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.


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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1268.jpg

Image by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup by Katie Pheneger

Preview | Thuy, 2018 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits


This woman is a proud mom, the founder of 923 Designs based here in the Silicon Valley,  and a woman who exemplifies what it looks like to hustle and hustle hard. 

Thuy is an old friend of mine from high school and as we took time to catch up on life as she prepared for her photo shoot (many thanks to Miranda from Love and Artistry for hair/makeup styling!), I couldn't help but feel proud. Proud to know another fellow woman entrepreneur, proud that she's a hard-working mom, proud that she is an example of a woman who doesn't give up. She talked about how she took that leap to start her own interior design company, how she's raising her son, and working with the challenges along the way. We laughed about the realities of growing up (suddenly, late night outings don't sound as fun as being home in your pajamas), the things we've learned along the way, and could not believe how much time had flown by in the blink of an eye since our high school years. 

It is an honor to share with you all a sneak peak into Thuy's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography - there will be more to share to be be sure to stay tuned!


Thuy, 2015 | Headshot Portraits | Saratoga, CA

Beneath Thuy's quiet nature and resolve is a wife, mom, and talented business owner behind Bay-Area based, award-winning Ha Design Studio. Her wide span of creative branding skills have allowed her the opportunity to work with various companies in different industries that include LunchBots, Pizza California, Three Sisters Flowers, and Holistic Legal Services.

But beyond her wide-array of accomplishments as a designer, the one thing that stands out to me the most is that she is supportive and a firm believer in being unafraid to step out, be creative, and be different. As a fellow small-business owner and woman, I learned that we shared a lot of the same hopes, aspirations, and challenges. During the chats/lunches we've had, I always remember feeling encouraged and hopeful, even daring to dream big once again. Whenever someone simply says to you "Why not?" as Thuy has said to me on more than one occasion, your mind can't help but start thinking about new ideas to try out and new paths to discover.

Thuy, thank you for trusting my camera and me to capture you in these photographs. Your quiet and encouraging nature is something I can't be grateful enough for. I look forward to more opportunities I can be a support to you the way you have been for me!
"A truly beautiful woman is someone who is authentic and true to herself. She loves everything about herself and doesn't seek external validation. 
Because of this, she radiates happiness and beams with joy. She is kind, daring, creative, intuitive, gentle, and strong all at the same time."
What is one thing you wish you could go back and tell yourself when you were 18 years old?

"You are perfect the way you are. There's nothing to prove. 
Have fun and don't take life too seriously."
"[I want young girls to know] that self-confidence makes a woman more beautiful than all the makeup, clothing and jewelry in the world. 
"When we put another woman down, we are putting ourselves down."
"Be kind to other women. Too often, young girls see other women as competition and try to cut each other down to feel better about themselves. 
I want them to [instead] know that we are stronger when we come together."
"The thing I most appreciate about my life is my daughter. I'm watching her grow into this little human and it's so miraculous. 
Seeing how much she looks up to me and mimics everything - I try to be the best person I can be."
"I want [my daughter] to know that she can have it all and have a blast while she's doing it!"
Many thanks to Kat Tinney for her beautiful work on Thuy's hair and makeup!

Preview - Thuy, 2015 | Headshot Portraits | Saratoga, CA

The weather was beyond warm in downtown Saratoga, California, the sun shone bright and high in the sky and there was barely a breeze to be felt in the oven-like temperatures - all the conditions that would have sent most people running for cover.

However, the lovely Thuy Ha, owner of award-winning Ha Design Studio, proved herself to be a tough trooper and braved the California heat for her portrait session this past weekend.

And when the sun paints a beautiful halo light for shots like this, I can't help but feel the urge to do a little happy dance for sunny days, summer portraits, and I'll-withstand-the-heat-for-the-photo-kind of clients.

There's more to come from this shoot, so be sure to stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kat Tinney for her beautiful work on Thuy'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!

Danielle, 2015| Headshot Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Los Gatos, CA

The struggle is real when it comes to introverts and networking meetings. But what makes it easier and even enjoyable are when you meet individuals like Danielle.

As I'd blogged about here, I had the privilege to meet Danielle at a local networking function. Her friendly smile immediately put me at ease and as I sat chatting with Danielle as she got her hair and makeup done for her head shot photo session, I was reminded once again at how fortunate I was to meet such awesome and encouraging women who remind me how valuable it was to connect with others. Contrary to what I sometimes believe, she reminded me that no one at a networking meeting has it all figured out or never needs help or advice and encouragement. Everyone has something to contribute and is still very much learning something new all the time. 

Danielle, thank you for trusting me with the opportunity to create these photographs for you - it was truly a pleasure. But most of all, thank you for being among the first friendly smiles that make me more excited to continue connecting with others at Women in Consulting.

Happy Tuesday!

A special thanks to stylist,  Kat Tinney,  for her beautiful work on Danielle's hair and makeup!

