San Diego Family, Children, High School Senior Photographer » Pixel Creek Photography

  • Hello and welcome to my little corner of the internet, my BLOG! My name is Karen Cox and I am a natural light on-location portrait photographer specializing in bringing a majestic mountain feel to my images. I currently reside in San Diego County, living the laid back mountain life. I am a lover of all things including my family, the great outdoors, traveling, and imagery that grabs you from the inside out. As you browse through my blog, you may get a sense of who I am and what my images and blog posts represent. I hope you find them real, fresh, soulful, and organic. Thank you for taking the time to connect with me and enjoy your stay!

For my fortieth birthday all I wanted was a backpacking trip with my girlfriends. That’s it!  I didn’t want a party or lavish gifts,  just some girl time away from life’s stresses.  My girlfriend Gail made it happen and we spent a weekend laughing with tears, sleeping under the stars, and consuming food fit for a backpacker that included wine.  Nothing makes me more happy than being around positive people who love the same things I do.  Women that are strong, fun, honest, compassionate, and adventurous. Joshua Tree National Park didn’t fail us in the least bit. Not only were we given beautiful weather but no cell service.  We were disconnected with the outside world and it was quite lovely. 

                                                                                                        Gorilla Rock Me. Priorities.


The mountains were calling me once again.  In the way of Katy and Ernie asking for their engagement session to be shot in a place known as “4,000 feet above care”.  So when Katy, a talented actress and graceful dancer, asked me to capture her and the love of her life, how could I say no.  It was an automatic win for my vision with a great location, lovely light, and two people crazy about each other.  After fifteen minutes of warm up they followed direction with ease.  I used the mountain light to bring more drama taking the images one step further.  And what I loved most about Katy and Ernie is they were able to put down their guard and pretended I wasn’t there.  That is always my goal at every single session. To make clients feel comfortable enough to show me emotions that are typically hidden which makes a stellar photograph.

 Wishing you all the best Katy and Ernie. 


When shooting a successful session the stars pretty much need to align.   And some of those stars can’t be controlled. Weather and light are two huge factors when shooting on location. Sometimes they cooperate and sometimes they don’t.  It is up to me to somehow turn those two things around and rock the session.  Two factors I can control, or at least have some say in,  is outfit choices and direction.  Direction given allows each client to feel comfortable to give me raw and real emotion.  That is what makes a good photographer.  Being able to make ourselves at home in the client’s mind which allows them to trust us and do all that we ask.  I want each family to feel there are no bystanders watching.    By doing this the images speak to me with emotion that isn’t staged.  You can see that here is this series of images.   Oh…and let’s not overlook outfit choices.  If Victoria would have picked bright neon colors how would you feel about the images?  Since this is a beach session I advised that the colors be neutral and calming.  Well done Victoria! 

The Albert family gave me so much to work with.  They were in the moment from the very first shutter snap up until the last.  They were not bashful and showed me their true love for each other. THAT is what I gravitate towards and it shows in their images.   Beach sessions are really hard for me.  Why?  Well for starters I don’t shoot them often because I don’t get many requests for them.   Second, the lighting on the coast is either really beautiful or really dreary.  If it is an overcast day you will not have those gorgeous colors that brighten up the sky which is a turn off for mosts clients. Sometimes you never know what you are going to get until the day of the session. How lucky for us to have the most beautiful beach session I have ever shot.  The sky, the color of the sand, and the rock formations really made this location unique.  This is my new favorite beach location.  

The stars did align for the Albert family and I couldn’t be prouder of what came from it.  Thank you Victoria and to your beautiful family.  It was  a pleasure working with you.   I am looking forward to the next clients who books a beach session!



First session of 2016! What a great location with some fun people.  The location this time was Leo Carrillo State Park  which is tucked away in Carlsbad.  It’s hard to believe that more people don’t know about this place.  It is certainly a treasure.  A lot of textures and color surround the park.  I found this location on Hidden San Diego where I find many great shooting spots.  Check them out! It’s a great resource for finding unique places here in San Diego.  Definetly going back to Leo Carrillo with my kiddos to find out more about its history. Photographers, you need to read the instructions on their website if you want to shoot there.  You need to obtain a permit before bringing clients into the park.  Just a friendly heads-up. 

So here are the Danners. Really great people who run the Pint Project.  An important cause and I love their tag line, “Making a difference one pint at a time.” Check them out and get to one of their fundraisers! Always a fun time.  I shot one of their events and I look forward to capturing more!  Christina has been wanting a session with me  I am happy to finally get together with her and her cute little family.  Thanks Chris for sticking it out and a HUGE thank you to Christina for always hanging around and supporting this crazy roller coaster of a business of mine. 


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So here we are, the beginning of January.  Another year for Pixel Creek Photography, and once again I think about how I managed to stay afloat in this ever so saturated industry.   Gaining exposure has been the hardest for me. There are just so many of us grasping for air.   The industry is tough..really tough.  There have been times I wanted to throw in the towel,  moments that I wondered if I was ever going to be successful, and dreams that I thought I would never see happen.  

In July I hit a major turning point in my career.  I decided that I was no longer going to study another photographer, take another workshop, and buy expensive digital education.  I unfollowed pages  and unsubscribed from newsletters of photographers some of us drool over.  Taking these out of my life set me free in a way.    I finally started to believe I did have it all.   All that I needed to be successful..the passion and drive.  Photography is more than just a business for me, it is a creative outlet.  Before sessions I think about the location, light, and subjects I have to work with.  I think about post production and how I will translate what I see and feel.  I keep a notebook handy and  jot down ideas and sceneiros to capture.   Ever since this epiphany I began to be more humble of my past and welcomeing to what lies ahead.  How LUCKY am I!

2015 was my year of referrals.  I have learned that you can pay for expensive marketing but nothing is more valuable than word of mouth.  Clients invest their hard earned income into a luxery item so customer satisfaction and client experiences are my top priorities. Melanie and Tim came to me as a referral (Thanks Jenny!) and I wanted nothing more to give them what they asked for.  There are not many lakes in San Diego and of those not many scenic; however, Lake Poway has proved to provide me, once again, with stunning golden light and the calmness of water.   Their children were sweet and energetic which reminded me how much I enjoy family sessions.  I was able to capture sweet moments between Melanie and Tim.  There is no denying their passion.   I love working with people. I am a people person so getting personal with strangers is something I am completely comfortable with.   


She reminds me of my sweet Kennedy.  If Kennedy wore glasses they would be twins!

I asked him to please not smile.  Works everytime! 

  One of my favorites! 
Can you tell Melanie was freezing?

Unplanned moments are always the best. 

 Oh that LIGHT!

YES! Love this one too.