Not every person who contacts me to photography their wedding ends up becoming a wedding client. For what ever the reasons may be, the stars don’t always align perfect for us to capture everyone’s big day, and that’s OK. But I do love it when I’m still able to make a connection and they end up contacting me later for portraits! That’s exactly what happened with Gillian!
Gillian is originally from California and had her beautiful wedding here. But soon after her wedding, she and her husband relocated to Arizona for his job. As you can see, their family is growing! Gillian wanted to have a maternity photo session here in SoCal since she was having her baby shower here too (which we also had the honor of photographing – yay!) She wanted her baby girl to have some Southern California vibes since that is where all of her extended family reside.
Maternity photographs can be so intimate. You have this growing creature inside you that has taken over your body, mind, and heart. The little bean hasn’t even been born, yet you feel this unbelievable love and connection already. And those feelings are only about to get stronger! I know often times mothers-to-be are hesitant about maternity sessions because they aren’t feeling their normal selves or maybe they’re feeling like a large beach ball about to bust, but trust me … no one has ever regretted having captured these moments. The only regrets I hear about are about not doing them! Believe me, more often than not I hear, “I wish I had taken pregnancy photos … I didn’t realize how much I would want to cherish those 9 months before baby came into the world.”
If you are on the fence just go for it. Ignore those disapproving thoughts because your heart will always cherish those 9 months you and your little bean had together, so why not remember it with photos as well.

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How in the world is Thanksgiving holiday just over a week away?! Living in Southern California, it’s really hard to get into the holiday spirit. When it’s still sunny and warm outside, it makes all the holidays feel like it’s so far away when it’s actually just around the corner. And before you know it, Christmas has come and gone, we’ve rung in the New Year and we’re already halfway through the next year!
From September to December, my days are filled with birthday celebrations and anniversaries and all the different holidays. But some how, among all the craziness of this time of year, I still manage to squeeze in our annual holiday portrait, which is a whole event in itself – as it should be!
No matter how far in advance I plan, or how much I’ve prepped, or how much I’ve thought about gifts from the beginning of the year, I always feel like I’m playing catch up during this time of year. Anyone else feeling that too?
With all the prepping and planning for the upcoming holidays, I am also taking time to plan our annual holiday pop up sessions. Documenting your daily moments is great – can you say selfie? – but having a professional capture you and your family in the most beautiful, natural way is priceless … AND you get gorgeous art to hang in your home! That’s why we have our annual pop-up sessions … so that each and every one of you can have that opportunity to capture your most valued treasure (your family) in the most stunning way.
Here are some of our favorites from last year’s pop up session. While we mostly photograph families with children of all ages during this time of year, as you can see, we do love to include those fur babies! We also love including couples and expecting parents. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I recently found how important it is to capture your portraits each and every year. So don’t let this year sneak by without capturing your loved ones.
Don’t let this year pass without updating your family portraits, contact us to schedule your session. We have tons of various holiday sessions available to fit your needs.

 

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I love Entertaining! I’m always so excited for this time of year. It’s the beginning of entertaining season from Halloween to Thanksgiving and all those December holiday parties … not to mention all the birthdays and dinner parties scattered in between. And I’m always looking for the next best thing to up my entertaining game!
My favorite thing to host is our annual Christmas Potluck. It started out 14 years ago when Aldo and I first started dating. Over the years, it has evolved into something we truly treasure. Our first party, we were – no joke – an hour late to our own party that we were hosting in our own home (we were still out getting food and decorations). Our first guests were sitting on our couch watching TV when we got back. I will never forget that. Ah to be young and carefree again – OR NOT!
I’d like to think that we have improved since then and, while we may not be late to our own party any longer, we are always upping the stakes little by little each year. From the food to the decor to the ambiance. My friends always laugh and tell me I get too fancy, but I love it! Yes, it can add stress and be a little chaotic, but the payoff is always so much fun!
We have also been hosting our family Thanksgiving for the past few years and each year it as well gets a little fancier and fancier, even if it is just 6 of us. Can you tell I like to decorate and entertain? I am so excited to up the game this year with with a special added touch to the dinner table.
I partnered with Ro & Co Events and Hostess Haven to share with you 9 creative napkin folding techniques. Head on over to Ro & Co’s site to see how it’s done with some video tutorials and how to’s.
If you are hosting multiple parties and looking for a way to change things up, the easiest way is to change up your napkin fold. It will give your table an entire new look, even with the same napkin. Another simple way to change things up is simply changing out the flat wear. It’s super easy to do when you have great places like Hostess Haven to rent gorgeous table wear.
My favorite napkin fold is a tie between the tossled napkin with a ring or the simple knot. Not only are they both simple, but it’s also a little less formal and more organic. So, tell me, what’s your favorite fold?
1. Simple Knot
As you can see here, simply changing out the flat wear gave this table a completely different look.
2. Three Pocket Fold
3. Single Pocket Fold
4. Burrito Fold
5. Hexagonal Pocket
6. Banded Tri-fold
7. Tossled Napkin
8. Romantic Layered Edge
 9. Angular Pocket

