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I have been dying to blog about this particular session but per usual got caught up in the craziness of home life, work life and all its various overlaps.   Anyone who follows us on Facebook has mos def already seen these photos and heard the story, but here goes for our lovely blog followers…

A few months prior, I did a Malaya shoot of super nice, aspiring photographer Pam.    So pretty!


She really dug our style, so she asked to book family portraits for herself, her boyfriend Chris and their 6 year old daughter Paris.   Due to Chris’ insane travel/work schedule, it took another 3 or 4 months before we were able to coordinate a shoot day.

The day of their shoot rolls around and I wake up late, due to a gig the night before (I play bass/sing for a local band called the Astropop 3) and see that I missed eleventy billion phone calls from Pam and Chris.    I panicked, assuming an emergency came up, but when I finally got in touch with Chris, he told me he had a BIG surprise planned that he wanted us to capture.  And so, through a few more sneaky phone calls,  we devised a loose plan which included a series of signals and semi-code phrases to use when the time/place was right.


Btw, huge style points to all of them!  They were a perfect example of coordinated yet fashionable outfits that didn’t need to resort to that whole white shirts and khaki pants standard.   I honestly don’t know how Chris wore a sweater vest with a long-sleeved shirt in that heat, but it worked out well!

Such a beautiful family.  They were so fun to shoot too; willing to try anything and not taking themselves too seriously:



Here’s their satire of those uber-serious family portraits.  Little Paris is a pro, she went w/ the flow of whatever her parents were doing and pulled it off perfectly.  She was a total sweetheart too:


They wanted a fair amount of real moments and ended up buying this next photo as a huge canvas wrap.   I heart their choice because it’s definitely reflective of how they are as a family and it’s an unusual (in a good way) pick for an enlargement.  It’s pretty sweet having clients who think out of the box…or frame, as it is.  Oh and I believe what led to Paris’ laugh in this photo was her dad asking, “Hey, remember that time you farted on your mom’s neck?” Classic.


This was the last location on our photoshoot, so it was time for the “big show”.    Chris gave us the signal and we responded in affirmative with our code phrase, “We’re going to change our lenses” –  we actually did change lenses, to buy a little bit of time and get everyone in place.   Meanwhile, Chris nervously chainsmoked cigarettes while Pam and Paris were completely oblivious.   Finally, we got all of them into position and stood there awkwardly for a moment (I honestly wanted to yell, “Do it now!!” but thankfully, refrained) and then, to Pam’s complete and utter shock…


I remember her being so caught off guard, she asked him, “Why are you doing this here?” not realizing that we were all totally in on it the whole time and it was set up.   She hugged me twice afterward.  And look how cute and stoked Paris is for her parents…this photo was so precious, they chose it as the cover to their engagement album:


So CONGRATULATIONS to Pam and Chris on their engagement and big ups to Chris for having the foresight to do it during a photoshoot.  Not many people get their proposal caught on camera, let alone professionally, so I thought this was a pretty awesome way to put a ring on it.     Here they are, freshly engaged:


We were super excited for them to see their photos, so there’s a quickly edited slideshow up I did the day of, if you’d like to see more:

Speaking of engagements/weddings, my partners are leaving today for Las Vegas.  Lester and his BFF Allen are both getting married later this fall (not to each other, although I’m sure its crossed their minds…kidding!), so they’re having a joint 5-day bachelor extravaganza with Mendell and the rest of their homies.  Someone’s gotta stay put and run this joint, so I’ll be here doing shoots and answering emails as always – send me a message 🙂

– Cies



In an effort to blog more frequently, we are going to start posting articles other than recent jobs.   We have worked with some amazing people in our industry and I just want to take the time to highlight one of them.

Human Story Films is based out of Richmond, VA and they have an amazing storytelling sensibility to their films; weaving in wedding highlights with interviews from the couple and their loved ones.     This seamless blending of footage and narrative creates a very engaging, personal and heartfelt wedding day story.

Bill Gaff, Human Story’s chief filmmaker, along with his crew shot Winston and Hazel’s wedding with us back in August and he recently sent us a copy of their wedding DVD.  We watched it and were blown away by the style and quality.   I actually watched it twice haha – definitely a rarity with me and wedding videos.

He was nice enough to add these  kind words to us:

“It was a pleasure working with you guys.  [It’s] clear that you put as much energy into making it a nice experience as you do into the artistic part. Both are outstanding.”

