Better School Portraits

Better School Photos

July 8, 2018

Boutique School Photos

What is that exactly? Well, it’s a fancy term to classify better school photos. Cuter school photos. School photos that aren’t the same, drab, ugly backdrop with a kid who doesn’t even look like him/herself!

I love doing school photos. It’s a niche I just got into a few years ago, and if I could do 5 times as many schools as I’m doing now, I would be over the moon! It usually takes 2-3 days to capture all the students, and by the end of the last day my knees are killing me and my jokes annoy me. But I wouldn’t stop. I love it.

The Right School

It’s important to find the right clients when starting boutique school photography. Preschools are the very best. Close behind that are the early elementary school kids, and then we traverse into sketchy territory with the middle school aged kids. They seem fed up with getting their photo taken before we even begin. They are super self conscious around their friends and you can see that it’s difficult for them to loosen up and give me some real emotion. And since they are not changing very much year to year, it’s hard to convince parents that they need these annual photos. But I still offer it to them, because I like a challenge I guess.

But let’s talk about these younger kids, especially the preschool/Kinder kids. Love them! I have 2 backdrops, the black backdrop and the natural background. They are happy to traipse back and forth and give me whatever I need. They want to listen to my corny jokes, (they genuinely laugh at them), they interrupt to tell me stories, they follow all my directions of where to sit, how to put thier hands, how to tilt their chin. Some of my favorite photos of all times would be considered “outtakes”, but it just shows their personality so well. I always include them in the child’s gallery because I never know when a parent will think like I do, and want those photos that are not perfect, but perfectly reflect your child that you know and love.

Want Better School Photos?

Sometimes it’s easier to just get updated photos of your children, without booking a whole family photo shoot, or without waiting for the Christmas rush. What better way to do this than to help your school improve their annual school photos? Contact me today to find out how to get an information packet to your school! It can be done in addition to those usual school photos, and you’ll just be smart enough not to buy the crappy ones and wait til the cute ones arrive! 🙂 It’s a fundraiser, with 10% of sales going back to your school….so you can’t lose. Email me and let me know if you want your school to improve their school photos!

boutique school photos

better school photosboutique school photosschool photoscute school photosschool photoscute school photosschool photosboutique school photos

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Headshots-multi use portraits


June 24, 2018

Headshots vs Portrait photography

Call them headshots, call them portraits, they are all about the same. You need photos of yourself or your child, for whatever reason, I can do it quickly and easily just about anywhere.

This handsome boy was brought to my house for “portraits”. His brother was brought to my house a few weeks prior for “headshots”. But they look exactly the same.

Their mom is a friend of mine, and her youngest son is a quasi-movie star, a celebrity in our town. 🙂 He is an amazing dancer, actor, basketball player…you name it, the kid does it, and does it well. So he needed true headshots for all his Hollywood connections.

Once they got the photos back, she loved them enough to use them not only as headshots, but as a gift for her husband for Fathers day. So she brought her oldest son back to get portraits of him taken in much the same way.

Her oldest is a charmer. How many 15 year old boys would actually seem to enjoy themselves at a photoshoot in my yard with their mom? I would gamble the answer would be zero. But I’d be wrong. Because this guy threw the average. I don’t know what she’s doing at home, but she’s raising those boys right! They are both polite, know how to converse with adults, are well rounded, fun, and handsome!  They are welcome to come back to my house any day for headshots and/or portraits and/or anything they want to call them. Call it a social visit and I’ll just snap some photos while you’re visiting. They made it so easy on me!

high school boy smiling with lips closedhigh school boy headshotsclose up of boy against green bushesheadshots of smiling 14 year old boy in blue shirthigh school boy against grey backdrop
headshots of high school boy against black backdrop

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San Diego Maternity Photoshoot

San Diego Maternity Photoshoot

Beach maternity photoshoots

For a maternity photoshoot, since I live in San Diego,  I almost always opt for the beach for the beautiful natural backdropt. My pregnant models never cease to amaze me with their willingness to wade into the freezing waves and pose there as long as I need them to with a big smile on their face. It’s not cozy though. The weather is usually cooling down since we meet as the sun is setting, the water is never warm, and they are scantily dressed. S0 if it were me, I’d probably last all of 4 minutes before I raced out of there. But I have never had a maternity photoshoot get cut short due to uncomfortable scenarios. Thank you to all those brave mamas who I’ve had the priviledge to photograph. 🙂

Woodsy maternity photoshoots

This particular maternity photoshoot started first in a field behind my old house. It’s an area I used to walk our dog, and I never noticed the beauty surrounding it until I decided to drop by to get some photos. I love it in all the seasons. The dead weeds have a beauty all their own. That’s strange to say, but I really believe it. And of course in spring and summer the trees and flowers are in full bloom.

This photo shoot was during the winter. The baby who was in this mamas belly for these photos is now close to 4 months old!

And this sweet, tolerant lady is my daughter’s 1st grade teacher. We all loved her, but especially my daughter, so seeing her show up at our house to get her maternity photoshoot made her beyond happy! They (my 2 daughters and their friend) even accompanied us to the beach to finish up her photoshoot. So the smiles you see are real…laughing at the crazy kids running into the water with their clothes on.

