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
The most frequently asked question I get is whether or not we do Family Photography here in Orange County, California, in addition to teens and high school seniors. The answer is YES! We love capturing any kind of portraits, from headshots and branding, to couples and families!
If you are wondering what our family lifestyle portraits look like, I'm about to share that with you throughout this blog post. And if you follow me on facebook, you can find albums with family sessions through the years on both my business and personal pages; over 14 years of family photoshoots hanging out in those albums!
Now let me ask you this: WHEN is the last time YOU and YOUR FAMILY have had professional portraits made? Are you being proactive about existing in images with your kids and other family members? Do you know why the mad rush comes in Fall for all those mini sessions and what are the benefits of mini sessions vs full service family sessions?
Here are a few of the most important reasons to make family portraits YOUR Fall tradition:
1) Family gathers for the holidays and the weather is usually sublime with crisp cool air and rich colors! Who doesn't just LOVE the Autumnal season and cozying up with your loved ones??? Take advantage of the reprieve from the summer heat to bask in the sparkling Fall light - imagine magazine-style images of you and your own loved ones smiling and laughing and playing together - bring your dogs for even more fun shots and warm cozy laughter and togetherness! We aren't just making portraits, here. A family session with us is about making actual memories you can return to over and over again in the years to come!
2) The second most important reason are Holiday and Christmas Gifts! Come on.... you KNOW what Grandma and Aunt Sally want! They want updated pictures for their wall, desk, and social media brag-posting! The older generation in your family isn't really as hard to buy for as you thought. Yes, they already have everything they need EXCEPT your updated family portraits featuring your 8 year old and his missing front teeth or that shiner he got playing football. Trust me on this.... the look on their face when they open this gift will be the absolute BEST! And we make it so easy to share because, as a courtesy, we provide social media pre-sized files of EVERYTHING you choose! Whether it's an heirloom print, wall-art, or a digital file - it's comes with a shareable copy!
3) The third reason is probably pretty obvious by now: Get those HOLIDAY CARDS done! The pressure is on...why not kill three birds with one camera? Just kidding... please don't throw cameras, because that would make us so sad. But, DO take advantage of the season and use your digital portrait purchase to either design your own cards or have us design them for you!
4) Better, yet, if you are REALLY SHORT ON TIME, use part a small of your session to let us create a VIDEO HOLIDAY GREETING CARD that you can email to everyone on your list and post on your social media! It's the ultimate time-saver while still showing off your family with something truly unique and fun! Example below:
The difference between whether you should book a Mini Session or a full-service Family Session depends on your needs as a whole family, and the products you are looking to purchase. The biggest difference is the amount of detailed service provided and the amount of time we spend with you.
Mini sessions are short, sweet, and perfectly imperfect! They are ideal for your family if your kids are still lap babies, or old enough to follow directions and cooperate easily, or if you are all adults. Mini sessions include one outfit, one location, 20 minutes of photography and exclusive access to holiday-themed product collections.
Full-service Family sessions are perfect if you are looking for a well-planned photoshoot, customized styling for the whole family, and a variety of timeless interactive images, family combinations and individual portraits and relationships within your family unit. They fulfill the need for more time and patience than a mini session allows (up to 2 hours if needed). The attention to detail, location, and personalized styling, go hand in hand as a boutique-style service where we pretty much do everything for you!
We offer offer mini's on weekdays, at this time, reserving our weekends for full service portrait sessions. Please use our contact form or call directly to request and secure your time and date and we will get you on the books! Happy Fall Portrait Season!
Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone --
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy:
Be silent in that solitude
Which is not loneliness -- for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
For the night -- tho' clear -- shall frown --
And the stars shall look not down,
From their high thrones in the Heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given --
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem
As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever :
In death around thee -- and their will
Shall then overshadow thee: be still.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish --
Now are visions ne'er to vanish --
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more -- like dew-drop from the grass:
The breeze -- the breath of God -- is still --
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy -- shadowy -- yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token --
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries! --
Halloween has always been my favorite holiday...not just because I'm pagan but because of the novelty of it, as well! I love dress-up and styled shoots and have always wanted to do a witchy-inspired goddessy session, and who better to shoot this with than one of my favorite soul sisters, and up and coming Akins High School senior, Alaina.
Traveling to Austin for 2020 senior sessions last week gave me the rare opportunity to put this shoot together very last minute - I had the dress - was not even sure if we'd have the time or opportunity to see each other, so the rest was unknown. Literally in a day we came up with the concept and executed it. The whole shoot was only about 45 minutes.
With Practical Magic being my favorite film, I have to say much of this is visually inspired by Jillian and Sally. The "POEm" just happened to fit the final artwork perfectly. And with that, I bid you a blessed Samhain, Happy (and bountiful) Halloween, and joyful Dia de los Muertos with your loved ones!
