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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

SPECIAL

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” (cathleen@cmcgrathphoto.com) 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.

FUN HAS BEGUN

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!

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: