San Jose photographer

Corina | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“She is a queen. Her soul is royalty.”

-Adrian Michael

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Corina is the example of a queen that is well loved by her family.

I immediately noticed her quiet and steady smile as well as a laugh that was easily expressed in any given moment. Needless to say, it was a joy to spend some time getting to know her and create a photoshoot that celebrated Corina as the matriarch of her family, her recent birthday, and just the fact that she loved her life as it has shaped out to be.

Her family gifted her this photoshoot and needless to say, it was an honor to be chosen to capture such a beautiful and strong woman on camera not only for images that will be forever part of their family legacy, but also for images that will always remind Corina to celebrate everyday and every season of her life.

I am so proud to share with you all a few of Corina’s beautiful images and a behind the scenes look into her experience with Heartbox Photography.

Special thanks to Becky Lau of Beautiful One Makeup Artistry for Corina’s styling on this special day!

And last, but not least, Corina’s note to her family:

My special thanks to Denise, Mayra, Luis and my husband Alonso for this great experience to capture in photographs this moments that we will treasure in years to come. “

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“I am so grateful I started early to have a family. This year is so special to me. I turned 50 and had our 35th wedding anniversary.

My oldest grandson is 10 years old now. Now we are experiencing the empty next and we are ready to move forward.”

“Beauty comes in all colors, shapes, and sizes.

God created us as life givers. Even if a woman does not have children, she still can create or give life to someone else.

We are full of love. Beauty comes form our inner selfs.

Confidence is the acceptance of who you are created to be.”

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“The best advise I ever received was to persevere.

Remaining there gets results.”

What do you appreciate most

about your life now?

“Now, I have more time for myself. “

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Sarah, Anna, and Rosie | Mothers and Daughters | 2019

 

Mothers of daughters

are daughters of mothers

and have remained so in circles joined to circles,

since time began.

-Signe Hammer

Sarah is a wife, mother, and the founder/owner of Hey Presto!, a personal concierge services company based here in the Bay Area. It was my privilege to be able to not only have her come in for for updated headshots that represent her and her company, but also to capture a moment in time with her and her two beautiful daughters.

I love when women make the decision to not only step out in front of the camera for themselves, but also bring in their daughters with them for the photoshoot. A day of hair/makeup and pampering is always fun, but what makes this even more memorable is that these images are ones they will keep for a lifetime. It represents capturing a special moment in time with Sarah and her daughters, especially because time is so fleeting and children grow so fast. So why not add to the legacy and images of family memories for years to come with photos that celebrated a mother and her girls - the women of the family.

Here’s to mothers and daughters everywhere, to existing in photographs forever.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Katie Pheneger

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How has having daughters changed you as a woman?

It's a journey of course and I guess this is true of parenting in general but being a role model to any young person is both scary and a privilege.  I’m learning that each time you think you solve an issue, or get through a ‘phase', a new one takes its place.  I’ve become more patient, and have learnt to trust my instinct.  Oh, and to appreciate the small moments!

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What are some things that you would want your daughters and other young girls want to know with regards to beauty, self-confidence, and growing up as a woman in today's world?

If only all these girls knew how amazing they are, and what potential they have.  I want them to know that if you believe in yourself anything is possible.  Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.  You will have to work hard for your opportunities, but when you see one, be fierce and bold and grab it with both hands!  Don’t regret the things you’ve done, regret the ones you haven’t!

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What are some things that you would want your daughters and other young girls want to know with regards to beauty, self-confidence, and growing up as a woman in today's world?

If only all these girls knew how amazing they are, and what potential they have.  I want them to know that if you believe in yourself anything is possible.  

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not good enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough.  You will have to work hard for your opportunities, but when you see one, be fierce and bold and grab it with both hands!  Don’t regret the things you’ve done, regret the ones you haven’t!

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Are there things you hope will change by the time your daughters are your age?

Besides world peace, a halt to climate change, and equality for all!?!  

Actually, I find it difficult to imagine what their lives will be like in 30 years time.  Technology will surely evolve and who knows what the world will look like then.  It has made life easier in so many ways, and I love that our wider family is spread all over the world but that we are still in each others’ daily lives with the wonders of the internet, FaceTime and email.  

But at the same time I hope technology won’t make the world too ’small’ and discourage them from having real-world adventures and travel.  You can learn so much online but nothing can replace a real-life, in-person experience.  

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Can you tell me a bit about you and what inspired you to start Hey Presto!, what you find most rewarding about your work, as well as what you want others to know about your company?

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I was looking to get back to work after a career break and quickly realized that I was surrounded by people constantly on the go, stressed and overwhelmed, running from one activity to the next, trying to stay on the Bay Area merry-go-round.  

