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An Honor – The McDonald Family- Family Portraits, Paso Robles

Apologizing in advance, really, this post may be long.

I received a phone call about a family from church, their son has had leukemia since he was young, 7 I believe. Now at 18, Clayton has made a decision to not go thru treatment anymore, live for today, and will go see God whenever he calls for him. I wasn’t sure I could do this family session, as I am a softy and emotional. But I was told they are “the funnest family” and I knew instantly, I received this phone call for a reason – I was meant to photograph them, to capture memories that will last them f.o.r.e.v.e.r.!

So, the title of this is “An Honor” because I truly am honored to have met them. As soon as they arrived at Vina Robles Winery I knew they were fun! Zac walks up wearing the funnest old school vest and rockin glasses, Clayton with bright red leather skate shoes, Sam in cool glasses and a beaded band around her head. Mom was sporting white sunglasses and dad almost immediately bared his chest. My immediate reply was you guys have great style. fun.funky….. totally me!

They really didn’t need any help for this photo session. I kinda told them where to go, like sit on this bench, and, well, they ran with it.

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Here I said, spread out between the pillars and this is what the did:
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We then headed over to Robert Hall Winery
Here I am shooting Stan & Wendy and I ask the kids to turn around and this is what they did:
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I would ask simple things, like Sam, maybe lay across their laps and the boom, they all just pose and have fun.
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I took this shot of the “boys” or “men” as they corrected me and the look on Clayton’s face had me laughing. I show them the back of the camera and say something about how he’s kinda cut off and he tells me “well, that’s your fault” HAHA!
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There were also more serious and posed ones to capture them all together. I told Clayton to jump on to Zac’s back and for all of them to squeeze in tight, heads together. – *puffy heart*
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And here I think is my most favorite “moment” I captured. It speaks to me. I know Stan isn’t in it, it was Wendy with her children and look at the love, the feeling.
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Truly, I am really so honored to have met you all. You made me laugh, you made me cry, you made my day! God Bless you! *hugs*

Pass along the link to your family and friends and leave me a comment below, I love to hear what people think.

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Mindy - Amazing family photos!!!! Wow!!

bobby deanobby Dean - Wow, they are so funky!! I love them climbing the pillars. Such great memories you have given them. As usual, Mouse, you are the best pic taker around. I love you

Danielle - Awesome Mo! I had tears in my eyes just looking at them! At the same time though… I was laughing. :) I’m sure they’ll love these… and you did a great job capturing their personalities and the candidness of the family!

Chels - What a great family. It doesn’t look like you could’ve gotten more from this shoot then you were trying to, it’s awesome. I love everything about it… they aren’t your typical family pictures, thats for sure.

LOVE IT

Desiree - These are GORGEOUS! Love them!!! What a beautiful family!

Jane Eaton Hamilton - Oh, Moyeen, saw these on the boards, and just loved them. They are soooo lucky to have found you and gotten these awesome family captures. They look so happy. I’m sorry for their sad future…hugs to them all.

Lori - Wow! What a blessing for them, for you, and for us! Thank you for the share!
Sadly, some families never experience such love and togetherness. They seem blessed!

In our prayers,
Phil and Lori

colby evans - i’m speechless. there is no greater gift to this family than these images. bless their hearts and yours…..

Kari - Mo! These are beautiful and inspiring! They look like an amazing family and I am so glad they got you as their photographer. No one else could have captured the love, laughter, and personality you did. You rock my socks!

Joni Streit - Words cannot describe how beautiful these are. What a fun and loving family! Thank you for giving them such a perfect gift.

Angela - This was meant to be, Monyeen. I have told you how special you are and how well you capture the most special moments in time. You did it! With tears flowing down my face I know what this meant for you. But more importantly what this meant for this family. You have the greatest gift of all! We love you, Monyeen!!!!

Beth - Wow Mo! I am sitting here fighting back tears. What a beautiful. inspirational. fun. family… LOVE them! they are absolutely inspiring. Your work captured them beautifully!

Contessa - If only we could all face opposition as this family has. The beauty that you captured is overwhelming! I love watching faith in action…my prayers are with them as they face uncertain times ahead.

Jan - Monyeen, I think these are the best family photos I’ve seen, EVER. I LOVE these shots so much! Can you please move to Illinois?

Melissa - What an absolutely beautiful gift you were able to give to this family. My prayers are with them.

Holly - I love these so much. So much emotion. You really know how to capture a moment!

Cyndee - Amazing family – you did a great job at letting their personalities speak to the camera.

karyn - Absolutely fantastic, I just love them all, very happy, very loving, very them it would seem.

Heather Hamilton - Mo…all I can say is that you did a splendid job, I feel like I know the family just be seeing them through your camera. I am sure they will love these photos and treasure them forever! WOW!

Jess VanLue - Simply amazing, Mo. You’ve given this family some true treasures. They look like an amazingly fun bunch.

