Category: Uncategorized

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!

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

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 . . .