Tag: family portraits

Happy New Year!

Here’s me just blathering on about nothing really – enjoy!

The after party!

I love New Year’s! With one exception – I don’t like losing the joy of Christmas lights! New Year’s Eve for me is a closing of a door and an opening of another.

It’s a mind set for me. It really is just another day on the calendar – all it really means is having to remember it is 2022, not 2021, when writing the date. But as the manager of a my life and business, it kind of gives me a little bit of a do-over – fresh slate – a starting line to start over with the lessons I’ve learned from the previous year under my belt.

Resolutions – oh heck no – I gave those up years ago. I think about 20 years ago I made the resolution to not make anymore resolutions! It’s the only one I actually stuck to! Instead, it’s goal setting time. It’s time to create big ideas and dream. I actually start in October, but December really lights a fire under my butt.

I was listening to a Donald Miller podcast episode yesterday – Business Made Simple – and he talked about writing those big dreams out – those goals for the year and reading them every single day when you get up – oh shoot – was that him or Jon Acuff’s All It Takes Is a Goal . . . UGH I’m pretty sure it was Donald Miller LOL I listen to a lot of podcasts! Okay – it was Donald Miller – he has a cool six-week series starting January 6 – Hero on a Mission. ANYWHO . . . dream big and review it every day to keep yourself in that headspace.

One of the things I would like to adjust are my mornings. I have no ritual per se – getting out of bed is an act of God, so that’s my ritual. I love the idea – that many mentors have advised – of starting the day with high vibrations. And what could be more high vibrational than focusing on your dream – your big goal? And drink that down with being grateful. Wow – I think that would be a great way to start the day off right . . . and then refrain from road rage on the way to the office . . . just saying.

I am so grateful for my family, those that have entered my life in the last two years, and those that have stuck around. I am beyond grateful to my cheerleaders that try to get me business every opportunity they can; those that believe in me and push me forward; and clients that return every year and have become friends. I am grateful for all of the love and support I have received from so many. People have been very kind to me even when I’ve dropped the ball. It’s actually been quite a kind year for me – it’s allowed me some space to sit in all the emotions that have come up and work through them – and trust me – ALL the emotions have come up! Being grateful is super easy for me.

Goals and Dreams – so if you believe in the whole birth-sign thing like I do – you will understand my struggle around setting goals and dreaming big. The Pisces in me can dream big and live like there is an endless supply of money and time – she’s kind of irresponsible, but creative and happy – a joy seeker. The Capricorn in me – my protector – is practical and kind of jerk and brings me down. She immediately jumps in to my “dream time” and says, “Yeah that’s great – how the heck are you going to accomplish It? What’s the plan?!” She is just really worried about living on the street and can’t think about anything that isn’t the picture of security. She really doesn’t like to take chances.

So dreaming big is really difficult for me – I mean like REALLY difficult. I would love to hear in the comments below if you face the same challenge or different challenges, and how you break through them. Danielle Dowling has actually been quite helpful. Early last year I participated in her six-week program Hello Joy and gained a lot from it, but as we all know – you must practice practice practice – or it will not stick. She came up with a fun side project to do on your own – Dreamscape December Journal – she even created a special essential oil blend to go with it! My journal is a work in progress – as is life, but I like that. I did it last December and have picked it back up to continue it! This journal will be what I look at every morning to remind myself what I’m moving towards.

I have dreamed of having a photo studio since I was a kid – I have a photo studio. I love it! So why do I find myself having to sometimes smack myself back to reality when I’m feeling down? I have this thing I’ve been working towards and dreaming about that has actually come to be, but I haven’t stopped to really give myself some credit. I just keep focusing on where I’m lacking – what I’m doing wrong – how to fix myself – all the what-ifs. Well baby steps – someday I will look back at today and see how far I’ve come.

While I am writing this, I just found out that Betty White passed on this morning. Talk about a crappy way to end this challenging year! I know she had to be ready, but I don’t think we were ever ready for her departure. She was such an inspiration and a Bold Brave Badass woman! UGH I’m so sad!

Today – I am grateful to tears (literally right now) for all the gifts in my life – including all of you.

Try to live next year with some reckless abandon, take good care of yourself – mentally and physically, honor yourself, learn to pause and love.

