I’m Kristin Eldridge, a portrait photographer in Long Beach, CA. On the site you’ll find details, pricing, my portfolio and the contact buttons on the left. If you’re interested in booking a session, call or email and we can discuss dates and locations.
I have a studio located in Long Beach, but I also travel for portrait sessions (newborn, baby, children and family) to Orange County and Los Angeles.
Besides being a wife, mom and a photographer, I love to cook and craft. So, if you’re interested, (beyond scrolling through photo sessions), you can check out my favorite cookie recipe or how to sew yourself a kimono!
My best photo sessions happen when I can focus on present over perfect. Photographing kids can sometimes be like herding cats, so it’s better to go with the flow than against it. If everyone is looking and smiling at the camera, GREAT. If everyone is happy, but not looking at the camera, AT LEAST NO ONE’S CRYING.
But seriously, when we can relax into the rhythm of what a family is (ie: not perfect) things will be better than perfect. I love working with this family because they appreciate the in-between moments.
It’s hard in the middle of a stressful situation (like a photo session!) but try to remember to stay calm. Attitudes are contagious and when parents set the tone, the kids will follow. I love to see families laughing, joking and just having all kinds of fun. Even if they’re not looking at the camera, it’s perfect.
family photographer orange county, Kristin Eldridge
Commercial photography is so different from portraiture. But, because I’m good at working with kids (hello four years as a first grade teacher) they tend to run into the same vein.
Some of the differences I notice is that portrait work tends to focus on the connection between two people. Sometimes it’s a mother and newborn, other times it’s a brother and sister. The connection trumps everything else in the photo.
With commercial work, you want to convey a feeling. But you’re also focused on showing the clothing. Each photo should show movement in a way that makes the clothes appealing.
When I’m working outside for a commercial job, I can use natural or elements of architecture to add movement to the photo. When I’m in the studio on a white backdrop, I have to rely on the child. I’ll give direction and have them do a movement several times over to make sure I’m getting the expressions AND the flow of clothing I’m looking for.
When you invest into a maternity session, you’re documenting all the feelings and emotions while being pregnant. You want to remember the glow and how empowered you felt being able to grow a human.
I highly recommend putting all your efforts into planning your photo session to make sure you walk away feeling like a supermodel. I’ve put together a few tips to help you get the most out of your maternity session.
Start by putting together a pinterest board of inspiration. Are you inspired by at-home raw images or do you want to be in a field at sunset with a wreath of flowers?
Choose your clothing wisely. Maxi dresses are best in my opinion. They create a very flattery line for the belly. You can find amazing deals on amazon if you don’t want to splurge on a dress you may not wear again.
Accessorize. Even if it’s something simple like a statement ring, add a little something to add interest to your photos.
Hire a photographer you connect with. It can be intimidating to be the only one in front of the camera. A good photographer will give you direction and interact with you to bring out your inner supermodel!
Anyone that’s new to newborn photography can tell you it’s harder than it looks. Babies sleep a lot, so it’s assumed that taking photos of them would be easy. All you have to do is search #pinterestfail on the subject to see how things can go wrong. Undressing a baby is a room that’s anything less than VERY WARM is the first thing that can make them mad. Not being held by an adult is a close second. Start moving them around and you’re asking for it!
So, how does a newborn session flow? How do we get the baby to cooperate and make it all happen in 90 minutes or less.
7 Tips for a Great Newborn Session
Warm the room. I can’t stress how important this is. In your clothing, you should be sweating a little. Remember the baby won’t be dressed (or minimally dressed) so make sure they are comfortable.
Use white noise. Even small things like talking or the sound of the shutter can stir them. So, make sure you have a good white noise machine.
I start with the baby wrapped. I instruct parents to dress the baby in front snap or zip outfit that’s easy to remove. As I’m removing clothing, I’m wrapping them, so they’re never left with arms and legs moving around.
Once I have the baby securely wrapped and soothed, I’ll take photos shooting straight down. I might move the wrap slightly to create different looks or add a hat. This is the point where I’ll shoot details of the hands, ears and hair.
If parents want any basket props, I transfer the baby in the wrap to the basket and take close up and pulled out shots there.
When I move the baby back to the bean bag, I’ll place them on their tummy start slowing removing the blanket and diaper. I’ll photograph the curled up on the tummy poses and do some slight variations in poses, plus adding hats/wraps.
Lastly, I put the diaper back on, add a wrap and do some additional photos looking down. The baby might be awake by this time. Since the baby is wrapped, I also use the blanket to wrap around the feet and do those close-ups.
The secret to photographing toddlers isn’t in a fast shutter speed. It’s not about your ISO or what type of lens you have. The secret to getting the best photos of a wiggly and FAST toddler is to work with them instead of against them.
I learned a long time ago that you cannot make a baby, toddler or child do something they don’t want to do during a photo session. I learned that you must make your idea their idea and run with it. Sometimes this shows up in the form of manipulating the situation. If I see a little one that enjoys pushing the limits, I might tell them…you better not smile at me. Or I’m going to come get you!
And if a toddler just want to move, we MOVE. I will have parents swing them until I count down to a pause so I can take the photo. I will have one parent chase them into the arms of another parent.
Whatever your method, just remember to make all the energy work to your advantage. Making a wiggly toddler sit still is a fool’s errand. Use all that energy to play hide and seek, so you get the biggest most authentic smile when you find them.
