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Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento – match portraits

I was so thrilled when the Sacramento chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters reached-out to me to photograph some of their matches this summer. I have been doing work with Make-A-Wish for several years and find working with non-profits to be extremely fulfilling and fun work. Seeing how your images are used to help raise money and encourage engagement feels damn good in a world where digital images are often passed quietly into the night between you and your clients, leaving you with no idea how or where you work is used, let alone appreciated.

I photographed a number of “matches” (Big + Little) over two separate days in Land Park this July and August and loved getting to know a little more about them. Some had been matched for weeks and some for months but the connection between them – the trust, the joy – was real and genuine. It was a great reminder that the best gift we can give our children – and I don’t just mean the ones we’re blood-related to – is our time and attention.

Scroll down to see some of the matches and, at the end, some materials that BBBS has already sent me, showing how some of my images will be used. So cool!

If you know of a nonprofit that could benefit from some professional photographs as part of their marketing and fundraising efforts (portraits like these or documenting their work), I offer a 50% discount on my hourly rate. Please connect us. I would love to help them!

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento nonprofit photos Memories by Michelle

cBig Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Sacramento nonprofit photos Memories by Michelle

TADAA!

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Gillian – Old Sacramento Senior Session

It was so refreshing to hang with Gillian a couple of weekends ago for her senior session in Old Sacramento. Gillian is bright, eloquent, unpretentious, and full of so much quiet confidence and grace that she hasn’t quite yet realized she possesses. She is, in short, a breath of fresh air and the kind of young woman that gives you hope for the future of our world.

Gillian is graduating this year and thinking about the future. That heady time that I still remember so well, rich with hope and the sweet sensation of the world being at your feet, your life stretching out before you in endless branches of possibility. And yet Gillian is far more mature than I was at her age, far more steady on her feet, and, I project, headed for bigger things than she can probably imagine right now. I think much of this potential and grace comes from her time in the theatre, and her mom, Carole, who is a neighbor to my sister-in-law. She not only bears an uncanny physical resemblance to mom but I sense that they also share that same interesting mix of inner strength and outer humility. I loved my time with them both.

More senior sessions like this, please!<3

Memories by Michelle Photography Old Sacramento Senior Session

Memories by Michelle Photography Old Sacramento Senior Session

Memories by Michelle Photography Old Sacramento Senior Session

Memories by Michelle Photography Old Sacramento Senior Session

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A walk to the park with the Rogers family – Folsom family photography

In my time dealing with chronic pain and injury, I have worked with three PCPs, two osteopaths, two massage therapists, an acupuncturist, two chiropractors, two orthopedic specialists, a neurologist, and no fewer than ten physical therapists.All had their own idea of what my body could and needed to do to find relief. And yet none of them have come close to providing the kind of relief that I find when I regularly attend a pilates or barre class at The Pilates Twist in Folsom, with owner, Hilary.

Hilary is an incredibly gifted person. She can casually watch 8 people arrive to her class, observe their gait and their posture, and then immediately tailor a routine that synchronizes with the physical needs of each person. When you’re in-class with Hilary, she doesn’t just go through the motions of teaching you en-masse, she’s paying attention to every single, unique body in the room and providing gentle guidance and adjustments specific to you, while challenging you and providing a great workout. I always leave her class feeling 3 inches taller and more physically free than when I went in. I also manage to get sore muscles without sparking pain cycles or injury, which is what happens with almost every other kind of workout I participate in.

So, when she asked me to capture her family as a gift to her father, I jumped at the chance.

We decided to keep it simple (which I find is generally the hallmark of all great sessions) and walk the trails behind her house to the local park with her husband, son, and two dogs. As the sun set into a beautiful, pink-hued sunset, we ran around the playground and enjoyed just the fun and easy togetherness of a regular family evening.

Folsom Family Photography

Folsom Family Photography

Folsom Family Photography

Folsom Family Photography

Let’s have some fun!

I love photographing families in Winter and Spring. It’s much easier to be fun and relaxed when it’s not 100 degrees. Get in touch to learn about my new Shortie sessions, which include a 45 minute session and all the digital images for a budget-friendly price.

