Author: Cathleen McGrath Photography

Photographer

Hello Fall – Family Session Time!

It may only be October, but this is the perfect time to start planning your Christmas card photos.

The slightly cooler weather and gorgeous colors of fall make for the most beautiful backdrops. With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, why not take advantage of the current setting to shoot your holiday card photos.

We get booked up very quickly from October on, especially the weekends, so it’s best to start arranging your family photoshoot now to avoid the last-minute rush later.

Below are a few top tips for planning and creating the perfect fall family photoshoot.

  • Pick the perfect location. Spend some time picking out the perfect location for your shoot. If you really want to take advantage of the current seasonal changes, pick a spot with lots of trees so that you can incorporate those lovely fall colors into your photos. If you’re unsure about locations, just ask! We are happy to offer suggestions.
  • Add a few action shots. While it’s great to get some posed shots for your holiday card, throw in a few action shots and decide which shot you like best afterwards. Kids playing in the fall leaves make for some beautiful photos.
  • Plan your outfits. Matching outfits are no longer something you need to incorporate into your holiday photos but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan what you’re going to wear. Opt for solid, complimentary colors and stay away from busy patterns and logos.
  • Use the golden hour to your advantage. The golden hour takes place around 15-20 minutes before sunset. The light is soft and flattering.  If possible, plan your photoshoot around the afternoon golden hour.

If you have any questions or need some extra advice on how to get the best family holiday shots, simply reply to this e-mail or give us a call at 562-477-7973.

This Month’s Promo:  To celebrate family, I am offering 10% off any size fine art canvas or acrylic print.

Focus and Capture Referral Program:  Introducing my Focus and Capture Referral Program – For every paid referral, you will receive $100 in cash (does not include mini-sessions or other specials)

Upcoming Events:

October 24, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Let’s Taco and Talk about Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond.  See attached flyer for more details.

October 30, 2021 – 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Pic & Treat Halloween Event – See attached flyer for more details.

November 7, 2021 – Celebrating Fall Family Mini-Sessions – Yorba Regional Park – $175 – 15-minute sessions – Space is extremely limited – contact me to reserve your spot.

November 28, 2021 – Family Mini Sessions – Yorba Regional Park- $175 – 15-minute sessions – Space is extremely limited – contact me to reserve your spot.

Why I Love Fall Senior Sessions

Let’s face it – we live in Southern California – there aren’t really many bad days for photo sessions. I would love to do one in the rain some day though.

I think my favorite season has always been Autumn. When I think of Autumn it feels like a warm and cozy, family and snuggle time of year; not to mention it’s the beginning of holiday season. It’s not hot out. You get to wear layers and boots. There is great beauty in dormant trees and I love fallen leaves as added ambiance to my fall sessions.

Senior Portrait, fall sessions

Since it does not get too cold here in the OC, the Autumn allows for more options – you can still dress summery without freezing, but also dress in layers without passing out from heat stroke. Dressing in layers is always a great look and allows a lot of different looks without having to change your whole outfit.

The sun is a bit kinder too during the fall and winter months – true we have a shorter shoot time, but the sun is lower and not quite as harsh.

All in all – I would pick the fall hands-down for your senior portraits!

SAVE THE DATE – November 13, I am hosting an introductory senior mini-session event for $175. You must book by October 15th and space is limited! The session will include a 15-minute session and one digital image printable to 8×10. Packages start at $300 and the session fee is credited towards your purchase.

Fill out this form if you would like more information or to book your space!

Happy New (School) Year

DON’T FREAK OUT . . .

You know what’s cool about the start of a new school year? It is similar to the calendar “New Year” – it represents new beginnings, the hope of a year filled with fun experiences with friends, plans for hitting the ground running, shopping for school clothes and supplies – who doesn’t love a bunch of new pens and mechanical pencils – I still do!

Here are some of my own been there-done that tips for your new school year:

  • Get Involved!

The best way to stay present and connected is to get involved.  If you are not already part of a team, or other school activity or club, join or start one. Get involved with ASB.

  • Start / Join a Study Group

Not only will you have fun, possibly make new friends, and get your work done on a regular basis, you will ultimately absorb and learn more.  Study groups have students at different levels so it helps those that may not completely understand certain concepts.  Study groups – done right – are especially helpful for those that have a particularly hard time focusing.

  • Start the Year with Good Habits – Buy or Make a Planner

Make sure it includes a habit tracker.  Track all kinds of things – water intake, exercise, study times – things that you want to do or keep track of on a regular basis.

On your calendar, mark out blocks of time for each assignment and other regularly scheduled commitments. Plan manageable chunks of time to work, not one big marathon. Use color-coding for each subject.

