Chris + Rebecca + Audrey, Newborn Session, Scottsdale, Arizona

 
 

Hey guys!

Meet Rebecca, Chris + Aubrey.

Rebecca was my first, true Arizona friend. We met at my first post-college job, and I was instantly drawn to her.  She's super smart, incredibly gregarious, and hi-LAR-ious!! Plus she's got one hellava set of pipes - girl can SING! We've spent many a time cranking up the car radio and wailing to Madonna tunes while we worked together "in the field". Our friendship was forged and cemented over shared meals of convenience store hot dogs (okay, me more than her) and after-work Happy Hour drink specials.

Rebecca and I both left that first job, but have luckily remained friends. We have shared countless bottles of wine, evenings of karaoke, and side-splitting laughs. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to witness each other fall in love with our husbands, get married, buy our first homes, and (in the Rebecca and Chris' case) have babies. After knowing them for so many years, I was excited to document them as a new family. 

As parents, Rebecca and Chris are naturals.  They have really embraced their new roles as Mom and Dad.It was beautiful to watch them cuddle and snuggle with Audrey. I visited on a week day, so Chris only had a few minutes for photos before he had to leave for work. but I was able to capture some beautiful family portraits, and a couple of adorable father-daughter shots:

 
 
 
 
 
 

After Chris left for work, I got down to photographing baby Audrey, and she did not disappoint! She has the most mesmerizing eyes - 100% blue steel :) And she was so full of expression! At one point, her pacifier fell out of her mouth, and she let us know that she wasn't too happy about it. 

 

 

Uh, oh! Audrey lost her pacifier...

 
 
 

...and tears ensued :(

 
 

Pacifier in mouth = one content babe :)

 
 

New Mama love.

 
 

One of my last photos of Audrey before I left. Apparently, photoshoots are hard work!

 
 

Chris and Rebecca, I loved photographing your new family unit, and I look forward to years of many more family photo sessions!

xo--
Christine

Sara + Avi + Avara, Day In The Life, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Arizona

 
 

My Day In The Life session with Sara, Avi, and their daughter Avara can be summed up in just one word - FUN!

I photographed their session at the Renaissance Faire in Gold Canyon, Arizona. It was a day filled with sunshine, laughter, and lots of sticky, yummy carnival snacks (funnel cake, anyone?). These mamas really put effort into making the family outing, not just a typical day at the fair, but a whole EXPERIENCE for their daughter. I documented Avara as she got her face painted with unicorns, pick out her own pink and purple princess gown, and practiced her juggling stick skills.  She collected tokens from pirates, got high five-ed by royalty, and earned her fairy wings. For a little girl deep in the unicorns-and-princesses phase of her life, it was a perfect day. And for parents who take genuine pleasure in seeing their daughter excited, happy, and having the time of her life, well...it was a pretty perfect day for them, too :)

Sara and Avi, thank you so much for allowing me to tag along and photograph your family for a day. You guys are incredible mamas :)

Please click on the link below to see photos from their Day In The Life session!

xo
Christine

 

Curtis Family Day In The Life Session, San Tan Valley, Phoenix, Arizona

 
 

My husband and I don't have any children. For a long time, I didn't want to have any, for all the typical reasons - I wanted to start a new career, I wanted to travel, I didn't think we could afford them, etc - but the main reason was I just didn't feel ready to start a family. Recently, however, my biological clock has started ticking, and now we are wondering what it would be like to have little muchachos of our own. The idea of raising kids still freaks me out, though.  The responsibility of raising children to be good, kind, responsible adults, that are also productive members of society, seems daunting. How do love them without spoiling them? Do you tell them to follow their dreams, even if you think their dreams kind of suck? As far as I can tell, these seemingly important questions don't have "right" answers.  If it's one thing I've learned from photographing Day In The Life sessions, it's that child-rearing is no JOKE. However, if you are successful, then it will be the most important, happy, and rewarding experience of your life.  And, from what I observed during their session, the Curtis family seem to be doing it RIGHT.

Amanda and Ryan have four, beautiful adopted children.  Ranging from ages 14 to less than a year old, each of their kids have incredibly different personalities, wants, and needs. Their oldest daughter is a typical teenager who wants her own phone and to always hang out with her friends.  Their youngest daughter is still in diapers and has to be put down for scheduled nap time. However, Amanda and Ryan seem to have managed to balance the formula for doling out equal amounts of love and discipline. They know how to laugh, play, and say "No!" to each of their kids.  And if it's one thing I learned from them, it's to PLAY WITH YOUR CHILDREN!  Ride bikes, skate board, dance around the kitchen, swing on swings, hug, tickle, and laugh with them. During their session, I realized that the Curtis children really valued all of the family time they spent together during their session, and kept saying that they had the best time that day.  They they will probably look back on the day as one of the most fun experiences of their childhood :)

Amanda and Ryan, thank you so much for allowing me to come into your home and photograph your family for the day.  I am in complete awe of the both of you as parents, and I hope that my husband and I will be able to raise children half as well as you are raising your own brood :)

Please click on the link below to see photos from their Day In The Life session!

xo
Christine


Jakeman Day In The Life Session, Cave Creek, Arizona

 
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Ah, the Jakemans.  It's hard for me to find the words to describe this session, because this family truly touched my heart. My Instagram Sneak Peek of their shoot indicated that the session revolved around the adoption of their second son. And, yes, for the most part, it did. But for this family, events like adopting a little boy isn't just one extraordinary gesture of love. For the Jakemans, adoption is actually an ordinary gesture, by one extraordinary family.

