Zane | San Jose newborn photographer

I had the pleasure last year of photographing this family not only in the hospital for a Fresh 48 session, but also in their home for a newborn session. Having both tells such a complete story of what Zane’s first few days were like. Like many babies I photograph, Zane was wide awake almost the entire session. He finally fell asleep briefly right at the very end. I don’t always hold babies when I photograph them, but I did hold him and he was so sweet!

I’m currently only photographing births due before August of this year, but have availability for Fresh 48 sessions (you know, if birth photography isn’t your thing). I’d love to hear from you if you’re interested in having one of your baby’s first few days documented while in the hospital!

 

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For the perfectionists . Bay Area newborn photographer

I never would have imagined how much God would teach me about myself through my children…

I am a perfectionist. I beat myself up over and over when I feel I don’t measure up. What the standard is in my mind I don’t really know. All I know is that it is unreachable. Even when I reach some goal, it turns out it’s not enough and a new goal is born. It prevents me from trying and continuing with new things for fear that I won’t be good at it. How I’m in business with photography right now is mind boggling to me. It’s literally the ONLY thing I’ve kept doing. I must love it so much that I can’t give it up, although there are many moments that I feel ready to throw in the towel (and did for over a year). I’m constantly comparing my work to other’s and wishing I was as good as they are.

My sweet boy has developed this unfortunate trait. Perhaps he was born with it, I’m not really sure. I’ve tried really hard to teach him that it’s okay to make mistakes, but since striving to be perfect is engrained in me, I’m sure there are ways it is displayed in my life that I’m unaware of and that he learns from. To be fair, there are positives that come with being a perfectionist, but in my opinion those don’t outweigh the negatives. Today on our way home from school I asked him if he had taken his spelling pre-test and how he did on it. (If he passes the pre-test, he doesn’t have to take the test the next day, no big deal.) Tears immediately welled up in his eyes as he tried to explain to me that he got one wrong and that he knew how to spell it, but he forgot to write one of the letters down. I responded and told him that it’s okay if he got one wrong and that I wasn’t upset with him, or disappointed and that if he had gotten all of them wrong, I wouldn’t love him any less or be any less proud of him. I continued and told him that he can’t expect to be perfect. What he can expect is to make mistakes from time to time and that’s OKAY! I asked him if he thought he was perfect.

“No.”

“Is mommy or daddy perfect?”

“No.”

“Who’s perfect?”

“Jesus.”

“That’s right and we aren’t Jesus.”

Okay God, I hear you. I don’t know how much of my words sink in to him. Perhaps they are meant more for me than they are him. My prayer is that over time this would soak in for him and he wouldn’t be at the point where I am today, 38 and still struggling with the fear of not being good enough.

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Here’s to my kids who teach me more than any other person.

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National Adoption Day

In honor of National Adoption Day (November 21), I wanted to share an adoption story with you. Throughout the years as I’ve watched my sister-in-law battle infertility, and believe me it’s a battle, I’ve also witnessed her faith. Faith that God would answer her prayers in His time and in His way. Becky is funny, caring, smart, compassionate, I could go on and on, but she’d probably get embarrassed:)  For the last year, I’ve watched God take these traits of hers and use them to become the wonderful mom that she is and we couldn’t be more thrilled for them as they continue their journey as parents of their two incredible kids.

From Becky:

There were several times throughout my life when I felt the Lord calling me to adopt.  The first time I was about twenty-one and I was sitting in chapel at William Jessup University.  Someone came to speak to us about how Cambodian girls were being sold into sex trafficking at a very early age and the speaker was educating us on how their ministry was helping free them.  I left chapel that day with a heart for adoption.

Another time I remember wanting to adopt was on a missionary trip to Guatemala with a group of high schoolers from church.  We visited an orphanage and after seeing all of the precious faces and hearing the different stories, I turned to my husband and said I want to adopt all of them.

Many years later, after years of infertility and one miscarriage the Lord called to me again as I was listening to a sermon that would finally put my husband and I into action.  My husband is a worship and youth pastor at a church and one of the great things we get to do every year is go to a pastor’s retreat at Hume Lake Christian Camp.  The retreat was in September of 2012 and I remember looking forward to it because I was desperate to get away.  I had miscarried in mid-April of that year and life afterwards was hard. I felt alone even though I had a great husband by my side and loving friends and family concerned and praying for me.  I felt for a while that God was silent.  So to say the least, I was in need of this time away with my husband and time to get away from the distractions of the world.

