An Escape from Orange County

I'm very sorry it's been so long since I've written!

We decided to take a much needed vacation after the crazy holiday season. We packed up our bags, stopped the mail and the paper, found a loving home for our sweet pup to stay in during our absence, and headed out to the airport at 5:00am, ready for our trip. Apparently we needed a reminder that we are most definitely NOT in charge here, because our flight was cancelled, and not just temporarily, mind you, but for a week! And so we headed back to our quiet, dog-less, mail-less home.

After a week of this strange "stay-cation" of sorts, we finally boarded another plane. We barely made it out of Orange County, into the air, across the country, and into New Jersey, just before another blizzard struck and all flights behind us were cancelled again! Upon our return, I realize that it is much more likely that this forced relaxation at home was probably exactly what we needed to fully enjoy our amazing but whirlwind journey.

We spent most of our vacation with Prasad's delightful nephew, Avi, his beautiful wife, Tasneem, and our sweet niece, Amita. They have a lovely home in New Jersey and were the perfect hosts. They live only an hour from New York City, so we were able to go in frequently and knock several items off of my bucket list! 

One of those items was to see Rockefeller Center all dressed up for the Christmas holiday season. I was sure I'd missed it, thanks to the debacle with our flights, but it was still adorned with everything Christmas when we arrived! So there's one item checked off the bucket list. Only a few more to go...

During our stay,  we visited another nephew, Abhinav, in Philadelphia for a few days. We stayed in Old Town and loved this quaint, picturesque town! It reminded me of a European city, with cobblestone streets and sidewalk cafes. The snow was falling lightly enough that we were able to walk all about the town, even happening upon a movie being filmed with Bradley Cooper! (sigh), until we found the best restaurant in town, Le Parc.

Parc, as you may infer, is a French restaurant situated on the edge of a beautiful park. Tables had been set up just outside the restaurant, but it had started to snow and so the tables were piled high with fresh snow. What a beautiful sight that was. We opted to sit, snow-free, inside by the window and enjoy our meal. The meal was magnificent, but the true highlight was being able to gaze outside and watch children dressed colorfully in their snowsuits, playing on the white snow, people bundled up, walking their dogs, and just enjoying nature. It was a work of art.

I adored Philadelphia, Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and all. I was captivated by Elfreth's Alley, the oldest street in the country! It was a tiny little street with tiny little houses. We were able to go inside a couple of them and I could not believe how small these houses were! It shocked me more to learn that people are living in these houses still! 

Ah, if it weren't for my brood back here on the West Coast, I could easily see myself living in Philadelphia. It is charming and close-knit, and you have all of the conveniences you could desire, yet the access to New York City is easy and quick. It is like having the best of the big city without living just within it. 

I truly can't wait to head back to that side of the country again. It was stunning, breathtaking, and a lot of fun.

However, for the moment, I am very happy to be home.


Categorized In: best portrait photographer | destination photography | location photography | newport beach family photography | newport beach portrait photography | orange county photographer

The Brilliant Ballora Bunch

It is difficult, in this industry, to pinpoint exactly what makes a portrait session particularly unique or amazing. However, there are those rare (and wonderful) times when you can put your finger right on that point. Particularly, say, when your subjects are fuzzy! 


Well, to be fair, only some of the subjects were fuzzy. But who can say that about their clients? Yes, that's right, now we can.

Let me back up.

We met the lovely Judy at the YMCA. She has a son and daughter-in-law who, she felt, were long overdue for a family portrait. She spoke with Prasad, ordered a gift certificate, and we all went about our business. Later that afternoon Prasad spoke with the couple about their portrait session. Within moments we knew this would be a session unlike any other.

Enter Greg and Kristin Ballora, their son, Beckham, and Greg's mother, Judy.

Finally, and without further ado, enter...



