A Documentary Newborn Session with The Dotson-Kelly Family

I met the sweet Dotson-Kelly family back in 2017. They are both from Southern California and have so many connections to our sweet village of Claremont: from the high school drama department, to the violin maker (you know that adorable shop in the village!), and even to our summer CEF SLICE program where they both taught.

Well, they welcomed their second girl in November and were already pros at the whole parenting gig. Within a week, they were making coffee while holding a newborn (an essential skill) and reading books to their 2 year old while comforting the baby and making breakfast for their dogs. I wish I was that capable when I was a new mom of two under two.

I love that we were able to capture a slice of their real life with their new baby. Please enjoy their film and then the images below.


THE FILM

THE IMAGES

9:20am - Newborns and toddlers live according to their own schedule, so everyone was up (even the dogs!) and ready by the time I was able to whip out my camera.

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Every newborn arrives into a family and is instantly part of a coalition that has existed for thousands of years. This new baby’s family has a past that goes on for generations. Though this baby may be a new fresh life, they are also continuing the priceless line of people who love each other as well as the baby. It struck me throughout this session how this new little girl arrived as the family was still remodeling their kitchen and figuring out where to place appliances and furniture. Life continues on as a new life begins.

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9:30am - Time for coffee and to tend to their first babies: the dogs.

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9:45am - Another outfit change for the littlest family member. These sisters are already creating that unique bond that should last a lifetime.

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10:00am - Apparently it’s time for big sister to take charge and introduce her baby to all the toys and books.

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10:20am - While her new “baby” naps, big sister soaks up the undivided parental attention.

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10:45am - What do most families with newborns and toddlers often find themselves doing? Cuddling on the couch (with dogs too!) with many toddler-level books.

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What memories of your family would you love to preserve forever?

Let’s grab coffee and create a session that perfectly captures your family as you are now.

Short Story: The Early Mornings | Claremont Documentary Photographer

Everyday human stories and beautiful light inspire me. So, it’s natural that I’d lift up my camera to document the gorgeous morning light that surrounds my children as they wake up and start the day.

These are the normal, everyday activities that are common to every family and the routines that we may forget by dinnertime. But, they are important because I love these people. I love how small they are; how they just have to eat cereal without milk; how they have such adorable belly buttons.

We need to document the everyday activities
that we risk forgetting.
These activities are the ones that create
our sense of family and home.

 Documenting the early morning with a school age boy.
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 A child getting dressed.
 I love how the light lands on the tiny toys my children save.
 Breakfast with children
 Cereal without milk
 I love seeing the extreme differences between the warm inside artificial light and the cool outside sunrise.
 Sun flare and children are always gorgeous.
 The youngest and the slowest eater.

When we are surrounded by the people we love and trust…
When we’re doing the everyday activities we love…
That’s when we’re our truest selves.

Document and treasure those moments. They’re worth it.

The Ornelas Family - Glendora Family Photographer

Photography gives us a chance to capture time for just a moment. Capture the glow of the sun. Capture the tightness of family hugs. Capture the still growing face of a child. It's priceless.

 Family Outdoor Photos in San Dimas with Erica Faith Photography
 Siblings look at each other during their family photo session.
 Family photosession with glowing sunset light.
 Capture your family's photos before the kids grow up.
 Candid photos of children are so amazing.
 Family photos are important and priceless.

So, are you looking to make time stand still?
Let me take you out to coffee and
create the perfect, custom family photography experience!

Photographing Across Generations - Grandparents and their grandkids

As a parent and photographer, I am always wanting to capture the connections between people. I love seeing where we "came from" and who we're connected to. So, it's only natural that I'd bring my "big" camera on our near-weekly visits to the grandparents and attempt some documentary photography across generations.

As my children have grown bigger and louder, these visits to the grandparents have also evolved. We used to all sit in the living room and stare adoringly at the cute baby on the blanket. Well, now those three babies are running and screeching throughout the house and the grandparents tire out very quickly.

