on display

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!

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!

DIY Packaging Station

This is the year of organization! And my first mini-project: an over-the-door wrapping/packaging station! I've wanted to do this for SOOOOO long, but just never took the time to tackle it. Till now. (Ta-Da!) (That's a lot of "t's", but let's move on, shall we?)

I have a teeny-tiny place, so not a lot of room to spread out as I'd like. But I didn't relish my old routine of breaking out a box of supplies and digging through them every time I had an order to prepare. Nuh-uh. So now, I'm streamlined. (I hear the angels singing as a golden ray of sun appears...)

I bought myself an ordinary over-the-door towel rack to use for this project. Then I simply draped my favorite tissue papers over the bars. (Note: must use smaller size tissue, as many types are too long to fit here without being trimmed first. I learned this the hard way with the striped-patterned tissue paper.)

On one hook at the bottom of the towel rack hangs my spool of baker's twine.

On the other hook hangs some gift bags. I use one gift bag to hold the rest of my smaller packaging supplies: thank you notes, pens, scissors, and logo stickers.

Now everything has its place. My boxes are kept flat inside my closet, and my smaller supplies have a place of their own within easy grasp.

Easy-peasy. And super-cute, too. TheSuitcaseStudio_0039.jpg


REMEMBER: Just a few short days left to take advantage of 2012 pricing! Pricing goes up as of January 31st. Contact me here to book your session now.

be my valentine?

Since I don't have any kids of my own, I borrow my nieces and nephews whenever I want to play with a new idea. They are more than willing (especially when they get to play with my dog while awaiting their turn in front of the camera). And I love getting the opportunity to capture them in imagery while they're still young. This year, I created Valentine's Day cards for the kiddos to hand out in class. They were super-excited about the idea... especially when they realized that it meant that they'd have EXTRA lollipops left over to share. (Kids will be kids.)

Here is this year's creation:

Love this idea, and want to do it yourself? Here's how:

1. Take a picture of your kid with their arm outstretched and their hand in a fist.

2. Have the pictures printed as WALLET-SIZED prints. (Note: the cards I created were printed as 4"x5" flat cards through Millers Imaging, but the wallet print works nicely, too, and is closer in size to the traditional classroom Valentine.)

3. Leave the photo as-is, or line the back with scrapbook paper (using a glue-stick) to make it extra-pretty.

4. With an exacto blade, cut slits on each photo at the top and bottom of the clenched fist.

5. Slide your choice of lollipop through the paper and "into the fist."

6. Ta-Da!

(Many, many thanks to my friend Paula of R&P Photography for this fabulous idea!)




project 365 (+1)

I received my first diary when I was around 9 years old. It was white with red borders, had an illustration of a teddy-bear, and a lock that could be picked with a bobby pin. But the engraved name plate on the front made me feel so incredibly special. I was smitten... here was a place to record my ever-so-important thoughts and share my incredible stories. And so I made my first entry ever... about how annoying and immature my brother was being. So, while my stories (especially when that young) weren't exactly thought-provoking works of art, it's still incredibly neat for me to go back and READ these entries. These words give me a piece of MYSELF back... they remind me who I was, where I've been, and how far I've come.

I've kept diaries off and on ever since that time, and I continue to do so to this day. This year I've found the perfect way to combine images + words together, to capture my story even better.

Project 365 (+1).

Known as Project 365, it's simply a decision to take one image each day of the year. (And since we're in a leap year... there's an extra +1.) I've always wanted to do this... to add daily imagery to my words, but it always seemed like such a huge undertaking. Till now.

With the help of my iPhone camera, instagram and blipfoto, I've decided to journal my year in a whole new way. Here is MY collection so far: