About Kate: I believe great photography is as timeless and as unique as you are. It's part art and part photojournalism and I would describe my style as casual, thoughtful, warm, and elegant. 
I thrive on capturing real laughs and real love.

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Merry Christmas to me

My husband's grandfather was a great musician. Chris was given the violin about 20 years ago, but it was in pretty rough shape.  For Christmas, Chris and my dad decided to fix up the violin. It's so beautiful! Kamimoto Strings did a wonderful job fixing it up. They opened up the violin and learned that it was handmade in Czechoslovakia about 100 years ago. It sounds so beautiful, but I need to learn how to play it ;) Here are a few photos of it. The black and white photo has Chris's grandfather playing the violin in the late 1940s. It's so amazing. 

Next up: lessons. Probably in person, but maybe online? Any thoughts on learning how to play an instrument?

I think this is the best Christmas present ever. Thanks, Dad, Chris, and Grandpa Orin. What is the best gift you've received? 


Goals and Ideas for 2014

I do love writing down a few goals for the new year. I've done it in the past and feel pretty good about the results. You can read about 2013 here. 2013 was a total bust with regard to reading, but I had a baby in March and he was sleeping in our bed until last week. I'm definitely giving myself a pass on that one since I usually do all my reading at night before bed and didn't want to risk waking up the baby by turning on the light. 

1. Read grownup books. I love Roald Dahl and all the other kid books we read, but darnit, I want to read something for me. Even if it's just for a few minutes before bed. I have a slew of books (<photo at bottom of post) that I bought last Christmas break. 

2. Volunteer. This is a follow-up from last year's goal, but I have found the organization I'd like to work with: Nurse Family Partnership. It is "a maternal and early childhood health program, fosters long-term success for first-time moms, their babies, and society." New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof says NFP may be the most important earliest intervention. More details to come on this partnership :)

3. Waste less food. I don't think we waste a lot, but I'm going to strive to do better. First test: the pineapple I bought today. I'm going to cut it and juice it because kale, celery, and pineapple juice is the best thing I've ever had and I don't want to pay Whole Foods $6 for another Kale Yeah. 

4. Take violin lessons. I got the raddest violin for Christmas (there will be a whole post on that!). And I want to take lessons this year. I'm ok knowing that I'll never be the next Andrew Bird (omg- his striped socks!) or Tin Cup Prophette (I held her baby boy during this show so she could perform. I love her).




Casting Call 

Hello my long-lost loves! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Ours was lovely & warm. I'm excited about a big project coming up in the new year and I need your help finding awesome families to model for me! 

I'm looking for families with children ages 0-5 who are available in late January or early February for a photoshoot in San Jose. To be considered, please email me with a few photos, contact info, and the age of the child/children. 


What to Wear for Family Photos

"What should we wear for family photos?" I get asked this question every time I book a family photography session. I have lots to say about this, so I thought I would put together a little post for y'all. The boys are asleep, it's Monday night, and Pinterest just isn't cutting it tonight. So you're in luck- Here are a few tips to make your family look naturally awesome. 

Tip #1- Keep it Simple. This is the nice way of me saying no words, logos, brands, characters or pictures on your clothes. Not even a little logo by the chest pocket of your shirt. Logos and designs are super distracting. And you'll be much more pleased with your photos over time if you're not a walking advertisement. Solid is probably best, stripes are totally ok, and patterns are sometimes ok if done well.  

Tip #2- Not too Formal. Be yourselves! Think about wearing a slightly nicer outfit than you usually do. Also think about the location… you don't want to be all dressed up if we're taking photos at the park. You don't want to be all dressed up if we're taking photos at your house.

