Do you lie around waiting for inspiration to strike? Waiting for that overwhelming, ‘I have to go creative this thing right now’, feeling?

I’m that person 100%.

When I hit a lull, I don’t want to do or creative anything (like writing blog posts ha!). But when there’s the tiniest of sparks, that begins the gears turning again, and I’m motivated to go and do: write, paint, dance, photograph, do anything creative. However, in the excitement of the creating process, my inner voice usually wrangles me back to be a couch lump again.

So how to break the cycle and get my butt off the couch? Well, it’s similar to Couch to 5k the running app. You have to take small steps to create momentum and repeatedly, even in small intervals, flex your creative muscles.

Like working out your physical being, you get more toned, gain balance, and grow stronger. The same happens when you flex your creative muscles.

To get my gears moving again, I’ve been exploring the documentary style of photography. Thanks to my friend and business coaching client, Jenna Christina, who inspired me to capture the every day – in between moments and let go of perfection. So on my recent trip to Portland, I was visiting my friend Rebecca. She had a long journey to getting pregnant.  Finally, after many attempts, shots, and rounds of IVF, baby Suzy came into this world. I was so excited to meet baby Suzy and of course, see my friend as a mom.

I was greeted by Gromit her beloved pup and we sat on the sofa catching up. I watched as she played with little Suzy and after a few minutes, I couldn’t resist the urge to go get my gear from the car to photograph mom and baby. They were so adorable. We spent the rest of the day talking about how life is so vastly different now with baby, how much Rebecca’s had to learn, how having a doula turned nanny to help a few hours a week has kept her from going crazy (and allowed for her to shower)  and has introduced her to information that she never knew existed.

For example, did you know tongue tied is an actual condition, not just a phrase?  Baby Suzy is tongue tied and we learned Rebecca may be too.

Here are my favorites from the afternoon. Enjoy!


2016 has been a whirlwind for me. So much in one revolution around the sun. I traveled to Portland twice, New York, Boston, Minneapolis, San Diego twice, Los Angeles too many times to count, Kauai, Oahu, and Vancouver BC. I photograph all kinds of wonderful things from weddings, mitzahs, events to kids, families, and high school seniors. I worked with clients on visual content for their social media channels from the strategy to mood boards, to shot lists, location scouting, styling, producing and of course photographing.

I have enjoyed getting to meet with so many people in person and on webcam this year. We’ve supported one another, met up for a nibble or drink, gone for walks and hikes, and shown up at one another events. Thank you to all my entrepreneur friends and colleagues. Can’t wait to meet up again for another round of shop talk.

2017, is looking for be filled to the brim with travel, new projects … coming soon a DIY online course on how to shoot better images with your  camera phone for social media (want to know more?), a book about how to be creative through photography for 52 weeks, and of course many many photography sessions.

Can’t wait to see you and photograph you in the new year.

Here’s a video highlight of 2016, ENJOY!

It’s incredible to go through my calendar and see all the places I went, people I met with, friends I caught up with and projects I worked on. Here’s my month by month recap of 2016:

