Rikki Rivera | Photographer » Wedding & Portrait Photography

_RKR8424 _RKR8435 _RKR8436 RKR_3153 RKR_3196 RKR_3204 Since we don’t travel abroad (YET!), we like to call our travel within the U.S. an ‘adventure.’ Our adventuring has taken us everywhere from Washington to Florida and back. Our goal in coming years is to travel further North and more of the East Coast. We live for our adventures, big and small. With having kids young, we have molded our life to fit the lifestyle we wanted for us and them. It didn’t work out that we would travel before children, so we made the compromise. Ever since I had my baby boy, I knew that I would take him on along through all of my travels and experiences. Granted they would be different, but better. So much better.

We’ve learned a lot through our lifestyle of being constantly on the go, and with that comes my camera. I love to capture the things we do and the places we go. I may be crazy behind on editing, but I am thrilled to just know that I have some images that inspire me and spark those adventurous desires again and again. It’s only fair to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way that have encouraged my children to not only love traveling, but also love having their photo taken + taking photos!


If you’re new to photography, your kids are going to be your main subjects.. or maybe your dog… or anyone or anything that will give you a chance to practice. Totally been there! From the beginning, I’ve heard about “photographers kids,” and the general consensus that you get nothing but attitude when you try to get that sweet little image of them. Well, I’ve rarely had that happen. First and foremost, we encourage a close sibling relationship between our two, so there’s no forcing the love there. When it’s time to take pictures, we let them laugh and play, then encourage hugs and smiles. I may offer some guidance, “Go over here.” “Ok, you can play like this for a minute, but then I need a smile just REAL QUICK.” Those few moments of letting them play or do whatever they want make all the difference. I’m not typically looking for nicely posed photos though, I prefer candid, real moments. My son has picked up a lot on what I’ve encouraged over the years, so now he helps me with the little one. There may also be some bribery from time to time :).


This is a given in parenting to begin with, of course. But with taking photos and traveling, you really have to let go of the plan you thought you had, and work in more time for rest and play. We embrace spontaneity and encourage our kids to go with the flow in general. It really helps with the ‘Are we there yet?’ questions. We try to be as prepared as possible to meet their needs no matter what we do. Snacks. Books. Favorite toys. You got it!


I started putting a camera in my kids hands around the age of 3. If not using an old point-and-shoot I had, they had their own kid-friendly versions to use. Each of them were encouraged to take pictures of whatever they wanted, but especially when we were on the road. I never forced them, but if they wanted to, they could. If not, no big deal. When I am taking pictures of them, they each like to take pictures for me [or of me] as well, I let them. Yep, I hand my kids my Nikon DSLR camera. I put the strap around them like I do and I gently inform them how important it is to be careful. With my daughter, I stay very close and always at the ready. My son is now old enough to use his own caution. I trust each of them.


It’s important to remember to put your camera down too. To play and laugh and not always have that camera around. Same goes for traveling, we have to remember to stop and play. Rest stops can be the best playground on earth if you let it. I feel it is fundamentally important to include them in my passions [my husband too], but to be apart of theirs as well. I don’t want to force it or they’ll come to resent what we do.


No matter whether you’re traveling or taking pictures of  your kids, encouragement goes a really long way. So when my son helped me take this series of pictures, he got discouraged when the majority turned out blurry. I let him know I was proud of his efforts and how much I appreciated him. The photos got better and better, and he enjoyed the experience with me. On long road trips, it doesn’t take long before the kids are ready for something to do. While we try to pack and ensure we have everything to help occupy them, we encourage the things they do along the way, and they are further encouraged to continue doing those things.

View Day 1 + Day 2 .

