Want a session but don’t know what to do? I can help you with that. I know Northern California fairly well, especially along highway 50 and I am always scouting new locations and activities for families to do. It's my job to give you the best family photo session possible!
Here's an example of a current photo shoot I did with the wonderful Snow family. Their family loves to be outdoors, so they wanted to go for a hike to a waterfall at their favorite lake. I was there to tag along. It was so much fun and I can't wait to take my son there.
Location photo shoots are amazing opportunities for family photo sessions. There are so many options outside. You could go on a short hike, you could play a scrimmage game of soccer, you could go on a nature walk collecting different specimens or whatever it is that your family normally does to have a good time.
If you're still stuck and need help thinking about what to do for a session, I am here to help. I used to work for a with kids at a Parks and Recreation Department, so I love to plan fun little activities. I also have explored lots of places in Northern California and know some great spots for photo shoots.
But maybe the best place to do a photo shoot is in the comfort of your own home. You know at your house the backyard is the place to be! So having a photo shoot there would be ideal. Here are some great ideas for a backyard photo shoot:
I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Just remember I want your family to be comfortable and have fun! We don't want to try to fill your time with one activity after another. Pick something you know your kids will really enjoy. The safest bet is to pick a location your family visits often. If you need any help deciding please fell free to call (916) 955-3269 or email at email@example.com.
It’s an amazing thing when your profession helps reconnect you to childhood friends. Jessica and I were best friends in elementary school. However, we grew up and grew a part in high school. I’m not sure if there’s any particular reason why, since it’s been 15 years. I think you grow old and stop thinking about those things. What matters today is that I got to photograph her beautiful family and see how energetic her kids are and the love they have for them!
They are the perfect family, beautiful red headed children (I’m a little partial because of my own red head) and the perfect number, one boy and one girl. I never really witnessed the brother and sister fight. They were so very sweet to each other. A testament to their parenting skills. They look like they always are having so much fun together, which is evident in their photo shoot.
We began the shoot at Folsom Lake (obviously the weather was a little warmer then) and drove to their house after. Their boy was my muse for the shoot. He was so energetic and happy to be outside. Like boys do, he loved to throw rocks, splash his mom and dad and show his little sister how things were done.
Their little girl was so different in mannerisms than what I am used to. She was so calm and focused on what she wanted to do, barely needing entertainment. She squatted in the water scooping sand and water into her bucket for almost the whole time we were there.
We went back to their house where they had dinner, bath and bedtime. I know it seems awkward to have someone take pictures during dinner and intimate evening moments, but these moments are the most amazing between family members. These are the moments that happen everyday, that we tend to forget over time and forget the moments of joy we experience everyday as parents. Sometimes we're too focused on the negative of everyday and not all the things that went right. I’m so glad Jessica recognizes this and was willing to let me into her home to photograph all the things that went right that day.
Finally, after many years I have made it back to Hope Valley for fall colors! We left really late, but at least got to spend the entire afternoon there. It was glorious! We first just stopped on the side of the road next to the river. The water was cascading over the big boulders and it was surrounded by Aspen trees in bright yellow. My son was having a blast throwing rocks in to the river. He could care less about the foliage. My husband was just happy to be outside and I was so excited to be photographing the most amazing time of year! If you haven’t seen my nature and landscape section please check it out or follow me on Instagram @kelly_hows_naturephotos.
After we explored the banks of the river we headed to Pickett's Junction to have lunch. It was a nice breezy day so I rolled down the windows to get some air because we ate in the car. When I went to start the car the battery was dead. I had left the ignition on while we were eating! I was so disappointed in myself. Normally we have jumper cables and tools in the car, but for whatever reason we didn’t this time. My husband was thoroughly embarrassed because he works on cars and normally always brings all that stuff with him. Unfortunately there’s no cell reception there either. We asked everyone in the parking lot if they had jumper cables and no one did. Thankfully because there were so many people up there that day we didn’t have to wait too long to find someone. A man with a truck drove in the lot and it looked like a work truck. We decided he probably had them and flagged him down. He did! He was more than happy to help us. We got it started and we were on our way. I can tell you I will be more aware of that next time.
