Beach Family Photos in Carlsbad

mom holding son while laughing

Beach Family Photos in Carlsbad

Taking family photos at Carlsbad Beach is a great way to capture the best of what San Diego beaches have to offer. This dreamy location is one of my go-to’s, and for good reason: white sands, soft light, and blue waters create the perfect playground for your little ones to run while mom and dad spend quality time hand in hand along the shore.

little girl smiling at camera
dad kissing daughter on the cheek
mom holding son by the ocean

Local Family Photography

I love when I can capture memories of dear friends of mine – this sweet family lives next door to us. I love this mama’s kids Huntley and Amelia like they’re my own! She is expecting another little boy any day now…we even did a cute little pregnancy announcement photo at the end of their beach session. Big sister was over it at that point…but don’t let her expression fool you, she is over the moon to become a big sister x 2!

mom smiling at camera holding her babies
mom and dad holding kids at the beach
mom laughing with daughter and son on beach
mom holding baby boy

Maternity Wardrobe Collection

During pregnancy, your body changes in so many ways. Instead of stressing over finding something that fits the bump, we will style you in a gorgeous dress that perfectly flatters your mama bod however far along you may be. When we meet for your consultation, we will discuss how far along you will be at the time of our session and pick out your colors and vibe for the photos. Leading up to the session, you will receive a style board from me complete with outfit suggestions for the whole family! And on the day of your session, you will have me as your personal wardrobe stylist to help fit you into your perfect session dress. There is even an option to add on hair and make up for a small fee, so that you can feel completely pampered and taken care of as a mama to be.

Clothing borrowed from Client Wardrobe Collection.

family of 4 standing on sand
dad throwing son into air
family of four holding hands walking
mom holding son in arms at the beach
family of four walking along beach holding hands
mom kissing daughter on the cheek
family of four at the beach

Magic of Childhood

Children are magic. They see beauty and fun in the ordinary, they feel their emotions greatly, and find joy in the littlest of things. During our sessions, I will guide you into moments that evoke natural emotion so that we can capture the most genuine smiles, laughs, and intimate moments. Your life with your kiddos is anything but staged – there’s a mix of silly moments, sweet snuggles, mischief, and abundant love. This is who you are, what defines your family – and every bit of that should be celebrated.

dad throwing son into air
mom kissing baby boy on cheek
toddler boy smiling at the camera
little boy and girl sitting on sand
little girl twirling in the sand
toddler girl kissing brother's cheek
toddler girl smiling at the camera
two kids running towards ocean
mom holding son while laughing
mom laughing with daughter and son
dad holding kids on lap at beach

If you have questions about booking your next family portrait session, or if you want to set a date for your maternity or motherhood session, please shoot me a message! I would love to work with you to make your dream photo session come to life.

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One Year Milestone Session in Studio

toddler son sitting on dads shoulders

Investing In Portrait Sessions

Milestone sessions for your baby are one of the best investments you can make when deciding which portraits to have done of your family. They capture the sweetness of the newborn days to the essence of their childhood. What would be an otherwise fleeting time where your baby grows up in the blink of an eye, becomes tangible magical memories of every important milestone in their first year. When you have beautiful imagery to look back on, time does not seem as much of a thief.

dad lifting son into air
mom holding toddler son in arms
mom lifting toddler son in air
toddler boy sitting and playing with blocks

Capturing Childhood During The First Year

I have been photographing Conor since he was in his mama’s tummy and have captured all his milestones along the way. From newborn, 6 month, Santa session, to his 1st year portraits, I have watched him grow and have seen the love and light he brings to his parents! I adore him so much. He even took some of his very first steps at our last session, and we were lucky enough to have captured it on camera.

black and white toddler boy
toddler boy taking first steps
toddler boy playing with blocks
mom holding toddler boys hands

Why You Should Do Multiple Portrait Sessions

It’s so sweet to see families come back for several sessions throughout the year, building a gorgeous and timeless collection of heirloom-worthy portraits. Multiple sessions allows you to have plenty of images to create into an album, frame and hang on your walls, and give as gifts to family members throughout the year. Photos will last sometimes longer than memory does – in which case, you’d want to have the best, highest quality work to look back on! Booking multiple sessions, or being a part of my Collective Membership Program, allows you to turn memories into timeless pieces of art that flow together beautifully.

black and white mom and baby on bed
toddler boy sitting on bed with toy
baby toes close up

Heirloom Quality Portraits In Studio

Doing your portrait session in-studio provides a calm and stress-free experience. No need to worry about having your home clean, the toys picked up, or trying to find the best lighting in your home – my studio is the ideal place for those classic and frame-worthy images to be captured. The lighting is warm and dreamy, the studio is always set to a comfortable temperature, and my collection of heirloom-worthy wooden toys and props are the perfect addition to add whimsy and timelessness to your portraits. Having your session done in studio allows me to fully take care of you and your needs, while providing you with the most luxurious experience for your session.

baby sitting down looking at camera
toddler boy looking up at camera
toddler boy with dad on bed

Clothing borrowed from Client Wardrobe Collection.
HMUA: @uniqueandflawless

To find out more about having your family, motherhood, or milestone portraits taken in studio, please contact me to set up a consultation!

