CJ Wilkes

About CJ Wilkes Photography

Capturing Your Dance In The Rain is such a thrill and joy to me. Being able to look back on those special times through beautiful artistic imagery makes it a worthwhile challenge.
Learning to Dance in the Rain has been very easy for me. I am drawn to Water & Life! The exciting part for me is to teach you to enjoy your moment in the dance as I capture it from behind my camera.
Looking forward to Capturing Your Dance In The Rain
CJ Wilkes

Archive: ‘Families – Togetherness’



It’s a Family Thing

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Getting really “into” photography starts with family for me. It ends with family as well. I love the chances I have had to work with clients – But my true inspiration is Family. My own grandmother was never seen without a camera in hand. I remember Grandma Joy at family events snapping at anyone and everyone. People would snicker or cringe at the sight of the camera, but nothing stopped her. She has albums all full with family pictures and events. Her actions stuck with me. That and my love for capturing what was seen before me.

When Nathan and I married, we both knew we wanted children. After years of trying we were told we would never have children of our own. On our sixth year of marriage and trying to have children, I became pregnant. With no hope of keeping the baby (because of all the other losses), I went into the dr.s office to confirm and see if there was a possibility or if this one will mimic the past pregnancies.  They said the chances were very small but we would try. I had to inject myself with progesterone daily and take asprin for the first 3 months. There were a few scares in those months, but the baby stayed. I had to have shots in each hip for 5 months instead of 3 though. All the sudden I was at 31 weeks of pregnancy and my body said NO MORE! From 31 weeks to 35 weeks she threatened to join the world early. I was bed bound. After week 35 they told me they would not try to stop her from coming and I no longer needed to be on bed rest. Well, she decided she liked it there and stayed put until week 39.  My first child was born February of 2002; 7 years into our marriage.  If you think that was an adventure – we went on to have a set of twins and 2 other singleton live births after. My world changed forever! I was going to capture their lives the best way I could. I wrote journals, but pictures spoke volumes to me.

My 5 children have always known me with a camera. The funny thing is they beg for their turn to have mom shoot them. I ask them where they want their pictures, what they want the theme to be, and what they would like to wear. Although I have thoughts and share it with them – they expound on it and then allow me to be creative with it too. It has turned into a family project. So last year, the kids and I decided on Artistic themes. We have done just a few so far.  We have Halloween & Hands completed.

Halloween was intended to be quirky, fun, unique and Different. I think we did well with that.

Meet the Wilkerson Family

FAMbanner1Right to left we have Nathan (hubby), Samuel (bottom 4th child), Nathanya (top 3rd twin B), Jared (bottom 2nd twin A), Miriam (top 1st child), Edmond (bottom 5th child), and lastly – myself.

“Cross My Heart”

We all had so much fun in this venture that we were excited for the next one. In a small group I run we do a monthly challenge to help each photographer hone in their skills or just let loose and have fun. The challenge before us was Hands/Protection – Interpret as you will.  All the sudden my mind had some very specific thoughts and images that needed creating. This one was done only with my children and not with Nathan and I. However, I might rectify that down the road. To create this image I decided that it would work best in my dining room. I wanted the focus to be on the faces and hands. It was important to include the hands of all their siblings. I think that part was more for me than anyone.  My childhood was not the best and I have never had much support from my family. There are a couple of my own siblings that talk with me, but it has only been that since 2010. I know children will fight with each other – but developing a love and friendship with your own siblings is very special, at least in my mind.

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“Healing Hands”

Miriam is my oldest. We have found out this last year and a half that she is plagued by migraines like myself. Here her siblings all cradle her head in a show of love and empathy to her situation.

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“Speak no Evil”

Jared came up with the theme for himself. I had to laugh because he is my child that never stops talking. It was great though, because each of my children watch out for the other, and that sometimes includes censoring or discussing what is or is not appropriate behavior. I sit back in amazement at these children of mine!

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“Hear no Evil”

Edmond is the youngest of my children. In large families, the youngest often finds that every one of their siblings seem to act as parents. In this house, he turns it on them too, hahahaha. Anyhow, it is not uncommon to see the others sheltering him from hurtful, mean, or just bad words.

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“Lean on Me”

Each child has their own struggles or difficulties in life. Nathanya being a premature baby needed support medically as a baby with her twin brother Jared.  We all have our certain supports in life. What I hope my children learn is that they can each help to support each other. Not having had support I have grown in many ways, but to have the loving care of a sibling is something that goes such a long long way to making this life a better one than it can be at times. Lean on me has such a deep impact to me personally!

