Tag Archives: Family

At The Courthouse: Short and Sweet Seattle Wedding

When I met Renee and Chris for a little family portrait session this summer, I immediately thought they made a beautiful couple. Loving, patient and kind to each other, I was so excited when Renee emailed me about photographing their wedding.

I started out as a Wedding Photography Assistant when I was 19 and loading Medium Format cameras with film. So, my first love and early training is with wedding photography, but as my life has changed and I’ve become a parent, I have focused more on portraits. Times like this, though, I make an exception.Wedding_HolliMargell 172

Photographing this short and sweet wedding reminded me of why I will always love weddings: it’s a beautiful day in the story of life, and capturing it to remember in photographs is truly an honor. There’s something magical about having such a momentous moment in your life documented. {Bonus points to Renee’s friends for gifting her some extra photography at the courthouse – seriously the best gift ever!}

How many people get ready for their wedding in the Jury Room?RCWedding_HolliMargell 157

Renee’s friends made it fun and helped keep Lila entertained so Mommy could get all dressed…

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Chris’ first look at his lovely bride…RCWedding_HolliMargell 162

They both wiped each other’s tears…

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Close friends and family were there, including Grandma via Facetime!Wedding_HolliMargell 173
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The wedding party migrated to the Bay Cafe to savor lunch and celebrate the new family.RCWedding_HolliMargell 166

Congratulations to Chris, Renee and little Lila!RCWedding_HolliMargell 171 RCWedding_HolliMargell 169 RCWedding_HolliMargell 170 RCWedding_HolliMargell 168 RCWedding_HolliMargell 167

xo, Holli




A Fall Day At The Beach: family portraits

There is something beautiful about a fall day in Seattle. Though it’s usually overcast this time of year with a layer of gray clouds, it’s rather beautiful in a quiet serene sort of way.That’s why I was actually a bit excited when the day of our family portrait session was overcast, because I think it provides the best light for a fall feel and the colors really stand out.

LeonardEdits_HolliMargell 1The Leonard family has a growing soon to be 2-year-old who loves to RUN! Thankfully Jack Block park provided lots of space for him to explore between takes trying to capture a family portrait.

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I have to say, it’s truly an honor to photograph a family year after year – to be a part of capturing their family tree as it grows is pretty neat.We brought umbrellas just in case the clouds decided to open up and downpour, but instead the sun came out. But, the wee lad had been so eager to use them, we let him try it out just for fun!

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Childhood inspiration

The other day, my kids had made a mess of legos on their bedroom floor just before bedtime. Instead of scolding them, I took a moment and saw the wonderland they had created. That made a light-bulb go off above my head: childhood is full of inspiration. You never know what experiences you provide a child will blossom later in life.

Snacking in my Grandma's garden.
Snacking in my Grandma’s garden.

When I found this photograph of myself eating a strawberry in my Grandma’s garden, I smiled. She always had a garden, whether with raised beds in the city or on a few acres in the country during her retirement. Those first memories of fresh strawberries and Lemon Balm are still with me, and inspire me to garden myself.

I wish she could see me today, and come wander our community garden where I am trying to grow some of my own vegetables and give my own kids the experience of watching nature bloom. Or that my photography is inspired by nature: capturing people in their natural beauty. She really was my second photography fan, and I always think of her when I smell Lemon Balm!

So, remember that even just providing experiences for children can inspire you or them days and years down the road!

Film Friday: Mother

Happy May! I don’t know about you, but I’m already thinking about Mother’s Day…

That’s why I’m sharing this photography today – my first award winning photograph I took of my Mom, when I was 6. I won a ribbon at the Fair and was delighted. My Mom has been my number one fan and has helped encourage my creative growth. I am forever grateful!

A portrait of my Mom taken at age 6.
Won a ribbon at the fair for this, a portrait of my Mom taken at age 6.

In honor of Mother’s Day…

Mother’s Day Special: Through May 30th, book your session at the Portrait Package rate – $175, which will include your children, 10 -4×6 photographs in a keepsake box, and images on a memory stick. Additional images available for purchase at $25 each. Let’s plan a fun session that reflects what you enjoy doing with your kids or your favorite spot in Seattle.

p.s. I LOVE to use Pinterest to brainstorm ideas!