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How To Get Your Kids To Act Natural In Front Of The Camera

toddler in momslap laughing

Genuine Images That Evoke Emotion

Taking photos of your children where they’re smiling genuinely and look natural can be hard to come by. But, there is a way to capture those genuine moments on film without asking them to do anything! Kids love to be kids – being told to pose a certain way, stand still, or do something over again for the sake of capturing that moment on camera doesn’t usually work to get a frame-worthy portrait.

Family Portrait Sessions

I love photographing family sessions because capturing your little one’s personality on camera is such a special thing to have as a keepsake. As mamas we all wish to could press pause on childhood, and experience every single moment of our baby’s wonder and curiosity over and over. Learning when to pull out your camera will present perfect opportunities to capture beautiful memories of your little ones that are natural, organic, and unposed.

mom of three boys smiling and holding kids

Genuine Smiles and Candid Moments

Here’s how I navigate children in my portrait sessions to bring out their personalities in the most natural and “picture-perfect” ways:

Don’t say cheese
I never use this tactic to get children to smile or look at the camera. Saying cheese trains them to smile with their mouth instead of both their eyes and mouth – we want to see the real smile that lasts and makes their eyes light up!

Don’t try to “pose them”
Let me interact with them and draw those smiles out naturally. I will chat with laugh with them and be goofy, so that they don’t feel the pressure to be “perfect” for portraits. Capturing them while they’re doing their own thing will give us beautiful portraits that sum up their sweet personality.

Get them at their best
Make sure kids are well rested and fed before the portrait session. The last thing your little will want is to be tired and hungry at the start of a session. And on that note: don’t feed them sugary foods/snacks the day of our session. They are more likely to crash from a “sugar high” rather than be energized. Bringing a healthy, mess free snack along will hold them over if you’re in between meals.

Let them be themselves
Whether your little one has a rambunctious personality or a mellow one, letting them be themselves during a session is the best thing you can do for them. Kids will be kids – they will want to run, play, explore, sit, bounce around, and cling to you within the span of a few minutes! Trust that the very best of them will be caught on film, and that you will receive the most gorgeous and sweet memories from this season in their life.

If you would like to schedule a summer portrait session, please send me a message to set up our initial consultation. In the meantime, please feel free to visit my portrait session pages for a glimpse into what it’s like working with me!

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How To Capture Perfect Photos Of Your Family

dad throwing son into air at beach

We are heading to the Caribbean to soak up the sun, the salty air, the clear blue ocean and I cannot be more excited to get some time away with my favorite people! The best part about going places and experiencing new things is doing it together as a family. These are the days I want to remember – sandy toes, big smiles, my boys being boys, and celebrating the life we’ve been given.

Quality time as a family – whether it be on vacation, or at home – is super important to us. There’s nothing that will come close to the happiness and bliss I experience with my boys and with my man when we’re enjoying our time together creating special memories! Since we’re headed out on vacay to my most favorite spot to r+r (the beach!), I thought I would share my best tips and tricks on how to capture perfect family photos while you’re out and about.

boy looking back at camera at the beach
dad and sons at the beach

What You Need To Take Great Photos

If you think you need a fancy camera or all this gear to capture the “perfect” photo of your family or kids – think again! All you need is good lighting, and to be able to recognize the moments and experience that matter. If your kids are laughing, exploring, playing with each other, or just immersed in their childhood – you have your photo just waiting to be captured.

