natural light photography

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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Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1400.jpg

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

Tara | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“If you’re lucky enough to be different, don’t ever change.”

-Taylor Swift

Tara is a mother, an ambitious go-getter, a woman dedicated to continuously learning and meeting challenges head on. Her love for fitness, passion to help and serve others through her work is evident - I even had the opportunity to see her in action as she skillfully led the organization of a local fitness fair for the community here in the Bay Area.

As part of the continuing “Phenomenal Women” series that features women from all over the Bay Area, I am so proud to share with you all a glimpse into the life of this entrepreneur, mother, and resilient go-getter - the lovely Tara, owner of Infinite Health and Fitness.

Here’s to celebrating phenomenal women everywhere who hustle hard in their own life for the purpose of serving others.

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup | Kalani Brown

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

“Over the years I find myself more and more proud of my humble roots. I grew up in a cabin in a small town, where my doctor's office was in his house and my backyard was nature's wonders. 

For some time, I didn't know how to integrate that into having a city or suburban life once I ventured out after college. I tried to fit in. I didn't understand different cultural norms and sometimes got in "trouble" with my peers due to differences in societal conditioning.”

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

“To spend time with herself, figuring out what she likes, dislikes and being strong in the alone time.

Being alone does NOT mean no one wants to be with you.

Also, a fit woman makes everyone happy!”

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What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

Her ability to handle what life reveals. Take it seriously, then handle it with grace snd smile back at it with gratitude.

For example, "You've been kicked out/broken up with/fired?!”

Great. Now you can find your new destiny because it's been waiting!

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“Recently, I have opened a new business - the 5th since I was 18. This time, I am armed with a business degree education and the confidence of experience. I still expect some twists and turns, but will welcome more wins this time than I ever believed could happen. “

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What would you tell your 18-year old self?

“That she will be able to get over the imperfections of life experiences, and be able to celebrate every rise after every fall. And this process will maker her stronger and more resilient, which is a space that cultivates love and not fear.

Also, that she will be able to help people like she wants to :)

But only after some adventure and healing and evolution/awakening.

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“I want her to know over and over that things do not matter, and people will disappoint.

But sometimes things can seem like they matter and sometimes people can share magical moments that change your life for the better.

And to accept it all as imperfectly perfect.”

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“When a woman puts herself aside to attend to a friend, child, senior, or clients needs, with the utmost respect, personality, attention and skill, her vibe is beautiful.”

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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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Eva | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

 “A strong woman stands up for herself.

A stronger woman stands up for everybody else.”

-author unknown

Eva is not only a wife and proud mother of 2, but she is a health advocate in the best ways. She is the owner of Eva’s Fitness here in the Bay Area and one of the things I think is especially awesome about her work is the obvious passion she has to especially help individuals who may be challenged in leading a fit lifestyle because of injuries. As I got the chance to learn more about her background, work, and family, it was clear to me that she is a woman using the education and experience she received to make a difference in people’s health and provide the best service for her clients. And perhaps that is why the quote that starts off this post is the one that I felt was most perfectly aligned with the work Eva dedicates her life to. In her own way, with the talents and abilities she uniquely possesses, Eva is helping to encourage people live the healthiest version of themselves and even more importantly, helping them see that it is indeed possible even through injuries or other ailments.

I always have been a firm believer that every woman has something to give, whether it’s in the daily grind of raising her children, to being that listening ear on the other end of a friend’s call, or being the head of a major corporation. And what every woman gives is not limited by her ethnicity, age, or size, but rather the unlimited grit and grace she possesses. Every woman is uniquely created, therefore has something unique to contribute to the table - that is what this series “Phenomenal Woman” celebrates.

It is my honor to share with you all these images and video that highlights Eva, one of the many phenomenal women out there I have been privileged to photograph.

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for the styling of Eva’s hair/makeup!

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“So far, my life has been very extraordinary and wonderful.

I come from a small town in Germany and was very fortunate to not only be able to pursue my dream career as a teacher of movement and health, but also to have met my amazing husband with whom I moved to quite a few new places in the world.

We have two beautiful children that we love and are extremely proud of.

Every day I am grateful for my husband and kids, my big family in Germany and in the US, as well as my friends and my clients.”

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“The beauty of a woman comes from the inside, her thoughts, and beliefs. But we [also] need to take care of our health, work on our athletic skills, and keep fit.