  • January –
    • shot Griffin’s Bar Mitzvah in Los Altos to kick off the year
    • ran BE THE CEO workshop (via Business Juice) with Brigitte Lyons
    • entered the PDN Lifestyle contest for the first time
    • had several Business Juice coaching calls with entrepreneurs
  • February
    • started shooting for GoBank and GreenDot’s social media
    • shot at Yerba Buena Gardens for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Bay Area, celebrating two of their matches
    • produced and shot the a branded headshot session with Brigitte Lyons, where I built one of the sets
    • shot two brothers for a kids rock session where they played tennis and basketball
  • March
    • met up with the founder of Chairs and Cups, Angie Chang
    • flew off to Vegas for WPPI
    • headed to LA for portfolio meetings via Workbook
    • took a 10 day trip to Hawaii with my parents, husband and my brother’s family
  • April
    • turned in my first ad for Workbook
    • went to LA for more portfolio meetings via Fotoworks. Met with Vans, Weber Shanwick, Media Arts Lab and a few more.
    • flew to Portland to speak and attend the first ever Quiet Power Strategy Summit, shot Kathy Bourque’s headshot session in Jamison square, photographed two skater girls from Options Model, and met with Weiden Kennedy.
  • May
    • Celebrated my 13th wedding anniversary
    • Off to LA again, for a personal styling session for me and a photo shoot for the wonderful Laurie B Styled, photographed a maternity session with the lovely Jerah and Hasson who I had the honor of photographing their wedding, created more social media images for the bank, and hung out in Manhattan Beach with my little cousins. Spent time with another set of cousins as my uncle had a massive heart attack and we gathered at the hospital, followed by hospice , to share stories, hug and just be together.
    • shot headshots for United Mechanic with Tiffany Fong
    • began the early stages of launching my podcast (coming out spring 2017)
    • played tourist in San Francisco with my cousins
  • June
    • surprised my mom on her birthday
    • shot all new images for Business Juice’s new website (coming in early Feb ’17)
    • photographed the business partners Patti and Jane for their website and social media profiles in the Cole Valley neighborhood in San Francisco
    • had my new headshots taken for the Business Juice website, thanks to Tiffany Fong for photographing me and helping me put together the set vignettes and to  Jessica Quintal for doing my hair and makeup.
    • More awesome content creation for GoBank and GreenDot’s social feed
    • Flew off to Minneapolis for a week where I met with two ad agencies, stay with my friend Jen, went stand up paddle boarding for the first time, celebrated my birthday with Jen’s family, visited with the dynamic photo husband and wife duo Ackerman and Gruber and rode the ferry wheel at Betty Danger’s
  • July
    • off to Los Angeles again, this time to celebrate my Dad’s birthday, which is also July 4th, photograph Dan Wegrzyn for his personal chef business Zynplicity, and stay for another week as my dad had back surgery.
    • hired a virtual assistant to help me collect together all the past Creative Jumpstart newsletters and blog posts spanning three years, into one document which will be worked into a fun new book coming in late 2017.
    • went to Creative Live San Francisco headquarters for a fun product pop up and watch party
    • went to Monterrey with Julie Cheshire to second shoot a wedding, then following weekend we shot together again
    • photographed a fun girls fitness shoot in studio
    • closed out the month with a Baker Beach wedding that I second shoot with Casey Splain
  • August
    • went to a Cubs v. A’s game. Lucky enough to have Vanessa Joy, her little Lizzi and Moshe’s family join in the fun while they were in town
    • attended the first Tuesday’s Together meeting in Oakland… such a great group of entrepreneurs
    • took a SBA class on Payroll and Tax
    • second shot a wedding with Michael D. Henry, where on the wedding day, driving from the bridal portraits to the reception I was pulled over for speeding, but they let me off, thank goodness. It was quiet nerve racking and on top of it I didn’t want to let down Michael and be late for the grand entrance.
    • shot a high school senior session in Land’s End
    • headed to San Diego for a headshot branding and family session with Rebecca Bass, then danced the night away at my little cousin Isabelle’s Bat Mitzvah
    • worked on my website copy for Business Juice
  • September
    • long time friends Beka and Matt came into town and we played all weekend long. Took them to Philz Coffee, the pinball museum in Alameda, Sausalito with a stop at Cavallo Point to see the Golden Gate bridge from a unique view.
    • shot the families of Shutterfly
    • went to Joshua Tree for the first time for a photo workshop with Katch Silva and Ben Sasso
    • did a test shoot with Jessica Boone where we work up a wonderful charcuterie platter to photograph and then devour when we finished
    • photographed Adam Young’s Bar Mitzvah at Temple Solel in Cariff by the Sea
    • photographed Alessandra Wall branded headshots including some parkur moments
    • second shot a two day wedding with Jules Bianchi at the Sikh Center in El Sobrante and the next day the reception at The Fairmont Hotel
    • shot Big Brothers Big Sisters match day picnic
    • flew to Portland to work and visit my friend and podcast editor Kate O’brien.
  • October
    • photographed Stephanie and James wedding at the cute Stone Barn Ranch about an hour outside Sacramento. So grateful to have Ananda Shorey as my second shooter
    • second shot a wedding with Julie Cheshire at the beautiful St Cecilia Church in the West Portal neighborhood and the party continued at the Bentley Reserve in San Francisco
    • Attended my childhood friend, Rebecca Wolff’s wedding in Santa Cruz, no camera required. :)
    • flew to New York for about 20 meetings with ad agencies and magazine photo editors, stopped in at Photo+, caught up with friends: Jacquette Timmons, Colleen Vreeland, Brian Friedman, and a huge thank you to my friend Mike for letting me take over his couch for a few days. I loved that we got to ride the subway together each morning as we headed off in the same direction with the same final stop
    • Then it was off to Boston to visit LensProToGo headquarters and get yo work on creating an awesome new equipment sponsorship program
    • assisted Ananda Shorey with family formals at a Bat Mitzvah at the InterConnental Mark Hopkins hotel
  • November
    • back to Los Angeles for another round of ad agencies meeting (thank you Workbook)
    • second shot my first Disney wedding with Shereen Rebar at the classic Disneyland Hotel
    • shot an in home family session that concluded with an outing for lunch
    • attended the Teachable Summit
    • enjoyed Thanksgiving with our friend Pilar’s family
    • volunteered with Youth Arts Exchange to help prep the gallery for their annual art show
    • was one of several photographers for Colson Griffith, photographing Compass Point families
  • December
    • hand delivered custom made holiday cards to my client
    • back to LA one more time, for a meeting with founder Kristen Daley of Hand+Seed, a food shot focused on blood oranges and of course, seeing friends and family
    • a fun 4 day trip to Vancouver to visit friends and family
    • hosted a two day sale at Studio Fotographica to clear out the studio
    • met up with Liza, owner of Studio DBI, a new to the bay area wedding and party planner from DC, for a great conversation on visual content strategy
    • met with Billy Cole, to talk about several collaborations and business opportunities included social content development for brands, and two personal projects for 2017.
    • hired a web and graphic designer to finish my stalled Business Juice website

