Tag Archives: love

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?

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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! 

Sugarloaf: Home Away from Home

Every year for the past 17 years I’ve made the trek up highway 50 into the mountains to the place I, and many others, call home. It’s a simple grouping of cabins where I learned who I was as a teen; where lifelong friends were made over the years; where the smell of mountain misery is pungent and overwhelming in the best way possible. The trees echo with beautiful music and the sunshine lights up the art rooms and camera lenses that act as a catalyst to capture our creations. I’ve been going to Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp for more than half my life and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be a part of it.

After being a camper I transitioned quickly into being a cabin counselor. After 7 years of playing that roll, I was able to secure myself a spot on the INCREDIBLE photography staff. With digital photography making it’s debut and film photography going strong I got thrust into the roll of Digital Slideshow teacher and I’ve loved it from the beginning. Each year I’m presented with a new batch of amazing kids I’m supposed to help learn how to capture the week and create a slideshow/yearbook of our experience. It’s stressful, it’s detail oriented, it pushes their creativity to new levels, and (somehow) every year’s show is wonderful and completely unique.

This year I was given 4 kids that absolutely blew my mind. Their creativity and dedication reached levels I hadn’t considered particularly possible in such a short amount of time. They rocked everything from low light photos, actions shots, stunning portraits, and working candids. Needless to say I’m immensely impressed. Beyond their photos skills, I was able to really get to know these kids as people and, I’ve got to admit, my hope for the future has been fully restored. There was no lack of love, kindness, creative thinking, empathy, compassion, and joy from them. I was grounded by them and honestly brought to tears at the end of the week by how lovely they all were and how much I know I’ll miss them in the coming year. They said thank you to me at the end of the week but honestly, I should be thanking them for such an enlightening experience.

I’ve gone and chosen my favorite shots by my group to share with you. There were literally HUNDREDS of amazing images, but these ones stuck out to me as the photos they spent time and energy composing and perfecting. They applied some complex camera skills (shot all in manual btw) to capture these photos and I’m glowing with pride over how fabulous they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. ❤

ACTION SHOTS – Capturing motion is, by far, one of the hardest skills we learn as photographers. Having good timing isn’t innate, it’s very much a learned skill. I’m blown away by how much my kids picked up in a matter of days!

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Class Photos – Capturing the essence of other students learning at camp is CHALLENGING. How do we create magic based off of other people’s intensity? My kids did a great job at creating perspectives that truly show all angles and emotions of the programs we run here at camp. These photos represent so much!

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Portraits – This was by far my favorite part of the class to teach. Teaching the kids how to take kick a** portraits using posing prompts and natural moments/light was a joy and (not surprisingly) they were AMAZING at it. I adore these intimate photos they created almost as much as I adore my students themselves!

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If you’re impressed (which I KNOW you are!) and you’re interested in supporting these kids experiences at camp, consider heading to the Sugarloaf Station Foundation website and making a scholarship donation. Nearly 25% of our kids are only able to attend camp based on the generous donations of art lovers in the community. We would love to help even more kids expand their arts education and enjoy the beauty of camp year after year.

If you’re interested in donating, and having an amazing time doing do, come on out to our 15th Annual Sugarloaf Station Foundation Fundraiser on September 30, 2017! You can purchase tickets HERE.

CHEERS TO ANOTHER PERFECT YEAR AT SUGARLOAF FINE ARTS CAMP!

(PS- Huge thanks to my friend Russ Levi for allowing me to borrow the pixel stick, the prisms, and all the other fun trinkets. We had a great time experimenting!)

 

Grace and Chad: Plymouth Ranch Wedding at Rancho Victoria Vineyards

Grace and Chad’s wedding day was an absolute dream. From the bridal party, to the emotional moments, to the gorgeous location, especially the joy that was felt by all, it couldn’t have been more perfect. Grace and Chad, THANK YOU for allowing me to be a part of your big day! What a joy you are to each other’s families! Chad: you’re sweet, intelligent, committed, faithful, and you care for other people oh-so well. Now you’re married to the sweetest, funkiest, most amazing girl ever and I know you’re going to love her in the most special way. You’re both so lucky!!

