Rhonell’s “Sexy Shoot”

Rhonell, my favorite sister-in-law, is the subject of this blog. She just turned 58 years old, can you believe it?! Me neither. She’s amazing!

Beautiful on the inside and out, she is also kind, smart and always up for an adventure. I’d photographed her with the family several times over the years, but rarely just by herself. This time was different though – we were going to create pictures that were just of her. 

She wanted to surprise her husband of 23 years with portraits of herself – pictures that were feminine and a bit glamorous and sexy. This was also a time to celebrate herself, at this age and stage and in her current high level of achieved fitness.

We were able to plan the shoot down to a “T” over texting, the phone and happy hour – chatting like the old friends we are. By the day of the photoshoot, the excitement was high!

Nikki Reign, my hair and makeup artist, joined us for the first part of the shoot. We had such a blast as we were able to spend a few hours treating Rhonell like a model for a day.

There was one photo concept that I wanted to pull off in particular. Rhonell wanted to incorporate her old wedding gown into the shoot somehow. The fine art photo that I came up with is pictured above. She was able to wear her old wedding gown and use flowers from her garden. She ended up making it into a piece of framed wall art and displayed it in their bedroom.

Here are some more of the pictures and how she decided to use them…

Rhonell’s husband, my brother-in-law, is a wine aficionado. Two of these were printed out and framed for their dedicated wine room.

The red wine version
The rose wine version
The red wine version – she thought it might be too sultry for the family wine room? 😉

I suggested a white sheet look too…

Some of her pictures I labeled “Private”, so I can’t show them here! They will probably go into an album for the “husbie”, as she likes to call my brother in-law.

We threw in a big of fun casual glam…

A set of three of these in similar poses will go in her husband’s office as 5x7s.

We did some fun hot pink pictures with Seahawk vibes…more for the album.

I’ll end on this photo, because I like her direct expression and strong, feminine pose. Thanks, Rhonell, for the wonderful photoshoot!

A Photoshoot for Someone Special

Laura found me on a Google search and told me that she loved the portraits she found there. “I’m looking for a special gift for my boyfriend, a man who has everything”, she told me in our initial consultation.

“You’ve come to the perfect place!”, I told her. “Women’s portraiture is a specialty of mine.” And I’m talking about women of all ages and sizes. So many women I photograph are in the 50+ demographic, including Laura, believe it or not!

We proceeded to discuss over the phone how she wanted to be photographed, how she planned to use the pictures, wardrobe choices for the shoot and my overall process. 

This was going to be fun! We were both excited for the photoshoot.

The day of the shoot had arrived.

Laura showed up with several outfits, like I suggested. While my fabulous hair and makeup artist, Nikki Reign of Studio Facade, was setting up, Laura and I went through the clothes she brought.

“Which outfit is your favorite, that you feel the most attractive and sexy in?”, I asked her. She pointed out a few and I agreed that they would read well in the photographs.

“We’ll use those”, I said, and proceeded to match them up with my different backdrops as Laura and Nikki got to work on Laura’s makeup, chatting and with the music playing in the background.

We planned three different “looks” for Laura. A natural look in the window light with natural makeup and lighter toned clothes:

Then a bit of a darker makeup look in the natural light and black backdrop:

And lastly, a “smokey eye” with her wearing sexy black attire and an open leather coat in my dark grey backdrop and professional lighting:

Laura worked the camera with expression like a champ as I guided her through the shoot. Her excitement grew as I showed her the back of the camera from time to time and as she warmed up to the experience. We ended up shooting for longer than anticipated because we were having so much fun.

I sent Laura the gallery afterwards and she exclaimed “the photos are fabulous!” and proceeded to order several. She printed out two for immediate gifts for her boyfriend, then had me make two albums for him, with promises for more purchases in the future. 

Later she told me that he got tears in his eyes when she gifted him with the first prints – awwww, that made my day!

Lisa Mueller: From Software Engineer to Intuitive Guide and Coach

Pure white hair, easy authentic smile and sparkling, intelligent blue eyes- Lisa is such a beauty, inside and out! Upon meeting her for the first time at an Illuminating Women Girl’s Night Out event, I was taken with her compassionate and warm, open manner. Lisa comes across as a listener, friendly and compassionate, with a strong side of humor and laughter to boot.

A lead software engineer in the Aerospace industry for about 28 years, just over a year ago she switched career roles to follow her yearnings to guide others along the spiritual journey that she’d been traveling along daily, despite her left brain profession.

The change from full time software engineer to intuitive guide and coach was profound. After losing her Mother 10 years ago, she was adrift – unsure about her future and purpose in life.  She was not happy with her engineering career and was unclear about what made her happy.  She turned to various spiritual teachings where her mind began to open up to all the possibilities of the Universe.  Over time she created intentional daily practices and began to feel a connection to her True self and the Universe.  With a new sense of peace and purpose from within, she began shifting her life.  