Rather than telling this to my daughter I have to be the best example that I can.”

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“Looking back, there is not much that I would tell my 18 year old self, except to wear sun screen and to keep dancing!”

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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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Malia, 2018 | Senior Portraits

“Share your sparkle wherever you are.”

-Dodinsky

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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Love Hard.

 

"She's a strong cup of black coffee in a world that is drunk on the cheap wine of shallow love."

-JM Storm

She is a lot of things.

And if I'm honest - really honest -  ALL of us women are a lot of things. We are NOT just one way, one mood, one level of depth, one way of thinking, one way of seeing, one way of feeling, one idea or one thought.

No.

We are a myriad of something far more complex and far more special.

But one thing I can absolutely attest to is this: out of the many character traits of my mom one of them is that when she loves, she loves hard.  

Maybe it's because she had to figure out a majority of her adolescence without the help of a mom. Maybe it's because she was an immigrant to this country in her mid-twenties. Maybe it's because she hustled the raising of kids along with a full-time job, a commute, and an exhaustion level that only another mother could truly understand. 

And throughout this, all she knew to do to was to give it all she could to those she cared about and throw all her heart in along with it. And if that's not loving hard, especially in a world where shallow love is more common and popular, I don't know what is.

Proud to share with you all the very first portrait of my momma. 

Special thanks to Miranda Villanueva of Love and Artistry for lending her incredible talents to the styling of my mom's hair and makeup for this shoot! 

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Preview | Malia, 2018 | Senior Portraits

"As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own."

- Michael Dell

This year seems to be filled with just a smidge more risk-taking, newer adventures, and a fresh-er (is that a word) perspective. In addition to launching the very first magazine for Heartbox Photography (whoo-hoo!), which I'll talk about more about in a later post, I am excited to now launch into senior photography and get a head start on the class of 2019!

All stages of a young woman's life, including her transition from high school into the adult world of college and endless possibilities are more than enough reason to celebrate - and what better way to do that than through capturing this moment in a story told through timeless images? :) 

And oooooooh, can I just say I LOVE this? As part of Malia's shoot, she wanted to integrate something that was a nod to her Polynesian background and to her faith - hence the haku headdress and the beautiful tattoo of Romans 8:38. Mix that with a bit of afternoon lighting and I swear even the camera smiled at the result.

This is just a sneak peak but stay tuned for more to come!

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Azalia, 2018 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

Azalia is a lovely wife,  mother, and grandmother. I had met her some time ago through a mutual acquaintance and I'm so excited to share with you all these final images from her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. And yes, that shade of purple on her dress was beyond AMAZING and I loved how it just brought out her elegance so well!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown for her lovely styling of Azalia's hair and makeup for this photo shoot!

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Joy

 

You know that saying that says "dance like no one is watching" - well, it's Monday and I'm thinking, shoot, why not dance like EVERYONE is watching?

 

More and more I find that at the heart of this God-given life it is possible to have joy.  Because the God who created this life has joy in His heart when He created us.

So yeah, dance like everyone and their mama is watching. Maybe they'll join in. :)

Happy Monday!

 

Behind the Scenes

To see the final results out of a client's photo shoot with me is by far one my favorite parts of the process. I love finalizing edits on every image, be it the last touch of color or last bit of sharpening for printing at the lab. If I could describe the feeling, I'd say it's very similar to when a painter is putting the final brush strokes and touches to a masterpiece that's ready for the gallery. It's like the baker who is putting the final swirl of frosting and decor onto a sweet creation for others to not only enjoy the flavor but the aesthetics of it. It's even like the dancer who has practiced for hours and has finally, with an exhausted breath, perfected every move of the performance ready for the stage.

What makes it even more satisfying to see the images is to also look back on some of the behind the scenes images that capture the process of it all. And SOMETIMES, as in this photo below, I'm lucky enough to capture a behind the scenes shot that is just as exciting as the final portrait images. 

 
A behind the scenes glimpse into the shoot I was was fortunate to do with owner and founder of San Francisco-based company  Future Glory , Theresa Lee. On point for hair and makeup in this photo is stylist,  Tammy Do .

A behind the scenes glimpse into the shoot I was was fortunate to do with owner and founder of San Francisco-based company Future Glory, Theresa Lee. On point for hair and makeup in this photo is stylist, Tammy Do.

