Happy camper (Elijah Phoenix turns 1) by Julie Cruz

It seems like just yesterday I was taking this little guy's newborn photos. Yep, our nephew is officially 1 now (as of September 17th) and is one of the most quiet, cute and mellow babies ever! Since they were late to the shoot, and we were losing light quickly (and they had a dinner party to go to), I only had about 30 minutes to work with....but luckily Elijah is a super easy going baby (especially considering he was asleep when they got there - most babies would freak out), so all went awesome for what turned out to be a mini session. Oh and the teepee was made for his birthday party (which was on Saturday) so it was perfect for the shoot as well. Check this cutie out. Soon he'll be walking and talking.....and before they blink he'll be 2!

Take me out to the ballgame by Julie Cruz

Do these cuties look familiar? Of course they do....because they are in the blog post right below! Yep, this family loves me so much that they booked 2 shoots with me within a 3 week span ;) haha. One for Matthias' 1 year photos, and this one for their annual family holiday photos (which is why I won't post many)! This location was supposed to be the location for the previous shoot (and the location for this shoot was supposed to be somewhere awesome as well (which I won't say, in case we do that next year)), but things with this location got a bit crazy, so we had to skip the other location and use it for this shoot instead (which worked out great anyway (especially due to the heat). We had the place to ourselves for a bit, and it was pretty cool being walked through the tunnels, being in the dugout and out on the field. The session ended up cut a bit short (long story, but a little one who wanted nothing to do with staying still (baby Godzilla was on the loose for sure! haha), unexpected white and black tarp and hoses on the field, a security guard, and 90+ degree heat ;) haha).

Matthias turns 1! by Julie Cruz

This shoot didn't go exactly as planned ;) It was supposed to be at a different location, but there were a few huge wrenches thrown into the plans the day of, so we had to nix that location and almost rescheduled altogether, but mom decided that she still wanted to shoot that day and we would save the other location for their other (family) shoot in a couple of weeks. I normally don't shoot at this location anymore, but we needed somewhere quick, and somewhere that provided shade (since it was another very hot day) and grass/cushion (since Matthias is a new walker), and since we were just hours away from the shoot, we went for it. Luckily it worked out well and Matthias and big brother Philip did GREAT! Here are just a few sneak peeks from that day.

...and Ardyn makes 5 by Julie Cruz

I thought for sure that this sweet little girl would arrive early, being the 3rd and all. But nope, she was quite comfy in there and decided to be a few days late instead. Big sister Mackenna (5) was such a little model the whole time I was there. She hammed it up for me and loved having her picture taking! Middle kiddo Curran (almost 3) tried to play hard to get, but did great as well. Adryn (8 days old) didn't sleep a wink (maybe the last few minutes of the shoot), but she was sweet as can be and such a doll.

California sunshine, 3 beautiful girls and a '67 horse by Julie Cruz

When this beautiful mother booked me back in March, I already knew I was in for a treat when she sent over a photo and I saw all of their super cute faces, but when she sent over photos of their classic Mustang, I was even more excited. I love, love, LOVE classic cars, so any time I get a chance to have one in a shoot, I freak out a bit inside (ok, ok, on the outside too) ;) Casey, Addison (7) and Ashlynn (6) rocked this shoot like nobody's business!

Summer lovin' with Sydney (8.5 months) by Julie Cruz

Adorable miss Sydney is an early sleeper, so we needed to shoot a lot earlier in the afternoon than I usually do to make sure we had a happy girl before she was ready to go to bed for the evening. With a few more teeth coming in, she did surprisingly well and showed off her cute smile and hand clapping for me. Their pup Coco joined in on the pics as well (I always love that). Here are just a few from our fun session at their home :)

A session in Orange County with Sophie (4) by Julie Cruz

The last time I saw Sophie, she had just turned 2. Sophie is 4 now and is gorgeous as ever! She was a teeny bit shy/nervous at first, but in no time she was giggling, posing and doing great. I had a wonderful time with this family. Mom is super sweet, and dad is hilarious, so shoots like this one are always fun and easy going (and their outfits were perfect!). We also took a few birthday photos in celebration of Sophie's 4th birthday. You don't only have to do a "1 year smash cake" photos....cake (or cupcakes, etc) can be fun at any age....and every age is worth celebrating! Sophie loved it....especially licking the icing off of her finger :) Oh and this awesome family had also just returned from a trip to France and brought me some goodies! So sweet! Thanks again!!

