Midtown Magic

Last year our session was in the natural beauty of tall grasses and oak trees. This year they wanted to mix it up and chose this super fun city session. I am so glad we were able to capture all the special things about them right now...like how tall these kiddos are getting, and those adorable little front tooth nubbins she has coming in. Or how hard he laughed when I asked if he was thirteen and he showed me his age with his fingers, as three-year olds are prone to do. These are the little moments they'll be so glad they have forever.

This spot in midtown Sacramento was as vibrant and fun as this family's personalities, with plenty of room to run and play. I hadn't shot here before, but this might be a new fave spot!


Those eyelashes. Come on.


Thanks again for a great time, guys! See you next year!

Ready to capture your family's special brand of magic? Let's plan your session!

downtown fun

I love working with my clients to craft the perfect session for their unique family. In this case, we decided to revisit their former Midtown Sacramento neighborhood to walk familiar city streets and end the session at their favorite coffee shop. I love that when they see these images, they'll always remember this fun-filled morning spent spinning, jumping, waving at passing trains, tickle fighting, shadow dancing and eating and drinking things with chocolate in them. : )

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The early morning hour gave us such fun shadows to play with!

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Look at the joy on brother's face as he runs into his big sister's arms! Priceless.

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I love the sentiment of this mural. I love their shadows. But that little foot sticking out is my favorite. I die.

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The way Mom's hands and his hands are both folded the same way...  The way she's looking back to make sure her brother can keep up... these are the moments I am glad they will have forever.

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This is one of my favorite images ever! You can just tell how much fun they're having.

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Let's create a session that tells the perfect story of your life. Contact me so we can start planning!

Miss Millie

I was lucky enough to come and spend the morning with little Millie and her family. Many years ago I was on hand to photograph her older siblings, so it was so fun to be able to come back and see them as big brother and sister this time around. I had a great time listening to the running commentary from the older kids and seeing how this group is coming together as a family of five.

It may have been cold and rainy outside, but inside was cozy and snuggly and full of love. I'm so glad I could document those early moments so you have them forever.

Let me capture your family in this same way... contact me to talk about a session!


There are so many sessions that haven't made it to the blog! Here is another one of the minis from before the holidays. This little guy had us running all through the park:

That little curl. Come on.

So sweet. I wish I could get in a time machine and have images like this with my 18-year old, 6'2" little boy. Sob!

Permission Granted

I give you permission to embrace silly. 

To put your phone away and concentrate on your family completely. 

This should be their album cover.

To get dressed up. And wade right into the river anyway. 

To throw rules out the window, just for the next hour. 

To show your love.

This guy told me right from the get-go that he wasn't smiling and definitely wasn't showing his teeth. OK. Sure. #gotcha

Magic hour is my favorite.


I couldn't decide if I liked this image better in black + white or color, so I'm putting both in. What's one more?

Before and after. Personally, I like the wet and sandy look better : )

I love how she is looking at her Mama.

He would still be in there throwing rocks if it were up to him. : )


On my getting to know you questionnaire, Mom wanted to remember how happy her family is and how much they love each other. I hope when they look back on these images, they will always remember this warm summer day at the river, and they feel this love.

Want your own session like this? Contact me so we can set something up!

First day of school photo tips

With a son heading off to college in a few weeks, I'm feeling especially nostalgic and started looking through my archives of first day of school photos. Here are some from 10 years ago, when these two were heading to Kindergarten and third grade. I love seeing that my 6'1" son doesn't even come up to the peephole in these, and that my daughter chose a ladybug lunchbox.

