so basically winter for a wedding and portrait photographer usually revolves around ALL of the “things you meant to do” the previous year, but were too busy to tackle. it’s also time for meeting and booking with new clients and THIS year it also entails moving to a new studio space and taking on several new members of our team as well as preparing for wppi and my first real vacation in almost 10 years. let’s just say that I’ve become a tad overwhelmed at times. being overwhelmed, for me, can manifest itself in several ways – either it’s challenging and empowering or it’s peppered with panic bordering on full fledged crazy – right now I think I’m somewhere in the middle, oscillating from one to the other. in these moments, I’ve learned – at least for me – if I can take a step back  from whatever it may be and make a mental list of 5 things to be grateful for as it pertains to said issue, then it doesn’t seem so big and scary. I don’t seek gratitude as often as I should and when I try it’s not always easy for me to find – but when it comes to my business it’s blazingly clear. it’s my clients – pure, simple and basic. yes I love what I do for a living and I love love Love the people who work with me – but at the end of the day if I didn’t have people in front of the camera… well, whatever would I do? and particularly in the type of studio we are, it lends itself to create not only amazing business relationships but true friendships – couples who grew into families of 3, and then 4 and even one family of 6! I have had the honor of documenting pregnancies, newborns, birthday milestones and the weddings of siblings. some of my closest friends started out as brides (and some grooms too!) so I thought I would dedicate several blogposts in the next couple of weeks to these amazing people and friends that I adore – I was looking for gratitude and realized I am truly blessed ……

so we’ re beginning with jenni + tim. I first spotted jenni, her girlfriends and her mom at my first wedding show as gillette portrait arts. I was clueless – apart from shooting some friend’s weddings and some smaller ceremonies on the beach at OC – I was a fine art portrait photographer. I didn’t have the information on my handouts that brides wanted to see or official albums to flip through – and I was terrified, so talking wasn’t really happening. thank GOD for my mother who came with me – “what?!” you may ask “you brought your mother with you?” yes I did – but you had to know my mother. I’ll be writing a post next week about both of my parents and you’ll get to know cornelia a bit better – but let’s just put it this way…. she’s wasn’t a shy woman. plus she had been in marketing and advertising my whole life. so when I saw jenni, I elbowed mom and said “I want to work with her” I just knew it from a place I would later recognize as an artistic instinct. when jenni & company got near my booth, mom turned it on and suddenly my little pamphlets and photos didn’t seem as pathetic and I was able to speak with confidence about photography – I may have not had all of the “stuff” but I knew how to shoot and connect with people. by the end of the show jenni had signed a contract and it was my first official wedding as a studio. (I also sicked mom on another couple that day and their post will be coming soon)  


jenni and tim had their wedding on a friend’s property only about 10 minutes from my house. it was a gorgeous day but ominous clouds lingered above – during the whole ceremony it looked like the skies could open any minute – but they didn’t. in fact, once I was with jenni and tim in a field of summer flowers, the sun actually came out. jenni looked skyward and said “thanks dad”.  her father had passed away from cancer and my mother had just been diagnosed so little did both of us know at the time how helpful jenni’s example would be for me when I was later married.


they told me on tapas night that they were expecting their first child – “oh my god!! we have to do a maternity session!!” I squealed and jenni indulged me :) rogan was born on may 30th, 1 day before my birthday and when I went to the hospital to see the new mama I had never seen her happier


can’t forget the original “kids” dogs bogey and kona






now baby number two I figured out by myself. as they were on most thursday nights, jenni and tim were seated by the dessert case as I came into the palette. I sat down with them and then realized that the table looked a little wrong – instead of jenni’s glass of red wine, there was what looked to be a sparkling water or soda – instead of the rare tuna she loved sat a cheese tray. “is that soda?” I asked, pointing to her beverage and when she looked at me, I knew. I hooted and I hugged and because the palette’s a small place with a lot of regulars who had come to know jenni, tim & rogan other tables joined in – of course my manager/friend and mother of 3 hope had already figured it out.


evan was born on november 1st – a mere 35 hours after jenni and I had our girls afternoon of lunch & pedicures


jenni & tim I love you and your family so much. I am so grateful to have you and your friendship in my life. I feel so lucky to be “aunt raye” to your beautiful boys and  will be honored to act as your personal paparazzi forever!