The day started with some seriously awesome bridesmaids on bridal beauty duty. They were rocking their blue converse and making sure Grace stayed smiling and looked PERFECT from every angle!

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Even the tiniest member of the bridal party couldn’t stay away.

After getting the girls secured in their hiding spot, it was time for this gaggle of awesome dudes to strut their stuff!

And of course, some tender moment were due for the groom as well.

After that we shooed everyone away for a sweet moment of love and prayer (and no peeking) between the couple. It brought tears to my eyes too Chad, and I’m so glad I got to witness this amazing moment.

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I couldn’t wait to see Chads face when Grace walked down the aisle and boy, I was not disappointed. Not a dry eye in the house!

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Their ceremony was gorgeous, held under a massive blooming Oak. Their commitment to one another was felt by all who witnessed their vows to God and each other.

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After a romantic and deeply moving ceremony, the knot was tied and they were happy to galavant back down the aisle (with a few surprise kisses) as a married couple!

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Getting the whole family and bridal party together was a delight and you could tell everyone was so happy to be a part of the celebrations!

Then it was onto couples photos and, let me tell you, these two ROCKED their portrait session. (I don’t have to tell you though, see for yourself!)

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The reception was nothing but pure joy and insanity. Everyone boogied their way in, laughed their way through dinner (so much so I was able to sneak the couple away for sunset photos!), and smiled and cried along with the couple during their wedding speeches and dances.

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After the main events it was time to party down and dance the night away! Glow sticks and crazy guests added so much texture and energy to the night!

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Beyond being an awesome couple to photograph, these two pushed me outside of my comfort zone with their requests for some super fun off camera flash and sparkler photography!

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Their night came to a close with another ride in the incredible vintage wonder car as they waved good-bye to all their guests!

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I am so thankful Grace and Chad chose me for their wedding. I don’t know if I’ve ever shot a couple with more style, flare, and all around good vibes! I wish them all the best in their life together, even though I know they don’t need it. ❤

(HUGE thanks to Rebecca Skidgel from Rebecca Skidgel Photography for second shooting for me on this fine day!)

May Fourth

Today is a special day. Not for any reason big and popular or having to do with Carrie Fisher (though I have to admit, I think she’d approve of my day). No, dear friends… today is my dog’s birthday. And I am excited beyond comprehension to combine my love for my little moo-pig and my love for Star Wars into one amazingly fun first birthday shoot.

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FIRST, STORY TIME: If you’ve met my dog, you know the depth of her ridiculous personality and the extent to which she will embarrass me in order to shove herself between your legs for butt scratches. She’s a frikkin’ 85 pound hunk of true love and affection. She’s god-damn ridiculous.

Denis and I got Max last summer on a pure coincidental whim. We’d (I’d) been taking about getting a dog forever and we (I) finally found a little ad on Craigslist for puppies that were nearly 8 weeks old. The owner’s dog and their neighbors’ dog had accidentally gotten together and this was to be their first (and last) litter of puppies. Even Denis couldn’t resist the temptation after seeing all their smiling faces and waggy tails! We went o check them out and, after choosing one originally and then backtracking, we landed on Max.

We knew we wanted to name our dog Max and were a little surprised when we chose a girl, so our little pup went from Max to Maxine. She shook the entire car ride home, nestled in my lap, barely the size of a football. She was ADORABLE. Denis’s mom cried when we brought her home (it was so cute) and from that day on she was my fur baby for all time.

I’ve worked with other people’s kids and I grew up with many animals, but I’ve never loved anything as purely and deeply as I love Max. Now, I recognize (kind of) that it’s not comparable to having children (or so some people say), but I would honestly give an arm and a leg and the rest of me to her if it would make her smile her goofy little dog grin. When she runs down the hall when I get home and wags her entire body, not just her tail, every bit of stress from my day instantly evaporates. She is pure joy personified into one fuzzy lovable package. Sometimes it’s honestly too much. I don’t feel worthy of it because, as I’m sure you’re all aware, NONE OF US are worthy of dogs.