These days, Lisa helps her clients get more in touch with their true selves in order to open up to a new way of life.  In her business at Lisa Mueller Coaching, she is a teacher and guide, holds virtual classes and meditations for clients, co-hosts a podcast and holds one on one sessions for her clients.

Check out Lisa online! You can find her website at www.lisaannmueller.com, or on FB at https://www.facebook.com/lisaannmueller or listen to her podcast at https://anchor.fm/practical-consciousness.

Take a peek under each photograph here to see the concept behind the picture when we were considering her branding and how to think through creating the picture.

This studio shot demonstrates her interests, her wisdom and whimsy
This image shows a feeling of hope and optimism, and her love of nature
Here, Lisa is holding up the name of her new FB group, “Your Higher Wisdom” while in nature, her pose showing her fun side
Here Lisa wanted a picture in her arsenal to be prepared for upcoming speaker events in her future.
Lisa used this in a Facebook post in which she discussed doing an energy detox. It is a picture to promote a sense of peace and awe.
Here, we see Lisa as someone with whom we can share our tea and friendship, as someone who we would like to spend time with. Which is ever so true!

Karen Jones, MD – East meets West

Joyful!

I met Karen in a coaching program and took an immediate liking to her grounded kind presence. Karen, a former OB/GYN, was in the process of shifting her life to one of an entrepreneur, founding her own business. She decided to hire me as her personal branding photographer for her brand new website and business’ social media imagery.

Her new business is called Life Transformation Mastery and it helps women in their journey towards becoming more empowered, confident, and visible while leading a lush and impactful life. 

After getting to know Karen, I learned that she has always been a witness to transformation and growth of one kind or another. 

In her former career as a physician, she helped women through the ultimate transformation of pregnancy and childbirth, among other things.

Now, in her new business, she again helps women through transformation, but of a different kind. With Karen’s guidance, these women change. Through energy healing, mentoring, meditation and guidance, she assists women in transforming their lives to become the most authentic and joyful selves they can be. 

The inner work that her clients do is married to inspired action. So you get to “make tracks” with the inner work you’ve accomplished. You can take that inspiration, be visible with it, and make an impact on your world, and as a result have that luscious life you’ve always dreamed of having. 

This new modality of work has called to Karen for most of her life. As early as the 1990’s, she felt the tingling of energy in her hands and started onto a more intensive path of study into energy healing and personal and spiritual growth. 

These days she sinks into her profession with ease, as if it was calling her home to a place she was always meant to be. She has learned to live the processes she teaches others and has become a role model in feeling comfortable in her own skin, heard and seen, authentic and empowered. 

You can see her joyful and compassionate nature in these photos – her message of visibility, playfulness, and a comfort and ease with herself radiates through these images. 

Here’s some examples of some of the pictures from our fun shoot! I included a few of her personal branding words below each of her pictures.

Peaceful

Friendly, nature lover

High energy, yet a safe place for others to land

A guide and counsel to others

Friendly and kind

Fun and playful

Experienced and casual yet professional

Compassionate

Empathetic and approachable

#Quarantinediaries – The Thread that Pulled Me Through Lockdown

Selfie reflection

My #Quarantinediaries project started as a personal one. I figured I’d document my household’s time in lockdown using words and photos. Then maybe use an online book making program to create a little book to keep for our memories. 

For me, if I’m not creating, my world is not as bright. And I’ve been naturally drawn towards writing and photography ever since I was a young ‘un in Middle School. So this project idea seemed to just make sense for me.

In chatting with others about business and some frustration about not being able to move forward with my photo shoots, I came up with the idea to share some of these images on social media. People seemed to like them! My project had taken on a life of its own. The Facebook version was less personal and wordy of course, but gave a peek into my household during lockdown.

#Quarantinediaries was a thread that has pulled me through the lockdown so far. It was a project that has allowed me to focus on my physical area of lockdown as well as ponder the themes that I’ve observed both within myself and within the society around me. I used my family that I live with, my virtual family and friendships, social media, news, essays and even poetry as multiple sources of inspiration for the themes and pictures I’ve posted.

Here’s the first of the themes that I presented in the #Quarantinediaries posts on Facebook:

#Quarantinediaries- “Walking the dogs

Daughter Molly and I are taking long walks with the dogs through the neighborhood lately! Well, maybe a normal thing for us, but what’s different recently is that everywhere we walk, we see loads of other people walking two by two, but the streets nearly empty of car traffic. Gyms and businesses are closed, and people are antsy to get out of their houses and move their bodies too. We all wave and smile as we walk past each other (maintaining our social distance, of course). Exercise, fresh air, being friendly and actually seeing your neighbors – it’s nice, right?

