"My photos celebrate living.  They nourish the soul."

My name is Mary Jo and friends call me MJ.  I am  a  lifestyle & family photographer based in San Diego, CA.  I am approachable, caring, and down to earth. I love capturing candid moments which show your true spirit and joy.  I will help you plan for your perfect family photo session, including wardrobe styling, location scouting & overall theme.  This way you can relax and enjoy the family photo shoot.


Why I Do This...



When my children were small I wanted to have family pictures taken, but never made the time. On those occasions where the five of us were in one place, I was the one taking the picture, so my face is non existent in those photos. Does this happen to you too?  Mom, you need to be in the photo! Looking back, I wish I had made time to schedule photos of my family with a professional photographer, where I could just show up and let everything be handled for me.  This is why I like to make a fuss over moms, because face it, moms need all the cheerleading and praise they can get. We will work together to come up with your perfect concept for your photos, including location scouting, and wardrobe styling (I use a really great service that will pick outfits for you and your family!)


Do you want to hear a painful truth? My oldest daughter arranged for the photos on this page. Our photographer is Brandi Christine Shutt and I'm glad my daughter chose her to create this memory for us. Don’t wait until your babies are in their twenties to have family photos made!



Speaking of kids, I am a wife, a mother to three adult children, and grandmother (“mimi”) to toddler twin grandsons and a darling newborn granddaughter. My eldest daughter and her husband are a dual military family. Shortly after the twins were born my daughter PCS’d to San Diego. My husband and I  followed them out west after about a year because family unity is so important to us. I understand the military lifestyle from a mom’s perspective: It is busy & unpredictable at times, yet fulfilling in that one is serving a greater cause. Family time is precious in military families because of frequent separations. Family photos matter to military families in a special way. They are memories of the time spent together. I don't take for granted the fact that I am close to my daughter and grandchildren now, and when I get to photograph other military moms I care for them deeply because I know what it's like to have family far away from you.



When I’m not watching the grand babies or taking pictures,  I love being outdoors. I ride my bike or swim most days of the week. I’m currently training for the 2019 US Nationals in Aquabike racing. My goal is to qualify for the 2020 World championships in Europe - mostly because of the cool Team USA uniform I’ll get to wear (which will have my name on the butt!)




I promise to share my talents so that you have a lasting memory of the moments that matter in your life.











Ready to book a session?  Have questions about the process? Call or email me today. I’ll be happy to listen to your thoughts and help you figure out whether we’re a good fit for each other.