Escondido, CA Maternity Session + Erica

Recently, I had the great pleasure of shooting a maternity session, in Escondido, California for my childhood friend, Erica.  

Erica Brauer has been in the Los Angeles area since 2001, where she attended USC as an undergraduate, majoring in biology and minoring in theatre.  Shortly after graduating she founded a theatre company now known as Above the Curve Theatre, a black box non-profit theatre known for producing quality shows with a minimum participation of 50% females. In 2013, she became a full-time science teacher, and now teaches chemistry at Granada Hills Charter High School.  She continues to run her theatre company and perform around the city with other companies as well. In addition, she is involved with a non-profit called buildOn, in which she takes high school students to third world countries to build schools for those less fortunate.

Erica met Ian and his beautiful daughter Avery almost three years ago.  Erica and Ian seem quite perfect for each other, as they balance out each other's craziness.  Their relationship has already survived Ian's back surgery and other hurtles that many couples do not have to go through so early on, which has only made them stronger together.  She has inspired him to go back to school, and he has supported her in her journey to get a Master's in Science Education as well.  They love their time with Avery, and have watched her flourish into a sweet, energetic little girl.  When Erica found out she was pregnant with one of her own, she was ecstatic. Although not perhaps the way she imagined it would all happen, she very much believes in fate and God's will, and truly believes this miracle was meant to happen right now. 

Pregnancy for her has not been the smoothest of processes.  Erica was sick for the first 6 months or so, making it difficult to maintain her normally active and healthy lifestyle.  She has always been a very disciplined eater and exerciser, but those first few months made it tough.  Once that had passed, her pregnancy has been much smoother.  Of course there are certain discomforts here and there, but she will cherish the first time she heard his heartbeat, the first time she saw his little nose in an ultrasound, and the first time she felt him kick.  She feels lucky to have this experience, and is grateful every day for her little miracle.

** Erica and Ian welcomed Hudson Jameson Cochran into the world at 3:28 PM on January 31st.  Erica, Baby Hudson and family are over- joyed and doing fantastic!

What's Damaging Your Happiness + Productivity

What's Damaging Your Happiness and Productivity | Lacey O Photography

I have had to ask myself this question many times in life and with business when I was feeling off, sad, confused, frustrated and overall not focused.  

I have always been drawn to running at high performance in all topics of life.  I love the feeling of being accomplished, productive, kicking-ass and taking names ; )

But what is being productive?  It is how much output you create from focused effort you put in your Life, Business and Mind.

The brain at a positive state is 31% more productive than at negative state or neutral state.  31% more productive!  Y'all,  I personally would feel great getting 31% more done in my day!  How much better would you feel?!

But how do we get to a more positive mind set? Self Motivation.  

Self Motivation is like showering.  You do not have to take a shower everyday, but hell, it's recommended.  In order to self motivate take a moment to identify and write down:

1)  Your Purpose + Meaning

2)  Why is this your Purpose + Meaning

Now looking at what you wrote down. You have pretty freakin' important stuff, right?!  You have a fabulous purpose in life.  You have fabulous reasons to motivate you.  

But what is damaging your happiness, productivity and motivation?  Here is a list of things to consider.  Write down those that apply to you in life and I encourage you to have an authentic/honest moment and write down things that may not even be listed:

1) Over eating/Under Eating

2) Processed Foods/Unhealthy Diet

3) Alcohol Consumption/Drugs/Smoking

4) Lack of Water

5) Sitting Around/Down Too Much

6) Lack of Focus

7) Toxic Relationship(s)

8) Negative Friends/Family

9) Negative Self Talk/Always Complaining

10) Worrying/Anxiety/Stress

Now that you have identified the things that are interfering with your happiness and productivity, I'm going to bring you back to the topic of, Performance.

When I think of my Performance, I want:

1)  to be productive

2) to be accomplished

3) to create efficiently

4) to feel good while doing it all!

So how do I achieve this high-performance, happiness and productivity?
Set a schedule for you business and personal life.  Eliminate the bullshit.