I met the Jakemans through the Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH), where I've been volunteering as a photographer for the last several months. Many PCH patients spend a great deal of their lives in the hospital, and their parents often miss out on getting photos taken of their kids when they are young. PCH recognizes the importance of family photos in documenting a child's life, and asked me to shoot some sessions for these deserving families outside of the hospital. The Jakemans were one of the first families they put me in touch with. After meeting her on the phone, mom Alex and I set up a pre-shoot meeting at their house.

When I arrived at their house for the meeting, I wasn't there for more than a couple of minutes before Lily came out of her bedroom, walked straight up to me, and gave me a gigantic hug. I was immediately smitten with her, and amazed that she was so tall and looked so healthy and beautiful.  When she was just an infant, Lily was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, a terminal illness that has a very short life expectancy.  Almost 5 years old, her illness has kept her in the hospital for a quarter of her life, for various treatments and surgeries.  She has been fed for the majority of her life via a tube in her stomach. Alex told me there were times when they didn't think she would live through some of her surgeries. Lately, however, her health has improved tremendously. In the past year, she has started to eat solid foods!

I can only imagine the toll that the stress and anxiety of nurturing a very ill child can have on a family. I personally don't think I could handle much more in my life. The Jakemans, though...they are cut from a different cloth. Not only did they have a second son (2 year old Aiden), but they also decided to foster a third child. Eli was a medically fragile infant that they began fostering when he was only 7 weeks old. After waiting for 2 long years, they were ready to finalize his adoption! To document this momentous occasion, we scheduled their Day In The Life session for Eli's adoption day.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I arrived at their house the morning of the shoot.  I assumed, with two medically fragile children, that health care was going to make up a large part of their day. And yes, while the children's illnesses were something that had to be addressed (particularly during meals), for the most part the Jakeman household isn't that different from any other family.  They still have structured mealtime, they love to play with puzzles and forts, they have tearful breakdowns, and occasionally fall and hit their head on furniture, etc. While the adoption was the main event of the day, what what really struck me during their shoot was the amount of love that Alex and her husband Shaun bestow upon each of their children. They are very affectionate - there were lots of hugs and and kisses for everyone. And they are incredibly fair. Two of their children have medical issues, but those two don't get more attention, or are treated with particular care. There isn't a particular "favorite" child.  It became very apparent to me during the shoot that Alex and Shaun truly love having children, and enjoy spending time with their kids. Alex even told me that they aren't done having children, and are considering the adoption of a fourth child!

Shaun and Alex, when you look at your Day In The Life photos, I hope you can see what amazing parents they are :) You are truly an inspiration!

xo

Christine

Techie Note:  The video below is in Standard Def (SD). Click on the following link if you prefer High Def (HD):

https://vimeo.com/user37326663/jakeman






Meet Cora and Maverick

This past December my friend Teresa, who was pregnant at the time, asked if I would photograph her newborns when they arrived. This was a big deal for me, because not only was it was going to be my first newborn session, it was for twins--Teresa and her husband Vic were expecting a baby boy AND girl! I was, of course, super excited to do the shoot, but also very, very nervous, because I DID NOT want to f*  it up.

Nowadays it seems that parents prefer newborn portraits in the style of Anne Geddes (if you aren't familiar with Anne Geddes then I encourage you to check her out here -- she's an absolute genius when it comes to baby photography). This style of studio photography involves a lot of props and lighting, and then wrangling of babies so they fit in various baskets/buckets/boxes. While I absolutely love this kind of portrait work, I personally lean towards a more documentary style of photography.  I explained to Teresa and Vic that I wanted to approach their session as I do during a Day-In-The-Life session.  I wanted to capture them taking care of the babies as they do on a daily basis: feeding them, rocking them, putting them to sleep, etc. Luckily Teresa and Vic were really happy with this approach, so that put my mind at ease, and all I had to do was wait for the twins to be born. 

On the day of the shoot, I expected to arrive to a chaotic household. Teresa and Vic are, after all, first-time parents, to not just one baby, but twins. I know they were very busy with round-the-clock feedings, diaper changes, baths, etc. However, when Teresa opened the door for me, two things struck me: how amazing Teresa looked after just giving birth to twins (!!), and how quiet the house was. It was so calm and peaceful. The general atmosphere set the tone for the the shoot. Over the next couple of hours, I quietly documented this little family as they settled into their new roles of mom and dad, and daughter and son.

Cora and Maverick showed up a little earlier than planned, so my newborn session was actually more of a preemie session. I'm going back to photograph the twins as newborns after they've had some time to grow. I hope you check in with me in a couple of weeks to see how they are doing!

xo

Christine
 


Kienle Day In The Life

Last month I did a "Day In The Life Session" with the wonderful Kienle family. For those of you who aren't familiar with "Day In The Life" sessions, I follow a family for a day and document their daily routine: waking up, eating meals, playing with toys, etc.  Childhood is fleeting, and my goal during these sessions is to photograph and memorialize this precious time of life before it's gone. 

The Kienle family whole-heartedly embraced the concept behind Day In The Life sessions, and allowed me complete access to their entire day. As a result, I captured the most beautiful images of their daughter Olivia cuddling with mom Kelly and dad Alex in the wee hours of the morning, of baby Vivian practicing tummy time with Kelly, of shopping for toys, sneaking treats to the family dog, giggles at bath time, and sweet bedtime kisses.

I put together a video with some of my favorite images.  I hope, after you watch the video, that you will see that even though you may feel that your day to day life is boring, in reality it's actually filled with really beautiful moments.