The Manley Family

An Eatonville Family Session

I am blessed to be able to call this wonderful family my neighbor as well as my friend. Our youngest daughters are cohorts and slumber party buddies. When I found out that they hadn’t had family photos in years I knew if was high time we got together in town for a fun mini session!

The Manley Family decided to keep it casual and true to who they are with cozy flannels and jeans. While it’s fun to dress up now and then, I think it’s incredibly important to be authentic to who you are as a family when choosing your wardrobe for your photo session.

I knew just the right location for their session. We stayed close to home and headed to one of my favorite little parks in Eatonville. Smallwood boasts a sweet little kid’s fishing pond, a simple bridge, walking trails, and open fields. It’s a great spot for a family photography session. As the sun started to set we caught some of last rays of Autumn light before winter truly hit us here in the Pacific Northwest.

As I’ve said before, I love the in between moments during a family photography session. The jokes and laughter, the genuine smiles and hugs. I think those images say so much about who you are as a family. We got a nice mix of posed and unposed images for this fun family session.

Hi & Welcome

All About Me - In case anyone was curious!

My photography journey started like many other peoples - with photos of my own family and most specifically my own children. Back in the early 2000’s I had four small kids at home and I joined the ever growing ranks of scrapbook enthusiasts. Jumping in with both feet I started submitting my pages to magazines and publications - being published several times. At one point I received an offer to join a creative team for a local craft store. One of the things I very quickly realized was that the better the quality of my photos the better the feedback I received on my projects.

I purchased a simple film camera and started teaching myself the basics of photography. I focused on capturing the little moments, and creating keepsakes for my children to document their day to day lives.  

With the increasing availability of digital cameras I became quite the photography enthusiast. I remember how excited I was for that first 6 megapixel digital Lumix with a killer zoom lens! I never had any goal or intention of making photography a career choice. I studied color theory and composition. I dabbled in all the newest techniques - like selective color and those amazing colored vignettes! Oh boy!

As my kids got older I survived an ugly divorce and I became a single mom. Money became increasingly tight. One year I scraped together all of the extra money I had to purchase a small package of school photos for each of my four kids. I was so upset at the quality of them, devastated that I paid all of the money in my meger savings account to get photos of my kids that didn’t show one iota of their sweet personalities.

I decided that I could do better than that. I knew who my children were and I wanted to take photos of them myself that I could be proud to give my family and friends. I saved up fifty dollars to purchase a used Nikon from my local Facebook garage sale page.

Within a year I was actively shooting photographs on a daily basis. Friends and family were approaching me, asking me to photograph their own families and special events. At one point my best friend had a co-worker whose wedding photographer went MIA only weeks before their wedding. Like most situations in my life, I jumped in with both feet. After that first wedding...I was hooked.  

I’ve always been one to just take the risk. Do the thing. Put myself out there - and make something happen for myself. While most people do an internship, or assist a wedding photographer to learn the ropes - something I would highly suggest - I never had that opportunity. I took the jobs that were presented to me. I made opportunities when I couldn’t find them… and I slowly built a business learning as I went.  

My life was moving forward in so many amazing ways. I had met someone new, who came with a bonus...another daughter to love!  I had crawled my way from single parent poverty - living in a camper with my kids, to having a real house in an amazing little town. Shortly after that first wedding I decided to make another leap and start a photography business. Sashem Photography was born. I debated long and hard about using my name versus using something creative. SASHEM was a word I made up from the first letters of my children’s names: Samaria, Alaina, Shaelyn, Eliza, Madison.  

The second year I had been in business I shot 13 small weddings. Most were friends or family, or acquaintances of friends and family. These free and low cost weddings were where I really started to master my craft. I swiftly learned the flow of the wedding day, how to work with vendors, how to make the most of small spaces, and create images to be proud of in not so great locations. I started to develop the workflow for posing that I still use to this day. I spent every free moment taking online workshops, studying body mechanics, and photographing sessions to learn the ins and outs of my camera, lighting, and posing.  

