{modern, stylized and urban couture~ san diego county based destination photographer}

Nicole Benitez

I am a Modern Stylized and Urban Couture Photographer based in San Diego {Southern California} and always available for session and wedding travel. Specializing in Modeling Portfolios, Commercial and Editorial Photography, Weddings, Couples, Kids and Seniors.

I love God, cupcakes, handbags, shoes, my family and wine. We recently moved back to California after my husband retired from the Marine Corps and we are living life in the Southern California sunshine.

Thanks for stopping by, make sure you leave some comment love so I know you were here. oxox

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A little bit Punk... Kait Emerson Designs Sneak Peek || Part 1

I adore Kait Emerson Designs! I have been a fan for quite awhile and happen to love everything that Feanna makes, so when the opportunity came around to shoot her mini Punk/ Halloween line, I think I actually squealed with delight. When you add in amazing Nuxiemade accessories, perfection. 
 We all know that I am obsessed with clothes and so are my girls, so when she asked them to help model the line.. I was in true heaven!! This is just part one of the cuteness that is Kait Emerson Designs Mini Punk Line.
And.... be on the look out for a special shopping code for {Nicole Benitez Photography} blog readers. I promise to put it up in Part 2!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sweet Beginnings...

This morning I witnessed a multitude of emotions as I watched my oldest get ready for her first day of her last year in middle school. My second oldest ready for her first day of her last year of elementary school and my twin babies ready for their first day of Kindergarten. I sat for a few minutes with a heavy heart.
I cannot believe that time is blowing past and we are here. They were so excited and I was excited for them, but I sat in a quiet place and just prayed. Prayed for an amazing year for them, for God to protect and guide their decisions and for amazing people to come into their lives to help us teach them where their path lies.
I am so excited for all that is in store, but a little sad that our summer days of playing in the sun are officially behind us for the year.
Sweet beginnings my little loves... for an amazing year to come.

**On a side note, I was drowning my mascara laiden cheeks in few minutes of browsing my fave blogs this morning before I started on the mountain of work that needs to be done this week and I found one of our fave LovMely Accessories featured on Emmaline Bride last week, with a picture taken by {Nicole Benitez Photography} from the Vintage Edge Shoot. Sweet Monday morning surprise!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

{Obsessions}... Sephora, Decorating and Mexican Food.

Tuesday afternoon was spent on an epic school shopping spree at the mall. Six hours, 20 stores, 5 kids and countless bags made up our afternoon... then a quick stop at Costco that turned into another hour and a half of shopping for necessities like mini watermelons, double chocolate chip muffins and orange chicken.
 To say that we were worn out was an understatement, but I think we are officially ready to start school next week. When we got home, the kids couldn't wait to try on their new clothes for Erik and I couldn't wait to unpack the treasures I picked up for myself.
First up a little goody bag from Sephora, full of my favorite things.. new eye shadow, eye liner, lip gloss, concealer and Philosophy Supernatural Airbrushed Powder. I could have spent hours looking
through the rows are prettifying goodness, but the kids have a limited attention span for
anything they are not supposed to get into, so my Sephora trip was cut short.
Ohh and I may have forgotten to mention that we stopped at a home decorating store on the way to the mall. I found a desk chair that I loved a couple of weeks ago and finally had a free afternoon to go back to buy it, unfortunately they didn't have it anymore. I did find some gorgeous boxes for my office {and props} that match my branding perfectly. I also picked up a few more ideas for decorating the house. I can't wait to start with the kitchen!
I have also had this obsession with Mexican food lately. Its honestly not a new obsession, just one made so much easier now that we're back in Southern California. Drive thru guacamole laden goodness on nearly every corner. I don't even have to cook now when I want a Mexican fix. And if we're being totally honest, I think we have had Mexican food for dinner the last 5 out of 7 nights. It's time for another intervention.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stephanie... Sneak Peek || San Diego Modeling Portfolio

I have been MIA for the last few days, but not without purpose. Things are gearing up for a fun and crazy fall and I am trying to wrap up a few last minute details for fall and Christmas sessions, get my edit on and spend time with the munchkins before they head back to school next week and avoid the final boxes of unpacking.  
My sweet sister came to spend the weekend with us and we made a little time to update her portfolio pictures. She is insanely beautiful and makes my job super easy.
 A little sneak peek...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

