Finding Focus – A Family Portrait Session

April 29, 2016


I don’t really know how to begin with this one without getting all spiritual and existential on y’all. I’m just gonna pull up this chaise lounge, dim the lights and close my eyes and talk. You go ahead and get out a steno pad and pen. I’ll wait.

Okay, cool, let’s start from the beginning. Well, I guess I’ll have to start with how it ended. After wrapping up this amazing little family portrait session with Kristin, Chris and (the most adorable one-year-old on this planet) Sofia, (pictured below) I promptly called Dave, my best half, and proceeded to tell him that this was by far the best photo session I’ve ever done.

Side bar: that’s not meant to make my other lovely families feel less than, it’s meant to say something else–a confession of sorts.

So here goes: I fell out of love with photography after leaving New York. Having lived in a city where photographers were many and talent was nothing short of great in all aspects, I let the intimidation factor get to me and I found very little to love about the thing that I used to live for, nor did I see much value in my probably-not-unique perspective.

I rarely take on photo gigs since dedicating my career to video, but I will on occasion agree to a photo session for friends, family, or new clients that I feel an instant connection with. When this particular family contacted me, I was happy they reached out to me, but photo jobs feel a little daunting to me even still. Not daunting in that I don’t want to do it; daunting in a way that makes me question my talent and compare myself to my photo colleagues and friends. So many things go through my head: “Should I give them ____’s name? They are way better at baby portraits than me.” or “I’m not as good as _____.” or “What if they hate them and never come back??” I really could go on and on.

Now this brings me to a question another professional posed of me recently. She asked what do I like about my work. I found that question extremely uncomfortable and hard to answer. I know it’s a problem, and I’m working on it. At the time I said something to the affect of, “It’s okay, I think.” Obviously, soooo not good enough. After this shoot I reevaluated that question and how I would answer it today.

My work is an outward and tangible representation of the colors and feelings that make me who I am: Bold, contrasty, soft and gentle, moving, sharp and graceful–beautiful. Whatever anyone else could say about the technical aspects of my work really doesn’t matter to me right now as I reflect on the images posted below. They aren’t a reflection of my skill or trade, they are a reflection of me, and I’ve never been prouder saying that.

More so, these images are a perfectly captured moment in a time of great joy between three souls that love each other deeply. What an amazing gift I can give to someone I hardly know… I got to be a guest in their life for an hour, faced with the challenge of creating a picture that represents this moment in their lives. It feels powerful because it is. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to peek into such a delightful little family’s life. It was just an hour, but it will always mean more to me than I can say.

And can we please take a moment to appreciate the sheer perfection of the bubble that pops right in front of Sofia’s precious gleeful face?! To me, it just doesn’t get better than that!

Happy Friday <3


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  • Reply Amanda April 29, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Sam, these pictures are absolutely amazing! You are a true talent! 🙂 I’m now even more excited to see the pictures from yesterdays shoot, after seeing these! Thank you for sharing your love for photography with us :))

  • Reply Sherrie Ojeda April 29, 2016 at 10:52 pm

    Samantha, you are such a beautiful, loving, talented artist! <3 We are so blessed that we had the opportunity to have you come into our lives and family through being the videographers for Marisa and Cristhian's wedding. So happy that this family session opened your inner happy feelings about your love of photography. Love Sherrie

    • Reply admin April 29, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      Sherrie, thank YOU for opening your family to My family!!! So grateful to know you and share my talents with you. Give my love to the family 🙂 <3

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