Have you ever tried to make cake pops? I have and the result was #pinterestfail. I’m going to leave cake pops to the bakers! But, I love the way they look and it’s fun to have a cute little treat on hand for Valentine’s Day.
Instead of spending hours trying to perfect my cake pop game, I figured out a cake pop hack. This isn’t exactly a cake pop, but it’s covered in white chocolate, decorated and sits on a little stick. And best of all, the recipe takes about 15 minutes. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is.
Valentine Oreo Pops Recipe
All you need is a package of oreos, white chocolate chips, some red and pink sprinkles and lollipop sticks. (I found the sticks at Michael’s Craft store in the baking aisle.)
Pour out half the bag of white chocolate chips into a microwave-proof bowl. Cook for 30 seconds at time (stirring in between) until completely melted.
Gently wiggle the stick in between each oreo. I say gently because it’s easy to break the cookie. I found the key was twisting the stick, using a double stuff oreo and not puttting it in too far.
Spoon the melted chocolate on the top of each oreo. It’ll come down the sides and make it look completely coated. Place the oreo on a piece of parchment paper.
Be ready with your sprinkles because the chocolate will start to harden. We played around with different varieties of sprinkles. I cut a heart out of a piece of paper to use as a template and that worked well too.
This would be such a fun project to do with kids. Or it’s an easy treat to give away as gifts. I won’t tell if you just want to make them to eat yourself!
One year for my birthday my mom gave me a locally made salve/body balm. As soon as I opened it, I fell in love with the smell. Then I put it on. It soaked into my skin like no other lotion ever has. I started using it on cuts and scrapes, my son’s eczema and even sunburns. I quickly deemed it THE MIRACLE SALVE.
I’ve been using it every day for over a year. My skin is smoother and more hydrated. Any skin problem can be solved with this stuff. Then, one day she went out of business. After trying a few other salves that did not live up to this one, I decided to learn how to make it.
I looked on the back of the tin for the ingredients and started googling ‘how to make a salve.’ It’s actually quite simple. All you need is a type of oil and either shea butter, beeswax or both. They’re melted together and turn into a spreadable balm or salve.
The key to the salve I loved so much is the long list of herbs. The herbs are infused into olive oil (either by the sun or over low heat). The list looks daunting, but I found them all on Mountain Rose Herbs and Etsy. Buy just one ounce each and it will last a very long time.
I purchased the other oils listed on Amazon as well as the shea butter and beeswax. After making this a few times, I think I’ve finally nailed the ‘recipe’ and I’m so excited to share it with you!
Herbal Salve/Balm for Extreme Moisturizing
Herb Infused Olive Oil
Take a quart jar and add 1 Tablespoon each of these dried herbs
St. John’s Wart
Black Walnut Hulls (Powder)
Add olive oil to the top of the jar and let it sit in the sun for 2-3 weeks (stirring every other day). If you’re in a hurry, you can do it in a double boiler for an hour. After the olive oil is infused, strain out the herbs with a piece of cheesecloth.
How to make the salve/balm
Mix 4 ounces of the infused olive oil with 1 ounce almond oil, 1 ounce hazelnut oil, 1 ounce jojoba oil and 1 ounce grape seed oil in a double boiler.
Add 1.5 ounces of beeswax and 1 ounce of shea butter over low heat.
Stir until completely melted.
To test consistency, dip a spoon in the mixture and place in the freezer for 2 minutes. That will be the finished consistency of the balm.
Once you’ve reached your preferred consistency, add 10 drops each of peppermint, lavender, eucalytpus, patchouli and sandalwood.
Pour into a container and it will harden as it cools.
We were all there for the moms getting in the photo movement. It was the wake up call that we didn’t have as many photos of our moms that we wanted. Moms realized their kids didn’t need them to be anything other than present. I’m so lucky to have client moms that are not only willing, but excited to get in the photo. And when you’re happy and content, it shows. Your kids will thank you now, in 10 years and when they are a mom themselves!
Photos by Kristin Eldridge, Los Angeles Family Photographer
How to Use Pinterest for Photo Session Inspiration
I love Pinterest. I joined when the only way you could join was to be invited by someone cool. Who doesn’t love a one-stop-shop for fashion tips, recipes, DIYs and the top 100 baby names for 2018? Pinterest has grown and pretty much everyone uses the site as inspiration for their every day life. It’s now common for clients to send me their boards before photo sessions. I love that we can communicate as photographer and client in this very visual way.
I also think Pinterest has clouded our realistic minds. We believe we can create the gallery from our photo session in the form of a Pinterest board. And here’s the bottom line I tell me clients about using Pinterest to plan your photo session. Use it as INSPIRATION. These photos are not something we can copy. A photographer had a ‘magic moment‘ with their client and shared it online. It was so magical that you want that. But, here’s the thing…you are not them and I am not that photographer.
Let’s create our own magic moments. We can relax into the moment and before you know it all the stars have aligned.
Using Pinterest for inspiration is so helpful for your photographer.
Here are some ways you can do that:
Use Pinterest to plan your outfits. Seeing outfits (the colors, patterns and textures) laid out together can be very helpful with how something can come across visually.
Use Pinterest to communicate the style you like. If you show me a board of photos that are close, intimate and cozy. I get that vibe. If you show me a board of people with perfect hair and posed in a very traditional way, I get that too.
Use Pinterest to choose your location. I think this also goes hand in hand with communicating style. If you are worried about perfect hair, you should not be choosing the beach. If you want very REAL photos, I’ll help you narrow down the place you feel at home so we can get those real emotions.