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“See no Evil”

Samuel opted for seeing no evil. It is funny that they chose themes that at first I would not have expected but match them perfectly. Samuel is a great kid who has a soft heart. He likes Legos, super heroes, and all boy things. The interesting thing is, he is not a fan of the gory and overly scary. When he asked for this it just clicked. I love his ability to get into character too.

Throughout the next few years I have several themes set up with my children. They each are contributing with ideas for themes as well. We are working on 2 others at the moment. If anyone falls in love with any particular theme, I am more than happy to replicate a theme shoot for you. Simply let me know which theme when signing up for a session. If it speaks to you I am willing to help make it a reality.

All in All it is a Family Thing and we are having a blast with it! Stay tuned for the next family project. We cannot wait to share it with you!

Thank you,

CJ Wilkes (Cindy)

 

Sometimes We Create the Mood Feb. 2013

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

I find it interesting with mood shoots that not everyone comprehends the artistry behind it. I often get comments like – Why are they angry? Why are they not smiling? It makes me laugh a bit actually. Until more recently in time – smiling and laughing for the camera was just not done. Look at all the past images from centuries before. Smiles are not often portrayed. Laughter, hardly ever. Fast forward to today and people wonder what were they thinking? However, some of the images are so profound because of the non smiling faces. In my opinion it is because – without the smile you are drawn to the EYES, the overall look. It does come down to preference of coarse – but this is one of my favorite types of shoots (especially in studio).

This particular shoot was done in my dear friend’s studio, Stacey Hamilton of Times 3 Photography.  This was her family. We discussed the look we were going for – then we raided all the closets to find what we would use for clothing. I find that you can make a shoot from most whatever can be found in ones own closet. Here we wanted white – plain – simple, using texture to give variety. One child I took a shirt and turned it upside down, allowing the fringe from the bottom to create that texture. Another child, we had her squeeze through the neck of the eyelet dress then pinned the sleeves behind her. The other child we had squeeze through the neck of a Tshirt also pinning it behind her. We intended for this session to be all Black and White. All of them had exposed shoulders to accentuate the soft flow from the top of the head, down the neck, then down the soft curve of the shoulder. All this was pre thought. Because of this, when we looked for clothing for Mom and Dad, we wanted to keep the same feel. Mom, we had her in a simple tank top while dad had a button down shirt opened in the front. For the family image though, we simply had him shirtless. His white shirt was a bit too disruptive to the feel. However, when I did their couple shots it went very well with the whole set.

Love of a Mother

This was a highlight from my visit in Wisconsin. The opportunity to do this session of Stacey’s family – the best! Being a fellow photographer – I have to admit I was nervous. I always get nervous around other photographers.  Each of us do things differently from the other. It was so much fun though and her children were so stinking adorable. Super fabulous to work with!

Our first goal was to get the images of mom with her girls.

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Every photographer needs a spouse like Stacey’s. He was up for anything. One moment he has his shirt on, the next he is asked to take it off and he did with no complaints. He understood that we had a vision we were trying to put into reality and just went with our (my) crazy schemes. Looking at these – I think his willingness to not be difficult is what made this shoot all the better. Thank you Peter!

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I have found that an ever slight change or movement can change the entire feel of an image. Both great images and very similar but so different.

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This little mini me of her mom – well, she just was a natural! She understood small movements. Had the perfect eyes – followed direction. You could tell her mom had worked with her before!

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This little girl is so full of life! She is smart! Beautiful! And I could spend an entire day just taking her picture. Miss her tons :) She made me smile all the time.

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Little Miss P is the baby of the family, born the same time as my baby. Who does not love the little one of the family? Adorable, Funny, and boy can she make one laugh! She was good at this modeling thing too!

If I could go back and do any session again I would love to do this one! It was so creative, fun, experimental, and just the best people to work with! Love these girls and family! Can’t wait to get back to Wisconsin again!

 

 

Families

Thursday, March 27th, 2014

People ask me what type of sessions I like to shoot.  Well, I don’t think I have a favorite per say. I love a mix of it all.  Individuals to groups. Girls, Guys, Infants, Maternity, High School Seniors, Couples, Brides. The fun part of doing a family session is the combination of personalities and ages. Getting everyone focused on a task or just to look in the correct direction. Having a challenge before me helps to keep my interest in what I am doing. Being able to defeat the challenge and bring amazing shots to the table is really what I enjoy! Because face it – What grouping or pose has not been done before?  It is not about that to me. Not at all. To me – it is the togetherness and learning to enjoy the moment.

