May 19

Featured Photographer: Tristan Quigley (San Diego)

The Mommarazzi School, San Diego, is pleased to feature the work of Tristan Quigley of Tristan Quigley Designs. Tristan has a way of capturing newborns with such beauty and serenity, and she knows light when she sees it! Tristan has our seal of approval! Meet the photographer…


I am Tristan Quigley from Tristan Quigley Designs. I was a lifetime resident of Florida until about 3 ½ years ago when my husband took a job in San Diego. He lived here before we met and we used to come out to San Diego once a year for vacation. We always used to daydream about picking up and moving out here and in late 2009 those what-ifs turned into reality. While we miss our families tremendously, I couldn’t imagine ever leaving San Diego now. We love it!



I’ve always had in interest in photography on some level. I used to blow through rolls & rolls of film as a kid. I probably wasted so much money taking pictures of my dog wearing sunglasses or my sister and I doing crazy dives off of our diving board. When I went off to college I tried switching my major over to photography during my freshman year, but sadly my school didn’t offer it. I took every photo class they offered – which was mostly still film photography, black and white, developing, etc. At the time I was competing as aspiring professional wake boarder, so my main photo interest was action sports and wakeboarding. Fast forward to the birth of my first daughter in 2007. She became my new favorite subject to shoot. I got my first DSLR and fell in love. I started off with the Nikon D80 and the Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens. Soon after I added a 28-75 lens. Eventually, my friends started asking me to take photos of their kids and their friends starting asking for photos too. I decided to start my business shortly after and here I am!



I love photographing children because they are so innocent and free in a sense. I find that getting adults to loosen up and just be themselves in front of the camera is a much harder task. After my daughter was born I wanted to capture every single moment, because I was amazed at how quickly she changed. I wanted to be able to remember how little she was or some of the quirky things she did that I would probably forget if it weren’t documented in photographs. While I love photographing kids of all ages, my most favorite sessions are newborn sessions. That stage in their lives is so fleeting. It’s like they literally change overnight. I love capturing how tiny and absolutely precious they are. It is such a fun job!



My advice to moms, would be to not let the camera take the fun out of what you are doing and to embrace the imperfections. All too often I see people trying to get the perfect photo of their kids whether it be at the pumpkin patch, a park, or some sort of event. It’s ok to want that perfect shot of everyone looking at the camera for your holiday card, but when every single thing you are doing needs to be a photo op it puts a lot of stress on you and your kids. Try getting a cute shot or two of them smiling at the came to document whatever it is you are doing that day and have the rest be candid. You might be surprised at some of the great shots you will get when the kids are just being kids and not posing for the camera. Some of my most favorite shots of my girls are when they aren’t even looking at the camera or even smiling. During the holiday season I had so many clients choose to purchase the shots of their kids being silly or just acting like kids because the photo was so true to them. When you look back at the photos years down the road you will probably cherish the ones where the little one has mud on his new shirt, another child has her finger up her nose, and your husband is making silly faces at another child much more than a traditional posed shot. It’s that everyday stuff that you want to remember!


What’s in Tristan’s Camera Bag?
I shoot with a Nikon D700. The lens that is usually on my camera is my Nikon 50mm f/1.4. I love to shoot wide open so all of the focus is on the subject and the background just fades away. It is pretty much the only lens I use for my newborn sessions. The other prime lens I use a lot outdoors is my Nikon 85mm f/1.8. Since it is a fixed focal length it requires a lot more running around if I have a quick moving toddler at a shoot, but I love it anyways. I also have a Tamron 28-75mm lens that I use if I want to be able to zoom in and out quickly. Down the road I think I’d like to invest in a 70-200mm lens to use for outdoor sessions and my daughter’s sporting events, but for now I am happy with what I have.

Tristan Quigley Designs
Specializing in custom photography of
newborns, children, maternity, and families.
cell – 858.353.4063
email –
website –
find me on facebook at Tristan Quigley Designs


  1. Karen 20 May 2013 |

    YOu are such an amazing talent. My most favorite picture of McKenzie ever was one that you took!

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