Author: Cathleen McGrath Photography

Photographer

Five Questions – The Personal Brand Session

You’ve probably heard of wedding photography, family photography, and portrait photography. But what exactly is personal brand photography? How is personal brand photography different from just getting a new set of headshots? What is it that makes a personal brand photoshoot so unique? We’ll answer some of the most asked questions below.

What’s the Purpose of a Personal Brand Photoshoot?

Business owners often think that why should one waste their money on photography when they can invest in something else. Can’t they just use their phones for their content and brand identity images? Well . . . not really. Can you your your phone? Yes. But when you come away from the phone – and partner with and plan your brand identity and content images with your photographer, the benefit outweighs the investment.

Personal brand photography communicates who you are to your audience. It portrays your own unique personality, position, and look. It goes beyond headshots or even personal portraits to tell a story about who you are, what you do, and what makes whatever you offer so great. That makes personal brand photography especially ideal for small business owners, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and professionals alike. It solidifies your personal brand and makes you more marketable.

No matter who your ideal clients are or the service and/or products you are selling, photographs are essential to building your brand. As a result, the business achieves success. It’s a good idea to budget for professional photoshoots.

What Qualities Should I Look for When Booking a Personal Brand Photographer?

While a personal brand photoshoot requires a lot of skills most photographers have, it’s important to find a professional photographer with specific personal brand experience. Personal brand photography goes beyond just capturing the right light, helping people pose well, and creating beautiful images. It’s all about finding a professional who gets your business, knows how to tell a story through photos, and understands what your photos will be used for. Pay attention to portfolio photos and don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions during your consultation!

How Can I Prepare for a Personal Brand Photoshoot?

Preparing for a personal brand photoshoot is different from preparing for any other photoshoot. Sure, you’ll still want to make sure you look your absolute best on the day of. But you’ll also need to do some homework. In order to have a successful personal brand photoshoot, it’s crucial to know the story you want to tell, the target audience you want to connect with, and the way you want to come across. That will help you choose a location, decide what to wear, and even pick the photographer you hire. Does this seem somewhat vague? It is . . . every person and brand is different. Depending on you and your business, prep could mean a short strategy meeting and a couple wardrobe changes OR a few meetings, questionnaires, deep-dives, shot lists, various locations and timelines. That’s why it’s a good idea to pick someone that is ready to handle all of it and dedicated to spend the time with you to plan. Whether it be your photographer or branding specialist.

What Should I Expect from a Personal Brand Photoshoot?

After all the planning is done and it’s session day, you can expect to have fun! Now it’s play time. Take the plans and shot list and show the world who you are and what you offer. Your personal brand photos will capture what makes you unique. That means your photoshoot will involve less posing and more personality. The more pieces of yourself you bring to the photoshoot, the better — whether that’s with props, your wardrobe, models, or even your facial expressions. Expect the photoshoot to be collaborative, free, and really unique.

How Should I Use My Personal Brand Photos?

As fun and inspiring as the photoshoot itself will be, the beautiful photos you get afterward are the most important part! How you use your personal brand photos is up to you, but most use them on their website, across social platforms, in email newsletters, and even in physical business cards or brochures. It’s a great way to make sure your personal brand comes through across all channels. Think of the photos also as a base for favorite quotes or other texts.

Let’s talk more and get your personal business brand put together and out there so the world can get to know you and your business! Contact me today to get started! And save the date of April 14th for our three-part virtual Branding Workshop – hosted by Business Success Services and Cathleen McGrath Photography! Drop me a line and you will get notified when to sign up!

February Special – We Love Our Fur Babies

February is the month of love and every February our studio honors one of the greatest loves in our lives … our fur babies!!! 

That special guy that doesn’t care what you look like first thing in the morning.  He doesn’t care that the clothes on your bedroom floor are piling up. He greets you with a sloppy tongue and wagging tail everyday after work, and loves you no matter what mood you’re in.  She knows your deepest secrets as he is your safest and most forgiving confident. She licks your tears away without a need for explanation. He keeps you warm at night – doesn’t care if you ate the last piece of cake AND ice cream.  She is your hiking companion, your best friend, you joy. She is the one who keeps you young and makes you love even when you don’t think you can. He is the extra heartbeat in an otherwise lonely home. The one who gives you pure unconditional love and who you don’t have for nearly long enough in your life. 

It is time to celebrate this relationship in a big way and create lasting artwork that will grow old with you both.

