Psst.. I'm spilling my best secret to photographing kids..

All of my beach photography sessions lately have got me thinking and pushing my own boundaries.  It occurred to me that I have a legit secret to photographing kids that might help you take pictures of your own kids that will make you swoon.

Here it is, my secret to photographing children, especially on the beach or in the backyard in the summertime or playing in their bedroom any day of the week. 

It’s pretty simple:  Don’t try. 

Say what?!  I know, to all of the overachievers out there (myself included) that sounds like absolute blasphemy.  But I swear to you, when I am not trying to make it all perfect, when I can let go and let my gut lead the way, when I am not preoccupied with capturing the perfect photograph, that’s when the magic happens.

So, this is my one-stop advice column for photographing your kids this summer.

Don’t try so hard.

Observe them.  What are they doing right now that you wish you could bottle right up?  Let them do that.  Try to refrain from interfering.   Be a fly on the wall.  Be patient.  Blend into the background and anticipate those quirky, thoughtful, lovable moments.

And just let it happen.  Let go of perfection: the perfect light, the perfect composition, the perfect smile, the perfect Pinterest boards.  Just shoot pictures from the heart and I promise you, in 15 years, you’ll be so happy you have these photos of your kids being exactly who they are today.

Here's a few favorite photographs from 2 beach sessions this month.  Many break the rules with composition and lighting, but sometimes the moment and the expressions are all that matter.  

Stony Lake / Lake Michigan:

kids bike photograph
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography

Malibu, California:

malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu beach dance photograph

Oh, and the best part is that when kids are in their happy place, sometimes they’ll just look up at you with the best smile or glance and you might still get those perfect beach portraits...

Without even trying.

malibu children's portrait
malibu beach portrait

hopeful words for a new year..

I have to admit, I’ve been proceeding cautiously into this New Year, until I read the following passage a dear friend in Los Angeles shared with me from her local Japanese newspaper:

"Unlike the 2013 Year of the Snake, which gradually shed its old ways,
the Year of the Horse will charge forward with unbridled energy.  
Seeds planted during the Snake year
will enable dreams and goals to finally come to fruition.  
Everything is possible and anything can happen."

2013 was a tough year for my family, but the gratitude and strength that I now feel is astounding.  To think that 2014 will “charge forward with unbridled energy” is exactly what I need to believe and I instantly wanted to spread these hopeful words to all of you. 
Cheers to a new year, to new beginnings, and for our deepest desires to come true.  

Here's a couple of moments from my recent California sessions that I found quite fitting for the "unbridled energy" ahead.


wishing you a peaceful and memorable 2014!

some days are a little bit extraordinary.

how i did not know about this amazing beach when i lived in los angeles is beyond me. is it not extraordinary? these photographs were captured this past november during my 3rd trip back to california since the move. and while i could kick myself for not discovering this beach sooner, i am beyond grateful that this family continues to choose me to create artful memories of their children. i will never forget watching the brilliant pink sky from the parking lot as we said our good-byes. this beach day was a breath of fresh air for all of us - a deep, long exhale - and if i could have paused time, i certainly would have.

it's because of times like these, there will always be a piece of los angeles that feels like home to me.

Malibu Fine Art Children's Photographer
Malibu Fine Art Children's Photography
Malibu Beach Fine Art Children's Photography
Southern California Beach Portrait Photography
Southern California Fine Art Portrait Photography
Los Angeles Documentary Fine Art Children's Photography
Los Angeles Documentary Child Photographer
Los Angeles Documentary Fine Art Child Photographer
Malibu Beach Family Photography
Malibu Beach Family Photography

realizing life while we live it

“I didn't realize. All that was going on in life and we never noticed… Good-bye, Good-bye, world. Good-bye, Grover's Corners… Good-bye to clocks ticking and Mama's sunflowers... And new-ironed dresses and hot baths. And sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? - Every, every minute?”

-Thornton Wilder, “Our Town”

santa monica beach photographer

I’ve wanted to see the play “Our Town” since I was 14 years old. I remember being moved to tears as I first watched Emily Webb’s goodbye monologue so candidly performed by “Rayanne” on “My So Called Life” (circa 1995).

I could never get her tone and those words out of my head. Even 15 years later, while preparing for our recent move away from Los Angeles, I would hear myself silently ramble my own version. “Goodbye, California. Goodbye to palm trees and Runyon Canyon. Goodbye to eternal summer and flip flops in January. Goodbye, mountains. Goodbye to Bhakti Yoga and gelato on Sunset. Goodbye to our coffee shop up on the hill. Goodbye, my friends…“ Heart-wrenching, it was, to leave that life.

Sometimes I wish that I wasn’t so emotional and sentimental, but then I realize that we are the way we are for a reason. Maybe that’s why I am a photographer. I can’t help but become overwhelmed with the little things.


We arrived to our new life in Michigan one month ago today. My tears over what I was leaving behind were washed away once I realized our new life’s surroundings. We were met with the sight of leaves turning the vibrant colors of fire. We have new cities to explore and new beaches to discover. For the first time in 10 years, I’m not surrounded by buildings and millions of people... and I feel so much more relaxed. Nights are finally quiet enough to sleep undisturbed. There is a clear view of the sky out my windows and I can see the stars at night! (Sometimes you just know when you are on the right track. And I finally saw “Our Town” this past weekend, performed in our new town.) :)


As I’m sitting here at my computer, across the country from where I was a month ago, I can’t help but reflect on the whirlwind that is life. For my clients friends, near and far, I can only hope that the photographs we make together might act as daily reminders to be present and to fully realize this beautiful life you are living… every, every minute!

santa monica child photographer
santa monica child photographer

a sunless sunset (but beautiful nonetheless)

i've met and photographed so many unique families lately and this one was no exception. in fact, i've wanted to meet this family since they first emailed me in the fall of 2007! i was so excited when they wrote again a few weeks ago to see about documenting this special time. not only are they expecting a little boy, but they are also in the process of adopting their second daughter from China, which i think is so wonderful. even though we didn't get a typical sunny california beach day, the light was soft and still so beautiful in its own way. i had such a great time with this little one for sure. at 3, she has such a big girl voice and made me smile the whole time through. i can't wait to meet the little one who is due the first week of July! thanks again for braving the unusually chilly ocean air; it was worth it for sure!

Teri Genovese Photography
Teri Genovese Photography
Teri Genovese Photography
Teri Genovese Photography
Teri Genovese Photography
Teri Genovese Photography

“we take ourselves too seriously”

This was an evident theme in my yoga class this morning taught by Govindas (an amazing, amazing yoga instructor at SMPY). He also spoke of playfulness: letting ourselves go, letting go of worry, and letting go of self consciousness. As adults, we so easily lose sight of what it’s like to just be… to feel such pure, simple joy that can come only from letting go and fully experiencing a moment.. I think there’s so much to be learned from children. They own playfulness. They know, without even knowing, what it’s like to be enveloped in the joy of life. I think we should all start taking notes from the children around us, like this little 6 year old who had me smiling constantly.. and laughing and running from the waves coming in to shore.. the cold water tickling our toes.