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Here’s another favorite family popup session to share with you as we are booking up our holiday popups. This was one of the fastest mini sessions we have ever had. Two kids can be a challenge sometimes, am I right mom and dad? But even with all the chaos and melt downs during the session, we captured some of the best portraits this family now proudly displays in their home.
Do you ever look at an image and have all sorts of memories come flooding back, no matter where or how that image may be displayed. Isn’t that the best feeling? This family has outgrown their previous home. Even though they’re in a temporary home at the moment, these images still grace their walls. Time will pass, day after day, and life will bring more hiccups, but your family images can make any house feel like home. I’m so thrilled to say that Gianna has not 1, but 3 of these beautiful images printed at poster size.
Maybe you hear yourself saying, “I love the images! I’d love to frame and hang them once we have our permanent home!” Or maybe you have your home, but the thought of trying to figure out where to put your beautiful images overwhelms you, so you just keep delaying it. Whatever excuse you may be telling yourself, it’s time to stop and just print those beauties. There is no perfect time to wait to put your images up, there is only now. I promise you won’t regret it! You’ll only regret letting time pass and wishing you put the images up sooner!
Gianna may not have had the perfect family session, but I’m here to tell you no one does. When one kid was smiling, the other was melting down and then both. But with a little love, maybe some bribery, and the removal of some shoes … bam, they were happy again! You’re kids will probably have meltdowns just like Gianna’s, but if you wipe away the tears and keep going, you’ll have beautiful images just like this family. You won’t admit it now, but aren’t their cries a little funny? The images you get can definitely be some blackmail material when they get older, lol. You don’t have to strive for perfection, go for real and they will be perfection.
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I look back and feel like I’m that fresh kid just starting her business … ready to take on the world. Honestly, that’s how I feel every single day. But then I look back and see how far I’ve come and how much I’ve grown. I’m sure you do the same thing in your life and with your loved ones!
That’s why I love this family! They understand the importance of capturing moments in time each and every year. It all started with their engagement photos where we captured the beginning of new love while Mike and Vanessa embraced each other with those googly eyes, full of excitement and joy for what was about to come. Then we captured their wedding, which was just pure magic. You could not only feel the blissful love that the couple was in, but wanted to hold onto it with them for years to come. I remember Vanessa and Mike telling me, “Whatever we have to do for the photos is fine; that’s the most important memory we will have.” OK, it was Vanessa that said this, but Mike was definitely along for the ride. I couldn’t have said it better myself. For Vanessa and Mike’s wedding, that meant that they missed their cocktail hour, but it was totally worth it for those precious memories they now have hanging on the wall in their home. Plus we had some good laughs and of course cocktails of our own, or at least the couple did, lol.
Vanessa holds true to her conviction of capturing memories … each year she has captured her baby boy as he grows. The first year with his smash the cake session. (OMG, that was the best – In the middle of the woods in his high chair with his cake – but of course we captured the family first.
Baby V was a bit of a crab monster that day, but we still made it happen. Some of my favorite family photos came out of that session. Capturing the bond between mother and son as Vanessa tried to soothe him … the three of them playing and laughing as little V rides on dad’s shoulders … V looking on as mom and dad embrace in a kiss, and of course the little tike’s solo shots.
Now let’s get to the latest session with this adorable family where I played with and chased little V, capturing those candid smiles as he laughed at whatever goofy face or gesture I was making – maybe it was the crazy dance mom was doing behind me. Either way, I love nothing more than capturing those genuine smiles, especially from the little ones. They just make you wanna bust up laughing with them. I mean look at all those different facial expressions! 2 years old is absolutely one of my favorite years. They have the biggest personalities and fully express how they feel, from grumpy, to laughter, to funny faces.
