glamour portraits

Lady In Red | Glam Out Your Outfits!

Red is always a good idea.


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

Malia, 2018 | Senior Portraits

“Share your sparkle wherever you are.”


It’s official.

The class of 2019 is well under way to completing their final year of high school, a chapter of life that once seemed so far away and now is just around the corner.

This is Malia. She’s a beautiful young lady who is part of that soon to be graduating class of 2019. And if I could write a long ol’ post on what I wish and hope for her in this next season of life, it might be a list that looks just a little like this:

  1. I hope you life a crazy and adventurous dream of life. Full of the ups and downs but even more than that, a sense of richness that can only come from LIVING.

  2. I hope you get to not only see parts of the world that you’ve never seen before, but also remember that simply enjoying a moment in the sunshine right where you’re at is just as valuable, is just as worthy of your attention and awe. Especially when it’s shared with loved ones and friends that make the moment worth it.

  3. I hope you grow in confidence as a woman and fully see the unique advantage and opportunity you have in this world to make changes, big and small, within your circle of influence and beyond it.

  4. I hope you never stop being open to learn, to try, and to understand. In books, through people, through life experiences, both in the classroom and outside of it. It’s incredible and it’s available to you - take hold of that chance to learn, always.

  5. I hope you don’t settle for just making a living but instead always grasp how much more fun it is to LIVING LIFE.

  6. I hope you love and laugh hard. And that people can see that love and laugh in your eyes before you even say a word.

  7. I hope you take great care of your skin, drink a ton of water, and sleep well. Trust me, coming from a woman about twice your age, you’ll wanna remember this. :)

…and the list goes on, but I’ll save that for the graduation ceremony, kiddo.

Below are just some of my favorite shots from Malia’s senior photoshoot as well as the a video of all her images. Be sure to check it out.

You are almost there, class of 2019. GO GET ‘EM!

Happy Thursday!

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Vicky, 2018 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Oakland, CA


Part of why I chose to be a photographer of women is because I believe that it is a unique way to not only bring out the beauty that I believe every woman possesses, but also because sharing their stories is a way to empower, inspire, and encourage other women and young girls. 

I was so inspired to get to know Vicky and learn more about her journey as a young, single mom to now a soon-to-be graduating DrPHC of UC Berkeley. And to learn that it was also another woman who inspired and mentored her many years ago to embark on this journey makes her story even more empowering. 

I am so proud to share with you all a few of Vicky's images and a behind the scenes look from her photoshoot with Heartbox Photography as well as the story of her journey through her own voice. 

Here's to celebrating the beauty, strength, and stories of all women.

Photography: Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup: Kalani Brown

"Choosing to do be photographed is not something that comes naturally to me - usually I am the person who wants to hide in the shadows. For the past five years, I have been a doctoral student at UC Berkeley and I have had many challenges getting to where I am today. I haven't always had the confidence in myself that I should. The year of 2017 was about self-love and all I had to offer exactly as I am now. This new year in 2018 is about confidence and growing into the woman I know I have worked hard to become."

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"As a young, single mother at 19, I knew that I could not provide the life my son deserved if I did not receive an education. My sister was one of the first in our immediate family to attend and graduate college and I was lucky to follow in her footsteps. I went back to school when my son was a few months old and fell in love with learning again. I started at the community college level and made my way to a four year university. While at San Francisco State University, I met Dr. Velia Garcia and she told me that I would be Dr. Gomez one day. I laughed at her and said I wasn't even sure if I could graduate with my bachelor's degree. "

"It turned out that Velia saw something in me that I did not see in myself. She taught me the importance of mentoring others and helping them reach their goals in a way that honored themselves. In 2012, Velia lost her battle with cancer and it was the sign I needed to apply to obtain my doctorate degree. Over the past five years, I have mentored many students, particularly underrepresented students like myself to pursue their academic and professional goals in a new way that honors who they are."

"So many have sacrificed so much so that I could walk through these doors and accomplish my dreams and I want to continue opening the doors for others to reach theirs. This degree is not just for me but for those that came before me and for those that will come long after I am gone. I wanted to demonstrate to others that anything is possible even when you feel the deck is stacked against you."

