stylized sessions

Reaching for the stars | Lifestyle Fashion Photographer in Bend, Oregon


Stretch high + reach for the stars.

Who knows... you might just become one, yourself.

Truth time.

There's been a LOT of stretching + reaching.

And a lot of growth.

When I first started out as a photographer, I was HORRIBLE at posing people.

Like, deer in headlights kind of horrible.

See, I loooooove candid photos, and excel at capturing real moments.

But back in the day, I didn't realize how important it was to CREATE the moment + GIVE people a way to interact so they could express that emotion.

I was awkward.

They were awkward.

And thank GOD a friend who'd been in front of my camera finally told me just how awkward it really was.

Because then I got better.

And better.

I studied posing techniques for different body types.

I studied lighting techniques.

I learned how to make people comfortable in front of my camera.

I learned to multitask... keeping up a steady stream of conversation with my "models," while making technical calculations in my head + adjusting my equipment.

My skill set grew + I began to blossom as an artist.

And subsequently, time and time again, I've been told by those who nervously step in front of my camera that the experience was actually FUN.

They say "Wow... you made me look beautiful."

And my reply is always the same... "That beauty was already there. I just helped share it with the world."

Tomorrow, you can see for yourself.

Because tomorrow, the Fall Arts + Fashion Issue of @sourceweekly hits the stands, and one of their main pictorial stories (and the COVER) features 12 models of the zodiac signs, photographed by ME. And the "models" weren't actually models at all. They were REAL people. Which makes my heart even happier.

This was a collaboration of soooooo many awesome people here in Bend... project stylists, hair + makeup artists, jewelry artisans + more. And I can't WAIT to see our work in print.

Go grab the issue as soon as it hits stands... I'd love to hear what you think. ❤️

(Pssst... this isn't an image from that shoot. Those pics are secret till tomorrow. This image is from a past workshop, as I was working on some posing skills.)

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.

TheSuitcaseStudio-OrangeCountyChildrenPhotographer-6.jpg TheSuitcaseStudio-OrangeCountyChildrenPhotographer-5.jpg

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.

Holiday mini-sessions are HERE!

Holiday-Mini-Sessions2013 Cost:

$200 for 30 minute session + 5 digital images -or- $325 for 30 minute session + all 15 digital images + choice of keepsake 4x6 print of each image -OR- keepsake magazine of your images

A $75 non-refundable retainer fee is required to reserve your timeslot. The remainder of payment will be due on the day of your session.

Additional prints + products will also be available for purchase. Holiday cards are available for easy purchase through Minted.com.


Saturday, November 23 Sunday, November 24 Saturday, November 30

To book your session, click on one of the dates above.

Location: my studio

765 Baker St., Suite A Costa Mesa, CA 92626

Background Options: Select one (or both) of the following:

1.  outdoor/backyard area featuring a vintage silver Airstream trailer 2.  indoor chalk-art wall scene with a cozy fireplace/snowy window, and a touchable tree

Heads up... these are the LAST mini-sessions I'll be offering for 2013! There will be NO minis offered in December, so don't wait too long to snag your spot!

Click on a date below to learn more/save your session time:

Saturday, November 23 Sunday, November 24 Saturday, November 30


Have something else in mind for holiday photos? Would one of my Signature Sessions work better for you? I've only got THREE dates left open for full sessions in 2013, so contact me ASAP if you'd like to sign up for one of them.


THANKFUL // short stories

Why should models have all the fun? Ever wanted to play in some of those scenes you've seen on Pinterest or in your favorite magazine? You know... the ones of the dreamy, creamy shots of the perfectly put-together people in the most creative places? The ones you instantly add to your "must do this someday" board that grows ever-longer by the hour? (But resign yourself to only staring at as your time and budget dwindle?)

Worry no more, my creative peeps. This dream-land CAN be your reality.

Enter: SHORT STORIES (styled mini-sessions).

Each month I'm offering a new scenario, complete with props and accessories to make it all your own.

because pretty pictures + personality = awesomesauce.


This month, it's all about being THANKFUL.

Sessions are taking place on two dates only (click each date for full info/sign-up):

Sunday, October 20

Saturday, October 26

Perfect for solos, siblings and the family. (And would make a GREAT alternate to the more traditional red-and-green themed holiday card this year... hint, hint.)

With minimal posing, this is more of an EXPERIENCE, full of conversations that center around giving THANKS and showing LOVE. It's a bit difficult to explain, so instead, let me SHOW you just a snippet of what you can expect.


I borrowed 2 nieces and a nephew last weekend to take a few sample THANKFUL shots to show you what it's all about.

