Pensive Is Joy

 

Faces without expression interest me.
I like the ambiguity, the pensiveness.
But clients don’t like Pensive.
Not as a general rule.
They like unvarnished Joy.
Always have.
So.
Lately I’m doing something different.
During family photo shoots,
I run participants through a series of prompts.
Together we travel from Pensive to Joy
With many waystations in between.
I’m happy with the results.
I get what I want.
And clients get what they want.
Thoughts and reactions are welcome!

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

Utterly Absorbed

neilson family photography portrait outdoors grass natural light candid paige bay area photographer iceland

Flow.
Attunement.
Peak performance.
By whatever term, I’m a big fan of this kind of moment.
It’s as perfect as we can get, we nickle-plated angels and gold-crusted demons.
In Iceland, Paige is doing what comes naturally to kids everywhere:
Playing as seriously as a scientist at work.
Absorbed in a blade of grass with the insouciance of Buddha.
That’s why I take pictures.
Capturing—not perfect moments—
But the illusion of perfection in a green field with birch—
And a daughter I love intensely.

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

Have Sister Will Weep

bay area family kid photography photographer black and white boy cry

Sisters.
They can be a nuisance.
Paige pushed one too many buttons.
And Gavin was about to punch her in the throat.
I saw him wind up like Madison Bumgarner.
Fast ball, all the way.
I intervened.
Dads.
They can be a nuisance, too.
When the urge to violence is muted, frustration often ensues.
Bitter, heartfelt frustration.
Tears happen.
Then—moments later—
A silent, unobtrusive camera click,
Because of course…

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Swept Away

Literally.
The wind was howling.
On the ridge, it was goose-flesh cold.
Hair was everywhere.
This way and that.
What to do?
Go with the flow.
Magic will happen.
Always does.
Click.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains swept away

But enough about the wind.
Let’s start in the Starting place:
With a man and his beard—glorious—
Who came a-walking from North Carolina.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains behold the man

Something—or rather someone—
Caught his eye.
Look at that radiant smile!
Evidently, she was stoked to see him.

bay area wilderness couples engagement photography photographer mountains white dress in distance

Instead of exchanging pleasantries,
They did what most Louisianians and North Carolinians do:
They started dancing as though it were the most natural thing in the world.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography mountains dance

Afterwards, they settled down and hung out.

 

Now let’s return to the wind.
It continued to blow hard.
So we hit the road for calmer environs.
We found an olive grow in Los Altos Hills.
That’s right: an olive grove.
I smiled, they smiled.
We all smiled on our good fortune.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove smiles

But marriage is life.
And life is never only smiles.
So we played with expressionless faces.
No, this prompt won’t appeal to everyone.
But ambiguity is fascinating.
Neither happy nor sad.
Maybe even slightly bemused.
Ambiguity is an ink-blot with many readings.

 

Still, no matter what you see,
An unscripted moment is an occasion for joy…

 

Or a smooch…

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove kiss

Or the touching of foreheads.

 

Sometimes when things go sideways,
And you’re blown off the ridge,
Something unexpected—and amazing—happens.

bay area photographer couples engagement photography olive grove sun light

Ahhhh, magic!

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

Healoha Is Waiting

Meet Brigitte Mouchet.

She’s a wellness entrepreneur in the Bay Area.

She’s the founder and CEO of Healoha, a marketplace for wellness services that helps both clients and practitioners. Healoha is available in the U.S. and French-speaking countries in Europe.

Inspired by waves and ocean air, Brigitte hired me for a day of corporate photography on the coast in Half Moon Bay, one of her favorite places in the world.

We captured images for use on the company’s digital and social media channels, images ranging from corporate headshots like these two images…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo glassescorporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo environmental headshot

…to environmental portraits like this…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo environmental headshot orange sweatshirt

…and this…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo headshot orange sweatshirt bridge

…to social and active shots like these…

corporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo social media runningcorporate portrait photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo ceo social media walking footprints

…and even to landscape photography, which required a jaunt to Santa Cruz, where the mist lifted at last and Walton Lighthouse winked at the purpling sky.

corporate landscape photography bay area half moon bay santa cruz healo social digital media

I hope you enjoyed your visit. Thank you.

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

Smart Start

Let’s get one thing straight: Teachers are the best.

In the back-asswards Hierarchy of the Underappreciated, they’re perched on a mountaintop of nurses and EMTs, janitors and sanitation workers, freelance writers, line cooks, and UN interpreters.

So when Smart Start preschool hired me for staff photography, I jumped at the opportunity and threw myself into the assignment as though it were Teacher Appreciation Day.

Actually, days. I hope my effort shows.

Day 1—Newark, CA

 

Day 2—Livermore, CA

 

To the staff at Smart Start—and teachers everywhere—thank you. Thank you.

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

Simply Catherine

I have an idea for a new project: Being Human.
Its premise is straightforward.
Business professionals are people, generally speaking.
They may have titles, roles, and responsibilities.
But who they are goes way beyond workplace ephemera.
And it’s not a carefully guarded secret, either.
You just have to ask the right questions.
So, meet Catherine, a communications professional.
A writer, musician, and, well, read on…

corporate social photography real candid natural light redwoods catherine brozena sincere earnest genuine

When you grow up, what kind of person do you want to be?

I want to be that 80-year old or 90-year old who’s still riding her bicycle or running along the shoreline or hiking through redwoods as she gets older. She’s full of zest for life. She surrounds herself with people who love and inspire her. She’s radiant, humble, wise, and present — deeply present — to the hum and flow of each moment. She loves the world, in all its brokenness and heartache and still sees its glory shine through.

What is one question you would ask a fortune teller?

Am I going to be alright? Am I going to make it to 70 or 80 or 90 years old and still have my body parts working well and be cared for and surrounded in love? Am I going to be happy? Will I have done all or most of what was on my “bucket list?” Will I die a peaceful death and leave this place at least a little better than when I came in? Imagine how life could be lived if we knew that we were going to be alright no matter what. Nothing could stop us from pursuing our dreams.

What is your idea of perfect happiness? 

Sitting in sunshine on a warm day, surrounded by giant trees or the ocean or some magical outdoor setting. The sun on my skin. The smell of the salt air or eucalyptus or thick earth surrounding me. Listening to ethereal music. Sipping a phenomenal cappuccino. And eating the most heavenly slice of pie. Mixed berry pie, with billowy whipped cream. There must be pie for it to be perfect happiness.

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