Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Twenty-Nine years.


To celebrate my twenty-ninth birthday yesterday, I am telling you twenty-nine things about myself you may know or not know. . .

  1. I was born at St. Bernadine Hospital
  2. My parents divorced when I was seven
  3. I am the oldest of two sisters. A step sister and a step brother
  4. I love music in all sounds.
  5. I have worked thirteen jobs.
  6. Owned eight vehicles.
  7. I have broken nine bones.
  8. I blow dry my eye lashes.
  9. I wear flip-flops 95% of the time.
  10. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
  11. I love pizza and mexican food.
  12. I just started wearing nail polish in the last six months, and realized it makes me feel girly.
  13. I was always that one girl hanging out with all the guys growing up.
  14. I learned to drive stick on a tractor.
  15. I am a workaholic
  16. I invest my time more in others than I do myself.
  17. I prefer to attempt to let my immune system tackle something before simply “popping a pill”
  18. Growing up I wanted to be a marine biologist or a vet. (until I found out how my school that would take)
  19. I was class clown in the 8th grade.
  20. I’m nocturnal by nature, though society and my kids force me to keep other hours
  21. I rode my dirt bike to work when I was fourteen.
  22. I think I missed my calling as a racecar driver
  23. I talk to myself, a lot!
  24. I want to move out of California within the next five years.
  25. I cry a lot, but wish I didn’t. ( it just happens)
  26. I love the outdoors and would prefer to be outside any day.
  27. I have six tattoos
  28. I love swimming.
  29. In twenty-nine years I couldn’t have been more please with how MY life turned out thus far.


There ya have it. Twenty-nine random facts about me! It has been a roller-coaster of a ride, but I am looking forward to whatever life brings me in the upcoming years.  One more year until my thirties and I can’t wait! I really think my thirties will be the best yet.  We can only hope!



Monday, April 30, 2012

:: Barnett Maternity :: Redlands Maternity Photographer

It was a warm evening with a slight breeze. We had mapped out a couple locations around Redlands in hopes of finding some beautiful light and creating some good times. I was thrilled when Sondra asked me to take her maternity pictures. I have known Sondra for years, and  yet, had only heard wonderful things about Tommy. It was nice to finally put a face to name that I had heard so much about.

I met Sondra working at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Tommy also works  at the hospital and  is attending University of Redlands for a business major. As we drove around on our location adventure I asked Tommy what his end goal was with his business classes, and what type of job he would like to have along with what is his dream job. It didn’t take long for Tommy to answer back with a simple but heartfelt “ My dream would be to have a good enough job so Cassondra could stay home with our kids”  When Tommy spoke those words, my heart became mush for them. There is no better answer than that. There is no better choice than that! When you come to that point in life where you stop living for yourself and start living for others is the moment you become a better person. I have no doubt Sondra and Tommy are going to make the most amazing parents. These two are adorable together. There were several times I asked different things of them and without even looking at one another they would react the same, or give the same facial expressions. It was fun to watch them interact with each other and the softness between them.

This little girl they are expecting is very lucky to have two wonderful people as her parents. The only thing we shall ask of her is to stay inside until her due date and stop giving her mom so many problems.


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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Fire was set and a Business was Born…

Yesterday I was hugging Logan and I could hardly believe how big he has gotten. As my ovaries started hurting more and more knowing my babies are growing up I couldn’t do anything but look at all the old pictures of Logan through the blog I used to keep. As I was reminiscing my a.d.d. set in and  I was distracted with curiosity of  when my first shoot was and where I went from there.

Looking at my first pictures I literally cringed, and then felt terribly sorry for the people who were my first victims. Luckily most of them are still my friends and clients.

I purchased my first Camera in May of 2008. It was a Nikon d60. Logan was born in January of 2008 and from the moment he was born I knew I wanted to capture it all. I wanted to remember every little detail about him. I didn’t want to forget any little detail on his body. The first night we brought my camera home I opened it up and can remember going on the porch  trying to capture the beautiful moon as my eyes saw it. I stood on that porch trying all sorts of things with this new beauty.  I soon realized I knew nothing about my camera and how to take a good picture. This wouldn’t stop me from taking pictures of my precious boy, but I knew I needed to learn.

I took two pictures a couple months later that set my heart on fire and gave me a glimpse of what photography could offer.

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These were taken in July of 2008. I was playing with the shutter speed and couldn’t believe the color difference in each picture. These are not edited. why? because I didn’t even know what I was doing to edit them.

The picture of Kohl was taken in October of 2008. I edited this the best I knew how. Instantly I feel in love with his eyes and the crispness of the photo. This is what set the fire in my heart to capture others.  I knew I wanted to do more than just “take pictures” I wanted to create something special. I wanted to find beauty in all, in each expression and display it.


Some might say I'm stubborn, I say I'm determined. I am the type of person that will let nothing stop them. If I don’t know the answer or how to do something I will find it and I will conquer it.  When I get into these modes, nothing can get in my way. I spent hours on the computer reading and watching videos, then reading some more. This camera consumed me. Everywhere we went I had my camera. Wes would hide under blankets or behind anything he could if he saw I had that camera. I practiced a lot, different lighting, different directions, different people and objects.  I would pose Logan in different parts of the house or outside all the time, luckily, he can’t remember any of that.

I did my first “shoot” in December of 2008. It was for a good friend and her siblings.  It was a cold gloomy day and trying to snow. Three conditions I had failed to practice in. We went for it anyway and this is what I got:


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These could have been a lot worse, but they were nothing I wanted to showcase and give to clients after having them pay me. So I went back to the books, internet and practicing my booty off.  I didn’t do another shoot for eight months! I wanted to feel ready and prepared for anything. I wanted to make sure I could charge decent prices to make money, and to also give my clients the best possible.

