That was the question presented to me a few weeks ago when a close family friend introduced me to Michael Chadwick.  Now, if you are not in the swim world, this name may not mean much to you.  But for me and my family, Michael is a rock star swimmer.  One of the fastest humans alive in the 100 Freestyle, he is an absolutely amazing swimmer.  Here is the thing, he is an even better human being.

Michael called me up to let me know that he would be in Laguna Beach for his Spring break and was planning to ask the love of his life, Cassi, to marry him.  He wanted to know my option on a location that would be super special and unique to Laguna Beach.  I could not think of a better place than Victoria beach.  He agreed and we set the plan in motion to surprise Cassi.

As is usually the case, there were a few hiccups in getting their close friends and family down to the beach and hidden before Michael and Cassi made their way to the designated spot.  And, Michael pretty much forgot all of the directions about where to meet, because he was so darn nervous.  However, it all came together perfectly and just as the sun started to go down, I was able to capture Cassi saying YES!

chadwick-9017Since the entire engagement was a surprise to Cassi, we wanted to give her the opportunity to make the engagement session something really special.  We scheduled for a complete session a few evenings later.  Cassi had the opportunity to choose the location with Michael and do her hair and makeup so she looked perfect.  Here are some of the beautiful engagement images from the open field in Laguna Beach.  Congratulations to both of you!  Enjoy!

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My goal has always been to not just photograph a family one time, but to build a lasting relationship and document your family each year.   This is the best way  I know to build a family history and to make sure your children can look back at the entire family over the years and see the close relationships and defining moments throughout their childhood.

One question that comes up repeatedly among my clients, especially when we do a family session each year, is “what should we wear”?  We love to work closely with you to put outfits together that not only compliment each person in the portrait, but also have the look and feel of the location of the session.  And, it is extremely important, to make sure the images compliment your home.

We are now in the process of building a more extensive shooting wardrobe.  Watch for future announcements on how you can get involved helping us complete our shooting wardrobe.  Since I love vintage dresses and accessories, we definitely have those in our studio and we are always on the lookout for more.  But for the gals in the family, I high recommend using services such as www.renttherunway.com to access one of a kind beautiful dresses and outfits at a fraction of the retail cost.  For the holidays this year, one of my favorite families, decided to go all out and rent formal red outfits and combine this look with an organic setting.  The results were stunning!   I also love that they rented a tux for their gorgeous son Daniel!  What a great sport.   Here are some of the
images from the session.  Enjoy!blueskysstudioportraits_0030blueskysstudioportraits_0022blueskysstudioportraits_0023blueskysstudioportraits_0024blueskysstudioportraits_0025blueskysstudioportraits_0026blueskysstudioportraits_0027blueskysstudioportraits_0028blueskysstudioportraits_0029
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To book your portrait session, you can email us at kristin@blueskysstudio.com or call at 949-510-3862.

In my years as an Orange County photographer I have more than a handful of amazing locations up my sleeve. So here’s part two of my best Orange County Photography Locations. (The first 10 locations are here.)

Rancho Las Lomas

  1. Rancho Las Lomas 

This resort and zoological garden is a little known Orange County setting for great photography. Located in Silvarado Canyon, it’s lush setting is perfect for family photos.

San Clemente Beach photography

  1. San Clemente State Beach 

Traveling a little further down the coast San Clemente State Beach is a less crowded, more varied seaside backdrop for a stunning photography session.

Nellie Gail photography

  1. Nellie Gail Trails 

Nestled in south Orange County are the 26 miles of trails of the Nellie Gail Ranch. The native California greenery gives way to beautiful grasses and trees, making this an especially unique photography location.

in home photography

  1. Your Home

Sometimes you don’t need to travel at all to find the perfect setting for your family photos. Sometimes you need only stay at home. At home photo shoots can be especially fun as they not only show your family’s story, but your home as well, adding an especially unique element to look back on.