A lightbulb went on as I realized its a perfect fit for my skills and experience.  I love to organize and I love to help people, and so Hey Presto was born!  

I love that I can help people with their everyday struggles, such as running errands, or admin, but also the bigger projects like vacation planning, doing the legwork on remodeling projects and dealing with life’s events like coping with life when a baby joins the family, or moving house.  

It's so rewarding to know that I can make a difference and help smooth the path. 

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Best advice you ever received?

To follow my own path.  My own mom was a working single parent but I think her biggest lesson to my sister and I was to be fierce. By that I mean that she encouraged us to have a strong will, take pride in our work, and responsibility for our tasks.  She taught me to be practical and encouraged me to speak out if I ever wanted anything to change.

 

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

I have an amazing, supportive husband, beautiful kids, and good health and exciting opportunities.  

I love my life right now! 

 

A First Try and Reflection Back

This past weekend a friend of mine celebrated the fourth year anniversary surviving a brain aneurysm. Back when it happened, I wasn’t as close to her as I am now and to put it bluntly, I am thankful to God for allowing her to miraculously survive and heal from that - to live today. I would not have known her had she gone home so to speak. :)

As part of celebrating her (and her brain!), she invited a group of us to join her for a hike that, truly had it not been for love for my friend, I would NOT have done. Give up chocolate for a day, yes. Climb up a hill for fun, no. But alas, friendship and love makes you do some weird things.

It was long, it was warm day, and there was an incline towards the end I wasn’t a huge fan of. BUT! We all made it! And yes, indeed it was beautiful and also so interesting to physically look back at the path and think “Seriously? We went and surivived ALL that way?!?”

I think that as much as being in the present and hoping for the future, it is equally important to look back. It makes the entire endeavor that much more meaningful, that much more sweet, that much more interesting, really.

I got to thinking about this as I looked at archives of past work. Below is one of the first photos I ever took when setting out to be a photographer of contemporary and glamour portraiture. I barely knew my camera, barely knew what I was aiming for, barely knew what it was like to create something without fear. I only knew that I wanted to create. That’s all.

And while it shows indications of a newbie just starting out, to me, it’s an image I am proud to share with you all and proud to say I created, even while still learning so many things.

Happy Wednesday!

Image |   Heartbox Photography    Hair/makeup | Julieta Camacho

Image | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Julieta Camacho

Lady In Red | Glam Out Your Outfits!

Red is always a good idea.

Always.

And I absolutely love it when women want to rock a special outfit just because for their photoshoot.

What outfit do you want to glam up and be photographed in? Let’s do it - there’s no time better than the present!

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Image by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup by Katie Pheneger

Celebrate Daughters, Celebrate Legacy

I love when clients bring in their daughters to also be photographed - because she is essentially shaping the life of a human that will grow into a young lady one day knowing it is absolutely awesome to celebrate every year of your life, whether you are 8 or 80 years old.

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Celebrate the legacy of girls and women in your family with a portrait to last a lifetime - there’s something beautiful and powerful that is beyond the images itself.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Image by | Heartbox Photography

Hair & makeup | Katie Pheneger

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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Monique, 2019 | San Jose, CA | Glamour & Contemporary Portrait

“To be a woman is to unapologetically resilient despite everything.”

-h.h.

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There is a sweet and calm demeanor that I immediately liked when I first approached Monique for the possibility of doing a photo shoot with Heartbox Photography.

As most of you know by now, I am a firm believer in finding ways to connect with other women who run local businesses and organizations simply for the fact that women who support women is nothing short of impactful and great. The best part is that I get to know them even beyond the work they do and learn about them as wives, mothers, daughters, and grandmothers - as the unique and beautiful person they are.

Being allowed to share in their world and learn about what inspires them, their family history, even their dreams for the future is a privilege that makes the story of each woman I photograph so fun and beautifully unique.

Monique is the founder and proud owner of Innate Sense. She is a wife, a loving mother, a daughter, and a big sister. (I even got to meet her little sister during the Image Reveal appointment and absolutely loved the sweet, sisterly dynamic of their relationship as she helped her choose her images!) During our photo session, I learned more about Monique’s Portugese ancestry and how having a desire to help people be whole and healthy are one of the factors that inspired her work.

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One of my favorite things about her photo session is her love for color, beautiful patterns, and accessories in the outfits she thoughtfully selected for her day - this probably explains why we definitely took a little longer wanting to capture the gorgeous look and feel of each outfit combined with the natural surroundings at a local park!

The sunlight was bright, the skies were clear, beautiful, and perfect for the afternoon and needless to say, I am so proud to be able to share with you all the final images and behind the scenes video from this lovely woman’s photo session with Heartbox Photography.

