When I was younger, probably somewhere in that obnoxious petulant early teenage stage, I remember indignantly lamenting to my mom about all the annoying noise some younger kids nearby were making.

I don’t remember where we were or what we were doing that day.  I don’t even recall if these were strangers in public or my own younger siblings at home. I could, really, see it going either way.

What I do remember is her looking me straight in the eye, and with a smirk infused smile and subtle laugh, explaining to me that THIS was HAPPY NOISE and something to be treasured, not annoyed with.  It seemed nothing short of insane to me at the time but I get it now.

As I write this and try to recall more about that childhood conversation I strongly suspect it was my younger siblings I was annoyed with that day – likely playing happily, albeit loudly, in the background of whatever book held my nose that day…but either way it was one of those valuable lessons I’ve taken with me throughout life.  It’s saved my sanity in plenty of doctor’s offices and on long plane rides…and taught me to look at kids with a sense of wonder and let them enthrall me with their curiosity and share in their joyous take on the world and not let a break in the silence of sophisticated adulthood bother me.

With five little ones wanting mom’s attention our video chat to plan out this session was full of this happy noise and while a little chaotic – it left me smiling and thinking about that conversation with my mom so many years ago and looking forward to our in person adventures.

As I told Kim in my initial response to her submission– she had me at wanting pictures of “us having fun, being silly and getting messy.”  Between the buckets of popcorn tossed in the air and decorating doughnuts with candy and playing with Legos and swinging around with Daddy and snuggling with Mom…I think we got all of those bases covered.  And then some.

It’s true that I didn’t know quite what to expect starting this project.  I knew the applications made me cry multiple times and left me wishing I could photograph everyone who wrote to me.

I knew they left my heart full and my mind inspired but I also recognized it’s a different challenge taking words on a page and turning them into real activities, real moments, and real emotions.

And art.

Driving to Kim’s house I was excited to see our ideas come to life but still a little unsure how it would all play out.  When I arrived I felt this overwhelming sense of love and kindness the instant I walked through the front door that I think will stick with me forever.  When I have kids, I kept thinking, I want to be like these parents and be surrounded by such amazing “happy noise”.

The laughter and energy was infectious, the curiosity mesmerizing, and I couldn’t help but pick up a camera and jump right in.

Not since photographing my last wedding reception did taking pictures cause a song to get stuck in my head quite the way it did with this session.  Most impressive to me is that the song wasn’t even played that day…just the words seemed like a soundtrack summary of life in this house with this family.  And, please, someone queue the corn and the cheese because it’s about as sappy as it gets but the truth is it was such a powerful feeling a week later it was still in my head.  It’s faded a bit now but pops right back on every time I glance at these images or think of that morning there is Elton John asking me if I can feel the love.  Yes, Sir, I can; and I hope by looking at these images you can, too.

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First, I have to say, reading the applications for this project really made me feel wonderful about our great little community of professional photographers. Such kind and loving people and I’m almost as excited to see the projects they take on as much as I am to see how my own images come to life.

I was so overwhelmed with the response and moved to tears more times than I can count. My mom would, undoubtedly, be proud and full of joy to see so many people want to be in front of my camera and touched by the kindness that these sessions will spread.

I so very much wish I could choose everyone. Really. In fact I ended up selecting 16 instead of 10 and wish I had time for the others. If you were not selected I have you on a waiting list in case anybody drops out of the project or more time in my life opens up. I am trying so hard this year not to overextend myself so I will get through these initial 16 before considering more. A few who were selected have offered to help get sessions to some of those people on the wait list so stay tuned if you’re not listed below.

Kerry @ www.kerrybphotography.com

Lorraine @ http://www.lorrainemarie.com

Hannah @ www.hannahnielsen.com

Jennifer @ http://www.jenniferwilcoxphotography.com/

Sarah @ www.sarahsweetman.com

Genesa @ www.genesarichardsphotography.com

Danielle @ www.duttaphotography.com

Rikki @ www.rikkirivera.com

Laura @ www.wallflowerphoto.com / www.bumpandbambino.com

Heidi @ www.wishfulthinkingphotography.com

Katrina @ www.kamburgeyphotography.com/blog

Juli @ www.bonellphotography.com

Kim @ Www.handinhandphotography.com

Christine @ www.christinedavidphotography.com

Brea @ www.breabursch.com

Ann @ Groundsphotography.zenfolio.comm

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I have such beautiful pictures with my mom at our impromptu hospital wedding last May and together virtually via Skype for our Hawaii wedding a week later and they really do mean the world to me.  In the few weeks between our Hawaii wedding and my mom’s passing I spent more nights sleeping in a hospital chair than I did at home and had some of the most important and meaningful conversations and moments of my life thus far.

And yet in all the pictures that were taken I wasn’t in a single one of them.  Occupational hazard I suppose.

I was, however, wise enough to hire amazing artists to document my weddings with still photography and video so it’s not exactly sad.  (Another occupational hazard perhaps…)

I feel like I still have plenty from that fleeting time – but it’s made me keenly aware to be in pictures more from here on out – and inspired me to take on this latest project.

Simply stated: life is too short to hide behind the camera.

As my first motherless/parentless Mother’s Day approached I thought a lot about how to celebrate my mom and attempt to fill some of the void left behind after she passed away last June.  I decided that the best way to honor her this year is to set aside some of the time I would normally be spending with her this spring and summer and use it to spread joy to others around me.  And after some serious soul searching I decided the best way to do that is to document the low key every day moments of the lives of several photographers in the area as they hang out with their families.

And so I am gifting (Photographer) Family Life Portrait Sessions to ten local colleagues.

These are lifestyle, photojournalistic sessions with minimal posing and maximum playing.  We’ll work together to create casual, relaxed, unscripted images of you hanging out at home or playing in pretty places with the ones you love most.

Sessions are untimed but will generally last 30-90 minutes.

15-20 edited digital files included.

RAW files of the extras available for those who won’t embarrass me with Photoshop tricks. 🙂

Priority given to those who can complete sessions by July 15.

Local Western Washington/Puget Sound area photographers only, please.  Travel beyond the greater Seattle/Eastside area will be considered on a case by case basis but you’re always welcome to come to one of the many beautiful locations I’ve found here in Kirkland.  🙂


To participate you must:

Be a professional photographer.  To me this means at the very least being registered with the Department of Revenue, collecting and delivering sales tax as applicable, and having focused, properly exposed images on a functional website.

Sign the usual model releases.

Get your date and a backup date on the calendar by May 27 and ideally have your session completed by July 15.  My availability after this point is minimal and not guaranteed.

Set up a Google Hangout/Skype date to collaborate and plan your session by May 27 to be completed before your session.

Set up a Google Hangout/Skype date to preview your images by May 27 to be completed by July 25.

Agree to pay it forward by spending 5-10 hours making the world a better place this summer and posting/sending me a few snapshots of your project.  An obvious choice would be to gift a session to another photographer but I’m flexible if you have other ideas.  Just promise me it’s something beyond what you do already as I want this gift to grow into other gifts and spread as much new joy as possible.  J

If you’re interested in participating apply by May 22nd  at


Families will be selected and notified by May 23, announced on the blog at the end of May, and featured throughout the summer and fall.




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