Category Archives: Personal

so berry sweet | Santa Fe, NM and Kalamazoo, MI Family Photographer

One of my photography-related goals for several years has been to do a portrait session in an apple orchard.  There is a fine line between “suggesting locations to clients” and “manipulating them into going where I want to go,” don’t you think? ;)  (Maybe the line isn’t quite so fine…)  Anyway, last summer in MI, I had several sessions scheduled which just happened to line up with blueberry season, and a blueberry field sounded close enough to an apple orchard for the time being. :)  I posted a quick “is anyone interested” on my Facebook page and I got a bite!!  Thanks so much to Amy and her beautiful family for being up for anything! :)


Isn’t that little sweat pea just toooo cute?!   Her mommy had several different adorable outfit options ready for her, and I think we went through them all; but let’s face it, she could have sat there in a feed sack and still looked absolutely precious. :)


Daddies and daughters have such a special bond–so sweet!


We spent some time by the sweet peas in bloom before moving on to the blueberry fields….  And then wouldn’t you know it, we only took about ten photos before we got kicked out! :(  (And I DID call to get permission before we went!)  I was pretty disappointed that we didn’t have lots of time in the fields, but I can’t really be TOOO disappointed when we still got such great photos overall. :)


Plan B–up front to the rustic farm stand for a little bit different look. :)


Oh my word, anyone who wonders why “littles” are my favorite–it’s because of photos like these!  I get to enjoy their cuteness over and over while I work on the session!  I’m sorry, but you just can’t beat funny baby faces and cute baby feet. :)


We squeezed in this one last shot before we really really REALLY had to leave. ;)

Amy, I loved spending a slightly muggy hour or so with you guys!  Thanks so much for the opportunity to take your family portraits!  I love how they came out even with all the interruptions, and hope they bring back good memories for you. :)

And one day I will get my full session uninterrupted in an orchard or field or patch or SOMETHING!  :)  Maybe…


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Filed under Baby Photography, Children's Photography, Family Photography, Goals, Personal

the real thing | Santa Fe, NM and Kalamazoo, MI Family Photographer

One of my favorite kinds of sessions is when I get the chance to photograph an Old and Dear Friend.  (Name that book!) ;)  This was one such session; I’ve known Jessie since we were both in elementary school together, and we did a little bit of “bonding” in college when I worked in her building.  We were even pregnant together once upon a time–her oldest, my youngest!  Good memories… :)  We set aside an hour or so when I was in MI last summer to take some family portraits.


Jessie picked out this location, and I just love how green and vibrant it is.  She also chose such fun and cute outfits for her kiddoes!  (Random–my daughter wore that little blue dress too, and when I saw Miss K show up with it on for her session, I was pretty excited!)  

I just love how “real” the above photo is–you know with littles, you’re always going to get “real” right??  I say, embrace it. :)


Mr. Energy here had an absolute blast running around the new digs. :)


And this little cutie tried to convince me that she was shy, but I knew better… ;)


Poor Baby Brother was not very excited about family photos…  But I love those cheekies!  (Baby cheeks get me every time!)


This picture makes me just smile and get all wrinkly inside (haha!) because Big Brother and Sister were so absolutely sweet and cute.  Look at their faces!!  They weren’t sure why Little Brother was crying, but they sure wished they could help! ;)


We even squeezed in some photos of Mom & Dad. :)  (Personal goal–one day I will have a couples session with my husband!  Real photos!  Of me and him together!  Like this one.) ;)

Thanks so much for sharing your family with me again!  It is always a privilege to be trusted with a portrait session.  But next time, let’s do it in Santa Fe….  Okay?? :D

(You never know, maybe I’ll get someone to visit me out here if I keep hinting!)

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sweet baby girl | Santa Fe, NM Newborn Photographer

Meet Chanell.  (Say it like Chanel No. 5) :)  I absolutely love her name, and I LOVE all of her dark hair!!  So precious!


Almost NO newborn sessions go smoothly from start to finish.  I want to just put that out there, not because Chanell’s is an example of a not-smooth session (at all!), but more because of the poor new moms and dads who get stressed out because their baby needs to eat right when I arrive (naturally), or gets fussy when we start the session (I certainly don’t smell like mom!) or doesn’t like being unswaddled (poor things, they are brand new in this big cold world, they like to be warm and cozy!)

