newborn, newborn stretch, newborn lifestyle

Welcome Number Four

Welcome home little man. Here is your family. Here is your home. You are loved beyond your wildest dreams. You have two big sisters who are ready to to teach you how to use the ipad and maybe one day the car. You have a big brother who is dying to get into trouble with you. And let’s not forget your mom and dad. Oh how they cherish you! I know because I saw it. I saw all fo this. I am so happy that this is where you have been placed. These moments are not ones you will be able to recall, but you will hear all about them. Sweet dreams little man. Sweet dreams.


An in home family session is easier than you think! Find out all the reasons you might want to consider an in home session versus a studio session for your newborn and your family.

Book your in home family newborn session!

San Diego Family Photographer

Can I bring the dog?

Can I bring the dog? This is one of the most asked questions I get! YES!! I have a dog, a pitbull mix I picked up from the pound. They really aren’t an issue for me, but you should always ask your photographer if this is ok with them. I am particularly happy to photograph your whole family because–and I don’t have to tell you this–they carry a part of your heart. I know how my kids feel about Sadie and how she feels about them. She’s a huge part of their childhood. How could we choose to ignore it.

With all of that said there are some things you must consider when including your family pet, and that is them. Lets start with the basics.

  1. Bring a leash, the one you always use or treat them to a new one that coordinates with your outfit. New environments can be overwhelming. We wouldn’t want your session to take a nose dive because Rex ran after a squirl and now you can’t get him back. This would bring tears.
  2. Water and a container they can drink from. Also for their best interests.
  3. Bags for messes. Do I need to explain? 

And now for the not so obvious…

  1. Treats. These can really help with getting your dog’s attention but work with your photographer on who should be holding it. They are a great tool but can be a complete distraction if not used appropriately.
  2. A resusable grocery bag for all the stuff. I recommend this whether you bring your dog or not. We need a place for keys, wallets, and other odds and ends. It’s also a good idea because we wouldn’t want to put your purse on the ground either.
  3. An extra person. Yes. Bring a “dog sitter.” This can be your best friend, your mom, or the kid from down the street. There will be moment where you don’t really want the dog in the photo and someone needs to hang on to them. Don’t count on your photographer doing it because she’s holding the camera still.

And finally, the thing you should consider most when decididng to bring Fido is the location. It can be somewhat limiting because not all parks and beaches allow for such company. So if you are good with your local choices then game on!

Cousins: Summer Time Means Beach Time

Growing up in the continental US’s most southwesterly city, Imperial Beach, comes with a surf culture and a small town feel. With only one high school, everybody knows everybody. I grew up in a neighboring city but frequented this beach in my youth and even used to lifeguard there. A part of me felt right at home.

These three hooligans felt right at home too. It because plainly obvious within the first 5 minutes. This cousin trio were out to get some great pictures for grandma for a later and personal birthday surprise–prints for her wall! We started off as most sessions do, not sure of what to do or put our hands. But you can see how that didn’t last and the kids showed me just how silly they could be. The evening closed out with wet and sandy kids. And in my house, the amount of dirt on you is directly proportional to the amount of fun you had.









imperial beach family photography

Why You Shouldn’t Bribe Your Children Through A Photography Session

I am that mom. I know I am that mom. I am the mom with the kids in the grocery store that are hanging off the cart, wrestling in the aisle, and poking the eyes on all the fish in the meat department. Yes, I have told them to stop it. Yes, I have told them they will lose their precious screen time. Yes, I am tired of the constant fight.

And I’m supposed to sign up for photography session and have you point a camera at my chaos? Umm..

Kids are unpredictable, babies especially. They are who they are and we the parents are at the mercy of their behavior, especially in public. Yes, we are the ones “in control”. But it feels like such an illusion at times. It doesn’t mean I give up and “let them win.” Heaven forbid! But after seeing hundreds of families and seeing how they deal with the stress with a camera that is supposed to be aimed at them just magnifies everything. ¬†Here are some ways parents can do their part that will help everyone walk away smiling.