You as a person and in your business are always going to be evolving.  That is a serious process in itself.  It can be draining.  But if you have all these negative interferences (like the list you made) and your time and schedule isn't being utilized proficiently, you have zapped your Happiness + Productivity.  So like I said, eliminate the bullshit.

I take about 15 minutes,  every Sunday night, AFTER THE KIDS ARE IN BED, to write down and review my schedule for the week.  I then divide up my taskers per day, in a check list, that I mark off as I go.  There is a feeling of accomplishment when you check things off.  If you make just one large to-do list, it might give you the sense of feeling overwhelmed.  So that is why I suggest breaking up the taskers into daily increments. 

The final thing I really want to touch base on with you, friend, is toxic relationships.  I truly feel that this effects the majority of our happiness, productivity and well being.  I feel it causes stress, that can lead to overeating, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.  Over all it is a vicious cycle of abuse that is a huge time waster.

I, in my personal life, have eliminated friends and even family members that are hurtful,  all consuming, manipulative, dishonest and self righteous.   When I chose to do this in my personal life, I gained such freedom, happiness and have never cared to look back because what I gained in freedom and happiness was and still is far more valuable than that relationship that was just harming me.

 If it is not a relationship that builds you up, encourages and stimulates your growth, inspiring, encompassed by love... have the self respect, close the door and deadbolt it.  Never invite any of that negativity back in.  

You are meant for glorious and wonderful things in your life, purpose and the people around you.  You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.

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My Response... A Disciplined Schedule

I was recently asked by a fellow entrepreneur, "how did you grow your business so quickly?"  My response... A disciplined schedule.

That means waking at 5:30 every morning even when I don't want to.  Following a schedule that I map out on 3 different calendars in advance for my clients, my shoots and post production, my blog, my social media, my family and of course, scheduling time for my workouts and taking care of me.  I show up, dressed up, no matter how I feel.

 That means, you're allowed 5 emotional minutes and then you gotta be gangsta.

Hard work beats talent any day when talent is hardly working.  Just because a person has a talent doesn't mean things should just be granted to you.  You have to be disciplined in your work ethics.

For the New Year, map out a disciplined schedule for yourself and business.  Follow it to the T.  You'd be surprised the leaps and bounds you'll make.

You're not alone friend.  We're in this entrepreneur community together.  Feel free to write me for any question you might have at:

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Sarah + Hayden | met in High School, their Freshman year.  Having a few classes together, they became friends pretty quickly. After Sarah’s Freshman year of high school, she moved to another state and they only talked every once in a while. During that time, Hayden made it a point to check up on her though.

Fast forward several years and it wasn’t until Sarah’s Sophomore year of College when they started to talk to each other consistently.  

Hayden was stationed in Norfolk, VA with the U.S. Navy and Sarah was still in Knoxville, TN getting my degree so communication was mainly texting and FaceTime.  

One day, on the phone, Hayden asked Sarah if he had any right to dislike a guy paying her attention. She remember being so excited knowing that he might be feeling the way that she had been the past few weeks… into each other.

They decided then that they wanted to try dating, but wanted to wait until Hayden was home for the holidays to make it “official”.  Soon enough he was home for Christmas.  

Hayden had a crush on Sarah since Highschool and with those lingering feelings he pretty much drove straight from Norfolk to pick Sarah up for their first date (he even had flowers and a teddy bear waiting for her in the car).

They went to Steak n’ Shake since it was so late and stayed up even later that night watching Elf, talking and enjoying each other's company.

They spent most of his leave time at home together and have been together ever since! Due to Hayden serving in the military, Hayden had a 10 m0nth deployment.  Plus their relationship has been long distance for its entirety, which has made things hard, but they knew if they stuck it out long enough the distance would come to an end.

Since returning from deployment, Hayden is stationed out in San Diego and Sarah visits as much as she possibly can. Now they are newly engaged and found out that Hayden’s next set of orders with the Navy are in Rota, Spain! They decided they didn’t want to be apart that long so soon they embark on their new journey together to travel the world. They even already have a bucket list started.


