Celebrating Baby #2 at The Palace of Fine Arts - Family Maternity Photography

I am so thrilled for Laura and Ian on their growing family! They traveled from Philadelphia to visit San Francisco with their first born, and in between adventures to the Redwoods and soaking in the coast line, I was lucky to spend some time capturing photos of this family in their last couple months as a family of three (followed by Thai food!).

We visited The Palace of Fine Arts, a great place for expecting mamas, as it's super walkable and a gorgeous San Francisco icon. Although I was prepared with umbrellas for the expected rain, we were greeted with the most beautiful warm sunshine! 

Here are a few favorites from our time together. Congrats again, Laura and Ian! I can't wait to meet your second little one. x

Bring me back to beautiful Brentwood - Multi-Generational Joshi Family Photos

Once a year, families jump on airplanes from different parts of the country to reunite for a very special occasion. The Joshi family came together in California where Gautam and Neha live, and there was no better location to capture some photos of their reunion than in beautiful Brentwood. 

With rolling hills, beautiful old trees, and leisurely walking paths at Round Valley Preserve, I was able to arrive early for a solo hike to find specific scenes to shoot. A sign of a good time is wanting to do more than time allowed, so I'll definitely look for a reason to come back. East Bay kids, look me up!

Here are a few favorites from the Joshi family session. Thanks for inviting me along! I felt like an honorary Joshi for a small amount of time. :)

Enjoying Autumn and Getting Into Halloween Spirit in Denver!

This month, California is experiencing one of the most tragic set of wildfires it's ever seen. We have a toddler with a sensitive respiratory system, and had no choice but to evacuate the air deemed hazardous due to smoke. Many families had to do the same, and we were lucky enough to have my husband's parents to stay with in Denver, Colorado! We hope to return home soon to cleaner air, and of course wish all the best for those who lost so much in Northern California.

Something I love about Denver is the presence of real seasons. This sounds silly, but San Francisco is pretty much the same all year, hovering between 50 - 70 degrees and either clear or foggy most of the time. But here in Denver, Autumn is in full force, and we had to take advantage of the falling leaves and gorgeous warm colors everywhere. 

I should also mention that I'm so thankful that my 3 year old, Noah has returned as my #1 collaborator. We went through a spell of him not wanting to participate in pictures for a brief few months after his baby sister arrived, and in hindsight, it was a challenging transition for us all to grow from a family of 3 to a family of 4 -- most difficult for Noah, even if sad for me. But now he's back to saying, "mommy, I have an idea!" and we'll do it! The Halloween theme was his idea and he was super enthusiastic to wear his "Mr. Bones" shirt.

Children are the best. Family is everything! Here's to good health and easy breathing.

Amazing 6 Year Anniversary "Candy" Gift Idea: Hayes Valley Mommy & Me Photo Session

I had to share this adorable mommy & me session. In a stroke of genius, Lauren came up with an idea to give her husband a photo book themed "candy" for their traditional 6 year anniversary gift. Together, we came up with visiting a candy store, and the best one I know of is Miette in Hayes Valley. Not only is everything delicious, but the shop is as cute as can be, and it's in one of the most colorful and vibrant neighborhoods in San Francisco. 

I have limited mini sessions coming up on 11/4 in this same neighborhood and have 1 or 2 slots left. Email me if you're interested! Here's a preview!

Happy anniversary, Matt & Lauren! 

Why I Love San Francisco's Crissy Field + Baby Bradley Turns 1!

I have a couple of special things happening here. First -- mini sessions are nearly sold out, and I'm so happy I'll be reunited with families from last year, as well as meeting new faces! Some slots are available for the incredible, colorful, family friendly Hayes Valley, but Crissy Field is sold out. If you're still interested, let me know and I will open up a new date. stephanie@marilee.co

This brings me to the other special thing -- one of my newborns turned 1 year old! Proud parents Grace Ann and Brad brought baby Bradley to play in the late afternoon sunshine, and I was bewildered to see him walking (even chasing me!) in the blink of an eye. There is such joy from behind the camera over this past year. Thanks G&B for inviting me to cover his first year! 

If you've never visited Crissy Field before, you'll see amazing views of the San Francisco Bay, but the most prominent part of your view will be the Golden Gate Bridge. Crissy Field used to be a former U.S. Army airfield until 1974. Residents now enjoy a huge stretch of grassy field right along the water. 

We met & hung out by the Warming Hut for a few reasons: 1) great parking, 2) there's a pier! 3) beautiful proximity to Golden Gate Bridge and the downtown skyline, 4) lots of grassy fields, 5) tree line to create some shade when needed, 6) there's a little beach! All this is within stumbling distance, so it was great for baby Bradley to roam around. So if you've booked a mini session with me, you'll get to see some of these scenes. 

Here are a few of my faves! Enjoy.

Tiffany & Al at Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco

The vibe at Flora Grubb in San Francisco is amazing. Such beautiful, green life all around with a little Ritual Coffee shop nestled right in the middle. I visited during a quick break in the rain, and it was just so... relaxing.

