Sister Portrait - Seal Beach, CA

Don’t Leave Your Photos Stranded and Alone

Sister Portrait - Seal Beach, CAWe ALL do it, well unless you are the kind of person I dream of being – completely organized and everything in its place.  We put off printing our photographs.  We always have tomorrow – right?  We are just too busy to sit down and really spend quality time on the computer figuring it all out and then going to the framer or creating an album online – it’s so daunting and time-consuming.  That’s where your professional photographer (me) can be of great service.

My service and price includes printed photographs AND digital files.  I can also provide various types of wall art, including acrylic, metal, professionally framed prints, canvas, and/or custom albums!

Back when I was a shoot and burn photographer, I would photograph my client, edit their images and then upload the photographs to a site where they could download them to their computer.  I have had clients (not many but enough to know there are probably more) contact me and ask me to either send them the link to their photos again or inquire as to where their photos went – several years later!   Wait – what?  You paid a professional photographer to take your photos or record your wedding and they are still floating in cyberspace?!  Yes, I could have given a disc or flash drive, but that could just as easily get lost.  THIS is one of the biggest reasons I am no longer a shoot and burn photographer.  I value my work and photographs too much to not print and share them.  Putting your photos online for you to download sounds super convenient, but I’m not serving you – my client – by doing this.

My service includes the printed photographs mounted and matted and placed in a gorgeous folio box you will want to show off, or even framed if you like.  Or you can have them printed in a beautiful keepsake album.  You will have something to put on your coffee table and share with guests or just look at from time to time – and pass down through the generations.  Do you still get your digital files – YES!  But all the other work has been done for you.

I am a boutique business and boutiques are all about personalized service to their clients.  I don’t just take photos and then leave you to sit in the dark after work trying to figure out how to download 1,000 photographs from your wedding or spending half a day searching for that little flash drive or disc you put in a “safe place.”

When you see prices and packages of professional photographers like me, you probably step back and say, “But all we want are the digital files.”  “It’s so easy – you just take the pictures and upload them right?”  “Why do you charge so much and why can’t I just get a disc?”  Because I care about you, my level of service and your photographs.  There is a lot that goes into those photographs:

  • You get a free consultation right off the bat – whether you hire me or not.  We discuss what your end-game is – do you want large wall portraits, gifts, album(s) . . . etc. – what you are looking for in the style of your photographs – locations, etc.
  • Before the session, I am visualizing, creating a shoot list, possibly buying props – you are on my mind a lot.
  • The photo session:  We have a great time, different poses, play, and connect.  We are done when we are done – if we want to hang out and wait for the sun to nearly set – we do that – simply to obtain the best photographs that you are dreaming of.
  • I don’t think I need to mention all the education, workshops, years of practice, and expensive equipment I have.
  • Then culling and editing.  This takes much longer than your session did I guarantee you.  I sit with your images, I toss those that are duplicative or not perfect and then I create.  I retouch, head swap in family photos if someone blinked or looks better in another photo, sometimes I add textures and special tones, and I analyze how I want each and every separate photograph to look.  I put great effort into making sure every photograph is ready for printing and hanging.
  • Reveal session.  We get together and you get to see at least 30 photographs all retouched, printed, mounted and matted ready to take home.  AND you get the digital files for every image you purchase!  Win-win!

Wouldn’t it be a shame to only put your images online after all the work and love that went into them?

family portrait oak glen, ca


I know I’ve written on this subject before, but it’s a conversation I have often with friends.  “It’s just so hard getting everyone together.”  I bet if it was a wedding or a funeral, everyone would figure it out.

Family photos and individual portraits are so so important to our lives.  I know I’m uber passionate about photographs – I can’t help it!  When I find an old photo I haven’t seen before of one of my ancestors, I feel like they are reaching out to me from beyond to say hi and connect.  I get very excited and curious.

How special it would be to have a generation photo for future generations to know who we are and where they came from.  I treasure this photo.  This is my dad, grandfather, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother.  These are my people.  I feel a connection just through this photograph and the stories my dad would tell.  This is where I came from.

There is such a huge focus these days on our DNA – our heritage.  When I get started, I spend hours searching on for hints of my ancestors’ lives.  Why make your descendants search and wonder who you were and where you were from . . . what you were like.  (#Existinphotos) Have portraits done and print them – regularly.  Photographs are representations of your life – freezing life at that moment.  It is our history that we can leave behind for future generations – not selfies that are just going to die with our phone or computer (#printyourphotos).

