outdoor photography

Phoebe | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

I stared at the blinking cursor on my computer for awhile as I was preparing to write this post.

It wasn’t for any reason that was bad - the complete opposite. It was more like “how do I even have enough words or the right words that would accurately communicate the message and story of Phoebe’s life?”

The one thing that I think anyone can say about Phoebe is that she is all about God and not in a superficial way - rather, in a deep, heartfelt, raw and real way. The kind that makes the skeptic believe in the hope of actual miracles in this world again.

To say she has gone through a lot in her life would be an understatement and yet, what she is quick to share with anyone she meets is a message of the unwavering grace, love, and pursuit of a God that is real and alive. Despite having gone through childhood trauma, physical and mental health battles that sometime resurface even today, grace and hope collided with Phoebe’s life in ways that has changed it and continues to change to it. It is no surprise to me that Phoebe’s daily work in founding Overcoming with Grace is grounded in wanting to help others experience a life transformed as hers has been. Maybe you or someone you know could use a message of hope and life change and this is coming at the right time. Visit her website, learn about her story. You’ll see what I mean. :)

I am so very honored to share with you all the final images from Phoebe’s photoshoot. She is a woman, a devoted wife, a mother, a survivor, and living proof that God does some pretty crazy things out of a never-ending love for His people.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Images | Heartbox Photography

Hair & Makeup | Beautiful One Makeup

MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited2.JPG

Can you tell me a bit about your journey since your last photoshoot, what inspired you to start your company, and what you find most rewarding about your work?

Oh man, a LOT has happened. I got pregnant with our second daughter, who is now 2 and is this spunky, funny, sweet, ball of fire!

I started Overcoming with Grace, because I wanted to be an example to women of what is possible.

Whether they've experienced trauma, loss, debilitating health issues, deep negative self-talk, or any pain...they CAN recover.

Not only can they recover, but they can actually have JOY in their life again after experiencing so much heart ache and pain. They can get out of the darkness, even when it seems like there is no light.

Time and time again, God has shown me that with whatever I thought was impossible to overcome or heal, His limitless power can heal anything. We have an impossible God!

MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited9.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited23.JPG

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

I appreciate the way I view suffering and trials way more than I ever have. I used to view it as another hardship and challenge that would inevitably come, because, hey, that's the life I've been living. Always a tragedy, trauma, loss, surgery, diagnosis, struggle, failure, betrayal, etc. So what's next?

Now, it's more of: I wonder what God is going to show me, or teach me, or grow me through this? I wonder what I'm going to learn more about Him and myself? It's such a freeing way to view challenges and suffering. This came most clear to me earlier this year when my physical and mental health flared up the most it has in awhile.

It showed me a new layer of living with my conditions, where I could not only still have joy in my life, but also to show others that it is possible to do it too. It showed me a new level of letting go. And being able to LIVE with my family, friends and the other people placed in my life has been such a gift that no condition, past trauma or anything or anyone else can take away!

MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited27.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited38.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited29.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited33.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited34.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited40.JPG

The most rewarding thing about my work is seeing when the light bulbs start going off in my clients of how they don't have to be at the mercy of their circumstances...when they start being aware that they CAN take back control of their lives in a healthy, empowered way...when they start being aware that they have everything they need within them to succeed and feel loved, and it's not depending on anyone or anything else....seeing all that magic start and unfold more and more is such a gift and privilege!

MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited47.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited50.JPG
MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited54.JPG

Best advice you ever received and advice you'd give to your own daughter now regarding confidence, beauty, wholeness as a human in today's day & age?

When you can view beauty and confidence WITHOUT comparing, you've gotten confidence down. (Oh, that just came to me at midnight!!! LOL!)

Even when we compare ourselves to our old self, sometimes we do it negatively and in a way where we keep unhealthily striving.

I would tell my daughter to view her beauty, confidence and wholeness from within, and not the within from herself, but from the one who created her. God is THE voice that will carry her through.

When she has God-confidence and views herself the way He does, then I know it won't matter whatever comes her way, she will be able to soar through!

MONTEMAYOR, Phoebe_edited59.JPG

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!

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

Image by Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup by Katie Pheneger

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

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0344.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0339.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0314.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0343.jpg

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!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0340.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0339.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0335.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0338.jpg

“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. “

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0334.jpg

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.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0333.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0325.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0324.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0323.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0320.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0318.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0317.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0316.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0315.jpg

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

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

-h.h.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0455.jpg

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.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0425.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0454.jpg

“I see beauty when a woman knows

her worth and shares her

gifts with the world.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0457.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0453.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0456.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0452.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0451.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0449.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0450.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0446.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0445.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0444.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0443.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0442.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0439.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0438.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0437.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0436.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0435.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0434.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0433.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0432.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0430.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0428.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0426.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0414.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0424.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0413.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0412.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0408.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0410.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0409.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0407.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0405.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0404.jpg

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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0403.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0402.jpg

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0136.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0135.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0134.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0133.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0132.jpg

“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.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0131.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0129.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0128.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0127.jpg

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

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0126.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0125.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0124.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0123.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0122.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0121.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0120.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0119.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0118.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0117.jpg

Preview | Tara | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.”

-Maya Angelou

I had the privilege of meeting Tara a few months ago when she invited me to be a part of a fitness fair she was organizing for her clients and the the community. She is an incredibly driven woman, passionate in what she does as a coach for others as well as a loving mom to both her son and fur kid - both of whom I also had the privilege of meeting at the time of her photo shoot!

I am so excited to share with you all a sneak peak into Tara’s photo shoot as part of the continued celebration of phenomenal women all over the Bay Area!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0033.jpg

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Tara’s hair/makeup!

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!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0025.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0028.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0035.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0042.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0044.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0053.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0059.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0055.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0068.jpg

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!"

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

**

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Van | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | San Jose, California

It was a unusually beautiful day in San Jose. The weather was warm for a February and if you clicked the radio on or tuned in on your television,  you'd soon learn that the much anticipated Superbowl 50 was about to commence in Santa Clara.

But for Van, instead of football (she's a champ!), it was going to be an afternoon filled hair and makeup styling and some time in front of my camera. 

Van is a wife and devoted mother and also the president of the Silicon Valley-based company, Tempo. Her passion  for all people living healthier lifestyles while maintaining a greener planet, fused together and became the foundation of what Tempo is built on. 

Van, it was a honor to photograph you, to hear the story about Tempo, but even more so, to get to know you as a person. Thank you for allowing me to pull you away from all the afternoon Superbowl festivities, to bask in the afternoon light for these photographs, to trust my camera to capture the very best of you in these images. You rock!

Below are just a few of my favorite shots from Van's photo session with me. To view all the photos, check out the slideshow below!

 

This afternoon light?  It makes any photographer die from sheer happiness. LOVE.

Every women deserves to have a photograph of herself that reminds her that yes, it's totally ok to rock out your inner fiercenss.  

I love red. And teal colored bikes with flowers. And stripes. And red shoes. With golden sunlight. YES.

Van, you just go on with your beautiful self!

For me, this photograph below reminds me of what I'd love to remind other women of - that they are beautiful and uniquely made in such a way that they can be proud of. 

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