Category: High School Senior Photography

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



Photographic Exhibition August the 11, 2018

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


The stories behind the faces- A Portrait Project of Inspirational Women

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


Check out the funky wall art combination at my house!


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






4 ways to accessorize your photo-shoot, for guys.

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!

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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.

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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!

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Sherwood Residents Alert: Exclusive creative office bound to make you enjoy your portrait experience

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Hello friends,


I have been quietly working on my new exclusive creative office.  I needed a new project that would provide an escape for me a place where I could work in the zone on retouching as well as  meet with clients.  It has been a dream of mine for a while.  While I’m not completely done, I thought I would share my process with you. There really is never the perfect time so why wait? Join me in the process.


I wanted to play up on some of the classic vintage inspired velvet tufted furniture pieces. I’m loving the style and suits my business branding well. I didn’t have the luxury of hiring an interior decorator but I think I got this down.

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How could I not pull inspiration from Pinterest? I created a board to  planned out the décor as reference guides. So, far I have painted the walls two shades of grey. It’s where I discovered the beautiful sexy grey walls. Since the office is 10×11, I did have to limit the dark grey accent wall to one wall, which is my focal point. I chose to use two tripod lamps white a white shade to complement the charcoal grey wall and add a little drama. I felt that using standing lamps versus two side tables would keep the space airy and not so crowded. They are of kind of cool in the evening giving off that moody and relaxing feel. The light grey walls remind me of the Portland Art Museum. I haven’t seen anyone use these colors and now all of a sudden my teenagers and their friends think it’s the coolest color ever.

high school senior private portrait studio sherwood oregon-15-3The focal point wall is where I placed my beautiful grey tufted chesterfield loveseat. I seriously feel that it must be the firmest loveseat in America. LOL! Aside from portraits I guess we are snapping that posture into place. I love the look period. Above the loveseat I just wanted one solid contrasting beautiful frame.  I’ve had this print forever but soon I will be using it to showcase my work.

studio office portraits sherwood-14 You know I was leaning toward a pink couch but was convinced out of it. When low and behold I came across a beautiful tufted pink velvet classic chair. It was to die for. To my surprise it is hubby approved. I had to bring in life with a pretty plant. I chose this snake plant since it has volume but grows upright and saves space. As for the tables I went for two gold round nesting tables with a mirrored top. Again the mirror bounces a little extra light, adds dimension and visually extends the space. I love that you can stack them on top of one another or move them around to place albums as needed.  I chose a tall standing mirror to extend the space visually as well.

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I did choose to store my files and camera gear in another location to keep it clutter free to focus on work and creativity. Not to worry though, it is still easy access.


I wanted the décor to inspire creativity. A tranquil space that would put you at ease, something vintage and ultra stylish. A place where I could also pour you a drink or enjoy a cup of coffee as we get to know each other.  I have had my share of meetings with clients at coffee shops, which can have some upbeat vibes. However, I really wanted to elevate the client portrait experience by having a professional dedicated space. It allows me to offer a truly personalized experience and service.

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I feel that in order to capture an image of a person and really discover who they are, I kinda have to get to know my clients. Just like you need to get to know me and understand what how I work. The space allows you to get past the initial phase of being photographed by someone you don’t know. The first few minutes of having your picture taken is just plain awkward.  I think that is the case for most human beings. So, you can see how a comfortable private office space where we can chat,  plan the session, go over wardrobe, products, is crucial to putting you at ease with the whole process and getting good authentic photographic results.


Overall this project has been inspiring and given me much to look forward to. I hope that it does the same for you.


There are so many things I am working on in the next phase like replacing the flooring with a dark wood. I will be adding trim details to the walls. Of course,  displaying fresh artwork is on the agenda. I will be finalizing the office with window treatments.


The final goal is converting the garage into a backup studio space. I’m looking forward to that. I have a few moveable walls planned. Again, I do love working with my clients in the natural outdoors. But, I want  the flexibility and option open to have my own studio space for a rainy day. Stay tuned for the new lighting techniques we will be implementing for that Vogue magazine look. Yes! A high-end magazine style portrait for everyday people. Why not?!!?


