Country Style Engagement Shoot: Alison & Evan, Sunol Regional Wilderness

Alison & Evan, a teacher and a police officer, are getting married this summer. They got engaged last summer and are now in the final weeks of preparation madness before their wedding. They took a break from the last minute details to join me for a fun country-style engagement shoot in the Sunol Regional Wilderness. 

Alison chose the location, a place she used to visit as a child, and had a definite style in mind. Our collaboration brought together their casual country style with this fun morning picnic under the shade of a magnificent oak tree. 

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Then we took a walk down to the creek. Ah, so refreshing! 

Being out in nature was lovely and all. But just for good measure, we all ended up with a bunch of mosquito bites by the end of the shoot, and Alison got a nice big sucker on her forehead! Nothing a little kiss from Evan and a touch of photoshopping by me couldn't fix!

Photography by Kept In Time Photography 

Venue Spotlight: Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club, American Canyon, Napa Valley

We'll be photographing a wedding late this summer at this great venue in American Canyon, Eagle Vines Vineyards & Golf Club. After booking the wedding I went to do some Internet research on the venue but didn't find a lot online. I recently made a trip up to check things out with the bride and her most important ladies. I had actually never been to the area before, but was pleasantly surprised at how close it is to the East Bay, and even more awed at how beautiful it is!

Behind the clubhouse, in the midst of views of green grass, rolling hills, and lush vineyards, they've got a great tent to hold your reception. There is a creek trickling by, a grassy open space where you can hold your ceremony, and vineyards just to the right. As you'll see below, the interior of the tent has a nice rustic vibe that can be customized to go along with your style. 

We had lunch in the clubhouse restaurant while we were there. The restaurant staff, as well as the event staff, were all extremely friendly and accommodating. See the bottom of this post for contact information.

There is a lot more to see around the grounds, but this was just a sneak peek. You'll have to check back to see the actual wedding photos some time in September!

After my visit, I am even more excited about coming back to photograph my lovely bride on her special day!

If your looking for a Napa style wedding venue I encourage you to check this place out!

Venue website: https://www.eaglevinesgolfclub.com/events_news/

Wedding & Social Events Manager: Alisa Hartman - ahartman@eaglevinesgolfclub.com

Photo Shoots with Active Children: Let Their Personalities Shine

We all love to see those wide, bright smiles from our children. The smiles where you can see the joy in their eyes. We love capturing the natural expressions of childhood. 

Sticks, rocks, dirt. This is what I'll remember about this guy at this age. My little nature boy. 

Sticks, rocks, dirt. This is what I'll remember about this guy at this age. My little nature boy. 

Recently I took two of my boys, ages 10 months and 9 years, to the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden to explore and get some fun shots of them. My 9 year old was well aware that I wanted to take photos while we were there and he was okay with that. He even helped me pick out outfits for both him and his brother the day before. 

This boy is such a trooper. Besides always being willing to help me and help with his little brother, he had a busted lip from a sports injury the day before, but still put on his best smile for some pictures. 

This boy is such a trooper. Besides always being willing to help me and help with his little brother, he had a busted lip from a sports injury the day before, but still put on his best smile for some pictures. 

But going through this with my boys always help me remember what my clients likely go through as they are preparing to come to me for a photo shoot. So I figured I would put some things out there that I think would be helpful to my clients with children as they prepare for a photo shoot. 

First, don't expect them to be excited about getting their pictures taken. Some children do get excited about it. But for many, sitting in front of a camera and being asked to smile until their cheeks are sore is not their idea of fun. (Don't worry - our goal is to make the shoots an enjoyable experience for all.)

Checking out the scene, trying to decide what to climb on first. 

Checking out the scene, trying to decide what to climb on first. 

As you're preparing for our session, don't focus on the idea that we're doing a photo shoot. You're even welcome to introduce us to the kids as friends who happen to like to take pictures.  Focus on the location we'll be visiting and the people you are with. We'll work on getting everyone focused when the time is right. 

Rocks. This boy - always with rocks. 

Rocks. This boy - always with rocks. 

Next thing: Keep in mind the location we'll be shooting at. There is a reason we chose it. Probably because it is a beautiful place, and possibly because there is some sentimental attachment to the location as well. So I'm never surprised when children want to explore. We love it. We encourage it. And we'll do our best to capture it as they move through the world with wonder and awe.

