Celebrating the Cake Smash

Lately I've been capturing quite a few first birthdays and cake smashes, and they are FUN. The kids are so unpredictable on how they'll react, which I think is what makes it so entertaining as the photographer. Will they love it and want to eat the whole cake? Will they cry, freak out, and think it's the worst day of their lives!? It's really a toss up. haha, but nonetheless, it's fun, it's cute, and I'm happy to capture these moments for these parents. I also love when parents include themselves in the photos too. Yes this is a milestone for the child, but even more so for the parents. A year of surviving parenthood is a BIG DEAL!

 Below is one of my most recent client's who had the most adorable little girl! (scroll to the bottom to see the cutest little angry face you've ever seen!)

Coffee with a Cop - Morgan Hill, California

This morning I had my cup of coffee with a cop.

This morning as I was drinking my cup of coffee and checking work stuff, I get a text from my friend, and fellow local photog Ewa. She tells me that theres this coffee with a cop thing at one of our local places, Coffee Guys, starting in about an hour and if I want to meet her there. Which, this is one of the many reasons I love the flexibility owning my own business gives me, because I was able to get myself and my son ready and meet her there, obviously with my camera in tow. We get there, I get a bagel with cream cheese, a chocolate croissant for Archer, and a LARGE coffee for this mama. We sit down with Ewa, begin to chat, then it hits me: we should do an impromptu photo project.

Coffee Guys downtown Morgan hill captured by Hailey Williams of Archer Inspired photography
Coffee Guys in Morgan hill California
Free bagels for MHPD at coffee guys in Morgan Hill California
Ewa Samples talking to MHPD officer outside of coffee guys in Morgan hill California

Lately with the climate of the news and controversial stories coming out about cops, I feel that it's important AND necessary to remember that the bad cops are a small few, they definitely aren't all. But isn't that like people in general? There's some really crappy people, but I'd like to believe theres more good people than there is bad, and this includes cops. So today we wanted to change the narrative, to bridge the gap. We wanted to change the bad news, the negative stigma, the not so pleasant thoughts. We wanted to change that, even just for a day. Maybe that will be a ripple effect, who knows? I also wanted my son, even though he's only 14 months, to see police officers up close and personal. I wanted him to have that level of comfort and feeling of safety being around them. I feel like it's so important to expose our children to humanity at an early age and teach them about life and respect. I want my son to know his place in the world and respect everyone else's. This morning, he had a BLAST getting stickers from the cops and babbling away telling him all about his sockless feet because he refuses to keep socks on, even if its 50 degrees out.  

Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
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Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys
Archer Williams, a baby, talking to Morgan Hill police officer in downtown Morgan hill at coffee guys

But I think out of all of this what I wanted to bring back to the police force and the feelings towards them, is a sense of humanity. That they ARE people too. Real life, living and breathing human beings like you and me. They wake up, put on their work clothes, and go out into our community to perform their work duties. However, I can't remember the last time I put myself in the line of fire to take photos at a wedding... oh wait, I haven't. So yes, their job, like the military, first-responders, and the like, is quite a bit different. While I believe all human beings inherently deserve respect, I think theres also something to be said about really showing that respect to those who put their life on the line for our well being, each and every day. Their selflessness that they represent each and every day is admirable to say the least. I was honored to sit amongst a few of Morgan Hill's finest and enjoy a cup of coffee from coffee guys and get to know them.

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But today I didn't want to know about their job or their duties. We wanted to get to know these officers for who they are. Who they are as human beings when they go home and take off that uniform and put on regular clothes like you and me. We wanted to know these officers as people, because that's who they are. So without further ado, I'd like to introduce you to some of those who protect and serve the community I live in:


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Officer Sheena Woodland:

Does a lot of gardening and canning. Just made fig pomegranate preserves. Loves dogs, has three of her own.


 

Officer Mindy Zen:

Loves French Bulldogs

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Officer Jeff Brandon:

Owns his own photography business and also does all the department's portraits. He's also a part of the forensic CSI team taking their photos. 

(He also has a Canon Mark IV like me!)


 

Officer Bill Norman:

Loves watching his son play in high school football. Hopelessly addicted to golf.

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Officer Shane Palsgrove:

Played soccer at San Jose State as left half back and left defense


 

Officer Chris Woodrow:

From Ireland, a tailor (not a seamstress), and has a degree in theater.

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Officer Jason Broyer:

Used to race in motocross.


 

Officer Scott Silva:

Father of 3. Tries to be just a normal person in society when he's not working. Doesn't want to take work home with him so he can focus on his kids.

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DA Community Prosecutor Johnny Gogo:

Born in Germany, but spent the majority of his years in Guam.

 


 

Officer Victor Benitez:

Loves sports, especially football and the Haybalor's high school team.

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography


Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

Photo taken by Ewa Samples' Photography

 

Chief David Swing:

An outstanding soccer goalie and die hard NASCAR fan.


These are people, these are service men and women of our community, these are human beings.

Next time you see an officer I encourage you to show them respect, maybe say thank you, or simply just say hello. Let's change the narrative. Let's bridge the gap. Let's show our children what respect looks like, and let's not only talk-the-talk, but also walk-the-walk. 

