How do you know the difference between amazing photography services and amateur photos?

This is a loaded question because it can be compared to eating out at a fast food drive through versus eating a gourmet meal at a beautiful restaurant.  But I’ll attempt to make it easy and narrow down the services to make a fair comparison.  Then I’ll give you what the average of what we charge.

Since you want to know what senior portraits cost I’m going to compare photographers that run a business regularly photographing people. It takes a completely different skill to make people look and feel comfortable than it does to shoot an object with no interaction.

The reason it’s hard to put a value on photography is that so many people call themselves photographers once they buy a camera.  I’ll go over the different stages of photography and give you kind of a range of what I have seen them charge over the years.  I can say this because I at one point found myself in all of these stages. This by no means, means that a new person who is just starting out can’t take a good picture but it also doesn’t guarantee that someone who has loved to take pictures since high school will take a good picture either.  But hopefully you can come to appreciate why some photography is very valuable and some pricing is cheap.

TYPE: The Newbie

BUSINESS MOTTO: Shoots everything and anything. May be photographing everything out of sync landscape, weddings, macro, real estate, people, flowers, streets, food, families, travel, babies and events.

SERVICE: They may or may not have a website that has every category in the universe. You may or may not get your images.  I have seen the horror stories first hand. My wedding photographer’s camera died during the ceremony and she had no backup batteries or camera.  I got a few thumbnail sized pictures 3 years later that my husband extracted from her crashed computer.  This kind of rookie move is unfortunately very common with new photographers. They most likely take a couple hours to service each customer.

PRODUCTS: There are no albums or products.  They mostly offer all digitals.

PROS: The good thing is that they are eager to learn. If you are extroverted by nature you have a shot at getting a good picture because you may naturally smile and laugh. This is great for…. friends and family if you want to have a little fun.

CONS: Jack-of-all-trades, master of none. The lighting will most likely be harsh since most use on camera flash. Angles, posing, and expressions will look uncomfortable and this makes the biggest difference since it determines a good picture and a bad picture. This is bad if you are an introvert and need direction since they may not know how to give it. This is not recommended for business headshots, yearbook pictures or weddings because in the end you get what you pay for if you get it.  For weddings or yearbook pictures there are no do overs.

PRICE: Honestly pricing for this is all over the place because it could be a random number out of thin air. The cost is free to a couple bucks per image.

This melts my heart because it is hard to actually make money in photography with this mindset.  I struggled for so long because I didn’t understand the value of my time. This is where most people start.

TYPE: The hobbyist

BUSINESS MOTTO: They have a main job where spend the majority or their day and where they make their living and photograph on their days off, usually the weekends. They may have a website but the content maybe outdated since there is no time to run a business.

SERVICE: Honestly I give this person props because I feel like this person is dedicated if they are willing to work on their days off. They have the money they need to buy their gear.

PRODUCTS: Mostly digital products (shoot and burn)

PROS: The hobbyist gets creative and tries complicated techniques and may even be able to master them.

CONS: They may have had a love for photography for many years but they only shoot a couple times a year.  You may not know if you are paying for someone who is good or not.

PRICE:  They may or may not be happy to make a couple hundred bucks, usually free-$400

TYPE: Photography Business (Product and Service Based) This is where my business lands.

BUSINESS MOTTO: Dedicates 40+ hours a week on her/his craft.  This person may or may not have a studio space. Knows the value of a website and makes the time to update it. This person creates steady work and produces multiple photo-shoots weekly all year round. This person has invested into the business and her/his skills.

SERVICE: The photo-shoot may be 2-4 hours.  You will get help helping with wardrobe styling and plan the proper location to shoot based on you. You also have the option for make-up.  You also have a viewing and ordering appointment in person or online.  It will take between 4-8 hours to service each customer.

PRODUCTS: Digitals and prints are sold separtely. The products are archival.  You get recommendations on the best materials to print each image based on the way it was shot.

PROS: The experience is personalized. You will have enough time to get rid of the awkward jitters of getting your picture taken. You will look more relaxed and natural. This is best for the person who needs help finding something to wear.  Your wardrobe and make-up will most likely look great.  This is great for shy people that need a little direction in front of the camera. It may also be for the person who wants to look good, wants a cool experience and wants to have good quality products they can keep for a long time.