Traditionally, family portraits have often been heavily posed and smiles are forced. If you have to say "cheese" we might not see the sparkle in the eyes that we typically associate with true joy. Don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with posed shots. But don't forget who you're there with. Your family. Loved ones. The ones you cherish the most. Appreciate their presence. Feel that love. And let that shine through. 

Two peas in a pod. Love these two with all my heart. I'm sure you feel the same about yours. 

Two peas in a pod. Love these two with all my heart. I'm sure you feel the same about yours. 

A couple of additional tips to keep in mind with kids (and anyone else for that matter):

  • Bring a light snack along, and make sure that everyone is comfortably fed before the shoot. Hungry leads to grumpy, and grumpy faces don't usually make the best photos. 
  • Be well rested, as much as possible. 
  • Stay hydrated. Your eyes will be brighter, your skin will be clearer, and you'll feel better. 
  • Avoid colored juices or candies that might stain clothes, lips, or tongues. 
  • Bring an extra change of clothes, just in case. 
  • Relax and enjoy the environment and the experience. 
That's my boy. Naturally.

That's my boy. Naturally.

Just The Ladies: Jaquie & Her Girls Getting Ready

Gifts from the bride to her bridesmaids.

Gifts from the bride to her bridesmaids.

Lucky you! Here is a chance to get a sneak peek behind the scenes as Jaquie and her best ladies get ready for Jaquie's big day!

The ring on the dress. Love the sparkle and those ruffles.

The ring on the dress. Love the sparkle and those ruffles.

Mommy & daughter shoes.

Mommy & daughter shoes.

The lovely bridesmaids. Raquel, Amelia, Stephanie, Norma, Maggie, & Mayra.

The lovely bridesmaids. Raquel, Amelia, Stephanie, Norma, Maggie, & Mayra.

Final touches.

Final touches.

Flower girls.

Flower girls.

Jaylah

Jaylah

Makeup by Nubia @nubianbeautyonline / Nubianbeauty@Ymail.com

Flowers by Elma's Catering and Events / @elmascatering / www.elmascateringandevents.com

Dress by Alfred Angelo

Photography by Kept In Time Photography / @keptintime

 

Jaquie & Jorge's Wedding

Portraits at Gamble Garden in Palo Alto

Portraits at Gamble Garden in Palo Alto

I have known Jaquie since she was in 10th grade. From a girl with an attitude in high school to a woman who demonstrates a kind heart and loving spirit, it is so wonderful to see what an amazing woman she has become! I'm so glad that Jaquie has found her life partner who loves and appreciates her for all that she is. Jaquie knew the first time she met Jorge that he was the one for her. In this world of chaos and unpredictability, I guess sometimes we just get things right, and Jaquie and Jorge sure did! 

Surrounded by family and friends at St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto

Surrounded by family and friends at St. Francis of Assisi Church in East Palo Alto

It was obvious on their wedding day that part of the strong bond they share comes from their love and closeness with their own families. There were quite a few special elements to their day, not the least of which was Jaquie walking down the aisle and having her first dance with her father who is recovering from a stroke that had him in the hospital and rehabilitation for the past couple of months. They weren't sure what state of health he would be in for the wedding, so sharing those special moments were so meaningful to them.

Jaquie and her father share their first dance. Reception at Arrillaga Family Recreation Center in Menlo Park. 

Jaquie and her father share their first dance. Reception at Arrillaga Family Recreation Center in Menlo Park. 

And while we're talking about family, we have to talk about Jaquie and Jorge's sweet and silly children, Jaylah and Jullian. We did a family photoshoot with them a couple of years back and I just couldn't get over how tender they were with each other. Jullian, the big brother, seemed so protective and caring for his little sister. And Jaylah sure looks up to her bigger brother. Their sweet little personalities are a testament to the good nature of their parents.

Jaquie's gorgeous dress with Jaylah's sweet flower girl dress

Jaquie's gorgeous dress with Jaylah's sweet flower girl dress

Needless to say, Shannon and I felt privileged that Jaquie and Jorge trusted and chose us to capture the special moments on their big day. And that they continue to come back to us to continue to capture their family through time. Guys, we'll be here for your next adventures, which I hope include more adorable babies!...