Newborn Photography by StudioR Santa Cruz

“A new baby is like the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.” — Eda J. Le Shan.

I recently had the honor of photographing this beautiful newborn family!



I’m certain this little guy was smiling in the family photo!

“When an adult gives birth to her first child,  she also gives birth to a parent.”  — Carol Orsborn    (Two parents actually!)




Improving Photos! Tips from StudioR Santa Cruz


© photo by reija StudioR Santa Cruz

Today I saw a photo of a Mom, Dad and newborn child in another photographer’s window. It was a stunning photo! And so, as an Artist, I contemplated what made it so stunning.  Whilst admiring this particular photo it brought to mind a photo I had taken several years ago and I wondered if I could improve my photo with some artistic changes.

2014-02-06_0001Here’s my original picture (to the left). It’s a pretty good photo: it’s not cluttered, the people are smiling and relaxed. It’s technically well exposed and in focus.

I decided to made three simple changes.  1) I decreased the clarity to give it a gentler feel. 2) I cropped in closer keeping the rule-of-thirds in mind. The baby’s eye falls in the sweet spot.  3) Then I added a white vignette to make the faces more prominent to draw your attention to the expressions more.  It only took a few moments to make these changes in Adobe Lightroom.

Here’s the photo with the three changes (below).


I really love color and I often find it difficult to let it go, and to turn images into black and white or sepia tones.  However, because of the simplicity of this image, I thought it might be enhanced by both changes.  Or at least they would be as good as the color version!

Here’s the Black and white version (below). I tend to like turning images into black and white by simply decreasing the saturation, and then sometimes tweaking the tone curve a little, in Lightroom (increasing lights and decreasing darks).


Here is the Sepia version again (below).   It’s just a quick click on a pre-installed preset in Lightroom to make the change!


I think I like the Sepia version best.  However it’s always important to me, as a professional photographer, to start with a good, properly exposed color image!

Oh and by the way; I’m not intending to advertise Lightroom!  It speaks for itself!

Valentine’s Day Pin-up and Boudoir Photography in Santa Cruz!

The consistent feedback I hear from my clients, who have given their partners boudoir photographs as a gift, is that their partners feel it was “the best gift ever!”  They tend to feel very appreciated and touched to receive something so intimate and thoughtful.

If you are looking for that special gift, there’s still some time to book a boudoir or pin-up session before Valentine’s Day!  Mention this post and receive extra digital files valued from $60-$100. (Two files for my Session 2 package, and four for my Session 3 package.)  Contact: Reija “Rae-a” at 831-332-0375 or

Here’s some sample pinup/boudoir photos to inspire you!  Models: Krista Marie, Sonia Tiger, Lauren Beasley at StudioR Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa CruzBoudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

Boudoir / Pinup Valentine's Day Photos in Santa Cruz

StudioR Santa Cruz: New Portrait Studio!

StudioR Santa Cruz recently moved to a new location at the El Rancho Shopping Center, in Pleasure Point!  Here’s my shop front and a self portrait of me Owner/Photographer Reija “Rae-a” Janneson Bolwell.  I specialize in all types of portraits: from baby to boudoir and everything in between!

I’m available for portrait sessions by appointment. You are also welcome to book a free consultation to come and meet me and see my studio.  I would love to create a unique portrait for you!  Contact 831-332-0375 or

StudioR Santa Cruz

Here’s a peek inside my studio space!  It’s even greater in person!

StudioR Santa Cruz

My front desk, made of repurposed wood!

StudioR Santa Cruz

Some portrait backdrops, studio lights and furniture, including an authentic, antique fainting couch.

StudioR Santa Cruz

More backdrops, lights, props and furniture.

StudioR Santa Cruz

My concrete floor is painted in three different colors to create different photography sets.

“The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself.” — Alan Alda.

Late Summer Beach Portraits, by StudioR Santa Cruz

I love this time of year in Santa Cruz!   Seems we have the warmest weather in late August/early September.  We have many hot days without fog, the water is relatively warm and the crowds are gone!   It’s a great time for some beach portraits!

These were taken at the Capitola Wharf late afternoon/early evening.

The colorful Capitola Venetian makes a great backdrop for portraits!

The gate at the Wharf creates a nice prop!Capitola Beach Portrait by StudioR Santa Cruz

Model: Natalia Lockwood

Hair, Makeup & Styling: Natalia Lockwood

Photography: Reija, StudioR SantaCruz

Couples Boudoir Photography by StudioR Santa Cruz

Feeling a bit shy about doing a Boudoir or Dudeoir Session alone?  But really wanting to have the experience or to have some unique pictures during this stage of your life or relationship!

StudioR Santa Cruz offers Couple’s Boudoir photo sessions!  The pictures are always classy and elegant and the photo session is tailored to your comfort level.

Here’s a few pictures from a Couple’s Boudoir Session with Models: Kim and Daniel.  I hope these inspire you to call for your appointment!

Couple's Boudoir

2013-03-19_005 2013-03-19_004

Dudeoir / Male Boudoir Photography in Santa Cruz

Dudeoir (Dude-oir) Photography is Boudoir photography for men!  For a long time it was just women who were gifting their lucky partners with boudoir photographs of themselves. Now at StudioR Santa Cruz we are offering Dudeoir Portrait Sessions.  Our Dudeoir Sessions are always classy and can be tailored to your comfort level.  Here’s some examples of our dudeoir work with model Ty-E:


Dudeoir photographs make a very special gift for your partner!  A dudeoir photo session is also a great way to celebrate a fitness or weight loss achievement.


Another reason for a dudeoir session might be just to celebrate your body while it’s young and hot, or even to celebrate as it gets older and matures!


No matter what the reason is, celebrating our unique bodies can be a great boost to your self esteem and also a very fun experience!