We stopped at a beautiful spot beside the highway where there were giant groves of aspen trees. There were a few other people there, but we decided to hike in a little to get better nature photos. It was well worth it and I got some pretty decent photographs. Towards the end of our wandering I started to think we were on someone’s property. We kept coming across cow patties and downed barbed wire fencing, which looked brand new, so we decided to head back. I tried experimenting with lighting on some of the trees on the way back just because ! thought the shape was cool. This is what happened.
Once we got to the car it was getting pretty chilly. I could have stayed longer, but decided it was better to head back. I took the long way back to Placerville as my husband had never been over Cason pass. If you’ve never been down highway 89 I suggest taking a drive, there’s lots of lakes and vistas to see. I hope I can go back every year because its different and stunningly gorgeous no matter if I got back to the exact same spot every time.
A few weeks ago we went to Hope Valley in hopes (yup, I meant to say it like that) of seeing gorgeous fall foliage. Unfortunately, there was none. I blame false advertising on Facebook or a post that probably was from 3 years ago. I was so excited about the prospect of fall colors I didn’t pay attention to the date of the post or if it was re-posted from something else. We drove all around the area. If you don’t know where it’s located it’s about 15 miles south of Lake Tahoe. We drove all over with our 2 year old in tow, who was antsy to get out and there was absolutely no yellow in sight. To say the least I was pretty disappointed and my husband couldn’t stop making fun of how excited I had been. Despite all that humiliation it was not a wasted trip. It’s still a beautiful area anytime we go up there.
We plan on going back this weekend in hopes that the aspens have turned. There were lots of gorgeous aspens next to this creek and my son wouldn't mind throwing rocks in it again. He could sit around all day doing this, but I would like to go for hike while we are there.
These are my absolute favorite pictures from the trip. There's nothing like watching your two most favorite people interact with each other, exploring together, out in nature. I love to watch my husband teach my son about the world! It fills my heart with joy!
I always forget how close we live to so many beautiful, natural things. We live a little over an hour from Lake Tahoe and two hours from the beach. In between all that are many more of California's wonderful places like lakes, waterfalls, streams, foothills, wetlands, mountains and forests. Many of the reasons I live in California is to be so close to all of these things. If you don't live here you probably don't realize how diverse our terrain is. I have encountered many people who think everyone in California lives next to the beach. I giggle every time someone tells me that. It's not just people from out of the country either, it's people from other parts of the states too.
Recently we took a trip to a place called Bassi Falls. I have heard about the falls from several people, but we just never took the time to go. I don't know why, since it's only about 45 minutes from us. It was a great hike for our family. It was about a mile in and it cascaded over giant granite boulders. It started out on a single track trail among towering pine trees.
Pictured is my mom or what my son calls her, Gigi.
Once the dirt trail ended we were on granite rock for the rest of the time. I love the rock! The granite has these tiny little sparkles underneath the sun and it reminds me of the sea shimmering. It also allows people to build cairns, which for some reason I am drawn to photographing. The cairns are meant to mark trails, but many people now just build them as art or to mark their presence. Many park rangers end up knocking them over as they can be misleading for other hikers. So I never trust them to lead the way anymore. I do however like to take pictures of them and have many photographs of cairns in my collection.
Pictured is my husband and son.
As you can see in the next picture is a lot of granite rock. Many of California's trails near Tahoe and in El Dorado National Forest are made of granite. A popular jeeping trail called the Rubicon Trail, which was a Native American foot path at one point, runs through this area. It's about 22 miles long and brutal. I remember going on it with a childhood friend and her dad and the jeep broke down. We had to camp on the granite rocks for a couple of days until someone came to our rescue.
Even though the waterfall wasn't flowing a lot, since it's later in the summer, there were still many pools to swim in. Had I known, I would have worn the right clothes. However, there were many shallow pools that my son, husband and I could splash in. My parent's dog even got in on the action!
