over the years

yep, i know.  i haven't blogged in forever, with the exception of my recent 30-day photo project.  i have lots of excuses, most of which i will spare you from; however, i will say that it's partly because i didn't know where to start (still don't) -- so i then am paralyzed and don't write anything.  yes, that's logical thinking for you.  but i decided today that i just needed to write for the simple reason that i'm inspired to share.  eventually i will figure out a way to catch up and share news from this past year, but for now it's this… after seeing today's post on my modern met and thinking gol, i wish i had done something like that with my own family -- i decided to go on a hunt for my family's photos over the past years.

2005-2013. three states. so many memories. treasured photographs.

makes my heart happy gathering all the photographs and i dream of one day compiling them into a book to share with my kids.  one thing is for certain…you can never have enough family photographs.  and with steve leaving for japan soon and kiele heading to college later this year, i have a deep aching for LOTS and LOTS of family photographs... our complete family. all of us TOGETHER.

2005  |  ages:  a few weeks, 18 months, 7 years, 30 years (steve) and 35 years (me)

2005 by carey schumacher

2006 by jen kerker

2007 by shawn houllis

2008 by leah zawadzki

2009 by peta mazey

2009 by leigh miller

2009 by michelle huegsen

2010 by jen wright

2011 by leah zawadzki

2012 by jen wright

2013 by me

2013 by steve's brother

thank you to all who have photographed a special part of my family.  i could never thank you enough.  and if that wasn't enough to encourage you to have your own family photographed regularly, you should read THIS.

and with that said and shared, i wish you a very happy new year -- filled with love, laughter, adventure and everything wonderful.  signing off now before i change my mind.  xxo

remembering max

most who read my blog already know about my journey with max and his family.  the mikulak family graced and touched my life more than i could ever express. i do my best to continue to photograph the mikulak family in san diego every year. and this year, our session took place a few weeks ago...

and when our session was done, there stood hannah just like this...

with the light beaming through max's urn and hannah. and it was in that moment that i was so perfectly and beautifully reminded that max was right there with us!!

i feel so very blessed to have the mikulak family as part of my life.

and don't ever forget to live life to the max!!

my very first photograph of max, captured december 2007.

open your heart

i wish you that you will open your heat to all these presents [light, water...] and let them flow through you that everyone that you meet on this day will be blessed by you just by your eyes by our smile by your touch just by your presence let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you then it will really be a good day. - happiness revealed | louie schwartz

such a wonderful video. please -- just keep watching...

so grateful to gorete, who not only hosted our workshop a couple weeks ago, in san francisco; but also, so graciously opened her heart and home to me the following days.  i cannot thank you and your family enough!!



san francisco casting call

we’re looking for a couple families to be photographed at our wallflower friends retreat -- the afternoon of saturday, april 28th.

casting call details: - will receive complimentary photo session - will take place at half moon bay, CA (exact location TBD) - families will be photographed by either myself or leah - must be willing to sign a model release - will be geared towards demonstrating client shooting to workshop participants - participating familes will receive approximately 20-30 5x7 prints (with the opportunity to order discounted enlargements)

if interested, please email us a recent photograph of your family -- be sure to include the ages of your child(ren) and the date the photo was taken.

some photos from our past wallflower friends retreats...

to see more photos from our past retreats, be sure to check out leah's photos too.

breaking the mold with deb & leah | coming soon

i'm super excited to share that i'll be teaching a breaking the mold online mini-workshop with my best friend and incredibly talented photographer, leah zawadzki -- march 12th - 26th.  registration opens this monday! see below for all the details...

some topics that will be discussed:

inspiration creativity thinking outside the box finding your style creating great images shooting with a lensbaby editing simplified building a strong portfolio

participants will receive the following: an honest and intimate look at both deb and leah's photography styles three assignments followed by feedback an inspirational e-book lensbaby and lilyblue actions discount codes and a a few special giveaways

registration details:

1. this workshop is for bloom forum members only. if interested in registering for this mini-workshop, but not a yet a member -- you can join the forum (for 3, 6 or 12 months), by clicking the bloom logo below... The Bloom Forum 2. once a bloom member, you can then register for the workshop in the 'mini-workshops information' section, found here.  registration will open this monday morning. 3. the workshop will run from monday, march 12th – monday, march 26th, with posts and interaction daily. 4. active seats are $200.00 per seat. 5. silent/read-a-long seats are $150.00 per seat. 6. the private mini-workshop information will be available for one month after the workshop ends. 7. there is also a private forum section for all past breaking the mold participants, to continue  interacting and sharing with one another. 8. registration opens this monday -- february 27th.  seats are limited!

we hope to see you there!