A belated congratulations on the pregnancy and birth of your gorgeous baby boy! I’m sure now that he’s arrived, maternity photos are old news. But at least you have them to look back on and remember what a sweet time that was!

white maternity gown in fieldpregnancy photo white gown in fieldclose up blonde pregnant womanpregnancy photos against fence
overhead view of maternity posePregnancy photos on beach at sunsetBlonde pregnant woman looking down on beachwind blowing maternity dress on beach

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In home family photo session

In Home Family Photo Session

Filed in Family Photography

Incorporating Special Memorabilia

I was contacted by this fun family to see if I could get family portraits while both sets of grandparents were visiting, plus, they wanted their dog in the photos. And, they wanted a very special chair included in the photo shoot. It was a chair that their 3 year old daughter had been photographed in every year, so it was a non-negotiable. I immediately agreed, loving the idea of incorporating special items to make the photograph even more meaningful. But we struggled with timing. If we met at their house, how long would that take and then to travel back to the beach before the sunset. And how will we manage the dog for the photos he’s not included in? And are we going to a dog beach, or will he get a ticket for even showing up? All questions that swirled around for days until we came up with a solution. We would do an in home family photo session. And it was gorgeous. It’s a brand new developement and their backyard was stunning with a crystal blue pool and tropical plants everywhere. The only downside was the sun was so still so high when we started, the backyard was baking in sun. But we got it done. And most importantly, the dog and the chair got their time in the spotlight.

In Home Portrait Sessions

It’s always risky to come to someone’s home for the first time and try to do an exceptional photo shoot. This happens with newborn photo sessions all the time. At their home is much preferred, for everyone, over a studio session at my house. But even with my numerous questions about space, heat, and light, I never know what I’m walking into, or how it will go.  I normally do family sessions outdoors, at a location of my choice. That way I can ensure the right timing for the sunset, I know the spots to have them stand in, and I actually have an order of how to start, where to start, and the progression of spots until the end. Doing anything out of my routine gives me a good deal of anxiety. But I was willing to try, and in fact, the photos are probably that much better doing it in comfort of their own home, because THEY were comfortable.


In home photo session with Indian girl and her momIn home photo session with girl and momIn home photo session with girl and dadIn home photo sessionGorgeous Indian little girlbrown eyed Indian girlgorgeous little girl with big eyes and big hairlittle girl laughing in a chairB&W photo of mom and daughter in a chair cuddling

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10 year old twins portrait session

10 Year Old Twins Portrait Session

Posted in San Diego Family Photographer

Fun Family Session

This family is like my second family. If we belived in sister wives, she’d be my choice. She’s my ride or die. She lives down the street, takes care of my kids better than I do when I leave them in her capable hands, and when we go to her house for dinner she even cooks a portion for Tom (without cheese), and that’s saying a lot.

Any chance I can mention “the twins” is an opportunity to make me laugh as I watch her confused face for a moment, wondering who I’m talking about. Her 10 year old son and daughter are nothing alike. So it’s hard to remember sometimes that they are in fact twins. And as a  matter of fact, SHE is the “first born”, but HE is the one who seems like it.  So twins is not a word uttered often in her household. But I love to refer to “the twins”. And I will continue to do it as long as it makes me laugh, which may be forever.

Ordering Canvas Prints

We do her family photos every year, and then we talk for about 11 months discussing which photos should be put on canvas and hung around her house. I think we are going on year 3 with no photos actually making it to canvas and hanging on the wall. This is a perfect example of why selling digital packages only is a bad idea!! How fabulous it would have been to see those photos for the first time, fall in love with a few, like we all do, and pick those right then and there to make into big canvas works of art! We all convince ourselves that we need to mull it over, and ask others, and look at the wall space, and all that. But I bet you can all relate that when you are going through photos of your own children, there are always only a few that really grab you immediately, and you want to keep looking at it, and it’s “the one”, but you may not want to trust yourself. Well, trust yourself. Even if there are flaws with the photo, if you love it, you love it, and you should have it. I have many, many canvas prints of my children and family that I purchased quickly because I loved it, and I figured out a place for all of them to live.

So my friend, as I post these photos many months after we took them, and you have yet to have any canvases, we will set a date to pick them out and get them made. No more waiting. The twins need a spot on the wall.


Photographing Twins

I wish I could have photographed these twins (still laughing!) when they were babies. I love boy/girl twins and coordinting bow ties and headbands and all that cute stuff. Their mom tells me a hilarious story about how they tried to sleep through their newborn photo session (that would have been heavenly!! That’s the #1 goal of newborn photo sessions! Hello!?!?!) but her photographer kept telling them to try and wake the babies up. I’m cringing and my heartrate is rising as I type that out. WAKE THEM UP?!?!?!  Well, luckily they were sleepy babies, because I’ve seen the photos of them and they were asleep in most. 🙂  But as much as I love it, newborn twin photoshoots are very hard. So luckily I get these cute twins when they are VERY accomodating to all my requests for posing.

At this last photo shoot I asked them to show me how they had been learing how to dance in Cotillion and they complied. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but some of those dancing photos turned into their moms favorite images. (canvases….hello….those were the photos she saw and called me screaming about! canvas time….)  Take a look at these cute, cute twins. 🙂

Final Plea to Get Those Prints Ordered

And by the way, one final thought. PLEASE don’t think the canvases, or framed prints you hang in your house need to be the properly composed family photos. Some of my absolute favorite photos adorning my walls are photos I took when my kids were messy and unposed and not even looking at me. They were looking at each other, covered in wet sand, laughing hysterically, and it’s a pure moment of love that I never want to forget.  So do it. Order that canvas. Order a lot of them. When you wake up tomorrow those kids will be another 5 years older.

brother trying to dip his twin sister while dancingtwins dancing in a wide open spacetwins dancing on farmbrother and sister twinsfamily session with twin boy and girlfamily photo with boy and girl twins10 year old twins photo session

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