These special Pet Portrait sessions start at $300, and include:

  • One-hour In-studio or on-location session within 30 miles of La Habra
  • Three 8×10s mounted and matted photo (includes social media sharing files)
  • Exclusive Reveal and Ordering Session
  • $100 towards your print or album order

Value of $700

Schedule Appointment

Class of 2023 Senior Team – Early Enrollment

We are accepting applications during the month of January for our Senior Influencer Team! All those that sign up for the team in January will receive a 15% discount on the package of their choice – which will be discussed at a team meeting in February. Class of 2023 sessions will begin in March!

Side Note to Class of 2022

Schedule your senior session in January (to take place anytime between January and April 2022)
and you will also receive 15% off any package.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how to leverage your personal brand . . .

You are in luck because I’ve created a guide geared specifically for your generation, so that you can learn how to do this in an organic way – that is uniquely YOU. All the influencers you see on Instagram started somewhere, and you have just as much a shot at that as they did; you just need to:

  • Decide you want to represent
  • Learn the principles
  • Focus and implement them
  • Stay authentically YOU throughout the process

The Senior Influencer Team isn’t just about being and learning how to be an influencer, it is about documenting your senior year in high school. This is a huge milestone that you have been looking forward to most of your school years. It’s a transitional time in your life and should be documented.

What is Included?

  • A full two-hour Senior Session
  • Custom designed 20-page LUXURY ALBUM with up to 20 images from your senior session (worth $900)
  • Social Media Mini Course
  • Makeup Party with Mia Vasquez and Mini-Headshot session for college apps and/or jobs/acting
  • Fall Theme Group Session
  • Holiday Theme Group Session and Party
  • BFF or Pet Session
  • Special Interest Session (stylized for each Team member)
  • Prom Discount & Priority Booking
  • Casual Cap & Gown Shoot before graduation
  • Social Media sharing files
  • Continued guidance all year on various topics: healthy skin, mind, body, college prep
  • Internship opportunities & lots of goodies
  • . . . and so much more

Happy New Year!

Here’s me just blathering on about nothing really – enjoy!

The after party!

I love New Year’s! With one exception – I don’t like losing the joy of Christmas lights! New Year’s Eve for me is a closing of a door and an opening of another.

It’s a mind set for me. It really is just another day on the calendar – all it really means is having to remember it is 2022, not 2021, when writing the date. But as the manager of a my life and business, it kind of gives me a little bit of a do-over – fresh slate – a starting line to start over with the lessons I’ve learned from the previous year under my belt.

Resolutions – oh heck no – I gave those up years ago. I think about 20 years ago I made the resolution to not make anymore resolutions! It’s the only one I actually stuck to! Instead, it’s goal setting time. It’s time to create big ideas and dream. I actually start in October, but December really lights a fire under my butt.

I was listening to a Donald Miller podcast episode yesterday – Business Made Simple – and he talked about writing those big dreams out – those goals for the year and reading them every single day when you get up – oh shoot – was that him or Jon Acuff’s All It Takes Is a Goal . . . UGH I’m pretty sure it was Donald Miller LOL I listen to a lot of podcasts! Okay – it was Donald Miller – he has a cool six-week series starting January 6 – Hero on a Mission. ANYWHO . . . dream big and review it every day to keep yourself in that headspace.

One of the things I would like to adjust are my mornings. I have no ritual per se – getting out of bed is an act of God, so that’s my ritual. I love the idea – that many mentors have advised – of starting the day with high vibrations. And what could be more high vibrational than focusing on your dream – your big goal? And drink that down with being grateful. Wow – I think that would be a great way to start the day off right . . . and then refrain from road rage on the way to the office . . . just saying.

I am so grateful for my family, those that have entered my life in the last two years, and those that have stuck around. I am beyond grateful to my cheerleaders that try to get me business every opportunity they can; those that believe in me and push me forward; and clients that return every year and have become friends. I am grateful for all of the love and support I have received from so many. People have been very kind to me even when I’ve dropped the ball. It’s actually been quite a kind year for me – it’s allowed me some space to sit in all the emotions that have come up and work through them – and trust me – ALL the emotions have come up! Being grateful is super easy for me.

Goals and Dreams – so if you believe in the whole birth-sign thing like I do – you will understand my struggle around setting goals and dreaming big. The Pisces in me can dream big and live like there is an endless supply of money and time – she’s kind of irresponsible, but creative and happy – a joy seeker. The Capricorn in me – my protector – is practical and kind of jerk and brings me down. She immediately jumps in to my “dream time” and says, “Yeah that’s great – how the heck are you going to accomplish It? What’s the plan?!” She is just really worried about living on the street and can’t think about anything that isn’t the picture of security. She really doesn’t like to take chances.