About a month ago I was talking to a friend and I said I wanted to do a photo shoot of her and her daughters for marketing materials.  We set a date. Then a week before the session, when discussing what to wear, she casually threw out there the idea of wearing authentic Khmer outfits.  Needless to say, I was like, “Oh heck yeah!”  THEN, completely on a whim, her mom to her, “Well I want to do it too!”  Then BAM – I had a gorgeous group of women (and a baby) – three generations in authentic clothing from their country of origin.  My friend’s extended family wanted to do a shoot after they saw the images – my friend is so happy they did this.

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Friends, this is so so so important.  Don’t use the excuse that you have a hard time getting people together.  Pick a date a few months out, give me a call and just schedule it.  Another famous excuse is, “Well I want to lose weight first,” . . . really?  If you’re anything like me, that could be when you’re dead.  Your family loves you and wants you in their photos – don’t “weight” to be photographed.  It is my job to make you look the way everyone else really sees you – beautiful.  If you want to lose weight – great – take the photos and then schedule a special “look at me now” session when you lose the weight – problem solved.

Life is too short to not honor yourself and your life with beautiful photos of you and your family.

Don’t wait to be photographed.  If not now – then when?

Contact me now for a consultation – we will create something special for you.


I finally had the opportunity to visit Rockhaven Sanitarium located in Montrose, California.

Now, one would think that since I was born and raised in Glendale, lived in La Crescenta and my daughter went to preschool a block away, that I would have known all about Rockhaven.  I was completely clueless until a few years ago when one of my high school friends posted an article about Rockhaven on Facebook.  The California State Historical Resources Commission gave unanimous approval to list the Rockhaven Sanitarium to the California Register of Historical Resources on April 18, 2016.   Despite objection by the City of Glendale, the Friends of Rockhaven successfully nominated the Rockhaven Sanitarium for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.  Why the city that should be the proudest of such a historic property still not approve it is beyond comprehension.

Rockhaven was opened in 1923 by psychiatric nurse Agnes Richards as a private mental health institution for women with mild mental and nervous disorders as the brochure read.  At Rockhaven women could be treated with dignity and grace in a beautiful and serene environment

Agnes Traviss Richards, a registered nurse, was inspired to found her own institution when she became discouraged by the way women with mental illness (and those accused of being mentally ill that were not) were treated by large, state-run facilities.  Having worked in state-run insane asylums in Nebraska, Iowa and Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino, California, she witnessed the atrocities firsthand.  Richards’ vision was to create a peaceful, homelike setting where women could be cared for surrounded by gardens and lush landscaping.

Rockhaven was inspired by principles of the Cottage Plan of Asylum architecture for mental institutions, first developed in the late nineteenth century. The Cottage Plan placed numerous individual buildings within landscaped gardens in order to create a serene, homelike environment for residents.  Rockhaven is one of the best examples of an early twentieth century woman-owned, women-serving private sanitarium in California, and was one of the first of its type in the nation.  It reflects the vision of founder Agnes Richards, R.N., and represents a small, yet significant movement that sought to improve the conditions of mentally ill women in the early twentieth century.

I cannot say it better than the Friends of Rockhave, In this age of a new women’s movement it seems natural that a site with such significant history as the Rockhaven Historic District should be opened as a park.   95-years ago Agnes Richards opened a place for safe, dignified treatment of women BY women.  It offered  progressive treatment of both the residents and the women who worked there.  Now the property stands the last of a significant California business and is fully intact due to the forethought and action of a group of civic leaders in 2008.  It is waiting to be opened to everyone to experience and learn and enjoy whether or not they can afford it.  This Historic Park is owned by the public.  And we the public would like to have this remarkable jewel of Glendale opened to the public.”  If you would like to help – go here for the list of representatives that need to hear from you!

Here are a few of the photos I was able to take.  There was so much more to see that I could not get access to, but I hope my second trip will bring more images:


The Engagement Session – Is It Really Necessary?

I am often asked when meeting with potential wedding clients, “What if we don’t do the engagement session?”  I smile and politely let them know, “The engagement session is for me!”  Just kidding – well not really . . . well sort of . . .  Of course, the engagement session is about you – the happy couple, BUT it is really for US as a team.  That is why my engagement sessions are complimentary.  I want to have the opportunity to get to know my clients and for them to get to know me; what it’s like to work with me as well as an opportunity for you to preview my work on a personal level.

