Family Adventure Session - Canyon Lake



Full family portrait sessions take some serious thought. Any photographer can shoot a blue backdrop studio session with the whole family in matching outfits, and sporting terrible haircuts for posterity's sake. There is nothing wrong with a family portrait session like that, but at Nakupenda, we strive for more.

We did some family sessions in California this summer that felt completely different from the sessions here in town. We spent some time trying to determine what made these shoots so different? Was it the location? After all, sunset beach photographs are always beautiful.

During our beach sessions, we had one shoot that stood out in our minds. The kids were racing each other around the beach. They knocked each other down a few times and then they'd dog pile on top of each other, giggling the whole time. There were tears when the tackling became painful, but they were short lived. It was chaotic, it was messy and that is what made this session beautiful.

Our favorite photograph from this session was of the whole family, walking down the beach together. No one was posing. No one was trying to look good for the photograph. They were simply walking together, being themselves and that's when it clicked: the missing ingredient. That picture captured the essence of who this family was and what they loved to do.

So we sought out a few families that wanted to break free from the traditional posed family portrait type. Annelise was one of the very first to respond and a new kind of family session was launched.


The Session

The session was composed around a single question. What do you love to do as a family? Annelise told us that their favorite family activity was traveling. That's a great theme, but capturing it in a session is difficult. We talked about a road trip session, using some cool old cars but it didn't feel authentic. It wasn't true to who they were as a family.

We threw around a few more ideas that didn't quite fit before we settled on the perfect idea: a boating session, and we knew The moment we selected this session we knew we had to go to Canyon Lake. There is something so stunning about the way the sun lights the canyon walls as it starts to set.. it was the perfect backdrop to our boating session.



The immediate impact was simple. Boating was perfect for Annelise and her family. The whole atmosphere was relaxed, the night was beautiful and the photographs came out even better than we imagined.

The family had fun and we learned something too: a good family photo session is one where the subjects can be themselves and enjoy spending time together.


Click here to book an authentic, adventurous Family photo session with nakupenda Photography.

Afro Squad Studio Event

The Afro Squad is back to reclaim the definition of beauty. For young ladies with Afro hair, the world's definition of beauty can be a painful and confusing topic. Nakupenda Photography loves helping these girls embrace their own black girl magic.

The Inspiration

Two years ago, we photographed Miss M, a beautiful little girl with Afro hair. We wanted to show off her natural beauty and her gorgeous curls, but there was a problem. At the tender age of 4, sweet Miss M had already started asking her mom to straighten her hair. She didn't think that her big, tight, curly ringlets were beautiful. 

Her mom had long straight hair and she saw other women with hair like hers relax it, straighten it or cut it short so that it was easier to manage. This lack of exposure to big natural, curly hair shaped gorgeous little Miss M's definition of beauty. She didn't think she was beautiful. She had not seen anyone else who looked like her, much less heard anyone call them beautiful. Even more stunning was the day we discovered that this girl wasn't alone.

This profound realization was the birth of the Afro-Squad.

The Session

We wanted to keep this studio session simple. Our previous photo shoots have had crazy costumes, props, and themes. For this session though, we decided to go with clean and simple. We photographed the girls at Block Studio, with a white brick background, and pastel colored dresses. We wanted to emphasize the natural beauty of the girls we were photographing. The white brick and pastels would make everything about these sweet faces stand out in comparison. Because of the set's simplicity, we were able to capture the variations in hair color and skin tone arrayed in our studio that morning.

We encouraged the parents to style their daughters' hair the way the child felt most beautiful. 

The Impact

We received some amazing feedback from this past session, so amazing, we needed to share it with the rest of you. This parent's comments paint such an incredible picture of why celebrating diversity is important.

[My daughter] has struggled so much with her identity, blackness and confidence. She recently told me that she wasn't going to be black any more because she hated it. She wanted fair skin and an Elsa braid. We've worked so hard to keep her world diverse and teach her to embrace her beauty. She has been making progress and is slowly learning to embrace her own black girl magic.

Today, I styled her hair big and loose and she insisted that I put pig tails in because her hair was 'too big and embarrassing'. She only knew one person and was nervous in the car. Once she walked into that studio her whole energy changed. Something about blending in and being celebrated really struck a cord with her.

When we were leaving, she quietly whispered, 'Mama, can i do that again sometime?' This was big for her. I know that like many girls/women, self love is a lifelong struggle, but today, you helped that little girl make a big stride forward. Thank you for providing this unique opportunity and making it affordable. It is really special.

In addition to helping the girls to appreciate their own beauty, these Afro Squad Sessions have helped their subjects to form fast friendships. The parents often chat during the sessions, organize play dates, and swap hair styling tips. The Afro Squad has really built up a community all its own; a community that celebrates the natural beauty and magic of black and bi-racial girls.

Do you know a young lady who needs to embrace her own black girl magic? Click here to book a session and stay tuned for Next mini session: Wonder Woman.