*ON VACATION* by Julie Cruz

Yes, it's that time of year! Just like every year, I kill myself in August, September, October and November so that I can have everything edited, wrapped up and take the remainder of December OFF! Although I am "off" (of shoots and editing), I AM still replying to emails and booking for 2013, so don't hesitate to email me if you'd like to book for 2013! I know my poor blog has been neglected since October (yikes!), but I was busy shooting, editing, and being a mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend.... but those of you who follow Lot116 on Facebook were still seeing teasers here and there :) I'll try to blog again next week or so, but for now here are a some photos from some of the shoots I did during my "crazy season". I was lucky enough to see many familiar faces, as well as meet many new ones!

ALSO, just a quick reminder that I *DO* offer GIFT CERTIFICATES (in any denomination (or for full sessions)! So for those of you who say you "wish you could afford me"....rather than having your family give you lotions, candles, robes, pajamas, mugs, frames, etc AGAIN this year.....you can *HINT/ASK* for Lot116 GIFT CERTIFICATES to go towards a session (mini or full!) in 2013!! Or ****HUSBANDS****, if you want to be the best husband EVER....not only give your wife the gift certificate (which will already blow her mind), but show up to the shoot all happy and excited! ;) Skip the purse, shoes, jewelry, etc and give her something that will capture memories for a lifetime....YOUR family, YOUR children, YOUR life ♥ Holy smokes, I should write Hallmark cards, right? P.S - Don't wait until the last minute to purchase gift certificates (give at least 1 week (in case of mail delays) to mail the gift certificate) ♥ Thanks!

Little Red Riding Hood by Julie Cruz

With as crazy busy as i've been, I wasn't even sure i'd have a chance to take PJ's Halloween photos this year. We had a Halloween party to go to on Friday, so since she was already in costume, and since it was at our friends' house (who currently have temporary access to an awesome field with trees right next to their house right now), I decided to show up 15 minutes early and get some shots before the party started (at 6pm). So with literally 10 minutes left of light (if that), crossing/climbing a trench to get over there, "Little Red" and I rushed over and did the worlds fastest impromptu shoot ever.

A Perfect Walk Around The Block by Julie Cruz

I've tried to talk clients into shooting at these locations for ages. Some don't want to pay the travel fee, some want something else, some would rather travel to where I am, etc...so when this gorgeous mom told me this is where she wanted to shoot, I was super happy because it's a spot that I love and have been wanting to go back to (plus it's literally a block from my husband's work, so I was able to drop PJ off with him and walk over). I've been lucky enough to photograph this family 3 times now, and as usual, they were dressed perfectly, adorable and just awesome to shoot. The kids have grown so much since I had seen them last! Gavin just turned 7 this past Sunday, Mila is 3.5 (she'll be 4 on Thanksgiving) and Harlow is 2.5! How cute are they?? LOVE this family!....

Love.... by Julie Cruz

I first photographed this family in February of 2010. At the time, their (now) son, Jeremiah, was their foster son, so I wasn't able to post any photos of him (and trust me, I was dying to! He was, and still is, one of the cutest boys i've ever laid eyes on (and with the personality to go with the looks! He is SUCH a sweetheart!!)). I photographed them again in September of 2011, but they were still going through the adoption process with Jeremiah, so again, I wasn't able to post any photos. Luckily, shortly after our session last year, Jeremiah was officially their son...and I cried happy tears for them (after that, I posted some photos and i'm sure many of you will recognize their adorable faces from my Lot116 Facebook page)! Fast forward to 2012.... "Baby C" (who was a very sickly 6.2 pounds...at 2.5 MONTHS of age (!) when they took him in....but is now the most adorable and happy little butterball around!) joined the family (but since things aren't 100% official yet, I won't be posting any photos of his full face, just yet). It's looking to be official very, very soon and I couldn't be more happy for them :) As soon as it's official I will be doing another blog post just for baby C, since there are a bunch of adorable pics of him, and even MORE cute family photos with his face showing in them. Maybe mom will share their amazing, yet heartbreaking to heartwarming stories as well. They are truly one of the most amazing families I have ever met. Angels truly walk amongst us. I know that, because Kristen and Dan are some of the most amazing and selfless people I have ever met. For now, here are some of my favorites (without baby C's face showing) from my shoot with them. Everything about this shoot was perfect (ok, ok, minus the 106 degree weather, and the guy who parked his car directly in front of the "ACE" sign, ruining my plans for that spot (arrgh!) LOL). The family, the location, their wardrobe.....everything was just amazing! This shoot envisions everything that I would love every Lot116 shoot to be: Natural. Fun. Filled with love. REAL. If someone asked me what my ideal shoot was......this would probably be it. Seriously, and if you don't know where to shoot....let's go here ;) Such a rad place with awesome light!