I took the opportunity one recent trip to capture what my children find to do in this "non child-friendly" environment. Someday in the future when my children have forgoten how they used to fit inside a kitchen cabinet, I can drag out the photo album to remind just how small they used to be.

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Do you wish you had more photos of you with your grandparents?

Wouldn't you like to create photos of your own children with their grandparents?

I wish I had more photos of my grandparents and of myself with them. So, if you're like me, let's grab coffee and chat about how we can honestly capture on camera the multi-generations in your own family.

Let's Talk

Portraits of Childhood - Capturing the best photos of children's personalities

I absolutely love when I can capture close-up portraits of children. Some children are nervous with a camera in their face while other children use this chance to goof off. I happen to have both kinds of children in my own family.

My oldest and youngest love attention and really love seeing their face on the back of the camera. My middle guy is the quieter one; he lets me capture photos of him absorbed in an activity but does not usually sit for a formal portrait.

When I do have the opportunity to take some "formal" portraits of children, I usually ask them a silly question or suggest a goofy scenario. This lights up their imagination and it just shines through their eyes and face. Sometimes I'll even ask them to show me all sorts of kinds of faces, from excited to sad, scared to happy. In the photo below, I asked my girl to show me a few "excited" faces.

 A young girl making a silly face in her photography portrait.

In this photo, I simply asked my boy to show me several "faces" including his crying face. I really liked the balance with the rain cloud on the pillow behind him.

 A black and white portrait of a boy pretending to cry.

Sometimes when I create a portrait of a child, I don't even need to capture their entire face to really get their personality. I don't even know what my little guy is doing in this photo, but I love the mystery.

 A close up photo of just the eyes of a preschool boy.

Portrait photography needs two vital components: an awesome personality and great light. The personality part is a natural for kids. They can't help but be their awesome selves. The great light is also found almost anywhere, including a hallway (lower left photo) or a bathroom (lower right photo). I drive my family crazy sometimes when we're out walking and I just stop. It's usually because I see an interesting light pattern on the ground and I must know what created it. 

 Portrait photography of a young boy makes great use of shadows.
 Find the great light first when making portraits. This can even be in bathrooms.
 Getting great light is important for beautiful photos of children in Claremont.

Portraits also don't always need to be made sitting down. Some of my favorite portraits of my own children are the quick action shots that I have to nail in a split-second such as when he's running towards me in a tiny tunnel or swinging in a hammock or even taking an evening walk through The Claremont Colleges.

 Portrait photo using great use of light and composition.
 Outdoor portrait child photography in California.
 Scripps College is a great place for family photos in Claremont.

Childhood portraits are such a natural component of my family lifestyle sessions. I love to tell the story of childhood from the point of view of these little humans. Candid and formal images are necessary to fully tell that story. 

Are you ready to capture your children's story?

Let's talk!

Underwater Photography - A before and after comparision

Underwater photography relies heavily on post-editing. No matter the camera - whether I use my fancy DSLR with underwater housing or my GoPro - the image that is straight out of the camera (SOOC) is never perfect. Cameras just can't capture the contrast and detail that a human eye can see. So, I always spend a good amount of time with each photo in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop pulling out those important details. Here is one of my latest underwater photos. I thought everyone might want to see the difference between a SOOC image and the final edited image.

THE FINAL IMAGE

(After getting edited in Lightroom and Photoshop)

 Underwater photography of children in Claremont, CA

BEFORE

Straight out of the Camera (GoPro Hero 5)

My settings: ISO 100, 3mm (ultra wide angle), f/2.8, 1/2500 sec

 
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Underwater photography is really an exciting activity. I have the honor of capturing children completely absorbed in their own activities and everything takes on a bit of magic. How often do we get to fly, float and spin upside down?

Do you have access to a pool and want to chat about creating totally unique underwater photos for your own family?