Erika Kao Photography  |  Bergen County Family Photographer  |  New Jersey

As a mother, as a photographer, and as someone who really isn't bothered by a mess, I have to confess that my favorite photos are the ones that depict real life. Gritty life. Raw life. Authentic life.

Don't get me wrong. There's definitely a time to clean up, to dress nicely, and to put everything where it belongs. But when I walk into a home and it resembles mine — dishes in the sink, toys on the floor, fingerprints on the windows, and laundry in baskets — I have to admit that my heart sings and I dance a little jig in my mind.

When I first started my photography journey four years ago, I mainly made photos of families who got dressed up nicely and went to the park when flowers were in bloom. Motherhood, along with my attempt to embrace the real beauty of an authentically lived life, has lead to a shift in my photographic hopes and dreams.

so, who's up for something a little bit different?

If you've been following my journey, you've no doubt seen a change in the photos I share not only of families that bring me into their homes, but also of the photos that are made in my own home. And since you're reading this, my guess is that my photos have appealed to you in some way.

Well, good news! I am expanding my portfolio to include more sessions of this nature, and I'm offering a model call for sessions to take place during the months of May and June of this year.

If the mere thought of someone photographing your home life gives you palpitations, then read no more. Shoot me an email and I can put you in touch with a list of local photographer friends who specialize in portrait sessions that are more formal in nature. But if this authentic approach to family photography appeals to you even remotely, or if you've seen my work before and you dig it, then read on.


what i'm looking for

My current wish list includes:

  1. A family with a child or children (of any age, though not younger than age 1), or a couple without children, who would like me to document their everyday moments at home.
  2. A family or a couple expecting a baby for an in-hospital "Fresh 48" session. For this session, I will come to the hospital within 48 hours of delivery and spend approximately an hour photographing you and your baby, and those first few moments where you're getting used to one another.
  3. A family or a couple welcoming a newborn for an in-home newborn session. This can include a couple growing their family through adoption.

A few things to note:

  1. I won't direct you or pose you during the session, so don't expect that kind of guidance from me. Think of me as a fly on the wall, a casual observer.
  2. Dress comfortably and naturally, as you would if you were simply hanging around at home. This is not a formal portrait session, so I will ask you not to dress yourselves or your children as though you were going to one.
  3. Please don't prepare props, even for new babies; they won't be necessary.
  4. These sessions are for the immediate family only. No grandparents, aunts or uncles, or friends, please.
  5. People define "family" in different ways. I welcome all families.

the specifics

In exchange for a signed model release allowing me use of the photos from your session in marketing my business, I am happy to offer the following:

  • The session itself, which will last approximately one (1) hour (unless otherwise noted)
  • A preview gallery of all edited images
  • Download of five (5) high-resolution digital images of your choosing
  • A 20% discount on any of my product offerings

This will come at no cost to you. But to reserve your booking I will require a $100 retainer fee. Following your photo session and your photo reveal, I will return your $100 retainer fee, or you may put it toward the purchase of any of my product offerings. Given the nature of these sessions, rescheduling after a booking is finalized probably won't be possible, and should you need to cancel, the retainer fee may not be refunded and I will move on to the next family.

    This is a fantastic way to make not only family photos, but great memories. So go on and complete the form below. I promise, it'll be fun. :)

    Sessions will take place in Bergen County, New Jersey, and the immediate surrounding area. Families that have been selected will be notified by May 1st. The deadline to apply is midnight on April 25th (Eastern Time). 

    Thank you!

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    Session type *
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