Here’s to celebrating the phenomenal women everywhere around us!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for Monique’s hair/makeup styling!

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“I see beauty when a woman knows

her worth and shares her

gifts with the world.”

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What are you most proud of as the woman you are today and why?

“I am most proud of taking the path that my heart led me towards for my career and to live out my soul’s purpose.

Growing up, many members of my family had jobs that they didn’t like, but tolerated them because they needed financial stability. I knew from a young age that I wanted to work in a way that I enjoyed, that allowed me freedom, and to help others.

I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do, but my heart guided me and here I am with a business where I have all those things and life that I love.”

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What would you tell your 18-year-old self?

“I would tell her to surround herself with a close circle of good friends and fully enjoy the season of her life with little responsibilities. I would tell her to travel more to gain a broader perspective of the world and people as a whole.

I would let her know that “success” is not a destination that she needs to TRY to get to…she will forever be evolving and becoming who she is meant to be in the world. To enjoy the journey, it all ultimately works out for her highest good.”

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What advice would you give your own daughter as she grows up?

“Well, I am sure my advice would vary depending on the stage of her life she is in…but I would always tell her - you are here for a purpose, you are love,d and to always be true to herself.”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

“I believe inner peace, confidence, and self-love

makes a woman glow and shine her beauty from the inside out.”

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Minh and An, 2018 | San Jose Municipal Rose Garden, CA | Portraits

 

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

- Lao Tzu

Minh and An are this really awesome and fun couple I had the honor of photographing not too long ago. Even after only a few minutes with them, I could see immediately that they were two people who thoroughly enjoyed laughter, love, and each other. I am so very excited to share with you all some of their images as well as a video of their session and time with Heartbox Photography. :)

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Minh and An, thank you for allowing me this opportunity to get to know you both and to document your love. May these images serve as a treasured reminder to continue celebrating your journey together for years to come.

And of course, many thanks to Kat Tinney for styling Minh’s beautiful look for this photo session!

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First impressions of one another?

I thought “tall, dark and handsome. An says he thought I was really bubbly (not sure if that’s true, I’m convinced I have RBF…) and smart (I think he meant I was a wise-ass.)

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Who is more organized? I would argue that I am! I organize my things religiously. Everything has its place.

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Who is the messy one?

An would say that it’s me, but I think we both think of the other person as super messy because we like our space a certain way. Haha, woes of living together.

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Who is more forgetful?

An - he can’t leave the house without asking me where his phone and keys are. I have to invite him to events via calendar because he forgets what I say a second later when it comes to planning social events. Men can’t plan but they sure can draft their fantasy football team with great finesse, lol!

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Who is most likely to be late? We both like to show up to things on time, if not fashionably late by 5 or 10 minutes.

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Who is the night owl? I am - I stay up until 1 AM while An tucks in at 10PM.

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Who is the better dancer? An can totally twerk. Watch out, he’s climbing on your tables!

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Who is more likely to get sick? I am. :(

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Who laughs louder?

We both seem really reserved in new settings, but we end up being the loud and rambunctious couple when we’re in a warm and welcoming space.

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Who is the better cook? No comment. We both can’t cook and like getting takeout, but I’ve been trying to be a good dutiful wife and finding recipes for the Dutch oven. An is really brave for even trying to eat my cooking.

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Who is more affectionate? We both are very affectionate people if we get to have our own time alone to recharge. Even after 8 years, I think we will have a lot of chemistry (read: really bad habit of PDA.)

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What you do you appreciate and love most about each other? I really appreciate that he takes care of the little details of day to day life for me, like washing my car or bringing me my favorite food, especially whenI have my head in the clouds. An appreciates that I provide him with support, even when days are dark.

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What are you both most excited for with regards to your new future together? We’re both excited to strengthen our long term relationship into a marriage full of friendship and laughter for the years to come.

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Preview | Natasha, 2018 | Portrait Photography | San Jose, CA

 “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent." 

-Madeleine Albright

Outdoor summer sessions with gorgeous light and the warm smiles of client's like Natasha are the best ways to spend an afternoon "working" as a photographer. :)

Hanging out with Natasha was more like hanging out with a friend and as we took a stroll down the dirt path of a San Jose park, ducking in and out of the summer sunshine, my heart smiled to see images like the one below captured onto my camera.

This woman is simply a sweet and easygoing individual and I am so excited to capture a bit of who she is in this sneak peak below to share with you all.

Stay tuned for more to come!

And many thanks to Kat Tinney for her styling of Natasha's gorgeous hair and makeup for this shoot!

