Friday, September 12, 2008

We've Moved!

Well, the time has come with the launch of the new redesigned website, for a new-redesigned blog hosted on my own server!

I won't be updating here any more, but the new blog is already active and full of updates!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Sale on Purses & bags!

About two weeks ago, I ordered a new purse, and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival… and it is here!

I was continuously second guessing myself after I placed the order: had I chosen the two images that would work the best together? Would I like the upgrade to leather trim? And how would the hot pink lining look with everything?

It arrived last Thursday afternoon, and after pulling the bubble wrapped package out of the box, I could see that all my worries were for nothing - even in the wrapping it looked amazing!

I love the bucket bag shape, and though its bigger than my last purse (a bit taller) it still fits me well. I love the images I selected and used my special vintage art filters on. They fit together well, and the lining works great with the colors of the bag. And the leather is just perfect - elegant and comfortable!

I was watching Giana the day it arrived during her nap, so when she woke up, I showed her the purse, and asked who the pretty girl on it was. She just grinned, and tossed it over her shoulder. She’s such a girly-girl when it comes to purses!

So what’s the point of this story? Well, I’m so excited about my bag, I’m putting all my custom-designed photo bags on sale! They’re $20-25 off regular price, so now is the time to order yours, and ones for the grandmas for Christmas.

Visit the store’s Photo Purses & Bags
section to order yours today!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Barrie & Mike

This past Saturday, fellow Cosplay friends Mike & Barrie were married in Laguna Niguel Regional Park. Among the cosplay guests, the running joke was that this was the "ultimate cosplay."

(If you don't know what Cosplay is, the combination of the words "costume" and "play" refers to the creation and wear of costumes for occasions outside of Halloween. Many cosplayers attend conventions such as Anime Expo & Commic-Con to meet fellow fans of animated movies, graphic novels, and video games.)

To the left, Mike & Barrie, as I first met them together. (Mike is the one in the gas mask & helmet)... Its no wonder that I didn't recognize Mike at first in his tux!

Before the wedding, I was scheduled to photograph the groomsmen, and I want to thank them all for putting up with my eccentricities. Aside from the traditional, formal standing photos, I made them not only jump off the benches, but catch a 'fainting groom,' participate in a Broadway style kick line, and 'stack up' like commandos along a wall. I think it was completely worth it; they may disagree. The easy part was that most of them were used to me making them do stuff like this from convention photoshoots, so they just looked at me like I was crazy and did it.

The ceremony itself was absolutely beautiful. The decorations made a picnic area at the park gorgeous with white lattice and a flower covered archway framing a picturesque 'wedding tree'.

In addition, Barrie and Mike choose ceremony elements that reflected who they uniquely are: a sand ceremony instead of a candle ceremony & and a sword ceremony.

I'd never seen the sword ceremony,but I loved it! This was not a military sword arch, but a medieval-inspired ceremony: the knight's sword laid between the bride and knight/groom represents the purity of the couple as well as the knight's honor. When the groom takes the bride's hand and helps her step over the sword, it symbolizes their joining together, as well as his vow to defend and protect her.

After the ceremony, we took care of the rest of the formal pictures, then proceeded immediately to the bouquet & garter tosses, followed by cake & a bit of dancing, right there on the grass.

Barrie & Mike, congratulations! Have fun on your honeymoon cruise! And enjoy this little sample of pictures from your wedding day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Canvas Sale!

As promised, its time for a Canvas Sale!

Now through August 25, 2008 you can get 15% off all canvas print purchases!

I'm really excited about offering canvas - I love the texture, and the way the image wraps around the stretcher frame so its ready to hang and looks amazing!

Last week my husband hung our 30x40 wedding canvas over our fireplace. It looks amazing!

Visit the Canvas section of the store to place your order:

Friday, August 1, 2008

Back from Texas

I spent last weekend at the Children and Family Photographers of America conference in Austin, Texas heading up the booth for BStudio, the photographer resources website for Anamaria Brandt that I help manage.

While there, I saw a sample of what another photographer had done with an amazing video tool called Animoto. First thing I did when I had a free moment was to look them up, and when I got home I stared playing around with their test videos (30 second shorts) to get a feel for what they can do with my images.

Here's two little samples I put together:




Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hudson & Carter

Today I went to Hudson’s home to photograph his new baby brother. Carter is just three weeks old, and Hudson couldn’t be prouder to be a big brother.

