Portland family photography

10 on 10 - June 2016

Portland OR Photographer

Another 10 on 10. I started this project 3 years ago as a way to be more intentional about documenting my own life as well as finding a way to reach out to other photographers around the country with similar goals and ideals. It's been a pretty fun project. I've met photographers from all corners that I would have never met otherwise (in person and electronically), and have come away with some treasured photos of my own life. As photographers we photograph others so often and preach the value of documentation and storytelling, but we sometimes forget to do the same for ourselves. Because of this project, I have 3 years chronicled, every month. ...not to mention it has been how much of our family keeps up on our crazy antics in the PNW.

All this to say, that while the 10 on 10 project has been great, I believe it has run its course. Since I have stepped into the role of full-time photographer, I've been able to reevaluate how I run my business and what will be the best steps going forward. Blogging seems to be fizzling out as an important part of a small business. I've been more busy than ever, and I haven't been able to keep up or give the project the love that it needs.

36 10 on 10 posts down, and I write this as my last one. Before we get to some crashing waves at the Oregon Coast, make sure to check out these other fabulous photographers:




And now onto my last 10 on 10 post; this last month. Before 2016, we would go to the coast about once, sometimes twice a year. This year we have been 3-4 times in the first six months. I'm not complaining. I love the coast in Oregon. Even when the weather is terrible, it has an eerie beauty that is unique to the PNW. This most recent trip, the weather was not terrible. It was perfect.

We ventured out for a day trip on Memorial Day to get away from the city and listen to the crashing waves.

Thanks again to all the photographers who participated in this project over the years. You all rock and hope to keep in touch. For those who have followed along all three years (mostly dad and mother-in-law), thanks for keeping up with the Zerizefs. I promise I'm not done taking or posting pictures of our shenanigans. More to come.

Until next time...

10 on 10 - November 2015

Courtney Z Photography

I'm not going to lie to you all, this month I'm a little unprepared for the 10th. I did take more than 10 photos on certain days throughout the month, but I wasn't able to be quite as intentional as I normally try to be. This month I'm a little sporadic. Before we get to that though, make you check out the other 10 on 10ers

Anne Almasy | Anya Elise Photography | Amy Straka Photography

Button Media Casey Brodley Lelia Marie Photography

Lisa Hibbert | Pogo Photo | Shaw Photography | Twinty Photography

Back to the goods.

This past weekend we again had our sweet little niece. I also had had a few holiday mini session scheduled at Furrow Farms (The Furrow family is the sweetest ever, btw. Go get your tree there if you're in the area). Oh, and it was pouring rain the whole time. It like Mother Nature remembered that we've been missing our normal rain for the past six months and decided to drop it all at once. I'm a fan of a good downpour though.

That's all for this month. I have a few tricks up my sleeve coming at the beginning of the year, so stay tuned. 2016 is shaping up to be pretty awesome!

Until next time!

The Growing Family

Portland Family Photography, Courtney Z Photography

Some recent stories:

#1 - A few months ago, I randomly got the chance to have dinner with an aunt and uncle that live in Florida. If I’m lucky, I get to see them once every other year, so we had a good amount to talk about and catch-up on; life, career, family, upcoming changes and challenges, etc. Of course we got on the topic of photography and documenting life, real life. I mean have you never met/read me before? It's like all I talk about. …and you may hear more about this part of the conversation in the coming months.

Anyway, mid-conversation my uncle said something that stuck out to me like a pin prick. It was something like:

The thing I remember most about when Mitch was young was when he would fall asleep on his bedroom floor, wearing his superhero costume. 20 years later, I wish I had real documentation of that.

Portland Family Photography


#2 - I got an e-mail from one of my repeat clients from over the last year. Like a handful of my families, I've been around to document their son at different time points in his first year. It's one of my favorite parts about this job, to see how a family grows and changes over the years.

Her e-mail was in response to sending her a gallery of our latest session:

"I'm glad we did three sessions this year. It is so crazy to look back through the 6-month session and see how different he looked then! I almost didn't remember him like that!"


