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A New Look!

November 14, 2011

It’s a big day!  I’ve freshened up my look and now have a brand new blog!  Update your bookmarks and look for all posts from here on out on my new site.

Here’s a little sneak peek. . . now head on over to to check out the full deal!


What to Wear {Los Angeles Portrait Photographer}

October 19, 2011

Just as soon as a session is booked, I always get asked “what should we wear?”  And with an entire weekend of mini-sessions coming up, I thought now would be the perfect time to give a few tips. . .

I respond to the question with a few basic rules:

*Pick things that express your personality and style

*Go with “coordinating”  rather than exactly “matching”

*Avoid logos. . . the eye tends to go straight for those things, rather than the subject, when looking at the pictures.

*Choose varying colors and textures to create visual interest.

In chilly weather, you want to avoid bulky coats, but do dress yourself and especially the kids warmly.  Cold kids = unhappy kids, and that shows in the photos.  I recommend long underwear and layers.   Cute hats and colorful mitts are great for adding personality and a pop of color!

Just some simple hints, but it can be daunting when standing in front of your closet (and your spouse’s and kids’).  Trust me, I can empathize!  I’ve been fortunate enough to trade family photo sessions with some photographer friends and I’ll let you in on my thought process for making this all-important decision, with the hope that it will help you with your own decision!

The basics for our photos:  we had Mom, Dad, 3-year-old boy, and 1-year-old boy; and we were doing  outdoor photos on a ranch, with a very “western and Montana” feel.

The not-so-basics are that I wanted a relaxed and casual, yet pulled-together, feel for the photos.  These are images that I planned to display prominently in our home, likely as a large canvas.  I wanted to look good, but to also look like our own genuine selves on our best day.  Since I had planned to have these photos hanging up, where we’d see them daily, I also wanted to be sure that we were wearing colors that we like.  And colors that coordinated with our house decor.  It may sound silly to dress to match your furniture, but picking outfits based on my son’s favorite dinosaur t-shirt (which is bright primary colors) would mean that we have photos that really clash with the more neutral tans, browns, and earthy blues and greens in our family room.

This leads me to one more important tip — pick all of the outfits for the family as if you were dressing one person.  No, your 3-year-old won’t be wearing 5 layers of clothing, but if he did throw everything on, you’d want it to coordinate.  Lay all of the outfits together on the bed and see how they work together.  You wouldn’t dress yourself in head-to-toe denim or black or white.  You’d have different–but complementary–colors, different textures, some fun accessories.

Final tip is to start with the person that is hardest to dress or the one who has the outfit you just must have in your photos.  Then build everyone else outfit around that.


This is what I went with first :

I started with the denim romper for the baby, which I think is adorable, classic, yet a bit whimsical.  It went well with our western theme without being costume-y.  Next, came the shirt for Dad, which coordinates with baby’s outfit and is completely his style.  Next, I found the cute dress for myself at Target.  It ties in with the other outfits, but adds a nice pop of color and pattern.  Finally, I realized that the madras tie that came with the shirt for the 3-year-old (from Old Navy) picked up the same colors as my dress.

Outfits for Family Photos in Bozeman

And this is the resulting photo (thanks to Suzie Mauro!):

I knew we would have the chance to change outfits so I went a little more traditional, not quite as western.  For a full session you can plan for at least 1 outfit change, if you’d like; for a mini-session there isn’t really time for everyone to change but you can bring a coat or different scarf/hat to change up your look quickly.  I stayed in our favorite color palette and kept the romper I loved for my youngest son.  Then I picked the fun skirt for me and added attire for my older son and husband and had the grouping on the left.  The best images have visual interest, and while the outfits were nice, there is a lot of white.  Notice how the feel changes just by switching out my white shirt for a light blue shirt:

At the photo shoot, my husband ended up just keeping the same shirt he had on for the first set of pictures.  I think that was a great choice and I’m thrilled with how this image came together!

Hopefully those tips help you.  If in doubt, give me a call before your session and I can give you more advice.  Or you can even bring a suitcase full of clothes and we’ll go through it before your session!

Before wrapping this up, I thought I’d share a little more inspiration from a few of my fabulously dressed clients:

You were right! {Los Angeles Photographer}

October 18, 2011

So I guess my quiz was a little too easy, either that or I have lots of readers with a discerning eye!  The top image was indeed taken with my Canon 5D/24-70 f2.8L combo and the bottom image was taken with my iphone.

The phone picture quality is definitely not as good, but for a camera built into a phone, I must say that I am impressed.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles California.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles California.

I wouldn’t say that my phone camera is becoming a substitute for the dSLR, but I find myself getting more and more quick snapshots of my kids with my phone.  It’s just so much easier to take that out and about.  Where I’d really fall short is if I wanted to print or enlarge any of the images taken with my phone.  Usually, though, I’m just happy to have captured the memory and been able to share it immediately, and if a few of my memories live in my phone and on facebook, that’s okay with me!  I still have plenty of high quality memories, too!

