I am really excited to reveal something that’s been in the works for a while – my new brand and online home, barbtoyama.com!
Why the change?
I wanted to be more transparent to you, my client. I ask you to trust me and let me into your family life, to see and record how you connect with each other. I feel that trust has a better foundation when you understand who I am. I’m really not a company – I’m simply an artist. So I invite you to please come visit my new online home and learn about how I can create art for you, and I hope you’ll introduce yourself too!
Excuse me while I gush about this family for a bit…
Abbe is a fellow NAPCP photographer, and when she told me they were coming to Maui on vacation, I was so excited I’d get to meet her in person. The fact that she also wanted to do photos was icing on the cake (and a bit of pressure because she is an amazing photographer)!
We got busy planning a sunset lifestyle session with a few posed images, and lots candids documenting the fun, connection and closeness they share as a family. Abbe put together the most perfect set of outfits in blue hues with pops of color – we just needed a good sunset to round it out, and Maui did not disappoint.
I really enjoy seeing inside the inner workings of each family during a photo session, and observing what makes them tick and brings them together. I loved how much this family let me in to see all the love and fun, the connections, even the goofiness. It is so special to me when a family is vulnerable enough to open up this much, I never take that for granted. I understand the trust it takes.
It allowed to me to create a set of images for them that I absolutely adore, as I do their family. Below are just a few of my favorites.
If you happen to live in the Charlotte, NC area or ever find yourself out that way, consider Abbe for your own family photos – she is one of the sweetest, kindest people I know and her work is gorgeous.
Thank you Abbe and family for a wonderful evening together, and thank you for being you! <3
The Maui summer heat is here, come cool off with me in the water!
I’m now offering a special session package just to capture all the fun to be had in and under the water. These sessions are available in the ocean or your personal or resort pool, or even a kiddie backyard pool or sprinklers will work just fine. It can be just the kids (including fur babies) or the whole family!
A spontaneous and fun alternative to a dressed up beach session, this collection of images will make for fun summer memories, and might just be perfect for your Christmas card too.
Below are some examples of images you might expect to get out of a water play date session, and I have lots of new ideas I can’t wait to try out.
Happy Earth Day!
Since I usually post ocean photos for Earth Day, this little ocean motherhood collection fits that theme perfectly!
I love Vairdy’s approach to motherhood so much. She lets her boys’ boundless energy and thirst for adventure lead their days together, joins in on the fun and just goes with the flow! In their home of Squamish, BC they ride bikes, ski amd explore rivers, so of course vacationing on Maui they loved playing in the ocean.
Here are just a few of my favorite motherhood moments from our time together. Knowing that photographer moms rarely end up in the photos, I’m so happy for her to have these. Motherhood looks amazing on you Vairdy!
To see more of Vairdy’s and her boys’ adventures, and her gorgeous work, check out her website!
Meanwhile here on Maui, this has inspired me to start offering special motherhood sessions. A collection of unscripted, pressure-free photos of your connection with your littles. Playing, snuggling, or just daily life together.
What does motherhood look like for you? If you think you might be interested when I announce these special sessions sign up here to get first dibs at the introductory special 🙂
Happy Aloha Friday and enjoy your weekend@
As I recently experienced myself, those last weeks before baby’s arrival are a really special time in a family’s life.
Time seems to creep ever so slowly towards the due date as anticipation builds and excitement lingers in the air.
And maybe a little dose of impatience mixed in with wanting to savor these feelings… The miracle of the growing belly, the baby moving inside, talking about what he will be like and sharing hopes and dreams for this little person. Hanging on to the way life is right now, as it will never be exactly the same. At least for me it felt that way.
That feeling was the inspiration for this in-home/beach/ocean maternity session. I wish for them to have a record to look back on together with their little boy one day, what a typical morning routine looked like for mama and dad and his furry older brother. I wish for them to fondly remember this time, and to appreciate how beautiful and radiant she looks. And for baby boy to see what love and fun he was born into.
They are so sweet, affectionate and loving, what a beautiful chapter in their life story. I feel so honored I got to document it, and look forward to witness their next adventure.
what goes up…
must come down 🙂
photographing pure, honest vacation fun and authentic family relationships will never get old for me.
(Side note – I’m starting this post with “dear diary” to indicate I’m about to dump my brain out here with mostly personal thoughts that have little, if anything, to do with photography, so if photos is what you’re here for today, feel free to skip ahead to the next post, k? 🙂 )
Anywho. This afternoon I was laying on the bed while Kate nurse-napped, a little thing we do twice or more each day, and I was thinking again about the same things that had been swirling around my head. My brain has been feeling unsettled lately.
