Beijos Events // Girls’ Day Out // Santa Cruz Shopping Tour

The Beijos Events babes put together an amazing girls’ day out in Santa Cruz, with stops at all of my favorite stores in town and ending with beers and a bonfire on the beach! We started the afternoon with organic beer tasting at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery, then went to both of the Cameron Marks boutiques in the Swift Street Courtyard, then headed downtown to Stripe and Stripe Men on Walnut Avenue, followed by a gourmet ice cream break at the Penny Ice Creamery, then back to shopping at Dig Gardens before ending the day at Twin Lakes for a sunset bonfire and some s’mores of course. Check out the full feature over on Style Me Pretty Living.

Hair Stylist: Melissa Marie Hair // Accessories: Love Tatum // Beach Bag: NeNe And Co. // Beach Hair Spray + Lip Butters: Herbivore // Beer: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing | Cameron Marks: Cameron Marks // Canvas Bag + Trucker Hats: Of One Sea // Dig Gardens: Dig Gardens // Event Planning + Styling: Beijos Events // Hair + Makeup: Sarah-Nicole Makeup // Koozies: Shop Bando // Marshmallows: Madysons Gourmet Marshmallows // Mexican Blankets: Gunn+Swain // Pillows:Barrington Blue // Pillows For Bonfire: Barrington Blue // Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery: Santa Cruz Mountain Brewery // Stickers: Prim And Pixie // Stripe: Stripe // Temporary Tattoos: Flash Tattoos // The Penny Ice Creamery: The Penny Ice Creamery // Throwbeds For Bonfire: HedgeHouse USA // Towel:Kamp And Co. // Towel + Sunblock: Sun Bum // Wardobe: Novella Royale // Water Bottles: Swell // Wooden Planters: Aspen Summit // Wooden Tray: Statsky Design

Carlie Statsky PhotographyCarlie Statsky PhotographyCarlie Statsky PhotographyCarlie Statsky PhotographyCarlie Statsky PhotographyCarlie Statsky Photography

happy holidays | a few recent card designs

What an amazing year 2012 has been! I’ve been lucky enough to witness some of the sweetest people as they say their vows, party like rockstars, start their families, and then continue to grow their families. It has been such an honor to share in all of the intimate, hilarious and emotional moments of these people’s lives, and I’m beyond excited to see what 2013 will bring. My new year’s resolution is to finally get caught up on my blog and share more of these moments, but in the meantime here are just a few of the cards that I’ve recently designed for some of my favorite clients. As 2012 comes to a close I am filled with gratitude for all of you. Happy holidays from my family to yours!


sinclair family | family portraits | mill valley photographer

It’s always pretty incredible to see how much kids can grown and change in such a short amount of time, and an afternoon with this family proved that point. Last year I photographed these four in the sculpture garden at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, but his year we decided to explore around near their home in Mill Valley. It was so beautiful to see how their son Noah responded to the serenity of this location. Noah has an extremely rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome, (a communication and neurological disorder in which the he is nonverbal and is cognitively impaired) and he’s usually constantly on the move in every direction, but that afternoon he seemed so calm and almost mesmerized by being in such a beautiful spot and he would just sit and smile at his surroundings. Noah’s sister Talia seemed to love it too, as she showed me all of her new dance moves and played with her brother, and then we all just followed the sun as it dipped down into Marin headlands. Seeing the way this family loves and supports each other and the way the parents both create a steady sense of calm was such an inspiration to me and it was an honor to document their connection.




zeszut family | family portraits | santa cruz photographer

When my kids were still babies I used to pack them up in the car with my massive double stroller and go exploring through new neighborhoods all over town. On one of those adventures I discovered the most amazing and sunshine filled road that led up to beautiful views of the Santa Cruz mountains. I remember walking past this one particular property on that road and thinking what a magical place it would be to grow up there. Well it turns out I had the honor of photographing the family who live on that very property and honestly, between the the persimmon tree, the kind and carefree kids, the swings, the farm house, grandma’s cottage, the art, the views and the parents’ love, it was everything that I imagined…and then some.



midtown montessori | santa cruz photographer

I recently had the honor of being the school photographer for my daughter’s preschool, Midtown Montessori. The school’s amazing director Donna gave me complete freedom to photograph the children however I wanted to, so we skipped the cheesy backdrops and contrived poses, and instead just spent time with each child around the bamboo in their play yard. I definitely think that this casual approach allowed each child to relax and reveal their personality in a more vivid and honest way. I tried to get at least one genuine smile per child, and that meant using all of the wild imagination, antics full of silliness and reverse psychology that I could muster in order to get that smile to emerge from the shy, the stubborn and the downright defiant characters. They had me cracking up while they pretended to be panda bears eating bamboo or one-eyed pirates or just happy, giggling souls. It was such a refreshing change of pace to sit at my computer and edit these images, as I just stared into their perfectly pure faces and reflected on the beauty of childhood. These kids are all getting such a wonderful start in life and it was so fun for me to get to join them for a while. I love photographing weddings, but photographing kids will keep you young.


