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Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4255On a beautiful Spring day in Connecticut- Marianne and Matt got married surrounded by their family, friends and lots and lots of adorable children!  While it is an honor to be chosen to photograph any wedding, this wedding was a record breaker for us! Greg and I have had the honor of photographing 3 of Marianne’s siblings’ weddings!! Marianne and Matt’s marking the 4th! That is the most we have ever photographed from one family. When I received an email from Marianne asking us if we still traveled back to the East coast for weddings we were more than happy to hop on an airplane! We adore this family and we knew that Matt’s family would be just as lovely.  The day was magical and it was an added bonus catching up with everyone!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4257Marianne got her stunning dress at the one and only Kleinfelds in New York!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4258Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4259The Lodge at Maneeley’s is perfect for those looking to have a more rustic feel to their wedding. I love the warmth created by the wooden walls and the playfulness of the hanging paper lanterns hung by MJ Decorations. Lanterns sitting on top of wooden rings adorned each table and of course the candle inside was LED. Matt being a Fire Department Chief certainly would not have a wedding that might be a fire hazard!  Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4260Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4261Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4262The children’s place setting was perfection! Each child had a coloring book, a toy and the most adorable cup to drink out of with a pinwheel straw!

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Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4263Gotta sweet tooth?  No problem! Not only did this wedding have 2 cakes but a table in the back hosting so much candy that it looked like a candy store!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4264What a fun idea for showing your guests their tables!! Each person came and found a picture of themselves and on the back it displayed what table they were sitting at!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4267Tucked away, the guys were getting ready. We all know it doesn’t take long for guys and quickly they moved on to something more fun, like their cool groomsmen gift! A Bottle Breacher! A Bottle Breacher is a handcrafted 50 caliber bottle opener made by Military Veterans.  This company is really amazing- you can read about them here!  With personalized engraving it’s such a great gift and also a wonderful way to support our veterans. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4268Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4269Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4270Before we head on to Marianne getting ready- feast your eyes on some CAKEEEEEE! No,  I mean CAKESSSSS! Why have just one?  These cakes made me smile- even the main cake that was so elegant created by the Modern Pastry Shop had some fun at the top with the hysterical cake topper!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4271Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4272And well, Marianne loves fun details as we have seen from the rest of the wedding decor,  so an amazing grooms cake for Matt had to be created! I love the back of the truck with the cans and the Just Married sign!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4273Matt and his Mom admire the cake so skillfully created from Cakes By Lilly.
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4274Tucked away in the bridal room, Marianne was getting into her dress with her Mom and her sister Kathryn. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4275Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4362These moments right before the ceremony are filled with so much emotion!  Lots of fun but some nervous energy as well. It’s an exciting time and Marianne looked so beautiful! Her hair and make up were done by KShea & Company.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4363Of course the little kiddos were not feeling any nerves- they were having the time of their lives all dressed up with their cousins!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4364These little sweeties are not cousins but became fast friends on the wedding day. The little one in white is Matt’s niece and the little one in navy is Marianne’s niece!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4365 The stage was beautifully set and excitement filled the air!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4367Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4366Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4368Matt’s brother walked their Grandma down the aisle, followed by Matt’s mother and her husband and then Marianne’s Mom escorted by Marianne’s brother. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4369The handsome groom!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4370Followed by his groomsmen.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4371Ready for some sweetness? The parade of children had everyone smiling and hearts swelling with emotions!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4372
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Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4374Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4375Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4376Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4377Kathryn, Marianne’s Matron of Honor.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4378And before the bride- the sound of bagpipes filled the air!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4379Marianne was escorted down the aisle by her father. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4380The handoff! Such an amazing moment! That’s one happy groom!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4381Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4382Marianne’s Aunt read a poem. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4383Oh those adorable children!  They were so good sitting there being so quiet! Even this one whose little brother kept pulling on her hair!  She didn’t say a peep and was trying so hard not to take her eyes off the wedding!!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4384All tuckered out after his big job was completed!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4385In the back tending the babies were Eileen and Matt, Marianne’s brother and sister in law. Eileen had the lollipops ready for the kids!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4386The vows were spoken and rings were exchanged….Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4387Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4388…and the newlyweds beamed as they walked up the aisle!