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You guys are in for a real treat with this wedding! While we weren’t contracted to photograph the entire wedding, we were hired to be part of the Chic Celebrations team (one of my favorites) to photograph all the details! And details there are!! You know how much we love a detailed wedding and this one did not disappoint!
You may be asking, “Why were you hired to photograph just the details?” Let me tell you! First, it is one of the specialties of the Krista Mason Photography team, so that’s a no brainer. Second … Gianna put a lot of heart and soul into the design and execution of this wedding; and wanted to make sure she had amazing photos for her portfolio.
We all need a little extra support now and then. And I love being that person for some of my favorite people! Especially when photographing stunning details is involved.
My vendor friends, I’m sure this has happened to you!
You have designed and executed your best wedding yet and can’t wait to see the professional photos only to realize that the photographer didn’t deliver to your expectations and you now can’t use any of the photos in your portfolio because they are not on brand.
We have the perfect solution to solve this.
Here at Krista Mason Photography we know you’ll occasionally have a client who doesn’t heed your advice and ends up with a photographer you don’t know. Don’t let the fear of not getting good images get the better of you.
We’d love to come on as your personal staff photographer to ensure that you receive the best details coverage possible. We’re professionals, we will always be very respectful of your clients’ hired photographers. We understand that it is their show. We’re there simply as your team member for the details only.
Gianna hadn’t worked with the photographer for this weeding before, so she asked us if we would cover the details. While I had an event to shoot that day, Aldo was available – which was perfect because that’s what Aldo does best! And he had a blast!
Reach out to us and see if we are available! We would obviously love to photograph the entire wedding, but we know sometimes the client goes in a different direction. You will want to make sure that you have the best images possible for your portfolio.
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Since it is officially fall we thought we would indulge in some fall inspiration. Today’s inspiration is fall, but not your traditional fall look. It’s a fresh take chock full of color and modern vibes!
Catalina View Gardens was just the perfect setting. Nestled in among the hills of Palos Verdes, the combination of a vineyard, rustic Italian courtyard and a gorgeous view of the ocean all combine to make the best of several different worlds!
Nicole Alexandra Designs wanted to combine modern lines and textures with the lush and organic elements of the environment. The color palette, a combination of soft blues and fuchsia, paired perfectly with traditional autumn hues. I must say I was obsessed with these linens from Anthropologie! I almost stole them for my house! Don’t worry, I resisted!
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Let’s talk about this bouquet. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful! Nicole, of Bloomist, did an amazing job combining the colors of fall with a modern twist but still hanging onto the rustic vibe!
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And this divine dress with a cape! Yes please! Doesn’t our model just look stunning? fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational
How perfect are these ghost chairs to pull in that modern vibe? I think ghost chairs are my favorite chairs. I mean, how can you not love them? Especially in this gorgeous setting.
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And now onto the good stuff … dessert! Sugar Philosophers did an amazing job bringing the dessert table together to match the fresh fall modern vibe! And that naked cake! YUM! How cute are those little apple and cherry pies! The perfect addition for a fall wedding! fall inspirational
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This perfect bright color combo combined with the traditional autumn colors totally bring this lounge to life. fall inspirational fall inspirational
Why just stop at one dress when you can have two? Change it up and get ready to party! fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational fall inspirational