And let me tell you... these might be beautiful kids (and I know I'm a bit partial since they're family), but they are NOT models. There was the usual sibling teasing, horsing around, shyness and silly faces whenever the camera swung their way. And that's totally normal, and totally expected. Because it's all about the in-between moments. The ones they don't even know I'm aware of. The moments where they lovingly hug a sibling for no reason, or smile at them in their own private way, or spin in a circle because they feel like it, or lose themselves in their own little world of play. The moments where the conversation turns serious, they say something lovely and totally unexpected, and it's something that imprints on your heart forever.

THOSE are the moments I capture for you.  Those are the moments we are all thankful for.

I love visual storytelling. And in keeping with the more editorial-style of these "short story" sessions, images from each session will be made available as its own unique printed magazine. Because in this digital world of ours, there's still magic in holding onto something tangible and being able to turn the pages. A print magazine sample will be present at the sessions, but click here to view the digital version  (ironic, I know).


Click on each date below for more info and to sign up for a THANKFUL mini-session of your own:

Sunday, October 20

Saturday, October 26

Hope to see you there! Can't wait to PLAY!

Short Stories (styled mini-sessions)

I was a beautiful mermaid and my younger brother was a handsome mer-butler (ha!), and the tupperware lids we'd bring into the pool with us became our pet jellyfish. We knew we weren't supposed to swim into the deep end... because that's where the shark lived. But we'd test our bravery by going deeper and deeper into the shark's cave... where the only way in or out was to touch the 4' marker at the side of the pool, and the little ladder at the end was our refuge on the rocks. (To this day, plastic butter dish lids still remind me of jellyfish.)   Remember what it was like to PLAY? To be a kid? Where imagination ruled and ANYTHING was possible? Yeah... I'd like to bring a bit of THAT back into our everyday lives.



SHORT STORIES. (styled mini-sessions)


30 minutes in length and styled to perfection, my "short stories" series is the perfect length of time to be able to relax in front of the camera & connect with your loved ones in a super-fun way, all while ensuring that your family looks like they stepped out from the pages of a magazine. Because why should models have all the fun?

Each month I'll be offering a new themed mini-session. Not only is it a great way to update all your kiddos' seasonal photos without them looking the same as everyone else's, it's also a fabulous way to experience custom portraiture without breaking the bank.

Upcoming themes for this year and next (with others to be announced along the way):

superheroes pajama party winter wonderland carnival mommy & me fairies

(and I'm open to suggestions, as well...)

Which leads me to this month's theme:


The scene: Sessions will take place inside my studio, and the scene will be a bit "boho chic." The main focus of the setting will be a 5' tall teepee draped in lace and cloth banners. Quilts and pillows will cover the floor, with hardback books, wildflowers and burlap-wrapped mason jars completing the look.

The experience: If you've had a full session with me, you know that I enjoy conversation and interaction amongst those involved... and this experience will be brought into my new "Short Stories" sessions, as well. With the holiday season right around the corner (and friends and family on our minds), I'd love to talk about what YOU are thankful for, what makes you happy, and see the little ways you show affection for one another. Perfect for photos of children and/or complete families (this would be a fresh take on the holiday family photo, as well). Please note: any children not able to sit on their own will need to be HELD at all times, whether by a parent or a sibling.

THANKFUL mini-sessions will take place on Sunday, October 20th and Saturday, October 26th

Info: Each mini-session is 30 minutes of FUN (though you'll be spending a total of one hour with me). The session fee is $49, with prints and products to be purchased separately.

CLICK HERE to sign up for an Oct. 20 session and see all the details. CLICK HERE to sign up for a Oct. 26 session and see all the details.

And because I really want to THANK my friends, family and fans for believing in the power of the imagination...

sign up before Oct. 12 and pay the reduced rate of $39

That's RIGHT. Some people need to see to believe, and I will be setting up the actual scene early and taking sample pictures this Saturday, October 12. But if you believe in the power of the IMAGINATION, and trust me enough to know that these sessions will be fabulous... you will be rewarded. Not only will you get first pick of your preferred session time, but you'll receive your session at the reduced rate of $39 (a $10 savings)!

Just be sure to enter the code IMAGINATION upon checkout to receive the savings.

Here are those dates to click on again to book your mini-session ASAP.

October 20 October 26

Hope to see you soon, and can't wait to PLAY!

Wanna help me CELEBRATE?! (big steps & birthday freakouts)

On the eve of my 35th birthday...

