Sutter Creek Engagement Session | Morgan + Vittawat

Morgan and Vittawat met in high school.  Yes.  That still happens.  Flash forward ten years and they are both in advanced academia, living apart and engaged.  This summer, Morgan was working and studying in Sacramento while Vittawat was still in their hometown in Reno.  When we started talking about possibilities for portrait locations, I was quick to suggest a Sutter Creek engagement session.  I had been following them on instagram for awhile and knew that they both loved wine, the outdoors and exploring as much as I did.  It was also equal distance between all of us, which made it convenient for Vittawat to get to as a weekend getaway with Morgan. 

It was partially a selfish request – I LOVE Sutter Creek.  I had been eyeing it as a portrait location forever.  My best friend’s parents live in the nearby town of Plymouth and some of my favorite clients ever (ahem, Jack and Kyle, as well as, Kerri and David) were wed there.  It’s my home away from home and one of the places in the world I feel most comfortable.  Wine, country and golden light – what’s not to love?  

Sutter Creek Engagement Session

There are more of my favorite images from Morgan and Vittawat’s Sutter Creek engagement session after the jump.  Here are some travel suggestions if you would like to visit the area yourself.  

STAY:  While the area has no limit to the kitchy bed and breakfasts’ available for the traveler that loves doilies and gardens, there are quite a few adorable boutique hotels here now as well.  

  • The Hanford House Inn is my personal favorite for staying directly in the downtown of Sutter Creek.  Downtown is a relative term: there’s one adorably quaint and walkable mainstreet.  Don’t let the tiny town fool you though – what it lacks in size, it makes up for in friendliness and charm and it has everything you would need within your reach: wine tasting rooms, a gourmet cheese shop, and a provisional general store.  Hanford House delivers warm fresh scones to your front door every morning and offers free wine tasting in the lobby every evening.  
  • Is there anything more adorable than a boutique hotel named Rest?  The answer is no.  Obviously.  Rest is only 20 minutes away from Sutter Creek in Plymouth, CA and it happens to be located within walking distance to my favorite restaurant, Taste, in the area.  
  • The Union Pub and Inn in nearby Volcano only offers four rooms over an exceptional restaurant, which happens to be owned by the same owners as Taste.  It’s been a longtime dream of mine to get a crew of people together to rent out the entire lodge one weekend for a getaway.  

EAT: it’s a sad state of affairs when you think the food in the foothills is better than the food at home, but it’s true.  I would drive two hours to eat at any of these restaurants! 

  • Taste has been awarded up and down every list imaginable that involves food and wine and for good reason.  I jump at any chance to eat there.  I’ve never been disappointed with anything I’ve been served and more often than not the meals come with a surprise delightful twist.  I’m a huge fan of their Monday Night Supper menu, which offers a first, main, and dessert course at a pre-fixe price along with wine pairings.  
  • You can’t suggest the Union Pub and Inn without including them on the eat recommendation list as well.  Their inventive seasonal menu changes frequently and it’s incredibly charming to sit on the patio and wine and dine on a warm summer night. 
  • Element is housed in the lobby of the Hanford House Inn and it’s my go-to brunch spot in the area.  Their daily egg specials always make your menu decisions incredibly difficult.  

DRINK:

  • Yorba offers small lot, premium bold wines from the Amador area.  Their tasting room is directly next door to the Hanford House Inn and their Shake Ridge Red is not to be missed.
  • Terre Rouge and Easton offers a wide selection of variety of everything Plymouth has to offer.  Their tasting room is unpresumptuous and their selection outstanding.  I love everything they offer (which is why I’m a wine club member) but their barbaras and zins really stand out for me.  
  • Helwig Winery is worth a stop for a picnic lunch just for the incredible view of their beautiful grounds, as well as a bottle of their bubbly rose.  
  • I love C.G. Di Arie for their inventiveness and spunk.  I became enamored with them after meeting the owner, Chaim Gur-Arieh, a few years back.  It helps that they are NPR under-writers also.  Chaim was born in Istanbul, Turkey but immigrated to Israel as a teenager.  He has a PHD in food science and spent a number of years working to engineer the flavors and consistency behind some of America’s most beloved products (Hidden Valley Ranch!  Captain Crunch!).  His energy, enthusiasm and quirkiness won me over and this bleeds into his wines.  Their gallery collections offer something unique to the area: inventive heavy blends using grapes like the touriga.  