If you read my ramblings on Instagram, you know I’m big on the whole enjoy-every-aspect-of-motherhood-guilt-free-because-time-is-fleeting thing.
But lately some guilt has snuck in. And along with it frustration and pressure.
Feeling guilty because my being guilt-free indulging in motherhood means my husband doesn’t have that same privilege to enjoy fatherhood or personal creative endeavors, having to work and provide for us and all.
Frustrated because I actually do have lofty and exciting goals for my business to not only help provide for us more, but grow my offerings and continually better the artwork I create for my clients. Yet I can barely hold my head above water with editing, fulfilling orders, not to mention marketing, daily tasks and personal projects (and by “barley” I mean not really at all).
And pressure because besides the endless business to dos the household tasks are piling up, the walls are still blank, and so very little gets done, making me feel like succeeding at motherhood means failing at everything else. Not that I’m convinced right now I’m succeeding at motherhood either…
My thoughts for solutions to get more time out of the day ranged from sleep-training Kate so she doesn’t need me by her side to get a good nap (she’s a little ninja and knows the second I try and sneak away) to getting up at 3 or 4am every morning to get my work done while everybody sleeps – a terrible idea really, I’m lucky enough to be a mom who actually gets enough sleep and I want to give it up???
But then I remembered a post I recently read about seasons of life (I really love this term!) and having it all, but not all at the same time. Which is funny because that’s a sentiment I often tout myself, one that played a big role in many of the dreams I realized. And I felt like a hypocrite realizing I’m feeling unsettled because I’m trying to have it all. Right now. All at the same time. How did I, of all people, fall into this trap?
Cue brain fog lifting with a big a-ha moment. We’re in the baby season right now. How much longer will Kate need me by her side to fall and stay asleep? I don’t know, but I know it will end. I don’t want to have regrets later, feeling I rushed through baby season, longing for it to return. So I’m going to tell my lofty business goals to take a backseat. Next to the nicely decorated, always clean house, my artist aspirations and the to do list.
It doesn’t mean I won’t work, or let our house turn into a complete pig stye, or quick my art projects. But I’m going to be ok with however little I get done each day. I’m going to continue the daily nap-nursing sessions and soak them in. And in exchange I’m going to be ok with probably not being able to afford a trip to Switzerland, my favorite photography retreat, that new couch I’d been eyeing, and the backyard pool I’m wanting pretty badly. Because it’s a give and take, and it’s my choice to have this one thing right now. There will be a season for travel, a season for growing the business and allowing my husband freedom from a 9-5 job, a season for house renovations and all those other things. Those seasons will get their turn. I have a feeling baby season will fly by faster than I’d like as it is.
And just now, as if to tell me my feelings are right on track, this beautiful video popped into my inbox. A tiny glimpse into my baby season, into my heart, as seen by my sweet, humble and very talented friend Jennifer of Jennifer Kapala Photography in Calgary. Should I ever have doubts, I’ll just loop this a few dozen times…
Sharing a favorite session because I get to see this family again Monday, and I can’t wait! I love how in tune and engaged these parents are with their boys, and how much fun they all have together. They just did their thing, which allowed me to do mine – document them having fun in my photojournalistic style.
Originally we had planned on spending the morning snorkeling with the turtles, but a hurricane induced swell stirred up the ocean, so we went with plan B, playing in the waves and pool. We met back up in Lahaina late afternoon to explore the town, treat the boys to shave ice, and enjoy sunset at the beach.
I love the honest look into their vacation and into their family dynamics the images reflect. It’s one thing to have a set of pretty photos in nice clothes with beautiful Hawaii as your backdrop, and I get why people want those – we incorporated some of that into this session too. But to me, the photos depicting real life, showing what being together as a family felt like, the big and seemingly insignificant moments of actually vacationing, playing and just relaxing, I think those will mean more and more as the years pass by.
My dearest little Kate,
One year ago today we found out you existed, and with you my heart’s capacity grew to dimensions I couldn’t have understood.
Through my 366 project, I record your daily life, your rapid growth and subtle changes, the immense personality you’ve had since before you were born.
Through this project I come to terms with time never standing still, as much as I’d like to slow it down, by creating a record of the days passing by to share with you one day.
Here is a glimpse of what your January was like.
It’s so fun to observe the dynamics that are unique to each family I photograph. Most all-boy families are packed with action, no surprise there. What I loved in this family was the sweet, affectionate moments they would sneak in between all the action and fun – a quick touch, a smile, a lingering hug. Hang on to these moments, parents, childhood is fleeting. Something I’m sure this mom of tweens is all too aware of. Here are a few of my favorite moments with this family.