It’s Your Wedding Day. Treat Yourself. | Vendor Reccomendation

So you just got engaged! First of all, huge congrats, it’s a super exciting time. Second, I’m sure you are a tad bit stressed. There’s a lot ot plan and do for sure, but since you are reading this, you probably want to mitigate some of that stress. Smart. We’ve got your back for sure!

By this point, you have probably thought about where you want to get married, have booked a photographer, and a planner. Next things on your list? Hopefully hair and makeup, because to be honest this is wayyyyy more important than I think you realize. It’s the foundation for your day and can help set the mood. It’s worth the price to hire a professional for a sleuth of reasons.

Saves you time

I know you do your makeup everyday and you know your face, but makeup on your wedding day is an entirely different look. Having your hair and makeup done by a professional saves you time to do more important things, like create unforgettable memories with your gals while getting ready. Or to sip on that pineapple mimosa that you most definitely deserve. Having your hair and makeup done on your wedding day is totally worth it, since even though you know how to do your own makeup, the professional is going to be a lot faster. Your time is valuable, plus it’s not something you should worry about.

No stress allowed

Oh yeah, aside from having your hair and makeup professionally done saving you time, it also saves you stress. You don’t have to worry about if your makeup will look good in the photos or on your timing. You know that this is already taken care of and can just enjoy the experience as you should.

Flawless in every photo

Probably the most important part of getting your hair and makeup done professionally is knowing you will look flawless in every photo. Let’s be honest, you are spending a good portion of your wedding budget in the photography. With professionally done hair and makeup that are matched to you, you are actually setting yourself up for the best possible photos. You will feel so confident in yourself and that will show, I promise you. Plus, with good hair and makeup, your photographer won’t have to edit or photoshop, so let money spent by you!

You are worth it

I know that getting your hair and makeup professionally done is a luxury, but it’s your wedding day. You deserve to feel pampered. You deserve to have the best day of your life. You deserve to look back on these photos and remember every unforgettable moment in the best possible way. Trust me, you are worth it.



P.S. If you need any help at all, please don’t hesitate to reach out! That’s what we do and girl we will hook you up. I promise you that.

Chula Vista Newborn Session | Baby Luca

Another throwback to last Fall! Due to my bedrest last year I was unable to capture Mary Beth's Maternity Session, but my associate Erin did in my stead! I was OVERjoyed when I was recovered enough post birth to capture sweet Luca's Newborn Session! The connections between these four were just precious. Sweet Elli was just smitten with her new baby brother, and even though it was too early for smiles, I could see him soaking up her cuddles! Mary Beth is one of the most amazing independent business owners, CEO and Founder of Workable Wealth! Her other hats are Wife and Mother, and boy from an outsiders perspective, she's killing it at all three! I loved this sweet in-home session, and I've been wanting to share for a while, so here are some of my favorites! I hope you enjoy and contact me if you're expecting and interested in one for your self! 

Windandsea Engagement Session | Chris and Jordan

Ok! I know I'm seriously behind and I photographed this AMAZing couple last year in the Winter but I just HAD to share it with you! Meet Chris and Jordan! Jordan, oh you guys, she's pretty much the most amazing human, the kind you want to be your friend forever and ever :) We met working at Anthropologie 6 or 7 years ago?! We hit it off and have stayed in touch over the years! We live a couple blocks from each-other and don't get together NEARLy enough, ha! When I had the absolute privilege of meeting Chris he was at my door as we carpooled, with a bunny in hand, for out new little girl :) That 20 minute drive was enough to know he is the absolute perfect fit for my friend! AH! Their sunset couldn't have been more perfect. It was SO fun. Photographing your friends is truly the BEST. I cannot wait to capture their Wedding in the Fall! AHH! OK! It's hard to narrow my favorites but here are just a few! Be sure to scroll to the end to se my FAVORite, FAVORite! Enjoy! 

San Diego Wedding Vendor Recommendations | Breezy Day Florals


As you saw in my last post I am featuring the Breezy Day Wedding Sisters, Courtney of Breezy Day Weddings, and now Heather of Breezy Day Florals! I mentioned in the post prior how incredible these women are not only in personality but in talent! If you're about to be wed or know someone who is, please pass these posts along! Who doesn't want a dream team present on their wedding day? Now you get to meet Heather, of Breezy Day Florals! I asked her some questions that I'm excited to share with you! 

When did you become a florist? 

I was looking for a way to make Breezy Day Weddings more than just coordination. I knew I wanted to be involved in the wedding industry in some way but after years in management I wanted a change in direction for my life. I had put together some small flower arrangements in mason jars for our first Bridal Bazaar and after brides kept coming up to us, asking us if we were florists, the bug was in my head. I knew nothing about flowers but I knew I enjoyed the experience of working with them, so I decided to spend some serious money to take a legitimate design course where I learned all of the ins and outs of floral design. After the first class I knew I was obsessed and went home and ordered a set of business cards, knowing this is what I was something I was going to persue.

What is your favorite part about being a Florist? 