#3 – If you know me at all, you probably know that family is really important to me. …I feel kinda weird even writing that. I mean, isn’t family really important to almost everyone? It’s your backbone. Anyway, over the last two and half years, there has been one little lady that’s been particularly important to me and Nabil, our niece Myra.

Here’s the thing about kids. They grow like freakin’ weeds. In fact, I have a killer dandelion in my front walkway that grows slower than this girl. We see her as often as possible, but in reality, that translates to about twice a month. Sometimes more, sometimes less. You can imagine I take photos of her almost every time she comes over. Naptime in particular.

Can you believe how much she’s changed over the last six month? Each time I see her, she has grown, changed, learned...


Are you sensing a theme here? Throughout life there are key moment and phases, but those moments are just that, moments. They’re fleeting. They’re temporary.

One of the challenges about being a photographer is trying to convey the value of professional photography, especially this day in age when everyone has a decent camera in their pocket. But the thing is, real photography of real moments transcends time. It’s something that becomes more valuable as time passes because it freezes a moment that you won’t ever get back.

Having the opportunity to stay with families and see their kids at different stages in life is really something special. It's a unique opportunity to be able to get a somewhat intimate view of a family once a year. I get to see milestones, how they have their mom's eyes, and how that mischievous smile still hasn't gone away. You know the one that says, I know that you want me to walk towards you, but I'm about to run the other way. ...and then fall in the dirt and get my nice cloths dirty.

I can't tell you how often I hear something like "I miss seeing my kids at that age. At the time I just wanted that phase to be over, now I miss it". 

If you've read my blog before, you know that I preach this from the hillside. (If you haven't you can read more ramblings here and here). Documenting your life with intention gives you the opportunity to later look back at your life and remember all the best pieces that the present often clouds. It gives you the chance to lay to rest all the frustration and irritations time has a way of dissipating, and instead to celebrate what once was and what is now. I can't count how many times I've looked at an old picture of my sister or of my husband and I, and had that ache of nostalgia and the joy of growth all in one moment.

…so, I guess what I’m trying to say (again), is that making it a priority to intentionally and regularly document your life and your family will be something that you will value more and more with each passing year. It costs money, yes, but so does that patio furniture or that new phone, and only one of these things will be around in 20 years. Whether it’s with me, another photographer, or with your cell phone, make the time to remind your future self that you lived a pretty kick-a life.

Portland Family Photography

...and if you're interested in booking something soon, you can check out some info about upcoming holiday mini sessions here.

10 on 10 - October 2015

Courtney Z Photography 10 on 10

We're back, another month and another 10 on 10. Before we dive into fall in the PNW though, make sure to check out all the other 10 on 10ers (links below). They're bound to have some good eye candy for you.

Anne Almasy | Anya Elise Photography | Amy Straka Photography

Button Media Casey Brodley Lelia Marie Photography

Lisa Hibbert | Pogo Photo | Shaw Photography | Twinty Photography

For today's 10 on 10, I have a trio of fun things to showcase. (1) It's officially fall, and this year, it seems more like our summer has been extended a few months, just with a little more color. We have had beautiful weather which has made playing outside even more fun. (2) Add to that, we're lucky enough to get to have a slumber party with our niece every couple of weeks, and this year we took her out to a pumpkin patch. And (3), my bff, her hubby and my other favorite 2 year old came out as well so the kidos got to play and climb on things. There was lots of climbing.

I'll be the first to admit that I never thought hanging in a kid-filled pumpkin patch would be the highlight of a month. I find that kids often get more annoying as their numbers grow. Somehow though, it changes when you're with the kids you care about; when they aren't other people's kids, but some kind of branch of your life. I love watching this girl try new things and experience the world. There was one initial, nervous ride down the tube slide, and then she couldn't stop. I love watching her and my bff's son become friends and learn to trapse through corn maze holding hands. The fun part is watching them discover their own fun.

Anyway, this month, I give you pumpkin patching with my two favorite kids.