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4389Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4390Look at this group!!!!!  How do you get 12 kids and 5 adults to all look at the camera- well I had Greg do silly things with my hair to make the kids all laugh! My hair was a mess afterwards but totally worth it!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4391The grown ups- they were a little easier to get to smile at the camera!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4392The children were rewarded for all their hard work and cooperation with yummy lollipops!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4394We didn’t have long for portraits but with smiles this bright and pretty backdrops close by, we were able to get lots of pretty pictures!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4395Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4447Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4397Across the street from the Lodge is an old barn that perfectly added to the rustic feel of the wedding. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4398Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4399On that barn just happened to be a blue heart which added a little sweetness to some pictures and no I did not put it there!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4400Back at the Lodge I was photographing the stunning bouquet created by Sharon Elizabeth’s when I noticed I could not focus on it as it was moving…. one of the little ones was sweetly swinging it! Too cute to ask him to stop!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4401Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4402So sweet!!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4403There was time between dinner and dancing so I dragged each of my past brides and grooms outside to take some pictures!!!  The first McCabe wedding was Eileen and Kevin- they now have 3 little ones!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4404The 2nd McCabe wedding was Kathryn and Matt and they also have 3 little ones.  At this time their baby was with Matt’s Mom back at the hotel.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4405The 3rd McCabe wedding was Jackie and Tim and they have one little guy!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4406The eldest McCabe brother got married before I started photographing weddings…. but his adorable children have been at each of the weddings and it has been fun watching them grow up!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4407It was time to celebrate!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4448Marianne and Matt shared a first dance and then were joined by family and friends on the dance floor!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4409Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4410Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4411Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4412Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4413Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4414This wedding had pretty details everywhere!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4415Matt’s best man gave a wonderful and heartfelt toast.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4416Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4417Marianne then joined her father on the dance floor. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4418Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4419Followed by Matt dancing with his mother!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4420Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4421Can you believe that cake got cut?! Haha, sometimes I think they are too beautiful to be eaten but who wants to waste good cake?!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4422The children eagerly looked on with a mixture of curiosity and excitement. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4423The dancing broke out and did not stop for the rest of the evening!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4424Matt’s grandmother!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4425Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4426Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4427Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4428Awww, big hugs!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4429One of my favorite parts of photographing weddings is observing all the interactions between family members. Weddings are such an incredible time, not only for the bride and groom but for the family too as they often double as reunions!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4430Busy coloring her wedding coloring book!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4431Look at those cheeks!!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4432The anniversary dance was won by Marianne’s aunt and uncle!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4433Matt’s Mom dancing with her granddaughter!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4434Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4435I love this picture- so much happiness!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4436Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4437The DJ from After Hours DJ Entertainment did a wonderful job of getting everyone out onto the dance floor!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4450Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4438Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4439Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4441Marianne’s mom dancing away with Matt’s grandmother!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4442Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4443Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4445It was that time, the night came to an end and Marianne and Matt left the Lodge with a colorful send off!

Thank you Marianne and Matt for allowing us the honor to document your wedding day!!!

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Can you find Smitha & Miraj?!

San Francisco pulsed with life on a gorgeous sunny California day for Smitha & Miraj’s engagement photowalk. It was perfect! I first met these two via Skype. What a fun way to get a glimpse of people and their living rooms! I was thrilled when they hired me to photograph their wedding. I might have been just as thrilled when their engagement shoot involved getting cupcakes at Susie Cakes! CUPCAKES! I love cupcakes!!!!!!!! And well, Susie was my nickname growing up so it was all meant to be! Smitha, Miraj, me and some amazing Red Velvet. We were off to a great start!

All sugared up we only walked about 12 blocks but it was so cool all the different nooks we were discovered on our photowalk! City streets, an alley right out of Mexico, the awe inspiring Palace of Fine Arts and a view of the Pacific Ocean that revives your soul.

