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Montecito, California Family Portrait Session

What a better way to look back at your family’s precious memories than with beautiful portraits of the simplicity of family time.

This young couple has a dual love for their home state of Colorado and their childhood state of California. While they happily reside in Colorado they often love to vacation in California.  Evan and Erika are proud parents to a sweet toddler girl, who is already talking and full of curious questions. Both parents are very involved in making sure that their highly inquisitive toddler experiences new opportunities to explore new things. For that reason, a trip to the beautiful beach of Montecito, California was surely a great way for them to show their sweet child all about the ocean and it’s fun waves. 

Likewise, I was very happy to learn all about their summer plans and their interest of having me capture some candid moments of them enjoying a day by the seaside. With this in mind, the tranquil beach of Montecito was truly the perfect location for an afternoon walk along the seashore. In short, the Mendoza family had a lot of fun playing together while I shadowed them with my camera! Certainly, it was my delight to capture these precious moments so that they can reminisce together in the years to come! 

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Kaylan’s High School Senior Portrait Session at El Matador State Beach

One of Malibu’s hidden gems is El Matador State Beach.  Knowing that Kaylan is a beach goer, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to take advantage of El Matador’s very fun waves!  Its rock formations are simply beautiful and I was very happy to have been able to use their rugged texture as a backdrop for some of her portraits.  Photographing her walking along the shoreline holding her graduation cap, decorated with one of her favorite quotes, gives this session a very personal touch.  In addition, some of the more playful images with the waves splashing about her, have a candidness about them; however, there was a strategy that went into them. (For example, I really make it a point to check the stability of an area before I ask my subjects to pose) After watching me demonstrate the stability of the wet rock beforehand, Kaylan was less apprehensive and more at ease while standing there herself.  We absolutely had a blast, even when at times we got seriously busy dodging some of the bigger waves of that evening.  Moreover, these portraits showcase Kaylan’s playful side and we most definitely enjoyed capturing it, so much so that the early evening session quickly turned into sunset!  It was the perfect beach location to have captured these fun, loving portraits of Kaylan in her Cap and Gown.

However, the fun did not stop there!  We continued the second part of her high school portrait session on the day of Kaylan’s prom!  When I arrived at Kaylan’s home she was ready, dressed in her beautiful black-laced dress — one of three outfits that I had helped her pre-select from her closet. Sonia, Kaylan’s mother, had been longing to have her daughter pose behind their family’s piano.  It was very satisfying for me to have been able to fulfill this wish for her.  Without delay we moved the session into Kaylan’s bedroom, her sanctuary, and it proved to be the right environment to feature more of her love towards the ocean while also showing off a rather sweet and tender side to her.  Next, to keep on schedule I packed my gear and we all headed to Kaylan’s aunt’s home just a few blocks away.  Once there, we easily executed the much awaited prom portraits.  Since I had done a prior scout of the home’s backyard, I knew in which areas I would have her pose.  I had Kaylan do what I like to call the “Juliet Pose”, in which I have my subject looking down at my camera from a balcony.  In addition, I like to work around scenery that will complement the color scheme of their wardrobe.  Thus, I felt that using the green of the palm trees were very agreeable with Kaylan’s coral-tone prom dress.  More often than not, I also look for any opportunity to get creative with reflections.  All things considered it made for a very gratifying experience, from the pre-planning, to the portrait session, to the ordering of the canvases and portrait prints. Ultimately, high-school senior year is a momentous milestone and one to celebrate big!  It was a sheer pleasure to have photographed Kaylan and share with all, her nice personality and gorgeous smile.

Kaylan Munoz - Working with Connie was amazing because I felt confident with her work from the beginning knowing that this was my first ever professional photoshoot. I trusted her from the start. She was so patient with taking my senior and prom pictures at the beach, at my aunt’s house, and in my bedroom. She had so many ideas for the photoshoot and telling me to just be myself and have fun which I really did along the way. She really inspired me because I am a shy person but working with her changed that and made me feel assured, relaxed and to believe in myself. At the beginning doing this photoshoot it took time and effort, but at the end it was all worth it because I got to experience her work and accomplished my first professional photoshoot. Most definitely, I loved Connie’s work because we enjoyed each others company and laughing at the same time to create these beautiful memories together for my family to cherish.

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Business Portraits at Tesoro del Valle

I certainly had an awesome time capturing Gretell at her best!  I was more than happy to go to her home and utilize her lovely and spacious backyard (from her waterfall to the newly remodeled patio) as the perfect, relaxing and private setting.  I love taking on clients that are shy and thus somewhat nervous about having their portrait or headshots taken. This was the case with Gretell.  However, it was very pleasing to see how quickly she became comfortable in front of my lens; once I gave her a quick preview from my computer as I was tethering the session.  Doing so enabled Gretell to have a brief glimpse of her headshots during the early part of the session.  As a result, it was nice to see her smiling and having an enjoyable time with each outfit change.  Also, I had fun selecting different vantage points for her to pose in that would best convey her as both friendly and professional.

