Update on life...

Hey everyone! If you've been around for a while, you'll notice that I haven't been posting a lot lately.  This usually comes in waves when work is really busy, when I have a lull in work, or when I'm just not in the writing mood.


I remember I used to mix in a lot more personal on this blog and since it is mine, I'm going to start that up again.  I am hoping to mix in a little reflection and share snippets of my life.  I could start a separate blog but then that would just be super confusing.  I do however, have a blog dedicated to my religious journey, which you can read at The Lost Lamb.  It's mostly about God and my faith as a fairly new convert to the Catholic religion some 5 years ago.  

But on here, I'm just going to share what is on my mind as well as my photography.  


Currently, this is where I'm at:

  • Baby vampire teeth are coming in... I don't know the official name but you know which ones I'm talking about.  And man, have we been having a lot of nightly wake-ups and bouts of crying that comes out of left field.  But today I saw the little buggers poking through so it seems like we've passed the worst.  For now.  
  • After 1.5 years, I am finally feeling normal as a woman, mother, wife, and just person.  I feel like this should be a post all in itself because it's been a rollercoaster - I'm so grateful for my husband who has been so patient with me and always by my side.
  • I'm working on a couple of side projects at the moment and have let my photography kind of go by the way side, but I'm happy for the (few) events we'll be covering this year! Whoo hoo!
  • You guys, living by the beach is awesome.  I feel like I'm bragging but let me just say that if you wish to live by the beach, or on a mountain, or where ever, make moves.  You are not stuck and you don't have to be stuck.  We made moves, and trust me we were afraid, but we're here.  Living that beach life.  You can do it.  This also feels like I could do a separate post.  
  • I'm excited for the beach sessions coming up that I have! If you haven't already, check out the McKay (pronounced Mac・kai) that I recently blogged.  If you're visiting this area, let me know and we'll catch up and get some coffee and take some killer photos.
  • Making new friends is awesome.  I'm an introvert by nature and actually like being alone.  But I also live for those one-on-one connections with people and since moving, I haven't really had that here.  Finally making friends and getting out and having some good ol' girl time was so needed.
  • I bought new pens, I know this is so boring, but they have changed my planner life.  I'm a pen junkie, anyone else? 
  • Today I went to the beach and drank my coffee there looking and listening to the big blue space in front of me.  I need to do this every morning because I feel like I've slept a million hours, all by just looking at the ocean.  Incredible.

That's all guys.  I know my life isn't exactly the most exciting.  It's a normal life and full of hard adulting and some pretty good belly laughs, mostly at my son because he's a toddler and does some really funny stuff.  Check out my Instagram to see him dance, and do funny stuff.  But I rather have my little boring and normal life than be faking the funk.  Anyone else feel like social media is all about the "influencer" now? So boring. 

Anyway, what's your life been like lately? Normal too? 

How to avoid meltdowns & have a great family portrait experience

Seriously, what could more intimidating than getting your portraits take, as a family?! Probably traveling with a baby comes close.  

I hear you, it can be really hard on parents who try to get their family portraits taken and suddenly you're dealing with a melt down because your toddler doesn't want to wear that dress and hates those shoes, on the day of your session.  Trust me, I've been there.  And it can be so stressful that you want to call your photographer and reschedule, which let me tell you, is completely in your right! 

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel! These quick and easy steps will all lead to a melt-down free session and lead to a happy post session!

This is really the only real rule that I have when I photograph families.  Especially out on the beach.  It's really easy to try and be on your best behavior as a family, but we all know that on the day of the session, your kid is gonna want to push their limits, set the new rules, and act a little goofy.  

I say, let them.  Let them get it all out of their system, let me take over and have fun.  The more they see this as a fun activity, the more willing they'll be to cooperate.  And this means, not saying "no" to running, climbing safely onto a tree, or even throwing sand and getting all wet.  Keeping things light and fun are going to change the whole experience for you!

Being that we have just let these kids wild, you'll need to be prepared in bringing more outfits.  Always choose clothes that the kids feel most comfortable in.  And if that day they are particular about a shirt, bring it,  we'll use it and then I'll convince them to change later during the session.  Usually this works because I'm a stranger and they don't know that I'm a complete push over.  Plus, we're having fun and so they'll go along with it even more if we turn it into a game.

Kids are hungry all.the.time!  I'm sure that you are constantly bringing snacks and juices everywhere you go; sessions are no different.  Make sure you bring those favorite snacks and we'll give them to the kids through out the session so that they can keep their energy up and keep giving us those cute smiles!

Bringing toys is another great way to give your kids a break during the part of the session where we focus on mommy and daddy.  It's a great way to keep them entertained and sometimes, we can get cute photos like this one below; this photo captures who she truly is at 3 years.  

