Family reunion … with the Trainas

As the clouds and rain rolled in and out of Bigham Knoll in Jacksonville, the Traina family gathered for a celebration. It was a surprise 70th birthday party, as well as a family reunion. And what a family … they enjoyed one another, they laughed together, and they knew how to have a good time.

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Brooke … class of 2018

Meet Brooke, my Class of 2018 senior rep. She is a girl who is beautiful on the inside and out. She is a girl who has goals and ambitions. And she is a girl who will go far, no matter what she does. I have known her for years … you see … she is my son’s age, and to me, I still think of these kids as way to young to be approaching their senior year. The memories of younger days flood back. But the truth is they are young adults, with dreams and aspirations. To watch them grow is amazing. To be apart of it, words cannot describe. The class of 2018 holds a special place in my heart. (And yes, I am tearing up as I write this). With that … here’s Brooke.

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Matthew and Amanda … newlyweds

I had the great pleasure of hanging out wth these newlyweds recently for a lifestyle session … and they are nothing short of perfect for each other. So in love. He made her laugh. She made him smile. And to top it off … I made new friends … It was definitely a beautiful day.

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In studio … with Emma

What can I say … I loved everything about this shoot! And it so incredibly fun to hang out with Emma. I have known her for years … a truly beautiful human, inside and out.

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Ambrosia … beyond a beautiful bakery

Loved, loved, loved this shoot!!! Everything about it … the planning, the details, the people. Getting to know Sabrina and creating the perfect vision for her branding shoot for Ambrosia Natural Bakery, LLC was amazing. She is extremely talented and I was honored she asked me to do this stylized shoot with her. Her assistant Morgan was simply delightful. And collaborating on this project with Cristen Nires of Cristen Nires Photography was inspiring. I loved playing off each other’s ideas until we created the moments we were all looking for. Plus, I made some new friends. Here’s a bit of what we did …

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Taylor … turning 7

Tea parties, tiaras, dresses and horses … the makings for a perfect princess themed photoshoot.  I got to spend a recent Saturday with Taylor, who’s about to turn seven, when her mom surprised her with such a photoshoot. We started in studio where Taylor picked her first dress and had a tea party with her mom. She danced on the bed and couldn’t contain her giggles.  From there we shot on location (A huge thank you to Valerie of Moments On The Pond for her amazing styling, and for putting the icing on the cake, so to speak, with a horse!). Taylor simply beamed. My favorite moment … as we were finishing, Taylor looked at me and asked, “Can we do this again?”  A perfect princess … a fairy tale kind of day!

Happy Birthday Taylor!!! (and yes, we can do it again!)

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a spring day, an abandoned house and a beautiful girl

An early spring day in Southern Oregon, an abandoned house and a girl with a sense of adventure … all the makings of a super cool photoshoot. And indeed it was.! It was an on-again off-again rainy afternoon and Parker and I took advantage of a quick break in the weather. We talked, we laughed, we explored, we shot. Parker is an amazing girl, confident and beautiful, inside and out.

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Interview with Rebel Louise

Once again, I’m so pleased to share that there are big changes in store for the downtown studio I share with Mikell, of Rebel Louise Photography. Together, we have created The Loft, a collaboration of our businesses, ideas and vision. Here is an interview with Mikell. Not only do I consider her a great friend and amazing photographer, but an inspiration in my own life and work. Without further ado … meet Mikell.

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Why do you take images?
I take and make images because I want to create and to document. It is a creative outlet that takes me outside myself and into a place where my instincts take over. I get such a feeling of accomplishment when I get a shot I am proud of. When your mind, creativity and magic align…it is the best feeling.

Where did you grow up and how did that play a part in your photography?
I grew up in California and southern Oregon. I have always felt lucky to have the combination and contrast of living in the suburbs, the city and the country. I have been influenced by all the different places I have lived from the countryside of Williams, Oregon, to the beaches of Santa Barbara, California and the beauty of the Arizona desert. It has given me an open mind and an appreciation for diversity.

