Category Archives: Holiday portraits

Pretty Santa Monica {Santa Monica photographer}

I had the great fortune of living in Santa Monica for 4 years and loved almost every minute, the 405 and the 10 freeways were the banes of my existence…but what Angeleno really enjoys sitting in traffic?

My time is Santa Monica was great both personally and professionally. Who wouldn’t love slipping off their shoes for work and running around on the beach capturing fun family moments? Or better yet, playing at Pacific Park, the games and the bright colorful rides all make for fun portraits too!

All within a half mile are some beautiful locations, both out in the open and some hidden gems as well! Here are some of my favorites from Santa Monica, and these are only in a small part of Santa Monica, the city truly lends itself beautifully to photography.

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

Fun under the pier (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

Love the balloons on the beach (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

By the pier, love the light! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica engagement Photography pregnancy announcement

Expecting! Fun and colorful announcement! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Love the colors and the light! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Under the Santa Monica pier (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Under the pier (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Under the Pier (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

Santa Monica Pier fun! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

Bright and colorful! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Couples Photography

By the Ferris Wheel! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

On the sand by the pier (Santa Monica Photographer)

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Sunset is gorgeous! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Kids Photography

Fun getting your toes wet! (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Taking a walk for portraits can lead to some great spots (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Secret courtyards make great locations (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Heading down to the beach (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Iconic Santa Monica pier makes a fabulous background (Santa Monica Photographer)

Santa Monica family photography Santa Monica Engagement Photography

Love the beach! (Santa Monica Photographer)

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Well, hello there! It’s been too long {Manhattan Beach photographer}

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I’ve posted anything. Poor blog, neglected, left dormant for Instagram (@juliavargaphoto)….but I’m back! I’m back to share with you some love!

It’s been a wonderfully busy year filled with lots of families, babies, toddlers, weddings and even commercial work! I thank the universe daily, and my lucky stars that I am so fortunate to do what I absolutely love. Does that sound cliche? It shouldn’t, and if it does, I don’t care. It’s true.

Any work day that ends with me getting my toes in the sand and taking a knee high dip in the ocean, is a pretty awesome day at work.

Since being in the South Bay now for a few years, I’ve had many sessions at the Manhattan Beach pier, and each time I think it’s wonderful. I think it’s pretty much an obligatory photo session for families that live in the South Bay, or even if you’re not here, come down anyway; it’s magical at sunset…especially in the winter. Yes, it may be crowded at times. Last year during the holiday photo season, I counted 13 photographers at the pier, with 13 families all taking their holiday portraits. While you may not think that it’s so unique at that point, it is. Each photographer has their own style, their own way of capturing images. And honestly, I love being surrounded by such creative professionals who manage to create amazing images when we’re all elbow to elbow working. It’s actually pretty amazing to watch too, the dance the professionals do to make sure they are engaging their clients (especially the kiddos) while making sure their exposures are correct, composing an aesthetically pleasing image, making sure their backgrounds are uncluttered, and not being in another photographer’s shot. It’s wonderfully chaotic magic!

And here’s evidence to what a great afternoon can be like at the Manhattan Beach pier.

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

Manhattan Beach family photography Manhattan Beach kids photography

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What to wear for your portrait session, and getting your toes wet {Manhattan Beach Family Photographer}

I just absolutely love love love shooting in Manhattan Beach these days!

I know I’m not the only photographer out there that does, a quick image search will show you that.

But I do love having fun with my clients while we’re shooting, and making sure everyone has a good time

during their session is very important to me.

When clients ask me “What should we wear for our session?”

Here’s my answer: -Wear sold colors. Prints and patterns (like stripes and bold patterns)  are

very distracting in portraits, and when mixed can be very disorganized looking. You don’t all have to wear the same color,

but all solids works best and is easy on the eyes. There’s always an exception to this; if you have a little one or little ones

that you’d like to be the center of attention for the shoot, by all means, dress the kiddos up in just

about what ever is cute. However, make sure they are comfortable. If it’s a new outfit, make sure paper and plastic tags

are removed completely, it will bug the heck out of them and they won’t be happy.

-No writing on clothing. Our brains want to read words, and when we see letters we want to make sense of it. So

when you’re wearing a shirt with GAP written on it, guess what? That’s what we’ll see before the beautiful faces

of your family. Keep it simple, no writing. Exception? Of course! If you’re TRYING to send a message, then yes! Tell us!

For instance, you’re expecting an addition to the family? Let your little one now tell the family with a cute shirt that says

their only child status is expiring. Want to express holiday cheer? Wear cute sweaters telling your family and

friends Happy Holidays! Your little one’s first birthday? Put them in a cute shirt that says so! These are all perfect

examples of when writing is great on clothing during your session.

-Wear colors that are naturally occurring in the environment. Going to the beach? Blues, whites, khakis, even greens and

blacks are all great colors to wear. Going to the park? Greens, yellows, tans, blacks, whites are great too! You don’t

all have to wear the same color, similar color tones are perfect. You want your family to be seen as a whole, colors

unite well. Exception? Definitely, let the kids stand out with complimentary colors to what you’re wearing.

-Wear something you don’t mind getting a bit wet and sandy or dirty. Being in the South Bay, so many sessions are down

at the beach, especially Manhattan Beach with it’s amazingly beautiful pier! But at any beach, we WILL get in the water near

the end of our session. Your kids WILL get wet! And guess what, you’ll probably get a bit wet too! We may even sit down in

the sand, you will probably have sand in your pockets. And that’s OK!

Bring some extra clothes for the kiddos for the car ride home, or bring towels.

I want each of my clients to look back fondly on their portrait session each time they look at

their portraits. When I see my clients around town, the kids remember how much fun we had at the beach,

and Mom remembers what a great time they all had too.

These are what memories are made of!

Here’s the Roan family having a great time, and getting a bit wet, in Manhattan Beach under the pier

beach portraits, manhattan beach photographer manhattan beach family photographer Roan-58IG

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Holiday Portraits at the Beach {Los Angeles Portrait Photographer}

I met up with Michelle and her beautiful family at their home in Malibu. She wanted to some family portraits at their beach just down the street.

We drove down and parked in front of an unassuming gate, and walked down the most beautiful path through the canyon down to the water’s edge. This part

of the beach is very private and secluded, only known to locals. It was so beautiful! The wide beach and the outcropping of rocks, the huge cliffs and of course the amazing sunset

set for a very dramatic backdrop for their family portraits.

I can tell this family is a beach family, this is their backyard, and I appreciate them sharing it with me for the evening!

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