With the first day of school right around the corner for some of us, I thought I’d post just a few tips for getting great photos of your kids before they head off to start another year. 

just do it.
You don’t need a fancy camera - your smartphone is great! Just make sure you capture that first day. In fact, if you use your smartphone, make sure you get a little video, too. You can stitch it into your 1 Second Everyday app later.

scope out areas ahead of time. 
Time is always short on the first morning of school, so look for a suitable spot for photos a day or two before the first day madness.

think about lighting.
Find a spot where your child isn’t squinting. Full shade works well. Try turning in different directions until you find the one where your child’s eyes shine.

capture the details.
I still remember my Holly Hobbie metal lunchbox with the thermos I had in 4th grade… it will be fun for the kids to look back and see what shoes, backpack or lunchbox they picked that year so make sure to capture those details in some of your shots.

go for scale. 
Find a place to take a photo that shows scale. I like using the front door of my house, so every year it’s easy to see how much taller everyone has gotten. You can use a tree, the sign out front of the school, etc.

go close up. 
in addition to a full body shot that shows scale, make sure to get a close up that shows those cute missing teeth/braces/freckles/etc.!

capture the journey to school. 
Do your kids walk? Take the bus? Ride a carpool? Whatever it is, a photo of that process will be fun for them (and you) to look back on in future years. Especially if it involves your older brother walking you to his school for the first time and taking you by the hand.

consider getting in the frame. 
I am guilty of not doing this myself many years, but consider hopping in a photo or two with your kiddos. Your future selves will thank you. If you want my whole take getting in the picture, read this post here.

Happy Back to School! #themostwonderfultimeofyear


In my quest to get all my previous sessions posted, here's another gem from last year. I've photographed this brother and sister duo before, during a family session with their mom and dad. This time we squeezed in a mini session in Downtown Sacramento between their activities and the crazy rain that kept popping up. 

This first image might be one of my most favorites ever. They look like they are in Europe somewhere. They actually didn't know I was shooting yet and so this casual, relaxed image is them just waiting for me to get my camera ready (or so they thought!)


Want a session of your own? Contact me and let's see what we can dream up.

March in 31 seconds

I am determined to do a better job of memory keeping this year. I want to capture more everyday moments and I want a cool yet easy way to look back on the year. I found it in 1 Second Everyday. Have you heard of it? It's an app where you take a snippet of video every day and the app stitches it into a cool little video. It's so easy and once you see your life put together in one second bits, it's addictive. Here's March in my world:

I think I'll post each month here. It will be so cool to see the whole year boiled down to 365 seconds at the end of this project!


I have all kinds of sessions that I've never shared here so I'm planning to roll them out and relive them all again!

This family's session was especially fun because this is a repeat family. It's always such an honor to get to capture families through the years. I love seeing how big the kids have gotten and how the family dynamic changes as the kids get older. We booked the session for my favorite time to shoot: magic hour – that hour right before sunset when the light is golden and beautiful. 

The love they have for one another is so apparent. This first image is my favorite kind of family portrait – I love the way Dad and his daughter are embracing, the way Mom is simultaneously adjusting her daughter's clothes and enjoying her son's goofiness, the golden light... it's all magic. 

Sometimes people tell me they don't think their family is interesting enough for photos. I promise – your family just loving each other and being themselves will be plenty interesting.

There was a lot of jumping and running and tickling and general fun to be had during our time together and the scenery of tall grass and large oaks was a beautiful backdrop for it all. After we were finished and walking back to the car this glorious magic hour light gave me this image with their long shadows behind them. This is why I never put my camera away even when we're done! You just never know when an image is going to appear.

If you're looking to capture images like this of your family, send me a message. I'd love to design a session that's just right for your family.



She was already standing here, telling me a story when I realized I just had to capture her as she is, right now.

The hat. The outfit. The phone. The way she is sitting, all limbs, on those stairs. She just turned 10 but she seems so grown up. #tweenager There are lots more "likes" and "totallys" in the conversation these days. She's up to 49 juggles with the soccer ball. She just got a skateboard.

All it takes to capture this moment in time is five minutes and a conversation. I don't ask kids to smile or do anything other than be themselves. I'm so glad I took the time to get the camera out this morning!

as seen on bhg.com

Now that the post has gone live over at Better Homes & Gardens I can spill the beans on this super fun shoot! We had all the ingredients for a great party – six adorable kiddos, balloons, confetti, fun crafts, amazing treats, and ice cream served out of the most adorable pop up ice cream truck tent. Here are some of the images we got of this amazing shindig:

The party was styled by Melissa Johnson of Best Friends for Frosting fame and she outdid herself. We've been wanting to work together for a while now and I'm so glad we finally got to collaborate on a project.