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How can you not love a family moment creating finger Hearts?!

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Being an only boy cannot always be easy – but this boy is definitely a fun, intelligent, young man! He is the notch that completes this little group. I have to say – I was so impressed with the respect and mannerisms of all N’s children. This little guy was no exception. So fun to work with even after they traveled over 4 hours to spend some time with me, my camera, and my children.

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Had it not been for the blonde hair, he would have not been discernible from my own bunch of boys. Sand in hand and all!

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It still amazes me after seeing so many families that you can have such a variety of personalities! Those all brought together in one grouping, loving and caring for each other to make the perfect little unions. It is beautiful!

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I have watched many families who have had to make it work with a single parent. My hat goes off to all you single parents. This gal amazes me! She works so so hard day in and day out for her family. Meeting them all it is easy to see that those children are so blessed to have such an amazing woman to call MOM.

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I can honestly say that I aspire to be the type of person this woman is! Such a great time and experience for us all. I would love to have more sessions like this because I walk away feeling happy to just have spent a moment of time with them. Watching them play, interact, and just love being family.

Thanks N’s Family – Looking forward to the next session with you all!

 

 

Girls just love to have FUN!

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

These girls are sisters. This was actually from a family shoot that I did individual images of the kid too. Do you still see my theme in the work? Water tends to be a big part of most of it. LOL I am not going to apologize because I feel at home near the water. Nature in general but water in particular. Anyhow, the girls in these next images are some of the most amazing, beautiful girls I have met to date. The eldest not only is a beautiful person – she truly has pipes of an angel and is so stinking intelligent. Had I not recognized her American accent, I would have totally thought she was European with her extensive word bank + usage. She talks like an author. I know if I want to smile, spending the day with this family always does the trick. I will bring their brother, mother and family images to you maybe tomorrow. For now I have to show you how fun this session was!

Girls that have curly hair or red hair ROCK! I love the body, the color! Never be ashamed of it!

Sisters

Sisters – Some have asked what makes a great black and white. You know – each image speaks for itself, but I love this conversion because the focus goes to the girls walking towards the water. To me it is more powerful because there are no colors to distract from the moment that was meant to be.

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Sometimes the water just sneaks up on you – much like life. I find it is all in how you deal with it that makes the difference.

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Sure – it can be a pain to deal with getting wet – but once you are already wet you simply have to walk out of it or wait for it to recede.  And while waiting you might as well, stomp or jump a little here and there. Enjoy it while it lasts!

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Each person has their own way of drying off or shaking it out. LOL

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The great thing about water is that it dries – meanwhile, why let it affect your day out on the beach. Miss G. looks so at home in this setting. The breeze loves her and her hair. The water comes and kisses her toes from time to time, and all the while she sports a radiant smile!

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If you are going to get wet – why not enjoy it? Make a splash! Jump into a puddle! If you are going to do it then do it good!

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Have you heard of sticking your feet in the sand and feeling it as it gets in between your toes. Wiggling your toes around in the sand? Well, I can attest to the fact that this is the perfect setting and moment to do that very thing! Nothing better!

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I am one of those photographers that does not care if your hair flies everywhere or if it gets into your face – but sometimes it is beautiful when one pulls their hair back revealing life’s simple pleasures in their expressions.

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Here where we live we have a mix of beaches to choose from. This particular one is at the jetty – that is where all the rocks come from. They make for some fun rock hopping, climbing, balancing.

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Getting tired of the waves playing tag with her feet – she begins to walk up on the beach. Well, the water was not having any of that and just kept coming for more splashing around.

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As the water recedes and then rolls back to splash the rocks Miss G. enjoys the dryer sand – kicking up some more fun.

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I love the fact that Miss G can go from all play to complete sophistication within moments.

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There is no mistaking big sister is FUN – but I think the whole family is going to have a run for their money with this spitfire! She is a bundle of firecrackers keeping you on your toes. She is as cute as cute gets!

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That fact that she stayed still enough for a picture at age 2 was AMAZING. She seemed right at home nestled in the rocks and sand.

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What cracked me up is that nothing got by her though. She has her eye on everyone around us!

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Her latest trick, the ability to blow spit bubbles. Who can resist a good spit bubble kiss?

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Not me, because when she is done – the look of accomplishment on her face is priceless!

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Every mom remembers her baby playing Peek a Boo with her.

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Well, after playing such a cutesy game, you can literally see the gears cranking in her little noggen. :D

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As you can tell, she had so much fun she just had to lick some rocks!  I tell you! Girls are born knowing Just How To Have Fun!

