Category Archives: Family

Summer, Summer, Summertime!


I love me some summertime. Long-lit days, warm nights, BBQ, bare feet, sundresses, bikini’s and watermelon martini’s!  Not necessarily in that order. And of course, photo shoots at the beach!  I’ve got several on the schedule… so you’ll be seeing lots of pictoral celebrations of summer and sand.

This past Sunday was spent with a wonderfully fun family.  These guys were just my style: laid back and up for anything… including the little girl who got soaked by a wave and still went back into the water – so brave!


Summer fun is serious business… you must concentrate.


Wooooo-hoooooo! —


— Wait a minute.  I got some sand…


Lots of sun-soaked summer kisses…


By the time our shoot was over, I was wet, salty, sandy and sweaty… and ready for a martini and a nap!

Until the next time!…



Mademoiselle Arrianna

“Don’t drive up to San Francisco!” Carla yelled to us from her car.  She had just dropped off her 14 yr old daughter, Arianna, at my studio for a fashion-headshot-let’s-celebrate-being-fourteen photo shoot… and Carla could see how excited we were seated in my convertible with two big smiles on our faces headed for the beach.  Just two girls looking for some good clean fun and fabulous photographs.  What a phenomenally fun job I have…

We had the shoot all planned out, with three distinct looks and locations to capture all the sides of Arianna’s personality. She’s quite a complex and impressive young girl.  She’s well traveled, well educated, speaks three languages, and is remarkably mature yet still so wonderfully silly.   

We started out at the beach, just under two minutes from my studio.  Things began all innocent and sweet….


Then we moved on to a nearby park, to capture Arianna’s fun, energetic, playful side…


Lastly, we beat it back to my studio to capture the mature, beautiful, rebellious, contemplative Arianna… 


This shoot was sooooo much fun, and it’s too bad Carla showed up just in time to pick up Arianna before we got a chance to take off to San Francisco!



You Can Go Home Again

Facebook is a wonderful thing… if not for good ol’ FB, the following shoot and total bizarre occurrence would never have happened… 

One day a couple of months ago, an old high school friend, Jennifer Romano Genovese, from my hometown of Jackson, NJ, and I hooked up via FB… Jen messaged me and said “I think I’m living in your old house.”   Whoa.  How cool is that?… Well, even better is going back to my hometown and doing a photo shoot for Jen’s kids in the very house I enjoyed being a kid in… 11 Robert Terrace.

Here’s the Genovese clan on the front lawn… Patrick 12, Megan 10, Lindsay 8, and Michael 6.  These kids are the most energetic, silly, sweet, and loving bunch.


Jen’s email starts off with MomOfTheMob@ and you can see why…



Jen is an incredible mom and loves the job… she said one of her favorite moments is when the kids are all at the table having breakfast in their pj’s. So of course we shot that!


Little toes, bruised legs, and poptart crumbs on the floor… childhood.


One of my favorites…


Now take a good look at this front lawn where the girls are having such a great time…


This is the same front lawn where I cart-wheeled often, once got chased by my Uncle brandishing a yard rake when I cursed, built snowmen with my brothers, buried the family dog, rolled down the hill, and lay in the grass looking up at the sky.

This is my little cousin, Sunshine, and me circa August, 1981 on the front lawn holding tissue flowers we got that day at Six Flag’s Great Adventure. 


Here’s a pic of my BFF, Sandy Marut, and me during one of our fine performances on the front lawn.  We were obsessed with performing dances, cheers, soccer tricks and whatever other act we could drag our moms to watch and applaud. (ps. This pic was shot with that Polaroid camera I mentioned in this post.) 


