Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Garden Maternity Session

Growing up I had two really close girl friends, one of whom was Erin. She was my friend that I ran the field with, playing sports, beating up the boys, and just generally being tough. We were both athletic and loved being physical. And in looks we were polar opposites. I was gigantic, as tall as my kindergarten teacher, and she was (I don’t want to say tiny) but kind of tiny. Especially compared to me. On the soccer field she was the super fast forward that scored constantly, and I was the huge sweeper that didn’t let a ball past me (typically by plowing down the other girls who were half my size). Whether we were sneaking watching Cujo on a sleep over and proceeded to get so scared we couldn’t go to sleep, or teasing her super girly, and oh so pretty little sister Renee, our friendship was a highlight of my childhood.

1 Oak and the Owl _ Maternity Shoot

But back to her super pretty sister Renee. We had enough of an age difference as kids that we weren’t friends. I just remember our interactions as laughing when Erin teased her for taking so long curling her hair. Because while Erin was just as pretty as her sister, what mattered to her was being the best in whatever sport we were playing. Kicking butt all the time. And I was the same way… but back at home I was secretly curling my hair too. I wanted both, to be tough, but to be pretty and girly. It didn’t quite work out that way when I was young. I was that awkward looking kid, whose style was all wrong, and even if I tried to look cute and girly, it just didn’t show. Renee on the other hand was gorgeous from the get go, and I was always secretly a little jealous of her.

Well, years passed, I moved away, came back, and we are all grown up and friends now. Erin married her childhood sweetheart, another good buddy of mine as a kid, and they have 3 lovely daughters. Renee is now a hard core physical trainer and can run circles around my (occasionally) girly behind (with much better curled hair). They’re both just as gorgeous as they were as kids. I like to say their parents are genetic superstars, since all the Gomez kids are stunners in so many ways. Renee met her match – a handsome, kind, funny, strong, and bad ass trainer, Jon. They fell in love, got married… and then this happened.

2 Oak and the Owl _ Garden Maternity

I was lucky enough to do Renee & Jon’s wedding flowers. After the wedding I kept trying to get the two of them to model for one of my shoots, and when the time finally came that worked for everyone, Renee was pregnant!! This inspired me to design a feminine (while incorporating lots of blue) backdrop for this gorgeous couple to celebrate their soon to be family of 3. Their son Kai, was born September 4, 2013, two months after this shoot took place. Kai is precious and perfect, and I am so happy for the entire family. Finally a baby boy in a family of so many girls. ;-) 

3 Oak and the Owl _ Bed Canopy

I asked one of my favorite film photographers, Tonya Joy to do this shoot with me. Her work is so beautifully soft and perfectly composed, I knew she would capture this exactly as I saw it in my mind. We both pulled pieces from our houses, I brought in buckets of flowers, and used it all to set-up a maternity session to inspire couples who would like to make a day of it. Start with a magical garden back drop, a romantic pre-baby dinner for two, and end with more traditional maternity shots in a lovely orchard setting.

5 Oak and the Owl _ Bed Maternity Shoot

I really appreciate Renee and Jon being such good sports. I’m sure this is way more feminine then either of them would have chosen for themselves, but I had this vision in my mind, and just had to do it. It’s a bit over the top, but that’s how I often see things in my mind. Sparse is rarely in my design vocabulary.

6 Oak and the Owl _ Floral Maternity Shoot

7 Oak and the Owl _ Lace Maternity Gown

8 Oak and the Owl _ Lace Maternity Gown

9 Oak and the Owl _ Lacielle Roselle Headpiece

Tonya also brought in some lovely head pieces from Lacielle Roselle. Something like this is a great alternative to a floral head piece. Both gowns are vintage finds of Tonya’s.

10 Oak and the Owl _ Garden Maternity Shoot

11 Oak and the Owl _ Blue Delphinium

12 Oak and the Owl _ Mom and Dad Maternity

13 Oak and the Owl _ Baby Cake

We also had a super cute cake made by Rebecca Williamson. Tonya embellished it with crocheted ribbon and Kai’s name.

14 Oak and the Owl _ Blue Lace Maternity Gown

15 Oak and the Owl _ Baby Cake

16 Oak and the Owl _ Belly Garland

As I was thinking of what blue flowers to use, I knew I wanted light blue delphinium. But I wanted to do something different with it. I came up with the idea of creating a garland and encircling Renee’s tummy. I thought it was an interesting twist and brought attention to the fact that it was a baby boy in there. The belt used in these images is also from Lacielle Roselle.

17 Oak and the Owl _ Blue Delphinium Garland

18 Oak and the Owl _ Baby Belly Garland

19 Oak and the Owl _ Garden Style Arrangements

20 Oak and the Owl _ Romantic Gazebo

The shoot took place at Corona Heritage Museum. It’s a beautiful location with lush gardens and an citrus orchard in the back. There are plenty of great photo opp’s there. Wouldn’t it be fun to plan a day to take photos, have a romantic late lunch or early dinner, and finish with a few more photos at sunset? I thought it would be a nice treat for a daddy-to-be to set up for an expecting momma.

21 Oak and the Owl _ Milk Glass Compote

22 Oak and the Owl _ Garden Style Florals

23 Oak and the Owl _ Garden Arrangements

And lastly, Tonya took Renee and Jon out into the citrus orchard and captured photos just for them in the gorgeous sunset light. They are such wonderful people and we all had so much fun working together on this. There were LOTS of laughs, some hilarious follies, and really sweet and beautiful moments. I’m so happy this all came together and I got the chance to work with these two love birds again.


Oak and the Owl _ Maternity Shoot (1)

Oak and the Owl _ Maternity Shoot (2)



And here’s a recent shot of the sweet family of three. Isn’t Kai the cutest? Parenthood is the absolute highlight of my life, and I’m so happy to watch Renee and Jon experience it too. Thanks again for taking part in this you guys! Next up is Erin and Josh… Although to get Josh on board I might need to work on that minimalism that’s so hard for me. ;-)

Vendor Credits

Photography: Tonya Joy Photography

Shoot Concept/Styling/Florals: Oak & the Owl

Venue: Corona Heritage Museum

Headpieces: Lacielle Roselle

Cake: Rebecca Williamson

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