Newborn Session Preparation

Preparing for a newborn session is quite easy. Once a person has booked a session, I ask a few questions to ensure that I am using a color scheme that will mesh well with the colors the parents are using in the nursery. I always ask if the parents have any special requests. Some parents have fallen in love with a setup I have done previously and it is important to ask this prior to the session date. Recreating a set is extremely easy.

For parents, preparations are easy. Simply bring the baby’s diaper bag with extra diapers, wipes, and a pacifier. Some parents have not introduced the baby to a pacifier and that is ok. If parents do not object, I do ask them to bring one just in case. I provide all wraps, props, bonnets, sleep hats, or bows. Parents do not need to worry about providing anything for the actual session itself.

I do know how hard it is for new parents to leave the house on time with a newborn baby. For this reason, I provide coffee, water, and treats for the parents to enjoy while I work. It is best for the baby if I provide a calm and relaxing environment and I like the parents to feel taken care of as well. I absolutely love working with newborns and put safety first during the session. The baby will be handled very delicately and will never be placed in dangerous positions. Babies do prefer to be warm so I keep the photography space very warm. Parents should dress for warmer conditions during the session.

I offer different packages, each with a different timeframe for the session. For the one hour wrapped session, parents should anticipate being here for an hour and a half. For the two hour session, parents should anticipate being here for two and a half hours. Sometimes the baby needs a little extra soothing time and I never like to rush the session. We also need to allow time for feedings. I strive to provide a comfortable and enjoyable experience for baby and parents. If you have any questions regarding sessions, please feel free to reach out to Tender Moments Photography San Diego at 619-301-6133.

A Season of Christmas Sessions

Every single year, it never fails… I book up solid for the months of November and December. Between my regular maternity and newborn clients, I receive an influx of calls for family sessions. I frequently have families calling that are only available on the weekends and this greatly hinders my ability to accommodate all the sessions. My advice? Schedule those sessions in September.

Family sessions are held at the location of your choice. I don’t do themed mini sessions for two reasons. The first reason is that I want to spend the appropriate amount of time to get beautiful portraits of your family. A quick 20 minute session does not allow any forgiveness for problems that could arise. I have seen instances where small children were not cooperative and need just a little bit of time to become comfortable. I have seen instances of wardrobe mishaps that require a little bit of time to correct. When photographers hold mini sessions, they book consecutive families one right after another and there just isn’t time to adjust any problems that arise.

The second reason I don’t hold mini sessions is that I prefer my sessions all to look unique. With themed mini sessions, everyone is photographed at the same location. I take a lot of time and care to scout of session locations to keep my portraits unique. I don’t want to photograph ten families in a row all at one location. Being able to create beautiful portraits in various locations is important to me as it keeps my creative side fresh. So with that being said…book those sessions early!

Art and Creativity

Since I opened my photography business in 2002, my work has been all about creativity. I love playing with light and I love to create unique, beautiful photographs. In any outdoor location I love to shoot an hour before sunset to get the perfect lighting for flare. Flare is my favorite part of outdoor photography. It’s extremely hard to capture which makes it so much more beautiful when I get it just right.

Flare is one of my most requested type of photography. If my clients request flare they have to be open to suggestions on locations. Location has everything to do which achieving this look. It cannot be accomplished with wide open skies. There needs to be some tree coverage or foliage for the sun to peek through. Time of session is the other factor to consider. The sun has to be in the perfect position to be able to capture it.

For creativity, I ask my clients what their favorite colors are, what the theme of the room is where the photographs will hang, and I pick props that are meaningful to the client. I want the portraits to speak to the person they belong to.During baby sessions, parents will sometimes incorporate special items such as a blanket or a lovie. I always encourage this as these are the things they will reminisce over once their wee one has grown.

The Importance of Communication

I cannot stress enough how important communication is for a successful session. I am an avid communicator. I always have been. You can ask my husband (even though I secretly believe it isn’t his favorite thing about me). When it comes to your session, the most important thing for me is that you have exactly what you had envisioned when you contacted me from the start. Being a full service studio, I offer free consultations to all of my clients (via FaceTime or in person) to fully map out the session.

