Fun Family Shoot for Fall

Gabby Fall Family Photos

 I have had the privilege of photographing this family since this little peanut was 4 months old!

As they make their way to  a new state and a new life, I was asked to take their last photos here in California!So here is a compilation of the pictures I took of my little friend Gabby before she and her family moved away!

I hope you enjoy their family photos!  I certainly enjoyed watching her grow and be the family photographerbeing able to capture her growing up!

Family Pictures Preview

gabby looking out window-1

One of my favorites

A great pic of Gabs and Her Dad!

A great pic of Gabs and Her Dad!

The whole Family

The whole Family

Mommy and Gabby

Mommy and Gabby

Mom, Dad and Gabby

Mom, Dad and Gabby

Looking into the future

Looking into the future


Newborn Photosession Preview

Newborn Photo Session

Newborn Photo sessions are that time when you get your pictures taken of your brand new little person. They are small, new, and are just getting used to the world.   I got the chance to take this little baby’s newborn pictures when she was two weeks old.  We had a lot planned for our session that day.  Baby pictures by herself, pictures with her sister and family and booked out plenty of time to accomplish all this ….or so I thought. This baby had different plans!

Babies Control the Photo Shoot

Babies are always in control.  I knew that going in and Baby M. decided to remindNewborn Picture Baby M. me of it.  She was cute, she was ready…but she wanted to know what was going on!  Basically she did to me what she had been doing to her mommy for two weeks….refused to sleep.  She just wanted to check out the world. It sort of felt like she just wanted to keep me busy so I would talk to her, rock her, shush her and play with her, and it worked because that is what I did.  If I wasn’t trying to take pictures of her asleep – it would have been great to hang out with her – but alas I needed her to sleep.  After a few hours of trying to get her to sleep – we finally won out and I got some great pictures of her along with dad and big sister, just big sister and the whole family 🙂

Newborn Pictures Preview

So here is a little peak at what we accomplished – we worked hard to get these and I hope theNewborn Photo Session family enjoys them 🙂  I got a lot of great pictures of her sister, who was my adorable little assistant and loved to help me with taking my pictures, setting up the lights and playing with the toys.  She was a good big sister. Taking baby pictures is a tough and rewarding job, but ultimately – these little people are only this age once and I feel compelled to get the best newborn photos I can!

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Help Raelyn Beat Leukemia!

Raelyn Beckler is 4.  She was diagnosed with Leukemia when she was 2.  I don’t know Raelyn, but I felt compelled to help her family tell their story – so here I am.  I wrote this press release for them. Why? It is what I do.  Along with Photography I am a PR and Marketing Consultant and I felt that I could help…somehow…anyway to save their daughter.  I certainly hope that after reading this that you might want to help too!

Paddle for her Battle benefitting Raelyn Beckler.

Paddle for her Battle benefitting Raelyn Beckler.

What is Paddle for her Battle?  It is a fundraiser benefitting Raelyn Beckler, a 4 year old girl from Dana Point, CA.   Raelyn’s father is going to cross the Pacific Ocean from Catalina to Dana Point on a Paddle Board. That is 45 miles in the open ocean from Avalon to Dana Point. This is no small feat.  The ocean waters of the Pacific are cold and can change rapidly from calm to choppy with a slightest change in the wind.

Raelyn Beckler in the hospital receiving treatment

Why a fundraiser?  Raelyn is critically ill.  It was discovered she had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L) when she was all of 2 years old.  The day the diagnosis came in, was the day their family’s lives turned upside down.  Located in Orange County, CA, she was immediately transferred to CHOC for emergency surgery and to commence on going treatment. CHOC is the best place for her, but battling Leukemia for an adult is a big uphill battle; for a child it is worse; for the parents it is gut-wrenching.  Raelyn is a fighter in a pint-sized body. She inspires Greg and his wife daily to fight on; but this fight takes a lot out of them. The daily Raelyn Beckler in the hospital receiving treatmentbattle is so exhausting mentally and physically that just getting through a day is a trial.  Due to the side effects of her medication, she has developed a steroid psychosis which has to be treated in addition to the treatment of her disease; that along with the stress of on-going treatments, Greg decided he needed to be there for his daughter 24/7 and put his job and life on hold. This meant also putting their finances in jeopardy.  Now 2 years into this fight, Greg and his family are in need of help.  Their financial resources are running out, they do not qualify for aid due to the fact he made a decent living prior to all this; so with no other options available to him,  he decided to create a fundraiser to help pay for Rae’s treatment.

When?  October 26, 2013 is when Greg will be taking his epic ride.  He will start in Avalon and begin paddling his way towards Dana Point.  45 miles, paddling the whole way.  He has been in training since June and as the time nears for his epic ride; he is short of his fundraising goal.  A.L.L. is a strong disease, but Rae and her family are stronger. However, they can’t do it alone. This is where you come in!  YOU can help!  We need your help!  We need to increase the awareness of the ride and increase the sponsorships. Greg and his family need this money to help pay for the co-payments, gas and whatever else it takes to heal their daughter.  Won’t you step up and help anyway you can? Together we can help and save a little girl worth saving.  Your donation won’t go to pay a salary or a fundraising campaign, it will go to pay for treatment, period.  Isn’t that worth it?

