It is not lost on me that I live in paradise, Huntington Beach is a vacation destination! So it is no surprise that when families head west for some fun in the sun, they also plan to update their family photos at the beach. Because when your hometown is landlocked, and especially if it snows in the winter where you are, staring at a gorgeous 16×20 canvas portrait of your relaxed and happy family hanging at the beach takes you right back there.
This beautiful family came to visit Huntington Beach from the Lone Star State of Texas. While we were running around the crowded beach on a Friday night in June, Mom told me that Austin is just packed with people who replanted there from California, how funny! The only bummer of our session was the marine layer. If you’re not familiar with this phenomenon, its basically low clouds moving in right at the exact moment we’ve planned for a golden sunset session. It happens, it stinks, but it doesn’t mean we can’t still get some awesome family photos!
If you are headed to the (mostly) sunny Southern California beaches this year, let’s get your family photos updated too! I’m happy to give you some recommendations for hair and makeup convenient to your hotel or vacation rental, or even someone who will come right to you. While the Huntington Beach Pier is not always the best choice in the summer due to our insane crowds, there are a couple of other beautiful, less traveled beaches where we can plan your session (there are also several where we cannot due to stringent and expensive permitting rules, but I’ll worry about that for you!)
I will admit, I’ve had a bit of a love/hate relationship with newborn sessions for a long time. I love babies, LOVE love love babies, but I started to dread photographing them. All of the STUFF, the props, the outfits, the tears and the stress (for baby and me!). More ended in inconsolable crying and missed shots than I care to admit. I just felt like there had to be a better way, and I went on a mission to find it. Over the past several months I’ve taken some ah-mazing continuing education workshops with some even more amazing fellow photographers, and friends, I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!
Being a newborn is HARD. Your cozy, warm, safe place you’ve been living in for months disappears and suddenly you find bright light in your tiny eyes, uncomfortable textures on your baby skin, and many hands passing you around. So why do we want to make things more stressful by contorting baby into strange positions, wrapping her up in scratchy fabrics, or laying her on hard surfaces (how well would YOU sleep in a wooden bowl??). There is another way! Introducing… Naturally Newborn Sessions!
Naturally Newborn Sessions are calm, quiet, peaceful sessions with baby-led posing, disturbing baby as little as possible. Newborn photos can be beautiful and classic without all of the fuss, just baby, my custom newborn posing pillow, and some soft fabrics loosely draped just so. I work through the session capturing baby’s every detail from every angle, with very minimal movement of baby. This allows me to move quickly and quietly through the session so you can get back to the business of snuggling. Newborn sessions shouldn’t need to last hours if baby is allowed to be comfortable and content! After about 20-30 minutes with your newborn, we will move on to some simple and beautiful family photos with mom, dad and siblings. Newborn sessions also take place right in your own home, so there is no need to pack up baby and head to a studio, and baby is safe, warm and comfortable in her own environment.
Now here’s the really exciting part. SO EXCITING!! All newborn sessions now include a sweet little film, showcasing your little one’s first movements, yawns, stretches, and adorable little faces. Photographs are amazing and beautiful but nothing really brings you back to the moment like video. During our session, I’ll be switching my camera constantly between photos and video, and these little snippets will be crafted into your little one’s very first feature film, complete with the perfect little background tune.
Are you expecting in the Gilbert, Chandler or Phoenix metro area? It’s time to schedule your session now! Don’t want until baby arrives, as newborn sessions are best done as early as possible, within the first 12 days or so. I only accept a limited number of newborns per week, to allow flexibility for babies who arrive early or late enough that we need to reschedule. If you’ve missed the boat, don’t fret! I can safely photograph babies up to about 3 weeks old in this style, they just may not be quite as sleepy and easy going.
Now keep scrolling for a little sampling of this dreamy, sleepy newborn experience, and a peek at a film! ❤️
Ceilidh’s mom and I have been partners in crime, volunteering and having fun together for several years. So when I heard that Ceilidh was heading straight off to an internship with Walt Disney World after graduation from Cal State Long Beach, I was super excited because we just HAD to take some senior photos at my favorite place in the world – Disneyland! We lucked out and the crowds were light and the rain held off just long enough. Good luck with your internship Ceilidh, I know you will ROCK it!! Also, I might be just a smidgen jealous that you get to live at Disney World. Just a smidge.
Have you booked your Class of 2016 senior photos yet? Be sure to give me a call before the year gets away from you! And Class of 2017 – time to start getting on the schedule!! I get TONS of requests for senior photos at Disneyland, and unfortunately a lot of times it’s just not possible because clients already have solid vacation plans for a date that just won’t work. Here are some quick tips if YOU are dreaming of a Disneyland senior photo session.
1 – Don’t plan on a Saturday, in the summer, right next to a holiday. It’s crazy in the park, and the heat – oy!! Crowds make it very difficult, and I do not usually accept bookings for Disneyland sessions from July 1 through late August, on any major holidays, Thanksgiving week, or the week from Christmas Eve until New Year’s Day for that reason.
2 – Do plan a weekday, during a slower time of year, in the morning. (And be sure to keep in mind when holiday decor will be up if you don’t want Senior Photos – Halloween/Christmas edition!). I start Disneyland sessions right when the gates open, which gives us better light and the lightest crowds, and I am happy to give you some ideas of the best time of year to book.
3- Don’t plan on bringing your cap and gown (your sash or honors cords are fine), wearing formal wear (no prom dresses), bringing several outfits, anything on a hanger, curling irons, flat irons, or props of any kind (except anything you buy in the park – like Mickey ears :-). Park rules – you’ll be stopped at the gate and told to take it back to you car and that will cut in to our shooting time. *sad face* Plus, you’ll want to travel light as we’ll be making tracks around the parks. Only bring what you can fit in a backpack that you’ll be ok carrying for 2+ hours.
4 – Do plan to bring mom (or dad). Any seniors under the age of 18 MUST have a parent book their session and have their parent with them during the entire session. No exceptions. Sorry, I know, lame, but it’s necessary.
5 – Do respect the Land and bring lots of patience. I cannot and will not block walkways, break park rules, or affect another guest’s experience in any way. No blowing glitter or throwing confetti, or any other mayhem that makes a mess, and no climbing into planters or other areas where guests are not permitted. And I am not willing to honor any requests otherwise. It’s my happy place… I aim to keep it that way. ❤️
It’s senior season again, and I’ve been back on campus at Cal State Long Beach for senior photos – Go Beach! That big blue pyramid and fancy dandelion fountains make CSULB my favorite college campus to shoot on. Unfortunately the fabulous fountains were off on this day, but we made the best of it! Working with seniors is so much fun, their amazing attitude of excitement and optimism is just contagious. You can’t leave a session with a graduating senior without a huge smile on your face!
I’ve known Sara, and Sara’s awesome mom, for several years. She’s an overachiever in the best way, a girl after my own heart, who conquers everything put before her and has such a kind, gentle, giving spirit. You’ve seen her around here before, she’s also worked as my assistant (and she’s a DARNED good one!). Even the squirrels love her, these little guys photobombed us looking for food and would. not. leave. (Fun fact, they have their own Instagram at @squirrelsofcsulb and Facebook page CSULB Squirrels how cute is that?)
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