Whew and that’s wasn’t everything.

If you’re interested in the DIY online camera class be sure to get on the insiders list. 

See you in 2017!

Are you tired of searching for the right imagery for your business? Is stock imagery not cutting it anymore? You want something that blends your personality with your business brand.
brand image, headshot, photographyIt’s time to up level your imagery for your business. You’ve dedicated funding in the marketing budget for imagery that suits your business. You want the images to feel like an extension of your business and be a part of your brand story.

Then you are ready to hire a professional photographer! The photographer should know the right equipment to use to capture the imagery such as the best lens choice, the best lighting set up, time of day to shoot, and of course composition and exposure. But there’s so much more to pulling together a shoot.

brand image, headshot, photography, san francisco photographer

Production is a big part of what will make the images feel like yours and not like something found on a stock site. This encompasses art direction- bringing your idea to life; the crew –  clothing stylist, hair and makeup artists and assistants can take a shoot to the next level; location scouting – know where to shoot and if shooting outside when to shoot, so you capture the right type of light and color temperature.

Are you thinking, I don’t know about any of this? I just want a few images taken. It shouldn’t be that hard. — And you’re right. The right photographer is going to be the expert here, leading you through the process and pulling out the best of you in front of their lens. And if they are working to design an on-brand shoot for you then they will also act as your creative and art director too.