Jen called me up teary-eyed last night and said how much she loves the pics and how she loves living in that house.  I never thought I would be back at 11 Robert Terrace as an adult, especially not photographing another family living there, and especially not as part of a business trip as a professional photographer.  Thank you Jen… this was such a unique and meaningful shoot for me, and I couldn’t have been happier to be back home again…

…and just a hundred yards or so away from my elementary school where I first learned photography in a janitor-closet-turned-darkroom.  Ah, a story for another time




The Casey Family, Photo Party! Pt. 2 of 3

I want to be adopted by the Casey family.  They were the host family at my recent Photo Party in Greenwich, CT.  I am blown away by how amazing this family is… both as a unit and individually.  I’m not one to gush, truly I’m not, but I’ve been known to throw around passion and enthusiasm with abandon when I genuinely love/admire/respect/etc someone.  So when I tell you that I *heart* the Casey Family – that’s an understatement.  To be surrounded by such kindness, humor, brilliance and cuteness is addictive.  And the Casey family – Jack, BJ, Charlotte, and twins James & Will – has all that and more, in spades.  Take a peek…  


Six year old Charlotte is a smart girl and loving big sister.  She promised not to pout during photos in exchange for a new webkinz – a fair trade.






Suddenly a pick up game broke out, and this serious slugger came to the plate…


She knows she’s good.


The twins each had his own pitching style…  




Team Photo and celebration! 


Now let’s huddle up and spin!!



What has eight legs and four heads?


So not only are these adorable 4 year olds riding bikes with no training wheels, they are also learning Chinese.  And they are just so cute – I can’t handle it! 




There is so much that I love about these two pics – don’t even get me started!


…aaaaand Good Night!    Are you as exhausted as I am after this shoot?!


So this is what happens when your family hosts a Photo Party with me.  My first edit of the Casey family’s photo shoot yielded 435 images that I loved! 

I’m just sayin.



Photo Party! Pt. 1 of 3

I’ve been traveling all over the country doing “Photo Parties” for about 4 or so years now, and they are always a huge success! in terms of families having fun, parents loving the photos, and me feeling like I ran a marathon.   A Photo Party isn’t really a party per se – there is no beer, as one father asked me – lol!!  I wish!  But it’s a day of photo shoots hosted by one family for a number of guest families (usually 12 to 20) at a pre-determined location (either the host’s home, a nearby park, beach, etc.).

This most recent party took place in Greenwich, CT, hosted by the lovely and hysterical Casey Family (their session will be on the blog in the next few days). And even though it poured rain that day, the families were still game for playing outside.  We had so much fun, captured beautiful images and I managed not to get my camera too wet!

Here are a few of my favorite moments…  when we cracked up… 


Ran through the drizzling rain…


Took our first steps…


Tickled each other…


Took time for close-ups…







(I love it when you see the silliness and maturity of a child just moments apart.)


We also adored and squeeeeezed one another…


Raised the roof and were amused by each other…




We ran in the rain…


And, lastly, my favorite shot… we cuddled on the covered porch with the rain pouring down just outside…


Ahhhh! so much fun, and this was my favorite photo party yet…  More pics to come as I blog myself silly this week catching up on posting all of the sessions over the past few weeks: beach shoots, my recent trip to New York City, photographing the new family living in my old childhood home in NJ, and much more!…

Thank you for visiting!



Playing Around

This Saturday was one hot afternoon!  In more ways than one.  I did a shoot for my dear best friend Haldane, a fierce cyclist, and his woman, Kristy, an all-around incredible girl and cyclist as well.   H and K met almost a year ago “through a friend of a friend” and they couldn’t be more made for each other.  K loves photos, and wanted fun shots of the two of them together… well, I’m your girl.  I traveled down to their stomping ground, and we shot around Old Town Orange…



… then we moved the party to Shady Grove, and fair enough, they did tell me to bring my “hiking shoes” but… whew!… that’s all I’ll say because I’m still out of breath.



I really like this pair of shots… the movement and sensuality in them both.  So I’ll call this version “Sexy Autumn”… 


And I posted this pair as a perfect example of the choices photographers make when editing… this one seems brighter and cheerful to me, like “Happy Springtime”… I like the Autumn version better, what do you think?






Get a room already!!!



And off into the sunset!.. My favorite shot… 




I *Heart* You

Let’s get married!!…  I consider myself a lucky girl to be the sole guest in attendance at the most joyful loving silly wedding celebration ever… held during dress-up playtime at Saturday’s Alice in Wonderland birthday party.