Piper whining to go on a walk – always ready to go! Especially during my Zoom calls it seems.
Fun in the sun!
Piper is so happy! Our dogs love the quarantine because it means their “pack” is constantly surrounding them. I’m enjoying spending time with my pack as well, even if it isn’t the whole pack, just my husband and one of my three adult children. The other two live elsewhere, but are doing well during the quarantine, thank goodness. I hope your pack is well
Piper and her Auntie Maya

The next FB post theme was about how we have been spending our time during the lockdown.

#Quarantinediaries – “Spending Time”

How have you been spending your time so far during the lockdown? I’m genuinely curious. It may be strange, but I’ve found the enforced lockdown to be an unusual gift that has made me slow down unlike any other time in my life. For me, it’s been a time to focus on family connections and some creative ideas that otherwise would be pushed to the bottom of the pile. Here’s another little tiny peek into how we’ve been spending our time lately in our household. Please post some of your pictures in the comments below if you’d like to share…

A time to meditate
Hahaha! Ok, so I faked the whole meditation photo above and cracked up the next second and Molly caught this one. I’ve have “monkey mind”, or a racing mind and have tried to meditate for years without much success. I so admire people who meditate regularly, like my good friend, Marianne Mersereau. So now I do something called Disciplined Mental Practice which I learned from the wonderful Maleah Jacobs.
A time for artwork- Molly doing her digital drawing, often multitasking with watching something on her accompanying computer screen and chatting with her international friends on a different platform.
A time for working at home – here’s hubby blessed to have paid work that he loves and can do at home during quarantine
A time to wait, once again. To wait for the humans to let them in, let them out, let them in, let them out, let them in…..etc
A time to fidget!
A time to wait – Maya, waiting for the delivery man so she can bark at them while I’m on my Zoom call next to her….

Quarter Life Crisis Project

For many people, their 20’s and even into their early 30’s are a time of decisions and indecisions, of anxieties and stress when it comes to the idea of trying to start on or choose their “life’s path”, or to go forward into their adult years as a “success”. 

The anxiety and sometimes even paralyzing indecision this can produce is often referred to as the quarter life crisis.

I’ve undertaken a photography and writing project that explores the quarter life crisis. The project features individuals who are either currently going through such a stage or those who have gone through it and come out on the other side.

A quarter life crisis looks different for everyone.

Many questions tend to loop around endlessly within the mind of someone in such a situation: Do I change majors? Go back to school? Go to college at all? Switch jobs/careers? Quit this corporate job and start over? Move to a different city? Dump my partner? Marry my partner? Have a child? What’s my “passion”? How can I move out? How can I find a “real” job? What the heck am I going to do when I grow up? How can I follow my definition of success when my parents or society seems to want me to follow theirs?

It’s even been shown that today’s twentysomethings have been impacted by the quarter life crisis more frequently and severely than the youth of prior generations for several reasons, which are discussed in the project.

Despite the reality of the quarter life crisis, many of the older generations invalidate it, making light of it and as a result create a sense of guilt amongst the young people who are experiencing it today. 

Now, the twentysomething feels not only anxious about their life and  future, but guilty for feeling this way, which only serves to bring on more anxiety and depression as well. 

Hopefully by shining some light on this situation, people will take note and listen to some of the stories that these young people bring forth, and see the faces behind the stories. 

They will learn that this tends to be only a small period of a person’s life, and that it needs to be dealt with compassionately, with patience and empathy, and not with a roll of the eyes and or with a derisive remark that will only serve to diminish the importance of this life transition.

This project will include an exhibit with approximately a dozen black and white moody portraits wall hung, along with quotes and brief summaries from individual interviews hanging next to the portraits. 

Eventually, after more portraits and interviews are gathered, I hope to create an art book. 

Each participant will receive a few professional black and white digital images, and the knowledge that they are helping to bring this topic into focus for the older generations and helping others their age feel more normalized.

If you are interested in participating in this project, I’d love to hear from you! Please contact me at jean.kercheval@gmail.com or text me at 206-819-3540 or message me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/jean.kercheval

Here are a few more examples of portraits taken for the project thus far:


Meet Mike Talkington of Talk Media: the solopreneur and dating life

I first met Mike at a networking event about four years ago where he stood in front of a group of us business folks to share tips about social media, his specialty. Wow, this guy is young, I thought. But that boyish face was deceptive because man, did he know his stuff. I became especially convinced that Mike was a great guy to know after he sat down with me for a good three hours to help with a business presentation for that same networking group, with nothing in it for him in return. What a helpful guy! And those millennials – we all know they’re the ones to go to for all things technical and media based, especially Mike.
Fast forward to today and we are still in touch with each other. Mike and his business are thriving – he recently won the small businessperson of the year award from Alignable. After talking with Mike one day, he mentioned that he’s long overdue for some current branding pictures for his business as well as some pictures for his online dating profile. Yes, young ladies, he’s available. 😉 These are some of the images we came up with, all taken in the up and coming city of Everett. The last picture of the rainbow with Mike upside down would make anyone stop scrolling, don’t you think?

