• Ashley Norton Photography

Christina & Brian's Adoption Family Session | Fresno, CA

Updated: Feb 11

Christina, Brian, and I trekked through the wilderness of Woodward Park this past weekend to accomplish something this couple hadn't done in more than a decade: take professional photos together!

A couple in Woodward Park in Fresno, California hold each other closely with their backs facing the camera for a couples portrait session.

This wasn't a regular photoshoot, but one with a clear mission.

Recently, Christina and Brian made a huge announcement: they're raising money to adopt a child! Aaaand they are currently halfway to their fundraising goal of $40,000, which is an incredible blessing.

As they move through this process, one need they had was to fill a photo book with images from their lives for birth mothers. The photo book would include a mix of lifestyle & portrait images (my favorite!), along with images from vacations, activities, and communities.

We decided to do the impossible and hit 3 locations during this photoshoot: the park, home, and neighborhood.

Typically I begin sessions later in the afternoon/evening during golden hour for the best lighting; however, a 3in1 Photoshoot requires an earlier start time. An earlier start time can mean a few more issues finding shade with even lighting.

After Christina braved the 15 minute nature walk (somewhat uphill) in heels, we settled in a spot at Woodward Park: a big dirt hill.

A man and woman in Woodward Park in Fresno, California lean towards each other and touch noses for a couples lifestyle portrait session..

This hill didn't look remarkable in anywayit faced a busy roadway, was littered with holes, and the wind made them keep changing directions to avoid that all too familiar bangs-in-my-face-so-I-can't-see-anything look.

I loved the big dirt hill.

Maybe it was just the positive attitudes of this couple, or their sweet demeanor around each other, but we had a great time with this big dirt hill and the photos came out gorgeous.

I mean, how cute are they?

Once we finished up at Woodward, we braved the 6:30pm traffic (Okay, it wasn't bad at all) to head to their home. We were welcomed by the best greeter I've met.

A black dog in Downtown Fresno, California looks off camera at his owner for a family photography session.

Bella is officially the most polite dog I know, living proof that the Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan is in fact quite effective.

After a quick outfit change, we began to run through several activities necessary for the photo book: gardening, reading, cooking, and dog snuggles (maybe that last one wasn't super necessary).

It was a race against time. I could see my images in my screen grow darker as the light dipped further down the horizon.

Brian gets a special shout-out. One of his required photo book images was cooking, so he enrolled in the University of Youtube to learn how to sauté onions, looking like he was straight out of Top Chef.

A man in his home in the Central Valley cooks onions in his kitchen for a family portrait session..

Very impressive, right?

After we achieved all of the indoor photos (plus a few extra of Bella), we headed outside again to finish the shoot.

The last photos included them in front of their home, and I couldn't help but picture that home soon being filled with more laughter and joy than already exists there.

I'm so excited for Christina and Brian as they enter in on this adoption journey. I can see how long it's been in their hearts and prayers, and I'm excited to have been part of their journey.

If you'd like to contribute to Christina and Brian's adoption goal, they've set up a GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/LawrenceAdoption

You can also learn lots more about them on their GoFundMe page that I didn't include in this blog post―like they recently did a T-Shirt sale, and created a public Facebook Group where they will share updates as they come about their adoption journey.

A couple in scenic Woodward Park in Fresno, California cuddles close for a couples photography session. The woman's hand is on the man's chest as he closes his eyes and she gazes at the camera.

P.S. Props to Christina for finding this beautiful dress for $3 AND making all the alterations herself.