 

 

This light? Oh man. #swoon

Happy Wednesday!

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!

 

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 | Ana, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

 

When I first started Heartbox Photography a few years back, Ana was one of the very first supporters of not only the work I got to create for women but the message behind it all. We were always wanting to schedule something, but the busyness of travel and life in general meant we needed to wait a bit. 

And the wait was definitely well worth it! I am so excited to have her finally in front of my camera and share with you all a sneak peak into Ana's own photo shoot! 

As always, there is more to come so be sure to stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Ana's hair and makeup styling on this shoot!

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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!

 

Behind the Scenes | Melissa | Glamour and Contemporary Portrait | Santa Clara, CA

 

One of my favorite things to create from a client's shoot is a behind the scenes video that captures snippets of her getting ready, sharing laughs with whomever she brought with her to the shoot, and most of all, the transformation of seeing her inner beauty come out as she gazes into the lens of the camera.

I came across this behind the scenes video I shot a little less than a year ago and couldn't help but smile as it reminded me of the relationship I have with my own sisters. Melissa was treated to this photo shoot by her sister, Sandy, and as you can tell, they share that special bond that only sisters can.

Enjoy and Happy Friday!

Hair and makeup by: Kat Tinney

Photography by: Heartbox Photography

 

Rainia | 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Oakland, CA

 

"I have SO many amazing SHEROES...

my mom, aunts, and grandmother inspire me."

- Rainia

I absolutely LOVE Rainia's passion for world and local travel, for rich culture and music, for education, for treasured moments with friends and family - whether that means globe-trotting with them to Europe or sharing some time together over an award-winning movie and dinner.

Born and raised in Bay Area and as a graduate of both San Francisco State and Golden Gate University, Rainia's care for the people in her life extends well-beyond her family and friends and into her life's work. She currently works heavily with troubled youth all while also working towards completing her licensing as a marriage and family therapist. 

This daughter, friend, sister, counselor, world-traveler, and beautiful woman comes from a long line of other strong and and beautiful women (her Sheros!) who have helped her become who she is - and I am extremely proud that she chose to step in front of my camera, inspire other women through a glimpse into who she is, and celebrate her life in this way. 

If you could live in any country, which would it be and why?  

"I'd like to split my time between the Bay Area and a country in the Caribbean or South America."

If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be and why?

"Nelson Mandela and Frida Pablo! I like to mix art and social justice."

"Embrace everything about yourself -

there's no one else in the world like you and that makes you special."

What do you think makes a woman beautiful?

"Our passion."

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

"That I REALLY like myself and [have] learned to embrace myself."

Photography by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup: Beauty by Keziah

 

Phoebe | 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Santa Clara, CA

 

There is an unmistakable and genuine joy in her eyes that you that very obviously comes from somewhere beyond the surface.  She is engaging, always quick to offer a word of encouragement to those who need it, and is a woman unashamed to share the testimony of her life story and the healing that came from some of her deepest hurts.

Phoebe is a wife, a mother, a friend, a sister, a daughter...and one of the most beautiful women I know both inside and out. 

I am proud to share with you all the images below, even more proud to share with you all some words from Phoebe herself. The details of our stories as women vastly differ, yet interestingly enough the struggles of self-worth  and misplaced identity seem to be the all-too common thread that connects us, making our stories actually more similar than we thought. 

As with all stories shared here, I hope Phoebe's words reach deep and awaken you to the unchanging truth that you are a woman eternally loved, deeply forgiven, and unbelievably valued by a God that is closer to you know.

Enjoy!

***

"I struggled with getting my approval, value, and worth in all the wrong places and in all the wrong ways. In my teen years, it got me into a lot of trouble, leading to traumatic experiences. These painful experiences caused me to fill voids in the wrong ways; I hurt myself and others often.

The scars followed me for so long to the point where I did not want to get healthy [despite] all the health issues I have. I was afraid if I was thinner again, all the things that happened to me then would happen all over again. I was afraid I would make the same poor decisions, too. I had to really confront these fears and lies head on. That was hard and extremely painful. "

"But I needed to believe God was GREATER than my fear, GREATER than those lies and GREATER than my past. Because He is. I knew that in my head, but I really needed to believe it in my heart. And when I did, I realized grace means that all my mistakes, all my pain, and my past now serve a purpose instead of serving shame."

