fall mini sessions!

I'm excited to say that I'm offering mini sessions this fall! 

These mini sessions will be one Saturday per month in Huntington Beach, CA. 30 minute sessions and you get 20 edited images delivered via online gallery. Dates: September 10, October 8, November 19, & December 10. I will have 4 time slots available for each. (Those times & locations will be arranged privately). 

The time frame for minis are perfect for updated family photos, kids who focus well, single child families, a budget friendly option, or capturing sibling/parent combinations, all with an overall focus on capturing the essence of your family. They're simply shortened versions of my more in-depth sessions!

Please contact me if you're interested! 

Browse more of my photography here

hello, baby Hadley.

I absolutely love seeing the early days of a new life. Newborns are so tiny and snuggly, parents are so tired, and big sibling toddlers have no clue what's going on. The newborn days are so temporary that it makes it all beautifully chaotic. 

baby Hadley is the newest addition to this cute family I've known for a while (the mama is a teacher at my old high school)! Hadley shares a birthday with Emma Watson so she's obviously destined to be smart and beautiful and interesting; it's an Aries thing ;) 

oh man. all the cuteness just melts me! babies babies babies all day.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

little wildflowers

wildflowers bloom every year on the top of a hill in my city, and they're gone in the blink of an eye. When I spotted their appearance this Spring, I knew I needed to find some cute sisters to photograph there, FAST! 

These girls were such a dream. So much personality and so much whimsy. Quinn is super funny and smart and I loved hanging out with her.

These fields of wildflowers are just magic, and this family was the perfect fit for a setting like this :) 

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
See my art in
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

why I photograph childhood

little Michelle, circa 1994

little Michelle, circa 1994

When I was a kid, I was hyper aware of growing up. I dreaded it. I loved childhood. I was so in tune with the fact that it was fleeting and that my life would not always allow me to run and play whenever I wanted, that my imagination would never be quite what it was then, that circumstances and responsibilities change as time passes. I used to get sad about my peers being in a hurry to grow up, thinking “you have the rest of your life to be grown up!” 

This feeling never went away. I’ve struggled with my Peter Pan complex so much. How do I keep the things I love so much about childhood in my adult life? How do I hold on to the sense of freedom and innocence of childhood amidst responsibility and awareness of horrible things in the world and the tendency of humans to over-complicate life? 

baby Lauren, 2010.

baby Lauren, 2010.

I have been drawn to babies and little kids since I WAS a little kid. I started working with kids when I was 15, because it was the most natural thing in the world for me. I never stopped. I took on part-time nanny work at 18 and I still do it to this day because it fills me up so full of love that I could explode. It wasn’t far into my nanny years that I started picking up a camera for a different reason than I ever had before: to freeze the tiny little things that the kids I loved did so that I wouldn’t forget. The kids all grew so fast that week to week, everything was constantly different. So many of the moments I was inspired by were truly split-seconds that weren’t repeated, or they only happened for a few weeks and then they were gone. Sometimes I look back at the photos I took and I can see things that the same kids still do years later, and I LOVE that. 

toddler Lauren, 2011.

toddler Lauren, 2011.

I fell in love with all of it. I fell in love with using my camera to make visual art from the moments that whisper quietly: this is childhood. The sense of wonder and the natural tendency to just BE. I fell in love with watching and playing and non-verbally training the kids to ignore my camera and just play with me. Childhood lifestyle photography. I just speak the language of it. 

Andrew & Lauren, 2011.

Andrew & Lauren, 2011.

I’m sharing this because I want to share my heart and my perspective and what I love to do. And partly because I want to encourage people to slow down. To look at little things and let those things fill them up. Sometimes I’m so full of words and stories and emotions that I don’t even know where to start sharing because the attention span of social media doesn’t have a great reputation. 

I want to be there for your family. For this moment. Because it’s not going to be exactly like this again. I want you to remember how it all felt: the snuggles and the giggles and the personalities and the emotional drama of a toddler melt-down and the tiny-ness of them and all the love. It all moves so fast and I know that life is so busy, and to me that makes it even more important to somehow preserve it. To me, life and love are art, and I just want to create as much art as possible. 

me & Declan, 2015.

me & Declan, 2015.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

 

#yeahfieldtrip 3.0

Three weeks ago, I was in the middle of one of my most favorite experiences each year. Tucked away in El Capitan Canyon, just north of Santa Barbara, over 400 photographers gather to connect and to learn from each other and to play. We call it Photo Field Trip.

