Kami & Brandon are friends that we met through a local wedding vendor network. They asked us to help them create a unique Christmas card to send to their friends & family and decided to include light painting in their outdoor family portrait session at Field & Pond.

The day of their portrait session was stormy to say the least. But the images we got are a great reminder that sometimes a good storm is the perfect setting for a memorable session. Provided that the rain and lightning take a break right when you need them to.

Please enjoy these 4 images of Kami, Brandon, and their 4 boys, that were selected for this year’s card design. (which is top secret)

outdoor family piggy back portrait




Kasen’s good-looking mommy & daddy have made appearances on our blog before.

First, for their engagement in old town Folsom;

Next, for their wedding at Serrano Country Club;

Most recently, they visited our studio for newborn studio portraits.

Studio portraits are a classic, traditional way to capture the fleeting first days as a new family.

family with newborn studio portrait

daddy with newborn studio portrait

mama with newborn studio portrait

Inside our Sacramento studio, we have the luxury of using either natural window light or our professional lighting equipment in a controlled environment to create just the right look. We split the session to include both styles for baby Kasen.

naked newborn baby frog pose

We love incorporating sentimental items into images. Kasen’s daddy brought his own first pair of cleats to use in this baseball themed image.

baseball themed newborn portrait

Kasen, just 9 days old when he visited the studio, slept peacefully through the entire session. Some newborns need a little extra TLC when being photographed and we allow 2-3 hours to accommodate their needs. Kasen was as easygoing and naturally happy to be posed as babies come, and we were finished with everything mom & dad were hoping to get in under an hour.

sleepy newborn bear hat

We are looking forward to seeing Kasen and his family grow in the coming years, we are so honored that they continue to choose us to preserve their milestones with portraiture.

Most destination weddings we photograph are planned months, even years, in advance.  But every once in a while, we receive an inquiry for destination wedding photography that’s right away. Ina & Alan called us about a week prior to their San Francisco Russian Orthodox elopement and asked for an hour of coverage. Even without guests, (maybe especially so) every wedding deserves to be documented and preserved with photographs.

Their venue, The Holy Virgin Cathedral of San Francisco, is under renovation which posed additional considerations for photographs, but Mischa made the most of his time with the happy couple who were in town from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Here’s a few of our favorites.

Holy Virgin Cathedral of San Francisco





Holy Virgin Cathedral of San Francisco











Ashleigh and Frank make me so happy.

I’ve been looking through their images for the past couple hours: collecting images requested by their reception venue – The Firehouse, trying to decide what to share beyond what Mischa already shared here… and one thing has been consistent. I have been smiling the entire time.

Their unconventional choice for a two-part wedding:  a short ceremony at City Hall in San Francisco followed a few days later by a reception dinner in Sacramento – was beyond perfect for me (as I had just begun my third trimester and was ready to slow down a bit)

It made the whole experience less stressful and rushed than many weddings seem to be, and we really had a chance to get to know them and enjoy their events.

I dare you not to fall in love with these two:

Making even the justice of the peace laugh on a Wednesday afternoon

City Hall marriage certificate


Their close family & friends gathered to witness the ceremony in the City Hall rotunda.

SF City Hall Rotunda Ceremony


Mischa sent me to the 4th floor to catch a bird’s-eye view of the ring exchange.

Wedding rings from above


While he stayed on the 2nd floor to catch the emotion. It truly seems like they only have eyes for each other here.

wedding ring exchange


This is one of the two images they chose to have enlarged on metal to display at their reception dinner. It was such a treat for us to have our work displayed while we photographed the second part of their event.

Bride & Groom inside City Hall


The attitude here is everything. Because I know that they’re half a second away from bursting into laughter again.

sassy bride & groom


They adore each other so much….

City Hall Romantic Kiss


…and were willing to do all the goofy things Mischa suggested.

Bride & Groom window snuggles


I crouched (gracefully and with ease – ha!) to get this image so as not to photo-bomb Mischa’s angle with my sweaty, pregnant self.

