When my best friend told me that she wanted to hang out in her pajamas and cook breakfast for her maternity pictures, I told her no, haha, but I did promise we could do that for her newborn photos. We spent the whole morning documenting the new normal in their house. Pjs, sleepy smiles, changing diapers, nursing, re-heating coffee, more nursing. (I also got strawberry waffles for breakfast, score! ) Sweet Graham at only 5 days old already has the sweetest disposition and I don't think I could love a little baby more.
I always say that the ideal time frame for a newborn session is the first 1-2 weeks after baby is born. They are generally sleepier and more likely to curl up in snuggly poses for their solo shots. HOWEVER, one of the joys of a newborn lifestyle shoot (as opposed to a studio session) is that the emphasis is not on posed photos. We don't have to ensure that baby is in such a deep sleep that we can pose them however we'd like, because guess what? Baby will be in your arms most of the time. I want to capture parents and siblings interacting with baby, and "tell a story" so-to-speak, of baby's first days at home. There are actually some perks to waiting until your infant is a little older. A few of these being that we can capture more expression, including little smiles, and that baby will be a little more interactive and a little less cross-eyed, haha. Little Ashton was 4 weeks old for his session which meant that his eyes were open for most of the shoot and we were able to capture some of those expressions.
In the hustle and bustle of wedding season, it was so much fun to take portraits for this sweet little family of three. Their beautiful, curly-haired 13 month old stole the show! Her mama initially scheduled this milestone session to document her daughter turning one. My own daughter is 4 now, and while I'm loving this age, I do miss the days of pudgy arms and heavy cheeks. My own daughter's first year of life was simultaneously the longest and shortest year I've ever experienced. Nothing makes me happier than when clients make it a priority to document this fleeting time. Because let me tell you, those arms will grow long and lean, and those baby cheeks will thin. I hope that for this mama, these photos will always take her right back to this moment in time.
I try so hard to stress to my couples that an engagement session is always a good idea :-) For one, it allows me to get to know you guys better and gives me the opportunity to show you how comfortable you can actually feel in front of the lens. It's almost like practice for the big day! My wedding couples who do an engagement shoot almost always feel more relaxed going into their portraits because they know already what I'm going to ask of them. It also allows you to preserve such a precious time in your life! And you'll receive your beautiful images and will hopefully go into your wedding day fully confident in our team. Anna and Richard decided they wanted a beach session but I also snuck in some portraits in the greenery (because it's my absolute favorite and I would always prefer to photograph among trees) before we headed down to Montage Beach in Laguna Beach. We are so excited for Anna + Richard's wedding next month at Coyote Hills Golf Course!
What can I say about this wedding?! Clients like Sami + Jackson are truly a dream for a photographer. They gladly listened to any and all advice we had regarding the timeline and we ended up with ample time for detail photos and couple's portraits. It was probably one of the smoothest wedding days we've had the pleasure of capturing! Thanks in huge part to their coordinator Taylor from Love and Laughter Events. It was also so special to be back at Temecula Creek Inn (where my husband and I got married almost 7 years ago). They didn't get married at the Stone House, but just being at the property was so fun. And Sami got ready in the same suite that Brandon and I stayed in!
"I'll promise to always be the air guitar to your air drums." -Sami
Sami + Jackson couldn't have been anymore joyful and giddy to marry one another, and I was smiling through their entire ceremony and the whole time I was editing their gallery. Her smile is infectious and her entire face lights up when she looks at her new husband. This is one of the longest blog posts I've ever put together and if you don't want to look through the entire thing, do yourself a favor and at least check out their couples portraits. Such a beautiful couple!
A few words from the bride:
Like a true 2016 love story, Jackson and I met when we both swiped right on Bumble. Romantic, I know. He likes to make fun of my clever pickup line of "Hi," and I like to look down at the ring on my left hand and say, "well I guess it worked."
We texted and FaceTimed for a few weeks after matching on Bumble (and Jackson blowing off our first official date) before deciding we really needed to meet. By that time, Jackson was already back at school in Arizona while I was busy at school in Southern California. With limited options and a few months before Jackson would be back home for summer break, I decided to book a flight to Phoenix to see if we would hit it off in person. Yes my parents were worried, and yes, we've heard of the show Catfish. There are a lot of words to describe me, but clearly "safe" isn't one of them. The trip to Phoenix went well, and I called my parents on my way home to tell them, "I think I'm gonna marry this guy."