Invest in your health | Yes.  I'm a firm believer on the matter.  However I'm writing this to you feeling super sluggish and combating wanting to hibernate due to the winter season... even in sunny San Diego.  So I'm going to inhale a smoothie after I write this ; )

As a busy wife, mother, photographer and entrepreur I need to invest in me and my health as equally as much as I give to the mentioned above.  That starts with eating right first thing in the morning (along with my bucket of coffee ; )  I usually start off my mornings with a nutrient enriched smoothie.

Smoothies are a fast way to kick start your day and feed your body with what it needs to keep going.  One of my favorites I make is a Kale/Berry Smoothie.

 Nutrient packed in Vitamins A-D, Protein, Iron, Calcuium and Omega's my body is totally fed and rejuvenated (possibly my soul too because it's so freakin'  healthy ; )

Recipe to jump start your mornings:

  • 1 1/2 Cups of Frozen Black Berries & Raspberry Blend
  • 1/2 Cup of Shredded Kale
  • 3/4 Cup of Plain Chobani Yogurt
  • 1/2 of a Banana
  • 2 TBSP of Honey
  • 1 TBSP of Almond Butter
  • 1 TBSP of Chia Seeds
  • Blend, Enjoy and Slay Your Day!

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Charlotte and Donny first met in downtown San Diego, California, 6 years ago (this coming February) Donny was 27 and Charlotte had just turned 22.

Charlotte and her friends were standing in line at a club called Double Deuce and so was Donny standing in line with his friends. 

Charlotte shared with me, “I saw him in line with his friends, he was pretty easy on the eyes and I remember he was wearing a beanie.”

Donny and his friends were really excited that they got to go into the bar for only $5 per person which was less then the usual cover. Charlotte and her friends got in for free.  Later that night they bumped into each other on the dance floor (literally) as they were the only ones jumping up and down dancing to the club music that was on. He yelled to her "I love club music" and she said "me too" then she proceeded to jokingly rub it in his face that her and her friends got in for free.

 He offered to buy her a shot and suggested Vodka. She suggested said Tequila with a smile.  They took a shot, talked amongst their friends and she gave him her number. They parted ways for the night.

The next morning Charlotte got a text from Donny and she was so giddy!  For the next few weeks they text and talked on the phone for hours.

 Donny kept asking to go out with Charlotte but she was busy with work and school and she was really nervous as she had never been on a date before or had a boyfriend. 
Charlotte finally agreed to go on a date with Donny. She shared with me, “I was so nervous hoping that he'd think I was pretty.”

He suggested that they meet at the boardwalk and she asked him which one. He said the one in El Cajon...turns out the Boardwalk is a bowling alley and not the beach like she thought.

They met there and they got Icees, while Donny playfully teased Charlotte because she didn't want to mix the blue with the red.

As and Charlotte hung out, Donny told Charlotte stories about how he use to work there as a kid. They walked around and then played a couple games of pool.  Just chatting the night away.

Later, Donny wanted to grab something to eat so they walked out to the parking lot and started walking to his car. He motioned to his vehicle and said, “Mine is the truck” so she started walking to the huge truck but she walked to the wrong one. The 4Runner, that was his, was lifted and loud and she just loved it, being a Florida girl.

Charlotte couldn't decide where to eat so Donny took her to the mall food court. They got Subway and they talked and walked around the mall some more. They loved talking with one another.

They wanted to continue their date and decided to go drive around town. Having fun hanging out together, and Charlotte even started singing to songs on the radio!  She had never felt so comfortable around anyone!

It started raining later and Donny took them off-roading in the mud and they came across a rainbow.  They decided to follow it and drove to the end of the rainbow and saw the end of it!

Charlotte said, “I remember after our first date I thought to myself ‘he was fun, I don't see anything serious coming from it but he'd be a fun friend to hang out with.’ I had just moved back to San Diego from Florida so I hadn't made a ton of friends yet. The thing is the more time I spent with him the more fun I had!  I had fallen for him.”  

Everyone at Charlotte’s work and family had heard ALL about Donny because he was all she could talk about. They were inseparable.

