Utah Photographer specializing in Families, Newborns & Children.

Every session tells a story Recent Tales

A Disneyland Anniversary Celebration… Leave the Kids at Home

Also, Test Your Disney Ride Knowledge!

I am so excited to share our Disneyland Anniversary Celebration with you! Yes, we really did Disney with NO kids.

Disneyland. The happiest place on Earth. A place where dreams come true, magic happens and pixie dust is a real thing. Before you cross under the railroad and enter into this land of balloons, cartoon mice, and palpable nostalgia, a plaque greets you with the most accurate quote in all of the park: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow and fantasy.”

Adults-only Disneyland Anniversary Celebration tips and tricks

How does Disney do it? If you’ve ever taken your kids to Disneyland, you know it’s an experience unlike any other. From the immaculate walkways to the cheerful employees, to the fanciful rides, you enter into an alternate universe where smiles are everywhere and the smell of delicious churros fill every land in the park. My husband describes the Disneyland experience like this:

“When you see your kid meet Mickey Mouse for the first time, you hand the mouse your wallet and tell him to give back however much.”

-Todd Smith

We’ve taken our kids twice (We went to Disneyland for the first time ever two years ago!) and we have made some incredibly happy memories there.

Disneyland tips and tricks

So how did my husband and I make the decision to go to Disneyland sans kids for our 20 year anniversary? Well it started a little like this in September:

-“I think we should go to Hawaii to celebrate our 20 year anniversary.”

“Yes, let’s do that.”

In October, we discovered a brand new private school right by our house that was dedicated to helping and teaching children like my 13 year old son who has multiple delays and learning disabilities. We’ve been praying to find a better option for him and this was it. We enrolled him and our Hawaii savings went toward his education. Then November went like this:

“Maybe we should do Disneyland.”

“Without the kids though?… I LOVE it!”

And so the Great Disneyland Anniversary Celebration was born and planned over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Adults-only Disneyland Anniversary Celebration badges
Don’t forget to get your buttons if you’re celebrating your first visit, your birthday your anniversary, etc. You can get them at City Hall in Disneyland, the Silhouette Studio and even the restaurants!

So what does a couple with 5 kids do when they go to Disneyland without those 5 kids? They eat. You know how expensive it would be to feed seven people in Disneyland? (We’ve never ate in the park before, my crock pot is my best friend when we do a Disney trip with all of the kids, let me know if you want a blog on what crock pot meals I made!) Well, when you are only feeding two people, Disney food gets a whole lot cheaper. We tried pretzels and churros and the Monte Cristo sandwich at the Blue Bayou restaurant. We had mickey shaped treats and the Grey Stuff at the Red Rose Tavern (“Try the grey stuff, it’s delicious, don’t believe me, ask the dishes!”- Beauty and the Beast).

Adults-only Disneyland Anniversary Celebration tips and tricks without kids

Not only did we eat, but we rode all of our favorite rides several times over. Because there were only two of us, we splurged and got Max Passes so that we could select Fast Passes from my phone. I rode Star Tours countless times.

Adults-only Disneyland Anniversary Celebration selfie

Confession time: Last October was my first time ever to gather up enough courage to ride a roller coaster. You see, I suffer greatly from motion sickness, and the idea of a roller coaster always made me feel nauseated just thinking about it. But I always envied the excited screeches coming from a speeding coaster. Now, I didn’t go all crazy and hop on the Incredicoaster, no way. My first ride was Big Thunder Mountain. I know, I know, it’s tame, but hey, after 38 years, I finally rode one!

So this time, for our February anniversary visit to Disneyland, I added the Matterhorn AND Space Mountain to that list of coasters I’ve braved. And I lived to tell about it.

We also shopped! Because we weren’t spending time standing in lines for character meet and greets (though if my kids were there, you can bet your tiara I would have been in every one of those lines), we had lots of opportunities to peruse the long string of shops on Main Street, Disneyland.

I was especially excited when I came across a keychain with the quote from the plaque as you enter the park. And it matched my purse perfectly, so it felt meant to be.

I also discovered the Crystal Arts shop where I could get a glass engraved with our names and anniversary. Yes, I’ll take one of those as well.

We also discovered details that we missed before: like the fact that Frontierland has boot prints, horse hoof prints, and wagon tracks pressed into the concrete walkway. And we stopped by Esmerelda to get our very own fortunes.

This anniversary went down as the best celebration we’ve had in our 20 years. Being in a magical place with my man, holding hands and sharing treats and kisses, it all was a fairy tale come true.

Adults-only Disneyland Anniversary Celebration photos to take

Now, I have a game for all of my Disneyland loving readers out there! It’s called: Name That Ride. I took pictures on some of the rides (not all), can you name them?

-Leave a comment below with your best guesses numbered 1-14 identifying these rides.

