When your darling friend Susie Saltzman sends you over some of her beautiful wedding rings from New York to shoot, you get creative and give her unique images like you’ve never given her before. I ADORE this woman, and am always thrilled to see her name come up in my inbox. She is a passionate artist (and now MOTHER! CONGRATS friend!) creating exceptional jewelry, who never ceases to celebrate the love and joy that each piece represents. Cheers to yet another beautiful creative soul, doing what brings her joy…with her whole heart. xo
This darling…is one of my dearest friends in the industry. She speaks truth & kindness, and ALWAYS leaves me with cheeks aching from laughter. I absolutely adore my moments with her, and our annual bio shoots are no exception. This is Year #3 of me getting to capture her beauty and it’s just getting better and better. Here are some fresh headshots and marketing images I captured for her this spring…so much dang fun!
It’s been a huge passion of mine, for as long as I can remember, to support and celebrate those who passionately pursue what they were uniquely made to do. Ryan Moon and his wife Janice, are a pair of those exceptional souls who are so immensely gifted…and yet are so incredibly humble about it all. Ryan’s gift for painting, especially portraiture, truly inspires the deepest artist within me. And his beautiful, vivacious wife Janice, can literally do ANYTHING. She is one of my very favorite natural makeup artists, but she also is so gifted with hair styling, floristry, ceramics, art…and generally just makes me stand back in wonder. Both are incredible parents, supportive partners to each other, and wonderful human beings…all while managing to support each other solely as artists. Now THAT, is something that brings me unending joy and stirs my soul to create.
I presented The Moons with the idea to shoot an Artist in Motion piece, wherein Janice would doll up one of my favorite muses, and I would photograph Ryan actually sketching and then painting her portrait. What a dream team…some of my favorite people in the same room, just creating to create. Our hearts were so full by the time we were done, and to top it all off, my darling muse’s husband immediately purchased the featured art piece from Ryan. Heartbeat. We as artists, seldom value our work for what it is truly worth. But we also seldom take the chance to just stand back and admire the process that is truly art, in itself. What a gift, what a treasure…to be surrounded by such joy-filled, humble artists, willing to share their many talents with me. I’m forever grateful for this life, and the opportunity we all have to find our calling and celebrate it together.
Photography, Styling + Art Direction: Betsy Blue Photography
Artist: Ryan Moon
Hair and Makeup: Janice Moon
Venue: 10 North Central
Hand-Painted Backdrop: Jessica Raye Dekker
Muse’s Ring: Susie Saltzman
Lab: PhotoVision Prints
As the hills blossom with spring blooms, and the weather becomes more predictable here in the Pacific Northwest, I begin receiving the majority of my family session inquiries for the year. Such fun to reconnect with families I’ve captured for decades now…and such an honor! Quality family portraiture is an absolute art form…and I lean heavily on my years of experience as a photographer to pose and direct, as well as my own experience as a mother when working with children. Kids take a different kind of coaxing at each phase of their life, to feel open enough to show their true selves to the camera…which is vital to great family photographs. Here are a few tips I offer to guide my clients towards a picture perfect session...
My main mantra when it comes to wardrobe: Coordinate…don’t Match! If you are the rare parent of twins, by all means feel free to match just them. But barring that, coordinating the entire family’s wardrobe is key. My best advice for coordinating timeless images that don’t look dated hanging on the wall next year, is to stick to light neutrals with mixed patterns. Beige/tan mixed with white/cream and soft blues or delicately soft blush pinks are the most common combinations I see…but there are so many choices. Here’s a Pinterest board of ever-changing ideas to help you put some ideas together. Choose 2-3 colors to base your outfits on, and keep accessories to a minimum. Also consider your home’s decor…some clients love to make sure their wardrobe colors support the decor in their home where it will be displayed.