Tip #3 Color. Please don't get all matchy-matchy on me. Think about coordinating different shades of a color, or similar colors that compliment each other. I would choose your outfit first- I'm making the assumption that you're the mom reading this ;) and then help with your spouse (if necessary… some dads can totally rock this out on their own) and kids (see Tip #4). It's so important for everyone to be comfortable in what they're wearing and generally speaking, the moms are usually the most self-conscious and critical of themselves. So make sure mom is super happy in her outfit. (Feel free to get your hair done… I feel downright amazing when I take the time to go to Drybar and get my hair all done up smooth and right).

Tip #4 Getting your kids to wear what you want… Ahhhhh, this is tricky, right?! Guess what? You can't make them wear something they don't want to. If you have a little fashionista or a stubborn love bug, let's keep the kids happy and give them a choice of 2 things. Give yourselves enough time to get ready so that you don't have to rush the little ones and make sure everyone is fed before the photo session ;)

Tip #5 (optional!) Shopping. Again, totally optional. You can definitely minimize your cost by planning around what you already own. But if you're looking for something new, I'm generally pretty happy with Anthropologie, Zara (kids, too), J. Crew (crewcuts!), Flora and Henri, Olive Juice Kids, Kidscase (euro alert), and Mini Boden. My super favorite splurge clothing companies for kids are Fith (sold at Cotton Sheep, SF), Neve and Hawk, and Wovenplay. Cool online retailers for kid clothes: Thumbeline, EstellaPoppys Closet, Little Vida, and Trommpo.

That's my list. Hope this helps… is there anything you'd add? Share any other ideas in the comments. Here are a few photos from a photo session last year for some inspiration.




Busytown Birthday Party

Hooray for our sweet birthday boy! We celebrated our son's 5th birthday over the weekend. It was crazy times with 27 kids running and riding vehicles all over. One of our favorite children's book author/illustrator is Richard Scarry, so the whole party was centered around it. We should probably donate money to his foundation or something as payback for all the images we scanned and printed. We had a goldbug hunt, hopscotch, and a general drive-around free-for-all! My brother drew out an amazing 30 foot banner/mural of Busytown. We originally were going to have the kids color it in, but it turned out so awesome, that we changed our minds. 

Able Baker Charlie, Farmer Alfalfa, and Grocer Cat provided the snacks and cupcakes. It was a crazy afternoon, but I know my boy had an amazing time. Special thanks to Stephen Wahl for the last 2 photos. 


Camp Mighty

I'm fresh off the plane from Palm Springs and the Camp Mighty event and I'm super proud to let y'all know that I've already unpacked my suitcase. Boom. I'm nearly certain that I've never unpacked my bag on the same day as returning from a trip. Heck, I still have a bag half-unpacked from a trip a few weeks ago. I even had a baby with me so I deserve double points because I unpacked his stuff, too. Generally I'm a bit scattered. But Camp Mighty was such a nice retreat for me. While it was a work trip (official photographer, holla!) and I had my baby, I loved every minute of it. And loved all the attention that my super sweet baby got. He was a champ, for sure, and deserved every bit of that attention. Special thanks to my friend, Angela, whom I brought with me to enjoy the event and help a bit with the baby. 

I went to Camp Mighty last year (blog here, here, and here) and loved the motivation and inspiration it brought into my life! Here is a great description from their website: "Camp Mighty is Go Mighty in real life…an annual retreat for bloggers, Go Mighty members, online content creators, and life list enthusiasts who want to do good for themselves and for others. Each year more than 150 people attend Camp to trade ideas, gain motivation to start new projects, and find the support that can help make things happen." Here's my Go Mighty list of things I want to make happen. And here's my Life List on my blog from last year. Here are a few photos from my jammin' awesome weekend. 

Soundtrack to this evening's post: M.I.A. & Supertramp

my super-trooper Camp Mighty baby!


Larry (6 Word Memoirs), Maggie (Go Mighty), and Piper (Orange is the New Black) taking a very proper self-portrait (ooh, I have a hard time saying 'selfie'). Larry founded the 6 Word Memoir Project and his shirt rules: "Our prision visits were surprisingly romantic."


