Posts in children
Mothers Day is coming, are you prepared?

Now that Mother’s Day is fast approaching, you and your family may be trying to figure out what to get for Mom. That, of course, is no easy thing to determine. Want the quick tip solution? Family portraits. What’s great about family portraits is that they’re not a gift she’s likely to forget anytime soon. Especially not if these portraits are hanging in your home or placed lovingly on her office work-desk.

Family portraits as a gift to Mom this Mother’s Day also have the added effective of netting you points. You’ve carefully planned this photo session, which can include the kids and even your family’s 4-legged friend. You’ve thought long and hard about what would please Mom most, and now you’re working overtime to keep the session a secret from her. She will definitely understand and appreciate the appeal of that. Women love that sort of thing. Trust us. We know.

After you’ve had a chance to coordinate looks between you and your family, decided on either an in-studio or on-location destination for the shoot, all you’ll have to do is await the completed project. From there you can decide what type of frames work best, if you’d like to display them in certain sizes, which poses she would appreciate most, etc.

You might even consider personalizing the photos further by planning to have the shoot at one of her favorite spots. Maybe she has a favorite tree at the park. We could have your family’s shoot there; or maybe she has a favorite shirt that you wear. Sport that in the shoot and prepare yourself to see her eyes light up when she opens her gift. Bonus points if she gets a little teary-eyed. Those moments are so special. We love helping you arrive at them.

Now, do remember, the important thing here is that Mother’s Day is coming up a lot quicker than you think. And all this planning and deciding and coordinating may take a little time. How much time will depend on the specifics of your shoot. What you have to do now is contact Gretchen Adams Photography for your consultation. If you’re in or around the San Francisco Bay area, we could be planning your family’s Mother’s Day gift in no time at all.

And if you don't have time to pull it off before Mother's Day, we also offer beautifully packaged gift certificates that you can easily present your awesome mom with and then she can plan the session for this summer!

Making memories with family portraits

IMG_94359002gretchen-adams-photographyFamily is important and that's no surprise. Another thing that's no surprise? One of the best ways to make memories with your family is to have family portraits taken each year. Hanging these photographs on the wall is a great way to see how your family changes over the years, with new additions, children growing up, and even pets included. We offer you extensive family portrait services with a personal touch. It's the Gretchen Adams touch that makes us so great at what we do. Before you head to any studio, check their qualifications. If they have a portfolio, take a look and see if the photographs match your expectations for your own family pictures. Gretchen Adams Photography has an extensive portfolio, so you can see our experience with family portraits. It surely speaks for itself. Deciding how you want your photos to look can be one of the biggest challenges, but we make sure that we take the time during our personal design consultation to really get to know your family's style so we can design a session that will truly reflect YOU. Remember that your photos will be displayed in your home, and you might even send them to family and friends. You want to make sure it shows the essence of your family and that it’s something you will be proud to show off. We work closely with our clients to make sure that all the details, from outfits to location, have been expertly planned out.

Speaking of location...that is another big consideration! Many big photography studios only offer in-studio shots, which will use a colored backdop. However, you may decide on a more natural aesthetic with us. We're more than happy to travel for photo shoots, including to your own home, the beach, or a park. This can be a convenient time to have your portrait done and spend some time together, especially if you're doing a family portrait that involves family members who don’t live together. Everyone can meet up at a special place, which will make taking the actual picture more memorable and a less stressful experience for everyone.

If your family includes some four-legged friends, a photographer who travels—that's us!—can be useful. Some of the bigger studios don't allow for the inclusion of pets. A photographer who is willing to travel can meet you on location and include your four-legged family member in the photo. We're happy to travel to accommodate your furry little friend. Because we are animal lovers ourselves, we know exactly what items to have on hand to make sure we get the perfect shot and our time together is a blast for your pets as well!

Gretchen Adams Photography offers convenient family photography for people living in Walnut Creek or Pleasant Hill, as well as the East Bay area. As a small boutique studio, we'll travel to your desired location to provide you and your family with truly stunning results.

Why kids ought to be in pictures

children's portraits by Gretchen Adams Photography walnut creek, caWho wouldn't want to freeze all of their little one's precious, candid moments and put them in a frame to keep forever? Kids say and do the most adorably cute things, but their youth is so brief. That's why children's portraits are so incredibly vital. They're time-sensitive memories that people often forget to seize, and in the blink of an eye, years have drifted by. Parents, you may be avoiding the idea of professional children's portraits for fear that your little one won’t cooperate or sit still for very long. This is completely understandable, but what's great is that there are photographers who are experienced in working with children and have more than enough patience and skill to get through a session, and to do so with finesse and ease. The importance of children's photos cannot be stressed enough. As time passes, grandparents are going to want to look back and share memories of their grandkids with friends. Those same kids are going to grow up fast and become nostalgic—let's be honest, haven't we all been there? It’s so worth it to catch those moments of innocence.