During the consultation we first figure out what type of location is ideal for the client. I have many favorite locations throughout all of San Diego that includes beaches, rustic scenery, botanical gardens, urban locations, and grassy nature locations. I have sessions from each location that my clients are able to view to make sure it is their ideal location. Next, we discuss times of day that are best for a start time. I’m able to inform my clients about any parking situations they will encounter (some locations require paid parking while other locations require a walk from the parking lot to the session site) to make sure they arrive on time. After time selection we discuss wardrobe choices. For maternity sessions, I have a “client closet” of gowns that my clients are able to borrow at no additional cost. We also discuss what spouses and children should wear to make sure the wardrobe looks perfect with the session scenery.

Lastly, I always ask my clients if there are any poses they really want to capture. It is so important to discuss this prior to the session date to ensure that I am properly prepared to get the look of the pose requested. Sometimes this will require additional lighting or props that I would not normally bring along to your session without being notified beforehand. All of these details are listed on the contract which is reviewed the week of your session. Discussing these details with my clients have been such a positive and important aspect of my photography business. I love that I get to spend this time with my clients. It helps my clients to get comfortable with me and it helps to build trust. Its often that clients return to me for their maternity sessions, newborn sessions, baby’s first birthday with cake smash and bubble bath, Christmas sessions, and family sessions. I love seeing their children and families grow. If you would like to browse through recent sessions, follow the link to my website and select “Gallery” from the menu:

The Value of Milestone Sessions

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Every parent’s wish is to be able to freeze their small children in time. We frequently hear, “Stop growing! Stay little forever”… and it is both heartbreaking and exciting to see our little ones grow into the person they were destined to be. The best part of photography for me is that I am, in a way, able to freeze time and create a lasting memory. Some of my favorite types of sessions are newborn sessions and milestone sessions.

Newborn sessions are so important because your infant starts to change and look different after just one month of life. That tiny infant phase only lasts four small weeks. Before you know it, your baby is growing and learning to sit up, roll over, crawl, and soon after, learning to walk. Milestone sessions help parents capture all of the phases of the first year. I love when parents do an extended milestone package that includes sessions for the family at the child’s third and fifth years of life.

This session was conducted in celebration of her third birthday. Mommy brought her child’s favorite outfits and we spent an hour just exploring the flower fields and trails. I am so blessed to be a photographer in San Diego where we have such diverse and beautiful areas to hold sessions that speak to the client’s taste. This little girl loves nature and flowers so I helped them pick a location that would draw their child’s personality out to the forefront. It is so important to pick locations for the client’s taste, not my own.

Every session with Tender Moments Photography includes the portraits printed in 5×7 photographs and the digital file. I also provide guidance with enlargement series for wall galleries. In this era of digital technology, quality printing is so hard to find. My favorite part of being a mommy and a photographer is looking through photographs of my children. I never sit down and view them on my laptop. That is why all of my sessions include printed photographs. I encourage my client’s to use professional printing sources such as, , when they are not printing through my professional lab.

For this session I was able to capture her in a natural environment where I was able to get genuine smiles and facial expressions that mommy and daddy are so in love with. Following her around and watching her pure wonder and joy as she explored the scene was amazing. From smelling flowers to chasing butterflies… I almost wanted to say, “Don’t grow anymore! Stay this little forever!” But I also knew that what we had just created are precious memories they will cherish for a lifetime.

The Sweetest Little Bundle

I recently had the pleasure of photographing this sweet newborn girl at 8 days old. Two weeks prior to her birth her mother’s maternity session was held.Her parents opted to have the session held in their home versus bringing her to the studio. So, my assistant and I packed up all the items needed and tracked over to their home. Going to the client’s home brings a different feel to the session. We are limited to the amount of items we can bring but we are also able to incorporate some lifestyle setups along with some posed setups. This baby’s parents are so in love with their baby. It warms my heart to see such unconditional love and happiness. The session went smoothly and portraits are gorgeous. The portraits selected were printed in 5×7 format and beautifully packaged for the family. Milestone sessions have been chosen and I am looking forward to watching this beautiful baby’s growth.

Natalie and Jay

Natalie and Jay

“Family. Where life begins, and love never ends.”

Life tends to throw curve balls every once in a while. Some people have learned to dodge those curve balls and some people just get pegged with the ball. Luckily, Natalie and Jay are dodgers. While getting ready to do engagement photos for Natalie and Jay, I had a whole engagement session planned in my mind. We had a consultation where we thoroughly discussed the style and poses that would go great for them. We had the spot, day, and time set. We were on our way!