You rock, Clayton!

Amy (3 Peas) - Oh Mo these are just AMAZING!!!!

That last one…made me cry. It’s just pure perfection- palpable mother’s love…

Amanda - These are the most beautiful and inspiring pictures!
My thoughts and prayers are with Clayton and his family! Such a beautiful family!

louise sousoures - Monyeen,

All I can say is wow, what a special gift you have. I am glad you were able to use it to create great memories with this most awesome loving family. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

JoAnne - Thanks for sharing. What an incredible family – and what a wonderful tangible expression of the love they share.

lindsey - What an amazing family!! You sure did capture them wonderfully!!

allie - Oh my goodness, these are so very beautiful- amazing.

Pattie - Monyeen, What beautiful photos! Thank you for blessing the McDonalds this way. They have honored God in so many ways through this long trial. I’m sure your gifts used this way have been an expression of His grace towards them. Thank you for using your gifts for His glory! And . . . thanks for not shooting a picture of Stan with his chest bared!
With much love,
Pattie (Stan’s sister from Philly)

monyeenlb - I just wanted to tell everybody thank you for the kind and loving comments. I am so touched.

Blair Gracey - Clayton is my hero.
AMAZING pictures!

gilbert - Wow, what an incredible family and wonderful gift that you have given to them! They are such an inspiration! My prayers are with Clayton and his family.

Kim Prochazka - I absolutely love these! What an amazing gift you have given them! I’ll keep Clayton (and his family) in my prayers!

Nicole T - It seems like you had a blast with this incredibly strong and loving family! I love the photos and you seemed to capture them as they truly are. McDonalds, you are a beautiful family! Really amazing work Mo!

Susan - Hi Monyeen… These are incredible…..you have captured such beautiful moments here. Clayton graduated with Scottie, and Kristen shared a connection with him through the common experience they shared-dealing with a serious illness. It’s so wonderful you were there to provide this incredible gift to them, and all who know them. You are a blessing!….

Natalie Larson - I am a long time friend of Pattie (McDonald) Heidengren. I met Stan at Pattie’s wedding and don’t know Clayton…..but I am praying for him and for his family. These pics had me sitting here at my desktop crying and laughing. Thank you for taking this project on…..you have inspired me by capturing a very courageous young man and his amazing and loving family. Thank you.
Natalie Larson (in the deep woods of New Hampshire)

Courtney - Mo, these are amazing! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful session and such a moving story of a wonderful family. One of my clients (age 16 months) has just been diagnosed with AMKL Leukemia, and there have only been 4 cases in the past 20 years of this rare form of Leukemia. You are an inspiration and I am so glad that you were there for this family. It is a difficult thing to cover for sure. I will keep them in my prayers. Please keep my 16 month old client, Kate in your prayers as well. Her odds of getting this were 1 in over 100 billion. Lets just pray that she is here to make others aware of this! Thanks for sharing!

Lisa - Fate. Something magical brought them to you Mo. I can’t really express the emotions that go through me. Tears..smiles…amazement at the palpable love this family has for one another..every emotion under the sun, I feel. I can’t imagine what they all must be going through, but thank goodness you all found each other. The gift you are giving them is something that has no monetary value. I know that many years down the line they will be able to look back at these visions you captured and smile. YOu most certainly captured their essence.

To Clayton and his family – I wish you all the strength and prayers. There are alot of people out here thinking of you.

Jenifer Samaha - Love these, Monyeen! What a beautiful family and truly fun…you can tell they are going to make the most of every moment of life.

Perfect post-processing for their clothes!

A very sad day. « monyeen black blog - [...] Clayton’s story [...]

dhana - fantastic photos! the love just pours out from them! what a fun family to photograph!!!

Nicole Rouviere - Exceptional photos, the last family shot was my very fav. You managed to capture what an incredible family they are and the love they share.

2010 Senior - Samantha {senior portraits photographer, Atascadero, CA} « monyeen black blog - [...] have been so excited to do this session with Samantha.  You have seen Samantha before on my blog.  I am so honored to have her as a spokesmodel for me this year.  Tonight was a mini [...]

The big sneak peek - 2010 Seniors Samantha & Vanessa [Atascadero Photographer] « monyeen black blog - [...] return home and get to these images of Samantha and Vanessa. You may recognize Miss Samantha from The McDonald Family Session – this is Clayton’s sister. ♥ Now the braces are off and she has a wonderful smile – [...]

Fisher Family - [Atascadero Family Photographer] « monyeen black blog - [...] to photograph *this family from church* who’s son was ill.  As we all know, this is the McDonald family that she was calling about.  Honestly, I cannot thank Lynette enough.  I’ve never expressed [...]

One year ago today « monyeen black blog - [...] 24, 2008, I met and photographed the McDonald family, Stan, Wendy, Zack, Clayton, and [...]

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