If you are newly engaged and wondering if you should really go through the time and possible expense of an engagement session – my answer is YES!  It is an important part of your engagement.

WHY?  Glad you asked!

This is absolutely, hands-down, the best way to get to know your photographer and see if you really want to take that next step with them – The Wedding Day.

You are not just hiring some nice (seemingly nice) person with a good camera and website – you are hiring someone for their vision – a unique vision for the two of you – who doesn’t just show up and do some cookie cutter poses and call it day.  You want someone you are comfortable working with and can trust.  After the engagement session, you get to see their work and if they really are a good fit for you.  Remember, this is the person who will be with you for HOURS on your wedding day, capturing intimate moments and special details – recording one of the most significant and emotional days of your life.  If you don’t really care for your photographer, it will be awkward for you on the day of your wedding.  Your photographer is pretty much your shadow the entire day.  By the end of the day, you will either want to go out for a drink with them, or drink because you spent the day with them!  An engagement session provides the opportunity to get to know your photographer.

Get Camera Ready

I personally know how awkward it is to be in front of a camera, not knowing what you look like and hoping you are taking direction correctly from your photographer.  People often overthink it and then actually look and feel stiff and uncomfortable.  Your photographer will work with you and make you more comfortable in front of the camera.  Once you have a chance to get used to being photographed and relax into the process, you will be amazed at how comfortable and natural you will feel!  Having an engagement session gives you a chance to develop that comfort before your wedding day.

Confirm the Photographer’s Style Is What You Want

Wedding photography is a major investment – for good reason.  Even if you have viewed the photographer’s previous work, you should still get a taste of how your photos will turn out – it’s like a test drive!  Having an engagement session eases your mind.  After you see your beautiful portraits, you will have a much clearer sense of what kind of images your photographer can create for you.  Not to mention the really great portraits you will have in the clothes and environment that most speaks to you and represents who you are individually and as a couple.

You Are Engaged!  Own It!

Being engaged is so exciting!  An excitement that you will never have again.  You are only going to do this once in your life!  You’re excited to have committed to your best friend, making plans for the wedding, and making plans for your future.  Doing an engagement session is a wonderful way to preserve memories of this brief period, so that you can look back on them for years to come.

Who Are You?

An engagement session captures pieces of who you are and the connection between you in a most natural way.  There are no people standing around watching or waiting for you to be done like they will at your wedding.  We can spend as much time as we like to create a beautiful and meaningful portfolio of your love.  We will stylize your engagement session.  We will pick a location that best represents you, maybe have props and/or wardrobe that shows your combined interests.  For example, I did an engagement session for a cute couple – he played hockey – she was an ice skater – so we did the entire session on the ice!

Engagement Sessions Are Really Fun

We just goof off and relax.  It’s a day out, just the two of you – well, and me . . . you get a few hours of just focusing on each other and playing.  During your engagement session there will be some light posing, but it will mostly be me taking beautiful photos of the two of you just being together.  And more than likely, you or I will come up with a really fun and/or crazy idea unique to you!

Details to Add to Your Wedding

You can use your engagement photos for:

  • Save the date cards
  • Thank you cards
  • Incorporated in your wedding décor
  • Create party favors with your photo on them
  • I can create a unique guest book full of images from the session
  • Wedding website


And finally – beautiful photographs you will want to include in your wedding album and hang on your walls!  Your family for generations will cherish them!

Hopefully, you are now actually excited about doing an engagement session!  Engagement sessions are one of my favorite things!


Imahny and Taurrean

One of my favorite things about wedding photography is the engagement session.  It is the time that the couple and I get to know each other.  We connect during the session, they get comfortable being in front of the camera – we goof off and be silly – maybe dance, which makes the wedding day so much easier on all of us!

We also see how well we work together.  You certainly wouldn’t want to hire a photographer that you didn’t connect with – or you don’t like their style.

Imahny and Taurrie are so much fun!  I cannot wait for the wedding!   (Click image for video!)

The Season of Love

In celebration of the season of love . . . I want to honor and share some of my favorite moments in recent years.

I have been extra ordinarily lucky to have been asked to be a part of one of the most important day in my clients’ lives.  Watching them take this step has at times brought tears and often lots of laughter.

Thank you everyone for picking me to be a part of your lives.

There’s Nothing Terrible About Two . . .

As with any age and any personality – you just need to learn how to connect.  You play, act silly, stay quiet, be curious, and you add a few bubbles, bunnies and magic . . .