There are so many reasons why this Charlotte styled Motherhood session meant so much to me! As many of you know, we are now sharing our time between both the Queen City and our beloved California. One of the most special things about expanding our network to include Charlotte, is that my brother, sister-in-law and nieces are here! It is the absolute best. Sunday dinners … and birthdays … and soccer games … and dance recitals. Living within close proximity to family again means more to me than I can adequately express.
So when I recently had some exquisite new vendors to add to Kent Avenue’s Client Wardrobe, guess who I called to see if they might help me showcase these new offerings?! Yup! The girls. They were so gracious to let me come and do a little relaxed styled session for them. We had a lot to celebrate … the approaching Mother’s Day holiday and their own mama’s birthday weekend!
We laughed and took heaps of images that day in the sunshine, against my friend JRD Art Shop’s stunning hand-painted backdrop. Charlotte’s talented LookLove kindly did a house call for us and helped the little girls with some soft hairstyles as they enjoyed a kiddy Mimosa mocktail. I mean, how else should you spend your Sunday? Music, bubbles, beautiful dresses, and heaps of pastel velvet accent pillows leading to a pillow fight (the girls took verrry seriously … sorry Mom!!) sealing the deal at the end.
Styling client sessions has always been our favorite. Our appetite for sourcing beautifully detailed, heirloom pieces is insatiable. While heartfelt moments and connection are the driving force behind all our sessions … we love helping our clients save time with wardrobe coordination, adding that extra layer to elevate their final imagery! We could do this all this day ~ layering color, texture and delicate patterns. Our goal is always to create fresh, artful, timeless captures. We understand that photography is an investment and want your photos to look just as beautiful on your walls five years from now as they do today! Let us help take something off your shoulders with our wardrobe collection and design direction ~ you have enough to do! We want this to be treat for you. Every last bit! ~ Kent Avenue Photography
This Spring family session in the Bay Area hills was the perfect way to start the season! I have been blessed with the most wonderful clients. Clients who spend time with me and often invite their friends to spend time with me. Many families visit year after year. They share the happiest times with me. And over the years, when the road gets a little bumpy (as inevitably it often does along every journey) they end up sharing these moments as well.
Our strengths and our weakness … our success’ and our shortcomings … they are all SO worthy of being celebrated. These are the chapters of your story. A brilliant, complex piece that becomes more dynamic with each passing year. There is absolutely no other story like it.
These stories are how I built my business. I did not have a website for the first 10 years. But somehow I survived. Actually, I grew in a beautiful market. And you know how? My incredible clients. I credit each and every one of them for my growth. They kept me afloat. Above all, they kept MY DREAM afloat. This is not a job for me, but a love. Relationships are everything to me.
This family is one of those incredible families ~ gracious, incredibly kind and warm-hearted. Referred by several friends, they came eager to capture this moment in their lives. They explained to me that the first day of Spring is the Persian New Year ~ a celebration of new beginnings. This particular season always holds such meaning for them and thought this would be a wonderful time to have their family session! I couldn’t have agreed more! New beginnings, warm golden light, flower fields and a whole lot of laughter! It was absolutely perfect. I will be forever grateful for these relationships and the opportunity to capture a piece of your journey. Happy Spring! To happiness, to growth and to the beauty that surrounds new beginnings! ~ Kent Avenue Photography
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
This Bay Area backyard Family session was an extra special one for me. Our kind friends hosted us our final weeks in California. Their warm, wonderful home served as such a source of comfort and happiness (and a whole lotta design inspiration!) during that time. I came to learn that each space was designed with ‘experiences’ in mind. Every sweet corner, and hallway, and meandering garden space had such thought behind it. Niches that encouraged conversation and creativity …. and where honestly, magic would unfold on the daily.
Our second floor guest room was a haven of sorts ~ a whitewashed space with oversized french doors that opened to the sweetest rooftop patio. We could sit there at night with our wine in hand, looking up at the stars and listening to the coyotes in the distance. We could sit there in the morning with our coffee in hand, as we planned our day, listening to the birds and the trickling water fountain below. Peeking over the rooftop railing, we would look down at the children playing in the warm sun as my friend tended to her overflowing cosmos garden. Her hardworking husband worked off to the left on the beginning stages of the chicken coupe that they had recently designed together. It was beautiful and peaceful … and grounding … in so many ways.
We would come home those chilly nights to a wood burning fire, oil-lit candles dotted throughout, jazz swirling about the nooks and crannies, and a cocktail (or two) awaiting. There was homemade bread, and homegrown vegetables and beautiful dinners that my talented friend had so thoughtfully prepared. Walks outside, down the loose-gravel (greenery lined) pathway to the most handsome seating area by the fire, led to cigars under a starlit sky as we chatted about life and love and happenings with a glass of Pinot in hand.