-Leave a comment with your favorite thing to do in Disneyland!

-Leave a comment if you’d like to see a blog post about what crock pot meals are our favorite to prepare when we go to Disneyland.

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Making Magic with Fairy Tale Portraits

I often get asked, “Why fairy tale portraits?” What is it that makes these sessions some of my absolute favorite?

I read books to my 7 and 4 year old every night. We read about unicorns with horns that can heal, sailing far away to where the wild things are, princesses that go on daring adventures, dancing mice, tiny fairies, cats that surf and magical snowmen that play at night.

Their eyes light up as we sit by the soft yellow glow of their lamp and the words on the pages invite them into enchanted lands where the impossible becomes possible and animals become their best friends.

Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Hedgehog and Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

The wild imaginations and daydreams of kids have captured my interest so much that I chose to specialize in fairy tale portraits for children. It’s one thing to read about otherworldly adventures, it’s quite another to have your own.

Little Girl as Mermaid in Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

So what makes a fairy tale portrait magical? What do I have to consider when creating a childhood fantasy in an image? Every detail needs to come together to tell the story – the location, the wardrobe, the props and the special effects added in with PhotoShop.

Unicorns and Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Whimsical Unicorn Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
  1. LOCATION – this is perhaps the most important detail, the scenery must match the story that you’re trying to tell. I spend hours doing what is called “location scouting”. I always have my eyes peeled for new, gorgeous locations that fit a specific theme. I’m an avid hiker, so I have familiarized myself with Utah’s beautiful Wasatch front, and I’ve spent time on the phone, calling for permission to shoot at private locations. I’m not only assessing the “look” of potential locations, but I’m also accounting for –
  • shooting space (can I create a pullback image and include tons of scenery?)
  • colors of the location (do they harmonize with my theme?)
  • foreground and background (such as the unicorn photo above – pretty white flowery growth in the foreground, thick trees in the background)
  • lighting (can I get even or dramatic light? What is the best time of day to shoot at this location?)
  • accessibility (can we park close to the location, will it be easy for clients to find, will we have cell phone service there in case my clients get lost and need to contact me?)

2. WARDROBE – dressing up is perhaps the best part of the whole experience and an essential part to telling the story in a fairy tale portrait. You can derive so much information about what’s being told by what the subject is wearing. I work closely with my clients to help put together the wardrobe for their session. In many cases, I’m providing the outfits, and in other cases, I am communicating with clients through picture texts and emails.

  • Are we going for a soft, forest princess vibe? I have a large collection of dresses ranging in sizes from 1 year to 16 years. I also have matching floral crowns.
  • Are we creating a pirate/shipwrecked scene? Cutoff pants and bare feet are a must!
  • Do we want the portrait to express a different time period? Make sure the clothes match. Pinterest is a wonderful place to start understanding wardrobe customs of that era.
  • Do the colors of the wardrobe go well with the colors of the scenery, and if multiple children are being photographed, do the outfits look good side by side?
  • Don’t forget the little things! Footwear, headpieces, jewelry, etc.
Girl's Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Whimsical Studio Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Baby's Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

3. PROPS – Make sure the props add to the story and don’t distract from the person being photographed. They shouldn’t seem out of place or thrown in just to fill space. They have to be a part of the scene. Props can be as effective as wardrobe when it comes to storytelling.

  • One of my favorite props is a lantern because you can really play around with the lighting of the photo and adding in a glow in PhotoShop makes a fairy tale portrait so dreamy.
  • Starfish for an underwater scene. Flowers for a forest scene. A sword for a Lord of the Rings-esque shoot. A fishing pole and bucket for a dock scene. Vintage, antique and homemade items tend to work best when it comes to props.
Magical Girl's Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Fairy Tale Portraits with a camel with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

4. SPECIAL EFFECTS – This is where the fairy tale portraits really come together in the end. When the magic becomes visible and a portrait turns really whimsical. Adding too many special effects can really bog down an image, so I usually suggest keeping it at one special effect, and no more than two. Some examples include:

  • Rainbows in the background and magic on a unicorn’s horn.
  • Light on a lantern.
  • Magic sparkles springing out of a Christmas box.
  • Fireflies.
  • Light rays.
  • Fairy dust.
Christmas Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Studio Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Marshmallow the Unicorn Fairy Tale Portraits with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

What story do you want to tell? Does your child have a favorite book that he would love to star in? Does she want to meet an mystical animal friend? Does he dream of looking for dragons, does she talk about being a mermaid? What wonderful adventure can you create for your little dreamer?

Fairy Tale Portrait Album with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Girl Reading Fairy Tale Portrait Album with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith
Fairy Tale Portrait Story with Utah Children's Photographer Loni Smith

Contact me with your fanciful idea and lets make magic with fairy tale portraits, with your children as the stars!

