Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mini Portrait Sessions available!

I will be offering mini portrait sessions now through March!

Half off the regular portrait package price, these sessions will be only $225, will run 30-45 minutes, and will include online hosting, digital proofing/ online hosting, a slideshow of favorites, and an 8x10" print of your choice. Availability is limited, but there is still time to get some holiday or just-because photos made of your family. These sessions are good for groups of up to four people (or pets), maternity photos, newborn shots, senior portraits, engagement shoots, or anything else you can think of - a very good deal for any of those possibilities!

Shoots must take place within Sonoma County (at your home or favorite location), although other accomodations can be made for Marin, San Francisco, the East Bay, and beyond, so just ask! You can email me at

I plan to keep shooting for fun and work as long as I can until our baby's birth. So this special will run at least up until I start my maternity leave in March.

On a somewhat related note, I came across this post last week about how looking at photographs of loved ones can ease pain and suffering. Absolutely fascinating!

"Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles recently published a study showing that looking at photos helps people experience less physical pain.

The experimenters applied painful heat to the arms of female volunteers under several different conditions. The subjects were asked to rate the discomfort they felt while...

(a) holding the hand of their long-term romantic partner (as he sat behind the curtain),
(b) holding the hand of a male stranger (also behind the curtain),
(c) holding a squeeze ball,
(d) viewing the partner’s photographs (taken upon his arrival) on a computer screen,
(e) viewing photographs of a male stranger (ethnicity-matched to the participant’s partner),
(f) viewing photographs of a chair, and
(g) viewing a crosshair.

The subjects reported the lowest levels of discomfort under condition (d), viewing a photograph of their partner. Surprisingly, looking at a picture made them feel better than when they were holding their partner's hand.

...'The findings suggest that bringing loved ones’ photographs to painful procedures may be beneficial, particularly if those individuals cannot be there. In fact, because loved ones vary in their ability to provide support, photographs may, in some cases, be more effective than in-person support. In sum, these findings challenge the notion that the beneficial effects of social support come solely from supportive social interactions and suggest that simple reminders of loved ones may be sufficient to engender feelings of support.'"

I have read about similar scenarios in some of my pregnancy and birthing books. I think this will inspire me to keep an image of our baby from her ultrasound on hand when I go into labor! I can't wait to meet her :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Alyssa and Brian, Alexander Valley Community Hall, Geyserville, Part 2

(Click on the image above for the slideshow)

Today is part two of Alyssa and Brian's wedding post... kind of funny to have so many photos from a wedding that I only sort of halfway shot, but I'm sure you can tell that it's very near to my heart for good reason. Wonderful people, and a wonderful party. On with the photos!

I'm sayin... ooh la la!

I have long wanted to photograph a bride wearing black. Leave it to my girl Alyssa to fulfill this dream!

Brian's not too shabby in his black suit, either.

Then it was time for food and toasts - yum! Alyssa and Brian did the planning themselves, worked within their budget, and still pulled off a great wedding with all of the fixings. There were simple but lovely decorations, and amazing vegan food. Seriously, I ate so much that my dress (which was one of those "this will fit in 2 months if I don't gain any weight" too small sale deals that I bought two days before finding out I was pregnant. But I made it work! Thank goodness for empire waists) threatened to burst.

I loved my mother and father in laws' toasts (and I gave a pretty awesome one myself, if I do say so).

Here's my cutie pie neighbor cutting a rug - where did he get so many awesome dance skills?!

Lots of friends on the dance floor:

I like how Mike (the officiant/ friend) get progressively more excited as he helps the witnesses make the wedding official at the end of the evening:

And that's it! (Well, almost - I still have a hilariously amazing series of self portraits to share. I had enough trouble narrowing down my favorites to less then 200!)

The wedding was a wonderful example of a community coming together to throw a totally rad party. Alyssa and Brian's friends and family helped set up, clean up, DJ, do hair and makeup, take photos (I think there were between 6 and 8 photographers shooting at any one time?), and lots more. It was one of the best days' of the couples' lives, so we were all so glad we pitched in!

Some links:

the Alexander Valley Community Hall in Geyserville.

Are You Being Served Catering worked with them to a create affordable, delicious, vegan menu.

Vegan Baked Goods by Grace - delicious cupcakes!

Love my sister and brother in law!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Alyssa and Brian, Alexander Valley Community Hall, Geyserville, Part 1

(Click on the image above for the slideshow)

Wedding of the year, hands down. I try not to choose favorites, but I have a really good reason to be biased in this case. This is the wedding of my lovely sister in law, Alyssa, and good friend Brian. I was one of the photographers for the day, a bridesmaid, and the matchmaker! It was a beautiful, goth October wedding and I have been so eager to post some of the photos.

Some details - mostly created by Alyssa and her fabulous mother, Toni:

A shot from the engagement portraits I shot for Alyssa and Brian in the cemetery early this year on the gift table:

Their decor was a really great balance of representing the couples' personalities and style, without being overly goth or Halloween-ish (okay, so the tombstone was kind of goth. Trust me, it could've been much, much more so!). Brian and Alyssa's birthdays are in October and November, and Halloween is their favorite holiday. But they wanted the wedding to still feel fun and stylish, and I think the balance worked out beautifully! Autumnal and dark but mostly not spooooky:

Mmm, vegan cupcakes! (one Halloweeny element was the little cupcake wrappers - they said "poison" and "beware"...)

My main "assignments" for the day were to photograph the getting ready (while getting ready myself), some family portraits (with timer and tripod so I could be some of the photos too), some couple shots, and details (and a fun self portrait set up - a post for another day!). It proved to be a lot of work but a ridiculous amount of fun, too! I'd only been a bridesmaid once before (in another goth-ish wedding - perhaps it's my fair skin?) so I loved that part!

Alyssa made her hair fascinator as well as the clips that Ashley and I wore:

Ashley and Chad have an adorable baby boy, Cairo - a definite special guest at the wedding!

Lovely invitations made by miss Alyssa with supplies from Paper Source:

I personally thought Alyssa looked beautiful enough to get married just like this! But wait until you see how even more breathtaking she became...

Yes... I am a total dork (but Shanti rocked my hair!):

Rereading her vows:

Now... the most beautiful bride in the world! The dress complemented her perfectly. Her skin is practically glowing. She's drop dead gorgeous (goth pun intended?) and when I think our little girl might look like her auntie Alyssa, it fills my heart with joy!

AND I had a ton of friends coming up to me saying, "wow, your mother in law is so beautiful! I see where Alyssa gets it!". So, you know I'm excited for those family genes :)

(Also, she makes a fantastic bouquet) This is about where the girls were saying, "Jessamyn, put down the camera, we are going out the door for the ceremony NOW!"

When I was editing the photos, I had several split second moments of panic when I would automatically start looking for the photos of the ceremony - "where are they?!". Then I'd remember a second later that I did not take any, because I was IN the ceremony. It was so wonderful to walk down the aisle holding Devon's hand, with our growing baby inside of me, as our family grows to officially include Brian. Rock on!

Here we are post ceremony:

And Alyssa, Ashley, and baby Cairo - some of my favorite shots:

And that's where I'll leave it for today - just one more shot so that we can at least include Brian a little:

More coming soon. And, Happy Thanksgiving!