Brandes Portraits

A Family's Legacy in Art for the Home

New Years Celebration- Annual 50% Off Gift Certificates!

As we begin 2019, I’m thankful for all of our clients from 2018, and considering the recent tragic fires in the Conejo Valley, I’m especially thankful for their well-being too.

Right after the fires in the Westlake Village area, I got calls from two clients whose homes had completely burned. These were both gorgeous homes in the North Ranch area. Neither of our clients or their families were harmed, but they literally got out with just the clothes on their back. They were calling to make sure that we could replace the portraits we had done for them, and I’m so glad I was able to tell them that we could.

The portrait of the Morrow kids below was just delivered in September 2018:

The second home (and portrait) that burned was a favorite of mine from back in 2002. We used this portrait of the Keipert sisters as a studio sample for quite awhile, and you might remember it from a past brochure.

As you know, my desire is to create portraits that capture the legacy of a family, and I’m so glad we are able to reassure our past clients that their portraits can come back to life, even if the home they hung in is gone.

If you have been thinking about updating your portraits, we are once again offering our annual New Year gift certificate special.

For a very brief time, from now through Saturday, January 12, 2019, we are offering a 50% reduction in pricing on our gift certificates.  The certificates come in 4 amounts: $250, $500, $750 and $1000.  The fine print is this: these certificates are for new camera studies, are limited to $2000 (an investment of $1000), and may not be combined with any other offer of the studio.

If you are interested in having us create another heirloom portrait for you, we would be honored to do that. Please give us a call at:



God bless you and yours in 2019. I truly hope that you and your family have a wonderful, safe and healthy year.

Welcome to Fall

I love the Fall season.  April and I just returned from visiting friends and family in the Boston area.  While we were there we did a portrait of Katherine and Eric Holmstrom out in some of the beautiful Fall color of New England.  Some of you may remember that Katherine lived with us for awhile back in 1999-2000.  She now is all grown up with a wonderful family, and living in Groveland, Massachusetts.

Everyone in the Holmstrom Family is a trooper! You would never know from looking at this portrait, but it wins the prize for the coldest portrait I’ve ever done!  It was 42 degrees and SOOO windy that day…with the wind chill, it was really about 32 degrees.  I am such a wimp compared to these folks.

If you’ve been thinking about updating your family portrait, I know some lovely WARM places we can go to create a beautiful wall portrait for your home.

Call today.




What’s Your Favorite Beach?

So on Thursday this week we finally launch into summer. As always, we are busy with quite a few beach portraits through our Westlake Village and our Orange County locations. Just for fun, I thought I’d post a few beach portraits, and get your feedback on your favorite beach look.

Vote for your favorite, and invite your friends and family to help you win a camera study for your family on your favorite beach.

The Montage Hotel Beach

Just under the Montage Laguna Beach Hotel, there is a wonderful section of Aliso Beach Park that has tide pools and a dramatic rock arch.  Here, Chris Bailey is surrounded by all the beautiful ladies in his life.

Crystal Cove Beach

The Crystal Cove beach has some classic Southern California beach locations to use as a background.  The Wilhite family chose this spot just across from The Beachcomber Cafe.  What a timeless feel this location has.

Leo Carrillo Beach

Leo Carrillo has some wonderful cove locations with lots of rock structures that work both for the background, as well as for posing.  This portrait of the Arnold family has always been a favorite of mine.

Vote and Win!

Just respond to the email that got you here, and vote for your favorite beach portrait location by writing: Montage, Crystal or Leo.

We will honor the person who votes the most times with a camera study of their family at the beach of their choice.

So how can you cast more votes?  Ask your friends and family! If you forward our email to your friends, their vote counts for you as well.

Voting ends on the first day of summer…Thursday, June 21 at midnight, so hurry.

While They Are Home For The Holidays

Every Thanksgiving and Christmas we end up doing a number of family portraits when all the kids are back together under the same roof for awhile.  It’s always fun for us to celebrate with the family, especially if we have some history with them.  Fun to see the family grow up, right?

Why not take the opportunity to create a new family portrait over the holidays.  The time will come and go quickly, so make arrangements today!

Check out the special gift certificate offer below.  You’re welcome to use the gift certificate on yourself!




The holidays are a wonderful time to gather the family together, and what an excellent time to celebrate your family’s legacy.  Whether you choose to do your portrait over the holidays, or in 2018, we have an incredible opportunity for you.