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"My life's work is to continue mentoring others while teaching undergraduate and graduate students. My goal for this year is to take risks and be the best me I can be. Deciding to participate in this photoshoot with Maria was a vital step in my journey. I knew after seeing photos she did of a friend that she would bring out my natural beauty and confidence. "

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Preview | Faliha, August 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA


"And the beauty of a woman
With passing years only grows."

-Audrey Hepburn

So many things make up this beautiful woman named Faliha - her love for adventure, for travel, for memories made that involve beautiful views of beaches and water around the world, just to name a few.

To anyone who meets her, you will see that her smile and enthusiastic personality radiates towards the camera and towards the fullness of life itself.  It was on a lovely and sunshine-filled day that I had the privilege to celebrate this remarkable woman through a photo session.

It is with great excitement that I share with you all a sneak peak image of Faliha's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. There is more to come, so stay tuned!

Shoutout to the awesome Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Faliha's gorgeous makeup!


What is #existinphotographs? Why?


What is it and why? 

It's a movement that says you are good enough today to celebrate who you are in beautiful portraits.

It is a statement that says the faster that life moves, the more intentional we need to be to slow them down and to have something to hold 30, 40, 50 years from now that remind you where you were and just how far you've come - every year of your life.

It is a proclamation that regardless of how you feel about your age, your body type, even the season of life you are in, you are always beautiful enough to be captured in timeless photographs that reflect back to you a woman who looks like she stepped out of a magazine.

And that woman is YOU. 

It is the reminder that says those moments are also meant to be experienced with your best girlfriends, your sisters, your daughter, your mother, your grandmother - so why not bring them along to capture a beautiful images together that celebrates generations of the women in your family?

Exist in photographs.

To remember yesterday...

to celebrate today....

...and to look forward with joy for what is yet to come.


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!


Bea | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

I had the recent honor of photographing and getting to know a lovely woman named Beatrice ....or, as she's more known to her nearest and dearest, "Bea". This beautiful woman is not only a mommy, wife, daughter, sister, and friend but a yoga instructor, speech and language pathologist, home health therapist and Netflix marathoner. 

And when I found out that she loves avocados as well, let's just say I knew we were going to get along just fine. =) 

Her smile and sense of humor was an absolute joy to be around, making the hours just fly by during the fun we had during her makeover and photoshoot. Below are a few of my favorites that I am proud to share with you all along with a full on video of our time together with the lovely Bea. 

Bea, it was an honor getting to know you and to have you become a part of the message that all women are indeed beautiful as they are today. May you look back at your own smile in each of these photographs and continue to remember that for yourself as well. 

 Many thanks to the talented Kat Tinney for Bea's hair/makeup!

"A beautiful woman is comfortable in her own skin and in her perfect imperfection. She does not take herself too seriously and knows  how to enjoy life to its fullest. Someone who, despite what life hands them, is overflowing with joie de vivre."

"A beautiful woman doesn't rely on what's in her make-up bag."

What do you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"Wear your SPF! Hahaha! Wise words from my mom.  I would tell myself "Babyguuurl, accept yourself as God made you because he does not make mistakes!"

"Look up (from your screen), life is going on around you! Explore the world around you, go for a hike, hydrate!"

"Speak up for yourself, and do not be afraid to make decisions because nobody really knows where they are trying to reach. Breathe, really BREATHE, and enjoy just being because you will be ok." 

PREVIEW | Bea | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

Even in this digital age, I am still a huge advocate and fan of having pictures printed out, whether it's treasured in a special folio box, an album you can touch, or a beautiful frame to display. And in this era of blinding speed and fleeting moments, I am still a huge advocate for stopping time in a special way for a woman through a timeless portrait of just herself.

Yes, I know it seems odd to take some time out of an incredibly hectic and busy life to have your portrait taken. I know it seems odd to have your hair done, to go beyond just the two second application of eyeliner and instead have a professional do your makeup in a way that makes you feel your best, polished self. However, many years down the road, it won't seem so odd anymore. Because that portrait of you that you hold in your hands is now part of the legacy of your family. Your children will treasure it, your grandchildren will have a glimpse into generations before them. It will serve as a reminder to you, that every year of your life is important and that there is something wonderful about reflecting back on a photograph of yourself from years ago. It will bring a smile to your face as you recall just where you were at in life when it was captured. And as a woman, I hope it resonates something deep inside you and reminds you that you are valued and wonderfully made.

