Yes, I realize that her baby has just turned one, but all the more reason to finally post these, right?

I was over the moon when I got an email from Elise asking me to photograph her maternity and newborn images last year, and even more so once we met. She is just as cool in person as she is online. Down to earth and loved to laugh with me as we drove around San Clemente and scouted locations for photos together. It takes a woman with a good sense of humor and a good head on her shoulders to frolic on the beach in a bikini! Elise is also my online social media GURU. She does the best job of walking the delicate line between self promotion, interesting content, and giving back. I love what she is doing with her latest Make29 project, and her podcast is amazing as well. If you are crafty at all you have got to check her out.

As you can see with this year old session, I am quite behind and have some goodies from the vault to share. My personal goal is one client session and one personal share per week on my blog going forward. I am also feeling that old writing itch, I miss it so much, and have so much to write about with the transition our family is currently going through. Over the last few years I really pulled back on my writing here because I felt like I was giving away too much and I was in a place where I needed to give to myself. I also wasn’t sure of what my purpose was in sharing what I did. I needed to pull back at the time but as life changes so does that need to be quiet. I feel rusty and like I have lost a bit of my voice, but with each post it comes back a little more.

I would love to hear from my readers if you have certain subjects or content you would like to hear from me going forward – please share in the comments – I blog for me but also very much for that shared connection with you.


Join the Conversation


  1. I’m happy to see you’re writing more blog posts! Yours is one of the first blogs I would check in on regularly. I would be interested in reading how you parent a teenager as my oldest is entering high school: how do you find that sweet spot between showing your affection and giving them this new space? Thanks tara:)

  2. gah! so good… 2 of my favorite ladies together :) can’t wait to read what you write… your words have been missed, but i understand the need for rest and taking care of yourself. cheers to rediscovering your voice!

  3. I initially came for the photos, but I stayed because of your voice–both the written and the visual. I want to hear anything you want to share, but I would especially love to know what you have learned as you have moved from being a momma to littles to a momma of almost-adults.

  4. I’m do glad you are thinking about sharing and writing again. We don’t know each other, but I’ve been reading your blog for years, and the personal stuff…my favorite. Not because I’m a stalker (lol) but because sometimes everything on the internet seems too good to be true, and when you share what is real, it reminds me that my not so perfect life is not unlike most peoples lives. Know what I mean? I admire you bravery in sharing, and also your desire to keep your life to yourself. Such a delicate balance. Thanks for all that you have shared and will share. I appreciate all of it!! And I’ve also been a BIG fan of your photography as well. Can I be just like you when I grow up?

  5. you still got it. you are one of the only blogs i read at the moment. i was so over blogging, including my own, but your’s is still so so so good. the photos. the writing. your voice. i love it all. glad to hear you’ll be posting more. and as far as topics go, ill read anything you write. xx

  6. I have loved your work for so long and I’ve missed seeing it show up on my feed. I’ve admired Elise for a while now, too. I’m so glad she had you do her newborn and maternity images. I can’t wait to see what else you share in the coming weeks as you get back into the groove of sharing with us again.

  7. I’ve followed both of you for so long I loved that she hired you last year! And I’m in the same boat as you with blogging – as my kids grow I’m finding it harder to share as much but I miss it. But I will admit to missing hearing about your sweet family – your kids are bigger than mine and I always felt like I learned something from your posts! Anything you care to share will be welcomed by everyone I’m sure!

  8. I pretty much find everything you write about interesting, mostly because you are honest and real. Thank you for being brave and letting us enjoy the beautiful works of art you create! Thank you for always inspiring me!

  9. You are someone I have admired for such a long time and SO THANK YOU for your goal to write one client session and one personal share on your blog going forward because it makes me feel like less of a slouch. I try- oh I try- but it never seems like I have enough time in this crazy life. Your goal is one I can live by. Love you forever, Tara.

  10. Well, I love that post you wrote about nurturing yourself not being about going for a massage :)

    I have it bookmarked somewhere :)

    I send it to my friends who tell me that ALL THE TIME!

    So those kinds of posts – honest and imperfect and authentic.

  11. I have missed seeing your perspective of Orange County through your photos, and I have missed hearing your stories of how you cope with being a parent to teenagers. Each one of them is so different and needs different things from us as they grow, and it is comforting, refreshing and helpful to hear how you are going through it (mine are almost 15 and 19). I am especially interested in hearing how you are a momma to your teenage boys, as this is still a bit of uncharted territory to me and somewhat terrifying. :)

  12. I love seeing your photos as always, but I do miss reading about how you navigate being a mama, the dynamics of your family, etc. I have always enjoyed whatever you are willing to share on that front : ) And, what you do with small spaces. Love that too.