{P}atience...Brought to you by the letter P

This morning the kids and I went out in the backyard bright and early to water the flowers and trees. I pretty much have the opposite of a green thumb {black for sure!} but I am trying really hard to nurture our beautiful trees, flowers and rose bushes back to health.
When we first looked at our house the gardens were beautiful, it was one of the most striking features. After the offer was in, it sat for over a month an a half with just automatic sprinklers keeping the grass alive. 
I was heartbroken when we moved in. Knowing about my lacking agricultural skills, I dreaded trying to revive anything and have begged Erik almost on a daily basis to level the gardens and start over. He is having no part of that plan and his aunt assured me on her visit that it should be an easy fix with a little love.
It needs a lot of love, luck and probably a set of experienced landscape and gardening experts before I see any improvement, but I am trying. Patience is definitely not one of my most virtuous qualities. I like to see results.. right now.
Back to my morning.The kids and I sat on our wickers chaise and chairs and watched the butterflies play in the bushes and the hummingbirds zoom from flower to flower. The kids asked me to take pictures of the hummingbirds so that we could look at them later. I thought it would be an easy task.. but nope. We sat near the trees and waited for the right time. Ahhhh. patience. For over an hour we watched them soar through the sky and down to the nature preserve that lines our back fence, back to the flowers and off again. I am proud of how patient they were watching and waiting.
I could take a lesson from them.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Obsessions.. Shopping, Shoes, Cleaning Supplies

The UPS man arrived at my door today looking like Santa Claus {sorry Erik if you are reading this!! I love you!!}. Back to school  shoes, new 100% Egyptian Cotton Towel sets in toffee for the master bathroom and a box from Old Navy with more than a few clothing items for my munchkins. It was like heaven.
There are things that I love in life... God, Erik, kids, wine, cupcakes with butter cream frosting, and shopping. Ohhhh how I love to shop. I recently promised to put that love on the back burner in favor of a Black Friday savings plan, but with so many trips to Lowe's, Home Depot, the mall, ummm online while I am supposed to be working.. I need an intervention.
I will pretty much shop for almost anything and be in heaven. I love groceries, clothes and home decor {I am off to get a new office chair tonight!} but one of my other favorite items.. cleaning supplies. Don't mix up my cleaning supply love for actually loving to clean, I just have a serious obsession with buying the newest, best packaged, oohhh I don't have that yet, I saw a commercial for that, just in case I need it, cleaning supplies. 
My other favorite.. shoes!!!
Specifically all shoes. Flip flops, flats, boots, sandals, heels. For me, for the kids, for Erik. No matter. I love them all. Even if I am having a blah clothes shopping day, shoes always fit correctly.
With school less than 2 weeks away, I will get back on my black friday plan right after that.. I promise!!

2 years.. and it passed me by

I can't believe it passed me by. I didn't even notice when the day came and went. I normally have a crazy sense of awareness for numbers, birthdays, anniversaries, but I forgot this one. It's been over two years since I had taken control over my life and started shooting. Much shorter amount of time since I believed in myself and what I am doing.
My journey started with a dream, back in high school. Career Day was something I looked forward to all year, the promise of any dream job at your finger tips and someone living that dream out. I met a sports photographer who was amazing. She dazzled us with pictures of professional teams from the sidelines and the most beautiful prints from her personal collection. I was hooked. I wanted to do that, but had no idea how. I didn't believe in myself enough to figure it out. I was afraid.
Two years ago I decided that I wanted to follow my dream. If I was going to set the example for our kids, I wanted to be just that.. someone that went for and lived it out. It has been a lot more work than I ever imagined, but more inspiring than any dream I had had.
I want to say thank you. Thank you God for letting me live it out, thank you to my friends that let me practice on them and continued to support me {even when I had no idea what I was doing} and to my clients for being amazing!

A beautiful belly from a recent maternity session. They always remind me of the hopes and dreams we have for our babies and I love how beautiful this one is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

FAQ..Before and After Newborn Edit

I love when I find questions in my inbox asking about my style or a particular look. I don't think that I am anywhere near the best photographer out there, but I do love what I do and happy to share what I have learned.
Today I decided to do a FAQ photoshop edit of a recent newborn session using MCP Actions and Flora Bella Collection.
Starting with MCP Actions 
Magic Skin {60%} 
Skin Cast Blast-bye bye Blueberry  {100%}
Sharp as a Tack 3 {100%}

From the Flora Bella  Luxe Collection
Gypsy {73%}

From start to finish the edit took about 4 minutes. I absolutely love both MCP Actions and Flora Bella Collection! They both offer a mix of ideas perfect for my style and enough to add a little extra something without making the images look too processed.
 Feel free to email any question to nicole@nicolebenitez.com and I'll try to answer them here or feel free to hop over to my FB page and post in the discussions.
Happy Monday!

