San Diego is the city where summer almost never ends, which is why the Datska family decided to turn Alex’s fall work trip into a family beach vacation. With their two little girls in hand, I met this lovely couple at their waterfront hotel. We climbed the stairs down to the sand and slowly made our way towards the pier. And despite the fact that all of the local surfers had full wetsuits on, this family was delighted to be playing along the shoreline and wandering into the water as I snapped away at their joyful faces.
You may recognize Anjali from her portrait session in her mom’s wedding dress this past summer. This time, with the holidays fast approaching, we let the boys join in on the fun. We gathered in the early morning, just as the marine layer was starting to burn off. Mama Jen came prepared with flower crowns and bouquets. And the kids were easily amused as their dad tossed them into the air. It’s obvious that this silly family deeply loves one another, which makes my job of capturing happy holiday photos as easy as (apple) pie.
You only turn one once – which is why there’s no better time to capture a family portrait followed by a cake smash! When this beautiful family of three and I met up at Torrey Pines, Andria starts by saying, “I didn’t know how to tell you over the phone, but my daughter doesn’t like strangers.” Tiny Theodora was hiding behind her Minnie Mouse stuffed animal, but after some singing of The Wheels on the Bus and other children’s tunes together, this sweet little girl was smiling at the camera.
Meet my buddy Hudson. This little man is one year old and his hobbies currently include walking, laughing with Mom and Dad, and playing with dirt. So Mission Trails Park was the perfect place to capture and celebrate his first anniversary of life. We found animal statues to pose with, rocks to sit on, and trails to wobble down. This little dude with his big eyes and contagious smile is a lady killer in the making. Cheers to one year Hudson!
Meet the Smith family: three sisters, one boyfriend, one husband, three kids, a mom (now grandma), and a dad (now grandpa). And this is only part of the family! All of those who had left San Diego for various parts of the country were back, which meant a moment in time that deserved to be captured – especially given that there was a recent addition to the family.
It was a beautiful day at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. The sun was starting to set and everyone was busy making food, drinks, and laughing amongst themselves when I arrived. As I learned names, family relationships, and important facts (such as that it was Chase’s 4 year old birthday), I started to gather the groups: sisters, kids, couples, etc.
I have to admit, these are some of my favorite family portraits to date. And I can’t even take the credit, because a family this stunning makes my job so easy! Thank you to all of the Smith’s for inviting me to your family gathering and for being such a fun group to work with!
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.
Elizabeth goes by Ellie. My fully name is Gabrielle and I go by Elle. Elle & Ellie. Ellie & Elle. No matter how you say it, it makes for a confusing cousin dynamic. However, one dynamic that’s never confusing: I stay behind the camera while she, and everyone else I have the pleasure of photographing, poses in front. So when my cousin was coming down to San Diego for a belated birthday weekend and brunch, I offered the best present I know: perfect Instagram material! (That’s only kind of a joke…)
So happy birthday Ellie! May you enjoy each and every day as you count down to 21!
And then there was Ethel who wanted to join us…
My brother and I packed up our bags, headed to the airport, and jumped on a redeye flight to Asheville, North Carolina. We endured crying babies, a middle of the night layover in DC (the coldest airport of all time), more crying babies, and a one hour drive before finally reaching the house of our grandparents. We almost fell asleep in the lunch that was promptly put before us. Watching us fight to keep our eyes open led our grandmother to show us down to our rooms. I didn’t even get under the covers before my eyes closed and what would turn into a five hour nap began. My brother Brooks and I woke up as new people, and our vacation was finally able to begin.
We drove out to Jonesborough, Tennessee for the 43rd annual storytelling festival. Professional storytellers gather from all over the world to tell tales – some true, some made up; some serious, some funny. To be honest, most of the “jokes” didn’t transcend generations. My brother and I spent much of the weekend looking around at the crowd of senior citizens chuckling and wondering what we missed. However, there was one storyteller, Bil Lepp, whose made up tales left the entire crowd with sore cheeks from laughing. We ended up following him around from tent to tent.
We had a great time though. The highlight of the trip: the family time.
Can you believe that October is already here?!? You better grab your pumpkin quick because Christmas ornaments will be lining the shelves before you know it!
And Target, Walmart, and other retailers aren’t the only ones getting everything lined up for the holidays months in advance! Many families are already booking their holiday portrait sessions! Some of my weekends in November (that’s right, November) are already filling up!
Starting today I am offering a 1 hr. portrait session along with a disk of edited, high-resolution files of ALL images for just $175 ($250 value) if purchased before November 15th*.
Ready to book your session? Contact me and we will find a time that works best for you and your family!
*Must be redeemed before December 15th to allow time for editing and delivery.
I love children. Over the years I have done my fair share of babysitting, nannying, tutoring, volunteering with kids… you name it! I love how these little humans are fascinated by things adults overlook. I love how they are still so pure and innocent and untarnished by society’s complications. And I love how simple their lives are – envious to be honest. (The adult world is not all it’s cracked up to be!)
As a photographer, I love trying to capture the essence of people in a single, frozen moment of time. That’s why portraiture is my favorite type of photography. So when the opportunity to borrow a camera and snap some shots of two little girls came up, I jumped. The girls had a blast running at the camera and posing as I figured out the unfamiliar settings.
Below are just a few of my favorite shots.