  • Tanya Patxot - October 19, 2014 - 4:14 pm

    This is great I love traveling and want to travel more as well. Hence why I have built my business for coaching online and blogging … Thanks for sharing… #feelgoodbloggingchallenge Reply Cancel

  • Lauryn Gutierrez - October 19, 2014 - 6:10 pm

    such good tips! the Let them be themselves section especially! thank you!!! Reply Cancel

  • Sue Ann Simon - October 19, 2014 - 10:22 pm

    I have to bookmark this page! I haven’t seen photographers being open about their camera and their kids! Your son already looks like a pro! 😉 Thanks for being so open. My fiancé and I talking about having kids and he has jokingly decided that he will be annoyed if I stalk our kids with my camera when we travel. I will show him these tips! Reply Cancel

  • Jennifer Pennington - October 19, 2014 - 11:55 pm

    Love this! Great tips and beautiful photos! Such a lovely family! <3 Reply Cancel

  • Saltre Stef - October 20, 2014 - 3:25 am

    Aw, I loved this! You didn’t change your dreams just adapted them 😀 Reply Cancel

  • Glady - October 20, 2014 - 6:11 am

    Love your post!! It’s so true that you need to let them be themselves. I don’t have kids to practice on, however I shot about a million photos of my younger brother 😉
    Great shots and love the encouragement and experience you give your kids. Reply Cancel

  • Rikki Rivera - October 20, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    Haha, it’s always someone or something :). It’s fun to see the growth in your work over the years! Reply Cancel

 It’s never easy explaining to people WHY you’re doing what you’re doing. The first thing that comes to my mind is a bit of self doubt, will people even care? How do I ensure I don’t come off sharing the bad more than the good. It happens, we see it everyday through social media. I don’t want that, I am happy to live in a place of positivity and seek happiness as often as possible. I am also a realist, which is why I filter as much as I can that comes into our household and lives everyday.

So when thinking about the WHY, I hear a lot of people say they take photos to help them see the beauty in their everyday, especially in the little mundane things. I suppose that’s a bit true for all of us. My story started back around the age of 14. I would catch glimpses of old barns, incredible sunsets, and I knew I wanted to remember that moment forever. I do remember specific sunsets and specific barns, because I told myself that I would always remember that moment and how I felt. I remember wishing that I could capture those things exactly the way I saw them. It wasn’t that I wanted to find the beauty, I already saw it, I wanted to remember it and to be inspired again and again. Little did I know what my future held for me.

I took photos like crazy as a teenager. I was known for always having some sort of little film camera on me, taking photos of friends and family all over the place! I grew up moving A LOT, so when I made friends, it was likely I would never see them again. Many of those friends shaped much of my life and held a place in my heart that never went away. As I entered my early twenties, I realized I had more control of my life and what I wanted to keep and let go of. Photography, friendship, and those moments I wanted to remember, those were all keepers. I wanted to give my kids something I didn’t have; evidence of childhood, evidence to spark memories long forgotten. So I began and I never stopped…

Photography is a challenge. It’s different for every single person, and I love that no two people can capture EXACTLY the same thing. I love even more that when we take our photos home, we process them completely different as well. I became very passionate about the people I connected with, with being as authentic as possible, and uplifting those around me in real life and in front of my camera. I want images that POP in some way. To show my story in photography and the story of others. Have your kids grown? Are you happy? Are you stressed? Do you have more wrinkles? Did you just take an amazing trip somewhere? Are you married? Single? It doesn’t matter what baggage you came to me with, I believe there is a silver lining in there somewhere. Don’t be afraid of those silly little things that would typically stop you from enjoying the moment, or playing and laughing with your family [especially in front of me]. That kind of stuff, I live for – that’s what I seek from each photo session I do. That’s what keeps me coming back and it keeps me moving forward.

Quick back story of silver lining: When I was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, I worked with a lot of different service members. At one point, I was working at the front gate of our camp with a Navy petty officer. We chatted and helped each other out during our 12 hour shift. During that time in my life, I liked to make light of the otherwise dark situation it could be, I like to see the good and just feel happy regardless of what was going on. I don’t remember our specific conversation, but I do remember him laughing at something I said and telling me, “You know what? You always see the silver lining in things, don’t you?” I wasn’t sure what he meant at that moment, but as I pictured where the ocean meets a cloud-filled sky, I laughed in response to what he said, but his words never left me. Even to this day when I need to seek that good, I remember that moment. Every time I saw him after that, he said, “Hey silver lining!”

