Stani Photography: Blog http://www.staniphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Stani Photography stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) Thu, 09 Nov 2017 21:47:00 GMT Thu, 09 Nov 2017 21:47:00 GMT http://www.staniphotography.com/img/s/v-5/u250726951-o1033560796-50.jpg Stani Photography: Blog http://www.staniphotography.com/blog 120 80 OLD BORGES RANCH FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION IN WALNUT CREEK [THE STREI FAMILY] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/11/old-borges-ranch-family-portrait-session MOUNT DIABLO FAMILY PORTRAIT SESSION

[the best time of the day for a family portrait session]

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when Jen contacted me on facebook to photograph her family of four this fall. In 2013 , being pregnant myself I photographed Jen and Kevin’s wedding day. Since then, they have stayed in my heart as one of the sweetest couples I had the chance to work with. Now, I had the pleasure to really get to know them as great parents too to some of the most adorable kids I have known.

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When we were discussing locations in the Walnut Creek area , the historic Old Borges Ranch came to my mind first. I know kids love farm animals and especially when they can pet them. The ranch is absolutely picturesque and is a great place to create a day with my family story like. From the rustic wooden walls, the cactus next door, the old vintage tractors  to the goats and chickens that are pasturing around the ranch. The place is a beautiful set that has everything that a family can enjoy for couple of hours. It has bathrooms too, parking lot and beautiful hiking trails to Diablo Foothills Regional Park.

Getting there is easy , just be careful that is kind of a one way mountain road, so drive slowly.

I have done session at the Old Borges Ranch before and they all turned out beautiful . The best time is in the afternoon. I prefer shooting there before the rains start in November. September and October are the ideal time if you want to get to images ready for the Holidays. After November , it might be muddy there if it has rained the day before or so. And don’t forget that the time changes with an hour back in the beginning of November. Plus, as closer we get to the holidays the place can get very crowded with other photographers shooting family portraits there last minute( once there was four other photographers there and we have to respect each others time and space of shooting too). Yes, apparently the place is pretty famous among the lifestyle photo community in the Contra Costa County. But who can you blame for it when it has everything to create beautiful portraits with pretty background. Once, we even spotted deers .

Best time to shoot: after 4pm before November and from 3pm-5pm after the Daylight Saving Time ends.

As always my goal is the family I photograph to have a great time as a whole and at the same time these authentic moments to be recorder inside the rectangular frame.

Old Borges Ranch  

1035 Castle Rock Rd, Walnut Creek, CA 94598

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/11/old-borges-ranch-family-portrait-session Thu, 09 Nov 2017 18:38:07 GMT
KINGS CANYON ELOPEMENT AT THE GIANT SEQUOIAS [DIANA+VLADISLAV] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/9/kings-canyon-wedding-at-a-campground-diana-vladislav DIANA AND VLADI'S BULGARIAN FOREST WEDDING AT GRAND GROVE VILLAGE 

SEPTEMBER 16TH, 2017

Where do I begin? I know Vladi since I know my husband. He is  my sister in law’s brother, but I have heard about his charm and adventurous spirit  long before I met him in person. Both Bulgarians living in the States, Diana and Vladi are very free spirted souls. In the late spring of 2014, Vladi decides to quit his job and follow his dreams. He buys a ticket to Bogota, Colombia and begins year long exploration through  South America one country at a time, all the way to Antarctica. During that time one of Vladi’s friends who lives in Chicago introduces him to Diana and in February 2015, she joins him in Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is how it all began.  When he first saw her she captured him with her mysterious beauty of a wild child. Then they visited Uruguay and Brazil. It was just meant to happen. After  coming back to USA Diana moves from Chicago to Orange County where Vladi lives.

In the Christmas night of 2016 Vladi hides a ring in Diana’s Christmas gift box and proposes.

Knowing both of them as happy campers and travelers I can’t imagine having their wedding somewhere else, but in a forest.  They planned their wedding not just in any forest, but at the Giant Sequoias at Kings Canyon National Park. All the guests stayed at Azalea campground, which was absolutely beautiful and bonding experience. The ceremony took place at the magical Sunset Campground Amphitheater and the reception at the picnic area near the Azalea Campground under the grant sequoia trees. It was just the perfect setting for their forest wedding.

To be honest I was quite surprised when they asked me to be their main photographer at the wedding. I really didn’t expect it, as my family was one of the guests too and Nikola was invited to be the ring bearer. And to say it was an honor for me to be their wedding photographer is not enough. When someone I know invites me to photograph their wedding, it means a lot to me. It means trust and appreciation to my art. But that also means that I need to work extra hard  not to disappoint them and to separate work and personal emotions. Plus it was Nikola’s 4th Birthday at that day. So many emotional events in one day.

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Diana and Vladi’s wedding was all DIY. You can see from the images how much they put from their heart in it. There were so many personal elements to it. Diana created all the centerpieces and the decorations. Well, when you have a wedding in the middle of the forest it’s also hard to have a wedding planner or a caterer either.  I think that was one of the most creative and beautiful weddings I have photographed. Sometimes, you don’t need a lot to keep it simple and elegant. Boho Chic kind of style, with Bulgarian Live Folk Music and dancing horo , all was merging so well in the enchanted environment of the big trees around.

Not very popular these days , D+V decided to have a touch of authentic Bulgarian traditions in their wedding, like the groom with his entourage  picking up the maid of honor and the best man. Then they dance horo in front of their housing , which in this case was John Muir Lodge where they stayed for the weekend . That is followed by picking up the bride from her lodging, which in this case was one of the cabins near. There the groom’s family and friends are trying to “buy’ the bride - giving money to her parents and guardians in order to let the grom  enter inside and see his bride. Of course this was done all for the entertainment purposes and it was awesome.  Once, Vladi was let inside “the bride’s  house” he had to find one of her shoe and put money in it so it fits the bride’s foot. From there they both exited ‘the house’  and the bride led the horo dance . The guests were having traditional pita bread with honey as symbol for the newlyweds sweet life together.

The wedding ceremony was another elaborate scene from Diana and Vladi’s wedding. It was  full with humor, love and beautiful mixture between western wedding traditions with Bulgarian ones, and some that I have never seen before (such as telling something on each other’s ear  while putting the rings on).

Diana and Vladi’s outfits were custom designed and sewed by their maid of honor Ivanka Georgieva.  Her wedding dress was inspired by the legends about Samodiva . And everything else looked just like a magical fairytale in the forest.  

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beautiful white lace was spread in the middle of each table 

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Diana made these two wooden tiles by herself. One was for the best man and the maid of honor and the other one for her and Vladi. 

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The only heavy weight wooden table in the picnic area served as the newlyweds table. It was just perfect . It was decorated with pine cones and wild dry flowers.

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Guests dancing horo in front of John Muir Lodge when picking up the best man and the maid of honor. 

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Milen Varimezov plays gaida (bagpipe) when the bride exists 'her house' . 

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After Vladi found the right shoe he is trying to put it on Diana's foot and inserts money on the back so the shoe can fit. 

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The bride leads the horo dance in front of 'her house' .

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And someone broke one of the champagne glasses. But as we it ' The broken brings happiness'.  

