Santa Cruz Family Photographer . Family Lifestyle Session . Steward Family


At its heart, photography is all about capturing a moment within a greater context. That’s why I love in-home family lifestyle sessions; there’s something so authentic about getting right into the mix and capturing those great, candid moments that are often missed. Those are really the photos we all seem to cherish the most when we’re older, aren’t they? Recently, I got to do just that for a dynamic family in Santa Cruz.

I met Bonnie, Rae, and their children through Bonnie’s sister, whose family I had the pleasure of photographing the year before. From the moment I arrived at their Santa Cruz home for their family portrait session, I felt like one of the family.

Bonnie and Rae are raising two seriously cute kiddos. Big brother Zaiden and little sister Frankie Mae are three and a half years apart, and they definitely love each other. Even though they don’t have much in common just yet, Zaiden takes his role as big brother seriously. He showed his sister how to clean up milk that had spilled on the table (by licking it up) and then led her with a game of hide and seek around the high chair.

Spending time with this family was like stepping back into all the fun and magic of childhood. We chewed entirely too much gum, piggybacked to and from the park (where I learned that the most rowdy boys are ones who wear sparkly nail polish and matching shoes), and splashed in muddy puddles (in our brand new shoes!). Back at the house, we played baseball in the yard with a ball that was way too big and blew bubbles in our pajamas. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind spending more days like that.

From playtime to dinnertime, getting to know these amazing kids and their equally amazing parents was a real treat. Toward the end of the day, I asked Rae if she wouldn’t mind letting me in on the secret to raising such well-rounded  little people. She had me sneak into the pantry with her where, hidden behind the door, she opened an Easter bunny canister and popped a few chocolate eggs into her mouth with a smile. I laughed, but found it to be sage advice. In all the hustle and bustle of family life, a little self-care goes a long way.

I had such a great time documenting this fun family. I’m looking forward to whatever is in store for these guys’ adventures through childhood and parenthood in Santa Cruz.