Minimalist Wedding Inspiration at Esperanza Auberge in Los Cabos

The statement “less is more” is undoubtedly one related to the concept of minimalism. An elegant, functional and orderly way of taking care of every detail, that is exactly what Cristina Cabrera, wedding designer and planner at Vivid Occasions, created in this design.

“We took the white color as a starting point to choose the rest of the elements that integrated organically with the environment, and could easily mix with the beauty of the venue we chose, Esperanza, An Auberge Resort,” writes Cristina, “we started to select details, furniture and accents carefully, in order to get a fresh and clean look soothed by some accents to evoke the warm and bright summer feel.”

Straight lines and symmetry with the harmony of different whites, neutrals, earthy tones created the perfect combination when paired with different rich rustic textures present at Esperanza where natural wood and stone are the principal materials found in the architecture and surrounding landscapes. The choice of dried flowers in lieu of fresh colorful tones complemented the design adding texture.

Esperanza, An Auberge Resort is a timeless venue. Breathtaking terraces on cliffs, private beaches, romantic architecture are trademarks of this location. We went with a venue that defines the essence of Cabo, with luxurious and inviting accommodations, impeccable and warm service and amazing food.

Esperanza an Auberge Resort
Cocina del Mar restaurante at Esperanza Resort in Los Cabos

For the ceremony a semi-circle of pampa grass and other dried fillers with white touches, was arranged on the ground to anchor the space. It was intended to appear as though they had just grown from the sand.

Modern style white woody chairs added the white common thread to the design. The natural color of chair legs blend with the beach colors, letting the white shells pop from the sand. Aligning the aisle were candles in large clear candleholders held dried globe thistles.

The minimalistic and monochromatic concept was the theme for the reception as well.

Cristina continues “for the table centerpieces we definitely wanted to play with different elements and materials.” To give an organic feel shew added earthy tones found in the dry foliage such as bunny tail, white leather, amaranthus, white ferns, lentejilla, dried wild oats, lunaria, preserved craspedia to name a few. 

All of these carefully, placed on ceramic and blown glass (locally produced) vases, sleek white ceramic “hammered” chargers, wooden candle holders, soft linen napkins and glass goblets and votives provided warmth to the clean straight lines of the imperial table setup.

We did not forget to add a bit of glam using metallic touches with the modern flatware. Simply because we can’t pass the opportunity to add that fancy detail. We created a cozy ambiance with a twinkle lights tunnel.

By embracing the desertic elements that the landscape offer and the endless summer vibes Cabo is known for this design showcases how a timeless set up can be adapted to this era.

10 Ideas to cool off your hot destination wedding day

Beach weddings are such a dream. It makes you think of long summer days, sandy feet and salty margaritas. The reality is that although the beach is all of those things it can also be unbearably hot, especially in Baja where some locals swear the Mexican state is closer to the sun than the rest of the planet. This is the perfect excuse to add some cool details to your wedding experience.


Having a beach ceremony? Rule numero uno, ask Google what time does the sun set on your wedding day. You want your ceremony to be scheduled no more than 2 hours before that time.


The best thing against the sun is shade. It makes all the difference. Offering this tool to your guests will make their experience a much more enjoyable one. Cute paper parasols will look pretty great and can be used for wedding party photos afterwards.


They can be placed over the seats so when your guests arrive they find fans waiting for them, or next to a welcome table along with other welcoming items.


If the ceremony time can’t be close to sunset, then consider having it in the shade. So many resorts and villas offer shady spaces with ocean views and you can always have another portion of your wedding celebration by the Ocean, like your cocktail hour or reception. Another option, is having a tent, with the right designer sky’s the limit.


The perfect opportunity to bring out that signature cocktail or some traditional and refreshing “aguas naturales”, spanish for natural water, basically a watered down juice of different fruits, super cold.


Mexican popsicles are awesome, colorful and made with fresh fruit. Super refreshing there are several places that sell them in cocktail flavors and come in the cutest little ice-cream carts.


Let your guests know that it will be hot, to dress within the dress code but with the hot weather in mind, especially if you are not requiring jackets for the gentleman. They will appreciate the heads-up.


Think of a beach appropriate wedding gown. Same goes for the bride, not just the gown but the footwear. Barefoot is absolutely appropriate for a ceremony on the beach. Consider light fabrics, flowy and breezy that will let you enjoy your wedding day without any discomfort. And if you love to show skin, this is the best time to do it.


