A Wish Came True

Dennis & Dora Family Portraits by Ave

From the moment I see my dear friend Dora’s baby, I wish to take photos of her baby Denise (baby Dee). She’s so cute! I invited Dora to take baby Dee to our studio and get her photo taken, so her cuteness won’t be forgotten with time. Before Dora responded, out of the blue, Happy Diapers crew purely chose Baby Dee as their instagram competition winner, awarded with getting her photo taken by us. What a sweet coincidence! My wish came true. I was very happy.

 

The photoshoot was super fun! Baby Dee is super adorable and super easy to shoot. She stared at my camera with her big eyes, her rosy cheeks flushing. Her favorite pose is duck face. It makes her ever cuter. When we teased her, she laughed.  

 

The excitement peaks when mom Dora brought a shiba inu named Kira. Kira is a gentle dog. He’s such a charmer. He’s also very patient with baby Dee. He lets her do anything to him. While watching the family interact, it felt like mommy and daddy teach baby Dee to love animals. The moment was so adorable. I played along and took mental notes so I can teach my future kids to be kind to animals too. 

 

I’m really grateful for this wish came true. I learned an important lesson and I enjoyed playing and taking photos with this Dennis, Dora, Baby Dee, and Kira. They’re such a sweet, loving family! I hope to see them all again in the studio with baby Dee’s future brother and sister. 

 

 

Love,

Ave

 

Photo is courtesy of daddy Dennis, mommy Dora and baby Denise

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22 Apr 2017

What is Christmas all about?

Billy & Hanna Family Portraits by Ave

It's the most wonderful time, and busiest time, of the year! There are gifts to be wrapped, trees to be decorated, parties to be hosted and tables to be set. But, wait... is that what Christmas is really about? There's nothing wrong with celebrating your Christmas with a lot of agenda but why should this joyful season of celebration becomes a stressful season full of unrealistic expectations and commercialism? Year by year, we forget to sit and reflect what Christmas is all about. 

If we took the time to think about Christmas spirit, there is a calling to pause, reflect, rest and stand in awe of the One it’s all for. And if we take time to listen, we still can hear His small voice telling us what it’s all about. Christmas is far more than just pretty presents under a tree, it’s about His presence that never leaves us alone. At the same time Christmas is all about giving. Not only give the material things, but give our love without any expectation of receiving anything back in return. Christmas is not just about decorating your spaces with sparkling ornament but the most important things is to decorate your heart and make it pure without flaws. 

Year after year, the message is still the same for us. Christmas is a celebration of love, joy and peace. No matter how difficult, no matter if we have not received them from others, no matter what’s going on around you, still that’s the greatest gifts we can ever give. As you celebrate Christmas this year with your loved ones, takes time to reflect on the miracle happens when The King came to us in the humblest of ways to make a way for us to come to Him. Let’s bring back the Christmas spirit to every door and the real meaning of Christmas to every heart.

Love,

AXIOO 

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18 Dec 2016

Kinfolk, Folks

Hengky & Clarissa Family Portraits by Ave

The secret to a good photograph is in the details. I’ve always believed that. That’s why I make it a point to pour a big portion of my time into discovering the details that really speaks about the family that I will have on the set. And because family portraits are about describing the personalities of that family, we really take the time to talk about what they like to do, what inspires them, and basically what their every day is like so that they’d have a great picture to look back upon later on. 

This Kinfolk-inspired photo session feels like a refreshing change to the elaborate sets that I am used to to doing. We kept the props to a minimum and the simplicity of it all allowed us to focus more on the connection that this little family shares. And what a beautiful connection that is! The boy, Ollie, is such a heartthrob! Although in the middle of the session he was a little bit tired and sleepy, he kept smiling. (That’s another benefit of the having a simple concept for family portraits: the children can just be natural!) 

This series felt light and easy like a Sunday morning. I hope you’re having a light and easy one too today! 


Cheers,

Ave

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27 Nov 2016

Live in The Moment

Rudy & Tiff Family Portraits by Herna

We live in such a fast-paced life. I can be in one place one minute, and in another place in another. Sometimes I even wish that I can split myself and be in two places in one time. And with the traffic in this city, planning becomes a priority. The better we plan, the faster we move. That’s just how it is. That’s why we are used to thinking one step, maybe even five steps ahead. To make sure we don’t waste time in the busyness of life, we think about the future. 