CONS: The price point is higher for the extra service time and high quality products.

COST:Sessions fees usually start at $150  Print Products usually start at $150 The average order is about $1200

TYPE: Photography Business (Quantity Based – Shoot and Burn)

BUSINESS MOTTO: They focus on getting tons of people in and out fast. Big box franchises like JcPenny offer these.  Mini Sessions fall under this category too. This photographer is usually still competing on price and does not know the value of their work yet. This is the overworked underpaid person.  I used to be here when I first started and I couldn’t make ends meet this way. This was really bad for my family because I took time away from them and in the end when it was all said and done I was only covering the cost to pay for the equipment to shoot.  In the end most photographers in this category make about $4 an hour below minimum wage.   This pricing is usably a package deal up front pricing.

SERVICE: You are in and out literally within 15 minutes to an hour from start to purchase.  You get shuffled through a serious of sit this way sit that way in a rushed manner.  These poses look stiff and smiles look unnatural.  They try to give you the best possible service and work efficiently since every minute counts.  They may have 4 shoots in one hour and can’t really dedicate more time on the experience. Multiple people get their taken one right after another in the same location same props.

PRODUCTS: Mostly digitals with some prints.

PROS: The upside is that the lighting will most likely be great if you are in the studio because it is set the same for everyone. This is great for those who want a theme for like Easter or Christmas.

CONS: This is a hit and miss with expressions since you do have a variety of experience level with photographers. You will most likely be wearing one outfit.  It may or may not clash with the scene. The downside is the amount of images you get is limited and set in advance. There is a chance the lighting will be bad outside if the knowledge isn’t there.

PRICE: Cheap and if you only need one picture this is probably the best place to get it. You can usually find a special like $10 session fee.  Products can be anywhere from $10-$800

Many photographers in this category cannot stay in this category long.  They either quit the field all together or realize their worth and start charging a living wage.

This article isn’t to put anyone down.  I know people who are in different stages in their photography that are just lovely.  This is to give you an idea of where you want to be and what you are willing to sacrifice.  If you are looking for one picture the box store may be for you.  No judgment.  If you want pictures for the holidays a mini session with someone you know may be okay for you. If you want to do your own wardrobe and aren’t worried about the quality of the prints.  Most people have trouble printing.  This may be a hassle.  Printing is complicated.  Not every image can be nor should be printed in a 20×30.  You may wonder why it doesn’t look as good as it did on the desktop.

What do we charge?

Our session fee is $200.  That’s a 2-hour session.  A ½ hour planning meeting.  A 1 hour follow up.  We couldn’t be in business with the session fee alone. Print products and digitals start at $125.  Some people do $500 in print products and most people do $1200.  We don’t do prepaid packages because I don’t know how many images you are going to love or how you want to use your images.  You may want multiple wall art pieces or you may love 30-50 images in an album.  This way you get exactly the amount of images you love from your photo-shoot.

How to help introverted teens relax during their high school senior photo-shoot.

I have one of them. I have a reserved teenager that just graduated this 2019.  I am extroverted and sometimes don’t like to be in pictures either.  There are so many reasons that some people can be camera shy.  One reason is that they may not want to be the center of attention.  I can go really deep on this subject but let’s keep it simple.


For me, I know what angles will make me appear taller, shorter, thicker or thinner. When I see someone try to take my picture at a really bad angle I don’t want to be in the picture. It’s like turning on your camera on you’re cell phone while it’s facing you, getting the angle under your chin.  It’s super unflattering.   Another reason may be that they just haven’t had their picture taken properly with the right light and right position of the photographer.  Yes, it’s a thing.

Over these last 10 years, I have worked with so many personalities and have seen it all. I understand that for the introverted person it takes a little extra time to warm up. Actually, it takes most people time to get comfortable in front of the camera. But I think that the photographer really has to have great people skills.


One of the main reasons I don’t do mini sessions is because it takes time for people to get comfortable. Sure I can get you to smile if you already know me. But really having fun and feeling relaxed shows up in body language. You can also see if someone is tense and posed unnaturally if you really look for it.  I look for it.  A two-hour session gives room for that.  The first part of my sessions work through those nervous smiles.