Five things to make sure you cover with your photographer:

 1. Image Usage (the usage lincese):

  • how you can use the images (for social media, blog, website, print)
  • how long you can use the images (for 1 year, 2 years, perpetually)
  • is the usage exclusive or non-exclusive, meaning will the images be available for others to purchase the rights to use.
  • can the images be edited, cropped, or text overlays added

2. Art direction

  • the type of images you want relies on the styling (clothing, makeup and set design), and the lighting (bright vs. moody) – creating a mood board can help with seeing the type of lighting you resonate with
  • do you want any non-people images, such as laydowns or pictures of product?
  • the type of location (on location or in studio)
  • what is the feeling you want conveyed through the images – expert, friendly, out going, geeky, etc. whatever resonates with your customer and matches your brand
  • take images on your phone of the clothing you’re considering wearing and share the images with the photographer, so that they can make recommendations for location, lighting, and styling.
  • put together a Pinterest mood board of shots at least 10 images, you LOVE LOVE LOVE. Note in the caption why you love the image. Is it the pose, the color, the location, the outfit, the emotion, etc. Share this with the photographer so that he/she can be on the same page with you as to what you’re looking to accomplish. Here’s an example of a mood board I put together with a client.

brand image, headshot, photography, San Diego photographer

3. Logistics

  • the timeline of the shoot
  • the turn around time to get the images
  • what is included in the post production, (image color correction, photoshop work, image variations such as black and whites and sizing for specific platforms)
  • how will the images be delivered (electronically transfered, via usb thumb drive, downloaded from a website)

4. Where will you be using the images? Meaning do you want verticals or horizontal images.

  • website: think about the image orientation, will it be horizontal?
    • Facebook both a square profile image and a long narrow cover image is needed,
    • Pinterest – long vertical pins do better
    • Instagram – the profile pic is a circle, depending on how you curate your feed; some like squares others do verticals and horizontals.
  • do you want any behind the scenes images to use?
  • will you do want any video for your website, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook Live, or Periscope?
teen band hermosa beach

 5. How to best prepare for your shoot day:

  • drink lots of water leading up to your session
  • treat yourself to a manicure and pedicure (yes, guys can do this too).
  • schedule your hair and makeup for the morning of your shoot (ask your photographer for referrals if needed)
  • get a good night’s rest before your session
  • pull clothing, accessories and the proper under garments at least two days beforehand, allowing time to shop for items that may be needed. (Better yet, get a stylist to pull your looks together for you).
Download the PDF for a few more tips on preparing for your shoot and quick tips on what to wear.
I hope this helps you think through all the details of the shoot, besides posing in front of the camera  :)
Let me know if you have any further questions about how to work with your photographer, or if you want to work with me, since this is exactly what I do for my visual branding clients.
brand image, headshot, photography, san francisco photographer

Here’s celebrating the connections with your love ones today. This awesome shoot with Linda and Wes in their LA downtown apartment was so much fun. I styled the shoot with clothing from Gap, zebra pillow cases from Martha Stewart’s Whim Collection at Macy’s, the white duvet from Macy’s and chevron yellow pillows from Target.

Thanks to Jessica Boone for styling our pancake breakfast.

Hope you make something special for all those who mean the most to you. It could be a phone call, a text message or a meal. Sending love and hugs to all of you today!

breakfast in bed husband and wifeHome Goods cups his and hersGirl taking picture of boy martha stewart bedding macysbreakfast in bed husband and wifeboyfriend and girlfriend on phones in bedbreakfast in bed on phones

Last October when I was in New York, I had the chance to catch up with my great uncle Manny and his two sons (my cousins) Steven and Jay. We sat around the kitchen table and looked through dozens of old family photos. My great uncle mentioned that when my grandmother, Blanche, was living out in California she’d send piles of photos for him. Some of the images had dates, others descriptions and some blank. He pulled out a few and asked me to help identify my mom from her twin.

I also got to hear the family history of living in the Bronx, my uncles journey of studying at UCLA but moving back to New York to work and take care of his younger siblings before he could graduate. The same rational to support the family allowed him to get out of the army early as well. After dinner Manny grab a framed photo of my ancestors. I flipped over to video mode on my 5D Mark III and captured him telling me who each person was and if and when they immigrated to the USA.

What a fun night, learning about my family and spending time with my cousins and great uncle.

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