As my husband, Stephen, and I sat listening to the pastor his message struck me.  The sermon wasn’t really meant for me, but God used it to show me that He wasn’t silent, but waiting for the right time to reach me.  The message was on Peter walking on water with Jesus.  Over and over again the pastor would use the words, “Peter get out of the boat.” The intent of the sermon was how in ministry we can sometimes be playing it safe by staying in the boat.  He was encouraging the pastors to step out in faith and get out of the boat.  The pastor was telling them to do something that requires you to take a risk and see how God will remain faithful through your endeavors.  As I sat there, the Lord wasn’t talking to me about youth ministry, He was talking to me about it being time to follow through on adopting and step out in faith.  God said to me that day, “Becky, get out of the boat.” You see, I was letting excuses get in my way of following through with my heart for adoption.  My husband and I would talk about it occasionally, but I remember finding ways of why it wouldn’t work for us at the time.  Whether it be money, or timing, or work, but the truth of the matter is I was scared.  I was scared of what my adopted kids would be like, I was scared of the process itself, I was scared of not experiencing pregnancy, and what it’s like when you are looking at your child and you can’t say he has your eyes and my nose, I was scared of feeling alone in the process because adoption wasn’t happening in the lives of people around us, I was scared of being a terrible mother, and falling short.  And I hid my fear behind not enough money, not enough time, and what ifs.

When my husband and I got home from our retreat we heard from some friends about an adoption conference Focus on the Family was putting on in Sacramento.  Already the Lord had calmed one fear of mine by providing close friends who were interested in adoption at the same time as we were.  Stephen and I along with our two friends, Dave and Rachel, drove to the conference together.  I didn’t know what to expect, but I remember being blown away by the testimonies.  They had two testimonials from people who had been adopted out of foster care and I remember being enraptured by their stories.  The Lord used their stories to open our eyes to domestic adoption instead of international. At the end of the conference there were booths outside from different adoption agencies that you could, for lack of a better word “shop”, for a prospective agency.  We picked up several different catalogues, but an agency that we continued to be drawn to was Family Connections Christian Adoptions.  They did international adoptions, relinquishments, and fost to adopt.

After contacting the FCCA we attended a seminar.  Again, we had the privilege of going with our friends.  During the seminar I fell in love with the agency.  On the wall they had scripture, James 1:27, and you could tell that each person that worked there had a heart for children.  It was during that seminar that Stephen and I looked at each other and knew this is where we were meant to be and that fost to adopt was the route we were going to take. On our way home the anxiousness and fear that I had before was replaced with peace and excitement.

It took us a little over a year and a half to go through the paperwork and the classes.  We could have done it faster, but we were moving at a pace that worked for us.  Each time we attended a class I remember the conversations on the way home being filled with questions and excitement.  Every once in a while we would have a class that was meant to weed out the faint of heart.  They would talk about worst case scenarios and the obstacles adoptive parents could face, wanting to make sure we were really in this.  Once you take a child home there is no returning them and the social workers want to make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.  After each one of those classes instead of being filled with fear I was filled with excitement.

Once we finally signed our last paper we were excited to hear that we were ready for a possible placement.  Stephen and I had just hit our 31st birthdays.  We had been trying for babies since 25 and it was like we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  We were told that it could still take up to a year or so to have a placement, but we still felt excited for what God had for us.

Two weeks after hearing we were ready for placement, I received a call from our social worker informing me about two kids, a brother and sister three years of age and one year of age down in Southern California.  They needed emergency placement and things were going to happen quickly if we were interested.  I called Stephen right away and told him about the kids. At that point we still didn’t have a lot of information, but we quickly prayed about it and felt at peace about saying yes.  I called our social worker back and said we were interested.  Next, our social worker called the social worker of the children and told them she had a family interested.  Many times that is as far as it goes and nothing comes of it, but for us God had different plans.  We heard back a day later that the kids’ social worker was interested in Stephen and I and wanted to sit down for a disclosure meeting.  This again is very rare to happen in the process of adoption.  Many times once you find out a social worker is interested in you, there are more hoops to jump through and a longer process ahead of you.  Our disclosure meeting was planned for the following day.  At the disclosure meeting you find out more information about the child or children and they ask you questions about parenting, and by the end of it you know if you are going to be a parent or not.  I remember being filled with every possible emotion before entering that meeting.  Prayer was constantly flowing from my mouth and mind.  Stephen prayed with me and held my hand through each minute as we awaited to hear if we were about to be parents.  I couldn’t have asked for a better husband and partner through all of this.  I remember so vividly that the minute I walked through the door the peace of God came over me and I was able to rest in it. The meeting lasted about two hours.  They told us a brief synopsis of each child and asked us questions as to how we would handle certain situations.  At the end of the meeting Stephen and I looked at each other and knew this was it. We were called later that day on our drive home from the meeting and were told that indeed we were about to be parents of a three year old boy and a one year old girl in just one week.  I can’t put into words the emotions I felt.  Excitement, joy, nervousness, anxiousness, and an overwhelming gratitude to God for answering my prayer for six long years with not just one, but two precious babies who needed a dad and a mom.