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The guests are trying the pita with honey for bride and groom's sweet life together.

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Some tourists watching the ceremony from the back.

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Bride and Groom Photo session at the Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park. 

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The bride in front of the Fallen Monarch

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) after bulgarian camping canyon dancing decoration diy enchanted ever fairytale folk forest happily kings live music national park photography planning portraits rings samodiva sequoia wedding http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/9/kings-canyon-wedding-at-a-campground-diana-vladislav Wed, 27 Sep 2017 17:44:03 GMT
MOUNT TAMALPAIS ENGAGEMENT PORTRAIT SESSION: RADKA+ ULF http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/9/mount-tamalpais-engagement-portrait-session-radka-ulf To say I am happy for Rdka and Ulf who are getting married in a few days is an understatement.  I met Radka at the same time when I met my love and father of my two boys, George. It was a hot summer wedding in Clearwater Beach, FL, six years ago .  George played the bagpipe, Radka was the lead singer, and I was the photographer. Who would’ve  thought that one day our lives would continue to cross time and again. When I first heard her singing, she captivated me with her colorful voice. She is one of the most beautiful, multi talented person I know with a lively smile.

Ever since, Radka would appear in my life and disappear around the world following her dream to become a healer. She volunteered in many humanitarian missions, when she was in dental school.  When I was in my last days of pregnancy with my first son, she came in September to do a headshot portrait  she needed for a residency application.

We met again in September  two years later, when she came to my house for my son’s 2nd birthday party.   It was just before she traveled to Jamaica again to volunteer as a dentist there.

Well, by life’s serendipity all the occasions are happening in September .. she even got engaged in September last year and now she is getting married in September!

 

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When things are meant to happen they happen even  with online dating. This is how it all started, as Radka and Ulf describe:  ...”with a picture Radka had taken in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It happened so that Ulf saw the picture and recognized the place which he had just gotten back from. Over the next few conversations they discovered they have similar views about the world and passions about community, family, dentistry, adventure and food. It was a miracle that their first date actually happened. Growing up in Switzerland, Ulf showed up right on time. Growing up in Bulgaria, Radka also showed up right on time - about 45 min late. Regardless of the few roadblocks on the way, she drove down to meet Ulf and was pleasantly surprised that he was still there, true to his word, with a smile on his face. Although they met just for drinks, Ulf was impressed that Radka can devour a cheeseburger and fries in record time. "Finally a girl that can eat," is all he said. “  

Then followed a year of dating, full of amazing adventures,  going places, hiking, skiing, and traveling.  “On a beautiful sunny day, Radka and Ulf went on a mountain bike ride up Mount Tamalpais. They stopped for a picnic to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Little that she knew, Ulf had it all planned out. He knew that Radka loves Kinder Surprise chocolate eggs. To her surprise, rather than a toy she found The Ring...she agreed on wearing forever.”

I met Ulf for the first time when Radka asked me to do their engagement photo session. I was impressed by Ulf’s personality and really flattered by their decision to pick me as the photographer.

We chose couple of locations for the engagement session: Muir Beach and Mt. Tamalpais.

Mt. Tam was the place where Ulf proposed Radka, so it was very special place for them. We went there around sunset and it was mesmerizing , the fog was just showing and created a sea of puffy clouds in the horizon.  

We even found by chance a picnic bench and table where we were able to capture a lovely “ end of day and week” moment  with a glass of red wine and cherries.  It was more than beautiful and so romantic.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/9/mount-tamalpais-engagement-portrait-session-radka-ulf Sat, 09 Sep 2017 17:47:50 GMT
MOUNTAIN HOUSE ESTATE WEDDING : SONIA + ALEX http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/6/mountain-house-estate-wedding-sonia-alex IMG_2357-EditIMG_2357-Edit

SONIA + ALEX 

June 17th, 2017

Mariachi music, salsa dancing, lots of laughing,  tears and beautiful sincere emotions at Sonia and Alex wedding day. 

Sonia and Alex are one of the matchy matchy soul mate couples I am having the chance to work with. And on of the most wonderful people I have met in my life. Both good hearts and all-around kindred spirits as they describe themselves.  When they first contacted me a year ago to book me for their wedding, things just clicked right away between us.  And I knew their wedding will be full with fiesta and tears.    

Sonia and Alex met in 2012 while working on a music together. Alex was the music producer and Sonia was the vocalist. And that's how everything began around music, fun and laugh. It just meant to happen. As Alex says: ‘ I thought Sonia was really beautiful, but not only that, she was also down to Earth and easy to talk to. I almost immediately felt like we had known each other for a long time.’  

Four years after, they both flew to the Bay Area one day where their parents live. Very well planned,  Alex made one of the most romantic proposals to Sonia at the Palace of Fine Arts . With rose petals set by their parents , guitar player playing 'Besame Mucho' and a photographer hiding behind the bushes to capture the moment. Alex got down on one knee and asked Sonia to marry him. Then both sides parents popped out from their hiding places and all drank some champagne and took photos. It was one of the most wonderful  days in their lives.

Sonia and Alex dream wedding took place at the gorgeous  historic wedding venue Mountain House Estate, located  at the rural wine country at Cloverdale. It was just the perfect venue for their wedding day, away from the traffics and hustle in Southern California where the couple lives.

They married, outdoor under the big oak tree at the Mountain House Estate property, surrounded by birds singing, wind breeze touching Sonia’s veil and the leaves of the native trees. A place that bees are buzzing and hills are rolling at sunset time.  Empty canvas to be filled with wonderful memories. Their outdoor Mexican wedding at the Mountain House Estate was just spectacular. Sonia who was born and raised inside the traditions of mexican culture and fiesta created one absolutely beautiful mix of cultural traditions and contemporary wedding inspirations.

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Sonia reading Alex's vows to her before putting her dress on and tears are coming out of her eyes. What a priceless moment !

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One of my favorite backdrops at Mountain House Estate 

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 I love that moment of the bridesmaids excitement about Sonia's wedding dress by Essense of Australia design

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Personal and elegant. Alex's custom made suit by Indochino  has embroidery inside his jacket with his and Sonia’s initials and their wedding date.

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Having a wedding at one location that has separate bridal and groom suits like at Mountain House Estate, allowed me to capture both bride and groom getting ready. 

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Father and son ready for the Big Day 

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Acoustic guitar player at Sonia and Alex wedding ceremony.

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Sonia's father escorts her . Very emotional moment! 

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It was 100 F that day , but still the big oak tree shade was cooler place to be while saying your vows. 

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And the first kiss... 

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And presenting you Mr. and Mrs. Noble 

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At sunset time after dinner we went to the open field to get some romantic natural light photos of S+A . Just two of them. 

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The beautiful flower center pieces were one of the main details of the wedding decor and a reference to the Mexican culture. 

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The small sweets bites were one of the top hits of the evening. Beautifully decorated on top of a cart and served in white plates. 

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What is a wedding without a glass of champagne...

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Capturing the moment ... the bridesmaids fixing Sonia's gorgeous wedding dress. 

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Mexican inspired wedding decor ... And have you tried Noble Martini? 