Greatly looking forward to Smitha & Miraj’s upcoming wedding and two beautiful venues!  The festivities will start off at the stunning Mt Winery and then the evening celebration will be at the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose!

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View Point Events

Tammy and JD’s wedding is approaching and I am so excited to be gearing up for their big day!  I had met these two a few years ago at JD’s older brother’s wedding at The Twenty Mile House.  I noticed how adorable they were then- JD being so tall and handsome and Tammy with her stunning eyes and a smile that lights up a room. I was thrilled when they contacted me to be their wedding photographer!

When Tammy told me she wanted a rustic architectural vibe to her engagement shoot (that was not a barn) I knew just the place! Sand Rock Farm was the perfect location.  Sand Rock Farm is a B&B in Aptos that is tucked away amongst some Redwood trees.  Jennifer and Derek, the new owners, are doing an amazing job of keeping the historical charm of the inn but also adding some new features.  This little gem of a location offers so many incredible nooks that are a photographer’s dream! What we were not expecting and were pleasantly surprised to find was a stunning chandelier hanging from one of the large tress.  It was perfectly placed there by View Point Events. Such a fun way to dress up a tree!

Of course JD and Tammy claimed to be a little nervous at the start but they brought their A game, their laughter, a sense of adventure and of course their adorable love! They did amazing and we had such a fun time!

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Sand Rock FarmSusannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4297Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4299Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4302Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4305engagement ringSand Rock FarmSand Rock Farm

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Family Photojournalism is something I feel so passionately about.  But what exactly is it?

When I explain Family Photojournalism to people they usually either make a face that says, “Oh that’s really cool” or the opposite, “people want those kinds of pictures!?” So let me explain.

Family Photojournalism is a way to capture a family at home as if it was just a regular day in their life… as much as possible. Obviously no one is leaving for work and Mom might spend some extra time on her hair. These sessions they are NOT in matching outfits for the whole family, or on the beach during a perfect sunset.  These sessions might produce a messy kitchen floor, tears from falling and images of your child getting her hair done. The real stuff. The good stuff.

The goal is to capture moments that in 1, 5, 10 , 20, 50 years from now you will look back on and be transported back in time. To a time when your daughter dipped her finger in the sugar bowl or squealed with delight as she ran up and down the house getting dressed, or when she thought going on a bug hunt with dad was an epic adventure!

Family photojournalism sessions do not need for you to have a perfect house, a perfect activity or even the perfect outfit.  All I need is for you to forget about the camera and just love on your family. Have fun. Bake. Jump on the bed. Make a fort. Read a story. Create art. Play. And then play some more.

Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4078Meet The Guileys! Travis, Kim and their 2 year old daughter Hazel… but that’s not all.  Inside Kim’s belly swimming around is baby number 2, all of 15 weeks old! Kim has been sick for all of her pregnancy with Hyperemesis Gravidarum.  Only 3% of women get this while pregnant and in a nut shell- it’s morning sickness that is more like morning, early afternoon, afternoon, late afternoon, early evening and nightime sickness.  Basically all day and everyday nauseous and feeling HORRIBLE.   This Mama was far from feeling 100% but made the effort to capture their lives as a family of 3 with a little one on the way. This is a great example of Family Photojournalism.  It wasn’t about being perfect, it’s only about capturing glimpses of life- even if at this stage in Kim’s life/pregnancy she was not feeling oh so wonderful.

Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4160We started the session off in the morning with Hazel still in her PJs washing breakfast off her sweet face. Immediately I was shown her room and how awesome it was- Hazel loves her big girl room!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4161Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4162She even has a little teepee- she turned off lights and played in the dark with her flashlight.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4163Mom and Dad joined in for some snuggles on her bed. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4164Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4165Kim is an amazing doula with Santa Cruz Family Doula Collective.  Hazel lives in a world where births are spoken about the way some households talk about their favorite sports team. Hazel is fascinated with all things birth and loves to play “doula” herself!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4166Days with little ones go in fast spurts of activities- done with the cuddling and on to some art!  Remember putting the caps on your fingers?  I do!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4167Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4168Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4169Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4170
Getting your child dressed can be such a fun time as well as a time for great patience. These photographs need audio as Hazel was squealing with delight as she ran through the house!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4173
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4171Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4172Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4174Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4175Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4176Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4177Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4178Time for a little sweetness- as in baking homemade Pop Tarts! Hazel’s expressions are so classic here- I love her looks of concentration and also how she sticks her little tongue out when helping with the baking!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4185Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4180Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4181Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4182Reaching as high as she can go with those darling little toes!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4184All was going so merrily until the jar of flour crashed to the floor. Hazel erupted into tears, Mama does her best to console her and Dad cleans up the spill. But don’t worry- as soon as Hazel understood that it was the flour on the floor and NOT the sugar the tears stopped and the smiles returned! Smart girl.
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Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4190Half way through the job Hazel remembered her doll and brought her into the kitchen to join the fun!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4189Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4179
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4193The recipe then called for some lemon juice.  Hazel is so lucky to live next door to a kind neighbor that has a bountiful lemon tree! So out Hazel and Dad went to go get some fresh lemons!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4194Hazel has a fierce independence which I admire so greatly!  She put those shoes on all by herself and did not care in the slightest when Dad mentioned they were on the wrong feet.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4196Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4197The sweetness that followed next just melts my heart! Hazel told Dad that she wants to surprise Mama with these magnificent lemons and hides them behind her back as she carries them home!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4198Hazel waits patiently for Dad to open the door for her as she can’t put down those lemons for Mama…
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4199…”Mama!” Oh the sheer delight!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4191While the treats were baking Hazel busies herself with a jack in the box. But she doesn’t do it herself, she is assisting her baby doll to do it.  I have a feeling someone is going to be a wonderful big sister!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4192Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4201Ha ha, one of my favorite moments! With the wag of a finger Hazel is letting Dad know she is ready to play outside in the tree fort!!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4202Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4203Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4204Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4205One of the funnest Dads I have ever met, Travis turns playing in the yard into a bug hunting adventure!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4206“BUUUUUGS!  Where are you?!”Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4207Found one!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4208While the treats cooled from the oven, the family went for a walk around the neighborhood. When I inquired with Kim and Travis what they like to do as a family this was one of their first answers. I adored this answer. It felt real, something I imagine they do do as a family and not just for a photo shoot. It was simple, sweet and true to them.
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4212Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4213The neighborhood dog and the neighbor’s kid came out for some fun!
Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4215Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4216Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4214Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4219Clients often ask if there will be any “formal” family pictures taking during Family Photojournalism sessions. The answer is yes and no.  Yes I will take pictures of everyone together, at least one in an organized way, but no they will not be overly formal. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4220Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4218Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4217It was now time to wander home, Hazel lead the way!Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4221Everyone played outside for a little while, Hazel showed off their amazing vegetable garden and did some chalk drawings. Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4222Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4223Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4224When it was time to go back inside to frost the Pop Tarts the excitement was so high that Hazel tripped on the way in. Mama swooped down surrounding Hazel with love and rocking her back to happiness! And yes, I will photograph through these moments from afar. I will not get into the personal space of the subjects but I will document what’s happening.  Why? Well it’s real life with kids. They fall, they cry, they get cared for from their adoring parents and that usually happens on repeat all day long. It’s special and one day Hazel will look at that picture and see how she was greatly adored and cared for.Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4200Homemade Pop Tarts?!  Yes please!  Thank you Kim, Travis and Hazel for letting me into your world for a few hours so I could document the sweetness of your family!  Susannah Gill- Photographic Storytelling_4225Interested in seeing more with a different family? Check out this sweet Family Photojournalism session that was published on one of my favorite blogs: Let The Kids Dress ThemselvesHave a newborn that can’t quite cook or go bug hunting yet?  No problem!  The same technique can be applied for newborns too!  Check out this newborn session that was published on Little Bellows with baby Leo and his parents! Baby Leo was all of 10 days old!

Feel free to contact me with any questions and we can brainstorm ideas for your family!






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