  13. Your pictures have taught me about the perfection in an imperfect photo. I’ve looked back through older photos of my kids that I didn’t like because they weren’t just perfect, and now I can see them in a different way. Thank you for that inspiration. And I loved going back on your blog and reading your 6 people in 12 months posts. I didn’t realize you used to be such a blogger : )
    My kids are 14, 11, and 4. I would love to see more blogs about how to photograph teenagers. Aloha.

  14. I don’t know if I have ever commented, but I will now, since you asked us to share :) I have been reading your blog for many years. I found you through scrapbooking at first, and have watched your photography grow and grow. Without a doubt, you are my favorite photographer in all of the internet. And so I checked in routinely, to see the shoots, the images, the families and people. But I always read every word you wrote, and soon was checking in to see how you and your family were doing. Of course, I feel like I know you somewhat, and find myself wishing I could meet you. You’ve gone away the last year and I have certainly missed you – you are a household name, in our house. I can say to my husband “Tara posted another fabulous shoot of this family with all boys today, you have to see it” and he knows who I am talking about. I was just thinking of a post you wrote one summer about summer vacation, and how you were going to make a list of expectations for the kids even though it was holiday time. The only thing I can remember is that the kids had to get up at a reasonable hour and they had to be dressed when they came downstairs. So I suppose what I am telling you is that your words are heard out here, they do have an impact, people care you and your family and the work that you do. And I hope that the unquiet waters of life with four kids is treating you well, and that the challenges aren’t too big. I just think that you’re the real deal.

  15. I love reading what ever you write! It is a strange thing, since I have been following your bog and stories for a few years now I feel connected to your voice and love to hear how your family is. (Wow, that is a really long sentence!) I also love your “well hung” series that you were doing!

  16. Tara, every time you post, it is a treat for me. This was no exception, two women I admire greatly collaborating. Beautiful as ever!

    As a mom, I love all your posts about yourself and your own family. I relate. You are one of the only places I find online that doesn’t feel like I am being fed BS (I think that’s the first time I have ever sworn online, but I digress…).

    As a photographer, I love looking at your photography, you have probably been the most influential photographer to me personally, because I feel you truly capture authenticity and the beauty of imperfection and chaos (something I aspire to).

    One of my favorite posts by you was this one: http://tarawhitney.com/2012/12/how-i-use-a-house-during-a-shoot/
    Why? Because although you have sworn off teaching, to me, it was a little glimpse of the “how” you do it. My dream would be to shadow you during a shoot, to see how you make your clients feel relaxed, to prompt them in order to get what you do. I know you are the magic element in achieving such beautiful images, but nevertheless, any posts related to your techniques would be so appreciated. xo

  17. I’ve missed your posts! I love your photo sessions that you share, and the personal story and interweaving that you do so please keep that up! I would love to see / learn more about you and your opinions on life, parenting, relationships, etc. … just write, I guess! Your words are important and cherished by your readers.

  18. I love how you weave the personal in with your professional life. And I admit that I am partial to your posts on family. Whatever you do, keep it up and thanks for sharing!

  19. I want it all! I love seeing how you capture people….strangers so intimately and beautifully. But I also love seeing you….your life. I love how you put it all out there….the good and the bad. I know it’s a personal choice about what you put out there but it kinda feels good that I am not the only one out there with these feelings. Most importantly…..blog about what you want. This is your blog and we are just lucky enough you share it with us :)

  20. Hi Tara, personally I love reading your personal blog posts most of all – your honesty and writing style creates such a connection with the reader and that’s what always draws me back to your blog more than any other. However, I fully understand your reasons for your reticence and blogging hiatus recently, I hope you find a comfortable place for it in the future as I do miss your posts so! No pressure! ;))

  21. I’ve never commented before-but am so glad you are planning on posting regularly. I have followed you for years. I’m in awe of your talent in capturing the rawness of familial relationships. Especially your own. As a mommy just trying to capture my life with my four children as I see it, I love your personal images. I appreciate the corresponding authenticity. I’d love to see more.

  22. I would just echo some of what others have said. I love reading your thoughts just as much as seeing your photos. I love your decorating style, so posts about your home,thrift shopping, etc are always interesting to me. I know it’s a balance sharing stories about your kids and their lives as they grow older, but I always enjoyed your perspectives on parenting. Would love to hear more on your journey as a parent as the kids grow. Thanks for sharing your life. The Internet is a crazy thing- you can feel like you “know” someone who is 2000 miles away lol.

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