Jumping for joy – Woodside Store Teen and Family Session

While I love the challenge of chasing-down toddlers and young children for that perfect capture, I have to admit that it’s sometimes nice to mix-it-up and work with a family with older children. Kids and teens who listen, take direction, and who have enough confidence and matured personality to add their own special-sauce to the session. Energy I would have spent running suddenly gets redirected to playing with light and really connecting with my clients on a deeper level.

That pretty much describes the fun I had with this family in Menlo Park recently. We met at the old Woodside Store, which was build in 1854 and is now a county park. It provides such a great backdrop and wonderful light for a family session. it’s one of my favorite places to shoot.

Not that we sat around the whole time. Oh no. There were lots of great little corners to explore and I couldn’t resist testing the kids’ jumping skills along the road for an action shot. They got some pretty good air!


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Such beautiful light under the eves at this historic park. The girls’ skin just glowed!

Woodside Store Teen and Family Session

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for modern families in the Menlo Park area.  If you are looking to capture some gorgeous, natural portraits as artwork for your home’s walls, please contact me at 415. 518. 8880.

Still Beloved after 70 years – Redwood City Anniversary Session

Oh, I had so much fun photographing this wonderful couple in Redwood City recently!

The occasion was that they were celebrating their 90th birthdays and 70th wedding anniversary. Can you believe that? 70 years together! What lifetime of shared memories, experience and wisdom this couple have between them.

We spent the afternoon on their front porch, where I listened to them recounting how they met as babies and fell in love in high school. I guess some things are just meant to be.

With seniors, who are often used to a more formal/posed style of photography, getting them comfortable and relaxed is the key to eliciting those amazing, heartfelt expressions. This is a time when my Beloved Certification became really valuable, as I was able to invite them into a more authentically playful space with games and suggestions. I think the first image says it all. How amazing to still have this kind of love and connection after 70 years!


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I enjoyed looking around their home at the neatly-ordered fine china and the old pictures on the wall. I had to capture this photograph from their wedding all those years ago. What a good looking couple they were even then.

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Capturing real emotions and what it feels like to be in your life right now is always my focus in all my sessions. Using Beloved and taking a more relaxed and casual approach to photography, I am able to build a fast friendship with my clients that comes through in the final images they see.

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for families.  If you are looking to capture heartfelt authentic images of your family – young and old – in the San Francisco Bay Area,
please contact me at 415. 518. 8880.




Portola Valley family session under the trees

I have had the pleasure of photographing this mom and her two daughters every year since I started my photography business four years ago. It has been wonderful to watch the kids grow a little more every year and, in-turn, changing the nature of each session. Now they have blossomed from little girls into young ladies. Their mom wanted some wall art of her girls to gift to grandma.

We went in search of some big, beautiful trees for a majestic backdrop and Portola Valley did not disappoint. This portrait with lots of environment was the perfect choice hang over her mantle.


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Although they’re beautiful young ladies now, they’re still kids at heart. Like all my family sessions, I love to offer kids the opportunity to run, play and be silly, letting out the wiggles, the energy and showing off their personality.

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Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for modern families in the Portola Valley area.  If you are looking to capture gorgeous, natural images of your family to grace the walls of your home please contact me at 415. 518. 8880. I am currently booking through the end of 2015 with limited availability.

Beautiful Atherton At-Home Family Session

So much color and joy in this beautiful Atherton at-home family session! I really do enjoy photographing clients in their homes because they are far more relaxed and natural. Another fantastic benefit is being just a few steps away from your wardrobe, which makes outfit changes easy and painless, especially for the little ones. We started our session with a more formal look – pretty party dresses! – and then the girls changed into more casual clothes so they could run and twirl in the grass singing the theme song to Frozen. (What else? These are little girls after all.)

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The youngest daughter is a little performer, fearless and enthusiastic and, like in the photo below, she brings her more temperate-natured sister along with her for giggles.

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The soft colors of this girl’s dress mirror the soft colors of the garden. She was a quiet beauty so I like how the colors in this image match her personality. anna-dobrensk-menlo-park-family-photographer_0684

I simply adore natural, real expressions.  This photo above is a perfect example of an authentic moment with emotions to match. It’s important to me to show you and your family at your best. Natural expressions help everyone look photogenic. Plus, it’s way more fun than


Big sister is full of endearing hugs and gestures with dad.



