I am a (primarily) family photographer in Orange County, Ca. Most of my sessions take place in my clients’ home or a local beach. A few years ago I saw a need to travel for work. My local sessions were getting further and further apart as the industry boomed with new photographers, BUT I had prospective clients from all over the world emailing me almost daily to see if I would travel to their neck of the woods. My personal life at home was just beginning to be at a place where I could leave more often, (older kids who drive, husband who works partly from home, child I was full-time caregiver to moved into her group home), and we were living check to check on credit cards. I needed to find a way to make more money for my family, and sustain my business, so I began to travel.

When I first started, I was a nervous wreck. Traveling alone was new for me. Organizing and being in charge was terrifying. But as I did it, I learned. I grew. I overcame a lot of fear/anxiety/depression and chronic health problems and by doing so I gained self confidence and self worth. Every trip I would go through the same thing: self doubt, anxiety, self hatred….then towards the end of a trip: elation, overwhelming feeling of invincibility, strength in the overcoming. It’s a wild ride.

I have typically done a handful of travel locations in a year, maybe 3 or 4. And all of them were in the states. But in 2018, I did a big thing – I worked in Australia for one month, bringing my family along with me. I also visited Texas, central and northern Ca, New Hampshire, and Oregon. In 2019, I plan to travel 6-8 times. I have announced some of my locations on instagram, and I keep a travel highlight in my bio. Look for upcoming announcements with dates and locations in the next week or two!

For my year in review, I chose one photo from each session in 2018 (with just a couple cheats I couldn’t resist), and-inspired by Kenzie Kate (a friend on instagram), they are organized by color. Hope you enjoy and thank you for all your support and love last year and all the years before.

PS – IF YOU’VE MADE IT THIS FAR: a fun little thing.

Let me know in the comments which one of these sessions you want to see more of – by describing the photo – the one with the most votes will be the first session I blog in 2019, and the runners up will follow shortly after.

I know I’ve said it before, but blogging is coming back for Tara Whitney – I feel it.

Join the Conversation


  1. How to ever choose!?!? But I’m going with the black and white photo with the Jeep in the sand. So good to scroll through your work! I’ve been following for a long time. xoxo Julie

  2. Wish I could vote twice! (Or several times)
    Torn between the child leaping against a clearblue sky or the family at the table throwing food at their boyfor the ‘catch in the mouth trick’ and the lovely couple watering their rooftop garden
    Or, or, or … all of them!

  3. I second the redshirt/baby butt shot! That expression. I just have to know the story. Though, already I’m making one up in my head… which is fun and what makes photography so relate-able even when you don’t know the subjects.

  4. I would like to see more of the mom with the teen in the red shirt with a clear blue sky in the background. As a mom of a teenage boy myself, I’d love to see how you captured that relationship. It would also give me photo ideas with my own kiddo

  5. I have two top very favorites and couldn’t choose:

    Boy sticking out his tongue in the group photo (he’s all the way to the right)

    Man with surfboard and pregnant lady in bikini running and laughing

    I can’t even tell you how excited I am to see your sessions in 2019!!!

  6. Always want to give a shout-out to you and blogging – YAY!

    I know this isn’t how it works and ‘making sense’ doesn’t align well with anxiety but it always amazes me that any bit of self-doubt would occur with you and photography. I’ve followed you for so long and Tara, you remain my favorite photographer. The heart and soul you put into the photos – not to speak of the immense talent! – is simply unparalleled.

    I’m so glad and proud of you that you continue to slay dragons. ♥️

  7. I love the sessions where you capture the family interacting and ‘everyday’ moments. The black and white session of the family going down the stairs of the subway. Beautiful.

  8. Thank you so much for articulating this trajectory: “self doubt, anxiety, self hatred….then towards the end of a trip: elation, overwhelming feeling of invincibility, strength in the overcoming.” I feel SEEN! I am so heartened by your growth and re-writing of some of the anxiety algorithms.

    As for photos, I adore the shadow hands reaching for each other.

  9. I love the one with the moms hands resting on her child’s legs. It is so simple but says so much about the easy and trustworthy relationship of mother and child.

  10. I just want to say … I can’t wait for you to blog again. I totally miss your posts. I love your photography. Your interesting and unique ways of “accidentally” posing people candidly and yet intentionally is very captivating. The way you balance that (poses and candour) is very unique to you and I find it intriguing and WONDERFUL. Your entire blog post with you brothers engagement session was like off the charts – just felt that love and connection. I really feel that photo and seeing the entire session blogged puts it at an unfair disadvantage!

    So … my ABSOLUTE favourite in 2018 would be the one with the lens flare going on with the GORGEOUS family portrait – very true to you as an artist. It’s perfect in every way. I love the symmetry and the elements. I am seeing a new “you” emerge here with the experimentation with more difficult lighting situations! You are a rock star. It has to be said. Some other favourites – expecting mamma skipping down the beach to the surf! The family on the balcony with the cactus and glass balcony. The little boy being kissed by two ladies (one I assume is his mom … this one – the processing, the emotion and the connection and yes, the composition all go together to make a heart want to BURST! The sisters (?) possibly … striped Tee and red lip-py is also wonderful in every way – love that warm light, that it’s vertical and the composition!! The boy in the window – such a cute and unique situation to capture … the couple gardening! Lovely to see quite a few black and whites included here too! Nice processing and not “over done” … just simple and just right. Sorry to list is so long but I wanted you to know what caught my eye and why. Now before I end … I know you started using Lightroom to process and I suspect that there might be a mixture of both here? Your photoshop processing is SO EPIC … I hope you don’t give up on it in it’s entirety!! Lovely AMAZING work – keep it up! Sending lots of heartfelt photographer love your way! Loving your IG feed too!! Elizabeth!!

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