I’m having a harder time this year finding words for my week at field trip. I think I was more present. I was busy and I was over-stimulated with new information and socializing and the fresh air and the lack of sleep, but my mind seemed to stay quieter, in a good way. I focused on connecting with old friends and new friends and being comforted by the fact that these people are kindred creative spirits. I took some practical classes and some live-shoot classes. I scribbled notes and documented what I could while remaining conscious of the experience of it all. I navigated among the familiar settings and new faces with a little bit more ease. I laughed a lot. I took some deep breaths. I looked at the stars, guided by an astronomer. I talked to people about my hopes for my creative business and was greeted with encouragement. I asked questions. I listened and watched more than anything. There are so many options of how to fill your time at field trip, but even if you love what you chose to do, there’s always a trace of FOMO. But I very much enjoyed my time and the friends I’ve made through this wonderful community. The words and feelings I’ve collected from all three years at field trip have stayed with me and have deeply become a part of my business and philosophy. I’m so very grateful.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the week!
(click to view my posts from year 1 and year 2

I always wish I had more time. I wish that I was better at socializing. But I did my best to learn and I have good conversations with interesting people and get some images that I love. And that's more than enough.  

xo, Michelle

P.S. I did a little illustrated portrait project while I was there and I’m still working on it, so I will share those when I’m finished :)

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook.
See my art in
my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

nat + matt, engaged.

IMG_5594-1 I've known Natalie a loooong time. Like 15 years. She's one of my sister's best friends. When she got engaged to Matt and asked me to take their engagement photos, I was so excited! They are so fun and playful and sweet together. She gave me total artistic freedom, and they were so easy to work with.

Matt: "On a scale from 1 to the best models you've worked with, where are we?" Me: "Well I usually work with toddlers, so you're pretty high up there."

IMG_5615-4 IMG_5629-6 IMG_5693-10 IMG_5752-13 IMG_5855-21 IMG_5878-23 IMG_5892-25 IMG_5919-27 IMG_5958-30 IMG_5996-35 IMG_6042-40 IMG_6055-41 IMG_6120-47 IMG_6220-56 IMG_6256-61 IMG_6296-64 IMG_6302-67 IMG_6313-70 IMG_6382-77 IMG_6387-78 IMG_6411-82 IMG_6435-85 IMG_6477-90

I'm so very happy for them. I can't wait for their wedding!

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

a loving and wild family session

IMG_4799-33 oh my goodness, I loved my time with this family. They are adorable and lovely and so real. Jenna is a  girl boss and a wonderful mama. Her kids are so sweet and wild. I love that combo. We went for a more Christmas-y vibe with this session and I love it.

IMG_4834-41

IMG_4382-6 IMG_4482-2 IMG_4591-9 IMG_4603-11 IMG_4606-12 IMG_4616-15 IMG_4663-21 IMG_4741-26 IMG_4756-28 IMG_4764-30 IMG_4789-32 IMG_4824-39 IMG_4847-44 IMG_4909-54

Don't you just want to snuggle that little baby?! She stole my heart.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

lifestyle session: cousins as best friends

IMG_3484-13 I loved getting to document the wild and crazy love that the boys I babysit share with their cousins. They're super close and the boys' mom wanted to remember this phase of life with photos. 3 sets of siblings... 10 kids. Lots of running around and giggles. So much cuteness.

IMG_3448-7 IMG_3471-11 IMG_3496-15 IMG_3522-17 IMG_3545-19 IMG_3555-21 IMG_3593-26 IMG_3603-27 IMG_3618-29 IMG_3623-30 IMG_3646-35 IMG_3673-39 IMG_3681-41 IMG_3762-54

Childhood is my favorite thing. So much life in those little bodies.

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

best of 2015

IMG_2311*-34 I'm still in New Year's reflection + planning mode, so I thought I would gather up my favorite images specifically from my sessions in 2015. The year itself felt weird, but I remember all the sessions clearly. 2015 saw my biggest photography improvement so far, for sure. My style and my eye were more clearly defined and fine-tuned. I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to do this. I'm really proud of what I made last year, both in photos and fine art. I always wish to do more, create more, shoot more. I feel like I'm just starting and the possibilities are waiting for me.

So here is my best of 2015: 

IMG_0961*-19 IMG_1134*-38 IMG_2178*-72 IMG_4512*-20 IMG_4800*-61 IMG_5046*-18 IMG_6358*-3 IMG_6873*-58 IMG_0187*-12 IMG_1463*-14 IMG_2171*-6  IMG_2348*-39 IMG_2515*-58 IMG_5104-29 IMG_5014-15 IMG_5470-90 IMG_4180-40 IMG_4206-45

IMG_3484-13 IMG_3762-54

IMG_4834-41

Here's to 2016 and more beautiful people and families and stories and art. 

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com

holiday time with the Harbour family

IMG_4201-44 Something I always love to watch is how parents interact with their kids, and you can just feel how much his parents love him and how hands-on they are. I know this family decently, and this little boy just melts me! Plus he reminds me of Prince George. Here are some of my favorites from our time together in the park and at their home.

IMG_3885-11 IMG_3930-16 IMG_3985-24 IMG_4023-27 IMG_3955-21 IMG_3811-4 IMG_3815-5 IMG_4165-37 IMG_4180-40 IMG_4206-45 IMG_4213-46 IMG_4249-50

xo, Michelle

Follow me @maryandluna on your favorite social media: InstagramTwitterFacebook. See my art in my Etsy shop or on maryandluna.com

if you’re interested in a session with me for you and/or your kids in Orange County, CA, visit my website or email me! maryandluna@gmail.com