City Hall Black & White


He got the shot he was looking for, so I’d say it was a success for “team Brisha”

SF City Hall kiss


This is the second image Ashleigh and Frank had printed on metal to display at their reception. Directly behind the head table, it drew attention throughout the night.  Everyone had heard about me throwing the veil for this shot and praised me for my tenacity and energy while so obviously pregnant.

SF City Hall exterior veil


This is one of my favorites. Their look is so classic, but with personality too. It reminds me that we had to keep pausing to manage the tourists who wanted to take a picture too.

Bride & Groom seriously


Ashleigh is so playful and vibrant here that I couldn’t help but include it. I will fondly remember our visit to City Hall for their ceremony with this lasting impression of fun and love.

hide & seek bride


What’s a wedding blog post without a ring shot.

Cheers coaster wedding rings


A little reception scene setting with the head table at the Firehouse Restaurant in Old Sacramento. There’s our shot on metal, looking fabulous!

Firehouse reception head table


The entire venue looked fabulous. To see their favorite images from Ashleigh & Frank’s reception, check out their blog post here.

Firehouse wedding reception


I loved that with the relaxed schedule, Ashleigh & Frank actually got to greet and visit with their guests.

Firehouse reception guests


The weather was absolutely perfect. Not chilly at all, and a light breeze kept anyone from feeling too warm either.

Firehouse reception bride guests


When the sun set, the lighting in the courtyard stayed warm and magical. Heartfelt toasts made us laugh & cry.

Firehouse reception after dark


Ashleigh & Frank had their first dance under the open sky.

Firehouse first dance


There may have been tears on both sides of the camera here.

Firehouse first dance


One shot they requested specifically was a nod to Frank’s Cuban heritage and the combining of their families. Here are the most important men in Ashleigh’s life, pretending to smoke cigars (nobody actually smokes) and drink cocktails (maybe a few of them were actual cocktails)

well dressed man with cigars


Here’s our gorgeous bride with her brother, her son, her husband, her father & her grandfather. Images like this are so fun to create.

Bride at the bar


Just before we left the party, we took a few moments in the alley with just Ashleigh & Frank to get this last shot. Mischa sure has lovely handwriting when he’s using a light source to spell “love” from right to left under specific time constraints.

Light Painted Love

Ashleigh & Frank are in love and create love. We fell in love with them and they treated us like family from the very first moment through the moments she insisted on sending me home with 3 slices of wedding cake (one of each flavor) and continuing on after the wedding day(s).

I owe her a huge Thank You for the CUTEST new baby outfit you’ve ever seen. I hope this post will be a good start. Thank you Ashleigh. Thank you Frank. You make me smile with my heart.

– Bri (& Mischa too)


It’s that time of year!

School is in, pumpkins are everywhere and it won’t be air-conditioner season again until Spring (at least, right?!)  Time to dig out your boots, flannels and knitted accessories and book a portrait session for your gorgeous family! Because it’s almost time to send out holiday cards. (Yes, Halloween was 2 days ago).

You’ve probably seen a Fall-themed family portrait or two recently on your social media feed. Many folks are planning ahead and getting their family photos taken before the rush of the holidays set in. Hours spent picking the perfect outfits and hiring a professional photographer just to drop a digital file into a pre-made template on the internet… even if they would really prefer that the color was just a bit different, or they could combine the text from one with the design from another.

Whether you prefer a traditional portrait, or something further outside the box, when you have Mischa design a card for you, the results will be EXACTLY what you want. From retouching individual images on the card to finessing the design with you until you love it. WE LOVE helping our clients get creative with their holiday cards and knowing that their friends and family will receive something truly unique.

Here are some cards we’ve designed in years past.

Starting with ours from last year….

Happy Holidays & a Joyful New Year

Purcell holiday card back

We mixed a silly idea that we shot in-studio with a more traditional family photo of us cutting down our Christmas tree (something we do every year at the same tree farm). And one more of our son all dressed up at Thanksgiving (because we think he’s just so darn cute). The card itself is a double-sided, postcard-style on 5×7 card stock. We had our envelopes pre-printed with our return address, as well as the delivery address – making the whole thing pretty darn easy once we found someone to help us add stamps to them all  – thanks, mom!

