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Photography Summer Camp in San Diego

Last week was a blast. I had more fun than I had expected, but I am also way more tired than I thought possible. My admiration for teachers have increased ten fold. Entertaining kids for an entire week is exhausting. Imaging doing that for months at end?!

But I am still so happy we decided to to our Photography Summer Camp here in San Diego. We ended up having 4 kids attend our first week at our photography portrait studio by SDSU. Four amazing, funny and incredibly creative girls aged 8-15 came to learn more about cameras and photography in general.

Photography Summer Camp Curriculum

Since this was a beginning course in photography, I wanted to teach the kids the basics of photography before we got in to the technical aspects. We started with the history of photography, like when the first photograph was published, what cameras used to look like in the beginning and how they’ve developed throughout the years.

The girls thought it was really interesting to look at our collection of vintage cameras and see the difference between an old film camera compared to the DSLRs they were using during their summer camp week. But they weren’t just there to hear me drag on about history, so we soon began learning the technical aspects of their cameras. What they buttons are for, how to set them up to control the exposure and how to properly focus on a subject.

The kids were soon off running around in the studio taking pictures of this and that, laughing and exploring all at the same time.

Pet Photographers in the making

Our second day was spent learning about all the different types of photography one can specialize in. One of them being a pet photographer. So of course we had to test that out, and my English Bulldog Gerrard was more than happy to comply being their pet model.

I honestly couldn’t tell you who had more fun, Gerrard or the girls. They took so many beautiful pictures of him both in the studio and outside as we went for a little walk. There were happy smiles all around and at the end of the day the girls were asking if he’d be back, and Gerrard was snoring happily on the floor exhausted from all the attention.



Amazing Capture by one of our students, Darlene!

Exploring their creative side

The rest of the week we explored our creative side using fun props to enhance our pictures. We learned how to capture reflections or making people look like big giants are small like ants. We also chatted about using leading lines to draw your viewers attention to your focal point, and how framing your subjects will help with that as well.

Thursday we did a half day field day to Mission Trails and led the kids on a photo hike to learn more about nature photography and landscape photography. The kids truly enjoyed it and had so much fun putting to use everything they’d learned throughout the week.

Our last day at the studio was spent playing water games, learning how to capture water balloons exploding in high speed and watched videos on creative edits like composites.

Needless to say the week was a SUCCESS and the kids and I had so much fun together. We are so excited for our next Photography Summer Camp in August (Sign your kids up here now!) and to host another summer camp in San Diego again next year.






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Family Vacation in Lake Tahoe

Traveling has always been a big part of my life. Ever since I was a child I’ve spent my life traveling. Rather than buying the newest toys and electronics, my parents loved to take us on new adventures when we were younger. It is something I’d love to be able to give my children as they grow up because I believe that experiences make us richer than things.

This past weekend I spent a few days up in Lake Tahoe exploring with a friend and the scenery up there is absolutely breathtaking. Every where you turn families are enjoying the nature either biking up and down the many trails or out on the lake on boats, canoes or paddle boards. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful spot for a family vacation in California and the perfect fit for both young and old.












How to get to Lake Tahoe

You can fly in to either Reno or Sacramento and rent a car. It’s about an hour drive from Reno and about 2 hour drive from Sacramento. Both are really beautiful drives lined with mountain views and pine trees. If you take Hwy 89 you’ll pass by Squaw Valley - home of the 1960 Winter Olympics and a really neat ski resort now. We were there in June and people were still skiing / snowboarding down the mountainside. If you’re not much for skiing or didn’t bring your skis like us, then take the tram up the mountain side and have your breath taken away by the incredible view of Lake Tahoe. It is well worth the $50 trip.

They also have a hot tub and a restaurant up there you can take advantage of. The tram leaves every 20 minutes on the hour and stops at 4PM.

All in all, Lake Tahoe is an unforgettable place to visit when you are on vacation in California. Wether you have teenage kids or toddlers, bring them to Lake Tahoe for some new adventures and fresh air. You won’t forget it!








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San Diego Custom Playhomes

Growing up as a child we had a tiny little playhome in our backyard. It’s where my sister and I would play house. We had our own little kitchen, a table with chairs and a drawing board for our many ideas. It was fabulous to have. It gave us something to do outside of watching TV and encouraged us to spend time out in the open air. It was also super popular during birthday parties where all the kids would play house together.