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Brandi’s Forest Photoshoot

I met Brandi after she messaged me on Instagram last summer. She had taken a class at Shoreline Community College with my daughter who told Brandi that I was a portrait photographer. So Brandi found my Instagram account and took the leap to message me, offering her services as a newbie makeup artist. I admired her initiative. Plus she had messaged me at the perfect time- I was searching for a makeup artist who was willing to work for trade for a river shoot I was planning (see past blog about the river shoot). Brandi is beautiful, inside and out and eight months later, I offered to do a shoot of her in the woods. She and her husband are moving soon to Nevada. Now, with these pictures, she has the evidence that she truly was a Pacific Northwest girl. 😉






Behind the Scenes!

Those Millennials! Thomas and Rachel

Thomas and Rachel- two awesome millennials. Thomas is our 25 year old son. He is pictured here with his lovely longtime girlfriend, Rachel. I promised myself I’d write a blog for each of my kids eventually, so this one focuses on Thomas. Of our three kids, Thomas is the most difficult to get in front of my camera, so I snuck some pictures in of he and Rachel recently while taking head shots of Rachel for her new job.

Let me tell you a bit about Thomas. He was always out of the mainstream, the original hipster. He would bite kids in preschool just to say hello, he teased his 5th grade teacher, Mr. Nelson, relentlessly, and as a teen became an expert in spinning poi and fire (gulp), and is still invited onto stages to perform today.

Thomas spinning poi in my studio in 2010

At one point, he refused to wear jeans, instead coming up with the weirdest Goodwill outfits I’ve ever seen. Eternally in a knit hat, scarf and multiple layers of clothing,his outfits were always completed with a funky coat of some kind.

Yes, he attended multiple shows and who knows what kind of trouble he got into during those later teenage years. He was always very mysterious about his activities to his parents, of course.

In his early 20’s, he also would hang out with my scientist in-laws and they eventually sent him to California to present a scientific paper they’d all three collaborated on. He was one of the youngest presenters there, and the only one without a college degree (as yet) to present this paper to an international forum of scientists. It was just the start for him though. After two internships and a college degree from the University of Washington, he has chosen to accept a job in emerging technology at the Starbucks Corporate in Seattle.

Smart and funny, maybe those piles of books I read to him as a youngster paid off?

So here are a few more fun photos of this amazing young couple:


What Does Family Mean to You?

Family, It’s complicated, right? They are those people you love unconditionally, but that can also drive you crazy occasionally. Families come in all shapes and sizes. No one family is perfect. There are tight bonds and then there are feuds that last for years and can hurt our hearts. There are opposite personalities and then friendships that shift over the decades. But even through these love-hate relationships, there tends to be a loyalty to each other, We say “well, they are family” when one of us needs help, or when one of us is dealing with difficulties.

Then there’s children and their parents. No parent is perfect, we all make mistakes, but we do the best we can at the time. I think back to when my husband and I were raising our children and the mistakes that were made that I see now on hindsight. For me, it meant getting my fingers too much in my son’s business as a teenager, when all he wanted was privacy. Maybe we enabled them at times? Or was that just kindness and concern? There is a tendency among today’s parents of older children (including myself) to not allow their kids to experience their own failures and pains. Maybe it’s a reaction to the last generation, where our Moms would kick us outside and tell us to not come back ‘til dark. A different take on parenting for sure.

I’m reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. What a good story she tells. Anyhow, I’m so impressed by Michelle’s mother. Her Mom said she was “raising adults”, not bringing up babies. She showed caring and love, yet allowed her kids the room to make their own decisions, do their own work and even fail from time to time. She didn’t overreact to their travails or their successes, but offered a constant unconditional support for all of their efforts and experiences. I admire her. She was wise beyond her years while raising those two kids.

So… family. It is that time of year when family is the focus. This time of year brings out pain and loneliness in many folks. Memories of a lost loved one due to death or just absence. For others, like myself (I’m fortunate to say) the season brings along a sense of connectedness, of coziness and an extreme appreciation for family – ever important, yet imperfect. I invite you to join me in counting out your gratitudes, and in sharing your family stories- both the joys and challenges.

I had the opportunity to photograph Katie’s lovely family at Greenlake recently. I could see the love and playfulness that existed between them. So beautiful to witness. Here are a few of the pictures that I captured on that sunny Seattle day.