San Diego Baby Photography: 6 month sessions by Marisa McDonald Photography

You all know I offer San Diego Baby Photography but did you know that adorable baby portraits aren’t limited to baby’s first month? I have absolutely fallen in love with these sitter sessions!  I love this age when baby is still teeny tiny but also starting to grow into her personality with lots of cute expressions and fun skills to show off for the camera. Sitter sessions are traditionally thought of as “6 month” sessions but I find they are absolutely perfect a little closer to 7-9 months when baby is sitting independently for long periods of time without toppling over. I provide all of the props, backdrops, and even adorable outfits necessary to create my signature look for these classic sitter sessions. You bring your adorable baby and I bring the rest!

This session was extra special because I was able to document baby’s growth for a family I did maternity and newborn photos for last year! There is nothing like the wonder of watching a baby grow throughout the first year of life…so much changes so fast and it always amazes me! I hope you enjoy this adorable session featuring a gorgeous baby girl and a gorgeous romper from Pooks & Lulu.

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Southern California Beginner DSLR Photography Classes for Parents: Featured Student Work

Last weekend I had the honor of teaching Beginner DSLR Photography Classes for Parents in Southern California to 19 amazing women. These ladies do not have professional cameras. Most have entry level DSLRs and a few even have small sensor cameras (Cool Pix). They do not have significant experience with photography. They are moms with a desire to capture their families’ memories…and they are on fire! We spent 3 hours together going over everything they need to know to get their cameras out of auto mode and get them creating beautiful photography artistically…on their own terms. After class we formed a Facebook group where we can share pictures and continue growing and learning. All I can say is “wow”! These ladies are already blowing me away just a few days after class. I am so proud and so excited for what the future holds for them and I just had to share! I hope you’ll enjoy these featured images from my amazing students. If you’d like to to join our growing community of parents who want to increase their ability to capture their families’ memories, be sure to check current class offerings or email me for more details!
Without further ado, my amazing students….

Southern California Photography Classes: Student work by Megan BoydPin SITE IMAGE________
Megan Boyd
Southern California Photography Classes: Student work by Kali BeckPin SITE IMAGE________
Kali Beck

San Diego Photography Classes: Student work by Anna GoodrichPin SITE IMAGE________
Anna Goodrich

Oceanside Photography Classes: Student work by Alyssa KoertsPin SITE IMAGE________
Alyssa Koerts

North County Photography Classes: Student work by Amanda BouchardPin SITE IMAGE________
Amanda Bouchard

Southern California Photography Classes: Student Work by Jill HarrisPin SITE IMAGE________
Jill Harris

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Unlock Your Camera’s Potential! Sweet Shots Introductory DSLR Photography Class for Parents with Marisa McDonald Photography in Southern California


UPDATE: 29 Palms Classes are full and our first Oceanside class is open for registration at this link!


It all started 9 years ago when I was expecting my oldest son. I did some “research” (i.e. read some Amazon reviews) online and tried my best to pick a DSLR that seemed to get me the best bang for my buck without spending too many bucks! I pulled it out of the box and it looked so new and fancy and perfect. I somehow figured out how to turn it on and press the shutter. In fact I pressed that shutter over and over again, changing my angle, changing my perspective, and changing…well not really much else. Sometimes I got lucky and got some really cute shots (now I can look back and pick even those lucky shots apart!). Sometimes (most of the time) I failed epically! I had the benefit of a faster shutter than a cell phone but not much else.

Some of my “cute” but not so great pictures in “auto” mode:












I signed up for a photography class but my very non-technical, non-visually oriented brain just could not understand all of the things I was hearing and diagrams I was seeing about depth, and wide apertures, and slow shutter speeds, and high shutter speeds, and low apertures, and ISO, and OH.EM.Gee….What does this all mean?! Well eventually I became motivated enough to understand all of this and teach it to myself in words I could understand and I’d love to share those words with you! If you have struggled with your manual and with books, and online tutorials, and everything, I want to take you by the hand and teach you what you need to know to make beautiful pictures happen in YOUR  family. I will tell you how to make your pictures brighter, sharper, darker, more blurred in the background, more visually interesting, and perhaps most importantly….an authentic representation of you subject’s personality!