I feel like you really have to get to the point where you trust your photographer on a personal level. Getting pictures taken is a vulnerable process. This is the reason we include an additional 20-30 minute planning session with your photo-shoot. The photo-shoot experience is completely personalized and starts the moment we start planning the shoot.


When picking your photographer I think it’s important to have that connection.  Over these last 10 years, I have worked with different shapes, ethnicities, kids on the spectrum (I have one myself) with introverted and extroverted teens.  This is why I specialize in portrait photography because it the one thing I love doing.

So, what is the biggest sign that a photographer has the ability to make your teen comfortable? One of the biggest indicators is looking at the expressions of the people in their portraits.  It’s okay to have those quiet moments in a shoot.  Not every image needs to be smiling while looking at the camera.  But what does the body language say overall? Do people in their portfolio look stiff? Is the smile forced or fake. Does it look like the person is genuinely relaxed?


At the same time, I really think teens deserve more credit.  It seems like teens always have a different energy with other adults even if every now and then they have an attitude with their parents.  So, when it comes to that I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I can handle it.

One of the things I have noticed is that if they can bring a friend their age on the shoot it tends to change the energy.  We don’t always get lucky and get to do that but if they can invite a friend that will make it cool for them and they are more likely to try something new.


For this photo-shoot, we had a friend present and it made it fun.  We shot in Portland.

I do have a few more things we can do to get your introverted teen comfortable.  There is so much to it.  But I save that for my clients. Is that you? Is your teen graduating soon?  Do we seem like a good fit?  I’m only a phone call away.  (503) 724-8711



Alicia-What is one thing that you’ve learned about life that somebody can benefit from?


Virginia-One specific thing I have learned through networking is to identify shame that doesn’t belong to you. Be open and vulnerable to the shame that doesn’t belong to you.


Alicia- Yes.


Virginia-Putting myself out there became less scary when I realized it’s okay to share what I’ve been through because it literally affects how I approach life and it’s okay to open yourself up and let people know you what know this happened but it’s okay I’m alive.  I am progressing, and I’m learning everyday to take a step forward. That process really started for me when I realized that it’s okay to let people know you feel broken, but I also felt like I needed to hide that.



Virginia- The energy it took to hide something that I shouldn’t have been hiding, I had no need to hide. It was so emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually draining.




Virginia-Just those first steps. Saying it’s okay to give light to this thing that is my truth. That’s something I learned from reading “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. She speaks about bringing light to all the negative things we try to hide. I learned it’s okay to share your experience and it’s helped me to not feel like I’m drowning trying to hide things.


Alicia- There two things that stood out to me, you said not carrying the shame. Being able to let that go and understanding that it doesn’t belong to you. That’s huge. Also, you said the energy it takes to hide, wow. That’s beautiful. I’m so thankful that you shared that. I think we hide because it’s scary to talk about things that we feel vulnerable about. I just feel like that’s a very freeing and loving thing to do for us.


Virginia-And you have to find a safe place to say it and also be ready for pushback from ears that don’t want to hear it. But I’m no longer holding it in for fear of what they might think about me. They are the people who are not safe to share. Why engage with someone who doesn’t want to understand.


Alicia- Okay, what’s one thing that you’re very proud of?


Virginia- I’m really proud of the fact that I’m still married.


Alicia- Yeah, it’s hard.


Virginia- 20 years with another imperfect person. I’m really proud of that and enjoying it because we are so different.


Alicia- Wow, yeah. Agree to disagree. My husband is reading Dave Ramsey and he’s shared with me that if two people who are alike married, one person would no longer be necessary. It brings balance. Okay, the last thing because you are in the financial industry. What’s the best advice you can give to women about finances? What are some of the most important things to know about finances?


Virginia- Sit down with someone have a conversation. You will find you may need to start in a different area than you’d think. Some people are just frozen, stuck in debt. Just sit down with someone and answer honestly. I need to know everything, no hiding. I want my advice to be valuable. People get ashamed of finances, there’s a lot of vulnerability in opening up about them. There are so many negative feelings when it comes to finances. That needs to change.


Alicia-Yes there is. What is the biggest thing you find women have trouble with in finances?


Virginia-Thinking they don’t have enough money to save. You don’t set aside for yourself, what’s left for you? You can’t wait until retirement to pay yourself.  Start now. No matter if you’re 20 or 50. We all have the money. It’s just a matter of sitting with someone to say here’s what you have and here’s what you can do. Don’t think you have to wait to have more money to start saving.


