Welcome to MY BLOG: A collection of RECENT sessions, FEATURES, current SPECIALS, TRAVELS and other exciting news - and occasionally a personal project here and there. ENJOY, and don't be too shy to leave a little love about what you see! XXO, Chele
When Irvine High School senior, Alexcia S. asked to have her senior portraits made in Target, I was immediately up for the challenge! Setting the scene for senior portraits is not only an important part of each session, it's a way to personally connect each teen with their milestones and accomplishments and Target is important to Lexi because it's her very first place of employment.
I decided to arrive a little bit early to scout the store for interesting, fun, and ideal shots. Location scouting is a big part of my planning and styling strategy for each session. I started in the Junior's section because...SEQUINS! and quickly moved to the jewelry section because GLITTERRRRR! There were so many ideas running through my mind and I love the perspective of shooting through stuff, finding reflections, and all the different angles I could get.
Lexi's most notable request was to get a few shots in her work uniform and most definitely she HAD to be IN a shopping cart! So once we cleared it with the store manager, we grabbed a cart and headed for the snack aisle! The funniest part of taking these shots, was the number of shoppers who passed by us, completely expressionless, and acted like NOTHING was going on!
Our next stop was the Home Decor Department. The biggest challenge of Lexi's Target photoshoot, was more about finding the natural light within those areas we wanted to shoot. Our one big rule from the store manager was to make sure we didn't bother the shoppers by bringing in a bunch of equipment and using flash and reflectors. On a side note: I will do a lot to get the shot, but it's also super important for us, as an industry rule, to respect the wishes of those kindly allowing us to use their property for the sake of art.
Since Lexi's senior session was part of her answer to my class of 2019 model call, her session was only an hour long. I seriously didn't anticipate wishing for more time in a Target but, WOW, our ideas were endless around every corner and our minds were definitely on the same page for the boundless opportunities.
There were the obvious spots, like the floral department display. There were the less obvious spots we came up with, on the fly, like this rose gold mirror and a coffee cup that says "Grumpy but gorgeous" that we used to make a cozy little me-time coffeeshop scene complete with pillows and houseplants. Obviously there was nothing "grumpy" about her! Home Decor was her favorite part of the whole session, she said.
Aside from our mutual love of Target, I found that Lexi and I had a lot of other things in common... we both adore cats, fashion, coffee, and especially love makeup tutorials and Morphe eyeshadow palettes. In fact, we had to pass on the remaining spot we really wanted to shoot (the makeup aisles) because it was always full of shoppers.
And it wouldn't be a proper Target shoot without their colorful seasonal section currently decorated for Valentine's Day, full of fluffy bears and candy (plus we snagged a few fuzzy things from the home decor section, too). Lexi looked and felt amazing in a new floral sundress and the flowers were complimented by all the fab rosey colors on the candy heart aisles.
We had so many ideas. We seriously could have shot there all day! I'd like think if we had a full session booked we would have ended it playing with her new James Charles, Dare to Create palette for some amazingly colorful glam looks! She brought it along to show me in person, and it's GORGEOUS (and not grumpy, lol)!
That said, it was fantastic getting to know Lexi and I want to congratulate her on her early graduation achievements from Irvine High School. She completed her senior year just this past January, ahead of her class. She will be walking the stage with her 2019 senior classmates in May, with her family and friends cheering her on! Before she left our shoot, we finished her last couple of shots with another thing she loves: Books.
If you are currently a high school junior, class of 2020 future graduate, and you would love some fun new images with your BFF's for your social media, our class of 2020 model call is going on RIGHT NOW until the end of February! Show your parents the information HERE. Sign up, and bring a friend with you! It's a FREE session and a super fun way to get to know us before you book a full Gold or Platinum session!
Let us emphasize: Don't let the words "model call" intimidate you! We are truly looking for REAL everyday high school students and their friends, who love taking pictures, and want something fun and a little different and don't mind giving us some fresh local faces to put on our social media and blog so the community knows we are here and open for business in OC! Just look at all the cute images Lexi got from her session! I promise it's a blast!