photos copyright deb schwedhelm & leah zawadzki

the gift she left us

i think i've re-written this post 10 times now.  i'm not sure i could ever express my complete gratitude to jen, for capturing my own family's photos.  these are a few of my absolute favorites. i hope that one day my children will look back on these and see our family's absolute love and joy for one another.  we are so very blessed!! \

you can see more of our photos here.  thank you jen.  deeply and truly, i thank you!!  i hope that one day i can return this most amazing gift you have given my family.




november mini-sessions | tampa photography

so happy to offer a few fall mini-sessions... MINI-SESSION INFORMATION

four 20-minute fall mini-sessions saturday, november 12th at redington long pier starting at 3:50 PM

to reserve a session time, please email deb@debsphotographs.com or call 858-431-6214.

retainer fee | $300 • includes $200 print credit, applied at time of order • 20-minute photo session for one person [5 months & older] • additional siblings or parents $25 each 
[up to four additional people] • 10-plus edited images presented in online proofing gallery for five days • refer to special mini-session pricing below • tax not included • non-refundable retainer due to hold session reservation

PORTRAIT COLLECTIONS ONE | $500 one 11x14 giclée print one digital file three desk prints

TWO | $750 two 11x14 giclée prints one digital file four desk prints

THREE | $1000 one 16x20 giclée print one 11x14 giclée print two digital files five desk prints

* with purchase of any collection, add all digital files [presented in your gallery] for an additional $500.

A LA CARTE ITEMS desk prints [8x10 & smaller] | $80 11×14 fine art giclée print | $175 16x20 fine art giclée print | $260 individual digital file | $350

and some photos from a few of my most recent family sessions...

lensbaby love

most of the time when i photograph other photographers and their families, i try to focus on family shots and photos of the photographer with his or her kids (because we're just not in the family's photos very much).  needless to say, my heart was so very happy when karen requested some lensbaby photos of her kids.  here are a few of my favorites, from our time together in chicago (which reminded me so much of growing up and made me miss the midwest).

having a 14-year-old, who most of the time doesn't want to have anything to do with me, this photo melts my heart...

maui | part three

visits with old friends.meeting new friends. lunch and shopping at the super cool town of paia. gin and tonics with cucumber and mint. photo session on fleming beach. steve... kite boarding lessons. times two. early morning snorkeling at molokini crater. clear water. lots of fish, an eel and seven sea turtles. an incredible last-night's dinner at nick's fish house. and through it all, i feel so blessed to have experienced the most amazing reconnection with my husband. i never want to forget our time spent together in maui.

steve, thank you for loving me!!

and now... on to vail, for the awesome NAPCP retreat.  so excited to be speaking on the 27th.

a mini-workshop | june 3-17

i'm super excited to share that i'll be holding an online mini-workshop on the bloom forum -- june 3rd through june 17th.  this workshop is for bloom forum members only, so if you're interested in participating in this workshop, be sure to become a bloom forum member prior to workshop registration day (this tuesday, may 24th). to register for the bloom forum or for additional information, please click the bloom logo below...

The Bloom Forum

i'm super excited about this opportunity to teach and share.  hope to see you there!!

more than the sun...

today, the kindergarten classes had a mother's day celebration -- muffins for moms.  when we arrived in the classroom, the moms walked around the room to find their place, based on locating the drawing their child made of them.  then we were all served muffins and juice and we received hand made stationary cards as our mother's day gift.  so, so thoughtful and special!! couldn't help but laugh, when i saw ryder's drawing of me.  i think he got everything just perfect.  :-)  and sigh...i love him more than the sun and the moon and the stars.

i'll be away for mother's day but wanted to wish all you mommas out there a fabulous mother's day!!  i'll be in salt lake city, utah for the weekend.  i will miss my family but i'm super excited to do tons of shooting, along with lots of laughter and sharing with friends.

also, here's a couple photos of my family taken by my beautiful friend and amazing photographer, leah, last week.  i am so blessed to call leah one of my best friends and cherish her so!!

if you are unsure about having family photos taken (for whatever reason), please read the perfect time post. i hope it will give you the push to get them done SOON!

VA, here i come

yep, i'm off to virginia beach, VA. actually by the time this launches, i will already be on my flight. while there, i'll be photographing this family. baby scout is now six months old, with a full head of fabulous hair, and my friend, steph, is now rockin' an awesome, new pixie cut.

and this family. not sure if peanut will be included again this time, but i do know that she is lou's precious baby.  it was 30 degrees when we did the photo below.  looking forward to the predicted 60s. hoping to dodge saturday's rain/thunder/wind forecast.

along with photographing a few families, who i am super excited to meet, one of them being in OBX!!

i'm home tuesday evening and then headed to san diego on thursday, for family fun and more client shoots.