Alicia- Yes, when you think too much about it you start thinking you can use that money for this or that.




Alicia- So the last question. Did the photo shoot meet your expectations? I know you were a little nervous.


Virginia-I was a lot nervous!


Alicia- Most women are. We don’t have pictures of ourselves up, family vacations everyone else is in them except us. It’s like our history doesn’t exists. I feel like we need to change that, we deserve to exist. So how did this experience change your thoughts about “Oh I can’t do this.”


Virginia- When you posted my two teaser pictures I was like “Oh no!” But so many people commented on them saying I looked beautiful. And I noticed the next few days in the mirror I told myself “Yeah I am cute!” It was nerve-wracking to be out there but the compliments just made me feel like okay it’s not that bad.


We cover up things we are ashamed of like maybe our mom bodies, our finances or some traumatic event. We fear being judged or looked down on. But letting go of that fear and accepting things as they are, ourselves as we are and moving past some more difficult parts life takes courage. Putting yourself out there, in the spotlight and being open and vulnerable isn’t as bad as we make it up in our minds. Looking into the camera, head held high because even though we have felt broken and have things we ‘ve gone through we may feel nobody relates to we are still here today standing with more wisdom and strength than before. If you are nervous or hesitant to want to get that new business portrait done or haven’t been in front of a camera in a while. Why are you hiding? You will see yourself in a whole new light. We are allowed to take up space and exist!


Edited and Summarized by Raquel Solorio






Oh my gosh, I have been working 16 hour days, 4 days in a row! Whoever said owning your own business meant you could have a flexible schedule, was delirious.  And no, I don’t usually work this much.  But it is the last push.  There are 11 days left until my Exhibition.


This year is a unique year for me because I set bigger goals.  So, I gave myself 6 weeks to schedule and put together my very first private exhibition.  As you know I’m a portrait photographer because working with people fulfills my extroverted side.  I keep my personal travel work on the down low because I chose to specialize in portrait work many years ago.  Slowly though, I’ve been adding to my personal portrait collection of exotic locations.


While figuring out new ways to keep my work fresh and stay connected with my tribe, I decided to create a special event, where I could display all those special places that have allowed me to unwind and recharge my creative juices. I spent this week pulling out images from the glorious sinking city of Venice, Italy.  I printed a huge piece that I took when we climbed the top of the Napali Coast on the North Shore in Kauai, Hawaii.  The waters glistened as we retreated up the paths in the heat of lush mountains.  We were also fortunate enough to have dinner and watch a dance performance by Maiko-san in Kyoto,Japan.  Did you know that there are only 65 maiko-san left in the world?


As an artist with a business I can say that I definitely have been up against many challenges.  Some because I am a woman, some because I am a mother, some because of my own limitations and others because I am human and all of us go through life with something.  I don’t know what yours are and you don’t really need to know what mine are.  Not that I don’t want to know because if you know me well, you know that we really get to know each other during these sessions and sometimes that means really deep conversations.  But, it’s not the details of the obstacles rather the reactions and game plans that we have as humans.  It’s what we do when things get hard.  I love that we have the ability to claim our strength and lean in with extra grit.  Do we let challenges defeat us? Claim us? Keep us in the dark or in the past?  Doing this work has allowed me to work through life and appreciate these beautiful relationships I have created with people.  As for work…I have been busier than ever.  Hopefully soon I will get to the point where I can hire out some of the things that I’m not that great at so I can do more of what I love like being behind the camera.


Behind the scenes we have redone wood flooring and painted over these last 3 weeks and  technically, we are still not done.  It brings a smile to my face to think of all the hard work that goes into getting things done.  I’m excited and even a little scared.  As a former perfectionist, part of me wants to critique every single detail of light on each portrait wanting every shot to be perfect and there is something good in expecting to exceed.  But there is also another side to it, exposing raw earth and life as it is in its imperfection is also a demonstration of beauty.  Sharing vulnerability is a beautiful thing.  I’m putting myself out there and I’m so excited to share this with my friends and neighbors.  Send good thoughts my way.