 

1 Comment

  1. Susan Latham

    You are so talented and captured so many authentic, beautiful, images of our lovely progeny!!
    Thank you!

    Reply

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2017 // 365

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”―Haruki Murakami

I completed the second year of my photo-a-day project on December 31st, 2017. When I started documenting my days on Jan 1, 2016, I never thought I’d make it through a year, let alone two. And, for sure, this year I almost gave up many times.

It was a really tough year. The toughest. On many days, I felt like a little rowboat caught out on the ocean in the perfect storm. I have never felt so adrift, so at-sea, in so many areas of my life at once. It brought me to my knees. It was energy-sucking, confidence draining, emotional nudity. It was humbling. I questioned everything, including myself, and I’m still not sure that I’m standing on solid ground yet. Have you ever got off of a boat after a long, rough voyage? For a while after you step on land, you find yourself still internally swaying, not sure if it’s the ground beneath you moving, or if your equilibrium hasn’t yet caught up to the fact that you’re finally off the boat. That’s how it feels right now. Shaky. Uncertain. But also a bit of a relief.

Looking back on these images was hard and helpful. Hard because it’s like I began the year in one life and left it in another. Helpful because I realized that, along the way, there were many moments I wouldn’t want to write-off.

And that’s why I’m going to continue in 2018. Who knows what the next 12 months will bring my way? Who knows what life I will be standing in on December 31st of this year? And who knows how grateful I will be for the reminder of the little moments along the way.

365 Photography Project

365 Photography Project

 

Maybe I can’t be with you every single day but I can document the flavor of your life in a documentary session. Trust me, every memory has its value, even the moments that don’t feel like they need memorializing at the time. Get in touch to learn more.

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The Lucias – Old Town Folsom Family Session

I have photographed this family every year, without fail, since I started Memories by Michelle 8 years ago. Every year they make my job easy.

Our story (that I tell every year but never get tired of) is that we met in pre-natal class when we were pregnant with our daughters, became friends, and then ended up in the hospital with one another, 2 doors down, as our girls were born just 36 hours apart. Later, my mum was their son, Lucca’s, nanny when Natalie first went back to work. It’s fair to say these people are like family to me. And they’re just pure entertainment. Every last second.

Folsom Family Session

Folsom Family Session

Every year I try to capture the Lucia family’s playful spirit with a fun image. This is my favorite this year.

Folsom Family Session

Reminds me a lot of the one from 2015

Finally, I couldn’t resist a picture of the kids together. We ended our session with dinner and it was great to see these kids pick up where they left off with their friendship. Busy work schedules and life in general mean we don’t get to see one another as often as we used to.

Book your own session

 

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6 reasons to have your newborn photo session at home

One of my favorite sessions to shoot is a newborn session at home. Or, what I call a “Welcome Home Baby Session”.  There’s something magical about those first few weeks at home. Your love and wonder for this new member of your family is so on the surface, exploring their temperament, discovering their likes and dislikes, tweaking your life and your routines to fit them inside of your family cocoon. I remember my daughter’s first weeks at home in a way that is almost physical; warmth, soft light, happy tears, cuddles, bleary eyes. And yes, so, so many diapers and baby wipes and bottles.

Shooting at your home gives you so much space and flexibility. We schedule plenty of time. You can break to breastfeed, or we can photograph that wonderful connection between you and your child while you do. You don’t have to shush your child to sleep to get a shot. It’s all part of the shoot, the crying and the shushing and the feeding and the stuff you’re already doing. No need to put on a show. No need to worry about nap times or misbehaving siblings. It’s all perfect. Even the discarded burp cloth. It’s all part of your story.