Gretell is a professional consultant for doTerra Essential Oils.  She takes great pride in her work and had been wanting to give her business a more personal touch by adding a professional headshot to her doTerra business content, such as her business card and her website!  She has such a warm gentle personality and is a great listener — perfect for her line of work!

Sometimes the modesty of a person can limit them from recognizing how beautiful they can truly be.  I believe that working with apprehensive subjects who may at times feel protective of how they may be captured through the lens, is the perfect opportunity for me to put their minds at ease.  For this reason, I feel very happy to have captured Gretell looking beautiful and comfortable expressing her friendly personality.  As a photographer, it was most uplifting to have had Gretell put her trust in me.  Indeed, I look forward to taking her family portraits in the near future!

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Greene Family Portraits

There are indeed many good reasons that being a photographer brings fulfillment.  For me it is that repeated moment of pride when I see my clients canvases and prints ready to be displayed at their home.  It’s that realization that I have captured an heirloom that will be treasured for many of their families generations to enjoy.  It is also that moment when I see my clients eyes light up with pride and their faces over taken with smiles of gratitude and pure satisfaction, that reinforces my want to do my best in every aspect of the job!

Meeting with Cynthia and Kristopher at one of my business expo’s turned out to be truly pleasant.  When I met them at their home, they were instantly ready to discuss their ideas and needs in order to help me understand their expectations in creating their family portraits.  One of the highlights of our talk was being introduced to their handsome and polite five year old son.  He was very friendly  and in our talk, we discovered that I had previously photographed one of his classmates which made him feel very happy and ready to partake in the upcoming family portrait session of him and his parents with me.

The agreeable warm afternoon of November was perfect as we began our portrait session next to a small lake, where the sun’s rays seemed to dance freely upon the short waves created by a flow of wind that braced the top surface of the lake.  All the while, I posed the three of them to be backlit by the sun and use the tree branches to help in the framing of my images.  After feeling content that we had accomplished our mission by taking a variety of well executed story telling portraits and due to their awesome trust and poise as I shot away with my Canon camera, that we then gladly made our way to our second location of the day.

At The Iron Horse Trail, we were surprised to see many other families and their photographers sharing the space.  I knew then that I would have to execute these next images with even more precision than before, as I could feel the minutes pressing on.  Since I planned before hand that I would use a tripod to assure a constant framing of the bridge, I quickly prepared my equipment in a nonintrusive manner with the help of my two faithful assistants of the day, my husband and son!  Soon we were given a turn at the bridge and I gladly moved in my tripod and positioned it as best I could to eliminate the other people still slightly visible in the scene.  Once again, with the great cooperation of all three subjects, we were able to take advantage of the sunset light.

All in all, Cynthia and Kristopher are a very nice and cute couple and they are raising a good well behaved boy.  Their son has a nice personality and he was able to be serious and playful at the right times, just the absolute best subject of the day!  I had a very nice time with this family and surprised them at the end by offering to take a detail shot of their wedding rings.  The ring shot turned out great and agrees with the rustic look that they so much enjoy.  This was a great way to end our portrait session!

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The Durham’s Fall Family Portraits at the L.A. Arboretum

Eagerly, I entered the L.A. Arboretum with my photography equipment bag in one hand and a kid friendly treasure map in the other. I was excited to meet with Windy, Anthony, their two handsome boys, and their cute little Chihuahua dog too, who joined the portrait session at the tail end.

The Durham boys were keen to explore the grounds of the beautiful Arboretum, so we soon headed to the first of our various pre-planned garden locations. During the transitional periods of the family portrait session it was great to listen to Anthony as he reminisced on his own childhood walks at this same Arboretum with his mother and his brother. In the meantime, the boys were happily busy glancing at their map to spot the next location (I created it in preparation for our walk featuring the boys’ favorite characters Catboy & Gecko). Windy and Anthony are a very sweet couple and they were very understanding when the youngest boy was at times not readily willing to give us his full smile — even after I put on some funny cat ears! So, I used distraction as another way to get him to smile and pretended to lose my balance while on my step stool. Moreover, it’s this type of natural flowing interactions with my clients that makes it fun and interesting for me. In turn, I believe that my outgoing personality makes it fun for them too! I love seeing them feeling comfortable and at ease while I’m behind the camera capturing their unique personalities. It is important for me that my families all have a pleasant experience from beginning to end.

Indeed, it was a true pleasure to have been able to spend such a lovely Fall afternoon outdoors with the Durham family and their cute family dog, Pumpkin!

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