Yan Fam Way Workshop – Los Angeles Family Photography

When getting a portfolio review from an incredibly talented photographer whose work you admire, you might not expect to be flattered by them squealing “This girl’s a weirdo. I love it!” but that is exactly what happened when I took Diana ‘Yan’ Palmer’s workshop last fall.

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I’d been wanting to photograph more families and especially to photograph them on film, and Yan is pretty much the best ever in that field. So when her Yan Fam Way Workshop came to Los Angeles, I was already sold on it. Before the workshop, Yan reviewed each attendee’s portfolio and website and gave detailed, very insightful feedback. I was really impressed and moved by how quickly and decisively Yan was able to zero in on what my strengths and weaknesses were, what I was going for, and where I should focus my attention to keep improving. She also gave each of us an assignment to complete before the workshop, and they varied depending on what her feedback was for each photographer. On the day of the workshop, we all went around the table to introduce ourselves, Yan talked some about herself and her photography, and then we went through each person’s assignment and got to learn from each other.

Los Angeles lifestyle family photographer. Father and baby girl.Los Angeles family photographer film

Pretty much every workshop, conference, book, or mentorship for photographers trying to grow their business will tell you how important it is to find your voice. Because it is really important – being able to consistently photograph in a way that represents your own vision and style is what makes you stand out. However, knowing it’s important to find your voice and figuring out how exactly to do that are not the same thing. Yan’s genius and what makes her workshop different was she gave us very clear suggestions and assignments for how to identify your personal style and start implementing it in your work and filter everything you do through that voice. (Her ideas were really helpful and easy to follow, but I don’t want to lay them all out here since everyone should take her workshop for themselves!)

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After a lovely lunch, Yan went into a lot of detail about how she conducts a family shoot – choosing light, the order of shots, her focus and priorities, and (my favorite) a whole bunch of games and tips for getting kids to be comfortable and natural in front of the camera. Then we got to watch her in action photographing 2 families in the living room and alley outside the house where the workshop was held. All of the other photographers – maybe 12 of us – were encouraged to jump in and direct the families while Yan was changing film or to shoot over each others shoulders. I was mainly interested in hanging back and watching Yan and trying to absorb as much as I could, so I only ended up shooting about 1 roll of 35mm myself. When the family sessions were over, we all gathered for a debriefing of the shoot and some final suggestions and thoughts on how to define our own styles, stand out, and get clients we connect with.

Documentary day in the life family sessions on film in Los AngelesNatural lifestyle family photographer in Los Angeles. 35mm film

I really loved this workshop. Yan is very warm and sweet, but also very knowledgable and direct. Which is the perfect combination for how I like to learn and who I get the most inspiration from. She was open about her own photographic and business paths and very passionate about encouraging everyone else on theirs. I’m so happy I decided to spend a day with her and all the other talented photographers who signed up. I can already see changes and improvements in my photography as a result of taking this workshop, and I’ve been recommending it to anyone who will listen!

If there is a Yan Fam Way coming close to you this year, do yourself a favor and sign up, or feel free to contact me with any questions about the workshop or to set up a family session!

Kandise - Cool, it sounds like it was a good experience!

Teresa K - Beautiful frames Jessica. It looks like you had quite an experience.

Geometric Long Beach Wedding Photography


I have known Elissa R for many years through different photography forums and we became great online friends. So I was thrilled to finally meet her in person last year when she came out to California to photograph a wedding in Long Beach, and even more honored to get to assist her with second shooting! This wedding had so many cool elements, from the bride’s traditional Japanese attire, to the groomsmen’s custom rings, to all of the geometric designs in the flowers, cake, and table settings. And getting to spend the day watching Elissa work her magic and make me laugh was just the best! These are a few of my favorite images I shot for her.

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Jason - Some amazing personal elements in this wedding, your detail shots are fab!

Paolo - wow great captures, well done! Love the details shots

Albert Palmer - Wow – how you unique! Beautiful work Jessica – looks like an epically fun day

Shyann - Wow what a lovely wedding. Her bouquet and other details are amazing. You guys make a great team!

Natalie Champa Jennings - Perfectly captured. What a cool wedding!

Rachael - I love the black and white shot of the bride with the bridesmaids behind her, well done!

Heather Kanillopoolos - I love those detail shots- gorgeous!!

Anton Chia - Beautiful wedding and details. Must had been enjoyable shooting together! Great job~!

Mercedes - Super cool wedding and details! I love that ring shot. The bride and groom have an amazing aesthetic. Really awesome wedding photography!

Earl - The colors are amazing. You nailed it! Love all of these.

Veronica Varos - Wow, what an awesome wedding day!

Los Angeles Family Photographer

Los Angeles family photographer film
Oh, hai!

Most of you reading this probably know that I photograph weddings and engagements. I absolutely love couples and weddings and that’s been my main focus since I started. But becoming an aunt and seeing so many of my friends have babies in the last couple of years has definitely made me want to capture more families. I have a relaxed approach, with a focus on genuine moments of connection between parents, children, and siblings.

