Wendy VonSosen Photography » childhood. beauty. life




I’m not really sure when it first clicked in my head that I was gay. There wasn’t a big “aha” moment where I gasped and the camera zoomed in on me as a musical number about my newfound gaiety started playing. I think I just kind of knew my whole life, but until I learned what the word even meant, I just didn’t care. By seventh grade I had learned what being gay meant and being an active member of the Mormon church, I was scared. I had heard friends and people talk about how “the gays” are an abomination to society and are “ruining the sanctity of marriage.” I managed to get through seventh grade (probably one of the worst years of my life) in denial of who I was. As the next year began, that disguise of denial began to fade. I found myself in a state of constant depression, and I was struggling in school. At this time that small prickling of a feeling had grown into a heavy feeling of doubt and self loathing. This anchor of depression was pulling me under the sea of self hatred, with no way to swim up and the comments from people at school and church pulling me closer to the seafloor. Then one day it just had to come out. I was tangled in the sheets of my bed, that anchor practically ripping them to shreds, in a puddle of my own self hatred when my mom came into my room and wanted to know what was wrong. After a lot of prodding and pleading by her, the words tumbled out my mouth, and suddenly we were both crying. I felt the weight begin to ease. She then went on to show me a video from the church’s “official” website about “our same sex attracted brothers and sisters.” It talked about people like me going to BYU and even marrying someone of the opposite gender. I felt myself sinking back down to that place. I don’t want advice on how to live my life from a church that’s too afraid to even use the word “gay.” She told me this is just a small piece of who I am and there’s a lot more to me, so I shouldn’t focus on it. That completely crushed me, the shards of myself crashing to the ground and scattering in all directions. I felt like I wasn’t even comfortable being myself around my own mother. Although it took her a while, my mom has grown with me, is now a strong ally to the LGBT community, and my strongest supporter. They may not understand right away, but people around you grow with you, if you connect and share with them. She’s told me I can be whoever I want to be and that I should be myself. I’ve grown in my own ways as well. All the things I used to imagine doing in my head back in those days of denial are now things that define me as a person. I joined Youth and Government and discovered my love for speaking out and using my voice to help people like me. I’m out to practically everyone I know. I’m finally able to explore my passion for makeup, something I used to dream of doing but was too scared to try. If you get anything from this story it’s this: don’t stop yourself. If there’s something you want or need to say, do it. People around you may not understand, but like you, they grow in their own way alongside you. We’re all small seeds, growing and twisting around one another in an attempt to reach up and touch the sun. Let your doubts go and stretch until you feel the warmth of your own happiness.

  • September 26, 2016 - 5:49 pm

    Sally - Thanks for sharing your story. The process of coming out to family can be so fraught with risk of rejection. Your family is amazing and it’s lovely to hear that you’re all growing together. I wish the same love and peace for all teenagers. Thanks again for sharing.


Yep.  It’s that time of year again.  School is starting and whether we want it to be or not, fall is right around the corner.  And you know what that means – the holidays will be here as well.  It’s time to update your family photos for your holiday cards.

Announcing my 8th Annual Fall Mini Session Event!

This year a few things have changed!

  • Due to multiple requests, I’m trying something new. Mini Sessions will be held for 2 days this fall – one day locally somewhere in or around Danville, and one day at the beach near Half Moon Bay!
  • Since it’s a little bit of a trek over to the beach, I’m opening up EIGHT spots on that day! So please feel free to pass along this email to friends and make it a fun beach day with multiple families. From the requests I’ve received, spots are going to go fast and my calendar will not allow me to open up another beach day before the holidays.  UPDATE:  There’s ONE beach session  and TWO Danville sessions left!  Every year I offer a presale to my current and past clients before posting publicly and the sessions are close to being completely booked.  To get on my email list and have first dibs on mini sessions, contact me and leave your email! 
  • Because most of my families end up purchasing more than the 5 digital images from their session, I’m increasing the number of images included in your session to 10! That should make it easier to choose your favorites.

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20 minute sessions

10 digital images delivered electronically


Due to time constraints, mini-sessions are not available for newborn sessions or groups larger then 6. For groups larger than 6, please book back to back sessions.

Each session will be presented with a gallery of 20 images to choose from. You will have 3 days to choose your 10 images.

The usb of all images from your session will be available at a special rate.

All prices are subject to California Sales Tax

Four spots available on October 22. Eight spots available on November 5.

Location details and clothing ideas will be emailed to you a few weeks before your session.

To BOOK Danville on October 22

TWO Danville sessions left!

To BOOK Half Moon Bay on November 5

ONE beach session left!


The third beautiful baby girl born to this sweet family, I was honored to spend the morning with them to document Aubrey on her first week at home.  Her big sister didn’t necessarily want to hold “her baby” but was adamant that she sit next to her on the rocking chair.  Luckily a little bit of bribery, the promise that she could also include her favorite blanket in the photo, and some reasoning later, we were able to get her to hold Aubrey on her lap for about 30 seconds.  Pretty good for a 2 year-old!  I’m so excited to watch this sweet family continue to grow over the years.

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Quite Honestly Wendy VonSosen

Challenges can hit us from all directions and levels in life. One challenge I have struggled with over the years is self-confidence. My childhood was filled with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. There were many tumultuous and chaotic experiences I went through that were life altering for me and my family. Through these trials, I struggled with self-image and I worried about being accepted by the people I looked up to. I never wanted to disappoint anyone. I was worried about not being good enough at something and at times I felt like I couldn’t take steps forward to achieve what I wanted to achieve. Like many, there have been moments where I have felt totally alone and wondered to myself how I was to overcome these feelings and emotions.

Mastering self-confidence is something I continue to work on to this very day. I don’t have all the answers, but for me, it takes a lot of patience. It takes learning and understanding with yourself and others and lots of practice and reconnecting positive reassurance after moments of failure and disappointment.

Right now for example, I am trying to get myself into song writing and learning the guitar. I love to sing and so playing an instrument would be nice to go with my voice, but it’s not so easy. Then I start to think I can’t do it, I’m not good enough, that someone would judge my lyrics, voice or guitar playing…………….

but what if it makes me happy and I miss out?

So I took some basic guitar lessons a couple years ago and a month into it my teacher asked me to write a song. My first song. I was so nervous. I thought for sure I would make a fool of myself. I pushed through it and wrote out a silly comedy song about my relatives on thanksgiving day (lol). I played the song for my teacher, slipping up on a few chords with a nervous smile and when I finished he said that my song was hysterical and he honestly wanted to hear more.

It’s always nice to hear positive feedback or compliments from others. It gives us a boost of self-esteem and confidence that can help us take the next step forward. I’ve always been grateful to friends and family who have spoken encouraging words. It reminds me to also be encouraging to others.

When I was a little girl, I loved being out in the mountains and surrounded by nature. It was therapeutic for me. Mountains are symbolic and make me feel safe and give off a sense of strength. Mountains remind me to be brave and remind me of my Heavenly Father in Heaven who I have relied upon every day of my life and who has blessed me with so much. As difficult as challenges can be, they have helped me grow and gain prospective. I love the scripture which states, “And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” -Ether 12:27