Best Buds

Meet J.

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits outdoors eyes

And Other J.

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits outdoor brown eyes candid fun hair

Nowadays, when you don’t have a prom date,
You pair up with your best bud.
Exactly as it should be.
Tear it up, ladies!

Neilson_Teen_Photography_Prom_J13

Goofiness and proms go together.
Just ask Other J who has a black-belt in fun.

When it rains outside during a shoot, you go indoors.
You take advantage of available light
And explore new styles of photography worthy of the occasion.

Oh, and you grab a spear of salvia.
That’s key, because if you can’t be outdoors,
At least you can bring a piece of it with you inside.
Where would this image be without that purple petal, right?!

family teen prom graduation photography photographer portraits studio blue eyes salvia petal fine art

As lovely as fine art portraiture is, it’s prom night after all.
So you’ve got to end on a goofy and timeless note.

Contact me for kids, teens, graduation, family, and corporate photography in the Bay Area.

Heart of Palm

1103_Family_CastleLake

Snow White and the Baby Bump were gone. A hush fell on the water. And we were quiet and still like the surface of the lake. Paige was musing on dragonflies. Terrell was alone at the water’s edge, sitting on a pile of stones jutting into the lake. Slowly, carefully, Gavin crept up behind her. Don’t scare her, I whispered to myself. Surprisingly, he didn’t scream or poke her ribs. Instead he sidled up beside her with feline grace. He placed his hand on her head, gently. And as he stood there, who knows what—if any—benediction passed through his 9-year old head. But, even if it didn’t, who cares? A child’s touch is blessing enough for a parent. And that’s what really matters in the end.

This summer’s offer is winding down. If you’re interested, contact me.

The Godmother

Family photography Bay Area San Jose Pacific Grove ocean beach portrait

Arm in arm, they strolled the beach.
They dug their toes into the sand.
They laughed, they hugged.
They gazed out to sea.
They were radiant.
Beautiful.
Thinking it to myself wasn’t enough.
Holy smokes, you two look fantastic, I said.
Smiling, the Godmother touched her blue headdress.
Yes, we do, she said.
It’s a party.
We’re celebrating.
My goddaughter’s son turns one today.
Our family is beat, but we are not.
So we’re here, and they’re not.
The Godmother opened her arms to embrace the sea.
Congratulations, I said, and turned to leave.
But she glanced at me and my camera around my neck,
And I understood her meaning right away.
Yes, she said without a word.
Photograph us.
Snap away.
It’s OK.
And when the Godmother speaks—
Telepathically or otherwise—
You do as you’re asked.

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All The Light There Is To See

Last Thursday, I was scouting light for a family shoot.
I parked at the edge of Alum Rock.
Then I started walking.
And walking.
It was hot and dusty.
And my walk turned into a hike.
After two miles, I was sweating as though on a long run.
Rapid-fire, a non-verbal thought came to me.
It felt something like this…
Yes, was the thought.
Yes, I’m changing careers
Yes, there’s uncertainty
Yes, there’s self-doubt
But this is my new office
My new workplace
My new commute
After the thought flashed through me,
I pressed on, giddy as a 50-year old kid can be.

I’m running a family promotion this summer, so let’s shoot.

Going, Going Gone

Zoie, 2018.
I’ve known her since she was two-years old.
I won’t do the math, I refuse.
Time has moved too fast.
She’s not even my daughter,
And still I grieve a bit as she launches into the world—
But launch she must,
And that’s exactly what she’s ready to do.
As a high school student,
Zoie’s mind was a sheet of paper ready for learning.

Portrait photography bay area high school graduate eyes closed

As a graduate and former class president bound for ASU, she’s woke.

Portrait photography bay area high school graduate eyes open

In addition to magnetic eyes, Zoie has an amazingly infectious smile.
It’s impossible not to smile back. Just try.

See, you can’t do it.
That’s the best kind of emotional contagion.
Her mom is a strong, passionate woman.
And she’s ready to release her daughter into the wild—almost.

high school graduate portrait with mom

And whether her parents are ready or not,
This kid is going to soar.

Family portrait photography high school graduate

Just look at her expression.
Bright future ahead!

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Eyes like Exotic Insects

A neighbor’s niece was visiting from out of town.
We were introduced.
Hello.
Hi.
Your eyes, I said.
Yeah, I know, she replied.
They’re amazing.
Yeah, I know.
Confidence, you got to love it.
Can I take your picture, I asked.
Yeah.
Great.
In the shade of our backyard,
She sat in front of the side of our house,
Which was brightly illuminated behind her.
I went high key with the 85mm
And got lots of fun-interesting shots in minutes,
Like this one, slightly playful…

Portrait photographer in bay area captures playful eyes

…and this one, brightly astonished…

Portrait photographer in bay area captures astonished eyes

…and then this one, exotic eyes edged with reptilian intensity.

Portrait photographer in bay area captures exotic eyes

Notice how the taupe background on the left
And the green background on the right
Pool in her irises like an estuary,
Where a brown river meets an emerald sea.
Love it when that happens.

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Quarry

Landscape photography at Rancho San Antonio in Cupertino while in hot pursuit of a coyote but cornering yellow flowers instead

Camera in hand,
I chased a coyote through dry brush,
Over two ridge lines
And into a valley,
Where she lost me for good.
In a sweat,
I plopped down, frustrated.
I complained to myself.
At last, I looked up
In a field of yellow wild flowers,
Sagely nodding in the breeze.
I chuckled.
Lesson learned,
I gathered them up in a single frame
And returned home.

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