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Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling Blog bio picture
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    Taking photographs has been my passion ever since I won my first camera in an
    8th grade spelling bee. Telling stories is a close second!

    Life is a journey filled with amazing stories, let me help you tell yours through photography.

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Aptos Newborn Family Photography- Baby Josiah!

Aptos Newborn Family Photography!  Aptos is a tiny little town south of  Santa Cruz where we now live!  Most people just say Santa Cruz but I thought I would give Aptos a little love for this post! Ready to meet an adorable Aptos family who just welcomed a second son?Santa Cruz Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0173Meet Baby Josiah, big brother Evan and the parents! What’s cuter than a family all cuddled up in a big bed? Not much- especially when there is a new little member to the family!

When I do a newborn/ family photo shoot I always like to start with the family pictures first!  In my opinion sometimes it is the hardest photograph to take but also one of the most important!  It’s nice to have it checked off the list and then move on to the other  images.

Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0174One thing I love doing is giving the older sibling some attention!  It’s hard for them sometimes to share the attention they have been used to having all to themselves!  Nothing like jumping on the bed to rev up the energy levels! Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0175What a great kid- so full of fun!!! His smile and laughter is so contagious!
Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0176Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0177While I was running around with Evan, I had a space heater warming up a small room to prepare for Baby Josiah’s portraits. To me a newborn shoot should be a combination of images of the family in their home but also a few posed studio-like images of the baby sleeping- you know the ones that make your heart melt when you look at them!  That newborn “look” does not last much longer than a few weeks so its important to get these images within the first 2 weeks. Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0180Mama nursed Josiah giving him a full belly and then a gentle massage on his head to lull him into dream land. The room was now at a balmy 85 degrees allowing the baby to be without clothes and not feel a chill. Babies this age cannot retain their body temperature so it’s important for the room to be warm enough. Aptos Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0178And viola, there he is sleeping like a little angel! I have some images of Jax when he was this age and they are still some of my favorites. I always try to reproduce something like that for other new mamas knowing how much I love my picture of Jax sleeping like this! Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0179Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0184Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0182Afterwards we brought Josiah back out into the living room for some pictures with Mom and Dad.  I love photographing the love on the faces of new parents as they admire their new child.  It’s such a beautiful time filled with so much joy and wonder. Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0183Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0187Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0185This was a bonus! Everyone on the couch for one more family picture!  Santa Cruz Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0181As their shoot was coming to an end, Baby Josiah was ready for another nap and big brother Evan was in toddler mode- still running around full of energy!Aptos Family Photography- Susannah Gill_0189Baby Josiah, it was a privilege to document your tiny little self full of newborn sweetness and your adorable family!!

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liza - June 25, 2014 - 11:11 am

Aw, love this! The interactions between mom + baby are my faves – they’re even making the same face :0). Love the way the light looks, too.

Paige - June 25, 2014 - 11:55 am

I love the mixed style in this post. Also, I LOVE that you focused on big brother too. It can hard for older siblings when the focus is 100% on the new baby. Very well done.

Annie - June 25, 2014 - 11:55 am

you can never beat real expressions and real interactions! :) Love this family session!

Ewa "Mom Photographer" - June 25, 2014 - 12:51 pm

Beautiful session. Love how natural it was. And The Big Brother’s smile is so playful! Great job!

Rachel - June 25, 2014 - 4:51 pm

Beautiful shots, Susannah! So much love in these pictures!

Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Sherriee & Sammy!

Santa Cruz Elopement Photography

Ready for some romance? Nothing quite as romantic as a Santa Cruz elopement! 2 weeks ago Sherriee and Sammy were planning a getaway trip to Santa Cruz for his birthday when Sammy announced that for his birthday he also wanted to marry Sherriee! Now there was much more to plan for than just packing up some flip flops and sunscreen! They went into overdrive buying a ring, a dress, and sorting out logistical things such as someone to marry them and someone to photograph it!  And then to figure out where!

Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement PhotographySherriee knew she wanted to get married near a lighthouse as lighthouses are something very dear to her heart as they remind her of her grandmother. They chose the Surf Museum Lighthouse at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz! Sherriee had told me over the phone that it would just be her and Sammy at the wedding. Sherriee has an 18 year old daughter but she was busy at school with finals. We had found our location for the ceremony on the beach when all of a sudden Sherriee said’ “Is that?!?!….OMG!!!!!”Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySherriee’s daughter and her best friend were walking towards Sherriee on the beach! Sherriee’s best friend pulled her daughter out of school and they followed them to the location of the wedding! SURPRISE! And what a beautiful one it was too! The minutes that followed were a combination of hugs, laughter and tears! (the good kind)
Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0130Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0131Whew! NOW it was time to start the wedding!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0132The setting was just perfect, the air was warm, the breeze was gentle and these animal lovers didn’t mind at all the dogs running on the beach, the birds swooping through the air, the barking of the seals and later you will see, dolphins swimming by in the ocean! Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySherriee looks over to her daughter with so much love in her heart!Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0137Hands waiting for rings, so sweet!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0169So grateful that Greg joined me for this wedding, who else would have quickly climbed up the cliffs and photographed the ceremony from afar! Thank you Greg for capturing this unique angle of the wedding ceremony!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0140Sherriee and Sammy exchanged vows that they wrote themselves. They were tender, funny and extremly touching, a perfect touch to this intimate ceremony. Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0170Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0142Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0143The rings were exchanged and then after the official announcement KISS THE BRIDE!!!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0144Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographyAnd then hug the bride!  These two are huggers- nothing better!!!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0171Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement PhotographyWe took some time to take some family and some traditional bride and groom photographs! I think they are important for the family history books! I like a balance between old school and new school when it comes to wedding day portraits!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0150Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0172The dolphins came to say congratulations!Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0152Sherriee made her beautiful bouquet!Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographyIt was now time to take the newlyweds away for a little bit to photograph their love and laughter, always such a fun part of a getting married!  They were troopers about the water, California waters are not exactly warm but the temps were in the 90s that day and after the initial shock of the water it was actually quite refreshing! Ha, says the one who was not standing in it!Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0155Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0156Between rounds of hysterical laughter there were these beautiful quite moments of connection.Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0160Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks” was playing throughout my head and I even had a few out loud moments where I serenaded the newlyweds.  I’m sure that was a highlight of their day;)Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0161Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0162So cute!Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographySanta Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0158Santa Cruz Elopement Photography- Susannah Gill_0165Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographyCompliments of Sherriee’s daughter and a few doggy foot prints! Congratulations Sherriee and Sammy!  Keep laughing, loving and hugging- you two are awesome at it!Santa Cruz Elopement PhotographyOff in the distanced there was the Santa Cruz boardwalk- where these two were headed next- remember it was Sammy’s birthday too- it was time for a double celebration! Happy Birthday Sammy!


I would also like to mention Rev. Janet King who did such a wonderful job with the cermony!




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Donna - May 24, 2014 - 5:36 pm


The simplicity of these photos is beyond beautiful. The love really shines thru all the soothing pastel colors.
xo Donna

Natalie - May 29, 2014 - 2:42 pm

Simple weddings are the best! I love the extended portrait session on the beach. The one with him poking her on the nose is completely adorable!!!! Congrats Sherriee and Sammy!

Kim e - May 29, 2014 - 5:13 pm

What a beautiful elopement! Such sweetness that her daughter surprised them at the beach, such wonderful memories having that moment captured! And Greg is totally awesome with that shot, great
different perspective.

liza - May 30, 2014 - 4:25 pm

Such great, meaningful snippets of the day. I love the closeup photo of their arms folded – you have a great eye for these unique perspectives!

Laura - May 30, 2014 - 11:03 pm

I love elopements! You captured their raw emotion so perfect. :)

Nicole - June 2, 2014 - 2:46 pm

So sweet and beautiful! You captured the ceremony beautifully and I love all the portraits.

Andrea Garvey - June 14, 2014 - 7:13 am

I love how light and airy the photos feel – such a beautiful day.
Sherrie and Sammy are so in love and look so happy.
What amazing memories you captured!

Santa Cruz Elopement Photography!

Santa Cruz Elopement Photography!Santa Cruz Elopement

Weddings come in all forms and after photographing over 100 of them we know this for a fact! We also know from being a bride and groom ourselves 5 years ago that weddings are a ton of work!

So why not keep it simple? Why not keep it about the connection between the two people getting married? Nothing fancy, just love, an officiant and of course a photographer!

We had so much fun photographing this Santa Cruz elopement at the Lighthouse. These newlyweds laughed so much, not a worry in the world! Pure joy and happiness!


Stay tuned for their blog post coming soon!

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Alyse and Dan’s Roaring Campground Engagement Photography! (Redwood Loop too!)