Along with the mini bottle of tequila, snacks and Tylenol packets, include sunscreen and chapstick on your welcome kit or care package. You can even customize it!


Check out USB mini fans for iPhone and Android, a pack of six can be found on Amazon for fourteen bucks, this little gadget is attached to the phone’s charging ports and make for a super cute give away.

Check out my Pinterest board with these ideas

8 Things to consider when picking your wedding photographer

Of course I would love to work with anyone in need of my services but I’m a firm believer that as there are couples who are a perfect match to my specific style of photography, there also are couples who are not. And these couples should be working with their perfect match. With so many amazingly talented wedding photographers choosing one can be daunting, but know that the right one is out there, hoping to connect with you. Here are some tips and secrets that I, as a professional photographer myself, know can be extremely helpful in finding the ONE (photographer that is). 


If photography matters to you then it’s definitely worth spending time looking for the right photographer. The first rule is to follow your gut, so if someone’s work speaks to you, that is a photographer seriously worth considering. And, like with most things wedding, only listen to your partner on this matter. These are YOUR photos. 


So many couples who reach out to me usually say “I don’t know anything about photography” or “I’m not artistic!”, so how do you narrow it down? I think starting out with pros that your wedding coordinator has recommended is a safe bet, mainly because any good wedding coordinator will only use professionals they can vouch for. Also, checking out photographers you’ve seen at a friend’s wedding is very smart. This way you can ask your friends about their experience. These are both great places to start, but it’s totally normal to feel like you should do your own research, especially if it feels like you haven’t found the one yet.

Google, of course, is an endless mine of good resources, but watch out, if someone ranks high it means that they are great at SEO (the things one does to their website so search engines can spot it) but is no guarantee the quality of the images or that they match your taste. Make sure to do research well beyond that first page. AND use different keywords, include searches for weddings at the venue you are getting married at or the specific style of photography you want (more on that later).

Just like with Google, don’t let social media’s algorithm decide things for you and don’t let the number of followers of a professional guide your decision. As much as so many amazing photographers have high follower counts, those numbers only truly prove that time and possibly money were spent on getting those numbers up. Now-a-days rarely a commercial account gets a ton of attention organically. With that said, hashtags are very useful. Use the same search words as for Google, this might lead you to someone who already shot at your venue and is amazing but won’t rank high with #weddingphotographer 😉


Let’s understand WHAT we shoot. Wedding photos can be roughly subdivided into the categories I listed below. Aside from wedding portraits of the bride and groom any photographer will take photos of the ceremony and if you choose a long coverage, the reception too (toasts, formal dances, cake cutting, the party). Aside from that we also do:

Formal portraits – photos of bride and groom with family members and wedding party, when everyone is posed, looking at the camera. They are called formals because they are the most traditional, formal. Some photographers might not do these portraits as an artistic choice. ´

Detail shots – photos of your beautiful and special stuff. From personal details (your dress, rings, shoes, bouquet) to ceremony setup and reception decor, this is everything that you put your time, energy and money in and anything that holds significance (like grandma’s earrings). Some people think a photo of your shoes is stupid while some people will save those shoes for decades, but I personally feel that all of these elements help take you back in time to that day. And, if you receive hundreds of files of your wedding day, trust me there’s a context for a photo of your shoes.

Getting ready – photos of the preparations period before the ceremony, when you get dressed. Possibly the most candid rich time of the day, it can also be used to do a lot of formal portraits. If you have been dreaming about this day, do not skim on this.

Cocktail hour photos – during cocktail hour (time between ceremony and dinner) photographers will do photos of your guests. Normally they are point-and-shoot style, but they can also emphasize candid shots. These are designed to capture who was there, normally the job of a second shooter.

When analyzing a professional’s work, make sure to consider these categories, what makes sense for you and how the photographer you are eyeing approaches these shots.


You could say that there are two main “poles” within wedding photography. On one side are the portrait-artists and on the other, the photojournalists and a lot of good stuff in between. It’s fair to point out that most photographers will pull a little bit of both.

