Why It’s Best to Schedule Your Senior Portraits Early

If you’re seeing a lot of information about scheduling your senior portraits long before you graduate, you’re probably thinking it’s far too early – why bother now? I know I used to . . .

The reality is, it’s actually better to schedule your session sooner rather than later.

Here are a few reasons why…

  • More Time for Things You Want to Do

Let’s face it, your senior year is going to be your busiest yet and there’s a lot you probably want to do, including spending more time with friends and family before you head off to your next adventure. By scheduling your session at an earlier date, you don’t need to spend weeks planning your outfit, hair, makeup, and location – you can use this time to do the things you’re worried you won’t have enough time for.

  • Earlier Means Better Weather

Scheduling your senior photo session earlier in a month such as May or June means you get to benefit from softer light and more greenery. This is great if you’re planning to shoot outdoors. Plus, if you want to capture your images during golden hour, it’s going to be a lot easier to be out later if the weather is warmer.

  • It’s a Pre-Celebration

If you want to celebrate the start of your senior year right from the beginning, book your senior photographer earlier in the year. Many seniors choose to take their photos at the start of the year as a reminder of who they are, what their passions are, and how far they have come. It’s a great motivator! Plus, taking your photos earlier means your face will be free from school and life stress, making your session more enjoyable.

  • You Get the Photographer You Want

You have a greater chance of booking the photographer you want. Senior photographer schedules fill up quickly as we get closer to graduation day. So, if you have a photographer in mind, better to set a date with them now.

  • You Ensure that You Don’t Miss Yearbook Deadlines

The final reason why you should consider booking your session earlier is so you’re not scrambling looking for a photographer, location, hair, makeup, etc. so you can hurry up and get something in before the yearbook deadline!

Why stress about it later, when you can perfectly capture your senior year now.

June is booking up quickly already – so grab your spot before it gets hot!

June bookings receive a complimentary 16×20 print

Six Fun Ways to Use Your Senior Photos at Grad Celebrations

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally graduating, which is why a celebration, no matter how big or small, is a must. 

These festivities are also the ideal place to show off your new senior photos and they can easily be incorporated into your party décor. 

Here are a few ideas to inspire you. 

1. Create a Timeline Banner. If photos have always been a big deal in your family, chances are you have some older graduation photos lying around the house. Showcase your school career by creating a graduation timeline banner that includes your new senior photos. 

2. Collect messages. Get your family and friends to wish you well on the next big phase of your life by creating a graduation signing board that includes some of your favorite senior session pics. 

3. Throw in some balloons. Balloons are always a fun and colorful décor option. You can also use them to display photos from your school career, including your senior year. Fill one section of a ceiling with helium-filled balloons and attach your photos to the strings. 

4. Print a welcome board. Another simple way to display your senior photos is to print a welcome board for the entrance of your home or the venue you’ve chosen for your graduation party. 

5. Line them up. Show your guests how far you’ve come by displaying a timeline of photos in the entrance hall. You can even attach your photos to wooden stakes and line them along the walkway to your house. 

6. Add them to your tables. If you’re planning a graduation party that will include a sit-down meal, you can always use your senior photos to create fun table numbers. Even framing one of your senior photos for each table makes for a great décor piece. 

And if you need help with printing, speak to your senior photographer, they will certainly be able to assist you with professional prints. 


When Is the Best Time to Book a Senior Session? 

There is no one answer to when you should book your senior photo session – there are several variables to take into consideration. 


To ensure you find a time that works for you, start by looking at your availability. You never realize just how little time you have until you try and work a photoshoot into a busy senior year. Before you know it, it’s a month before you graduate, and you don’t have a date for your session yet. 

For example, many extra-curricular activities take place in the fall, leaving very little time for a senior photo session. If you are more involved in sports such as softball, spring is a difficult season to plan around. 

The main goal is to not be stressed before or on the day of your senior session – it will show in your photos. On the day of your shoot, you want to be relaxed and enjoy every second. 