Right before we left, I asked if I might capture a few images of their family together. While I was confident that I could never adequately repay them for their gracious hospitality, at the very least I hoped to leave them with some tangible reminders of the incredible love they shared. It’s funny how sometimes, something that is so obvious to an outsider, might not be as apparent to those actually living it. I mean they know it, but have they actually seen it? Events and actions (albeit dripping with love) can become lost in the monotony of the day to day. But this certainly was not lost on me. I witnessed this love in all it’s magnitude. A family whose open arms I am so grateful for and whose kindness left such an indelible mark on my heart. ~ Kent Avenue Photography
Mother & children’s clothing are part of Kent Avenue’s Client Wardrobe available to all our Fine Art clients.
See more of this session featured here on The Fount Collective.
Santa Cruz, CA
This Filoli Gardens Family session was such a fun one! Pairing a magical place with a magical family was bound to produce some gems. And gosh, the Stefani family really knows how to do that. They are such a wonderful bunch! So kind, so easy going and so humble. I think we laughed our way through all 16 acres of those spectacular English Renaissance gardens.
This expansive property is a country estate that leaves you feeling as though you have been dropped into a fairytale. It’s twists and turns lead you from one extraordinary space to another. It’s a place where hummingbirds hang in the wind and an overflowing hydrangea garden spills you into a sprawling, colorfully-dotted rose garden. A place where you might hear jazz playing in the distance and see the occasional artist setup his easel alongside the fragrant, lavender-lined gravel pathway. It’s wide open spaces and artfully designed floral displays, set up against those rolling Bay Area hills, will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. It really is so special.
Upon each visit, I am already planning my next. It is hard to leave. I am not kidding. Nine times out of ten, the staff are scooting behind me, gently and ever so kindly, reminding us that the gates are closing!
Time seems to escape during this kind of afternoon. I had such fun exploring together and chatting about life in the Bay Area, family and how many people we unknowingly knew in common! I was reminded, yet again, how small the world really is and how much we all really just want the same things from life ~ moments to catch our breath and time to savor the people and places that we love the most! Thank you so much Stefanis for sharing such an afternoon with me! ~ Kent Avenue Photography
This coastal California Family Session was a such a memorable one. I hadn’t seen this fabulous six since the youngest daughter was a newborn so this was really such a treat! I had been excited about our visit for a very long time. Plus, Mom and Dad are two of the kindest people, so secretly I just really enjoy their company!
Thinking back to the last time we met, I remember the boys being absolutely smitten with their new baby sister. I remember each brother (so small at the time) with their arms outstretched, wanting desperately to be the one to hold her for photos. So we sat that handsome band of brothers close together and placed her right in the middle so they could all cradle her tightly. It was the sweetest. Fast forward a few years and let me tell you, not much has changed!
That beautiful little girl is still a magnet for all that love. She gives it … and boy, she gets it. And those amazing brothers of hers are everything you would want in an older brother. They are smart and kind. They are so funny and (wouldn’t you know) fiercely protective of their little sister. It was so special to not only see all their personalities developing but also their friendships deepening. They fed off each other. They leaned on each other. And they made each other crack up again and again (… and again!).
THIS is why I love photographing families so much.
I want Moms and Dads and brothers and sisters to remember this! These memories are gold. My hope for each of these brothers as they grow older is to look back at these moments and see how unique each one of their relationships was with their Mom and Dad … to really see how their parents looked at them. I want to document those stars in their little sister’s eyes when she is around them, so they are reminded of how much they are loved, and realize what an incredible role model they are for her. I want her to see how her brothers still cradle her with just as much adoration at 4yrs old as the day she came home from the hospital. And I want Mom and Dad to have a tangible reminder of these beautiful hearts, minds and souls that they are nurturing and guiding each and every single day.
These little things, in my humble opinion, they are everything. Thank you Walkers for inviting me to share in such a fun and heartwarming afternoon together. I missed you! ~ Kent Avenue Photography
Santa Cruz, CA
There were a lot of bumps in the road this past year (well, the past year and a half, really). There were also lots of bright spots! Our Bay Area newborn session with this wonderful family had been pushed back several times due to the current climate. So we waited. And waited. And oh my little Emmett, you were surely worth the wait!
This little one was all heart and wobbly knees. The way his mom and dad looked at him was absolutely everything. I am sure most would admit that firstborn kinda love is pretty unique. And it was brilliantly apparent that they knew this and were savoring each and every moment! Their warm smiles and kind demeanor made me so happy. We chatted about this rollercoaster-of-a-ride life has taken us on the past several months. We talked about human connection and priorities … and gratitude. It is these moments during Family sessions that remind me yet again, that we are all going through it together.