I want you to know that you are getting a first class session from beginning to end.  When you leave my office you will walk away with beautiful artisan luxury products that will be in your family for many years to come.

Model Rep Perks- Ravishing Photography

eliana-newberg-high-school-senior-portraits-6576So…what is a High School Senior Model Rep?  Each year we select a few outstanding students from the Sherwood & Portland Metro Area high schools to represent Ravishing Photography.

What type of students are you looking for? Honestly, we like to work with good positive people.  If you have a zest for life and are adventurous, it just might work!  We love bubbly personalities.  Don’t shy away if you are a cool calm and collective person, we like that too. Most importantly we like to work with authentic people that we can trust and make amazing art with! If you inspire others we would love to hear from you!

Do I have to fit the tall & thin standard model profile? Of course not! Our models are real people who come in a variety of lovely shapes and sizes.  Beauty is skin deep and we love to embrace that!  We do not have any height or weight requirements.

What are the perks?  It’s pretty cool because senior reps get a few perks that are only reserved for high school reps like…extra bonus complimentary photo sessions which equal more looks. Instead of the usual 2 hour session you get bumped up to an additional complimentary session for a total of 4 hours to be used on two separate occasions. Complimentary hair and make-up with each session.  Depending on what time of year you are approved, the session may be a summer session and spring or fall/spring.  When you refer friends over they get extra bonus perks off of their session too.  Most importantly when you refer people over you get a chance to earn gift cards from your choice of Abercrombie and Fitch, American Eagle, Urban Outfitters, Forever 21, Hollister, Mac, Sephora, Tilly’s,  Parents love it because you do get an exclusive 25% discount off all print products. Our reps get a minimum of $400 worth of savings.
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Modeling with dignity and grace while making amazing art.

I had my share of modeling during my tv and spokesperson days in front of the camera. It was tons of fun! It was during those days that I came across plain weirdos. Thankfully I had a good support group that kept an eye out for me. I worked with some amazing companies like Univision and different media corporations. Bottom line, there is the typical stereotype, middle-aged (I won’t go there on the gender) person behind the camera selling the idea of making you famous by getting you to pose or work in an undignified way. From a ladies stand point I’m here to tell you that you can definitely model, pose, and photograph with dignity and grace while making art. It’s a promise!
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Why print and why not “just” digitals?

Friends, time is but a fleeting moment.  It moves forward before you know it, the past is no longer the present. I dream of living forever, most people do.  Prints let you stare at the past.  Digital technology changes quickly and before you know its unusable. Let me explain why I’m pro prints.


Let me ask you a question.  How many pictures do you have stored on your phone?  Okay these are rhetorical questions.  I don’t want you to actually tell me.  If you think about it you’ll get the point.  How many pictures do you have stored on your desktop computer?  How many pictures do you have on your digital camera?  How many pictures do you have stored on your laptop, iPad or iPod? I’m not guessing 20 but possibly thousands. I’m also guessing years worth of precious memories.


How many of you have upgraded your cell phone? Got it stolen or plain lost?  Had a computer crash?  Had to delete photos because you’ve reached the maximum capacity?


What are some of the methods of saving your memories or images? Let me guess you use a floppy disk? Nope!  I know you use a CD? That is so 2008. Apple doesn’t even make computers with a CD Drive.  Well all the devices mentioned but they can all be gone in an instant so let’s think outside the box.  The cloud right? Sometimes your services provider comes with a little space for saving your images to the cloud but honestly 5 mg just won’t cut it before you need to buy more space. An external hard drive is what most people should do but ah who does that? Well, pro photographers do.  Oh, let’s not forget memory sticks, those come in handy. While it is the current technology, I assume in a few years they just might be long gone just like the floppy disk, not having a reasonable way to be viewed.  Yes, I use current technology.


