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This San Francisco Family portrait session stars my former wedding clients, Tu and Tobias, with their new daughter, Liv. How lucky I am that I get to follow the story of my couples, as they start their families! Although they now live in Washington D.C., they came to San Francisco for their portraits where Tu’s family still lives. Liv is absolutely gorgeous, curious and engaged in the world. She looked quite chic in a simple checkered knee-length dress with retro Converse sneakers. Her modern short hair-do was coiffed to the side, punctuated with a classic bow. She later donned a lovely gold crown…well, duh! To see more of this couple’s story, see their San Francisco engagement session here and fairytale Outdoor Art Club wedding, in Mill Valley, here.

San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session
San Francisco Family Portrait Session

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This Indian wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay was an extraordinary celebration of joy, affection, beauty and family. We were especially excited that the couple invested in a Nightingale Wedding Film (below) to capture all the beauty of this day. Raj-Ann and Pavan started the event off right with the Friday night celebration called a Sanjeet. This welcome party heightens the excitement of wedding festivities, with song, food and hours of dancing. The Sangeet is a time for celebrating, singing, dancing and joking. It can include some good-natured ribbing of the couple’s soon-to-be in-laws and it’s also a perfect time for wedding guests to meet and get to know each other. Traditional Indian instruments, like a dholki (a two-sided drum), are often used in the ceremony as well. The morning of the wedding, the male guests were treated to professional turban tying. The yards of fabric was a rich berry, imported directly from India for the occasion. Next came the baraat. The baraat is a bridegroom’s wedding procession in North India and Pakistan.In North Indian communities, it is customary for the bridegroom to travel to the wedding venue (often the bride‘s house) on a mare, accompanied by his family members.This baraat included a white horse and a fabulous view along the Pacific Coast. The groom and his horse are covered in finery and do not usually take part in the dancing and singing; that is left to the “baraatis” or people accompanying the procession. The groom usually carries a sword. The term baraati is also more generically used to describe any invitee from the groom’s side. Traditionally, baraatis are attended to as guests of the bride’s family. The baraat, accompanied by the rhythm of the dhol, reaches the meeting point, where the elders of both the families meet.  The Sikh ceremony then took place in the grand ballroom, with an elaborate canopy. The musicians sang low and rhythmically while the couple completed their wedding rituals. Before the reception, Raj-Ann changed into a gorgeous aqua gown. Their portraits took place on the stunning grounds of the property and local beach. The reception was epic thanks to Anaise Events. Congratulations to Raj-Ann and Pavan on your new life together.
Venue: Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay  Event producer: Anaise Events Hair/Make-up: Laenka by Myrium Bridal Gown: Varun and Nidhika   Reception Gown: Gaurav Gupta Live music and DJ: DJ Wicked Cake: Studio Cake

Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
_Francisco_Bay_Area_Wedding_Photographer
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Indian Wedding at the Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Indian wedding at Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

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This portrait session was an incredible privilege for me to do. Local filmmaker, Shaleece Haas  wanted to have portraits made to document her family and truly celebrate her grandparents, ages 100 and 101. She was kind enough to write the following post:
“This portrait we hung the family portrait in my grandfather’s room today—on the far wall beside the TV, so he can see it from his bed. He’s 101 and doesn’t get out of bed much anymore, because the exertion makes it too difficult to breathe. But my grandmother, age 100, sits at his side and worries over him, making sure the caregivers know if he’s cold or uncomfortable or needs a snack.
I have had the tremendous privilege to grow up close to my grandparents and to spend lots of quality time with them over the years—planting and harvesting in the garden, making jams and jellies, and creek-walking near their tiny cabin in the redwoods.
But my favorite way to connect with my Nana & Papa has always been looking through their treasure trove of old family photographs. My Papa, the keeper of the family archive, did not believe in photo albums. So my family’s visual history, a jumble of black & white photographs, stays safe in three large cardboard boxes in the back of the closet. As a kid, my grandparents and I would sit together on their old love seat (the same one you see in their portrait), I would pull out a photograph at random, and they would tell me the story behind it. There was the story of my Papa’s beloved first Model T, which he was given in exchange for helping his uncle chop and stack 10 cords of firewood. I love the story of my grandparents’ trip to New York City for the 1939 World’s Fair when a man mistook their yellow Studebaker for a taxi and tried to climb in while they were waiting at a stop sign. And then, of course, there’s the story of their small Catholic wedding in 1938, held eight years after they first became high school sweethearts.
We looked through those pictures for hours at a time, time and time again. I loved the richness and depth of the original black & white prints and I lingered over the smallest details in their subjects’ clothing and faces. I could never get enough of the photographs, or of the stories that went with them. I’m certain those early photo history sessions with my grandparents contributed to my eventual decision to become a documentary photographer, and later a filmmaker.
A few years ago, with my grandparents’ permission, I took several of my favorite prints from the boxes, framed them and hung them on my bedroom wall. I will soon be adding another photograph, a smaller version of the one that hangs in my Papa’s bedroom. I am grateful for these images. They connect me to my grandparents, to their histories, and to the ancestors I never knew. I am grateful that my family had the means to take those early photographs (and the foresight to keep them). And I am grateful to Christina for her beautiful images, meaningful contributions to the visual story of my grandparents’ lives.”
~~~~~~
Shaleece Haas
Director/Producer, Real Boy

PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session
PenninsulaFamily Portrait Session

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