Challenge Day 1



A big part of creating this space [my own little corner of the internet], is for me to show my best. To inspire and be inspired. To connect. To show you who I am and what I do, and why you want to visit here. I have started blogging weekly, which is a huge commitment for me, but I have been loving the challenging. Even more of a challenge, I am jumping into a 7 day blogging challenge [you can find more on that HERE] to show you the most authentic part of this space. It’s never easy being quite so vulnerable, and even though my life is seemingly public online because of my business, it really isn’t as public as some may think. So I’m here to challenge that concept a bit.

I am a twenty something creative thriving in the Pacific Northwest. I dove into photography after five years in the military, and wanting more without committing to another career field I couldn’t control. After multiple deployments between my husband and I, we craved having flexibility in our lives and we’re very much into following our dreams. Not something that we hope to reach some day, no, we want to live it in our everyday now. Enter in: work hard, play harder.

When my husband went on his second deployment years ago, blogging/photos/writing really came into focus for me in a way that I could share more with him and the lives that we had to keep going even with him away. Years later, I began gaining more clientele, and wanted to share a mix of it all. Photography is so much more than updating family portraits or adding some digital files to your computer, I want to introduce myself to you, and introduce you through images [hence, ‘let me introduce yourself’].

My goal is to continuing sharing our adventurous lifestyle, and how we make that work with our children, dogs, owning a home, and working full time [we’re also full time students]. I translate that into my work as well – while I hope to shift to even more adventurous photo shoots, I enjoy putting a little of that into my current work flow. I yearn to see people for who they really are. My house isn’t always clean, yours doesn’t have to be either. I was told years ago to ‘fake it till you make it.’ I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that, but I did try. I felt miserable and quickly realized that simply wasn’t for me. I can be awkward, tell bad jokes, think way faster than I can talk, and am sometimes a klutz. But you know, that’s all ok with me.

In an effort to shape my brand around my personal style, this space is for the couple who have a little wanderlust in them [whether or not they can be epic adventurers], the parents who aspire to ‘balance it all,’ and for those who may not have it at all together. The people who appreciate real life and a measure of authenticity + emotion [in my work]. I don’t always have a lot to say, other times I do. My pictures aren’t always epic, sometimes they are. We are all perfectly imperfect, and I’m here to embrace your flaws as much as I hope you do mine, while knowing I will always be doing my best. We are all always learning. It’s rough and messy, and sometimes pretty and neat. I like that though, I like it a lot.

If you’ve read all this, thank you so much for being here and taking the time to be apart of this space. I hope to connect with all of you in one way or another.

  • Vashti - October 18, 2014 - 2:08 am

    Hello Rikki. it is nice to meet you. Thank you for the sacrifice that you and your family has made in order for us to live in a free country. As a fellow photographer it is nice to meet new ones. I think its cool that you got into blogging before photography, sometimes I find it hard to do post especially for photography and sometimes I just want to post the pictures. You do a great job. Reply Cancel

  • Sue - October 18, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    Rikki, it was so nice to get to know a little about you! I can’t wait for you other challenge posts! Reply Cancel

  • Arica J. Clauson - October 18, 2014 - 4:32 pm

    I loved this post, it is just so warm and endearing and your passion and hard work really shows even just through telling your story. I look forward to reading more posts, and of course looking at your beautiful photos!

    Arica, xxo
    http://www.varnakandlollies.com Reply Cancel

  • […] Day 1 + Day […] Reply Cancel

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  • Torrid Boudoir - October 21, 2014 - 12:08 am

    Wow — I can totally see why you’d start a blog to stay connected with your deployed hubby! I’m sure he LOVED that! Reply Cancel

  • […] you all for reading along. View Day 1 + Day 2 + Day 3 + Day 4. Serious fun in these little […] Reply Cancel

  • Sharina Wunderink Photography - October 22, 2014 - 4:03 am

    Whoa! you are one busy lady! I’m glad that blogging has been a good way to connect with your hubby abroad! Reply Cancel

  • […] you all for reading along. View Day 1 + Day 2 + Day 3 + Day 4 + Day 5 + Day 6 of this blogging […] Reply Cancel