Vacationing from North Carolina by Julie Cruz

What are the odds that 2 photographers from out of state booked me for the same week....and both happened to be staying at the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Laguna? Pretty crazy, right? This shoot was on a weekday, so it was a lot less chaotic on the grounds than the previous shoot. We started the shoot in their room and then headed out to the beach. Again, unfortunately there wasn't any sun out, but this super sweet and adorable family and I had fun and enjoyed having the beach pretty much all to ourselves. Chandler is 5, but oh my goodness, such a little crack up. I swore he was more like 20. Such a little gentleman and so funny. Claudia just turned 2 and is such a sweetie. She didn't want to touch the sand or water at all, so she decided to stay nice and safe in daddy and mommy's arms at the beach ;)

All the way from New York by Julie Cruz

This beautiful fellow photographer contacted me last July to set up this session for her super sweet family while they were in the area on vacation. Since all of the beaches are so crowded right now (being summer in So Cal), we decided at the last minute to shoot at their hotel (the St. Regis Monarch Beach in Laguna), which worked out great since they had private beach access. There was NO sun that day (well literally for all of 5 seconds (you'll see it on ONE shot below haha (the 2nd one) and it was totally overcast (which worked out well for a less crowded beach, but I prefer some kind of sunlight in photos). We still had a great time and laughed plenty :) Their boys Niko (11), Kishan (9) and Shay (5) were so easy going and modeled it up for me :)

10 years later by Julie Cruz

What better reason for family photos than a 10 year wedding anniversary? This cute couple was celebrating 10 years of marriage the day after our shoot and we had a great time (minus some pesky bugs). Their daughters Melia (6, almost 7) and Miley (2) are adorable and so sweet! Melia is a chatterbox and seems more mature than 6. I honestly kept forgetting that she was just 6 because she was so easy going and silly. Miley wasn't quite sure she wanted take pictures when they first arrived, but with a little bribery (hey, at age 2, you gotta do what you gotta do!), she was easy as pie in no time ;) It's a crazy week for me (I had a shoot Sunday, this one on Wednesday, I have another tomorrow (out of SD) and another on Tuesday (also out of SD)...and keep in mind I usually only try and schedule 4 shoots per MONTH....not per week, so sneak peeks will be a bit less (especially during the next few weeks (or summer) so that I can try and keep afloat (my poor kiddo is going a bit stir crazy being home while I edit, so i'm still trying to take *some* time off and do things with her for the summer). Bear with me! :)

Another visit from the Bay Area by Julie Cruz

I first met this wonderful family back in 2012 when they were vacationing in San Diego. At the time, we had a fun little shoot with their super cute two boys (Colton and Tanner) at the beach/boardwalk, complete with ice cream cones (which the boys LOVED!). This time around, they have an adorable baby sister named Cambria (Cami for short) and mom and dad wanted an outdoor/nature feel. These kiddos were amazing and are so easy going, and it was a beautiful evening, so it was a perfect setting. Love this sweet family!

Lilah (4) and Chloe (1) by Julie Cruz

SIX. That's the number of shoots i've done for this family in just under 4 years. This beautiful family is the type of clients photographers hope and dream for. Those who are super sweet, have adorable kids, have a beautiful home, and most importantly.....come back to you every year. I have been blessed to watch their family expand, and to watch Lilah, and now Chloe, grow up :) I'm pretty sure the valet guys and concierge at their place even know me by now ;) haha. We started the shoot at their home (like we always do, and I love), and when I walked in, Chloe walked up to me....which was an adorable shock, since the last time I had seen her was for her newborn photos! She immediately flashed her toothy pumpkin grin at me and then toddled off on the go. She had woken up a little under the weather that morning (with a runny nose), but luckily was in pretty great spirits throughout the shoot. Lilah, oh my dear Lilah....she's always my best bud. Her favorite part of the shoot (like last time) was jumping on her bed. She's always so good for me :) We celebrated with Chloe's 1 year birthday cake before ending the shoot with some dinner at a local diner/restaurant (thanks again for dinner!) that has gorgeous decor and delicious food. Such an awesome time with one of my favorite families (as always!).

Arya (2 weeks old) by Julie Cruz

I met this wonderful family back in September. We had a fun little session at the beach, and I had no idea at the time that they were expecting, so it was wonderful to hear from them again and find out that I would be doing their newborn session. Little miss Arya (who was 1 week late), is so gorgeous and has the best little cheeks! She didn't make a peep our entire session, and gave me lots of smiles. Big brother Junah and big sister Suri are quite excited about their new sister. So excited that they would barely sit still the entire shoot ;) haha. Here are some quick sneak peeks from our shoot....

Twin brothers - Kai and Carter (9 months old) by Julie Cruz

When I arrived in San Clemente for their session, Carter had just woken up from a nap, and Kai was still fast asleep. We started with Carter, and he was! Haha.  Not long after, Kai was awake, and although he sat for a teeny bit longer, mom, dad and I tried everything to get these little guys to smile, and they decided it would be most fun to do the serious model pose the majority of the shoot ;) Such regal gentlemen they are. Haha.  We ended the session at one of their favorite beaches, and it threw me for a bit of a loop since the sun wasn't setting water side. It's ok though, we made do with what we had and still got some beautiful shots. After all, when your family is this cute, it's hard not to! :)

River (6), Georgia (6) and Red (the pup) by Julie Cruz

Tara first contacted me back in October to book a session, but unfortunately I was already booked for the remainder of the year by then. Like everyone that I sadly have to turn away around that time of year (due to being booked up already), I apologized, gave a few suggestions and then she replied saying that maybe they would wait until after the holidays. The holidays came and went, and in January she contacted me again to set up a session. This family is so gorgeous and so much fun! They were all naturals in front of the camera, and we just did our thing and laughed a lot. River and Georgia are twins and are so dang cute! Not only are they cute, but also great listeners and super sweet. Red is their rescue pup and is one of the most well behaved dogs EVER! Even off leash, near busy streets, with people walking by, the kids all over him, etc....he stayed by their side the entire time and was perfectly behaved. I loved photographing this family. Such a fun shoot!