Thank you MHPD for your selflessness and dedication in serving our community and your willingness and eagerness to meet with the residents of Morgan Hill over a cup of coffee. 


To see my friend, and fellow local photographer's blog post and experience check it out here:

 http://ewasamplesphotography.com/coffee-cop-building-bridges-times-get-tough/

Happy National Watermelon Day!

So my son, Archer, LOVES watermelon. Like, loves it. He would survive off that alone if I let him, (well that and Mac n' cheese.) So in honor of National Watermelon Day, here is my son eating watermelon! Being festive at it's finest, amirite!?

Little baby boy eating watermelon sitting inside a home in Morgan Hill, California

The little hands grabbing the watermelon so tightly and the sweet little drips from his lips. Like, kill.me.now. He is literally everything to me. They say your child is your heart beating outside of you, and it's true. I've never loved someone like I love him. 

So Happy National Watermelon Day to everyone! If this didn't make you smile, then you have no soul. Sooooo hopefully you smiled, a lot. Because you deserve it, and because my kid is so freaking cute I just can't stand it. And yes, I'm biased. But hey, it's also true. <3

Eat that watermelon y'all!

World Breastfeeding Week

It's World Breastfeeding Week, and I have to share.

So this blog post is real, raw, and incredibly personal. I questioned whether or not I should even post it to begin with as I know some people will say it's inappropriate or find some issues with it. But after thinking about it, why on earth would someone else's opinions stop me from sharing that is SO incredibly special to me and my son. It's something that yes, I could keep to myself and not show anyone.

But when I took these photos, I immediately thought, I HAVE TO SHARE THESE.

Archer Inspired Photography breastfeeding black and white image

There's something about the reality of breastfeeding that I feel like just gets so glamorized while in reality, us moms aren't breastfeeding our babies in a milk bath covered in flowers. I mean, don't get me wrong, I think those photos are STUNNING and I'd love to get some taken. (I even got breastfeeding photos taken in a pretty field while wearing a flowy dress and floral crown!) But my point is, that's not real. That's not every day. And those who have never breastfed may not know what that looks like. But for me, it's been my reality now for 387 days. And trust me, breastfeeding now is MUCH different than breastfeeding my son when he was only a few months old. Now that he's just over one year old, he moves, pulls, tugs, and sometimes gets distracted so easily that a task that used to take 20 minutes is now spread out over an hour. But every day I know that this is a part of our routine. Every night, it's every 4 hours on the dot. It's having to not wear a normal bra because I need to be able to access my boobs at any given moment. It's having your breasts being used purely as a dairy, all the while the baby not realizing that they're attached to you and if they pull at them that it hurts you. It's watching them drastically change from before you had kids. It's constantly having to look at my naked stomach as I lift my shirt day in and day out, revealing the crazy amounts of stretch marks and extra skin I have from holding my baby boy for nine months. 

Archer Inspired Photography photographs baby boy son in black and white

It's hard. It takes work and dedication, but when I see those little eyes looking back up at me, every single stretch mark and pull of my boob from tiny little baby hands is so worth it. I used to hate my stomach, but now I look at it with pride. Those stretch marks and extra skin are proof that my son began there, it's where he was made and lived for 9 months until he came earth side. Every time I take out my breast to feed my son, it's a reminder that my body is STILL giving him life, and producing exactly what his little body needs. This isn't the journey for some, but this is MY journey, and I'm incredibly proud of it. It's not glamorous, it's not pretty, and it's not for everyone. But these self portraits of me and my son shows OUR journey. They're beautiful to me, and they are exactly what I will want to look back on 20 years from now when I have a 21 year old son who's probably giving me hell. 

So I'm thankful for these. I'm thankful that on a random Monday as my son was eating, I grabbed my camera and quickly took these. They show this season of our lives, a season I never want to forget. I'm glad that I chose to share these instead of hide them away to myself. I want to not only normalize breastfeeding, I want to normalize the reality of it. And if these images can encourage any other mama to capture their journey in a real way that they'll want to remember decades from now, then I'm truly happy.

So, happy World Breastfeeding Week to all you breastfeeding mamas! Here's to your dedication and strength to provide for your child something only your body can give them. Here's to every unglamorous, messy, and sleepless night of waking up for a feeding and every morning we throw up a bun and a nursing tank and get through the rest of the day. It's not for the faint of heart. But we do it, for our babies. You should be proud, I am proud. 

Cheers, mamas!

*As a disclaimer, because I feel like I always need one. This blog is in no way saying that breastfeeding is better than formula or that what I'm doing is better than a mom giving their child a bottle. This is simply just a reflection of my breastfeeding journey with my son. Keep rockin' it mamas!

4th of July Inspired: Morgan Hill Parade

4th of July Inspired: Morgan Hill Parade

I feel like any excuse there is for this town to get together, they do. Every holiday seems to be a huge deal here, which I love, and Fourth of July was no exception. Usually our Fourth of July's just include burning $50 worth of fireworks from a stand and having some sort of bbq, or not even really doing much. We heard about the Freedom Fest and were so excited to go. Let me tell you, this parade was unlike anything I've ever seen before.