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

Tag: ‘Family’



Are they Pictures or Stories?

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Something often said to me is – “Your pictures are more than pictures! I can feel the emotion behind them.” Admittedly, that is such a flattering comment. However, I often feel like I am in a rut. Like my work needs to evolve into something more. Why? I am an artist and we are always overly critical of our own selves or striving to be that much better. Sure, I can fall on that – but I think I have since found the answer to my own question. Are my pictures just pretty pictures? Or is there truly something special about them?

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My approach to this has been from an emotional starting point. From a rough childhood to life as I know it now, my view on life has been a positive one, even during the darkest times. I think it was my need for beauty and peace that allowed me to look at life the way I do. In fact, I strive to bring what I see to the world through my work.

One day while looking through images, I ran across the work of Morgana Creely of Image Cinematic
Morgana’s style was nothing like mine, yet I was very drawn to it. So much so that I decided to take her 13 week course to see how her mind works. How are her images so profound in my mind? Along with many other artists. She helped open my mind to a new way of thinking. She thinks in Stories! My big profound moment came while looking at this image of hers:

A glass of pills sitting on a table

Can you believe an Ah-ha moment would come from an image as un complex as this? I looked at it over and over. The image was so simple. But what would the point of such a simple image be to me? That was when I realized that I take pretty pictures. Sure, some have a story but my mindset has always been about bringing the beauty before me forth. Allowing each person who see the work to enjoy in the beauty and peace that was before me. Nothing wrong with that except I yearned to be a Artist capable of telling a story through my work. Maybe stir emotion in someone?!

Goodstory PhotographyRecipe

Morgana hit the nail on the head for me which spun me into a search for some good resources and information that I am bringing to you. Thank you for helping me evolve Morgana!

Now before I move on I would like to bring you the definition of Perception. In art, a piece can evoke different emotions that are as vast as there are colors or numbers.

Perception
noun
1. the act or faculty of perceiving, or apprehending by means of the senses or of the mind; cognition; understanding.
2. immediate or intuitive recognition or appreciation, as of moral, psychological, or aesthetic qualities; insight; intuition; discernment: an artist of rare perception.
3. the result or product of perceiving, as distinguished from the act of perceiving; percept.
4. Psychology. a single unified awareness derived from sensory processes while a stimulus is present.

5. Law. the taking into possession of rents, crops, profits, etc.”

An artist plays with a person’s perception. Artist are often attacked on the precept of being irresponsible in their deliverance of their piece. Running a large group of almost 93,000 members and growing, we often run across huge debates brought about by how the process is perceived. For instance, A small boy was near a body of water. The artist had edited the image so the mother standing right behind said boy was not seen. The angle of the shot gave you the illusion that the water was deep and possibly dangerous. The artist was given the third degree, even when he explained that all precautions were made to protect that child.

People often do not see or understand the process that is taken by Professional Photographers and artists. When working with a client we have to take into consideration not only our vision, but the safety of the people we are working with. Many do not see that the processing is one place where we could delete additional people or, in some cases, the image is put together by multiple pieces of photography to come up with a creative image. That last one is ones imagination being pieced together through the use of today’s technology.  Then there are other things such as the angle an image is shot to alter ones view or perception of depth, size, and even lighting perspective.

The Chase

 

Tracy Williams is a Fine Art Photographer and Digital Artist. I am often mesmerized by her work. I am grateful to her for letting me use this image for this blog post about Story Telling. All of her work is, simply put, a great example of story telling. Just like a great Author, Tracy is able to tell her story through her imagery. In this particular piece, my heart beats fast because the light coming from the right of the image (you can tell it comes from the right because it is brighter from that side and fades as it cascades over the boys back) is headed straight for the young boy running away from it. You could say – JUMP! But then you see the water below and the distance from the bridge is higher than the boy is tall. To make matters worse, it is dark! The details are not entirely perfect as it would not be at night time. All the mind want to say is Run boy! Run!All the pieces placed together melted into an entire story in my mind. I want to know what the heck that boy was doing on the bridge in the middle of the night in the first place! I want to know if he made it! I want to know where his mother and father are! Tracy Williams is one I would consider a true artist and master story teller!

