When this beautiful mama reached out to me about doing fall family photos I was so honored! Not only is she stunning but she also has a heart of gold. She is the kind of person that everybody considers to be their best friend! I am so lucky to call her a childhood friend. Even if we go months without talking I know we will pick up right where we left off.
While discussing location options for their family photos she shared with me that she wanted a forest vibe. Living in Rocklin, California there are not very many dense forests close by. I visited the Redwood Grove at UC Davis a few years back though and I knew it would make for the perfect fall family photos.
UC Davis is located just 17 miles west of Sacramento. The school is ranked #38 in the 2022 edition of Best Colleges in National Universities according to US News https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges/university-of-california-davis-1313 . It is well known for agriculture, veterinary medicine and biological engineering. The school is cutting edge with technology and prides itself on being sustainable and innovative.
Jackie actually received her masters from UC Davis a few years ago. I knew that doing their photos here would be extra special to her. When I am location scouting for family sessions there is more to take into consideration that just a beautiful setting with natural light. If possible, I try and incorporate a personal connection to the location for the family I am photographing.
During our photo session Jackie and Aaron were so laid back and relaxed. They laughed, enjoyed each other and let their kids be kids. One of my favorite things about lifestyle family photos is the authenticity. I love to document the natural interactions and play that occurs within families. Their son wanted to play in the dirt, climb on rocks and yell in the tunnel and we let him be himself.
The natural joy and wonder that occurs when we let kids explore and be free during a session fills my heart as a family photographer. As a mom I value the authentic and natural moments. I do always aim for one Christmas card photo though as I like to call it. The snuggles, laughter, exploring and just being together is my favorite thing to document though.
Capturing the authentic moments during a photo session often are the photos that turn out to be my favorite. When their son grabbed Jackie’s face with his little hands and put his nose to her I knew it was going to be one of my favorites. The emotive images where I can feel a mothers love get me every time. Jackie later told me that she knows how he smells when she sees that photo and doesn’t ever want to forget that. One of the reasons lifestyle family photography is so meaningful is that often times you can feel the photos. It takes you back to the moment and what your child smelled like and felt like in your arms.
If family photos in the redwoods is something you are interested in I highly recommend UC Davis! It’s only about a 20 minute drive from downtown Sacramento. While visiting you can always check out the incredible university or the cute restaurants and shops nearby.