Here’s how it went down:  This little girl with the cutest short haircut tugged on my skirt and asked if I could help tie the bow on her “wedding dress”… You’re getting married?!  I asked with a smile… Uh-huh she giggled back.  To who?  I asked the all important question… as she pointed across the garden to her friend putting on a wedding dress of her own.  

Well, let’s do this!   Playtime was ending soon, so I quickly grabbed a flower for each of them and made up a sweet and simple ceremony on the spot… 


…which involved exchanging flowers….


…a kiss…



…twirling and cutting the cookie…



… and holding hands skipping off to the Moon Bounce and happily ever after!


This will always be my favorite wedding that I’ve been invited to and photographed!  And I’m seriously considering having a little red heart drawn on my face when I walk down the aisle 🙂



Alexandra in Wonderland

Oh the wonderful silliness of it all!…  Alexandra Johnston’s Alice in Wonderland 6th birthday party on Saturday was a flat-out non-stop super-fun crazy-zany hysterically exhausting affair!  Everyone had a stupid silly time… Seriously, I think I had just as much fun, if not more, than the kids.  I enjoyed tea amongst the little ones at the kids’ table; I flirted with Rabbit; I kicked back with the Mad Hatter; I rocked it in the Moon Bounce; I played dress up; and I did a mean hokey-pokey.  Because that’s how I roll. 

Oh, did I mention I took a couple of pictures?

Here’s the birthday girl and her mom, the fabulous hostess, Brigitte Johnston.


Silly hats were a must!…


Who knew the zany-ness that was going on outside this door?!  The event was held at the beautiful and delicious Mick’s Cafe – my new favorite place to have a bite in the Palisades.


Can you tell which feet belong to the birthday girl?!  Uh-huh.


A few details… How badly do I want to take that frog prince home?  Oh wait, I already had one or two of those!





… and lastly, your’s truly. xoxo  


Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post… the most adorable loving beautiful wedding I’ve ever been to and photographed!




Yummy Empanadas

I love me some yummy empanadas!  Especially when they’re in the form of this adorable babe’s chubby feet.  David Ortega’s grandma calls his feet little empanadas – and it’s so true, right?!  They really remind me of my trip to Buenos Aires last year and my daily morning empanadas (ok, late afternoon, but morning to me).  But don’t trust me, take a peek at pics from one hot lovely afternoon with the Ortega family at the South Coast Botanical Gardens and see for yourself 🙂


I’ve never seen a baby smile so often, so big, and so easily.  I just couldn’t get over my impulse to squeeze and bite him!  Is that what parents do when no-one’s around?  Rolls upon glorious rolls….



Okay, this one just makes me laugh silly.  He’s such a bruiser here.  Lol!




Pride, The School Orchestra

I remember the year I was 8 years old and sold Christmas gift-wrap to fundraise for my school.  If I sold 60 boxes, I would “win” a Polaroid camera.  My love for goal-setting started right there.  The game was on!   Weeks later, I had sold 60 boxes…  Mostly to family, neighbors and well… my mom.  And when I got the camera ages later in the mail, I quickly wrote my initials on it, and began lugging it around with me everywhere… I was so proud.

So when Ana and Lindsey of Paul Revere Charter Middle School came into my studio on Tuesday, they had me at “We’re raising funds for our school.”   I not only donated, but I also took some pics of a few members of their orchestra “Pride” for use in their concert program.

I made sure each of the musicians played while I was shooting, and the singer sang.  I always believe in shooting an action, not a pose.  This is Ana Hilleboe, and her pictures cement my decision to learn violin!… just beautiful 🙂 



From left to right, here’s Victor Li on the French Horn, Elana Ross singing her guts out in between giggles, and Lizze Sokolich on Sax.




I had a great time with these guys, and I love the pics – am I just being nostalgic or do they bring back memories of being in school and falling in love with learning an instrument?  Sorry neighbors, violin lessons coming up!


