As a creative family and children’s photographer, the most rewarding session I could personally ever have is photographing my childhood friend’s baby. And that is just what happened on my recent trip to my hometown in San Diego County in California!

10 Year Reunion in Carlsbad, CA

My teenage years were spent growing up in a beach town in Oceanside, right along the coast where taco shops are situated on every corner, surfers are casually strolling barefoot with a board tucked under their arm at sunrise, and the rolls of skateboard wheels on concrete are constant background noise. I moved to Oceanside when I was 12, not knowing anybody and unsure of where I would fit in.

Our Middle School Years

My first-ever friend in Oceanside – and my best friend during middle school – Bianca, and I met on the first day of 7th grade in 2nd period Chorus. Her and I clicked immediately and we spent the next 2 years, talking for hours on the phone afterschool, making music videos, shopping for cute clothes and daydreaming about boys. We had a particular fondness for skaters and fashionable earrings, wide belts and headbands.  Ah, junior high in 2007 – such fun times! It was with Bianca that we had our first boyfriends together, spent our days after school getting free ice-cream from Coldstone (back when they had free ice cream on your “birthday” and watched Clueless and John Tucker Must Die on repeat during our weekly slumber parties. Cher and Dionne, we were. While we lost touch after junior high, the joyful, fun memories have always stuck with me through the years, and I owe so much to the joy I experienced in middle school because of Bianca.

So, it goes without saying that when Bianca reached out to me on Instagram to book a family portrait session with her BEAUTIFUL 8 month old daughter Arabella (gorgeous just like her mama!) and her sweet and gentleman of a fiance, Steve, while I was visiting my hometown in Oceanside, I was bursting with happiness and excitement! It had been 10 years since I had last seen Bianca – 10 years! – and I couldn’t wait to catch up and meet her family.

Hosp Grove Park | San Diego Family Photographer

We met up at Hosp Grove Park in Carlsbad, one of my favorite family session spots in North County San Diego. Arabella is a strikingly adorable baby, and her big, round eyes are features that a baby and children’s photographer only dreams to photograph! Steve and Bianca’s connection and chemistry were clear from the get-go and their admiration and friendship between the two of them was so fun to capture behind my lens, not to mention the evident love and joy they had for their sweet baby girl. It was an easy session, to say the least! And let’s be real – how cute is Arabella?

Hosp Grove Park Carlsbad California San Diego Family Children's Photographer Helena Woods

Canon 5D Mark iii

This was also my first-ever session with my new camera body, the Canon 5D Mark iii. I decided to upgrade after using the Canon 6d for the first three years of my running my studio,  but I wish I had done this sooner! The quality of the Canon 5D Mark iii is so crisp, sharp and the focus points make my job so much easier in terms of getting that crystal-clear focus. While it is always the photographer and never the camera that makes a beautiful photograph, the Mark iii definitely adds a little pop to my images, and I am so glad I got to photograph my friend and her family with my new camera!

Sneak peeks from our recent Carlsbad Family Portrait Session!

Memories from our Middle School Days (thank you Photobucket!)

Middle School Reunion: Family Portraits in the Forest

February 4, 2019


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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical moments through my lens and my pen. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I'm inspired to share the light around me. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.