Exist in photographs for yourself. Exist in photographs for your loved ones. 

Exist in photographs. 

I am incredibly excited and honored share with you all the latest celebration of women who have chosen to exist in photographs, a lovely mother and wife named Bea.

Bea not only a mother and wife, but a daughter, a sister, a friend, yoga instructor, speech and language pathologist, a homehealth therapist, a Netflix marathoner. Having spent an afternoon with her in the studio was more like hanging out with a familiar friend as her easygoing personality and laughter filled our conversations. 

As always, this is just a sneak peak, so stay tuned for more!

Happy Thursday!

Many thanks to Kat Tinney  of A List Makeup for Bea's hair and makeup!

Suman, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

"I am a strong and independent woman and mother."
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"I was raised in a loving and caring family. My parents taught me to be respectful towards others, to be independent, compassionate, and truthful in whatever I do in my life."  
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"A truly beautiful woman does not compete with anyone. She understands the values and strengths that she alone possesses and appreciates them."
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"Our society is obsessed with physical beauty and many women are caught up in that obsession. [But] the irony is that physical beauty is temporary in every sense. 
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"My greatest strength is my mom and two wonderful, loving sisters."
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"My father is my hero and never preached, but led by example. Though we never had a lot of money, there was incredible love [in my family]."
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"Being a mother is the greatest joy of my life."
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"I am eternally grateful to my family and friends who have always stood by my side and taught me to believe in myself."
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"I have tried my best to live life honestly and compassionately though I have been put in many difficult situations which could have completely brought me down."
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"What keeps a woman eternally beautiful are many inner qualities like the ability to love,  care, and exhibit compassion."
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"Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart."

Photography: Heartbox Photography
Hair/Makeup: Kat Tinney 

Preview | Nancy, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

Everyone's got a story. And as a photographer and writer, I have the opportunity to share the unique beauty in those stories for some pretty awesome and unique women.

Meet Nancy.

Nancy is the type of person whose warm smile and easygoing laugh immediately can make you feel at ease in a roomful of strangers.  And for someone like me who immediately gravitates towards hiding behind the refreshments in a crowd, well, you can bet this personality trait is one that I absolutely appreciate!

I recently had the opportunity to photograph this lovely lady and am so excited to share a little sneak peak with you all - there's more to come so stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography
Many thanks to Ashlyn Taylor for her lovely work on Nancy's hair and makeup!

Preview | Suman, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

One of my favorite things to share with my clients is that even as a photographer, even I still get really nervous and shy about being in front of the lens rather than hiding behind it. I sometimes think that us as women, though hopefully we grow more confident over time, will always have a little sense of this shyness, this hesitation as part of our DNA. And I personally think it comes from deep down hope that we are loved, approved, accepted as we appear in the reflection that stares back at us in the mirror.

It's getting harder and harder drown out the voices of social media and Hollywood that says we need to be a certain size and a certain age to be considered beautiful and fabulous.  But perhaps a new style of photographs can help change all of that. One that says, yes, I feel more beautiful as I get older and wouldn't wish to reverse anything!

As I photograph more and more women who are part of the "Fabulous" Series - celebrating women who are 40+ in age - I begin to see how awesome it is to see their smiles unfold and their unique personalities come out in each photograph. Yes, there are still hints of that shyness but to see how it intertwines magically with the heart and soul of a her smile creating a unique image for the camera to capture...well, it's just beyond cool.

These ladies are brave and I hope they see that it's ok to be proud of your age, that it's ok to laugh at the quirks of each year that passes, and HECK YES it's totally acceptable to twirl around and feel beautiful in front of the camera.

This is just a sneak peak into the latest "Fabulous" Series photo session - there's more, so stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography
Hair/Makeup: Kat Tinney 


Lisa, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

For any artist, it can be exciting to embark on a new endeavor, to see what will result when you take the imagination you have in your mind and then apply it to the blank canvas in front of you. 