Charlotte shared with me, “ I remember asking him one time, ‘why do you love me’ and he told me ‘because you're the only one who's ever believed in me’ and then asked me, ‘why do I loved him’ and I told him ‘because you're the only one I've felt like I could be 100% myself around and you still love me for it.”

This was just the beginning... their life together has been an amazing roller coaster of a ride and now that they are engaged and soon to be married. But they can always count on each other sitting in the seat next to each other holding each other’s hand. :)
They feel like they have a pretty great support system of friends and family. They are grateful for people that are cheering them on and they are so excited for their future together.


Mornings are rough.  It can be hard waking up if you are not a morning person. Oh, and let us not forget the to-do's on our mind as soon as we wake up.  These things can instantly cause a negative morning.  As much as I'm not a morning person I'm more so not a person who likes to set up the day negative as soon as I get out of bed.  So here is my morning routine and priorities that I do to set my day off right for myself, family/friends and business.


Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Jason and Vanessa met in middle school and began dating in high school. 
The two were married in 2007 and moved to Nevada where Jason was stationed with the Navy.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Life, with all of it's complications, unfortunately, they lost their way and separated, both moving to San Diego in separate homes.

Now this sounds more of a tradgedy than a love story for a couple's shoot.  Reader's do not fret!  When connections are real, they simply never die.  They can be buried, ignored and walked away from, but NEVER broken.  When you deeply resonate with a person or place the connection remains despite any circumstance, distance, time or lack of presence.  Real connections live on forever and that is the epitome of Jason and Vanessa's bond they have to each other. They always kept in contact, no matter how far the distance or circumstance.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement Photography

Over 7 years of deployments for Jason.  Law school and the bar exam for Vanessa, they found their way back to one another. They are now happily remarried, recently purchased their first home, and welcomed a new fur-baby into their house.

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography
Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography

They have fantastic plans and hopes to continue to grow their beautiful family to add to Jason's son/ Vanessa's step-son, Maddox, and their two dogs, Nissa and Jackie. 

Washington DC Photographer | Engagement + Wedding Photography

You can say, these two are better together.  But I feel it is deeper than that.  Some people were destined to be together before they were spoken into exsistence, like it was almost written on the stars... that is Vanessa and Jason. 


Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography

Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, God gives us a fairytale...

Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography

Antar, was born to Tanya & Herman Brame in 1982.  Miyoshi was born to Junko & David Reed.

They both met at Beaumont Middle School in Portland, Oregon and then later became good friends while attending James Madison High.  Going their seperate ways as all young adults do after graduating High School, Antar went on to play College Football and Miyoshi joined the Airforce. 

Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography

Years passed and they reconnected in Arizona in October of 2013, became good friends again and were inseparable.  Which led to the true fairlytale to offically begin.  On December 6th of 2013, Antar asked Miyoshi to go steady
( or something like that they said ; )

 On August 20th 2015, Antar got down on one knee, on the foundation that would later be their new castle, and asked Miyoshi "Will you?"  Of course Miyoshi said "Yes!" which  led to their gorgeous Cinderella inspired wedding on June 4th 2016... 

Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography

Except Miyoshi was not losing her chic glass slippers.

Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography

It was truly a beautiful day full of fun, family, friends, laughter and love.

Washington DC Photographer |  Wedding Photography


Today I'm excited to announce that I was featured on Photographer's Edit podcast and blog!

I had a great discussion with CEO, Nathan Holritz of Photographer's Edit about attracting the ideal client, being a busy entrepreneur, and putting my family first before business.

You can get the FREE podcast here at Photographer's Edit Blog:

Washington DC Photographer |  Lacey O

Also, when you utilize Photographer's Edit for your photography needs, you can use promo code: LACEYOPHOTOGRAPHY to get 20% off your purchase.


You know what? In life, I always feel the calm is after the storm.

