Lucena & Giampaoli Family : San Diego : Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad

I am completely and truly blessed, thankful, and so very lucky…

I have the opportunity to meet such amazing families, couples and kids. Almost immediately, I feel like I am a part of your family.

I am so very thankful to receive the love and referrals that have been coming in each month. Michelle, thank you. Maribelle, your family, your father, your mother – oh my gosh, I just want to hug all of you. I am so lucky to have met all of you.

Happy 45th Aniversary Maxie and Ted Lucena!  And happy happy 70th birthday Mom.


Hmmm…. I am noticing a pattern here. Teddy has his hands in his pocket while Mirabelle and Mary were more than happy lean in and just give big hugs!!!!!

And Sam here is doing the same thing.

I get to ask Dad to give Mom a few birthday kisses in front of their grown children and hear the awwws around me. We all get to witness his Rico Suave side.

When I get home, I have to decide which of the 5 images I am keeping. They are exactly the same except for the expressions on the children’s faces.

Mirabelle, just so you know, I am a fan of your family. You all are so cute, thanks for being silly with me 🙂

Family/Friends: You may copy and paste the images above to share the images with others.

Stephanie + Nicholas : Maui, Hawaii : Destination Wedding

After my session with the groom and his men (such a photogenic group), I walked into Stephanie’s hotel room and she looked absolutely stunning. I could not stop gushing and smiling, smiling and gushing. In fact, I was gushing so much, Stephanie had to put a stop to it, her eyes a little watery. “You will ruin my makeup if keep this up.” My apologies, but how do I hide my annoying grin?

Up until the moment they exchanged vows, I could tell they were both excited and nervous at the same time. But after she walked down the aisle, said their I do’s and became husband and wife, the nervousness subsided, their eyes continuously locked with one another, and there was this instant glow around them. I saw Stephanie and Nick’s true expressions. Love and happiness. Tears and smiles. I could not have asked for a more perfect day, even with the strong winds, and overcast day. It was the perfect day.

Here is a look at your perfect day.








From I just woke up…

To happy little girl, she just needed 10 minutes. So do I Sophia, so do I!






She was the perfect maid of honor..

And he was the perfect best man.





I love wedding speeches.

Aloha from the wedding party

Congratulations Stephanie and Nick, I wish you so much love and happiness! LOTS of IT!
Family, friends, vendors:  You may copy and use the images above to share with others.

The Mack Family : Maui, Hawaii : Destination

It was such a smart idea, why not? We are in Maui for goodness sakes! The island of happiness, it is not disneyland. It is Maui. An absolutely beautiful island with so much to see, do and EAT! Gemini sent me an email to set up a family session since we were both there for a wedding for a special couple, I was very excited to be given such a wonderful opportunity!

Upon meeting them, Dominic had just woken up from his nap, and Liana was like me, “Island of paradise, come to me!!!!” She just couldn’t wait to get in the water. Neither could I. I don’t blame you for being a kid at a candy store.

So the goal was to get everyone to look at me, I just needed a second of their time, maybe even 2. It was fun, but we all know what my favorite images are: Just the way they are. Moments captured. Not picture perfect but picture worthy – full of personality and life.

Gemini, John: Thank you. Thank you so much.

Here is a look at your session with me.

Liana amuses me. Ha!

One out of 4. Getting so close.


Just because Gemini looks great. =)

See.. Liana loves Maui. I love Maui too. Liana, you can hold my hand anytime and we can run up and down the beach kicking sand and water.


This is my fav.


Last, this is just funny. I wanted her to do whatever she wanted.
This picture is for you Liana. This is one you will share with your friends, Lil’ Miss Independent.

*Family, friends, vendors:  You may copy images above to share with others.