Birthdays and Pictures

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

I find that Birthdays are some of the best time for pictures. Don’t be surprised if you see lots of pictures of my own children the months of Feb. April and Sept.  That is when their birthdays fall and I enjoy capturing the passing of another year. I am captivated at how quickly time passes. It is inspiring to watch their progress and growth. So here is how I spent the morning / mid day hours on Feb. 2, 2013 – taking pics of my kids being – My kids!

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Those are marbles for anyone wondering. They were tossing marbles into the air to see them glisten in the sun. Then they would laugh hysterically.  These are things that people just can’t imagine until they see it. My little goofballs. Awesome part is that I have it all in pictures.

You know – Pictures really can be taken almost anywhere. This particular spot is in our yard near our chicken coup. The dried grass and the coop made for such a lovely spot that I had to take individuals.

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy

This young man was so excited to finally be 5! He is such a go getter and goofy as all get out! The sticks? I have no idea – but they made him happy. As you can see he was grinning ear to ear!

The stick

The stick

 

I had even asked him to put it down – “You mean this, Mom?”  He is all boy and I love it!

Holding On

Holding On

 

I don’t know about other people’s kids, but my boys seem to always have to be doing something with their hands.  I have to take these moments for them and for me. I don’t remember everything so looking back just makes me giggle inward and say “You remember how so and so always had to….”

Laughter makes a heart happy!

Laughter makes a heart happy!

I have said it over and over again. I will say it here now too. Laughter is one of my very very favorite things to see in pictures. There is not enough of it in this world. When this boy of mine laughs it is so contagious.  He cracks me up – cause when he laughs he shakes all over, letting his whole being enjoy the laughter. You know that if anything he is enjoying the moment. Hahahaha.

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Then you get the twins together and it just keeps going! They can laugh for hours on end!

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Being the oldest can be hard because mom and dad rely so heavily on their help. Days like this are beautiful because she is able to just be a kid and have fun. Being able to enjoy one’s childhood is vital in my opinion. From they way they dress themselves to how they play.

Last Day being 10

Last Day being 10

 

In our house we have birthdays in pairs. My youngest child was born the day before my oldest turned six. I try to let them have their own days, but sometimes it is nice to do pictures on the same day. A little less work for mom.

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This image is a bitter sweet image for us. The sweet is the love my daughter has for our animals. You can see her light up when our cats or dogs are around. The bitter is that she was our favorite cat and she has since past. Had I known then what I do now – we would have taken more pictures of her with our children.

Dusty and my Girl

Dusty and my Girl

It is true what they say “A picture can tell a thousand words”!

This moment in time is ours forever. I am grateful I do not have to rely on my own brain to remember all the details. I have enjoyed that day all over again while putting this post together to share with all of you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blast Back through 2013 (The beginning)

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Blasting back through 2013 because I have neglected my blog for so long. Why? Same old excuses, I suppose – LIFE. Family, Work, Sessions. Only issue is that I was not able to juggle it all on my own. So I guess it is not really the same old same old. Either way, I have missed my time sharing – writing and sharing some outstanding images with all of you. So I am going to try to get back into the swing of posting more regularly.  At first, please be patient with me as I am going to be catching up on a Year worth of images and session. There has been quite a mix of things happening, such as my branching out into designing book covers and editing as well as being the Mom of 5, doing it with my husband working away from home for long periods of time, being a parapro at the kids school, and doing what I love PHOTOGRAPHY.  But don’t worry, I will try to break it all down step by step. So let’s rehash 2013, step by step, as I throw in the current as well.

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014. Myself, I am excited for the new. Grateful to be looking back on 2013 as a memory.  Let’s take our first walk back into 2013.

January 2013

January 2013

Do you all remember this image I brought to all of you? Can you believe it was over a year ago? I think it is a great start. Let’s move forward to the present from here. This session thrilled me because not only did it look great with colors, setting – but it worked perfectly with colors in my home. I will come back to this session one more time once we get to April’s posts for 2013. For now I want to talk about color.  If you notice we have a few colors going on in this image. My girls are wearing sweater dresses. Both are the same style but different colors. My oldest is in gray, white design, and a red ribbon trim that matches her sister’s red sweater dress. I don’t always go for the matchy matchy, but this went well because they were different in color, but one dress had only 2 colors while the other had 3 colors, drawing on the younger sisters colored dress with that ribbon color. They both have matching winter boots. White and black.