My pal's 6 Word Memoir:

"Quit job

Found love

Reinventing life"


"Are you taking a photo of my wife's leg?" And then I was instant friends with Leah and Simon from agirlandaboy. Love them!


Anna Dorfman, of Door Sixteen, talked about how Life Lists really aren't her jam. She showed us this rad Chuck Close video. And yes, she's just as cool in real life. I was too shy to talk to her. Damn, Kate! UGH.


Just in case we didn't think Palm Springs could be any more gorgeous, we were treated to an amazing full moon!


Mid-Space Party, Lori decides to go for a swim instead. She is stunning. The End. We can all go home now. 


Leah & Simon spacing it up! 


We all wrote 5 goals we want to accomplish and posted them on the back wall. We were encouraged to read others' goals and leave notes if we had ideas on how to help them accomplish their goals. But a few, very special tags just had lovely words of encouragement and they made me so happy!! My list can be seen here. I think I'll write a post about my 5. Because I need help. And accountability. 


Closing dinner by the pool. Yes, please. 


And this is me, carrying my sleeping baby around. Tamara (@TamVanHorn) said something super rad to me on The Twitter today:

is the epitome of "strong enough to bear the children- then get back to bidness"

thank you, thank you. Luckily, I have the most wonderful baby and he makes it easy. 


Best "business card" goes to The Paper Mama. Chelsey nailed it with these wooden rings she handed out.


And then we checked out of the Ace and came on home. Lickety Split. Cheers, y'all.


Bay Area Family Photographer: Shilpa's Family

I was delighted when Shilpa emailed me to ask me to come photograph her family! She has a 6 week old baby, and almost 4 year old. Everyone was so happy and giggly. We did some photos at their house and some at the park across the street. Here are some of my favorites. 



I wonder if I can write a whole blog post while my little babe is asleep. Let's give it a try. I dropped off my husband and 4 year old at the airport before sunrise this morning. They're going on vacation- separately! They will part ways in Denver, where my in-laws will pick up my son.  My husband will fly on to Wisconsin for his yearly trip to the cabin with the dudes. They'll be gone a few days and I'll be here with the baby. I'm going to figure out how to make the most of my time. I want to be productive, but also relax and get some extra snoozes while the big guys are away. I've so been enjoying hanging with my little one. He's 4 months old and starting to get pretty giggly. Yesterday he thought the sound of shucking corn was hilarious!! That's the first thing, other than tickling and a few sounds from us, that he's laughed at. He woke up by-the-way, and now it's hours after I started this post. Let's see... what am I going to do?

I'm going to make a list because I'm a Virgo list-maker. 

Meal times are out the window! I might even have orange juice in the afternoon! rebel!! (I think I just had pie and ice cream for dinner- gasp!!)
Make fliers for preschool and drop them off in Mountain View Visit The Makery, The Botanist, and Bumble in downtown Los Altos (done! Instagram: here & here)
Drop off wedding photos at Kelly & Terrence and girl talk (done!)
Thrifting in Oakland -thanks, Maia, for the recommendations! (done! Instagram here)
West Elm/Etsy pop-up in Palo Alto (Saturday! I can't wait to meet Traci from 45wall design!) Eat at Tacolicious (done! I even met up with my cousin!)

Organize Art Cabinet (done)
Put lock on new back gate (done)
Visit with 2 friends in SF who recently had babies (done)
Pie Shakes and Dynamo Donuts in SF (you won't tell my son, right?)
Fermentation workshop in Los Gatos
Organize son's books (done. I put most of the picture books in the garage since he's moved onto chapter books)
Read Cooked, by Michael Pollan.
Sleep a lot (i did!!)

What would you do if you had some time (kind of) to yourself? Here's a picture of my son at the airport early this morning. I miss him and my husband already, but I know they're having a great time.