For more information and donations please visit

Media and corporate sponsors please contact Paige Donahoe at



7 Tips to a great family photo shoot

©Paige Donahoe
Brother and Sister fun

Brother and Sister fun

You have done it.  You have scheduled your family photo session – Finally!  You can already envision the pristine beautiful pictures hanging in your house of your beautiful smiling kids and spouse and maybe even the family dog…all sitting, smiling, happy.  You can’t WAIT until you get to your photo session.

The day finally arrives…eeeek!  You get everyone up early. Shower, do hair, make-up, dress everyone’s new matching outfits.  Brush the dog, and off you go. Oops you forgot to feed them, and you forgot the dog! Oh well, AFTER you are done, everyone gets to go to lunch, dinner, ice cream, whatever and the dog…well he will survive. This is going to be great!!!!

You arrive at the designated location. It is perfect. Then the kids, who you think look great, say “Where are we? Why are we here? I don’t like what I am wearing, I’m hungry, etc”  You remind them that it is family picture day and it is going to be fun!

Family Shoot!

Family Shoot!

The photographer is ready, so you guys head out and start your session.  Then it all starts to fall apart.  The kids, whom you forgot to feed, are now hungry, whining and not cooperative.  The spouse, who is trying to calm the kids down, is now getting irritated.  The photographer is trying to get everyone to smile, but there are distractions on top of hungry tummies and you start to loose it. You curtly tell everyone to “Smile!  BIG! BE HAPPY for crying out loud!”  You bring out the bribes, stare down your spouse and try to pretend your blood isn’t boiling…and thus begins the family photo session melt down. There it goes,  your visions of that perfect family photo hanging above the mantle have dissolved into praying the photographer can get just one good shot of everyone smiling and not looking mad.

Grace was done and over the shoot. I got this great pic of her off in her own little world.

How do I know this scenario so well?  Well I am a photographer, so I have seen it play out; BUT, I also have had my family pictures taken, so been there done that!  Having lived on both sides of the camera, let me tell you this – THIS happens all the time.  I have planned the perfect photoshoot of my own children – all gussied up, on location, with props no less; the prefect plan for the perfect pictures.  We arrived all happy and smiling, the kids were running around skipping and as soon as we met with my friend with a camera in hand… POOF – the cooperation, smiles, anything symbolizing a worth-while picture adventure vanished. I have lived the parental nightmare of a family photo shoot gone wrong. I have shot the family photo shoot gone wrong – so I compiled a list of helpful hints to arm yourself with prior to the shoot.

Crazy personalities offer the best pictures!

How to prepare for a family photo shoot:

  1. Go with the flow.  Kids are kids. Simple as that. They do not have the capacity to reason.  If they did – parents wouldn’t be so tired all the time.
  2. FEED THEM!  Please make sure everyone has eaten. There is no getting around a hungry child. They are grumpy. Period.  Also bring snacks, treats, candy anything they like – BRIBE them!  IT WORKS.
  3. Use their personalities to get the shots. When I take pics I try to incorporate as much fun for them as possible. I have to do this with mine. I simply tell them “Look, I need to get some good normal smiling pics, once I do that – then just be yourselves.  Be silly – I don’t care, do whatever.” I get GREAT photos by doing this. I do it for clients too.
  4. Let them take breaks. Kids, dads, dogs, they need a break here and there. It makes for a longer shoot but smiling gets old.
  5. Be open to ideas.  This isn’t a fashion shoot, with models, hair and makeup and tons of lights,  it is your family.  Let everyone be involved with the shoot and participate.  This gets everyone actively involved and you might be surprised at the results!
  6. Get the shots you really want early.  Get the family, kids shots you really want first.  Often times the kids are cooperative for the first round of photos and that is the best time to make sure you get the pics you want. After you get the shots you “need” then let the photographer and you and your family get creative and see what you come up – it is fun and often rewarding in the end!
  7. Participate in the shoot. Don’t think that the photographer has all the answers – provide suggestions.

Other than that have fun, relax and have a great shoot.

Candids make great photos!

Candids make great photos!

I took the picture above when getting ready to head out for the day.  I thought it was cute the way my kids were sitting waiting for me – however once I pulled the camera out they became uncooperative and grumpy.  I went with it anyway and ended up getting a great picture of a brother and sister!

I’d love to photograph your family and see if they are as wacky and wonderful as mine!  Please contact me at 951-254-2805 or at You can also send me a message to my facebook account or leave a comment here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Paige Donahoe

Twisted Branch Photography

© Paige Donahoe

Trying WordPress

So here I am trying to figure out how to make WordPress work like Blogger does and I am failing miserably at it. So needless to say I DO have a wordpress account, as you can see since you are infact reading it – BUT I cannot figure out how to get it to do, what I want it to do…so I gave up on it.

I know, I know – Quitter. Well I am frustrated so I figured it was safer to walk away than sitting by myself yelling at my computer.

So that is all – I just wanted to see if I could successfully post something, anything without a photo not loading – so I decided to use a smaller photo from my phone rather then the larger professional photos that I am trying to promote via this blog. It seems counterintuitive to me to do it that way, but oh well.

I will forge on with trying to figure out this program – however until I can make it bend to the way I want it to – I will coyly ignore it – until it meets me in the middle 8=)

That is it – I am out..for now!

Until I get this working you can visit:

My blogger account at
Facebook at
Website (which I am redoing but the old one is still up) at
Drop me an email at

La Jolla