kids & family

twinning it up // fun family photos in California

This family lights up my heart SOOOO much. I've been photographing them for over 4 years now, and it's been fun to watch the girls as they grow. And add a PUPPY to the mix, and I was in HEAVEN!

We decided to take photos at Shoreline Park in Long Beach, which not only provided a GOOORGEOUS backdrop (hel-LO ligthhouse!), but gave the puppy (and the GIRLS) pleeeeenty of space to run around and play. And roll down grassy hills. And jump off benches. And all the other stuff that kids WANT to do outside. (FREEEEEDOOOM!!!)

And so, we played. And I chased. And ran up hills right alongside them. And played Simon Says. And "find the man named Bob that lives inside my camera." And all other sorts of hilarious stuff that made the girls (and their fathers) giggle and laugh and have a GOOD TIME.

Here are a few of my favorite moments captured that afternoon. I hope you'll love them as much as I do!

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If your heart is SMILING, let me know! Leave a comment below or, even better, CONTACT ME for a photo session of your OWN!

minted magic and holiday fun

Several months back, Minted.com asked if they could use a few of my photos as samples for their new holiday cards. It was fun to see my images start to pop up in several new designs, but yesterday was a FABULOUS surprise...

Out of THOUSANDS of entries, a card design which showcased one of MY images was selected as one of four Guest Judge winners of the Let it Snow! Holiday + New Year’s Photo Card Challenge! (squeeeeeeeee!!!!)

Guest Judge Elaina Sullivan, Market Editor at Domino selected the "Handwritten Noel" design by Sarah Curry.

Here is a snippet of this fantastic announcement, as seen on Minted's blog:

minted card design winner - photo by The Suitcase Studio
minted card design winner - photo by The Suitcase Studio

(See all the winners by clicking here.)

Although I REALLY should give a lot of the photo credit to my fabulous clients... this family was SUPER-adorable and it was their idea to bring the little car with the tiny tree tied up top. And, oh yeah... they all showed up in JAMMIES! (I puffy-heart people with this kind of creativity.)

Check out how much FUN we had together during last year's mini-session:


Ready to PLAY? I am holding Holiday Mini-Sessions this year on October 11 and November 9. Contact me to learn more and sign up for a session of your own.

little girl, don't grow too fast

This girl was SUCH an amazing little model. Such a professional at such a young age, and has already been seen in several magazines and has worked with many large labels. She knows her angles, takes direction incredibly well, and is a DREAM to work with. And then the cameras went down... and the perfect little model disappeared and the little girl she really was came out to play. Twirling in her outfit, crouching to play with some grass, and keeping me thoroughly entertained with a song and dance about a HAMBURGER. Yes, for real. We wandered across the field together; she was skipping and being a chatterbox the entire way. And I loved it. Smiling big, I asked her to teach me the hamburger song (which I never learned correctly), but at least she thought my attempt to dance was entertaining.

Still giggling, she looked up at me and said, "I like you. You're FUN."

And then she continued to happily skip across the field.

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Stopping to crouch in the grass and then twirl a bit in the sunshine... just for the fun of it. TheSuitcaseStudio-OrangeCountyChildrenPhotographer-1.jpg

Singing and dancing to the "hamburger song." TheSuitcaseStudio-OrangeCountyChildrenPhotographer-4.jpg TheSuitcaseStudio-OrangeCountyChildrenPhotographer-9.jpg

I hope she can stay a little girl for a little while longer.  Long live the spirit of childhood, and long live PLAY. Forever and ever.

daddy's little cowgirls

The divorce was final a couple years ago, yet the family photos that filled his home still featured his ex-wife. She would ALWAYS be the girls' mother, but now the 3 of them were their own distinct family unit as well. So we set out to fill his walls with new photos... and their hearts with new memories. In the midst of this western-styled playground, with a plethora of things to see and touch, the girls' favorite thing of all was to reach out to their daddy. He still carried the most magic out of everything they saw that day.

"Carry me, Daddy..." And with those simple words, and in the arms of her father, his littlest girl was content.

They held hands, wrestled, and tickled. They played bartender, restaurant, and even put on a concert with the couple pianos that were scattered about.

But most of all, their day was filled with lots of laughter and love.

What would YOUR story look like? I'd love to show you. Just click here 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.

down by the seashore // family portraits / laguna beach

They spun around in circles, lifting the girls sky-high & making them shriek with glee. Dizzy and breathless, the parents laughed together and released the girls to play in the sand. The kids ran in my direction, using me as "safe" in their game. Their parents, still smiling, walked towards me and asked... "So, when should we start taking pictures?" With a joyful grin of my own, I replied, "We've already begun."

PLAY is a magical thing. It's something that's in us from childhood. And yet, we learn to set it aside and "behave properly" in front of others as we grow up. But sometimes it's important to simply remember the magic of it all. To release the FUN of play, and laughter, and the connection it can bring.

The girls were asked to close their eyes and spin around three times. Keeping their eyes closed and arms outstretched, they searched for one another. Only when they found each other could they open their eyes.

Although part of the family unit, parents have a connection all their own which should be celebrated as often as possible. Coloring books and crayons kept the girls occupied a few feet away so this couple could have a few minutes of "alone time." Alone, they are witty and in-sync, wordless touches and glances all part of the conversation. And although they're not used to lovey-dovey PDA, they crave images that will capture their quiet connections. But I get it... the camera comes up and awkwardness ensues.

Invite PLAY instead of posing, and the awkwardness disappears.

Picture this: a game of "Siamese Twins." You must stay connected in some way... whether it be your hands, shoulder, head, or even just  a toe. But you can never be separated, and need to stay touching at all times, even as you move around one another. Now... GO.

It's magical, right?


Approximately two weeks after the session, the fun continues when the family gets to see their edited images for the first time and select their photo keepsakes. Utilizing special software, we can create a custom wall collection from the family's images, even testing it out on their own walls. (See the client's mock-up below)

And below are the actual canvases the family selected. They decided on (2) 16" x 24" canvases and (1) 24" x 36" canvas for their dining room area, and (1) 11" x 14" canvas for elsewhere.

Want to learn more about how I incorporate PLAY into portrait sessions? Just drop me a line... I'd LOVE to hear from you!

Valentine's Mini-Sessions

love, love, love...

It's like magic. Even when frustrations are mounting, fuses are running short and tempers are high, all it takes is that one little look from them (you know the one) to melt your heart and make you grin. And just like that, you're falling in love all over again.

Whether it's with your husband, your adorable offspring, or even your fur-baby... there's nothing quite like them in this world.

Let me capture just a piece of their personality so you can remember it always.

Just in time for Valentine's Day, I'm offering ONE DAY of Valentine's themed Mini-Sessions.

date: Saturday, January 25th location: Costa Mesa studio

Only FIVE sessions are being made available... click here to reserve your spot!


the look: classic white wall, wooden floor and pops of pink & red. Light and bright so that the personalities POP!


the cost: a $50 session fee to reserve your space, and the purchase of a portrait collection (beginning at $175). Valentine's cards and gifts are also made available through Minted.com. Full pricing information below.

Click here to reserve your mini-session now!


Okay... so ONE LAST CHANCE...

Click here to snap up one of my five Valentine's mini-sessions, and let's CELEBRATE your love!

Hope to see you soon!!!