Roaring Campground Engagement Photography!Roaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0124


Alyse and Dan were pros at taking engagement pictures, in fact it was their 3rd session! These two are so lucky to have lots of photographers in their lives that want to capture their love and I do not blame them- photographing these two was so much fun! Roaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0109We met at the historic Roaring Campground on a gorgeous day that was sunny with blue skies, yellow flowers and trees with bright green leaves- yeah, kind of perfect!Santa Cruz EngagementSanta Cruz EngagementSanta Cruz EngagementRoaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0110A little balancing fun on the tracks!Roaring Camp Ground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill-Photographic Storytelling-1008-2Next we headed down the road just a bit to the Redwood Loop, a magical place where you are surrounded by trees 500 years old!Santa Cruz EngagementAgainst the advice of 2 passing by little girls, we quickly hopped the fence and used the roots of this fallen tree to sit on. We were all laughing nervously as the sound of over 500 year old and 200 feet tall trees swaying was a little unsettling! Imagine the creak of an old house but coming out of a HUGE tree!Roaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0119Santa Cruz EngagementSanta Cruz EngagementThey made my job easy, very easy!Roaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0122Santa Cruz EngagementRoaring Campground Engagement Photography- Susannah Gill_0123And to add to this session even more, Mama Nature was sending us down some incredible beams of light that perfectly highlighted these two in love! Alyse and Dan, we are so excited to photograph your wedding this summer at the Olympic Club in San Francisco!

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Natalie - May 21, 2014 - 10:19 am

I have a hard time nailing silhouettes for some reason so I am so in love with that bridge photo! You have such a great eye for the details, Susannah!

liza - May 27, 2014 - 6:39 pm

You did such a great job working with bright light in the forest. So tough sometimes, but you found awesome pockets of consistent light!

Nicole - May 28, 2014 - 7:42 am

What a great location! I love all the light coming through the trees.

Pat Coppe - May 28, 2014 - 9:33 pm

wonderful pictures….love the black and white pics…Of course, the photographer had good subjects to work with!! :-)

Baby Kai- San Francisco Newborn Photography

San Francisco Newborn PhotographerWhen I arrived at Baby Kai’s house, I was instantly in awe over the little bundle of perfection that he was- all 5 lbs of him! So handsome, so sweet and SO good throughout the photo shoot!San Francisco Newborn PhotographerEvery newborn session is different, depending on if the baby is awake or asleep. Since Kai was asleep I decided to take some portraits of just him using a newborn posing bag and a space heater to make his room all cozy and warm. We used his nursery for this part of the photo shoot as the light in it was incredible! The nursery was decorated so sweetly I had to take some pictures of it as well!San Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0098San Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0094San Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0096Mom and Dad’s initials!San Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0097San Francisco Newborn PhotographerKai easily moved into the pose I wanted to photograph him in. I used Dad’s hand to give some scale as to how tiny Kai was! This is what I love about newborn sessions, they are only that really tiny look for a couple of weeks! Before you know it they have lost that newborn look!San Francisco Newborn PhotographerSan Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0107

Still fast asleep, we brought Kai out into the living room and took some family pictures! San Francisco Newborn Photographer


Nestled in Dad’s hands, Baby Kai kept on sleeping and gave us a little smile!  Thank you Kai for that smile, everyone who see this images let’s out a little sound as their heart instantly melts!San Francisco Newborn PhotographerSan Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0106

Checking Mom out- his first love!San Francisco Newborn Photography- Susannah Gill_0104With seconds left Before Kai needed to be fed, we were able to capture his tiny little hands and feet!San Francisco Newborn Photographer

I packed up my gear and started to say my goodbyes when I saw Mom cuddling with little Kai.  Instructed not to move, the gear was pulled back out and this last final image was captured!

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Topher - May 13, 2014 - 7:37 pm

I LOVE the little baby smiles newborns give at just the right moment!

Very cute photos Susannah! Thanks for sharing!

Nicole - May 13, 2014 - 8:13 pm

I adore that last shot! Very sweet shoot, love all the black and whites.

Natalie - May 13, 2014 - 9:02 pm

How funny! One of my friends’ kids born in the last year is also named Kai! Is this a popular name this year?

Adorable little newborn! I love how you set the story with the nursery, and I love that chair Momma is lounging in, in the last photo! Looks so sweet and comfy!

Iryna - May 13, 2014 - 11:59 pm

What a perfect baby!
I love this session and how you made that awesome room decor a part of the story. Very beautiful. (I wonder how long the boy’s room will stay so perfect though, :-) ;-) ;-) )

So much love in these photos!!!

Ewa - May 14, 2014 - 8:50 am

Susannah, I just love your storytelling, with the pictures and your words. Just beautiful.

Carrie - May 14, 2014 - 1:19 pm

Thank you Susannah for this beautiful blog post! We adore it!!!

Andrea Garvey - May 15, 2014 - 5:08 pm

I love these photos! I especially adore the one where Kai is looking up at his mama:)
Such beautiful light in all these shots. What a gorgeous baby!