Fun thing with gray’s and blacks is that they work well if they are in the same tone. So I have my boys in Red, Drk. Gray, and Black White and Red sweaters. For pants, I would have liked them to wear jeans, but my boys have different personalities. My youngest and oldest like to dress up so they chose dress pants. LOL obviously the oldest child was not too concerned about it matching perfectly. My middle son likes jeans so he went with that. Sometimes it is worth not even worrying about “the exact look” I want, but on the session being a success & remembering that this is them! They dress like this. I don’t want a fake of what they like to look like – but to capture them and what they do look like now. So we made it work.

Why sweaters? Well, it is cold out here at winter time. I figured that if the girls were in sweater dresses then why not sweaters for the boys. I love the texture and look of sweaters. It dresses it up without having to throw a tie in. The kids are comfy and happy. That is what you want when planning on your next family session. Happy, and comfy – while keeping their personalities in tack :)

As a group they looked fantabulous. As Individuals they looked just as spectacular!

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With girls – I like clothing that allows motion. Motion in movement, motion in wind.  The setting makes a difference for sure. If you look here you can see her movement, the dress’s movement, with the waves splashing in the background. Together it makes a very fun and moving image.

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I am a girl to the very core. I love twirl! So if someone comes to me with ruffles and skirts… well, we must twirl! It helps having motion and texture in the outfit.

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I really thought his pants would not work – but you know, they match the sand. Who would have thought. Nature taught me a lesson. I relaxed and that is when magic happened. My son became a knight fighting battles with his stick sword on the beach. His phantom enemy retreated in defeat, back into the ocean. My son the victor was one happy boy!

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A moment that would not have been as beautiful had I flipped out on the choice of his britches.

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Where one boys stick becomes a sword – the other’s becomes a shovel of sorts. The possibilities are endless when you have more that one boy or stick or both!  At sessions I try to tell people to not be so worried about dirt either. Dirt washes, while moments last forever, especially when you take a moment to allow myself or a photographer capture it for you!

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Had I been upset about the dirt I would have never captured the pure joy in his face. In fact, I am pretty sure the stick and the dirt both had a part in his delight. Hahaha

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When I see this I see not just what he is wearing and the setting – but his entire personality. The clothes do help create that atmosphere alone with everything around him. As you can tell, he does not have movement, but a look of satisfaction.

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If you are a fan of black and whites and you can’t find anything that matches – I suppose you can have it all converted to a black and white session. Those are just as beautiful. However, if you want it in color – try to find colors within the same tones. Blues within the same tones, Reds, Pinks, and so forth.

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In the end – just try to enjoy the moment. The more you enjoy it – the better the images will turn out. If you are a parent then relax. If you are tense it will be a miserable experience for all. You might even get some blackmail images for your child in the future. Hahahaha But it will turn out ok. You would be surprised at the magic us photographers can capture and produce when you do not see it in the moment. For instance – this particular image above. Just moments before they were bickering (not uncommon between close sisters or siblings.) The very next moment they were best friends! Wa – la!  One f my favorite images and moments captured forever!

This may seem like an endless post on clothing, colors, and hints – but I hope you will have also learned that the best thing to do once you have researched and found the photographer for you is to then enjoy the session & relax!

Please feel free to post comments or thoughts. I will have some newer sessions on here shortly for you to enjoy!

 

 

Invites, Postcards, Announcements… and more

Friday, February 1st, 2013

We have options, options, and more options. The options are limitless. Christmas cards, Wedding announcements, Postcards, we even make bookmarks that are a hit at Valentine’s!  Here are just a few for you to look at. I will bring more to you in the near future. Although great to look at, it does not even compare to seeing and feeling them in person. Everyone that has examined these are wowed. Your images truly shine and are complimented perfectly in these printing formats. When you choose a card I will custom design the card for you. We discuss and I give you the option to switch it up or keep it as is. The goal is to make you happy with what you are getting.

I have to say that that Christmas card was one of my favorites. Not only are the kids cute – but the template works perfect for families or children. It is a definite favorite!

I have to say that my 4×9 wedding announcements have had the best feedback! Everyone of my couples have had the greatest response to how amazing these look! Each time I have opened up a new set for examination I just ooo and aaaa myself. What else is cool is that they fit perfectly in a legal size envelope. These cards make sending announcements quite affordable.

The colors are brilliant. There are other sizes and uses for the post card style. You can use them as High School Senior announcements or advertising.

I have also made calendars from these to hand out examples of my own work, made bookmarks for my children, I cannot say enough great things about these.