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

headshots-portrait-photography-San Jose-Los Gatos-Vasona Park-Heartbox Photography

Preview - Danielle, 2015 | Headshot Portraits by Heartbox Photography | Los Gatos, CA

Walking into any new situation that involves crowds of people and name tags has never been easy for me. Ever. It is almost a guarantee that as I maneuver my way through the crowds of confident chatter from women of various professional backgrounds, my focus and footsteps will always be zoned in on finding the snack/refreshment table quickly so I could hide my lack of confidence beneath the casual munching of cheese and crackers.

However, despite my innate ability to be terribly awkward and shy, I have been very fortunate to meet a ton of friendly and welcoming professionals who have been helpful and kind beyond what I can ever measure. 

Danielle is one such individual and I had the privilege of meeting her at a local networking event hosted by a wonderful organization called Women in Consulting. I had the opportunity to get to know this talented graphic artist and project manager as we spent a beautiful and sunny afternoon preparing for a photo shoot to update her headshots. 

Below is just a sneak peak into Danielle's photo session - there's definitely more so be sure to stay tuned! 

Happy Tuesday!

A special thanks to stylist,  Kat Tinney,  for her beautiful work on Danielle's hair and makeup!

Special Announcement| Headshots by Heartbox Photography | Bay Area, CA

Along the way of this journey in photography, I've had the awesome privilege to meet other business owners, designers, actors, models and community leaders in the Bay Area. In addition to my love of providing contemporary portrait services to women, I also provide outdoor headshot sessions and am excited to continue to do so this year!

Prices for headshot sessions will officially be going up as of April 30, so if you or anyone you know of needs an updated, polished, and fresh headshot for Linked In, website use, or other profiles, please contact Heartbox Photography today!

Krystal, 2014. San Jose City Hall, CA. Headshot Photo Session

I always find something so fun about outdoor photo sessions, especially because I love the endless possibilities the Bay Area has to offer. Combine that with the perfect balance of late afternoon light and it's a recipe for every photographer's dream.

I met Krystal for a late afternoon shoot and got the chance to chat with her during her make up and hair preparation by the talented Vlada Fomenko-Haggerty. I love being able to make my client's laugh and relax in front of my camera -with Krystal's friendly smile and wicked sense of humor, I immediately discovered that photographing her would be more like having fun spending the afternoon hanging out with an old friend.

Krystal is a user experience designer in the tech field as well as a talented artist. While her hair and makeup were being prepared, my eyes grazed the walls of her home and saw a beautiful collection of her work. My own painting skills never saw itself past 1st grade so to meet another artist who uses paintbrushes to create beautiful art is a real privilege.

Krystal, it was honor to meet and learn more about you, to share a sunny afternoon of laughing and photographs. Thank you for trusting me to capture your smile with my camera! I truly hope these photographs serve as a reminder to you of your own unique brand of girl-power fierceness for years to come. You rock!

Happy Tuesday!

Many thanks to the talented Vlada Fomonko-Haggerty for Krystal's beautiful hair and makeup!












Kari, 2014. Los Gatos, CA. Headshot Photo Session

Meet the lovely Kari.

We were originally scheduled to have her photo shoot take place at a nearby park, but the beautiful surroundings of her own backyard with the afternoon sunlight peaking through the abundance of trees proved to be the far better location. As Kari's hair and make up was being prepared by the talented Vlada Fomenko-Haggerty we chatted about everything from work, to career goals (Kari is currently working towards building her own business), to outfits for the photo shoot and the fun of being a gal who loves trying new beauty products.

Kari is refreshingly down to earth, a true go-getter. The love she has for her family is palpable as you get to know her. I couldn't help but smile every time she mentioned something she loved about her husband's personality, the way he treats her, as well as how much she loved her kids.

Kari, it was truly an honor to have you in front of my camera. I look at these photos and can see in your eyes that you not only smile and shine brightly from the outside, but from the inside as well - and that is the mark of a truly beautiful woman.

Happy Tuesday!

Robert Ajlouny. 2012.

Whoo-hooooo!! Did you know today is FRIIIIIDAAAAAY?! (insert Roger Rabbit/cabbage patch/running man moves here)

I love long weekends because of no other special reason except that it's a long weekend. Enough time to actually fold laundry and put it away instead of letting it sit in the laundry basket for days on end, edit a few photos, run around with Justin and Kona Bean, and just breathe in sunshine and time off. My parent's dog, Coco Bean will be crashing at our pad for a few days as the parental units will be doing a little bit of travelling. (yes, her and Kona share the same middle name and yes, I do indeed think they'd definitely be the cool kids at the doggy park if others knew this). Coco just had some dental work done, so she's sporting the cone of shame. Going for that lamp shade look goin' on and everythang!

I am excited to now present to you a few of the final shots from a photoshoot with actor/model, Robert Ajlouny. My husband and I decided that when he gets famous, we're soooo gonna ask him to introduce us to Tylor Perry. =)

As we start off this Memorial Day weekend, whether you high-five, chest bump, fist bump, do the running man, give bear hugs, or salute, here's a huge thank you to those who give up time away from their own family and loved ones to serve for our protection.

Happy, Happy Friday!