We get to the beach, where I had this wonderful session planned, and there are signs informing us that the beach was closed. Dang. What to do now?
I thought back to a session I had done a couple years ago on a natural reserve and thought “this might work better than even the original plan…” So, I ask Natalie and Jay what they think and they are all for it. Let’s try it. Thank goodness they are they are that adventurous type, as this setback could’ve proved a huge challenge!

It’s amazing the way life tends to work things out. When we get to the reserve the sun is shining through the trees and casting a beautiful light. The outfits that Jay and Natalie had planned for just went beautifully with the natural surroundings. After taking a few pictures I just knew these would be the pictures that Natalie and Jay wanted. And the reserve is now one of my favorite spots!

The thing I noticed most about this couple was how easy they were to photograph. There were plenty of times that Jay would whisper something to Natalie and her whole face would light up and she would laugh. Candid shots like that show more love and affection than any posed shot. There are several shots in their series where the light is shining behind the tress and making the green foliage glow behind Jay and Natalie. It was such a beautiful contrast to the white shirts they had chosen for the day.

After a few shots of just Natalie and Jay, we decided to get some family shots with Natalie’s son. The three of them had such a calming, loving vibe. They were such a fun family! I loved that they wanted to include him in their session and really make him feel a part of their life and the big day that is coming!

I really enjoyed this engagement session. The day may not have gone as planned

but it ended up being even better than what I had envisioned. Jay and Natalie were such an easy going, fun couple. As the day was concluding all I could think about was how happy I was that they had chosen me to capture one of the most important days of their lives, and how excited I am to be a part of their big day in October!

The Lampe Wedding – Private Residence, San Clemente

“True love is not something you fall in, but grow in.”
Lynn G. Robbins

Tom and Madison were high school sweethearts. Doesn’t that already sound like the beginning of an amazing love story? It’s perfectly fitting, then, that such a classic story should have a classic and elegant wedding. Tom and Madison are natives from Colorado but decided to have a destination wedding in San Clemente, CA. Even though it was such a busy day on the pier, Fourth of July weekend to be exact, the couple only had eyes for each other. In each picture you get the feel that it’s only the two of them with the sand, sun, and waves. Madison chose a beautiful lace sheath gown to compliment their grecian theme. I absolutely adore the buttons running down the back! The lace dress, being paired with the deep red rose bouquet, was the perfect combination for such a classic affair.

The garter was a delicate lace style to match the style of the dress. It looks like a classic piece you would have seen back in the Victorian era. After the hair is done and the makeup is finished, finally being able to put on the wedding gown is one of the best parts of the wedding day! This is the part of the day where the excitement starts to bubble up. The chosen bridesmaids and family get to help lace and button you up, making the bride feel like the most important and beautiful person in the room.

We did photos at the ceremony site, which was at Tom’s aunt’s house. It had such a beautiful yard with plenty of landscape to be able to take photos of the bride with her bridesmaids and the groom with his groomsmen. I was able to capture some amazing photos when the sun was hitting perfectly. The deep red bouquets with the bright greenery in the back make some lovely photos!

As the time came for the ceremony to begin you could just feel the excitement in the air. There didn’t seem to be much nervousness, just happiness all around. It was such a beautiful experience watching the couple exchange vows. Hearing them promise to love each other forever is such a bold promise and I knew I had to capture all the emotions that were being expressed.

Sometimes the candid photos have such a fun outcome! I don’t know if Madison realized she was grabbing Tom’s tush but there’s photo proof! Maybe it was a subtle way of telling him that he was amazingly sexy to her that day *wink wink*

The photos of the bride and groom down at the pier came out so great! I was able to get some beautiful shots of the sun filtering in through the wooden legs at the pier with the glass like reflection shining off the ocean water. There were some great candid photos here as well, where you can just see that Tom and Madison were enjoying their day and you can see the love in their eyes.

As the sun started to set it was time for the reception to begin. The outdoor fireplace and the votive candles were all lit, creating a soft, intimate atmosphere while everyone took their seats. Toasts were made for the couple. Some speeches were sprinkled with funny stories while some were just a simple toast to their enduring love. All of the toasts had the same message: this couple is supported with so much love.