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decorated buffet tables with beautiful Mexican ceramic pots 

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tablecloths were in different vivid colors - purple, yellow, blue 

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Bridesmaids were wearing grey shade long dresses that were all so beautiful and unique . The flowers by Franceska's Flower and Garden complemented them just perfect. Make up done by Soyi make-up and hair. 

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Images can't describe the emotional moments during the toasts .

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and the first dance ...

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Dancing to Vivir Mi Vida by Marc Anthony - the perfect song to start the wedding party dancing.

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and we ended up with a quick group photo with all the guests from above the balcony. 

many thanks to the amazing team of wedding vendors who brought that perfect day to life.

Many thanks to the amazing team of wedding vendors who brought that perfect day to life.

Venue: Mountain House Estate

Event Planner: Meghan Magnasco from SoEventful

Event Venue Management: Jenna Britton from theKgroup

Florist: Francesca’s Flowers and Garden

Make up and Hair: Kelly from Soyi

Caterer: Gil Vega Catering   

DJ: DJ Cody from Sutherland Entertainment

Acoustic Guitar: Matthew Fish from Sutherland Entertainment

Officiant: George Crespin

 

 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) boho mexican modern outdoor ranch wedding http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/6/mountain-house-estate-wedding-sonia-alex Fri, 30 Jun 2017 22:21:10 GMT
MOTHER'S DAY IS EVERYDAY [BAY AREA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/5/mothers-day-is-everyday-bay-area-family-photographer Confession from a mother or a letter to my mom

 

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and I am very happy to curate this blog post with most of my favorite images I  took throughout the last few years of my career as a lifestyle photographer of mothers including some self portraits too.  

My mom has been here since November. I don’t know what I would do without her. She has been helping me with my kids and the household, and so many other things, so I can focus more on my business, my inner balance, being a better parent and better artist. She has been my best friend and biggest support ever , and always next to me when I need her. My mom she even left her job and everything back in Bulgaria last year so she can come here temporary and help me with raising two children. Now, I realize that this wasn’t just a help , but it has been a tremendous  reconnection between us two. Getting to know each other in the last six months after all this years living apart , bonded us event deeper as mother and daughter. Now, myself as a mother of two  I realize the sacrifices my mom has made throughout the years for me and my sister. Even now, when I am a grown up woman she still does it. That makes me think how much sacrifices a mother needs to make and for how long? It is not going to be a day or two , or year or two, it’s going to be a life time for sure. But, knowing that someone out there loves us and needs us and that ‘someone’ is our own child  who we are sacrificing everything for makes us - mothers happy  and loved, and that all matters to us. Nothing else.

It took me a while to decide, which images to select to go on the blog post ( and trust me there were much more ). When I began curating them, the first thing that came to my mind was love - sacrifice for love. The look in all those women’s eyes speak about sacrifice and about love,  and about hope , and future, and something sacred, unique, all so special and inseparable from one another.  Looking at those photos I am so personally touched that all those women - some of them clients, some self portraits, and clients who became friends after all , they all allowed me to capture them so closely and intimate  in that very special moment in their life. So vulnerable, so sensitive , so emotional and still so strong and loving.

Mother’s Day is everyday, don’t forget that. I am surrounded by many mothers nowadays and I can see all the sacrifices that day do for their kids. We must respect, love and always remember that they are our best friends, out support and our strength. The mother will always love you, no matter what, where you are and what you do.

 

 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) best family friend friendship kiss love mom mother photographer relationship http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2017/5/mothers-day-is-everyday-bay-area-family-photographer Fri, 05 May 2017 19:36:05 GMT
BOTANICAL WEDDING NEAR SANTA CRUZ, CA [RANCHO SOQUEL] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/11/botanical-theme-wedding-near-santa-cruz-ca-rancho-soquel Leilani and Matt tying the knot in a beautiful fall afternoon

on October 8th, 2016 at the spectacular Rancho Soquel venue in Aptos, CA.

 
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Leilani and Matt’s wedding was really a dream come true. Surrounded by all the close family and friends, love and happiness were all around us. Five years ago L+M met at Palapas Restaurant and Bar on the sea cliff of Aptos, CA. Those five years were filled with adventures and romance in Costa Rica, Kauai, Mendocino, Santa Barbara, Bali and in Santa Cruz where Matt is from. While living in Kauai where Leilani is from, one warm evening at sunset Matt proposed Leilani. Leilani describes it as ‘He made it all so sweet and romantic! I was totally surprised!!’ Knowing both of them for almost a year, I can say that those two lovebirds are just made for each other. The pictures show it all. Leilani - a nature beauty  inside and out and Matt - the man with the gold heart.

Leilani and Ariel who is her maid of honor, best friend and partner in crime since childhood are the owners of Botanic and Lux, a luxurious lifestyle store in the Downtown Santa Cruz . Described by them as ‘a place for dreamers, lovers and seekers of all things beautiful’. So if you are in the area of Santa Cruz or doing a highway 1 trip don't forget to stop by Botanic and Lux. Talking about their live indoor plants business and born and raised in Hawaii,  Leilani has always been surrounded by nature and flowers. No wonder, she choose Rancho Soquel for the place to say ‘I do’ .  A place in first sight that can be a botanical garden or part of an excotic island. For her wedding day they both wanted everything to be as simple as possible, but the same time to be fresh, elegant and authentic.

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Leilani's hair and make-up were done by the talanted Briena Gleitsman 
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Debbie, Lei's mother in law giving her a special gift to her - a silver necklace she got it in Macedonia for her. Very original and pretty! 
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Leilani's hair and make-up were done by the talanted Briena Gleitsman 
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Wedding dress by Stone Cold Fox , Bridal bouquet by Willi Wildflower 
 
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After the first look Matt opened a bottle of champagne that he got it at the day of their engagement and kept it to the day of the wedding to open it up. This was a very special moment.
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Proteas were chosen for the main accent flower of the wedding day. It is special and exotic flower. In the Hawaii culture is consider as a symbol of hospitality and grace. The beautiful bridal bouquet and the bridesmaids' proteas were done by Willi Wildflower
20161008_LK_006620161008_LK_0066 Leilani is one of those people that makes everything looks so easy and simple around her. Her smile is captivating. People wants to be around her and that explains her big bridal party of all that awesome people I had the honor to meet and photograph that day.  The bridesmaid dresses were one of my favorite accents of the wedding theme. Long dresses with flower prints on them , but all uniquely designed from one another by Show Me Your Mu Mu.
While to complement the lady’s more elaborated fashion style the groomsmen were dressed with dark grey pants and plain white shirt. 20161008_LK_007020161008_LK_0070 20161008_LK_007220161008_LK_0072 20161008_LK_007420161008_LK_0074 lei  lei  7lei lei 7 20161008_LK_008120161008_LK_0081 20161008_LK_008220161008_LK_0082 20161008_LK_008420161008_LK_0084 lei  lei  8lei lei 8 20161008_LK_009020161008_LK_0090 20161008_LK_009120161008_LK_0091 20161008_LK_009220161008_LK_0092 20161008_LK_009420161008_LK_0094 20161008_LK_009520161008_LK_0095 20161008_LK_009720161008_LK_0097 20161008_LK_010320161008_LK_0103 lei  lei  18lei lei 18
The center pieces are by Botanic and Luxe
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Catering by Feast for a King Catering 
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The beautiful invitations were printed by Wedding Paper Divas and the Thank you card was designed and printed by me, the photographer. 

