How To Personalize Your Photo Session

When a client and I discussed doing a maternity session, I asked her how did she want to be photographed.  She took that question and ran with it! We met and over a few weeks, planned and custom designed her portrait session. Needless to say, my heart raced with elation at having a client who had a vision and was willing to experiment and share her dream with me.  It was so much more than I could have hoped for. It was just as much a wonderful creative experience for me as it was for her.

In planning her session, we gave each other an idea of what we wanted to see and decided a Pinterest board we could share would be very helpful.  Here, I was able to see her likes, some posing, and some themes that called to her. I could also add what I would love to see her in and also give her feedback on her inspiration images.  When being photographed it’s so important to communicate not only what you don’t want because that’s always easier to come up with, but also to state what you do want to see, how you want the images to “feel” like.  She was sure about what she didn’t want;  no desert, no flower crowns, and no sunsets.  (So yay for me, we were doing this inside, glam all the way!)

So now that we had the location, it was time to discuss wardrobe (clapping hands) and she told me, that she was making her outfits. (um, excuse me?)  Yup, you heard me right, she. made. them.  Each had a different feel and each captured a different part of her personality. I was blown away.

The day of the shoot, she came, full makeup, big hair, accessories and proper foundation garments all in tow! She came ready, on a mission and whatever nerves I had, went out the window, because this was going to be amazing!

Enough talking…


Yes, she made this two-piece amazing gown!





She danced for many years and when she lived in Hawaii, learned to Hula there.  I’m so glad she wanted to express her love of Hula in her portraits.  I’ve taken a hula class from her, and her hips move like a pendulum, it was amazing and an awesome exercise! (My thighs and my abs spoke to me for days!)




For this image, she had purchased a beautiful ombre fabric and we simply draped and pulled for the striped effect.  She said she couldn’t resist buying it.


It was exciting to have to push myself creatively, not only with the images I was photographing but we styled the room! That was a first for me and something I would really love to do again!



I LOVE black and white images and I didn’t do many for this session because we had so much color to work with, it seemed like a waste not to focus on color.  But I loved how the sun hit her hair and the flower in her hair (yup, she made that too!!!) and it was just a different perspective to see the sun in black and white.


The other beautiful detail she used was that in every photo, for every outfit, she not only coordinated her jewelry, but it all had a sentimental significance to her.  So again, she created yet another layer of uniqueness and special significance to her portraits.


Ok, I got dramatic with this last image, but hello! how couldn’t I?!! She is amazing in this gown and like she said, these eyebrows were on point! I just saw her like a painting, dramatic, larger than life…giving life.

We talked and laughed and snacked that day as we played dress up.   It was a memorable session for me and it reinforced how communication and planning create the dream session for both client and photographer.

Thank you, Melissa, for letting me share in this special time and for creating this keepsake for you and your baby to have to look back on forever!




Words of Wisdom From the Bride on Her Wedding Day

Weddings can be hectic, no matter how big or how small they are.  They all require some type of planning and regardless of how “big you do,” it is still your wedding day and a whole set of expectations come rolled up in this event.  No one feels the pressure more than the bride.  This can be her signature event!  However, I found an exception and she was the calmest bride ever !!! In fact, she even managed to calm me down!  She gave me a little wisdom when we chatted about her state of being that day. More on that later…(can you tell this isn’t you’re traditional wedding blog post.)

You see, I was photographing my first wedding that day and I was nervous.  The level of anxiety I reached that week surpassed anything I had ever experienced, ANYTHING (that includes child birth.)  I wanted them to have an amazing day and I wanted to be amazing for them.   I also worked with a second shooter for the first time; the wonderful Jennifer Hubbell who helped make the day so much easier.  She captured another perspective on the day and was wonderful to have for support (and she’s just an all-around nice person! )

So back to the smart words from the bride…the calmest bride ever !!! (echo, echo, echo…) I remarked and asked her on how she was feeling, how was she managing to be so calm? She said (and I am paraphrasing) that she planned a wedding that wouldn’t allow her to be stressed and that she took care of as much as she could. She then said (paraphrasing once again) that she trusted me and she knew the photos would be great.  Well, it was like someone smacked me and I became incredibly present.  I was overwhelmed by her vote of confidence and I remember not even knowing what to say to her without getting emotional. She trusted in me, so I had to trust in me also and that took over immediately. I understood what this wonderful couple wanted to see as the lasting memory of their day and then it was on.

I mean…look…at…her…


Together as a couple they are just as amazing…





The groom loves him some Batman…




I was so incredibly fortunate to have photographed Susie and Frace’ as my first wedding. It was such a blessing for me. I gained so much from this experience and realized how much I already knew.  Thank you to this amazing couple for trusting in me and I hope we get to make many more beautiful stories together!!