Planning ahead - that’s great habit, don’t you think? Yes, it is. However, as we accustom ourselves to think ahead of future actions, we often forget about today. We think that today was a part of yesterday’s plans anyway, so we keep ourselves busy with talks of tomorrow. We forget to live for today. We forget to savor the moment; in fact, we often don’t even notice that we are in a moment worth remembering in the first place. Every action, every emotion, every thoughts of this moment can easily slip us by as we keep our eyes on what lies ahead. At the end of the day, we don’t remember what we did today. We remember things we will be doing tomorrow, but we might not recall the happenings of today. 

It isn’t so with children. Children live for today. They don’t think about what’s going to happen tomorrow or the day after. They don’t think of the happenings of today will greatly influence their tomorrow, because well, as far as they’re concerned, tomorrow never comes. After tomorrow, there will be another tomorrow, and then another tomorrow, and then another… They say “Later!” with the greatest of ease, like as if “later” is still days away. And they do that because what’s important is today, right now, this moment that they are in. 

Sometimes I watch the children I have on my set and see how absorbed they are in the moment. Whether they’re in a nice gown or casual wear, whether they’re playing with their parents or playing with their dolls, they’re there … in the moment. Never thinking about what comes next. Living every second of it. 

Watching them never fails to inspire me to stop every once in a while, to look around and to smell the roses as I pass them by. Although I might not want to get out of the fast lane (well, not anytime soon anyway), I think I’d like to pull aside and live the moments as they come. 

I love the chance to be reminded and I must admit that I envy the parents who have children at home to remind them to live in the moment. 

It’s weekend. Shall we pull ourselves to the slower lane and live for today? 

 

Cheers,

Herna

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22 Oct 2016

Parenting Corner: Words of Love

Gautam & Chandni Family Portraits by Vania | Written by Maya

Ied. The most anticipated long holiday in the country. Also known as the holiday filled with the most worry. Why? Because nannies and domestic assistants will go back to their hometowns and leave us for at least ten days to celebrate this most anticipated long holiday. And when the holiday is over, we are left to wonder if they will ever come back and if we could go back to life as we know it as planned.  

Call me super spoiled, because yes, that I am. But like all brave moms out there, I looked forward to this holiday with great enthusiasm. (At least, I tried to.) I submitted my work early, cleared off my schedule a few days before our nanny and domestic assistant left us, and had my mind set on being my own version of a super mom for at least a week. 

I thought to myself, “This isn’t the first for me.” And I was sure I could do it. 

I thought wrong. 

About three days in, I started complaining about the dust and about how the house just don’t feel clean enough. The next day, laundry. The next day, about my youngest son’s eating habit and how he won’t seem to sit still. And the day after that, the car battle - also known as the children’s consistent bickering that commences as soon as they enter the car that doesn’t cease until they are out.

I gotta tell you, that last bickering did it for me. I’ve had enough. I was convinced myself that I couldn’t do this. No, sir. I wasn’t cut out for this. This wasn’t for me. I was ready to just call in reinforcements. Say goodbye to New Yorker Mama dreams, Missy, because I would gladly pay good money for our dear nanny to come back. 

But you know what sent me back? Words of encouragements. 

That afternoon, my husband told me how lucky he was to have me on his team, that I was doing a fantastic job raising the kids, and that he would take them for a while to give me some room to breathe. (I’m sure steam was visibly coming out of my ears, because he isn’t usually the most sensitive dude. Usually.) 

There is nothing better than positive words coming out of someone dear to you. It meant something to me. And it reminded me again of why this holiday is such a blessing for our family. 

We take the routine chores for granted, when actually it’s during those routine chores that we bond with our children best. It’s during this time that we get to teach our children (even more) about doing things for themselves and helping around the house. 

Well, I’m glad to say that everything went smoothly thereafter. I started to take things easy and slowly, and if you asked my children, I think that they’ll tell you that they like this Mama better. 

Our dear nanny isn’t back yet, though. We’re still waiting to hear from her and secretly, nervously anticipating her return. It’s been more than two weeks of juggling between household stuff, work deadlines, and the kids’ schedules, but I’m happy to report that everything is a-okay on the home front (although our floors might not be the cleanest on the block).

If there’s one point I want to make in the midst of all this babble, it’s this: words do wonders, especially when they come out from people you hold dear. When you find yourselves being knocked out of your comfort zones, remember to be kind to each other, and you’ll be sure to make it through. 