There wasn’t any over-the-top, elaborate plan for our session that beautiful Bay Area day. My goal in fact was to rest in the simplicity. We walked out to the hilltop, enjoying that picturesque view before us. That occasional warm breeze made it even that much more enjoyable. I handed a linen blanket to Dad who unfolded it on the grass beneath that large, stately oak tree. They sat together, arms and legs and hearts intertwined, talking to little Emmett and laughing together. His gentle expressions were just the sweetest and his kind eyes mirrored that of Mom and Dad.
These bright spots light the way for me. The gift of conversation and sharing. The gift of being able to get to know your family and capture these moments along the way. My goal is always to provide you with not only a relaxed afternoon to enjoy each other’s company but also a tangible reminder of the incredible love you share. It’s the most beautiful story, if you ask me. Because above all else, it is all yours. ~ Kent Avenue Photography
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
This Tomales Bay Family session was such a memorable one! Point Reyes National Seashore holds a very special place in Jess and Brent’s hearts. Needless to say, when they decided to celebrate their family photos here this past Fall, I was absolutely thrilled! It was so touching to see them bring their little ones up the coast to share in this place that has such meaning to them.
This bountiful, beautiful place leaves me in awe every time I visit. We shucked oysters in the sunshine as the sweet smell of eucalyptus trees swirled around us. The tall seagrass at the water’s edge blew in the wind coming off shimmering Tomales Bay. We threw a crisp, white-linen tablecloth over the wooden picnic table sitting against a sea-weathered picket fence. That glistening, watery expanse before us took my breath away. The wildflowers and dry grasses growing at the base of where we sat, begged to be enjoyed at a higher altitude … so we chose a couple for a sweet little bouquet and added them to a glass vase atop our table linens. Popping open a bottle of chilled champagne, we shared some crackers and some of that coveted, local Cowgirl Creamery triple-cream brie. Brent worked hard shucking a large plate of sweet Hog Island oysters (pulled right from the water by which we sat)! The most wonderful company paired with the most delicious local treats. It was heaven!
After some time relaxing, we hopped in the car and wound our way several miles up the windswept coastline to another one of their favorite spots ~ Nicks Cove. I loved listening to their stories about coming here. You could tell their memories were such happy ones. We walked out to the end of the pier. There was the sweetest little illuminated boat shack (WITH A PIANO). I mean, can you just imagine the nights here? Bundled up, enjoying a martini or glass wine, everyone laughing, exchanging stories and singing at sunset. I mean, this is what movies are made of. (Nancy Meyers, we need you.)
We captured a few final moments together along the pier as the sun slowly slipped below that pastel-ombre horizon. The chill in the air had us soon walking the planks back to the cozy tavern for some comfort food. Clam chowder and crab mac & cheese enjoyed over a glass of Pinot. With full hearts and bellies, we said our goodbyes. I jumped in the car and wound my way back through the golden hillside, over the Golden Gate Bridge and back down into the valley where I lived. It was one of those days that had me really counting my blessings. It truly is such an incredible part of the country and to have shared it with these friends (who have such history here) made it extra special! ~ Kent Avenue Photography
Pt. Reyes National Seashore
Ah 2022, I’ve been waiting for you. New beginnings are everything. I know it’s just a day … a date on the calendar … a page turned … but still. There is something about January that makes you feel like the re-set button has been pressed. And gosh, I needed that re-set. I am ready. Rolling into the New Year with such excitement for some fun, new Family & Brand projects that will be launching very soon!
I have always sat and really given each New Year some thought ~ some goals that I hope to achieve, some habits that I hope to leave in the past, and some habits that I hope to be strong enough to pickup and adhere to. The goal however remains, to always try to keep things simple, to try my very best to slow down and be intentional with everything that I do, to honor and treasure my personal relationships, and to be open to new experiences and to new ideas.
One of things that I am tremendously grateful for is my “job” ~ if you call it that. This past holiday, I was sitting around the dinner table with my own family and the question arose “What would be your dream job?“. There were about 12 of us. We each sat thinking about how to answer this ~ one by one. I have many loves (so many loves, really). I could see myself working in many design professions … in many countries. But I found, I could honestly say with complete ease … “My dream job would be what I am doing right now.”
It’s something I prayed for, for a very long time. I am able to speak with families all over the country and learn about where they have been and where they hope to go. I hear about where the past year has taken them, what their frustrations are and what they are grateful for. It is really pretty incredible really, to have the honor of being let into a family’s hopes and dreams … to hear about where they feel they have failed and how they are bouncing back … to hear about major milestones and how they have chosen to truly honor and celebrate those accomplishments … to be able to document a family’s story and to help create heirlooms that will hopefully live in their families for generations. It is honestly THE BEST.