Dancing in the Park



Oh, those wacky Boxer Wachler twins!… I love these girls, especially when I learned they love to dance! Here are Jordanna and Micaela getting their freak on to “Betty Bought a Bit of Butter.” You know me, I’m always up for learning a new dance, so I paid close attention. You have to sing the lyrics asfastasyoucan, while doing what resembles a flash-dance-irish-jig of sorts. I have since mastered the Betty Butter dance, but at the time I stumbled because of a faulty flip flop. The Boxer Wachlers understood.

Note: Holding hands and hugging is optional. I like it.

Please GENTLY grab your partner, and begin!… BettyBoughtaBitofButter….






…AndtheButterwasBetter!!!!…. And repeat until the kids are in college or you get a good shot. Then do the Roger Rabbit.

Sweet Chaos



Meet the Hubbard family… Nathan, Lindsay, Hailey, Tess and new baby Jackson. It was a typical family photo shoot – the girls were lively, the baby fussy, the mom unnecessarily apologetic and the dad just kind of taking orders and trying to keep up. The new guy, Jackson MacDonald Hubbard, has the distinction of being the 1st Pacific Palisades Baby of 2009 (a tradition since 1954, sponsored by the Palisades Post). And he is quite a big little guy!…

Here are a couple of my favorites from our morning together… this is Tess who reminds me of my favorite doll I had when I was a kid 🙂


Hailey is trying to suss me out here… not quite sure she buys what I’m sellin’ yet…


Ahhhh, I’ve won her over! She did make me sweat for it though, and by the end of the shoot, Hailey made sure I walked away with some beautiful refrigerator art.


Oh my goodness how cute is this?… Big sisters, Hailey and Tess, sing “Do Re Me” to their little brother…


Nothing like Dad tossing you up in the air!… again, and again, and again!


What a cutie… cheeks for weeks!


On a personal and professional note, I am finally recovered from WPPI in Vegas. It’s a week-long photographer’s convention, workshop, trade-show, and total geek-fest. It was my first time, and I loved every minute of it… I came back completely on fire and inspired. One of my favorite parts was sitting in on the Print Judging competition… it was such a rush to hear a panel of master photographers critique photographs and fascinating to hear why each thought a print was below average, average, above average, excellent, superior, outstanding, and perfect. About 90 out of 100 were average or below, and when a merit print came along – it just stood apart. I could have sat there all week, and it was really a nice surprise to learn that my eye was pretty much in line with the judges.

After the print judging, I spent three crazy days on the crowded trade-show floor, which had over 2,000 booths I think, and I came away with a stunning new product line that I am so exciting about adding to my boutique…. details and photos coming soon!

Lastly, I had the extreme fortune to hear a few of my favorite photographers speak, and actually spend time chatting with each. They are each so different, but they all know themselves, their photography, and their brand very well. My favorites were:

Elizabeth Messina is a goddess of photography… she shoots film, has the sweetest disposition and her images are unmistakably her’s… soft, romantic, sensual, and well, just darn pretty. I admire her photography as well as how she runs her business and life. Even though she is very high-profile, she works out of home and keeps her family first. She also got a camera at a young age (like me) and carried it with her everywhere for awhile (like I did). Geeks.

Tamara Lackey is another photography genius… She is smart as a whip, generous with information, a brilliant photographer, and a super-mom to three kids to top it all off. Her talk was geared towards running a successful studio, reaching your target market, and really “seeing” the kids that you’re photographing.

Gene Higa is quite a showman, and his entertaining talk was geared towards creating your brand. I love Gene, his energy and enthusiasm, and love for what he does. He is a well-known, top 10 destination wedding photographer… and his heart is bigger than his brand.

I learned a lot from being at WPPI – to be true to myself and my art, find my niche and own it, tell people what I’m up to, and above all… to put my love of photography first. Because sometimes it’s so easy to forget that and get lost in the business side of things. So, just like back in the day when I got my first professional camera (Christmas day, age 8), I’m going to carry my Canon around with me everywhere (for two weeks as a mini-experiment), to get back in touch with shooting what I’m attracted to…

We’ll see what happens!