If I could bring the beach home to you all in Colorado I would- unfortunately the ocean is a bit big to fit in my suitcase >.<
What I did bring home with me were some really fun images of the cutest Maui mermaids! My first little mermaid was the sweetest little blondie who was SO excited to play dress up for the afternoon. One of my absolute favorite things about my job is seeing those little eyes light up when I pull out wardrobe and accessories for them to play with- when a child's imagination takes the lead my job becomes incredibly easy haha!
While I can't bring the ocean home with me, I WILL be offering mermaid sessions on our home turf this summer so reach out soon to book a session before those summer calendars fill up! <3
I remember the first time I saw a headline about a child being sent home because of their hair...the title caught me- I was big into self expression when I was school aged (and for that matter, still am haha!) so I clicked the link expecting to get myself riled up over some girl with a head of blue hair getting suspended. What I saw instead was the cutest little black girl- and nothing about her hair particularly struck me in the picture. She had her hair pulled back into a pony tail- which happened to be made of some short dreads. Apparently that style was considered "not presentable enough" for her to attend school. The explanation only further confused me. How on earth was this child's hair distracting when my neon pink tresses never seemed to affect my classmates grades? It wasn't long before I saw this story repeated- and sooner still that I considered it commonplace.
I've thought about what I wanted to say in this post for days. Should I talk about how black hair grows- how it's physically different from these stick straight strands and shouldn't be expected to behave the same? How about the fact that to MAKE black hair behave like white hair requires a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of chemicals that damage the hell out of the hair? Or how incredible black hair is (the variety of styles and textures are endless <3 ) and that it's absurd that anyone would find it anything but beautiful? Should I turn a mirror and ask how any person with european hair would feel if they were forced to cut their hair off or banned from wearing a ponytail? Maybe I should talk about the history of discrimination towards black hair going all the way back to slavery. I could go with a more uplifting line- that New York officially banned hair discrimination as of this year, with California proposing similar legislation now (yay!)
All of that is true, and as strongly as I feel about this topic- I could probably make an entire post for each point. But for me, what it really comes down to is compassion and empathy. All it takes is to look into those kid's eyes in the videos of these school dismissals or the interviews that come after- sadness and confusion. These kids aren't trying to make a statement, their hair is just different than what our society has deemed "normal", which in this case is sadly just a synonym for "white." Humanity should be enough to tell us that when we see that look in a child's eyes, we should be evaluating our actions.
Black hair is beautiful- as an artist I express my thoughts and feelings much better visually, so I decided to bring a group of beautiful young black and mixed race girls together to celebrate their natural hair in imagery- it was an awesome experience and a wonderful (busy!) day full of laughs and flowers supplied by the unparalleled Valen of Blumenhaus.
I will have more images to share from this session in a future post, and my plan is to continue this project and dedicate one day a month to it- please get in touch if you would like for your child to participate! <3
So two weeks in Hawaii doesn't suck haha! Between a week in Maui and a week in Kauai my soul is feeling quite refreshed. Just wish I could bring the ocean home with me >.< I'm working hard on the portrait sessions I did while on vacation (yes I work on vacation...pretty much every time lol) but for now I'll share some of my favorite images from the trip- after our pretty amazing bomb cyclone yesterday I figured ya'll could use some warm thoughts ;)
The Maui Ocean Center was really cool- and since we got POURED on all day we figured the aquarium was a good place to chill for a few hours. I ended up getting a LOT of great photos to use later in compositing (mermaids here I come haha!)
On Maui we were staying at the very beginning of the Hana Highway- so this incredible bamboo forest and the amazing rainbow eucalyptus trees were only minutes from our rental home!
So getting up at 3AM to make it to sunrise on Haleakala was rough- but ultimately worth it. Oh and check it out- that's some leftover snow from the week before when they had shut down the mountain to visitors!
I basically spent 2 full weeks insisting I be on a beach at sunset...and these are why haha <3
Kauai especially had so much beautiful plant and wildlife...and there are chickens EVERYWHERE on that island- much to my daughter's and my delight haha!
After the ocean the thing I'll miss the most is the incredible skies full of stars...when you're away from light pollution it's not hard to see why our ancestors were obsessed with the heavens.
And finally our tiny little buddy...he was about the size of the tip of a finger haha!
So these images are actually a couple years old (and you would not believe how big these girls have gotten!) and from one of my first ever studio shoots. These were done with poor quality lights and somehow I managed to use my backdrop on what were still carpeted floors back then o_O....my studio has grown a lot, but I have to say, I'm still pretty proud of these images...plus I mean- these princesses are beyond adorable <3 We had a lot of fun with wardrobe changes and just playing and twirling!