Greg and Kristin are puppeteers in Hollywood. Not only do they make their own puppets, but their puppets star in PBS shows as well as in PIXAR films.They have worked on blockbusters such as Spiderman 2and 3 and Team America World Police, and Greg has done quite a bit of work with The Jim Henson Company.

In addition, Greg is the official puppetmaster for Disneyland! He makes sure all puppets and their puppeteers are on their best behavior and working well together. The relationship between a puppet and its master can become rather complicated, it seems.

Greg and Kristin work together like lyrics and a song. They complement each other so well and know just what to say to elicit the most hilarious or appropriate response from one another. Watching them improv together is better than any planned routine, I'm sure! 

To top that, they have been working with 10 (going on 40) year-old Beckham, who is next in line for a career in puppeteering. I must say, he is quite good! (And we do have our eye on him for our 10 year-old granddaughter, so don't get any ideas).

We had such a terrific time working with this talented and brilliant family, including their gorgeous (and also fuzzy) dog, Calvin. The session was unlike any other and the subjects were quite unique and such a blast! Prasad couldn't keep away from the puppets! Even given all of his experience, I'm not sure he's ever photographed characters quite like these! 


"Nobody says you must laugh, but a sense of humor can help you...cope with the unexpected, and smile throughout the day."


Categorized In: actor headshots | family portrait photographer | headshot photographer | newport beach family portraits | newport beach photographer

Thanksgiving at the Prasads!

Ah, Thanksgiving. A time to relax, enjoy delicious food, and spend quality time with the family.

Or, in our case, run around like chickens with our heads cut off, scarf down food before one of the many dogs in attendance could help themselves to it, and try with all our might not to strangle said family! 

There were people and children underfoot, dogs frolicking inside the house and out, and delectable food and wine being enjoyed by all.

Yes, all.

It's not that we didn't enjoy our Thanksgiving experience, because we did. Thoroughly!


However, for some reason we thought it would be a good idea to conclude our feast with a photo session. In theory, this was actually a wonderful idea. It was the first time 4 out of 5 of our combined children, their spouses and all 8 grandchildren had been in the same county since the summer. We figured it might be our only opportunity for months (years?) to come so we took advantage.

We rounded up the entire family and piled them upstairs into the studio for our photo session. It wasn’t just a bit muddled, it was utter chaos! The studio was swarming with lively adults and playful children. Trying to create a setup that worked with all these people was quite the chore. But with only minimal pushing, shoving and  hollering, we made it happen! And we ended up with a beautiful family photo that we will treasure for the rest of our days. In all its craziness, our Thanksgiving was amazing and we are truly thankful for our family and the time we spent together.


Categorized In: california family portrait photographer | family photographer | family portrait photographer | newport beach photographer | orange county family photographer | portrait photography


  • Published November 8th, 2010 by Andrea Bidwell
  • 1 Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how someone can be such a prominent businesswoman, quite serious about and immersed in her work, yet so artistic and fun-loving at the same time. Take Wrise (pronounced "Ree-sah"). She is a beautiful, talented and powerful woman who came to us for headshot portraits recently.

Wrise has a presence that captivates and envelops you. It's no wonder she is so successful at her job as an executive trainer. Her charismatic way of speaking is entrancing and enchanting. Her cadence and presence are riveting. You'd have to be out of your mind not to listen to her every word and do as she suggests!

Indeed, Wrise has a unique and beautiful name. She was named after Rise Stevens, the famous opera singer. However, her family tradition called for the initials WB, thus was born Wrise Booker.

Wrise is so talented and quite artistic. She has an extraordinary collection of African art, collected in part on her various excursions to Africa and other countries. Her art is as much a part of her as is her passion for business. These uniqe and multi-faceted subjects, like Wrise, are what help US create a genuine work of art.

Our session with Wrise was so much fun - Wrise left a lasting impression and has become a great friend!

Categorized In: artistic portraits | executive portraits california | executive portraits newport beach | extraordinary headshots | headshots newport beach | prasad photography

Next Best Actor


If you want to hear about the most handsome little man, read on.