Take Care,


Alicia Vazquez


We are bombarded with imagery and information overload.  While from the outside it may seem that our world is more connected with social media, we find that we are increasing our screen time.  What if we knew the stories, the struggles the triumphs behind the faces?  What if we were able to share our most intimate fears and lessons to connect one another?  There is more than just a pretty face.

I think that women have this amazing power that most of us don’t talk about.  We go about our day-to-day lives and we don’t need to boast about our accomplishments.  I swear I think we are capable of having this power beyond what is normal.  I don’t think we get enough credit either from others or from ourselves.  What I find is that most women are so busy taking care of others and trying to accomplish goals that we forget about taking care of ourselves.  It becomes a battle to buy out the time for self-care.

So far I have interviewed some very amazing women.  I’m so proud that I have the opportunity to do so.  Feel free to follow the stories over the next few weeks.  I did a call for women ages 21 – 50 from all walks of life to take part in this project.  Prepare to be inspired.milkbath-5677



My yellow walls…ouch.

Okay, so if you know me you know that we just bought our house.  It’s the perfect size.  Not too big not too small and just perfect for my office up front and a little shooting space.  What I love about it is that it has all the big windows so the light can come in, just like I wanted.  It has this buttery yellow color that makes it feel airy and sunny.  Lord knows we need days like that in Oregon.    I have to paint it but it’s a huge project with vaulted ceilings which I do need to hire someone for. I’ve been inspired by those charcoal grey moody vibes lately.  I’m thinking grey and blue but you just can’t decorate the whole house at once. So it’s on hold for now.


Of course none of the previous frames work with the new layout or decor. Someone suggested to uh…” just change the frames.”  Nope doesn’t work that way!  This calls for photo-shoots and a little bribing:-)  The first up was my youngest baby boy who is 9, sushi is his weak spot.  A photo-shoot in exchange for sushi worked like a charm.  I have some beautiful images of my son and even though he doesn’t know the value of these now, he will when he’s old.


Bottom line, don’t judge…..the image I decided to enlarge is against this gorgeous fuchsia bush.  It totally clashes with my butter yellow walls.  But, I’m in love with Romans gorgeous smile.  I knew it was a perfect shot for a metal print.  I did it in a 24×36 which is typically large for a close up.  The ceilings are pretty high, so I think it works!  For now, I do have a funky wall art combination but I’m cool with that!  My walls were in dire need of a little life!  I mean seriously how could I be a portrait photographer with no wall art? As for my color combination,  I’m a photographer not a painter:-)


Thanks for reading

Your friend






Family portraits custom framingSo, what’s the big deal with custom framing versus big box store ready-made frames? When doing research, I had to ask this question to a custom framer. “Why is custom framing so expensive?!” I just about dropped dead when I heard the prices.  Here is what I found.  The difference between cheap ready-made frames and custom frames, boils down to one single factor, PURPOSE. One is made to last and one is made to temporarily display.


The reason custom framing is more valuable is because it is made to preserve the photographic artwork.  You will notice that all materials used are well thought out from beginning to end.   The matting and backing are acid free archival materials as well .  Why use acid free paper and backing?  Because they are made to last more than 100 years.


There is no denying that you can get some stunning custom framing designs. You can find them in artisan carved and stained woods, beautiful veneers, intricate designs, metal and resins. They just look stunning.  These are statement pieces that will have you oohing and ahhing.  You will love coming home that’s for sure.


Whereas a ready-made frame uses inferior materials for temporary display purposes.  It’s purpose is not to preserve the art which in turn exposes it to premature deterioration.  As for the designs they are usually pretty basic.  You can tell most materials used are cheaper plastics versus wood.  Not to say that you cannot find inexpensive wood ready made frames but in general most are cheaply made.  You will find regular cardboard or other acidic materials used  for the backing, as well as glues that can damage your prints.  These chemicals can make your pictures turn yellow and cause discolorations.


Take for instance the warping Mona Lisa.  Experts with the national geographic say, “it’s nothing to smile about.”  In the article on  by Stefan Logren…This is what he had to say,”it’s deterioration has aroused some worry.  Nobody wants to touch it.  It is an extraordinary rich portrait.”  Another influential art professor from Columbia University David Rosand explains a photograph this way….”This is what portraiture is about…an effort to stop time.  The beauty of that face will last forever, but in life it will not.”


