Author: Melissa

Engagement Photography. Is it worth it?

The short answer is YES, absolutely.

As an engagement and wedding photographer, that’s probably what you’d expect me to say, right? I mean, I’ve photographed engagement sessions all over San Francisco’s Bay Area, but there is always one thing that stays with me…the couples that have chosen to include an engagement session are almost ALWAYS more comfortable in front of my camera on their wedding day.

Here are a few reasons why engagement photos should be high on your wedding planning to-do list:

It’s the best opportunity to slow down, and be yourselves.

Wedding days are hectic. That’s not really a secret. Even days that seem like they’ve got a good schedule cushion built in, can still end up feeling like a whirlwind. An engagement session gives you the opportunity to take your time, explore, and r e l a x. You are able to choose a location(s) that is meaningful to your relationship — first date locale, favorite hiking spot, cute cafe, etc. You can plan outfits that fit your personalities. While you’re at it, why not throw together a fun, lovey-dovey playlist? I’m always down for music, and well…jamming to some favorite tunes can really put those awkward butterflies at ease. Planning a wedding can leave you feeling frazzled, so an engagement session is the perfect time to really connect with your partner, and show off how in love you both are!

Alaina says, “I love my engagement pictures more than my wedding pics! Not because we don’t look beautiful and the photos aren’t amazing, but because we look more like the day-to-day us in our engagement photos.”

It gives you a chance to get to know your photographer (and vice verse).

Here’s the thing, as your photographer, I want you to be as comfortable as possible when you’re in front of my camera. If you’re not, it’s going to show. Nobody is born knowing how to act in front of a camera. And the hands…oh the hands. Your engagement session will allow you to see how I work, and it allows me to figure out your quirks…and make them shine! We will chat and joke, and there will be LOTS of laughter, because that’s how I do. By the time your wedding day rolls around, we will totally be BFFs, which is good, because we’ll be spending a lot of time together on the big day!

You can use the images for all things wedding related!

Are you looking for the perfect Save-the-Dates, or a totally personalized wedding invitation? Maybe you’ve got a whole wedding website to help your guests with all the details of your big day. Why not fully customize it with professional photos of you and your fiance? This is what Jen did, and she couldn’t be happier. “The photos helped make our invitations more persona,l and we have a set of gorgeous photos that capture the excitement we felt about getting married.”
We live in the age of social media. Rather than posting random, couple selfies with your wedding updates, you’ll have a complete, curated gallery of photos to use. Don’t get me wrong, candid shots definitely have their time and place, but for something like custom guest books, or gift table displays, you’ll want something that looks a bit more “finished.”

All in all, engagement photos are just, plain fun. In the midst of wedding planning chaos, they are the perfect opportunity to step away and celebrate the amazing love that you and your partner share.

Sweet Lucy | Lifestyle Kids Photography | San Francisco Bay Area, CA

This little sweetheart turned a year old, and I got to hang out and capture her sweet smiles! She loved her balloon and rocking horse. Her big sisters even got in on the fun, along with mom and dad. And check out that smile! It’s big enough to show off all of her teeth. How adorable! 

san francisco bay area children's photography

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Owen Turns One! | First Birthday Cake Smash | Brentwood, CA

I’ve had a run on 1st birthday sessions, and I couldn’t be happier! It’s such a great age, because it’s when children are really starting to discover and explore the world around them. This handsome, little guy was no exception. There was no leaf left unturned, but in the end, he discovered that birthday cake is the food group of choice! 

san francisco bay area family photography

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A Superhero Sort of Morning | Kid’s Photography | San Francisco Bay Area

This fun portrait session was a raffle prize for May’s Sip & Shop event, held at Leer Vineyards. All the raffle proceeds went to support the Delta Community Food Pantry. I love being able to donate sessions for a good cause!

