The Presidio is one of my favorite locations in San Francisco for outdoor headshots because it provides SO many backdrops in a small area. This session was no different and Tina was sure to BRING IT for her headshot shoot.
Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a firm, firm believer in utilizing therapy as a tool to better ourselves. The first time I met Nova Goldberg was in 2013 when I was crumbling under the weight of motherhood + owning my own business. When I say "crumbling" I mean I was sitting on her couch crying allllll the ugly tears that could escape my soul.
Fast forward months of weekly sessions and I could see the light. Nova helped me change my perspective and also help me manage my unrealistic expectations so that I could finally breathe. After we passed that hurdle, we moved onto other challenges as they arose. In essence, I tasked Nova with the hefty job to make me my best self.
Now that I have moved out of San Francisco, I am no longer a regular client of Nova's which opened up the window to collaborate in a work capacity to help show the world how awesome she is. While her podcast interview for Women on a Mission recently launched, she is also refreshing her entire website (future blog post to come with before / afters from Brennan Brand).
It was an honor to document Nova for the world to see her as I see her: a superhero. She helped me find myself in a time when I didn't recognize the overwhelmed, discouraged soul I had become. She listened to me week after week, without judgement, guiding me along a path to discover my best self. The words "thank you" can't begin to express my gratitude for all you have provided for me, Nova, but I hope this small gesture will help you understand the incredible impact you have on people every single day.
If you would like to listen to Nova's podcast for Women on a Mission (it really is like an hour of free therapy to listen), you can find it on iTunes.
As many know, I often work hand-in-hand with my counterpart, Erin Brennan of Brennan Brand. Typically, one of us has a client that ends up needing both of our services. In this case, Bart Hatler is a therapist who hired Erin to renovate his website and they needed images that conveyed what it is like to work with him.
Therapy is so deeply personal and we wanted to make sure his images were authentic while putting anyone visiting his website at ease that they can trust Bart's expertise to help them along their journey.
As with most photoshoots, we needed to set the scene first. For website imagery, I like to have clean, clean, clean spaces where I can shoot with negative space so the final images will have as much flexibility as possible for my clients. We rented a Breather in San Francisco and Bart recruited five people to model for us. The thing I love about Breather spaces is they often don't need much stylizing to personalize the space. They maintain a super clean design that allows us to use it as a canvas for whatever the photoshoot needs. Bart brought a stack of books that are relevant to his field, a chair, a table and voila - we had a beautiful space that we could transform into at least two "sets" for our shoot.
Below are some of my favorites from the shoot and I'll be sure to update the blog once I have before/afters of the website!
This client emailed me three years ago to the date to when we finally had the opportunity to sync our schedules and do her headshot session! She is a fantastic model and I think what we captured really shows her spirit that she'll convey to her clients before they have the chance to meet her.
For real. My job puts me in the presence of a decent amount of celebs, and it's not often I get Goo-Goo-Gah-Gah over any particular individual.
Mr. John fit a 3hr keynote into 1hr. He speak so lightning fast that even as I hung on his every word, I missed a decent amount because my brain could hardly keep up. He brought the audience through his personal history including his accomplishments and his failures. He was humble and human and I imagine everyone in the audience felt his magnetism.
This is one of my favorite Daymond-John-isms that I added to one of the shots from the event. I know my business could not be where it is today without mentors and my tribe of people who support me with every new challenge. Thank you, Mr. Daymond John, for sharing a part of yourself with SiriusDecisions.
I had the opportunity to create images for a company called Breathometer (you may remember them from Shark Tank). They wanted to update their in-app images to move from renderings to actual photos of someone using their device, Mint. You can see the before/after for each screen here:
These two lovely ladies came kickin' and screamin' for their headshots. Okay, not exactly, but I would say they perhaps dragged their heels on making this magic happen and then - POOF - they are believers! We took their headshots in the Presidio and I love the versatility we achieved in this quick session (I typically need about 10 minutes per person).