being grateful

i love this womani am grateful for this woman and all she shares with us she reminds me what it means to be good and grateful and not-so-serious in this crazy, mixed up world of ours

while in kansas, i started a grateful 365 project. to be completely honest, something went off course and i never finished. and then we moved. and then i was sent really off course. but seeing hailey's video has me longing to start another one. although i'm taking the daily pressure off and simply calling it my 'grateful project'. can't wait to see what comes of it.

how can anyone ever go wrong with a project that reminds them of all they have to be grateful for...each and every day.

hope you enjoy the video...

please don't forget to check out their 365 grateful site -- 365grateful.com

last but not least, here's a few photos from my 2010 (iphone) grateful project...

the beaty family | coming home

i had already blogged about lifetime's new show, coming home, which features military homecoming stories, here.  but last night's episode (episode 2  | daddy's little girl) featured the beaty family's homecoming. if you missed it, no worries, you can watch the full episode here.  the beaty family is on episode 2 (daddy's little girl) and starts about a third of the way in.

love them so!!

some of my favorite photos from the beaty family's homecoming...

mother's day

yes, mother's day is quickly approaching -- may 8th, as a matter of fact.  and what more magical gift to give a woman for mother's day than a family or children's photo session.  who wouldn't love and cherish that gift?!!  and if they grumble for any reason, simply direct them here -- to my the perfect time post.  i promise they won't grumble any more. i know it's a dream of mrs. B's (below). at the most recent wallflower friends retreat, where we had the awesome opportunity to photograph mr and mrs B and their youngest two, we talked about how one of these days, she is going have all eight of her kids photographed together...and what a special mother's day gift that would be!!

if interested in reserving a photo session or purchasing a gift certificate, simply email me here.

also, don't forget about all my upcoming 2011 travel locations.

CA model(s) needed | feb 13th

our wallflower friends winter retreat is quickly approaching and i'm looking for child and family models.  optimally, i am looking for a family with two girls, who can take direction and are not shy of the camera.  or i could work with one family and then two girls, ages 5-12 (two girls could be from same family or different). the session will begin with the family and progress to lensbaby photos of the girls (see photos below) and be approximately an hour long (start time 4:30 PM).

the shoot location will be at the 29 palms inn, twentynine palms, california.  there is no session fee and models will receive complimentary high-resolution digital files of all edited images.

please email me the following information if interested: name ages of child(ren) recent photo of children and / or family (within past two months)

and feel free to email me with any and all questions.

the power of giving

while i was on vacation, in nevada, i got an email from margot.  she was emailing to make sure it was okay that they used one of my photos of sam in their 2010 family photos, which she wanted to post on  her blog. the first thought that came to mind, along with the tears, was, are you KIDDING me? you NEVER have to ask me about using the photos i took of sam. but instead, i replied,

absolutely. and please don't ever feel you need to ask me about using sam's photos at anytime, for anything. please just use them.

for those who didn't follow my journey with sam and his family, let me share a bit. sam went to the same elementary school in san diego, as kiele. i had learned of sam from kiele's deaf itinerant teacher, diane (sam was hearing impaired due to chemo). i asked diane to share with sam's parents that i was available to them any time at all, to photograph sam and their family. time went on. life was busy. and i hadn't heard from sam's parents.

then one day in late 2006, while photographing kiele's classmates, i ran to sam's class and asked the teacher if i could pull sam out of class for a few photos. i knew sam's teacher because kiele had had her for 2nd grade. so i pulled sam out of class and took a few photos. once the prints arrived, i boxed them up, brought them to sam's teacher and asked that she give them to the parents and tell them that they are a gift from me.

one of those photos, from the very first time i photographed sam, is the framed photo below.

© meredith brunette

i share this for a couple of reasons: first, the power of giving back is beyond words. if you haven't given back in some way (and i'm not talking monetarily; we all have our gifts, talents, information, etc.), i beg you to. give when and however you can. it can be as simple as giving a helping hand to someone in need. second, don't be discouraged whenever attempting to give and it's not working out exactly as planned. if i've made an honest, whole-hearted attempt and it doesn't work out, that's all i can do (except with sam, i was able to find a workaround). the reason i say this is because i have received quite a few emails sharing that they are trying to give their photography services but the person / parent isn't responding and they're wondering how to proceed.

it amazing how when  you give and expect absolutely nothing in return, they fill your heart so greatly. these families that i have photographed over the years have touched my heart and soul and given me so much...more than words could ever describe.

after those initial photos of sam at school, i continued to photograph sam and his family for the next three years...until sam, after so much strength and fighting, sadly lost his battle to neuroblastoma on march 12th, 2010.

in memory of sam, here are some of my favorite photos from the years i photographed him. miss you buddy!

if you haven't already, i hope this will help inspire you to incorporate giving into your 2011.