Keziah Dauz

Birthday Celebrations

“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words,”

– Plautus

What’s even better than helping women celebrate who they are through creating timeless images? Celebrating their life whenever a new birthday comes around. =)

Cheers to this month’s #MarchBirthdays!

Image | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Keziah Dauz

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April | 2017 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

I recently had the privilege to photograph this beautiful lady woman named April. We had crossed paths a few times through mutual friends (even being in the same fitness accountability group!)  and she had reached out to me about a photo shoot for the simple reason of wanting to celebrate her life. I read that and immediately smiled because celebrating life through photographs is, as you know by now, kind of my jam. :)

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This vibrant young woman willingly shares her heart, her talents, and embraces the victories as well as the ups and downs of her life. What I appreciate the most about April is that though the trajectory of her life has been anything but a straight and smooth line, the joy that radiates from her smile, her enthusiasm to share her story with others, reveals that ultimately, she knows God is continuing to work His perfect plan no matter what and that her purpose remains the same -  to embrace Him and show others who He is. 

I am proud to share with you all these images from April's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography! Be sure to also check out the behind the scenes video below that captures a glimpse into April's day with us!

Many thanks to the awesome Keziah Dauz of Beauty by Keziah for the styling of April's hair and makeup!

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"My parents divorced when I was 6 years old so my mom, older brother, and I moved to Hayward with my aunt and her family until my mom was able to buy a house for us. 

Growing up, I excelled academically and the only extracurricular activities I had were choir and dance class because I just love the performing arts. I also battled with childhood obesity so for the longest time I despised being in my own skin.

Fast forward to college, I was blessed to attend the University of California, San Diego, and I lived there for 4 years. I really love that city. I love the ocean, sun, and community events. After graduating, God has really given me the chance to visit friends like family twice a year there to reconnect. Part of me feels like it's a mission field because my friends and I often talk about our struggles when I am there and I'm thankful I can physically be there for comfort.

San Diego is also where I discovered Christianity at the Rock Church in Point Loma during my first deep heartbreak with my bf at the time of 3 years. We weren't together for 3 months after that, but I think it was the time where I learned that my dependence did not come from a human being. Because of my upbringing and broken family, I did not really know how to approach romantic relationships so I often became dependent on my partner, which was very unhealthy. We did end up getting back together after those 3 months and lasted for 6 years total (if you included that hiatus), which led me to an even darker place of depression (although not clinical). 

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In college, I also had the privileged opportunity to travel abroad for service in Costa Rica, Honduras, and the Philippines, which opened my eyes to the need of compassionate healthcare providers and confirm my desire to work in the medical field. I love volunteering and being of service to those in need.

My career plans are to apply to graduate school to get my master's in Physician Assistant Studies so that I can apply my experiences, skills, and talents to help under served communities thrive in life with a healthy approach. I also know that this requires me to constantly work on myself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This journey has definitely helped me to see God more in all of my circumstances!"

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"I believe what makes a woman truly beautiful is how many times she falls down to rock bottom, yet somehow finds the courage to rise up to the challenges and is stronger, vibrant, and more joyful than ever before."

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"I absolutely appreciate my singleness season. I used to despise being alone in this season, but I realized that singleness is truly a precious gift from God. This season allows me the freedom to dive deeper into devotion with Him and other believers without any unnecessary distractions. Through this time, God is teaching me invaluable lessons that will be beneficial for me in the long run, such as how to extend grace in tough times and even how to be more gentle, honest, understanding, patient, and loving. For the first time in my life, I don't feel like I need to fight this season, but instead embrace every single day as it comes.""

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"My singleness also allows me the opportunity to pursue higher education whether that is near or far from home and even travel around the world with friends without any agendas. I love being able to sit at a local Starbucks and read a book or take a solo trip to the movies spontaneously. I also like spending quiet time with my ultimate Provider who never gets tired of hearing from me. I have found that He is extremely humorous at times so it makes this walk with Him even worthwhile. Most importantly, my singleness has allowed me to take more risks in general and I think with or without a significant other, I am safe and loved in His arms."