I'm pretty new to Irvine and the West Coast. As both an entrepreneur and a mom, I value transparency in my work, family, and my personal life. To succeed as a senior portrait photographer in a very saturated area like Orange County, California, I need to operate both wisely and effectively, as well as stand out with unique qualities, that make my business different from the rest.
When it comes down to it, I'm just like any other mom who gets up each day, get my kids to school, and goes to work. I have a dream and I work super hard at it. I love my job and the purpose of my job. Without a doubt, empowering teens with exceptional imagery is what I was meant to do. So it goes without saying, in such a competitive industry, that I often see marketing tactics within our industry, that are sometimes misleading to our teen clients and I often wonder what impression it makes upon teens who might struggle with self esteem and labels.
One of the main subjects I would like to address, is the practice of Model Calls, Model Teams, and other similar senior portrait business practices. My own "model calls" are not meant for actual "models" in the sense of what one would normally think. Here, we support an all-inclusive vibe and they are meant for any teens that are interested and meet the grade level requirements for a specific call. In fact the term "model call" is just a name the industry has given this "call to action". I guess we could call them "real teen portrait calls" or "student photo calls" haha, but that doesn't make sense or ring as a term many would understand, because it's not a familiar industry term.
Of course, the idea of using real models to sell things is not new to anyone. It's a common practice that's been around forever and we see it more than ever, now, with instagram influencers flooding our screens every day showing off a dream life that may or may not be real. But I question whether the use of real models or the label of "model" for all of our social media platforms and websites may cause confusion and self doubt in some teens?
So what I want you to know, is that when you look at my images on any of my platforms: Facebook, Instagram, my website, (and eeeeeevery once in a while Pinterest and Google), with the exception of one girl, the seniors and teens on my pages are NOT professional models. You are truly looking at everyday regular teens living their best, hectic, everyday, high school lives while working part-time, saving for a car, applying to college, and studying for finals! Even the one client who actually is a real model, is living that same high school life, too, when she is not modeling!
So the next time you hop onto a senior portrait photographer's instagram and see model, after model, after model, in the captions, know that when you come to me, I can assure you, that you are coming to a vibrant, authentic, display of REAL kids doing their thang! And I captured those images by getting to know each and every one of them while planning and styling a custom senior portrait experience, just to tell their very own unique story. All are welcome and included, here!
I'd love to hear your own ideas, in the comments below, about what you think a "model call' could be called, instead, and how you view the industry term as a teen or parent of a teen. Would they rather have the hype and status of the word "model" or do you feel it causes exclusion and doubt?
In the meantime, if you have any questions at all or would like to learn more about my work with teens, as well as how our senior and teen styled photoshoots work, please do not hesitate to call or email and even set up a consultation to meet in person! You can view samples of entire sessions via our senior films located at the bottom of many of our blog posts (including this one)! And our galleries are located here: Girls Gallery, Them Gallery, Guys Gallery
Our Gold and Platinum senior sessions always include professional hair, makeup, personal styling, unlimited outfits, and so much more! If your teen is graduating with the class of 2019, be sure to BOOK SOON as graduation will be here much faster than you think! Each session takes roughly 2 weeks to process and approximately 6-8 weeks for all final product to be delivered. If you want all product in time for your graduation party, you will want to act now!
