fun and loves them, but honestly the only person that really wants to be having photos taken is mom, (and me). Of course there are exceptions, but in my experience everyone shows up for her. Most family members aren’t excited about it, but they do it. A huge part of my job is how I work to change the negative perceptions and attitudes they have about a session to get everyone on my team. My ultimate goal, when the shoot is over, is to have everyone thinking, “That wasn’t so bad, and actually, it was pretty easy/awesome/fun/bonding/sweet.”

Case in point. These boys were over it after ten minutes and it took a lot of work to get them on my side. When a kid has some behaviors or refuses to join in, I want to understand why. Are they tired? Shy? Bored? Trying to get attention? I first ask questions. Then I experiment with how I react to them and see what works. Over the course of this session, I learned that these kids had slept over with their grandparents the night before – so they probably hadn’t gotten the best night’s sleep. So I did what I could to make it easy on them, and include them when they were open to it, without a lot of pressure. I share this not to single these kids out, but to put this out there so you know it happens, of course it happens (basically every time). I’m not going to judge you or your kid, and most importantly, I can handle it.


PS – I will be in Seattle the weekend of May 27th and Portland the week of June 20th. Contact me if you want info on my travel sessions! 


Join the Conversation


  1. I love the b&w family shot under the tree – what’s the fruit on the ground?

    And our (australian native) Hardenbergia Violacea in the last pic with gorgeous girl :)

  2. I can not help coming back to see your sessions again and again. I ask you again to dictate an online course on family photojournalism because I follow you from Argentina. Please! I love your job!

  3. Seeing your shots of Hicklebee’s just made me cry. That was the bookstore that opened so many enchanted worlds to me as a kid. San Jose will forever be my home even though I live far away in Brooklyn now. Your work, as usual, is stunning.

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