Celebrating The Moments That Count The Most | Happy 49th Birthday | {San Diego Portrait Photographer}

“Breathe. Let go.

And remind yourself that this very moment

is the ONLY ONE you know you have for sure.”

-Oprah Winfrey

These moments, the BIG moments, where life is full and busy and all the crazy and chaos of raising a family while working; those are the ones that need to be planned for. The ending of a decade and the beginning of a new decade-these should be celebrated so you and your loves will never forget those amazing endings and beginnings. How you looked, Who you were at these very important moments… Let go and never forget. You. Them. You are so very worth it.

Happy 49th Birthday, Beautiful! No matter how old you grow to, you and your daughter will never forget the experience you shared on this special day. You’ll never forget what 49 looked like and you will be able to share all this with her children someday…

These Special Moments…

Mother Daughter Sessions

There are times at night I would dream of moments that have passed in my life. Sometimes I would dream of when my children were little and I could carry them again. Sometimes I would dream that they were sitting in my lap and we would just look at each other, all smiles, all love. We would “see” into each other’s heart and know that deep connection, that indescribable love. Just from that look, they knew how much I adored them and I too knew that I was the recipient of that unconditional love that God instills in children towards their parents. That is a trust and a treasure. In my dream, I would want that moment to never end, and every time I started to wake up I would find myself saying: “No, don’t go…”

Today, every chance I get this is what I want every mother that sits in front of my camera to feel…to be comfortable in her own skin, see how beautiful she really is, know her worth,  and how that translates into her children…Children always see their mothers as beautiful, as powerful and as amazing. Mothers always see their children as “becoming”! With every new challenge and success (or failure which is how we find success!), Mama is always the one who is the greatest cheerleader.

Seeing all of this from my perspective, if I could share with you anything, I would say this: You and your child will only be this age once. Someday this phase of your life will be over and what will you have to show for it? Don’t wait for your next dream. Together, let’s make something beautiful and get it on your wall so you can stare at the image of who you are and who your children are, now; and gaze on the intimate bond that you share. No one else knows you like you’re children do…

This is why I photograph-it’s my greatest joy and an immense honor to ensure that your deepest connections and most intimate moments will be captured for all times so you will never forget how enriched your life is, in the midst of the busy, the chaos and the right now.

The Pam Project

with Salon Thrive Santee

Being a mom was the most rewarding, wonderful and difficult “thing” I ever did. I loved it, and now love grandparenting. When I heard about this project I knew I had to be a part of it-it’s really something special. Let me tell you about some really special people that had an idea to bless, and allowed others like me join them (Salon Thrive) in a wonderful gift that myself, TeamKia, Haizel Paige Boutique, Fifty-Two Eatery (Santee), Allison Story Nails could all be a part of to give someone in our community.

The Pam Project is the brainchild of Katie & Curtis Anderson, owners of Salon Thrive (both Santee & El Cajon). I have known Katie Anderson for a while, she is my go-to person for hair & makeup for my clients. When I first heard about The Pam Project, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. It’s filled with so many principles I believe in and really, it is also at the core of my business.

So what is the Pam Project – Curtis grew up with a super star single mom, sometimes going to school at night and working all day with four kids. Now having two kids of his own he realizes how difficult parenting is and he is convinced  that moms are the most selfless people on the planet. So in honor of his mom, they created the Pam Project.

The Pam Project is a nomination process for a deserving mom to win a FREE day at the Salon to have her hair and makeup done by Salon Thrive. Get her nails done by Allison Story Nails. Then off to pick out an outfit of her choice at Hazel Paige Boutique, then from there head on over to FIFTY-TWO EAST Eatery with reservations & dinner for two. The winner will also be provided $400 worth of services or $500 towards a new car from TEAMKia of El Cajon. She will also receive a portrait of her transformation to remember the day from Cindie Wolf Photography.
If you’d like to nominate a mom head on over to Salonthrive.com and nominate a mom. They will be picking a new winner every quarter.

It was special for me to be there photographing the Before & After of the Pam Project’s First Winner – Brianna Thompson! We hung out and of course she told me how she wasn’t photogenic and that she hated to have her photograph taken. Since I have heard this before (lol) we played around and you can see that Brianna is not only very photogenic, she is incredibly beautiful. The video shows a number of photographs along with a before and after. I wanted to not only produce something special for Brianna, but also for the other companies, especially Salon Thrive that they could use for marketing what they do.

My set up for the day

Every company has a Brand. Every Brand has a story. This story shows the heart of the business, what the business celebrates, the products & services it provides and what it values. For Salon Thrive, I identified what was valued, then determined what process would be used to highlight those values. I don’t just take pictures I create images. This imagery highlights the heart of the business using the hi-end, high resolution images that equal the quality of the crafted products and services of the Brand. This is a service I provide for businesses looking to have their Brand story highlighted and told. #storyteller

Congratulations Brianna Thompson 2019 The Pam Project Winner. You’re amazing!

the Thrill of Hope

…….a weary world rejoices

Have you ever noticed how the world comes alive around Christmas? Strangers we run into at the mall or out at night, everyone is polite, caring, smiling. Christmas brings out the good in us and as moms, we have this extra special opportunity to teach our children not only what is happening within Christmas, but what they can do as well.