So, today is her birthday and I wanted to celebrate. I’ve shot a lot of cake smashes, tinsel towers, snuggle sessions, and family huggles but I am yet to shoot a Star Wars themed, partner duo, dog-and-person birthday adventure. Today with some good timing, a little luck, and a fabulous friend/assistant I was able to create a little bit of fantasy out of my fantastic reality with my little shmoo.

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The photos may not be award winning in nature, but our special friendship is forever captured. I love my four legged monster, my licky-doodle, the baby Chewy Wookie to my Han. Happy first birthday Max. I frikkin’ love ya.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Amanda and Andrew {2017}

In honor of this gorgeous mama-to-be surpassing her due date by a FULL WEEK, I wanted to get this amazing snowy Tahoe maternity session up on the blog!

(It’ll give you something to read when you go into labor Amanda! lol)

Amanda and I met at a bridal show in Berkeley in February. I know her fiance through some other friends so when she bounded up to me belly first at the wedding show I knew exactly who she was and I was ecstatic to finally meet her in person! We talked a lot about what they wanted from their photos and ultimately decided that the one thing that HAD to have was snow. Luckily I was already Tahoe bound near the end of February so we made some plans and were off to the races shortly after!

After avoiding deadly driveway ice (which nearly took Andrew out in Stooge-worthy comedic glory) and three foot deep pockets in the snow (which I promptly sunk right into) we made it to a beautiful grove of trees to shoot.

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Amanda was worried about how she looked, like a lot of nearly-new-mom’s with bodies they don’t feel quite at home in, but I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful model if I tried. She was calm and relaxed, enough so that she let me snap some subtle sexy shots between outfits in the 28 degree chill. She was an absolute rockstar! All the while Andrew (a photographer, by the way) was looking at the back of my camera “ooh-in” and “ahh-ing” over my captures of his wifey in all her motherly glory. I could not have dreamt up a more perfect shoot!

 

 

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Of course, not every photo turns out the way you want it, but this series of images from an attempted hair flip added an extra layer of hilarity and joy to their photos.

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In the end, the sun went down right behind this big beautiful pine tree and soon after this popsicle frozen mama bear was whisked away by dad to the warmth of their Tahoe cabin for some relaxation after an incredible shoot.

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Congratulations to Amanda and Andrew, I can’t wait to meet Calliope! Cheers! ❤

Molly and Matt {2016}

It’s a tale as old as time… boy meets girl, girl captures boy in a web of Disney infused romance, boy realizes he’s the prince to her princess, proposal, party, Party, PARTY!

Molly and Matt are some of the sweetest and most genuine people I’ve ever met. I don’t think I ever saw Molly without a smile on her face, and it wasn’t just for photos. Obviously their day was filled with a LOT of laughter and joy!

The Croatian American Cultural Center made a perfect back drop for their colorful Fall wedding. Pops of yellow and purple accented Molly’s fiery red hair and elegant stark white gown. Matt and his crew rocked some awesome checkered Vans to match, tying everything together in a cohesive and relaxed bow. Cute chalkboard signs and an INCREDIBLE do-it-yourself ribbon backdrop showed them down the aisle (led by her amazing FLOWER-GRANDMA!) where they tied the knot in front of rows full of friends and family. A kiss, a first dance, and a cake cutting later and it was onto a rockin’ party with TONS of dancing and of course, (not just a few) shots. I’m so lucky these two goobers chose me to be their photographer and I’m happy to say that they aren’t just clients anymore, but wonderful friends. 🙂

CHEERS FOR A HAPPY AND LOVING FUTURE TOGETHER, MATT AND MOLLY!

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Huge shoutout to my amazing second shooter Felice from Felice Russell Photography for all her wonderful photos! Wedding planning provided by Design Atelier.

It’s Engagement Season!

Let me guess, it was Christmas morning/New Year’s Eve/Valentine’s Day/the one sunny day in January and your finance was acting…. strange. Why were they dressed nicer than usual? What was with all the sweating? You didn’t understand why you had to be facing north at exactly 5:07pm until you saw them get down on one knee and open that box. “HOLY SH*T, THIS IS HAPPENING”, your brain thought as you burst into hysterical joyous tears. You were engaged, and you had the bling and the 3 hour long, 20 person cell phone call list to prove it. You dove head first into Pinterest and nearly drown in all the stylized shoots, insane floral arrangements, and amazing hair and makeup combinations. It was a glorious time, one filled with whimsey and magic. But now? Now we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty. Where? When? HOW? Basically all you’ve got is the WHO (which is great, by the way) and we’re really starting to plan things now.