Spoiler alert:  My senior team members get customized planners!!!

  • Study Space

Create the space to get your work done.  A space that is comfortable and without distractions.  Enjoy background music?  Create a playlist of music that will keep you energized, but not distracted.  If Mom isn’t going to call – put your phone on do not disturb for short blocks of time.

Make sure to schedule and take breaks every half an hour, but true breaks – check your phone for calls or texts you need to attend to but don’t camp out on your phone and get sucked into that rabbit hole. Meditate for five minutes, do 10 burpees, get a refill on your beverage, hug your pet, go for walk or stretch – maybe even take a three-minute dance break to get your energy level back to full.

  • Stay Away from Drama

Surround yourself with positive people – find your tribe – “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn  

  • Allow Yourself Some Quiet Time

Just because you don’t have plans on a Friday night does not mean anything other than – it’s a great time to regenerate from a long week of school and practice some self-care.

HAPPY NEW (SCHOOL) YEAR!

I hope you have a great and memorable year!

Holiday Porch Portraits Victorian Style

When the porch portrait craze started at the beginning of COVID, I thought it was a great idea.  I considered joining in, but two things stopped me – I don’t like to do things that are trending and social pressure from other photographers to not do them – that’s all I’m saying about that . . . flash forward to the fall and we are still in a COVID scenario and it is family portrait season. 

I LOVE the Kellogg House at the Heritage Museum of OC!  I must have had a previous life in the Victorian era because I am so drawn to it.  Not everyone has a “porch” – I don’t – so I thought I would combine good ideas and passion, and create a porch portrait experience at the Heritage Museum of OC using the Kellogg House; while giving back to the Museum. 

WIN-WIN-WIN

The house will be decorated for the holidays and you are welcome to bring props. 

Date: December 5, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Address: 3101 W. Harvard St. Santa Ana, CA 92704
Cost: $175 – $50 being donated back to the Museum.
Includes:
15-minute session, three digital files printable to 8×10 or $125 print credit

YOU MUST RESERVE AND PAY FOR YOUR SESSION
PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE EVENT
(No refunds if canceled five days or less prior to event)
SORRY – NO DROP-INS

Schedule Appointment

August Is for Seniors!

Hey CLASS OF 2021

Buy one get one!

Book your stylized senior session by August 31, 2020, and receive a complimentary cap & gown session to take place either at the time of your senior session or at any future date!

Tell Us a Little Bit About You!

Call for Entries – Bold, Brave and Badass Women Project

Attention Women – Ages 40 and Finer –

It is time to share your story and help others

We are looking for adventurous, spirited, fiery, tenacious women to photograph and share their personal life journey. We are creating a special blog and magazine featuring bold, brave, and badass women who are excited to help and encourage the next generation of ladies growing and developing in our ever-changing world. (Even if you don’t think you’re badass, we’re sure you are – so enter.)

This is your platform to elevate, teach and share your life lessons with the desire to plant the seed for development and change.

Submission guidelines:

  • 40 years of age and older
  • Identify as a woman
  • Have a story/experience you are willing to share on our public blog and social media

Those selected to participate will receive:

  • Personalized photo session;
  • One 8×10 of your choice (includes digital sharing file) or $150 print credit towards any product you choose at your Design Consultation;
  • Discovery call and interview;
  • Wardrobe planning;
  • Featured on our website and studio magazine;
  • Printed copy of the magazine; and
  • Design Consultation

($500 Value)

Entry submission ends
July 31, 2020

Life Doesn’t Stop for a Pandemic

I’m so over this whole COVID thing; I’m sure you are too. I’m over the conflicting information, the endless arguments of wear a mask – don’t wear a mask. Fourth of July canceled – how do you cancel the Fourth of July?! I’m over not being able to work with very many clients . . . or any. Don’t get me wrong – I want everyone to be safe and I’m totally down with following the guidelines and have been. I just mean I’m ready to work – it makes me sad and sometimes scared about income – or lack thereof. But as the bank commercial says, “There’s a crack in everything for a reason . . how else can the light get in.”

Canon Mark IV – Converted to Infrared – Location is Descanso Gardens

We are in a time of change and change is never comfortable. But for things to change – so so much needs to change – we must endure these pain points.

Last September I quit my full time gig to work on this business. I had just enough money to get me through one year. I basically took the last three months of 2019 off. I did several sessions and worked part-time at the law firm I just quit, but I also just existed. I was recovering from many years of grief-inducing events that I never really sat down and let myself feel and get through.

When I quit my “career” of 31 years to do this full time, I thought to myself, in an attempt to help me be brave with the leap, if I didn’t make a dime in 2020, I would be fine. I had enough in savings to get by. UH, I DIDN’T MEAN FOR IT TO HAPPEN!