I know I strayed from the vintage vibe here, but I did that on purpose for some modeling shots for Mr. J. He recently shot for Converse! Yep, I knew from the day I met this guy that he was model material ;)

Samuel (9 days old) and Penelope (13 months old)... by Julie Cruz

This shoot was actually for Sam's newborn photos, but big sister, Penny decided that she was going to be the star of the show that day. From the moment she came to greet me, she had the biggest smile ever....and that smile lasted throughout my time spent with this wonderful family. Baby Sam was so easy going and barely made a peep the entire shoot. He happily posed for us and just hung out. On top of being an adorable and perfect family, they had a super awesome home as well. I think that's another reason why Penny did so well. Kids are more relaxed in their own environment. Sometimes when we take them out of their element and toss them in a random location, they are so overwhelmed by what's going on around them, that the last thing they want to do is take photos (and/or smile). I love in home shoots, so if you have a fun, cute home, let's shoot at your place ;) Anyway, check out this gorgeous family of four.....

Lincoln (6 months old)... by Julie Cruz

These were from a shoot at the end of July, when I was miserably sick for a few weeks, so I never had a chance to blog them. This gorgeous family came all the way down from San Francisco for their shoot! What an absolute honor....and luckily they'll be coming back in the spring for another shoot! :) Lincoln is just a little chunk hunk burning love!....

Rhett and Preston (age 1)... by Julie Cruz

So, along with the the other 3 shoots I did during the hottest week ever (which seems to be turning into the hottest MONTH ever), this was another shoot I did :) It must have been twin week, because just like the shoot below (with Amy and Leah), these two little guys were twins!....but you would almost never know it. Their mama said that even when they were first born they looked nothing alike! I think it's pretty cool though. I mean, at least they will never get confused for each other, nor will their future girlfriends ever be able to pull the "Oh, I accidentally kissed your brother because I thought it was you!" excuse ;) haha. Rhett (the one with curly brown hair) and Preston (the little blondie) just turned 1 on August 10th and were such good sports during the shoot, even through the extreme (100+ degree) heat, crazy gnats/bugs, being near their bedtime, etc. Despite it all, we survived and got some really cute images ;) Again, no possible "holiday card *family* shots" being posted.....

Melissa (6), Amy (4) and Leah (4).... by Julie Cruz

I'm always honored, blessed and thankful for repeat clients. Luckily I have many (thank you!), and this family is one of them! This was my 5th year in a row taking their photos! From their first shoot (when the twins were just a few weeks old) until now, I have literally watched these girls grow. They are sweet, they are silly, they are adorable and kind hearted. As usual, around this time of year, I stop posting the "ideal *family* shots" which might make it onto holiday cards, so sneaks peeks have fewer photos...but for good reason :) Anyway, here are just a few from my session (which was 100+ degrees, mind you!) with these 3 sweet girls and their parents)....

