Skip to content
May 11, 2017 / THE LAYER MASTER



I’m so excited to wrap this recent portrait, in part because it has been in the works since last year! The Philips kids, from left to right, Quinn, Zak, and older sis Laryn, are a music loving family…from what I’ve seen, fans of strange metal bands from Europe with scary faces and the stuff nightmares are made of! (I’ll just go ahead and apologize now for my indie song choice for this making of video….SORRY PHILIPS FAM!)

Quinn, a rambunctious boy through and through was born 4 feet tall and 50 pounds at birth  😉 …though a few years apart from older brother Zak, I think they share the same clothes!  Zak, a Youtube fanatic and gamer at heart would for sure be the mastermind behind this family operation! Laryn, a very talented musician and one of the most respectful high school kids you’ll meet today has a bright and musical future…she’s just too good! (You can look her up on Instagram and hear for yourself!)

For this portrait, and every portrait,  I wanted to capture the essence of their individual personalities. Their parents, Kiley and April, have caricature drawings of the kids displayed in their house, so I thought we could definitely get away with this fun “street performer” idea with a vintage feel! I hope they enjoy it as much as I did making it!

Check out the making of



March 12, 2017 / THE LAYER MASTER



I want to thank my two nieces, Flavia and Irina, for allowing me to play with this idea!  In creating this portrait as a surprise for their mama’s birthday, I wanted to take a different approach to a typical “smiley” family photo. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been really into the soft lighting and textures of renaissance paintings. My sister-in-law, Diana, (their mom) has a picture in her early 20’s, carrying a young Irina (on right) with a soft and serious expression, and so in creating this portrait I suppose I wanted to show a bit of the same expression. I knew I was going to print this on my favorite Somerset Velvet paper and that this would take on the properties in print of a fine art painting.

I absolutely love this new addition to my portfolio, and growing family portrait album!

Enjoy the rest of the series at





February 27, 2017 / THE LAYER MASTER




In setting up for another shoot I was recently working on, my husband and I decided to take advantage of the moment and shoot this portrait of my 20 week halfway mark in our second pregnancy. We are expecting baby #2 in July, and are very excited for our new addition!

Inspired lately by the light and palette of renaissance portraiture, I decided to move in this direction for my own personal project. Combining 3 body positions to make this final pose took some adjusting in Photoshop, but luckily I found elements in different positions that fit together to express the mood I was going for.

Enjoy the making of, and be sure to check out other works at

September 21, 2016 / THE LAYER MASTER



I love how LPA, Inc. brought new life back to the Los Angeles Valley College campus with its vibrant, airy student center. This project was so fun to collaborate on with none other than my own husband and photographer extraordinaire, Cris Costea.  (It’s OK to plug my own family right? Good! Then go check out his new website! )


What, you want more architectural eye candy? Go check out LPA’s new study on this super rad project! I have had the pleasure of working with Cris on many of their projects over the years, and they are as exciting to work on as they are to experience in person…I’m sure!



September 16, 2016 / THE LAYER MASTER




Meet 5 year old Ryan, super train enthusiast and the son of our good friends, Rex and Melinda Gelert.  I have been so excited to complete this piece as it was a particularly special shoot for me. Rex Gelert, Orange County commercial photographer/director gave me my first internship in photography 11 years ago. Anyone who has tried their hand in the arts for a career will understand that school is but a small stepping stone to learn the very basics of a craft, however, experience is where you’ll find a real education. Looking back, Rex and his studio partner, Cris (to whom I’m now married)  were gracious enough to keep me around, though I was likely more of a pain, than a decent help those first few months! After a summer of Rex and Cris’ school of hard knocks, I suppose I learned enough to get hired on as a studio manager/assistant, which turned out to be some of the most formative years for my career.

I had been thinking recently about a portrait for Ryan, and if you saw his room you would understand why. Ryan, like many boys his age, is REALLY into trains – so much so that he sleeps in a replica of a train car, built by his own dad, of course. None of us were surprised…typical Rex and his go-big-or-go-home-ness! Melinda, mom and videographer, was equally excited about the idea and gave the thumbs up.