 

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Lakeside Beach Elopement

Lakeside Beach Elopement | Lili + David

Lili and David met while working at a summer camp years ago.  He’s from Ireland and what ensued was a global romance, that involved trips to Australia, transAtlantic long distance love and finally, a pledge to wed.  It took sometime to secure David’s visa and Lili and David were adamant that I be the one to photograph their elopement, which is the ultimate compliment.  I got to pick the time (sunset of course!) and we started off with a portrait session at nearby Kahle Community Center and Rabe Meadows.

I’m so excited for these two to not only be in the same continent, but to have shared their experience with me.  They were nothing but laughter and smiles the entire evening.  It was an incredibly special Tahoe sunset Lakeside Beach elopement and I feel pretty lucky to have been the one to capture their ceremony.

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Tahoe Family Portraits

Tahoe Family Portraits | Bryant Family

This family has the cutest most adorable endearing two year old ever.  The weather the week they were on their Tahoe vacation was incredibly cold and blustery and for a few days, we weren’t sure if we were going to have a weather window on this day to photograph their Tahoe family portraits.  In the end, we had some beautiful overcast skies and nice soft light but frigid May temps.  Their kiddo was a trooper and was almost all smiles the whole time, especially because her parents were hands on and excited to interact with her.  From games of hide and seek to playing with pinecones, your natural interactions with your children create images of precious vacation memories that you’ll value as a keepsake from your travels!

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Tahoe Family Portraits

Tahoe Family Portraits | Valhalla Estate | Crandall Family

Although our spring temps are lingering in the realm of brisk this week, summer is on the horizon and that means summer vacationers will fill our beaches, campgrounds, rental houses and bike paths.  The welcome change in temperatures will surely pave the way for more outdoor adventures.  I’m personally ready to get on my bike!  Summer vacation is also the perfect time to take your Tahoe family portraits.

The Crandall family hailed from Texas so I felt right at home with this large loving laughing crew.  We did some large and small group shots, as we always do, but then the family trusted me enough to let their kids play and enjoy themselves in some outdoor exploration, which made for great candid photo opportunities, which I love.  Valhalla Estate is always a fantastic choice for your South Lake Tahoe Family portraits session because it offers such a wonderful mix of forest, meadow, lawn, pier and beach.

If you’re looking for Tahoe family portraits for your summer Tahoe vacation, get in touch!

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what to wear in your family portrait

Tahoe Family Photos | LTCC Demonstration Garden | Poth Family

Last fall, shortly before their second daughter was set to be born, my friends the Poth family hired me to celebrate their growing family with some Tahoe family photos.  We met early in the morning at the LTCC Demonstration Garden, when their spitfire of a child Zada would feel extra sparky and accommodating.

Since then, their family has grown to include their new daughter Ayah, but not without quite the journey.  Baby Ayah was born premature, blind, and with holes in her heart.  She is a little fighter and this family has been air-evaced back and forth across the Western US for more surgeries, hospital stays and emergencies than any one family should endure.  They are doing well and trying to be as normal as a family can be under the circumstances they are in.

If you are interested, you can donate to Ayah’s Go Fund Me.  In addition, the Poth family urges you to donate blood.  Donated blood is one of the only reasons Ayah is still here today.  Get information on donating blood in your area here.  If you are a Lake Tahoe resident, there is a blood drive in our area on May 23rd and you can register to donate here.

If you are not a member of a medical flight network, especially if you participate in any sort of sport, then both myself and the Poth family urge you to join one.  Our local networks for the Reno Tahoe area is AirMedCare.

The Poth family also requests that you contribute to medical and scientific research.  It saves lives.

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Tahoe Engagement Session

Tahoe Engagement Session | Brianna + Aaron

Brianna and Aaron trekked all the way up to Tahoe and then back home to the bay area in one day just for their engagement session.  I felt like that was quite the effort just to come see me, so I gave them the royal tour and took them to all of my favorite spots for a ton of variety.  We started out with coffees at the always adorable and endearing Red Hut Cafe Soda Fountain on Ski Run Blvd and then followed it up with stops at Kahle Community Center, Rabe Meadows, and the meadow in Al Tahoe for sunset.  They were so fun to work with – they spent the entire time laughing and totally at ease and their love, affection and genuine enthusiasm just gushes from their photos.  I can’t wait for their wedding in August!