As for you who are still anticipating the return of your domestic assistants, hang in there. We’ve got this! *insert fist bump here* And for those of you whose assistants are back, you lucky, you! 

Thank you, Vania, for sharing your space with me today. 

 

Cheers,

 

Maya

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17 Jul 2016

Recipe for a happy family

The Sandjajas Family Portrait by Ave

First off, the key ingredients: hearts over flowing with love, lots of understanding and trust, endless open communication and listening, kisses and hugs, strong shoulders, a generous portion of laughter, jokes and kidding around, courage (it's not for the faint of heart)

Mix together with a variety of colorful characters.

Stir in honesty and manners, kindness, caring, compassion and tenderness.

Sift in tears of joy and sadness. (Amount will vary, but every family has their fair share.)

Add quality time together (This is a must - DO NOT Exclude this important ingredient)

Make cherished memories that will last a life time.

To achieve this Sprinkle with tickles, cuddles, butterfly kisses, Eskimo kisses,

and stroking hair while reading stories together.

Dancing around in PJ's to favorite songs. Also include activities with other happy humans.

This recipe is not fully tested, but so far so good. 

Hope that you will have similar results. 


Love,

 

Ave

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05 Jun 2016

A Mother’s Reflection

Deviana & Nathan by Herna | Written by Maya

I believe that our three children (as are every child in the world) were born loved. The love we have for our children naturally kicked in the moment we learned of their existence and their arrival were events of highest anticipation wrapped in overwhelming love. I had hoped, quite possibly in some kind of fairy tale dream world, that with this love, managing the ins and outs of the day does not get the best of my husband and I, and that our everyday will not drive us crazy. However, in this reality, we are challenged everyday by tantrums, curiousity and growth. 

We wake up (on most mornings) to a thousand cuddles (and on other mornings, to spin kicks and punches to the face). We dance to the upbeat (or hectic) rhythm of the morning routines and give ourselves an imaginary pat on the back if we leave the house on time (because, of course, who has time for a real one?). We think we have everything all figured out only to discover that our children have outdone us yet again. They challenge our creativities and knowledge with their questions (that gets weirder every time), they test our patience and self-control, and they surprise us with experiences wrapped in an erratic mixture of immense joy and complete frustrations all rolled into one.

But… isn’t it amazing how these small creatures can bring out the worst in us, have us wrapped around their fingers, leave us emotionally and physically drained and yet our love for them only grows bigger as the tensions roll by and surprises keep coming in?

Here is where I found that such love exist, proving in truth that not even the display of negative, stubborn, or even demonic traits, can make us love our little offspring any less. 

I believe that it’s this love that fuels our children’s courage and confidence to win. It’s the drive that discovers their passion and leads them from negativity. It is the love that tells us we just had a magical day when our children go to bed well fed and without a fight. It shifts our goals, shapes our priorities, and weaves the dreams for our children as we watch them sleep. It keeps us amazed by our children as they learn to make it in this world. And it’s the same love that tells our children that no matter how small they feel to the world, they will always be celebrated in our hearts.

I know that I had a fairy tale dream once. It’s been so long I can hardly remember. But to find myself today, living in a world filled with such love and these magical creatures I call my children, you might say I’m a pretty lucky girl.

I’d like to take this moment to celebrate every mother here. Although there are days when motherhood will take a toll on us and make us feel weak and defeated, there are more days when we feel invincible, like a superhero with incredible powers. To raise the little beings we call our children is both an honor and a privilege we are almost undeserving to receive, and yet, we have the pleasure of their company every single day. I pray that we will never take that for granted. Happy Mother’s Day!

Love,

 

Maya

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07 May 2016

A Strong Family

Krisna & Maya Septha Family Portraits by Vania, Written by Maya Septha

I come from a complicated and dysfunctional family. I’m not proud of it. And I don’t really want to go in detail about it, because frankly speaking, I really wouldn’t know where to start. 

If you happen to think that I lead a perfect life, you’re sadly mistaken. I’m not a perfect person. Nobody is. And I don’t have a perfect marriage. In fact, I don’t think that anyone does. 

I believe that there are no perfect marriage, but there can be a happy one. And I believe that there are no perfect families, but there can be a happy one, and that begins with two people who continues to learn and adjust and improve for the sake of their happiness together. 

