Posted on November 14, 2012
My last session of the year was spent with a sweet new family of three.
In this month of focusing on what we are thankful for, I have to add my thanks to all the families that have trusted me with their family photography this year.
I’m grateful for each of you, and that I’ve been lucky enough to have this job for another year. Every time your babies spit-up, pee, poop, or fuss; every time your pets lovingly accost me, or threaten to use my bag as a scratching post; every time you dads endure me for longer than the 15 minutes your wives promised it would take; every time you moms call/email/text me for an opinion on an outfit, or to break the news to me that one of your kids just got a black eye; every time you make yourselves vulnerable to my eye by being in front of my camera, I feel incredibly lucky that I get to do what I do.
As crazy as that may sound, it is undeniably true. Many a parent has wiped their brow at the end of a session and said to me, “I don’t know how you do this.” I always laugh because I am thinking, “I don’t know how I got this lucky.”
Thank you for being yourselves and trusting that the result will be an honest and beautiful reflection of your families. I consider it a privilege.
How could I not feel lucky to be invited in to witness moments like this?
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Please check back here or on Facebook for a special offer next week!
Posted on June 30, 2012
Recently, I was talking to a potential client. She was telling me, as people often do, that she has been wanting to get professional photos taken of her family for a long time, but that between their busy schedules and energetic kids, she just never seemed to get around to it. I nodded my understanding. She leaned in, touched my arm, and said gravely, “You would have to be very patient. VERY patient.” I smiled confidently, “I am.”
Funny how I had to remind myself of this last night. I’d been wanting to have a quick photo session with my girls for the last couple of weeks, but there was always a reason not to. On this night I decided it was now or never. For many reasons, I knew that if I didn’t put my foot down, it may be months before I was willing to try to again. Yes, I love to capture images of my family going about the ordinary chaos of our lives; but sometimes I want some dedicated photography time. For me, this means a tiny window where the task at hand is clear: get some good photos of the family. No guilt about why do I have a camera in my face when I should be on the floor playing, or starting dinner, or making sure the baby doesn’t endanger herself while I’m looking through the viewfinder.
The key terms in the last paragraphs are patient and tiny window. The patience came in when T came home later than expected and thoroughly distracted by a crazy day at work. Meanwhile, the oldest child insisted on matching her sister’s outfit. (This is not my favorite choice, and I could expound, but I wonder if anyone is still reading at this point anyway.) I had not even thought about dinner, and then the middle child launched into one of her epic and uncontrollable fits of madness.
When I thought all was lost, I remembered that if this were someone else’s family, I would step back and wait it out. I give my clients a short guide before our sessions; where I tell them that I’ve seen it all, that tired cranky kids (and dads) don’t phase me, and that if we need to take a break, for whatever reason, we will. I stress flexibility.
What is it about doctors making the worst patients? For a moment, I was the mom whose rigid expectations were going to be the ultimate downfall of this photo session. I needed my own medicine. I took a breath. I let the oldest put on her outfit but took a change of clothes with us, T took some calls that allowed him to tie up some loose ends at work (at least for a little while), and meanwhile the tantrum burned itself out and my three year old was herself again.
Here is where the tiny window comes in. By the time we’d settled down, dinner time was looming. My husband often says that it is playing with fire to let the Mendoza girls get hungry. There were potentially more tantrums coming if we did not eat very soon. We packed up the van to get some dinner, and on the way stopped in a green space a couple blocks from our house. I checked the time stamps on my images, and I literally spent one second shy of 20 minutes getting the images you see here, and then some; with cars zooming by, bugs everywhere, a wardrobe change, and a random kitty who decided to join us.
All this is to remind myself: Don’t sweat it. Don’t think you have to be the perfect family on the perfect day or else it is hopeless. In art and in life, what I tell my clients is true. Flexibility is key. You can’t know exactly how it will go, or exactly what you will get from it, but often that is when the results will delight you the most.
Like this one.
Posted on June 16, 2012
Above, straining to see her sisters who she can hear playing outside.
CA is a few weeks north of her first birthday. She is talking, eating, signing, dancing, and doing a lot of cruising (for the uninitiated, that’s standing up and moving around on her feet, but always holding on to something or someone for support). This time last year, I had to hide my frustration every time someone made a “how tiny” comment about my big 10+ pounder. But now, she is half my height (granted, I’m only 5’2″), and I struggle to get her to hold still and cuddle for more than 0.5 seconds. I long for the sweet little bundle that would curl up on my chest and happily nap there for hours.
First steps are just around the corner. Exciting and heartbreaking all at once.
Below, blowing kisses.
Posted on February 19, 2012
The swing swang
The ropes snapped
The seat sailed
And she flew.
Her heart sang
Her shirt flapped
Her coat tailed
Her hair blew.
The bells rang
The crowd clapped
Her mom wailed
And wept too.
Then crash – bang
Into her lap
By air mail
- Shel Silverstein
Posted on January 4, 2012
Doulananda Birth Services and Jennifer Mendoza Photography are happy to announce our new partnership! Because we share a passion for celebrating and supporting families, we are joining forces to provide photography services to Doulananda HypnoBirthing students and doula clients.
With our likeminded approach to creating experiences that honor each of our clients as individuals, we think that our collaboration is a great fit and benefit to Doulananda families. Each family will receive credit for one maternity or newborn session with Jennifer Mendoza Photography. This is a $300 value, but is complimentary to you with the price of tuition, or doula fee.
The phases of pregnancy, birth, and new parenthood are among the most beautiful and fleeting in our lives. Together we are committed to making it a positive and joyful experience that will be captured and cherished for generations.
If you are expecting, or may be in the near future, I encourage you to consider taking a HypnoBirthing class, or consulting with one of their doulas. I did both, with my last pregnancy, and with beautiful results! I’m thrilled at the thought of the families and babies that I will get to meet as a result of this partnership.
This is one of the very first photos of me, T, and baby CA, taken by our friend, doula, and HypnoBirthing teacher, Melissa Johnson (thank you for, on top of everything else, having the presence of mind to grab my camera)!
Posted on September 15, 2011
Is it possible that CA has already been with us for one third of a year? Here are a few of the photos that I took of her in the first few days, way back in May. I don’t think she ever quite looked like a newborn. We joke that I gave birth to six month old. She certainly never fit into anything newborn-sized, but it is amazing to see the subtle changes that have happened already. I’m doing my best to savor every nuance of babyhood with this one.
Posted on September 15, 2011
This is what loved and happy looks like, in the form of a three month old baby boy.
Posted on April 30, 2011
“I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see. I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother and I found all three.” – Unknown
Posted on February 3, 2011
I have been photographing this sweet girl since she was days old. It’s been a thrill to see her growth with every visit and to get to know this thoughtful and sweet family.
Posted on January 13, 2011
Baby M came into this world a little earlier than expected, but a few months later you would never know. He’s a big, happy, and healthy boy. Here he is above with Mom and Dad’s other baby.
To Mom’s frustration, that little tongue kept popping out! I thought it was adorable.