When I got there, Hudson was thrilled to see me. He had his own toy camera (I’ve got to get one of those) and was showing me how he takes pictures. He wanted to know what all the different equipment pieces I’d brought were for… and when I showed him my umbrellas for the lights, he went into the hall closet to show me that he, too, had umbrellas.

Carter spent most of the session awake, though towards the end we managed to get him to fall asleep for about fifteen minutes - a very prodctive15 minutes though, as some of my favorite images are of him wrapped in his special blanket, just sleeping peacefully.

So Hudson, Carter, and family, enjoy your preview, and I enjoyed visiting you for pictures!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Kira & Raymond

Today I met Kira and Raymond for pictures at my home studio. It was Raymond's first time getting professional pictures taken, just in time for his one year on Tuesday!

I loved how natural the children's interaction was - it was obvious that Kira loved having a baby brother, and that Raymond adored her.

Raymond was an incredibly fun little boy - an active walker and crawler with boundless energy, and a great smile that showed just how much fun he was having being the star of the photo session.

Kira was a pro - she took direction very well, and had a wonderful smile. And she's a great big sister - holding onto Raymond and helping him stay in position, as well as helping get stuff when Mommy needed it.

So Kira and Raymond, thanks for the fun photo session today - and I hope you and your family enjoyed your sneak peak!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Anime Expo

Since 2005, Chris and I have attended Anime Expo, the largest Japanese managa, anime, video games, and culture convention on the west coast. We almost didn't go this year, but the decision was made Monday night to go with Carl and Giana.

While Chris and I didn't dress in costume this year, I did put something together for Giana to wear - a White Mage costume inspired by the Final Fantasy video game series.

We all carpooled out to LA yesterday for the first day, which is an ordeal in and of itself. Giana slept the whole way up, waking up just as we were parking. So after picking up our badges, we started exploring.

My favorite thing about the convention is always the costumes! And as a photographer, I tend to show my appreciation for everyone's hard work by trying to keep a visual record of all the most amazing costumes I encounter which is later posted on in my gallery.

This year was different though: with the exception of a nice Disgaea cosplayer, all my photographs were of Giana experiencing the convention. There were several reasons for this: for one, it was her first convention ever, and she was so cute in her costume! Another was that we were there for less than five hours, and while I did see a lot of people in costume, most of them were the cookie-cutter ones that you can buy on Ebay that, while nice, didn't excite me. I expect Saturday, the day of the Masquerade competition and one of the biggest days of attendence, to have a lot more interesting cosplays.

We visited the Nippon Ichi booth, which is the game company that my husband has done some temp work for this summer, testing the new Rhapsody game. They're one of his favorite game companies, and we stop by their booth every year. This year Chris completed his stuffed Priny collection (the penguin-type creatures in the picture to the left) and picked up the latest art book.

After much wandering, I found a place that sold the exact kitty ears hat that I wanted - black hat with pink ears - and I traded out my hair clips for the hat. When Chris told me that he didn't want to cosplay for this convention, I said that if that was the case I was getting a kitty ears hat... and it did feel very odd to be in street clothes for the first time at a convention. The hat helped a lot.

Giana seemed overwhelmed by all the people at first, but once we had lunch, she just wanted to go and see and poke everything... this included hugging (and trying to take) the Pikkachu stuffed animal that a cosplayer was carying, and feeling the furry texture on another cosplayer's vest. Everyone was very nice about it, willing to pick up the water bottle she threw down and waving at her when she walked over to their group to say hi.

I think that as much as I've enjoyed Anime Expo in the past, the convention has grown way too big for me to really enjoy. Smaller conventions tend to have a more cohesive feel to them, and at those I actually attend panels and participate in some of the events... while at AX the place is so big its hard to find anything or anyone, and to participate in anything tends to involve huge lines with long waits. (This was the first year we've just walked in and picked up our badges without an hour+ wait in line, so it was a very nice year for registration). Of course, no small convention can compete with AX's dealer's hall - 100+ booths selling everything is a pretty amazing selection!

And one of the things it has inspired me to do is to get back to working on the costumes I'd let slide...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

New Website.... in progress peak

I'm really excited about the relaunch of my web site... too excited to wait for the design to be completely finalized and moved onto my own server before I show everyone what's coming!

