Senior Sessions: Julia

“They grow up so fast.” That’s what everyone says about kids. And as the kiddos I grew up babysitting become adults and head off to college, I can’t help but agree. Julia was one of the little ones I grew up riding horses with. I spent my high school years shuttling her from school, to the barn, and back home. I spent weekends ordering in pizza at her house and watching movies or playing dress up with her while her parents were out. And today, she graduates from high school. And in a few months, she’ll pack up for college. So yeah, they grow up so fast. But this is also just the beginning, and I can’t wait to see where this wonderfully smart, funny, and kind young woman goes next. The world better watch out, because this little bird of mine is about take off… and it’s going to be amazing to watch her fly.


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Meet The Lombard’s

Mrs. Susan Lombard contacted me through Facebook a couple months ago. Her husband had plans to come to San Diego for a work conference and she was going to bring the kids along. They were spending one night at the Hotel Del and asked if I could photograph their family during their stay.

She wrote to me: “What really drew you to me was your beautiful photographs and the fact that you work with orphans. My husband and I have one biological son who is 19 and we have another son that is 3 1/2 and a daughter that will be 2 soon that we adopted through foster care. We have had both of them since birth. If my 19 year old son is able to travel with us, I would like to do our first photo shoot as a family on that day if you have it available.”

Although their oldest son was not able to join us, we were able to photograph and celebrate the babies of their family. This was especially exciting because Shiloh’s adoption just became final in March and these photos are the first to capture that momentous occasion.

So congratulations to the Lombard family on the official adoption of their baby girl, and Happy Mother’s Day Susan!  Your capacity for love is what being a mom is all about, and I am so honored to have been chosen to photograph your babies.


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Senior Sessions: Brittany

San Diego State University is considered a large school. However, despite the fact that there are approximately 35,000 students, there are typically only a couple degrees of separation between every single person on campus. So when  Brittany emailed me to inquire about senior portraits, I quickly found out that she had seen Tessa’s session and we had various mutual friends.

Having only communicated via email, I had no idea who I was looking for when I arrived on a campus. Within minutes, a smiling girl in a bright yellow dress walked up to me – Brittany. Throughout our session we had to wait our turn at the various iconic SDSU grad photo locations. As we chatted by the turtle pond, got in line at Hepner Hall, and strolled down Campanile Walkway, I learned that Brittany is now graduating with a bachelor’s in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. She will be continuing her education at SDSU as a masters student in the fall and will be studying the effects on speech due to having a stroke.

But for a few months, she will be able to take a break from being a student as SDSU. After four years of being in various organizations (and having all of the stoles and cords to prove it), Brittany is less than two weeks away from one very impressive accomplishment. Congratulations Brittany! It was a pleasure meeting you, taking your photos, and hearing your passion shine through as you talked about your work!


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Senior Sessions: Tessa

When Tessa asked me if I would be willing to take her graduation photos, I was excited and instantly said yes. Tessa and I met through Rotaract when we were both students at SDSU. Rotaract is only one of the many organizations this brilliant and inspiring young woman is a part of – on top of being a math major and being able to rattle off details about number theory that would make most people’s head spin, she is an SDSU ambassador, and tutors student athletes.

This actually wasn’t going to be the first time I had the opportunity to take Tessa’s photo. Last year when Tessa was elected to be Rotaract’s Vice President of Service, I took her executive portrait. This time though, we got to take more than just one headshot. While gloomy skies and a rain forecast threatened above us, we raced all over campus in order to capture the perfect portrait.

And perhaps this won’t be the last time I take Tessa’s photo – she’s off to graduate school in the fall. But for now, here we celebrate her undergraduate accomplishments. Congratulations Tessa!!

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Senior Sessions: Emily

It’s that time of year again. San Diego State University’s students picked up their caps and gowns last week in anticipation of walking across a stage and throwing their cap in the air while thinking, I made it. Part of the excitement of graduation is getting photos taken, creating announcements, and sharing news of your achievement with friends and family.