What comes to mind during the Fall season besides college apps, high school football, and your last homecoming? It's the BEST time of year to book your senior portraits in Southern California! Why, you ask? Because that golden summer tan hasn't faded just yet, the weather is cooling to perfection (as if the weather in Orange County, California isn't already superb). There's also that sweet touch of color starting in the trees, the LIGHT is magical, and that hectic holiday season hasn't hit us yet.
But, the biggest reason to BOOK NOW is to take advantage of our Fall Special! book your full session in October, November, or December and you get TWO sessions! One FULL session now, complete with our signature styling and pro hair and makeup artist, and gallery reveal, followed by a mini session in the Spring that you can use for however you want! Plus you will have stellar images ready for all those up and coming senior slideshows throughout the rest of the year.
Some ideas on what you could do with your bonus Spring mini session:
Cap and gown + college T, or a birthday mini, or prom, rock the dress <---( I LOVE these!), or use it for a quick family session before you head off to college!
Regardless of what time of year you choose to have your senior portraits made, I want you to know that we are SO much more than just a yearbook photo. We offer an AMAZING full editorial-style experience from start to finish, complete with video, styling, pro hair and makeup, unlimited locations and heirloom quality products! And these videos are PERFECT for your grad party and your final spring session can be added into it for later, to complete your year.
If you want to see what makes the senior portrait experience with us stand out - book a complimentary consultation to learn more about all that we offer or better, yet, talk to a friend who has booked with us and ask them how much fun they had!
While I have your attention, if you love fashion, photography, and ROAD TRIPS, stay on the lookout for our newest session option, coming soon: The Icon Session! This will be the ultimate two-day styled photoshoot experience and we will be giving away ONE spot to participate in the pilot marketing session in November! Follow along on facebook and Instagram to watch for details and apply to win that spot!
Our senior model call for this session features Mia D, class of 2020, from Aliso Niguel High School. I loved Mia's unique and bold style! She's a natural in front of the camera and enjoys a broad range of fashion which really infused well with my creative desire to have every session feel and look different - even if the location is a repeat. We went from an Olde English countryside look to street-style edgy, and artsy, all within a one hour mini session. We had so much fun playing with the afternoon light and all those colors in the murals.
Mia is part of Aliso Niguel Theatre Co and loves to thrift shop and repurpose jackets by painting and stitching them with all sorts of fun and unique looks. One of her favorite creations "Heartbreaker" is the denim jacket featured in this session at the end.
Mia brought along her friend Tyson who assisted and got in front of the camera a few times, too. We all had a blast! Whether you are taking part in our full sessions or marketing model calls, I always encourage you to bring your best friend along - not only does it make it even MORE fun, but you have someone to cheer you on and laugh along with you, as you share your experience.
Allow me to introduce you to one of my FAVORITE sessions EVER! I love all senior and teen sessions for the individuality and creative vibe that is different based on each kid and who they are and what they love - but THIS one....just slayed the scope of creativity in ONE session and shows what is possible with meticulous planning and a crew that vibes together SO well!
Our first and second set you see is mom's special request. She wanted that quintessential classic smiling senior portrait. And mom is a photographer, too, so we totally got it! But the senior, a ballerina, had been photographed as a dancer for years and REALLY really wanted the Platinum experience we offer and her biggest request was to be photographed in her OTHER favorite element: Fashion!
So Nicole (makeup artist) and I set out to create an amazing creative fashion experience that would be UNFORGETTABLE! As you can see our second set was PROM. Olivia totally slayed the look with some amazing color pop shoes she scouted especially for her session - along with two sweet locations especially scouted just for this look. Nicole gave her a soft glam look with cascading waves of blonde to compliment her floral designer gown.
We went from classic beauty portrait to street style glam in a matter of minutes just by crossing the street and and using an old church for a street chic vibe.
But LOOK what we did just 3 blocks away!!! THIS is why I love shooting in Austin Texas so much! You can change your scene from glam to edgy street style in a matter of 3 blocks. Our next set was BOLD and VIBRANT and Olivia took it to the next level with one of our purple smoke bombs we ordered when customizing her session!
Our next look was one of my absolute favorites and the two locations planned for this look were perfect in every way! Olivia has impeccable style and fashion sense and looked amazing in a draped silk kimono finished off with a gorgeous fae-like headpiece that really helped set the scene as more of a saturated, painterly, dreamscape than the reality of mid-town Austin.
With cool tones and plum hues complimenting her soft flowing look, it just doesn't get any dreamier than this!
One of the looks I've been dying to do, fit Olivia's style perfectly and that was inspired by the infamous Coachella festival and all of it's fashion. Coachella happened to be going on simultaneously the same week of Olivia's Platinum session. This little number has been on my style rack for a year just waiting for the right senior to come along and slip into it! We ordered a red smoke bomb to go with this epic street scene taking place at this ICONIC wall in downtown Austin.
Be sure and catch the hilarious "behind the scenes" of Olivia's senior story video at the end of this post, to see what she did with her platform heels after this set!
Now we come to Olivia's number one passion: BALLET! She has worked tirelessly on her dream toward professional ballet and it's amazing to watch her in her element and see the passion and dedication she has to the art of dance and all it's beautiful forms.
