Mommy Monday: 9 months later

When I was pregnant, 9 months seemed like FOR.EVER. But while shooting my baby Wild Thing’s 9 month pictures, all I could think was, “where did that time go?!” The time just slips by you …one diaper at a time. … Continue reading

Mommy Monday: Boy meets Octopus

My boy is fascinated with ocean life , in particular – squids, octopus, and jellyfish. So, when we went to the aquarium, it was no surprise we had to drag him away from the Octopus Garden after close to half an hour. And I have to admit the octopus in the tank that day was the biggest & most active I had ever seen!

Even though this shots are from 3 months ago, Reed retold me the entire story about how we watched the giant mollusk eat and swim around. We had so much fun that day … but anything he finds that interesting is automatically MY favorite part.


Maternity Session at Shell Beach, La Jolla {La Jolla Maternity Photographer}

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of Maternity sessions. It’s such a special time for a family. And since its just a “phase” of our lives, its my honor to capture some of those moments. For my family, the 1st pregnancy was 9 years in the making – so I understand how special the phase it really is.

I type this in all my 34 weeks of our 2nd pregnancy (swollen, can’t sleep, sweating ALL the time, hormonal) glory. I can’t help but think I only have precious few weeks left before my gift from God is exposed to the world. All my aches, whines, and preggies aliments will be washed away the exact moment I see that little face. The part that’s often forgotten is the process … capture those moments mommies! Not everyone is given the opportunity to capture this time. Fat, swollen, or exhausted – you and your family will cherish the pictures later. And although most most preggies don’t feel beautiful at the time, the pictures are precious glimpses of how beautifully blessed they really are from inside to out – literally! So document it, its one of the most important phases of your life – the process that CREATES a family.

I can’t say enough how I love shooting sessions for preggies!! And I was so excited about this particular Maternity session because it would be my first on the beach … love, love, LOVE outdoor Maternity Sessions! A huge thank you to this family for including me in such a special time!

Kowanetz Family at Scripps Park, La Jolla {San Diego Photographer}

Here’s another family you’ve seen a few times on my blog! I’ve done more than a couple of sessions for them and they just keep getting better!

And this was a special trip out for them because we did a Maternity Session too! Yay, congrats!! I’ll post those shots on another blog post soon. We got SO many great shots during this session – I was so excited for them to see their proofs!

I’d like to thank the Kowanetz family for coming out for pictures.  They’re such a nice family to work with and at one of my favorite locations – awesome!

Here are some of my favorites …

Photog Friday: Back Lighting

I distinctly remember during High School Yearbook class, watching tons of team photos being taken with kids all facing the sun. Its one of the first rules many photographers are taught to ensure a well lit subject.  I hate that rule!

Facing the sun makes for squinty subjects. And if you’re subjects are kids – like most of mine – its almost impossible to get them to look at you if it means they have to look towards the sun. That’s why rules are meant to be broken!  I love to practice shooting subjects with nice back lighting, it can create some beautiful shots.

With back lighting you can get some of my favorite effects – silhouettes! And one thing I’m still practicing to get right, getting a nice sun flare in the shot.  There are a lot of different looks you can get with back lighting – balance it with other light (natural, reflected or artificial), or an extreme backlight will give you the silhouette, or something more subtle. Endless possibilities! And it takes some practice to get the look you want.

Here are some of my shots and how I used back lighting to give you some ideas.

These first 3 shots are natural light and back light by the sun.

The shot is exposed for the subject but the light is very strong from behind.


These 3 below are more extremely back lit.

The shot is exposed for the brighter background and that caused the subject to be silhouetted.



The next 3 shots are all back lit by the sun with a flash used to add light to the subject to balance it out.

Without the flash, the subject would have been darker or silhouetted.


These last 2 are natural light (no flash) and back lit by the sun.

Exposed for the subjects but I moved so they were in between me and the sun.

So, get out there and practice some back lit shots! Feel free to email me some of your favorites and I’ll post them on a follow up post soon! Thanks for stopping by…

Hardins at Scripps Park, La Jolla {San Diego Photographer}

I’m so fortunate that my Arizona clients think of me when they vacation in San Diego & the OC!

I’ve shot this family a few times, since before the little one could crawl I think! And I just love that they not only keep coming back for more – but refer their friends! It was a gorgeous at a gorgeous location with a gorgeous family to match! How could a photographer ask for more?! We ran around until the girls (and me!) were totally spent … it was so much fun! And I know I say it every time, but I honestly think these little girls are cuter every time I get the see them!

Photog Friday: Fireworks!

Happy Friday!!

It’s been a while since I’ve had time to post a photography tip … so here’s one for this weekend.

Shoot some Fireworks!

