• The Leo Loves: The Most Magical Hour // San Diego Family Photographer

    A few nights ago I met Sarah, Julio and Sebastian at their home in Imperial Beach. With Sebatian about to turn 1 it felt like the perfect time to take some portraits and celebrate their first year as a family of 3. 

    At the end of the evening, as I drove away from their home, I knew this was a session I wanted to share. It was simple in the best possible way...they wore clothes they typically wear, we explored the beach by their home, I didn't pose them and we didn't rush. Sarah and Julio let Sebastian play in the sand and splash in the water. Not once did they seem stressed that he wasn't smiling at the camera or that he was geting his clothes dirty. They trusted me to take the photos while they focused on spending time together as a family. The result is some of the most authentic images I've created in a long time. I feel overwhelming gratitude for this beautiful is no small thing to invite someone into your home and life the way they did. 

    Living in San Diego we are spoiled with incredible light and scenery almost daily. But when it comes to beautiful family photos, who you are is so much more important than where you are. The light in your heart, the love you have for your family...that is where the true magic lives. That is what I am most interested in. This was, without a doubt, a gorgeous evening at the beach. But these photos stir my soul because I look at them and I can feel the love in this family. The support and connection and friendship and adoration that flows between these three people is completely evident. It was pure magic to witness. That's the best way I can describe it...Magic.

  • Maddox

    There are many ways I could tell this story. 

    I could tell you how a seemingly random series of events put me right where I needed to be, at the most crucial time. I have no doubt that there was something bigger at work than just chance. This was some kind of divine intervention. And as a result I am grateful, humbled and heartbroken all at once... 

    I could tell you that, for the first time in my career, my photos are being featured in a magazine. And while I'm excited to join an incredibly talented group of women who contribute to The Village, it's totally bittersweet. How could I possibly celebrate with such a heavy heart? To be honest I'm just relieved that it will be one more way to keep his memory alive...

    The story I will tell...well it's the only one that really matters.

    Maddox Monterey was born on October 10, 2014 and he was one of the sweetest, happiest babies I've ever met. He had the kind of joy that radiated from his big, bright eyes. His mothers absolutely adored him. In fact, I've never seen anyone look at her child the way Alyssa looked at Maddox. She was in complete awe of him and the way he transformed her life (in the best ways possible). The day I photographed them I knew I was witnessing the incredible bond between a mother and her baby. But I had no idea what a defining moment this would be in their lives. Within days of our session Maddox passed away unexpectedly. It's still difficult to even type those words. This perfect child, so full of everything that is good about life, was gone way too soon...

    I could also tell you how this experience has rocked me to my core and made me question how I spend my time and where I focus my energy. There have been many times over the past five years when I've wondered if I should give up my business and devote this chapter of my life to raising my children without distraction. It's not necessarily what I want to do, but maybe it's what I should do...

    But now, when my heart is full of doubt, I hear Alyssa's voice in my head...telling me how much what I do matters. That I have no idea what it means to her to have these photos. And then I see Maddox's smiling face. He reminds me how important it is to fully embrace each moment and create memories with the people we love...the people who truly matter. 

    I will never, ever forget Maddox. And I hope you won't either. His life may have been short, but it was so full of love... 

  • The Leo Loves: Celebrating Motherhood // San Diego Family Photographer

    It's not often that I'm at a loss for words. But here I am...with no idea how to express the enormity of what I'm feeling. So I guess I'll just shoot from my heart...

    Yesterday I met up with a group of incredible mothers and we made something that I can't even fully wrap my mind around yet. I've cried no less than 10 times while looking through these photos. These ladies were so brave and beautiful and the love they have for their children is gentle and fierce all at once. The entire experience was pure magic and I know that this is the start of something really important. I truly hope that every mother who sees this is inspired to get in more photos with their children, no matter what age or stage of life they happen to be in. Please, if you are a mother, set aside all of your worries and insecurities and just do it. Not just for your children, but for you. Because you are so incredible and beautiful and you deserve to be celebrated. I promise you will not regret it!  

    To the ladies who came out yesterday, thank you so much! Thank you for sharing your stories and showing me the love you have for your babies. It was my honor and my pleasure to photograph you.

    If you're interested in a portrait session to celebrate your experience as a mother, please get in touch. I would absolutely love to do this again soon! xo, Erin