I seriously can't believe the 90s are back. Honestly, when I lived through those years, they were just so regular. What could 90s style possibly even be? In my mind, I couldn't even visualize it. Then, I went to Camille's senior session and I was like, "Whoa! There it is!" Of course, she makes it look SO MUCH BETTER than I ever did in school, but I was totally dying... the chokers, the crushed velvet dress, the denim jacket, the matte mauve lipstick. Apparently, the only things that are not coming back from the 90s are my dance moves. I think that should have been my first warning. Like, if you call them "moves", do NOT... under ANY circumstance, show them to a young, talented dancer. Seriously, I tried to give Camille some posing inspiration for the dancewear segment of her shoot by displaying some of my classic choreography. When I got home, I saw some videos of her dancing and I could have melted into a shame puddle. SO embarrassing. I'm sure she'll forgive me for it. She's just about one of the most beautiful and kind-hearted people I've ever photographed. Congratulations, Camille! Wishing you all the best!
Like everybody else, I'm completely crazy about fall. Years ago, I would unpack all the fall decorations on September 1 and light the perfect fall candle, while cranking the air conditioning up. Friends, it's not fall in September. It's more likely to be 100 degrees in September than July here and so I've finally decided to wait until October for the boots and blanket scarves. I am so excited for the next two months... the colors changing, the football, the seven thousand family shoots. It's going to be awesome, just like my friends here. These kiddos were such troopers because they did visit on a 100 degree weekend and you wouldn't even have known. In fact, I may have complained more than they did. It was such a joy to spend time with them. Hope you have some fun fall adventures, too. Stay cool!
Yay! I'm so excited! SoCal Mini Session Announcement Day is here! I cannot believe how fall has snuck up on me this year. With several big projects on the books and kid activities galore, it took more brain power than I'd like to admit to get these weekends figured out, lol. So, without further ado, the details...
SOCAL MINI SESSIONS
October 22 & 23 and November 5 & 6
30 minute sessions
To book, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred date(s). All sessions will be scheduled in the afternoon, no earlier than 3:00 pm. The first to book will have the first choice on times, when they become available. As always, there are no print requirements. All images will be delivered digitally in an online gallery within two weeks of the shoot. Even more good news: whichever day you pick, all of your images will be delivered before Thanksgiving, so you can take advantage of those amazing Black Friday sales on Christmas cards and photo books! Woohoo! I am able to accommodate a few extended family groups during this trip. Please inquire about special mini session pricing for groups larger than immediate family.
So, what are you waiting for? Open your calendars, confer with your spouse, and send me that email! Please come prepared to slay... or smile... whatevs. ;)
A couple of years ago, I had the privilege of meeting this girl right here and it can only be said that she is one of the kindest, sweetest, most genuine people that you'll ever meet. I had such a fun afternoon shooting her senior pictures in the sweetest little city. Her mom and sister were along for the session and I think we walked every square inch of the town three times. I absolutely can't wait to see what her future holds because you just know it's going to be incredible. Congratulations, Codie! I hope your senior year is absolutely the best!
It's always a special honor when a fellow photographer asks you to capture their family photos. I can attest first hand to the near impossibility of capturing "the moment" when you are running around to adjust the camera, setting the timer or grabbing the remote, then running back to the fam, while directing everyone to smile. It's nuts.
This family is so very special to me. These girls are some dear friends of my daughter and it was truly a joy to spend time with them in my backyard. Our time together was way too short, but treasured nonetheless. These photos are some of my faves and I just love to seeing dad in the shot for once!
Let's just say, if there had been a professional photographer snapping photographs of our first days as parents, they would have looked nothing like this. I still maintain that the phrase, "hot mess" was coined in my honor after someone saw me on my first trip to Vons, post-baby. I was wound so tightly, I can still hear it in my voice when we watch old home movies. All I wanted was to get everything just right. I mean, those were the days before drive-thru Starbucks was a thing. If I wanted to commiserate with a friend via text I would have had to hit about eleven keys on my phone, just to spell, "HELP!" Dark days, indeed.