I love that it’s more than just being creative. I get to use my extensive background in business and customer service. I love quiet time when it’s just me in the studio, hours slip away like they’re nothing when I’m designing. I love delivering the flowers to the event and hearing the oohs and awwws of the bride.

What are three reasons why future marrieds should hire a Florist? 

1.) flowers make people happy. You don’t need a ton of them, even if it’s just your bouquet, they really do have a way of giving the wedding more meaning. 2.) rely on professionals on your wedding day. The last thing anyone should be worried about on the wedding Day is who is doing what and fretting how things look. Trust a florist to bring your vision to life. People don’t understand how time consuming it can be to make a single bouquet, especially when you’ve never made one before. 3.) a good florist will help you pick the right flowers for your wedding. They should be able to tell you not only what is in season but what flowers work best in different scenarios, what need water, what are heartier, etc.

What have you found that people don't understand about the importance of a Florist? 

Florists can bring your wedding vision to life. Whether it be through flowers or candles or other decor. We add that extra umph to the wedding, even if it’s just some sprigs of greenery placed strategically throughout the room.

I know a lot of couples are very uninformed on how flowers are or can be an investment. How do you cater to budgets and or educate your clients on how flowers and beautiful arrangements at that, can very easily fit into their budget? 

Sticker shock is real. It’s usually the first time people buy large quantities of flowers in their life. First of all I never turn people away because of a small budget. I do have minimums for what I refer to as full service weddings but I don’t like the idea of turning someone away if they can’t afford $1800 when flowers aren’t their main priority. So we work together to create something that is still special but that will fit into their desired budget. It only gets difficult when people aren’t willing to make sacrifices but I believe there is always a way to have beautiful centerpieces without going broke.

What is your favorite thing about working with your sister? 

I truly believe she is the best coordination in the industry. She cares so much and works so hard, she treats every single person from the afterhour janitors to the bride with the utmost respect and genuine kindness. She is never not working or watching her couple to make sure they are happy. Its so pleasant to work with someone who has such a great attitude. I love watching her in charge of a room. I also love that we’re always there for each other. I can step in and help with coordination if needed and she can make deliveries for me if I need the extra help. It’s nice to have someone who you can trust 100% and know is just as invested as you are.

What is a random fun fact about you, you might not share much online? 

Hmmm.... I feel like I can be so boring but let’s see... I love baseball, the Beatles and going to Kenny Chesney concerts. I play trivia every week with my friends. I also love to travel but haven’t gotten to do much of it in recent years. And my dog, Rigby is my whole world.

What's been your favorite venue to work with in the greater San Diego area? 

Ohh that’s a tie between the Prado and the Thursday Club.

Is there anything else you want to share? 

I think at the end of the day, I just like making people happy and flowers are a great way to do that!!

San Diego Wedding Vendor Recommendation  | Breezy Day Weddings and Events


The next two Vendor Features are ones you DON'T want to miss out on! I asked some questions of my favorites Courtney, of Breezy Day Weddings and her sweet sister Heather, of Breezy Day Florals! I haven't been quiet about how much I love working with these two, and it's not just because their are amazing humans, they are EXTREmely talented! Feel free to share this post with those you know are recently or soon to be engaged and wedding planning! First up, meet Courtney! 

What got you into Wedding Planning? 

I have always been the type to have several jobs at once (restaurants, catering companies, coffee shops, dog walking, etc...) I was in college and a friend of a friend needed help with her wedding coordinating company. I took a shot assisting with her and continued throughout college. I never knew what I wanted to do as a career and I definitely didn't think it would be in wedding planning, but I absolutely love it! So to be honest, I came into the wedding industry by accident. ;)

What is your favorite part about your work? 

I love the work-aspect of coordinating a wedding. It is a long day, but the day always goes by so quick! It is never boring, full of love and happiness and of boy is it beautiful & FUN! What a treat that I get to be a small part of a couple's most important day. I always get goosebumps when I fluff a Brides dress and send her down the aisle. I also love walking into an empty reception space at the beginning of a wedding day and working with the different vendors to transform it into the couples dream space! Seeing everything come together seamlessly is the best feeling!

What are three reasons why future marrieds should hire a Wedding Planner? 

1. To have a helping hand for advice and questions throughout the planning process. 2. To relieve stress that final week and of course on the rehearsal and wedding day. 3. So that family and friends do not have to work on the wedding day (ex. by setting up decor, greeting vendors, etc...) All family and friends can be guests, as they should be. Same thing goes with clean up at the end of the night. ;)

What have you found that people don't understand about the importance of outsourcing planning a wedding? 

Well, in the World we live in, I honestly think think that a couple can plan their wedding pretty easily. Yes, it is expensive, and stressful and is probably the biggest thing they have do so far in their life. But with websites such as The Knot, Wedding Wire, attending bridal shows, and talking to friends who have gotten married, they are able to plan the bulk of the day. I book weddings up to a year prior to the day. The moment you send that initial email to us, you have us as a resource: Vendor recommendations, advice, timeline help, diagram design, just someone to talk to when you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed about the planning. The most important thing is that even if you plan every detail of your wedding perfectly, there is no way you can coordinate it on the actual wedding day! That's when Breezy Day takes over - we execute all your visions and details! When you arrive to the wedding venue, all I set and complete - ready to celebrate you BOTH! :)

What is your FAVorite thing about working with your sister? 