This will be the 4th (I think) version of my photography site, and I know its going to be the best one yet! For one thing, its a beautiful flash site. But its not just pretty, its full of information not currently found at

Once design is finished (and it does include moving navigation to the left of the images for ease of navigation) you'll be able to find it where the current site is parked. Until then, you can visit it here: Carlson Photography.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Morgan Moves

Today Morgan's mommy let me borrow her for some background testing (just purchased two new backdrops recently, wanted to see their versatility). It worked out well since Morgan turns one in July, so these would also be her official one year pictures... and her first professional pictures ever!

Like many walkers, Morgan was often more interested in walking off the set than sitting still, or standing still... actually, she was more into the running than the walking. For one year, she's fast! We found that playing "chase Mommy" was a good way for action shots, giving me time for two snaps max between starting her at the backdrop and her running the 8 feet to the lights.

Yet despite the times she wanted to be in the Cheerios off the set, Morgan also gave us the opportunity for great moments of beautiful images! Enjoy your preview, and thanks for modeling for me Morgan!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Introducing... Canvas

For some time now I've been looking into canvas wall prints... I love canvas - there's something in the texture and the way the image stretches around the wood frame.. they're gorgeous wall art, lightweight, and don't need to be framed.

So I've been researching companies, and ordered a sample from one, which arrived in the mail today!

Its a 24x20 - though I can get sizes from 8x10 to 30x40 - my assistant Elizabeth is inspecting the quality of the piece in this photo to the right. It is also useful to show the scale of the piece - definitely larger than life.

I am going to be ordering a few more samples - something smaller in color, and its time to decide which image from my wedding is going above the fireplace in full color as a 30x40 canvas...

And I'm going to be holding an introductory sale on my canvases... just as soon as I pin down pricing... so watch the site for updates on that.

Edit: My darling DC wanted to show off his impression of the picture on the canvas as well this evening:

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Giana... in the park

I met Giana and her mommy at the park today for the 'second half' of her 15 month shoot. With Giana being such an active toddler, I hoped that the interesting nature elements at the park - the rocks, the grass, and the water - would be a fun place for her to explore. And it was... but I'd also underestimated her hatred of the grass and ground with bare feet and how much she loves other people, especially other children.

So we started off in casual clothes, and got some pictures with Mommy once we found a mostly-kid free patch of grass and shade...
After that, we switched outfits, and managed to get a few barefoot pictures before Giana insisted we put her sandals on so she could go exploring... so we headed down to the water again...

Towards the end of our explorations I switched to Black and White... and suddenly it felt like I was photographing for a fashion magazine... I think this is where I found some of my favorite, and least traditional styled, images.
So Jenafer and Giana, thanks for spending the afternoon at the park with me. I had a lot of fun... and I hope you enjoyed your preview!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Giana - 15 Months

My godbaby Giana is now 15 months old... so it was time for a photo session!

She's been growing up so fast... today was the first day that she couldn't walk under our dining room table without the top of her head brushing up against the glass.

She's interested in everything - from the remotes and game controllers to the cupboards and the cats. The cats still aren't sure what to make of her. Two hide when she comes over, one plays with her when she has the fishing pole, and the last accepts her petting as long as it stays gentle.

She's also become quite the toddler - she wants to explore, to move, and to be independent. Sit still? No way! Stay in place for a few photos? Yeah, right! So we took lots of breaks for snacks and to wander about the house, talk to the kitties, and get into things. In between the breaks, we had some wonderful photo moments.

So here's a quick preview... "hippie Giana," "Classic Giana," "Vintage Giana." Enjoy!

And, of course, with Daddy too!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Vintage Teaser

Over the past month or so, I've been compiling outfits and items for the creation of a vintage set for special sessions. When complete, it will consist of outfits and props for children ages 6 months through 10 years or so... which will probably take a while as I'm combing thrift stores, ebay, and everywhere I can think of for the pieces, all of which will be unique.

Its not done yet, but I am so excited about it that I couldn't resist running a few tests... thanks Taylor and Nathan for being such great models!

Images shown are of the same pose, but processed for three different, distinct vintage styles.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

1, 2, 3, Look at Me!

I've been photographing a lot of "sets of three" lately, which has been a lot of fun getting them all to interact with one another and just be siblings. My latest was the Tomé kids, who's sneak peak is right here:

1 - Camielle. Grown up at age six, but not too grown up to care about lost teeth or aways saying cheese. Never grow out of that!

2 - Ava. She's grown up so much this school year. At the beginning of the year she was shy, always hovering around her teacher at recess instead of playing... you'd never know the way she runs out to recess now!

3- Christian - All action, all boy. At one year he's running before he fully has his balance, just to see how far he can get. And when you go to take his picture, cheer and clap and he'll cheer right along with you!

Just a note: I'm currently offering free children's sessions to Creek parents who have purchased Spring Pictures so that they have the opportunity to get all their children, even those who are too old or too young to attend the preschool, photographed. This offer does expire on June 12, 2008 so any Creek parents who are interested in this need to schedule their on-site session asap.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Best Tea Party Ever"

"It was the best tea party ever!"

That's what Taylor said as she danced along the sidewalk after her birthday party at Olivia's Dollhouse in Tustin, a big grin upon her face.

She's just spent the past two hours with seven of her school friends dressing up in princess clothes and jewelry, getting their hair and makeup done, participating in a fashion show, and having a tea party.

So here's a sneak preview from the party:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Newborn Model Call

I've realized lately that its been way too long since I've photographed a newborn, so its time to list my first blog special.

Free Session for Newborn Models under 4 weeks of age. That's right, no session fee (regular $150) to have your little one's first professional pictures taken.

Parents will have access to a password-protected online gallery of images where they will have the opportunity to order prints at VIP pricing.

Please contact me ( or 714 423-0662) if your baby fulfills the requirements and you are interested in having your newborn model.

Offer expires June 30, 2008.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Newlyweds Return

My brother Kenny was married May 3rd, and has been on his honeymoon ever since... but he and his new wife Selah return tonight; their plane touches down in 15 minutes so I figure its safe now to post about them without the secret presents left on their dining room table being discovered here.

I have been planning this surprise since... well, its been months, and I assembled everything except the photos ahead of time. The photos though were the tough part for me - I wasn't shooting this wedding, I was in it, so I had no idea if the particular images that I needed for the gifts were going to be photographed or not. Luckily for me, I had my husband there during the formal pictures, and he was shooting with my camera. So between his work, a few I snapped off in between events, and an image sent to me by the official photographer, Preston Aldous, I had everything I needed.

This image is the "gift wrap" - Satin boxes filled with matching sage rose petals and an organza bag (also sage, her wedding color) that holds the presents.

Here's what is in each of the boxes:

Selah will receive a custom designed necklace; while similar in style to the "Single Drop Heart Necklace" in my store, this one differs in the dangling charm - a pale sage lattice heart.
(Image by Christoper Carlson)

Kenny's gift is a keychain - it holds two small pictures inside the black leather folio the snaps closed. I added a small "made with love" charm to the chain.
(Left image by Preston Aldous, Right image by Christoper Carlson)

I wanted to make sure that each of them had a small portable token of each other from the wedding so that when they were forced to part and go back to work and normal life, they would be able to carry a memento of their special day.

So to Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Short, congratulations and welcome home!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tea Time!

Stuffed Bears. Plastic Tea cups. A shady spot on the grass. All it takes is a little bit of imagination and you've got a tea party better than the one that shows up in the garden of The Marsh Hare in Alice in Wonderland. Because when you're almost five, and one of the most imaginative little girls out there, everything is possible.

Taylor will be five this month, and is celebrating her birthday with a tea party at Olivia's Dollhouse in Tustin. So of course we had to have a tea party for her pre-birthday portraits!

Thanks Taylor for being so amazing by just being yourself!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I wanted to wish all the Mommies out there a Happy Mother's Day!

My husband and I spent our day visiting my mom and his mother before returning home to our four kitties. I'm now working through proofs from a shoot earlier this week, and relaxing after working hard to get all the mother's day jewelry gifts finished in time.

I had the opportunity earlier this week to photograph Cecilia and her 7 month old sister Daniella - both girls are wonderfully photogenic, with amazing smiles. They were fun to work with, and we got some beautiful images. CeeCee is a great big sister - I can tell she really loves her baby.
I'm looking forward to seeing Daniella again once she's standing. I know we'll get some fun stuff.

Here's a few favorites from the shoot:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Weisenberger - Short Wedding is Coming

My brother Kenny's wedding is coming up the first Saturday in May, and now that its April, May is scary-close around the corner. While I'm not photographing the wedding, I am in the wedding party, and this Sunday my mom and I are hosting a shower for Selah. As preparations for the shower are in full swing, it brings to mind memories of my own wedding preparations just a year ago. I'm so excited for them both.

Here are a few pictures from their engagement session. I can't believe these were taken last October! It feels like just last week when we were at the beach...