I am a perfectionist and I have to have my colors just right! I have to have my quality just right – after all, these represent myself as an artist. If you would like a sample of this sent to you feel free to contact us requesting an announcement sample with your address and I will mail it out to you.

MDG Wedding

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

This wedding is extra special to myself because the bride and I are like sisters. Having been a part of each others lives for… well, let’s put it this way, since we were 12 or 13. ;) We even had our first girl together.

Mary and I both found out we were pregnant and with girls at the same time. The babies were due within days of themselves or on the same day. It was her 3rd child, my first… but it was a girl for both of us. Our Heavenly Twins!

Mary and I had sleep overs almost every to every other weekend. I was always at her house. Their home was my safe place and essentially, my own family. They treated me as one of their own. So it is only natural that I would be at her wedding. I would not miss it for the world. The only thing that made it better for me was the opportunity to not just be there, but to be her photographer. So a HUGE thank you to you Mary for this opportunity. I loved every minute of it.

Mary and Delbert were married in the Columbia River LDS Temple, Washington. LDS weddings are a bit different in that photography is not done inside the temple. The photography sessions are before or after or both. So to the rest of the world that is not LDS, this is a fairly typical LDS wedding photography shoot. The only thing a little different than what I personally do with weddings is that the bride did not have a solo bridal shoot. Before they were married we met at the temple and did, however, take the time to do a couples session. This helped prevent from running into timing issues between them getting out, the family group shoots, and driving all the way back to the reception for the happenings there.

There are LDS temples all over the world. Some are quite majestic and quite a site to behold. Not to mention the perfectly groomed grounds that visitors are able to enjoy. Perfect little settings for the couples and photographers as well. This is where she and Delbert were sealed for all eternity.

I had to throw this one it simply because I love emotion in any image and I love how she is so obviously holding on to him trusting that he will not drop her. LOL or should I say praying he won’t. Hahahaha.

It was such a hot hot hot day when they got married. Here are her children (minus the little guy in white and blue) waiting for mom to come out of the temple just newly married. They were such troopers in their suits. Such sweet kids!

Her son opening the door for her and her new husband, Delbert, to come out.

It is tradition in LDS weddings for all those with a wedding party to get their pictures taken on the steps. Usually because that is where everyone can be accommodated and still be visible if they cooperate. Some groupings can be quite large while others just go themselves. This was a medium sized group.

This picture is my all time favorite, simply because of the LOVE! This is really what this family is and always has been like. The love is real… and there is nothing better than the emotion felt right there!

Each home came with 2 boys and 1 girl. How could I not get one with Daddy and Daughter and Momma and Daughter.

They were headed in to the temple to grab their clothing as everyone was headed towards their place of reception a couple hours away. Here they were waving goodbye to their children.

Mary and Delbert were married on Mary’s Mother and Father’s 40th wedding anniversary. The neat thing is that her grandparents anniversary is a day after theirs. Apparently, a few other uncles, aunts, and other family members have been married in the same week. Sort of a family tradition. I also believe that the ring happened to be Mary’s moms ring. Mary, feel free to correct me if I got anything wrong here.

Thank you both Mary and Delbert. Your day was such a special day and your lives are too. I hold you in my heart always and am grateful to have been there. Love you all!

Wakeena Redsky DeLaCruz ~ Native American High School Graduate

Friday, January 25th, 2013

I have had the honor and privilege of photographing this beautiful young woman in her cultural regalia for her high school senior portraits. To tell you about her I have asked her mother Kamimi Ogemahgeshig-Estavillo to write in her words their heritage and about the clothing in this photo shoot. Here are her words about her daughter Wakeena and Wakeena’s heritage:

“Wakeena Redsky DeLaCruz is Quinault and Squaxin from the Northwest coastal nations and Anishinabe from the Eastern woodlands region. Wakeena has participated in canoe journeys since a young girl on the canoe Haynisisoos, which was named after her Uncle Phillip Martin Sr. She skippered this canoe (pictured) for the first time on the last canoe journey to Squaxin Island. Wakeena’s regalia is representative of her coastal and Anishinaabe ancestry. The cape design consists of a winged Eagle (zaagi) which is her Anishinaabe family clan (dodem). The buttons on the robe are representative of Anishinaabe fire signs, the buttons on the tail wing represent the council of three fires, the buttons along the body represent seventh generation and the four in the heart of the Eagle represent balance consistent with the four directions. Wakeena actively participates in her coastal nations traditions through drum and dance group, and is now in preparation to start jingle dance from Anishinaabe which will also be shown in her senior pictures. These photos taken are consistent with who Wakeena is and the traditional values she has carried and exemplified through her life. Participating in canoe journeys, drum and dance, potlatch, and jingle dance are very important aspects of her life and these photos represent who she is as a young Native American woman.”

