Over the years, I’ve searched for unique portraits I could partake in to either frame for my home or simply experience with a loved one. We’ve found some really amazing opportunities and I’m excited to share four of my favorite portrait experiences that I’ve stumbled across in San Diego (but that are honestly totally attainable in other places).

Aura Photography

This is a really cool kind of photography experience James and I visited when Radiant Human came to San Diego. We honestly had no idea what to expect other than entering her iconic white dome where our portrait was taken. Here, you enter the dome and place your hands onto a sensor. If there are two of you entering, like we did, you simply place one hand on one sensor and the other places their hand on the other sensor. From what we understood, the sensors detect heat and translate it into a color. This “reads” your aura and produces a color which our photographer later interpreted once it was printed. It’s definitely something fun to experience and see come to life. Cost: $35/photo.

Side note: We’ll be featured in Radiant Human’s upcoming book! Take a peek at her instagram to see other images or search “Aura photographers” to find the one nearest you!


Yes, tintypes are still alive and well, but they’re quite rare and the experience is so SO fun. If you don’t know what a tintype is, let me paint a picture for you: you know those olden day photos that are printed on metal and look super weathered? THAT’s a tintype! Tintypes are captured with old film cameras, where the image is transferred onto a piece of tin, rather than paper. The tin is then developed in a darkroom and instantly transforms into a negative, which is then processed some more into the image. We had ours photographed by Scott Basile Photography, located in San Diego. He photographed ours in his home studio and let us watch the entire process which was amazing to see. Once he was finished, we had to wait a couple days for it to set but then picked it up, where we received 3 hard copy images and 3 scans! Cost: $$.

medium format photography

Medium format photography remains near and dear to my heart because I practice it in my weddings as a fine art film wedding photographer. To give a brief explanation, medium format photography is larger film than the standard 35 mm film that’s typically used in disposable camera. It has such a special high quality and tone to it and really produces some of the most gorgeous skin tones. This image was taken by the couple, Anna and Andrew, who I work with over at Dear Lovers. Honestly, for my wedding one day, I will 100% be using a fine art film photographer, simply because the quality is so dang beautiful. Cost: $$ – $$$.

drone photography

I never really thought of renting a drone until last Christmas, when I asked James to gift me the experience of a drone portrait. I really really wanted to take one out to my favorite place (the dunes) and capture one of us among the beautiful landscape. It’s pretty easy to rent a drone in San Diego and we decided to rent the Mavic Pro! After we experienced this, I ended up purchasing a Mavic Air for our trip to Iceland! It truly brings such a different perspective (obviously) that is super cinematic and great for large prints for your home. Cost: $$.

I hope you get to experience one of these photography experiences! It’s so exciting for me to work with other photographers and see what art they’re practicing. Maybe you can book one of these yourself or perhaps be your own self-portrait photographer with a drone!

x Dani