  1. Do not bribe them. It only gives them something to whine about. Following directions for an hour can be exhausting to little humans. And for the love of all that is holy, do not give them chocolate or anything that will change the color of their teeth! “Is that chocolate or poop?”
  2. Distractions work wonders. I am for evidence of connections between family members. This can be done easily with a game–a game with you! Dads are great at throwing little people in the air. Moms are usually great for swings and cuddles. Siblings are perfect for silly
  3. Props. These are great but they have to be something you don’t mind being in the pictures. If it is something special to them, like a blanket or lovey, by all means bring it. It’s part of who they are at this stage in their life. Some kids are really good about “hiding” their treasure once it’s time to snap the picture. This works with big humans too. I once had a grandpa who doesn’t take his cowboy hat off for anything. It was just part of him. His family wouldn’t recognize him without it. Kids like to find sticks, rocks, or pick flowers. It only adds to the story.
  4. Mom and dad can walk away for a few. Sometimes just getting directions from too many people can be overwhelming. Some kids just need a little time and space. You don’t have to go to the car. Just get quiet or remove yourself from the energy happening in front of the camera. This also works when babies don’t want to smile at the camera, because they only want to smile at their most favorite people, mom and dad.20151025smithburg0437
  5. Take breaks and change locations. It’s okay to run around and let the photographer chase you. I purposely wear shoes that I can run around while shooting. Kids have very little control of the circumstances that are in their lives. Letting them relax is a sure fire way to maintain a positive atmosphere.
  6. Keep them happy. Forced smiles are not fun, nor do they make for fun memories to put up on your wall. Of course, we must keep the safety of everyone priority number one. But if something is not working, pick them up, comfort them, and move on to something else.20151025smithburg0743

Going with the flow is really part of my style. I know things don’t always go as planned. Be resilient. Be flexible. Be forgiving. Your next session will happen with smiles when everyone comes with the mindset ready for family play time. Book your session!

Top 5 Things You Will Stress About During Your Family Photo Session

No doubt about it. The second you start to think about booking your next family photo session you are overwhelmed with questions and even anxiety. The To-Do List just grew by a mile–shopping, hair appointments, making sure you get off work on time, and that nap schedule… The list goes on.
Any full service professional photographer will have some things set up to ease your stress level and help you answer most of those questions. Lean on them! But keep in mind, there are things we just won’t be able appease no matter how much support we give you.

Here are the top five things my friends and family have told me stress them out the most.

1. Your Personal Appearance
It never fails. My husband gets a zit and I have not lost the 5 pounds I swore I’d lose even before I hung up the phone to book the appointment. Here’s my two cents–the kids don’t care! We are making memories–heirlooms! How many times have you looked at your own childhood pictures of your parents holding you and thought, “Mom really should have spent more time in the gym before taking this.” It’s not about you. It’s about those kids. You will look your best because you are throwing those babies around and having tickle fights. And your kids will love you for it. And for that zit, seriously, that’s what Photoshop is for. It’s not part of who you are and it’s gone. Your photographer has already photoshopped it in her head. Now get back to smiling.

jumping, having fun during your photo session, fun loving, little Italy, San Diego, downtown, family photography

2. Coordinating The Outfits
Ahh! This one is my personal nightmare. No, you don’t want to show up matching, but we aim for coordinated. Picking a color palette is enough to make me break out in a cold sweat. But here’s the thing. You probably already have everything you need in your closet right now. But if you are looking for a starting point, Pinterest is a girl’s best friend. There are all kinds of great advice out there. Pick a color palette that complements your taste and keep it simple.

east chula vista, family, step kids, blended family,

3. Kids’ Behavior (or even your Spouse’s!)
Keep your expectations of them low and let your photographer win them over. You just get them in the car and let her do the convincing. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to talk to your photographer in person or over the phone enough to know that she’s a person you want to hang out with. It has been my experience that bribes don’t work so leave those out of the equation. Seriously! Games, laughing with each other, and group hugs, and even some quiet space will melt any reluctancy any of you may have. As soon as you let go of making this your responsibility, you let in that creative space your photographer needs to make the magic happen.

silliness, fun, otay ranch mall, goofy kids, good time, san diego, family photography, cousins

4. Getting There On Time
This is critical for everyone involved, especially if you are not in a studio and the direction of the sun is part of your photographer’s equation. Leave early. Plan on getting lost. Know the kid is probably going to fall asleep and need a few minutes to cuddle before they are ready to play tag. Have the photographer’s number on hand just in case. It’s been a lifesaver on a few occasions. I personally have fibbed (ok, flat out lied!) to my family and said it was 15 minutes earlier than actually scheduled all in the name of sunlight. Frazzled families take even longer to warm up then those who are along for the ride.

balboa park, San Diego, family photographer, girls, family

5. Not Liking Your Pictures
This is the number one stressor when you don’t trust your photographer. The first thing you can do to alleviate this is to understand who you are hiring. Look at their portfolio. Are they consistent in style? Do you like what they are putting out there? Don’t hire them simply because you know them or they took your friends pictures. You must like their work. Photographers put out there what they are good at, where they feel they hit their mark. Look for someone who specializes in what you want done. After all, you don’t go to a Chinese restaurant when all you want is a hamburger. You must match. Not everyone can be a match and that is perfectly okay because there are lots of us to chose from. And when you find one, hang on to them and they will hang on to you.

family portrait photographer, san diego, east chula vista, fun, lifestyle

You’ve got this! Ask questions if you have them and know that your afternoon will be a great one.  I’m looking forward to helping you have a great session with out as much stress as I can. Book with me soon!