Child’s Play | Los Angeles Family Photographer

We planned, planned, and planned for the C Family’s mini session, but we soon found that we couldn’t prepare for everything.  The C kids started out happy, but quickly decided that having their pictures taken wasn’t their cup of tea (which I totally get!).  Nevertheless, we managed to get a few giggles and sweet smiles out of them in a gorgeous setting with gorgeous light.

Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed | Los Angeles Newborn Photographer

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed describes newborn Baby S perfectly.  Actually, AWAKE is the operative word here.  Baby S’ mommy had quite the time trying to get her to sleep, but in the end, she decided that she wanted to be part of the party, so we snapped away anyway.  The best thing about this session for me? The baby yawns! Adorable!!!

Formal Family Portraits | Los Angeles Family Photographer

The H Family (see their original family session HERE) booked two consecutive sessions, so after their large family session, we headed back to the Cristen Farrell Photography Studio for some formal family photos.  I am all about simple and classic, so we chose a solid black background, which really sets apart their faces.  About half way through, the H’s niece and nephew came by so we could take a few shots with all 5 kids.  Let me just say…they are all simply adorable and polite…such sweet kids!

Group Photo Merge | Santa Clarita Family Photographer

I met the H’s and their family on a beautiful morning in Valencia.  Their goal for this session was to get just one great image of all of them to be printed in large format.  I have worked with the H’s before and knew that I’d have my hand’s full with the 2 year old twins, but also their new addition, newborn Baby S.  Having a 2 year old myself, I know that it’s hard to expect one to stand still, cooperate, and smile like they mean it, so I made a conscious decision beforehand, and not one that I usually make.

You may know that I started my art career as a graphic designer.  That skill definitely came in handy when I merged about 6 photos together to produce one image from each pose to reflect the best of the best images.  Here was the result (and one bonus image of the grandparents and their grandkids, just because I think it’s so sweet!)…

BIG Changes for 2012 | Los Angeles Photographer

By now, some of you may have noticed that I have not been around as much as I usually am on Facebook, Twitter, and here on the blog.  The truth is, I’ve been working on something in the background.  I have recently accepted a full time career opportunity with a leading company in the photography industry.  I am thrilled and so very excited for the future, however this will mean that there will be some necessary changes here at Cristen Farrell Photography.

Beginning February 1, 2012, I will only be accepting a limited number of photo sessions and only on weekends.  I’m not sure how many I will accept exactly, but it will be based on the demands of my new position and could very well be as few as one per month.  As a result, if you are planning to book a session with me, I would suggest booking it far in advance.

In line with the scheduling changes, session fees will be increasing for sessions taking place from February 1st forward.  Detailed pricing can be found on the Investment page of our website:

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.  I’m looking forward to a bright future!

The M Family | Los Angeles Photographer

After the M Family’s session was booked, it dawned on me that I knew their last name. As it turns out, I went to high school with one of the M sisters; it was totally random though – she was not the sister who had booked the session.  This session was actually a gift for T, mom extraordinaire.  T contacted me and let me know that she had a great location in mind…a hidden gem that would be kept under lock and key. 🙂

Pin the Photographer on the Camera

This past weekend, my husband and I packed up the kids and headed to Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure for two days (we had a total blast!).  Being a professional photographer gave me a unique perspective when visiting the parks.  As I walked around, I noticed that LOTS of people have DSLRs; A LOT.  The more I watched, the more I realized that these people could be placed in distinct categories and some of them are pretty darn humorous.

Please note, none of this is meant to offend, it’s just simply what I observed.

This photographer isn’t really interested in the functionality of their high-end camera.  My guess is that it was a very generous gift from someone, because this photographer is perpetually on auto and rocks the stock kit lens.  This photographer is thoroughly enjoying the time spent with their family and snaps away at the designated photo spots in the park.

This photographer has a slightly nicer equipment setup. Although I’ve noticed that she likes to give the perception that she is an expert, she doesn’t exactly know how to use it and fumbles slightly.  She poses her kids in precarious positions without regard to safety because she thinks this will make the best image.  Once said kids are balanced precariously, she has her husband block foot traffic so no other foreign persons are in her perfect images and shrugs off an dirty looks from any other park-goers.  She starts firing the shutter and – uh oh – up pops the on-camera flash, a dead-giveaway that she’s likely shooting in auto, versus using her camera to it’s fullest capability.  The kids are yelling and crying now that they are falling from their precarious positions and the momtographer throws up her hands in frustration, starts yelling at her kids that they can’t do anything right and they all walk off in utter misery.  *I did not witness any so-called dadtographers, though I’m sure they do exist.

