Happy Birthday, Friend | San Diego Hunger Games Photography

Shortest photo session ever, with absolutely the most prep time. We may be (ahem) in our late thirties, but we still like to play, and my uber-talented friend Erin (of ChoirBox) and I had been brainstorming this session ever since she decided to cover over her previous (less awesome) tattoo with some serious art* (don’t try this at home, kids). Erin has a way with a bow and arrow, and she even MAKES these things . . . plus quivers and all sorts of other leather items. We felt that she should definitely design and sew herself an amazing dress to showcase the tattoo, commission a custom archery target made of natural woven fibers, and head out to the nearest field to take some good photos.

Upon our arrival, we stopped off at my second-favorite photo spot at that location before heading down the hill toward the big, open field. Half way down, we were accosted by a park ranger who, unfortunately, evicted us from the park for possession of a firearm. She was nice about it, but still – no big, open field. So that was sad, but we still had plenty of time to grab a few more portraits at photo spot #2. I love how they turned out! Happy birthday, Erin!

*From Erin:  “Original art made by Chad Whitson based on Psalm 127:4 ‘Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth.’ The symbolism is as follows: two arrows; one for Noah, one for Sascha.  Adam is the bow, I’m the quiver, God is the Archer.”

San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography
San Diego Hunger Games Photography

Ben + Danielle | Hidden Oaks, Ramona

At first, I was like . . . WHERE ON EARTH AM I?? And then, I was like . . . THIS IS THE BEST WEDDING VENUE EVER!! Hidden Oaks in Ramona is definitely hidden, but it is well worth finding! Our nephew Ben and his bride Danielle (see also: proposal and engagement photos) tied the knot here on a beautiful July day, and Melanie Monroe Photography and I had a blast photographing the occasion. The rustic scenery was the perfect setting for lots of burlap, lots of lace, and a big red truck. Congratulations to Ben and Danielle!

Hidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego Photography
Hidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego Photography
Hidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego PhotographyHidden Oaks Ramona Wedding | San Diego Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding Photography
Ben + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyBen + Danielle | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography
Hidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding PhotographyHidden Oaks Ranch Ramona | San Diego Wedding Photography

Rylee & Lucy | Diabetic Service Dog

Melanie Monroe and I were excited to meet a very special dog yesterday, when we photographed our friend Keri’s daughter Rylee and her new chocolate lab, Lucy. Rylee (11) was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April. When I first met Rylee several years ago, she had just saved her mother’s life as a kindergartner who dialed 911 when Keri (also diabetic and pregnant, at the time, with Rylee’s little brother) had a dangerous low and was unresponsive. Now Rylee is dealing with the same disease, and her doctor suggested a diabetic service dog to alert Rylee and her family when lows are eminent – for both Rylee and Keri.

Since the training is very expensive, Rylee’s friends and family joined in with lots of fundraisers to foot the bill. There were hundreds of handmade dog-shaped cookies, Origami Owl necklaces, and a Chick-Fil-A fundraising night! Just last Friday, Lucy, a one-year-old chocolate lab, came home! All $13,000 have been raised, and Lucy is well on her way to being trained to detect lows for both Rylee and Keri. Keri & Rylee’s sweet thank you card to all their friends and donors reads, “To each of you who either sent a donation on our FundRazr page, bought our cookies, attended a fundraiser, bought a necklace, or gave us a donation ‘just because,’ we say THANK YOU! You have helped us more than you will ever know and we could not have done this without you and without God! Thank you for blessing us with this incredible gift and for believing with us that ‘God Will Make a Way!'”

Lucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray PhotographyLucy | Rylee's Diabetic Service Dog | Amy Gray Photography

I Love Lucy | San Diego Family Photography

I’m not really an animal person. I didn’t have them growing up, I didn’t have great experiences with other people’s animals (cats made me sneeze, dogs had no sense of personal space), and I have had no desire to jump into the dog-vortex that has begun to envelop many of my friends recently (and especially my sister, the crazy dog photographer). That said, my friends’ new little Goldendoodle puppy Lucy is super, duper cute. I admit it.

San Diego Natural Light Family Photographer
San Diego Family Photography
San Diego Natural Light Photographer
San Diego Dog Photographer
San Diego Family Photographer
Family Photographer in San Diego
San Diego Family Photographer
San Diego Family Photographer
San Diego Family Photography
San Diego Child Photographer
San Diego Natural Light Family Photography
San Diego Pet Photography

My Kids | San Diego Family Photography

Location scouting and photography-of-my-own-kids often go hand-in-hand. This time, Melanie Monroe Photography and I explored a field nearby, and we brought along our kiddos as subjects. Lissa was in Meet Me in St. Louis last summer, and she got to keep the pretty vintage dress she wore for her costume. I only had indoor shots of her in it, and I wanted to be sure and grab some natural light portraits before she grew out of it. We also brought along some of Steven’s favorite toys and books as props.

Vintage Dress Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Vintage Dress Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Vintage Dress Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Vintage Dress Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Little Girl in Field | San Diego Photography
Cousins Dancing | San Diego Photography
Cousins  | San Diego Photography
Bamboo Forest | San Diego Photography
Cousin Portrait | San Diego Photography
Five Year Old Boy | San Diego Photography
Five Year Old Boy | San Diego Photography
Reading in a Field | San Diego Photography
Beanie Boo Scraps | San Diego Photography
Great-Grandson of a Firefighter | San Diego Child Photography Great-Grandson of a Firefighter | San Diego Child PhotographySiblings in Field | San Diego Child PhotographerPeek-a-bamboo | San Diego Child Photographer

Tea for Three | San Diego Child Photographer

All this green! These photos from last year reminded me how we could sure use some rain around here soon! I was looking back through archives and realized I hadn’t blogged this one yet. It is one of my very favorite sessions from last spring  . . . a tea party in the woods with two little princess nymphs and their beautiful mama.

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Christmas 2013 | Amy Gray Photography | Melanie Monroe Photography

Merry Christmas! This year, our family chose a rustic field location for our portrait session with the wonderful Melanie Monroe. It was handy that my aunt and uncle had just presented both of our children with boots as an early Christmas gift!

Melanie, my sister and photographic partner in crime (and weddings) and I have been exchanging photo sessions at Christmas for the last several years, and I’m so grateful for these images!! You can see our trade-session of her family on her web site HERE. It was one of my favorites of the year, and it has been fun to hear recipients of both of our cards comment on our personalities being apparent from our very different cards this year! You definitely want to check out Melanie’s card. 🙂

Here are just some of the ones I love from our session! Lissa’s good friend Sascha was spending the night that evening, and I couldn’t help but include her in a few shots. She’s one of my favorite subjects :).

Amy Gray Photography Christmas Card Amy Gray Photography Christmas Card

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San Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray Photography
San Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray PhotographySan Diego Family Photography | Amy Gray Photography