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The guests name tags were handwritten by Matt’s talented step sister Margo. All the little, but important elements were in a botanical theme. Cake by Jennifer Fontes.  20161008_LK_012620161008_LK_0126 lei  lei  10lei lei 10

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One of the most authentic elements at the wedding were the inherited ring from Leilani’s grandma whose mom gave it to her at the day of the wedding and Matt’s cufflinks from his grandpa given to him by his mom as well.  

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One of the best parts of the party night was the father -daughter dance.

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Leilani’s mom dancing Hula dance, a hawaiian traditional dance. It as an ancient dancing , Aloha in action. Beautiful! 

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Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Zehnder!
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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/11/botanical-theme-wedding-near-santa-cruz-ca-rancho-soquel Sun, 20 Nov 2016 01:33:38 GMT
GETTING MARRIED IN THE COMMUNE [LA SELVA BEACH WEDDING] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/6/getting-married-in-the-commune-la-selva-beach-wedding Cheers to love, laughter and happily ever after for

Madelaine and Scott

May 28th, 2016

 

I am so excited to share my experience from Madelaine and Scott’s commune wedding.  I got a call from Scott one day that they are looking for a photographer for their wedding. It’s not very common to get a request by the groom. He sounded pretty excited about it and of course he was getting married to the love of his life.

Since they live away from me in Santa Cruz we had our first face to face meeting over a skype video call.  We clicked right away. Of course we did. We all used to live on the L train line in New York and we have a lot of life experience to share with. Who knows maybe we had bumped into each other in the subway without knowing it.

S+M’s story is a destiny. Both newlyweds are from California, whose lives came across at a bar in Brooklyn, NY. However, as it says the home is where your heart is. They moved back to the ocean side of beautiful California in the city of Santa Cruz where they settled down.  Cuba was the place where Scott proposed to Madelaine at Las Jardines de la Reina. This is how their journey began with planning their wedding party at Madelaine’s family house - The Commune at La Selva Beach.  

S+M are one of the sweetest couples I have had the chance to meet and photographed. They wanted a simple outdoor wedding in a location closest to their hearts. And they wanted a big wedding where they can enjoy as much time as possible with all their family and friends. The Commune was the the perfect place for their wedding day. They chose Memorial Day Weekend for their wedding date, so the guests can fully experience the wedding weekend at La Selva Beach.

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M+S decided to do have their photos and the formal photos made before the ceremony. The first look was the perfect way to start it! 

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Can't say no to a dog in a photo especially with a name Porkchop. 

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Photo of all the three families living at The Commune. 

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DIY wedding table decoration for an outdoor reception. 

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All 208 name tags were hand written.

oak and rye pizzaoak and rye pizza All the catering was handled by Oak and Rye Pizza. The woodfire pizza oven was one of the dining attractions at the wedding.  oak and rye pizzaoak and rye pizza

santa cruz wedding photographysanta cruz wedding photography While waiting for the ceremony to start Madelaine was enjoying drink and talk with her friends.  la selva beach weddingla selva beach wedding

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The boys and girls houses were accross each other. Capturing lots of candid shots was the must at the wedding, so much was going on around it! 
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kids at weddingkids at wedding ...and there was plenty of fun for the kids too around The Commune!  20160528_SS_001720160528_SS_0017 california weddingscalifornia weddings california weddingscalifornia weddings And here comes the beautiful bride... walnut creek weddingswalnut creek weddings wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach I thought I was the only photographer at the wedding. I always try to capture the face of the groom when his wife to be very soon is walking the aisle. It's one of the must have photos for the wedding album. You never know who else will be inside the frame.  best bay area photographersbest bay area photographers wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach and tears are rolling over her face from happiness and emotions.. wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach 20160528_SS_002920160528_SS_0029

You know what love means when his eyes are shining so much.  wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach Funny and real stories are the best during the wedding vows! 

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and sometimes some of the sweetest guests fall asleep during those speeches.. wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach 20160528_SS_003420160528_SS_0034 wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach Madelaine and Scott ceremony was under a big oak tree where she used to play there as a free spirited child surrounded by vegetable farms and the golden hour of the warm Californian sunset.  20160528_SS_003620160528_SS_0036

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The ring bearers... so cute and so little and so in style...It's the image when the bride gives a kiss to the youngest at the wedding. Oh, darling.. they are so adorable!  wedding ceremony at la selva beachwedding ceremony at la selva beach commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding commune weddingcommune wedding

and the first kiss...

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There were lots of wine and champagne and an oyster bar by Bill the Oyster Man. Guests were enjoying the nice outdoor weather, mingling with each other.  20160528_SS_001920160528_SS_0019

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All 20 cakes were homed backed 

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Thank you M+S for sharing this joyful day with you! Cheers! 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) . best ceremony champagne cheese commune couples cruz diy family friends happiness love marriage married marry oak outdoor oyster pizza rye santa smiles tree wedding wine http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/6/getting-married-in-the-commune-la-selva-beach-wedding Mon, 06 Jun 2016 22:41:55 GMT
MATERNITY GROUP PORTRAIT DEDICATED TO MOTHER'S DAY [MOUNT DIABLO-EAST BAY AREA PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/5/maternity-group-portrait-mount-diablo-east-bay-area-photographer Pregnant Women portrayed as Spring Goddesses

location: Mount Diablo near Clayton, CA 

As I didn’t feel taking any photos while I was pregnant I really wanted to take photos of all the pregnant women that I know.  I had no energy to that at that time though. Well, I did that months after I gave birth. Suddenly, many of the women around me were expecting a second child. Now, a mother of two I invited them to a group maternity shot. Curious, how an image with group of pregnant women will look like. Should I do it in a studio or outdoor? Should they be naked or all dressed up? I decided outdoor and let them choose  how they want to be photographed. It wasn’t a documentary work where I could portray what really feels to be pregnant and what pregnant women have to deal with nine months in their life.  It was staged where women should look beautiful and like themselves when they the image. I only needed one image. 

 

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I thought that as a metaphor for beginning of  a new life,  spring was the best season of the year for the photoshoot. After, raining so much this year in the Bay Area everything was blooming, the grass was saturated green , flowers all over the hills and a nice fresh air is coming out of all the leaving flora  around after the rain. It’s a great opportunity for spring photos here.

Pregnancy is a very special time for us women. It lasts only nine months. Women are glowing during that time.  A new life will be born. We, women feel beautiful and realize that this is not going to last forever and ever. At least I felt like that when I was pregnant both times. Women are Goddesses. That’s how I envisioned that photoshoot.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) belly crowns diablo flower maternity mount nature pregnancy spring http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/5/maternity-group-portrait-mount-diablo-east-bay-area-photographer Thu, 05 May 2016 22:20:33 GMT
ONE DAY FAMILY TRIP TO POINT REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, CA [FAMILY-TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/4/family-trip-to-point-reyes-ca Where in California you can see in one place a whale, elephant seal, tule elks and a historic lighthouse? 

 At Point Reyes  of course. 