I want to do something a little bit different in this post, and share a few images that I almost always take, but don’t usually include in my blog posts.  My goal is just to maybe put a few nervous parents’ worries to rest (or simply answer a couple questions!)

Let me assure you that babies are rarely asleep when I arrive, and almost never have they JUST finished a full meal.  (I mean, really, what one-week-old baby really ever finishes eating?!) ;)  No worries.  I am a big fan of variety, and that means we want to see your new little bundle of joy’s eyes too! :)  (Which is not to say that I won’t try to lull your baby to sleep by the end of the session…)


Often we start out with some wide-awake shots.  These are sometimes hard to “pose” because babies like to wiggle.  NEWS FLASH! :)  Little Miss Chanell only weighed 5 lbs. something, but she really wanted to pull her arms in to her tummy and pick her head up and look at me.   Sweet!08

Almost certainly, after being alert for a few minutes, babies will get fussy…  It’s okay.  It’s normal.  At this point I almost always swaddle them and see if I can calm them myself–if they don’t settle down quickly, I let a parent take over (more for the parent’s sake than for mine.)  As you can see here, some Mommy-Time was just what the doctor ordered for this little sweetheart.


There’s not much worse than being all warm and comfy and asleep, and having someone suddenly pull the blanket off of you.  Are you with me?  So I don’t do that to my newborns either…  They get to stay swaddled for now, while my space heater purrs along, making very convenient white noise. :)  Often I will get them settled and snuggled in, and then have Mom step in and cradle her baby just with her hands, to ease the transition even more.  At this point my goal is to keep them warm and comfortable and asleep (or at least calm, if they haven’t fallen asleep yet!)


Often right as newborns fall asleep, they give cute little mysterious smiles.  I TRY to be ready for these, as they are just so adorable!


You can see in one of the details shots above that Chanell is still swaddled; and in another I’ve pulled the wrap off (at least partially).  I try to ease the baby through each transition, so often I’ll unswaddle but leave them loosely wrapped or covered, especially if they are stirring a little.  The space heater is key at this point—if the room (or my hands!) are cold, I am almost certainly going to have an unhappy baby on my hands when I remove the swaddle.


Success!!  I looooove how “casual” she looks here.  So comfy. :)


And cheeks…..  Who can resist squishy baby cheeks?!

Thanks SO much to this darling’s mommy for the chance to photograph Chanell!  I loved spending the morning with her. :)

Please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions regarding newborn sessions!  I’d love to share.

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Jonathan, Senior 2012 | Santa Fe, NM High School Senior Photographer

I spent a really nice hour or so last week in the Santa Fe Riverbed, in downtown Santa Fe; and why else would I be there but for a high school senior session!?!?  :)  Meet Jonathan, class of 2012!

guy high school senior portrait, seated in santa fe riverbed, downtown santa fe, nm

high school senior guy portraits in santa fe riverbed, downtown santa fe, nm

There we were, minding our own business, doing our own thing, when something caught my eye in the background as I was looking through my viewfinder.  Tan color, long fluffy tail, pointy nose….  WHAT?!?!  Yes, it was definitely a coyote, wandering right through downtown Santa Fe!

coyote standing by santa fe riverbed, downtown santa fe, nm

(Here is where I admit that 1.) I moved to Santa Fe almost exactly a year ago, and while I was obviously aware that they inhabit the area, I never expected to see one *DOWNTOWN* of all places;  2.) I have seen coyotes before, in zoos, and they look much smaller behind cages and while they are of course doing the “zoo thing” a.k.a. napping in the corner where they are barely visible; and 3.) I was at first concerned that it might have rabies—why else would it be wandering around downtown with plenty of people out and about?  But–it definitely looked scared, and “they” say animals with rabies lose their natural fear of humans, so I just took a quick picture and watched him run away down the riverbed…  Yes,* our* riverbed….  )  Oh, and for the record, Jonathan definitely didn’t look bothered in the slightest.  In fact, I think he thought it was “cool.”  Such a guy.

high school senior guy portraits in graduation gown


high school senior guy portrait in graduation gown in santa fe riverbed new mexico

high school senior guy portraits with gown over shoulder, santa fe, nm

Jonathan, thanks again for the chance to work with you on your senior portraits!



