Alice Park Photography » Blog

I have an important job. Not a special job (although, it is pretty special), an important job.

I photographed Melissa’s family a couple of years ago when she gave birth to her now 2 year old, Thomas, at Northside hospital. It was a pretty amazing day, full of little miracles that led to Thomas’ big arrival. Afterwards, I went home, processed my favorite captures of the day, and then excitedly showed Melissa’s family the story of Thomas’ arrival through my lens. She was thrilled.

A few months later, Melissa’s mom called me in a frantic. Her daughter and two grandchildren were involved in a highway car accident that fortunately left the two small ones unharmed, but Melissa in the emergency room battling for her life. After a series of operations, Melissa was in stable condition but in a deep coma.

All of the photographs of Melissa soon resurfaced from everyone she knew, from every neck of the woods. Mine included.

Her church gathered in prayer for Melissa’s recovery. Everyone read Melissa’s mom’s web page for daily updates and left words of encouragement. It was a long two months, but Melissa did wake up. And although it took her some time to heal physically, her spirit and soul remained unchanged.

Melissa’s experiences, although extreme, are not uncommon to the families I see everyday. Life happens. Sometimes tragedy hits us in ways we’re not prepared for. Sometimes we take our everyday moments for granted…

Photography isn’t just a creative hobby for me. It’s my job. And it’s yours too. Record these moments in your family’s life – even the spilled milk, the scary hair days, and the temper tantrums. Especially those. Take time to journal the little memories that make everyday special. Be your family’s Record Keeper. And embrace the job…

I have photographed Melissa’s family since the accident, but this last session was special. A renewed sense of all things wonderful in life. Family. The sweet eskimo kisses. Being able to hold and squeeze your kids. Laughing and living…

When I was 2 years old, I was deathly afraid of Santa Claus. He was a scary looking man to me, and I didn’t quite understand the concept of presents under the Christmas tree. Of course, my mother tried and tried to get a photo of me and Santa at that age, but the lines at the mall were impatient, and the photographer wasn’t being paid enough to coax me into sitting on Santa’s lap. Needless to say, I don’t have any photo memories of me visiting Santa between the ages of 1 – 3.

Visiting Santa Claus in a favorite Christmas outfit is a tradition that has been with us for generations. That is why when Chaffee told me of her vision of Santa at b. braithwaite, I knew I had to take part. “The experience is what I want the children and families to remember,” she told me. And that is exactly what we focused on the past two weekends as more than 300 children walked into the doors of b. braithwaite.

The store is a child’s fantasy playground (and mother’s fantasy baby boutique with everything designed exclusively by legendary interior designer Nancy Braithwaite!). Larger-than-life bunny and teddy bears welcome you as you enter, and every nook and corner is filled with everything a child would want to play with. Train sets, baby strollers, art easels and gigantic bean bags. As the children play and wait for their scheduled appointment, I work with each family to capture that perfect moment with Santa.

There are SO many reasons I recommend my clients to come to b. braithwaite for their Santa portraits.

First is the location itself. I could play in Chaffee’s store all day.

Second reason is because of Santa Claus himself. He is so incredibly jolly, patient, kind and photogenic! After all, he IS the real Santa Claus.

Chaffee is wonderful working with kids as well. Even the shyest ones…

There are no rules, no limitations, no lines, no fuss. Bring your family, your pets, whoever your heart desires. Santa loves to visit with all!

Of course, one of the main reasons is that your portraits are taken by me :

I completely understand that some children love Santa more than others.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t try. In fact, we put more love and affection into the children who shy away first…

We even love to get the parents involved! Here’s my friend Lesley tickling Allie’s toes to get that perfect smile with Santa.

And I’m not afraid to sing, jump around, make funny noises and dance around in circles to make your children laugh.

I absolutely love working with Chaffee and her team every year to produce the best Santa portraits and experience in town. Chaffee and I open appointments to our wonderful clients first in early November, and then the public is invited to join soon after.

Thank you to all who joined us these past two weekends…and past three years! We hope you and your children enjoyed the experience and will cherish the memories for years to come!

NAPCP’s first Retreat in Napa Valley is still very much a haze to me. I’m so humbled by the 50 attendees who flew cross country to join us for our first retreat. Our speakers were phenomenal, the wine and atmosphere – perfection, and the late night bonding with new & old friends was priceless.

Members emerged with a renewed commitment to our craft; this was an experience that celebrated who we are. We laughed, cried, shared, and opened our hearts…

One of our members, Tanya Alexis, writes:

I have never been to any sort of photographer retreat/expo/convention, and I had no idea what to expect. I knew I was looking forward to meeting some faces who had been a large part of helping me shape my business during my first year, but other than that I was curious to see how things would end up. The retreat exceeding my expectations above any beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It was the perfect combination of fun and information. I have already starting implementing information that I learned during my days in Napa. Alice & Kyu are amazing. They put their heart and soul into this retreat, and it showed in spades! The attention to detail and to those at the retreat was above and beyond anything you would expect.