For a very brief time, from now through Saturday, December 23, we are offering a 50% reduction in pricing on our gift certificates.  The certificates come in 4 amounts: $250, $500, $750 and $1000.  The fine print is this: these certificates are for new camera studies, are limited to $2000 (an investment of $1000), and may not be combined with any other offer of the studio.

Just call the studio, and we will get the certificate to you ASAP so it can be under the tree on Christmas Day.

805-367-8100 or 949-515-5140

You can also email Mark at

Grandpa’s train set

Earlier this spring I did a portrait of the Dundas family on their property in the Santa Rosa Valley, and what a blast that was!

Bill Dundas has spoiled the family (and especially his grandson, Ryker) with a train set to beat all train sets!  Bill has grown up with trains all his life, and is in the process of creating his own 20 acre train park for his family and friends.

How many grandkids can boast of playing with a train set like this?

You may not have your own full size train, but your family certainly has a legacy that deserves commemoration in a portrait, and I would love to help you capture that.

I’d be honored by your phone call: 805-367-8100 or 949-515-5140.

We create portraits all along the coast of SoCal from Santa Barbara down to San Diego.

Let’s put your legacy on display!

My Own Legacy


God has blessed me with such a wonderful family, and I’m so proud of each and every one of them.  Earlier this year, I took advantage of the beautiful scenery provided by our rains to update our family portrait, and I thought I would share it with you.

Our daughter, Kelly and her family are right here in SoCal, and our “daughter-in-love,” Bre, who came into our lives when she was 15, is finishing up college in San Francisco.

I’m sure you can relate when I talk about being proud of our family…especially if you’re a grandparent.  This is why I so enjoy creating three (and four) generation portraits, because the portraits make such a statement in a home.

Those portraits are a testimony to the beauty of family and the wonder of love.

If you would like me to help you capture your legacy for your home, please call me at 805-367-8100, or 949-515-5140.

Families Grow Up…Celebrate that in your Home!

I love to create portraits that really are a living legacy to the things we hold dear.    I can imagine no greater compliment than to see my portraits decorating client’s homes, making them smile, decades after I’ve created them.

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Mike and Tricia Berg have been clients for many years.  The portrait above was done at the Westlake Inn at a time when Tricia could hold Sophia in her arms.

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The Bergs moved to a wonderful new home in the hills above Thousand Oaks, and updated their portrait just right before Christmas 2013.  Don’t you just love Sophia and Francesca’s bright dresses?

Berg Family Room-Blog

Francesca and Sophia are growing up so fast!  We wanted to capture just the ladies in the family for this most recent update.

Don’t let this year slip by without capturing this beautiful season of your life.

Get in touch with us today!

Los Angeles and Ventura Counties  (805) 367-8100

Orange and San Diego Counties   (949) 515-5140

I’m always happy to return to Westmont

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Westmont College in Montecito has always been one of my favorite places to create family portraits.  The last time we worked with the Stout Family of Santa Rosa Valley, we did a beach portrait down at Leo Carrillo Beach.

The family is starting to expand now…the oldest daughter is getting married soon.  What a great time to have an updated portrait created.

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Part of the beauty of Westmont is that there are so many locations on the property that we can use to achieve a number of different looks.  Overall, it has a wonderful European feeling that is quite hard to come by in Southern California.

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If you would like to update your family’s portrait, we would love to do that with you.  The Fall of the year is always such a beautiful time.

You can reach us at our:

Westlake Village Studio-805-367-8100

Orange County and San Diego County Studio-949-515-5140

A Different Beach Portrait

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Not all beach portraits have to actually be ON the beach.  Some can just have a beautiful view OVER the beach!

We recently did a portrait of Chad and Erica Reisser and their family on top of Point Dume looking south toward Malibu.  What a gorgeous day at the beach…the sand cliffs could inspire a plein air painting.

Erica did such a nice job of coordinating her family’s clothes with just the right blend of variety, color and character, and it paid off in such a big way.  I especially love their youngest son, Phoenix’s seersucker jacket.  Handsome little man, huh?

If it’s time for you to update your family’s portrait, whether it’s at the beach or elsewhere, we would love to help you celebrate your family’s legacy.

Call us at:

805-367-8100 in Westlake Village or                                                                                                  949-515-5140 in Costa Mesa

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