So dreaming big is really difficult for me – I mean like REALLY difficult. I would love to hear in the comments below if you face the same challenge or different challenges, and how you break through them. Danielle Dowling has actually been quite helpful. Early last year I participated in her six-week program Hello Joy and gained a lot from it, but as we all know – you must practice practice practice – or it will not stick. She came up with a fun side project to do on your own – Dreamscape December Journal – she even created a special essential oil blend to go with it! My journal is a work in progress – as is life, but I like that. I did it last December and have picked it back up to continue it! This journal will be what I look at every morning to remind myself what I’m moving towards.

I have dreamed of having a photo studio since I was a kid – I have a photo studio. I love it! So why do I find myself having to sometimes smack myself back to reality when I’m feeling down? I have this thing I’ve been working towards and dreaming about that has actually come to be, but I haven’t stopped to really give myself some credit. I just keep focusing on where I’m lacking – what I’m doing wrong – how to fix myself – all the what-ifs. Well baby steps – someday I will look back at today and see how far I’ve come.

While I am writing this, I just found out that Betty White passed on this morning. Talk about a crappy way to end this challenging year! I know she had to be ready, but I don’t think we were ever ready for her departure. She was such an inspiration and a Bold Brave Badass woman! UGH I’m so sad!

Today – I am grateful to tears (literally right now) for all the gifts in my life – including all of you.

Try to live next year with some reckless abandon, take good care of yourself – mentally and physically, honor yourself, learn to pause and love.

May 2022 bring you all joy, love and prosperity.

Here are a few photos from this past year:

Shoot and Scoot

We know there are people out there that just want a quick session, but achieve a professional headshot. They want the time of a passport photo and the quality of a full headshot session. How do we know? Because we hear from some prospective clients, “I just want one photo.” We now have a solution to that problem! We have scheduled Shoot and Scoot days once a month at the low cost of $99.

You may ask, “Well why can’t you just do that all the time?” Because we are too busy spending quality time with our other clients to open the studio for 15 minutes on any given random day. This way we can group them together on one day – it’s better time management!

For our clients that book regular sessions, there is a discovery session, longer photo session and ordering session. What is a discovery session you ask? It is a session between photographer and client wherein plans are made for the photo session. Wardrobe; hair and makeup needs; and, the image / vibe our clients are looking to achieve are discussed. We go deeper in those session so that your brand is properly understood by the photographer and represented in the final product.

Some people just want a nice photo for their LinkedIn page and we totally get that – so we have created this special one day a month where all our quickies can come in and get their professional headshots done with no fuss or muss.

What do you get that for that $99?

Package includes:

  • 15-minute session
  • One fully retouched digital image
  • Option to purchase additional retouched images at $40 apiece or four for $100

We have limited space for these sessions and they will book quickly.
Don’t wait – reserve your space now!

Schedule Appointment

Fifteen minutes not long enough? You would like to have your hair and makeup done? You are interested in taking your time? You want the option of creating different looks?

Check out our regular sessions here.

January Boudoir Empowerment Sessions

Want to start the year off on a super high note celebrating yourself, or gifting a beautiful woman in your life with a Sense and Sensuality Empowerment Session?  

Ten reasons why women have a boudoir session:

  1. Explore Your Sensuality in a Safe Environment
  2. Your Photographer Wants Your Best Photos Possible
  3. Make Love, Not War with Your Body
  4. The Joy of Being Completely Pampered
  5. Celebrate a Milestone in Your Life 
  6. Boost Your Self-Confidence
  7. Never Too Late to Challenge the Woman You Think You Are
  8. The Perfect Gift – For Yourself
  9. The Perfect Gift – For Someone Special
  10. Inspiring, Life-Affirming & Fun

For the month of January, I am offering a special rate for my exclusive Sense and Sensuality Boudoir Sessions – just $249 gets you

  • a professional hair and makeup session while you relax and indulge with your beverage and other delectables of choice;
  • a photo session styled specifically for and with you,
  • and other little surprises. 

I suggest you plan on having a night out with your special someone or the girls after because you will look and feel amazing!

If you are 40 years or finer, you will also be interviewed and included in a magazine that I’m creating and featured on my website for my Bold Brave and Badass Project!

Book your time now or fill out the form to talk with me further!

boudoir, sensuality, woman empowerment

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