I’m now several years into my photography career. I specialize in photographing couples and weddings. Additionally I photograph seniors and families. I enjoy taking a documentary approach to wedding photography, capturing the big and small moments of the wedding day as it unfolds. It’s very much like my early film days, photographing my children’s day to day lives.  

I’ve progressed past the selective coloring and the crazy colored vignettes - thank goodness, but many of those early skills I mastered stuck with me.  That desire to capture intimate moments stuck with me. This job gets into your blood. It’s like a high when you create an image that captures who a couple is at their core, when you can put them at ease, and they look in each other’s eyes and you get that magical moment - documented forever. I get to create tangible proof of people’s love and devotion - I’m not sure you can have a better job than that.  

A Point Defiance Family Session

Nicole and her sweet little family met me at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma for a quick family mini session. Her sweet girl will be turning one soon, and they wanted to celebrate with updated family photos before her first birthday party.

We absolutely lucked out with the weather. With days of rain leading up to the session date we were both stalking the weather channel keeping an eye on the weather. Lucky for us the rain held off and we got to make the best of our cool Pacific Northwest winter… we even managed a little weak sunshine to cheer us up!

The only issue we really had was miss wiggles, Abigail kept managing to kick off just one of her cute little baby boots! That darn thing just didn’t want to stay on for anything! But she made up for it with sweet baby smiles!

Mom and Dad sure love this little bundle of joy, and it’s not hard to see why. She’s just a tiny little firecracker full of energy and smiles for her momma and daddy

Fort Steilacoom Family of Three

Aki, Miles and Vincent are near and dear to my heart. Aki was my children’t child care provider for years. She’s been there for several of our youngest children - and we all just love her to pieces. When she met Miles it was a match made in heaven…and together, they started a family.

Vincent arrived 9 weeks before he was due, and I had the pleasure of photographing him in the NICU though a program called Capturing Hopes. After his newborn NICU session I photographed Vincent when he left the hospital, on his due date, and every month for the first year of his life!

We now get together a couple times per year for updated family photos - and it couldn’t make me happier to see him changing more and more each time we are together. He’s talking and sharing, and developing the funniest little personality!

We decided to mix things up this time and head out to the historic barns at Fort Steilacoom park. It was a bright and sunny autumn day - which can present some challenges, but I just love how bold and vibrant a sunny photo session looks when I’m done with my editing.

My theory is to let toddlers be themselves. Let them run, play, sit in the leaves. Let them say no and turn away if they want to… follow their lead. I promise you, where they lead you on their own is SO much better than whatever happens when you try to force them to sit still and look at the camera. Organic happiness and laughter are where it’s at!

Fall Family Mini Sessions

Point Defiance Park, Tacoma Washington

Autumn is my favorite time of year. November is my birthday month - yay me! The weather is cooling off, and the leaves are changing. This is also the perfect time for family photos.  Right in time for holiday gift giving and creating Christmas cards, I feel like late October and early November are the perfect months for annual family photos.  We have a really short season here in Washington when the leaves are glorious shades of gold and yellow, but the rain and wind haven’t blown them all off the trees.  So when the weather is fair - it’s time to take advantage of it!

For this year we went to Point Defiance Park in Tacoma Washington.  This is a very popular destinations for sightseers and photographers alike.  And there’s good reason - it’s gorgeous there! The fall color was in full display, and everyone looked great.  While I’m always happy to provide a wardrobe consultation, this year none of the families needed it - their wardrobe game was on point!

We got very lucky, the weather was extremely mild, and there was no rain! Mini sessions are ideal for busy families. Kids have short attention spans, and you don’t have to dedicate a full day to a long portrait session. You’ll walk away with a nice assortment of images as well  - 7-10 typically, that you can use for your Christmas cards, wall art, gifts, and on your social media accounts.

Below are just a few of my favorite images from Autumn mini sessions!