My friends here, though... they just inspire me with the natural way they took to parenting. The ease and loveliness that filled their home on this day was real life magic. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to watching their sweet boy grow.
It feels like I'm always playing catch up when it comes to blogs and social media. I go a few months without posting anything and then when I realize how much I have to share, I pop in like, "I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted!" I think maybe it's time I faced the truth- I blog sporadically. I Facebook even less. Is there a self help program for people like me?!
I love this session. Claremont is so sweet and it was the perfect backdrop for this fun family. To make things even more fun- I got to update some headshots for Jennifer! I love them all...
Recently, I wrote about how much fun I've been having meeting my clients in Santa Barbara for some beach sessions. Well, these friends decided not to meet me in the middle, but to come all the way to my neck of the woods in San Luis Obispo for their engagement session. Honestly, SLO is unspeakably gorgeous- just like Lexi & Sam, so it couldn't have been more perfect. As Lexi and I were trying to narrow down the location possibilities, she mentioned that she would love it if we could find some wildflowers. Thanks to the rain we got this winter, nature was kind of being a show off. We headed out to these gorgeous fields where the wildflowers were over our heads! I can't think of a more perfect setting for these two. Anyone who knows them will agree that they are two of the most kind-hearted, generous, and encouraging people you've ever met. I always joke that finding a partner who is handy is just as important as looks and personality. I think that gives you a clue as to how many things my kids break around the house. ;) In all seriousness, I really feel that finding a partner who makes you laugh is more important than all of those things. The first time I remember seeing my husband was when I told a joke and I turned around to see who was laughing at it. You really never know what life has in store. You'll definitely lose your keys or your purse. You'll forget to drop something off. You'll scrape the car. Some days, it all just feels like too much. The best thing ever is coming home to your favorite person in the world and finding a way to laugh about it all together... or at least laugh about it a few months down the road. When I look at these two, I can almost feel the joy that's ahead for them. I love to see how much they love each other and how happy they are. I wish you nothing but the best, Lexi & Sam. I'd wish that you'd never have bumps in your road, but I know that together you can face anything. Congrats you two!
I didn't grow up with dogs as pets. We had cats. Cats are pretty awesome from a self-sufficiency point of view. Sure, they can be cuddly, if they're in the mood, but the best part about cats is that they're low maintenance. About ten years ago, my husband found an abandoned German Shepherd pup and after an extensive search for it's owners, it became clear that she was ours if we wanted her. I have to tell you- I was so leery about it. I love to travel and I was pretty concerned that it would seriously affect our ability to get up and go whenever we wanted. It wasn't even too much of a discussion, though. By that time, I had fallen in love and Abby was ours. As she grew, I realized that dogs are so much more than pets. Take this family's adorable shelter pup... he was completely cool with me, so long as I realized that these were his kids and I wasn't going to be getting any closer than five feet, especially when it came to his sweet girl. It's funny when I look through these pictures because you can definitely tell when I was moving closer to get a shot- check out the healthy dose of side eye that he's giving me. It struck me that this is a genius parenting move- nobody gets between this guy and his family without mom and dad's ok (well, maybe not even then, lol!). I never thought I'd want a dog and now I know we'll never live without one.
I hear a lot of photographers talking about how dads have to be dragged along on photo shoots and how they'd rather be doing anything on their day off than taking family photos. I cannot possibly be the exception to this rule, but I've got to say- the dads I work with are the very best. Take this dad, right here. All you have to do is look at this family to see how completely happy they are and how much they love one another. He had all three of his girls laughing throughout the shoot and it's plain to see how much he adores them. Take heart, single gals. There are so many good men out there. Men who will strike a goofy pose to crack your girls up and men who will love you well. This happy family is absolutely one of my favorites.
