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.  

Leanabeth + Brian | Anytime Session | Riverside Portrait Photographer

I met Leanabeth three years ago during an internship.  She was a student at Cal State Fullerton just like I was.  We hit it off right from the start.  While she held the reflector and while I second shot.  We'd talk about relationships, speak in Spanish when we didn't want anyone to understand us, and eat cake during the receptions.

That was also the same time that she and Brian began dating.  As time passed and she spoke more about him, I knew that he was perfect for her.  They just fit so well and I am so happy that they are still going strong, not that I had any doubts of course :).

We met up at the park down the street from my house. The weeds growing tall, succulents growing wildly and green trees.  Once, while running, I noticed the sun set behind this untouched wilderness and I knew I had to shoot a session there someday.  That someday was for Leanabeth + Brian.

They booked me for an anytime session.  Not an engagement session but rather, a session of just the two of them.  Who they are, together.  No labels, no pressure, just who they are right now.  At this moment, three years later.  Let me tell's a beautiful thing.

Leanabeth + Brian:  You two rock!  I had so much fun talking about anything and everything.  Laughing at my lame jokes and getting to know you better.  We've got to get together soon!

Here are my favorites :)

Anyssa | Headshot Photographer

I had such a great time with Anyssa!  We met at the UCR Botanical Gardens on a very hot day.  Headshot sessions are so fun for me because of the one-on-one style.  It's a great time to get to know a person and talk to them like we've been friends forevah.  Of course, I love family sessions too, but these sessions allow me to relax and take my sweet time while I talk too much.

Anyssa is an actress.  She's been on Hanna Montana and a couple of other shows (that I can't remember because I thought being on Hanna Montana was just soooo cool!)  I know that she's going to go far because of her humble and sweet personality.

Anyssa, you were awesome and I had a great time getting to know you!  I'm going to keep my eye out for you next time you're on the tube ;).

Happy Saturday!


Elahyna | Class of 2013

I love photographing the milestones of my clients.  What I love even more is photographing the milestones of my family.  From maternity sessions to family sessions to weddings.

I was lucky to photograph my cousin, Elahyna, as she begins her journey from teenager to adult.  She is also one of my Class of 2013 Senior Reps!

To my wonderful cousin:  The future may be uncertain, do not fret.  Uncertainty can sometimes be exciting and full of great surprises.  And lots of lessons to learn along the way.  The future may be frightening, do not fret.  For we are made to over come fear with tenacity and you will conquer it.  No matter what, being your older cousin, I am here for you every step of the way :).  Love you!

Okay, on to the photos!

One-on-One with Tiffany Nguyen | Riverside Portrait Photographer

Tiffany called me.  As we spoke about the details regarding her portrait session, I could not ignore how upbeat and positive the sound of her voice was.  As if she had just returned from Disneyland.  Through out the conversation, I smiled back and threw some excitement into my voice as well.  We hung up and that was that.

Come the day of the session and she was just how I pictured her, full of spark and excitement.  We talked and walked and as we both were getting comfortable and into the the groove, she said something that resonated with me:  I'm doing a lot of new things for myself this year.

Year after year, we grow older, time passes faster, things change, and we lose the passion for doing something new.  It could be anything, from a portrait session that makes you feel like a model, to a day rock climbing making you face your fear of heights.  I want to feel that way.  Not just for this year, but every year after this one.  That excitement of trying something new, pushing yourself farther, and learning new things about yourself.  Growing, learning, and changing.  But appreciating life and the time we've got here.

Tiffany, thank you for opening up this concept to me and reminding me, that sometimes, we must experience something new.  I'm glad that I was able to photograph your first portrait session and making it into your book of New.  You are a beautiful gal inside and out :).

Schiel Duo Sneak Preview | Riverside Family Portrait Photographer


A little preview of Jax and "hot mama" Stephanie!  Loved this duo and we had some amazing light at the UCR Botanical.  Jax is 1 and boy is the little guy ready to start walking!  He was exploring and really enjoying the gardens.  

Thanks Stephanie for choosing me to photograph your family!  I had a great time and girl, you are one hot mama!  Be on the look out for an email from me soon :) 

Happy Wednesday!

Fall Fashion Sneak Preview | Los Angeles Fashion Photographer