Who is the Portrait Mama?

Hello, Friend! I’m Renata, The Portrait Mama, and I’m thrilled that you found me here in my San Diego home. Originally from Brazil, I have been in the United States for a long time now and am happily raising my family here. 

Photography has always been a love of mine, but it wasn’t my career initially. I am actually a scientist by training! 

I grew up knowing that I wanted to work as a doctor or in some other medical career. I went to school to become a pharmacist, but something happened as I prepared to graduate from pharmacy school.

The graduation invitation was a booklet, and the first page was full of photos of the graduates as toddlers. Each of us was supposed to submit an adorable picture of ourselves at that age.

I started to search through my parents’ photo boxes and albums for the perfect picture and came face-to-face with an enormous disappointment.

There were almost ZERO pictures of me that weren’t blurry, fuzzy, and unrecognizable. 

It turns out that, although my dad loved gadgets and getting new cameras, he was a terrible photographer! I was so frustrated that there were no good photos anywhere to show what a wonderful childhood I’d had.

I made a promise to my future self and my future children. I promised that I would document their lives in detail, so they could look back at their childhood and show it off to their own children. It was the first time I felt strongly about keeping memories alive through images. That was also the first spark that motivated me to learn and take on photography as a hobby.

From Science to Photography

I have enjoyed photography since I was young. In fact, I vividly remember wasting rolls and rolls of film during a family trip just for the joy that the little click of the button brought me. I also have a particularly special passion for Polaroid cameras. My not-so-slight obsession with these began during my teenage years, and I have several antique models in my home. 

I don’t know about you, but there has just always been something so fascinating about watching a photo develop right in front of your eyes. (I guess the scientist in me still sneaks out now and then.) But even with this love, I never imagined photography could be a career.

After grad school, my interest in photography grew. I started to study it more seriously, with my dog as my favorite subject. My first professional venture was as a second shooter at weddings. Soon, I knew that I wanted to do this photography thing all the time. 

My business was born in a spur-of-the-moment decision. I was completely naive and didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but I had a deep desire to learn newborn photography. 

I really wanted to take a certain newborn photography class. But all participants had to have a registered, legal business to enroll. It was non-negotiable. Scrambling, I got all the pieces in order and officially launched my photography business in 2016 so that I could take the class. And that was that!

Now, I spend my days capturing beautiful moments for newborns, families, and rockstar mompreneurs. I value this opportunity to help families document their important, special moments and help small businesses grow.

‘Mama’ the Dream Came True

If there’s one thing my heart really desired, it was to become a mom. My love of kids and my family-centered upbringing left me hoping for a family of my own. That disappointed pharmacy grad now has total happiness. 

I am a mom of two little boys who have their life well-documented. Being the mom to two kiddos under age two requires a lot of caffeine, but I wouldn’t trade this wild time of life for anything! It’s my dream come true.

My amazing husband supports me in all my ideas as we navigate this craziness together. He even acts as my assistant and personal photographer sometimes! And in case the boys didn’t provide enough chaos, we also have our fur-baby, Sandi. 

I also love to travel, and I am a big foodie (although cooking has become the hardest thing to do with little kids). I’m eager to share all the travel experiences possible with my children so that they can see new places, near and far. I just can’t get enough of the luxurious and fun feeling of being in a hotel room, and so far, it appears that my oldest shares this love! It’s good to have travel buddies, right? 

So that’s me in a nutshell. How about you? Where has life taken you? I’d love to connect and learn how I can serve you.