 

Point Reyes has been in my to do travel list destination for a quite awhile. After I gave birth to Damian  we haven't had so many opportunities for traveling with hiking and sightseeing. Now, when he is more than nine months old I felt much more confident to do such trips with the kiddos.  Plus my grandma is here from Bulgaria, which is another good excuse for such trips.

George and I visited it once when I was pregnant with our first son in the summer of 2013. But now , it was different. I felt much more energetic and enthusiastic to even make some photos there. That day we were very organized as unusual. We left the house at 8 am, stopped for a coffee at Bovine Bakery in the small town of  Point Reyes Station, CA  and got at the lighthouse parking lot at 10:15am. No traffic, just a green grass all over the road, farms and fresh spring air.

We had a plan that day. Wow, making plans with two small kids? Yes, at least I try and especially that day it worked.  Point Reyes is a very educational place and especially for kids and great outdoor activity location in Marin County for a family weekend. If you are lucky as we were that day you could see a whale swimming in the ocean,the northern elephant seals and a herd of  tule elks.

Oh and the spring. We did the trip in the first weekend of April. Let me tell you everything was so beautiful out there, the hills were covered by all kind of flowers and the air was so fresh.
What makes Point Reyes National Seashore a must see travel destination in Northern California is that  it is the second foggiest place in North America and the windiest place on the Pacific Coast. Driving to the lighthouse in the fog felt like going into the infinity . We saw few deers near the road . We didn't see any cars on the road, so I was wondering if the lighthouse is open. But we saw few deers near the road Once. Once we got to the lighthouse parking lot there were few cars there. Suddenly, after our arrival the parking lot started filling up quickly. In fifteen min the lot was almost full. If you plan a trip to the Point Reyes Lighthouse get there by 10am if you want to really enjoy what the park offers and get to the lighthouse before it closes in the afternoon ( I think 4pm).

It was quite a walk to get to the top. Once we got there at the information building  where you can buy some magnets and other souvenirs we had to go all the way down the stairs to get to the actual lighthouse historic building. Be prepared that climbing up is a harder one. My two and half year old son did it with a little help from us,  so you can do it too.  On the way back we saw whales swimming in the ocean very close to the shore. It was such an exciting moment for all of the tourists there.

The second stop was to see the elephant seals. We had to drive 5-10 min to get there.  We saw them from distance. They were all lying down on the shore. What  a free life those creatures have.

Third and last stop was the northest part of the park where the tule elks were. Although, last time we came here with George we saw them on the way to Drakes Bay. The drive to the north part was about 30 min on a curvy road. Few miles before the end of the road we saw a herd of tule elks on the left side of the road. There were many. Some of them standing up, and some of them laying down. All looking at us. We stopped to see them and take some photos. Not many cars has stopped though. I am glad we did it cause later we didn’t see any. The kids were able to see them too.

Nikola was so excited about the whole trip and he didn’t stop talking about the elks,  and the whales, and the seals in the car on the way back home. The best way for kids to learn is to take them outdoor to where real life lives and see it with their eyes.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) activities bay children coast costal destination elephants elks family flowers inverness kids outdoor pacific photography point reyes seals seashore station toddlers tomales tourism travel trip vacation http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/4/family-trip-to-point-reyes-ca Sat, 30 Apr 2016 05:58:05 GMT
PLAYFUL ENGAGEMENT SESSION IN THE SNOW [KINGS BEACH AT LAKE TAHOE, CA] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/4/engagement-session-in-the-snow-lake-tahoe Margo and Barry Winter Tale 

If you are looking for a white winter and like having a good time, Lake Tahoe is one of the best places in the Sierra to spend your vacation. This winter whoever went skiing at Tahoe got lucky. White snow was everywhere. I was a bit skeptical but curious about making photos in the middle of the day when the light is strong and the whiteness amplifies it. To my delight pictures turned lovely.

It is hard to predict in the mountain at that time of the year when you will get the best lighting. The sun sets pretty early behind the snow covered hills. A long shadow falls over the ground in the very early afternoon. Winter days are short so you shoot whenever you can and your subjects are available.

Talking about snow, doesn’t snow mean fun? Of course it does, especially if you are visiting Lake Tahoe in the winter for any kind of reason, work, skiing, travel, sightseeing, getting engaged or getting your engagement photos done there. That is just what Margo and Barry did this winter. During their short holiday vacation we did their engagement photos.

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Living in Santa Cruz Margo and Barry get plenty beautiful sunsets over the Pacific, but they don’t get to see snow there.  Being at Lake Tahoe they had the unforgettable opportunity to have their engagement photos done on a snow. That is what winter is all about - chilly weather and heartwarming memories…

Before the photoshoot I did a little location scouting as I thought I would find a better location than the center of the North Tahoe. It happened that the other places I looked were either in shade or the snow has disappeared because of the tides or the tall trees where it snowed less.  One of the best places I found at Lake Tahoe was the end of Kings Beach, it’s a little wilder than the rest of the beach especially in the winter. Ideal for photographing portraits. There are birch trees, rocks and some sand of course, and a lot of open space facing the entire lake.

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My intention with that photo shoot was to capture the joy of loving hearts surrounded by a beautiful landscape. If you think snow balls are only for kids, think again! Adults can have lots of fun in the snow!  It was cold, but just being under the sun with such beautiful people and a camera in my hands made me run around and trying to capture every single moment of happiness and emotions I saw through my viewfinder. We all had a lot of fun that day.​

I hope you enjoy this winter tale in pictures.

 

Stani

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) fun photos play playfull snow snowman winter http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/4/engagement-session-in-the-snow-lake-tahoe Fri, 08 Apr 2016 21:51:14 GMT
SANTA CRUZ ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SESSION [THE FOREST OF NISENE MARKS STATE PARK] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/3/santa-cruz-engagement-photo-session-the-forest-of-nisene-marks-state-park Hawaiian girl and Santa Cruz boy are tying the knot this fall season.

One of the reasons I love living and working in California is that I can shoot outdoor almost the entire year. I did that free spirited engagement shoot in the beginning of December near Santa Cruz, CA. 

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I got introduced to Leilani and Matt by Matt’s mother whose engagement photo session I did few years ago. Actually, it wasn’t exactly an engagement session, but I would call it a Forever Love photo session. A photo session for people who got married a long time ago and want to have a record of their special relationship.

Currently, all my clients who book me for more than 4 hours of a wedding coverage have an option: either to get a complimentary engagement session or have an extra hour  at their wedding day. As most of the couples I speak for first time Leilani and Matt  weren’t very enthusiastic about an engagement photo session too. After, I explained to them how important this is going to be for us to get to know each other and that they will not have enough time at their wedding for being in front of the camera by themselves for hour or two hours, they realize how important this was for their relationship as well.

The first thing in my mind about photographing someone at the Santa Cruz area was the beach and the water, surfing and swimming, chasing and laughing. I know it may sound cliche, but the images always turn out great! However, being born and raised in Hawaii , Leilani preferred something that reminds her to the nature there and where she met Matt. The organic and spiritual style of these two beautiful people who decided to connect their lives forever took me in the middle of The Redwoods - at the magical Forest of Nisene Marks  State Park near Aptos, CA.