Friday, August 13, 2010

DIY.. Furniture Project || Part 2

I am not super handy around the house, but I do love a good crafty project, so this one was right up my alley and it gave me an excuse to take a break from unpacking boxes or organizing anything.
2 cans of spray paint and a cardboard box and we ready. The entire project cost about $26 {table and paint}and only took an hour including drying time.
I was feeling confident after my first attempt to restore a piece of furniture {see spray paint} , but after I mentioned that I would love to have a small{ish} antique hutch painted or stained to match our dining room table, Erik wasn't swayed by my master restoring abilities and suggested that we wait to take on a project like that together. He also suggested I tackle the Adirondack chairs that I promised I would sand and repaint.
So, I see many more DIY projects coming your way.
The finished project.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

DIY.. Furniture Project

Yesterday I got sidetracked on my way to Lowe's. Instead of continuing down the road I was on, I turned right into the parking lot of a local antique shop. Since it is down the street from our new house, I had passed it at least a hundred times and it taunted me like a candy bar on a diet. It was time to explore.
I am always looking for new and vintage props to use at my sessions {and even better when I can convince Erik that they double as house decorations and furniture} this seemed like the perfect place to search for new treasures.
I found about a thousand things that "needed" to come home with me, but settled on only two that wouldn't get me into too much trouble. I picked up a gorgeous pink wooden folding chair that I am dying to use in a shoot and a gem of a wicker table {with removable serving tray} for our back patio.
Since I was already headed to Lowe's, I had plans for that table.
The Before.... check back tomorrow to see how my little DIY table project went and let me know what you think.

What to Wear... Inspire Me Baby Style

One of the most asked questions I get for a session is "What do I wear?" Everyone  has a style that is different and we want you to look like you, but sometimes having a visual of what our outfit "could" look like is so helpful. I try to give helpful tips and tricks and encourage you to bring anything and everything with you to a session because I do LOVE to style the session, but seeing pieces put together can define your own style and make the session even more personal.
Today's What to Wear courtesy of Inspire Me Baby (love them!!!) I love, love, love when clients choose a color palette and carry it through to everyone's outfit. Coordinating without matching!
This 50's inspired update is a dream.
Maternity Sessions can be tricky, you want to be and feel beautiful and comfortable at the same time. This what to wear is the perfect start to looking gorgeous.
I am hoping to incorporate more what to wear's in the future!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A little bit of sunshine and fun.. The Butler Family || Encinitas Family Photographer

This weekend was amazing! The sun was shining, light breeze and beautiful blue skies. The weather along the California coastline was incredible and I couldn't have been in a better mood to get out from under moving boxes and packing paper to meet up with the Butler Family at the San Diego Botanical Gardens in Encinitas.
I love that my clients trust me enough to sugar their kids up, listen to my horrible jokes and go along with anything that I ask them to do. We have way too much fun and the end result never leaves me without a smile.
Al and Kylie, thank you for sharing your family with me. I can't even tell you what a great time I had. Molly and Quinn were a blast and it felt like I spent the afternoon with old friends!! Thank you so much for allowing the kids to laugh and play and just have fun. oxox, *Nic

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Kangacoo Designs... Sneak Peek

A few weeks ago I was approached by Katie of Kangacoo Designs to shoot their fall line. After looking through her previous collections, I fell in love and could not resist this project. After seeing the items in person, touching and feeling the amazing fabrics, I knew that I was smitten.
Kangacoo's motto of "Where the runway meets the Playground"  definitely holds true as the kids played the morning away. The items still looked amazing even after we chased butterflies and ducks and played in the grass, dirt and trees.
Katie, thank you thank you thank you for asking me to be apart of your fall launch. I absolutely love your new items and cannot wait to outfit the twins in your dresses and coats for school! oxox

You might recognize a couple of the models.. Katie asked Harley and Liberty to be part of the fun. All 5 of the girls did a fantastic job and hammed it up!! Aren't they adorable??