Marc is 9 years old.

And absolutely adorable.

He dreams of becoming an actor and therefore came to us looking for a great headshot photographer in Newport Beach! We were happy to take on the job for several reasons. One: he is a delight to work with. Two: he's a ham and the camera loves him! And, perhaps the point which most behooves us, three: we can say "we knew him when!"

We had such a wonderful time photographing this little man. He was full of energy, charisma and charm. It's no wonder, after meeting his mother, Dr. Amy Conrad. She is a fantastic woman who hones her pediatric skills in both Mammoth and Newport Beach, trading the beautiful mountains for the beach halfway through each week. We asked if she would consider adopting us because deciding between Mammoth and Orange County is next to impossible. Living in both is a dream! However, her hands are full with Hollywood's next greatest actor so she could not take us on just yet.

 We loved working with this adorable family and can not wait to watch Marc's career soar!



Categorized In: actor headshots | children's headshots | children's portrait photographer | headshot | headshot photographer | newport beach children's portraits | newport beach photographer

Nikita visits from Bollywood!

This stunning young woman recently came to us for a headshot. Her aunt, Dr. Sangeeta Patel, is a longtime client and friend and a well-known and loved pediatrician in Tustin.  Over the years, we have had the privilege of photographing Sangeeta's daughter's arangetram as well as several sessions of the family.  On a recent trip to India, Sangeeta took a DVD of our images to share with her family there. Nikita saw the DVD and loved our work! Lucky for us, because she traveled all the way here just to have us photograph her!  

Okay, so maybe she was planning a visit to her family in the US and it just so happened we photographed her while she was here, but it all worked out very nicely regardless!

Nikita is a lovely and sweet young lady who actually spends most of her time behind the camera. In India she studies filmography and would like to become a film director. She has a great appreciation for the art of photography which made it a lot of fun to work with her.  Her experience and background in the film industry makes her very comfortable being photographed and the camera loved her!

Because she told us her family in India is fairly traditional, we also photographed Nikita in classic Indian clothing.  Once we got that out of the way, she dressed into her western clothes, where she felt completely comfortable and had a blast modeling for us as the modern, young woman that she is!  With her brains, great personality, and unmistakeable charm, we are sure she will be quite a success in the world of Bollywood films!

It doesn't matter how this young woman dresses. She is beautiful in every way, inside and out, and it was a joy to spend some time with her and capture some fantastic images!


Categorized In: best headshot photographer | headshots | newport beach family photography | newport beach headshot photography | orange county headshot photographer

Susan and Frank

  • Published September 15th, 2010 by Andrea Bidwell
  • 1 Comment

I love my job.

Not only do I get to work with beautiful couples, such as Susan and Frank, but I get to learn some very important secrets! For instance, Susan and Frank have been married for 31 years! 31 years after they exchanged vows, these gorgeous people are still in love and are so romantic with one another. I had to wonder how any couple could keep their love so alive after decades together and, after a bit of discussion, I learned the secret.


Frank arrived at our studio looking extremely dapper. I commented on how well Susan shopped for him and she corrected me. Frank does his own shopping. Not only that, he actually enjoys shopping! There you have it, folks. The secret to everlasting love!

Really, just watching this couple interact was breathtaking. They behaved much like the couples who come to us for engagement photographs or wedding photography. Susan was even romantic about how she ordered their photo album. She chose photos that really highlighted how in love they are and accented it with quotes about love and being in love. It was sweet and refreshing to see a couple married so long be this way with each other.

We are so lucky to be among the elite group of Newport Beach/Orange County couples' photographers. It is such an honor for us to work with such delightful and passionate people. Susan and Frank were a joy to work with. And the camera loved them!


" A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."

~Mignon McLaughlin

Categorized In: best orange county family photographer | couples photographer | engagement photography | family portraits | newport beach portrait photographer