Because we have grown up together, we have the same values and beliefs. We understand each other and know each other's strengths and weaknesses as well as how to be around each other ;) I also think that Breezy Day has brought us closer together! It is really fun talking about our future plans of the company and to think back to 5 years ago when it was all just an idea. When we were younger, we were not as close, and I am so happy that weddings and the Breezy Day has made us truly best friends, I know that should would do anything for me and will always have my back! I am really blessed. :)

What is a random fun fact about you, that you may not share much online? 

I was a music major in college - I can play a few instruments (not that well! hehe) & I still sing in a community choir in Point Loma.

What has been your favorite venue to work at in the greater San Diego area? 

I have several favorite venues, but my ultimate FAV is The Thursday Club <3

Is there anything else you'd like to share? 

My goal is for a couple to enjoy every moment of the wedding day experience and to always be smiling! The entire wedding planning process should be Easy & Breezy ;) xoxo



Rancho Peñasquitos Engagement Session | Robert and Jazmine

Doing a little late night work to get this post up for the amazing Groom and Bride to be on Saturday! WHHOOO! You guys I have waited for this wedding! I'm SOO pumped it's finally here! It will be a stunning day at The Pine Hills Lodge! Rain, snow, sun or 30 degrees....nothing will keep it from being absolutely flawless! Below was their engagement session at the Canyonside Park, and ohh was it a beautiful evening! Their pups even joined in on the fun, thanks to Mom the dog keeper! I love that Robert wore his uniform and Jazmine had pops of color on her nails, shoes and lips that brought it all together! I'm excited to share their wedding goodness with you, but in the meantime, here's a an amazing set of humans and pets, in the incredible Golden Hour, one fine, Fall, San Diego evening! 

Why the last Wedding of 2017 meant so much. | San Juan Capistrano Wedding

Ohh friends. I don't think I've ever had such a sigh of relief, such a satisfying exhale as I did after my last Wedding of 2017. The whole year I had completely booked with Weddings and other Family Sessions. Due to getting pregnant in February and on critical bedrest at 19 weeks, that meant the bulk of my Weddings had to be covered by my associates. As much as you're prepared for this, you're never really prepared for this. I had to communicate with each couple and let them know that I would not be able to capture their day. I had to manage numerous photographers sharing with them the details of each Wedding without mixing them up. I had to pay them when money wasn't coming in. I had to pass up dream venues but most of all dream clients who I had hoped to capture their day. I invest so much time on each client without having to not capture their day or event, so it was not only professionally a bummer but personally. I take pride in my work, I have high standards with how my clients are treated. Each one of them were well taken care of, Praise the Lord. My associates went above and beyond doing an incredible job, mind you editing other photographers images when you ache for them to be your own, in the loneliness of your home or the hospital room was less than ideal. So the moment I could go to the last wedding of the year, that happened to be absolutely incredible, on a beautiful day, I just couldn't have orchestrated that....and that feeling I felt, of accomplishment. After my time there I sat in the car, set up my pump and just wept. The Lord is good. He had his hand all over 2017. To God be the glory. 

Now these images below make me proud even though my hair is a hot mess, my outfit is a disaster, I'm overweight and focused. I just had a baby a couple weeks prior, I got to the wedding on time, held my composure, didn't have to pump in between coverage, was prepared photographing in the most beautiful areas and I had a BLAST shooting with my girl Traci again, and Jax for the first time, as well. I even brought my rolliflex for a few captures, the film captures are below the bts of me with my vintage camera. Welcome to the behind the scenes of my last wedding of 2017, thank you Jax and Traci for these! 

Personal Post | What helped me get pregnant.

My friend got pregnant one month after being off birth control.

This doctors amazing, so many people have gotten pregnant after seeing him.

The moment I started the whole 30 I got pregnant.

Maca root I swear was the reason I got pregnant.

I just look at my husband and I get pregnant.

Ivf worked on the first try.

We started looking into adoption and got pregnant.

You name it, I thought I’d heard it all. Most without asking. It was often hurtful, hopeless and obnoxious but I tried almost every suggestion shortly after it was suggested. My story is a tired one. A weary one, but one that ends with a real life dolly in my arms, my dolly.

It started when I was 23 in Maui. I got off birth control that I was on for 6 years. My periods started to be irregular so I thought I was pregnant every month. Rather my heart dropped further and further down my chest with negative after negative test.

I started to store a few things away in my hope chest for our someday baby. I was always convinced I was going to have a girl because that’s all Chris ever talked about regarding children.

I always had a normal pap and regular periods with birth control so I thought we’d just keep trying for a while before I’d see an OB.