Film Friday: Mount Hood

This photograph is part of a long, rambling story of a day when my sister and I had to drive from La Grande, Oregon to Portland to pick someone up from the airport. I took along my Grandfather’s vintage Olympus Pen F Half-Frame camera (on standard 35mm film, it took only half the frame so that you could take 2 photographs on one frame and get these double prints)…

Mount Hood on sepia 35mm film.
Mount Hood on sepia 35mm film.

The short version: Forest fires turned the normally 4-hour drive into an over 8-hour adventure. We had to take a small Highway around Mount Hood, driving with detour traffic. It was a gorgeous summer day despite the smoke and danger.

I had to stop to snap a few photographs of the mountain in the beautiful evening sunshine, and the trees growing alongside the road on the mountainside.

My sister was reading the Little House on the Pairie series, and read an entire book to me while we drove. It remains one of my favorite memories.

p.s. I sold the camera on Ebay later that summer to someone in Japan. Sometimes, I wish I had not done so.





Shifting my focus toward a dream

February was a difficult month. I didn’t blog because it was the month that asked hard questions of the heart. I did my business taxes, and found that I didn’t make a profit. Again, I came close within a few hundred dollars, but as my family is growing and needing more space, clothes, food, etc, I had to admit that I can not keep investing in my fine art photography.

I felt the shift before my husband and I had a hard talk about what I’m doing with my art. It feels like I have failed. I have worked hard and done the best job I could, but it has not been enough to make any money. I’ve learned so much about the local art scene, and have met many wonderful artists in my community. And, I’m grateful for the experience. At least I can say that I tried my best.

A tiny Dogwood art print
A tiny Dogwood art print.

I wont’ be pursuing my art photography fully. I still have lots of art products (magnets, iphone cases, postcards, etc), and will be doing one last art fair to do a “Studio Clearance” where I will sell everything at cost to clear out our garage. I realized that I would rather see my work in the hands of someone who can appreciate it and not make a profit than to have it sit in a box in my garage. And, I’ll keep my etsy shop up to sell all the prints I have in a box since they need a good home!

White Beach Fauna ©Holli wtih an i Framed Art print
White Beach Fauna ©Holli wtih an i Framed Art print.

As many of those close to me know, I will never stop photographing beautiful things I see in life everyday, and someday I hope to share them again as a fine art photographer. But now, I must shift my focus my love of photography as a service to capture people. The truth is that when I started to play with photography as an art form, I focused on people. So, I’m going back to my roots…

While sharing this news with my creative friends, I was reminded that fun is a key to all of my art photography, and I think the theme in my art. I hope to capture the fun that people have in their lives!

My dream is to help support my family by photographing people in a “wonderland” setting that reflects what they love like I did with my children in a local garden:

©Holli with an i photograph The kind of Wonderland photography I dream of doing full time.
©Holli with an i photograph
The kind of Wonderland photography I dream of doing full time.


A First Family Portrait!

I had the honor of giving this beautiful family their first portrait session. They were funny, well prepared and had the most serious almost two-year-old I have ever met! He was adorable and I have to admit that as a Mom myself, I was happy to see that he didn’t take to a stranger like me with a big camera too quickly…

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Since this photo session, I’ve heard from a few other families with kids under 6 years old. They haven’t gotten a family portrait done because their kids are too antsy to sit or they don’t have the budget.

I totally understand where they are coming from, and did my best to do our own family portraits for a couple of years after baby number 2 entered the scene. But, I have to tell you something. I have only met one child who sat still and followed directions for a family portrait. One. They are children after all, and a good photographer will work with you and them to capture those heart melting smiles.

If you need a little more inspiration, Mallory MacDonald wrote a great piece about being a family photographer on LisaJo Baker’s Blog last month: Tips for Taking Christmas Card Photos.

