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I created this Blog for the sole purpose of providing value. You'll get tips & tricks from my latest portrait sessions & events here at Cheryl Bigman Photography, along with personal life stories that resonate. I hope you enjoy this Blog as much as I enjoy creating it...

Family Portraits – How to Make Yours Truly Unique

July 08, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Svetlana, Douglas, Sarah, Rebecca, Joshua, Benjamin | Family Portraits
Date | 4.13.14
Location | Hap Magee Ranch Park, Alamo, CA


What Makes a Family Portrait Truly Unique?

We’ve all seen them – beautiful portraits of families all dressed in matching blue jeans and white shirts. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But what if you want something a little different. Something that will remind you years later what your kids were like at this age, and how you all related to each other. That’s what custom portraits are all about.

One of the first questions I ask my clients when planning their family portrait session is, “What are your kids into right now?”. If I can find a way to incorporate each child’s “thing” into your session, we are guaranteed to come away with a great collection of natural-looking, truly custom portraits. And just the fact that they’re doing what makes them happy creates a fun session for everyone.


Svetlana’s Family Portrait Session

When Svetlana contacted me about doing family portraits with her four kids, we talked a lot about how to make the session relaxed and fun. The kids were all spread out in age, each with different interests and personalities. We decided to go to Hap Magee Ranch Park in Alamo, CA since it not only has a variety of environments to choose from, it has a great playground for the kids to look forward to at the end of the session.

We started with individual portraits of each of the kids. Here is Sarah.



Sarah is an artist who loves to sketch, so I thought it would be fun to place her in this tranquil forest-like setting and have her do her thing – sketch. I just love the feel of these images.





And this is Rebecca.



She brought a little surprise guest…  meet Dinah the Bearded Dragon. I’ve done lots of family portraits with pets, but this was a first for me! (And no, I’m not a big fan of reptiles, but I have to admit she kind of grew on me.)




Rebecca also loves gardening, so we used this cool sign in the park’s own garden.




And this is Joshua. He’s into reading books, but forgot to bring one. Hey, it happens. So the challenge for me was to get him comfortable in front of the camera without any added props. I asked lots of questions about his favorite things, and soon his personality came through.





And this is little Benjamin…



Ben LOVES his trucks and brought a very special red one just for his portraits. At first he was a little shy and decided it would be fun to hide it from me, but as soon as I told him how much I loved trucks too, he just had to show me.



… and it stayed with him for the entire shoot!




Of course, we had to get portraits of the entire family together. The first thing you’ll notice is they are not all wearing the same thing. Mom decided to color-coordinate their outfits, but she didn’t stress over getting it perfect. Definitely not “matchy-matchy”, kids were all comfortable, and it worked!





I also wanted to create pictures of smaller family groupings to add variety (mom with the girls, dad with the boys, mom & dad, etc…) I could definitely feel the love in this family and that’s what I wanted to capture.





In the end, we created a unique set of portraits that captured everyone’s personality perfectly! It’s my wish that as the kids grow older, the family will look back on these portraits fondly, and remember what they were like at this time in their lives. Thank you Svetlana, Douglas, Sarah, Rebecca, Joshua, and Ben, (and Dinah) for allowing me to document your family’s love so beautifully.


San Francisco Bay Area Family and Children’s Photography

I hope you enjoy this San Francisco Bay Area Family and Children’s Photography provided by Cheryl Bigman Photography specializing in Family photography and Children’s photography throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Cheryl Bigman Photography is unique among other San Francisco Bay Area Family and Children’s photographers. Each family is one of a kind, and I feel your Family portraits and Children’s portrait photography should be one of a kind as well. Every Family portrait session and every Children’s portrait session is treated with the utmost care and attention in order to creatively weave together the story of your family.



Service Area Information

Cheryl Bigman Photography offers Family and Children’s Photography throughout the San Francisco Bay Area including but not limited to the Tri-Valley and Contra Costa areas of Lafayette, Walnut Creek, Danville, San Ramon, Pleasanton, Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, San Mateo, Burlingame, Redwood City on the Peninsula, Marin County in the North Bay, and the South Bay.
Not looking for a Family and Children’s Photographer? Please consider Cheryl for your custom high school senior photography and all your special event photography needs in the San Francisco Bay Area. Destination photography outside the San Francisco Bay Area available upon request. Call for more information.


On a Personal Note – My Birthday Wish

June 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Yep, today’s the day – my first “post-50th” birthday. Funny how birthdays take on a whole new meaning after 50. Instead of thinking about what to wear to the party, I think about how grateful I am to still be here so I can go to the party! Seriously, I can’t believe how many friends my age have passed or are fighting the health battles of their lives. Having had a couple of health scares myself this year, I’ve grown to appreciate every moment I’m here on this planet!

Since I just returned from photographing the first ever Chelsea’s Hope Lafora Research Symposium in La Jolla, CA, this birthday carries even more meaning as I reconnected with several families whose children have lost everything to this horrible disease. The pain these families have endured is indescribable. I had the honor of photographing many of them for the first Chelsea’s Hope Fundraiser back in 2009, and it’s been heartbreaking to watch their decline ever since. Several have passed away. This is a disease with no cure.


Thankfully, an incredible team of researchers have put the “Hope” back into Chelsea’s Hope with groundbreaking discoveries that will eventually lead to a cure. Because it is so rare, Lafora is considered an “orphan” disease, so little or no funding is given. I’m proud to say that Chelsea’s Hope has raised an incredible amount of funds over the last few years, but it’s still not enough.


My Birthday Wish

My birthday wish is for you to find it in your heart to give a little something (or a big something) to Chelsea’s Hope Lafora Children Research Fund in honor of my 51st  birthday. Donations can be made through the website at : www.chelseashope.org .

Thank you!


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