Thank you for joining me on my adventure to BLOG! I am Valerie, the owner and photographer of Images by Valerie, specializing in maternity, family, children, newborn and high school senior portraits here in Santa Barbara county. I plan to reach out to you every week with updates, tips and insights on me and Images by Valerie’s adventures (but I need a little support as I figure this out at the beginning). Thank you for all the families that have invited me into their lives up to this point and shared a moment in time with me to capture for them. Going through my portfolio makes me smile as I remember the fun, quirks, humor and personalities and of course the challenges that just make each session and family unique and make my job great! This is my first blog so I felt I should write a bit about family photo sessions. Summer is unfortunately ending, kids young and not so youngish are returning or starting school. Fall is beginning and with that, (here in SantaBarbara) some of the trees are starting to change,if you know which blocks or parks have those trees. We pulled out our front lawn and an ill pine tree this past January and now have two Japanese maple trees that the city told us had to be “capable of achieving 30 feet,” so now we have some of the coveted season trees! Now being fall, this is the time to take stock in your family, the changes that have occurred and plan your Christmas cards! We even scheduled ours, which I’m not silly enough to attempt myself. Last year we went through the Daddy must hold my daughter stage, and so I had very few images with me and my daughter if it wasn’t a quick cell phone image. Our Christmas card was just of our daughter, but we did have a family session done before we left Oregon. Our daughter was not a happy camper that morning, and her smiling wasn’t occurring when I was near them..I snuck in for one quick attempt. We ended the session with a smoothie spilling all over her dress in the car on the way home, so treating ourselves out to breakfast wasn’t an option anymore. But we got a family picture to remember our lives in Oregon! Lesson learned- nothing other than water to drink on the way to a session.  Mount Angel, Oregon Mount Angel, Oregon

We also have a very important bear in our family. He and my daughter have been inseparable since the Ikea bunny in a carrot car ran its course around 9 months. He is in most our photos and all our memories so the fact that he can’t stay in the car has been fine with us…almost would be wrong to not have him in a family photo…but I think this year might be our first, but we are good either way. I always prep my families that the parents need to be “on” all the time. Pay attention to me and not to the kids while I’m shooting because when I get to surprise their kids and get the smile or cute expression it is usually the case that the parents are talking and/or aren’t looking! Being a photographer planning our session this September, I need to remember this myself. Be present in the moment, relax, play and be yourselves and if your child or children aren’t being the little angels you hoped for the picture, roll with it! Let the photographer do their job. Also if the parents are happy and relaxed, enjoying the experience, so will their kids…it’s also those moments between the “planned” shots that in my opinion and often turn out to be their favorite memories of the day and year. Thank you for coming with me on this journey.  For my past clients who have welcomed me into their family and become part of mine.  And to those that I look forward to the privilege of spending time with you, capturing these moments, memories and characters you are blessed to call your family.  Happy Fall!