Chris and I had a little vacation that took us to Sequoia, Yosemite and Six Flags. I had the most heavy period and the most painful cramps I’d ever had. I neglected going to the doctor for a while. Then one day at work I was curled up on the bathroom floor holding back screams miscarrying right there. We’d tried for a baby for 2 years at this point. So this hit excruciatingly hard. This was before everyone talked about their miscarriage. This is before people were more forward on Facebook or social media about “such” things. Chris was working full time and I dove into my work like never before. Of course I had to be working as a stylist for pregnant women at a "Pea in a Pod" then. I had to go back to work and put on a smile and be happy for every expecting women that came through that door, but somehow that was easier than “dealing”with my emotions at home. Certain friends drifted off as they didn’t know how to talk to me so they just didn’t. Family called less and or would avoid any conversation that surrounded loosing our baby. It was uncomfortable. It was touchy. It was awkward. So due to shoving every ache deep inside, our marriage hit an all time low before it started healing again. Once Chris and I were in a good place we started to try again. We went to a doctor who didn’t care. You thought he did and then the next time you saw him it was like you’d never met before. Why I let that go on for a couple years I’ll never know. He wanted to push IVF immediately instead of trying to figure out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. He didn’t ask questions so I didn’t know what to bring up or ask for. He gave me rounds of clomid even though he knew my periods weren’t consistent and without knowing if my husband was able to get me pregnant. He gave me ultrasounds and never knew what he saw, the response was different each time. He gave me a surgery to remove fibroids that were in the wall of my uterus that he couldn’t remove. He didn’t follow up with my husband after the surgery. I had asked him about thyroid or PCOS but never knew to demand blood work checking it.


Then there was the fertility center. The doctor was insensitive, rude and unclear. He left me waiting in the room with a gown on for almost an hour as he said he would be right back. He didn’t come back. On the FIRst visit. The weeks after, we did all the tests that were initially required. Then there was the dye test to see if my tubes were blocked. Right away my body rejected the tools and the doctor stopped and said that had never happened before, that we have to stop, he’ll give me a refund and I’ll have to reschedule. At this point I was officially done. Rightfully so. Done trying for a while. Maybe completely. Done with western medicine. Done with my OB. Done with the fertility center. Just done.


Up to this point most people hadn’t known about my miscarriage. I kept my personal life and professional life separate. I was also done holding it all in. I finally shared a bit of my struggle and the responses were overwhelming. Mostly it opened up opportunities for people to share with me. Their experiences. Their successes. Their hardships. It also opened up a whole lot of love. People extending their aches for us. People offering to pray and check in. People offering to be there. So we had tabled “trying” and then the most amazing encounters and information arose. I was still very touchy about it all so anyone to share anything with me, I was very hesitant to receive or to continue the conversations, but rather would change the subject. My friend Cindy started talking with me about eating healthy, purifying my diet, how eating certain seeds has been known to help, certain oils, and that I really should see this herbalist at Pharmca in La Jolla. She even offered to go with me. At this time I had probably had my period for about 4 months, non-stop heavy. If I sneezed I’d go through pants. I’d spend as much money on pads, tampons and toilet paper as groceries themselves. I went through towels and sheets nightly. You can only imagine how this impacted any kind of “trying”. I would bleed for 3-4 months and then go 3-4 without a period so there was no way to know when I was ovulating. Western medicine didn’t help so I just learned to deal. Until Cindy. I went with her to Pharmca to talk to this elderly woman that was educated in both western and eastern medicine, being that she was a nurse for a bulk of her life.

First. She listened. She heard my story. She heard my hopelessness. Second. She asked the right you have cold feet? Do you have fuzzies on your face and belly button? She pulled my eyelid down and determined I was extremely anemic. And then she made suggestions based on my irregular periods and potential fibroids. She treated me for a weak thyroid, iron deficiency and of course my irregular cycle with help for fertility. She gave me evening primrose oil, thyrofem, vit D3, Chaste tree berry, iron, slow flow and a prenatal vitamin. I had also purchased progressence from an EO seller. She also told me never to use a tampon again.

Within one month of taking these and applying the oil I had my first normal 5-6 day period light to heavy to light. Praise the Lord. I was finally regulating which meant I had a shot of getting pregnant, especially since I had been pregnant before.


A few months after this a client of mine pressed about my fertility journey. I say pressed because I really didn’t want to hear what she had to share and I really didn’t want to share my hardships. For some reason that day I accepted her information. See, she is a nurse and tried to get pregnant but couldn’t....until she saw this acupuncturist. I listened, I got the guys name and then tabled it.

A few months after this I mentally had gotten to the place of I’m ready to see the acupuncturist but I’m seeing him for my health first. If I happen to get pregnant wonderful, but I’m going to do this till the end of the year and then will go back to the fertility clinic. We had also contacted adoption agencies at this time as well, and I was reading up on it late into the evenings, dreaming of mothering a child anyway I’m able.

So I made the first appointment. I felt so good about it. I felt listened to, understood, and positive that he was going to be able to help me. Justin has his doctorate in acupuncture and is an herbalist as well! He had several ideas for different ways I could get healthy to have a normalized cycle and get pregnant naturally.