Bridal gown:


Candle favors:

Landon Max _ Fresh 48 Photography Session

  • A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of
    possibilities”     – Eda J LeShan
    A new baby is extremely exciting! A newborn baby brings all kinds of emotions; happiness, joy and even fear.  I always feel a certain excitement when I’m asked to do a birthing session, knowing that it will be my responsibility to try to capture all of these moments on film.  Landon Max was born on March 25, 2017 at 7:07 P.M. at Palomar Hospital in Escondido, CA. He weighed a healthy 9lbs 4oz.  He cried immediately, but I always think the “new baby” cry is the sweetest sound to be able to hear.  The nurses cleaned him up and swaddled him tightly before bringing him to his mommy for the first time.
    When the nurses handed Landon to his mother, Kaela, he became completely

    content and stopped crying.  It was so special to see how mother and son bonded immediately.  Kaela was such a natural when it came to Landon.  The skin to skin contact was soothing and comforting for both of them.  I could see they both just wanted to rest like that for a while and enjoy the moment.  Landon’s daddy, Cory, was so completely enthralled with his new son the moment he saw him.  He couldn’t wait to hold him and even wanted to change his diaper.  Every time Cory held Landon, he would stare at him and whisper to him.  First time parents always have to sort through hundreds of different emotions at one time.  Of course there’s the excitement of finally meeting this new life that you’ve been waiting almost a year to meet; but then the anxieties kick in.  Parents always question whether they’ll be good enough parents for this perfect little person that they’re holding.  They fear that they’ll make one tiny misstep and everything will fall to pieces. Looking at the pictures I’ve taken of the three of them, I know that Landon is in perfectly loving and capable hands.  There’s really nothing quite so sweet as tiny, itty bitty baby feet.  There’s a reason that everyone always saves the imprints of their children’s hands and feet and that’s to remind us of how tiny they were at one time.  As Landon continues to grow, his mommy and daddy can always look back at these photos; not just remember the day and these moments but to relive them over and over again.  These pictures will bring back the feelings of happiness and wonder (that would otherwise start to slowly fade away) that Landon brought to them in this moment.  We held a Fresh 48 session in the hospital the next day to capture his first few hours of life and meeting his new extended family.  As the family members started to arrive, I remember thinking about how spoiled and loved Landon will always be.  He’s the first grandchild and nephew for Cory’s family.  Everyone kept commenting on how perfect Landon is.  Cory’s mother had saved the outfit and blanket from Cory’s birth so we dressed and wrapped him in these items for some special photos just for her.  We took photos of  his two aunts holding him of the first time and grandma and grandpa meeting him.

    The day wore on and things quieted down.  I took a few more shots of the hospital room that was decorated with Landon’s name, flowers, and balloons.  I got ready to leave and walked out the door thinking how lucky he is to be so loved.

Simple and elegant rustic wedding

Kristy and Gabe – Soledad Club, Pacific Beach, San Diego

The day began with overcast skies and the scent of the ocean in the air. The couple decided to keep their wedding party to just themselves and their one year old daughter.  This provided the wedding to be about their small family, keeping it intimate, private, and extremely personal.  The guests were comprised of close friends and all of their family members. During the ceremony, their heart-felt vows brought them each to tears.

They opted to do a “first look” prior to the ceremony as they wanted to enjoy every moment they could with their guests.  After their ceremony, they greeted each guest in a receiving line and joined them at the cocktail hour.  This made the reception very relaxed as the guests weren’t anxiously awaiting their arrival.  The guests mingled while enjoying wine, beer, and an appetizer taco bar.

The Soledad Club in Pacific Beach, San Diego is a site that I have been to numerous times in the last couple of months.  This couple decorated the location in a simple, elegant, rustic feel.  Ranch Events catering service provided the hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and the meal.  They did an excellent job in keeping the place clean and beautiful during the event.  I was very impressed with the attention to detail and how attentive the staff was to the guests.  The Soledad Club is an excellent location choice for engaged couples looking for a large space and the ability to bring in their own catering service.

To start the reception, the couple was introduced and opened dancing with heir first dance.  The bride’s mother gave a beautiful toast to the couple prior to the meal being served.  After the meal, the couple cut the cake with the help of their daughter (who thoroughly enjoyed the cake!) and open dancing immediately followed.  Prior to the couple’s departure, we went outside the venue and took beautiful sunset photos with the ocean in the background.  It was a beautiful day full of love and laughter!