It might seem trivial, but investing in professional hair and makeup, especially for mom, is truly important. Talented professionals should know what to use and what not to use (did you know that most SPF’s can create a “ghost-like” look on skin in photographs?!) when styling for photographs. They should understand what looks best in natural light vs studio lighting as well, and plan accordingly. They also can set your hair to withstand outdoor elements and create a look and feel that is natural to your own style. I work with experienced professionals in most areas I shoot, so feel free to ask if you don’t already know of someone.
Depending on where you live, each season of the year usually offers very different light for photographs. Late summer & early fall, for example, will usually produce the deep golden evenings that can make imagery so warm & dreamy. While winter & spring tend to offer crisper, cooler light. Additionally, my clients in sunny San Diego, have a more consistent light source versus my Oregon & Northern California clients, with their less-predictable sun rays. But no matter the location or time of year, I usually aim to schedule sessions for the last two hours of sunlight in that area on any given day.
One consideration to that is the landscape we’re shooting in. If I’m deep in the forest with a family, I’ll shoot at the brightest time of day for that area. If I’m on a mountain top or out on the open beach, I’ll wait until the very last part of the day, or even the early light of a morning to photograph.
Young children’s schedules and bedtimes often dictate a deviance from my standard shooting time as well. Please never hesitate to let me know what time is best for happy little ones…because if the babes are happy, then everyone’s happy. :)
If there’s one thing that motherhood has drilled into my head, it’s that I can’t ask much of my children if they’re tired or hungry. A healthy meal right before you ask your child to be pleasant for 1-2 hours is mandatory! :) And a nap beforehand is never a bad idea either. Taking out the hungry and exhausted variables has always proved a worthy investment of time in the case of family photographs.
With a parents permission, I will often have bribes on hand for younger children as well. You’d be amazed how much “happy” I photograph when I’ve promised a meager Tic-Tac to a child. Leftover flower blooms, a small stuffed toy and sweet treats come in handy when kids are losing interest in being the center of attention. Also, bringing along a simple snack for kids, does wonders as well. While I photograph mom & dad, the littles can sit under a shady tree and enjoy a snack. Prepare ahead and you’ll have vastly better luck helping me capture their genuine smiles…I promise!
NO CHEESE PLEASE
When involving children, please refrain from saying or teaching them to say “cheese” for photographs. For some reason “cheese” is synonymous with kids photos, but it truly pulls their little smile muscles up on only the sides of their mouth, which ends up creating a fake looking smile. A better option if you’re looking for a full family of smiles, is to have everyone yell YESSS. The word “yes” helps create a more natural ending smile, and shouting it together usually ends up in hysterics…which, let’s admit it, is perfect for genuine photos. Also, please feel free to just trust me to direct, and let those kids be themselves…I’ve got you covered!
If you know my work well, you’ll notice that I don’t have subjects look directly into my lens often. Yes, I always aim to get a traditional full family photo of you all smiling. But beyond that, my focus is on authentic emotional connection…and grinning at the camera isn’t usually emotive unless it’s done in laughter. So please don’t worry about scuffed shoes or Junior stopping to pick up bugs. Run around & play with your kids, hug them tight, tickle their ribs and be real with them. They won’t dread the next photo shoot and I guarantee we’ll capture more of their true nature that way anyway.
Now let’s get on with memory making, shall we? xo
Career High. That’s what Mitch + Samantha’s coastal wedding at Villa Montara was for me…absolute perfection. Not only are they the most authentic people whom I now get to enjoy calling friends, but their style was absolute brand center for me as well. With a mix of modern minimalist architecture, coastal hues, natural art & beauty, incredible California light, plus a hint of good old fashioned romance, this wedding was sheer perfection in my book!
To begin my love affair with these two and the stunning Villa Montara, here is a bit of back story on their extraordinary venue… Sammie is a fabulous videographer, and knew she was looking for a very unique private estate with stunning coastal property frontage to make her dreams for her wedding day come true. So when she came across Villa Montara, she knew it was a perfect fit. The property dares to compare to anything else I’ve seen in the US…it’s a minimalist, modern masterpiece with an equally breathtaking cliffside view that photographs like a dream…truly my dream come true as those qualities encompass so much of my own personal style and brand aesthetic.