Living in San Diego we have the perfect opportunity to teach our kids to use their imagination and play outside. So what better way to do that than to give them their very own Mini Playhome?

I had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Mini Playhomes San Diego for the first time last fall. It was during a WeeGather event where I was the photographer. And a few weeks ago we met up again. This time as they were installing their model home at One Paseo for the grand opening of Nathan West - a brand new children’s hair saloon and boutique in Del Mar.

I always love photographing these beautiful homes as they bring me back to my childhood. And there is nothing better than seeing how much fun the kids have playing in them. So if you’ve considered giving your kids something extra special for the summer, take a look at Mini Playhomes and get your own quote today to build your next best thing!









Meet the owners of San Diego Mini Playhomes

G-N is the lead designed for Mini Playhomes. After 10 years on the east cost, G-N and her husband moved to San Diego with their 6 week old newborn baby. A year later they moved in to their new house and started on the landscaping. G-N has always wanted and outdoor playhouse but had a hard time finding anything on the market that was modern and fitting of her newly designed backyard.

Aaron grew up in a small town in the midwest and found himself drawn to the California weather and surf. He spent many years working in the trades of painting and finish carpentry before he decided he wanted to utilize his creative side more. He started a small company that focused on building furniture out of reclaimed materials. Something that would lead mutual friends to introduce him to G-N.

Together they decided to build and design a mini playhouse for G-N’s backyard, and that was the start of Mini Playhomes!







Mini Playhouse in San Diego

You can find and connect Mini Playhomes at the following places.

Website

Instagram

Studio Freyja is one of the best portrait studios in San Diego offering newborn photography, maternity pictures and family photos in San Diego and SoCal. On her blog, owner Johanna shares information about her sessions, kid friendly activities and vendors that she loves to work with. If you feel there is a topic she should cover, please email her and share your feedback. If you are a San Diego Mom Blogger looking to do guest features please reach out to Johanna as well.

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San Diego Summer Camps for Kids

School is almost out but you are not quite sure if you should be happy about it or start stressing out. Summer can be a lot of fun - plenty of beach days, runs in the park and water games in the backyard. But it also comes with challenges like what should you do with the kids during the week now when school won’t take them?

Well the solution is to send your kids to one of the many Kid Friendly Summer Camps in San Diego. And if you want something extra special for your kids to do this summer, something where they aren’t just hanging out having fun with other kids, but are also learning a new skillset, then listen up!

Are your kids constantly snagging your phone to take pictures? Are they wanting to know why one picture look different than another? Do they love going through your family albums to look at all the pictures from years past?

Photography Summer Camp for San Diego Kids

Then this is the opportunity you have been looking for. Our very own Photography Summer Camp is starting on June 17th! With three different weeks to choose from your kids will have SO MUCH FUN learning the ins and outs of photography. We will chat history of photography, we will go over the technical aspects of what makes a great photo, and we will even do some hands-on experience with actual cameras.

Have your kids bring their own camera, or come use one of ours. Whichever will work perfectly. And at the end of the summer we invite all the kids and their parents back for our End of the Summer Art Exhibit where the kids can showcase their favorite picture they’ve taken over the summer.

Plenty of fun, plenty of friends and a whole bunch of snapping. Come join our Summer Camp Today! Register before May 30th to save on the registration fee. Use code “earlybird” at checkout.

Learn more
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5 Things to do in San Diego with your Family

San Diego is a hot spot for vacationing families. The beach, the zoo, the mountains - with a variety to places to go, there is something to do for all families regardless of size or age. I wanted to share my top 5 places to visit in San Diego that are also kid friendly.

1. Balboa Park

Balboa Park is my number one spot for families visiting San Diego. It is filled with kid friendly activities as well as fun for parents. Run through the long halls of the Organ Pavilion, play hide and seek in the big Spanish inspired architecture halls of El Prado, or learn the names of all the flowers inside the Botanical Garden.

Walk through the Spanish Village and let your kids skip from one colorful square to another while you browse all the beautiful handmade art that can be found in the little side shops. From there you can head over to the beautiful Carousel from 1910 where all but two of the animals are originals with hand-carved European craftsmanship.

2. The San Diego Zoo

I have been to many Zoos during my life, but the San Diego Zoo is probably my absolute favorite so far. With over 3000 animals to visit, the Zoo is the ideal place to brings your family and children for a day long adventure. As soon as you walk in you’re greeted with the beautiful pink view of the Flamingos. From there you can take multiple different pathways depending on what end of the world you want to start at.