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Brittany | Class of 2012 | Santa Fe, NM High School Senior Photographer

high school senior girl black and white leaning face on hand

I enjoyed what was possibly one of my easiest and most enjoyable sessions ever a few weeks ago, up in Hyde Park in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains here in Santa Fe.  Brittany and I were on a mission….  senior portraits that would capture who she is and not make her mom cry.  (Okay, never mind that last part.) ;)  Brittany is a gorgeous girl who basically let me do whatever I wanted for the session; what’s not to love?!   Despite the *extremely* cold temperatures, she managed to look beautiful, natural and comfortable; and my personal favorite part of these portraits we made is that her sweet and lovely personality shines through.  So at this point, I’ll just let the images speak for themselves!

high school senior girl portraits fall hyde park santa fe

high school senior girl portraits leaning on log aspens in background fall hyde park santa fe nm

high school senior girl portraits sitting against rock wall

high school senior girl portraits cap and gown class of 2012

high school girl senior portraits cap and gown hyde park santa fe nm leaning on fence

high school senior girl portraits lying in stand of aspens chin in hand

high school senior girl portraits lying on ground chin on arms

high school senior girl portraits black and white lying on back in grass

Love, Lisa


Filed under Family Photography, High School Senior Photography, Personal

fall in Santa Fe | Santa Fe, NM Children’s Photographer

Hands down, fall has been my favorite season over this past year.

Hyde Park aspens and pines set against a cloudy sky in fall

Someone told me the other day, “Hey, brown is a color too!”

Scenes from Santa Fe, NM in the fallNext time you hear me complain mention all of the brown, send me to this post.

Aspen bark and green plants with curly thingsI have been really amazed at the gorgeous variety and colors I’ve seen over the past week!!

Purple colors in fall in Santa Fe, NM

Keep in mind that November will complete my family’s first full year in Santa Fe, and we weren’t really sure what all to expect from fall, as we pretty much missed it when we moved here last year.

fall scenes around Santa Fe, NMMy parents have been in town for the past week and a half or so, and we have been dragging chauffeuring them all over the countryside, squeezing as much as possible into a too-short trip.  I’ve enjoyed myself anyway! :)

Hyde Park view at sunset in fall, Santa Fe, NM

Green leaves with red stems, Fall, Santa fe, NM

Hyde Park overlook at sunset, Santa Fe, NM

Yellow and orange mums, botanical gardens, albuquerque, nm

I photographed all of these images over the past couple of weeks, around northern New Mexico.  They make me happy.

white flower outlined against bright blue sky
If you were to hypothetically hover over or click on any of these images and see that I named them all something starting with “bloggityblog,” that could hypothetically give a clue as to how happy they make me.  I usually name my blog files something like “blog1” or “blog2”  or “blog47.”  Depending, you know.  :)

three year old boy at rio grande gorge in taos, nm

Oops, slipped that one in there. :)  Just enjoying the lovely fall scenery!  (I actually felt like I had to include this because landscape photography is so totally NOT my normal “thing,” and I wanted this post to be outside of my comfort zone but still represent what I love to do the most—photograph children.)  :)

black and white striped butterfly on flowered plant

water lily

wheat looking things at Hyde Park in Santa fe

Wild Cactuses!

(This one makes me smile and think of my boys; when we first moved here they were so excited to see cactuses—cacti??–all over, and every time they would spot one, somehow it started that they would yell “WILD CACTUSES!!!”

view from the four seasons visitors center at the top of sandia peak, sandia park tramway

Even with all of those years I missed out on a real winter, this year I am enjoying fall too much to be ready for snow.

That is not a complaint.






Filed under Children's Photography, Goals, Hue & Texture Challenge, Personal

color & texture: lavender | Santa Fe, NM Photographer

I know, I know, it’s been what, a  MILLION YEARS since my last color & texture post?!?!  Finally getting my act together and getting another one up. :)

Color:  Lavender

Texture: Petal-y

(Creativity with the texture there, or some might call it “pushing it.”) ;)

Purple Sage collage

Beautiful purple sage around our house and all over Santa Fe…  When we visited last October, before moving out here, this was one of the first things to really “impress” me about Santa Fe.  In spite of the super dry climate, these pretty flowers are everywhere, spring, summer & fall.  Love them.