The first graduate on my list to photograph was one of my dearest friends who is getting to celebrate this accomplishment for the second time as she picks up her graduate degree in social work. Photographing friends is always extra fun because not only do I get the opportunity to create beautiful images, but I deeply understand what these photos represent. I have been by Emily’s side over the past two years of endless hours spent studying, sleepless nights, and squeezing in dinners and game nights when there are lulls between exams.

So congratulations Emily! I can’t wait to celebrate with you on graduation day in just a few weeks!

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La Gloria, Mexico: Volunteering with Unity 4 Orphans

U4O-8984Last weekend I had the opportunity to head down to La Gloria, Mexico with Unity 4 Orphans. U4O is an incredible organization that has partnered with an extremely needy orphanage in Mexico. A woman by the name of Edith started by taking in a couple kids. Then a few more. Then a lot more. Now the orphanage, which she runs by herself with only the help of volunteers like Unity 4 Orphans, provides refuge for 70 children. She told us that she will never tell a child that they can’t stay with her any longer, that they will never be told there’s not enough food (even if supplies are actually running short), and that she will never ever turn a child away. This woman is described as “one big heart,” and I couldn’t agree more.

Meet Brisa: 3 years old and at least part Chinese. She wasn’t at the orphanage during the trip 2 months ago. Maybe her parents have just dropped her off temporarily. Perhaps they will never return. It’s very likely that we will never know. But this little girl just wanted to be loved. She pulled on my leg to be picked up and wouldn’t let go of me for a good portion of the day.

And she is one of seventy kids that just want one thing: love. The amazing thing is that this place, which could easily be a place of sorrow, is a place filled with love. Edith loves each and every kid. The kids love and take care of each other. And the volunteers, even though it’s just for a few hours once or twice a month, bring even more love and laughter to this home. What an incredible place, organization, and experience to be a part of!

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Emily & Kevin

Emily & Kevin are set to get married on July 2nd, 2016. The family of four (if you count the furry, four-legged members) wanted to not only do an engagement shoot, but a fun holiday session with their pets.

These two have a sense of humor – the Jewish couple came with Christmas hats and various other accessories. Between getting everyone to look the proper direction, having the dogs (not always cooperatively) hold the save the date sign, and throwing on Santa hats, there was no shortage of laughable moments. And all the silliness was a perfect reflection of the relationship that Emily & Kevin share. This relationship is obviously full of love, laughter, and kindness.

So here they are – Happy Holidays from the (soon to be) Fannan’s! And cheers to a happy forever together!

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Meet Marissa. This girl and I met in Madrid, Spain when studying abroad together back in 2012. Once back in the states a year later, we became roommates and have been friends ever since. Marissa is one of the most fun loving and kind people I know. She is my blonde soul sister and I was sad to lose her to the land of the stars, also known as Los Angeles. Luckily we still get to see each other somewhat regularly. On her most recent trip down to San Diego, I asked if she’d like to model for me. Not only did she say yes, she ended up with a four legged prop. Remember Carlos? He decided to make a guest appearance… and what a blast the three of us had!

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It amazes me what people decide to use as a LinkedIn profile picture sometimes. I often see a photo that obviously was originally a group picture at a party, and one person decide to crop the photo in nice and tight so it’s just their face. Or sometimes I stumble across a picture that is so outdated, I wouldn’t even recognize the person if their name wasn’t in bold next to the image.

It’s especially important for young professionals who are just starting their careers and entering the workforce to have a clean, professional LinkedIn profile picture. As many times as we hear, “there’s more to a book than it’s cover,” that doesn’t apply to job applications. The average resume is looked at for 30 seconds. And being that LinkedIn is basically an online resume, first impressions are just as important.

So when I got the call from an old friend and recent graduate asking if she could schedule an updated headshot, I was thrilled to learn that I would be able to help and participate in my personal mission to have the people in my network well represented! It also inspired me to run a student and recent graduate special – check my Facebook page soon for details! Until then, here’s a preview of a few of Dana’s new LinkedIn profile picture options:

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