the holidays are coming | carmel family portrait session

The holidays are rapidly approaching, which means that I’m crazy busy editing family portrait sessions and designing holiday cards. I had to share this one that I just designed for an awesome family who recently relocated form Boston to Carmel. I love a personalized holiday card, and this one really shows the beauty of their new baby girl who is so incredibly full of joy, as well as the beauty of their new home on the California coast. This is a 5 x 7 card with the letters on the front and the family portrait on the back.


a family portrait session with my family

I am so in love with this family…because they are my actual family, (thanks to my husband Gabe having Jessie as his sister.) I honestly have no idea how I lucked out in marrying someone with a family that I actually enjoy being with, and even calling after the ‘being with’ to talk for a few late night hours. This is a family that offers a permanent supply of  love, support and hand-me-down gossip magazines, so they definitely deserved a little something back, but being an artist with little to offer besides some creativity and heart I was forced to give the lamest excuse for a present ever: a hand made gift certificate. Granted it was an excessively large gift certificate, colorfully written on a stretched canvas, with instructions to hang the certificate on a wall in their home until it was redeemed for the real gift; a family portrait session, but it was still essentially a gregarious coupon posing as a Christmas gift. Finally, a half a year later, I’m finally offering something back to the most deserving and beautiful family ever; documentation of their connection as a family and some memories of this fleeting moment in the girls’ lives. I usually post mostly color photos, but for this session the toned black and white images felt much more powerful to me. I think when the color is removed from an image we are more easily able to focus on the emotion within the image. I find so much love and spirit communicated in all of the expressions and gestures that these four share. I included a little color some color at the end,  to show that it really was a stunning summer day at the beach, that there are some insanely dazzling blue eyes in this family, and to convey that there is a very vibrant future ahead of this crazy hula hooping crew!




the healing continues | surviving breast cancer

Those of you who have  followed my blog may remember the brave and beautiful Jen as she was just beginning her battle with breast cancer, (click here to see the first post.) Well, I couldn’t be happier to announce that Jen has made it through her final chemotherapy treatment and is on the path to a full recovery. I was beyond honored that Jen asked me to photograph her in this second stage of healing before she faces more surgery and yet more healing. We decided to meet at a beautiful, secluded beach up the coast. Poor Jen got stuck in hours of terrible traffic on her way there, but she still arrived with a bright smile and willingness to brave the rock cliffs that I had her climb and the cold that I made her endure…I think that kinda sums up Jen’s spirit perfectly. While I was wandering around the beach before Jen arrived, I found a piece of driftwood that when pushed together with some effort, formed a heart. It made me immediately think of Jen, so I gave it to her during our shoot. I love the shots of her holding it, especially the one at the end of the post. Jen I adore you and wish you continued health.

I asked Jen to be my guest blogger again, because I know her words do much more justice to this experience than mine ever could. She kindly shared these words:

“With the completion of chemotherapy in the first week of June, my gift to myself was a celebratory photo shoot with Carlie. When Carlie photographed me in the winter, I was about to have a mastectomy on my right side, about to start fertility treatments should my reproductive system not “wake up” after chemotherapy, and yes, I was about to start chemo as well. Part of my reason for asking Carlie to photograph me was that I had a fear that I wouldn’t recognize myself anymore, both in body and soul. I was afraid I would be changed forever. Fortunately, I did about as well as anyone can do with chemotherapy: my side effects were pretty minimal, nonethless, chemo and all that goes with it made for a long winter. I learned that nothing (mastectomy, chemo, hairloss, etc) lived up to my fearful idea of it. Each time a big moment came up, I would have all kinds of anxiety and before I knew it, I had adapted, because really, what other choice do you have, and I was OK. I don’t think anyone goes through a brush with a life-threatening illness without a ripple through their soul, but I’m not convinced anymore that you become a stranger to yourself in the process. This experience has fortified my ties with my friends and family, and brought into the light new important people in my life. When I feel happy, I feel it deeply, with gratitude for the moment. I’ve climbed a mountain of sorts and I’m seeing myself and my world from a whole new vantage point. I think that’s what Carlie captured. With relief, I can say I am cancer-free and chemo-free. With triumph I can say I did it and it is behind me. With humility and gratitude I can say I love my life, my friends, my family.”



the branch family | family portrait session on the beach | santa cruz

I have to thank my daughter’s preschool for connecting me with this sweet family. I spent some time with these brothers in their classroom when I photographed them for Midtown Montessori’s new website. I got to observe both boys completely quiet and still as they focused on their work inside the classroom, and then I got to see their extroverted and active sides come out when we met at the beach one windy afternoon for their family portrait session. There is a sense of freedom and fun that the oceanside offers, and the boys were definitely feeling it, as they ran, jumped, laughed and got giddy….all of which kept me thoroughly entertained and permanently pressing the shutter button.


family portraits in belvedere | bay area photographer

It’s a rare thing to walk into a family home with two young kids and immediately feel a sense of calm. Even more impressive were the abundance of manners and smiles exhibited by their 5 year old boy. I have to give full credit to these two parents who seemed to put so much effort into raising their children with a conscious and loving approach. These are some amazing parents who manage to be educating their kids without sacrificing any of the fun. I loved following them around while the family explored in the garden, read books, danced around, and even played chess together. Yes, they have a 5 year old who has been reading for 3 years and plays chess already…I told you they were an impressive family.