Most photographers know it's sometimes tricky to get real smiles out of kiddos, so to get 3 real smiles...all while cuddling. Yep, i'm not even their mom, but this even made MY heart melt :)

Rhett (5 days old)... by Julie Cruz

A perfect couple, a perfect home, a perfect dog, and now a perfect baby! This adorable family was an absolute dream to shoot. If you follow my Lot116 Facebook page, you might have seen my post, bragging about showing up at a shoot where homemade cookies were waiting for me. Yes, this was the home....and how anyone who JUST had a baby, also had time to make cookies...is beyond me. On top of her amazing cookie making skills (I had to stop myself from eating PJ's! ....and when PJ ate hers, she kept saying (make sure you say this with a full mouth) "Mmmmm....this cookie is soooo goooooood"), Nena looked AMAZING! I told her during the shoot that women all over the world were going to be cursing her name and saying "HOW did she just have a baby!....let alone FIVE *DAYS* ago!?" ;) hahaha. Along with perfection comes the most perfect little boy. Oh my goodness, Rhett is just so adorable, so sweet and soooo handsome already! I can't wait to see him again in a few months! Oh and I can't forget to mention the two other awesome "guys" of the house, Rhett's daddy (who was SO sweet and awesome and helped me so much!), and Rusty, their adorable black lab who showed off his swimming and diving skills for me. On to the adorableness.....

They didn't find out the sex of the baby, so since it was a surprise, so were the final touches of their nursery. Their designer was actually coming over later that afternoon to finish adding "boy" touches to the nursery, but even "not complete"....his nursery was awesome...and the light in there was amazing!

5 Years... by Julie Cruz

Today marks Lot116 Photography's 5 YEAR anniversary! I almost can't believe it myself. Throughout the past 5 years, I have watched your families grow, your children grow, your companies grow, etc. All in all, I have watched your lives grow.....and it has been an absolute pleasure! I've had clients who have been with me since day one, clients who have come and gone, and clients who have gone....and come back (one of my favorite stories is of a client who left (for someone cheaper) and had a horrible experience. Her husband told her "Well, you get what you pay for! Book Julie again next time!") ;) Photographers are a dime a dozen now, and each day there are new photographers popping up, so staying in business (especially when you don't charge "peanuts") in this overpopulated industry is already an accomplishment in itself. Here I am 5 years later, still doing what I love....and luckily still booking well and have many repeat clients who come back to me over and over. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have supported my business, spread the word about my business, etc. Word of mouth has been my number one source of business. I have never advertised, I don't set up at boutiques, gyms, play facilities, moms groups, etc and hold mini marathons, holiday shoots, etc, so my bookings are 100% by word of mouth or through Facebook, etc. Not too bad considering this is year 5 and i'm still booking without advertising! ;) Thank you again for showing Lot116 love! I know posts are always better with photos, so here is one of my very favorite photos, taken waaaay back in 2008 (my second year in business)...

A Summer Evening At The Beach... by Julie Cruz

The weather was perfect, but started to get a bit cool, and due to SD Fair traffic, these client ended up being about 30 minutes late...so we were on a bit of a time crunch to beat the light, which was quickly fading by the minute. When the session started, their two youngest (Hailey (4) and Natalie (2)) weren't too keen on taking photos. Natalie refused to even turn her head my way (haha). Hailey warmed up pretty quickly, but Natalie (who had just woken up from a nap in the car) wasn't having it at all ;) Jasmyn (almost 7) was a lot like my own daughter, and was quite the chatterbox the whole shoot ;) Luckily Natalie finally warmed up at the very end of the shoot...and with just minutes to spare. Jasmyn and Hailey LOVED the beach (which was also tricky since they were more interested in running around and collecting rocks and shells) and Jasmyn even said "This is the best day ever!! towards the end of the shoot ;) By the end, everyone was wet, cold and sandy. We almost lost a purse, a diaper bag and a nail (my own from trying to save the purse and diaper bag - hahaha) due to sudden high tide, but in the end, we captured some gorgeous photos and everyone left with smiles :) These sweet girls definitely earned their lollipops at the end of the session.