But  really the only reliable form of archiving your pictures is by printing them.  How many of you have been given a family heirloom of your family legacy, like pictures of your grandparents, parents or maybe pictures of when you were little? Hopefully, your fortunate enough to have a few.  I managed to save a few family photographs that brought my baby sisters to tears, good tears. How many years worth of pictures do you take? What kind of memories are you preserving? Are all your pictures selfies? I know they’re not.  You probably have taken pictures of important things like graduating high school, college, family vacations, weddings.  Important mile stones and time frames like baby’s first steps, missing tooth moments, first day of kindergarten, last day of middle school along with random moments and events.  How about pictures of the family with the first child, when the kids are teens, when they have their own families, when we look good, goofy and plain bad.  Pictures of when we are young and when we are old.  Pictures of us when we are here and when we are gone.


So let’s talk prints.  How many of your pictures have you printed in the last few years? If you are like most people probably none.  Let me ask you, what pictures will you show your kids and grandkids when you get older.  Will your cell phone be around? I doubt you’ll be able to power up your current cell phone when your 85 to show the grandkids.  Will we even have Facebook then?


When we spend so much time and preparation to get your photography session perfect…why would we send you home without properly printed archival images?  I want you to have an heirloom print on your fireplace to show the family.    I value my work my clients and I value your memories.

Sending you home with just digitals is a disservice to you.  Why would I use thousands of dollars worth of gear to create a beautiful well rounded portrait session only to have you figure out the printing on your own?  Many years ago when I started out I  tried Walgreens, Costco, Target and Walmart labs only to get green skin tones, highly saturated images, cheap paper or altered images as part of their color balancing. When I went pro I realized I needed a calibrated computer monitor to make sure all the colors were balanced  just the way they were when the images where taken, not only in camera settings but with professional editing software and completed with professional printing.  The finished products are delivered in a beautiful print on photographic paper that is acid free which means that it last at least 100 years with proper care.


So…now you know. Why I’m pro prints.  Get the picture?


Your friend and professional photographer

Alicia Vazquez

Ciao Baby!

Senior Pictures- Sherwood, Portland, Lake Oswego


Senior pictures nowadays are a big deal because it’s the perfect time to capture this highlight of your life.  Gone are the days when you take a quick 15 minute studio headshot.  Our high school senior portrait sessions range from 2-6 hours.  With sufficient amount of time to get the works with hair and make-up to add all those pretty finishing touches.  They allow for a variety of wardrobe changes along with location changes too. Parents must be actively involved so please plan on it:-) Plus, parents are good cheerleaders.

Booking your session is easy. I want you to be as informed as possible about every nook and cranny before your photo shoot.  This means we go over the session, the products, pricing and everything before your amazing session.

So, what is a session like? Well, it’s awesome of course! Okay so first we give you a little advice on what looks good on camera.  We discuss your likes and dislikes to determine what kind of location scouting we should do for you.  Are you an urban girl, city girl, or water girl?  We’ll go though what colors look good on your based on your hair and eye color.  This happens by telephone at least a week before your photography session.

Where do we meet? We meet at my home office in Sherwood Oregon.  This is where we will be doing all the hair and make-up:-)  We get you looking all gorgeous!  Usually, start off with a more natural look and then we add a little color with a bold lip if that works for you or a smokey eye.  It’s interesting how having someone else do your make-up makes all the difference.  You get the royal treatment:-)

Once we add all the finishing touches we all ride together to the central location we have chosen for you.  From that central point we begin with the first outfit and the first part of your photo-shoot.  Then, I’ll have you change into outfit number two.  We’ll do make-up and play up the neutral eye with a bold lip and walk to back drop number two.  We can usually do 2-3 outfit changes and locations within a one mile radius of your personalized outdoor on-location photo-shoot.

When we are though with our photo session we stop for a break.  Meet back up for the reveal of your beautifully hand selected and edited images. This, is the moment where you will get to select all of your favorite images and print products to enjoy for years to come.