On our second date, Jackson asked me to be his girlfriend. On our third date I met his family, and by the fourth date we were already saying "I love you." To say it progressed quickly would be an understatement, but like my mama has always told me, "when you know, you know." After 8 months of long distance, life changes, and too many airport pick-ups and drop-offs to count, Jackson proposed at Disneyland with our families there to witness.
Venue: The Meadows at Temecula Creek Inn
Coordinator: Love and Laughter Events
Cake: Elegance on Display
Dress: Wtoo by Watters
Mini Bundt Cakes: Nothing Bundt Cakes
DJ: DeVaughn Daniels - Timmy D Productions
Florals: arranged by Rosebud & Co.
Singer: Hannah Stadnick
Photobooth: Justin Sherman - Kyro Weddings
I should have known how much I would love Gabe + Kristin when they first suggested meeting at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants for margaritas and tacos for our initial consultation. They live in Arizona and make their way out to Southern California from time to time and knew they wanted to be married along the coast in the La Jolla area. Once they saw how beautiful the Cuvier Wedding Bowl is, they knew they wanted to married right there on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.
You have never met people with bigger hearts, or who deserve one another more than Kristin and Gabe! Their overcast, stormy seaside wedding went off without a hitch, due partly to their easy going natures. Brandon and I left on the evening of their wedding chatting about how we hoped we kept in touch with them and would love to meet up for margaritas on their next trip to San Diego.
What can I say about Meagen + Nick?! We took anniversary portraits to commemorate their second year of marriage and they were just the cutest. They totally lied to me and told me they would be really awkward in front of the camera but they were anything but! We had so much fun together. And even though it was a completely overcast day (and even started sprinkling at the end) the location couldn't have been any prettier. Give me green trees and I can almost always hide the fact that it's a gray day outside! Cheers to many more years together!
Lindsay + Jason flew in to San Diego from Seattle for their engagement session. I was so relieved that the sun decided to come out that weekend since "May Gray" had been in full effect all month. We started at Scripps Pier and then made our way to Windansea beach. This couple took such little coaching/posing -- their chemistry was what any photographer dreams of. They were so affectionate and attentive with one another and "having a good time" seems to come naturally for them both. I am so looking forward to their Sonoma wedding next year!!
I met this beautiful family for the first time last year when they drove down from Orange County to have portraits taken with me for Christmas cards. I was so excited to have the opportunity to take Olivia's One Year Milestone portraits as well. I absolutely love how Kelly always has matching "Mommy & Me" flower crowns made. Little details like that really add that extra something to photos.
Sarah + Jonathan could not have been any more fun to spend the afternoon with! After having to change location plans a few times -- once due to a Renaissance fair that overtook the park we wanted to shoot at (we weren't too keen on drunk wenches as our backdrop haha ) -- Sarah suggested this beautiful little corner tucked away in a neighborhood. They brought their sweet puppy Ruby who they are head over heels for and we spent the rest of the afternoon laughing.
When Amanda told me her vision for their engagement photos I did a happy dance! I am loving all things cactus and "desert chic" right now. The chemistry between these two was a photographer's dream. Jon's dapper hair cut, Amanda's outfit choices and this dreamy lighting made for the perfect scene.
Lazy V Ranch might just be my favorite new venue! (Have I said that before?) It stole my heart with it's gorgeous pepper trees, tall cacti, white fences and the cutest little bridal suite. Not to mention the wooden dance floor beneath the largest tree adorned with hanging lanterns and twinkle lights. I love that Lisa and Gavin had a little blanket ladder set up so that their guests could cozy up near the fire pits in the evening. Definitely the kind of wedding you want to attend!!
Nicole & Jason could not have been any sweeter together! They were so fun and playful and I just know they will make the absolute best parents to their sweet baby girl. I was overjoyed to find Nicole in cutoff jean shorts, lace bralet and boho kimono. That paired with her tattoos and the moody weather lent to a vary 90's-esque "Guess jeans ad" vibe. This is one of my favorite maternity shoots to date.