Vendor Credits:

photography: Krista Mason Photography // venue name: Catalina View Gardens, Rancho Palos Verdes, California, USA // event design: Nicole Alexandra Designs // planning: Nicole Alexandra Designs // florals: The Bloemist // wedding dress: Madeleine Fig // hair stylist: Face It Sugar // paper goods: Jasmin Michelle Designs // cake: The Sugar Philosophers // desserts: The Sugar Philosophers //  Tabletop, Pillows: Anthropologie // furniture rentals: Classic Party Rentals // specialty rentals: Tabletop: Crate & Barrel // models: Stephanie Turek and Chaz Ahern

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People always talk about how important it is to capture your children each year as they grow. And while I know it’s true, it’s also just plain obvious. You love seeing your kids grow each year and how much they change. We all know how important it is to look back and see their growth. From that first day of school photo at your front door to the last day of school. But what about just the two of you whether you have kids or not?

Recently, I personally experienced the importance reflecting back through the years in my photos. It was super fun, but I really wish I had a photo to represent each of our early years. I’ve learned it’s never too late to start. I have vowed to have a professional photo taken of Aldo and I every year, so that in 20 years or 50 years, I have images that we can look back on, laugh at and talk about what babies we were.

It occurred to me while celebrating our 14th Anniversary, how important capturing each year is. I don’t know if you saw it on my social media channels, but I posted a photo of each year Aldo and I have been together – all the way back to 2007 and even one from what I call the early years because I wasn’t sure of the date. We were such babies!  But I couldn’t find very many photos of us earlier than 2007, and you know why? It’s because we didn’t start taking our Holiday Portraits until 2007. Yes, I’m sure that we have photos during that time, but where are they? Who knows and they sure as heck are not as cute as the ones we had professionally done.

I share this with you because I don’t want you looking back in 14 years wishing you had taken professional photos. There’s nothing better than proudly sharing your life with your friends and family, no matter the style or look that you were rocking at the time. When I was looking back at our photos, I was like, “Wow, I just dated myself, lol.” But I am still so very happy to have them so I can reflect back on the wonderful years I’ve shared with the love of my life. I’m even more excited that I have current ones that represent us as a couple, showing our relationship and style.

Every time I see your updates on Facebook or Instagram or you send me an email, I get super excited to see what adventures you have been up to lately. Was it a new job, a new house, are you expecting, your first, second, or maybe even your third child? Did you get a new puppy? Take any fun travel adventures? Did your kids start their first year of school? That’s been a fun one for me since it’s that time of year. Watching you all post your minis with their first day of school signs…just the cutest! This got me thinking … obviously, in addition to wanting professional photos you want to be able to take great photos on your day-to-day adventures. So, I wanted to share a few fun tips with you on how to best capture these precious daily moments with your mobile phone. Whether it’s travels, your kids first day of school, or a special moment between the two of you, you’ll want to capture them all!

Make sure you have a subject

The same composition rules apply even if you aren’t photographing people. Be sure that you have a focal point or main point of interest to grab the viewer’s attention. Remember the rule of thirds and put that focal point in one of those sweet spots.
One interesting subject is all you need to create a stunning photo, but we understand that sometimes you want multiple people in the image and that works just as perfect.

Eliminate Distractions

Don’t be afraid if your photo has a lot of empty space. This is what us photographers call “negative space” and it’s helpful in making your subject stand out.

Be sure to look at all details. Is there a trash can or water bottle in the shot? Move it. Can’t move it? Change the angle of your shot to avoid it.

A subtle muted background keeps the photo from becoming too distracting. Make sure the background complements the color of what the subject is wearing so they don’t blend in.

Find the best light

Lighting is the most important thing in any photo. The best kind of lighting is soft, natural, diffused light, such as window lighting. The same rules apply for outdoor photos … soft natural diffused light. The best time of day to shoot is what professional photographers call the golden hour. Either early morning just as the sun is coming out or just before sunset. In my line of work with weddings, we understand these situations aren’t always achievable on the go. So, look for soft evenly shaded areas. Again, be aware of your background. If it’s too light or too dark, your subject will get lost. Avoid harsh shadows and shooting the subject facing the sun. This will produce squinting eyes and unwanted shadows. Also beware of too dark of areas. All too often we see subjects being photographed in dark dingy corners where they tend to get lost.

Our eyes can determine both dark and light exposures at the same time, but the camera cannot. Ever have a subject with the beach as the background and either the beach is properly exposed but your subject is too dark or the subject is correct and the beach is blown out? This is because the camera can’t capture what we see with the naked eye. Most mobile phone cameras will capture everything overall and guess at what the best mix will be. This means if you aren’t paying attention, you’ll won’t get the photo you’re aiming for. Try tapping on the main subject to achieve the best exposure. Sometimes, though, even that won’t work. In that case, you’ll need to rethink your background and lighting situation. Look for that open soft shade or window lighting.

 

Focus on the eyes

It’s been said that the eyes are the window to the soul. They are also a great part of your subject to focus on when you’re trying to capture them at their best. It’s because the eyes are the most expressive part of the face. Ready take it one step further? Focus on the eye closest to the camera.

Composition

Experiment with different perspectives and cropping. A common mistake is always putting the subject directly in the center of the frame.

You don’t have to always center your subject. Learn the rule of thirds. Try an angle from above or below. Set your subject off centered.

Photographing Children

Photographing children is always a challenge, sometimes even more so when mom and dad are doing it. We recommend getting down on their level. Get low, talk to them, engage with them. Make them laugh and wait for that perfect expression that best expresses their personalities. This is where you have an advantage, because you know them best. You know that expression right before it happens, so be ready to click. If you try to force smiles or make them stand stiff and still that’s the look you’ll get. Put them in the right lighting with the right background and let them be them. You’ll know when to capture that perfect moment.

