Family

You are going to love this game!

 In  5 days, we will do something that has never been done before. We would like to invite you to play a brand new game called,

The Future American Map Game.

 

The objective of the game: To inspire families and their children in an exciting new way. 

The Characters: Mr. Havens & Mrs. Havens, Raine Havens - 11 years old, Jayden Havens - 7 years old (main character)

How to play the game: The game can ONLY be played on Kickstarter.com/FutureAmericanDream starting on Saturday,  September 12th at  7:30 pm PST. The game only lasts for 30 days.

To play the game make a pledge of $10 or more and you'll receive the American Map Game, which includes the map and cut-out figures of the Havens family. Use the map to answer one question per day for 30 days. Questions will be posted once a day and viewable only to pledgers.  To play the game, go to the Future American Dream page on Kickstarter.com

The game is played through a story and told by the youngest child in the Havens family. Over the course of the game, the Havens family travels to every state in America and has a variety of interesting adventures. During their journey, they meet some of the real-life children featured in the book Future American President.

The Family Journey: The Havens family is going on their first family vacation across America. Little Jayden Havens, seven, tells the story as his family drives from state-to-state and at the end of each day asks a question. Help Jayden answer the questions each day as his family travels across America.

 

Seven-year-old Jayden Havens is about to leave on the adventure of a lifetime and he'd like you to join him. 

 

Future American Dream - Only on Kickstarter - Starting Saturday, September 12th, 7:30 PM PST

Hosted by Angela Bassett, Nicole Ari Parker, Felicia D. Henderson and Dr. Pearl E. Grimes

Introducing the Havens Family

On Monday, I'd like to introduce you to a very special family. A week from today I will introduce the family in person during my  launch of my event at 7:30 pm PST, and then we will leave the next morning on an incredible adventure for 30 days.

Many of you know that I  shoot with Nikon camera's now. This week  I  learned that Mr. and Mrs. Havens are also  fans of Nikon camera's and has exactly the same gear as me. This week, to prepare for the trip, I added three new Lowepro cases and I'll get to break them in on this journey. The Echelon Line of Lowepro bags and roller cases are really amazing and I'm looking forward to using them on this trip. The Lowepro Echelon roller is just what I've been looking for and in one roller. It's going to make my travel with camera gear much better.

I share my excitement for my new Lowepro bags with Mr. and Mrs. Havens and they were super excited as well to see the new line. Mr.Havens said he was in need of new camera bags and was curious to see the line.

Until Monday, have a great weekend and I look forward to sharing what I believe will be an incredible week with you all next week.

Always dream big!

Proud Nevada

The expression on this little boys face in Nevada speaks volumes. He was the 2nd child photographed for the Future American President project.  

When I approached his family and told them about the project they understood right away how important the project is and what  it could mean for him. They  surrounded him with support as he thought about what he'd do as president and it was wonderful for me to see this first reaction to the project.

Being included in the book is special indeed but now every child will have the chance to be included in the book, by having their image become the cover of the book for the Special Edition version of the book. To receive emails telling you when they will be available and to receive a FREE pdf with tips on how to take better children's pictures, sign up below.


Imagine how happy your child would be with their very own copy of Future American President with their image on the books cover!

Stay tuned for more details soon!

 

Always Dream Big

Goonies Found In Oregon

Driving through Oregon is an experience I will cherish forever. When I arrived in Cannon Beach, Oregon, the town where the Goonies movie was shot, I understood right away why they choose this location for the movie. It is an incredibly beautiful American town and Haystack Rock is an awe-inspiring view.

At Cannon Beach, I met a family with two beautiful young daughters and after a short conversation getting to know a little bit about them I prepared to photograph and interview the daughters for Future American President. I was still on a high from the day before in Oregon photographing the daughter of a woman I met while asking for directions.

 

My subjects today were two daughters that were full of life and truly enjoyed the process of being photographed. The older daughter was very excited, especially after learning that Disney star, Zendaya is included in the book. The younger daughter looked up to her older sister and it was wonderful to see how powerful their connecting was to each other.

 

After the photo session each daughter wrote what they would do as president and I photographed each as they wrote their statements for the book. Afterwards I photographed the entire family together and they invited me to have lunch with them. As we ate together I learned more about the children and I was happy to be able to include them in Future American President.


As I left Oregon, I thought back to the wonderful new friends I have met on this leg of the journey and hoped the images and material in this book will be able to inspire and empower children in Oregon and in big and small towns all over America.


Always Dream Big 

Behind The Scenes in Connecticut

I really enjoyed working with this family in Connecticut. The parents both work in the medical field and the father is Puerto Rican and the mother Sri Lanken. The children, who were born in Connecticut, speak English, Spanish and Tamil. 

I asked the older daughter if she could write a statement describing what she'd do as the future president. She said, "YES!" and then told me she can write in Spanish and English. It made everyone laugh, but then as I watched how focused she became as she wrote her statements and I knew this little girl has the ability to be anything she wants to be in life. Having these moments during the making of this book made it worthwhile.

Always Dream Big

Future World Photo Tips

Have you ever watched a child look at a photograph of themselves? We've all witnessed people looking at the back of a camera or admiring a selfie after their photo has been taken, but for a child this is a deeper moment. When children look at their pictures, they are shaping how they see themselves. This is why it's important for children to see positive images of themselves and their peers. There used to be an old commercial for Sprite that said, "Image is everything," but really, self-image is everything.

I met a second family in historic Gettysburg while traveling in Pennsylvania for Future American President and asked them to be a part of the book project. As I photographed the children the younger daughter wanted to see her pictures from the back of my camera. She was too young to really understand what has going on and why this stranger was photographing her, but she knew her image was inside the black box I held in my hands, and she was excited to see them.

 This week, take the time to photograph a child that's close to you. Maybe it's your own children getting ready to enjoy summer vacation, or maybe it's a sibling, niece or nephew. As you photograph them, step back and take a moment to let them be themselves. Make these images your wide view. Your wide view photographs will show not only your subject, but all the elements around them. That modern day car or smartphone will be old relic's fifty years from now and add context to your images. Next, move in and capture the essence of your subjects. This is your mid-range shot that makes them the focus of your image, not just a part of the image like in your wide shot. Lastly, move in close and take pictures of just their face. Big faces of kids are adorable and young children usually have a lot of fun taking pictures with the camera very close to their face. Above all have fun and remember the powerful effect a great image can have on a child.

Always Dream Big

Photographed for Future American President

Photographed for Future American President

In The Beginning There Was Delaware

The day I met little Daniel the sky was filled with beautiful summer clouds. The sun was shining, and the sky was blue, but the clouds littered the sky. In Los Angeles, where I now live, you don't see clouds like this, so I always admire them when I do.  Even though aesthetically it was a lovely day I started the day filled with concerns. It was my second time traveling to Delaware for my personal book project, Future American President, and I was nervous about finding a family to photograph.

I’d traveled to Delaware the year before but had difficulty in finding a family for the project.  I thought back to that trip and remembered how things had all gone wrong. I remembered going to a park and seeing a large group of people that looked like they were headed to a BBQ. As I watched the people headed to the same picnic area I was amazed at the diversity within the group. The group had Caucasian, African-American, Asian and Hispanic, all mixing together. Seeing this group make me smile because you just don't see cultures mixing in this way. I wondered if it was an office bbq, but it didn't seem like a work event. Everyone seemed too relaxed and they appeared to really be friends. 

I decided this would be the perfect group to approach because they were the essence of diversity. I envisioned this large group standing with the youngest child in the group being featured in front. I introduced myself to a group of woman, each from a different ethnic background and asked if I could speak with them. I started talking about my project and how impressed I was seeing this group with such diversity. Their eyes lit up and they smiled as I spoke. Then I told them the name of my project, Future American President, and the theme of inspiring  children all over American to dream big, and t I felt the energy change. Their faces went from smiles to blank expressions, and as I continued to talk I wondered what was wrong. When I finished my soliloquy, one of the woman said, it sounds like a noble project, but we are Jehovah's Witness and we don't believe in politics, so no Jehovah's Witness will ever become President. I was in a state of shock but thanked them for their time and decided to come back to Delaware another day.

A year later I found myself back in Delaware trying to find the perfect family...again. I had a good friend, Kumiko Norrell, who volunteered to help me and accompanied me on the trip. I’d flown into Maryland, where she and her husband lived at the time and picked her up early that morning before making the drive to Delaware. The first spot we found, though beautiful, lacked families with children so we left and found another park. Right away, I noticed a young couple with a little boy. The mother looked to be Hispanic and the father looked Caucasian. I decided to approach them and went to speak with the father. As I told him about the project I showed him images of other children and families from around the country. He loved the idea and his wife, who was by his side as I spoke, also love the project and said they would love to have their son featured in the book.

Daniel: Age 2 - Representing Delaware in Future American President

Daniel: Age 2 - Representing Delaware in Future American President


To hear more about this story join me for the launch of my new podcast starting in the next two weeks. 



This American Dream

Imagine a photograph having the ability to change a child"s future and change the way they see themselves. Imagine your child on the cover of an inspirational book that has the power to inspire them while teaching them about America, past presidents, and about iconic people from their state.

Coming this fall - Special edition version's of Future American President featuring YOUR child on the front and back cover jacket.


Always Dream Big

A Family that Volunteers Together, Stays Together

GUEST POST by Andrew Rebchu

They say that kids are born with a natural ability to give and that even at a young age, they're able to grasp concepts such as empathy, compassion, gratitude, and community responsibility according to Parents.com. To teach children about generosity and philanthropy, parents ideally should introduce family volunteering as a chance to spend quality time together as well as help those that need it the most.

Something as simple as donating one dollar a day to UnaKids has made a huge difference for young kids in countries suffering from civil unrest, so imagine the impact you and your family would leave when you choose to spend your time off from work and school helping underprivileged communities. Rather than jetting off to Disney World this summer, here are a few new ways that your family can bond over some volunteer work.

Stay at a nonprofit "storybook" resort in Florida


If visiting an amusement park is what your kids are really after this summer, take them to Give Kids the World Village in Orlando. It's a wonderful resort that caters to children with life-threatening diseases and their families, a place where the staff and volunteers can provide them with magical and memorable experiences at no cost. Helping create these beautiful memories for these families will give your own kids a new perspective on life.

Go on a Reading Road Trip in the West Indies


The Sandals Resorts group started the <a href Sandals Foundation that would allow guests to participate in some community service during their stay in any other of their hotels. Projects range from community health care programs to education initiatives. Take your kids on morning outings, organized by the resort, and volunteer at schools in the area. This will give them the opportunity to see what school is like for students in different parts of the world.

Build homes in New Orleans with YRNO


A lot of construction-related nonprofits are really strict with age due to liability, but a group of teenagers defied this restriction and started their own foundation, Youth Rebuilding New Orleans (YRNO), that lets youths give back on their own terms. The area has plenty of distressed and foreclosed homes that you and your family can fix up while engaging with local youths to build a better city.


Author Bio: Andrew Rebchuk
Andrew is an 11th grade sociology teacher that introduced several community service programs at his school. He plans on taking his son on his first family volunteer vacation this July.

Memorial Day Traval

Two years ago, on Memorial Day, I was traveling from state to state, working on a book project entitled Future American President. As I drove toward Indianapolis, Indiana I spotted what appeared to be a large group having a holiday barbeque. From the highway I could see tons of cars outside the home and a big green and white tent. For the Future American President project, I approached strangers all over America and asked them if I could photograph their children. As you can imagine, it was a bit scary doing this.

When I first saw the house from the highway I envisioned a large family having a great time together enjoying the holiday. I thought an image of a family spending time together in this way would be powerful and that families all over America would be able to relate to such an image. Something inside me said, go and knock on the door and introduce myself…Then my internal fight started. Part of me wanted to knock on the door and tell them about my project, but then part of me didn’t want to intrude. What if they wanted to be left alone? What if they thought I was some crazy lunatic? Also, lets face it, what if they were scared, (or hated) Black people? This was the internal fight that went on in my head as I drove down the highway. Two miles later, I thought about the words, “you have not, because you ask not.” I turned the car around and drove back to the house.

I truly believe God protects me throughout my travels wherever I go, so I can never really be fearful. The fear is always in your head. As I pulled up to the driveway, my heart was beating a million miles a minuet. It seemed no matter how many times I approached strangers and told them about my project, it didn’t get any easier. I knocked on the door and was greeted by a smiling face who asked, “can I help you?” I introduced myself and started talking about how I saw the family gathering and told her what I was doing. She said, “well it sounds like a great thing you’re doing but you’d have to ask the owners of the house.” Then she invited me in and took me out back where I saw about 30 people having a great time. I was introduced to the couple hosting the gathering and told them about my project and why I decided to stop at their home on Memorial Day. I showed them images on my ipad of other families I’d photographed around the country and they loved the project. Then they said, “well, who would you want to photography because there are a lot of kids here?” I said, how about the youngest child here? The next thing I knew I was being introduced to a young mother with a 7 week-old baby.

Future American President   

Future American President

 

 

Last week, my minister at One Church spoke about audacious living, and defined it as “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.” He said, “you will never be as great as you can be without taking risks. Creating Future American President is a series of bold risks but I believe in the message of this project. I believe this book has the potential to make a profound impact on children everywhere by seeing themselves in ways they wouldn’t have imagined otherwise.

 

I want to have a stronger impact on children with this project. What if I could include every child in America in the book? Well, my team and I have figured out how to do just that. Very soon every family in the world will have the ability to put their child’s face on the COVER of the FUTURE AMERICAN PRESIDENT book with a special edition version of the book. Imagine your child growing up with their face on the cover of a book that is dedicated to inspiring children to dream big.

Photography notes:

To photograph this image I used Profoto strobe lights to overpower the sun. This image was shot during the middle of the day, when the sun is the most intense. I shot one stop over the daylight reading. The sunlight was reading on F 16.0 @ 1/125th, so i used my Sekonic light meter and adjusted the strobe to read F22.0, which is one stop over the sunlight reading and makes for an image that is dramatic and solves the problem of bad light from midday sun.


Always Dream Big

Behind The Scenes

We have all heard the phrase "pictures speak louder than words." I am often asked by new photographers, or those who would like to be photographers, if they can come on a shoot with me. The reality of that happening is zero, but I can share what it's like to be on set. 

A commercial shoot is always a team effort, and a lot more work than anyone can imagine, but I love the creative process and bringing an image to life. Here are a few behind the scenes images from an advertising shoot created for Wells Fargo.

Day 1 - Park Location

Day 1 - Park Location

Crew On Set   

Crew On Set

 

Talking To Talent

Talking To Talent

Wells Fargo Ad

Wells Fargo Ad