When I started this photography adventure, there weren’t many people to help me or even reachable to ask. Photography has grown a lot in the last couple years making it much easier to get answers or get help. Photography for me was trail and error, then try again!

My next shoot was in August of 2009.

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I felt I was getting better but still improvement was needed. I didn’t do anymore shoots in 2009, I wanted to start 2010 fresh and with a game plan. I wanted to charge what other people were charging, and feel comfortable doing it. I started with a web-site and business plan but also kept my camera close in hand.  Many people became victim of my camera practicing, you can see some here.

Jan 2010

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2010 was the year it started to all come together. I wasn’t working at the hospital anymore and all my time went into this photography business. I would say a lot of my business still runs on trial and error, some might think this isn’t responsible or I am not a good business person. I wont disagree, but I like to think life is trial and error and why not apply that to anything you are doing. If something doesn’t work or fit, try again. I am not a huge fan change, but I get bored easily and if something doesn’t feel right I change it. This has followed over to my business structure. I am always looking for ways to improve in anything I do.

One of the things that attracted me to photography is how it is individual art. You can make it anything you want, because it’s yours. Just as doctors “practice medicine” I practice art. The art of light, shooting subjects and objects in anyway possible.  There is always room for improvement and growth, possiblites are endless but always reachable if you put your mind to it.

I did around 55 shoots in 2010 along with two weddings, I couldn’t have asked for more. I would like to think with each shoot I get a little better and knowledgeable. 2011 was an amazing, crazy busy year. I doubled the number of shoots I did and was able to meet some amazing people along the way.  I am so grateful for this adventure I have been on for the last four years. I cannot wait to see what the next four years have in store.

As I mentioned before there were not a lot of people to help me when I first started. I am so appreciate to the two people that did help me. Crystal Dimond, with Crystal Dimond Photography and also Nichole Davis, from Love One Another Photography. I am so grateful for these two people and the little bit of knowlegde they game me. When I e-mailed them, they both responded and helped in anyway they could. There were also several that did not respond or help which is why I chose to also give back to anyone in need of assistance or that reaches out. As photographers I don’t feel there is anything to hide or keep secret. We all have different taste and style, and some even attract different clientele. I would like to think several people can take a picture of the same thing but all come out with something different, which is why from the beginning I have had no secrets and help anyone that may need it.

We are now in 2012, four years after I started this adventure. I have learned so much,  I am so grateful and feel so blessed to be given this talent and opportunity. What once started as a passion to capture my own son had now turned into an obsession to find the inner beauty we each have in us and show it to the world. With each session I set out to create images that will be displayed for years to come. To show someone they are beautiful and to give the confidence we all deserve to have. For me, my photography business is much more than just taking a photo or two. It’s about creating lifelong memories and heirlooms.

For those of you who have stuck by me since 2008 I greatly appreciate you. More than words can ever express. Thank you!!

2008 05 25_0066 First picture taken with my camera 2008

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I was always making kids to crazy stuff so I could practice shutter speed.

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This post can be read in several different ways.  For me, it was the trails and errors over the last four years which have got me to this point in my life and business.  If you are reading this and  just starting out your photography adventure my advice to you is practice, practice, practice. You can never practice enough. Make sure you are comfortable, ready and good enough to start charging. My first paying client was in 2009, a good full year after I decided photography was something I wanted to peruse.  And, have Fun! Remember it’s art, do something different, creative and what you like. There are basics and rules to everything, once you learn those, the sky is the limit.

I am living proof you can do anything you put your mind to. A lot of my success has come from my biggest supporter pushing me and encouraging me to do anything I wanted. My Husband. Without him, I would have none of this. I would have quit a long time ago. With each struggle he was there to pick me up, brush me off and push me forward.  I am forever grateful for his continued support. Thanks Babe!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m an open book willing to help.

Monday, April 23, 2012

:: The Stockman Family :: Redlands Family Photographer

It was a blazing hot April evening. We met at five and Im pretty sure it was still 90 degrees out. We had decided to meet at one of my favorite go-to spots. A spot that used to be my little secret. It’s a place where normally you are the only person there and sometimes that can get a little creepy. That was not the case on this day. As we arrived a wedding was just finishing up. The parking lot was full and there was people everyone. So many people that the Stockton family thought they were in the wrong place!

Once the wedding party dispersed we had the place all to ourselves. It was still warm out but the lighting was perfect. In the back of my mind all I could think about was one thing, snakes! This little spot is perfect for snakes, everywhere. As we were talking and laughing I threw in my normal “ hey, watch for snakes, it’s that time of year, don’t be alarmed… I just want us to be aware, yada  yada, yada.” and we continued walking down the path.

If you haven't met the Stockman Family, you are missing out. These eight people are hilarious and so much fun to be around. They are the type of people you instantly feel at home with. Listening to them harp on each other and laugh just made me want to be invited to their Thanksgiving dinner. Im sure there is never a dull moment with this bunch.  Dad really wanted some pictures on the little bridge. Once we got down there I realized I forgot my reflector so I took off running up the path. If you know me, you know I don’t run! As I was running, I was just concentrating on not falling. On my way back down the path I took it slower, mainly because I was out of breath. I was skipping down the path when I came to a screeching halt, screamed a little,  and took three giant steps back from the HUGE garter snake that was laying across the path. Some might say, oh it was just a garter snake, it can do you no harm, they are good snakes.. no, no, no, ewwww nooo I don’t like snakes.. sorry…. ewww.

Luckily for us the snake decided to go up into the hills and we were able to continue on with our normal rowdiness selves. And every time I took a step I was looking for another snake, which secretly gave me the eby jeebies.

I couldn’t have been more please with our final product. Thank you Stockton family for a very entertaining evening.




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