Portraits

A Tale of a Good Samaritan : San Diego Family Portraits

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My portrait subjects come to me in one of two ways:  Either by referral or by finding me through a Google search.  My most recent San Diego family portraits, which took place last Sunday in Elfin Forest, happened because of one person's good deed--a simple act of kindness that saved yours truly hours of stress and consternation.  Let me explain... san diego portrait photography, family photography ideas, harmony grove portrait location, john schnack photography, photographers who shoot film (1)

Like everyone, my wife and I find tax time the most stressful time of the year.  No matter how much planning we do ahead of time, it always seems to come down to the wire.  This year was no different, even with a few extra days to get everything done.

My wife and I are both pretty frugal, choosing to pay into our retirement accounts instead of taking the killer vacation.  Not only do we believe that someday when we're old and gray we'll be able to relax a little, but it reduces our tax burden.  So, like in years past, I found myself driving to our financial management firm on April 17, with an envelope containing two sizable checks destined for deposit.

I pulled into the parking lot, parked my car, and headed up to the third floor of a sparkling office building in Rancho Bernardo.  I dropped off the envelope with the firm's secretary and headed out the door.

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Like every year, I experience that euphoric moment right after dropping off the checks.  A feeling of incredible satisfaction after a year's worth of really hard work.  It's that moment, felt between the moment I shut the firm's door until I press the elevator's down button--a space of about 6 feet--where I actually feel like I'm accomplishing something.

I hop in my car and head towards the freeway.  As I often do when I'm heading back north, I'll stop at Board 'n Brew--my favorite sandwich shop in the whole world--for a Baja Chicken/no mayo/no cheese.

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As I'm parking my car on Camino Del Mar, I get a call from a woman stating that she found a check for $xx,xxx in the parking lot with my business name on it.  "YES, THAT'S MINE!"  I exclaim.  The woman kindly asks if the check is supposed to go to the financial management firm on the third floor.  I respond affirmatively, and she states that she'd be happy to hand-deliver the check to the firm's secretary.  I proceed to thank her profusely, thinking about the disaster that was averted by her kindness.

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Later that afternoon, I sent her an email asking if, as a token of appreciation, I could take some pictures of her and her children.  She was elated!  We got together this past Sunday for the shoot and I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to photograph.

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Melissa + Brendan : San Diego Anniversary Shoot

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As fall yields to winter, the aesthetic of San Diego changes.  The sun's trajectory lowers and its warmth fades, the sea cools and so does the wind that blows off it.  The warm, intense orange glow of a clear evening is replaced by a cooler cast.  The din of the late-season tourist has gone, leaving only the denizens to dust off scarves and jackets.  Iced coffee gives way to frothy cappuccino, and the city settles into its exhale. I photographed Melissa and Brendan's gorgeous wedding at The Crosby last year.  For their one-year anniversary, Brendan surprised Melissa with a San Diego anniversary shoot in and around Little Italy.  I am forever in awe of their obvious sense of style and I relish in their happiness and energy.

Congratulations, Brendan and Melissa, it was an honor to share the moment with you.  Here's to next year.

[Geeky stuff: Mamiya 645 AFD, 80/2.8, Portra 400]

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Dean Family : Stylish Family Portraits in Coronado

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Perhaps the most common question I am asked prior to a family shoot is, "What should we wear?"  My response always toes the line between diplomacy and force ("Wear something from the same color palette, as long as it's not blue jeans and white shirts...").  In fact, if I could I would enact a law banning the bluejeans/white shirts combo.  I'm not sure at what point this ensemble became acceptable, but whoever is responsible should be flogged.  But I digress...

I met the Dean family late last year at a black and white wedding I photographed at The Crosby, and I photographed their stylish family portraits in Coronado.  Imagine my reaction when the Dean family rolled up (in a black car, no less) dressed to the nines and excited to shoot.  Super stoked is an understatement!