I've gotta admit, I was SUPER-excited to meet Paula Pepin. We have been Facebook friends for quite some time now... I met her through Ronalyn of R&P Photography, based out of Alaska (yes, Alaska). And Paula is the "P" to R&P Photography. So of COURSE I did a happy dance upon learning that Paula and her family were taking a trip to Disneyland to celebrate her daughter's 5th birthday, and that they'd LOVE to have a family portrait session by yours truly while they were here! EEEEEE!!! (That's my squeal of glee.)
Paula had thought that family pictures on the beach would be fun, but I gasped as she mentioned that they'd probably just rent a cab to get to the beach from their hotel (which was across the street from Disneyland). Oh, no no no... that wouldn't do. I made a quick call to my mother and asked to borrow her van for the day, and another call to my in-laws to borrow a child-seat from them... and offered up my services as shuttle service/tour guide. Hooray, we had a plan!
Meeting Paula and her husband Jean was strange in the fact that it wasn't strange at all. I wandered up to their hotel room, and they welcomed me on in. And it was like seeing old friends.
We all piled into the van and headed over to Balboa Beach (a favorite spot of mine). And their eyes grew a bit larger as they realized just how far away the ocean really was. Jean asked how far L.A. was from there, and I told him it was about an hour and a half. "But how many miles is that," he asked. And I smiled and said, "I don't know." Here in Southern California, we don't measure the miles... we measure the drive time. I never really thought about how strange that was.
But we made it to the beach. And it was perfection. We strolled, we chatted, we played in the sand.
I had a little chat with Kylie about celebrating her birthday at Disneyland, and then asked how much she loved her parents. I told her to show THEM how much she loved them. So she went running full-speed and launched herself at her momma. Gotta LOVE these powerful moments.
Paula and Jean asked for some pictures of just the two of them together. But, you gotta love it... we photographers are fabulous when we're BEHIND the camera, but find it a bit uncomfortable to be in FRONT of it. So, rather than just pose them, I used a few "tricks" from what I use during my Beloved sessions to help them interact a bit and forget about the camera. And I LOVE the real-ness that shone through.
And of course we had to toss in a few birthday girl shots:
Kylie enjoyed chasing the waves... until one actually got her pants wet. After that, she wasn't taking any chances with the water:
I had SOOOOOO much fun with this family, and didn't want the session to end. It was just too special.
So, Pepin family... if you ever want to come back again, the California sun and I will be waiting!
To see even more images from their session, check out this slideshow: