Lion Business | Newport Beach Family Photographer

“Owning a business is like riding a lion. People think ‘Wow, that’s really brave!’ In the meantime you’re like ‘How the heck did I get a lion, and how do I keep it from eating me?’” ~author unknown, but I have a feeling this person would be my best friend. 🤣

I’ve had all the lion feels this year, trying to keep my head above water most days. BUT Newport’s water is really blue and pretty, and I’m so crazy grateful for all the sweetest people who allow me into these priceless pieces of their life together. I’ve grown much as both a person and artist, really finding my groove in so many different areas this year. And so as much as I rode that lion like a crazy bull this year, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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My Love/Hate Relationship With Social Media | Newport Beach Family Photographer

Oh the lion that is called “social media.’ All seemingly fluffy and fascinating from a distance but can totally bite your head off at a closer view. ;-)

Truth be told, the vast majority find me through those Instagram hashtags everyone makes fun of. I actually shoot more families from out of town than local. They use them just like a google search and find my photos along the line up. And you guys, I have met the BEST PEOPLE, from all over the country, and even the world. We have the original DisneyLand right here that brings in people from all over, and what better way to top off your family memories than some photos along the coast? It has kept me busy even in the typical “slow season” when the locals consider it too cold to go outside. I’ll get people visiting from the East Coast who will even get soaked in that freezing water. Because seriously, when your coming from a blizzard, 60 degrees really does feel like paradise. ;-) And so I am in fact indebted to social media that has very quickly created this booming business for me that would have taken years and years to grow without it. It’s kind of mind blowing when I really think about it.

That said, there is a side of the gram that forever eats at me. That whole constant fight at trying not to compare myself with others, with styles, with “popular.” To not base my own love for a photo on how many “likes” or “comments” it received. It sounds so petty, so easy to do, but I will admit its not always so. The algorithm is a beast, and it seems like each day it is making it harder and harder for my work to be seen. But as much as I would love to throw in the towel some days, to push delete on all of it and simply be present in the moment… well, I still need it. And somehow people are still finding me. Beautiful families who make it all worth it. And so I keep posting, trying to remain true to who I am. To enjoy it for all its confusing self.

“An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success.” ~Henry Matisse

And I think if alive today he would have added right in there ‘prisoner of the phone.’

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Learning to Love Southern California's Landscape | OC Family Photographer

Honest confession: when we first moved to Cali I missed the lush greenery of the Midwest. I loved the beaches but the rest of the landscape did nothing for me. But over time SoCal has been slowly winning me over with its desert vibes. 🌵 I still love the beach. I mean, hello beautiful blue. BUT if your thinking of mixing up the traditional family photos, what better way than some real to life nature?

southern California desert
southern California desert
southern California desert

Why I Shoot Engagements But Not Weddings | Newport Beach Photographer

Whenever I tell people I am a photographer the first thing I am generally asked is, “You do weddings?” A quick look around my site probably tells you the answer to that one. :-) And maybe someday I will start taking them on, but for now my love for this whole family photography thing runs too deep. My sessions are very laid back and fun in nature. I mean what brings people more calm than running along the sand? ;-) I’m a mom of littles and passionate about freezing those fleeting moments. Wedding are a whole other beautiful ball park, that mushy mom hearted, easy going self probably couldn’t handle at this time. BUT engagements sessions, well, I love those just as much as six kids!

Generally, when you book a wedding photographer an engagement session comes along with it as part of the package, and for this reason I get very few inquiries. Every so often though someone has an out of state, destination, or backyard vows and in this case I get to let all the romantic poses out of the bag.

This evening was one of those, with the sweetest people you could meet who somehow believed me when I told them I wouldn’t make them do ‘ring around the rosie.’ Doesn’t mean I didn’t still have him swing her around a few times though. ;-) Pretty couple. Pretty beach. Pretty amazing afternoon. They made me wish I did shoot weddings, just so I could do more of these engagements!

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This last moment made my entire day as just that morning I had put a pic up from the summer calling it my ‘final ode to summer,’ and explaining how it was just too cold out now to get too wet.  Fast forward a few hours and I go and meet these two who brought all my wet waves dreams back to reality—at least until next summer rolls around again. ;-)

This last moment made my entire day as just that morning I had put a pic up from the summer calling it my ‘final ode to summer,’ and explaining how it was just too cold out now to get too wet.

Fast forward a few hours and I go and meet these two who brought all my wet waves dreams back to reality—at least until next summer rolls around again. ;-)

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newportbeachengagmentphotographer

Brown Field at Sunset | Orange County Family Photographer

When I first moved to Orange County I will admit that besides the beach this nature didn’t really do it for me. I grew up in Michigan where fields where rolling green and trees not only where green but even took their turns changing to oranges, yellows and reds. And so all this brown just didn’t do much for me. Cali has this way of luring you in though It seems. When I first moved here I laughed at the women walking around in their UGG boots and jackets. Now, I am one of them! And in the same way I guess I have grown to love the desert vibes this place hold. I adore the contrast it gives to families in their nice picture clothes. The way it makes them pop out from the backdrop rather than be swallowed into it. The golden tones it takes on at sunset. And mostly the way it really says home…

family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
family photo session in Orange County, CA
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Irvine's One and Only Forest | Orange County Maternity Photographer

Besides the beach the number one request I get asked for is somewhere green. And believe me, that is one very tall order here in Orange County! ;-) Sometimes when driving through the neighborhoods we see palm trees and grass and and just think that this magical little forest is around the corner. But reality, around the corner are brown fields and some cacti. And not that I don’t absolutely love their own look at sunset. I actually do a whole lot! But still, I understand that want for a little extra color in your backdrop sometimes. And with that there is just one little tiny spot of forest I have found here in Irvine. One where the sprinklers must run all night every night long. And luckily no one minds if we walk on it either. :)

Also how adorable are these parents to be?! Maternity sessions will always be one of my very favorites and they were no exception. They are going to be the best parents ever. <3

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Number One Secret to Great Family Photos | Newport Beach Photographer

You see all these families taking those ‘long walks on the beach’ and think, how are they so natural?! One of the main things I get told when booking a session is, “We are SO awkward in front of the camera!” But you know what, almost everyone is! Don’t worry though, because I today I am revealing the number one secret to you.

Ok, are you ready?

Have fun.

That. Is. It! Seriously, when you stop thinking about how your hair looks or if the best side of your face is showing or whether you kids are cooperating, and simply enjoy the moments together—well, that is always where the magic happens. When I think of sessions that have been my favorites. The ones where I smile the whole time I’m editing. They have always been the ones where parents simply played. Where they loved on their babies even when they cried, where they happily chased they toddler who wouldn’t stay still for more than 1/2 a second, where they laughed through the chaos that is forever the norm during family pictures. SO many gems can happen, we just have to team up together to create them.

And so with that please come ready to simply have a good time. To let your hair down, quite literally. To get wet and sandy, and leave not only with some great memories on my camera, but in your own heart as well. <3

Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer
Newport Beach family photographer

Ocean Views, Desert Vibes | Orange County Family Photographer

Every once in a while someone will ask me for places I recommend besides the beach. And often I feel a bit like a deer in the headlights about it. ;-) I honestly am asked so little that I’ve done little exploring outside the sea. BUT with that I have found a place I am starting to really love here! A little true Southern California charm, because lets face it rolling green hills and trees just don’t exist here, but cacti do, and they are starting to grow on me. And that Ocean peeking into your backdrop doesn’t hurt either. So if your thinking of mixing up the beach vibes, I would love to meet you here!

Also three kids under three and all boys made for SO MUCH FUN!

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What if You Fly? | Newport Beach Family Photographer

‘There is freedom waiting for you, On the breezes of the sky, And you ask "What if I fall?"
Oh but my darling, What if you fly?’

This is one of my favorite quotes, and also seemed so very fitting for this little family who spent their beach session with a lot of playing, splashing, and of course, flying. It wasn’t warm by any means but this didn’t stop these cuties from going all in anyways! And the happiness it brought them was totally worth it. I always tell the families I am photographing that the closer they get to the water’s edge the more magical the light is. And although I never ask, the realllllly good magic always happens when they take it one step further. ;-) For real though, I think beach foam may be one of my favorite things of life. Well, that and fluffy cloud sunsets, which Newport didn’t fail to disappoint with!

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Why You Should Include Yourself in the Annual Photos | Laguna Beach Family Photographer

I get it, getting the studio or mini session pics of your kids only is much easier. There is no dresses to stress about, hair or makeup to be done. Not to mention the awkward feeling of having a lens in front of your face. You get to stay behind the scenes, jumping up and down and making all the faces to get those little laughs. All while having none of those faces recorded down.

I didn’t get into photography until both my kids were past the baby stage. As I was looking through these sweet pics I felt an ache that I do not have any like it for myself. And to be even more honest, just recently have I started trying to get into more than just an iPhone shot. 
As moms it seems there is always a reason. For me, I simply thought photos of my kids were enough. And I have a billion memory drives full. But there is something so indescribable about the way a photo tells your story. The way you fit right there together with them. Like a jigsaw, one incomplete without the other... your life is worth capturing too. Get in the frame. 

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Looks Like Film Feature | Newport Beach Family Photographer

This pic made it on Looks Like Film today! It always leaves me in a bit of shock and awe to see my work up there with such jaw dropping photographers. 
Even more so as mine just really isn’t quite like the rest. I’ve never been one to stay too good with latest trends, and my editing has followed suit. It’s either dark and moody or light and airy that’s “in” right now, and here I am in some vibrant and contrasty world of my own. 🙈 But as much as I drool over all the rest, I just keep marching to the beat of my own photography drum. And you know what, for the first time in a long time I think I’m ok with that. I’m happy with where I am, in love with all the amazing families I get to meet. And slowly learning those same middle school life lessons: sometimes just being you is enough.

