Traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony + Mommy and Me Photo Session - Denver

Partners, take note. Something a lot of mothers want for a special occasion (either Mother’s Day, a birthday, or just plain Saturday), is a set of nice photos of the children with her IN the photo. This is really hard for a lot of parents who are behind the camera. Most of the photos we have with our rapidly growing children are filtered selfies (don’t get me wrong, those are super fun and have their place!). I had the pleasure of shooting this Mother’s Day set for a beautiful mama and her 1.5 year old baby girl, arranged in (almost) secret by her husband (you go, Christopher!).

Jerusalem & Christopher brought over goods for a traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, and I paired the set with outdoor boho decor, hanging a macrame garland (designed by Woven Will) on sheer panels and layered textured rugs. I’d say it was a success! A studio session followed with an amazing wardrobe change, and I set up some speedlight gels to compliment Jerusalem’s gorgeous head wrap.

This outdoor set is available through the summer. To book, email: stephanie@marilee.co

Summer Art - Paint Your Kids!

2019 marks our first time of educating our kids at home during the long summer break. Our oldest child is 5 years old and is on the cusp of reading, writing, and being an all-around awesome kid who’s on his way to Kindergarten in the fall. Sure, we signed him up for a few weeks of real summer camp, themed around dinos, space, and more. But the rest of the time, he’s with us!

In order to keep his growing brain from getting summer rot, my husband created “Daddy Camp” — it’s our job to fill his day with outdoor play, math, spelling, and my job is Mommy Art Director! It’s pretty fun and silly. Our motto is “KEEP IT WEIRD!” and we even have a family Daddy Camp song.

On this particular day, both our son and I needed a creative outlet. Together, we picked 3 washable Crayola paint colors, and went to town on his hands until he said he was happy with the way he looked. I set up a white backdrop on a rainy day, and filled the scene with a 50” Godox umbrella and a huge 85W 6500K CFL bulb (I often use this bulb that’s consistently on if I’m in a situation where there’s only 1-2 subjects and a speedlight might bother the kid).

With a little hand movements a la Vogue style, we came up with these photos and both mommy and big boy really love them! I’ll always remember this as part of his first summer break. :) The first one is going on a wall.

I try to shoot as close to the right exposure as possible, then used Refined Presets for some amazing edits.

East Bay San Francisco's Cutest Newborn Award Goes To... Baby Boy K!

Biased or not (because this mama is one of my BFFs and I have witnessed her love story unfold from Day 1), I am so excited to welcome baby boy K to this crazy world of ours. Blessed with beautiful hair and his parents gorgeous big eyes, my only wish is that we lived in closer proximity so I can see him grow in person. <3

Thanks to his mom and dad for trusting me with this huge milestone in their lives.

April: The Month Where My Kids Have Birthdays and We're Not Done Unpacking Yet

My daughter, Alex turned 2 this week, and earlier, my oldest child, Noah turned 5! It’s hard to believe my husband and I have been parents this long. I’ve had dreams of finding room for a mini-studio, and though we’re totally up and running in our new home, there always seems to be that ONE ROOM that has all the boxes we haven’t unpacked yet. The “I am not sure where this stuff goes” room. It’s the office/photography equipment storage/LEGO organization/unopened boxes for our new baby arriving in 1.5 months/unhung framed photos room.

But hey, to make it at least a little cozy in one direction, we have a new teal couch and awesome cushy rug and some furniture that bodes well for portraits. So as a momtographer (that’s a word, right?) we did some annual birthday portraits. I really love this corner of our home — I hope we can transform it the way we wish soon!

Some technical notes —
I lit these Sony A7RII 35mm shots with a Godox 120cm / 47.2in Portable Octagon Softbox Umbrella with a constant light source: LimoStudio Full Spectrum Lighting Bulb 85W Photography Photo CFL 6500K. There are two windows for natural light in this room, with one to camera-right. But I like to light my subjects up inside just a tad more for their birthday faces. :)

The couch is from Overstock and our 8x10 rug is from Target. Tutu from Honeyskull.