bellies & babies

Christina + Mark // Maternity Session in Bend, Oregon

"I can't really put into words what I'm looking for... but something that looks like natural poses without actually being overly posed. What we are looking for during this shoot is something a bit different. I don't like cliche poses. I want this shoot to capture our fun loving relationship and be as natural as can be while capturing the deep love we already have for our little guy."

Mission. Accomplished.

Christina and Mark were troopers. They'd picked out a spot for their maternity shoot ahead of time, but of course Mother Nature doesn't always cooperate. The temps dropped to below 50, and then it even started to rain a bit.

But they didn't care. They nuzzled, whispered wishes for their baby's future, and spoke aloud the many things they loved about each other.

And the magical moments unfolded before my camera. Click. Wow.

Check out a few highlights from this maternity session below:

Christina + Mark had come to me wanting a few photos to hang on the wall of their nursery. They left with the photos they'd desired... and a few beloved memories.

A sample canvas wall art display, showcasing a few of their favorite images. My clients can "try before they buy" to ensure their wall art is the perfect fit for their home.

A sample canvas wall art display, showcasing a few of their favorite images. My clients can "try before they buy" to ensure their wall art is the perfect fit for their home.

Interested in a maternity session or another photo session of your own? Contact me to get started!

first birthday cake smash

People say it's rude to play with your food. But I disagree. Especially if you just happen to be turning ONE year old, and it's your birthday cake in question. first year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange countyfirst year cake smash session in orange county

before and after...

first year cake smash session in orange county

Contact me to learn more about how a cake-smash session can be the *perfect* addition to a first year photo session, and a great way to practice for the real cake at your kiddo's first birthday party.

and baby makes 3

They couldn't stop staring at his tiny, pointed ears... and both of them were in LOVE with that little detail. He said that baby Chase had to be part werewolf, while she swore that she'd given birth to a fairy. But either way, werewolf or fairy, baby Chase was definitely magical in his own way... having already captured the hearts of both of his parents.

Matt + Timree, I am so amazingly happy for the both of you as you start this new adventure in parenthood... and I can't wait to help capture the many memories as they unfold.

psssst..... a really cool factoid: Matt's father used to play for the Red Sox!

Snuggling in bed together... their own little oasis... marveling over the wee one in their arms, and reveling in the fact that they were parents.

It's amazing how wonderfully unique someone so tiny can already be. I was told that Chase actually prefers to sleep THIS way... with both arms stretched up above his head.

If you've ever been to Timree's studio, I'm sure you recognize this paint-splattered shirt as one of her trademark pieces.

And of course we had to welcome the newest mini-fan in style.

Welcome to the world, wee one. Let the adventure begin!


santa baby

Here's a sneak peek from a recent portrait  session... just a little something to get you into the holiday spirit. Santa Baby by The Suitcase Studio

LOVE what you see?  Share the love by simply leaving a comment below. If this blog post receives 25+ comments, the family will receive an 8×10 print of their choice.


Still need to take your holiday family photo? There's still time to book a mini-session with me, which includes a photo session and 25 custom holiday cards. Taking place this Sunday, December 2nd only. Don't delay... click here to book your mini-session now!

red thread sessions // Orange County Adoption Photographer

There is an ancient Chinese belief which states: An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. The thread may stretch or tangle but will never break.

This is a commonly-used saying within the adoption community. It symbolizes the bond that all adoptive children have with their adoptive parents, even before they meet. An invisible “red thread” connects them to the people that are destined to be a part of their lives. With this in mind, an organization named Red Thread Sessions was created in 2011 by a group of photographers who wanted to celebrate the beauty and strength of adoption.

I am happy to announce my involvement with this organization, and that I will now be offering Red Thread Sessions.

What is a Red Thread Session?

As stated on their official website, a Red Thread Session not only captures family portraits of new families, it also capture the precious, happy, confusing, exciting, exhausting, traumatic, life-changing time that is so often brief and fleeting in the life of an adoptive family.

To many people who have never gone through the process (or have simply seen the tv-version of it all), adoption appears pretty straight-forward. But I can tell you... it's anything but that. Not only is it a big decision to make, but then there are the inspections. The questions. More inspections. And waiting. (Lots and lots of waiting.) Hope and joy when the announcement is made... and  total heartbreak if an adoption falls through. More decisions, and more waiting. Lots more hope. And then joy (and normal parenting fear) when it all becomes real and an adoption goes through.

But this is just the beginning. There are adjustment periods on both sides. It's not a simple "happily-ever-after" kind of thing. it's deep, emotional, and sometimes pretty messy. But in the end, adoption is one of the most generous and rewarding things of all. In my eyes, adoption is one of the greatest gifts you could ever bestow upon someone. A chance to belong. To be loved. And to be chosen for these things.

To all of you who have chosen to adopt children as part of their family, I thank you.

For giving a child a home. For giving him a chance at a normal life. And for offering him your love.

In appreciation of all you are doing, I would like to thank you personally with your first family photos. Better known as a "Red Thread Session," these unique services are available for free to newly adoptive parents:

  • a family portrait session within the first 3 months of your finalized adoption to capture family portraits of your new family
  • a homecoming session where I'd meet you at your home to capture the arrival of your child and the first moments with your family
  • a birth photography session to capture the birth of the adoptive child in an open adoption

Please visit the website of Red Thread Sessions for more details/qualification information. Or if you are ready to get started, you can contact me directly. I will be offering up to 6 of these sessions per year (and more if my schedule permits).  I look forward to meeting your beautiful family.

Why my involvement with this cause? Not many people know this, but before becoming a photographer it was my dream to be a psychologist/therapist/counselor of some kind. I graduated from Cal State Fullerton with my B.A. in Psychology, then went on to work in a few different children's group homes. I fell in love with the children's spirits (even when they were being their most difficult), but was heartbroken at seeing the reality of "the system" from the inside. I wanted to delve further into this field, but life had different plans for me. I am someone who takes everything to heart and found that I was just too "soft" to continue in this line of work. I wasn't able to leave things "at the door" and took the stress of the situation home with me. After months of insomnia, nightmares and near ulcers, I was forced to re-evaluate my path in life. Changing the direction of my life was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had to make.

And so, I went on to pursue other dreams, never leaving this one far behind. I've continued to work with kids... volunteering, teaching and empowering them whenever an opportunity arises.

When I hear of an adoption... I light up with joy. Parents given a child they thought they'd never have, and children given a family they've always wanted.

One less kid who has to grow up in "the system," and one more family given the chance for happiness and love.

To all adoptive families... I thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

the Tomoda family

Hide and Satomi quickly welcomed me into their beautiful home and treated me like a treasured guest. I was introduced to both sets of their parents (who were visiting from Japan) and, of course, their new baby girl Kao. Once we got some music going, it was as if we had created an impromptu party. Let the fun begin...

I love tiny baby bits & pieces. Check out those feathery lashes...

And, of course... teeny, tiny toes.

This elephant was a handmade gift from one of the grandmothers.

Proud grandmothers...

Below is actually one of my favorite images, being a momentary peek into their world.

I am so honored that I was invited to capture these special family moments for them to treasure always.

Click here to see even more.

sneak peek // Tomoda family session

Meet new mother Satomi, new father Hide, and one month old baby Kao. Their in-home family portrait session was filled with lots of joy & laughter. And with lots of family members gathered together (both sets of parents were visiting from Japan), I couldn't help but feel surrounded by love.

Here is just one of my favorite images from their session.

The Suitcase Studio - image from Tomoda family portrait session

Show your LOVE by leaving a comment below. If 15+ comments are received, Hide + Satomi will receive a free 8×10 print to display in their home.