Laguna Beach photography

  1. Downtown Laguna Beach

I’m lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful beach communities in Southern California and my studio, in Laguna Canyon is just minutes from one of the best “downtowns” in the county as well. This location is a treasure trove for a variety of shooting possibilities. (Read even more in this recent post about Laguna Beach Photography)

San Juan Capistrano photography

  1. Los Rios Historic District 

San Juan Capistrano boast several great photography locations, but one of the most fun is the Los Rios District, just across the train tracks from the Capistrano Depot. You can even stop for a bite to eat or tea time after your shoot.

I am constantly joking with clients about how often I tell them to put their chin’s down.  I often demonstrate on myself by saying: “see when my chins up, my eyes look small, but as I lower my chin, my eyes open up and look big”.  Since as they say “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, the most important part of an image for me is to get beautiful, light filled, sharp eyes on for my clients (unless of course the eyes are closed).

There is a common misconception that if you chin is up, you face will look slim.  This has something to do with the dreaded double chin.  That is the second part of the chin trick.  My clients need to slightly push their chins forward to get rid of the double chin and create a strong jaw line.  I promise, promise, promise this works every time!

Here is an example of the beautiful Rose with her chin up.  It isn’t a terrible shot, but it could be so much better!

Now let’s see what happens when I ask her to put her chin down and out:

Her face looks slimmer, her jaw line looks gorgeous and her eyes are stunning!  A few more of my favorite images of Rose! Enjoy!

The right photography location sets the tone for your photos. Here are just a few of the best Orange County locations I use.

Let’s start with these fun family photos at the Balboa Fun Zone in Newport Beach.

Best Orange County Location, The Fun Zone1. The Balboa Fun Zone

Since it’s opening in 1936 the FunZone has been a popular place to have some old fashioned fun. This is a great Orange County photography location for family photos because there are some many fun spots to take photos, plus you can entice the kids to cooperate with games, treats and rides! Win, Win, Win! 

Best Orange County Location: Blue Sky's Studio2.  The Studio (Blue Sky’s, that is)

If the weather is rainy, or maybe too hot, or if you just want that polished look, Blue Sky’s Studio “studio” is a perfect location for a photoshoot. Clean white backgrounds, props and different furniture options can give your photos a clean, classic look. Plus it’s located in the heart of Laguna Canyon, our next photo shoot location.

Location: Laguna Canyon3.  Laguna Canyon

Just a hop, skip and a jump from our studio is the beatific countryside of Laguna Canyon. It’s hard to believe this photo location is in Orange County, but it’s the perfect little break from the hustle and bustle. And it makes for lovely natural photos. 

Newport Pier photography location4. The Newport Pier

This quintessential Orange County photography spot is perfect for family portraits with a casual, fun feel. The wooden pier reminds me an older time when surfers shot the curl and woodies dotted the coast. Check out this brother and sister photo at Newport Pier.

photo shoot location Upper Newport Back Bay5.  Upper Newport Back Bay

An oasis between the ocean and the wilds of Newport Beach, Irvine and Costa Mesa, this swath of nature is a great spot for outdoor photography. The smell of sagebrush welcomes you to this beautiful Orange County photography location.

SOCO photo shoot

6.  SOCO

The South Coast Collection (& The OC Mix) is no just a great place to shop. It’s blend of clean industrial meets trendy water-friendly succulents and greenery makes this photography location the perfect ciy/nature mix.

Mission San Juan Capistrano photo shoot

7.  Mission San Juan Capistrano

Step back in time to Old California. This unique photography location gives your photos a rustic charm of an original mission.

Photo Shoot Location San Onofre Beach

8.  San Onofre State Beach

What could be more Orange County than a surf inspired family photo location. If your family loves the beach this photography location is a perfect vintage-inspired location.

Orange County Photography Location Red Barn9.  The Red Horse Barn

This Orange County photography location is an unlikely dose of western culture right in Huntington Beach. This rustic, elegant setting has beautiful landscaping and as you can see is a great format for stunning family portraits or children’s portraits.

orange county photography location Table Rock Beach

10. Table Rock Beach

This Laguna Beach location is a gem, unlike many beaches, it offers so much more than the typical sand and seascape. It has lovely rushes, a nice staircase and interesting sandstone cliffs. It’s a great place for a family photo session.