I started the whole 30 but still had a whole grain piece of toast as it’s good for the reproductive system. I cooked all my food. Everything with the exception of fruit was cooked. I didn’t have any iced drinks. I had only filtered water, organic meats and veggies. I even switched my shampoo and conditioner to more natural products. I drank the tea Justin made up for me that was specific to my issues, twice a day. I took all my supplements including cod liver oil. I woke up early and went to bed early. I sat down to eat and digest my food. I stopped screen time after 8. I switched my chemicals and soap to something more natural. I had massage therapy once a month and I did accupunture twice a week to start and I was going to Church again. This was a LOT but to me it seemed a small price to pay instead of going through all that is included with IVF.

Two months in and I got pregnant. Now this would have been a viable pregnancy if it weren’t for me getting cat scratch fever. I had a black vein going up my arm and shoulder just inches from my heart. I went into the doctor just in time as I would have had an infected heart shortly after and died. So liquid antibiotics were the only way to counter this. Due to my infection my breast’s were inflamed and sore as my lymph nodes were fighting infection, and my temperature was low as my body was working so hard to grow a baby and fight infection so the symptoms were masking the fact that I was pregnant, and I was pretty far along at that. I miscarried weeks after. This is a story for another day. I need you to know this is the most random situation. It literally was so completely unpredictable and had nothing to do with anything I was doing to get pregnant.


About a month after loosing our second child I went back to acupuncture. I wasn’t really taking the herbs religiously. I had added more sugar to my diet and wasn’t as religious about eating healthy. I did start taking a probiotic. 4 months after my miscarriage I got my first period since. It was on that first cycle I got pregnant with Jade. Naturally. Who would think after 6 years of trying and doing things backwards that I’d get pregnant naturally? I saw this 100% God orchestrated. I continued acupuncture, taking vitamin d3, cod liver oil, probiotic, chaste tree berry and a prenatal until 12 weeks and then just the d3, cod Liver oil and prenatal until I had to go on bed rest, then the acupuncture had to stop. It not only helped me in my journey of becoming a mother but it was my most peaceful “for me” hour in the week. Time for me to truly emote. Time to pray for my loved ones. For my health. For my future baby. It was exactly what I needed. When one hears about it there’s often hesitation, fear of pain, anxiety, etc. Let me clear things up for you. It’s not painful. It’s peaceful. It’s helpful and such an incredible God-send. If anything try it for 6 months. Give it a timeline and if it doesn’t work for you at least you tried. For me I wanted to try just about anything before IVF. So if you want to do the same it won’t hurt and can only help. Just do your research on who you see. Jade is my success story. Forget my rewards and accolades in work although for those I’m grateful. My true pride and joy from patience, hard work and trial is my sweet baby girl. My rainbow. My little bird. I pray you’ll have the same reward that you can boast about one day, if you ache for parenthood, no matter how or when you get that little one. Children are the greatest gift. Please. Ask me any questions any time, but know this is my story. No two situations are alike but rather similar. If you are in SD and want the name of my acupuncturist and of the doctors to avoid I’m happy to share that info with you, just let me know!


Love and light.


{Images by Tracy VanDam Fotographie}

Old Poway Park Engagement | Chris and Danielle

This Couple! From the moment I started emailing with Danielle's Mom, I KNEW I wanted to work with Chris, Danielle and their families! Then we met for coffee, and just clicked! PS my husband is a Chris and rocks the beard and mustache as well :) Not often do I get to photograph Engagements or Sessions in North County, so capturing their love in this STUnning Park was just a bonus! UMMMM did I mention they brought their fur babies!?! I'm SUUUCH a fan of when my couples want to incorporate their pets in the Session or during their Wedding! It just makes it SO much fun, and creates for GREAT candid opportunities! The evening as you can see was STUNNing, this couple?! Their love, is undeniable. Not often do I see a couple just savor the whole engagement process, but I really feel like they have. Their excitement to be husband and wife is SO real. I'm SOO pumped for them to FINALLY tie the knot this weekend! AHHH! I'm so thankful for my team to capture their stunning day from start to finish! It will be flawless, and I just can't wait to share those images with you all. Chris and Danielle, I wish you both the ABSOlute best in this new adventure. I have no doubt you treasure the meaning of your vows. I'm thankful for both of you and I can't wait to capture you in the coming years for whatever milestone :) 

How to Find the Right Photographer for You! | Holiday Family Session Tips, Part 1

It's HERE, it's HERE! The long awaited Part One of how to successfully survive your Holiday Family Session! There is a bit of information included, however it holds so much value and will prevent quite the headache, so try to hang on! I'm so excited to help make this process more enjoyable for you, regardless of you being my Client or not! 


1. Do Your Research! 

Not every photographer will fit with your personality, style and budget. Start by finding someone who already has galleries on several different forums that are consistent. Check them on Facebook, Instagram, their Website and maybe even Yelp. You should be able to love their style!  You want someone you'd never have to give a Pinterest board to, because you trust their capabilities to photograph your family, like you see on their portfolios. Read some of their captions on the Facebook and Instagram posts, watch their Instagram Stories! See if you can relate to that person. You want to be comfortable at your session so you'll want to know that you can connect on some level. 