First of all, how stunning is this family?!! Maria is one of my clients on a commercial project that I've had the privilege of working on and earlier this year I was lucky enough to photograph her stunning engagement session. Since we've been talking about doing a family session forEVER, I'm so happy that we finally made it happen! Lately, some of my SoCal clients have been meeting me halfway between LA and SLO, which has made for some gorgeous photos. SoCal beaches are bomb, but so, so crowded. Let's face it- spending the day in the Santa Barbara area and meeting up for a photo session in the afternoon is not the worst way to spend a weekend day. In fact, I think it's pretty genius. If you've packed all your clothes and spend the day relaxing, your photos are going to reflect that ease and happiness. The day becomes more about the family and less about the shoot and isn't that the way it should be? Thanks so much Maria & Stephan for choosing me to photograph your memories. Can't wait to do it again this summer!
These five make me all kinds of happy.
I love them so much.
So, the word of the year is they. I get it and I've actually had conversations over the past few years about pronouns. It's just that when you put it up next to some of the other contenders, it just maybe feels a little... blah? Not to argue with the folks at The American Dialect Society, but my vote would have been for yaaass (yass, yaass, yaaass, etc.: expression of excitement, approval or strong agreement). It's the word I use when I'm editing sessions like this because um, YAAASS! I love these guys. They are so, so fun. When you get a text that says, "The kids want to dance," I'm like "Yaaass!" Or when I text, "I found this building I love. Want to shoot there?" and they text back, "We're on our way," it's just so sweet. Evidently, there was some disagreement over it's spelling, but obviously the one with the most letters is correct because when it comes to yaaass, more is just more. Maybe next year... ;)
+ Sierra Madre +
One of the best days of ever was the day that Erin and Nate were married. It was one of those awesome weddings where all of the friends are just one giant family and the party was just the most fun. Shortly after their wedding, I made a lot of changes- big life changes, business changes. One of those was a new website and I still haven't transferred all of my past sessions over! With all of the holiday engagements, I've been reminiscing about some of my favorite weddings and this one is definitely among them! I love these two. Every detail of their day was perfection and I'm not likely to forget it, ever! Love you guys!!!
+ Pasadena +
It's no secret that 90% of my shoots happen in the late afternoon. Everyone wants to catch that warm light. Sometimes, when you're trying to schedule a session around birthdays and baseball, a morning session can be the only option that works. Whenever I offer mini-sessions, the afternoons are always the first to be filled, but I'm hoping that this morning shoot will change some minds. Sure, it doesn't hurt that this family is seriously beautiful or that they are so much fun, but 9:00 am can be every bit as gorgeous as 4:00 pm! Loved capturing this group in one of my favorite locations. They make mornings look so good!
+ Pasadena +
You know, weather doesn't normally faze me very much, but since I had several back-to-back shoots that day, I woke up the morning of this shoot and had a peek at my weather app. Sunny, sunny, sunny all day long... EXCEPT for my three busiest hours, which showed 75%, 80%, & 65% chance of rain. It definitely gave me pause and I immediately racked my brain for locations that might have good light and covering. Prior to this shoot, I think I might have been the last photographer in the greater LA area that had never shot at Pasadena City Hall. I knew that it was a very busy location and that's not normally my jam. We had SO much fun, though! It sprinkled for about two-and-a-half minutes, no big deal. What brightens up a gray day like balloons, too?! Love these photographs of some of my favorite people at an iconic Southern California landmark.
I feel like the question clients most often ask is, "What should we wear for our family photos?" The majority of the time, what they're really asking is, "How can we coordinate without matching?" One answer is to create a color story for your family photos.
Just a few years ago, this problem would have been solved by buying three of the same polos for the kids and calling it a day. My youngest actually just brought me one of our family photos from about eight years ago. We're all wearing black shirts and medium rinse jeans. I kid you not. Today's clean, modern, eye-catching family photos usually begin by deciding on a palette of three to four colors and then selecting outfits for each of your family members within that group.
Black and red is one of the color combinations I see the most often and this family did it beautifully. Grey and ivory round out their palette and I love the way they selected different patterns with a common color story. Grey tights with black hearts, stripes, a plaid, color "pops" in the bowtie and the earrings. Darling!