 

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© Mark S. Johnson Photography
www.msjphotography.com

 

Mark is another great artist that is able to bring images together in such a way that is tells a story. What I love about much of his work is the bright happy feel that he paints by his use of brilliant colors. He takes the different pieces, plays with light and color while spinning his story. I could sit all day and stare at this image, but then I want to go pick up a book after seeing this too. His ability to portray that message is definitely that strong. Easy to say that his work holds much of what dreams are made of. That is what story telling is about! Being able to suggest that the story spilled from the pages of the book, then walla! Here it is before you to behold.
Details! Details! Details! Would it have been as strong of an image without the butterfly? Without the balloon? What about the colors? And the light?!I see Mark’s work here and there and I always know it is his. It is filled with fun imagination and happy thoughts. Helping to bring me to a very good place. He also is great at making the impossible seem like the norm, or at least it should be!

 

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Mark S. Johnson is a Photoshop luminary, a longtime contributor to the KelbyOne and Planet Photoshop sites, a member of Dewitt Jones’ Healing Images campaign, and a Trey Ratcliff Flatbooks author. Mark’s site, www.msjphotography.com, is overflowing with enlightening tutorials and limitless inspiration.

 

It is very hard to not feel inspiration from such artist surrounding me. Not everyone finds inspiration at the tips of their fingers. I looked around and realized that inspiration is not always happy. There are stories everywhere you look!

 

1. How are you going to find inspiration in a way that portrays you?
2. How you feel?
3. What you see?
4. Where you have been?

 

I am often awed by John Mitchell, in a very different way. He is quite profound in his way of depicting life. Much of his art is dark in nature. That does not lesson the intensity of his work, because his work is just that! Intense. Thought provoking. Some of my favorite pieces from him include a poem or story, but do not require it, because the subject is deep.

 

AntigonishAntigonish by John Mitchell

 

John’s work uses light in such a way that shadows are lurking everywhere. His poses are menacing, uncomfortable, frightened, or depressing. I also see the blues in many of his pieces. Is the blue to give you a sense of night, cold, unfeeling? It is strange to say this is intriguing, but I am in a state of mind that, if everything was beautiful you could not really understand how beautiful it really is because you would not have anything to compare it to. In life, there are some truly dark and depressing aspects that cannot be ignored. And should it? Maybe it is not for you. Is it possible that it is a cry for help form the artist? Is it a memory? Is it what he pictures as a consequence to some action? Or is it that he is simply looking at life from a different perspective? Either way, there is a story.

 

Imagery can tell so many stories. Babies, Fairies, Rainbows are all so nice – but issues sometimes need to be addressed. Sometimes the way it is addressed is not so obvious and other times it is quite blatant, shocking even. As a survivor of incest an rape, I am a strong advocate for survivors! I have found that some abuses are overlooked though. Sometimes we need someone to bring to light that truth in a shocking manner, in a way that makes you stop and think! This next artist went to the top of my list with this particular series. I am only going to show 2 of the images, but will provide you a link to his work so you can peruse the series in it’s entirety.

 

Weapon of Choice by Richard Johnson of SpectaclePhoto.com

 

Weapon of Choiceby Richard Johnson of SpectaclePhoto.com

 

If you cannot tell by the imagery alone, Words Hurt! We often look at the bruises because what we see is the easy thing to spot, but then we do not always look at the hurtful less obvious situations such as neglect and verbal abuse. The imagery is profound and spot on. When this series was released, I literally cried as I carefully thumbed through each image. It’s affect on my emotions may not be the same for you, but it spoke to many who have seen it. That is the thing about photography though. Not everyone will be affected in the same manner or for the same reason. What I find touching may come across as, touching, annoying, frustrating, spectacular to a handful of others. In story telling, that is how it goes. It is also the reason there are different ratings for movies. If you have 100 people all in one room – not all of them will like the same sort of movie as the others in that room. The same holds true to photos, and art.

 

Here are some different ways to help you find inspiration:
1. Go for a walk in nature
2. Meditate
3. Go to the zoo – Take time to watch the people around you
4. Attend an opera or ballet
5. walk into a costume store
6. Look through abandoned areas (Ghost town, Old industrial, Old section of town)
7. Find some magazines of different genres and read them
8. Have a movie a thon
9. Write in a journal
10. Go take some pictures, practice, play, try

 

Vanille                                                                                                       Jay Kreens Photography

 

Jay Kreen is know for his beautiful pictures of women with flawless skin and the sensuality they exude in just one movement or look.  I love how Jay will use light and aperture to draw a person to look at what he wants you to look at. Her eyes, her body, her setting.
There have been several images of his that really draw me in as quite a story telling type of piece. This particular one  being one of them. There is hardly anything to the story by way of props. What do we have here? The setting, as perceived through my mind, may be a bed with a very plush blanket. To me the plush blanket gives a feeling of comfort and safety. She is not fully dressed, but is not concerned. Is it because she is alone? What is she thinking? Is she dreaming? Is she thinking of the past or future? Is she happy? Is she content?
Story telling does not have to have all the bells and whistles, it just needs enough to tell the story you are trying to share.