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Preview | Van | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | San Jose, CA

I absolutely love when my craft goes beyond me and makes someone smile, makes them feel inspired, and helps remind a woman that she is stunning simply because she is herself. 

Photographing the lovely Van felt like it was an afternoon spent with a beautiful friend who absolutely rocked that inner model. Van is not only one of the nicest, most down-to-earth women around, but she's also a wife, the proud mother of 2, and a driven and passionate entrepreneur, serving as founder of Tempo Bicycles

I'm so excited to share a sneak peak into Van's photo session below - there are definitely  more lovely images to come, so stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kat Tinney for the styling of Van's hair and makeup!

Ritu, 2015 | Headshot Portraits | San Jose, CA

"The lawyer is a healer and has immense responsibility to help her client to change and be free."

-Ritu Goswamy
Immigration and Citizenship Attorney
Holistic Legal Services

As a kid, I wanted to be a lawyer, just like my grandpa. In my Hollywood version of what an attorney was, I wanted to walk into a courtroom with my briefcase in tow, ready to state my case, to win the fight, to eloquently reason without hesitation, even to hear the click-clack of my shoes echoing against the cold floor of courtroom. Intensely selfless and world changing lame, right? My grandpa was a respected immigration attorney and I grew up hearing countless stories from other family members of how he had helped many people. In short, I'm pretty sure my insightful perception Hollywood version of what I thought an attorney was would elicit a slightly amused chuckle from my grandpa.

Looking back, I am so glad that God had better plans for my life simply because I think my reasons for wanting to be an attorney were probably more based on pride than for a genuine desire to help people.

When I met Ritu, I was struck by her strong desire to genuinely help others not from a standpoint of "I'm an attorney hear me roar" but from a "Yes, I'm an attorney and it is merely a vehicle in which I can deliver service to people from a holistic perspective to make an impact that goes beyond the courtroom."

Her desire to impact and influence the legal world extends well beyond her clients as her firm also offers continuing legal education as well as health counseling for fellow attorneys. In an often high-pressure field, Ritu's convictions to shape her work in such a way that impacts the world is nothing short of inspiring. It reminds me that my work as an artist, a service-provider, a photographer, a woman and an entrepreneur can also help shape this world beyond just the immediate task before me.

I am excited, honored, and beyond thankful to have helped be a part of the re-branding of Ritu's firm, Holistic Legal Services - below are some my favorite shots from Ritu's recent head shot session in the beautiful downtown San Jose with Heartbox Photography.

Ritu, thank you for your trust, your kindness, and allowing me to be a part of such a huge step for Holistic Legal Services. 

Most of all thank you for using your skills as an attorney to help and serve others, to do what many of us could not do on our own.

Thank you, Thuy Ha, owner of Ha Design Studio for introducing me to Ritu and as always, many thanks to the awesome Kat Tinney for her beautiful work on Ritu's hair and makeup!




















Preview - Ritu, 2015 | Headshot Portraits | San Jose, CA

There are people in this world who posses such a genuine smile from the inside out that it is hard not to feel immediately at ease the minute you meet them. And I personally think that a genuine smile of someone who truly cares to help people is one of the best characteristics you can have when you work in the legal field, as Ritu does.

Ritu is an immigration attorney and yoga instructor in San Jose. As we spent the afternoon preparing hair and makeup and later strolling through the downtown area for her photo shoot, it was obvious in our conversations that she has a passion for tailoring her services (and living life) from a holistic perspective - something I can certainly appreciate and respect. To be a woman and unafraid to let who you really are shine through in the work you do and passions you pursue is no easy feat and I am honored to have met an individual who is doing exactly that.

I am excited to share a little sneak peak into this weekend's photo shoot with the lovely Ritu - there is definitely more so be sure to stay tuned!

Happy Monday, everyone!

A warm thank you to Thuy Ha, owner of Ha Design Studio for introducing me to Ritu and as always, many thanks to the awesome Kat Tinney for her beautiful work on Ritu's hair and makeup!




Jessica | February Birthday Rewards | Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

I had the opportunity to meet Jessica a few years back at a networking meeting here in the Bay Area. Jessica's quiet demeanor and shy smile may be what you see on the outside, but after I got the opportunity get to know and work with her, I quickly learned that beneath that quiet demeanor was a woman of deep thought, an articulate speaker, a true leader and someone I admire and respect.

And needless to say, I am so very excited to announce that Jessica is the winner for February's Birthday Rewards drawing with Heartbox Photography!

Jessica, I hope you had a wonderful birthday celebration! Here's to more years of celebrating life!

Happy, happy birthday!


Hair and makeup by Ashlyn Taylor