Simply put, the portraitists are very strong (and very into) portraits. It could be that they are into insanely posed images that are so dramatic that one image alone will represent your whole relationship (and probably win awards). Or it could mean that they will technically be impeccable when posing all your 30+ family members and deliver strong formals. Either way, they control a lot of the scene and pose heavily. Included in this are the editorial and traditional styles.

On the other end of the spectrum are the real photojournalists who will not touch anything in the scene (not even that can of Coke someone left behind you) and direct very little of the scene. The photojournalist is really strong (and really into) moments and emotion. Not just happy tears and laughter, but sometimes incredible photos of your bridesmaids eating tacos. Included in this is the documentary and natural styles. 

In the middle are illustrative and fine art wedding photography as well as my own style: lifestyle.

Lifestyle wedding photography sits in between the poles, but closer to the photojournalist, I do not pose but will style the scene and give you direction to get you in the right mood. My jam is candid work carefully composed. So, natural, but with no water bottles in the background.  People who like my work are usually camera-shy or dislike posed images. They also care that the images correctly reflect who they are and their personalities. If this resonates with you, you want to look into that end of the scale closer to the documental or photojournalistic.


On a very (very!) basic level, you can split photographers into dark & moody or light & dreamy. My work, for instance, is on the light side, with clear, soft and clean images. But other pros are kicking ass producing dark and moody photos, with very dark blacks where you don’t see details. Depending on the environment you are getting married at one technique might look better than the other.

Another important consideration is if the images you like are natural light or artificially lit. Make no mistake both require extensive technical knowledge. Natural light means the photographer is using only the available light be that the strong sun or the candles and bistro lights at the reception, these are not controlled by the photographer and therefore can be extremely challenging to work with. Artificial light photographers will use various techniques and tools to create controlled light, they will be able to shoot anywhere and many of them will use said tools to create dramatic portraits.


Watch out for the images that look vintage or monochromatic, like with an Instagram filter. You should think about trends carefully, you could get over this in a few years. Unfortunately like with everything nowadays, this trend has gone viral and you might find the higher ranking pros who are using (and abusing) these post-production effects. At the same time if you just love that orange look or blue tint, then you know what path to follow, remember rule number 1.


Like with everything else at the wedding, you must set a budget for your wedding photography. Wedding coordinators usually give their clients a ballpark on what to expect as far as cost for a high quality professional. I’m not sure what the ballpark is in your area, but be prepared to spend 4 digits. This will narrow things down considerably.

The cheaper, the riskier. No way about it. Sometimes, someone who is cheap is so because they are starting out, so a bargain might be out there, but it will come with risks. Then again, it’s not because someone is expensive that they will kill it, we’ve heard first hand horror stories of “celebrity” and “influencer” photographers who were drinking on the job or were unkind to their clients. Check out reviews on the professionals on Google, WeddingWire or blogs of your choice.

Aside from quality and photography style, you should factor: 

  • What are the wedding coverage options? How many hours will the photographer be present? Do you want your day documented starting with your getting ready all the way to people on the dance floor? Or are you having something so simple that you just want incredible portraits and only the ceremony documented?
  • Do they offer print products? Prints and books, is that something you want? I personally feel like my work is best presented in a wedding book. To hold a book in your hands or have a large print in a beautiful frame are a totally different experience than viewing them on your computer, let alone on your phone. The book, in particular, is especially powerful, it’s then that the images come together in concert and tell the story of the day, evoking those feelings in a dynamic way.  There are a lot of labs and print shops online that will allow you to do that all by yourself, but a photographer who offers these features has done a lot of research. And in cases like mine, when the photographer designs the book for you, you’re getting the input of the creator on what will jive together. 
  • Do they have a second shooter? This is a big one. To understand what a second shooter does think about watching sports. When a big play happens, they will show the replay on TV from different angles, right? That’s it. A second shooter will give you a second point of view. It’s not to be confused with a 2 for 1 sale. From time to time the two photographers can be split to cover more ground, it depends on how the main shooter uses this resource. Husband-wife photographers, for instance, work together in different ways. Some shoot individually and even edit and post-produce individually while others will use the first-second hierarchy. In many cases, the second shooter is not as strong or experienced as the main shooter. That will not detract from the quality of the photography, remember you must trust the captain of the photography ship, they should know what to do with the second camera.
  • Deciding on having a second shooter is a conversation you should have with your photographer. Some won’t even work without a second. But if they offer the option of shooting alone, they will explain how that will impact your coverage. If you are expecting a wedding with more than 100 guests, and if you have a large wedding party, it’s a safe bet that having a second shooter will be very beneficial.
first shooter angle on the left and second shooter angle on the right.


