Amy Wenzel Photography » A website featuring creative portrait photography of babies, kids, families and high school senior girls. Sacramento, CA / San Francisco, CA.

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To Be Seventeen: Sacramento Senior Photographer

This session is a favorite of mine. I absolutely love being a High School senior photographer because seventeen is such a fun age!  For me it seems like it was just yesterday. Remember that feeling when the whole world was in front you? Although you were scared and unsure of many things, you were still vibrant and full of hope for the future.  Capturing girls this age reminds me of the youthful qualities that I never want to lose. The ability to dream, hope and believe in my future always. Even though I’m 35 now, I still want to laugh at silly things, cry when Cinderella sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and carry myself with that naive confidence as though life has never hurt me.  I want to drive with the windows down. Listen to my music loud. Always be young at heart. I would give all of the girls that I photograph the same advice. Grow in wisdom, knowledge, understanding and maturity. But don’t let the world harden you. Keep your childlike spirit alive always. It is a precious, precious thing.

amywenzel - Thanks, Jenelle! I do not use fill flash. Rarely do I use a reflector. I did not use one for this session. :)

jeneile - Beautiful work, as always!! You’re such an inspiration. Do you ever use fill flash or reflectors, or do you just shoot with natural light?

Stacy - Absolutely stunning Amy!

amywenzel - Alyssa, feel free to email me one of your photos and I will edit it with my actions. If you do white balance correction before editing I generally recommend starting with a neutral to cooler color cast since the actions will warm up the photo quite a bit. Thank you! =)

Alyssa - Thanks Amy! The fact that you share this kind of information is truly amazing! I really appreciate it. I’ve been struggling lately with trying to get a look that I am happy with and I think your actions may help me out a ton! Do you ever let anyone send you a sooc image and you do a quick edit with your actions so they can see what their own image will look like?? Completely understandable if you don’t. I read “What’s in my bag” and how upgrading your lens makes a huge difference.. I mainly use a 35mm 1.8 but I think switching to a 50mm 1.2 like you mentioned may help me get the look I am trying to get along with your actions. Thanks for all the information you have already provided!

amywenzel - Hi Alyssa, Yes I do use my Memory Lane Actions on all my photos. Lately I’ve also been occasionally combining them VSCO presets in lightroom.

Alyssa - These are stunning! You are very talented! I was just wondering, do you always use your own actions on your photos?? Thanks!

Beautiful Dancer: Sacramento Photographer

When I was thirteen it was 1992. My body mass was the equivalent of a shakily drawn stick figure. I hadn’t grown into my smile yet. I’m pretty sure my teeth were much too big for my face. My main aspirations in life were really big bangs and fitting into my older teenage sister’s clothes. I snuck into their rooms in the evenings and tried them on when they went to their waitressing jobs, but I filled them out about as much as a garden rake draped in a ball gown. These episodes of staring at my potato sack self in the mirror prompted me to close my eyes in bed at night and pray for curves. My ritualistic activities included listening to the light rock love station every single night while writing love letters in my diary to upper classmen boys who didn’t know I existed. Lionel Richie and Kenny G and I are forever bonded for this reason. It’s unfortunate. If only I could get back the brain space dedicated to the perils of easy listening just think of the things I could accomplish.

This beautiful ballet dancer, however, is thirteen and fabulous. I recently had the privilege of documenting her passion and love for the art of dance. She has a serene and peaceful demeanor, a certain steadiness like she is settled in her soul more than many three times her age. I think this is what is usually referred to as an ‘old soul.’ I know she has a bright future doing whatever she sets her heart too. Capturing her was truly my pleasure. May she enjoy junior high and never experience the bitter hind sight remorse over Aqua Net crusted bangs.


MelodyA. - Beautiful beautiful work.

DebZorn - I was a skinny, scrawny, insecure 13 yo. Your model is beautiful and self – assured. Beautiful series.

The Big Move

2014 has been a year of change and healing for me. In many ways it feels like I have been in a holding tank for several years, and now is the season for me to spring forward and step into destiny. The biggest news to share is that I have a new love in my life called the State of California. In the spring I sold all of my furniture, said goodbye to my old way of life in Michigan, packed myself and my two cats into my car and moved to Sacramento. It was a risk and I knew it. But it was what I felt strongly that I was supposed to do. That I desperately needed to do to move forward with my life. And from the day I arrived it has felt like home. I’ve been here two months now and words cannot fully express the certainty and joy I feel in my decision. Every day that I wake up to the California sunshine I have to remind myself that I’m really here. I really did it. I really made it.