Our featured session and senior film (below), this week, is Abby-Paige, who graduated from Smithson Valley HS and now attends USC in Los Angeles, California. I have been photographing Abby-Paige, (who goes by AB) and her family, since she was 10 years old. She is the epitome of girl power and strength, as well as a very humble human. AB loves horses, doggos, flying (she just earned her solo wings over the holidays), and as you can see in her video...her Jeep! AB can also be found playing volleyball, in her free time, at Santa Monica beach. Fun fact: AB comes from a family of pilots and also happens to be an expert marksman, who competes in long-range rifle. Her photoshoot took place 2 weeks after the Parkland shooting and it affected her very deeply, as she had to compete 3 days after the tragic event. We talked about it at her consultation, trying not to tear up, and she shared with me how important it is to not let guns get into the hands of the wrong people. AB you are a wise and wonderful strong young woman and I love your heart and spirit! I'm excited to see what else you tackle in life! xx
AB's photoshoot was a full Platinum Experience, with hair and makeup accompaniment by Nicole Gonzales Makeup Artist, styling and locations chosen by me, courtesy of our style closet combined with AB's own wardrobe and the awesomely weird city of Austin, Texas.
Want to know what I love most about senior portrait photography? I'll try my best to give you the short answer because there are so many things I love about all of it! I'll start with just one:
One of my favorite parts of the job is to plan and execute personalized and styled themed photo shoots. Now that I'm living in the Orange County, California area, specifically Irvine, I have a whole new outdoor canvas to work with and be inspired by, every week! As an artist I get easily inspired by just about anything around me: colors, blooms, a season, a place, architecture, and ESPECIALLY by an individual's fashion and style, combined with all these things.
I feel that getting to know each senior portrait client before our session is one of the key reasons our shoots are so diverse, fun, and focused! We schedule a one on one consult with each senior and their parent. By asking them questions about what they love to do, wear, play, and listen to, inspires me and helps me tie all of these things together to design the perfect sets for them to be photographed authentically and have the best experience.
When I met class of 2019 senior, Annie, and her best friend Anika, and they told me they are theatre students at Aliso Niguel high school, I knew right away they were down for some theatrical dress-up fun! Annie says she never says no to a new adventure. They both love to sing and love musical theatre more than anything.
So, when Annie said she loves to roller skate, I instantly had this early 80's roller boogie theme pop into my head. Having grown up in the 80's myself, I was probably on 8 wheels more than I was on two feet! Annie also made me the happiest photographer in SoCal by saying YES to sequins! I was even happier when she confessed that she owns a pair of bell-bottoms that would go perfectly with my recent purchases of sequin tube tops for the studio style closet!
Our seasonal model calls are always a bit different from our full Gold and Platinum sessions. These quick mini sessions, pictured here (under one hour), are done with very little planning and only one or two outfits. They are a great way to introduce ourselves to the community and the next graduating class and their parents. Even in small doses, they are a always a blast because anytime I'm working behind the camera making art with these kids, I'm a happy girl!
For Anika I new immediately we needed to put some beautiful bright colors on her to show off her gorgeous dark skin-tone and sparkling smile! She came up with a cute pair of 80's style applique' cut-offs and paired them with a cute bright yellow off-shoulder top from our style closet.
Now as you can see from this exuberant gallery, we LOVE COLOR! We LOVE SEQUINS! and we LOVE RETRO style! These young actresses also gave a stellar performance, too, because during our session, it was 60 degrees with 10-15 mph wind gusts. You would never know it, because we were having a blast! We even went totally retro with some fun polaroid snaps; Something I will be offering soon as an add-on feature to both Gold and Platinum bookings. Be sure to scroll all the way to the end of the post to see our fun retro video clips!
I was beyond thrilled that Annie's best friend, Anika, was able to accompany her for this photoshoot! Two of the reasons I love for besties to come along is because having your ride-or-die there, alongside you, to share in an experience like this makes it even MORE memorable and besties are allowed to attend all my sessions because they are the BEST cheerleaders and helpers! Even better, they can jump in and have some unforgettable portraits together during one of their sets. Nothing better than someone telling you how you Slay All Day, literally ALL. DAY. LONG. Aren't they the cutest?
That said, as we finish up the last of the class of 2019 model calls, we have launched the application for our Class of 2020 (current Juniors) Spring model call! The form to sign up as well as all the information you and your parents need to know, can be found HERE! Our class of 2020 model call photoshoots will take place this Spring 2019 in the months of February and March in preparation for your up and coming senior year!