After you narrow it down to just a few photographers and make sure the ones you picked to fit your budget for wedding photography, reach out. Most photographers only show their complete pricing guide after you send an email. Make sure to include the date of your wedding and the venue. 

Ask to see a complete photo gallery with what they have delivered to a client in the past. This will let you see the photographer’s true colors. You might find someone who does incredible editorial portraits but not much more than that. Or that they almost don’t do formals, or they don’t take photos of details at all. The one thing you don’t want to do is ask a photographer to do something you don’t see in their work. A really great professional will have their work already defined and you don’t want to try to force them to fit in a box they don’t belong, you’ll miss out on what they actually have to offer.

Talk to them. Their personality impacts their photography, make sure you like your photographer. A phone call won’t weed out every single problem but it will give you a good grip on who you are working with. Remember the photographer is someone who will be with you for a big portion of the day and who needs your trust to perform their best work. Call, Skype or meet with them and just like a new friend, if you hit it off it means you’ll have a good time together.

Hope this helps! If you have any questions, reach out!

Tlaquepaque Wedding

Gaby & Andres are a very special couple indeed, they are family. Andres and my husband, Gus, go way back. They have been close through their young and adult lives in multiple cities and countries. It was easy to befriend Gaby. Her energy is kinetic and I have so much respect for this girl. She’s a go-getter, sensible soul who is wicked smart and a role model for pursuing her dreams and achieving plans she sets out for herself.

At that time of their engagement, the couple was living in Guadalajara for a short stint and Gaby couldn’t think of anywhere else she would rather get married then her beloved hometown of Tlaquepaque. Pronounced tlah-keh-pah-keh this uber picturesque city is part of Guadalajara surrounding metropolitan area.

Guadalajara is the third largest city in Mexico. It’s the capital of the state of Jalisco It’s the birthplace of many cultural staples we love about Mexico, namely the mariachis and tequila. It also the home of some of the best Mexican dishes like the torta ahogada (bathed sandwich), a pork sandwich that is traditionally dunked in super hot salsa (although I certainly need to get that salsa on the side), it’s a notorious hang-over food, it can only be called the real deal if the bread used is the real bolillo made in Guadalajara. Seriously, if you eat a true torta ahogada outside of Guadalajara you can bet the bread has been flown there.

Everytime I visit Guadalajara I know the best part will be the food (sorry all of our dear friends and family who live there!). I swear, somehow everything there is super flavored. Maybe it’s the magic that makes the bolillo so special, the altitude some say, that makes every fruit, vegetable, dairy so damn delicious. With such a flavourful base you can only imagine how Mexican cuisine shines in that place.

Tlaquepaque is south of Guadalajara. Walk the cobblestone streets under papel picado until you reach the plaza to find street vendors selling arts and crafts, delicious street food and see mariachis play live music. Arts are a huge part of Tlaquepaque’s culture, visiting you’ll find yourself surrounded by art galleries and handmade furniture shops.

Gaby was born and raised here and knowing the place like the back of her hand made her experience planning her wedding that much better. I had the honor to be their wedding photographer. Like everything about their wedding, the photography reflected the couple’s personalities and alternative approach to the concept of a wedding, marriage and romance. Especially in a traditional place like Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque, the mix of long-established and unconventional, was a true breath of fresh air.

The couple didn’t hire a wedding planner and worked together using their creativity to find ways to make their limited budget stretch to incredible lengths. Aside from DIYing the heck of the decorations, the couple was incredibly resourceful with their choices. 

Gaby opted to have her wedding dress made by hand by a local seamstress. She brought the beautiful lace from France and chose a flowy fabric for a simple long skirt. The french lace was used on the bodice which had an open back.

Andres wore a dark gray suit with a black tie paired with black New Balances.

The couple chose _______, a local art gallery for her wedding venue. The ceremony was held in the main room, an open space where ____ of their guests surrounded the couple as they signed their names in front of a judge. The space displayed art and didn’t need any decorations to evoque the Tlaquepaque artsy vibes.

