Tag Archives: Family

Rafael: The Real Life Superman

The Palacios family came into my life for a Give Back Session in the early Fall of 2018 and I am so incredibly grateful to have met them and captured a small part of their journey.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyWhen Jackie first reach out, we spoke candidly about the fact that her strong, hard working, smart, loving husband had just been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. She explained that all the members of their family were scrambling to wrap their minds around it, but that one thing was certain: they wanted to take photos with the entire family right now to commemorate their tight knit bond before treatment started, “just in case”. When someone says “just in case” in a conversation like this, you don’t even have to think. You hold back the tears stinging your own eyes and say, “absolutely I can fit you in, are you free Saturday morning?”.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-family

When we met that morning I was blown away by the smiling and laughing faces before me. There was no moping and no sadness, just endless love and appreciation for their patriarch and everything he’s done for their family. Jackie and Raphael have 4 amazing kids and a whole gaggle of adorable grand kids. He was very recently blessed with an additional granddaughter that he was able to meet and enjoy. I relished the experience of seeing Raphael interact and draw strength from all the joy he was surrounded by. He was definitely a fighter, and his whole family would be the team he needed to get him through this. They constantly assured me they’d be right there with him every step of the way. View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyIt came as no surprise to me that Rafael is affectionately nicknamed “Superman” by many of his friends and family. Even before his diagnosis he was working out, giving back to his community, and overall living life to the fullest. It is with a heavy heart and tremendous sadness to have learned of his passing over the past weekend. He was in hospice at home, surrounded by his beautiful family, and I know he felt loved and treasured in his last moments with them.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-familyIn hindsight, the nickname Superman seems to have come with a purpose; to be a reminder of his strength in all of life’s challenges. Rafael was Superman and Superdad and no one will ever forget that. If you’re wondering what you can do to celebrate Rafael’s life, take some time to give to The American Cancer Society and/or attend their fundraiser, Relay for Life, this coming Saturday. Please also send all of our thoughts and love to the Palacios family during this incredibly difficult time. Rest in Peace Superman.View More: https://katherineelysephotography.pass.us/super-family

Sarah, Ryan, & Baby Jackson

A little over a year ago I was sitting in my apartment crying with absolute joy as Sarah and Ryan sent me photo after photos of their perfect little rainbow baby Jackson. He was such a long time coming and instantly SO loved. I’ve never seen a happier couple than them on that day.

This summer, our little cuddle bunny celebrates turning one year old. No one-year birthday would be complete without ALL the Disney toys, tons of family snuggles, and (of course) a whole cake for the king himself.

We all just love you to bits Jackson! Thank you for the hugs and snuggs during our session and for making your mama and daddy’s life so very complete. You were worth the wait. 




Sometimes life throws us curveballs we struggle to understand. Karen was diagnosed with cancer during her pregnancy with her son.  This was her third and final baby and she was shocked to find out she would have to give up breastfeeding early and instead begin chemo. She underwent treatment after soon he was born and, thankfully, has made a miraculous full recovery. She’s currently in remission and soaking up all the time she can with her wonderful family before heading back to teaching in the Fall. 

This session was a Give Back Session for the Magic Hour Foundation.


Sister Sister: Double Baby Trouble!

One day this past Spring I was working on some editing when my friend Julia texted me to tell me she was EXTRA excited because her friend Sarah had just told her she was pregnant. And even more exciting and flabbergasting? Sarah’s twin sister Julia had just told her that she was, in fact, pregnant as well. No planning. No attempt at synchrony. Just good old fashioned co-twin-cidence! 😉

I was ecstatic for them both! My fiancé had known these two girls for a long while and over the years we had become friends as well. I was elated when they reached out to set up a maternity session with me! I made sure to schedule their sessions at overlapping times so we could get some pics of both mama’s to be in one setting. As you can imagine, the session did NOT disappoint!


First up were Julia and Neil. They got hitched a little less than a year ago and jumped right into building their sweet family. These two bond over beer (non-alcoholic right now) and punk music and there really is no shortage of love and fun between them!




Sarah and Dustin have been together for over 10 years (married for 2) and are adorably and madly in love. We talked dogs, expectant parenthood, and a whole lot of nerd stuff while we walked around the park before and during the golden hour for our photos!



s0062 2


Of course, seeing as their due dates are so close (only two days apart, actually) I couldn’t resist getting some shots of these two inseparable twin sisters together! Even though they won’t QUITE be twins, I have a feelings these two boys are going to be thick as thieves. 🙂


Huge hugs to both these families, I can’t wait to meet these boys! ❤

August: Happy National Family Month!

August is National Family Month (who knew??) and I’m looking to celebrate all the wonderful families I’ve worked with in the past and will work with in the future! This month, I’m running a fun promotion to entice some new families to join the KEP family! If you book your family photoshoot during the month of August, I’ll throw in two free 8×10 prints as a special gift for you guys! And who doesn’t love free stuff??

**Booking must be made in August but shoots can be scheduled anytime from September-December!**

Family Month

I know it sounds shockingly early, but it’s never too early to start planning holiday photos and get them done when the weather is great. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get them finished and have them ready before holiday crunch time hits! And guess what? Because you’re so wonderful and you read my blog, you’re going to get an EXTRA 10% OFF when you mention the blog! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

10% Off

Make sure to tune into my Facebook all month to see some of my favorite family photos from the past year! If you’re interested in booking, email me at katherineelysephotography@gmail.com or call me at 916-812-5475 to book your session today! 