Here are five simple lessons you can teach your children about the attitude of Giving at Christmas.

  1. Christmas is about being kind! It’s not about buying gifts to wrap as much as it is about giving the gifts of a smile, saying hello or Merry Christmas to strangers. It’s about our attitude and realizing no matter how old we are, we all have the power to bring joy to another’s day, just by what we say. To connect with others all we have to do is “use our words”.  So say Merry Christmas to the grocery clerk when checking out. Look at and Say Merry Christmas to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell. Say Merry Christmas to all those you come across and let the love of this season shine through you, just by saying a simple phrase.
  2. Christmas is about being together! During the holidays I always tried to bake more because it was something I could do with my children. We made cookies, cakes, breads, candies. It was so fun to do together. It was fun to see the final products all decorated and beautiful. It was fun to have works of art that could be eaten just everywhere in the house.
  3. Christmas is about making your own gifts-you know, using your own two hands! When we baked, cut paper snowflakes or made ornaments, we always made sure to make many to give as gifts. This made great gifts for neighbors, the mailman, teachers and people at work. Many times my girls would give a simple gift of something they made to an elderly neighbor or someone at a facility and feel proud that they made this with their own hands and imaginations. Then when they saw the look of the person they gave the gift to, they would feel proud again. It was easy to reinforce by me telling them, they just gave a gift of love.
  4. Christmas is about singing. I can’t count how many times we would walk the halls of a hospital, rehab facility or retirement center all dressed up singing Christmas Carols. All the elderly or injured would sit up in bed and smile. Those that could, would come out to the common room to hear us singing. The joy it brought to the faces of those who listened to the children singing was amazing. This made my children sit up straighter, sing louder and lovingly be able to walk up and offer those listening a hello or Merry Christmas without being afraid. They got to see the joy that came to the faces of strangers they were singing to and feel that joy themselves.
  5. Christmas is on purpose and for a reason! Through every Christmas play, carol, and story, there was always the purpose of the season to be told. In reading the story of Christmas, my girls knew their life had meaning, they were brought forth and called by God to be on the earth at this time in history. By telling the story, again and again, this grounded them on how “on purpose” God was by bringing Jesus through Mary. This translated into the importance of our lives and the lives of those around us. It also translated into the importance of how we treated one another. After all, it was God who said: “Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another”.

Even though my children are grown and gone (one just returned), I read the Christmas story every year. For by telling the story again and again we are reminded that God created us to be His family, this is why Jesus came. Then we can realize that every life on earth has importance and purpose, and we can live our own lives boldly, on purpose too.

By teaching our children these simple joys we really are living out the simple point of purpose too. We instill in our babies the importance of their actions, attitudes and mindset. We teach them that we all have the power to give a kind word or a word of encouragement. We teach them that everything isn’t always about “us”! We teach them that the Thrill of Hope is living in an attitude of kindness, giving unselfishly, giving and using the gifts you have and that life can be lived on purpose and for a reason. And when we live on purpose we bring rejoicing to a weary world.

This Christmas season I wish you all joy as you live in the midst of The Thrill of Hope!

Generations…Grandparents, Parents, Children |Our greatest joys |Cindie Wolf Photography |

Family Portraits

It starts with two, then turns to three, which becomes more. Nothing is more valuable than family. Grandparents, parents and children, our greatest gifts, most valued treasures, and tremendous joy. 

It starts with two, just me and you…
Then turns to four… and then into more..

Family, Generations of love. We create our family history and then preserve it for our future generations. It’s in the day to day that a family’s story is written in the heart and mind of its children. Then those children grow up to become adults, and then it starts again… What a wonderful life!

The Importance of Family Photos // San Diego Family Photographer Cindie Wolf

Do you really need to update your family pictures every year?

A lot of families ask me this questions and well, no you don’t, but you should for several reasons.

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If you have kids they GROW SO FAST! It seems like yesterday my children were toddlers, but the reality is I now have three grandchildren that I adore and even they are growing too fast! Holding their snuggly newborn bodies, watching them learn to sit up, say their first words, take their first steps…. It all flies by, way too fast. They grow and change so quickly that I recommend getting family photographs and “spotlight” photos (of each child individually) every three to six months their first year and then once a year from ages one to five. After five, I suggest family photos every other year from then on. Losing the first tooth, hitting double digits on their birthday, the first year of being a “tween” (12), roaring into teenager status, sweet 16 and the big 18! These are all mile marker years and all of them should be celebrated and documented.

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It’s not about creating an altar for each child throughout the house. You won’t really display every photo from every year, but we can create a long-term plan so that as you add legacy pieces to your home. You should enlarge one or two portraits from each session. I suggest my clients redisplay portraits around the house or even swap their enlargements seasonally. This way your home and your art will still hold that “put together” look and still belong together. Your newest enlargement should always be in the primary place in the home, over the fireplace or in your main room. With all the rest of your photos from your sessions, you may want to print some small gift prints like 5×7 and 8×10’s to put around the house or at the office or give as family gifts. I like to create coffee table books in those years when there isn’t the need to update the large family photograph. These are about 10×10 with 30 images inside; they are a great way to save your favorites and look back over time. Family and friends will surely go through these when they come to visit.