Every time I look at this photo it makes me smile.  I can almost hear the belly laughs and giggles! anna-dobrensk-menlo-park-family-photographer_0688

The girls had beautiful henna art on their hands from an event. I love capturing small details during my sessions.  To me, it’s all about the big picture, the small details and everything in between.

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for modern families.  If you are looking to capture heartfelt authentic images of your family in the Atherton Area, please contact me at 415. 518. 8880.

101 Barbies, a girl and her piano – Menlo Park Lifestyle Session

Every family I photograph is special and unique. But sometimes when you arrive at someone’s home, you find out something about one of the family members that stands out and that deserves its own mini-session-within-a-session. That’s what happened here in this Menlo Park Lifestyle Family Session. It’s always special to receive an invitation to photograph families within their home. And, even more awesome when children allow me to see their inner sanctum.

Arriving to meet the 11 year old daughter of the house, she proudly announced that she has 101 Barbie dolls! I had to see it for myself and took off with my camera to her room. She was not exaggerating. Barbie was everywhere! I loved hanging out with her and sharing her passion for her dolls but also seeing a more focused side of her when she sat down at the piano.

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That, my friends, is an entire town of Barbie dolls. I think I see some Kens in there too. Not sure if that was a part of the 101 or in addition to. When I was a child my Barbie played with my brother’s G.I. Joe and Evil Knievel action figures.

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Evidence of experiments and play with hair and make up.
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Capturing the little details of your life so you will always have a visual record of them, is one of the many reasons I love what I do. Sometimes your everyday rituals or quirks don’t feel that special but, invite in someone new, and they instantly see the beauty that lies hidden. Using that unique perspective to artfully capture who my clients are, is my specialty.

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for modern families in Menlo Park and surrounding areas.  If you are looking to capture something special about your family, please contact me at 415. 518. 8880. I am currently booking through the end of 2015.

San Francisco Twin Photography Session

 This San Francisco twin photography session was really fun because we were in the family home. My favorite thing about in home sessions is getting everyone on the bed for cuddles and play.

 I was so impressed with the calm, cool demeanor of these parents.  Nothing like when my kids were little, exhausted and overwhelmed, they made it look easy.
Twins are double the fun when it comes to photography.  It’s fun to see their differences and similarities.  My favorite part was watching this brother sister duo interact with each other.  They already seem to have such a strong bond.

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I always like to make mom the center of photos with her babies! It’s often moms that are taking photos of the kids so it’s nice when mom can be present and exist in photos.

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couple embracing during a san francisco beloved photography session

I approach all my sessions with an open heart.  I like to get to know my clients and become friends with them. It is super fun to see everyone relax in front of the camera.  The Beloved technique helps everyone become photogenic as they are showing natural expressions.

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The front door photo is one I always try to capture during in home sessions. It is a special memory for families of their family at their home.

nursery photos from a san francisco twins photography session This San Francisco twin photography session had a sweet ending with the babies taking their nap while I was there.

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Authentic capture is something I strive for during in home sessions.  I tell clients they don’t need to worry about cleaning up and real life bottle caps, coffee cups, iPhones and lists are all part of their daily life that should be remembered.

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio specializing in lifestyle portraits for modern families.  If you are looking to capture heartfelt authentic images of your family in the San Francisco Bay Area, please contact me at 415. 518. 8880.

Menlo Park Photography Class!

Saturday, June 6th I co-hosted a photography class, Snap Happy, in Menlo Park. It was an item a fellow parent and I donated to the Las Lomitas Education Foundation. This is the third year I’ve gotten the chance to work with some moms from school to teach them some photography skills.  The goal of the class is to help them learn tips to improve their photography no matter what camera they own.  I also share some iPhone photography tips as well.

The class started with a delicious brunch and coffee, followed by a class presentation, demonstration, hands on learning along with Q & A. We raised over $1,100 for the morning and had a terrific time! Plus I got to photograph the attendees, bonus!

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We talked a lot about what it feels like to be in front of the camera.  I think sometimes we forget how much direction and feedback people need to get comfortable while being photographed.  My preferred method is using the Beloved Technique to help people be their most photogenic. My style is natural, honest and authentic so it’s important that people look like themselves while showing real emotion. women taking photos during a photo class by anna dobrenski

Working together in pairs helped the attendees remind each other the new tips they learned.  There was lots of chimping to see how they did. Some even shared their “old way” of photographing a person versus the “new way” and the results were fantastic!