Stella (age 1), a 56 Chevy, and horses? Oh my! by Julie Cruz

Really? What more could I have asked for? A cute couple, with an adorable baby (miss Stella just had her 1st birthday party this past weekend!), a vintage truck and a barn with horses? Yes, please! Ryan (dad) has had the truck since he was 16 years old (oh and the vintage highchair was his as a baby too!)! At first they were going to drive down to a location near me, but then we decided to shoot at Ryan's grandparents house. It was far, but i'm so glad we did it there. They had a gorgeous barn with super friendly horses, and a perfect spot around the corner to take the truck shots. I love when things work out like this. Shooting at the same locations over and over gets a bit tiring for me, so I love shooting at new places. Clients/future clients, think and ask around a bit. Chances are, you might know someone with an amazing house, property, vintage car, etc that they would let you/us use for about an hour ;)

All The Way From San Jose... by Julie Cruz

This awesome family flew down for a vacation/photo shoot all the way from the SF Bay Area. I love, love, LOVE sessions like these. They were up for anything and everything. This included sitting on dirty floors, letting their kiddos have ice cream *before dinner*, getting super messy, having a late dinner (after the shoot), getting sandy and wet on the beach, etc, etc. Despite all of the "torture" I put them through, there was never a complaint, weird look, etc. Everything I suggested was followed by a "Sure! :) or "Of course!". That makes my job so much easier.....and let's be honest, kids have WAY more fun when they aren't forced to sit/stay/smile/stay clean. Photo shoots should be FUN....and kids should remember running around, playing, having ice cream, etc. Clothes can be washed, bodies can be bathed, dessert before dinner can be quite a treat.....and in the end, it's the memories captured that you and your family will remember. If you want fun/happy/carefree pics, stray away from the norm and live a little ;) Colton will be 4 next month, and is such an adorable charmer. We had many conversations about superheroes, and flies wearing polka dot ties. I can guarantee that Colton will remember having a FUN time at the shoot (Sorry Mara, he might expect ice cream, etc at future shoots ;) haha). He had the best time having ice cream and even more so, running around on the beach (which I believe they are at right now, since they didn't realize how much he loved it). Tanner is 15 months and immediately drew me in with his awesome eyes and adorable little pumpkin grin. Poor Tanner has some new molars breaking in, so he wanted his mama most of the shoot (minus the ice cream part ;) haha), but he did amazing considering he wasn't feeling 100% :) For sure, his favorite part was the ice cream ;) hahaha. Also, just a pre-warning....i'm posting a TON of sneaks (yes, i'm aware that this is an entire "album" for some photographers. Sorry...too many I loved) :)

Bella (age 2)... by Julie Cruz

Every once in a while, you meet someone who changes a part of you. I knew before Bella's session (with her mom, aunt (who is pregnant and due with a little girl cousin for Bella soon!) and grandma) that Bella was recently diagnosed with cancer. I had no idea how the shoot would go. She had just gotten out of the hospital the day before the shoot, so I wasn't sure if she would be sick, not feeling well, in pain, etc. I was a huge ball of emotions (nervous, happy (to be meeting them), sad, afraid that I would spend the shoot in tears, etc). Well out from the car comes the most gorgeous little girl with the biggest smile ever. Bella was so ridiculously fun, giggly, sweet and full of life. Besides the hair that she recently lost due to chemo, you would have NO idea that this sweet pea had cancer. I had an amazing time watching her run around, pick flowers and proceed to pick off petals, saying "He loooves me. He loves me not. He loooves me. He loves me not" and my goodness, she chatted on in full sentences about everything and anything :) During the shoot, her mom and aunt played songs (including her favorite song "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum") and sang (crazy good, I might add) to Bella. Before I get to Bella's photos, I would love to ask all of you to *please* keep this sweet pea in your thoughts and prayers. Here is some info about Bella (along with some photos), from her mom: "Bella was diagnosed with nueroblastoma 2 weeks after her 2nd birthday, her right eye had been being pushed up and it made her eye look lazy, which led to 2 opthamologists and eventually an MRI that found two tumors in her head. The following scans and tests over a 10 day stretch in the hospital revealed the main tumor on her left adrenal gland (which has since been removed)."