A Few Ideas

You can have these portraits of your children done in-studio, in a variety of poses and backgrounds, or you could do something unconventional and book a shoot on-location, in a place where he or she is comfortable. At Gretchen Adams Photography, our specialty is casual, yet polished photos. Have some candid shots taken of your little ones playing or running around with siblings. It's like tackling 3 different things: new memories are created, the children are having a great time, and the portraits look beautiful, natural, and totally genuine.

Often, when people think about kids in professional photos, they think about dressing the child in their nicest sweater, getting their hair to look just right, not a strand out of place. And this is great if your child is old enough to maintain the look, but if you’ve got a very young one who can’t stand dresses or ties, then it might be a good idea to have an on-location session in a comfortable place where things aren’t so perfectly postured.

In children's photo shoots, you need a photographer who is professional, flexible, and patient! You want to be able to collaborate on ideas and get the best results. You can check out our line of work here and see for yourself that simplifying the entire experience for you and your child will yield gorgeous photos that will be in your family for many, many years. Contact Gretchen Adams Photography today!

Twin sister's outdoor sunset portraits | bay area, ca

I'm very behind on blogging! This portrait session was a Mother's Day gift from these gorgeous daughters to their mother, Karen. The oldest sister, Kristin, brought her little twin sisters out for a surprise session and Karen was indeed surprised on Mother's Day with a beautiful slideshow of the images! This was a styled shoot, meaning that all Kristin had to do was meet me out on location and I provided the kids' outfits and accessories and styled their hair. It was a lot of fun and the girls were such a delight. I thought for sure the surprise would be ruined because Kristin said when she brought the girls back home they continued to talk about how nice Miss Gretchen is and that I gave them pretty dresses. Oops! Well, luckily Karen didn't catch on to their comments, so we pulled it off! Here are some of our favorites from the shoot...

Family portraits and audrey's 1st year portraits | martinez, ca

This fall was full of beautiful family portrait sessions and I’ve been dying to blog all of them! Now that the rush season is over, I am finally able to sit down and get some of my favorites up on the blog. So let’s start with Kendall, Nick and Audrey (and their adorable dog, Riley)! Aren’t they a gorgeous family? I met them when they were pregnant with Audrey and we have been friends ever since. This was our third shoot together and each one just gets better and better. Our original concept for this shoot ended up not working out this time because we had to reschedule due to Audrey not feeling well, then again for weather. Gotta be flexible when we are working with kids and mother nature! Before we knew it, the clock was ticking down for the holidays and we just had to get the shoot done quickly in time for Christmas cards and gifts. So we headed over to one of my favorite spots that I just love for way the evening light falls in the winter months. I brought my old crate and Kendall and Nick brought some peppermint hot cocoa and we had a great time! Even though this was a “pulled together last minute” session, it turned out gorgeous and we are saving our original concept for their holiday shoot next year, so watch out! ;)

What I'm thankful for

It's that time of year again...the time where we all pause to think about what we are especially thankful for in our lives. While I can't keep up with the daily facebook post that everyone else is doing right now, I do want to share what I am thankful for! And here they are...  


My little buddy

Rarely do I create a blog post about my own children, but believe me, they are photographed A LOT! I always intend to share their images, but somehow taking the time to do so never seems to happen. So since I just shot these of my youngest just today and literally JUST downloaded them onto my computer, I figured I would take a few extra minutes and actually put them on my blog! For those of you that know our family, you already recognize this sweet face as our little dude, Canon. He just turned 7 and is just the best little boy in the world (I'm biased). What might be hard to recognize is that Canon is affected by autism. Which, of course, means we are ALL affected by autism. We are affected because sometimes Canon has strong reactions to certain stimuli and that can cause strangers to stare and pass judgment on his behavior and our reaction to his behavior. But autism has also affected us in a very positive way. We have learned that each of us is wired differently and just because someone doesn't fit into the same box that we do, doesn't mean that there is something "wrong" with them that needs to be corrected. It's our reaction to people who are different from us that needs to be corrected. Canon has taught us to accept people as they come, appreciate the gifts and talents they bring, and to recognize that life would be pretty boring if we were all cut out of the same cloth! And I have to add...Canon is not only a very bright child, but he is absolutely the sweetest little boy on the planet! I overheard him telling his sister yesterday "I hurt my leg, but Mommy kissed it. Her kiss is magical!" Love that kid!!

