The Sillstrop Family

Yay for beautiful happy families!   

The Sillstrops are one of the first families I made friends with when I moved to Encinitas.  All of our kids have been in the same classes and they truly have the "aloha" spirit here in San Diego. 

Thinking of buying or selling your home?  Make sure you visit their website and give them a call!


Enjoy and Happy Day! 

Fun Fun Fun Till Your Daddy Takes Your T-Bird Away......

For some reason I feel like living in a beach town in Southern California means the Beach Boys are playing constantly in the background.  I don't know why I feel that way.  I grew up in Oregon and whenever we visited our relatives (in a very long car ride in the back of a station wagon usually) in Southern California it was like I was "heading towards the light."  The sight of the first palm tree meant we were in the Holy Land.  The land of sand, blonde surfer boys and Hollywood.  Why was that so exciting to me?  Why weren't the Subarus, Birkenstocks and bearded men enough for me?  Was it the sun I craved?  Less clothes?  I was ALWAYS envious of the surf mentality my parents grew up with.  Beach blanket bingo.  Annette Full-of-Jello, Frankie Avalon.  Such a great time.  Maybe that's why I ended up on Maui for so many years.  

(Only to realize surfers annoy the SHIT out of me.  Get a job...  Sorry son.)  


Wish they all could be California girls.....

 that's what they said.  

Now I am.  And so is my baby girl.  

Fine Art.

This is art in life.  

Dark.  Deep.  Mysterious, and somewhat haunting.  Kinda like life.

Not everything is smiles and rainbows in this world.  I know people that are dealing with all sorts of demons, problems, issues, illnesses and grievances.  So many of us put on a smiley face when inside there are no smiles, but instead worries and stress and sadness.  I'm sorry to everyone and anyone who's heart is broken and down.  Life is so unfair sometimes, especially when you realize your best still isn't good enough.

Keep trying.  Don't give up.  Your time is coming.  

In spite of all the darkness, one candle in a stadium of darkness will still be seen.  

In lieu of a smiley, rainbow, bright sunny post, I decided to post some of my favorite images.  Images that are reminiscent of dark and light and REALITY.  Sometimes the most real images are the ones where no one is smiling.  

Jardine Family from Texas

I LOVED this shoot.  Not only was this family super easy to work with, they rented this awesome pad at Baby Beach in Lahaina.  I remember when this house was built.  I always loved the "Nantucket" styling.  And even their clothes matched the house.  After a few temper tantrums, the little baby of the family became my best "poser" and her teenage sister joined in as well.  Can't go wrong with this many hams.  Thanks Jardine family from Texas.  You guys are gorgeous and I hope to work with you again someday.  This is a very classic "Stephanie Sheveland" type shoot.  

Beautiful people.  

Demi Lynn Sheveland.

Demi, or "Demra, Haiku Jungle Cat Princess" as my Father calls her is something special.  My little sugar and spice and everything nice.  Don't try to get anything past this one, she'll catch you.  Meticulous, organized, prideful and stubborn.  She's it.  I'm sooo thankful I shot these because she's already changed BIG TIME.  (That freckle below her lip was the cause of some serious tears.  She doesn't like it.  I had to convince her that only the most beautiful women in the world have those...i.e. CIndy Crawford, Liz Taylor, Linda Evangelista, Sophia Loren.....She finally has accepted it.  I wish I had that freckle!!!!)

Capture every moment.  Even the ones that don't matter because they ALL end up mattering.  And I've decided life just changes too quick, so grab a moment away from your phone, your computer and the stupid television and run outside with your kids, your dog or your parents.  We aren't on this planet very long.  Happy Sunday folks.  Peace.

The Goldsmiths..Family Extraordinaire!