 

What are the best ways for you to share your story?
Do you find you are drawn in by color? Or the lack of? Are you drawn in by emotion? Extreme or just whimsical? Do you like to bring contrast to the world? How are you going to do that? Is lighting a factor in the images you like or want to create, or the lack of light? Do you like it all to be in focus or do you want to draw the attention to one focal point? Photography does not begin and end in that moment when you hit the shutter. The possibilities are endless.

 mitova2png                                                                                                            Annie Mitova

The moment I saw Annie Mitova’s work it seemed to draw me into another world. The childhood I only ever dreamed of. The one where there was innocence and happiness. The colors drew me in to the fantasy, the costumes into another era, the textures of the clothing assist with the frilly, romantic feel of the setting. In the image above my first thoughts were of first hints of love and friendship. The connection and reaction the children have with each other both adding to the story being told.

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One aspect I have not spoken about much that Annie is great at implementing is movement. In my own work that too has been a favorite to include. She does it flawlessly. In this particular image the setting lets you know that the child is in the middle of a dance. The child’s clothing builds upon that particular belief: her costume looks like a ballerina’s with feathers and tulle (lots of flowing tulle!) The flowing tulle not being fully in focus help with depth of field. The focus on the child’s face along with the lighting makes you feel like she was captured mid movement while recalling her next move…

 mitova1facebook                                                                                                           Annie Mitova

 

Textures are often used in story telling and can be found in the fabric, in the environment, in the way one edits. Being able to combine textures successfully to convey a setting and capture the look desired is essential. I remember as a child, having stories read to me and looking ahead to the images just to see if the image on the next page matched what the story was spelling out.  Often those images would allow my mind to race a head to what may or may not happen in the following pages. Much like the winter scene that Annie Created just here.

 

Subject matter is vital when contemplating the story being told. Is your story telling better achieved with children? Or do you find that your stories are centered primarily around adults? There are those that can set everything up around animals. Maybe humanizing them through the settings they are shot to draw in the very real human aspect to the emotion conveyed? One person who did that so well and built an entire business off the concept was Walt Disney. His ability to think up very human scenarios played out in cartoon by animal characters with human attributes. Another favorite of my own children is Anne Geddes and the worlds she created in her work with babies. Her images captivate many. And although some find her great – others are horrified. She definitely had her own vision which did bring on a spectrum of different emotions. My children and I, however, really enjoy her images and often contemplate what the story must have been to have her build upon it to create such images.

 

This next artist I have the pleasure of introducing you to hit so many keys of emotion in his work for me. The subjects can be from children to adult while the topics he presents range vastly. What is so riveting about his work, in my minds eye, is that the stories are raw, real, and sincere. His work is displayed much like emotions. Emotions range or vary considerably, much like his work.  I love how his lighting, color, and composition, and set detail dance together to create a spectacular piece.

 

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                                                                                                     Adrian McDonald

 

The first time I viewed this particular image, it caught my breath. Some artist will create what they are inspired to create then are surprised to see the reaction that was provoked by it.  Really, everyone needs to realize that if an artist is able to bring on strong emotions out of people, then they have definitely found the right key. Maybe not the viewer’s desired key, nonetheless a key that raised a certain level of awareness, awe, and thought. My particular story was mine. I only wished my little brother would have had someone rescue him back in the year 2000. Instead, we are now 15 years without my brother here to share our lives together.  I still long to see my little brother’s face and even the man’s face here. I want to look in both their eyes and say “I love you! Can’t that be enough?!” And yes, I am typing this with tears running down my face.

 

That is my story. What story in your life did this image trigger to come to surface?
In my mind and heart, Adrian McDonald is an absolute Master of his craft! He not only makes me bawl like a baby, but as mentioned earlier, he can then make my heart swell with happiness as he did here:

 

bubbleweb                                                                                                         Adrian McDonald

 

The simplicity, the expression, the innocence. As I said, a master of capturing and captivating.
I have often been told that looking at an image alone cannot teach you anything. I have also been told that artists should be willing to spill all their secrets in how they create what they do. Something that is said repeatedly. The part that people are not getting is that these images are all so very telling. Let’s review what you have seen in these images. I will then share what all of these and other artists inspired within me.1- You can decide to either shoot a pretty picture OR take it the extra step and tell a story with it.
2 – You can use more than one way artistically to create your story. You can set up the scenery before you, OR you can piece it together and complete it in post processing.
3 – You can decide if you want to reach a very wide audience by shooting across a spectrum of ages from young to old OR you can hone in on a specific age range, OR even not use people for your story telling.
4 – You can choose to shoot in a Dark Setting OR Light setting.
5 – You can choose to use color to help tell your story (such as Warm or Cool) OR not use color as part of the story process.
6 – You can choose texture and how it plays in your image OR you can choose motion.
7 – You can choose to Shock and Wow OR you can be more subtle in your story telling.
8 – You can go and look for things that interest you, intrigue you, move you OR you can draw on life’s experiences.
9 – You can go about this on your own OR make it a group effort.