From Samantha, the bride: Mitch and I met during a documentary filmmaking course traveling through India. Instantly, a spark of attraction grew. Every evening, he would spend hours on the computer patiently teaching me all his editing tricks, and then we would sneak out onto the rooftop overlooking the city of New Delhi to talk about anything and everything the whole night through. We started dating shortly after that and moved to California together three years later.
My passion for video pushed me to start a wedding videography business upon moving. Watching real love captured on video has always reminded me of us and of how big a role video played in our own love story. Because I’m around weddings for a living, I knew I wanted to have something more intimate that wasn't at your typical venue. I have an art and design background, so my dream was to find a well designed house with a stunning yard. My mom and I scanned home rental sites for months, praying that somehow the perfect home would pop up and they would allow a wedding to be held there. It seemed impossible, but one day we found the perfect place! Villa Montara is an architectural dream nestled on an ocean cliffside in Montara, California. The grounds are full of minimalist art, and the interior is a designer's heaven.
I wanted the day to feel relaxed and the focus to be on the stunning property and view. The few design elements I did bring in were things I ended up making myself, like the hand-painted wood welcome sign and our floral alter. Mixing organic movement with simple, modern-geometric shapes has always been my signature go-to, and I’m so happy that this design concept translated so well on our wedding day!
I have personally received dozens of inquiries from couples desiring to book Villa Montara for their own dream wedding. Unfortunately, however much I’d love to shoot there again, the property is under new ownership and not currently being offered as an event venue. It seems Mitch + Sammie’s wedding was the last…for now. [Can you hear me weeping?!]
The couple decided to do their First Look / Grand Reveal out on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. The weather was perfect, the views were spectacular and the coastal breeze blew the tears from our eyes before they hand a chance to land…SUCH a gorgeous moment with these two!
Another part of this perfect day, was the team we were fortunate enough to work alongside. Meg Catherine Flowers flew all the way in from Indianapolis to created THE MOST SPECTACULAR floral arrangements…with substance, movement, delicacy and an ideal match to Samantha’s palette. And Katie Linter from Two Hearts Event Design immediately became another darling friend as she effortlessly created the most seamless event…everything was truly flawless! Each vendor involved was professional, thorough and a delight to work with. So grateful to Mitch & Sammie for curating such an incredible team!
Photographer BETSY BLUE PHOTOGRAPHY
Planner TWO HEARTS EVENT DESIGN
Venue VILLA MONTARA
Florals MEG CATHERINE FLOWERS
Videographer CANVAS & LIGHT PRODUCTIONS
Video Edits SJ VIDEOGRAPHY
Lounge Rentals PIECES BY VIOLET
Rentals & Linens STANDARD PARTY RENTALS
Catering SALT & HONEY
Tent & Lighting A FESTIVE AFFAIR
Signage DETAILS, DARLING
Hair & make-up DREAMCATCHER ARTISTRY
Jewelry KASIA JEWELRY
Hair Accessory UNTAMED PETALS
Shoes VINCE CAMUTO
Bridal robes LE ROSE
Bridesmaids Dresses SHOW ME YOUR MUMU
Grooms Suit NORDSTROM
Groomsmen Suiting THE BLACK TUX
Wedding gown FLORA
Bridal boutique THE DRESS THEORY
So honored to have this floral bridal shoot featured on the cover of Lemonade & Lenses Magazine to round out a wonderful 2018. And now, it was just nominated as Film Image of the Year by Belle Lumiere Magazine! Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful bridal collaboration with talented wedding industry peers & friends!
Earlier this month, I had the honor of styling and shooting some delicate gold jewelry for designer Sarah Briggs. What a doll she is to work with, and oh how I love her fine gold treasures! Sarah’s pieces are very wearable, minimal and architectural in design…which is right up my style alley.