A word to the wise: black and red is not for everybody. I think the safer alternative to black is navy. Navy is a universally awesome color, in my opinion. My little guy just got some flannel sheets from Target that are a navy, stone, red, and mustard plaid. So digging it. I am not trying to steer everyone away from black, but if you know it's not for you and black makes you look washed-out, try navy. If you look smoking-hot in black and red, please proceed.
Unless your goal is to create super neutral images, every good color story has a high note- a "pop" of color. How fly are these red pants?! Love, love, love!
These sisters wore aqua for their fall shoot and it was AMAZING! Totally stood out against the warm, natural setting.
Ah, hot pink pants, for the win!
And can we just take a moment to sigh over the kitty shoes that went with them?!!
Some color stories are intentionally neutral. Perhaps you want to invest in a canvas for your home and like to change up your decor seasonally. Creating a neutral color story can help you achieve that mellow, calming atmosphere.
Neutrals are also a good clothing choice when your pop of color is coming from something else. I love these guys in their grey, black, and navy with that red truck.
For the record: leopard is a neutral! ;) How adorable is she?!!
MIX IT UP
Some of the best stories are surprising and kind of unpredictable! It's always fun to create an extra look with accessories. They are probably are the easiest way to add color and texture to your photo. These socks totally made my day.
Choosing your palette ahead of time is critical, when you're taking a large family photo. Once it's decided, you can just email the group and tell them to pull clothes from those three or four color choices. This family did an incredible job of it!
This is my family photo from last year. Obviously, we have that burgundy, navy, and chambray thing going, but another way to not be too "matchy" is to add texture. Chunky sweaters and denim jackets have color variation to them, which adds dimension to your photos and prevents them from looking too flat.
These are some of my basic tips on creating a color story, but if you need some extra visual guidance, check out Pinterest. When you type in "family photos", you will be presented with more combinations than you ever dreamed. My final advice? SHOP YOUR CLOSET! Seriously, your family will be more comfortable wearing their tried and true, than their brand-spanking new. Try to limit your purchases to accessories or just a few pieces, if you can help it! Can't wait to see you on picture day!
I really, really love this time of year. There is so much to love about fall, but one of my absolute favorite parts is seeing kids all dressed up in their costumes. My kids would spend so much time trying to figure out exactly what they wanted to be... kind of like a metaphor for growing up. They'd get to try on all these different personas and figure out what they liked best. So cool.
Most of these photos are from a few years ago and I just treasure them. It wasn't so long ago that they even dressed up together in a THEME! I really miss those days. I may even have just one trick-or-treater left in my house (although, my daughter has had this conceptual idea floating around in her brain for a few months, so she may have a costume, too).
Honestly, it can kind of be overwhelming to just get them dressed, fed, and out the door. No doubt they had a costume parade at school earlier that morning and you barely have time to get the oldest home from soccer in time to help them all dress for the big night, but getting quality pictures with your camera (even the one on your phone) is totally possible! So, here are some of my tips for taking better pics of your kids in their costumes this year.
1. LET THEM PLAY
The whole point of dressing up is to let them pretend! In their mind, they ARE their character, so instead of begging or bribing them to stand still, try entering their world! "Obi-Wan, there are enemy forces approaching from the south. Hurry, activate the force!" Obviously, I have no idea if "activating the force" is a "thing" and chances are your kid doesn't either. They will totally respond to your enthusiasm. Just invent a fun and semi-plausible situation for their character to enter into and snap away! Most people know, I could care less if a kid smiles for me. Genuine emotion will always will the day in my book. I'd rather see a fierce warrior princess or a melancholy artist, than a strained smile. Let them do what they want to do, anyway. By the way- your first scenario may stink. Don't be afraid to try again. The more ridiculous, the better!