1. Review Check! 

Everyone can post their favorite images from a session, but does that mean they had great communication from the initial email until product delivery? Does that mean they were on time? Does that mean they know what they are doing, took time to notice details, posed in a flattering manner, did their best to entertain the children etc?! Did they deliver the galleries when they said they would?! This is where you need to take that extra time, to read reviews! Again those social media forums, Facebook, Yelp and maybe the Bump or even if they do Weddings, check their reviews on The Knot! Quantity isn't necessarily a big deal but if there is enough stating the photographer went above and beyond and you love their galleries, you've most likely met your match!


3. Invest In A Photographer Who Finds Value In Their Work And Try To Up It To A Full Session, For Your Sanity!

You may think you want to find the best deal for your holiday Minis, this can be a major mistake. By now you've spent hours emailing the photographer, finding your coordinating outfits, scheduled your hair and nail appointment, gotten your kids haircuts, made extra sure to make sure your littles don't get bumps and bruises etc. A LOT of both time and money goes into that tiny 20 minute window, even before paying a photographer. If you find someone you love, that has good reviews, and their prices are a bit higher than what you're seeing posted on Social Media, go with your gut. Book that photographer. Pay a little extra for something that you know is going to be a sure thing, that doesn't make all that work for nothing. If you're able, go for the hour package! Kids are finicky. It often takes just a bit for them to warm up. Same goes for Husbands! {Mine included!} You'll be able to get more bang for your buck, a more relaxed session, more pose options, and just an overall breathable session. A photographer will never be shooting on the constant. Half of the session is just posing and directing, the other half is making sure there are about three - five solid poses with about 30 images to choose from in a 20-30 minute window. So having that extra time, especially if you can't seem to get out the door quite as fast, will make a world of difference! Don't hesitate to ask about a payment plan either! Almost all Photographer's would break payments up further if need be. 

There you go! Whether I'm the Photographer for you or whether you go with someone else, I hope these tips will help you to find your forever photographer who can capture you over time, for all milestones! This is just the beginning of the process! It requires a bit more research, but if you take the time, and are able to adjust your budget, it will be well worth your while! You can Contact Me to get on my Wait List for when I will be announcing my Full & Mini Sessions! 



San Diego Artist Lifestyle Feature | Julie Marriott Guest Post

Hi All! A few months back I had the honor of capturing Julie in her studio, doing what she does best, motherhood and painting! I asked her to be a guest on my blog, and share a little about being an artist and stay at home mom! I also wanted Julie to share her heart behind her work with you, like she did with me! I put together a sweet video of her and her daughter that at the end of this post! You can't miss it so keep reading and scrolling!! I hope you enjoy! 

Art + Motherhood

Julie Marriott is a painter, pattern designer, and workshop teacher living and working in San Diego, CA. She’s also wife to her husband, Danny, and stay at home mom to her two-year-old daughter, Violet. Julie is passionate about creating joyful artwork inspired by the bold, colorful beauty of nature.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved to color, draw and paint. I was, as Danielle from the Jealous Curator likes to call children like me, an “art kid.” My older sister and I were homeschooled, and I think our relaxed daily schedule and generous amounts of unstructured free time gave my creativity the breathing space to grow and develop. At 11-years-old, I was taking painting lessons at a local art studio and selling batches of meticulously painted animal rocks to my dad’s office co-workers. Yes, rocks. Looking back, my messy desk at home was basically a mini version of my current art studio: loads of paints, brushes, palettes, paper and pencils at the ready, a creative project always underway, more ordered chaos than tidy space.

Painting is one of my daughter’s favorite things in the world, close up there with tea parties, Mickey Mouse and the color red. Once or twice a week, we set up on the kitchen floor and paint together. Violet paints with an adorable mixture of thoughtfulness and spontaneity that I love to watch. At our last painting session, she actually rinsed out her brush in between colors! I’m one proud artist mama.

When I’m asked how I have the time to be both a mom and a professional artist, I usually answer that I have a messy house, don’t watch much T.V., and have an amazingly supportive family. My awesome, hard-working husband is the main provider for our family, allowing me the freedom to slowly grow my art business from home in the in-between moments of caring for our daughter. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a mom, it’s that the magic is truly in those in- between moments. It may seem like there’s no free time in the day, but even 30 minutes here and there during nap time can add up. Developing a large vision for what I want to achieve with my business, as well as always having a specific, daily goal to work toward has been the key for being productive in those chunks of time.

I’m extremely blessed to be able to follow my creative dreams, as well as be at home with my kiddo. One of my favorite things about motherhood is being present to witness all the small ways Violet learns and grows each day. I also love that she’s growing up surrounded by art and creativity. Life isn’t perfect, and often daily household tasks fall through the cracks because I’m finishing a commission or prepping for a workshop instead. But I’m learning to be ok with the reality of my limits. For me, being both a mother and an artist is a wonderfully fulfilling path, and I’m so thankful that this is my journey.