May 2022 bring you all joy, love and prosperity.

Here are a few photos from this past year:

Hello Fall – Family Session Time!

It may only be October, but this is the perfect time to start planning your Christmas card photos.

The slightly cooler weather and gorgeous colors of fall make for the most beautiful backdrops. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, why not take advantage of the current setting to shoot your holiday card photos.

We get booked up very quickly from October on, especially the weekends, so it’s best to start arranging your family photoshoot now to avoid the last-minute rush later.

Below are a few top tips for planning and creating the perfect fall family photoshoot.

  • Pick the perfect location. Spend some time picking out the perfect location for your shoot. If you really want to take advantage of the current seasonal changes, pick a spot with lots of trees so that you can incorporate those lovely fall colors into your photos. If you’re unsure about locations, just ask! We are happy to offer suggestions.
  • Add a few action shots. While it’s great to get some posed shots for your holiday card, throw in a few action shots and decide which shot you like best afterwards. Kids playing in the fall leaves make for some beautiful photos.
  • Plan your outfits. Matching outfits are no longer something you need to incorporate into your holiday photos but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan what you’re going to wear. Opt for solid, complimentary colors and stay away from busy patterns and logos.
  • Use the golden hour to your advantage. The golden hour takes place around 15-20 minutes before sunset. The light is soft and flattering.  If possible, plan your photoshoot around the afternoon golden hour.

If you have any questions or need some extra advice on how to get the best family holiday shots, simply reply to this e-mail or give us a call at 562-477-7973.

This Month’s Promo:  To celebrate family, I am offering 10% off any size fine art canvas or acrylic print.

Focus and Capture Referral Program:  Introducing my Focus and Capture Referral Program – For every paid referral, you will receive $100 in cash (does not include mini-sessions or other specials)

Upcoming Events:

October 24, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Let’s Taco and Talk about Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond.  See attached flyer for more details.

October 30, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Pic & Treat Halloween Event – See attached flyer for more details.

November 7, 2021 – Celebrating Fall Family Mini-Sessions – Yorba Regional Park – $175 – 15-minute sessions – Space is extremely limited – contact me to reserve your spot.

November 28, 2021 – Family Mini Sessions – Yorba Regional Park- $175 – 15-minute sessions – Space is extremely limited – contact me to reserve your spot.

Honoring Mom

When I see this image of my mother (I believe she was 21) – I am grateful.  I am grateful she had this photo done.  I am grateful she and her mom kept and honored the photos they took.

Without this and other photos, I would only know the side of my mom that she showed me as my mother.  My mother was a kid, a teenager, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dancer, a wife, a mother, a coach, a working mom, a grandmother and a great grandmother.  Without photographs we only know a piece of our loved ones.

What legacy are you leaving future generations?

Although we are in this time of uncertainty – we can be certain of a few things: (1) This virus will go away; (2) We will get back to our lives or living a new and improved normal; and (3) We will have a renewed sense of the importance of life and our family.

I invite you to schedule your Mother’s Day OR multi-generation session in honor of you, your mother and family. All sessions can be rescheduled if we cannot co-mingle in May, but reserve your spot now so that when the flood gates open, you will be able to take advantage of this special.

Schedule Appointment

SPECIAL: FAMILY SESSIONS ARE $150 AND INCLUDE TWO 11X14S OR SMALLER PRINTS – AND DIGITAL FILES

Generations of Love

This photograph is approximately 94 years old. It is my father, his father, his grandmother and great grandmother. My great great grandmother was born in 1866 in Illinois. My great grandmother was born in 1882 in Arkansas. My grandfather was born in 1901 in Illinois and my dad in 1926. I have this photo hanging on my wall and look at it every day. It is a piece of my history. (I’m so curious why my dad and grandfather were not looking at the camera hahaha – I bet my grandmother was on the side of the photographer trying to make my dad smile.)

Generation sessions show your history. Where you came from – who you came from. You can see the connection and the honor my grandfather and great grandmother felt for my great great grandmother. They wanted to make sure their family was documented for future generations. I’m so thankful they did this.

