Surprise proposal when Guadalajara comes to San Francisco!
This surprise proposal had been in the works for months. Juan first reached out to me in the summer for his date in November. Quite the planner right? Meticulous, detailed and so romantically thoughtful, it was indeed splendid. The idea for me was to photograph them around downtown and near the Loews Hotel where the proposal would take place. Just a nice gesture on his part as they never have good photographs of themselves taken. So, sure, I can do that. No acting involved this time just the hopes I keep my mouth shut and don’t say the wrong thing! So he surprised her with me just outside the hotel and we walked a bit and stopped in random places to take photographs. Spending this time with them was just so fun. They are both from Guadalajara but met thousands of miles away in Valencia while going to school. What are the odds? I mean seriously! You are from the same home town but randomly meet there. Of course that is just a sign that they are connected way beyond the usual. They were so easy going and so open to do crazy things like dance in the middle of […]
She said yes but knew it was coming…
What, you are going to propose and want proposal photography? Oh yes, please! I love these scenarios and the planning and the secretiveness and the working to get it all just right. Well, this one was perfect BUT he told her to get a manicure and he was busted at that very moment. She still played it cool though! She was obviously very happy as the images will show and enjoyed the San Francisco portrait experience, ahem, till things were put in place and voila!!! This couple was in town from the mid-West on vacation. He had the plan in place for some portraits at the iconic Palace of Fine Arts. It went perfectly with friends setting things up behind the scenes. The one hitch was battery operated candles versus fire because anyone who has been under the rotunda knows it is a massive wind storm. Alas, she said she did know it was coming but the smile on her face from the moment she walked under the rotunda and saw him through to the end, still said it all. Congrats!!! Hey, have camera will totally fly in for the wedding!  
Family Portraits San Francisco’s Presidio
Proposal in Napa, Wedding in Bali and Family Portraits San Francisco The family that photographs together, stays together! I first met the Chens when they were two singletons and Sam was hoping she would say yes to his surprise proposal at the beautiful Castello di Amorosa. Then, I photographed their beautiful wedding on a black sand beach in Bali. Now, a year and a half after we first met simply by chance, I’ve photographed this GROWING family with family portraits San Francisco. Your photographer for life… I say this all the time and the Chens have totally taken me up on the offer! Quite often, I meet people randomly for things like engagement portraits or proposals or even head shots. From there, the relationship continues as new occasions or family additions or family milestones happen. It means the world to me when people come back. I truly feel like one of the family with these lovely people. They keep me updated on new milestones and when I traveled to Bali, their families made me feel like we were neighbors not people who lived thousands of miles apart. When they came for a family vacation in San Francisco and the Bay […]
Small Business in the Big City
It was 16 years ago that I created, formally, my small business, Images by Misti Layne. Never did I imagine this endeavor but I cannot imagine another life today. I had all the small jobs you can imagine from bartending to somehow getting into IT originally with The Gap and a couple of dot.coms that yes, went bust. All the while, I never stopped photographing anything of interest. Along the way, people who knew I was interested in photography asked me to take portraits. One day, someone who didn’t care about wedding photography asked me to photograph their wedding. I hated it. But not really. I kind of sucked. They loved the images and told me a story of the best man.  He had been diagnosed with a form of cancer. After the ceremony, I photographed him looking up to the sky with a smile on his face that was just pure and beautiful. When I gave the images to the couple, they told me how he had heard me push the shutter and at that moment felt free and healthy and just purely happy. He was shortly after diagnosed to be cancer free. I’ve never forgotten that story in almost […]
The Holidays are coming! Let’s do those Family Portraits!
Family Portraits for gifts I know the summer has just ended, so talking about the holidays that will come sooner than later seems crazy. However, the likes of Walgreen’s or CVS is reminding us as well! This actually is the time to start thinking and acting on taking family portraits. If you are interested in sending them as cards, then the time to do decide the location and set a date is now. But, if your plan is to use them in a card then this allows for setting a date, choosing the location, reviewing and selecting and then doing the selecting and sending for the card to get out in time. Now, if your plan is for gifts, then you have a bit more time. The Choices for Family Portraits Now that you have decided to do them, the next thing is to set a date and location. I know this time of year starts to get crazy for everyone but if you can spare 45 minutes to an hour, you will have a number of images to choose from. The images included in this post are just a small sample of what we got in one hour. These […]
Family Portraits without the fuss and just the muss!
