Orange County Portrait Photographer

Inspiration & Creation // Sweetlight Collective Workshop

Tears spring to my eyes, my vision blurring as I stare at my computer screen. Hands quickly dashing the tears away so I can see what's in front of me. Only to have the tears come again. This is a good thing.

I did this. Wow... I did this? Yes.

I did this.

Childrens Portrait on Carousel Horse by The Suitcase Studio

My heart is so full it feels it might burst through my chest. My mind is exhausted but still racing... planning, thinking, creating.

Stylized Childrens Portrait in Teepee by The Suitcase Studio

It was a process. I'd forced myself to slow down, to take the time to envision. Create it, direct it, mold and shape the scene. Then add touches in post-edit to complete my original vision.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like a true artist.

And I'm excited to see what other creations await.


Stylized Childrens Portrait in field wearing animal mask by The Suitcase Studio

I am still reeling from my photo adventure last week. I'd attended a 2-day Sweetlight Collective workshop held by Skye Hardwick of Work of Heart Photography, where the focus was completely on learning to stylize children's portrait sessions, as well as incorporating posing techniques for the full effect. (Which will definitely be utilized in upcoming offerings of mine... hint, hint.)

On Tuesday morning, 12 photographers arrived at the Condor's Nest Ranch in Pala (just past Temecula)... bright eyed and eager to learn. By Wednesday evening, we left with smiles on our faces, but were bone-tired, knowing we had given it our all. It was fantastic.

Not only had Skye set up beautiful scenes for us to photograph, but had provided fantastic models, to boot. It's still strange to think of them as "professionals," but they were very much so. The kids ranged in age from 3 to 15, and most of them had been doing this for years.   You might even recognize a few from Gap  or Ralph Lauren ads.

Childrens Portrait in grass by The Suitcase Studio

That's not to say they weren't still kids. I fell in love with one girl in particular, who held herself in such a soulful way... until the cameras went down. THEN she'd launch into a crazy song and dance about a cheeseburger, or runaway lips, and I couldn't help but laugh right along with her. (I'm happy I pulled my camera back up to capture a few of those moments, as well.)

These two days with Skye and the others have been instrumental in helping me find just what I need to make my latest ideas come to life. Inspiration, execution, and all the in-betweens.

Stylized Childrens Portrait in Pink Chair in Field by The Suitcase Studio

There are soooo many amazing photos that I want to share from this experience that I will be adding them to several different blog posts instead of simply adding them all here.

Enjoy the journey.

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psssst: if you haven't heard yet, I will SOON be offering stylized sessions of my own. Make sure you're signed up for my newsletter (click the red tab on the left) to be among the first to find out when this new service is launched.


documenting the everyday

I document my life on a daily basis. It's just what I do. Long before Facebook told me it was cool to share what I ate for lunch, and Foursquare allowed me to "check in" with my location, and Instagram let me instantly share my view with others... I was still documenting. I was collecting, journaling, scrapbooking. And taking lots and lots of pictures of my everyday. Because in the long run, it's the everyday moments that count.

I still journal, and I still take daily pictures.

And I invite you to do the same.

Not sure what to document, exactly? Try starting with this:


There are lots of different daily prompts out there to choose from, but the one from Chantelle Ellem on Instagram is one of the more popular ones to play along with. (You might recognize her as @fatmumslim.)

I'll be playing along with this one in December, too. Follow along with my own daily adventures here: http://instagram.com/thesuitcasestudio

I'd LOVE to see how your December goes. Be sure to tag me in posts on Instagram and Facebook (@thesuitcasestudio) so I don't miss a thing!

sneak peek: Hannah

Sometimes it's fun to just get in front of a camera and PLAY. Archery Portrait from The Suitcase Studio

LOVE what you see?  Share the love by simply leaving a comment below. If this blog post receives 25+ comments, Hannah will receive an 8x10 print of her choice.

And if you think you'd like to PLAY with a photo session of your own, be sure to sign up for my newsletter (just click the red tab to the left). I've got something incredibly FUN coming up in 2013, and would love for you to be a part of it when the announcement is made.

Photos Featured on Website for Star Looks {thanks, Marci!}

A few months ago I had the pleasure of working with Marci Star while doing an in-home maternity shoot for Kristen and her husband, Jason.   Marci was hired by Kristen to be her makeup artist for the photoshoot, and Marci did a fabulous job! Not that Kristen needed any help to look beautiful... but Marci made her look absolutely flawless, complete with airbrushing detail on her belly. Marci was absolutely fabulous to work with. Her attention to detail was wonderful, and she was also fun to be around. I hope our paths cross again in the future.

She has featured a few images from the maternity shoot on her website (www.starlooks.com), in the "Artists Portfolios" section (located under the subsection "Film").  Here is a sample screen shot:

TSS-website screen shot

To see more, or for more information on the services her business provides, please check out her website: www.starlooks.com.