When you sign up for this class, you will also receive a bound workbook that you can keep as you continue to practice what you learn. Best of all you’ll get access to an exclusive Facebook group for current and future students where you can connect with others on the same journey. If you find your passion for photography growing, I’d be happy to advise you on smart and sensible future photography investments (cameras, lenses, software, more learning opportunities) and I’d also be happy to point you in the direction of some other great groups for connecting with others who share your passion!

If you’re ready to take this step with me, let’s get started! You can sign up here and email me at with any questions! I look forward to seeing you in class!

Ready To Sign Up? 

Grab a Spot over on the registration page!

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Family Photography in San Diego: Marisa McDonald Photography

family photography in san diegoPin SITE IMAGE________

Its hard to believe I’ll soon be leaving desert life to do family photography in San Diego! I am beyond excited and I know new memories will be made but I’ll be sad to leave behind families like this one and places like the beautifully rustic Pioneertown, set right in the middle of the desert!

As soon as Jenni told me they *might* bring their dog, Lucy, and they *might* bring their motorcycle, I said, “might?!” I’m so glad they did! Lucy was clearly the star of the show and the bike was so perfect for that desert sunset, don’t you think? This family will be heading to new adventures soon enough too so I made sure to get a good headshot of dad that I hope will serve him well as he explores new opportunities.

You all know little kids are my jam. You’ve got a super energetic little one and you’re convinced they absolutely will not sit still for pictures? I’ve got you covered on that! My high energy boys have trained me well to be patient and flexible and play and “just keep clicking.” I admit I’m always a teensy bit nervous before sessions with teens but so far I’ve lucked out. Even though I have no expertise (other than having been a teen myself once), they are always good to me. Some love the experience and other’s don’t but they all at least humor me! Hahaha! Given that I do remember being that age once, I am actually super happy with that! I hope my boys still humor my picture taking when they’re teens too!

My favorite part of the whole session (besides Lucy, the adorable pup), was the sweet little sister who really warmed up to me and my assistant, Hannah. She loved the camera (and the camera loved her) and she wasn’t afraid to show me her love for her family either! I love all the snuggles and sweetness we captured together!

Hope you enjoy this session! I’m sending out my first (and possibly only) opportunity to book a family photography session in San Diego with me this Fall via my email list. I’m going to open 5 spots tonight and I’m just not sure yet if I’ll open more. I know we will be busy settling in (and enjoying our new beautiful surroundings). I’m taking it one step at a time. Want to get first dibs? Be sure you’re on the list by clicking here and confirming in your email.

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From Southern California Photographer to…..

This desert can seem so harsh when you first arrive…so empty and lonely and barren. But this is where I bloomed. This is where I found the space to go from mom-tographer to professional photographer. I will always remember my kids as the people who first inspired my photography journey and the desert will always be the place that first inspired it. This is also the place where hundreds of people in my amazing community first believed in me and first trusted me with their family’s memories. I could not be more thankful!Southern California Photographer, Joshua Tree Photographer, Joshua Tree National Park, San Jacinto Mountain, Southern California, So Cal, Carlsbad family photographer, Oceanside family photographerPin SITE IMAGE________

With this beautiful place always in my heart, its time to announce Marisa McDonald Photography will be leaving the High Desert in July 2017. While I’m excited for the new adventure, I will miss the beautiful desert I’ve called home for so long now. The good news? This isn’t the end of my relationship with many of my loyal clients.  You have become friends and I will always be cheering you on from wherever I may be…and in this case I actually won’t be far at all (easy driving distance)!

“The good news? This isn’t the end of my relationship with many of my loyal clients.”

I imagine I’ll come back to the High Desert from time to time for some gorgeous desert sunset sessions. Annnnddd…… My new location will be pretty gorgeous too and YOU may want to come visit ME for a session! Yes, I’m being mysterious…You’re just going to have to scroll to the end to find out where we’re heading next! Its somewhere we’ve been many times so I have plenty of pictures to give you some hints!

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You may have guessed by now, we are heading to North County, San Diego! We haven’t quite decided where we’ll land but we’ll probably end up around Carlsbad, Oceanside, Encinitas, Solana Beach, or Del Mar! Perfect place for your next family session, right?! I look forward to this new adventure and look forward to continuing to capture beautiful memories for my High Desert clients! So……Still a Southern California Photographer!

Want to book your desert or beach session? Email and be sure to sign up for the Email list so you never miss an update!

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