The sign up for the Spring marketing model call closes at the end of February, but we still offer seasonal model calls occasionally, throughout the year. If you would like to participate and get some fun new social media files - these little mini shoots are a blast! If you are considering booking the Full Experience Gold or Platinum sessions with hair and makeup and senior film, it's a great way to get to know us and add some extra senior pictures to your gallery!
As some of you may know, I'm a new-to Irvine photographer specializing in a unique high school senior portrait experience designed to capture the individuality of each teen as they finish high school and leave their parents to head off to college. If you want to know the full scoop about what makes me tick and how I started this journey, head to my artist page HERE! I recently posted a late model call for 2019 high school seniors in the Orange County area to be able to capture some local faces as well as introduce myself and my work of heart to the Irvine, and Greater Orange County area, and I couldn't have been happier with the response!
Each senior that signed up was from a different OC high school! Even better, every student so unique in their own talented ways! As an artist, I am all about individuality, authenticity, and creativity, and if you already know me, you know that I love a kid that marches to the beat of their own drum! Without a doubt, that is today's featured senior, Maddy M!
Maddy will be graduating from Woodbridge High School in Irvine. She is also co-pilot of the Warriors Dance Team, along with her best friend.
The coolest thing about meeting Maddy is that we both geek out on the same stuff! She loves tap dancing - I love tap dancing! Maddy is all about Star Wars - I literally have the Rebel bird tattooed on my back (A New Hope was also my very first movie! I was only 6 years old - sssssh!). So naturally, I was super stoked to meet her in person and plan her senior mini session around something we both really loved!
Specialized scouting is usually reserved only for Gold and Platinum sessions, and isn't something I am normally able to do for a quick model-call sign-ups, but I really couldn't help myself, with all the fun stuff we had in common. It was hard to pick just one theme to fit into that hour, but we finally decided: Star Wars themed, it was! I set out to find the perfect location in a Galaxy Far Far Away, to set the scene for Maddy's cute Rebel-inspired outfits!
Maddy unapologetically describes herself as a "huge nerd". Her favorite things to do are attend the local theme parks and watch movies. She loves all things Disney and Universal, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and I think there's a little Marvel love thrown in there, too. Oh, be still my heart. I can go on forever about my own love for Spiderman, Dark Captain America, Thor and Loki!
Maddy's absolute favorite style of dance is tap dancing. If I had been up on my game, I totally would have challenged her to a time-steps race! Though we could only focus on one theme during our short time together, last week, I had so many fun ideas for a full shoot with her! From Jurassic Park themed dinosaurs, to her tap moves, and a few more Star Wars themes (she has the dopest closet around - I love it!). Maddy's unique passions and talents had me inspired from the moment I met her! To see some of my other theme inspired sessions, check out one of our galleries or an entire session video HERE!
If you haven't had your senior portraits done yet, and want an amazing styled experience to commemorate your senior year, please don't hesitate to send me a note or a call, and schedule a consultation with me and your parents, to see if we are a fit! Our CJ Seniors brand focuses on each individual senior's stand-out qualities, style, and achievements, to tell the unique story of YOU, all while planning a stellar day of pampering, dope outfits and locations, and capturing a well-rounded variety of street-style editorial, fashion, and classic images both you and your parents will LOVE!
I specialize in High School Senior portraits and I'm holding a model call for local (OC area) senior portrait marketing sessions to get some local senior faces on my blog and social media! If you are class of 2020 this model call is for YOU! These sessions will take place in March 2019, so grab your squad and sign up now.
You're probably asking what's all this about?
First of all, I absolutely LOVE what I do and what extrovert or fashion lover doesn't love a fab photoshoot? But, in the spirit of keeping it transparent, I am BRAND NEW to the Orange County/SoCal scene and just moved my thriving senior portrait business to Irvine, from Austin, Texas last Fall! While I already have a fabulous portfolio, and offer an amazing full-service portrait experience complete with hair, makeup, and styling, I'd love to produce a quick batch of fresh new images with a variety of local OC area high school students and use these images on my social media platforms to introduce my work to the CLASS OF 2020!
