Documenting who you are. Not just what you look like.


I focus on lifestyle sessions that capture families, couples, and high school seniors. My first love will always be engagements, bridals, and weddings. I've previously spent time photographing in Dallas and Chicago, and currently call the San Francisco Bay Area my home.

posts tagged 'yellow'

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November 22, 2013 in Lifestyle

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about connection, laughter, happiness, and peace. Where do those exist in my space, and how can I have more of them? When it comes to my photography, how can I magnify the ways this exists in the lives of my clients?

How are you spending your time in the spaces that mean the most to you? For a long time photography sessions have been about scenery, but I think there is room for sessions that focus in on situations and lifestyles.  Over the last year I’ve been working to develop a motto that will guide my approach to photography from here on out:  ”Documenting who you are, not just what you look like.

Below you can see the S Family and the way they are living right now. These photo were taken at their home in Pleasant Hill; playing in their backyard, celebrating Christmas (it’s a bit early, but the Christmas cards they send out will be fabulous!), with mom and day expertly managing all of the laughter and tears that came their way throughout our time together. A few of the photos feature the oldest boy’s dump truck, and I smile every time I scroll past the photo of him sitting so happily next to his favorite toy. As every parent knows the obsession with the blue truck will soon end, and he’ll move on to other things. I’m incredibly happy with this set because it so beautifully captures who they are right at this moment in time. If/when we work together next year, what will the pictures show? I hope the S Family gives me a chance to find out.

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jennacole026

lifestsyle photography family portrait san francisco bay area read the rest of this entry …

saratoga springs bride and groom light forest fairytale

When I contacted Majesta Patterson, about second shooting together (I am interested in working as a second shooter in the San Francisco Bay Area, and needed someone to work for me at a wedding I’m shooting in October) I was pleased to hear that she was looking for someone to travel to Saratoga Springs with her and photograph a wedding in the hills west of San Jose the next weekend. Moving to a new area means my schedule is very flexible, and so I packed up my wedding photography gear for the first time in over a year and spent the day doing one of the things I love most.

My mom once told me that she likes second shooting almost more than being the primary photographer, because it means you have the flexibility to be creative and pursue things that you wouldn’t normally have the time or energy for. When I’m the primary photographer my clients are counting on me to capture a certain number of specific moments, and I do my best to do that in the most beautiful way possible for every frame, but sometimes I keep it safe because something is better than nothing. Working for someone else means I don’t have to operate with any of those pressures and I had a lot of fun exploring different techniques and styles at this event. The image above is a Brenizer-inspired composite, there is an image of the flowers used for the ceremony that was captured using free lensing, and I used my 135mm as often as I was able after listening to the Creative Live Susan Stripling presentation a day before I shot all of these. All of this to say that I now agree with my mom, second shooting is fabulous and I hope there are more opportunities for me to do it in the near future.

My favorites from the day:

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saratoga springs wedding preparation saratoga springs bride and groom first look read the rest of this entry …

I was going to Benita’s wedding in San Diego no matter what. We lived together for close to 5 years in college, and she will forever be one of my favorite people in the world. When she asked me about the possibility of me shooting her wedding, I made it very clear that I only wanted her to hire me if she loved my work. I knew I would work harder than anyone else to give her something she would love for forever, but I wanted to know that she felt that way as well. Sometimes when friends work together with unrealistic expectations, the friendship doesn’t survive, and that would be too much for me to handle. I always need to have  a little bit o’ Benita in my life!

We worked all of the details out, I packed up my stuff, left my baby and husband behind, and headed out to California for a weekend with the girls(if you’re wondering, yes, I had several mix CDs in the rental car that included songs like Ocean Avenue). On Thursday night we threw Benita a mini-bachlorette party, which included tasks assigned to the bride-to-be (yelling out into the street “I’M GETTING MARRIED!” and such) as well as some cupcakes from Babycakes.

On Friday Benita went through the LDS Sand Diego temple for the first time.

That night we dined at Pizza Nova and heard some really touching speeches from Scott’s dad and step-dad (I cried, I loved them so much).


That weekend I was checking my phone constantly for weather updates. Before I flew out I had assured Benita that the forecast would improve, and that we wouldn’t have to worry about rain. But things weren’t looking better that morning, and I didn’t have a backup plan. I had gone out scouting on Thursday and Friday, and I knew the perfect spot for their first look and portraits, but it wasn’t going to work if the rain was pouring down. Were we going to have to take all of their pictures under a random awning somewhere? San Diego doesn’t see weather like that very often (multiple residents assured me that the weather that weekend was unique) and so there isn’t a lot of rain cover. The hotel rooms at the La Jolla Residence Inn Suites Hotel by Marriott were really dark and things weren’t looking good.

I told Benita that it was my job to worry about those things though. The night before at the rehearsal dinner I asked her to please let me worry about the rain and the pictures so she could enjoy herself and relax throughout the weekend. The next morning she was surrounded by friends, getting pampered, ready to take on the day!



Beni, you’re gorgeous.

As Scott and Benita finished getting dressed, I looked out and saw that it was still raining. I turned to Scott and said “I think we should try to do the First Look outside. I think that you will never, ever regret going to this location I scouted, even with the hiking and the mud.” He decided to trust me and go for it. I would never, ever make my clients do something they aren’t comfortable with, but so far I’ve found that people are willing to trust my vision, which always results in something powerful.

Thank you Scott for trusting me. I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to top these pictures! All of the portraits you’ll see below were done in the La Jolla Farms area. We did their first look on a path where surfers hike down to the water (I would have loved to go all the way down to the beach, but there was no way that was happening!)

Benita is absolutely crazy. She hiked down a moderately steep freshly muddy incline in her brand new heels (that she had never worn before that day), and then up a very steep portion to get to Scott. We were lucky that her mom came along and had paper towels in the car! I was dashing around taking pictures and of course fell down, covering my left leg in mud.

So worth it though. So, so worth it.



They wanted to have their wedding bands on for the portraits, so we did a quick little ring exchange.  read the rest of this entry …