The Studio Portrait Experience

She said, “I know when I work with you, I’m going to get a creative portrait.” 

I was standing in the threshold of my studio, and I felt so seen that I caught myself do that shrug that I do when I’m not sure how to receive someone’s words, and then I just nodded my head in affirmation. As an artist and an entrepreneur and a woman, I want the people I photograph to own their power. If I could distill my worldview into a single statement, it would be this:

Who you are and what you do matters. You make a difference in the world– simply in the way you show up. 

I’ve been speaking those words and writing those words for over a decade now. I don’t believe they my words. I think they came from the part of my consciousness that’s on loan to me while I’m here. It’s the part of you that I’m always seeking to draw forth when I photograph you. And, so, I try not to shrink myself. I’m small in stature to begin with, so when someone eloquently reflects back to me who I am and what I do that matters, I want to  resonate in that. 

I have been photographing Isabella since 2015, I think. She was a teenager, and now she’s 21. And, well, I was not a teenager then, and I’m several years older now and beginning to feel vintage. She came into my studio last week to celebrate with some creative portraits, and I felt honored. I wanted to push the edges, of course, and also offer the timeless portraits that Abuelita will also love. That’s my style. 

For years, I’ve received emails in my inbox from people who want a creative portrait– “something unexpected”– they might say, but they’re not sure they deserve it or can afford it or if it’s worth it or if they’re beautiful enough. You are. Everyone has beauty. You are not the unique human on the planet who is exempt from beauty. A portrait photographer’s job is to draw it forth. I’m sorry if you’ve walked through this life for this long and nobody’s every captured it. I’d love to shift your paradigm around what you believe about how you look with creative portraits. So, what I’ve created since I have a studio where creating a variety of looks in a short amount of time is a short portrait experience. If you’re interested, you can read more about it HERE. I’d love to help. 

Environmental Portraits & Executive Headshots in NYC

Most companies, it seems, may need some additional photo looks for their leadership team. I created high key headshots for the entire staff to create consistency for their website and print media collateral. The marketing team expressed that they would need more variety with senior executives.  

With executives, the challenge is that I generally have anywhere from 3-15 minutes to create a portrait. It’s not much time, and I spend the first few minutes trying to build a common thread while examining how they look when they smile, what their best side might be, and how I’m going to pose them. 

Sometimes people say, “Our office is boring.” That wasn’t really the case with this Park Avenue office in NYC, but it’s something I hear a bunch when I talk with clients local to the DFW area where I’m based. And, the thing is with lighting and a good eye for composition, I can typically cancel out that dreadful fluorescent office lighting and make the setting feel dynamic.  

Executive Headshots at an Investment Firm in NYC

I bumped into a client and friend at an elementary school carnival. Honestly, I didn’t even want to go. (It was windy). We chatted as our boys jumped in the bounce house, and she mentioned needing a headshot photographer for their staff in both their New York and Dallas Fort Worth offices. I don’t know what came over me, but before I could even ask questions or think it through, I said, “I’ll go.”

I soon learned that they wanted a clean, modern style where the eyes are the focus. While they wanted to appear friendly and approachable, they wanted to convey credibility and professionalism. 

When I do corporate headshots on site at your business, I tether my camera to the computer for viewing and feedback in real-time. People are amazed at how they look in front of this incredibly flattering lighting and with my precise direction. One of the senior executives said, “I’ve never had a photographer teach me that until now.” I felt both sad and validated. Sad because I bet he’s taken at least ten headshots in his career, and he didn’t love any of them. Validated because I have studied with world renowned headshot photographers, and my background in education and trauma has helped me understand how to provide people with the resources to look comfortable and at ease in their images. 

No deer in headlights looks in my portfolio, please. 

I will not shoot from above. I know that’s the style for some who want to look smaller in the frame. I believe it diminishes your power. You are the hero in your headshot, so I’m going to photograph you as such. But, never fear, I won’t shoot up your nostrils. You’re going to have an incredible jawline. When you see your image, you’ll say, “Wow, I’ve never liked photos of myself until now.”

And, when other people see the portrait, they’ll be drawn to you. A powerful portrait is magnetic like that. If you need cohesive corporate headshots for your company or staff, send me an email, and I’m happy to provide a quote and a custom look to suit your unique photo needs. 

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