Curators have enclosed the Mona Lisa behind a thick glass to guard against changes in climate temperature.  This brings us to another topic glass.  The natural elements  such as light even a fraction of direct sunlight can begin to affect images.


The upside with ready-made frames is that they are a good cheap alternative for maybe an expo when you need to display lots of art temporarily.  I did find it handy to buy a whole bunch of box store ready-made frames for an exhibition a few years ago.  It was nice to find a few frames with a whole bunch of detail and the borders were thick.  They were great as long as nobody touched them because they would figure out they were really plastic.  My little secret:-) The real drawback was getting my  prints into these standard frames.  Even when my prints and frames were supposed to be the same size the ready-made frames where inconsistent with their sizes. Fitting the my prints in was a hassle and it caused my pictures to buckle.  I  had to reprint a few of the images because you could see the lumps in the image due to the inconsistency in the frames.


This had me convinced to make the switch for displaying my personal family images as well as my clients/friends and upgrade to durable materials.  This last year I began to have a minimalistic approach to my life.  I kept only the things that I love around.  So, I figured if I’m going to only have less things, why not make sure they are well made.


If you are the type of person that has hired a professional photographer to take images of your family, you know the value hiring the right person and the value of capturing your family portrait in this given time.The fact that you know that these moments the photographer captures are invaluable makes sense that you would want to protect your investment by displaying it in a frame worthy of it’s contents.

Family Portrait Photographer Sherwood Oregon Photographer Tigard Washington Photography 2014-11-28

So, the bottom line is a custom frame looks way better.  It is made from high quality materials and is made to protect your beautiful family portraits for years to come.


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] sherwood oregon family photographer

Hello momma!  If you are like most moms… would love to see your child’s beautiful smile and eyes looking straight at the camera.  Perfect! Right? Well, those shots are must haves but not all pictures necessarily need to be with that pose.  Here’s a few tips and tricks that you can do to guarantee to help get the results and expressions you will treasure forever.  Whether we talking about photographing toddlers or high school seniors, these tips will help you get that authentic smile.


Secret number 1, choose a few items that they love and bring those to the session.  If you have a toddler you can bring a few of his or her favorite toys and, “Let him/her choose which one he/she prefers to play with.”  If we are talking about photographing a teenagers, you can bring along some of their favorite hobby supplies, musical instruments or sports equipment.  It does a few things, it helps him/her to have something special that they are familiar with.  It helps ease into the session and gives them something else to focus on, other than the fact that someone is taking their picture. Most importantly it gives them a choice with either or and that makes them feel somewhat independent.


Secret number 2, stay close enough to keep them comfortable. This is great especially with younger kids but also with teenagers because they may take 15-20 minutes just to warm up to the photographer. I  like to acknowledge the kids right away by paying attention to them with a nice warm smile and a little small talk.  In this case when I work with children I want them to relax as soon as possible and feel important because they are! Their feelings are super important because we want to get images that really do capture who they genuinely are in an unguarded way.

I love all of the joy and personality in this portrait

I love all of the joy and personality in this portrait

Secret number three…stay far enough away from them so that they do not see your stress. Wait a minute! Doesn’t that contradict secret number two? Nope, they work hand in hand.  You see..sometimes  some moms might want that picture portrait smile on every single picture and they expect that look to happen during the  entire session.  When they realize that their child is not smiling or looking at the camera for every single picture, they start to stress out. Nobody wants that.  This is supposed to be fun! They might even begin saying things like, SMILE, LOOK AT THE CAMERA, PICK YOUR HEAD UP, WHY ARE YOU MAKING THAT FACE?DON’T DO THAT, without even realizing. Get the picture? Those words might..stress out your child, stress you out and your photographer. Young kids and teens will pick up on that and it will have a negative effect on your images. So, If you find yourself stressing out step back a little and let your amazing photographer handle it. There is a fine balance though momma because you are also an important part of this whole process! When it comes down to it, there is nothing like momma, especially with the toddlers.  You know your child.  If you are just a tad bit behind the photographer and call out to your child to engage that seems to work well too.  We are on the same team.