Yes, I know.  That is not how the saying goes. But that is how I choose to look at things. There are always difficulties and hardships in life. The thing is it never lasts forever. It shall pass. You will come out on top with a new, fresh perspective, which in turn helps you become a better you in business and in your personal life. Any hardship or challenge I embrace and hunker down through because I know that calm after the storm is going to be a beautiful thing. 

Here, in Oceanside, California... we had our calm after the storm this evening.

Washington DC Photographer |  The Calm After the Storm


As you grow in your photography business it is a great feeling.  The thrill of your growing numbers of shoots and clients is obviously ideal.  Until you realize how much time you are spending in front of your computer... editing.  UGH.

Washington DC Photographer |  Photographer's Edit, Editing and Post Processing

My photography business tripled in a year and a half when I first opened in September of 2013. A total blessing but I was constantly in front of the computer editing and I felt I was spending less quality time with my husband and children.  I'd go to bed and lie awake feeling a sense of guilt that I didn't talk to them enough of about their day because I was constantly editing in my office.  I also felt like I was getting behind in other areas and to-do's of my life that were important.  Which causes unnecessary yet added stress.  

I personally feel that your family comes first.  The time you have with your family and all that goes along with running your family is not given the most and best of you, there is no true success.  This is why I decided to out source to Photographer's Edit.  Why?  I knew I had to manage my time better and less stress.

I'm a full time photographer, entrepreneur, Leader for Tuesday's Together in Oceanside, CA for The Rising Tide Society, a mother of 3 and a spouse to a very busy United States Marine. And to be honest furthermore, I'm not a big fan of tedious color correcting.  

Photographers Edit will handle culling, color corrections and custom retouching.  I upload my photos, they tell you how many days it should be completed in (they are super timely) and its emailed to me to my specifications.  You can set your white balance, brightness and contrast through them so that your photos remain consistent with your photographic voice along with 2 presets and it costs about 23 cents a photo.

Since I have been outsourcing to Photographer's Edit I feel a huge weight lifted off my shoulders with the editing process.  I have more time to spend with family, friends, other areas of business.  This is a huge blessing to me and I'm grateful for such a company in my industry that helps enrich the quality of a busy photographer's life.

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The Rising Tide Society

As I started my journey, 3 years ago, as an entrepreneur in the photography industry I was ignorantly optimistic on what it really is to be an entrepreneur.

I had sugar plum visions of only glitz, glamour and grandeur.  Although those things do come with hard work and time, I had never ever felt more alone in my frustrations and development.

Don't get me wrong, I had a multitude of support from my spouse and friends.  But there was something still missing.  I just couldn't put my finger on what was missing.  I was constantly was talking to God about it and asking for guidance and direction.

I was carrying this alone feeling around for about a year and then one day while I was surfing the web I stumbled across a article about how an “entrepreneur needs community and support.” and recommended the Rising Tide Society

To be honest I didn't read the whole article through.  I was skim reading but when my eyes fell upon the words "an entrepreneur needs community and support."  Man oh man did those words sync with my alone feelings I was struggling with.

 I quickly looked up their website and fell in love with the Rising Tide Society's why, purpose and mission. A society that is about community over competition along with being a place to encourage, support and educate small business owners.

But it gets even better than that!  

Around the U.S. creatives and entrepreneurs meet in different cities on the second Tuesday of every month over coffee and conversation, to learn, build, connect, support and grow. This fabulousness called Tuesdays Together.

I was over joyed and looked up a meet-up group close to where I lived.  I met a lot of great people.  I felt a sense of “ Lacey, you are not alone in your feelings, everyone feels this way at times.”  With that being said, I wasn’t feeling as alone but more so understood and encouraged.  The heaviness lifted! : )

Where I’m at now with the Rising Tide Society I couldn’t be happier.  I was selected by the Rising Tide Society to start and lead a Tuesday’s Together chapter in Oceanside, California and serving those that are in the Surrounding North County of San Diego, California.

I have gained many friends, many resources and continue to grow as an entrepreneur and leader through the Rising Tide Society.  So if you are feeling alone and lost in your entrepreneurship, just know you got a friend in the community that is the Rising Tide Society.