The lovely lady who won the session decided that she’d like to have photos done of her 3 grandsons, and we had a ton of fun! They brought such great energy, and even greater smiles, to their morning session. Personally, I can’t think of any better way to start my day. 

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Birds, Bees, and Baby Makes Three | Maternity Photography | San Francisco Bay Area, CA

Christy and James have a Christmas tree farm tradition. It’s where they were engaged, so it only makes sense that their maternity portraits took place at a tree farm, as well. Their excitement to meet their daughter was contagious, and this soon-to-be mama had the market cornered on that pregnant glow. Not too mention, they were just a ton of fun! By the end of their photo session, my sides hurt from laughing so much. Hurry up, baby Rosalyn, we can’t wait to meet you!

San Francisco Bay Area lifestyle maternity photography

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French Family | Holiday Mini | Arastradero Preserve

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since I’ve photographed this gorgeous family. Miss Sally has gotten SO BIG, and she was totally up for adventure. Since last year’s holiday portraits took place in the San Francisco, they opted for a more natural setting this year. Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto definitely didn’t disappoint! Such a beautiful location.

san francisco bay area family photography

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It’s a Bursting with Gratitude Sale!

As an artist, I am prone to hitting low points in my confidence. Really, I suppose that’s all humans, right? I am always my own worst critic, and I go through bouts of questioning whether or not I should even continue with my business. I was having one of these bouts recently, only to get a phone call, letting me know that I had been voted as one of the Best of Brentwood for 2016. I am so overwhelmed with thankfulness, and I want to show my appreciation to all of you, so I’ve decided to have a little Thank You Promo! It really is the little things that can keep a person going, but in this case, it’s a HUGE thing for me, so again, thank you buckets for all of your trust and support. 😘😘😘


ANY session that you purchase before Nov. 15th will be 25% off! This promo will apply to holiday sessions, as well! Session can be scheduled for anytime before March 31, 2017. Promo may not be combined with any other offers, and is not applicable to weddings.

Announcing 2016 Holiday Sessions!

It’s beginning to look a lot like holiday sessions! This year, I’m happy to offer three awesome options to choose from, along with an la carte menu of holiday keepsakes and stocking stuffers! I’ve brought back my Holiday Keepsake Session, but I’m also offering a few select days to schedule holiday mini sessions! I know that schedules can get crazy around this time of year, so I’m also including a set of custom designed holiday cards with each option. One more thing you can check of your To Do List!

Be sure to contact me ASAP for availability!

bay area holiday photo sessions

Sonoma Coast | California | Road Trip Photography

Spoiler Alert: If you come visit me in California, I WILL take you to the coast before you leave.

Recently, I was lucky enough to have my BFF come out for a visit. We both share a love of history, and road trips, and it was her first time in California, so really the only logical choice was to head north on Highway 1 for a good meander. We didn’t have any destination in mind, so we were pretty content to stop as we pleased and explore the little beaches along CA Highway 1 (and yes, those are Harbor Seals). Eventually, our love of history landed us at Fort Ross….just in time for the historic buildings to close. Luckily, we were still able to walk around and explore the area. I was able to get a few shots, and I can’t wait to go back to explore more when they’re open. 

We finished our trip with some fantastic Mexican food (another must for a visit to CA). If you’re traveling through Bodega Bay, CA definitely stop off at La Bodeguita Mexican Grill. So much YUM!
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A Circle of Strength and Love | Family Photography | Walnut Creek, CA

It’s important to be able to remain flexible, and nothing proves that more than this beautiful extended-family photo session at The Gardens at Heather Farm in Walnut Creek. When their original photographer fell through, this mama contacted me. Her parents, and her husband’s parents were both in town for a visit, and they wanted to capture such a special time with the grandkids. Recognizing how fleeting every moment can be, we made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier about it. What a wonderful family and a gorgeous setting. I was especially happy to get the 3 generation photo with each kiddo. I am sure they will hold a special place in each family member’s heart.

walnut creek child photography

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