This particular photoshoot is a series of three or four different shoots I will be bringing to you. As mentioned Wakeena is now in preparation to start jingle dance from Anishinaabe. Her grandmother is currently working on her jingle dress. We have some other shoots in the works to bring that to you and a few other very special images as well.
These photo sessions are dear to my heart and that of my family because of my husband and our children being Northwest Coastal Natives as well. The regalia with the button blanket is something that we are very familiar with ~ something we hold dear to our hearts. The art is a part of our home too which you will see represented on the canoe. There is symbolism and legends to the art you see on the blankets, canoes, totems, long houses. As you can see from Kamimi’s words, even the buttons have meaning.  My husband often includes the legend to the art that he draws (which can be found at WilkeronArt.com). Culture is a huge part of our life, so bringing this to you is more that just a thrill of a life time, it is a sacred honor. Thank you Wakeena and Kamimi. Thank you to all those that also helped in putting this shoot together.

I will start out with the unloading of the canoe and the owner Phil Martin Sr. with his wife Lynnell Martin.

There were others there helping. I wish I had more images with everyone in it so you all have your proper thanks. My gratitude is with all of you!

We were at the Point Grenville beach (which is currently in the process of being renamed to a native name that holds significance to the Quinault tribe). This next image pictures Point Grenville behind Wakeena.

The button blanket in the images above is Wakeena’s. The button blanket below in the next few images is that of her sister, Tashia Sky Delacruz.

Here you can see Wakeena wearing a traditional Northwest Coast hand woven hat. The next image was done so that you can see the design of the front of the canoe as well. I love the look of the canoes from all the different tribes. Often you will see a similar piece on many canoes. It sometimes goes along with the name of the canoe, or the crest of the clan, or just a legend that speaks to the canoe maker or family. I felt the angle here not only showed it while capturing Wakeena very flatteringly, but it also gave you a better view of the different paddles. Some useful and others for design as you can see with the artwork.

Of coarse ~ I love to play with different lenses. My fisheye gives such a fun view on life and worked wonders here. The first image here is awesome because it has some of my equipment and Wakeena’s mother with 2 sisters. I see this and just love that we caught this moment. (I am weird that way – where I love the back behind the scenes shots hahaha.)

In this next image Tashia (Wakeena’s sister) if straitening the heirloom necklace for the following shot. At that moment her mother Kamimi told me that the necklace there is close to 150 years old or older and had been in their family this entire time.

The colors of the sky and the beach are ever changing. Wakeena out on the beach near sunset was no less than breathtakingly stunning. She was such a trooper and it has all paid off beautifully.

I am looking forward to the next few sets from our series to be brought to all of you! Please feel free to leave love on the blog.

Thank you again to all involved. This is not just one moment in time. This is historical. Looking forward to the years events that are coming up and am grateful that all of you have touched my life.

It started with my kiddos…

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Photography became serious because of my kiddos. I love and always have loved photography, but my kids are what helped me take it to the next level. I wanted great work of them on my walls and in books. So when I take time out to spotlight them, I don’t feel bad at all. My children are the reason I am able to do this all for you too. They are super sports willing to do anything for the perfect shoot.  ***I do not put my kids in danger, nor any of my clients. Everyone’s safety is my first priority*** Basically, the kids are willing to take their coats off and face the wind and chill to get the “look or shot”.
We live near a jetty that just adds a certain element to the beach shoots. I kept thinking – what a fantastic spot! I have to take my kiddos there. Christmas came and the kids received some awesome clothes – it was set! I had to take them there for pictures :)

Just before sharing the images I want to talk about clothes. People always ask me what to wear in a photo shoot. My suggestion is this… Matchy Matchy does not always work, but sometimes it does.  Sometimes I dress my girls alike and then my boys, but I mix it up slightly by having them in different colors than the other. So they don’t all have RED or all WHITE or all GREY. In the images below you will see that my boys all have 1/4 zip sweaters and the girls are in sweater dresses.  It worked out beautifully in my opinion.  I love that the sweater theme was the same, but the colors are mixed. I chose some colors that work really well with each other. Red, White, Black, Gray.  The boys all chose to wear the pants that they wanted. I think my oldest even chose to wear khaki’s LOL.  Usually I would say 3 or 5 main colors but a touch of white or cream  or black does not really count as a color all of the time.
In images words don’t always look great. Patterns are fine if you try to match it with a solid. If you don’t want anyone really matching like my kids do here – then choose Sunday dress, dress/casual, casual, PJ’s and then choose a set of colors…  Blue, Pink, Cream or Mustard, Gray, Black, with a touch of red or maroon.  Make sure that the colors are in the same family. You don’t want a Navy and a teal and an aqua blue.  Each blue is a different blue. Finding a color in the same tone is important. If you have to take a shirt with  you or a color swatch.