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"If given the chance, I would tell my 18 year old self that a life pursuing academic excellence and trying to keep a complacent long-term relationship going will not fulfill you. Trust in God knowing that He has great plans for your life. Even though it does not feel that way right now, He is going to use you for some amazing plans. Embrace it!"

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"Some advice I would give young girls and my future daughter would be to focus not on what the world thinks you should do, but tune into your unique personality and talents. God has gifted you in order to bless others by spreading more love and joy in this world. We live in a time of much heartbreak, loss, abuse, and neglect, thus your mere existence in this world is proof that there is a living God. He can use you to help others know Him for His unfailing love is truly the greatest. Let His light shine through you to accentuate the true beauty that only comes from within."

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Ruchi | 2016 | Glamour & Contemporary Outdoor Portraits | San Jose, CA

 

I once heard my old pastor say that in a marriage, a woman is a reflection of what what her husband gives her. I remember him saying that she is the valley that will flourish healthily if the streams of water and care flowed down to her are filled with love and care. For all these years, that sentiment has stuck with me and recently came to mind when I had the opportunity to photograph Ruchi.

Ruchi is a software engineer who just recently graduated with her Master's degree from San Jose State University here in the Bay Area. While the afternoon was planned for a portrait session exclusively for her, her husband, Manas, patiently tagged along to not only help assist, but to also capture a few shots with his own camera. And who could blame him? She is not only a beautiful woman outwardly, but has the cheery smile and spunk that was as bright as the golden light we photographed her against. In every way that she spoke of him and in the quiet smile he returned in response to her teasing, one could tell they absolutely shared something lovely and special.

Ruchi is confident, smart, sassy, genuine...and it is obvious she is filled with love. A woman who is overflowing with all these wonderful things simply brings this beautiful "extra" that you can see in her eyes, in every photograph. And it is beyond stunning.

So proud to share with you all not only a behind the scenes video into Ruchi's photoshoot but also some of my favorite photos from our time together! 

Ruchi, you are stunning. Both inside and out. It was such an honor to be able to capture you in these photographs as a celebration of the woman you are now and the woman you will continue to grow to be in the future. Thank you for the opportunity to not only meet you but also your husband and to see a glimpse into what you hold near and dear. It is indeed special in ways that can not be captured by words. Cheers to you both, to your recent graduation, and to shaping the world as a woman in the engineering world!

**

What do you wish you could say to yourself when you were 18?

"Believe it or not, you are beautiful and always will be. "

"Oil painting and glass painting has always been my passion. In my free time, playing with the colors to decorate my house - and life - makes me happy."

"[I think} there is nothing that can "make" a woman beautiful because [I think] we women are [already] beautiful."

"God has given me a special person who thinks I am beautiful. And having him makes me the happiest person on earth."

 

Many thanks to Keziah Dauz for her styling of hair and makeup!

Preview | Rainia, 2016 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Oakland, CA

 

As soon as you walk in, the shelves and walls of her home tell a beautiful story and make evident a love of history, art, travel, and culture. The morning sun shone brightly through the windows and onto the many photographs of smiling family and friends that lined the mantel, giving me a glimpse into the world of those she holds near and dear to her. The sound of Sade's timeless voice streamed easily through the speakers, adding a melody to the air that blended seamlessly into the already beautiful morning.

This sunshine-filled day in Oakland was the perfect setting for an outdoor photoshoot to capture images of this lovely woman named Rainia.

I am thrilled to share with you all a sneak peak preview below - be sure to stay tuned because there is more to come!

Many thanks to Keziah Dauz for her collaboration on Rainia's hair/makeup!

 

Preview | Ruchi | Glamour and Contemporary Portrait | Santa Clara, CA

It was like the fall colors of the leaves that surrounded the park beckoned the gold of the afternoon sunlight into a perfectly choreographed dance for us to witness. And needless to say this breathtaking background was perfect for a photoshoot with a lovely woman named Ruchi. 

Ruchi has been a long supporter of Heartbox Photography , standing behind the message that every woman is beautiful and has a story to tell. I am so very excited and honored that she took that step to grace my camera with her presence. Below is just a sneak peak into her photoshoot with more to come -  stay tuned!

Many thanks to the talented Keziah Dauz of Beauty by Keziah for making Ruchi's hair and makeup look absolutely stunning for this photoshoot!