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What inspires and motivates you?
I am inspired and motivated by things that are real and rich and genuine. For instance, I would much rather listen to music made with guitars and drums compared to a manufactured sound. I gravitate towards things that are real and not imitated. Inspiration comes from movies, music and music videos, art, my surroundings and my personal life experiences. Motivation comes from my desire to always be better than I was the day before, my curiosity to figure things out and my sense of adventure. I like to move forward and to push myself.

How do you know when a piece of your work is finished and needs no additional work?
I used to be an extreme perfectionist. So much so that I could never find satisfaction in feeling like something was finished. I recall working on a painting as a gift for my mother. I could not get it just the way I wanted it. Finally, my mother took the painting and proclaimed that I would never be satisfied. I became acutely aware that perfectionism was ruining my freedom to create and enjoy the process. From the moment on I have never “finished” a painting and I wholeheartedly embrace it. Now I know a piece of work is finished when I choose to give it up.

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What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote is from the Foo Fighters’ song Aurora. “I just kind of died for you” expresses the love I have for my hubby. It resonates with me so much that I have it tattooed around my wrist so it is with me every day.

If you could change one aspect of society through your work, what would it be?
It would be the perception of perfection. I believe people would be much happier if they could embrace their imperfections and know those imperfections make them beautifully unique. And, in opinion, imperfections are far more interesting and genuine. I would much rather talk with someone who has had an interesting life compared to a perfect life.

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What are some of your favorites? Music – Hands down, the Foo Fighters.
DocumentaryGregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters. FilmSleepless in Seattle. Book –
A Girl Names Zippy. Food – a really, really good cheeseburger.

Who is your favorite photographer?
I can not commit to just one as there are so many amazing photographers who move me. However, a short list includes Jill Greenberg, Gregory Crewdson, Mary Ellen Mathews (of Saturday Night Live), Linda McCartney, Gary Winogrand, Oli Sansom and Marshal Gray Photography.

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What would be your dream photography experience?
I love shooting portraits of people and I would not change that, but I will add that it has been a dream of mine to be a music photographer. I have been inspired by the behind-the-scenes images and history of some of my favorite bands like the Beatles. I do have a bit of experience working closely with a few southern Oregon musicians including The Evening Shades…that has been a blast.

What turns you on creatively? What turns you off?
What turns me on creatively is when my clients trust me to do my thing. I flourish in that environment. What turns me off are arrogant and rude people.

If you could take a portrait of one person in the entire world, who would it be and why?
Oh, this is hard. Really, just one person? Right now I am going to say Angelina Jolie for her amazing range of emotion, bone structure and statuesque physique. She is like the human version of the Eiffel Tower.

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What advice would you give potential clients when choosing a photographer?
Oh, I feel this passionately and I have said this to many clients…make sure you like your photographer and their work. Photography is an intimate experience and mutual trust and respect will help make your experience all that much better. Look at their work to ensure their style fits your style. I have heard stories where people were not happy with their photographer because their expectations were not in alignment with their photographer. Communication is key.

What kind of photography do you do and what is your style?
I shoot boudoir, portraits, weddings and engagement photos. I think my style is artistic. I’m definitely not a conventional or conservative photographer, but I am not super crazy either. My work has a nice blend of creativity and reality, mixed with a little edge and grit. I want my clients to look like themselves but even more so. I want them to play and have fun and to challenge themselves a bit.

What are your favorite lenses to use and why?
I primarily shoot with a 35mm lens because I love the photojournalist vibe. My other go to lens is a 50mm for the intimate look it gives my images. I recently got a 24mm lens that I love but I do not use it enough. You know, I think I will use it this weekend.

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How can we find you?
website – http://www.rebellouisephoto.com
blog – http://www.rebellouiseblog.com
facebook – Rebel Louise Photography
Instagram – Rebel_Louise_Photography
studio – 111 SW H Street, Grants Pass, Oregon

the McCay family …

It was an absolute honor to hang out with Jill and Kyle for a lifestyle session with their one-week-old baby boy. I got to know the two a few years back when I shot their wedding, and now to see them as parents made my heart smile. Here’a bit of what we did … this sweet family of three.

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