Here’s just 6 of the reasons why I think you should schedule an at home “Welcome Home Baby Session”

1. You don’t have to physically get yourself, your baby, your husband, and any other kids, up and out the door.

If you’re new to this parenting thing, the time it takes to achieve this previously-simple feat cannot be overestimated. If you’re a pro, you know this: it doesn’t matter what time you get up or start the process, you will be rushing around at the last minute to get out the door, you’ll be stressed, you’ll probably forget something (likely brushing your hair), and everyone will be grumpy and resentful as a result. But oh… here’s a camera… SMIIIIIILE! Nope. Not happenin’ So, stay home and wait for me there. If you’re running a few minutes behind, I photograph and watch the baby and other kids while you run a brush through your damp hair – and allow dad to gulp down that last, sweet, sip of coffee. We can just ease ourselves into this. Ahhhhhh.

2. You have everything you need, right there.

Newborn sessions at home Memories by Michelle Photography

Diapers, changing table, change of clothes, favorite blankets, bottles, formula, binkies, rocking chair, a quiet place to breastfeed, a bathroom, toys for the other kids to stay occupied with… need I go on? Don’t stuff the diaper bag with everything but the kitchen sink and bribe your other kids with promises of candy or ice-cream. Home has everything you need in the eventuality of almost anything that might happen. Taking the stress out of this photo session is good for everyone. Babies and kids feed off our moods. When we’re comfortable, so are they – and that comes through in your photos. If you have other children, they can go off and play without you worrying a bout having to entertain them the whole time.

3. This is your baby’s home.

It may not be something from the cover of Better Homes & Gardens but it’s the place where he or she will grow up, the place that will hold all the sweet memories. Memories of midnight feedings and sticky-finger crawls, dribbling first solids and wobbly-legged first steps. Don’t you want to capture that? Wouldn’t it be great to accompany that “remember when…?” with a picture of that exact spot in the house, that exact mural on the wall, the exact pattern of the crib bumper? I can photograph the little details of your life that knit you all together as a family, as well as your loving and smiling faces.

4. Baby is cute but he/she didn’t get here alone. 

Your baby is part of a family, no matter how big or small. Photos of them wrapped up in a beautiful muslin shawl are gorgeous and precious but they don’t need to be the only photos you have taken of your newborn. The interactions, love, attachment, and rituals of everyone at this special time in your family’s life, are just as important. Big sister carefully holding baby with love is important. Daddy’s shushing and hugs are important.

5. These little things you do, you’ll only do for such a short time

You will be a parent for 40, 50, or possibly more years of your life. Only 10% of those years are spent parenting a child. An infintisimal percentage of that time will be spent as the mom or dad of a newborn or baby. Less than one year out of 4 or 5 decades. Although those days of sleepless nights may feel long now, in the grand scheme of things they are but a blip on the radar of life with this little human you’ve made. The morning snuggles, the nightly rituals, the reading, the juggling, the crying, and yes even breastfeeding one baby while potty training their older sibling… those memories gain value over time, as they become blurrier and blurrier and you’re struggling to remember how they smelled, the names of the books you read, the sound of your partner’s voice through the bedroom door as he sang a lullabye. Capturing a slice of that, in the place where it all happens – home – can take you right back there, with a single image.

6. There is no perfect time to schedule your session.

There’s no right age or timeline for your session as there can be for those curly-q newborn portraits. The day after you get home is fine. Three weeks after you get home is fine. Three months works ok too. Of course, baby is growing every day and what we capture and how we capture it will change, along with your routines, depending on when you schedule your session. But, with this style of session, there is no “perfect” time. Just the perfect time for you. Just because I call it a “Welcome Home Baby Session” it doesn’t mean I have to be standing on your front porch when you pull up to the curb, freshly home from the hospital (although that sounds pretty awesome… I’d love to do that!)

 Welcome Home Baby sessions can be booked as a stand alone session or as part of a First Moments package

First Moments packages include 3 sessions of your choice scheduled anytime from maternity to baby’s first birthday, plus other goodies like a custom-designed Baby’s First Year keepsake book with your favorite images. All sessions and packages include all the digital images.so you never have to bite your names

All sessions and packages include all the digital images. You never have to bite your nails to the quick while breastfeeding and trying to star your favorites at midnight from your online gallery.  Sweet!

 

 

Let’s chat about scheduling your newborn photo session at home

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