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.

I’m having so much fun shooting Valentine’s Day themed photos this season. These kids (most of them are kids anyway) are just too adorable. It makes you realize how precious and pure the love of a child is. Below is some inspiration for your Valentine’s Day photos.

Check out these ideas (and photos) by yours truly. And get ready for cuteness overload. ;)

Kisses & Hugs

It’s so fun to get siblings to show some love, their character shows through in wonderful candid shots. These first two are my babies.

hugs-kisses-valentines-photo1hugs-kisses-valentines-photo2hugs-kisses-valentines-photo3

You’ve got my heart on a string…

The beautiful sisters above are a great segway to “hearts!” Hanging some glittering hearts all around in the studio gives Valentine’s photos a fun, whimsical feel. 

hearts-valentines-photo1hearts-valentines-photo2

Props

Props and accessories are so much fun for Valentine’s Day photos. Let’s start with some X’s and O’s!

xoxo-valentines-photo

Okay, we just can’t get enough of hearts–how about these different takes on the lovely shape?

hearts-valentines-photo3

How about some fun glasses, and maybe just the right book?

props-valentines-day-photosprops-valentines-day-photos2

A family’s home decor can be a nice touch, especially with babies–this wall art provides the perfect scale for baby and carries the theme of love.

baby

Let’s play…dress up!

These little cuties look so adorable, in these fun, candid photos because they were having fun playing while we shot.

boho-valentines-day-photo

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ideas and photos. That’s all I have for now, but we’ll blow you one last kiss, goodbye!

blow-kiss-valentines-day-photography

People often ask me, “what do you do”?  My standard response is that I am a portrait photographer.  That typically leads to what kind of photographer are you?  Do you photograph weddings, or families or something along those lines.  I tell them,  while my passion is definitely kids and their families, I love photographing all people.  Take the beautiful Brittany for example.  We met many years ago when she hired me to shoot her wedding.  The great thing about Andy and Brittany’s wedding, was that I had a lot of advance notice.  We spent time planning out a fun engagement session (still one of my all time favorites) and then by the time the wedding rolled around, we were old friends.  

You may think the actual wedding was the end of this story, but we continued to keep in touch.  I told her if she ever got pregnant, I would love to gift her a maternity session.  Soon I got the call that Brittany and Andy were expecting their first baby and Brittany wanted to incorporate vintage airplanes into a photography session. The best part was that she scouted the location, got the permits to me and got the session all set up.  

That brings me to today.  Brittany became a makeup artist and has been working with Blue Sky’s for over a year providing beautiful “Model for A Day” sessions, wedding makeup and makeup for my family clients.  Her sweet, warm personality is a perfect addition to our Blue Sky’s staff family.  And as many of you already know, she is expecting baby number two and I am so fortunate to get to photograph this beauty once again.  

For this session we decided to create images of her alone that were more glamorous, but we didn’t forget to include the boys as well!  Here is the sneak peak at the session.  Enjoy!

There are many fun ways to stay creative as a family portrait photographer.  One of my favorites, is to plan a styled session.  This goes beyond cute clothing and fun locations!  It begins with a story!

1. Ship Wreck

I am inspired by so many things.  Looking at beautiful advertising campaigns, art work and music videos provide me with tons of ideas.  Over time, I became inspired by the ocean, vintage clothes and being stranded.   What would that look like as an editorial session?  So, I asked my good friend Denyse to help me come up with some fun clothing and props and the perfect models for a ship wrecked session.  We ended up at sunrise on the beach with all of our props and clothing.  The session was amazing. (See more photos from the shoot)

portrait theme ship wreck

2. Princesses

Styled sessions are often inspired by my client’s kids.  Young girls so often go through the phase of being obsessed with Disney Princesses.  This gorgeous gal wanted to wear a different princess outfit every day… she literally owned them all.  In order to capture this fleeting time in her young life, we decided to do a style session with a Princess hanging her laundry up to dry.princess theme photo shoot

 

3. Vintage 

Vintage nostalgia often provide a fun, classic look. As most of you know, I am obsessed with vintage cars and clothing!  Here is both a family vintage portrait and beautiful high school senior photo. In both cases props, styling, and wardrobe is key. We can help with all of it.

theme-vintage-family

 

4. The Art of Memory

Other sessions have been motivated by a family memory.  One of my clients who is an artist wanted to paint a picture of her grandmother hanging her laundry (don’t know why laundry has been a theme)… We created a set to look like her grandma’s house and took lots of great images.  She then turned them into a painting.art themed photography

5. Classic Childhood

These are some of the most fun sessions! The kids get to be themselves and pretend all at the same time.  The result is relaxed, unique shots.

childhood themed portaits

6. Natural Beauties.

Juxtaposing classic, vintage indoor furniture, beautiful gowns and the beauty of nature creates stunning results.

nature glamour gowns

Inspiration can come from anywhere!  A favorite book, a painting, a song… you name it.  These portraits are amazing because they are unique to your family.  I love for the client to be really involved in telling their story through images, so we capture exactly what they imagined.