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Canadians in the OC | Newport Beach Family Photographer

This sweetest Canadian family were in the OC for vacation. In their journeys they were only going to be in Newport beach for one day. And oh my goodness, what a day it was!

Crazy enough there were dark clouds directly above us and it rotated between drizzle and rain most of the time. At one point I had to put my camera away for fear of it being completely ruined and we gave it ten minutes to slow down. But the sky over the Ocean never stopped giving out alll its colors and I ended a wet, happy photographer. ;-) By the time I reached home it was pouring rain for the rest of the night and far into the next day. Like nature itself had decided to hold off half an hour more—just for them!

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Getting in the Frame | Orange County Family Photographer

I finally did the very thing I have pushed hard for so many other momma's to do: I got in the frame. I take photos for a living and yet generally call an iphone selfie with my kids good enough. But this week I threw on a dress, handed my camera off to my husband and--YOU GUYS--I did not realize how much they would mean to me!! These kids are my whole world and to be their momma is the greatest gift of my life. Seeing us together like this made me so much more emotional than I had imagined... And made me realize more than ever that being a photographer isn't just a "job," doesn't just pay the bills. I get to give pieces of the heart away. How amazing is that?? Also, a friendly reminder to get in the frame more--not just the selfie kind either. ❤️

(These were taken during our recent vacation to Cancun: home of some crazy gorgeous beaches!)

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Light Seekers

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” ~maya angelou

This is the second time I have gotten to have these girls behind my lens this year and it is always something so very special to me. This momma is just so great and we always end up staying till after dark, not because I’m still taking her pictures, but simply because we can’t stop talking! ;-) And Newport showed up for us too: the beach almost empty, the tide low, and the sun on point. Just loved capturing these sweet memories with them.

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From Beach to Beach | Orange County (And Cancun) Family Photographer

We spent this past week in Cancun at the exact place my husband and I came for our honeymoon nine years ago. We've come a long way in that time. From starving college kids without a clue, to having two babies of our own. I wouldn't trade it for the world. <3 
Also, I am overly obsessed with the beaches here!

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It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Fall | Irvine Family Photographer

One of my favorite things about the fall in Orange County is the way I get to really mix up the beach shoots. And this one didn’t let me down! Backward waves, tasty hands, and the most smiley face ever! At one point I held this little doll while his mom and dad got comfortable on the blanket. He gave me a big hug, patted my face, chatted his little squeals and made me want allll the babies!

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Naps and Baby Bumps | Newport Beach Family Photographer

Being happy all the time is simply exhausting. ☺️ This doll laughed and cuddled and then just fell asleep. Those ocean waves do make for some great white noise! I first met this beautiful fam when soon to be big sis was only a little baby herself. One of my all time favorite things about photography is getting to watch families grow. Its like that saying “kids don’t keep.” But then I get to have the crazy privilege of capturing those fleeting moments in time.

Also, side note, the beach is my own happy place once more as the summer crowds have went back home and we get this gorgeousness mostly to ourselves again!!

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Mixing Up the Beach Vibes | OC Family Photographer

This was my second time at this little desert gem right here in Orange County. And oh my goodness I keep falling more and more in love! I get asked to shoot at the beach 98% of the time, and I totally understand why! But those few 2% times when people ask for where I recommend for a non beach location I am kind of a lost. ;-) I cannot wait to now start showing this little slice to those inquiries! And although I will always say yes to Laguna and Newport there are some really great advantages to the mix up. Number one is no one around you besides the random hiker from time to time. Getting your photos taken is awkward enough being alone, put a crowd of bystanders and swimmers constantly walking in your shot or just sitting and people watching you and you can take that awkward up a million degrees. ;-) Add to the crowds a roaring ocean and never ending sands and oftentimes kids want very little to do with their parents. And I don’t blame them! There are seashells to explore and waves to conquer. But places such as these are simply kind of boring—haha—which makes tickle fights with your dad and snuggles with your mom a much easier thing to come by. And lastly, you get to wear shoes! Whether thats a great thing or not is up to you really but I felt I needed a third point to wrap this all up. ;-) I’ll let the photos themselves give a number four…

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Desert Love in the OC | Orange County Family Photographer

Interrupting my blog with some desert love. 🌵 This was my very first time at this new location and I wan’t complaining about my lack of ocean at all! I do love the beach a crazy amount but one can only shoot there so much before the eyes crave some change. ;-) And hello gorgeous family to bring it!! They were the sweetest and most fun bunch and I loved every last second I got to spend with them.

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