Tiffany and Al frequent this neighborhood and met for some quick snaps. Check out some of my favorite scenes from around Flora Grubb Gardens below.

Holiday Mini Sessions 2016: San Francisco

Update from Monday, Nov 7: I'm excited to report that all time slots have sold out for the original Holiday Mini Session dates, but thanks to those still interested, I've opened up a NEW SHOOT DATE ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2016. Presidio Woodline is the location again due to it's popularity. I have 4 spots available. First come, first served. These photos will be delivered before Thanksgiving. The remainder of the details below remain the same.

  • Newly added shoot date: November 19 (Woodline)
  • Shoot dates: November 5 (SOLD OUT), 6 (SOLD OUT), and 12 (SOLD OUT)
  • 15+ photos digitally delivered to you by November 19 in your own shareable online gallery
  • Cost: $200 + tax ($217.50)
  • Accommodates up to 4, additional people are $25 each
  • Reserve your spot: stephanie@marilee.co

This the season for holiday photos! I'm offering a limited number of 30 minute mini sessions in San Francisco this Fall. You'll get a minimum of 15 retouched photos digitally delivered before November 19, perfect for those greeting cards you'll send to family & friends.

You can enjoy the session with just yourself, with your partner, your friends, or with your family of up to 4 (additional family & pets are welcome at $25 per person). 

Sign up by emailing your preferred date/city to stephanie@marilee.co. We'll agree on a shoot time and your slot will be saved first-come first-served upon completing payment through my booking system (I use Square). 

Holiday Mini Session Dates & Locations

Don't see a date or city that works for you below? Feel free to request another day and I may open up another block.

  • [SOLD OUT] Saturday, November 5, 2016: San Francisco Golden Gate Park Music Concourse
  • [SOLD OUT] Sunday, November 6, 2016: San Francisco, Presidio Woodline
  • [SOLD OUT] Saturday, November 12, 2016: San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts
  • Saturday, November 19, 2016: San Francisco, Presidio Woodline

Weather permitting. In the event of heavy rain or act of nature, we will reschedule at no additional cost.

About These Portrait Meets: Building a Photography Community

It's easier than you think to make better portraits. Since dedicating my life to photography full time over this past year, I've learned a few simple tricks that I'm excited to pass on in a series of community workshops via meetups.

Founded by Can AhtamPortraitMeet organizes local meetups in partnership with IgersSF for networking and skill sharing. Under encouragement from the Boston PortraitMeet community (hey Steve and Rasvan!), I'm hosting one of my own in San Francisco's Financial District and SoMa areas this Saturday 5/7 at 11am. Come one, come all, and follow along using the hashtag #SFPortraitMeet.

We will meet at One Sansome for introductions at 11am and move on by foot through FiDi and SoMa.

Some background: A long time ago, there was a little company with a little app called Instagram, and so far, the community has stood the test of time since I hosted a video review of the early app at Revision3 on a show called AppJudgment over SIX YEARS AGO.

Before moving into the world of pro portrait photography, I casually enjoyed snapping photos of my friends (and dog) with my phone. Both mobile cameras and DSLR cameras have come a long way, and this has been a catalyst to increasing the quality of photos. The community has skyrocketed, and it's been amazing.

I'm seeing a trend of everyday users putting more effort into making their photos sharp and vibrant with several easy tricks, whether they're using a mobile app like VSCO cam, a desktop app like Lightroom, or boosting light during the shoot. The results are gorgeous, and the community wants more.

Meetups in nature are casual and fun. You're surrounded by people of all skill levels who have the same interest of creating better photos. No matter what age you are, or what formal education you've had, I'm a big believer that you can learn by doing... andd it's real hard to practice photography alone. Models and photographers converge on spontaneous, creative ideas, and in the end, everyone has new pieces for their portfolios. 

Come ready with a goal or a topic you want to learn more about. Last time, I gave photography demos on utilizing natural light reflectors, how to shoot during harsh mid-day conditions, how to position flash for a basic portrait, and when you should diffuse your light. Models might want to wear a specific theme of clothing or practice dance or athletic poses. You can bet you'll have the opportunity to practice and learn. 

Photo above by Tiffany Ho. I demoed a pocket sized reflector with Albert Chen.

Here are more of my photos from the last #WWIM (Worldwide Instagram Meet) hosted by Kim Alvarez in San Francisco's Dogpatch neighborhood. I, myself am still learning new photography tricks every day -- I look forward to meeting you! 

Here are some of my favorite images tagged #SFPortraitMeet from the very first San Francisco gathering hosted by Steve Nisotel.

🐆 #sfportraitmeet

A photo posted by ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀ Javier C. (@four.kicks) on

Smokeshow #SFPortraitMeet #gramslayers

A photo posted by Steve (@s.nisotel) on

#SFPortraitMeet : @ecpeterson13

A photo posted by A. Lam (@alamphoto) on