These kids were so full of personality (and energy!) after all the sugar they ingested.

This party was so colorful and happy and the light was so pretty. I bet they're still finding bits of confetti around the house : )

The desserts by Sweet Cakes by Rebecca were all so beautiful – it almost seemed like a shame to eat them. Here is the lovely setup before the kids tore into them:

From crown making to cereal necklace crafts to cutting out custom ice cream cone wrappers, these kids had a ball.

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To end the party, the kids went outside to have some ice cream. How cute is this ice cream truck tent?

It was so fun to be a part of this project. Check out the feature over at Better Homes & Gardens and Best Friends for Frosting for sources and more info!

Fields of gold

When I moved back to California from England in fourth grade, I remember the cover of my history textbook had a photo showing "the golden hills of California" on it and that photo looked just like the hills surrounding my neighborhood. I thought those hills, dotted with oak trees and complemented by a cloudless blue sky were the prettiest things I'd ever seen, maybe because they looked so different from the gray skies and green landscapes I'd been surrounded by in England.

I still find this time of year when the grasses have turned golden to be so beautiful and am surprised to hear other people describe them as dead and brown. When the sun shines through the tall stalks, they shimmer and glow and create the most magical light.

See what I mean?

We were having quite the heatwave when this shoot was scheduled (a high of 106 degrees - ug!), so we made the decision to switch the shoot to the next morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures. Even so, we were still melting out there and were feeling for the triathletes who were competing just steps away from us. If we were this hot and sweaty from just picking a few flowers and walking through the fields, we could only imagine how they were feeling!

Family fun in the country

This was a super fun session with this family on their amazingly beautiful property. I knew it was going to be a great session when I walked in and their footwear was this cool!

This is the second time I've been lucky enough to photograph these boys. They have really grown up in the years since I've seen them...and they've added some pet swans to the family!

Last time I photographed just the boys, but this time I was thrilled to capture memories of the whole family. It's so important that parents and their kids and the love they share are captured to remember forever. 

Having recently lost my stepmom to cancer, every photograph of her is so precious to us. What if something were to happen to you? Do your children have photographic reminders of how much you love them? How you look when you laugh? There is no better time than now to make sure. No one will care that you wanted to lose a few pounds or wanted to grow your hair out first – your loved ones will treasure every last image of you. I'm certain of it.

OK, I'm off my soapbox now. Enjoy some more fun images from this session : )

But really... if you haven't captured your family and what you look like now in the last year, it's really time! It's a fun way to spend time together and when you see the images of your family's love in photographs, you'll be so glad you did. Let's talk about your perfect family session!

and puppy makes five

I traveled to Washington state last week and photographed this adorable family. They just added their newest member, 10-week old Finnegan. Oh my gosh - if I'd brought my bigger camera bag, I just might have tried to smuggle him out of there with me.

As always, the weather here was beautiful (I swear these gloomy weather rumors are a ploy to keep the rest of the country from moving here. I have visited this area during every season of the year and had amazing weather every time. Coincidence? Hmmmm....) This family's yard is like a park and was so green and lush. Due to the drought in California, we had greenery like this for about a nanosecond this year.

I'm not sure who had more energy... the puppy or the cute little guy you see behind him!

There's so much love and energy in this family and I had such a great time capturing it for them. 

If anyone else is interested in having me come to your area to photograph your family, just drop me a line!

what I'm editing today

Just a little sneak peek of the photos I'm editing today... This session could not have been more fun! Golden light, beautiful wildflowers, and a fantastic family sharing a magical evening together. We had some mosquitos try to dampen our fun but we were prepared with bug spray. I didn't think to spray any on my face though, and after the session I realized that anywhere my face wasn't covered by my camera was fair game for the attack. But that's OK – to capture these images, a forehead full of bug bites was completely worth it. Completely.

As you can see from these images, this time of year is pretty amazing for an outdoor session. Contact me about scheduling your own session while we still have this lush greenery!

folsom family photography christie spencer photography