First we started shooting under the big redwood trees. However, our main goal was to find the little creek there where we could take some photos of them. Believe it or not finding the little creek was a quiet mystery.

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It was the beginning of December and it was still quite chill out there, especially under the tall redwoods.  But that didn’t bother the beautiful Leilani who stepped inside the cold water and walked like she has been doing this since, like a fish.

The scenery was absolutely beautiful. There was this big wall covered with plants and you kind of have a feeling of being inside a botanical garden or an exotic place where all kind of different trees and plants are growing.

I really like the simplicity of the preparation for the photo shoot. A white long dress suggesting pureness brought from their vacation in Bali, a flower crown and a warm pinkish blanket. Fresh and Natural.  

This engagement photo session is another pure example where all the pieces come together as one - location, props and styling.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) California be bride coast creek engagement exotic free hawaiian hippy hipster jungle mermaid natural nature organic outdoor planner planning redwoods ring river shore spirit to water wedding your http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/3/santa-cruz-engagement-photo-session-the-forest-of-nisene-marks-state-park Thu, 17 Mar 2016 06:02:56 GMT
ELEGANT SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL ELOPEMENT IN THE FALL [BAY AREA WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/3/elegant-san-francisco-city-hall-elopement-in-the-fall Fatima + Andrew 

got married in November 2015 

 

I didn’t have the chance to meet in person with Andrew and Fatima prior to our photo session as I usually prefer to do with all my clients. We only had exchanged few emails and had spoken on the phone. But when I met them at the day of their wedding ceremony it felt like we knew each other from years. Andrew is a pilot and he was dressed up with his official uniform. Fatima looked as if she was a Persian princess with her prince. Both were very elegant.

 

Getting married at San Francisco City Hall is always beautiful to photograph, especially in the  autumn.  The sun is low and creates a warm backlight when doing the bride and groom portrait session outside in the City Hall surrounding. The leaves of the trees appear in a brownish golden tones.

 

That day San Francisco City Hall wasn’t crowded as usual with people getting married.  The main stairway was closed for an event and we weren’t allowed to take photos there.  Despite of that we asked the planner and I was able to snap some shots of the couple there.  We had to improvise because the time and space we were allowed was very limited. In retrospective, it might’ve been a good circumstance of serendipity, because thinking on our feet in an already emotional situation sparked my imagination. I’ll let you enjoy the wedding images and decide for yourself how it turned out.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) Iranian Persian autumn brown close colors couple elopement engagement event fall family love relationships rings special wedding http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/3/elegant-san-francisco-city-hall-elopement-in-the-fall Tue, 01 Mar 2016 20:48:19 GMT
NEWBORN BABY BOY BORN ON NEW YEAR'S DAY [SAN FRANCISCO EAST BAY NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/1/newborn-baby-boy-san-francisco-east-bay-newborn-photographer Born on New Year's Day 

This cute little miracle was born on January 1st, what a great start to the New Year , isn’t it? Personally, I was expecting to hear he was born every single day during the Holidays. And here is  the call on the 1st day of the New Year. I got very excited about that.

I  shot this session an year ago, just after I found  out I was pregnant with my second child.  I didn’t know his gender at that time. As you can imagine shooting newborns at the time of being pregnant could be very personal. You have so many  thoughts in your head. Like  what’s going to be with two kids , is Nikola going to have a baby brother or baby sister..., questions without answers at that time. So The Andrews family was pretty inspiring to me to watch them so happy and thrilled with the birth of their second son and how much joy that brings to a family. It was a life-time moment to me watch and capture the older brother holding in his hands the new addition to the family - the little Coen. At that moment I was imaging Nikola holding his brother or sister in his hands and what his reaction would be.

After all I thought that was the best start of the New Year to me as a mother and a photographer. 

 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) baby breastfeeding family first four grandma grandparents love newborn nursing of parenthood siblings http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2016/1/newborn-baby-boy-san-francisco-east-bay-newborn-photographer Mon, 11 Jan 2016 20:31:20 GMT
NEWBORN CHRISTMAS PHOTOS [BABY PHOTOGRAPHY SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/10/newborn-christmas-photos BABY GAVIN

born on Oct 23rd at 10:46am, 6lbs, 10.9oz and 19.49in

This super sweet newborn photo session I shot last year in the fall, in the busiest photo season for photographers where is a luxury  sometimes to edit and write a blog post. So, I decided to post the images when baby Gavin turns 1 year old on Oct 23rd, 2015. Happy 1st Birthday Gavin :) !!  

With those  images I did a little bit different than I usually do with my photos. I tried different presets that I thought would look great on some of the photos. The parents photos with their newborn son were shot in a room with not a lot of light and the red sweater was reflecting a lot on the red side , so I converted the photos in black and white and sepia. At that way I am not showing the lack of color correction in the photos.  As an artist sometimes you have to be creative in order to achieve the desired perfect image. 

 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) California angel area baby bay be bumb center concord creek family francisco lafayette maternity mom moraga naked newborn orinda parents photography portraits props san the to walnut http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/10/newborn-christmas-photos Fri, 23 Oct 2015 07:30:00 GMT
DIY SCHOOL BUS BIRTHDAY THEME PARTY [BAY AREA KIDS PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/school-bus-birthday-theme-bay-area-kids-photographer  

THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND STRAIGHT TO NIKOLA'S 2ND BIRTHDAY PARTY  ​

DIY KIDS BIRTHDAY PARTY

 

My son Nikola is 2 now! He is a real Toddler. For sure he has changed a lot in the last months. He is more serious, holds my hand when we walk on the street instead of running around, talk a lot and his favorite sentence is ‘I want’. I am still reading ‘The happiest Toddler on the blog’ by Dr. Harvey Karp  and still trying to practice all his advices in the book, some work some don’t. Well, although this age is described as ‘the terrible twos’ my experience as a mother of a toddler is that they are the cutest things on this planet. They can surprise you all the time with something new they have learned intentionally or unintentionally.   

Since, Nikola turned one he has been obsessed with the song ‘Wheels on the bus go round and round’ and all the youtube animated video clips ( we try to limit those as much as we can), plus all the buses he sees on the street. He is fascinated by all kind of buses he sees on the street. I find this amazing and so pure and  innocent. And of course compare to his First Birthday last year we have a theme for his 2nd birthday this year- a BUS theme.

For this DIY project I got very involved with it this time. And the reason was not only Nikola’s fascination about buses, but also Nikola and George( his father) are born on the same date. Yes,they share birthdays - September 16th. So, I wanted to make something special for my two boys.

 

I wanted ‘the cake’ to be in the shape of a bus. I did some research what the possibilities are of having something like that for Nikola’s birthday party. Instead of cake I ordered cake pops in the shape of a bus from Kristine of Scrumpoptious in Pleasant Hill. She did an excellent job with molding the school bus exactly as I wanted them to be. let me tell you those cake pops were  super delicious with very little sugar. She did them with pumpkin and vanilla flavor  and all the kids just loved and ate them. Oh, when Nikola saw them he got so excited. He was just the happiest toddler on this planet. He wanted to eat all of the cake pops or the buses as he was saying. Well, he started with the M&M wheels:)

The cake pops were the best idea for a kids; birthday party in my case as a mother of two right now. No mess, no cutting, less sugar, small as a size and designed with your kid’s favorite image. Instead of a big cake with the shape of a bus that is super sweet and most of the parents will probably not even allow their kids to eat it because has a lot of sugar. It will be lots of waste of money and cake.