What's in it for you and me?
It's win-win! If you are one of the 3-4 students selected, it means a complimentary mini photoshoot for you and a friend! It also means any images that I select for current and future marketing will be shared with you and your friend, to post and share however you wish!
Do I have to try to sell to my friends or refer my friends to participate?
Absolutely not! Your senior year is far too busy for all that ish! While I consider referrals the highest compliment, I only ask that you to dress up, show up, and have fun in front of the camera this one time and allow me to tag you when I post! If you want to post your images, tag me or tell your friends - feel free - I would love that!
Is it okay if I have no experience modeling but want to try this, even though I'm camera shy?
That's okay, too! We want to represent EVERYONE! Guys, girls, them - this is all about having fun! Since this is complimentary, you have nothing to lose but a little bit of time! Bring a friend to cheer you on. I'll guide you into movement and posing that looks and feels natural and fun! I promise, it's a blast! I'm even happy to help you figure out what to wear. You never know, you might just find your inner supermodel has been dying to come out!
What social media platforms will these images be shared on?
I use 4 platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and my website (that's where you are right meow). Some of my images have even been selected from these platforms for print, publishing, features and awards in national, international, and digital magazines and I've even had a test shoot lead to a senior client getting a part in a commercial through a national production company!
Do my parents have to approve?
Your parents do not have to attend your photoshoot, but they DO have to sign approval and photography release if you are under 18 years of age. I do require a preview of any outfits you want to wear and all outfits must be parent approved. So no showing up in anything cheeky or peeky! I do love surprises, but not the kind that upset the parentals. I'm more of a Starbucks | Sephora gift card kind of girl...
Do these model calls come with professional hair and makeup like the full experience shoots listed on your website?
At this time model calls do not include professional hair and makeup, so you will want to arrive with grooming, hair, and makeup finished and ready to go! If you are interested in a full CJ Seniors Gold or Platinum experience (which DOES include hair, makeup, and styling), this is the perfect opportunity for us to get to know each other before you invest!
If I'm really interested but I'm a sophomore may I still apply?
YES! We will be doing this again next Spring with class of 2021 senior marketing and the following year with 2022 marketing, and so forth! We also hold seasonal themed model calls occasionally throughout the year. If you want to sign up to be considered for the 2020-2021 school year ahead of time, go ahead and fill out the form and indicate your graduation year. I look forward to meeting you and helping you celebrate YOUR senior year, also!
If you have additional questions or your parents would like to talk, please do not hesitate to hit the contact button and ask away or schedule a consult via facetime or in-person! We want you to feel completely comfortable with choosing to work with us! And if we don't get to meet with you this time, I sincerely hope you have a fantastic senior year making amazing memories to carry off to college with you!
xx Chele Jones
Brooke C's Senior Story: Firefly Garden
Brooke C, is a 2018 graduate from Westlake High School in Austin, Texas. Brooke's mom came to us because she wanted us to capture her kindness and compassion. She also wanted very much for Brooke to have a very special experience and feel exceptionally beautiful for her portraits.
Brooke had been wearing a scoliosis brace for 23 hours a day for several years and was finally allowed to remove the brace during the day the Fall of her senior year. After spending her entire high school years in T-shirts and sweats to hide the brace, Brooke's mom wanted her to experience the full beauty makeover treatment that we offer at our Gold and Platinum senior sessions!
With the assistance of Nicole Gonzales Makeup artist, Brooke's session was everything she and mom had hoped it would be and more. When mom saw the film and images she cried and hugged and thanked us. Brooke and mom went home with, not only a beautiful album and keepsake box of amazing images, but with the memory of a very special, unforgettable experience, that she will carry in her heart forever.