YASSA

really been trying to figure out how I want to start using this space again.

a lot of thinking and no action so i’m just going to start.

want to be intrigued? inspired? angered? uncomforable? I had the pleasure of photographing Yasmin Almokhamad

digitally visit her @yassayassayassa on IG, for social sermons, art and more of the portraits I grabbed of her :)

922EAD21-5354-4352-93CD-D6FEAD5DAE24.JPG




KINGSTON, NY - THOUGHTS

 i was looking back through these photos and, man, I really can’t get over the fact that these folks for real became family over the course of the few days i spent with them. I’ve photographed at least 200 weddings, for real - for real which is why i’m trippin’....I’ve definitely felt connected to families I’ve photographed in the past but just not like this. this was a destination wedding and so I spent 3.5 days with the bride and her family from breakfast until bedtime. on one of the last days I was with them, they had a “wedding” but not really, more like a commitment ceremony, 12 guests. when jess  was getting ready, it dawned on me that I was her “lady in waiting.” she didn’t have a bridesmaid and her mom left the room to get dressed and so it was just jess and I during this sacred moment. i remember realizing that while it was happening, like, wow, I’m helping her get ready...this is so special, should I put my camera down? should I speak? I didn’t want to taint her memories awkwardly babbling, I’m really good at that. Jess asked me for my opinion on her hair, her hair pins, crucial shit! I felt responsible! I felt connected. one of my biggest responsibilities was to help her decide if she should wear this beautiful dramatic body chain or this unique handmade necklace. we went for drama and I put my camera down for a minute and helped her put it on. at the end of the night while i was walking out jess stopped me and put her hand out and told me she wanted me to have the other necklace she decided not to wear. i thanked her and tried to communicate how thankful I was…i walked to my room & bawled. i live for these moments, not the gift but the moment.

DAYThree_jessandalex_zoaphoto_1046.JPG

PORTRAITS

 

 

i want to start sharing more of these new sessions i'm offering so that you can get a better idea of what they are about. if you've been with me online for awhile then you've definitely seen traces of this session because i shot it a couple of years ago but it recently dawned on me that this session was the beginning of these type of sessions. tiffany reached out to me b/c she had recently chopped off all of her hair and wanted to have fun with the new look and so THAT we did. we went through clothes,  nailed down outfits & hung out and chatted while she had make up done by Aileen.

then we created thesssssseeeeeee...

we weren't quite ready to say bye, so we had tacos after <3 <3 <3

we weren't quite ready to say bye, so we had tacos after <3 <3 <3

tiffany recently posted a #tbt of a photo from this shoot on insta & i was reminded of our experience and impulsively commented on her photo and basically told her how much i loved working with her and why i still love the shoot & she responded and said...

"this photo shoot was actually one of the first times I felt in control and strong, not just trying to be pretty for a photo. I always love going back and looking at these whenever I need a reminder of who the f i am hahaha"

knowing I can make people feel like this makes me realize I have so much more work to do.

SEDONA


 

 

 

 

 

 

so, around this time last year i was photographing this couple.

the main reason I'm sharing this session is to share the story. I love a memorable experience. ok, so, the way I even met this couple was divine...tangent...not going to into that now, lol.  I want to talk about their couple shoot.

Sedona is getting busier and busier by the week and on this particular weekend that traffic was crazier than usual! as we were headed to our first destination, there was bumper to bumper traffic going in the opposite direction. so, we hung out in the direction we were headed and did what we could. 

BUT before we knew it, we were chasing light. we finally made it out of the traffic and were somewhere near Bell Rock. we jetted out on the trail to reach higher ground. once we were 10 minutes into the trail the bride darted off the trail and climbed up, I MEAN LIKE, kicked off her shoes and climbed the side of the rock and made it to the top instantly, lol. (I don't mean to sound like I'm talking ish this was all very admirable in my book) we all tried to do the same and just couldn't, like, sincerely. three people tried (the bride's sisters came) in addition to an entire family of 5 who were on the trail with us, lol. we kept walking trying to find a way up and we finally did...

... almost 30 minutes later, lol.

 in good time because her phone was just about to die. we got to the top and had a moment of silence for that view....

we snapped a few photos & then realized we needed to haul ass because the light was fading and we had a lil' hike ahead of us. we had to get off of this rock! you can't play around in these circumstances but thankfully it was a cool day and we had a few bottles of water...and we were only about 20 minutes away from the car. we DID get lost on the trail for a minute and had to use our phones as flashlights but quickly got realigned. lol. we made it!

I just appreciate these two so much for sharing this with me and introducing me to something new. driving up together allowed us to connect on another level.  i find them to be beautiful inside and out.  i admire their family dynamic and how they support each-other. it was great energy to be around. all these moments we spent together made their wedding day extra extra special. it's about the connection and being able to create from a genuine place.

we had pasta to recoup and drove back down to Phoenix with full bellies and good conversation. so good, that I'm thinking and writing about it a year later. <3

sedonaengagementsession-phoenixphotographer_somaliwedding_atlantaphotographer_zoaphoto-5803.jpg

NEW OFFERING

 

 

I've been meaning to come here and drop off some things that I have been working on...and I will...but first I have to get something off of my chest. 

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this thing and have been overthinking about the best way to roll it out. I want to shout it to the world but I don't want everyone's attention...if that makes sense. 

I am here to announce and offer a unique type of photo experience. 

You don't necessarily have to have a reason to get your portrait made. You are reason enough. Just like I don't have to have a reason to create. 

This started as a personal project, something I started doing for myself and I love it so much that I want to share it. I share with hopes to cultivate more interest annnnd to make it more sustainable for myself, to be honest. :)

In 2014 I slowly started collaborating with women and making photos just because...

tumblr_ntcgiblYtP1u32a0ho7_500.JPG

 

I love all of these images so much but not because of what you see. the experience we share is beautiful and the photos I feel are mementos from the experience. 

the experience: i can't really go into too much detail. i'm not trying to sell you. if it resonates, it resonates. every session is different. we will collaborate but you should have no binding expectations. i would like you to give me trust and space to create organically.

I don't want to hear about your thighs, love handles or arms. you will be required to be free. there will be no negative self talk. Once you let go and honor yourself, it will shine through. #nojudgementzone

I'm super excited about this. I'm into making dramatic, colorful, authentic and moody imagery but not just for anyone or any company. It is important to me to provide a service that also serves me. I don't like feeling like hired help. I find that I work best once we connect and I always-always make time for that with these type of sessions.

We don't rush, we leave room to flow, we leave room to talk, we connect.

Self-care is being slung around all over the place as-of-late and I'm not even mad about it. It is super important. I am a mother and an entrepreneur and I have learned the effects of self-neglect the hard way. If self-care is a phrase you're tired of hearing. This type of session isn't for you. 

I allow you to be yourself and to celebrate and embrace you.

You walk away feeling full,

You walk away feeling good. 

I walk away feeling full,   

I walk away feeling good. 

Big thank you to all of the women who unintentionally helped me shape this offering and for trusting me and giving me creative freedom. If you hadn't given me feedback and let me know how our shoot made you feel, I probably wouldn't be writing this right now. I want to share that feeling with more women. Where would I be if I hadn't photographed you?

If you're interested in booking a session like this, connect with me for more information. info@zoaphoto.com