Those little red curls remind me of Disney's newest "princess" (Merida) in the movie "Brave" :)

 

Hair or no hair, Bella is absolutely gorgeous. Grandma said it best at the shoot..."bald is beautiful"!...

Happy Mother's Day... by Julie Cruz

I have a special post coming on Monday or Tuesday, but I wanted to post some of my favorite "Mother" shots from the past few years :) I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day!! Here are just some of the many, amazing mothers I have met throughout the years....

Miranda (1 year old)... by Julie Cruz

I know i've said it many times, but I absolutely LOVE watching my clients grow. I first met Miranda (and her super sweet parents) when she was just 12 days old. The next time I saw her was for fall mini sessions, when she was a little over 6 months old. Last week, I saw her the day before she turned 1!.....and my, oh my....she gets even cuter each time. Miranda is one of the most laid back and sweet babies I have ever met. Not ONCE during the shoot did she cry, whine, cling, etc. She just sat there, playing coy...and doing some model poses (no joke, there were many times that I SWEAR she would pose, look right at me as if to say "Are you getting this?") ;) I just love this little girl!

*UPDATE - ALL BOOKED* - Fall *MINI* sessions (Sept/Oct/Nov)... by Julie Cruz

Yes, I know it seems crazy to be booking Fall MINI sessions already, but i’ve had a waiting list for quite some time, and I prefer planning ahead…..so here we go! Please don’t wait til the last minute to try and book a “holiday shoot”……once these are gone….they are gone :) Each date has 4 spots available and I will be trying to edit as spots go. Thanks! :) MINI session DETAILS: PRICING: $475 (session *AND* disc of all edited images) *30 minute session for up to 2 people ($30 per additional person(s)) *Approximately 15-20 images *Access to online password protected gallery for proofing, sharing with friends & family and ordering. *DVD with all professionally edited images in high resolution & print release (where you are free to take wherever you like for prints, holiday cards, canvases, gifts, etc).

*SEPTEMBER*... Sunday- September 30th *PARK* - 4 3 2 1 spot available ****ALL BOOKED**** ZERO spots available

*OCTOBER*... Sunday – October 7th *URBAN/STREET* – 4 3 2 1 spot available ****ALL BOOKED**** ZERO spots available Saturday – October 13th *FIELD/OUTDOOR* – 4 3 2 ****ALL BOOKED**** ZERO spots available

*NOVEMBER*... Saturday – November 10th *FIELD/OUTDOOR* – 4 3 2 1 spot available ****ALL BOOKED**** ZERO spots available Sunday– November 11th *URBAN* – 4 3 2 ****ALL BOOKED**** ZERO spots available

To book one of these spots, please email me at julie@lot116.com

Here are some photos of each “type” (meaning these might not be the EXACT confirmed locations I will choose, but possibly) of location:

FIELD/OUTDOOR……

URBAN……

PARK......

Luca (3) and Rhys (8 months)... by Julie Cruz

I've had the pleasure of photographing this family since Luca was just a few days old. He just turned 3, and this was my 4th shoot with them....and this time I got to meet his baby brother, Rhys! :) Both of these boys are just SO darn adorable. Luca chatted my ear off the whole shoot...and I LOVED it. He is such a fun and silly boy....not to mention drop dead gorgeous. I've told his parents since his newborn shoot that something about him reminds me of Superman...and it's still true. Rhys is 8 months old now and wasn't quite sure what to think about being in a random field, in a crate (which Luca decided he should squeeze into as well ;) haha), etc. He's starting to get some adorable little pumpkin teeth...and I love that stage! I'd say the weather was our only challenge that day. One second it would be totally grey/dark, and the next, the sun would be SO bright that we were all squinting. Lots of camera setting changes, back and forth, but at least it wasn't freezing or super hot :)