Our friends the Hasseys have been getting their holiday cards done through us for a few years now. Though we won’t spoil this year’s theme or design, here’s a peek at their past cards:


We started out just doing a family portrait update for them. The holiday cards were an afterthought.

Fun Holiday Card idea

Cool Holiday card idea
When you open so many similar looking cards, a unique idea like this really has lasting impact.


They had such a positive response to their 2011 card, we thought up this concept for 2012. Fancy clothes, with umbrellas & rainboots!

But it wasn’t raining…. so that “rain” is actually a sprinkler set up in their backyard with a little extra help from Photoshop to make it look like it’s coming from the sky more evenly than it was. We used “spot UV” coating on this image so that parts of the card were shiny while others are more matte. The letters in “Merry Christmas”, their umbrellas, and their boots are super shiny and smooth when you hold the card in your hand.

unique holiday card idea

The backside was decided upon while we viewed and designed the card all together. They liked this more candid style photo of the youngest Hassey walking away from the sprinkler set. (it’s a little more obvious that they’re standing in front of a sprinkler here, eh?) The text fit the image and gave us all a chuckle. Holiday card design can be fun!



Night portraits with light painting! We hiked down to some abandoned railroad tracks (as in totally inactive and fenced off – and yes, probably a few No Trespassing signs, though it was really REALLY dark) and brought some fun props to get a totally different style of holiday card image. Each shot took between 30 seconds and 3 minutes of  holding reasonably still in the pitch blackness while Mischa ran around like a goof, as each of his ideas came to fruition. These are the images and design we came up with.

In this image, the red & green orbs of light behind the family and the flash on their faces is all done in camera. The text was added during card design.

night portrait christmas card

In this image, “Love” was written in light by Mischa and “The Hasseys” was added in Photoshop. The length of exposure allowed more of the scenery to be visible. Pretty cool stuff.

love light painting


The concept: Holiday sweaters and musical instruments playing together as a family, with a little nod to Norman Rockwell values. Their sentiment of choice: a quote from the (new) classic Christmas movie, “Elf”. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear”.

musical family holiday card

So, of course we set them up outside their own front door posed as carolers.

the best way to spread Christmas Cheer


Here are a couple of my other favorites from years past:

The Bowie family live on a farm and love their animals, so capturing their style meant fresh air, hay, and – of course – farm animals.

fall kids

One side is a favorite image of the kids from their session (sitting in the horse corral). The other, a silly photo of the family chasing a chicken around the yard.

from our roost to yours


Another great example of combining two styles of photography from one session and emulating a template they’d seen and liked, but not quite loved is the Berridge family holiday card from 2011:

One side has a more photo-journalistic style of family photo, with everyone blowing dandelion seeds into the air.

wishing you holiday card


While the other side has a very traditional family portrait in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – without additional text. Something grandma is going to enjoy having on her fridge for months after the holiday season has passed.

Golden Gate Bridge family portrait


Last but not least is one of my favorites because it throws so many of the “rules” for holiday cards out the window. Our dear friends came to us with this idea and we couldn’t have been more excited.

“Could you make us into ogres and have us chasing smaller versions of ourselves?”

Why yes, yes we can:

out of the box card

You may notice that the sentiment is “Happy ______ !”

They loved the card and idea so much that they decided to over-order and use them for more than just one occasion. A fill-in-the-blank card for all manners of correspondence.

On the back, they went about as traditional as these two get, a happy portrait of themselves and space to write a personal note.

postcard couples portrait


Hopefully these card examples have gotten you thinking about possibilities for your own future cards.

We have mini-sessions still available if what you want is a quick appointment on one of three specific dates and locations:

Sunday, November 22nd – Sacramento – Land Park
Saturday, December 5th – San Francisco – Baker Beach
Sunday, December 6th – Sacramento – Old Town

If your style is a little more outside the box and you’ll need more time and flexibility when it comes to location…. do, please call us soon so we can get you on the calendar in time for a super sweet 2015 holiday card that really represents the individual that is you and the uniqueness that is your family.