Enter 2020 – It started off okay – things were looking positive and definitely moving in the right direction. Seeds were being planted, I had a coach helping me out and my community was growing . . .

Shortly before the “lock-down,” I decided to take over a studio space. “Well as usual, I have great timing!” I could have backed out of it. I could have said, “No, bad timing.” “I’ll just play it safe.” But at 56 I’m sick of waiting for this to happen! It’s now or never. I’ve waited and worked on this business for way too many years to even say. It IS time (whoa, I just heard Rafiki in my head).

Rafiki from The Lion King

Fortunately, I know several other photographers that I look to as mentors that started and/or sustained their businesses during some of the worst times in recent economic history and are thriving still today.

When this all happened, I was actually excited – giddy in fact. Prior to, I felt like I wasn’t getting any headway on building the structure of my business. I didn’t have my systems in place; my pricing firm; products I want to sell; etc. Then this happened and I felt like the world was literally put on pause for me to catch up. I was ecstatic! It truly felt like a gift.

Have I caught up? Well, for the most part, yes. It’s been fun putting together my studio and my office/client lounge. I have all the printables I need designed and printed. I have created and printed magazines. I have completely revamped my website; produced videos. Designed and ordered product samples. Put together mock-ups so you can see how your photographs can look in your home. I know how much I’m charging and why. But money is going in the wrong direction – well at least only in one direction.

Mock-Up in ProSelect

Each day is a different emotion. For the most part, I’m tootling along working on the business – nothing is ever completely done and ready to go in a business. Kind of like when to have a child – you’re never really ready. It’s rarely the perfect time. When I start thinking about designing special sessions – the when, what and where – I feel like “what’s the point?!” It’s hard to plan a party when you don’t know when it’s going to be.

It’s sad and discouraging. Will my business make it through this pandemic? What does our future look like? I don’t want to end up saying, “Well that was a huge waste of money and nothing to show for it.” Will I be the success story that I believe I can be? And God forbid what if I or my kids get sick?! Sometimes, frankly, I’m really depressed.

So, I just continue to put one foot in front of the other as if I’m going in the right direction. I guess that’s all we can do. That’s what faith is, right?

I am open for business and generally photograph out on location more than at the studio anyway, but the studio is safe and clean. And reveal sessions can be done remotely. We have options. I’m anxious for everyone to see and experience my studio, but I’m more anxious to just be out there creating and bringing people joy.

Here are some of the photos I’ve been able to do during this pandemic . . .

Honoring Mom

When I see this image of my mother (I believe she was 21) – I am grateful.  I am grateful she had this photo done.  I am grateful she and her mom kept and honored the photos they took.

Without this and other photos, I would only know the side of my mom that she showed me as my mother.  My mother was a kid, a teenager, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a dancer, a wife, a mother, a coach, a working mom, a grandmother and a great grandmother.  Without photographs we only know a piece of our loved ones.

What legacy are you leaving future generations?

Although we are in this time of uncertainty – we can be certain of a few things: (1) This virus will go away; (2) We will get back to our lives or living a new and improved normal; and (3) We will have a renewed sense of the importance of life and our family.

I invite you to schedule your Mother’s Day OR multi-generation session in honor of you, your mother and family. All sessions can be rescheduled if we cannot co-mingle in May, but reserve your spot now so that when the flood gates open, you will be able to take advantage of this special.

Schedule Appointment

SPECIAL: FAMILY SESSIONS ARE $150 AND INCLUDE TWO 11X14S OR SMALLER PRINTS – AND DIGITAL FILES

Generations of Love

This photograph is approximately 94 years old. It is my father, his father, his grandmother and great grandmother. My great great grandmother was born in 1866 in Illinois. My great grandmother was born in 1882 in Arkansas. My grandfather was born in 1901 in Illinois and my dad in 1926. I have this photo hanging on my wall and look at it every day. It is a piece of my history. (I’m so curious why my dad and grandfather were not looking at the camera hahaha – I bet my grandmother was on the side of the photographer trying to make my dad smile.)

Generation sessions show your history. Where you came from – who you came from. You can see the connection and the honor my grandfather and great grandmother felt for my great great grandmother. They wanted to make sure their family was documented for future generations. I’m so thankful they did this.

During the month of March our studio is honoring Irish History Month – by focusing our efforts on all family history – your history. We are looking for families with three to four generations to come in for a special photo session. If your loved one cannot come to the studio, we will go to them. We want to know and tell your story. Enter here and let us know why you want a special multi-generation photo session.

Four Generations of Love and Beauty