Not your typical family portraits… So, yes, I always kind of start with a premise and a vision when I photograph extended families for family portraits but I give up quickly on that notion and just go with what happens. Why fight what is awesome caos! It always starts out formally and typical. We are strangers, we’ve just met, so of course we are working to be on the same page and find locations and the right light and all the technical things. But it doesn’t take long for everyone to let loose and be who they are. The intent on this family portrait session was to get the extended family as well as the breakdowns of each child. We started big and ended with the tiniest and newest addition to the family and his older-little brother. The technical aspect is done and now the fun Locations were pretty slim pickings but we found a spot that worked that fit the whole group. Then this amazing tree was able to provide something with the right light and a little bit of texture and framing for the children and grandchildren. Now, what to do when you are the singleton and sans […]
20 Jul 2016 in Portraiture, by
Montana fields, snow covered trees and the family photographer
There is family photographer and then there is literally, family photographer. When my cousin Justin first told me he and Tamara were expecting he didn’t hesitate to ask about doing photography. As well, I didn’t hesitate to say of course I will come to Montana to photograph the family! Visions of snow, mountains, lakes, fields and big open skies flashed into my head. So, yes, I’m officially the family family photographer. I totally love photographing in the Bay Area. Who wouldn’t? Five minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Marin Headlands and on and on. I love the light, the sky, the view, the beaches. Give me the opportunity for something new and I’m all about it. I have to say first that the simplicity of movement was the best. Seeing an open field, opposite the setting sun and a big blue sky and saying “Pull over, pull over” and you actually can was just awesome. Seeing road, mountain, sky and taking the first exit where there was no traffic to get the vision I had is priceless. Then, most thankfully, you have to appreciate the instant trust and intimacy you can get with family (or building it quickly […]
Surprise proposal now Bali Destination Wedding
Destination wedding? Yes, please! Sam contacted me about a month before his plan to surprise his girlfriend with a proposal. The venue changed, the dates changed, the times changed BUT his intent sure did not. The final venue? Castello di Amorosa in the deep heart of Napa. The weather was iffy but most friends know I love rainy and moody weather so I was in a very happy place. Long story short…She said yes! One of the greatest things about what I do is that you can really hit it off with clients. Truly, I was selected at random and this couple were just awesome. The rain, the dark clouds, my silly requests were all met with “OK, sure!”. When Sam said they were to be married in Bali I didn’t hesitate to say “Need a photographer?”. Yes, crazy and impulsive but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.  So now this local for me proposal, will be a destination wedding and I simply cannot wait. I spent a great morning with this couple and their friends secretively planning the right spot, randomly taking photographs and wine tasting! I look forward to a long weekend in Bali, a place I’ve always wanted to go […]
Why It’s Badass to Get Online Dating Profile Photos by Sarah Jones
Written by Sarah Jones, Founder of Introverted Alpha   Stigma Be Gone! You know what I’m happy about? That the stigma around online dating is lifting. Thank goodness! It’s only right, and it’s high time. Online is simply one venue through which singles can meet other singles. It’s really convenient and helpful on many levels: you can see at a glance what someone’s major political and philosophical views are, as well as get a sense of them without being on the spot. Of course, meeting people in person is great too! At Introverted Alpha, many of the men I work with are more introverted and don’t prefer loud parties. Instead, they opt for a combination of online and offline dating: hobbies / meeting people through friends in order to fill their calendar with a nice amount of dates. Along with the dissipating stigma of online dating is a dissipating stigma of getting online dating profile photos done. Again – thank goodness!   When it comes to online dating success, profile photos are first and foremost. Everyone looks at them first and closely, and there’s no problem with that. Looking at someone’s profile photo is not only about sizing up how […]
16 Jun 2015 in Portraiture, by
Feeding my heart and soul ~ Humane Farming, Documentary Photography