 

There has been a turn in my work since thinking all of this through. In my last blog I have addressed this. What I will say about it is that this has turned into a Family Thing. That is what works for me. What works for you? Either way, take time to study the artists around you. Take a moment and look at the ones I have shared with you here. I promise that you can learn by looking. But I also know that many are willing to help and share. Some teach courses, while others will answer questions. Either way, in my mind, their contribution to the world of art is very much appreciated. To see my latest growth from pretty pictures to themed or story telling images please check out that last blog It’s a Family Thing

 

Check back regularly for Introductions to Artists, Tips, and Great images! Thank you
CJ Wilkes (Cindy)

 

                                                                                                         

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!

 

 

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.

10×10 Hinged Reception Book with Photo Cover

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Albums come in many sizes. That includes and is not limited to the hinged books. The hinged books are a wonderful alternative to the more costly flush mount albums. It is simple, the design is less complex making it much more affordable. The pages are thinner but not as thin as a regular paper book. The pages are a very durable card stock quality. The finish is gorgeous & the pages do lay flat.

This particular book is a 10 x 10 size. As mentioned – these can come in many sizes, however, I do not recommend going much bigger than this. The pages are thinner and not as durable as you would find with a flush mount album. If you are going larger you really should consider the sturdier album. The smaller books work beautifully as a hinged album. They are great at receptions for your guests to look through, for family albums, for  high school seniors, for birthing books. They are also nice because they do not take up much room in a bookshelf.

This album has a beautiful photo cover. When  you open the album it opens to a blank page to protect the actual album. It gives it a very polished look as well.

The pages start on the right with this album. I do have albums in the flushed mount options that offer starting on the left. It is all about preference. With the hinged books though, you will be starting on the right.

The pages for this album came with a pearl finish. It is one of my favorites for sure, but we do offer it in a luster or watercolor finish. Both gorgeous options as well.

I love the hinged albums we use. The quality is wonderful and they truly lay flat.

The hinge and the spine are not just functional – they look amazing. I often use the word polished, it is because that is what I look for in a product. I look for a polished, great quality, great look, professional product for my customers. Something that I trust and would use in my home too.

When you are thinking of a session with me you can be assured that you will not only get amazing images to treasure, but that I will have many options for you to choose from for show casing you and your photos from your session. I promise that your options are not just options, but the best there is to offer in the market. You will be so proud to display these in your home as your friends and family oooo and aaaaa over them :)

Thanks for checking us out!

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.

New Additions & Family Traditions

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Four years ago I became a photographer for this lovely family when their first precious bundle joined the world.  They invited me into their home and we spent a few hours capturing some sweet moments.  Each December (or around that period) I have the pleasure of taking their family pictures.  This year was an extra treat though because Baby Liv arrived and this was her time to shine!  When we took these she was 6 weeks old.  This is not a typical “newborn” photo shoot.  The Newborn is considered from birth to 2.5 weeks.  That is when the sleep heavily.  It can also go up to 4 weeks depending on the baby.  Liv here is such a pleasant happy baby which made it very nice and easy.  We were able to capture some sleeping time and rested periods.  Not all babies are as cooperative at this age.  Just a note to those who are considering a future Newborn Session.  I will let you now enjoy some family and baby moments here.

 

 

 

She is so so so adorable!  Hope you have enjoyed as much as I have.

Another Year ~ Children

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Each year children get their pictures at school.  Why do we do this?  Well, it marks a mile marker in life.  The progress is documented.  I love to see the images and the faces, but feel that time and effort should be made so that the images are not just ones placed in a book and used for blackmail.  Why not have images that the children would be proud of and that you would want to have displayed in your home.  These are special moments in their lives – ones they should be able to cherish.

This sweet family invited me to take their pictures in their back yard.  It was great and they were adorable.

There is nothing cuter than a little child who is proud of having lost their teeth.  LOL  Thank you for this special moment that I had the chance to share with your family D&J!

 

 

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