lavender wildflowers collage

collage of lavender wildlflowers

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the very middlest | Santa Fe, NM Children and Baby Photographer



Zachary has always had his share of chaos around him.

three year old boy sitting on steps smiling up at camera



From the moment he was born, with his poor little punctured lung

Through his first year, which can be summarized with one word:  “crying”

On to his 2nd year, when it was truly noteworthy if he had no bruises on his head

And in his 3rd year, when his most famous and often-repeated phrase, in his most injured voice, was “I don’t like it”

Even now at the ripe age of three and a half, he is the very most likely to be dirty or to get injured or make a mess or spill or break something


But he is also the most likely to be screaming with laughter

Diving into whatever new adventure awaits

Rushing headfirst into all sort of scrapes

Full of life and passion, whichever way it takes him.

collage of two brothers and little sister, sitting on steps

He is the “very middlest” in his own words, and there is just something about him!   I could never have dreamed, three years ago, after he would FINALLY go to sleep for the evening and I would put on Enya to soothe my poor troubled ears, how much love and joy and adventure he would bring to our lives.

On Sunday I wanted to do a little mini session with our children after church, because they all sort of coordinated; and I am soooo happy with the pictures we got of the three of them.  They are all so close in age, they are bound to be best friends and worst enemies; but I think these photos captured more of the best friends aspect than the enemies, and I love them.


collage of sibling portraits

However, for some reason, the photos of Zachary, the “very middlest,” really stood out to me as being so vibrant.  They show so much of his true personality, several of his current little “faces” that he is always making, and his fun little zany-ness that is so irresistible to me.

collage of five year old boy portraits

Gabriel is the big brother, and he knows it:  he is always willing to share his most important knowledge and skills with the world around.  Especially since he is reading now, he feels extremely wise and grown up.  It’s a funny stage, and at times frustrating, but it is also very endearing and special because he IS growing up; he is transitioning from a “little boy” to a “BOY,” I refuse to call him a BIG boy yet, but he is definitely a *boy* now.  He is a good big brother, very willing to help out and guide his little brother and sister, whether they always appreciate it or not.

collage of two year old girl portraits

Madelyn is the little sister, very much happy with being the baby, and yet also becoming very independent.  She was our little surprise, and we are so glad we were surprised with her!  She is a girly girl who loves her “pretties ” and her dollies and her painted nails; and yet she can hold her own in any fight with her brothers.  She loves her puppy, loves to go outside, loves to say “He’p you?!” and loves to snuggle.

collage of three year old boy portraitsThen there’s Zachary, the middlest, with his goofy faces and fun-loving twinkly eyes.   The two bottom pictures in the set above are so typical of him lately; he has been making these crazy faces and gestures when he talks, that just crack me up!  I can’t decide if he is trying to copy something that he has seen somewhere (PLEASE Lord, not me!!) or if he is just finding new expressions of his own unique self! :)

collage of three year old boy portraits in black and white and color

Zachary, we are so thankful you are in our family, and we love every little bit of you, crazy, sweet and loving, and pessimistic. ;)  You filled up that middle spot in our family just right!

Love, Mom & Dad


Filed under Baby Photography, Children's Photography, Family Photography, Personal, Uncategorized

Sweet Baby Girl | Santa Fe, NM & Querétaro, MX Newborn Photographer

Recently my family had the chance to be in Mexico to spend some time with family; and while we were there, I was SUPER excited to sneak in a quickie-session with our newest little niece. :)  Baby K  & her mommy and I stayed home from the day’s activities to rest one day;  I took these photos in literally less than ten minutes right at the end of her nap.  I wish I would have had more time, but you take what you can get with at least five crazy and loud older cousins around!! ;)

Newborn baby girl in polka dot wrap, smiling with eyes closed

She was three weeks old here; sooooooo tiny (I am trying to remember, I think she was 5 1/2 pounds?!!?  That seems impossible to me, as mine ranged from 8 lbs 10 oz to 9 lbs 8 oz. at birth…)  and sooooo sweet.  Her mommy & daddy were so proud of her and took such good care of her; I was planning all along to take some family photos as well, but you know how it goes when you don’t have something pre-scheduled—it usually doesn’t happen! :(