There are times, once your passion has become your business, that you have to go back to your roots. Doing a personal assignment can fill up your creative soul again when you lose touch. So, being a farm girl way back in the day, I chose to do some documentary photography at a working, humane farm in Nicasio called Devil’s Gulch. I spent the day just roaming about. Learning about the rabbits, watching the pigs and piglets and stumbling into the Silky chickens in the most random of places. I was utterly exhausted at the end of this day. I was up before the sun, which those that know me know this is way out of character. I chose this as a self assignment to nurture my soul. It is a working farm and vineyard and I happily say a humane and organic farm. Silky chickens roamed free and laid eggs in the most random of places. Sows and their piglets rested in spaces filled with straw and an open door to the outside or heat lamps when they wanted to sleep. Rabbits that one day would be on the tables of diners at French Laundry were named and loved […]
Family Portraits in the Napa Mustard Fields
I’ve known the Tauziet’s for years now and have watched the kids actually come and then grow. When I got the call for the annual portraits and to do them in the mustard I think I actually yelled “YES”! There is no denying Napa is beautiful, but when you add the mustard in vineyard fields you just get a wow factor that makes me look twice. I think photographing families and for sure kids, needs to be as real as possible. This is what makes a family a family and what makes them unique. I’m not going to try and get toddlers to behave. Frankly, the unwilling behavior is far more fun to photograph! It can be tricky when the sun is going down and there is a mad race against time but in the end, I conquer! In this case, I think I also gained a boyfriend–can you say “Cougar”? Love this family!
23 Mar 2015 in Portraiture, by
How Do You Prepare For Your Engagement Session?
  Engagements Sessions Are For Getting to Know One Another I love doing engagement sessions. There really are no two alike. This time is an opportunity for the couple and I to get to know each other prior to the wedding, where I get to see how you interact and you get to know how I work. The engagement session gives us both practice with one another and allows us to be comfortable when the big day comes. A comfortable bride and groom make for beautiful wedding photos.   When it comes to engagement photos and the location, every couple wants to be iconic in some way. It may be the Golden Gate Bridge, the place where they met, had their first kiss, or the proposal. I always get excited when the couple chooses a location like the first kiss because chances are it’s at a space where I’ve never shot before, which makes for a fun challenge. Oddly, quite often, couples choose a bar for their engagement session location (the old fashioned way of meeting) and we have a cocktail to start, during, or after the session. When I’m told one or the other is nervous, we absolutely START with […]
12 Mar 2015 in Portraiture, Wedding, by
Real Family Portraits, Let a Kid be a Kid!
  It’s that time of year for the influx of family portraits again. Where, truly, did the year go! Let’s talk real family portraits. Not the starched white top, blue jeans, lined up, back-to-back look that you see in so many. More often times than not, we’ve got Susie who’s very proud of her newfound streaking skills, Johnny “I refuse to sit down”, and Jerry with his “I can’t for the camera” Chandler smile. Sound familiar? Now let’s get into what makes these portraits real.   “Just tell me what to do” Reid Hoffman I deal with all ranges and types of people from the big CEO of Fortune 500 companies to actors needing head shots, but I can say that no one controls a photo session better than a 3 year old! Actors listen and change emotions in a nanosecond and hard-core punk musicians let me do as I please, but a toddler? We are all under their control and total mercy. This is what makes it fun.   Dirt Don’t Hurt Wearing my most durable, “don’t care if they get a hole in them” and darkest pants, I get down as low as I can and get as […]
20 Nov 2014 in Portraiture, by
Chrissy Field Engagement ~ San Francisco Wedding Photographer ~
I really adore my couples. I get the best clients and I believe it is because my website is just simply and honestly me and the right people find me. Tait and Lindsay are just so adorable and just completely fun. I suppose I could have put in the funny outtakes but I’ll keep those laughs to myself! I’m so looking forward to their wedding in a couple of weeks at Arista Winery!
25 Jul 2014 in Portraiture, Wedding, by
It’s Arrived!
My new web site that is! I am so pleased to finally have this up and running. As most people know, this is not an overnight process. What fewer know is this is a life long process from experience to the past images to those that have yet to be created. So please know I appreciate every moment you spend here! Thank you and thanks to all for letting me to what it is I must–photography. Blog by Misti Layne