Bill was voted one of the 25 Hottest and Most Influential Event Videographers in the World by the readers of EventDV Magazine and also had a wedding (and really nice write-up) featured on the chic bride site,

If you’re looking for something unique, something truly historical and personal for your wedding day, give Human Story a call.  You won’t be disappointed.

– Cies

DCPG got a visual shoutout in HappySlip’s latest vid. I heart the promo and also the fact that it was a video full of random factoids. We’re huge nerds at DCPG, so we love that stuff!Abus
[25 seconds in…]

Back in April, I did a photoshoot which included a composite “family” photo of all her related characters.

The photo was a hit w/ fans and she gives away prints as prizes and it even spawned an awesome caricature cartoon that I love:

If you’ve never watched a HappySlip video, go do that right now or this post won’t make any sense! If you are a fan, be on the lookout for a part 2 Christine photoshoot!

And to Christine….THANK YOU! 🙂

– Cies

It’s literally raining babies from our clients and friends. Just wanted to do a quick shoutout to all the new and to-be parents!

Jared + Susie, congrats on brand new baby Anna! She’s beautiful and what great timing to have her born right after Mothers Day!

Ritchelle + Beaver, congrats on Ella Rae! I love that name and what a perfect addition to spend your first anniversary with 🙂

Virginia + Justin, I’m soo excited to see that my little Virginia will become a mom! Good job on not wasting any time after the wedding….hehehe. You two will make wonderful parents.

Jaydee + Brian, congrats in advance for baby Noah’s baptism this weekend! We love our DCPG nephew!!!

Belated congrats to MJ + Arnold on baby Maddie who recently turned 9 months old!

The babymaking doesnt end on the east coast. Got to give love to my Seattle girls:

Malyng + Marv – congrats on #3, fertile myrtles! Marlee is such a cute girls name.
Leo, Leila and Aileen + spouses – that is soo hilarious that you all got pregnant at the same time! Playdates definitely won’t be an issue haha. Enjoy your babies this late summer/fall!

Speaking of babies, Mendell, Rina and I will be attending Sandy Puc’ Bellies & Babies seminar later this month at the Westin BWI, which, incidentally, is the same hotel that houses Luminous – the restaurant that Mendell designed a website for. I’m really looking forward to that as I definitely want to expand into maternity and newborn photography.

On a semi-related note (well at least wedding-wise), we didn’t mention it in previous blogs, but I want to give some love to my DCPG partner and bro-in-law Lester who recently became engaged to his awesome girl, nurse extraordinaire and DCPG coffee girl, Arlyn. Cutesy photos of said proposal can be found on Lester’s Flickr site. 🙂

Congrats guys!!

Lester + Arlyn engaged

– Ciesther

Lester’s shoot for aspiring model Aliza:

P.S.  And a very happy birthday to DCPG sister and mom-to-be Jaydee dela Cruz Racelis 🙂

We attended part of a wedding day (not all, due to family obligations) for one of our design clients, Rose and Ray. I love their story – they met when Rose was basically just a kid back in 1980 and became pen pals. They lost touch a few months after that and went on with their lives. 24 years later, Ray somehow tracks down Rose and by the next year they were in love and engaged. Their wedding was (to me anyway, it was a first for me) unique as they decided to hold it during the Pentecost Mass and share it w/ the whole congregation. Also, in lieu of being escorted by parents, etc Rose and Ray walked down the aisle together at the processional, which I thought was really sweet.

We didn’t do any photography work for them, so I don’t have their wedding photos, but above is a mini-collage we designed for them for their centerpieces. They also had one of the loveliest wedding vows I’ve ever seen and I liked them so much I have to post it:

“…I do profess to you [Ray/Rose] to be my spouse, my best friend, my partner, my soul mate, my Jesus on earth, true gift from God above. All that I am is yours. I do belong to you. It is written in Heaven, never to be erased or changed. Everything may pass away, but Love and His Word will last forever…not even death will do us part. I love you, I cherish you, I honor you, I revere you all the days of my life and through eternity…I am forever yours…”

I love weddings! Congrats Rose and Ray! 🙂

– Ciesther

Our maternity portraits client Tanya had her baby boy Connor 2 days ago! One day overdue, he is healthy and gorgeous. I stopped by today on his first day home and snapped a few photos of him. Congratulations Tanya and James!!