And, as for the cost, well, all I can say is that for our family, we budget for it just like we do Christmas gifts. Our annual family photo is my favorite gift of all (and one I get to be included in).

So, don’t wait until you think your kids will sit still, because life as it is is beautiful!

Home Sweet Home

I discovered something fantastic and am so pleased to share this with you: My new favorite portrait package! After doing some architectural photography, I was inspired to combine it with my love of photojournalism, and am now offering a life style portrait session.

How It Works:

This new package is perfect for the family who has a new home, a recent renovation, a life style blogger, or an amazing garden they wish to capture and remember for generations.

We will have a consultation visit for about 30 minutes to talk about the spaces you want photographed, and the best daylight timing. And, I love to offer suggestions for how to stage furniture or treasures so that your space will shine. Then, our photo session lasts up to 2 hours so that we can capture your home and a handful of portraits in your favorite spaces.

The package looks something like this, delivered in a box with prints and digital files:

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The session lasts up to 2 hours, and includes up to 3 traditional portraits in your favorite spaces. Includes 20-30 Proof prints, 3- 8x10s in an archival box, $295
I am now booking sessions for the New Year! Please don’t hesitate to contact me for more details.

Children Portraits: And then there were four!

What a joy it was to photograph this family as they welcomed a fourth sibling, a precious girl. She clearly adored her older siblings. They were a bundle of energy!

With a red wagon and balloons, we had fun rolling around the park!
Lounging in the park, the littlest guy was such a good model!
Lounging in the park, the littlest guy was such a good model!

Their Mother told me the oldest didn’t like to pose for photographs, but you can’t tell by these – she was super helpful with her baby sister, and then didn’t make a fuss about posing for my camera.

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Such a sweet smile!

The boys were such fun, and clearly adore their little sister!

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What a sweet big brother.

I hope they had as much fun as I did capturing this moment in their lives.

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These two are naturals!

Overcoming the time excuse

I used to say I didn’t have any time for Photography. Last week I sorted through my Photograph archives from the past 10 years. I captured thousands of images. The only thing I didn’t make time for was doing the kind of Photography I wanted. I’ve never stopped taking photographs, but I have let time stand in my way of using a lens to capture the things that strike me as beautiful.

This was captured with my purse camera while playing at the park with my kids, and is one of my most popular prints!

Now, don’t get be wrong here. I really enjoy photographing my son’s birthday party or a picnic with friends, but I’m usually pulling double duty – snapping some photos and serving a salad. But, what I really love is being totally focused on capturing beauty be it a Bride’s face when she first see’s her Groom, or a vividly colored Fall leaf on the ground.

As my life has grown, the things I wanted to photograph 7 years ago has expanded. Now it includes nature, and details and above all beauty I see every day. The sunlight touching a fresh new Fern is as stunning as the glimmer in a New Born’s eyes.

How to you make time?

Here is how I’ve allowed myself to “find the time” for photography…

1) Got a Camera?  I carry a camera with me all the time. I do not own an iPhone. Anyone who does, has no excuse not to take photographs on their lunch break. My phone camera is made by Microsof, ‘nuf said. So, I carry a Canon Coolpix in my purse every day.

2) Anytime, anywhere! Use your camera every day. I find some times at home to pull out my Cannon Rebel, and capture something staged in about 5 minutes to highlight a particular subject. The camera in my purse captures wonderful images, too, but is sometimes lagging. The point is to shoot often, and keep at it. You never know when you’ll walk into a stunning scene.

3) Schedule an appointment with your camera. Sometimes you really need more time with the camera to get into a groove or set up something ornate. I have found that just an hour is plenty of time for me to capture at least one or two images that make me smile.

4) Make time when it appears. I leave uploading images and editing to my spurts of free time – whenever I have it to spare, I use it on Photographs. Sometimes it is hard to wait for that window of free time, but usually I’m so busy with life stuff and kids that I have no trouble waiting a day or two.

So, what is standing in your way? Is it thinking about how little time you have to spare? Stop. I was there, and it didn’t help me find any time at all. I just had to start making time where ever the opportunity presented itself, then after getting into that mindset, the time became more abundant.