Welcome back!

I'm back with another post and I want to talk ALLLLLL things studio. The past few years I've experimented in different studios all around the DFW and I want to tell the story how I overcame my anxiety from studio sessions, and now they have become some of my favorite sessions I've ever shot.

Studios can feel intimidating sometimes, that's how I definitely felt in the beginning. It was like being given an IKEA box with all the pieces but no instructions. The beauty of a studio is being able to design and customize your settings to fit your vision, your aesthetic, and your brand. It's all about what you want the setting to convey. This can be exciting and fun, it lets your inspiration run wild. For me, I felt stuck. I didn't have any experience even getting my photos taken in a studio, now I had to be the one to style and direct a session in one? It was a lot, and I had to just power through.

The first studio session I ever shot (The Lumen Room: Plano)

One of my most recent studio sessions in 2023 (The Glossary in Richardson).

Not only do the two photos above have completely contrasting looks (black backdrop vs. white backdrop, laughing vs. smize), the way I felt when shooting both of these sessions were a huge contrast too. I was used to shooting outdoors in the mornings or a couple hours before sunset, I knew I liked to keep my ISO low at 100 to 200, I liked keeping my aperture at 1.8 (at the time I only had my Canon EF 50mm 1.8), and I adjusted my shutter speed where necessary. The big pro of my first studio session was shooting someone that I already knew and considered a friend. The studio reservation was an hour and I wanted to make the best of what we had so I decided on 3 different setups - the white brick wall with a brown leather couch, the black rolling backdrop with a black stool, and the plain white wall. I wanted to deliver my best possible work to my client but I was so nervous about posing and I kept wondering about how it would look. I was taking this blank canvas and trying to fill the space in the best possible way. I struggled with knowing how to pose for sure, I thought maybe some of them would look awkward. The whole time I struggled, I forgot to take a breath and check my photos because once the session was over I felt like some of my photos were too dark. I know people say you should underexpose and brighten it later, but I definitely knew it was REALLLLLY underexposed.

My second studio session - The Lumen Room: Dallas - White.

My third studio session was a cake smash for my niece's first birthday - Studio V&V in Addison.

My fifth studio session overall but it was my first STYLED studio session, as well as my very first time working with my friend, Lauren - Artist Uprising Studios in Richardson.

In 2021, I shot 4 studio sessions overall, 2 of which were for little ones (one cake smash and one 6 month old milestone photos), and the other 2 were friends who supported my businesses and asked me to take their headshots and updated photos. After my first studio session, I started to look at the furniture in these studios, and I began to start designing the settings. Adding colors, textures, and depth into the photos. In 2022, I shot 8 studio sessions total, and my first one of the year was a styled studio session I shot with my friend Lauren. I wanted to shoot with florals for the spring and I hadn't been in the studio in such a long time. I figured it couldn't hurt to practice while also accumulating content for myself.

A few things had changed in my second year. I was more confident and assertive with posing - I was more comfortable with my clients even if they were strangers and always reassured them that the first few poses were always to warm up, keep them moving, and get them in the right headspace. I also was not afraid to crank that ISO up a little more in a studio so I would increase it as far as 400, and I wasn't afraid of the canvas anymore. I created Pinterest boards so I could give myself a visual on how I wanted to style the session, I studied the furniture for every studio, and I always wanted to maximize what I could do even in a short amount of time. I wasn't afraid to create, but more importantly, I wasn't afraid to make mistakes. I've spent my whole life being afraid of being wrong, so afraid that I chose a path that I knew my heart wasn't in when I went to college, so afraid that I wasted money and years working towards a career that I knew was not meant for me. I didn't want to be afraid to create and be an artist anymore, I felt rejuvenated (big thanks and shoutout to my therapist for getting me through).

From the group styled session

BFFS from my fall mini sessions, one of the girls was a returning client - Vantage Street Studios

Couple from my fall mini sessions, this couple hadn't had their couples photos done since they got married years prior - Vantage Street Studios

From the 8 studio sessions I shot, I diversified as much as possible. I offered a sorority a free chapter session in exchange for them to a group styled outfit for me. I was overly generous but I needed the opportunity - and I was overwhelmed. Some of the lighting situations didn't turn out well, but it gave me the opportunity to analyze my own work and learn. A few months later, I hosted my first set of studio mini session for the fall. Not all my slots got filled, which is always fine, but I was able to learn. I shot 2 couples, a group of 3 bffs, 1 family (which was a returning client), and 1 little one's portraits. I took my time and slowed down, but I also missed a few things like, not making enough of my fall leaf garlands for the backdrop, for getting to take off the sticker on my wooden crate, but overall, they were successful. I look back on the galleries for these sessions and I am still so incredibly proud of my work. They look cohesive, they were well posed, and I was learning to use the spaces I was given.

Now, I've completed my THIRD full year in photography as a business owner, and I've come a long way. I love simplicity sometimes, I love the plain white walls and posing my clients. I love trying a bunch of different poses and prompts, I always tell my clients to laugh through it if the prompt feels weird and I always promise it will look good, and it always does. Why? Because I have faith in myself. It took time to build my confidence and decide how I wanted to show up to my clients as a photographer. It's all a learning process and I'm not afraid to make mistakes or fail now, because it means I still have an opportunity to get it right, and when I do I feel the happiness tingling all over, I want to keep doing it! That's why I love this job.

Now I'm entering my fourth year of photography and I love studios sessions equally as much as shooting outside. The photos above are from this year and I still have fall and winter mini sessions coming up for the year. Join my mailing list if you want to be the first to know when they are announced! My short and sweet answer for why I love mini sessions is this: you get to create a setting for your session as close to your inspiration as possible.

There are a variety of studios in the DFW. Some are simple and gorgeous spaces with rolling or seamless paper backdrops, a variety of chairs, tables/desks, and decor that are perfect for branding and portraits sessions. Some studios even have couches and rugs to create a more casual setting for families and couples, and there are a few that are even designed to look like homes with beds, cribs, and kitchens! You can have an in-home session in a studio that looks like a home if yours happens to look like a mess, or if you are a private person and don't want your personal spaces photographed and posted on social media. Anything truly is possible. My responsibility as the photographer is to collaborate with my client in order to deliver what you envisioned. I want to see the Pinterest boards and the inspiration photos, I want to see what you are picturing so I can find the best studios to book and know how to set it up.

I hope my story provides a big perspective to anyone who is intimidated by shooting in a studio, or for someone who is deliberating between having their session outdoors or indoors. If you have questions and are exploring further, I want to talk to you. I want to hear what you are looking to capture, and I want you to trust me to be able to create and give you that. So I hope to see some of your beautiful faces soon at my upcoming mini sessions!