Gaby chose not to walk down the aisle. The coupe did a first look and photo shoot before it all started, allowing themselves to relax once they arrived at the gallery. Once there they mingled with guests before the judge asked everyone to take their places. Just like that bride and groom stood in front of the judge.

After the I dos, guests were invited for cocktail hour at the gardens on the back of the gallery. The space was tented as Guadalajara is prone to big storms. From the tented ceiling large golden diamond shaped piñatas decorated the space. White linen tables had centerpieces with white and pink roses and baby’s breath, along with mini golden cages with other golden accents.

At the garden where cocktail hour was happening trees had little golden Eiffle towers ornaments hanging, a call back to Gaby’s love of France where she lived for a few years before meeting Andres and where she would go back to several times with him. 

Instead of a formal sit down dinner the couple chose to bring a local taquero to make fresh tacos to order. Guests had no problem mingling while they waited for their turn and chose from the delicious salsas. Simple food with great flavour and no fuss is very much in tandem with the couple’s style as well as their friends and family. 

After toasts the couple’s friends from the prestigious electronic group Telefunka played DJ sets that made everyone dance. As the night progressed the music eventually made its inevitable way to all the classic Mexican hits and traditional music that makes it impossible not to dance to, especially after a few shots of tequila. Around midnight, as customary in Mexican weddings, the mariachis arrived and had everyone singing along. Further down the night the couple had another surprise, a firework show that kept guests distracted from the idea of going home.

Eventually and very late that night, after the rain came and went a few times never dampening the party mood, although some of the guests left the large majority stayed on until 4 am when the venue closed making it a truly epic night.

Here’s what Gaby wrote about her experience:

“Creating, planning and designing our own wedding was an amazing experience and made our day even more special! It was a challenge but it was totally worth it! The whole process included deciding the wedding guest list up to going in person to the flower market to pick the right flowers for the wedding. Every detail was decided by us, bride and groom, we worked together having ideas and making them better.

I really wanted the wedding to be a celebration for everyone involved, not just us. So my mom, sister, aunts, friends from the US and France contributed to the wedding planning process until the last moment. We made all the centerpieces ourselves. We used to have these meetings in my apartment where we could gather and do it together. There was a design theme of course but everyone was welcome to give their opinions and just do it!  Basically 90% of the decorations were handmade by us, even by the groom!!

We got married in my hometown Tlaquepaque which is super special for me as my parents and myself grew up there. Tlaquepaque is a very colorful, beautiful traditional mexican town with a lot of culture and handcrafts everywhere.  

Our wedding was relaxed and cool, I didn’t want to be stressed or anything, I just wanted us to enjoy our day. So we had one speech to thank everyone who came, as we had guests coming from Cabo, Los Angeles, London, France, Seattle, New York, Colorado, Barcelona and of course Guadalajara. We had two more friends who gave toasts too and talked about our love story and that was it! We said “thank you all for coming, this is a party for everyone so let’s enjoy it!” And we danced and danced and danced until 4am. 

Anna made it even more special with the photographs. We had our photo session around the town, in its streets! It couldn’t be better, we had so much fun doing it. People were around us and I felt so happy it was the perfect scenario. She captured the essence of us, of course, but also the spirit of the town and the emotional attachment we have for it. The ceremony was filled with emotions and happiness. Anna did perfect shots of everyone, bride & groom, family and friends, it was this kind of “once in lifetime moment” and she captured every one of them. 

Everytime I see my wedding photos, again and again, a big hearted smile is on my face, it’s just beautiful!”

Many of the couples who work with me get to know Andres. A few years back he came to one of my weddings to give me a helping hand and since then I have the privilege of working with someone not only trustworthy but a super talented second shooter and assistant.  

8 Things to Consider when planning your Cabo wedding post-Covid

Elsa Dilasser & Maria Jose Garcia are the founders of Palms Wedding & Events, one of the top luxury wedding planning service in Los Cabos with almost two decades of experience in Cabo’s wedding industry, they specialize in cultural weddings in particular South Asian celebrations, offering one of the most comprehensive planning services in town. 

I reached out to Elsa & MJ to ask about what advice they had for couples planning their weddings in Cabo during the Covid crisis. The experts provided really great pointers that take into consideration the information we have so far and what are the things couples as well as their entire wedding team need to take into consideration during this new reality.