The Lenhart Family

Smallwood Park Family Session

Another family I just love to catch up with for their yearly family photo! Then Lenhart family are Eatonville locals. I’ve photographed their family, birthday, and maternity sessions. I just love getting to catch up with the kids each year, and see how much they’ve grown and changed since I saw them last.

These four little ones are spunky and have more personality in their pinky fingers than a lot of people have in their whole bodies… and the older kids sure do loooove their baby sister! Little Abby is one adored little sister!

This year we decided to brave the brisk PNW weather and meet at Smallwood Park in town. It was chilly, but sunny and the kids were good sports. We made sure to get plenty of photos with Grandma and Grandpa who were in town visiting before the holidays. I just love a good generational photo…those are the ones that are truly special later on.

The Forysiak Family

An Autumn Eatonville Family Session

Kari is one cool chick… she’s also my Lularoe Lady! And I’m not going to lie, I love myself some leggings and tunics - so she holds a special place in my life!

Kari is a boy’s mom… these rough and rowdy boys just love their momma though! They humored mom, and we all got together at Smallwood Park, a local kid’s fishing pond in Eatonville. This fast paced mini session (it was a little cold) allowed us to capture the kid’s authentic personalities - and their sweet affection for each other and their mom and dad.

I just love these warm colors, and even though most of the leaves had shed from the trees, there was still plenty of texture and color to take advantage of. We live in such a gorgeous little town, and it always makes me happy when local families want to stay close to home for their photo session.

A great family photo can be taken in nearly any location… fields and parks are great, but even a wonderful parking lot, graffiti, or the side of a neat old building can give your photos a unique look. As a photographer I love finding places close to my client’s homes for their sessions. It’s more personal, and it creates a fun memory for them each time they go back to that location.

Lilly at the Pumpkin Patch

Lilly is not the biggest fan of the camera… she’s two, what can I say?! That doesn’t mean that her momma and I don’t keep trying.

I love Autumn. I love pumpkin patches, and apple cider. I love the corn mazes, and carving pumpkins. I love the hay bales and the scarecrows. I just LOVE everything about about Autumn, and when a family is willing to meet me at the patch for some family fall fun I bring my camera for sure…. even if the two year old gives me the side eye the whole time.

The Galbraith Family

A Wright Park Family Session

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing the Galbraith family ever since Rachel was the maid of honor in the very first wedding I ever photographed. She, and her wonderful husband are the kind of genuine, warm, compassionate people that you can’t help but like. They are gentle souls… and as their family grew with two boys and a gorgeous little girl I ‘ve had the pleasure of seeing them once or twice a year to capture their family photos.

This year we met at Wright Park in Tacoma with their extended family, including Micah’s twin brother! While photographing the family I found out that Micha’s dad - the Senior Mr. Galbraith was the actor who played the original Aqua Velva Man! How amazing is that? I just think that’s so cool!

It was a great time getting to know Micha’s twin brother, and all of his sisters, their spouses and kids. This is one full, charismatic group - you just have to smile when you’re with them!

The fall color at Wright Park in October can’t be beat… it’s really gorgeous, and the mature trees and surrounding architecture make this one of my favorite locations to photograph families. There’s room to roam, and you can take advantage of the gorgeous conservatory as well as a charming metal gazebo, and a small pond area.

An Eatonville Family Session

Tricia and her family met me at the most amazing piece of property in Eatonville. A family friend of Tricia’s generously allowed us to use their acreage for her autumn family photography session. I love the vintage barn, and the warm colors in the outfits that Tricia expertly put together.

The tall grasses, warm autumn colors, vintage quilt and custom bench made this family session unique. I really love being able to incorporate my collection of vintage quilts in your family sessions. There is something homey and comforting about an heirloom quilt.

This bench was a gift from Tricia’s future son in law. The back of the bench is the tailgate of Tricia’s son’s Chevy truck. Sadly Tricia lost her son in an accident, and this incredibly meaningful gift was incorporated into her session to honor him.