New Life, New Beginnings: A Lush Green Spring Family Maternity Session in the East Bay

Although I focus a lot of my time and energy on weddings and engagements, there’s just something about kids and families that I can’t quite pull away from. I love hearing giggles as I direct mom and dad into a tickle fight, I love watching parents melt next to me as their kiddo gives me their “real” smile, and I especially love the arrival of a new baby in a growing family. There’s nothing sweeter than a ridiculously round and awesomely adorable baby bump! Well, except when there are other kids in the mix. Then, we’ve got a 10 out of 10 chance of family cuteness overload!

0001Tiffany and her husband are about to have their 4th little one, another boy, which their current middle boy has aptly named “Chris Kringle”. (Hmm… I wonder when they told him they were pregnant…) Everyone is abuzz with excitement and maybe just a liiiiiittle bit of nervous apprehension. 00020003

The strength of motherhood never ceases to amaze me. This woman is smart, fun, relaxed, and totally GORGEOUS all while taking care of three kids and expecting another. If that’s not #momgoals, I don’t know what is!


It was such a joy to get to capture these kids together as well as in their own unique portraits. They all have such different personalities and they blend so perfectly together. Shockingly enough, they all get along REALLY WELL!


While I sent the little ones off to look at the baby ducks, I made sure to take a moment to capture this sweet couple showing their love for one another. After all, I wouldn’t have had a family to photograph is not for these two love birds right here!


I’m so excited to meet ‘Baby Kringle’ and see how these three step up to being big brothers and sisters (again). Best of luck and so many hugs to this AMAZING growing family!


Mother’s Day

Today’s the day we celebrate our one and only Mothers. They’re wicked smart, they’re uproariously funny, they’re always there when we need them and darn it, they’ve put up with us since the day we took away their normal sleeping patterns. We’re lucky folk, you and I, to have moms so wonderful! So today I’ve compiled a short thank you list for all the wonderful moms that I’ve been able to work with in the past.

Moms Collage

Thank you for becoming a mother.  The world needs more moms! You’re sweet and caring and so damn strong. I love watching you rub your belly, tell me your secret name plans, and gush all about the Star Wars or Harry Potter themed room you’ve got planned for your upcoming bundle of joy. I also love watching your significant other revel in the sense of purpose and strength you’ve found while walking this path; it’s always a look of pure admiration. What you’re doing is insanely beautiful and completely unbelievable (at least to someone who has NOT gone down this road yet). Thank you for sharing this special time with me. I am so moved by every single kick and wiggle.



Thank you for sharing your journey. The space you’ve made for you and your little one is so special. I am consistently grateful that you’d allow me (or anyone else) to watch you both and be a part of something so delicate. Your baby is a cute little ball of soft skin and perfect eye lashes to me, but that little bean is your whole world. I love to watch the quiet and tender moments, witness a comforting “shhhhh” to soothe unease, see all the hope for the future that runs across your eyes as you stare down at them. It’s as close to perfection as I can possibly imagine, and I am thankful every day that I get to share in those moments with you.


Thank you for trusting me. Everyone wants good photos of their kiddo. (How else will we make the baby fat and the dimples last a life time??) I cannot thank moms enough for trusting me to capture the spirit and personality of their little ones. Whether they’re 6 months old or 6 years old, there is a story to be told. That’s not just your kid, that is a full blown person with likes, dislikes, emotions (and LOTS of feelings about being photographed). I love capturing the smiles that come with a family shoot. I can always see the infinite love radiating off of you, like heat off the ground on a hot summer’s day. I am so lucky that you chose me to celebrate whatever milestone or step your little one is currently navigating through. I promise you, you’ll never forget those moments. 🙂


Thank you for always being there. Without your care, guidance, and patience none of us would be the person we are today. We were crazy. (Like…. some of us were REALLY crazy.) But somehow you managed to see past those moments and phases and into our souls. That’s what moms do! They know us inside and out, better than we know ourselves. Thank you for the subtle but important advice, thank you for not judging us when we didn’t take it, and thank you for always being someone we can run to for encouragement, a hug, and maybe a glass of wine. Life would not be this rich and full of possibilities without you.


Thank you for everything you still do for us. Some of our mothers are a phone call or a text away. Some of our moms are right down the street or even live in the same house. And some of our mom’s are a bit further than that. Thank you, moms, for teaching us about life, the good parts and the bad. You’ve set us up to live on through the power of your memory, which is the strongest and most ever lasting form of love anyone can ever experience. As 5 year old Alice Oswalt said after the loss of her mother, “When your mom dies you’re the best memory of her. Everything you do and say is a memory of her.” Thank you to all moms for setting your children free upon the world. To the mom’s we have lost, I wish I could have met you, though I often feel like I already have.


There is no way for me to ever thank moms enough. There will never be strong enough words for me to express the gratitude and the love I feel for my own mother, my parent’s mothers, my brother’s wife, the mother’s of all the wonderful people I am lucky enough to have in my life, the mother’s of my clients, and everyone else who has held the title or MOM anywhere in the world. There is a reason I cry during mother-child dances at weddings; because that look I see on the faces of brand new mother’s their babies have  just been born has returned to your mom’s face as she watches you marry the person you love. That moment is infinite and circular; it’s beautiful and full of grace. It’s near impossible to comprehend unless you’ve been in her shoes. I can’t wait to experience that one day and join the ranks of the world’s most loving brigade. Today we celebrate the Mom Squad. Today we all say thank you.

My Mom

(L: Me and my mom circa ~1994; R: my mom, my niece, my sister-in law, and me in 2016!)