The Theme 

Most likely you already have some idea of the types of photos you want to take to commemorate your senior year. Outfits play an integral role in the overall style of your shoot. If you want to wear a beautiful boho outfit for your senior session, shooting in winter isn’t quite going to work. Get a clear idea of the style you would prefer before you choose a date for your photo session. 

The Location 

Your location will also fit in with the theme of your shoot. However, not all locations and settings look good at certain times of the year. Want an urban shoot? This works at almost any time of the year. Prefer to take photos at a local park? Spring and fall create the best backdrops. 

There really is no right or wrong time to schedule your shoot, you just need to plan for it. The minute you have an idea of what your senior schedule will look like, start selecting a few dates – you won’t be sorry. 

Featuring Class of 2023 VIP Seniors Gisele and Natalie!

What Are You Most Proud of?

During the planning sessions with my high school seniors and their parents, we discuss everything. What kind of music do you like? Are you an avid reader? If so, what types of books do you like? What are you hobbies? We have a meaningful conversation about the high school senior. Why, you may ask?

High school senior photo with guitar at Huntington Beach Central Park

Although generations have commonalities or stereotypes placed on them, no single person is common. Even if we don’t show it to everyone else, we have interests that we are very passionate about. I make it my job to discover those passions and incorporate them in my clients’ senior portrait sessions.

Oftentimes, my client is involved in a sport, or music. It doesn’t matter how many things they are involved in, we incorporate them – this could mean multiple venues, going to a game or performance – I do that.

Baseball winning game celebration photo la habra high school

I am particularly proud of my Irish heritage and I love it when others are proud of theirs as well and include items that display that in their photos.

College senior photo at La Verne University wearing a Hispanic heritage stole


During the month of September, I am looking for our musicians – if you are a musician and would like to incorporate your instrument into your senior photos, I will credit you $250 that you can use towards the session or prints/products!

Send me an email with the subject line – “MUSIC LOVER” ( and I will set up a consultation!

What Can You Mark Off Your To-Do List?

family photo in oak glen
Oak Glen

It may only be September, but this is the perfect time to start thinking about and scheduling your holiday photos for October and November.

The slightly cooler weather and gorgeous colors of fall make for the most beautiful backdrops. With the holidays coming sooner than we think, why not take advantage of the extra time to go ahead and have at least one thing marked off your list.

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.

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

Currently Scheduled Family Mini-Sessions:

October 15 – 2:00 – 4:30 – Yorba Regional

October 29 – 2:00 – 4:30 – Yorba Regional

November 19 – 2:00 – 4:30 – Murphy Ranch Park

November 26 – 2:00 – 4:30 – Yorba Regional

Or feel free to schedule a full hour family session!

family photo at yorba regional park
Yorba Regional

How to Bounce Back After Your Summer Break

family photo mom and two boys having fun

Are you experiencing some post-vacation blues?

Here are some tips for getting back in the swing of things.

Work and School Routine Can Be Fun Too!

Transitioning from a blissful vacation to work and school again might seem like quite a daunting task but with the right planning and a little motivation, it can be done – and fun!

Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  • Set some goals. Outlining exactly what you hope to achieve in the coming month will allow you to break your to-do list into smaller, manageable tasks while still keeping the bigger picture in mind. Be sure to include “me” and “family” time in your list of goals!!!!  
  • Start your day right. How you start your day can make all the difference to how you feel about getting back into your routine. Waking up early enough to take your morning slow and eating a good meal can really turn your entire day around. Intentional deep breathing, meditation and stretching can really let you ease into your day and clear out the overnight cobwebs.
  • Refresh your space. Clearing away any clutter and getting organized is one way to get motivated about getting back to work and into your routine, and this is something that the whole household can get involved with. When this task seems overwhelming. I focus on one space at a time. What is bugging me the most right now?
  • Tackle that inbox. Sometimes your email inbox can be the scariest part about heading back to work but avoiding it will only leave you feeling more stressed. Don’t rush. Take your time to work through each email slowly, making a list of important tasks and notes as you go. Another tip is to sort you emails alphabetically, then you can get rid of groups of emails from the same entity.
  • Have some fun. Just because your vacation is over doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun. Set a date with friends or family, book tickets for a show or plan a hike. Having something to look forward will keep that vacation high going. Schedule a photo session . . . haha just saying!