Here’s what they had to say:

“We understand that it can be overwhelming to plan a wedding and especially during these uncertain times. Here is some advice we like to share with you to guarantee the safety and well-being of your wedding guests. Please note these points are based on current information and resources we have regarding Covid19 and may change as we learn more about the virus.”


“Please carefully read over all vendor contracts as much can be overlooked in all of the excitement and with working with so many different vendors.

Does the contract include a cancellation or postponement clause? Are the details of the refunds clear? Note some deposits may not be refundable or partially refundable. Most of the time it will depend on the time or supplies your vendor has already invested in your wedding.

Also during this time new vendors’ contracts should include a hygiene and sanitization clause, especially vendors such as hairstylists and makeup artists. But also caters, cake vendors, rental companies, or any vendor in direct contact with your guests food and beverage. Make sure you are aware of their policies protocol.

As wedding and events coordinators we are currently reviewing all this information with our vendors to make sure that they all fulfill the new health and hygiene requirements.”


“Also ask the venues you are interested in how many weddings a year do they do, if they are about 60, chances are that you will have a hard time rescheduling your wedding on a weekend. Keep in mind that other brides will need to do the same and the weekend that is best for you might not be available. If you are open to getting married on a week day or Sunday then you should not have any issues postponing as most of the weddings take place on Saturdays.” 


“Depending on the size of your wedding you should look for a small boutique hotel, an off-site wedding location or a venue where you could do a buyout. Indeed after this episode we anticipate guests would feel much more conformable to be surrounded by only the guests of your wedding vs. huge hotels with several hundreds of guests. That would give at least a little peace of mind to your guests.

We advise you to look for a secluded venue or remote location. Baja offers many options from luxury villas to small boutique hotels from Todos Santos to the East Cape. You are sure to find the perfect spot.

Buyout at Sunset Monalisa

There are also countless farm-to-table restaurants providing you with a safe environment for you and your guests. To name a few of our couples favorites for the delicious food we recommend Flora Farms, Acre, Tamarindos, and Jazamango.”

Acre Baja


“Don’t give up on your wedding dream in Mexico as elopement is a good alternative. Providing it will give you peace knowing your loved ones are in the comfort of their home. The best news is that we now have available in Cabo videographers offering professional live streaming so no one misses a moment of your celebration.”

Minister ready for elopement ceremony at Las Ventanas al Paraiso


“Our design esthetic currently situates tables at the recommended six feet of social distancing to allow easy service flow. We will recommend a private area such as a terrace if you are staying in a hotel, for example, to avoid any outsiders approaching your setup.”


“In this current situation buffets are unfortunately not recommended at this time due to health regulations. Luckily we have very creative chefs in Los Cabos and we know they will come up with tasty plated options for all our events.”


“Something new will appear in the welcome bags such as customized wedding masks. Another item that is not so new, but we tend to not put systematically with the goodies, is the Sanitizer Gel.”


“As much as we love working with outside vendors from all over the World, at this time we need to take a closer look at safety measures and what is best for you and your guests. Please check with the airlines for the most up-to-date information prior to travel as new policies may have been instilled such as no carry-on luggage which will inhibit professional musicians, photographers and videographers, from carrying their equipment.”

Want to learn more? Elsa & MJ are more than happy to help, just reach out to

Tips on what to do, what to wear and what are the best angles for your vacation photo session.

So you finally made that appointment to get your professional photos done, yay! And now you realize you will be in front of a camera… what to do? what to wear? yikes?

First off, talk to your photographer, ask as many questions as you feel like you need to get prepared. I personally like to assure my clients that this will be a fun and painless process and answer any questions. And rest assured, direction will be given to you. You’re not a professional model, so there is no expectation to have you posing yourself as one. A good photographer will direct you and make you as comfortable as possible and so you can leave the expert knowledge to the experts. With that said, a few tips before the shoot will certainly help:

What To Do With Your Hands

The camera is up and pointing right at you and all of a sudden it feels like you are Shiva with extra hands and arms. That’s just because you become self-aware and that is a total normal reaction. Contrary to what you might think, arms hanging on the side are not weird, maybe just a little boring. My advice is for you to use your hands to make contact with the person next to you. Hug, grab, tickle or just hold on for dear life, it works. For dudes hands in pockets look great, but you can also cross the arms or just hang them loose. As for the ladies, it’s very common to have the instinct to place your hands on your hips. That’s alright, but do it very lightly, so you look relaxed and not like on a cheerleader-stiff-pose. Alternatively, you can play with your outfit or place your hands crossed behind your back.

How to Pose Your Arms

Guess what? A LOT of people are self-conscious about their arms, I myself have what a friend calls “the eternal wave” (you know, when you wave and you can feel the arm juggling a bit?). The interesting thing is that even people who are fit might be self-conscious when they spot a bad angle on a photo. So have them SLIGHTLY flexed and away from your torso, let your hand rest on your thigh or grab a bit of the fabric of your dress and relax your hands. You can also take this into account when choosing your outfit, perhaps instead of that cute strapless top, perhaps consider something else super cute with sleeves.

How to Kiss for the Camera

If your photo shoot is about romance then you’ll probably be asked to kiss. I like to let my couples do what I call their “normal PDA”, some couples might be super shy about kissing while other will be super affectionate. I say “you do you” because that’s what I’m after and not a pretty-but-fake version of yourselves. Regardless of what you feel is the right level of public display of affection, the best tip for a good camera kiss is one without pouting, so when you kiss don’t pouch. Oh, and let’s keep those eyes closed! Also, who says the kiss must be on the mouth? Cheeks, forehead, shoulders, hands are all fair game.

What to Wear for the Shoot

Bring your personal style. Dress up in something that makes you feel good, that is flattering and that brings the best in you. We are all self-conscious about something in ourselves, focus on an outfit that will bring your best features.

Rule numero uno is being comfortable in your own skin, that will make you look stunning. Think about logistics too, that little white dress may be too short to sit pretty or those amazing Louboutins will be hard to walk around on.

Color Choices for Photo Sessions

What works for photos? Pastels and neutral tones are elegant and always work. Avoid loud prints or crazy colors. Neon green or hot pink? I love those, but it can be a challenge for portraits. That’s because the camera doesn’t capture light the same way our eyes do, no matter how advanced technologically that camera is, it doesn’t compare to our brain’s capacity to correct distortions such as the ones from super vibrant colors. Also, light bounces around, so that lime green shirt that you love will most likely make your skin tones green too.

Color Coordinate for the Photos

Oh yeah, it’s a thing. Coordinate colors between you. To avoid the “everybody-in-white t-shirt and jeans” solution, think 2-3 colors and how they don’t need to be the exact same. Think different tones of blue or like The Eberlys (below) who wore pastels to perfection.

If you do want to wear an all white theme, than consider different textures like Jenna did for her family vacation photoshoot.

Check how she allowed room for other neutral colors to and how it all came together beautifully. Navy blue, nudes and grays are perfect for that. The idea is to complement but not be matchy-matchy.

Hair and Makeup

Yes, hair & make-up is a GREAT idea. Think as if you’re going out on a special date. If the shoot is during the day, think of what you would wear for a nice lunch. Look casual but look your best.

There’s no need to get professional HMU, but by all means, if you want to, go for it. And if you are a bride doing a hair and makeup trial for your wedding, try to schedule your trial for the same day as the shoot.

Watch Out for the Sun

Friend, sunscreen is a must, believe me. If you’re doing your photos during a vacation trip in a place like Cabo, watch out! Not only should you protect your skin from the harsh sun for health purposes, but super red burnt skin is uncomfortable and not the ideal look. Most people try to get a tan in 5 minutes and unfortunately it just doesn’t work like that. Although I’m from Brazil, known for its warm weather, I inherited the super white skin of my Portuguese ancestors, so I know all about the desire of looking fabulous versus the painful reality. Try to catch some sun before going on vacation or just use that blessed sunscreen and apply it several times a day even when in the shade.

Another thing to consider is the tan lines. A lot of swimwear have some really cool yet a little wacky pattern on the back which means wacky tan lines. And since so many cute summer dresses and lovely shirts might show your back, you might want to avoid working on your tan wearing something along those lines.

Props, props, props!

Sunglasses, umbrellas, hats, anything that inspires you can make for some awesome photos. Bring a bottle of wine, a comfy beach spread. Bring toys for your kids, their favorite book. Get a flower crown, bring a hat, whatever you can think of, we can make it work. As much as strolling at the beach taking photos is tons of fun, having something else to do but smile for the camera will make for a much better time together.