While the momtographers I witnessed were all women, the “experts” I witnessed were all men.  These “experts” were oh-so-willing to jump in and tell their female counterparts what they were doing wrong with their camera, despite the fact that they were giving inaccurate advice.  And I [loosely] quote two conversations I overheard.  For the purposes of this blog post, I will assume that these couples were husband and wife.

Actual Conversation #1:
Wife: I just don’t understand why all of the pictures I take on Night Mode come out
Husband (Expert):  That’s because you’re using the LCD screen to take them.       Sharpness is created by the viewfinder.  Although it’s much harder to take a picture though the viewfinder, because it’s not as accurate as the LCD.

Actual Conversation #2:
Wife:  What would I use Continuous Mode for?
Husband (Expert): That’s for when YOU are moving the camera continuously.  It keeps the pictures from being blurry.
Wife: When I use it, it takes more than one picture at once.  How is that supposed to help blurriness?
Husband (Expert): You must be doing something wrong.  It shouldn’t be taking more than one picture.

The Habitual Snapper
This photographer takes pictures of anything. And EVERYTHING.  S/he snaps photos of his or her kids, but also the various sights of Disney, i.e. the castle, Main Street USA, etc.  However, this photographer takes it farther.  A fence becomes an unwilling victim of 20 snaps. A bush, grass, clouds…these all become digitally memorialized by The Habitual Snapper, in order to properly remember his or her vacation.  I literally witnessed a man taking a photo of a rock.  There was nothing special about this rock, it was literally, just a rock.  I also witnessed a man walking around with his camera on video.  I’m not talking about standing in a spot and filming the sights.  He was filming his WALK though Disneyland, as in, the pathways and an occasional ride.  He continued to do this for a full 8 – 10 minutes before we took another pathway and split off from him.

The Pro
There were two types of Pros.  The Equipment Master and The iPhone Wielder.  Let me explain…

The Equipment Master
This photographer has their large and very expensive camera equipment out for the world to see.  There is nothing “stock” about it.  We’re talking, pro camera, speedlight, lens, and a professional camera bag/backpack.  This photographer is maneuvering through the hoards of people, bending down, holding their camera over their head, and balancing themselves precariously and then snapping one shot which, of course, is perfect.  Repeat. Repeat.

The iPhone Wielder
Okay, so this photographer doesn’t carry a DSLR, but I felt that this category still deserved honorable mention. The iPhone Wielder isn’t bogged down with equipment, but still knows that they have a powerful photo-taking weapon.  Although this photographer only has this small device, they have 3 – 5 camera apps to make their images more interesting and/or jazz them up (what’s a photo without editing?).  Because they understand lighting, composition, and whatnot, they manage to have the images come out halfway decent, despite the absence of manual camera settings.  They still miss the comfort of manual settings and don’t love to let the camera control them.   They are very vocal about this.

Did I miss any?  Know of another category? Share it!

So which category do you think I fit into?


Another Autumn | Los Angeles Family Photographer

When the Claborn Family contacted me to set up their Fall session, it hit me that it had already been a whole year since I had photographed them for the first time (see their first session HERE).  How did that happen?  Time is sure flying! That sentiment was even more evidenced in seeing the boys for the first time in a year. They have grown so much and I didn’t think it was possible, but they are even more handsome!  We had a great time wandering Valencia Glen on a crisp morning, being silly and goofy and being sure to have a great time.

Oh Tigger! | Los Angeles Family Photographer

After one reschedule (thanks to me being sick as a dog) and then avoiding a 50% chance of rain, the D Family’s session turned out to be the perfect day for family photos.  I was beyond excited when 2 year old T jumped out of the car in the cutest red petti-romper and matching teal and red hair clip – could this kid be any cuter?!  T was so sweet and full of energy and….attached to her Tigger stuffed animal!  We spent the majority of the photo session with Tigger peeking out of my camera bag at T – a pseudo game of peek-a-boo.  Of course, we HAD to have her beloved Tigger in some of the images though – what a lovely, warm memory for her to look back on one day.

Official Images: Winner of the Big One Giveaway | Santa Clarita Photographer

The winner of The Big One Giveaway is officially our blog’s first family of 2012…and fittingly so!  I’m not going to preface these images by a lengthy description of the session. I simply want this family to stand out…to feel special and know that they are the stars of the show. Much love to the DB.-C. Family.