Throughout the zoo there are fun interactive playgrounds for your kids to play at. With multiple cafes and restaurants spread out throughout the park you can easily take breaks to keep those happy kids happy all day long.

3. Picnic on the Beach

There isn’t anything more San Diegan than a picnic on the beach. Although, if I have to admit, I really hate being sandy. There really a few things I dislike more than having sand all over me. But even so, a picnic on one of the beautiful beaches in San Diego with my family, is still worth it. Bring them to one of the smaller cliff side beaches in Bird Rock / La Jolla. Or take them to the super popular Windansea Beach in La Jolla and watch as the sunset sets over the ocean. Or head further up to Torrey Pines and celebrate hiking the beautiful hiking trails around there with a picnic on the rock beach at the bottom.

Whatever your preference, a cute picnic basket from Target filled with your family’s favorite snacks and a comfortable blanket to put your butts down own, will make all your picnic dreams come true.

4. Hotel del Coronado

Let’s be real, there are few things that are more iconic in San Diego than the impressive Coronado Bridge and the red roof of the beautiful Hotel del Coronado. If you haven’t taken your kids there for a day trip then you better plan one right now. This isn’t just any regular hotel, this is a Hotel with a MASSIVE BEACH, Ice Cream Shop and plenty of refreshment stands. Let your kids run loose on the lawn outside the hotel or have them swim in the waves of the ocean.

Coronado Island itself has so much to offer for San Diego Families and is one of my favorite places to go to for family pictures in San Diego. With a beach that stretches for miles your kids will have a blast building sand castles and exploring all the fun things the shore has to offer.

5. Mission Trails Hiking

I’m a hiking enthusiast. I absolutely love hiking, and San Diego is the perfect city for this amazing activity fit for both adults and kids. One of my all time favorite places to explore is Mission Trails. This area is HUGE, with so many hiking trails leading you in and out of the area. Want a short, easy 1-mile hike? Sure, they’ve got that. Looking for something more challenging to fill up your day? No problem, there’s a hike for that too.

The best part is, hiking in Mission Trails works for any ages AND it is also the perfect backdrop for family photoshoots. I can’t begin to tell you how many family photography sessions I’ve had in Mission Trails. But I won’t complain, I love going there to explore new places for pictures and truly enjoy seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they get to explore nature.

I love Mission Trails s much I even did my own Family pictures there last fall!

Johanna is one of the best newborn, family and maternity photographers in San Diego. Her newborn photography studio is located in San Diego next to SDSU where she offers families a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere while their little ones are being photographed. She travels all over Southern California to take pictures of families to give them keepsake albums and wall art that will last for generations.

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Minimalistic Cake Smash Session in San Diego

Are you more of a cake person or a cupcake person? Or maybe you prefer macaroons for a celebratory sweet? Me personally, I’ll take a piece of all - my sweet tooth is not to be messed with. So when I do cake smash session at our San Diego studio, it’s like heaven and torture in one. Heaven because it’s amazing seeing the little ones trying to figure out what frosting is. And torture, because I wish I could just sit there and smash my hands and put my face straight into a cake without having people look at me oddly.

I first met Reagan about a year ago for her newborn session. She was my last newborn session in the old studio and the first newborn in the new portrait studio in San Diego. She has since come back for her 6 month session and now her one year cake smash session. It has been such a joy seeing her grow up and I absolutely adore when parents bring their kids in again for milestone sessions.

Reagan’s mom and I have very much the same style. We both love the natural, minimalistic and organic style. So needless to say, for the cake smash session we kept it pretty simple and straightforward and it was perfect. I love the greenery in the backdrop that adds just a little color to the otherwise white and clean setup. The cake was simple as well but with sprinkles to add a little pop of color. But Reagan wasn’t a huge fan of the cake at first. Until we came up with a little trick that worked wonders. Immediately her hands went to dig around in the cake. Can you spot our little secret assistant in the cake?

Backdrop: Studio Freyja

Pink Romper & White Romper: GeorgeandAnnie

Cake: Vons













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My start as a newborn photographer

I’m going to share something with you now that I am kind of embarrassed to tell, but I think it is important to share it as I know there are people out there in the same situation as I was. When I first started photography I was naturally drawn to working with children. I’ve always loved working with kids so kids photography seemed like a natural step.

