Family Portraits and the Lovely Coves of Laguna Beach

Aside from one glorious trip to play golf at the Pelican Hills course (uhh-mazing), I’ve never spent much time in Laguna Beach. Not until I spent a gloriously warm, clear afternoon with the Durand family. If the charming houses, great hilltop views, and Riviera-like coves weren’t enough to win me over, the family themselves were warm and fun enough to give me a reason to plan future visits.

We started out at their lovely home, and then made our way down to picturesque Fishermans Cove just in time for sunset.

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

Tessa the little towhead.

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

Lucas is so pro with that light saber; he’ll spin, pose, and go fierce in his expressions. Apparently, he idolizes a Star Wars character named Savage Opress. Yeah — I had to Google it too. Bottom line is the character and the kid are both hard core.

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

Peter has a peaceful, inquisitive spirit. I think this shot captures both qualities.

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

The tide pools of Fisherman’s Cove act like little dark mirrors.

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

 

laguna beach family portraits fisherman's cove

Mommy and baby toes.

UCLA Botanical Gardens Engagement

Matt and Sofia are getting married next August, but it’s never too early to get engagement photos done — especially when you can use them for your Christmas cards.

Sofia was a UCLA Bruin, and when we were first talking about possible shooting locations, she mentioned her alma mater. I had only been to the school a few times, but knew its iconic brickwork buildings would provide a stellar backdrop. Add in the sentimental value to Sofia and the fact that Matt’s school was about 300 miles too far away for an afternoon drive, and we had our location.

We started off in the Mathias Botanical Gardens on the eastern edge of the campus. Since the sun was still fairly high overhead, the leafy canopy softened the light, making for luscious skin tones.

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

One of my favorites. I love how the sun lit up the leaves behind them.

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

We brought along their dog Davis, who is so adorable, and a slightly more hyper stand-in for their cat Miles who had to stay at home and miss the party. Davis was going crazy in the gardens for all the squirrels — which is part of why in my mind, she’s the spitting image of Dug from the movie UP in both looks and instantaneous love for everyone she meets.

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

The gorgeous arches of Royce Hall.

ucla engagement portraits

 

ucla engagement portraits

Just as the last light was disappearing, we made our way up to the sculpture gardens and took this long exposure in front of one of the more modern elements of UCLA’s epic architecture.

Wild Pregnancy

Being pregnant — especially for the first time — isn’t the passive, gentle experience ’50s TV made it out to be. It is a wild ride full of surprises and coming to terms with the fact that you don’t have full control over how this child will change your life. But, it’s also a time of unparalleled beauty and excitement. These emotions remind me of rugged hill country: untamed, unexplored, riveting, and inspiring passion. What better place for a pregnancy photo shoot?

I photographed Lizzie and Donavan’s wedding a while back, and remember well the way they look at each other. Lizzie’s already very natural in front of a camera, but you get her looking at her man, and she beams like a lighthouse. Same thing with Donavan; whenever I was shooting just him, I’d have Lizzie stand over my shoulder so I could capture that look of a man surveying the greatest treasure in the world. I can only imagine the look on their faces when they finally get to see their baby.

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

studebaker malibu pregnancy portraits

The baby’s room is decorated in a cool Route 66 motif, so imagine our delight when we stumbled on this old Studebaker. I “aged up” the photo a bit to give it a retro feel worthy of the car.

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

malibu pregnancy portraits

There’s that look.

malibu pregnancy portraits

 

Santa Monica Wedding: Sam + Rob

I love accents almost as much as I love a good love story.
Samantha (Sam), obviously feels the same, because after meeting and
falling in love with Rob while on a vacation to Australia, she
immediately made plans to go back and see him again.

Rob is apparently quite the chef. How can a girl not fall for a man
who will cook for her while sweet talking in a cool Aussie drawl?

The fact that they lived in entirely different hemispheres couldn’t
keep them apart. They left “Oz” to come back to this side of the rainbow
and start their lives together in LA with a beachfront wedding
surrounded by family and friends, some of whom flew halfway around the
world to be with them.

The ceremony and reception were held at the lovely Loews Resort in Santa Monica, with a sweeping view of the beach and pier. I was fortunate to work with the incredible Jeremy Yates, about whom I can’t say enough good things.

groomsmen at loews resort santa monica

the handsome groom

bride walking down the aisle

I
love the moment of anticipation just before a bride walks down the
aisle. Sam had her mom and dad on each arm to keep her steady and frame
her stunning dress.

wedding first kiss

Check out the best man leaning in for a good look.

wedding sunset at the santa monica pier

wedding first dance

wedding cake

bride dancing with father

bride dancing with family

Sam and her family are total hams. I absolutely love it.

wedding rings and bouquet

Mazel tov, you two.

Engagement Glimpse: Anna + Zeke

What an excellent day shooting in Venice, California.

Anna and Zeke are going to be married this November in Pasadena, but today I took them out to play around the streets of the artsy beach city and captured their life, pre “I do.”

The light was luscious and the couple was funtastic. Yeah, I spelled that right.

Laughs galore at a mural on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Laughs galore at a mural on Abbot Kinney in Venice.

Anna was working it.

Anna was working it.

Move toward the light ... that gorgeous, tasty light. You can actually see the beams! I content that it's the light of Anna and Zeke's passion creating the glow.

Move toward the light … that gorgeous, tasty light. You can actually see the beams! I contend that it’s the light of Anna and Zeke’s passion creating the glow.

Stay tuned for the full post, and come back in November to see their wedding. It’s going to be at a brand new event venue in Pasadena at Paseo Colorado. Can’t wait!

La Crescenta Pregnancy: Anita + Ben + Baby

Babies!

I love when I get to photograph people I know, because knowing
someone’s back story and how they got to where they are now brings me
inside their world emotionally. That’s one of the reasons that when I
meet new clients I try to get to know who they are, what they love. I
may never really utilize the facts I know about them in my photos, but
it helps the people on both sides of the camera feel comfortable enough
with each other to share the kind of tender moments I capture.

Once in a while, I have the opportunity to photograph people I have
already known for years like Anita and Ben. I met Anita in a ballroom
dancing class a few years back that we took with a mutual friend.
Stumbling all over a stranger’s toes for a couple hours a week will
either make you flee embarrassed from the class or earn you a new
friend. I’m glad Anita and I chose the latter course, stubbed toes and
all.

She and Ben had already been dating for a number of years by that
time. I got to share the joy of the engagement announcement, wish them
well on their wedding last year, and now celebrate with them their
soon-to-arrive baby girl.

I am incredibly honored that they asked me to document their joy and
anticipation. I am even more honored to get to share these emotions with
them.

pregnancy photo mom dad La Crescenta

pregnancy portrait mom dad La Crescenta

pregnancy photo baby bump La Crescenta

baby name tattoo pregnancy photo La Crescenta

Ben just got this tattoo a couple weeks ago. The symbols are Anita’s
Chinese name and the symbol for beauty and peace. In other words,
“Beautiful Anita.”

outdoor pregnancy portrait La Crescenta

vineyard pregnancy portrait la crescenta

vineyard pregnancy portrait la crescenta

I have no idea what the history of this brilliant old stone building is.
Honestly, I kind of found it by accident. I was looking around La
Crescenta for some scenic natural photo locales, and stumbled across
this park with the building, a miniature vineyard, and luscious cypress
trees — all of which make for luscious backdrops. Los Angeles, truly
hosts some unexpected treasures.

couple portrait la crescenta

Congratulations, you two.