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.
You may not know it from looking at him, but Jim is a retired working dog. After years of sniffing out trouble, Jim found his forever home with Matt. And despite his tough job description, Jim is a little camera shy. As we wandered around downtown San Diego, Jim started to relax. He was especially happy when we made it to Petco Park and he was allowed to run and play. So my favorite shot of him is this first one at the park where he’s snuggling up into Matt’s hands and smiling at the camera. It doesn’t get much cuter than this man’s best friend.
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!
“I want to do a portrait session of my daughter in my wedding dress so that I can give her the photos on her own wedding day.” This request turned into one of my all-time favorite portrait sessions to date. Meet Jen and her six year old daughter Anjali, and take a peek into Anjali’s “wedding day preview”:
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!
“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.