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I’ve started shooting all portrait sessions on film, including all of the images from family sessions that are featured in this post. Family sessions cover everything from maternity, newborns, kids of all ages, or multiple generations. They can be out in the world at your favorite LA locations, or in the comfort of your own home.

001-los_angeles_family_photographer_filmOne_Roll_Project_Griffith_Park-001Los Angeles candid natural family photographer

LA maternity and family photography on filmLos Angeles LGBTQ family photographerFor 2015, family sessions on film are starting at $650 for one hour sessions. Longer “day in the life” documentary sessions are available as well. I would love to tell your family’s story, so get in touch to set up your photos!


heather nan - I love families! You photograph them so well! LOVE!

Adam - Beautiful photos! They must be so happy with these images.

Will Kim - Family sessions are so much fun! Great work with these!

Mercedes - We’ve had the good fortune to experience one of your sessions. It was wonderful and we treasure the images so much :) Thanks so much for sharing your talent with us!

damian burcher - Great family photoshoot portfolio. Love the one about half way down with the dad and the girl with the red hair.

Veronica Varos - Such incredibly sweet and moving images! The families will surely look back at these many years down the road and swoon! They’re all simply gorgeous!

bryan - so freaking good. props to you for shooting kids on film. that terrifies me!

Elysian LA NYE Wedding Photographer – Gretchen + Bryan

New Year’s Eve was so cold, at least by LA standards. But everything about Gretchen and Bryan’s wedding at Elysian completely warmed my heart – romantic glowing lights for the night time ceremony, hot cider and delicious food, loving toasts and lots of hugs. And then there was the dancing at the reception. Gretchen and Bryan were breaking it down all night, but there were also conga lines, a dance off with some impressive splits, and then Bryan’s amazing standing backflip! We all rung in the new year with champagne, sparklers, and fireworks at midnight. Such a great celebration and way to wrap up last year, and I’m so happy for these two!



Venue – Elsyisan LA

Coordinator – Mallory Lynn Weddings

DJ – Dart DJ

Officiant – Jacob Jurado, Jacob Marries

Catering – Flat Iron Food Truck

Cupcakes – Velvet Cupcakes


Elissa - This is gorgeous! I love the ambiance and that backflip is amazing :)

Heather E - This is such awesome coverage of this wedding. I am loving your dance shots!

Lyn Ismael - What a gorgeous intimate wedding this was! I love that image of their first dance with the lights framing them. Great eye!

Lauren - I’m loveing this venue. The pictures are amazing of course. BACKFLIP.

Albert Palmer - It’s all stunning but I do love that gif! Epic work Jessica

bryan - killer work! and that backflip is top notch.

Anton Chia - Amazing action at the dance floor!

heather nan - Beautiful exit shot!

Jessie - That dance shot with everyone looking is epic!

Mercedes - This is just perfect! I love the emotions and moments and GIF! I can just imagine what a blast this had to be to photograph. Love it!

Gavin Farrington - Love the way the space is lit with all the glass and string lights. Great work, Jessica!

Veronica Varos - What a sweet wedding day! And her dress is so amazing!

Justin R - I love the party shots of this wedding, everything is so nicely captured, Jessica!

Los Angeles Wedding + Family + Portrait Photographer – Best of 2014

2014 went out with a bang, literally, with fireworks on New Year’s Eve for my last wedding of the year. Personally, this year was full of challenges and rewards – I broke my ankle and recovered from surgery; I got an adorable new niece; I finished editing a documentary I’m really proud of; I travelled less but connected close to home more. Professionally, this has been the busiest and most fulfilling year of photography yet. Even with being off my feet for a few months, I shot more weddings this year than any other year prior, plus over a dozen engagement, family, and portrait sessions, some assisting for other photographers (photos coming soon) and attended two workshops (recaps and photos of those too).

Looking ahead to 2015, I’m hoping to photograph more families, more cool Los Angeles venues and weddings, more traveling, and more personal work. Looking back on 2014, I met so many wonderful people who trusted me to capture their most important events. These are a few of my favorite moments from last year.

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Jen - Looking at all of these makes me so excited that you are going to be recording our wedding for us! Such beautiful work – I love how you capture joy and personality so well.

Elissa - You’re so awesome and I loved your year :) Best wishes going forward in 2015!

bryan - woah. you had an insane year! excited to see where 2015 takes you!

Adam - What an awesome year! You are so good a catching those special candid moments!

Heather Kanillopoolos - I love how your images pop with color and LIFE. Awesome job, Jessica!

damian burcher - Great work, hope you have a great 2015 also.

Kristian - Cracking year Jessica! Love the variety and the creativity – just awesome. Here’s to 2015!

Sachin Khona - Fantastic year Jessica! Congrats! All the best for next year! x

Jonathan David - What an epic year! So awesome! :)

naomi - so many special intimate moments. love how vivid your colour work is.

heather nan - Seriously, incredible year Jessica… So well done!