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Best Photographers in Utah | The Ultimate Guide

You’ve decided you want to hire a photographer. You’ve asked a few friends and you’ve turned to Google. You were immediately overwhelmed. How do you choose the right one? How can you find the best photographers in Utah?

How do you know they’ll give your session the time and attention it deserves? Are all of their sessions the same for all of their clients or do they take the time to customize your session around your needs and interests?

Best Photographers in Utah| The Ultimate Guide

With your worries in mind, we gathered a list with the best photographers in Utah. They are not only extremely talented people, but they also go the extra mile to make sure their clients are taken care of and leave the experience with beautifully printed photos that match their style.

The full custom experience they offer is what makes them stand out: design consultation, wardrobe styling, hair and make up artist, and exclusive heirloom quality products are only a few of the things that make their clients feel pampered and heard.

We live in a time in history when everything is disposable, but your memories shouldn’t be. These Utah photographers will help you build your legacy with tangible pieces of art that will be cherished for generations to come. The categories are:

  • Whimsical Fine Art Photography
  • Family Portraiture
  • Maternity and Newborn Portraiture
  • High School Senior Photography
  • Themed Children Portraiture
  • Boudoir Photography

Do you have enough pictures with your parents growing up? Do the walls of your home tell your story? Your memories deserve to be more than pixels on a screen.

Contact anyone on this list of the best photographers in Utah today to bring your digital images to life and truly enjoy your favorite moments and people for years to come.

Whimsical Fine Art Photography

Loni Smith is a nationally acclaimed Utah children’s photographer with a special focus on fairy tale photo art. Her whimsical, dreamy style enables her to create storybook heirloom portraits for her clients. This has earned her a spot as one of the best photographers in Utah.

Not only does she provide clients with beautiful costumes from her hand picked wardrobe, she also partners with a local farm to provide unique animal experiences and captures the natural interactions between children and animals. 

From unicorns to zebras to Santa, there is an enchanting theme for everyone, and there is a storybook album waiting to be printed from every magical encounter. 

Loni is most known for photographing YouTube and TLC’s “Rattled” stars The Gardner Quad Squad, and she has taught local and international workshops, had her work featured on Ellen, TLC, The Hallmark Channel, Parents Magazine and several international newspapers and news stations. Her work can be found at lonismith.com

Family Portraiture

Originally from Brazil, Maryana Wright just recently moved to Utah from Arizona and is ready to explore. Offering custom family portrait and lifestyle photography in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas, she believes that the purpose of photography is not only to make you look good, but also tell your authentic story and freeze time. 

Specializing in capturing meaningful moments, she finds the most joy in photographing engagements, anniversary, and family sessions. Maryana Wright Photography has photographed hundreds of clients in the Gila Valley, AZ and you can find her work decorating the most beautiful homes in Italy, Australia and Brazil.

Ideal clients are authentic, easy-going, fun-loving, silly-dancers, and place a great value in professional photography and quality print products. www.maryanawright.com

Maternity and Newborn Portraiture

Rebeca Price is Utah’s favorite Maternity, Birth and Newborn Photographer. Mother of four, married to her best friend, travel lover, addicted to shopping for dresses and plants, and always looking for a new restaurant to try.

She specializes in custom maternity and baby portraiture, in Salt Lake City, UT but is available to travel worldwide. Ever dreamed of having images that are magazine worthy?

Are you ready for the best portrait experience? Beka offers timeless magazine styled maternity portraiture that you have always wanted. www.bekapricephotography.com

High School Senior Photography

Chelsea Peterson Photography is Utah’s top High School Senior photographer. She specializes in portraits with an editorial flare.

After photographing everything from babies to weddings she settled on teens when she realized that her personality and artistic eye was naturally drawn to the age group and images.

She has won multiple awards, one naming her among the top 100 Senior photographers in the nation 3 yeas in a row. More than images that seniors love to share on social media, she also offers amazing quality products that generations will enjoy.

Reaching these teens at a time in their life when confidence it constantly a balancing act and allow them to see themselves the way that others do and feeling like a rockstar while doing it. Pouring her heart into each senior and giving them an experience that won’t be found anywhere else. www.chelseapetersonphotography.com

Themed Children Portraiture

Liz is a Northern Utah photographer specializing in children’s portraiture. As a mom of 4 herself, her philosophy on children’s portraiture is that each image should capture expressions and quirks unique to each person in front of her camera.

She gives children the opportunities and prompts to freely express the things they love and connect with during her limited edition holiday sessions and birthday/yearly portraits, creating a light hearted and positive experience from the pre-consultation to delivering the final products.

Equipped with styling advice, a wardrobe exclusively for children, and both outdoor and in studio locations, she offers a wide range of custom looks and elements to her work. www.inspirationsbyliz.com

Boudoir Photography

Heike Bammann is originally from Germany and moved to the U.S. in 2003. She is currently living in Clinton, UT where her studio is located, too.