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Thankfully each attendee was willing to be photographed.  I feel it’s important to be on both sides of the camera to learn how to photograph people. You have to be willing to do what you ask of the person you’re photographing. attendees at a menlo park photography class

We ended the morning with a group photos.

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                                     photo courtesy of christine arnould of me photographing some of the attendees

If you are looking to improve your photography skills I offer one on one mentoring and small workshops for groups.  Please contact me if you are interested in learning more at 415. 518. 8880.

Anna Dobrenski Photography is a boutique studio offering lifestyle portraits for modern families. Areas serviced include San Francisco, Hillsborough, Woodside, Atherton, Menlo Park, Palo Alto and beyond.

Rambunctious Portola Valley Family Session

One of the absolute best things about being a photographer is watching a family grow and change year after year. Children start to know you and respond to you like a favorite aunt and let their guards down more and more each year. The result is even more fun and authentic images the longer we work together.

This sweet family I have been photographing for the last three years, watching them go from a family of four to a family of five.


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A sense of humor is a must when you have three kids. This mom and dad clearly have that.

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Little sister, just 18 months, tries so hard to keep up with her big brothers, aged 5 and 7.

Photo of little girl exploring the outdoors during a Portola Valley family session

boy playing in the redwoods during a portola valley family session I love this one, it displays their dynamics so well. Fun loving boys and a little sister who wants to be just like them.

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I live in Portola Valley and this is is one of my favorite spots to shoot a family session because it showcases our area’s natural beauty so well while giving young ones lots of room to run and explore.

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Anna Dobrenski is a full-service lifestyle photographer who works with fun-loving families in the communities of Portola Valley, Atherton, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Hillsborough and beyond.

Fun Front Yard Menlo Park Family Session

We take so many photos of our children when they are little and then, as life speeds up and schedules get crazier, those annual photo sessions falls by the wayside. And then – bam – you have teenagers and it’s been years since you took a family photo together. Sound familiar? As a mother of two growing children myself, I can completely relate.

Enter this fun family with their two sons, age 16 and 14.  Busy with sports and everything else that goes along with managing a family these days, it had been a while since they had got together to in front of the camera.

I had a great time at their home in Menlo Park, capturing some beautiful images to decorate their walls (and totally loving that sea of purple flowers!)


photo of mom and dad having fun in garden at sunset during Menlo Park Family Session                                Taking time to capture mom and dad in a family session is so important to me. When I work with families for the first time I often hear that mom and dad haven’t had a photo of just the two of them since their wedding day! As the glue that holds everything together, making space for some fun and genuine moments of connection is a great way is a great way to remember what’s important, even on the hard days we all have.

We also couldn’t forget Leonard the dog who, of course, is a part of the family too.

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Photo of teenage boy standing in front yard of home in Menlo Park California at sunset

I loved this family’s sense of humor and the connection that came through in their images, especially this one of mother and son.

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Fun lifestyle photo of father and son at home in Menlo park California

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Lifestyle photo of two teenage brothers checking text messages at home in Menlo Park California

Anna Dobrenski is a contemporary and  full-service lifestyle photographer who works with fun-loving families in the communities of Portola Valley, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Menlo Park, Mountain View and beyond.

Monterey Bay Lifestyle Family Session

When you have family spread in four separate Bay Area locations plus Denver, getting all your grandchildren together in one place can be rare. Which is why these grandparents wanted to make sure that they captured the moment, while celebrating their wedding anniversary with their children and grandchildren.

I love the beach and the sense of freedom it gives children.  Seascape Beach Resort was the perfect location for this Monterey Bay lifestyle family session. We goofed-around barefoot in the sand, ate smores and generally had a fabulous time together. My favorite images from this session are the ones of the kids running through the sand – they definitely kept me on my toes and on-the-move throughout!

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The littlest granddaughter was such an angel. In just a few years she’ll be running on the sand with her cousins but for now she provided warm hugs for her mom on the sand.

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This is what getting together with your cousins is all about, running barefoot, laughing and playing carefree. I love the expressions of pure joy on their faces here.