I am so passionate about capturing the essence of motherhood and childhood, and know how fleeting this time watching my babies grow up is. I want to soak in every memory, milestone, and mundane moment because I know those are what I will miss the most once they’re all grown up. Taking out my camera at home to capture the boy’s childhood has become second nature to me – and it can become natural for you to do as well with these simple steps:

How To Capture Perfect Family Photos

  • Designate a time to take photos. Take out your camera for about 10-15 minutes during the “moment” you want to capture, and then put the camera away so you can be present and soak in that time together as a family. For example, when we are on vacation I’ll pull out my camera as soon as we get to the beach, find a great background such as a rock wall or the water, grab the shots I want, and then put my camera away for the rest of the time.
  • Don’t worry about getting “the shot.” I believe in being completely present with family, rather than trying to get the “perfect” shot. If you can’t seem to get the photo you want, switch to video and make it into a mini family movie. I love looking back on videos I’ve taken of my boys laughing and smiling and playing together – hearing their sweet voices and watching them be kids is the best feeling ever. If you always have the camera out ready to grab that perfect shot, you’ll never be able to fully relax and soak in that time together enjoying the moment.
dad holding two sons under a tree
dad holding son in arms
  • Candid photos are best. If you’re constantly trying to get your children or husband to pose for photos, you’re going to lose their interest (and the mood) real quick. Candid photos, where you’re simply capturing the moment, are going to be the ones you will want to frame and put into albums.
  • Dress your kids in clothes you’ll want to photograph. Think classic and neutral tones that flow together, rather than busy prints or graphics. These are the photos that will be timeless, and the ones you will want to frame.
  • Lastly, have fun with it! Don’t feel pressure to always get the best shot on your “good camera” or that you need to go out and buy an expensive camera in order to get great photos. You can capture frame worthy images on your phone just as well as on a camera – it’s all about the subject matter and experience. Otherwise, you’ll think of it as work and less likely to truly enjoy doing it. You are documenting their childhood – it might be messy and blurry, there will be quiet moments of wonder, and loud moments of laughter. These are the days you’ll want to remember! Your kids being themselves, in their own world, enjoying their childhood.
boys running down a boardwalk
boys holding hands by the water
boys standing at the window looking out
man and two sons at the beach
boys taking a bath
boys making food in the kitchen
Big brother smiling at younger brother
boys in backyard hugging
boy with bug on hand
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Mama And Me Photo Session At The Beach

mom holding baby boy by the water

I love photographing mama and me photo sessions at the beach! It is the perfect playground for sweet sandy snuggles, chasing the waves, and spending quality time at one of the most beautiful spots in San Diego. Mama and me sessions have a special place in my heart. As a mama to two handsome baby boys, I know what it feels like to be completely blissfully enamored in the moments we spend together. These experiences are ones I want to enjoy over and over again – and timeless imagery of those times will allow just that.

black and white of mom and son at beach
mom holding boy at beach
mom holding baby boys hands
mom and son at beach on sand
close up of baby boy smiling
mom looking out onto water holding son
mom holding baby boy in the air

Photographing Kids Through The Seasons

Last time I captured baby Jonah he was just a newborn. Loved seeing how much he has grown and his adorable personality! He seriously may have been the happiest baby I have ever photographed. He LOVED the ocean and beach, and was having the best time with his mama as they twirled and laughed by the water.

mom and son laughing in arms
black and white of mom holding baby boy
baby boy and mom laughing
toddler boy on beach

Posing Naturally In Photographs

I truly believe that the best moments to photograph are the in-between ones. The ones where mama’s glowing with love for her baby, where your little one snuggles deep into your chest during a hug, where you’re mid laugh after sweet nose kisses…these moments are never posed. They come out naturally and organically as you bond with your little family. During our sessions, I will lead you into natural moments that reflect the emotion we are seeking to capture. The images you receive will be the very best of our session, reflecting your natural personality and genuine moments of smiles, laughter, and snuggles.

mom giving baby boy a kiss
mom and baby boy on the beach
mom and son on the beach
mom holding baby boy by the water

What To Expect During A Mama + Me Session

Aside from wearing a gorgeously ethereal gown and having your hair and makeup done, your session will be as natural as how you are at home with your little. From smiles to tickles to holding hands and kisses, I encourage organic play and interaction between you and your babe as if I wasn’t there. This way, your little one focuses on their time with you, and their sweet personalities can shine through every captured image.

So go ahead: pick them up and twirl around, walk with them hand in hand, snuggle them close as you sing their favorite song. These little mama and me moments are what makes your relationship so unique and special, and what will create lasting memories from your session.

mom holding sons hands and walking
mom and son laughing
mom holding baby boy in arms
black and white of toddler boy looking down

Mama and Me Portrait Sessions can beautifully capture one of the most special bonds you will create in this life. The season of raising babies is so fleeting yet so magical – capturing these memories on film will create priceless heirloom imagery that you will never want to part with. To book your mama and me session, contact me today! Summer dates are filling up fast!

Clothing borrowed from Client Wardrobe Collection.
HMUA: @noir_beaute

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The quality of Michelle’s work has been widely recognized by clients and top publications