Newborn baby girl in polka dot wrap, sleeping

I have never seen a newborn with skin as perfect as hers was.  She is so beautiful, almost like an adult, but in miniature!  She had amazing clear, pinkish baby skin, and always smelled so sweet and good.  (My daughter Madi, a.k.a Wipe-Snatcher, loooooved her Mustela baby wipes, which smell sooooo good, and are so soft!  I bought some when we got back home to the States—I am using them slowly and purposefully, so that yummy smell will last a long time.) :)

closeup of newborn baby girl with earrings in ears

closeup of newborn baby girl with long eyelashes

triptych of newborn baby girl yawning

(Those yawns signaled the end of our happy time together; once she got all the yawns out, she realized something was missing.) :)

diptych of newborn baby girl

I’m probably getting a reputation…  or maybe I already had one…  ;)   But I am SUCH a SUCKER for the crying baby pictures!! :)  In all seriousness, you have to admit that crying is a big part of a newborn baby’s life; and it is so super cute to look back on when they are all grown up and graduating from high school…  or getting married…  ;)  Just keeping it real here, folks!! :)   But really, that picture on the left is so sweet and funny; I just LOVE her little mohawk, and that sober look on her face— “Are we done yet?  I’m so super duper hungry!” :)

To her mom and dad:

I know you two are the best possible parents for this precious little girl; parenthood is an adventure, different every day, and you can never predict what will happen next; but God’s mercies are new every morning as well, and He will guide you through the entire journey!!  Listen to all the advice others give you, but remember, she was given to YOU to raise, and you will be given the wisdom you need for every situation! :)  We love you, and are so happy to welcome this newest little member into the family!!

Much love,

the Santa Fe branch of the Gutiérrez Family :)

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The Big Five | Santa Fe, NM & Kalamazoo, MI Children’s Photographer

Sometimes, when I am on my way to a session, I wonder what I’m in for. :)  I always tell the parents NOT to worry, NOT to apologize for their children being *children*, that I have three of my own and have experienced just about everything they can throw at me, and “real” is better than those fake cheeeeeeeese smiles…  :)  But if I haven’t met the child yet, or don’t know him very well, I still sometimes wonder to what lengths I will have to go to get good portraits. :)

Let me just say, this session was one of The Easiest Sessions I have ever, EVER had!!!   Any time spent “worrying” in the car, was wasted time!  Mr. A was two weeks short of being the BIG FIVE, and he was definitely the calmest, sweetest, most willing and cooperative five year old boy I have ever photographed!  (And I do have a five year old living at my house, so I know their potential for disaster.) ;)

Little smiling boy peeking through playground equipment

His session was actually one that I donated to a school fundraiser (Prairie Baptist School in Scotts, MI; check it out if you are in the Battle Creek/Kalamazoo, MI area and are interested in a small Christian school with solid academics and great staff!) and so although my main interest is baby & children’s photography, I knew the possibilities were wide open for this session!  Needless to say, I was SUPER excited when A’s parents contacted me and let me know what they had in mind!!

Black and white composite of little boy smiling sitting in grass

His dad’s only specific request for the session was for some black and white images they could add to their hallway gallery (I was happy to oblige–I love me some black and white!)

Little boy holding up five fingers for five years old

Showing off how old he is… :)

Composite of little boy portrait, and little boy with parents

We really had a great time discussing all of his favorite cartoon characters (I’m going to have to admit he pulled some surprises on me here–I had never heard of his favorite show!  Luckily he had heard of mine.) ;)

Composite black and whites of little boy somersaulting

He was also happy to show off all of his skills for me; I have yet to meet a five year old who doesn’t have SOMETHING they would just love to show off to me!! :)

little boy portraits in front of red barn wall

Composite black and whites of little boy portrait, showing off muscles

(Every little boy has an inner superhero.)

Black and white image of little boy hugging his mommy

(I am including this last one because I have a few photos of me with my children, hugging or getting a kiss or whatever, and I really love them and the feelings they represent!   This was just a quick shot right at the end of our session, but I really think it is one of my favorites.)

As I mentioned above, this session was donated to something that I considered to be a worthy cause.   If you know of or are part of an organization or family in the Santa Fe, NM, area that could benefit from a donated session, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  While I cannot accept every request for donations, I will definitely give all suggestions careful consideration!

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Filed under Children's Photography, Family Photography, Personal