When it comes to getting back into routine, start small, start slow but start! Once you get going, you’ll very quickly own your days and routine once again. Also, don’t dwell on it. Just do it one step at a time.

Promo: If you schedule your family October or November mini-session by August 31, you will receive a complimentary mounted 11×14 print.


Senior sessions are in full swing!

senior portraits brea senior portraits la habra senior portraits senior portrait photographer

Our first Class of 2023 mini-session “is in the can,” as filmmakers say!  I contacted one of my VIPs the other day because I had an idea for a shoot in mind.  This is a spot located in a nearby neighborhood which is a new walking and biking trail.  We met up at golden hour, shot for maybe a half an hour and voilà! More great images to add to her senior package.

When you already have a vision and provide good direction – a great session doesn’t need to take very long!

All my VIPs get these random mini-sessions added to their already robust senior package!

Come join the fun! My VIPs get so many perks!

Don’t Miss Out – Sign up by August 31!

10 Ideas to Inspire Your Best Friend Senior Photo Session

Your friends are an integral part of your school years, so it only makes sense to take a few photos together to commemorate your senior year.

senior portrait best friend session brea senior portraits la habra senior portraits senior portrait photographer

An important part of planning your senior photo session is deciding on the poses and the shots you would like to take.

Here are a few ideas to inspire you.

1. The Inside Joke. If there’s one thing all friends share, it’s a few inside jokes. Grab a shot of you and your besties talking and laughing together.

2. The Line-Up. Including more than just one best friend in your senior photos? Get the girls to line up with their backs towards the camera, your arms around each other’s waists, and your legs crisscrossed for a great group shot.

3. The Gowns. The iconic gown should make it into at least a few of your best friend shots. Have everyone walk towards the camera, laughing and smiling. You can even throw a few balloons into the mix for some added character.

4. The Year. Find a way to highlight the current year in your senior photos. You and your bestie can hold up a blackboard or even write the year across your feet, which will face the camera.

5. The Fun Signs. On the topic of props, you can also incorporate some fun signs into a few of your shots. “Finally” and “We Did It!” are great options.

6. The Hug. There are few things that feel as good as a hug from your best friend, which is why this makes for such a great senior shot. Embrace your friend in a way that your photographer can see both your faces. Another option is to capture a side hug from the back.

7. The Team. Were you and your best friend a part of the same sports team? Bring some memorabilia into your shots to highlight this special link you both share.

8. The Hat Toss. If you will be wearing hats on graduation day, don’t forget to capture a photo where your friend group throws their hats into the air.

9. The Confetti Shot. Add a little sparkle to your senior photos with beautiful dresses and confetti. You can have the confetti falling down around you and your friends or blow it towards the camera.

10. The Other Perspective. Get a few shots from a completely different angle by lying down with your head next to your best friend’s.

I have even more ways to capture senior photos with your best friends. If you need any extra inspiration, let’s get together and create something new!

All in the Family

I think it is so fun to be pregnant at the same time as a friend or family member. You have a partner that understands what you’re going through and you get to do some of the fun being pregnant things with someone else! My sister and I were both pregnant at the same time and I felt like it was something special we were sharing.

Megan and Emma are sisters-in-law and wanted to do a session together! This is Megan’s and Neil’s second child, so they opted to just meet us for the last part of the session. Emma had three wardrobe changes at the studio; then Evan jumped in for a few, and then we headed to the park.

Different looks is a great way to go and makes for a really nice album with a good variety of photos.

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!