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Anna Dobrenski is a lifestyle portrait photographer serving the communities between San Jose and San Francisco.


baby feet in mom's lap during a san francisco family session These adorable baby toes are the highlight of this image.  During an in home San Francisco family portrait session there were lots of cute moments to capture.  What a perfect choice for the Cherish This Day blog contribution!

As part of  a talented group of photographers from all over the country, the collaborative project features beautiful everyday moments.  The blog can be seen at CHERISH THIS DAY.

If you are interested in booking an in home or outdoor San Francisco family portrait session, please contact me for details at 415. 518. 8880 or anna@annadobrenski.com. I’d love to help you showcase everyday beauty from your family!


Featured: Pinhole Pro Magazine

It’s pretty awesome being recognized as a San Francisco Bay Area portrait photographer by a vendor magazine. One of my preferred suppliers is Pinhole Pro. Their photo notepads and art pads are fantastic gifts for my clients. Each month they feature pro photographers in their Behind The Studio article of their magazine. I was fortunate to be selected to be one of the featured photographers. You can check out the article HERE.
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To see more of this article click HERE.

My New Red Shoes Fashion Show

The 6th annual My New Red Shoes Clothing for Confidence fashion show and silent auction was held September 28th. The event, held at Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, is a fundraiser for one of my favorite Bay Area non-profit organizations, MY NEW RED SHOES.

My New Red Shoes helps homeless and low-income children look and feel confident as they start the school year by providing them with new clothing and shoes and by rallying youth and adults around this effort through volunteer and educational opportunities for individuals, families, schools, corporations, and community groups.

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Attendees and models showed their enthusiasm and support by wearing red shoes. anna-dobrensk-menlo-park-family-photographer_0610 my new red shoes fashion show

There were lots of children and parents enjoying the arts and crafts area.

my new red shoes fashion show Malvika Behl, event co-chair of the 2014 fashion show with Heather Hopkins, founder of My New Red Shoes and Amy Burnett, event co-chair of the 2014 fashion show. my new red shoes fashion show my new red shoes fashion show my new red shoes fashion show

Some of the Steering Committee members of the 2014 Show. anna-dobrensk-menlo-park-family-photographer_0601

Along with a huge array of silent auction items, there was a raffle prize from Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry.

Children of varying ages dressed up in Old Navy fall fashion and walked the runway.

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The complete gallery of images from the event can be found HERE.  Scroll down to find MNRS then enter your email address to view, share and purchase prints from the 6th annual Clothing for Confidence Fashion Show.


Menlo Park Family Session | Cherish This Day

little girl looking out the window during a menlo park family session

The Cherish The Day blog is a favorite way for me to feature and share some of my favorite little moments in life.  At times I find it’s the small in between moments I love the most.  The ones that fade away in our memory over time.  While it’s fun to showcase the big milestone moments too, the simple moments of everyday life interest me most. This adorable little girl was playing in her bedroom and climbed up to  look out the window.  She looks so peaceful and content.

Check out the CHERISH THIS DAY BLOG to see other contributions by some amazing photographers throughout the country.


Menlo Park On Location Family Photography

Conducting Menlo Park on location family photography is always a fun experience. I usually like to consider the children’s ages when selecting locations outside of my client’s home. In this case the children were all under eight years old. I feel it’s key to think about how the children play and interact at their current age. Plush grass was a priority for this on location family photography session.

When I visited the children in their home during the planning consultation I noticed they were all playing on the floor. I figured it would be great to let them have that freedom to play during our session.

menlo park on location family photography session with backlight While this family of five lives in Menlo Park, we chose a nearby location in Portola Valley for their session. It met the requirement for grass but also had some interest and variety. The gorgeous light was something I’m always searching for during my sessions. girl looking down with backlight
I adore it when families play and have fun together. Even the challenge of walking in sync while holding hands brought lots of giggles from this family.
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A big reason many parents commission me for their family portraits is so they can be in the images with their children.

I feel it’s important for children to be able to look back at their childhood memories through photos to jog their memory of family bonds. mom with daughter during family photo session girl playing peek a boo during menlo park family photo session Playing peek a boo is fun for any age child! mom with son during menlo park on location photo session three kids on a fence during menlo park on location family session couple in backlight during menlo park photo session

I’d love to help you design a Menlo Park on location family photography session to showcase your family’s authentic beauty and love! I serve the San Francisco Bay Area and can be reached at 415. 518. 8880.


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