To further my happiness, one of my best friends also moved here with me from Michigan and we share a house. Just another reason I knew it was so meant to be! I mean seriously, what are the odds of two friends actually moving all the way across the country together and having a blast being roommates? And although Sacramento doesn’t necessarily dazzle like Los Angeles or San Francisco, it has a peacefulness, a feeling of community and family to it that I love. Many of our neighbors even came over to greet us when we moved onto our quaint tree lined street here in East Sac. I must confess that Northern California has completely and utterly stolen my heart.

My plan is to build a client base here in the Sacramento and the San Francisco areas and to continue working as a portrait photographer. If you know of anyone in these areas who might want to use my services I truly appreciate your referrals as I work to establish my business in this new community. I’m especially looking to photograph high school senior girls!  Looking back, I cherish the years that I spent in Michigan. That state blessed me in so many ways and I value the relationships with the wonderful clients there that I have photographed over the years. I’m forever grateful to all of them for hiring me and allowing me to live out my dreams of working as a photographer. I plan to make several trips back to Michigan each summer and fall to continue doing photo shoots. If you want to be emailed and notified in advance of available dates, please email me at and ask to be added to my mailing list. My next trip is over Labor Day weekend and I have one remaining slot available. I’ll also be traveling to Michigan again in October.

Many of you already know of my move to California because you follow me on social media. My blog has been lacking love from me as of late, but I’m daily updating my Instagram with photos of my adventures, thoughts and recent work. One of the things I’ve loved so much about Sacramento is it’s central location to everything. I’ve been doing tons of hiking, swimming and exploring this summer and documenting my experiences. Every mountain, lake and forest whispers healing to my soul and fills me with hope in God for my future.

Here’s a few highlights from Instagram page. Please feel free to follow my adventures there if your heart so desires. I look forward to connecting with you! xoxo

Lydia - Oh wow, welcome! I’ve followed your work for years, and now you’re living right in my backyard! I might be a little biased, but I think Northern California is the most wonderful place to live!

amywenzel - Thanks for commenting, Sidney. I wish you all the best down in Daytona. I’m sure you are going to love it!!

Sidney Baker-Green - I know the feeling of a big move. I just recently graduated high school and I chose a college all the way down in Daytona. It’s a little daunting thinking about moving from Michigan to Florida. The thought of rebuilding a client base is also a daunting one. But it’s all part of the adventure!

Jonas Paul Eyewear Photo Shoot

Who knew that photographing 12 pairs of glasses and 10 children in one day would require me to burn the same amount of calories as running a marathon?  I’m pretty sure I hobbled to my car afterward, haha.  Seriously though, despite the supernatural amount of energy required to pull off a shoot like this, I was in absolute heaven.  These kids were so adorable and inspiring to work with and it was really cool to see all of their different personalities shine though in the images.

I was extremely honored to be chosen to work with Jonas Paul Eyewear on this project and I am a die hard fan of their vintage inspired kids frames.  If your child wears glasses, you definitely need to check out this company!  Awesome style, really amazing people with a very inspirational back story.  In addition, for every pair of frames purchased, they donate to CBM International to bring vision to a person in need.  What’s not to love??




Jasmine - OMG!! Mini hipsters!! I absolutely adore this shoot!!

Dennis Bullock - This is so awesome Amy. Congrats on the amazing images!

Jamie - Amy,
LOVE LOVE LOVE these!!!!! I’d love to know if you shot these with special non-glare lenses, or no lenses, or with special lighting that wouldn’t cause glare!? My sweet girl and I both wear glasses, and they often work just fine in photos, but sometimes there is some wonky-ness with glare and such. :0) Any tips for ensuring the kind of perfection you’ve created here??!!?

2013 Holiday Card Templates for Photographers

I’m excited to showcase my 20 new holiday card designs available at over at my online store Swiss Miss Design Haus.  I put a lot of love into these babies and I’m excited for them to brighten up homes all over the world this holiday season as they showcase your beautiful photos!  Below are the 5×7 folded and flat templates with unique front, inside and back spreads.  All of the colors, text and graphics can be altered in Photoshop.  Thanks for checking them out.