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What to wear to your family portrait

What to Wear in your Family Portraits

I am constantly getting queried by clients on what to wear in your family portraits, so I thought that a handy dandy blog post on the subject matter was required! I promise, you are not the only head of household that’s been stressed by the daunting task of trying to figure out what to pack for your family vacation portrait session. It’s not that hard when you break it down simply, I promise!

What to wear at your family portrait

1.   You want to pick coordinating colors, but not matching!

For family portraits, it’s best if you pick 3 coordinating colors such as two brights and a neutral to work with so that everyone is coordinated but not too matchy-matchy.  This color wheel tool is a great way to choose complimentary coordinating base colors.

what to wear in your family portrait

2.  Use your accessories to add pops of your colors.

With two primary colors and one neutral, you can mix and match your colors as much as you want.  If someone in your family tends to be more subdued, they can still dress without bright colors and bring in that pop of coordinating color through their accessories.

What to wear at your family portrait

3.  Still stuck? Consider placement.

Are you filling space on one of your walls with a print from your session?  Consider the colors in your home (which are probably the ones that make you happy) when picking your color scheme.  If you love your orange and turquoise living room, then  start there!  If you’re a family of Aggies, don’t be hesitant to show off your colors!

What to wear in your family portrait

4.  Jewel tones work great but stay away from greens

Taking photos in the Tahoe forest?  Don’t blend in!  Greens don’t pop very well against our all green forest, but other jewel tones like dark blues, golds, and plums, look great!

what to wear in your family portrait

5.  Limit patterns, logos and branding.

Say no to anything with big logos or branding and limit patterns, especially on adults.  Patterns often tend to read too busy on adults.  That being said, small children in patterns is a great choice to compliment your color scheme!  It adds a mini-dose of fun to any portrait.

What to wear in your family portraits

6.  All white or all black: just say no.

All white?  Sends you straight back to the 90s yo!  This isn’t a Florida beach photo.

What to wear in your family portrait

7.  Keep it classy, San Diego.

Stay away from trends and hip current fashion.  Keep it classy and classic – especially when it comes to high school senior portraits.  It will prevent your photos from looking dated in a few years.

Tahoe Engagement Photography

Tahoe Engagement Photography | Kiva Beach | Rosa + Justin

I’m so thrilled to be connected with these two!  Justin is brother to one of my clients, Julie.  Julie, Michael and I had an incredible day romping around San Francisco once for their engagement session.  Since then, I photographed their wedding and they had a child!

I love staying connected to clients and their families afterwards and this is one family that is so fantastic to be part of.  Rosa and Justin are getting married at the Landing Resort this summer and I can’t wait!  I envision gorgeous blue skies and an awesome holiday weekend in their future.  I expect it will look very different from their super snowy winter engagement session at Kiva Beach!

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Tahoe Engagement Photography

Tahoe Engagement Photography | Secret Cove, NV | Nick + Sogoal

Thanks to brisk winter like temperatures, even though we’re all dreaming of spring, I was able to take Nick and Sogoal to one of my favorite Tahoe locations for a their Tahoe engagement photography: Secret Cove, NV.  Tahoe’s only nudist beach by summer, there was nary a naked bum in site early in the morning but plenty of golden sunlight and giant boulders to play on.  Sogoal was a great sport despite a fear of heights and scrambled all over for me.  We had a blast chatting about our mutual love for podcasts, exploring the outdoors and just generally being silly and I loved every bit of starting my day with this rad couple.

Nick and Sogoal are getting married in October in their home state of Oklahoma, where they both went to college.  After a brief stint in NYC, they now live in the Bay Area and much like me, love all that California has to offer.  My dreams were deflated after I learned they already had a wedding photographer because my friend Tim King says that Persian weddings are the best weddings.

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Tahoe Maternity Photos

Winter Maternity Portrait | Valhalla | Deibert Family

A winter maternity portrait at Lake Tahoe is a great way to celebrate your growing family.  The Deiberts contacted me on a whim – they were coming up with family to visit and as luck would have it, I was available.  Valhalla is one of my favorite places to photograph family photos in Lake Tahoe.  It offers such a wonderful mix of forest, meadow, and beach for fantastic variety.  You almost always get that nice golden CA glow that everyone wants there as well!  I really loved how Erika’s scarf complemented the fading meadow grasses.  Congrats to this growing family!

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