If you’re in the San Diego area, join Julie for a floral painting workshop! Her classes are fun, beginner-friendly introductions to acrylic painting techniques, and each student takes home their own unique canvas. You can find her workshop calendar and tickets here (

Pacific Coast Grill Wedding | Ryan and Lindsay

I get a lot of long distance clients throughout the year. Family Sessions when people visit for vacation or Destination Weddings where everyone comes together in San Diego for the big celebration! I LOVed getting a call from Lindsay about her intimate Wedding in Cardiff by the Sea. I felt like I connected with her right away on the phone, and instantly knew I wanted to capture her dream day! The day was just as stunning as I imagined it would be. Very family & commitment based, which is when I know I'm photographing my Dreamies! I captured her sister's Family Session a few day's prior so I almost knew a chunk of the guests before I arrived! The ceremony was so tender, officiated by her sweet nephew. The family captures were a BLAst, everyone was being so fun and funny, I just truly loved getting to see Lindsay's families personalities! Then I stole the newlyweds away for some captures by themselves down by the water. It went so smoothly, and was such a love-filled morning. SOO happy for you Ryan and Lindsay, I loved working with you both, thank you for having me capture your Wedding! 

Venue: Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff by the Sea, Florist: Florist Frenzy, Hair & MUA: Del Mar Beauty Box 

Windandsea Family Session | Hellmann Family

This family....what a joy it was to work with them on a June Gloom Eve at Windandsea! They traveled from out of town, to attend a family Wedding that I photographed a few days after their Session! I don't think I've ever worked with such well-mannered boys. Amazing listeners, please and thank you's all over, and they had a blast with each-other to boot! Leslye, I need to know your secret for my little! They weren't afraid to get their feet in the sand and splashed by the water. The little mister we could barely keep out of the water! It was truly a family fun night, captured at the beach, which is exactly how I like it to be :) I hope you enjoy this Lifestyle Family Session as much as I do! 

Martin Johnson House Wedding | David & Callie

I'm finally getting around to blogging this stunner of a Wedding that took place last year! It was one of my favorites! David and Callie are some of the most kind humans ever. Their people are just as amazing. This always seems to make a Wedding Day a breeze. Callie did so much of the planning for her day! DIY queen! Her table scapes were some of the most beautiful I've seen, paired with a killer sunset at a beautiful venue! Her flowers were perfectly wild and reflected her style and complimented her girls green dresses! David and his guys were absolute studs in their suspenders and shades! The day just ran smoothly, and I had to seriously unscrew my smile afterward. I'd have to say my favorite things were the toasts about David, because I felt like I knew Callie a bit more, as well as watching Callie with all the babies and her family throughout the WHOLE day. There is a serious amount of love between them. I hope you enjoy looking at this goodness! You can check out their Engagement Session Here. I highly recommend this venue and the DJ if you're still in the market for your Wedding! 


Wedding Venue: Martin Johnson House, DJ: Preston Foreman

Windandsea Engagement Session | Robert & Paloma

Well, these two are becoming one tomorrow, and I can't wait to capture it! Their energy is infectious. The love they have for one another is so tender. I've had to unscrew my jaw from smiles and laughter after both our initial consultation and their engagement session, and I can only imagine tomorrow will be that to the max! The incredible humans that Robert and Paloma are, I cannot wait to meet their loved ones! Oh man, you guys. It's going to be one big unforgettable party! I had to do a little post for them, because.....oh ya know, no big deal...they're GETTIN MARRIED TOMORROW! Hip Hip HOOORRAYYY!! 



ZLAC Rowing Club Wedding | Matt & Cynthia

I am SOO glad my 2017 year of Weddings started with these two saying "I do." It was nothing short of flawless. Matt, Cynthia & I met long before their Wedding, and I just knew I wanted to capture their Day! They both had such beautiful visions, and with Cynthia's passion for Wedding Planning I knew it would be just that. At our last consult before the wedding Cynthia broke out this incredibly detailed folder! It was organizational heaven! She planned, and coordinated most the wedding, of course delegating for the day of, but it was pretty much the most smoothly planned day that I've attended, even more so than some with hired Coordinator help! Not only did their Wedding go without a hitch, it was an ABSOLute blast. Matt & Cynthia were the most relaxed and happy couple ever, and their people are so supportive and kind! I felt like I was laughing the whole day. SO good. Meeting Cynthia post wedding for coffee to give her her Thank You Package, it felt very much not like a goodbye, but the continuation of a friendship. According to the guests at their Wedding, that's just the people that Matt & Cynthia are. Loving, Kind, Funny, Caring and genuinely friendly! They are my "Dreamies." My Dreamie Clients! Enjoy the incredible goodness that was their day! 

Venue: ZLAC Rowing Club, Ceremony: Sacred Heart Ocean Beach, Florist: Flora Glamor, Cake: Baby Cakes, MUA & Hair Stylist: Erica Franksen & Bristen E., Dress: Alfred Angelo, Tux: The Black Tux

San Diego Birth Photography | Titus WELCOME to the world, One year Ago!