Oh- and Happy Valentines day everyone <3
It's that time of year again! This is the 3rd year I've participated in the Shoot & Share competition- billed as "the only free and fair photo competition" and I'd say that's probably accurate- usually in photo competitions you can send a link to your photos to your friends, family, and followers- which basically turns it into a popularity contest instead of a photo contest. In Shoot & Share you're shown 4 images at a time from a category, you select your favorite and then get a new 4 images to select from...honestly it's pretty damn addictive haha! I love that Shoot & Share is free to enter- when I invest back into my business I prefer that money goes towards improving my client experience! Here are my entries for the year- keep an eye out and happy voting!
Last week my own little princess got her first pair of glasses 0_0 She's completely thrilled and picked glasses that "match mommy's" (be still my heart- must remember these moments when she's 13 and I'm the worst mom in the world haha!) We knew about a year ago that she *might* have some vision issues, but it became pretty clear by fall that we had an early adopter on our hands.
So how can you tell if your kiddo needs to get hooked up with an optometrist?
1. Squinting- if you catch your munchkin regularly mean mugging the tv, or the bird in the tree, or the ice cream truck in the distance- you might wanna get 'em an eye test. Same goes for the good 'ole pirate eye....unless of course they're pretending to BE a pirate.
2. Headaches- we started getting a fair few of these around here...a little water and some tylenol put her right, but hopefully her new spectacles will knock 'em out!
3. Sitting too close to the tv/holding tablets or phones too close to the eyes- okay so take this one with a grain of salt- because I know I'm far from the only one I know who did this as a kid, and my eyesight didn't abandon ship until I was about 14. But if your kiddo complains that they can't *see* their favorite show unless they sit that close- that's a red flag.
4. Eye rubbing- eye strain is a real thing, and even if your little doesn't realize they're struggling to see, their eyes do. Eye rubbing outside of the nap or bedtime window is something you should look out for.
5. Problems in school- issues concentrating and comprehending new material are common in kids who need corrective lenses- so if you're noticing any of the other signs and your little has struggled a bit in class, you *may* have found the culprit.
Our trip to the optometrist was pretty painful. Instead of the giant machine (which I have just googled is called a phoropter haha) they had a little handheld doodad which they could manually pop lenses in and out of- way less intimidating for a kiddo. She did end up needing her eyes dilated (baby bear inherited her mama's astigmatism)...she was not a fan of the eye drops but was okay with watching The Good Dinosaur while we waited...and was definitely okay with the promise of ice cream haha! Then she got to pick her frames...and man she might be the most adorable thing I've ever seen in them. The Mr. and I will randomly call her over just so we can look at her- she has quickly tired of that game =P
Don't wait too long if you think your little one is having vision problems- some vision issues can be caused by eye disease and other health issues, and uncorrected vision can actually impact the development of the eye- plus you know...seeing is pretty nice ^_^
Being a children's photographer in Parker is super convenient haha! I love living here because we're right on the cusp of country and city...which means lots of beautiful locations to shoot. One of my tried and true locations is 17 Mile Farmhouse Park. Most people are familiar with this park's super cute white house, big red barn and classic wind mill...but I really love how versatile the whole space is and rarely find myself near the structures. There's a path that leads back to a beautiful woodsy area, a small stream if you're willing to do a bit of path finding, and oh man the light that hits this place right before sunset is just unbeatable. I also love that every kiddo I photograph at this park finds their own magic in exploring it. Plus it's less than 10 minutes from my house- can't beat that commute!
And if you're out on the right day you might get to meet the neighbors... ;)
Is there anything better than a snow day when you're a kid? Overnight the world goes from the same plain old boring place to a white fluffy wonderland. Snow balls, snowmen, snow angels, catching flakes on your tongue- even just watching it fall. When I woke up to this wonderland my nordic blood tingled and my daughter and I were on the same page- we wanted to get out in that snow!
I love doing snow sessions- it's pure magic as soon as I get behind my camera, every time, and totally worth the frozen fingers. If you're interested in a snow session get in touch with me! I keep a snow day call list for those who want to take advantage of these magical days and get some unforgettable photos of their littles =)
If you haven't had a chance to check out the Ice Castles in Dillon yet- you definitely should! This magical place is seriously straight out of a Disney movie and only around for a couple months out of the year.
This red headed beauty made a striking contrast to the blue pillars of ice and man was she a trooper because it is COLD inside a real palace made of ice haha! I can't wait to go back in a few weeks...it's rare to get to shoot somewhere so intrinsically magical and I'm taking as much advantage as I can.
These adorable little girls were full of sweetness! We had a super fun time playing dress up, trying on crowns and of course- tossing sparkles all over my studio! It's definitely a challenge photographing a young toddler in my studio space- but I'm pretty pleased with how much of her silly personality I was able to capture!