(end of week update: I did everything except read Cooked. I blame it on new catalogs from Land of Nod, CB2, and West Elm. I didn't get Pie Shakes, but I did have pie and ice cream tonight. I didn't get Dynamo because they're closed on Monday, but I did eat at Craftsman & Wolves which was a lovely alternative! I didn't make it to the fermentation workshop)






Landscaping Progress

Holy smokes- it's been three months since I've posted! Are y'all still there? With our on-going landscape project, a 4 year old, and our new baby, life is full right now. My nights aren't my own like they used to be before our new little baby-kins arrived. But I have a moment now to sit down and share some landscaping goodness. Since we purchased the house in the fall of 2011, we've mostly been working on renovating the inside of the house. We've done all the work ourselves (and by we, I mean my amazing husband, Chris. We sometimes get helping hands like my brother and dad, as well as Chris's dad and step-mom). I haven't posted much on the progress inside because I feel like I won't be ready to share until it's more complete... or at least until we're unpacked ;) If you want more, click on the Eichler tag at the bottom of the post. As for the yard renovations, we knew that my mom would do a stand-up job!! Northern California is all about outdoor living and Eichler home are the epitome of this concept! We'll have 2 dining areas, an outdoor kitchen, a lounging area (rocking chair & chaise), a play structure, and lots of awesome plants! 

We started measuring just over a year ago (thank you, Instagram photo, for helping keep our timeline straight). Below are some progress photos of our landscaping. I've posted a few before shots on Instagram (here and here). And early progress (here, here, and here. And I do love this photo of our Monterey Pine that Sumaiyya (thought foundrie) posted on her Instagram. Yowsers- what would this post be without Instagram!???

so, I'll give you a little tour! First photo, we have a new fence! You won't believe what a joy it's been to have a fence up again after months without a fence (and glass walls/windows!!!). It's black and so awesome! Our giant Monterey Pine was taken down, all 70+ feet of it (have you ever seen a 70 foot tree trunk with a chainsaw at the top?)


This is the inside courtyard. That pipe is for the future fire pit! And I got those Salterini knock-off chairs today (craigslist). Like all good things that pass through my hands, they'll be painted turquoise. Thank you, Chris, for *kind of* agreeing to let me paint them turquoise!


The back yard. Really the only thing that's the same is the lemon tree. I don't have a great before shot of this area, but this will have to do. It was basically all old deck, weeds, and dog poop (check out this one -the photo isn't of dog poop, I promise). There will be a lounging area under the lemon tree. A bamboo forest for the boys (dear neighbors, it will be carefully planted), some grass, and a sweet path way that goes all the way around (for bikes and other kid-vehicles). There will be a dining table on the concrete in the foreground and a play structure behind where I'm standing. 


The front walkway has nice steps with rocks (mexican beach pebbles). The house is going to be a dark grey with grey beams and trim


Front courtyard (future fire pit is off to the left). Orange tree is moderately intact from the beating it took from the pine tree. 


We picked up some kick-ass plants from my super favorite nursery: Flora Grubb in San Francisco! This is an aloe tree and I'm so excited about it! This is what it'll look like when it's all grown up. Here is a pic of the other plants I got at Flora Grubb.


SOOOOO, what do you think?!?! What's your favorite part about YOUR yard? 

Some days I feel like this project will never end, but I know it will. And in the meantime, we're just trying to enjoy it as it is right now. 


First Few Weeks

We've successfully made it through 3+ weeks as a family of four. I'm not going to talk about sleep because I don't want to jinx it ;) The little one is a trooper, as most second babies have to be. I've been trying to post daily photos on our Flickr site. Some of our construction is done - we've moved back into our room (see first photo!) and it's lovely!! We made the pom-pom mobile before he was born as one of the advent calendar activities! I'm very happy with how it turned out! And the green "bed" is a total IKEA hack that I made!! It's from an under-bed storage container that I added padding and bedding too!! Woohoo :)

Here are a few recent favorites.