I know exactly what divorce can do to a child. I’ve been there. I know how uncomfortable and insecure a child can be after her parents split up. And so I have made a promise to myself to never let my children go through what I went through. But it wasn’t until I got married that I found out just how hard marriage is (LOL!) What’s easy is to pass judgements on other people’s marriage and to talk about what’s wrong with it or what they can do to improve it. But when you’re going through it yourself… well, it’s no picnic! However, I have learned that the key to a happy marriage is to be grateful for all things - everything and anything in between - and to put God in the center of my marriage. When I obey His commands, I am able to enjoy my marriage. Not survive it. Not hanging on. But actually enjoying it. 

A good marriage is one that is built with harmony and intimacy, and those are things that don’t come naturally on its own. We need to work for it. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of hard work and there’s nothing instant about it. But when we decide that we want to do it, we can actually get there. 

The thing is this: You are not defined by your past. You are defined by the choices you make today. If you had a great past, you can still have an even better future. I’m not saying that it will be easy, but I’m saying that you can. It all depends on the choices you make today. 

Your decision impacts your future. And when you’re a parent, your decision impacts your children’s future. A strong marriage is a foundation for a strong family.

 

Love,

Maya Septha

 

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19 Mar 2016

You are my sunshine

Jun & Pax Family Portraits by Ave

Summer… I always feel like the joys are stretched longer to the length of the days in summertime. The cool breeze brings a whiff of the sweet smell of fresh cut grass and the butterflies are roaming free. I love summer. Especially in Australia, a country I call my second home. 

On one particular summer day, in Sydney, I was standing in the middle of Centennial Park, waiting to shoot the family portraits session with a huge smile plastered across my face. It was a perfect day with the most beautiful weather. It wasn’t scorching hot; strangely, it felt rather chilly as the wind blew across the shade of the trees where I stood. I hadn’t met the family I was going to shoot in person. I’ve only known Jun and Pax by name, as David had just documented their private anniversary celebration a few weeks earlier. I heard that they were humble and easygoing people who are fun to be around. When I finally met them, I found out that everything I had heard was true and more. It made me feel honored just to be there, with them and their family, to shoot their family portraits. Pax had told me, via email, that she had wanted to do take a moment out of their family holiday to take some pictures and preferred if they could have some fun while doing it. 

That’s how I came to Centennial Park that day. It was a park with large trees and a good shade with a pretty little bridge. It was the perfect place for a family photo shoot. 

I loved how this family were just so natural together. It means a lot that I didn’t have to say anything to capture some really good moments. Jackson, the toddler, looked as if he had the time of his life. He had so much fun running here and there we almost lost him. (Almost. Almost. Thankfully, everyone around the park were just so nice. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we had lost him for real. My heart nearly stopped beating.) Even the littlest one of the bunch (the one with the chubbiest cheeks I want to sink my teeth into!) looked as if he enjoyed the weather. We all did! Even Pax’s mom and niece who joined the crowd and made the day more fun! 

It was a wonderful day for them and for me too. I truly loved capturing this lovely family. I hope that you can feel the love they share through these series of snaps I took of them. And maybe get a whiff of that cool summer breeze!

 

Have a great weekend! 

Ave

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12 Mar 2016

Love of Family

Ruben Onsu Family Portraits by Herna

The life of a celebrity - you’d think it’d be filled with glamour and glitz and totally more awesome than any of us could even dream of, right? I thought so too. Until I met Ruben and Wenda who showed me that they go through life just like anyone of us. They have dreams and they work hard to achieve it. They feel joy and sadness and love, just like we do.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to welcome them into our studio for a family portraits sessions. Ruben and Wenda, along with their beautiful daughter Alia. Before she arrived, Ruben and Wenda only thought about themselves. They never considered anyone else. If there were a job offer, they’d take it, as long as they’re able to fulfil it. They very rarely turned anything down. But as soon as Alia arrived, their whole world changed. Life as they knew it, was no longer. And they had to include her in every decision they made. Ruben still goes out to work and accept jobs when he can, but Wenda has held back more as she put their daughter at the top of her list of priorities.
I thought that celebrities go through life a little different than we do. However, this family showed me that they experience life just like the other people next door - they work, they enjoy, and they put love for their family above all else.
It was an honor to have the Onsu family in my studio and to be there as they made their memories as a family of three.

xoxo,
Herna

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29 Feb 2016
All the way to the bottom already?
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