The Fanoe family is one of those families. I have had the pleasure of working with them for several years now and their dynamic blows me away every single year. And this year, in the golden Bay Area hills, wasnt any different! The way both Mom and Dad are so in sync and work so effortlessly together. The way the little boys are so polite … and kind … and love on their new little sister with such incredible gusto. I am in awe. They all look out for one another … they make sure everyone is there … and everyone feels included. If one brother is missing, they glance around, find him and quickly pull him in. When I would glance down at my camera while photographing them, I could hear their little side conversations and pep talks amongst one another ~ it was the sweetest. I am convinced they will all have each other backs forever.
These are the moments that shine bright. I don’t want these “small” moments (while really, not so small at all) to be forgotten. These “blips” are actually major. These little exchanges say so very much. They are part of your story. And I am so eager to tell it all. Every last love-filled, rollercoaster-of-a-ride bit. Family is truly everything. ~ Kent Avenue Photography
Mother’s dress is part of Kent Avenue’s Client Wardrobe and is available to all of our Fine Art clients.
See more of this session featured here on The Kindred Path.
Morgan Hill, CA
When that California “June Gloom” comes rolling off the Pacific, you jump in the car and head over the hill to the coast! At least I do. That dreamy fog layer is something else! It swirls about and settles gently overhead, creating beautiful lighting opportunities and a little reprieve from the valley heat. And wouldn’t you know, we lucked out with one of those kinda mornings for this Bay Area Coastal California Family session. It was perfect ~ the weather of course, but even more-so, the incredible company. This beautiful family are “goodness” in very sense of the word. (The kind of mama that sends you home with fresh cut flowers from her garden. That kinda goodness.)
We spent most of the afternoon outdoors in their dreamy, multilevel backyard space. A space that provided the ultimate haven during a year of being quarantined at home. Gosh, I wish I had been quarantined here! It is magical. There are beautiful flower beds and fresh herb gardens. A large, open patio is framed by towering, sweet smelling eucalyptus trees. There are spaces to lounge in the sun and rest in the shade. A white-washed, naturally-lit, backyard art studio is perched high above the garage. It is all just so pretty. We took our time, walking about and chatting, stopping every so often to capture some images.
At the end of our session, we found ourselves in their front garden. Not “by” it … pretty much “in” it. Those gigantic flowers were absolutely unreal. And they smelled incredible. So we climbed in (ever so careful not to disrupt those blooms). It was such a fun (and beautiful) way to end our time together! I drove back home that late morning, just as the sun was peaking through the clouds, with a full heart. All my senses surely awakened. A wonderful time with a truly wonderful family. ~ Kent Avenue Photography
Mother’s cotton eyelet dress was provided by Kent Avenue’s Client Wardrobe available to all our Fine Art clients.
Bay Area, CA
The Moseleys are that kinda family. They hop out of the car, give you a hug and tell you how excited they are to see you. It was the perfect late June afternoon for this love-filled California Family session. And we had nothing to do but walk and talk … and take pictures. And lemme tell you, I was in heaven.
I get it, family pictures can be a stressful thing. You are investing money. You are crossing your fingers that your kiddos will oblige and just roll with it. You are hoping your husband just trusts in the process and goes with “it” as well … because gosh, what husband loves family photo day? I mean … it’s Sunday … and you could be doing anything. But this.
Family photos traditionally have a bad wrap. It feels funny. Manufactured, really. There can be a lot of stress in preparing … and preventing meltdowns … and getting there on time … etc. I understand. Believe me, I understand.
But when you arrive, just throw your hands up. Surrender. I have a pretty good idea what went on at home before and in the car ride here. When you arrive, it’s my job to let your family dynamic shine through. You are officially off the hook. Locations have been scouted and the light has been assessed beforehand. There has been a lot of preparation. We know where we are going and why we are going there. Unwillingly kiddos? We will reign them in. Really, it’s utterly and completely fine. All you need to do is just take a load off … relax … and enjoy your family to their fullest. Promise me. This is the most important part ~ let go. It creates the best kinda magic.
There is push and pull in all family dynamic. Trust me. Some more push than pull. Some more pull than push. Regardless, love reigns. Love always reigns. So please let me show you a little piece of you. Your love is multidimensional. And complex. Blinding, really. And I am here for all of it.
Just ask the Moselys. I mean, look at them. Their love runs deeper than I could ever imagine. Thank you Moseys for showing up fully .. and having fun! (And for the delicious bottle of Prosecco at the end. Gosh, that was really yummy too.) ~ Kent Avenue Photography
“In family life, love is the oil that eases the friction, the cement that binds us closer together, and the music that brings harmony to everything.”
Bay Area, CA