Luckily, I’m going to make it infinitely easier for you in regards to one major choice, PHOTOGRAPHY! 8 months to a year in advance you should be thinking about engagement photos, and Spring is the perfect season to get them done! A new step in your relationship can be so perfectly reflected in the fresh Spring foliage, the beautiful clear days, and the romantic golden sunsets. I’m here to give you a few options and ideas to set up your very own personalized engagement session!

WHEN AND WHERE DO YOU WANT PHOTOS DONE? If you’re an active early riser, a morning session will give you the crisp clean colors you want. If you’re feeling lovey and romantic, a golden hours session might be right for you. Are you flirty and energetic? Are you snuggly and PDA friendly? There’s a time and a place for everything!

Ashley and Kat – Ocean Beach and Sutro Baths

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Jim and Lesteen – Treasure Island

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Grace and Chad – San Francisco Pier (at night!)

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WHAT DO YOU LOVE? Are you HUGE snow boarders? Do you under water cross stitch? Do you both love cats so much you could cry? Let your personalities shine through in images tailored specifically to your interests!

Moriah and Ben – Both Teachers!

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Cassie and Cameron – Adventure Buddies!

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Bree and Brandon – Dog Lovers

WHO ARE YOU GUYS? This is SO important! You don’t want to look like everyone else, you want to look like you! Whatever brought you two together, make sure that shines through in your images.

Ryan and Osha – SF City Dwellers

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Audrey and Jesse – Young and Modern

Lisette and Chris – Princess and Prince Charming

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Brian and Danielle – Romantic Outdoorsy Fools 

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All in all, you want your engagement to reflect the unique love and beauty that you two share. Every couple is different and every kind of weird, quirky, wild love deserves photos to match.

Shoot me an email at katherineelysephotography@gmail.com or give me a call at 916-812-5475 to set up your perfect engagement session today!

 

Ken and Jessica {2016}

As we roll into 2017 I am so excited about all the fun and modern weddings I’m going to be shooting this year. I just love personalized cocktails, live bands, sweeping landscapes, and (obviously) couples who are sweet, playful, and deeply in love. For the next few months, I’m going to be taking a look back at some of my 2016 weddings to provide you with inspiration, excitement, and tons of joy!

First up is Jessica and Ken. I was lucky enough to do both their engagement and their wedding photos and I’ve got to say, they are one darn good looking couple! With them both being SF city people, they decided to bring their amazing (and fluffy!) dog Microwave out to Marin for some crisp Spring photos with views of the Golden Gate and the gorgeous ocean playing in the background.

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Their second look took on a more formal style and juxtaposed really nicely with the old run down army barracks we played around in. Touches of graffiti and lots of robust age and personality gave their shoot a lot of unique flare!

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After months of anticipation, I finally got to shoot their big day! Their wedding was held at Carmel Valley Ranch in Carmel, CA. A beautifully clear and sunny day awaited them both as they readied themselves to walk down the aisle.

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In order to spare themselves the heavy tears in front of friends and family, Ken and Jessica opted for a first look. (I love the look on the groom’s face before he sees his bride for the first time!)

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After passing around some tissues, we headed off to take their bridal portraits. These two are so in love, I was absolutely giddy over how sweet they were!

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After couples photos, it was onward to the ceremony site! Their set up needed no embellishment with flowers or arbors, being furnished instead by views of the gorgeous bucolic valley behind them.

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Once wed, it was on to a cozy cocktail hour on the deck followed by formal dances, cake cutting, speeches, and a TON of rowdy dancing inside!

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I had such a wonderful time working with and getting to know Ken and Jessica over the past year. There was so much love and joy between the two of them, it was honestly one of the classiest yet relaxed events I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. Humongous hugs to these two for a lifetime of sassyness and happiness!

**Massive thanks to my assistant James from A Moment to Remember Photography for all of his help!***