portraits for women

Karmen | 2019 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“Love yourself for who you are, and trust me, if you are happy from within,

you are the most beautiful person, and your smile is your best asset.”

-Illeana D’Cruz

Karmen Reed is a Money-Mindset Coach and Consultant based here in the Bay Area. I had the privilege of recently photographing this lovely woman and learning not only more about her personal background but also about what inspired her to do the work that she does to help other women achieve their optimal success when it comes to their mindset and outlook on finances. She is also a devoted wife and mother with one of the warmest laughs and sunniest smiles I have ever encountered. If there is one thing I noticed about Karmen from the beginning is that she genuinely passionate about learning all that she can as well as teaching others so that they, too, can grow in their own professional and personal endeavors.

I am extremely honored to share with all of you some of the final images from this lovely woman’s photoshoot with Heartbox Photography. As always, a heartfelt thanks to Kathleen Tinney of A-List Makeup for her beautiful work on Karmen’s styling of hair and makeup for this special experience!

Here’s to celebrating phenomenal women everywhere, especially to women like Karmen who set out to help women realize their own inner-awesomeness.

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1590.jpg

“I was born and raised on the island of Brac in a little Mediterranean country Croatia. I came to America in 1987 when I was 20 years old because I fell in love and could not see anything that is in my way of that happiness.

My journey was that of learning. I was always a very curious being, always looking for opportunities to learn more… about everything. This has really allowed me the courage to start my own entrepreneurial journey. I was never alone on that journey. I was surrounded with people who love me and they were my biggest supporters and cheer leaders.

I also always had a mentor, a coach, a community I could rely on for support and help, as much as being challenged to rise up and take steps I was afraid of. This type of environment allowed me to thrive. I was learning about myself, business and the world. This inspired me to share everything I learned, to give back to women who are on a similar journey of empowerment, financial independence, and living their best life every day.

I learned to be a masterful coach. I started mentoring and coaching women and helping them create an amazing relationship with money so they can thrive in every area of their life. I absolutely LOVE watching women go through beautiful transformations when it comes to self-awareness and empowerment.

It is my goal to help many women create an amazing relationship with money, because how we do money is how we do everything.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1592.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1593.jpg

“The best advice I have ever received is from my mom when I was a child:

Go explore and find your own answers.

These words are imprinted inside my soul. I am definitely an explorer. This has become my DNA blueprint.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1594.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1595.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1596.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1597.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1598.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1599.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1600.jpg

“I believe that the beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and that we have to be that for ourselves.

Our empowerment comes from the place of awareness about our self-talk and our emotions.

Our self-confidence comes from our self-empowerment.

We as women have so much to offer to the world, and the world is hungry all the time. When a confident woman offers her love, care, perspective, knowledge, vision to the world, the world stops and listens.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1601.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1602.jpg

“My message to all women today: rise and thrive!

Create a legacy you will be proud of, step into your brave, and show the world your love. This is what beauty is in my eyes.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1603.jpg

What do you appreciate most about your life now?

“I have an amazing husband, I have two adult children, I have family abroad, and my husband’s big and complicated family is near and dear with many activities, we are surrounded by great friends, and we are very active socially.

I used to think that these are my disadvantages when it comes to my entrepreneurial journey, because these are my obligations as well. Relationships that are strong require work, time, and commitment consistently.

I looked at some of my colleagues who were seemingly more successful and was envious of their freedom from close relationships, mortgage, and family, because they can focus all their time and energy into their business.

What I realized is that my envy was so unfounded. I realized that I am the one with everything I need, and my relationships are my support, my cheerleaders, my biggest fans and that was an advantage.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1604.jpg

“I love my life and I want to help other

women fall in love with theirs!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved._1591.jpg

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

Happy International Women's Day

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.”
-Michelle Obama

Writer, lawyer, & former First Lady

Here’s to a celebration of all phenomenal girls and women all around the world.

Happy International Women’s Day!

#internationalWomen’sDay

Target Socks and Winter-themes

Tell me something about YOU before I get carried away...many of you already know I’m a contemporary glamour and portrait photographer who posts stories about the incredible women I am blessed to have as clients.

But every now and again I like to toss up a post that tells you some things about me you probably didn’t know. And since it’s properly winter outside, this posts theme will be entirely cold-weather related.

Ready?

I have a love/hate relationship with winter weather. (as in LOVE the Christmas season, the reason to eat cookies and copious amounts of cheese and chocolate treats…but, hate that it’s 50 degrees outside and tugs at my inner, hibernating bear-like ways). Rawr.

Heartbox Photography.JPG

I always crave warm soups of all kinds to to warm my soul, especially soups that contain noodles , aka CARBS.

This winter, I’m really into fleece-lined socks with penguins and animal prints on them. (HELLO, TARGET!!!)

My fave thing to do on a chilly morning is SLEEP. Surprise, surprise.

And…I love nothing more than to curl up with my fleece-lined, penguin-print socks and pajamas with a good book in the evening.

Happy New Year and happy winter, everyone!

Daniella | 2018 | A Celebration of Phenomenal Women

“I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.”

-Michelle Obama

Women have broken and continue to break barriers. And as I write this post, I find myself reflecting on what I sense is a beautiful revolution today of women everywhere who are are being reminded of the positive influence they can have for change in their own home, own communities, and society as a whole. I want to always be a part of any movement that empowers women - from the young girls to the women who have walked the path ahead of them.