From there, taking on newborns seemed like a no-brainer. I mean, how hard could it be? I've worked with kids all my life, baby sitting neighbor kids on summer break, worked as an AuPair, and even worked as a kids swim teacher for over 2 years. So how hard could it be to do newborn photography? I mean, all they do is sleep right? Well let me tell you - I was dead wrong! Newborn photography is the scariest thing you can take on if you’re not properly prepared and educated. Let me explain.

Proper education & training is paramount when doing newborn photography

When I first started newborn photography, way before moving to San Diego, I ran model calls for free newborn photography sessions. I figured the best way to gain experience would be to actually practice on real life newborns. That was my FIRST mistake.

I had watches several YouTube videos on newborn posing and I was part of so many different Facebook groups where people were sharing their images on a daily basis. And it looks so simple and sweet. The baby just laid there and slept while the photographers posed them in different position. Little did I know that so much more actually goes on behind the scenes that you don’t see in the YouTube videos or on Facebook.

My very first newborn session before I really knew what newborn photography really was or entailed.

Newborn Photography is not regulated

Whenever you are working with children, whether it’s in the hospital, a childcare center or anywhere else, there are regulations and certificates that need to be followed and completed. But not in newborn photography. You’d think something so important and complicated should be regulated. Sure it would cost money to get the proper education and certifications, but if you’re serious about what you’re doing, then it’s worth the investment (HINT: one reason why newborn photography prices are so high). Plus, these are peoples INFANTS you are working with.

So I decided to run a model call and had a lot of interest from expectant moms. So there I was, a new photographer who wanted to specialize in newborn photography. And I remember it so vividly, the day I realized I was way out of my league. And for the first time ever, I got really scared when working with a child.

This particular session is something that still sticks with me. I should start out by saying that the baby was totally fine and nothing happened during the session to put the baby in safety - luckily enough, but someone else who is an unexperience’s as I was may not be so lucky.

There I was sitting in a living room of a family I didn’t know and mom handed me her little baby, trusting me with her most precious treasure. This baby was only 4 days old and weighted only 5lbs. Right away this should put up warning flags if you’re reading this. You should never to a newborn session with a baby only 4 days of age (unless there are some really extraordinary circumstances). At 4 days old the baby has not had enough time out in the world to adjust their bodies to the real world. And at 4 days old they may not even have had their first visit back to the doctor to be checked up on to ensure everything is ok. So many reasons why doing a session so early is a bad idea. I recommend doing the newborn session when they are 8-12 days of age instead.

I decided to invest in proper newborn photography education

This baby was the tiniest thing I had ever held in my hands before. Not only did she only weight 5lbs, she was also tall with long legs and arms, making her feel even skinnier. As I held her I could immediately feel my heart start beating faster. What was I doing? I had no business working with such a tiny human being. What if I broke a leg or an arm - I mean they were so long and skinny.

Nervously I made it through the session and got some images that I thought were adorable (at the time at least). But as I handed off the baby to her mom again I signed of relief. Nothing bad had happened, I was lucky. I wish I could tell you this the least newborn session I did before I invested in proper education, but no, I continued shooting newborns to practice my skills while watching YouTube videos to learn new tricks.

But the more I was learning and the more I read horror stories on Facebook I realized I was doing something horribly wrong. Just like in any job, you always get trained by someone senior, someone with the knowledge and skillset you are looking to gain. So why didn’t I do that before starting newborn photography? Because there’s a price tag of course. I mean I was doing sessions for free, so how could I afford taking an expensive workshop?

Luckily I came across Janean and Alysia from Blissful Baby Workshops. These two ladies are amazing newborn photography and as luck would have it they were hosting a workshop in Faribault, MN. I knew this was my chance to get the training I so sorely lacked.

Extensive newborn photography education and training has taught me how to properly care for and position newborn babies and my newborn pictures are now so much more professional and better looking.

Find an educated Newborn Photographer

This workshop changed my life! With hands-on experience these ladies showed us how to properly pose a newborn baby during a session. They were telling us the importance of properly posing a baby. Think about it, a baby’s body is not yet fully developed, and if you don’t pose them properly it could cause issues further down the line. This workshop provided me with the confidence, knowledge and training I required to be able to go back home and be confident in knowing how to pose a newborn. Janean and Alysia were amazing teachers and continue to share their knowledge and expertise in our alumni Facebook group.