Kelli's Spring Time Portraits | Concord, CA

Miss Kelli did very well for her session! As any parent or photographer knows, the two-three age is normally not the easiest to photograph. The trick is to keep it easy, fast, and fun so the kids don’t really feel like they are on display. Even though we were able to squeeze in four different outfits, the session only lasted about an hour and all took place across the street from my home so it was very easy (and stress free for her mommy). This was a styled session, so I provided all of the clothing and accessories, with the exception of the cute little cowboy boots which my clients borrowed from a friend of theirs. I planned the outfits in a way that we would be able to just quickly change out a few key pieces as we moved through our locations to match up with the colors in the scenery. One thing to keep in mind when planning your child’s portrait session, though, is this…the kids run the show. Even though I had four outfits planned for Kelli’s session that certainly didn’t mean that we were guaranteed that she would make it into all of those changes. When working with small children, you have to be flexible. Some kids will do their best if left in just one outfit and others can handle multiple changes, but I never push it and I always watch the kids for signs that they have had enough. The goal is to end on a high note so everyone leaves happy. If this session had also included her parents, I would have tried to keep the outfits limited to no more than two to make sure we weren’t over stimulating Kelli and pushing her out of her comfort zone.


Past clients always know that I have my treasure box on hand full of little prizes and that is a wonderful incentive to keep little ones focused on our task. I usually start the session by showing the kids the treasure box and explaining to them that as soon as we are finished, they will be able to pick out a prize to bring home. Then I remind them of the treasure box throughout the session when they start getting antsy and it usually works like a charm to bring their attention right back where we need them. I also keep Pez and stickers in my pockets for extra ammo, but for Kelli’s session we didn’t even need to go there. Her mommy also thought ahead and brought her a couple of new little toys still in the package to help entice her along, and that was a big motivation for her as well!

So if you are thinking of having your little one’s portrait created, now is a perfect time as the spring flowers are all in beautiful bloom! Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and moms and grandmas love beautiful updated portraits of their little loves! I have a lot of dads contacting me this time of year to squeeze in a quick session in time for gifts for their wives and mothers. If this is something you are interested in, please call the studio at 925-676-7036 or send me an email at and I will be happy to give you all of the info and help you set it up!

Don't you want a puppy??

Well this week I had been hit with a stomach bug that pretty much knocked me out for a few days. I was feeling a bit better yesterday when my friend from up the street walked by with her son and their new litter of puppies, so of course I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera and getting a few shots. Aren’t they sweet? Don’t you want one for Valentine’s Day?? Guess what…there are 5 of them and they are available! They are pure breed shih tzus and will be ready to place in homes pretty soon! If you are interested, or know of someone who might be, just send me an email and I will get the contact info over to you. And for any of you not in the SF Bay Area who are viewing this, yes, the weather has been that nice around here that the neighborhood boys can walk around shirtless! We are having a VERY mild winter so far! :-) undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

A day at the beach | Half Moon Bay, CA

I love beach shoots, especially in the fall. The weather is so nice and mild along the coast and you just could not ask for a better landscape to photograph in than Half Moon Bay. I’m blogging a handful of images from this session to showcase a bit of what a typical beach photo shoot includes…a bit of family poses, a bit of individual poses, some groupings, and a lot of play time. Notice how the clothes go from bone dry to sopping wet? Yeah, that’s pretty typical. We always start off with the posed family shots and individual shots fresh out of the car, while everyone is looking their best and sand/surf free. After that’s in the bag, we head down to the water and grab more family poses, some interaction, and then turn the kiddos loose to play and do their thing. In my opinion, this is when the magic happens. Clean, perfectly posed children’s portraits have their place in holiday cards and gifts for family members. But the fun, sand everywhere, jeans wet, laughing kiddos are the shots that create the memories and make you smile as you walk past them in the home. It just wouldn’t be a beach shoot without it. So here’s just a small sampling to hopefully illustrate my point. Thanks Jason and Hae, for rounding up the kids, pulling together wonderful outfits, and spending the evening playing at the beach with us! Buck and I had a good time and I hope your family did as well! undefined undefinedundefined  undefined undefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefinedundefined

Outdoor Family Portraits | Benicia, CA

I had a great time photographing Vicki and Michael’s family portraits this past season. We did a session about 3 years ago at the beach, which was a lot of fun, so this time we decided to do something a bit different.  We met up over at my Benicia studio to capture a more urban vibe this time around!  The location was a nice complement to the set of images that are hanging on their walls from our last session. The color palette they chose for their clothing was a combo of grays, blacks, and eggplant. It looked fantastic! We were able to get in an outfit change for some variety as well. It was an unusually hot day over in Benicia, so we tried to be as quick as possible before everyone melted, but at least we had a nice breeze coming off of the water to help a bit. Benicia is usually just a bit cooler than other parts of the East Bay, but occasionally we get a hot day and we just have to go with the flow! Here’s a little sampling of what we captured that evening…