Such a beautiful place, so close to home. You'll just never know what you'll find when you explore! I'll leave you with a couple more shots of the pools and scenery. Until the next adventure!
So I finally have reached the 200 mark on my 365 project on Instagram. I thought the poem below perfectly described the memories which I have captured of my son and share a few photos here. If you'd like to see my Instagram, just follow the link.
Instagram profile click here.
I Remember, I Remember
BY THOMAS HOOD
I remember, I remember,
The house where I was born,
The little window where the sun
Came peeping in at morn;
He never came a wink too soon,
Nor brought too long a day,
But now, I often wish the night
Had borne my breath away!
I remember, I remember,
The roses, red and white,
The vi'lets, and the lily-cups,
Those flowers made of light!
The lilacs where the robin built,
And where my brother set
The laburnum on his birthday,—
The tree is living yet!
I remember, I remember,
Where I was used to swing,
And thought the air must rush as fresh
To swallows on the wing;
My spirit flew in feathers then,
That is so heavy now,
And summer pools could hardly cool
The fever on my brow!
I remember, I remember,
The fir trees dark and high;
I used to think their slender tops
Were close against the sky:
It was a childish ignorance,
But now 'tis little joy
To know I'm farther off from heav'n
Than when I was a boy.
Today, I wanted to share one of my most favorite photos. Every time I come across this photo I remember how much I love it and how nostalgic I feel for those Christmas nights. The whole photo, from the reflection of the lights in my lens, my husbands stare and my son pointing to see the next light display, evokes the spirit and feel of Christmas. It’s such a magical time with amazing photo opportunities.
I remember being all bundled up with hoods and scarves running through Folsom Zoo to see the animals and lights. My son giggles in delight and just can’t wait to see Santa. Although once he sees him he’s scared to death to sit on his lap. Funny how that works. Cont...
I love the feel of the cold air pulsing in and out of my nose. Blowing my breath into the air just to see it fog up. I love Christmas lights and the way my son’s eyes reflect each color. I know it’s August, but those times are just so memorable. And I think of all this now because the heat just really gets to me, especially when you don’t have air conditioner. Also I’m tired of the brown I want to see green grass again. Anyways, enough complaining and back to my favorite photo.
One more thing about this photo. My son’s plaid, fleece onesie was so adorable on him. It had this cute little pocket in the front and a moose for the logo. It’s a true Christmas outfit and it kept him super warm. Also his red hair complimented it really well! I can’t wait for these days again.
For some reason when my little man hit 27 months he developed a sense of adventure or more like a sense of no fear. His attempts to push his physical limits are scaring the crap out of me! Even though the bed is low to the ground, it's still higher than anything he's ever jumped off of before. I'm just glad he lands on his feet because he used to land on his butt. When he landed on his butt, it would jolt his whole body and he would cry. I could only imagine how much it hurt.
For a long time I wanted to stop him from jumping. but it was a futile effort. I finally just let him explore his jumping capabilities and he's becoming more coordinated, faster. It also makes for really cool photographs, even though my hands are shaking from nervousness.
In every home with a toddler there comes a time when all furniture and fixtures become jungle gyms. My son has become fascinated with climbing up on to the kitchen counter. He loves pushing all the buttons on every small appliance. It won't be too long before he can stand on his own and reach those contraptions. At least I have a little bit of control now by supervising him and unplugging everything! Oh the things toddlers get into! Of course, I had to take a picture while he was up there.
A lot of the little things like this, where he does something weird, I tend to forget. He's only two and I find myself thinking I wish I had taken even more pictures, especially when he was really little. I was so wrapped up in taking care of him as a newborn and baby, I have forgotten a little of what he looked like and his some of his firsts. I wish I had been more diligent about it. Or I wish someone could have been there taking pictures for me. Oh well, lesson learned. I hope you or someone you know can take pictures for you. I wouldn't want anyone to lose those precious moments!