For A Good Cause:

Camera light brightens holiday

Studio asked clients to donate a toy in exchange for a free children’s sitting. This year it will send 75 items to Toys for Tots.

November 28, 2007|By Sue Thoensen

Every year for the past 23, John Blom and the staff of his Corona del Mar photography studio get ready for Christmas in October.

During that month, Blom offers clients a free children’s sitting in exchange for a donation to the Toys for Tots campaign.

Blom got involved with Toys for Tots through the Corona Del Mar Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk the first Sunday in December.


The studio has donated about 2,000 toys to the event during past years.

For each child in the sitting, valued at $90, Blom asks for one toy worth $20 or more. Many times, the studio gets much more than expected.

“What’s neat is that people here are so generous; they bring two toys even if they only have one child, or the value of the toy is $50 or more,” Blom said.

Blom said people who don’t even have a child bring something to donate anyway.

On the day of the walk, the Marine Corps Reserves set up barrels for the donated toys along Pacific Coast Highway.

Blom said they’ll be filling barrels with more than 75 toys, including two Disney Cinderella castles they received this year.

Associate photographer Lisa Foote said the studio has collected more toys this year than ever before.

“The response was overwhelming,” Foote said. “The clients are very positive, and it’s exciting because they’re bringing in more than they were asked to.”

Blom’s attitude about giving is one that Foote shares and appreciates.

“It’s nice to be involved with someone who continues to believe in the same philosophy of charitable giving to the community,” she said.

Blom donates a portrait sitting to almost 100 auction fundraisers throughout Orange County during the year. As a Commodores Club member, he volunteers to take all the pictures for the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.

Not an easy job, he said.

“It’s much harder to photograph brightly lit objects at night that are moving, than it is to photograph a tenacious 2-year-old.”

Blom loves to photograph children, especially pre-schoolers he said, because they’re so natural.

“This is the only occupation where the more you get on their level and act like a kid, the better the results,” he said.

“When there are little children involved, the mood changes. The parents stop thinking about themselves and how they look, and they just have fun.”


WHAT: Annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk and Festival

WHEN:11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Downtown Corona del Mar

COST: Free

INFO: Call (949) 673-4050 or e-mail

For information on the John L. Blom Custom Photography Studio, call (949) 675-3130 or go to

SUE THOENSEN may be reached at (714) 966-4627 or at

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