Under the Sea {Los Angeles Photographer}

October 17, 2011

This past weekend I visited the Aquarium of the Pacific with my family.  My 4-year-old son loves “ocean animals” and had been begging since we moved here in August.  Let’s just say that it was worth the wait and none of us were disappointed!

It’s so fascinating to see creatures that we don’t encounter every day.  To watch them float through clear waters amid beautiful plants, rocks, and coral.  It’s mesmerizing to watch and I could have stood at the seahorse and jellyfish tank all day.

A seahorse swims in a colorful aquarium.

A seahorse swimming.


Moon jellyfish swim in dark waters.

A bright orange jellyfish swims.

The leafy sea dragon is another fascinating guy.  Amazing how nature works, huh?

A leafy sea dragon is camouflaged in its aquarium.

This starfish put on a little show, as well, seemingly kicking up his heels and giving a friendly wave at the visitors!

A starfish clings to the glass in its aquarium.

And this guy gives off a bit of a menacing vibe.  Beautiful and intricate markings with elaborate fins, but I wouldn’t want him to swim by my leg at the beach!

I found plenty of beauty outside the Aquarium, too.  The city of Long Beach has a beautiful water-front path lined with bricks that create some really cool lines.

Brick pavers create interesting lines.

And a lovely little park on a peninsula, complete with lighthouse, palm trees, and soft grass hills, perfect for rolling down!

What do YOU think? {Los Angeles Photographer}

October 13, 2011

I visited The Getty Center with my visiting parents today and I will say, it is a very impressive spot.  If you ever find yourself on a trip to L.A. you should put it on your must-do list!  The architecture and grounds alone are an impressive display of art, and that’s before you even head to the countless galleries of works displayed inside.

While walking the grounds, despite it being non-picture friendly high-noon direct sunlight, I just had to take some pictures.  Of course I had my pro gear with me, but I snapped a few pictures with my iphone, too.  You just can’t beat the convenience of instantly having an image to send to a friend or post to facebook.  When I was going through my images after getting home, I realized that I had two shots, from the same vantage point, one taken with my nearly $5,000 professional body/lens combo and one taken with my $200 phone camera.

Can you tell which is which?

(no fair checking the efix data for the pictures, either, this is just for fun. . . no prizes for a right answer, just a little friendly conversation!)

The Getty Center in Los Angeles California.

The Getty Center in Los Angeles California.

Beach Week – Day 6 {Los Angeles Nature Photographer}

October 7, 2011

On a clear day, Los Angeles really is spectacular.  It gets a bad rap for always being smoggy, but we’ve had plenty of blue sky days in the 6 weeks we’ve been here.  It’s usually clearest by the beach and I love that you can see north to Santa Monica, 12 miles away.  I also love that our beach is pretty quiet.  The tourists tend to head to Santa Monica or south to Manhattan Beach, which leaves the sands along El Segundo wide open for my kids to run and play.  Ten million people in the great L.A. area and I got a photograph on the beach in which you can barely make out a single person.  I love it!

A sweep of blue green surf washes up on the California beach.

It’s just as serene at sunset, too.  Which is exactly the way I like to enjoy my sunsets, thank you very much.

The colorful sunset reflects in the surf along the beach.

I was actually down at the beach with my family when I took these pictures.  While my husband watched the kids as they ran in the sand, I got closer to the water with my camera.  The colors kept getting more and more vivid and I just had to share.  I called my 4-year-old over and told him that I wanted to show him something really cool.  I showed him that as you knelt down closer the sand, the reflection along the surf got more vivid and colorful, just like the sky.  If you stood up, the color disappeared and it turned dark.  He was pretty amazed.  And I can completely see why. . .

A brilliant sunset reflects in the surf along the shoreline.

Beach Week – Day 3 & 4

October 6, 2011

I plead guilty.  Here it is, nearly the end of the day on Thursday and I never posted a day 3 or 4 picture over here.  What kind of a beach week is this?!  Please be easy on the sentence, I’ll offer a bonus image for today and promise an extra one for day 5 tomorrow! 😉

I love the crashing of the waves.  It’s kind of ironic how something so violent can be so soothing.  But I could sit at the shoreline and listen to it for hours. . .

Waves crash on a rock jetty along the California coast line.

Here’s a birds-eye view of the South Bay from the top of the Ferris Wheel on the Santa Monica pier.  Definitely worth the price of a ticket!

Looking south from the Santa Monica pier.

Finally for today, the sun put on quite a show before setting. . .

A lifeguard stand on a Los Angeles beach at sunset.