I've been photographing this family since the beginning and it has been a blast to see their Ohana grow.  I love being able to document a family's growth and love thru the years.  It's probably one of the things I do best.  Not only are they all great looking and know how to dress (thank you for avoiding all white Erica!) they are THE NICEST people to work with.  Erica owns "Couture Events" and puts on incredible events on Maui.  Her attention to detail is always what gets me.  If you need any type of event coordinating, call Erica with Couture Events.  

This was from December and was their "Holiday" shoot.  I usually hold off on blogging these so people can debut them first in their cards and photo gifts to relatives.  You will see a bunch more.  Enjoy!

Let The Kids Dress Themselves

I'm one of those people who is constantly posting my everyday life on Instagram.  The kids hate me for it.  My parents love me for it.  And apparently so does one of my favorite photography blogs!  "Let The Kids Dress Themselves" is the premiere family photography blog featuring the best of the best in family and children photographers around the world.  I'm so honored.  Check out the post here.

Wendy Laurel has taught me so much about photography.  One of the things she told me when I first started was "leave your camera out.  Leave it on the counter.  Don't put it away nicely in your case.  Capture everything.  That's how you'll learn to be a better photographer."  I always took this advice seriously because it worked.  I did notice though, that the kids would shy away from the best moments because they saw the big girl camera come out.  Enter the iPhone.....(insert evil laugh) With the iPhone I've been able to be super sneaky and capture EVERYTHING.  Including brother sister cuddling in bed.  Yep.  I always knew they loved each other and now I have the proof.  (These will also be used as bribing tools when the kids are teenagers.)

Also, for those of you who like my Instagram work, and would like to see more of it, you can view ALL of my art here

Encinitas Candy Birthday Party!!! Yippppeee!

  I've always wanted to do a candy themed birthday party and I finally did!  This was SO much fun!  I got most of the ideas from the awesome website, The Hostess with The Mostess.  

Not sure how happy all the parents were (sorry charlie) but it's a great excuse to steal their kids candy when they go to bed.

Perfect weather, awesome company and my beautiful little baby girl, Demi Lynn turning 9.  Wow.  Time sure flies.





San Diego Newborn Photography, Featuring Baby Claire

This is an extra special shoot for me because not only is Mariah one of my childhood friends, I also had the privilege of shooting her and her husband Scott's engagement photos AND wedding photos.  I'm the lucky one.  They are like family to me and my children.  I feel so lucky to call them my neighbors now too.  (Okay, they are five minutes away, but neighbors to me!)  Kudos to Scott and Mariah for being great new parents.  I'm so proud of them both.

Congrats to Scott and Mariah.  Your sweet baby girl is a doll.

 Welcome to world Claire.  We love you.

p.s. Their dog Briley is used to playing the starring role, so she of course will still play a big part in all our shoots.  :)

Grandma Cook was on hand of course.  Loved having her around!

Lost Boys Hana

My FAVORITE style of photography is fine art portraiture of children.  My icon is Sally Mann.  Google her and you can see why I'm in love with her style.  Real.  Raw.  Black and white.  Amazing.  She inspires me daily.  You can see her influence thru out my career.  I was commissioned by a Sally Mann collector to photograph her three sons in black and white "Sally Mann" style in Hana, Maui.  I did this TWO YEARS ago and am finally blogging it.  It's my favorite shoot to this day.  I can't wait to do more.  I'll post the full post soon.


Project Demi 365, Throwback Thursday

I remember loving this shot when it was taken.  I can't recall if my sister shot it or if I did to be honest.  However, it was with a Canon point and shoot.

It's when I decided I wanted to know how to take great photos of my children.  Not too much thinking of doing it as a profession, just wanting to archive and save my children's faces on print...permanently.  Greatly.  Clearly.

It was a start.

It's funny.  Once you understand light and how to shoot manually and understand the relationship between F-stop, ISO and shutter speed it really doesn't matter what you shoot with.  You can shoot with a homemade camera with incredible results.  I don't want to get caught up on actions or Photoshop.  I've never wanted "trendy."  But to each their own....