I am going to be posting some color ideas in the short future. I think  you will love the ideas. :)  Now some amazing picks of my babies.  Yes, I have mommy goggles. I know it and don’t care. You will see that each child has their own personality. Oh… and know that even my children (children of a photographer) are not easy to shoot. These kiddos made me WORK for these shots. LOL It is all part of being a kid and I love it!

You have to see this too. This was a highlight to our photo shoot. Look behind the kids in the water. There is a seal. Actually, there were 3 that kept bopping in and out of the water. The kids got a kick out of that.

I love to take pics of my kids looking at the camera of coarse because I love to see their faces… but the pics that thrill me are the ones that show their personalities or what I see on a daily basis. My one daughter is always in her own little world. She does not scream for the lime light ~ in fact, she is a quiet little soul most of the time. She is very difficult to photograph because I can rarely get eye contact from her. I don’t mind though because that is her. This next shot with her and her siblings happens to be a very favorite of mine.

When there are young kids I don’t like to mix the poses up very much. They are already out of their comfort zone with someone taking their pictures. Getting the shot is a big deal for these little guys. I do change things up though when I break into smaller groups or individual shots. It really all depends on the children and what they are telling me with how they respond to it all.  Actually, I find it is harder on the parents than the children LOL. Parents, even if your babies cry… it is ok. Your kids will never offend me. Crying is ok. Your caring for  your babies is ok. Never a need to apologize. In fact… those crying babies make for some cute pics too :) I have some arguing sisters in these next few pics that we totally get a kick out of here at home!

Funny thing is that we always tell them that one moment they are enemies and the next they are best friends. This was just one very small moment and we have it recorded for time. Hahaha. For the most part they are so good to each other. I like getting them in their element talking to each other or looking at the seals or watching their brothers. These are my daughters. They can look pretty at the camera… but it is all the other looks that as a mom mean something to me. As a photographer the different crops and angles are fun too.

My boys seriously crack me up! They each have such different personalities and are little goofballs. Samuel loves to cheese it up BIG time! LOL Edmond is a ham who loves to pose or be the center of  attention. The little man is definitely a youngest child. Jared is a young man. So responsible – but he does love attention too. He is not one for taking his picture so he does not always cooperate, but then he will let his personality shine. He is so awesome. Love that boy!

What is a photo shoot if each individual can’t shine for themselves? There is no way I could let these cuties dressed in their best get away without letting them each have their own moment. I usually ask where the child would like their pics or let them do their own thing while I go all paparazzi on them. This time Jared went and found a stick and was roaming around. Of coarse Samuel and Edmond had to pick up sticks too. Instead they were playing king of the mound LOL.  My girls were dancing, jumping, twirling in the wind. Nathanya is like a little dear bouncing and walking on air. Miriam loves to leap and just do her thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaang.

Anyone who knows Jared knows that this is him! I am glad I spend time with each child waiting for the real them to pop out. This is the one I look on and think… now that is my boy! The boy who thrives on the smiles, laughs, and attention. The other images are cool, fun, and something to be proud of but this one is the one that touches my heart strings!

Samuel disguises himself as serious then changes in a split of a second. He just makes me laugh as I literally watch his brain in motion in each shot.

Sir Edmond! He begs me to get the camera out and go take pictures of him. He cracks me up!

Nathanya was not in the mood for a photo shoot today which is not unusual. She was not angry. She was not cooperative either. She kept her hands right inside her sleeves to keep them warm. In an image it is not ideal to have the hands not showing, but this is the way she likes to walk around every day. She has no body fat so any extra warmth she will take. The images are not being added to a contest… these are for me and our family.  I love that she is being her.  When we look back on it we can say – remember how  you always…. We still got some very fun shots from her playing on her own.

This is how she travels normally. She almost walks on air.

Ok mom – I think this is old news now! LOL

And last but not least ~ although in birth order she is first, is our Miriam.  All I have to do is ask her to go do her thing… and she does.

There you have it… My kids in our little world.

 

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