I recently launched a series titled “A Celebration of Phenomenal Women: Fabulous and Over 40”. This series was meant to invite women in who were over 40 years of age, proud of their story, their life, and most of all, proud to be a woman of today.

Daniella is 41 - a wife, a mother, and health, fitness, and nutrition coach. As founder and owner of DFitLife, she is a businesswoman in the Bay Area who continues helping and serving people live the healthiest lifestyle they can.

I am incredibly proud to share with you all these images and video from the first photoshoot of many photoshoots that will aim to celebrate these phenomenal women in our community.

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Daniella’s hair and makeup!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0081.jpg

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

“I have worked hard through many years of self-doubt and loathing to finally emerge as the woman I’ve always wanted to be.

I feel good that I am setting a strong role model for my daughter. I want her to know she should ask for the moon, because you might just get it!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0078.jpg
 
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0085.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0084.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0083.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0087.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0082.jpg

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

“Be kind to yourself and to others.

Don’t forget that life is full of laughter, but you have to choose to see it.

Choose happiness.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0080.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0079.jpg

What do you believe makes a woman beautiful?

“Self-confidence for sure. This is where men have been ahead of us. Regardless of how someone looks aesthetically, if they are comfortable in their own skin, that beauty shines through.

Women of my generation have done a lot of catching up on this and I think our children will really own it!”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0088.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0077.jpg

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

“Love yourself or no one else will! I would go back and try to embrace my quirks and imperfections.

I spent so much time trying to be perfect, that I lost sight of the moment. I was too serious for my own good. Now I try to find the humor in just about every moment of my day.”

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0076.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0075.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0074.jpg
 

Thuy, 2018 | Glamour and Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0063.jpg

“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her own imperfection. To me, that is the essence of true beauty.”

-Steve Maraboli

Thuy is the founder/owner of 923 Design here in the Bay Area. She is a designer, a creative, a boss lady, a hustling mother who took the leap into her dream and never turned back.

In short, she is awesome and I am so proud to share with you all some of my favorite images from her photoshoot with Heartbox Photography, with hair/makeup by Miranda Villanueva of Love and Artistry.

Here’s to the women bosses out there representing the Bay Area. :)

Happy Friday!

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0059.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0065.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0070.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0071.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0069.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0066.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0061.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0068.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0067.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0064.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0062.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0060.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0058.jpg
Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0057.jpg
 

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! 

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0035.jpg
 

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!

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."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0040.jpg

"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."

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0041.jpg

"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. "

Portraits by Heartbox Photography. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved._0042.jpg
 

Preview | Hannah, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

AFTER.JPG

 

 

I knew immediately that Hannah was cool the second she agreed that a bowlful of noodles with nothing on it but Parmesan cheese counts as dinner.  (BECAUSE IT DOES)

And when you meet someone who shares your love for planners and calendars (the paper kind, people!!), let's just say I almost wanted to high-five her for being all sorts of awesome. (If you haven't felt the excitement of perusing the aisles of a store in search of that perfect planner for the new year, I hate to break it to you, but you've been missing out. :)  #justsaying #partyatPaperSource

This lovely soul stepped out in front of my camera and I am proud to share with you all a preview from her photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. There's more to come, so be sure to stay tuned!

Photography: Heartbox Photography

Hair/makeup: Kalani Brown

Preview | April, 2017 | Glamour & Contemporary Portraits | Fremont, CA

 

“Luxury to me is not about buying expensive things;

...it’s about living in a way where you appreciate things.”

Oscar de la Renta

When I think about April and her journey, her smile then becomes something else to me. It's radiant, genuine, and most of all it is full of celebration.

A smile that celebrates this season of where she is.

A smile that celebrates the journey, the highs of it and the stumbling parts of it. 

A smile that celebrates wholeheartedly what is to come, trusting her life in the Hands of the one who breathed life and purpose into the depths of her soul and being.

Below is just a sneak peak into April's photo shoot with Heartbox Photography. I invite you to stay tuned as there is more to come and more to share on the life of this beautiful woman.

photography by: Heartbox Photography

hair/makeup by: Keziah Dauz

 

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

 

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

"She's got a light around her
And everywhere she goes
A million dreams of love surround her everywhere..."

-Billy Joel

She gives generously of her time and attention.

Her words are filled with an abundance of love and joy whenever you ask about her children, her husband, her grandchildren, her family....her life.

The smile that graces her face when describing places she has traveled to with her loved ones or recalling some of the best memories is a smile that seems to radiantly shine even brighter with each story.

Her laughter speaks of nothing but joy. 

Melba is a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend. I always find it so uniquely special about photographing a woman who has given of her time, love, and attention so lovingly to others for many years. Because suddenly she is at the center of attention and having a rare moment where she gets to stop and say yes, I'd like to celebrate it all right now. There is this unmistakeable and endearing shyness when a woman realizes that it is absolutely ok to take a moment to celebrate, ok to feel beautiful inside and out, and yes, more than ok to enjoy every minute of the experience.

I am so proud to share with you all a little sneak peak image into this remarkable woman's recent photoshoot with Heartbox Photography. There is more to come from Melba's photo shoot, so be sure to stay tuned!

Many thanks to Kalani Brown of Kalani Style for Melba'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!"

 

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!