Linda + Hiep Hoang : San Diego : Wedding

When I first met Linda & Hiep, it was an instant connection. It felt like we were old friends getting together once again but it was the first time we had just met. They lit up the room with their presence and their welcoming big SMILES; Hiep has a permanent smile and Linda has that million dollar one. We talked wedding and non wedding topics, the conversation just flowed. They were just happy, happy to settle down and one day call each husband and wife. It is when you know you found your perfect match and I was lucky enough to be a part of their special day… and new found friends of mine.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a series of photos worth a million, in fact, it tells a story. A love story. You can almost hear Colbie Callait singing in the background.

Our plan was to find a place, and set the scene. We were on a very tight schedule and we needed to find a secluded spot for them to see each other for the “first time.” The wedding party watched and waited below as she slowly came up on the escalator and he was waiting…

Here is a look at their first look.












I cried. And to make it worse, I had Faith Hill “Love is a Sweet Thing” playing in the background.

Again, many congrats to you two. Lots of love… Love is a sweeet thing.

Family, friends, vendors:  Please free to copy and use the images above to share with others.

*Many many THANKS to Nicole Rork for being by my side and assisting me with this wedding. Everyone needs a sweet Ninja in their life. You were mine and theirs. Thank you so MUCH!

Angela + Amro & Aya

I was lucky to have met Angela & Amro right before they gave birth. Yes, I said, they. It takes 2 doesn’t it? The excitement, the anticipating, the caring and nurturing one another during the 9 month process. Angela was told it would be mid April that she would have her baby girl, but she knew better. In fact, we had scheduled her session on a Thursday, May 31st but she said “Let’s hope she is not out by then.” I really didn’t want to take that chance. I told her I would come by a few days early to shoot her and her maternity glow. Wednesday, the day before our initial session, she gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. A mother truly knows.

Meeting Aya – she was smiling right when I walked in the door. No joke. She was already happy to see me but the real truth, she happy to be in the comfort of Daddy’s arms. In fact, we had so many ideas for her, I mean, how active could a 6 day old baby be? Very. She just wanted to play, and cudde. I truly believe she was excited to meet her parents. Congratulations Angela & Amro! She is full of personality and she is so so beautiful.

Delicious Belgium Chocolates from Lebanon. Thanks Grandma.

Flowers for Mom

It has been awhile since I wrote about my mom on here but I have to share this.

My father has not been able to catch on that you buy your wife something nice on V-day, to him its just another day. Growing up, we didn’t celebrate birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day, Thanksgiving, or Christmas.. well until my sister was born, they made more of an effort but they ran a 24 hour business so it was difficult. Now both are retired, and my mom reminds us of her upcoming birthday, mother’s day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year (in fact, she took the bedazzled party hats she received, and decorated her dining room table), Chinese New Year, Full Moon.. well you get the idea. These not so important holidays are now important, so how do you tell your husband?

You don’t. Every now and then, I buy her something nice to recognize these yearly holidays, even if there is one every month. It’s a reminder that we love her, care about her, and truly appreciate her.

But the best part… is this

She planted the calla lilies outside and left our card in the soil.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Love is in the air! Take a moment to share this holiday with someone special or the friends and/or family in your life. It’s another day to celebrate LOVE. Make a date with friends. Cook dinner with your kids. Bring your mother flowers. Wait in line at Sprinkles with your husband. Love & Pay it forward to those around you. (This is my love face.)

I also wanted to share this with everyone:

So there was an ad in the Poway News Cheiftan and it asked readers to submit your love story in 300 words or less on how you met and your secrets to a successful relationship. They also asked for a high resolution photo. I, of course chose one you took from our engagement session which all came out sooo perfect. I picked up a copy of the magazine today and they not only chose to run my article, but they chose your photo to be on the February 2011 issue of Rancho North Inland Lifestyle Magazine!!! I was so excited to see it because I had no idea they would chose my article let alone put our photo on the cover! Thank you so much Sina for being my photographer, you are the best!

Love,
Serena

Thank you Serena, I am very happy to see the both of you on the cover of the magazine!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!

If you want to know how they met, check it out on the Knot or their blog here.

An extremely fun and cute couple.   Love the both of you!

If you have stories to share, email me and we can post your stories here, along with any special photos you have.