When I came home from the workshop I looked elsewhere for more training. I connected with another newborn photographer in Minneapolis who was doing newborn photography and I asked if she wouldn’t mind if I shadowed her for a few sessions. This was just another way for me to get real life experience in working with newborn. This girl became a mentor of mine and for a couple of years I actually worked for her doing newborn pictures as well as milestone and family pictures. To this day I still do editing for her for some of her sessions.

If you are an expectant or new mom looking for a newborn photographer for your baby pictures, I want you to consider this. Finding an experience, trained and educated newborn photographer for your session is paramount. Yes, it may cost you a little more, but in the long run, isn’t it worth it to spend more money to ensure your baby is safe at all time?

And if you’re a new photographer looking to get into newborn photography, please consider getting the proper training before you take on clients. Find someone in your area and reach out to them to ask if you can mentor with them or work as an assistant until you have the proper knowledge of working with infants. Read up on newborn safety guidelines and understand that many images are actually several images combined in to one. Let’s build up the standard in the industry so that all newborns and parents are safe and well taken care of at all times. This is why I am certified by the Photography Association community that strive to ensure proper training and education for newborn photographers.

The right newborn photographer will be able to give you timeless and gorgeous newborn pictures of your infant that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Johanna is the owner of Studio Freyja, a Maternity, Newborn and Family Portrait Studio in San Diego, CA. With over 5 years of experience she’s photographed hundreds of infants for their newborn pictures. She has spent countless hours and a large investment ensuring her training and experience is up to date and proper. Newborn safety is her #1 priority always ensuring both babies and parents feels safe during their newborn photography session in her San Diego studio. If you wish to book your session with her please fill out a contact for right here and she’d be happy to plan the perfect session for you.

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My Best Friend’s Baby

The first time I met Bethany and Joe was outside of our college dorm room at August University in Minneapolis, MN. They were patiently sitting in Joe’s yellow truck as my golf coach drove me from the airport to what was going to be my home for the next year. It was my first day in the US, first time ever being so far from my family, scared and nervous as can be expected. Little did I know, inside that yellow truck sat my future family.

Bethany and I were freshman roommates in college. After college we became work colleagues for three years. Then I moved cross country to California. But through it all, our friendship grew stronger and I know consider them my family. So of course, when they add a beautiful little girl to their family, you can bet I’ll be on the first flight going back to MN to meet her.

For an entire weekend I spent my days snuggling this little baby girl and playing games with her older brother. But not without grabbing some pictures for them to remember this time by of course. And the best part was while walking around their basement we found this amazing bed. Bethany’s aunt had painted it for her when she was a little child. How cool is that? Such an old bed (not saying that my friend is old but you know…) and in such a great shape - of course we had to include it in some of the pictures.

Once you’re done enjoying these gorgeous images, why don’t you head over to the maternity session we did just a month before baby girl decided to arrive!























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Balboa Park Fall Mini Session

The Nolan family is very special to me. They are one of my first clients when I moved to San Diego when I did their baby girl’s newborn pictures at their beautiful home. Since then I have had the immense pleasure of watching her grow up in to this amazing little girl with a huge personality!

Last fall we met at Balboa Park for a quick Fall Mini Session. I love going here, both for pictures, but also for personal pleasure. There are few places that have so many beautiful sights, architecture, flower gardens and eateries. We love going to Panama 66 for brunch, sitting in the sun and enjoying some of their great foods.

But beside being a great weekend spot to take your family or special someone, it’s also a great spot for pictures. The beautiful walk ways create an interesting architecture that leads the eye to the subject. The famous water feature in front of the Botanical Garden is a beautiful backdrop for any portrait shots. And let’s not forget the massive trees surrounding the park with the most beautiful roots covering the ground.

So if you’re looking for a spot in San Diego for your Family Pictures that can give you both architecture and nature, then Balboa Park is a great option to consider.



















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Floral Newborn Photography Session

What happens when you put together a florist and a newborn photographer in San Diego? Well let me show you.

Alie is a fellow entrepreneur in the Wedding Industry where in San Diego. She works as a florist and is absolutely amazing. If you ever need any floral arrangements for a party or a wedding, take a look at her website for some amazing inspiration!

Any who, Alie reached out to me to have newborn pictures done of her little baby girl. I knew I needed to include some flowers of some sort in her newborn session. She purchased my Mini Newborn Session and her baby did so well. Even when she was awake she was really calm, which allowed me to get some really precious images of her gorgeous eyes! I love everything about this session, the setup, the colors and least, but absolutely not least, that HAIR! I mean, babies with hair is just the best don’t you agree??














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