Grayson (1 year mini session) by Julie Cruz

Grayson was all smiles from the second he got out of the car, to the second he got back in the car. He gave me a variety of expressions and was just awesome to photograph. Mom and dad weren't sure they wanted to be in photos, but I convinced them otherwise, and again, i'm so glad they did. Grayson will be so happy to have these later on in life (and I hope mom and dad will too) :) I think Grayson's favorite part of the shoot was when he got to be in nothing but a diaper (and yes, luckily the weather here has been amazing, so it was a nice warm day)!

Emilia (6) and Paulo (3) by Julie Cruz

I had my first shoot of 2014 the other day, and of course, after weeks of gorgeous, hot, summer-like weather and sunshine, the day I had a shoot, the sun was nowhere to be found. It's ok though, the weather was still nice, and I had a wonderful time with this beautiful family. Emilia and Paulo were some of the smiliest kiddos I have ever met. From the second they stepped out of the car, to the minute they said goodbye, they were smiling. I had a harder time trying to get any serious shots out of them! Haha. The funny part is that more than halfway into the shoot, as I was saying something to Paulo, Emilia giggled and said to me "Umm, he only understands spanish" (after that, his mom told me he only understands a very small amount of english right now). Yes, that's when I realized that I must be so funny (or so funny looking!) that even though he had pretty much no idea what I was saying, he still thought it was hilarious and was cracking up at me ;)  These two cuties were awesome for me!

...and Crosby makes FOUR! by Julie Cruz

Kristen first contacted me back in September of 2009 (!!) to book a shoot. In February of 2010, I met Kristen and her husband Dan for the first time, along with Jeremiah, who at the time was their (under 2 years old) foster son.....and easily one of the cutest kids I had ever laid eyes on. At that shoot, they were also fostering another baby boy (they have fostered 6 babies since August of 2009!). I knew right then and there, that Kristen and Dan were angels. I mean honestly, their hearts are made of gold! I have been lucky enough to photograph them EVERY year since then, and about 2 years ago, they went to the hospital and took in another foster baby. The little guy was already almost 3 months old and was so malnourished and sickly that he still weighed under 7 lbs!! (to give you an idea, for those who might not have children, my daughter PJ was 7 lbs 12 oz when she was BORN!). Kristen and Dan promised to nurture him back to health, love him and visit his parents twice a week to support the plan of reunification. Six months into those visits, his parents decided to relinquish their parental rights and asked Dan, Kristen and Jeremiah to adopt him into their family. I waited over a year for Jeremiah's adoption to be finalized before I posted any photos of Jeremiah (since legally, I couldn't)....and i'm so proud to say that I got the OK to post because after another very long adoption process.... as of *yesterday*, little Crosby is OFFICIALLY theirs as well. I couldn't be more happy for this amazing and gorgeous family!!!! As you can see by the photos, Crosby is no longer a tiny, malnourished infant. He is an ADORABLE little toddler (just turned 2!) with plenty of chunk on him now! :) Their looks, their style AND their hearts are amazing. LOVE this family!! Without further adieu, I would like to introduce you to Crosby and his family (and yes, I know...I'm posting a TON!...and this doesn't even include last years shoot (which i'll try and get a mini blog of up soon))......

....and a couple of shots we took for Shaney Jo of *KEEP A BREAST*!....

Kristen and Dan foster through the *Angels Foster Family Network* here in San Diego. If you or anyone you know is interested in being a foster parent, you can check out their site for more info. If you aren't able to foster, you can also donate by sponsoring a baby, donating supplies, money, etc.

Favorite 13 of 2013! by Julie Cruz

Geez! Here we are again! Another year has flown by, and here I am, with the daunting task of attempting to narrow down my favorite images of the year. Like I have every year, I choose the number of images based on the year (8 for 2008, 9 for 2009, 10 for 2010, 11 for 2011, and so on). I've been doing this tradition since 2008 (even though i've been in business since 2007)....and the good news is that at least I get one more image as each year goes on ;) You know what's really cool about some of these selections? Some of them are the SAME families from as far back as 2008, 2009 or whatever...which means that I must be doing something right for clients to stick with me for so many years. Some families have been featured favorites almost yearly (so they clearly know how to rock it for their shoots)! Thank you again to all of the wonderful families that I photographed in 2013. I enjoyed seeing so many of you again, and meeting so many of you as well! Some of you I will be seeing again in 2014 (yay!), and there are some new clients I am excited to meet as well! Happy New Year to all of you! I'm excited for 2014 and what's to come! :)