She specializes with her business HB1Photography in Boudoir and Women’s Fantasy Portraiture. Heike loves to empower women and show them how beautiful they are, inside and out.

Women are so busy with taking care of everyone else on a daily basis that we forget to take care of ourselves. HB1 Boudoir sessions are all about the client. From Hair and Makeup, drinks and snacks to access to the client closet.

Each session is customized to the client’s needs. Heike has definitely earned her spot on our list of the est photographers in Utah! www.hb1photographyllc.com

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Aspyn’s Newborn Adventure

Aspyn’s mom first contacted me when she was pregnant with her.  She was initially looking for a maternity session and after a detailed phone consultation, I knew she was going to be a perfect fit for what I offer as a Utah newborn photographer. Kasi brought her beautiful family to her maternity session, it was such a joy meeting everyone and fitting in some family photos before focusing on photos of just Kasi and her perfect belly.

We got those maternity photos done in the nick of time because Aspyn was born only a few days later!  I couldn’t wait to meet her and create art for her walls. She came into my studio as a sweet little scrunchy bundle.  Kasi and I took time admiring Aspyn’s little features and giggling over her teeny feet and smiles.

Newborn sessions are long, but so worth the time.  Capturing every detail and the unbreakable bond between mother and child are some of my most rewarding experiences as a photographer. Aspyn will never be this little again, and now Kasi will forever have these moments frozen in time.  When Apsyn is 10, Kasi will be able to show her how she fit so perfectly between her shoulder and her neck. Aspyn will see these photos and understand how tenderly her mother loved her from the very beginning.  She’ll learn about the meaning of “rainbow baby.” She was so desperately wanted, so anxiously awaited, she’ll see all of this in this priceless memories. When Aspyn becomes a mother herself, she’ll experience the joy that shines through her mother’s eyes, she’ll know then just how much her mother loves her. This knowledge is one of the things I cherish most as Utah newborn photographer.

Aspyn slept through most of her session.  She snuggled so perfectly into every set, she slept deeply and soundly.  Her nursery is decorated in a woodland theme, so we made sure to include a set with her dressed as a baby deer.  Kasi wanted as much pink as she could get – this was her first girl after having three boys. The session was full of lace, flowers, girly outfits and a colorful butterfly.  There are no words to express just how much I enjoyed this session. I really enjoy photographing newborns – it was my own newborn that got me interested in photography almost 7 years ago. Since I’m done having babies, newborn sessions are extra special to me because I get my fill of newborn snuggles that I no longer have in my every day life.

Aspyn’s mom bought a gorgeous custom designed heirloom album from her session.  With a rose gold leather cover, and a photo of Aspyn on front, I know that album will be enjoyed for all of Aspyn’s life. Those pages will be flipped through a thousand times, the photos will be adored by her, her kids, her grandkids…Aspyn, may you grow up strong and gentle.  May your tiny heart one day hold all of the love in the world for all of those around you.  May your eyes always appreciate the beauty all around and may your feet experience beaches, mountains and rivers.

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Gwen’s Unicorn Encounter | Whimsical Photos

Gwen is fascinated with unicorns and was tickled to finally have her very own personal unicorn encounter.

Gwen’s Unicorn Encounter | Whimsical Photos by Utah Photographer Loni Smith

Unicorns, rainbows, magic sparkles, flowers, flowy dress, enchanted forest? What little princess wouldn’t want all of that?  Find more unicorn session photos here.

Gwen is a girl of many expressions.  She had such genuine reactions to Marshmallow the unicorn that it was a total treat to capture her interactions with her magical friend. Not only did she want to smother the unicorn in kisses, but she also insisted on kissing Marshmallow’s enchanted horn. She danced freely, giggled sweetly, and smiled entirely through her whole session.

Marshmallow was equally excited to meet Gwen and in front of the rainbow in this fairy tale forest. She let Gwen feel her horn to show her it was real.  She proudly stood as Gwen sat on her back for a rare unicorn ride. And she even ate grass from Gwen’s hands.

The morning after the session, Gwen’s mom said Gwen was so excited, she was looking out the window waiting for the truck to deliver her pictures.  They didn’t come that day, but when she did finally see them, Gwen said, “It’s me and my unicorn with a rainbow!”  She was over the moon with excitement about her unicorn companion.

I had the privilege of designing a book for this session.  18 beautiful fairy tale photos were arranged and printed on pretty pearl pages. Gwen will always be able to look back on this book and her 16×24 canvas print for years to come.



magical unicorn session with Utah photographer Loni Smithmagical unicorn session with Utah photographer Loni Smithmagical unicorn session with Utah photographer Loni Smith


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