2. GO ON LOCATION
This is kind of an extension of my previous tip, but if you have some extra time, try putting your kids' characters in their "natural setting". The Halloween that my kids chose a Star Wars theme, was perhaps the worst for us, personally. Our sweet German Shepherd had just passed away that morning and we were devastated. Having just seen Ashley Campbell's Star Wars photo shoot with her family, I decided to try and cheer the kids up by taking them to the moon of Endor (Again, whaaat??? I'm not a Star Wars geographer and it sounded good at the time). We even managed to track down a Darth Vader costume and dad surprised them with an epic battle. Even now, these photos bring back some pretty amazing memories. Try putting mini Steve Jobs in front of a computer or young Frieda Kahlo at her Fisher Price easel. You get the idea! It will feel even more authentic to your kids, which will give you even better pics.
So glad that photography can freeze those moments forever.
3. TURN OFF YOUR FLASH
I know. It's night and night = flash, but bear with me here. Some of these houses are absolutely incredible. People go all out in their decorating and sometimes, while there isn't a lot of light, there's enough to catch a pretty awesome picture. The kids in this photo aren't even in focus, but I love it so. They got all their nerve up to knock on the door of that super creepy house and then they shrieked and ran! Ha! The blur, for me, just adds to the story. What a great memory. One day, they'll cruise by with their high school friends and try to remember exactly what was so scary. Can we just talk about the colors, too?!! Amazing! Put on your photojournalist hat and turn off your flash... at least for a few shots.
Side note: for those of you who have an extreme aversion to blur, here is my number one tip for getting a better photo in a low light, motion situation: video. Just start videoing whatever you want to take a picture of. Afterward, pause the video at the spot you want the picture, tap the screen again to get rid of the stuff on the screen, and take a screenshot. It makes a big difference.
4. JUST GO WITH IT
I know how precious every holiday is with your littles. It often feels like a lot of pressure to get it all just right because you only get one shot at their fifth Halloween. I'm actually not even joking. Some of you stayed up until four in the morning sewing the final details on Elsa's dress and you just cannot let it go. I know we're always so mindful of trying to treasure every little moment. Honestly, some of the best memories come from the things that don't go as planned. Just go with it. My favorite Halloween memory is when I had to break into my own house with one of my best friends. No photographic evidence exists, but I doubt either of us will ever forget it.
Then, there was the year that my son wanted to be "Pumpkin Man". We had zero idea what this was and we soon figured out that he didn't either. All he wanted was this enormous jack-o-lantern from Target and to somehow attach it to his body? We were totally frustrated by this costume, but he was persistent and it ended up being amazing. His dad even added battery-operated lights to the inside, so he glowed at night. I'm so glad we let him just do what he wanted instead of pressuring him to choose something easier.
I hope these tips will help you get some great shots of your kids this fall and if they don't, just hold tight to Tip #4. Do your best, forget the rest. Enjoy this season with your kids. I'd give anything to do it all over again!
Yay! Im SO excited! It's time to start booking those holiday photo shoots.
This year, I'll be shooting in several different locations, and I could not be more excited! As always, dates are filled on a first come, first served basis. If you want to be among the first to receive updates and news from me, please head up to the "Contact" tab above and subscribe to my monthly newsletter. All future info will hit your inbox before it lands here.
Sooo... want to know what dates and locations are available? All the info is found here, in my Holiday Photos magazine.
If you just want the dates for these mini-shoots, they are:
November 1- San Luis Obispo, CA
November 7- Santa Barbara, CA
November 8- Malibu, CA
November 14- San Gabriel Valley, CA (Glendora, San Dimas, Claremont)
November 15- Pasadena, CA
November 21- North SLO County, CA
I absolutely love when I get to go to new places… especially when I get to go with my friends who are up for anything. The last time I captured their family photos, we went somewhere super natural and outdoorsy, so this time had to be different and downtown L.A. is probably as different as you can get! Why shoot in one location, when you can shoot in five… or six… or hey, let's go to the rooftop! Love these guys so much. Seriously, if there's a stronger sock game out there, I'd love to see it.