When I mentioned earlier this spring that we were planning a trip to Santa Cruz where Ben spent many years growing up, and we honeymooned away our first year of married bliss :), friends Annie and Lynn started working with me to organize a parent photography workshop. Lynn also asked if I might be up for a family photo session and if I was, she'd ask for a session for her birthday. Yes! The workshop was hosted in Lynn's gorgeous home, and they had facilitated a super group as well as provided a table full of lovely brunchy goodness. I had a wonderful time with that group and as usual, talked way on beyond my time frame. Before we started I prowled through her home with the kids, inspecting their rooms, meeting Grant's lizard, and looking at the lovely walls. It's always interesting to see homes and to see what is valued. I was taken with the photo galleries and this awesome art on the wall.

Isn't it perfect?

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I was so glad that Lynn wanted me to photograph those three best ones with the Mommy and Daddy who love them around the world and forever and a day. What a treat for me!

Annie drove me to Wilder Ranch State Park and I loved having the chance to visit with her. She was along to help her best friend and family and to second shoot with me. So awesome. Lynn, Mark, and the kids rolled up in the minivan with their crew. Lynn laughed and said that the prep for the photo shoot had been a little hairy, like getting ready for a wedding. She said they'd regrouped in the van when she told them that no matter how crazy it had been before, now was the time to be very loving because it was Mom's birthday present!!!

They were on it. Truly, photographing family relationships is one of my very favorite things in the world. My favorite way to shoot is how I want my own family to be photographed, showing the connections and relationships, with real expressions. Lynn and Mark set a great tone and were easygoing and fun and in turn their kids were awesome.

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Sometimes to warm the kids up, I have them coach mom and dad in how to act natural or to kiss which often has them laughing for real. The light was absolutely perfect this night.

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Sweet Paige is a honey sunshine. She has a smile that lights up her beautiful face.

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I wrote on Facebook last night that sometimes I go between laughing and having tears in my eyes when I edit. This sweet face being loved by her mama just filled my heart up.

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Claire is a smart cookie, very articulate and a whole lot of fun.

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She's a real cuddlebug too.

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Grant had the crazy goat wanting to get into his shot. He's a strong adventurer and a good time.

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There's just nothing quite like a good dad. Mark's leadership and tender heart for his family is a blessing to see.

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With families we just have to play to keep things moving and fun. We tried making some faces to correspond with the word I gave them.

Shocked!!

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Exhausted!!

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Happy!!

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Love.

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Totally laughed at Grant's face. To much huggy kissy for the eight-year-old boy.

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A family tickle.

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Annie was so lovely to have along and because she knows them all so very well, she just eased them into being exactly where they needed to be at just the right times. It was so fun to take a couple good pictures of these friends who love each other like sisters.

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Grant's face again {smile}. Love it!

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It's amazing to see how beautifully God can put families together and how each one fits just right. Lynn, I am so very blessed with this opportunity and I hope you are happy with your birthday present.

Much love.

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