Stay positive

The #1 rule when photographing anyone is to stay positive and give lots of affirmation that the subject looks amazing. If your kids are making funny faces, make them back. I promise it will make them laugh and if you’re ready, you’ll capture the perfect smile. With couples, the same thing applies – OK, maybe not the funny faces, but you never know … that might work, lol. Just keep it upbeat and positive and you’ll get that emotion you desire. I have to make Aldo sincerely laugh anytime we take a photo, otherwise he looks like a grumpy old man! I do this by any means necessary – being a goof ball, tickles, stupid jokes, whatever – but it works, we manage to get some awesome smiles out of him. Also remember you don’t always have to smile for portraits!

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to get great photos…and remember, the best camera you can have is the camera you have with you! Don’t be afraid to experiment. You’re mobile camera is digital, so if you don’t like the image you can delete it and try again!

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Engagement sessions are a super fun way to better connect with your photographer before your big day. An extra bonus? We get to capture some stunning images to display in your your home or at your wedding. They are one of my favorite things to photograph because I get to focus on the bride and her love for her soon-to-be husband. Every bride is the center of attention for her wedding day and deserves to feel glamours and loved. Don’t worry, I didn’t forget about the groom! He was definitely there and missing his football game to make the love of his life happy. Nothing makes him more happy than making her happy and she loves him more than she ever thought possible. She wants to capture this beautiful love between the two of them in the most stunning way! They’ll always have pictures to remind them of this glorious journey they are about to embark on.
What I love about Joanie and Josh is their sense of adventure together. When they first started dating, some of their dates including fishing, hiking and shooting. After getting into their love story a bit more, I had the perfect inspiration for their shoot. Lucky me, it just happened to be in their “backyard”! Well close enough that it could have been. Can you guys believe this is in Los Angeles? I couldn’t. It was the perfect setting for them to share their love story with the world. I love nothing more than capturing a couple in their true form. It makes the story authentically theirs. And isn’t that the goal? Of course it is! You want to be the most beautiful authentic you and have images that you can brag to your friends about.

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I love a beautiful romantic classic wedding. Combine that with an amazing couple and fabulous vendors and I am in heaven. You’ll see what I mean when you take a look at these Saddlerock Ranch wedding photos.
It’s days like this that make you realize how much you really love your job! I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else. Well, most days are like that for me, but when you get a dream wedding like this one it really makes it all that much better.
This romantic vineyard wedding had just the most perfect rustic classic feeling. It was set in the gorgeous rolling hills of Southern California’s wine country at Saddlerock Ranch. This venue is stunning during the day, but at night, it comes alive with an enchanting fairy tale feel.
From the large yellow picture frame to a rustic door leading nowhere, the venue offers a variety of unique places to capture the beauty of the couple and their love for each other. The vintage feel of the whole day enhanced the brides lacy dress and her husband’s custom vest and pants.
The simple nature-focused color scheme was the perfect complement to the couple’s vintage-styled wedding. The edition of cherished family heirlooms made the day complete. The groom’s pocket watch belonged to his grandfather and the bride’s clutch and handkerchief were her grandmother’s.  I love when our couples include heirlooms from parents or grandparents.
I love all my clients and am so grateful that I can say that, but seriously, Shannon and Trevor were the perfect clients.
They opted for an intimate wedding, with 80 guests and no bridal party which is becoming a trend these days.
Couples are wanting to spend their most important day with their closest loved ones. They want it to be all about their love and the wedding day experience. Yes, they want beautiful pictures too, but what is most important to them is enjoying their day and making sure that everyone else does as well.
Couples like Shannon and Trevor are being much more deliberate when selecting their vendors. With the millions of choices and wide range of pricing, couples are selecting to work with people they connect with. Vendors they can trust to provide them with an amazing experience from pre-wedding to wedding and even after.
We feel that is the most important value we can offer our clients. It is definitely a one of a kind unique experience in working with Aldo and I. Our biggest value is that we offer a feeling of beauty and comfort and ease that many photographers don’t have. Yes, other photographers have amazing beautiful images and charming personalities, but we go well beyond that in the unique, loving, caring, nurturing approach to working with our clients. And that is why we love all our clients and count ourselves grateful for people like Shannon and Trevor. They saw our passion and love for what we do. They loved that we bring a unique experience when we not only capture beautiful images, but helped make their wedding day special.
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