#4  Just know that sometimes when it seems as if nothing is happening good images might still be brewing in the making.  Does that make sense?  In order for to get those big beautiful smiles and genuine laughs, you have to have those in between moments when not much is going on.  Just like this image.  I love it and she’s not looking at the camera, but its adorable.

Portland and sherwood family photographer

Portrait photographers are mostly creative extroverted people who love to work with people and find the human spirit intriguing. I can’t speak for every photographer because we all come with different personalities and photographic styles but I think I can safely say that a successful profitable professional portrait photographer has realized that they love to work with people just like an  introverted creative landscape photographer might realize that they prefer to work alone without interacting with anyone in a remote location at the crack of sunrise doing landscape portraits.  I say this because…secret number 5 lends its self to trust.  When it comes to having your kids picture taken, just know that your portrait photographer will know a few little tricks to get genuine expression.  When I notice that my subject is stressed about having their picture taken I put down my camera and make direct eye contact and just talk to them.  A little smile goes a long way to put them at ease.  If I notice that a pose is uncomfortable, I put down my camera, take a moment to find a comfortable natural position for them and that seems to redirect the session in a positive way.


So, bring a few things they like, give them choices, give them smiles lots of love, be at ease and pray for no rain! You know that last one is just a bonus for Oregonians. Also, when you are ready to document those amazing family moments by a pro give me a buzz.



Your friend and family portrait photographer



accessorizing your photo shoot for guys.

I love when guys bring accessories and if there is ever a moment to bring them it’s during your photo-shoot.  Just remember when you choose your accessories they should just be an extension of you.  You should feel awesome in them!  I don’t know how many times I have seen young senior girls wear a big floppy hat and it looks like a much much older person in a different era dressed them.  Please don’t let anyone convince you to wear something uncomfortable.  You want to look your age, in your element and authentic to your personal style.


Shades are awesome! Plus, they give you something cool to do with your hands.  Again, this is a personal choice.  If you can rock the round mirrored glasses, have at it!  Or if you can pull off the sheriff glasses go for it!  As long as it’s a pair you actually wear during the summer time. You know what looks good on you.  You can feel it the second you slide the pair on.


Watches also bring another element to the image.  If you are the type to sport a shiny gold watch or rugged leather watch, bring it on!

Portland senior pictures- copy

Hats are another very personal item. I have shot a few senior portrait sessions with few hat fans.  I photographed this young man who worked out in the country after school.  He rode at the rodeo on weekends.  Having his cowboy hat described who he was.  I guarantee you, he wore that hat aside from the photo-shoot.  It was authentic to him.  Not everyone is a hat person.  Bring what you can pull off.

Portland senior pictures-298 copy

I didn’t realize bracelets were a thing with the guys but…duh…I guess my hubby and boys have been into them for a long time.  They wear them on a regular basis.

This kid pictured has his own personal style! I love this hipster look. It’s also obvious that he loves what he’s wearing and is having a good time out in Portland. Be yourself! Be authentic and have fun doing that!

Portland photography-18-2 copy


strong portrait outdoor Life has an array of experiences, tragedies and triumphs.  As we all move forward in our own personal journey, we find one thing in common.  We all bleed the same.  We have the ability to love.  We suffer loss.  We experience joy.  Some of the things we deal with, we have no choice but to deal with.  While the human spirit can be broken it also has the ability to rise with courage and endurance.  While we can’t change the cards we are dealt, we can choose to not be defeated.  We can choose to move forward.


The face of courage portrait project is a personal enrichment project.  While we were born with an innate sense of survival, we also have had to learn how to build up our endurance.  It’s not natural to deal with tragedy. I have faith in the human spirit.  I know that we have the ability to rise and show strength and courage. I’m searching for people ages 16-35 who have learned to endure through personal tragedy.  People who have become stronger by doing the right thing and making the right choices.  I’m not searching for tragedy, I’m searching for triumph.


If we stick together as a human race we can encourage one another.  When we share our knowledge and stories of courage, we just might be able to help one another move forward.  We just might inspire others to keep trying, to keep hoping and be strong.


What it involves…if you are someone or know someone who has learned how to find the joy and power by displaying courage, you can apply with the link at the end of this post.  I will be selecting a few people for an inspiring interview and complimentary portrait session.  I will be selecting one story to be featured on my website and Instagram. Selected participants will receive one print as a thank you for participation.



To get started apply here.