She said she’s been waiting for this shoot in this place for years! Her name is Cambria and this is the only place her Senior Portraits should be taken; Cambria CA! I love how well we worked together. She let me do my thing and she brought all her style and incredible energy… My approach to senior portraits is a bit untraditional. I want it to feel like a photoshoot for a magazine. I want you to fee like you’re the influencer and this is your campaign. I want you to see how lovely and lovable you are. You’re in the most exciting time of your life, one that will leave a permanent mark on who you are. I am so glad to have a moment in time with you that you’ll always remember. If you’re interested in booking your own session, here’s a page with info and link to view availability!

5/13/22

Cambria | Class of ’22 Senior Portrait Session

You guys! I 100% know how hard portraits sessions are on moms! My last portrait session left me in tears because everyone was crazy and uninterested in the etherial vision I had in my head! But, I hired a pro and she made magic. I’m not even showing you those photos because it was 3 years ago and I’m ASHAMED of myself for not booking a session since. Seriously. I’m clearly not getting my own memos. But, I mean what I say and regretting not documenting every season of life feels terrible so don’t be me, book the session Mama!

Here’s some ideas to make the planning and session smooth. I’ve collected these ideas from my 10 + years shooting families and from hundreds of mamas I’ve had the privilege of photographing, they absolutely know what they’re talking about at this point…

  1. FEED THE BEASTS! And bring snacks with you. Food is the answer to their heart and attention.
  2. Prizes and bribery, no judgement here! Let them pick out a prize and once they’ve done a great job, they get it! We can even take a photo with said prize, that always makes it special 😉
  3. Get your hair and makeup professionally done. If you don’t love yourself in the photos, you won’t hang them up or even print them and that’s a huge waste of time and money.
  4. Plan the wardrobe around your own! You’re literally the most important person at the session, buy the dress, the hat, the boots…. DO IT ALL!
  5. Decide on a color palette that fits the esthetic of your home so you can hang those portraits like art!
  6. Pay attention to the emails I send you! Once your session is booked, I’ll send you lot’s of info on how to prepare including wardrobe Inspo, color palettes, hair and makeup referrals….
  7. Let me take your photo. Do not shy away from the camera! You deserve to be remembered.
  8. Let go of expectations. Get off Pinterest. LET ME DO MY JOB! If you let the session unfold naturally, the images are much more authentic and beautiful than trying to force a styled agenda with toddlers, teens and especially husbands.
  9. If you have small kiddos, my favorite thing is to let the little boys take off their shirts and get dirty, jump in the puddles, climb the trees, do all the things! Those are even more cherished than any other photos. I have some favorite images of my kids having a mud fight in their diapers. There’s nothing better than that memory in our first home.
  10. Book in advance! I’m a mom too so I’ve got the same duties as you. Sports x 4 kids, homework, house keeping… We do allllll the things. My availability is limited so book early before the good spots are taken and you have time to plan.

I hope that helps! Here’s a link to current availability.

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2/02/22

Family Portrait Sessions Made Easy!

The Long Family is welcoming a son! We enjoyed a little adventure on the beach at sunset to celebrate and capture the bump before he comes. We barely made it out as the tide rose, trapping us in this pretty little cove. It really was an adventure and well worth it as you can see…

6/15/21

Long Family | Central Coast Maternity Session

I’ve been photographing this babe since she was in 8th grade! We’ve been dreaming of an epic shoot for graduation since then and epic is definitely what we got!

“What’s an Adventure Session?” Glad you asked… It’s when we level up your portrait session with a location that’s incredible, it usually requires a trail, a hike, maybe a drive but mostly it requires some wanderlust and major style! Your wardrobe can absolutely be extra, you’ll get a lot more images, and we’ll take a bit more time to make all the magic happen! Ask me about scheduling your own Adventure Session! Here’s how it went down with Lillie Hodges…

Glam: Brittany IG: @brittanys_glam | Rachel IG: @colormebronzesunless

Wardrobe: Jeans, floral dress, crochet top, Alan Jackson Tee, shorts, black formal dress

5/11/21

Senior Portraits, Adventure Style

Some say don’t pose, just let it all happen organically. Well actually, there’s nothing organic about a camera and a stranger in your face so, I say, both! 

When I’m with clients photographing families, children, seniors, couples.. I’m shooting for more than just the client. The client likely has a grandma, a mom, an auntie, a future self… While wind blown hair and big laughs are full of life and natural, Your grandma doesn’t always want that on her wall and your yearbook requirements are likely a bit different. So I’ve made it a priority to pose some and direct organic moments all at the same time. 

A timeless portrait with eye contact and smiles is a unicorn photo when you have small kiddos but it’s not impossible. It’s what I start with and then I let moments unfold. When your toddler waddles away and begins to explore, I’m tagging along, capturing chubby hands in the grass and little feet in the sand. When your sweet baby girl reaches up to be held, I’m capturing daddy lifting her up and giving her a little toss in the air to cheer her up. Dads are good for that. When you bend down to discipline your 5 yearly for not listening during family photos, I’m shooting your hands on his face and your eyes locked on each other. You have no idea but I’m grabbing all the moments in between the ones I set up. I’m also setting scenes with easy instruction. Kiddos, do what you do, run as fast as you can to daddy and then tickle him! Or 12 year old, hug your mom and hold her for a minute. While you’re there, tell her thank you for being awesome and promise you’ll never get a girl friend;) If a sweet moment + laughs unfold,I’m high speed shooting all of it!

So If I tell you to stand in a way and look at the camera but then it all falls apart, that is ok! I’m there for it. The moments you think are wasted and no good, I’m finding the memories.

5/11/21

Posing vs Directing

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photography mentor, mama and guac lover.

Hey, I'm Kelli Avila.

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I’ve been at this business for 10 years. It’s the very thing that lets me provide for my 4 children as a single mom. I know what it’s like to feel inadequate and overwhelmed. Your business should be a boost to your income and your confidence level and yet, at the beginning, that idea can feel like a far-fetched dream. Let me show you the ropes with real talk, perspective and discerning advice. You’ll leave inspired and informed.

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