We set up a day about a month ago for this shoot, and after some coordination with Melinda, I was blown away to find out that they drove all the way to Western Costume in North Hollywood to rent his wardrobe, an effort that completely made this shot. Little Ryan, and his sweet dog Sadie, took direction like they’ve been doing this for years –  well, because they probably have! Thanks to his awesome cooperation, I had more than 150 great frames to choose from, a luxury seldom granted when shooting the young ones!

I was able to deliver Ryan’s portrait at his 5th birthday party recently, and hope he enjoys it for years to come!

Please check out the making of!


August 30, 2016 / THE LAYER MASTER



You would never believe it by looking at these two lovely ladies, but when their baby boys arrive they will have 8 kids between them!  These two besties from the Bay Area, Shelby (left) and Myra (right) keep close ties in a long distance friendship from Kauai to Salt Lake City, with a few of us lucky girls in the middle!

Earlier this year,  after hearing the news that Myra would be having baby #3, I was selfishly giddy over planning a maternity shoot. I was so excited for her and husband, Troy, as they had recently moved back to Salt Lake after an epiphany that LA wasn’t where they wanted to call home. With Myra finding new talents at Windermere Real Estate and Troy continuing his passion for the fine food industry at Creminelli, a new baby is icing on the cake for all of their exciting life changes as well as a welcome addition for their daughter, Tallulah, and son, Harper.

A few months after Myra’s news, with an ultrasound picture as proof, Shelby announced that she too was pregnant with baby #5. Living in Kauai with her husband, Kelsey, and children, Pheonix, Cruz, Dayton, and Breezy, they are proof that it doesn’t take a village…they are the village! As a working mom, Shelby defines multitasking.  When she’s not killing it at work for Starwood Hotels, she is running any one of her children to hula, pageants, motocross, surfing, modeling, and growing organic “non GMO” 😉 vegetables in her backyard with her husband – that is if he’s not out on his boat, lovingly named the Shelby Dawn, catching Jurassic sized yellow fin tuna! Though I was excited for another baby for the Longley family, I was a bit bummed that I would not be able to photograph her. The likelihood of her being able to make another trip to California by the time she was showing was slim.

About a month ago, Myra and her family decided to take a baby-moon to sunny So Cal. Taking full advantage of the situation I had prepared a number of composite ideas. The day before our shoot, with a house full of the Petersen gang, my doorbell rang. Still lounging around the house in our pajamas, I answered the door to find  a pregnant Shelby on my porch with a box of doughnuts! Knowing that Myra was in town for a visit, no doubt in a fit of pregnant hormones, she literally jumped on a last minute red eye flight after her gender reveal party, to come out and spend a few days together. Now that is love!

With my original plans for Myra’s maternity shoot out the window, I quickly reworked an idea to incorporate both of them. I absolutely love the symmetry and symbolism in this portrait. I am very proud to bring you the making of, and even more excited for my 2 new nephews this year!








August 16, 2016 / THE LAYER MASTER



Meet Ethan and Emmy Cleveland. I couldn’t think of a better way to send off the last of summer vacation than this ode to the beach! They are the children of our creative friends, JB and Danielle Cleveland. When JB isn’t running the show at his real estate development company, JMS Red, you can likely find him tossing the ball around with Ethan in their beautiful yard in Costa Mesa. Danielle, a landscape architect at LPA, can likely be found in the midst of a project around her yard (I wonder why?), crafting with Emmy, or busy planning the best birthday parties for her kids…professional looking DIY cakes and all! No Pinterest fails in this household. 😉

This concept came about when the Clevelands had moved into their new home. Though they were moving to Costa Mesa, they began their journey as a couple, and family in Huntington Beach. Besides depicting their spunky kids in their home-away-from-home, I wanted to incorporate the iconic Huntington Beach Pier. Luckily it’s just a 15 minute drive up PCH when they feel reminiscent!

I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer, and especially this making of video!