If you would like to learn more about the Rising Tide Society and get connected with a Tuesday’s Together group in your city visit their website at:

And when you have connected with your Tuesdays Together group, let me know!  Comment below or shoot me an email.  I'd love to hear about it!

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With shoots and demands of business sometimes to refresh my creative soul I create something that is not in relation to my trade.  Sometimes I paint a picture, sculpt, do a furniture make-over, etc.  In turn the creative projects restore that balance of fun and I come back to business with renewal.  

What is something you do to refresh your creative soul?

Washington DC Photographer |  Refresh Your Creative Soul

It's Not About The Tools But About Hands, Eyes, Heart, And A Longing In The Soul To Create Beauty. - C. Weylandts

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It's a cool & cloudy ocean morning here in Oceanside, CA...I slept in and feel well rested.  Such a blessing!  I reserve my Sunday's strictly for relaxation & spiritual reflection about myself & business.  Reading this morning,  I came across the words "Always be a work in progress"  I couldn't agree more with the sentiment.  In business, relationships, etc.  There is always room for improvement with being and doing for those that are around you.  It's exciting really.  You strive to be a work in progress you'll always be metamorphosing into something better and beautiful for others.  Food for thought on your Sunday...

"Always Be A Work In Progress"  What is an inspirational quote you love?  I'd love to hear it!

Washington DC Photographer |  Always Be a Work in Progress


Washington DC Photographer |  Busyness vs Presence

In a world where "busyness" is valued more than presence, today I'm posting a photo of how I relax... Taking my children to the park with my husband.  

To be real, I'm a work horse when I put my mind to something.  I forge away until what is in my mind is fully accomplished.  It is a good thing about me & a bad thing.  As I grow in my business which in turn is me growing more in my character, I've come to the realization that no amount of busyness, hustle, grind & success is worth not spending time with those you love.  Time is a fleeting thing & so very precious.  When I make sure to put my family as a priority & give them the very best of me (not what is left over from my busyness) I'm enveloped in peace & contentment. My balance is restored & I can get back to work refreshed. 

 So today,  whatever is your peace & contentment, go with it. Refresh!  Today is a good day to have a good day. ; )

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Washington DC Photographer |  Lacey O

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed & like I didn't have a moment to breathe.  Busy with shoots, traveling & workflow.  My 3 children being home on summer vacation and the countless other taskers that have nothing to do with business. 

It can be freaking exhausting!

Sound familiar?

Guess what... You made it through the day and you did great!  Give yourself that pep talk, sleep & attack the next day with as much go get 'em, 

enthusiasm, grace & hustle.  YOU'RE A ROCKSTAR! Don't forget it!


I recently was in Oceanside, CA for a Maternity Session for Christina Schranz.

Meet Christina & Karl.  An amazing husband & wife duo with 4 amazing kids (two boys, Ages 17 & 2 And two girls age 14 & 11) with one more girl on the way!

Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography

They currently live in Colorado and while the mountains are gorgeous, Christina shared with me she is a total Southern Girl.  Born in South Georgia in a small farming town with the beaches of both Florida & Georgia just a short drive away.

Christina said, " I am a true mermaid at heart no matter what time of year it is.  The beaches are screaming for me."

Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography

Christina & her family moved to Colorado for her husband's career.  She said, " It has been great, but we are anxiously awaiting for the day when we can get closer to the ocean and back to my Southern way of life.  Bonfires, days spent boating, relaxing on beaches, getting muddy on 4 wheelers or just lounging under a hundred year old Oak tree.

Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography
Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography

When Christina can't get beachside she enjoys drawing & painting.  Usually it's mermaids or ocean life of some sort.  It is also a hobby she enjoys with her 2 older girls.  They paint & craft together.

Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography
Washington DC Photographer |  Lifestyle and Maternity Photography

Christina is currently a Domestic Goddess (aka Stay At Home Mom) with a medical background. (Super Woman!)

Christina shared with me, " These days I'm chasing a toddler that goes non stop while anticipating our sweet baby girl to arrive in October.  Life is blessed & good!"