Murrieta, Temecula, Inland Empire, Orange County, San Diego portrait, wedding and event photography - Terebinth Tree Portraits

About the photographer...

I'm a dad who finally got fed up with the quality of the portraits that my wife and I were getting of our children. Like a lot of people, the only time we ever got portraits of our children was when we had their school portraits taken. From year to year, the portraits never seemed to get better. In fact, the last year we had them done, they were down- right nasty looking. I didn't even want to put them up on the wall, they looked so bad.

Photography has been an interest of mine for many years. If you've been shopping for a photographer, I'm sure you've seen many sites where the photographer got interested at a young age, and with an old film camera of some kind. I'd have to say that can relate to that story 100%--I remember having one of those little Kodak Instamatic cameras (that took a 126 film cartridge) when I was, oh, around 12 years old. I also thought that the Kodak Disc camera (from the early 1980's) was the best camera ever because it had a built-in flash (BTW, I've learned some since then...)

However, I'd felt held back because of these cameras and the nature of film. These cameras had a fixed focus, maybe had a flash, and if you took too many pictures, you'd get the camera taken away because film and developing weren't "free" (and difficult to pay for on a meager allowance, especially when this was in competition with the ice cream man). Later, point-n-shoot 35mm cameras were the "best camera ever" because they could zoom, but still, there was the cost of film and developing, and most of the pictures looked, well, like the snapshots they were.

This changed when I got my wife a digital point-n-shoot camera, and she was nice enough to share. My wrestling match with the camera finally began in earnest. When we outgrew the needs of that little camera, I moved up to a nicer point-n- shoot, which opened up the world of photography even more. After outgrowing this camera, we made the decision to go with a digital SLR (a Canon 20D) and some nice lenses. Finally, I had the equipment that would let me get the types of photos I'd always wanted to take (and rarely managed to with a point-n- shoot).

I started with taking portraits of my kids. I had a number of people tell me "These are really good, you know..." After our final bout of lousy school portraits, and since we home-school our children, I transitioned to taking the school photos for our support group. The families loved-loved-loved them. The year after, strobes and more backdrops (and a portable backdrop holder, yesssss!) made their appearance, and the school photos were better than ever.

Many people are not comfortable with having their portraits taken. I vividly recall how uncomfortable it was having my high school senior pictures taken (not to mention other family portraits). The sessions always seemed to go like this: "Sit here, put your hand here, twist around this un-natural way, try to smile, and keep your eyes open." Click-Flash! Click-Flash! "Okay, we're finished, thanks for coming in. You'll need to buy your prints today, because if you don't the price is going to double..."

My approach is to be as relaxed and low-key about the portraits as possible, and to keep thing fun and stress-free. And to make ordering as easy and pressure- free as possible. While I'd like you to buy lots of portraits (hey, I've gotta finance that Taylor guitar somehow), I'm not going to rush you into ordering something you might not like. I take plenty of photos during a session: some silly, some serious, some posed and some with natural expressions, so you'll have plenty from which to choose.

You'll be able to browse through your password protected gallery, and see the photos beforehand (keep in mind that I might not retouch these photos, but if someone has a glowing pimple, that will somehow magically disappear in the final print, so don't worry about it), and you'll be able to order what you want. And I won't double the prices if you don't order today :-)

My aim is to provide quality portraits that will hang over your fireplace for years to come; to capture memories that last a lifetime.

-- John Solie