PART I

 

kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas
kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas

kids birthday party ideaskids birthday party ideas

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school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas
school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

PART II​

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

Since Nikola has a yellow school bus, which he broke it I got him a Classic New York City Bus from Amazon for $6.76

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

this is the decorated birthday table where the yellow color is the leading color of the party

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

I got 50 clear plastic disposable cups for $14.50 and paper straws from Amazon for $6.99. The bus stickers bus stickers I ordered from Etsy Sissy’s Planner shop for $1.50 of 20pcs

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

For the party favorites I ordered small board books with beautiful illustrations along with the text of the song ‘wheels on the bus’  by  Jerry Smath from Amazon for $2.10 each

Plain white gift bags from Beverly’s Fabrics 13 pcs for $6, the school and the thank you stamps and inks are from Michael's

Birthday hats from 99 cents store  and birthday candles from Papyrus​

school bus birthday ideasschool bus birthday ideas

The banner was made by George. He drew the bus and the train. I only had to buy the card boards from Michael's for about $5. The idea was mine what to be written on the banner. This way we can add the number of Nikola's years every other year and draw something different and leave his name as Nikola is..., Also we can add more decorations to the name each year. It's fun! 

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For the adults we got berry and lemon tarts. They were so delicious.

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Nikola is excited about the candles and singing Happy Birthday to You

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George played Nikola's favorite song.

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Well, I think next year  the birthday party team will be Thomas the Train.. Little baby brother Damian dressed also in yellow enjoying his big brother;s birthday.

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) bus cake even ideas pops school http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/school-bus-birthday-theme-bay-area-kids-photographer Wed, 30 Sep 2015 07:19:32 GMT
FAMILY PORTRAITS WITH FALL FOLIAGE IN THE EAST BAY AREA [MARKHAM REGIONAL ARBORETUM] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/family-portraits-with-fall-foliage-in-the-east-bay-area-markham-regional-arboretum Looking for a fall foliage colors in the East Bay? Check out these beautiful family photo session I did last year in Concord.  ​

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/family-portraits-with-fall-foliage-in-the-east-bay-area-markham-regional-arboretum Tue, 29 Sep 2015 06:25:24 GMT
FALL FAMILY PHOTO SESSION AT SUNSET [EAST BAY AREA FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHY] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/fall-family-photo-session-during-sunset-east-bay-area-family-photography

 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/fall-family-photo-session-during-sunset-east-bay-area-family-photography Mon, 14 Sep 2015 08:18:31 GMT
SAN FRANCISCO CITY HALL WEDDING IN THE SUMMER [ BAY AREA PHOTOGRAPHER] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/san-francisco-city-hall-wedding-in-the-summer MARINA+YAVOR

JUNE 1ST

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) bride ceremony city engaged event flowers francisco groom guests hall honeymoon in love photo planning ring san session trendy venue wedding http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/san-francisco-city-hall-wedding-in-the-summer Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:55:56 GMT
OUR SECOND SON WAS BORN IN JULY [BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/our-second-son-was-born-in-july-birth-announcement Introducing you to

DAMIAN GEORGE KABAIVANOV

born on July 3rd at 1:57am

5lb 10oz and 18 1/4in

I am absolutely excited to introduce you to our second son Damian. He was born a month earlier than his due date exactly and had to stay in the hospital for 8 days. He was considered late premature baby.  I was discharge from the hospital two days after I gave birth and that was the hardest period of being a mom so far, going home alone. But when he was discharged if from the hospital too it was the happiest day ever for our family.  

I am sharing some of my favorite photos I took of Damian in his first few weeks of a newborn baby. I have been taking a lot of newborn photos of other people's babies and siblings, but now after taking photos of my two sons and my whole family even a selfie portrait I think that those are the photos that really hit into my heart and soul as a parent and a photographer. Although, I love looking at baby posed photos and take them myself , now after looking at my two sons in the frame and my husband holding our second son in his hands, these are the photos that make me cry and smile, and remember the first days of being a mother for a second time.  

a month later 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/our-second-son-was-born-in-july-birth-announcement Mon, 14 Sep 2015 05:52:42 GMT
LIFESTYLE NEWBORN PHOTO SESSION PROCESS AND FAQ [EAST BAY PHOTOGRAPHY] http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/lifestyle-newborn-photography-in-your-home-baby-photography For any mom and dad:

[I had planned to publish that blog post earlier this year, but because my second son came a month earlier than expected I had to postpone the post. On the brighter side, I added additional content ]

After the birth to my first son and now of my second one , newborn photography have been something very special and personal to me. I became more and more attracted to photographing families during their first days of being parents.  Now, being a parent of two sons I can say that each one feels like a first love to me. To love someone, someone so small and innocent, someone who needs you and you need him/her is the biggest gift you could ever have. And the biggest surprise is that you never know what to expect in such moment when the baby comes.. But when that moment comes you realize what you live for and what you fight for. Then you discover the missing piece in you.

 

When people come me to photograph their newborn baby there are a lot of questions and concerns about it. People ask me, where do you take the newborn photos? what to wear? who do you include in the photos? do you have props? in what style do you take them? etc. Here I put together the most thorough information I could think about it right now based on my personal experience working with newborns in this blog. I hope that after reading it will help you feel more  confident about being photographed in the first days of being a parent.

 

The process :

Booking a Newborn Photo Session or First Baby Photos

 

When to book your newborn photo session? Right when you find out you are pregnant and you want photos of your child’s first days. Don’t do it in your last month of pregnancy because last minute booking fee of $80 may apply to your package. You may think that there is plenty of time, but the baby might come even earlier as it happened to me. Once, you have booked the session, as soon as the baby arrives call me to schedule the exact time for the shooting. Remember, giving birth ‘when and how’ are very unpredictable situations and I am doing my best to accommodate you no matter when you have delivered the baby earlier than your due date or later. Once you enter  the 9th month I keep following with you.  

 

When to schedule the newborn photo session? Once the baby is born or you are on your way to the hospital - text me, email me, call me at your earliest convenience so I can tell you which days are available in my calendar for you in the first 10 days of the baby’s birth. Plus, when  I know your due date I stay in touch with you and you are marked in my calendar.  I try to schedule the photo session before the baby turns fourteen days old, so between 5 and 10 days old. At that time the baby is more likely to be in the ‘womb-like’ poses and sleep a lot. Scheduling babies before their 5th day it’s not a good idea. The mother needs to rest after she gave natural or c-section birth. Her milk supply may have not increased enough in order for the baby to create  a feeding schedule in around every 2 hours. But if the session needs to be scheduled after the 14th day of the baby’s birth due to mine or yours schedule don’t worry, you will still get beautiful pictures of your child as being a baby. I am just going to tell you that you most likely will not get the sleepy curly poses, but you will get more photos of the baby being aware (which are some of the parents’ favorites actually). When the baby is older than 14 days I will focus more on the baby being awake and the interaction with his parents and siblings.