That one week we had to prepare for parenthood was one of the most overwhelming weeks I’ve ever had in my life.  Even more than the week before my wedding.  Stephen and I had to leave for summer camp and I ended up coming back early to finish up last minute details.  One of my favorite parts through that whole process was going to register.  As we sat across the Babies R’ Us worker looking at my not pregnant belly and wondering why we were asking to register at 8:00 at night on a Saturday, Stephen and I were given the wonderful opportunity to share with her that we just found out we were going to be parents through adoption.  She was overjoyed for us and was incredibly helpful since I had no idea where to start.

Once we got down to Southern California we were told that we were going to meet our kids for the first time at the foster family’s house for lunch, but that we were going to have to leave after lunch and pick our kids up the following day.  Knowing that I was going to meet my kids, but not take them home right away was incredibly hard for me.  I didn’t want them away from me for one more second.  In my prayer time I decided to surrender it over to Him. It was out of my control and I needed to let it go.  The nerves I felt to meet my kids and in front of a family I’ve never met before were astonishing.  Stephen and I prayed almost the whole drive to see them.  We had seen pictures of them, but this was different.  We drove up to the house and exited the car and my heart was at full speed.  I felt the presence of the Lord in that minute walk Stephen and me to the door.  That alone made me emotional knowing He brought us to this point and was walking us through it.  We entered the house and I saw my son and daughter playing outside with some other children.  For a minute I just watched them before they saw us and said a thank you prayer for these beautiful children. While I was praying I saw my son turn and look at us through the screen.  He threw his toy down and came running yelling, “Daddy Daddy!” and threw himself in Stephen’s arms.  Stephen held him for a minute with tears in his eyes.  We could not have ever imagined a greeting such as that.  We were always told that foster kids are usually more reserved and unsure of what another set of adults means for them, and here we had a son that came to us without any abandon.  That is how good the Lord is.  We were also given instruction that our daughter didn’t do well with men and she would not go to any man that has facial hair.  Stephen, having facial hair, was unsure of how our daughter would respond, but she went to both me and him with no problems at all.  The foster mom was floored by our daughter’s response to Stephen.  Again, it was evidence of God’s goodness.  We left after lunch which was hard for us to do, but I found out from the family that they too were believers and God knew that is what I needed to feel at peace with leaving my kids one more night.  The next day came and we quickly drove down to pick up our kids and take them home.

It’s now been a little over a year since we brought our son and daughter home.  We have been through our ups and downs, our highs and lows, and I know we will continue to have those throughout our lives together.  Even through our hardships I do not look back and regret the journey.  The Lord knew the desires of my heart so completely and He reminds me of that often when I see in my kids what I very much wanted, but didn’t know how to ask for.  Both of my kids are affectionate and were from the start, they are silly and fun, they adapt well to a busy schedule, and are smart and fun loving.  I had an idea of what I would like for my family, but God knew exactly and blessed me with even more.

At the end of this, what I really want anyone to get out of this is that God is good, He is faithful, and He cares for each one of us.  I’m grateful for the journey He lead Stephen and I on because it brought me closer to Him, to my husband, and it brought me to my beautiful children.  I am so very grateful.

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A couple of our kids together.

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Sybil Hodge - Such a wonderful story. Blessings.

Whitney . Bay Area maternity photographer

Waiting as patiently as I can for the call that Whitney is in labor. Can’t wait to photograph their baby boy’s birth! Here are some of my favorites from her maternity session. A few of these are digital and the rest were shot using a Pentax 645n and Fuji 400h film.

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Ember was making a bunch of funny faces for me. She’s going to be such a good big sister.

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Owen and the perfect gray . Santa Rosa newborn photographer

One of my favorite things about newborn sessions is being able to connect with the parents and hear about their family (how they met, how long they’ve been married, where they’re originally from, etc.) Clemence and her husband met while he was living in Germany and she was living in her home country, France. Even though she didn’t speak much English in the beginning, it didn’t stop them from falling in love, getting married, and eventually moving to the Bay Area where her husband, Jeff, is originally from. They recently bought the cutest home built in the 1920’s and have been steadily renovating it. They pick the best paint colors too! If you’ve ever tried to paint a room gray, you’ll know that picking the perfect gray is no easy task. It’s difficult to find a gray that isn’t too blue, too green, too yellow, too whatever. The gray they chose for Owen’s nursery was perfect, light and yet very warm and inviting. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did ask what the color was. It’s from Benjamin Moore and is called Pewter, although I’ve since looked and they have several different pewters and I’m not positive which one is correct. My guess is it’s the light pewter. I can’t wait to use this color in one of our rooms some day.

bay area newborn photographer specializing in maternity, newborn, baby, and birth photography
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