As part of the "Fabulous Series" I am getting to meet some incredibly beautiful and interesting women who are allowing me to photograph them, tell a little bit of their story, and contribute to changing the face of what beautiful is for women everywhere.
There's a confidence and depth that come with living life beyond 40, 50, 60 years and as I learn more about these women, even I'm seeing little pieces of how I hope to be when I have reached those years in my own life - expressive of what I want and don't want. Less afraid to speak. More understanding of perseverance. Less defined by the world's expectations. Abundantly grateful for life, friends, family. More appreciative of health.

I am so excited to share the latest Fabulous Series photo sessions, featuring an incredibly lovely woman named Lisa.

Lisa, thank you. For stepping out of your comfort zone to be a part of something that entails more than just a pretty picture. For being incredibly honest about your life. And most of all for being willing to share a little bit of your world with me and with others.
What do you think makes a woman truly beautiful?
"Confidence. If you believe you are beautiful, it radiates outwardly. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. 

Thankfully, what society sees as beautiful isn't always so to everyone. That's why there are hundreds of shoes in different colors, shapes, heels, materials, textures, etc. Design would be limited if we all found the same thing beautiful." 
"Beauty cannot be bought in a "lightening" cream or some surgery. Beauty is inside and radiates outwards.  Be confident and let the world see it!"
What are a few things you wish you could tell yourself back when you were 18 years old?

"Just like there are different styles, foods, designs in nature, each person is just as unique. There are so many different things that people gravitate towards. That's what makes life so exciting! Just be yourself and never try to be like anyone else. 

Your uniqueness is what makes you stand out."

What advice would you give to young girls about beauty, self-confidence, and growing up?

"Regardless of your size, you are beautiful. Don't diet. Exercise. 

Find something you love doing. Eat healthy and everything in moderation. 

Size is not an indication of health. TV and magazines can distort reality."

"Know what you want and stand up for it. Never let anyone stand in the way of your dreams. Accept compliments and be sure to give them in return.  Accept failures - they are learning lessons. Spend less time online. 

Enjoy the journey!"

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

"I am grateful for my friends and family. 

I am grateful for the amazing experiences I have had living abroad. Living in a foreign country helps you re-think your own environment and gives life a new perspective. I wish more people did it."

"I'm grateful for my own sense of inquisitiveness. It's the spark behind some amazing adventures and evolving perspectives in my life."

Happy Friday!

Many thanks to the talented Tammy Do from A-List Makeup for Lisa's hair and makeup!

Lisa | July Birthday Rewards | Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

Summer is one of my favorite times of the year and always has been since I was a kid for many reasons. The free excuse to eat ice cream at Thrifty's (remember that???), the scent of Banana Boat sunscreen during days my parents took us swimming, to even the fond memories of riding around the "big kid," upside down roller coaster rides and toughing out the nauseating consequences of it later at our local amusement park. (Endless upside down motions coupled with churros and cake tend to make for an interesting car ride home. Sorry, Uncle!)

And even more so than fun roller coasters and amusement park memories, the summer season also means a celebration of life for some folks. I'm so excited to announce that the winner of the July Birthday Rewards drawing is none other than the lovely Lisa, who I also happened to have the opportunity to recently photograph! A full post is currently in the works for this fabulous July celebrant, so stay tuned!

Happy birthday, Lisa, and here's to many more to come!

Preview | Lisa, 2015 | Contemporary Portraits | Fabulous Series | Santa Clara, CA

One of the reasons I love about specializing in glamour and contemporary portrait photography for women is that it gives me a unique opportunity to make a meaningful impact beyond just the photograph captured by my camera. That smile I see from a client who actually feels beautiful after seeing her photograph? It's absolutely priceless.

I started the "Fabulous Series" as a way to showcase the diverse beauty that I firmly believe is in every woman - those who are celebrating life in their 40's, 50's and beyond. What I'm finding even more awesome is that what makes these women even more beautiful are the stories behind their lives and how it has refined their character, shaped their lives, and influenced who they are today.

Because real beauty isn't limited by age or the standards of someone else - and these women are proving just that.

I am excited to share a sneak peak into the latest  "Fabulous Series" photos session with the lovely Lisa. There is much more to come, so stay tuned!

Happy Tuesday!

Many thanks to the talented Tammy Do from A-List Makeup for Lisa's hair and makeup!