 

 

 

"...grace means that all my mistakes, all my pain, and my past now serve a purpose instead of serving shame."

"Our world is so obsessed with outward appearance. Don't fall into that obsession. We are only going to be here in this world for a short period of time. Don't spend it on pleasing or trying to impress people who don't even matter. It is a tiresome hamster wheel that gets you no where but feeling exhausted. Focus on how God sees you so beautiful and whole, despite what you look like on the outside or feel on the inside."

"Beautiful to me is facing fears and challenges even when it is hard or painful. Beautiful is seeing the amazing outcome of gold, pearls, butterflies, and so many other things in life that have to go through turmoil, fire or hell before it can become what it is." 

 "[Beautiful] is getting back up 1001 times when you have fallen 1000. It's finishing the race because you now believe your worth and value."

 

 

 

"Beautiful is seeing the amazing outcome of gold, pearls, butterflies, and so many other things in life that have to go through turmoil, fire or hell before it can become what it is."

"I feel most beautiful when I am spending my quiet time with God. He reminds me who I am in Him, not by anyone's view of me, including myself. He reminds me in beautiful ways how precious I am, how loved I am, and how beautiful I am - despite what I do or don't do. He gives me the ultimate confidence and constant reminders that I don't have to live in fear, in lies, or my past, and [life] is one crazy, yet beautiful adventure!"

Many thanks to Kat Tinney for her work on Phoebe's hair and makeup!

 

Sonia| 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Outdoor Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

Time shapes and molds people in different ways as the years go by. And while the years change some individuals, for others time seems to simply solidify the best character traits you've known existed in them from the beginning. 

Sonia and I go way back. As in, during a time when Jansport backpacks were what you sported and pagers were the best way for your parents to flag you down on a summer day to tell you to come home for dinner. We even had the same baby sitter at one point, sharing the same memories of what it was like to jump at the sound of the doorbell, hoping it was our turn to finally get picked up after waiting impatiently for what seemed like decades. Oh, the challenges of childhood.

Quiet, steady, dependable, warm, and genuine is how I'd describe Sonia and I kid you not when I say that she's remained pretty much the same from our adolescent years. She has supported Heartbox Photography from the very beginning, back when I was displaying my art in a local coffee shop. Her appreciation for the arts and love for travel and color is nothing short of wonderful and clearly evident by the beautiful displays that carefully line the wall of her dining room in her home. 

Sonia and Kevin celebrated a huge event in 2016, the birth of their son, Noah. And it is my pleasure and honor to be able to not only celebrate this beautiful woman, but to also celebrate the moments in her life that have helped shape her heart to be who she is today and enable her to love like she's never loved before.

Sonia, thank you. For not only supporting the early years of my work as a photographer, but for the chance for us to reconnect as friends, laugh over memories from childhood, and now celebrate this new chapter of your life. May these images remind you of not only the beautiful woman you already are on the outside, but also of people around you that fill your heart and reveal how beautiful you are on the inside as well. 

These are just a few of my favorite shots from Sonia's photo shoot. Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes video below to sell all the images!

Hair/makeup by Becky Lau of Beautiful One Makeup Artistry

"I was never one who enjoyed being in front of the camera. I was shy, self-conscious, and I just didn't see myself as beautiful. Then one day I saw a candid photo of myself laughing. My smile nearly stretched from ear to ear and my cheeks were rosy and my eyes looked so...vibrant, for lack of a better word. I liked this photo. I looked so at ease, I had joy, my happiness was genuine and I thought I looked pretty in this moment." 

"I wish I [could have told] my younger self that beauty is not necessarily something you have or are. Rather, it's something you express, something you evoke, something you embody." 

"I [would also tell my younger self] that happiness is something you can give yourself. It can be a choice. Don't waste your time thinking there are things that need to be done on a timeline, just enjoy what's happening in that moment. "

"When I think of beauty in a woman, I often admire a woman's smile. When someone truly smiles it can reach all the way up to their eyes."

"A smile can express so many different things and is unique to each person. That's why I think it is so beautiful."

"I appreciate that my life is exactly where it's supposed to be right now. My life feels full. Full of so many wonderful things; my home, my partner, my family, my friends, my work, and MOST of all my son. He puts a smile on my face every single day and so I feel peace, strength, joy, love, hope and anticipation for the future. I look forward and see an adventure I can't wait to experience!"