I know that I have forged life long friendships with people that I only met in person for a couple of days. I cannot think of another situation where you would be able to get so close to people in such a short period of time. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make this retreat possible. I am very proud to have been apart of the first NAPCP Retreat 🙂

My words exactly, Tanya….

Our first night, Whitney, Sara, Tanya and I stayed up until 2 am or so putting together our member swag bags.

Swag stands for “Stuff We All Get.” Every time you attend a workshop, convention or event, Swag is usually given as a thank you at the end. For our first retreat, we wanted to make the entire experience extremely memorable – starting with our gift bags.

Each contained hundreds of dollars in gifts from our sponsors. Sponsors included:

Album Crafters
Custom Photography Blogs
Easy as Pie Pricing
Big Folio
J Lee Albums
Bay Photo

And one of our top sponsors, my good friend Zida of Studio-Z, created the most gorgeous letterpressed programs, table cards, stationary, and business cards I’ve ever seen. The below photos honestly do not do the gorgeous pieces justice. You really need to hold them to appreciate them….

My absolute favorite part of the experience = the connections that were made.

Online friends who were able to meet for the first time, share a glass of wine, and really bond….

Our keynote speaker, Tamara Lackey, discussed the importance of Photographer-Life Balance. This is a constant struggle for many working child photographers.

How do we balance work, family, and living our own lives to its fullest?

Along with being an incredibly gifted speaker, photographer, all-around awesome person, Tamara is also a pretty brilliant group therapist.

Lots of digging deep inside, prioritizing and, real & practical tips for balancing it all.

Dane Sanders discussed the power of “i” and owning “my” talents and “my” success. Such a liberating and powerful way of thinking…

“You are your most valuable asset.”

Fellow attendees stepped up to lead group discussions, which I LOVED as well!

Lisa Thomas: “What is Community?”
Jane Johnson: “Photoshop Tips & Workflow)
Brandy Anderson: “Fusion Videos”
Andrea Halsey: “The Client Experience”

They all did an amazing, amazing job….

Afterwards, we ventured outside at the Resort’s private vineyard and joined 15 child models from San Francisco for our Shooting Clinic.

Armed with our gear 🙂

The shooting clinic was a huge success! The challenge: finding beautiful light, connecting with our subjects in short amounts of time, and producing stunning images. All without any instruction….

Those that remained til the very end. sunset after our shooting clinic… What a great group.

The next day, we set out for our wine tasting experience! So fun singing “Hey Soul Sister” on the bus with everyone.

Merryvale had a lovely spread prepared for our first wine tasting experience… The wine-cheese pairing was so lovely.

At Judd’s Hill, we were fortunate to have been able to sit in on Dane’s with Tamara as his guest.

We squeezed in several photos at Judd’s Hill, exchanged head shots, and photographed the beautiful scenery.

One of my favorites…. Dane is providing the group fill light with his 17″ macbook pro. Awesome.

Our original Learnfest group 08′ reunited… An amazing, amazing group…

On June 20th – 23rd, 2010, NAPCP members gathered together to for our first annual Retreat in Napa. We emerged with a renewed commitment to our craft and forged friendships that will remain for a very long time. This was an experience that celebrated who we are. We laughed, cried, shared, and opened our hearts… Thank you to all who joined us….

So, one of my closest friends is having a baby (her first one) and she’s clueless about everything… As I would be! Last week, she called me in a frantic asking me how she should decorate her baby boy’s nursery. “Alice, you are a creative person. Help me!”

You’re in luck, Karen. I’ve saved some of my favorite nursery images because I knew you’d be asking. 🙂

When I photograph a child, I try to document everything I feel should be remembered – the way he smiles when you sing to him, his chunky legs and buddha tummy, his favorite bedtime story, his soothing luvie, and the bed he sleeps in every night. I know the love and time devoted to picking out every little detail in his room, so I try my best to help my families remember every bit of it.

Here’s some of my favorite nurseries from 2009:

Jack & Will’s room. Love the nautical theme (and how Will is running through my frame as I photographed his room!)

Every little girl loves pink! Avalana’s modern & sophisticated room on the left; Addie’s grownup room on the right.

Love the contrast in these two rooms. High, expansive ceilings in Julia’s room verses Ransom’s 200 sq ft Manhattan room.

I am personally a big fan of neutral and calming colors, like Knox and Brand’s rooms.

And when the babies are ready to move into big boy & girl rooms, I’m ready to document that as well! As show, Jack’s & Charlie’s room.