Just know that at your session, depending on your children's age, they may not be willing to be still enough for photos.  Take a 2 year old, they constantly run from the camera and don't like to sit still.  As where you have teens who don't like to smile at all but will stand there limp and bored.  So that's where we try to play, run, jump, through the baby in the air, maybe jump onto your teens back, or tell a funny joke - anything to get the energy flowing. 

I'll capture those interactions and sometimes, they make the best memories because they are natural, authentic, and real.  

Portrait sessions, thankfully, are always able to be rescheduled if your kid is having a really bad day or isn't up for anything.  Call me and we'll reschedule for a later date.  It's happened where we're in the middle of the session and we'll reschedule for a different day, and it's totally ok!  Sometimes this happens and it's quite alright.  I'd rather not force the session because we'll definitely see it in the photos.  

Having fun is always the best part of your portrait experience! Don't forget to bring on the bad dad jokes, run, jump, and be willing to play.  I guarantee everyone will have a wonderful time and we'll get the shots that you'll be able to treasure.  

McKay Family Portraits Playa Destiladeras, Nayarit

This family was just the most fun loving, happy, and playful family I have photographed in a long time! Then again, all of the families that hire me to photograph them have lots of fun during the session!  

Visiting Bucerias from Canada, they came to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, which is no feat, and deserved a very fun photo session! It was very endearing to see the couple so in love, their family having fun, and the all around great vibe they gave.  They light up any room!  

If you're visiting this beautiful area of Bucerias, Sayulita, San Pancho, and Puerto Vallarta, make sure you schedule your family portrait session, because there is nothing like these beautiful beaches and even more beautiful sunsets!

Feature Article on Digital Photography School

Hey everyone!

I know there's been a little bit of silence over here on the blog since the new year has begun, and I'm hoping to get back into blogging more regularly now that we are done being sick!  Yep, my baby had a really bad ear infection and then he got me sick, and well, it's always a cycle of germs with kids, right? 

In December, I wrote an article for one of the best resources in the photography world: Digital Photography School, or DPS. When I first started learning photoshop, I was a regular at DPS.  We're talking, about 12 or 10 years ago, and I was working with Photoshop CS2! I remember staying up really late, following the tutorial videos in order to learn how to create layers, what the healing brush tool did, and yes, even the simple cropping tool.  I had taken courses in college but they were not as specific to what I wanted to learn.  I didn't want to create a brochure (although, now I could use that knowledge!) but rather how to cross process, use actions, and resize a photo.  DPS was always my handy resource.

Now, they've grown to include so many great articles and tutorials from seasoned and experienced experts from around the globe!  I still go back to the site when I have question or simply want to read how to do something new in photography.   That's the great thing about photography isn't it? The fact that you can always learn something new!

It's with great, great, excitement that I share with you that I was able to write a great and helpful tutorial: 6 Tips for Better Engagement Photos.  It's a great post for photographers of all levels! I'm also so excited that it's already been shared a good 395 times! I'm so happy!


I am hoping to write more articles for photographers on DPS as I truly believe in their website and helping other photographers grow, learn, and create community.  

Head on over and check out the article, and many more great tips and tricks!!! 

Puerto Vallarta Beautiful Sunset Portrait Photography

Really? These sunsets over here are just magical.  I am in awe of the sunsets here in Puerto Vallarta.  Technically, we're in Bucerias but it's same side and 15 minutes from PV ;).  

I used to live in Southern California and they have nice sunsets, but these top those on a whole different level.  Not sure what it is, but they are stunning.  And photographing people during this beautiful golden light is even better. 

This is the last of these mini portrait sessions.  I'm hoping to do more soon! Lots of things are changing soon for us here (no we're not pregnant or moving, again, lol) but just lots of changes and they are all great changes that God is guiding us towards.  I'll keep that annoyingly vague for now ;).

On with the photos of this cute family!  Click on the images to view larger.  Comment your favorite below the post!

Waves and Flower Crowns, Puerto Vallarta Beach Portrait Photography

I have been having so much fun photographing these families during the beautiful sunset hours, and some not so sunset but it just goes to show that you can't take a bad photo of a family having fun splashing at the beach.  Add a cute flowy dress and flower crowns and I just can't get enough of it!

Click on the image to view larger.  Comment below the post :) 

Waiting on baby L in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I had so much fun experimenting with this session during the most beautiful sunset!  Enjoying pregnancy, looking absolutely fabulous while doing it, and having a husband, soon-to-be-daddy that lights up when he talks to the baby on the inside just makes my heart melt.  It was such an easy going, light, fun, calm session.  And being able to try something new like dragging the shutter so the water looks like it's moving just made my whole evening.  

Enjoy! Click on the images to view larger :).

Boys of Summer Puerto Vallarta Beach Portrait Photographer

This duo are brothers and definitely worked the session.  We didn't do your classic smile and sit nicely.  We had fun changing outfits, throwing sand, running, and changing outfits.  I loved this cool summer beach vibe these guys had.  They were so chill.  They belong in a magazine.