BTS fact: We planned to use a red smoke grenade at this Austin skyline location, but in the weeks leading up to this shoot, there was a crazy package bomber on the loose in Austin. The last thing we wanted to do was cause a scare while everyone was still so on edge. So we opted for the flowy red fabric instead, and couldn't be happier with how it came out! Her pointe shoes are simply spray painted to match the color pop of red fabric.
And last, but not least: more fun with color! After we wrapped our dance set up and the sun went down on the Austin city lights, we finished off our skyline shoot with a change back into something edgy, to finish off with colored powders (inspired by my first published shoot) and some glitter and sparkles!
Be sure to check out Olivia's premier video below to see what an entire shoot with us is like! Olivia and her mom booked our Platinum Experience and added one hour of extra time and drone footage to her session to complete her amazing day with a video and 6 different looks and 7 locations!
Hair and makeup by the very talented Nicole Gonzales! It still blows my mind that Nicole, Olivia, and I fit that many looks into ONE entire shoot, but we amazingly did it! The Platinum Experience is definitely the way to go! So much fun for all of us!
Olivia S: Fashionista Ballerina
Every once in a while (ok, a lot more than that) I see something that immediately inspires me - it could be a color, a flower, a structure or mural, or the way the light flows through a field of grass at a certain time of day... it could be a myriad of things that inspire in me the need to create a photograph or see about bringing that vision to life.
Most often it happens when I make a wrong turn or get a little lost looking for something else - there it is in front of me: a scene that likely not many others could even see but in my mind's eye I see something beautiful as I begin to piece together all the elements that make up my vision and how to put it together.
When it happens I just HAVE to get it out of my system. I have to tell that story of the colors I see and how they speak to me! You will often catch me saying at every photoshoot...."THIS session is my favorite!" And I mean that from my very soul because I am in the element and moment of the greatest gift of inspiration!
On this particular scene, I had made a wrong turn looking for a taco shop in Santa Ana, CA. While making my way back to the street with the correct location I could see in the distance these beautiful purple trees peaking above the rooftops. After eating my tacos, I ventured back to that neighborhood and drove all the way down the street looking at how the light played on the petals and the direction from which it came.
It was just a local city street of neighboring families, flanked with parked with bumper to bumper parked cars, but I loved how the street was lined with mature purple flowering trees all the way down both sides.
Being new to Southern California, I had seen trees in my neighborhood beginning to flower but not like this - not from top to bottom - like the these tall majestic beauties!Back at the office, in our style closet, I had a yet-to-be chosen ruffled purple crop-top that looked just like these flowers. A little spark was planted!
Once home, that evening, I posted a model call with my idea, for local high school seniors that followed me on instagram, to see who else thought this was a pretty idea! And that was that. A personal project was underway!
My favorite thing about my personal projects is how I don't have to worry about making sure I'm getting specifics for the client - I am totally in my own personal zone of creativity and adventure. Some of it is planned meticulously - like the outfits and location - but a lot of it is totally whimsical - like the wonderful Woodbridge High School seniors who answered the model call and were just as excited as I was, to make this vision come to life!
Most of my model calls don't involve the style closet, as they are reserved for Gold or Platinum sessions, but because this was more of a personal project, it was a go and we had a blast going through clothes and piecing together fun outfits and accessories (including the ruffle purple top modeled by Shiphalika) to go with each location.
The ease at which creativity flows and how fast my ideas come is incredible when in this zone! We shot with back light, we shot through stuff, we shot with prisms and mirrors. We got incredibly artsy and just had fun with it. All the while my seniors were killing it with their fashion model vibe and having a blast!
Next stop was the Santa Ana Art District (just for fun) to finish off our afternoon of creativity.
I absolutely love this area! It's full of gourmet food, craft beverages, festivity, live music, and best of all: lots and lots of colorful murals and architecture!
We changed our look from purple and whimsical, to street chic and showgirl, and used the gorgeous backdrop of these art district murals and shops as our on-location set to set the vibe for these colorful scenes.
I'm so glad Sylvia and Shiphalika answered the model call because they were perfect for both of these locations and outfits. Anytime you shoot with me you are welcome to bring a friend! BFF sessions are the BEST! Not only that...Having a friend along means having someone who gets the inside jokes, more laughter, more at ease in front of the camera, and even better is having that bestie there to cheer you on while you slay the scene!
Don't miss out on our current special: Book now for anytime this year and get a $100 or $200 print credit toward any collection! Both of our regular sessions include personal styling and planning consultation, access to our style rack and accessories, personalized location scouting, and professional hair and makeup artist, along with your session and gallery premiere video session! There is no other experience quite like ours in this area!
Complimentary consultations are always available by appointment, to see if we are all a fit for each other and we have room for 50 Gold or Platinum spots up for grabs each school year!
Our session-end shenanigans included more dancing in the streets and Shiphalika's cartwheels! Until next time!