As the years’ pass, we will create over time a volume of albums to document your family’s story. If you stop and look you can see the perfect place for these albums to be stored on a bookshelf, or in another place of honor in your home. Imagine a shelf with 10 albums and on the spine it says Our Family 2016, Our Family 2018 and so on… no small moment will be forgotten.

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Family photos aren’t all about matching white button downs with khaki cargo pants. A true San Diego family photographer should guide you through not only wardrobe, color themes, hair, and makeup but also through creating a vision for your session and home décor that is a true representation of your family. Fun, exciting with your fashion sense and memorable all while creating art you will always cherish.

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So, what about CD’s? I hear this a lot these days and the funny thing is when I did offer these, I was told they sat in a drawer.  Technology is changing much too fast to rely on having a CD of images. Just today I heard that Best Buy will no longer be selling CD’s! Apple has already come out with the UCSB, a replacement for the USB. When I started in computers everything was on a 5″ floppy and those are relic’s now.

I offer a full studio experience,  with the best products on the market, not a CD of images. The products I offer are Legacy pieces, designed with your home in mind, and your legacy in mind.  I offer Italian leather fine art handmade heirloom albums, gallery wrap canvas, giclee acrylics, high-quality metals and fine art prints. These are chosen to be beautiful and to last.  Every time we meet to bounce ideas off each other on your next family session, we will discuss fun, innovative ways to photograph your family in a manner that will be creative and unique to you!  We will also determine which products should be considered for that session.

Images are meant to be printed and displayed. The goal of a true professional is to ensure you have art pieces that can be shared with your family.

When you look back over the years at your family’s art collection, do you think you would regret investing your time and money in creating and documenting these memories? I can honestly assure you, you won’t. Or you can look at it from another perspective – do you think you would regret looking back over the years and not having your children photographed at birth, or when they had their first birthday or when they turned five and lost their first tooth? I guarantee you would.

ABOUT CINDIE WOLF

San Diego Family Photographer | San Diego Portrait Photographer | San Diego Children’s Photographer | San Diego Headshot Photographer | San Diego Glamour Photographer

You are never so beautiful as you are now

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While out walking my dogs yesterday, my neighbor stopped me on the street for a quick chat. As our conversation progressed, she asked me about photographing her 3 children. So I  asked her when her last portrait was done with her kids, I was surprised to hear her say what every young mom I come across says:  “I want the memories of my children and I’m not good in front of a camera, I don’t like how I look!” Now, she’s in her 30’s and amazingly beautiful; so imagine my surprise! Here is what I told her-

When my youngest daughter was getting married we went through crates of photographs to put together the story of her life for the wedding. As we went through these images and relived each day of every one of them, she looked at me and said: “Wow Mom, You did an amazing job of documenting our lives, but you’re not in any of the pictures!! She was right-I always thought that I would “lose 10 lbs first” or didn’t like whatever it was about myself and dodged the opportunity to be photographed with my children. But I was so wrong!

She then proceeded to scold me and let me know how her memories were of all of us and she wanted the images to go along with them! I can still hear her words: “Mom, do you see how selfish that was?” “We love you and want you as you are!” How could I argue with that? How could ANY MOM argue with that?!

There are 3 things I learned from my daughter because of this, that I want to share with you:

This is what I got from my daughters-I believe they speak on behalf of all daughters to their mothers!

1). You are never more beautiful than you are today. And today is really all you have. You are their mom, and they love you no matter what your ideals of yourself are.

2). Your family portrait is about your family. How your children adore you, how you look at each other, feel about each other, live and have fun together. It is also about how your children will remember their childhood. Eventually, they will tell their children (your grandchildren) about their memories, and if you’ve done your job well, they will have lot’s of photographs to show them.

3). How you feel about yourself will affect how they feel about themselves. If you are timid due to the way you look, they will become timid with the way they look. This point she made sure to let me know about!

I believe everyone should have an image of themselves that they love. One that captures the essence of who you are, looking your very best. I strive to provide everyone with this type of image.

Someday when you are older and your children are gone, you can sit and smile at the beautiful images that are hanging on the walls of your home that tell your family’s story. Then you’ll laugh and remember how wonderfully chaotic and completely filled up your life was when your children were growing up;  and all those photographs will show is your beautiful self, surrounded by your beautiful family!

Celebrate your life, celebrate the lives of your family, the love of your spouse and the love of your children. Get in front of the camera and keep your mind thinking about how much you love them while you are doing it. Because then, this is what the portrait will be about!

From my heart to yours,

-Cindie

 

Thought for the day:  “Sometimes life is completely complicated, but you decide to make it simple because you accept it to be beautiful and it means that your choice is to be happy” -Ky Vanchhay