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Call for Entries – Bold, Brave and Badass Women Project

Attention Women – Ages 40 and Finer –

It is time to share your story and help others

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

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

Submission guidelines:

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

Those selected to participate will receive:

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

($500 Value)

Entry submission ends
July 31, 2020

Life Doesn’t Stop for a Pandemic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rafiki from The Lion King

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

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

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

Mock-Up in ProSelect

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

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

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

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

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

Honoring Mom

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

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

What legacy are you leaving future generations?

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

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

Schedule Appointment

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

Generations of Love

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

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

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

Four Generations of Love and Beauty

Benefits of Meeting with Your Photographer Post-Shoot

While the idea of having your photographs delivered to you on a flash drive or via dropbox seems like the easiest way to get your hands on photos from your latest session, this isn’t always the best way. If you truly want to make the most of your photo session, meeting with your photographer after your session is highly recommended.

Your photographer puts a lot of time and effort into your session as well as the editing of your photos. A true professional won’t just abandon you as a client once the shoot is done. If you’re wondering why it’s important to meet with your photographer after your session, this is what you need to know.

  • A post-shoot meeting completes your photography experience. Having your photos taken is a personal experience, so why shouldn’t the entire process be personal too? Photographers prefer to take you through your photos so that they can assist you from start to finish and share in your joy.
  • Your photographer will assist you with the photo selection process. For some people, receiving a disc or flash drive filled with photos can be quite overwhelming, especially when it comes to selecting the best photos to print. Meeting with your photographer after your session allows them to give you their professional opinion on the best photos to print and the printing options available – e.g. paper type, size, metal, acrylic or canvas, etc.
  • Your photographer will be the perfect guide on where to place your photos. If you choose to meet with your photographer post-session, you may want to opt to meet them at your home. This way they can walk through your home with you and guide you on the best places to display your portraits.

How to Style Your Photo Session

One of the most common questions people have when preparing for their photo session is what to wear and what to bring.  You want everyone in the photos to look their best, but you also want all the details in the photos to tie together so it looks cohesive and not overly matching.  These simple tips will give you a better idea on how you can style your own outfits, accessories, and props so that everything meshes, but still pays tribute to who you are as a family.

Styling Your Photo Session

  • Coordinate Colors

Most families tend to match their outfits by pattern or color but for the best results, you’ll want to skip putting everyone in matching clothes and colors and instead coordinate their outfits to play off one another.  Let one of the family members secretly be the star of the photo shoot.  Dress them in a patterned outfit that consists of at least three colors.  Keep the rest of the family’s outfits simple with pops of color that coordinate with the star of the show’s outfit.  And don’t forget to take the shoes into consideration as well.

  • Accessories

Think about adding hats, scarves sweaters, vests, jackets or even flowers to hold or put in the hair.  Consider accessorizing your kids in layers, textures and offer something for everyone to interact with.  You don’t want the accessories to overwhelm the photo, but they can be a great way to offer a lot of variety throughout your session.  Think of things that can be easily taken off or put back on.

  • Props

It can be easier to work with children especially if they have something to play around with or hold for some of the images.  Think about adding in some props that are meaningful to you and your family, maybe a favorite stuffed animal, family quilt or heirloom or even the family pet can be a great addition to your photo session.  When choosing props ensure that they fit in well with the photo session and coordinate with the colors in your outfits – no bright pink bottles of bubbles with an earth-tone outfit.  Nature’s decor like flowers, apples, or pumpkins are also a few great ideas for props.

How to Find the Perfect Photo Shoot Location

Choosing a photo shoot location might seem like a big deal but it really doesn’t have to be difficult. A location usually drives some of the other decisions you will need to make about your shoot so it’s important to choose the right place.  Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you decide on a location:

  1. What kind of theme do I want?  If a particular building or natural backdrop would work well with your theme, look around your area for spots that meet your requirements. If you don’t know what kind of backdrop you want, take an afternoon drive around your city for inspiration. It’s easy to overlook beautiful spots that are practically in your backyard.  Ask family, friends or your photographer for ideas too.

  1. Are you allowed to take pictures there? Make sure that you can legally take pictures at the location that you have in mind. If it’s not public property or available to the public you will need to get permission first.

For example, this is an adorable English cottage facade, it is located at a venue that charges $300 an hour to photograph there.  Is the venue worth it?  My answer is yes, of course!

A great number of sought-out venues require a fee and many others need permits purchased ahead of time – so make sure you do the homework.

  1. Is it accessible? Consider that not all outdoor locations may be available all year round or you might not be able to get to them at all. Your safety is also an important aspect to think about before you decide on a location. Taking pictures on a mountain ledge may look neat but it’s best not to put yourself in harm’s way.
  2. How do you get to your location? Will it be easy to walk to the session location and if not, are you able to change your clothing and touch up your hair and makeup before the shoot? You should also find out whether there is a restroom that’s close enough in case you need it.

  1. Will the photo session be in a public place? If the location you have chosen has a lot of foot traffic, you need to ask yourself whether you are comfortable being photographed in front of others or if they will get in the way.  You might want to rethink your choice in location.

Make sure that your location doesn’t become a distraction and that there is shelter nearby if you need it. Your location tells a story so it’s worthwhile to choose a meaningful spot.

Top Tips for a Sensational Senior Photo Session

Below are our top five tips for taking on your senior portrait with grace and confidence and leaving with photos that you will love for years to come.

It’s completely normal to feel a little awkward when taking senior portraits. Many seniors tend to feel self-conscious about their appearance because they feel uncomfortable taking photos on their own.

  1. Use your eyes. Use your eyes to express emotion. When you smile naturally your whole face lights up and your eyes look bright and awake. Before the photo session practice smiling in the mirror and use different expressions to see what looks best.
  2. Relax. Great photos happen when the subject is relaxed and confident. Let the excitement of you photo session show through the lens as you take a moment and breathe, relax and just have fun. You may feel silly during this process but we will do everything we can to help you feel more comfortable.
  3. Breathe. This may sound obvious but breathing is key to capturing a natural look. Take time to practice taking a deep breath while smiling in front of the mirror. Slowly release the air while holding the smile and notice how your face and eyes settle into a natural and relaxed expression. Allow your eyes to “smile” by focusing on the apples of your cheeks pressing upwards. When in doubt, just breathe.
  4. Move. Staying stationary can sometimes produce a very staged and cheesy look. Just because you are sitting or standing still doesn’t mean you can’t change the angle of your body to create a look that is fresh and inspired. Try leaning into the camera slightly to appear more engaged, shift your weight from left to right, or simply move your chin slightly up and down for different shots as this gives us a variety of facial expressions to work with.
  5. Extra Effort. Ladies, spend some extra time getting your hair blown out, get your makeup and nails done and choose an outfit that makes you look and feel your best. As for the men, take a shower, shave, and clean your nails. Do not wear clothes that are too tight or uncomfortable to wear – it will show. When you look your best, you feel your best and when you feel your best, you are naturally more confident. Go the extra mile to walk into your senior session feeling confident, attractive, prepared, and inspired.

We Love Our Fur Babies

February is for lovers and this February our studio is honoring 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.  He knows your deepest secrets as he is your safest and most forgiving confident. He 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.  He is your hiking companion, your best friend, you joy. He 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.

For the month of February our studio is selecting five families to win a $250 gift certificate towards their own personalized session and artwork.  Enter to win today and tell us why you and your pet’s relationship needs to be documented.