When an amazing company like SiriusDecisions asks you if you'd be interested in capturing their European Summit, you just (politely) yell HELLS BELLS YES. I mentioned in my post about Dukes Bar martinis that I've shot several other US-based events for them, but going to London was a new endeavor. SiriusDecisions was originally looking for an event photographer when they contacted me about their original conferences. They quickly realized that my style of shooting (commercial lifestyle) would actually save them both money and effort if I were able to achieve both the traditional event photographs as well as a wide selection of lifestyle stock imagery they could use for future marketing materials. It was a match made in heaven.
They gave me total autonomy and even built time into the previous Nashville event so I could go on my own photography "walkabout" and just explore the area to tell their story. They then used those photos to promote future events rather then buying generic stock photography (images that could be used on a thousand other company websites and are often - well - cheesy).
Here are a few highlights from the London event:
1) Goal: Demonstrate networking with vendors at event:
2) Goal: Visualize engagement with the audience during speaker tracks:
3) Goal: Demonstrate the Creativity and Fun Experienced at Event:
I also think it's fun to show an example of how clients utilize these images. Here are a couple email teasers Sirius Decisions has created utilizing photographs from our previous events:
4) Examples: Finally, here are some examples of how the client utilized these custom images in their marketing materials to demonstrate the user experience at their events.
Yeah, you know...that time? You don't remember? Oh - that's because my mind was still blown that I was shooting in London!. Earlier this week, I had a two day shoot for SiriusDecisions, which has previously invited me to shoot in San Francisco, San Diego, Nashville and soon-to-be Austin. At the end of the shoot, I tacked on an extra day to enjoy London with my hubby. A dear friend recommended Dukes Bar for their insane classic martini and it did not disappoint.
A little back story is that Dave and I love a good martini. We have attempted more vodka and gin tastings than we can count with the goal of perfecting the martini. And then there was Dukes.
They start with frozen martini glasses. And frozen vodka. Then there is the absolutely beautiful cart they present in front of you. And the rest is, well...the picture tells the story. Prepare for your mouth to water:
As I have settled into Raleigh over the last four months, I have been pleasantly surprised at how easy it has been to slow down life. My fear in moving cross-country in search of a more simple existence was that we create our own hamster wheels on which to run. We are 100% responsible for our own speed, so why would I change as a person just by changing geography?
It turns out, in my one-woman-perfectly-scientific-experiment, geography does indeed play a significant factor. My conclusion? There are simply more hours in the day in North Carolina. Okay, that may not be the scientific answer, but the pace of life would have you question it. Yes, we still work, groceries still have to be purchased and school supplies procured, but I'm not rushed. I have time to take the kids to the pool, or come home after school and just play. The culture isn't one of laziness, but it is one that appreciates the simplicity of enjoying where you are in the moment. I (typically!) don't feel like I'm doing one activity just to rush to the next and that is unbelievably refreshing.
Could this mindset be transferred to San Francisco? Absolutely. But I don't think San Francisco envies this behavior, the same way Raleigh doesn't seem to envy the busy city life. They are exclusively wonderful in their own environments with neither being better or worse.
As I edited the photo at the top of this page, I was reminded how much my artistic expression has expanded since moving here simply by giving myself the space to explore, to notice, and to experiment without feeling rushed or guilty that I should be doing something else. I'm not writing this to talk anyone into moving to Raleigh nor to suggest everyone else is going about life all wrong if your pace is faster than my own. I'm simply reflecting on how my life has become richer by slowing down and noticing what I desire for this chapter of life. I hope it inspires you to explore something you've been putting off, whether it be taking a class, playing a sport, building a fort with your kids or surprising your spouse with a spontaneous act of adoration.
And now...my zen must come to a pause as I battle the school pick-up line. Some things, as it turns out, are the same from coast-to-coast. :)
Kate and Lisa came to me in order to photograph some images for their book cover as well as for their promotional materials. We wanted to convey what it's like to work with them as consultants and speakers, as well as document headshots they can use for various marketing materials.
Seven years ago (pre-kids), Dave and I loved taking the bus around the city on Friday nights. We would pack a greyhound roadie, hoodies and a camera, then take the bus from our Marina apartment through the city to a dive bar in another 'hood. We have a giant magnetic chalkboard that has been a staple in our various apartments for the last ten years, and we'd print our street photos in various sizes and pin them up by a magnet to the chalkboard. When friends came over, they were welcome to take photos home with them. It felt good to share the images we created and it also forced us to produce more images to replace the ever-changing art landscape of this chalkboard.