 

What’s the best time for scheduling newborn photos? At your home I usually schedule it for 10am, so we can finish by lunch time, especially if you have older children who needs to nap in the afternoon. In my home studio I schedule it around 12-1pm depends on the season since it’s a natural light studio.

 

What kind of photos do you take in my home and at your studio?  In your home I am focusing mostly on your family interacting with one another and the new baby. I will take environmental - documentary photos of the baby and capturing candid moments between mother-child, father-child, siblings and baby small body details.  I may not be able to bring my beanbag to your house and all the props. Images of the baby on a beanbag in the curly poses I take in my home studio.

 

As a location photographer I think that your home is the most sacred place on Earth at this time of your life and you probably don’t really want to take your baby out during the first days of adjustment and sleepless nights. So, I will come to your place see where is the best lighting in your house for photography, although I am not limiting myself to it.  I  will  set up the shooting position near a window light if it’s possible.  

 

What kind of photos do you take?

Although, I am more documentary-location photographer and not the usual newborn studio photographer, I will take few shots of the sleeping baby on top of a bean bag or inside a basket. The other photos I will take are family portraits with the baby including siblings most likely in the bedroom capturing a real moment of happiness with the new member of the family; Then sibling photos, single photos of mom with baby and dad with baby. During breastfeeding, although I prefer to leave the mom alone to enjoy that moment quietly if she is ok with it I  can take photos of the baby feet, hands, eyes, lips and all the little details of the baby that are so small and precious. However, there are no guarantee that I could take all those photos above because they depend on your accessibility, how well the baby sleeps and behaves. All newborn babies are different. Some are fussy, others sleep all the time, some want to be hold by their mom, to suck and be rocked and the moment you want to put them on the bean bag they wake up. That was the case with my babies. And those things are unpredictable. Oh, let’s not forget the surprise. Newborn babies poop and pee all the time, especially little boys [most  of the newborn photos are done without diaper].  Yes, accidents happen and don’t worry about it I am used it.  

How to make the baby sleep during his personal photo session? For best sleeping baby poses try to not feed the baby before the session,  but try to keep it awake  for at least two hours before the scheduled photo session. When we get together start breastfeeding. Once the baby is full,  he/she will relax and will fall asleep. Alternatively, you may start with the family photos first, get him/her tired a little bit then feed the baby and once the baby is full, hopefully it will fall asleep deeply.  

Remember, the baby has lived in a very tiny space, snuggled in your belly, surrounded by a white noise, rocked each time you moved and he misses that place, he/she is so used to it. And if you read ‘The Happiest Baby on the Blog’ by Dr. Harvey Karp, [a great book that helped me a lot with my first child] you will have better understanding of your baby sleeping habits in his first months of his birth. And because the baby is so attached to his/her mother already, he/she can feel her smell and voice. Smell is the most developed sense with newborn babies.  that’s why, I will ask  the mother to stay a little bit away from the baby during the sleepy poses. I will  hold myself the baby helping him to fall asleep with a little rocking , shushing and touching his forehead. Tricks that help a lot to calm baby down and you can use them yourself. I use blow dryer for white noise and  I always carry a small heater to warm the room up if the room is cold. It has to be at least 75F -80F in order for the baby to be undressed.  Babies like to be warm, but not hot or cold. Meanwhile, I ask the parents to pick a blanket color and props. The parents should pick up to three poses and props and depends how well the baby behaves we could do one or more than three. The clients can bring their own props. I am trying to do my best to get you at least one posed newborn portrait. We start with the most important props, pose and shot for the parents. For instance: some parents want to duplicate a photo of their first child or have similar one, others want a photo with baby inside a basket or just naked sleeping baby. After the baby  falls asleep deeply, I place him/her on the blanket comfortably in a safe pose. I don’t do any poses that are unnatural like froggy pose and similar. They are not in my style. If you are looking for those poses than I am not your newborn photographer. My goal and style is to provide you with the most natural and sweet baby poses for your baby at that stage. Although pediatricians don’t  recommend babies to sleep on their bellies, babies like to sleep on their bellies. It also prevents colics as Dr. Karp writes in his book. That’s why those poses are completely safe when supervised by adults. Also, every baby has different flexibility , ones are very stiff and others are more flexible.

I can not guarantee you certain poses. It all depends on the baby. He could be 7 days old and still waking up every time I try to put him on the bean bag. Or 14 days old and sleep very deeply. For most of those poses the baby has to be without diaper. Accidents happen and don’t worry about it. I have two boys who were peeing and pooping every time I just pointed my camera at them.. And before each photo session I make sure all the blankets and props are clean and washed.

Circumcision . It is a good to keep the tradition of circumcision as part of your cultures but it takes days to heal. It  is a very uncomfortable and unsafe for circumcised newborns to  have  their naked photos taken during the healing period. I suggest to my clients who are planning to circumcise their baby-boy to schedule this procedure after the newborn photos. If the baby is already circumcised, I am not going to turn my clients away.I will advise them, that I can’t guarantee the curly-naked poses. The baby most likely has to be in a diaper and the she/he will be wrapped or dressed with clothes for its safety. If the baby is circumcised and we try to take naked poses  of him the circumcision may be very irritated and lead undesired complications. Although, I love newborn photography, baby’s safety always comes first and I won’t compromise on that matter.

 

What to wear - skin to skin is probably the most natural way to be photographed with your child at that moment and show the connection between each other. I understand that some may not feel comfortable in front of the camera being photographed naked. If that is the case, any clothes that  have natural colors can work . Unless, you want to make a statement and show your lifestyle in the photos, we need your expressions and the purity of the baby to pop up / be the focus not your clothes. For that reason  I would suggest natural, pastel colors.

 

What not to wear- clothes with signs that don’t speak anything about you or your baby, clothes and colors that are distracting and shift attention to the outfit rather than your faces and the connection between you and the baby.

 

Props - I have some props, but I am not a prop person when photographing babies. I always suggest my clients to bring something that they like and feel personal about it like hats, wraps, anything for girl’s hair. Personally, I like the baby in his/her most natural look, but sometimes it’s good to show his/her gender by dressing the baby with some props. If you know in advance that I will be your photographer please advise with me before you decide to purchase anything. Many props that say ‘newborn’ may not be the exact newborn size or ‘newborn -3 months’ , that will be probably bigger for your baby. It’s good to choose up to 3 poses and props, make it simple. There is no guarantee how many we will be able to capture and also we don’t want to exhaust the baby by changing him/her in many props and poses. It all depends on the baby sleeping time, behavior etc .


About the props: I always recommend my clients to get something that they really like first before using my props. Something that may leave a special memory for them and be personal for their baby. And here are few links with prop sites, which I like:

http://jdvintageprops.com/​

http://www.devotedknits.com/

http://www.beautifulphotoprops.com/

http://www.backdropsandfloors.com/

http://www.sewtrendyaccessories.com/

and Etsy.com 

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stani@staniphotography.com (Stani Photography) http://www.staniphotography.com/blog/2015/9/lifestyle-newborn-photography-in-your-home-baby-photography Sun, 13 Sep 2015 21:06:10 GMT