Christmas time is usually the time of year when family portraits consist of magical frost-covered everything, cozy parkas and fur-lined boots. But in Malibu? We go to the beach and get our bare feet in the Pacific 365 days a year. Check out this sweet family of four on their Christmas vacation to Malibu, CA. (PS daddy-o is my brother Peter!)
Family is the most precious gift. And around November last year, that truth took on new meaning for many families in the Agoura Hills and Malibu area as hundreds of homes and a hundred thousand acres of land burned in the worst wildfire Los Angeles county had ever seen.
The Jackson's home was spared, but they were evacuated for over a week, just like so many of their friends and neighbors. When they returned, they returned to charred hills, mixed with random pockets of green that had been spared. Their family photo session had been scheduled for months (and we actually had to reschedule it a little bit because of the fire), but we decided to have the shoot anyway.
Scroll down to see the Jackson family, an oasis of life and hope, in the midst of the charred landscape of the hills above De Anza Park.
A quick foggy fall session at El Matador with the Kurtz family, which recently acquired a new member!
With miles of beaches, canyons, and grassy meadows, Malibu is known for its natural beauty, but what most people don't realize is that the developed parts of Malibu are also full of fun and funky corners that make for beautiful photo ops. You just have to time it right!
The Collins family wanted some snaps that represent favorite memories and hang outs that are part of their daily life—trips to the playground, visits to the hardware store, acai bowls at the local juice bar. Usually these locations are packed with people, but we decided to visit first thing in on a weekday morning, when we would have it all to ourselves. It's amazing how a commercial storefront can transform into a beautiful photography setting when you have it all to yourself! Mama Kristy also requested some fun, funky, serious, etc. portraits of her kiddos. Well throw all that together into one sun-drenched morning and you get the magic that ensues below. See if you can recognize some of these favorite Malibu hangs.
What a delightful afternoon: perfect springtime light, tipping shades of gold over the crests and hillsides of Malibu's coastline, plus a family of three-almost-four in a sweet season of expectation and excitement. The Mancuso family—Brad, Liz (8 months along with new baby), and soon-to-be-big-brother Justus—and I spent an hour exploring one of my favorite hillsides up Corral Canyon in Malibu. With dizzying ocean views, soft grasses most of the year, and the glowing depths of the canyon behind us, everywhere we turned was a frame-worthy portrait backdrop. Add to that little Justus stealing the camera show, and a little magic was bound to happen.
It's been so fun to watch the Potter family grow in numbers and in age over the last few years! It seems like Lincoln gets MORE ocean-obsessed with every passing day. For these photos we headed down to El Matador State Beach for a quick mini-session to document this special moment in the Potter family's life together.
Wow wow wow, this is magic. With a little one turning two, a new baby on the way, and so much love to share, the Zachary family showed up on this windy hillside in Malibu with all the smiles, snuggles, and nose kisses.
This Corral Canyon location has it all: sweeping ocean views, golden hillside, canyon backdrop, and all pretty much hidden from roads (and people for that matter).
Little did we know, less than a week later after these photos were taken, new baby Zachary was with us earthside. Like I said.... magic.
I've said it before and I'll say it again:
I. Love. At home. Photo shoots.
And here's why:
1. It's part portrait sitting and part photojournalism. As you can see, some of these photos are posed and Christmas-card or frame-worthy. Cool. Totally what most people want for family photos. BUT, lots of these photos are the "in-between" kinds of moments. The snacks on the kitchen floor. The diaper changing and "Let me show you my room!" kinds of scenes that only happen when kiddos are comfortable in their own space. You don't get stuff like this at a park or at the beach. This is magic, and it only happens at home.
2. It's a time capsule. Not only will you have photos of your little looking the way they do today, but you'll have a snapshot of your whole space. Years down the road, these frames will trigger a whole host of memories, from "Oh, I remember that painting!" to "Look how small the trees are," to "Whoa that was before the remodel!" These photos aren't in a sterile studio or impersonal park; they're in your home.
3. Everyone is way more comfortable. You. Your kids. Me. Your pets. No one is going to get a parking ticket. No one has to hike to the "shoot location." No one is worried about random strangers in the background. It's just all you, your family, and your love, in your space. So kick your feet up onto the couch. Take a break to nurse your child. Change your outfit if you're feeling it—because you can!
I'm the youngest in a family of six, so hanging out with the Jackson family always hits a special little heartstring. It's fun for me to imagine my own family being at this stage (because I definitely don't remember it) and also so see another family of six who is a stand for big love, big laughter, big hugs and cuddles, and always says yes to adventure.... like walking down 900+ stairs to the beach, then all the way back up to the clifftop like champs.
I can't get enough of this mini holiday session with the Begert family! Taylor and Lauren are dear friends who embody joy and abundant love to everyone around them. It's only fitting, then, that their firstborn son, Isaiah, also brings joy and a smile to anyone's face who meets him.
We stopped by Malibu Bluffs Park on a Friday morning to snap some moments in the midst of the Begert family's life together. The cool thing about a mini session is that it's short, which makes it ideal for kiddos with short attention spans. We only shoot for 30 minutes, which takes the pressure off the parents to keep their kid happy and entertained for a long time.
Interested in a mini session? Shoot me an email!
I live in Malibu, Calif.,