I sat in the driver's seat of my car in the parking lot; windows rolled all the way UP in the stifling heat, as to somehow create a safe space for me to think. I clutched my cell phone like the lifeline it was...  as my husband was on the other end. Tears rolled down my face, totally unchecked. My voice cracked with every syllable uttered, and sent even more tears rolling.

I was making a HUGE decision, and it was scaring the bajeezus outta me. Excitement, fear, possibility... all squeezed into this tiny suffocating car with me.

And then my husband said something to me that I've said to HIM on many an occasion... "If it doesn't scare you a bit, it's probably not big enough to be worth it."

With that, my mind was calmed, and my decision was made. The fear was still there, but I wasn't going to let it stop me. And my excitement at the possibilities grew larger and larger.

And now, on the day of my 35th birthday, I have something exciting to share with you all.

Announcing... MY NEW STUDIO SPACE!!!

The Suitcase Studio officially has a HOME now, and I can't wait for you to see it!

I'll be nestled inside the "Solo Building" located right around the corner from The Camp in Costa Mesa. (The lease is being signed as you read this...)

Not just a great place for client meetings, it's also a FANTABULOUS place for photo sessions, as well. (yeah, that's right... I said fantabulous.) I'll officially have access to both The Lab and The Camp for portrait sessions (and if you've been there, you KNOW the possibilities that those places hold). My own building also has a built-in backyard already equipped with trimmed green grass, wooden benches, and even a silver airstream trailer. It SCREAMS out for a photo session, doesn't it? And, of course, my own office has plenty of space for all those stylized mini-sessions I've been dreaming about for oh-so long.

Starting with THIS one:

CELEBRATION mini-sessions

Want to help me break in my NEW studio space??? Let's CELEBRATE!!!

I'll be taking possession of my new place on September 15th, so I've set up two days of celebration-themed mini-sessions for soon after.

Sunday, September 22nd and Saturday, September 28th

Each mini-session is 15 minutes of balloons, confetti and FUN (and a free 8x10 print) for the celebratory price of $35 (in honor of my 35th birthday). (You can see my Pinterest CELEBRATION board here, to see pieces of what you might expect.)

CLICK HERE to sign up for a Sept. 22 session and see all the details. CLICK HERE to sign up for a Sept. 28 session and see all the details. And because I really want to THANK all my family, friends and fan who have been with me so far throughout this amazing journey...

The first 5 people to sign up for a mini-session will receive theirs for FREE!

That's RIGHT. Be one of the first FIVE people to sign up for a Celebration mini-session (either day is fine), and you'll receive your session and 8x10 for FREE! Just be sure to enter code HAPPY35 upon checkout.

Here are those dates to click on again to book your mini-session ASAP:

September 22 September 28

I hope to see you all real SOON!

TheSuitcaseStudio-fun orange county portraits

curly top

We had never met before, and she marched right up to me and said hello, gave me a hug, and we were off... She was fearless, and so fun to behold. From her unlaced boots to the top of her curly head, she was absolutely adorable, and I found myself wishing we had more time together than just this mini-session. She ran, she twirled, and asked me all sorts of questions about the different props I'd brought along. We laughed, we played, and she seemed to completely forget about the camera pointed in her direction.

Pure bliss, dressed up in the most adorable dress I'd ever seen.

Here are a few favorite moments captured forever in my heart:

Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0001Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0002Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0003Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0004Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0005Vintage Spring Childs Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio_0006

Ready for a Portrait Session with The Suitcase Studio

artistic touches

When it comes to taking pictures and editing them, I hear a LOT of people say "Oh, I'll just get what I can and fix it in Photoshop." Confession time: that used to be me. But not anymore. When I take a picture, I have a finished image already in mind. I compose my shot the way I want it to be... cropping in-camera and making sure my angles are lined up properly. I also change my camera settings constantly, as the light & color changes from moment to moment, direction to direction, surrounding to surrounding.

Because of this, my editing has gotten a LOT faster. My shots are pretty close to finalized even straight out of the camera. But there are a few things I have in mind as I compose my image that I can't always get in the moment, and so I do still use Photoshop for my final touches. Sometimes I add a light color wash, and sometimes the scene calls for a bright pop of color instead. I use Photoshop to artistically enhance the photo, bringing it close to the what I saw in my head when I originally captured the image. Actions are layered to create the mood I want to evoke (though layers are never used full-force).

So the biggest editing tip I can offer that will save you LOTS of time, headache and heartache: Photoshop is best used for enhancement purposes instead of relied upon to "fix" your images.

A few samples as I played around with a few new actions I recently purchased (images were taken at the Sweetlight Collective Workshop attended in March):

Thoughts, comments, or questions? I'd love to hear your responses and get a conversation going.