Fast-forward seven years when it costs $100 to have a babysitter for four or five hours out on the town and we simply haven't invested in this type of night since becoming parents. We've wanted to...we've talked about it...but it just seemed so frivolous to spend that kind of money on a night of doing "nothing".
Last night we found ourselves having a babysitter but no plans. With just a month left in SF until we move to Raleigh, we each brought our cameras with us, packed a roadie and our hoodies, and off we went.
The results? Ummm, rusty. At best.
You'd think that since I shoot for a living, I'd easily swoop into this freedom of shooting anything and everything my eyes see, without regard to what a client may want to see. And yet, I found myself frozen. I was full of self-doubts of what would make an interesting photo, hesitating to click the shutter for fear of not creating anything amazing.
What I learned from last night is: it's time to get weird. It's time to start shooting for the fun of shooting and not for the known outcome. You see with families, it's a known outcome. Toddlers, throw your best tantrums: I got this. Newborns, just try not to fall asleep: I'm clever with a swaddle wrap. I can tell a family's story and bring out their very best each and every time. That is the difference between an amateur and a pro. An amateur can get a great shot or two on any given day, but a pro MUST produce that same result regardless of the day.
Yet here I found myself with a night of freedom in San Francisco and realized I am an amateur once again.
More to follow, but I am EXCITED to explore this side of my creativity more. To shoot for the fun of it and to shoot for ME.
Out of 125 shots taken, the four keepers from last night:
Anhoni, founder of Mrs. Patel's Lactation Teas and Treats for Nursing Mothers, was in my original Mom's group when Cal was born in 2009. We came up through the ranks of motherhood and business at the same time and I couldn't be more proud of Anhoni's "business baby", Mrs. Patel's. Whether you are local to San Francisco or anywhere in the world (they ship!), if you are having challenges with milk production while breastfeeding, please give Mrs. Patel's a try. Anhoni is passionate about creating the very best and most effective products to help moms on their nursing journey.
My hubby Dave has known Lauren through their own careers and we did her initial headshots three years ago at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. This time we headed to the Presidio to capture her natural awesomeness. It was an easy going shoot and Lauren was game for anything!
Headshots are always an interesting part of the job for me because I typically don't yet know the person on the other side of the camera and therefore need to win them over fairly quickly in order to gain their confidence in front of my lens. Confidence truly is the trick to a successful headshot (amidst lighting, posing, wardrobe, make-up). If you have all of those factors lined up but the photographer doesn't connect with the subject, the results will not reflect the subject as themselves. But with Michelle? Geesh. I think I could have not said a word and stood behind a black curtain and her photos would still be stellar. She appeared SO comfortable in front of the camera and it shows in every shot. Thank you for allowing me to capture YOU!
Nope, it isn't some fancy gazillion dollar bottle of vino. What it is, is genius. My almost-birthday-twin, Amy Morgan's genius, specifically. Here is my struggle: I go to Safeway and buy some mixture of $17-$20 reds that I know nothing about other than their price and their pretty labels. I come home and try them, having absolutely no idea what I'm doing. And then along comes Amy and Bay Area Wine Company to the rescue. I requested two cases of red blends for everyday-ish drinking (and a half case of rose...I mean Off the Grid IS starting up again soon!!). I am now fully stocked for the month with delicious wine that has been personally vetted by her and I know I will love. Thank you, Amy, for saving me from myself. She was PUMPED about sending me a specific bottle called Paydirt and she was right - I LOVE IT.
Yes, she ships. And yes, she can hit ANY price point.
These women make the handle #bosswomen look shy. In two words, they rock!
They are two individuals who worked individually as real estate agents (and lawyer!), and decided to combine forces to be the b-e-s-t real estate agents for the Bay Area. I am honored to share a few of their headshots we created together! Meet Hilary Hedemark and Michelle Pender.
As of May 29th, we are moving!
Per my newsletter, I will be flying back quarterly starting with September for Fall Mini-Sessions, but there is no doubt the bi-coastal business will be different once we move.
I want to start off by thanking you for inviting me to be a part of your families over the last seven years. It has been an honor to document each and every one of your children -- whether from the time they were in your bellies or their first week of life or when they took their first steps -- I am overwhelmed with how you've welcomed me to be there for all of your family's big moments.
As I look back at my own big moments in the last 9 years of living in SF, I am grateful for each and every tribe that has brought me to where I am today. From our original MSH (aka "Making $hit Happen") Crew pre-kids who pushed me to start this very business -- to my first mom's group who held my hand (and my tears) as I navigated breastfeeding, sleep training and so much more -- to my JCC preschool mamas who supported my transition into being a working mama and all that entails -- I. am. grateful.
There are many reasons for this move, but most of all it is about family.
I've never understood why anyone would need anything more than what this great city has to offer. And now, 9 years later, I realize it's not that I'm seeking more, I'm seeking different. I'm seeking a life for my kids where we slow down. Where they spend their summer days lounging at the pool and their nights catching fireflies. I'm seeking the privilege of helping my parents grow through their sunset years with grace, and being there for them when they need me without having to book a flight to do so. And finally, I'm seeking the joy of knowing my niece and nephew...not "Ella-likes-chocolate" knowing, but really knowing her in ways I can't yet imagine.
And please -- come visit anytime. We may even have a guest bedroom to offer (that isn't an air mattress on Cal's floor).
Sending much, much love to you, SF.
I have such respect for the creative brains who can map out a space to figure out how to best use it AND make it gorgeous at the same time. I met Jolene years ago when her daughter Ava was barely a toddler. I took her headshots back then, but her team at JL Interior Design has grown since then and they needed a refresh! I was thrilled to hang out with these ladies for the afternoon and capture them at their best.
This shoot was one I had in my mind since February 2015. And it was finally executed in August 2015 with all elements in place!!!
This series of photos made up our family's holiday card shoot this year and I've had several questions as to how we got a bed onto Crissy Field.
NOTE: All family photos were taken by my fantastic sidekick, Sarah Arimura. Follow her here!
- Yes, it was a total pain in the rear end!
- Yes, I had permission from the Presidio Trust/people that give out photo permits.
- No, I couldn't do it alone (Sarah was a HUGE help in bringing this together!).
So here is how it worked including costs and time investment in case you'd like to recreate too:
1) Buy a bedframe on CraigsList: $80.00 (used) - 2 hours (after several people flaking out for the sale) I chose the Leirvik because it was fairly non-descript but white.
2) Put together frame in garage to see how many pieces were missing (several) and then time yourself to see how long it takes you to put it together.: $0 - 3 hours Then take it apart again (because, unless you have a giant pick-up truck, this ain't gonna fit in your trunk!).
3) Purchase 3 bags of 14g of "turkey flats" (i.e. feathers): $19.00 - 30 minutes I used these as the inside of the pillows so we could have a true feather pillow fight. They were surprisingly easy to pick up off the ground after!
4) Procure & test double/queen air mattress: $0 - 30 minutes We happened to have an old one in the garage that had a hole in it, but would stay "up" for about 30mins at a time, which was perfect for our purposes!
5) Procure white sheets and LOTS of pillows: $0 - 30 minutes Our friend happens to have all white bedding and was generous enough to lend it all to us for the shoot. NOTE: If you borrow from someone, be fully ready to have to dry clean or replace their items if mud/grass/kids mess them up!!!
So after buying the bed, putting it together and taking it apart in our garage, my assistant Sarah and her husband then hauled the bed and air mattress to Crissy Field and put everything together (blowing the air mattress up at Sports Basement). When I arrived, I had a particular vision of where the bed should be so that the photo was framed by the Golden Gate Bridge perfectly. I then walked her through what I had in mind and she shot the entire series of family shots. When that was complete, I photographed the kids myself and the compilation of those two sets of photos together were what made up our session!
The entire session took 25 minutes and materials cost about $100.
The planning, purchasing, set-up, break-down, editing, etc took approximately 7 hours.