During the month of March our studio is honoring Irish History Month – by focusing our efforts on all family history – your history. We are looking for families with three to four generations to come in for a special photo session. If your loved one cannot come to the studio, we will go to them. We want to know and tell your story. Enter here and let us know why you want a special multi-generation photo session.

Four Generations of Love and Beauty

How to Style Your Photo Session

One of the most common questions people have when preparing for their photo session is what to wear and what to bring.  You want everyone in the photos to look their best, but you also want all the details in the photos to tie together so it looks cohesive and not overly matching.  These simple tips will give you a better idea on how you can style your own outfits, accessories, and props so that everything meshes, but still pays tribute to who you are as a family.

Styling Your Photo Session

  • Coordinate Colors

Most families tend to match their outfits by pattern or color but for the best results, you’ll want to skip putting everyone in matching clothes and colors and instead coordinate their outfits to play off one another.  Let one of the family members secretly be the star of the photo shoot.  Dress them in a patterned outfit that consists of at least three colors.  Keep the rest of the family’s outfits simple with pops of color that coordinate with the star of the show’s outfit.  And don’t forget to take the shoes into consideration as well.

  • Accessories

Think about adding hats, scarves sweaters, vests, jackets or even flowers to hold or put in the hair.  Consider accessorizing your kids in layers, textures and offer something for everyone to interact with.  You don’t want the accessories to overwhelm the photo, but they can be a great way to offer a lot of variety throughout your session.  Think of things that can be easily taken off or put back on.

  • Props

It can be easier to work with children especially if they have something to play around with or hold for some of the images.  Think about adding in some props that are meaningful to you and your family, maybe a favorite stuffed animal, family quilt or heirloom or even the family pet can be a great addition to your photo session.  When choosing props ensure that they fit in well with the photo session and coordinate with the colors in your outfits – no bright pink bottles of bubbles with an earth-tone outfit.  Nature’s decor like flowers, apples, or pumpkins are also a few great ideas for props.

How to Find the Perfect Photo Shoot Location

Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn’t have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location:

  1. What kind of theme do I want?  If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme, look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. If you don’t know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It’s easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard.  Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.

  1. Are you allowed to take pictures there? Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it’s not public property or available to the public you will need to get permission first.

For example, this is an adorable English cottage facade, it is located at a venue that charges $300 an hour to photograph there.  Is the venue worth it?  My answer is yes, of course!

A great number of sought-out venues require a fee and many others need permits purchased ahead of time – so make sure you do the homework.

  1. Is it accessible? Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.
  2. How do you get to your location? Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.

  1. Will the photo session be in a public place? If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others or if they will get in the way.  You might want to rethink your choice in location.

Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.

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

Together We Rise – Holiday Family Photo Sessions

 

 

“Every day, 1,200 kids enter foster care in the United States.”  Together We Rise is a non-profit that changes the way they experience the system.

On November 12, 2017, I will be hosting holiday mini-sessions at Yorba Regional Park.  The entire session fee will be donated to Together We Rise for their scholarship program.  See information here – as well as additional packages offered.

I cannot imagine for one second what these kids go through and I applaud the hearts of those that can and do open their homes and hearts for these kids.

But what happens to kids when they “age out” of the system?  I can’t even imagine the difficulty unless by some miracle they get lucky with a foster family that can continue to support them and pay for their school.  What are their options?  How are they going to work and go to school?  It must feel really hopeless and scary!  Together We Rise has partnered with the Fund ll Foundation (Family Fellowship) to support youth in foster care with financial, educational, and wrap around support.  They invest up to $90,000 per student.

I absolutely love the work that Together We Rise does for kids in the foster program and I hope you will join me in showing them some love this holiday season.

Also visit their website to see how else you can help!  There are a lot of really cool and fun programs for which you can volunteer to help!

HOLIDAY MINI-SESSIONS!

‘Tis the season for getting those family photos taken for creative special gifts and holiday cards for your loved ones!

Here is a list of the upcoming sessions and their locations – packages start at $150:

November 12 – Yorba Regional Park – benefiting Together We Rise – Scholarship Program – Entire Session Fee is donated

November 22 & 25 – Gum Grove – Seal Beach

November 26 – Horsethief Canyon Park – San Dimas  LAST ONE!