I can't believe it's been one year since this AMAZing set of days. Last year I had the pleasure of being with Jake and Kendra as they were patiently awaiting the birth of their precious son, Titus. I was in the hospital for a while with them both, observing, capturing, and helping in any way I could. Titus just was just so comfy and Mama wasn't having it! HA! She had been laboring for HOURS. Let me tell you, she has INCREdible strength, and Jake is the most calming force and strong & yet tender support system for his beautiful bride. Things didn't seem to be moving along very quickly so I ducked out to an event I had scheduled previously. The moment I was done, I contacted Jake to see how things were going! As Kendra had been laboring for so long, it was now time that she have a C-Section for the safety of her and the baby. I arrived RIGHT as she was prepping to be a Mama, after this LONG wait! I assumed I wouldn't see them until after Titus was born, however the Doctor allowed me to put on scrubs and join them in the surgery room! AHH! WHAT?! I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to expect. I was TOTally nervous, but I wasn't allowed because Kendra was about to push a human out of her body, so suck it up, right?! HA! Since I never shoot video, It's not always on the forefront of my mind that I have that available to me....but praise the Lord I remembered and I was able to not only capture but record some of these precious moments for the proud new Parents! Kendra, despite her shaking and being in surgery, was incredibly present. They had Titus poked, prodded, measured and weighed in no time, then passed him off to the new Daddy. Oh you guys. Their joy. The love in their eyes. The excitement in their grins. There is absolutely nothing like it. I've seen no deeper love. It was truly a gift to be able to witness such a priceless moment in time, and it almost seems to precious to share, but I'm doing so in celebration of Titus BEAUtiful one year of life. Sweet Boy, Auntie loves you like crazy. I'm SO thankful you were brought into this world, and in such a God-fearing, kind and loving home. HIP HIP HOORAY, Happy Birthday, Precious!

Sripps Seaside Forum Engagement Session | Brian & Ashton

So when your clients show up with two dogs, collar crowns, three outfits and a KNOW it's going to be a good Session! Especially when the sun is shining after postponing from the rainy night before! WHEW was I glad we still had that morning, as Ashton was about to fly home that afternoon! This beautiful couple. I had been in communication with them for a while! I absolutely loved my time chatting with them and even more so, enjoyed my time with them the day of their Session. Their love is so completely tender, and kind. Their Dogs were just PREcious, even though they probably would have rather just relaxed in the sun, they were troopers! The tide that morning....I mean, Brian and Ashton expected to get a little wet, but little did they know...ha! I've only seen the tide that high a few times to where it is crashing agains the cement edge! They still were game to play in the waves, so of COURSE we had fun! I couldn't get them under the Pier due to safety but we had just as much fun on each side! We left Scripps Pier soaked up to our waists, but with HUGE grins on our faces. It was a Session for the Books and I'm happy to share it with you!  

Temecula Creek Inn Wedding | Dan & Laura

Friends! This couple! I've had the pleasure of knowing them since Laura was pregnant with precious Weston. OH I NEVER laughed so hard at a Session. Dan is literally the most funny guy, and Laura compliments him in the sweetest way. I knew, that evening at Sunset Cliffs, that I wanted to be their friends! HA! No, but REAlly! Thankfully the Maternity Session was a success, so they called me back for their Lifestyle Newborn Session! Then Laura just started emailing me to photograph her work events, and then a surprise shoot for Fathers Day as Dan was Deployed, and his homecoming, and then we ran into each other at a Wedding Marketing Event....All this to say...our emails over the years graduated from details, times, dates and packages, to "How are you doing?" and "I love you!"  They are the perfect example of how I hope to model my business, going from clients to friends to practically family, and handshakes to hugs!

So here comes their Wedding for all their friends and family at the most beautiful venue, with the most AMAzing vendors! It's going to PERfect right?! Well several days before, there were alerts about a horrible storm over the weekend full of rain, wind, thunder and lighting! I'm generally a positive and optimistic person, so I just kept praying it would for some reason clear up right in the middle of when it was supposed to be the most strong. That being said, I was fully prepared for rain, assuming umbrellas would be useless with the wind. I also checked in with Laura double checking if they would be ok to get some sweet moody weather shots post ceremony! They were totally ready to get creative, and were so worry free, at least that's what it seemed like! It wasn't until the MORNing of, that I noticed we actually may have a break in the weather! AHH! Praise the LORD! Just in case they had rented a full sided clear magical tent for their reception. We only had to retreat from light rain for about 10 minutes for some sweet indoor captures before we were able to head back outside for portraits! They were hoping to have the ceremony uncovered and outside and low and behold the rain literally held off from the beginning of the ceremony until the end of the family formals! How cool is that?! The day went on without a hitch. The vendors were all positive and efficient, like serious secret ninjas making the most dreamy day come to life! 

My favorite part of the day, my favorite part of every time I get to capture this beautiful family, is the tenderness expressed from Dan to Laura, the Joy Laura gets from Dan, and the adoration they have for their dolly of a Son. 

Venue - Temecula Creek Inn, Wedding Coordinator - Cara @ Michelle Garibay Events, Rentals - Rustic Urban Events, Florist - Blanc Floral Design, Videographers - Lereve Films , DJ - Csquareddj_lighting, Calligrapher - Swash and Spur , Cake - Laura Marie's Cakes