1. Set your camera on Manual Mode (Dooo it!)

2. Set your ISO down to 100. This way you get maximum color saturation. Since the ISO will be so low, and the Wild Things will be roaming, you’ll want to use a tripod if you can. Resting the camera on your knees may work too but let’s face it, you may want you hands free  in the event a Wild Thing starts to run across the field.  In my shot below you’ll see some wriggle in the tips because I didn’t use a tripod. But Becky’s example is AWESOME! This year I’ll try using a remote shutter release & tripod … see if that’s a little more steady but still hands free.

3. We want detail so put your aperture f-stop at F/11 or F/16.

4. Put your camera on Evaluative Metering so your color and light is metered throughout your whole frame. This will enhance all the colors in the sky.

5. Slow your shutter speed waaay down. Start with a slow shutter speed of 3 seconds. Relax & go from there. What you’ll want to do is push your shutter release button down when the firework goes off and wait for the image to record 3 seconds of the light. Then when the shutter closes (you’ll hear it), check your LCD and see if it looks bright enough. Too dark? Slow your shutter speed down a little more … maybe try 4 seconds.  Too bright? Do the opposite, try a faster shutter speed like 1 second.

Another tip is that you’ll want to try to dial in your settings as fast as possible. The longer it takes you, the more smoke will be in the air from the fireworks. No pressure, just concentrate. Once you get your settings where you want them, enjoy the show & click away!

This one below was shot by Becky M. – great shot!!

Thanks for sharing.

If you get some shots you’d like to share – email me!! I’d love to post them on the blog for you … send your settings too!

But most importantly, have fun & be careful!

Happy 4th of July!

Mommy Monday: The First Bike

Not too long ago, we decided to go to Toys R Us just to “look around”. We go there every once in a while, maybe pick up something small, maybe talk about birthday size toys, and do some practice putting toys back on the shelf with the boy. But I should have known as soon as Reed’s daddy said, “So, we’re gonna go look over here while you look at baby stuff” that daddy might of had other plans for this particular trip. As I dabbled in the world of double strollers I heard giggles, then I heard “Mommy! Look at me!”. So, I followed the voice to the corner of the store to find my son sitting on a bike – a big boy bike! Seconds later he was doing circles around the aisle so I pulled daddy over to the helmets. It has training wheels but let’s not get crazy. We laid down the “No helmet, No bike riding” law and it was official – Reed got his first bike.

For a boy that showed no signs of wanting a bike, he sure looks proud doesn’t he?


Photog Friday: Baby Bumps, Speed Bumps, and Bumps up Ahead

Those of you who know me, know all too well that I don’t slow down. I don’t give myself a break. Stopping to clean up the puke is not the same as stopping to smell the flowers. My ‘me time’ is when I get my business ‘To Do’ list done. I’m wired to go, go, go … I’ve got things to do, places to go, if I stop my feet might get stuck in the sand.

I’ve always been a list making, rule following, goal oriented kinda person. But until I discovered a love for photography, I never really had a “big dream”. I dream of being a sought out, fully booked calendar, photographer who needs an assistant with a husband trained to 2nd shoot.

I use all my spare time (like I know what “spare” time is, c’mooon). Reed being preschool age fits in that nicely. We run around town to make playdates for him which are good networking opportunities for me, we run errands in between, and then back home so I can get some work done. Some where in there, I manage to play with Reed & get him fed and maybe do some laundry.

Insert Child: Version 2 (here).  Since I didn’t start my business until after Reed’s 1st birthday, I never had to slow down my schedule to make time to figure out the mom thing. A new baby with a preschooler means I’ll need to slow down. What does that mean? I’m not sure, but I know physically I can’t do as many sessions this summer. The husband has forbade me (that’s right, forbade me) from picking up a summer wedding. I can use the slow down to re-create my website, restructure my pricing, and get lingering things on my checklist done. But I feel like if I’m not hustling, no business will come in.

Can I shoot a family session with a baby in the front carrier? Maybe I should start doing squats to build for that. Can I fit a session in while Reed is at school for 3 hours?  Take a breath, its just a curve in the road. You can do it, just slooow down. I wonder if I get a sling, if I can nurse and shoot a newborn at the same time. hmmm.

I can’t help but feel some anxiety. A looming feeling that if I stop, my dream will sink into the water just out of my reach. Being a mom is my priority, above all over things, even my dreams. They grow up too fast for anything to get in my way of being mommy. Capturing those fleeting moments is WHY I 1st picked up a camera anyway. I have to find a way to enjoy “maternity time”, breathe normally during my slow down, not worry about all the things I could be doing while I’m adjusting to a bigger family. Breathe. It’s just a speed bump, a curve in the road. Breathe.

And in my heart, I have a suspicion … seeing the new baby’s face for the 1st time will wipe all my anxiety away. Thank you Lord for that.