This family. Their outfits. This location. Three of my favorite things!
I have been so, so busy with photo sessions the last few months that I've been neglecting this corner of the internet! This week I'd love to share some amazing families with you. First up, meet the Bolen family! They all look like they stepped straight out of a GAP ad. Not only are they absolutely beautiful but their family dynamic was so sweet to witness. You can tell how much joy they get just from being together. Mom and dad had such a chemistry together and needed absolutely zero directing when it came to a few couples shots -- they just melted into each other.
I captured engagement photos for Dana and Justin almost two years ago! They both live in San Francisco and as a lot of us know, wedding planning takes a lot of time. I was thrilled when they chose to get married in La Jolla at two places I've been dying to shoot at: Cuvier Park Wedding Bowl followed by a reception at the gorgeous Darlington House. Their stunning cliff-side ceremony took place on a perfect sunny day, and the bridesmaids in their floral and black maxi dresses were perfection! Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Prueitt!
You guys, this mama had a repeat c-section five days before our newborn shoot. Five days. I don't think I looked this put-together five months after I had my daughter. She was so calm, and so smitten with the newest member of her family and I think it really shines through in her photos. Minus one little mishap where he pooped and peed all over his mom's white shirt, Waylon was an angel for his newborn shoot. Oh, and the lighting in their house? PERFECTION! Can I open a studio in one of your bedrooms, please? Congratulations Kelly Family!
As Diana and Eric's wedding day approached, Diana and I kept in touch as her wedding planning unfolded. I was so excited to shoot at the Bali Hai which I had always heard was stunning, and I was almost even more excited that we were going to do a first look at the harbor among all of the beautiful boats behind their hotel, the Bay Club Hotel on Shelter Island.
But when I showed up on the afternoon of her wedding to see the nautical theme that was so tastefully done, I couldn't stop snapping pictures. From the invitations they designed themselves (!) to Eric's fashion forward blue suit and his gold, knot cuff-links, to her stunning, stunning florals -- this wedding will have you drooling. I loved that she gave the mother-of-the-bride and groom bouquets instead of corsages - I'd never seen that, and it really added something special. The little flower girls also held bouquets instead of tossing petals.
We found out later that evening that Eric only asked for two things at his wedding: a giant margarita they could share at dinner, and a Captain's hat for the dance party at the end of the evening. He might not care for floral design, but this guy knows how to throw a party!
Venue: The Bali Hai Restaurant
Band: The Lucky Devils
Videographer: Nathan Miller Videography
Desert Table: VG Donuts
Hair/Make-up: XOA Angelina Dawson
Invitations: Self-Designed and Self-Printed
Coordinator: Michelle Quint
Floral Design: Dawn Steel Gaslamp Florals
Bride/Bridemaid/MOB pajamas: Plum Pretty Sugar
Lately we hear a lot about "DIY" (Do-it-yourself) brides who craft many of the details of their wedding days. However, Ivory + Wes took "DIY" to a whole different level. Not only did Ivory + Wes make all of their own centerpieces and ceremony arbor, and hang a million twinkly lights themselves, Ivory also made. her. own. wedding. dress. Yes, she made her own beautiful two piece dress. I couldn't get over it.
Their funky style was so much fun to capture. From the tulle-laced converse that the bridesmaids wore to the reception, to the Princess Bride inspired invitations (my favorite movie of all time) to the bouncy house they provided for the kids as entertainment. Their day was one-of-a-kind, and love from their family and friends filled the air.
They got married at a beautiful, blue house in Julian and they had friends play florist, baker, caterer, DJ and planner. We were one of the only vendors they hired and while that was so flattering, I took that responsibility seriously. It makes my heart swell when other people value photography as much as I do. My hope is always that no matter a bride's budget, our images will always capture the details in the most beautiful way and in the most beautiful light (literally, we seek out the best light, ha).
The little nautical outfit that Jackson's mom had picked out was so sweet! It coordinated perfectly with his nautical themed nursery. I loved her idea of putting him in the life preserver that was signed by all the guests at her baby shower.
And don't get me started on the gorgeous natural light that filled the room we were shooting in. All the heart eyes.