I am sooooo excited to say I can now offer in-studio maternity portraits! This is HUGE because I’ve had mamas request to stay indoors for their shoot, or there have been times when we were rained out of our location, and, since babies come when they please, it’s not always possible to reschedule a maternity shoot before baby makes their grand entrance.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been working on figuring out how to still give beautiful portraits in-studio without having to ask clients to rent a separate space. And I think I’ve figured it out.
This mama had a very specific, yet simple, vision in mind for her shoot, and it worked perfectly in our space. Honestly, I was worried we wouldn’t have many good shots, but I ended up having a hard time deciding which images to edit for her reveal.
She didn’t want to look at the camera (personal preference of hers), but we still got a ton of great angles with different types of light setups to give her even more diversity in her gallery.
Above, is the simple beauty light setup, and below is her backlight set up.
The best part about in-studio maternity shoots? Mamas not having to be nervous about people watching as they shoot. This mama even got excited about doing a fine-art nude setup (not pictured), along with some drama-ish shots (below).
Then there’s the big question: But what if I REALLY want outdoor portraits?
No worries. I got you covered.
There’s a park not too far from our space, and it’s perfect for adding on a quick outdoor segment to your session.
I’ve tried offering portrait services a few different ways throughout my photography journey.
In the beginning, I just wanted to get people in front of my camera. At the time, all I really knew was how to make a proper exposure, and I just wanted to get as much practice as possible to build a portfolio, start “marketing”, yadda, yadda.
And I did.
And eventually, I felt good enough to charge (a whole other story for another day), and suddenly, I had a photography business. As most new photographers, my session fee included all the images from the session in some type of digital format (new business experiments and such) and I had products I tried to sell, but I had no clue what I was doing– it was just a hot mess.
TMP’s business experiments continued, testing what various industry leaders had to say about ISP (in-Person Sales), online sales, selling products, ditching digitals, only selling this, and only selling that…
Obviously, there is more than one way to run a photography business. But, naturally, I started to refine exactly how I wanted to run my business.
I didn’t want a high-volume studio; I wanted to have personal encounters with my clients. I wanted them to feel like they were coming to see an old friend when they booked their session.
I wanted clients to feel like they were models in a magazine shoot; stylized hair, makeup, and wardrobe were a must. I wanted clients to be able to just show up, play dress-up, and have an amazing photoshoot.
I wanted to sell beautiful products because ILOVE those products, and I can’t wait to buy a house and fill my walls up with portraits of our family. I felt if I could show other moms how beautiful these products were, they’d understand why they needed them. What mom doesn’t love seeing big adorable photos of their babies all over the place?
I wanted to do all of this while being a mom to my baby (now, babies). Which further validated my low-volume preference =]
I didn’t want to give a mediocre experience, I wanted to give my clients something they would always remember. And maybe, they can relive all the love and joy that went into making those portraits each time they walk past it, or look through their album, or open up the folio box. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll find stories to share as they look at the portraits with loved ones, eventually passing the stories down for generations.
I want it to be special. As special as the love they have for the people they created their images for.
Lately I’ve been getting the question, “What made you want to be a photographer?”
The simple version of the answer is: I just have a burning desire to capture beauty.
While the simple answer is very true, there’s a bit more to the story.
I’ve always been in love with photography. When I was 7 years old, my mom gave me a toy camera for Christmas. It was a clear pink plastic wind-up camera. She probably gifted me the toy camera because she had gotten tired of getting me the disposable cameras since I had spent that year filling them up and taking them to the drug store to get developed. How I loved that little toy camera. I would stalk my family and friends, waiting for the perfect moment to capture the perfect expression. I was fascinated by capturing people then, and still am now.
Starting in middle school, I became known by my friends and classmates to always have a camera on me. I couldn’t quite describe the burning desire to “freeze time,” as I would say, but it was there, and it was strong, and it never ceased.
I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I thought the only way was to work for someone else.
In 2013 we were expecting our first child, and that burning desire became even stronger. Naturally, I wanted to record as much of our daughter’s milestones as I possibly could, but I also wanted to finally figure out how to become a photographer. So, I typed into the Google search engine “how to be a photographer.” Expecting to see articles explaining the process of being an intern at some magazine firm or newspaper, I was surprised to see pages and pages of blogs and articles explaining how to start a photography business.
Instantly, that burning desire turned into a full fire, and the rest is history.
There I was, sitting for hours in the dark at our kitchen table, realizing that I could not only make my dream of being a professional photographer come true, but I could start a business that would allow me the flexibility to be the mom I wanted to be. At the time, it sounded simple enough: write a business plan, set some prices, build a portfolio, and open the business. Boom, instant professional photographer.
Needless to say, it wasn’t that simple.
Once our daughter arrived, I could not wait to begin creating beautiful portraits of her and recording all her milestones with all of the amazingly adorable ideas I put into my portfolio plans. When she was 7 days old, I shot her newborn photos— well, I attempted to shoot her newborn photos.
During the “shoot,” I was so excited. I was swooning over the little headbands I bought from Burlington’s, so proud of how I matched them against the swirly fur fabric I found at Joann’s, and so in love with how precious my little one looked.
I imported the images to Lightroom, picked my favorites to edit, and completed my first set of newborn photos. Unfortunately, my excitement didn’t last much longer once I posted the images in a photography group I found on Facebook.
They ripped those pictures of my precious little girl apart (they were pretty bad though lol). I was crushed. I had failed my first newborn shoot. More importantly, I failed to get those beautiful portraits of my first-born that I had desperately wanted.
Actual photo from my first newborn shoot (my daughter)
As bad as they were, these are printed in our home!
Although I’ve had moments where I wanted to quit, this wasn’t one of them. Instead, my failure pushed me to get it right. I knew I still had some things to learn before I was ready to be a professional photographer.
I took to Google, looking for any resources on photography basics. Google searches led to free blogs and articles, which led to YouTube gurus, and finally, I began investing in education. I spent every possible minute soaking up anything I could about the business and art of photography. Even in all the researching, studying, and practicing, I still didn’t quite understand why this was all so important to me.
What was it about photography that could drive me to go months without sleep in a quest to “get it right”?
Time went by, and I started working with my first paying clients. After we worked together, I would often hear things like, “Oh, I love these pictures, thank you!” and, that was nice and all, but I still felt like something was missing.
It wasn’t until I tried my hand at boudoir portraits that it finally clicked.
At my first boudoir event, I worked with four ladies. Each lady had all of these things they didn’t like about themselves, but I didn’t really understand what they didn’t like. They were all gorgeous to me, and whenever they would tell me their biggest insecurities about their bodies, I remember thinking, “What? Why don’t you like your [insert body part]?” Which was often followed by me thinking “I would KILL to have [insert body part] like yours!”
The responses I got from those ladies once they received their images literally brought tears to my eyes.
Every one of them told me that they couldn’t believe it was them in their portraits, that they never thought they could look that beautiful. One of the husbands of the ladies even sent an email to thank me because his wife was more confident than he had seen in a long time since she’d received her images.
When I look at a person, I see more than their face, more than their insecurities, I see a story. When I talk to that same person, I can see the story come to life before my eyes. I see beyond their physical features, I feel their energy; then their energy just radiates in front of me and I HAVE to capture it, I HAVE to tell their story so that they can see what I see. So they can see the beauty in their story, even when it may not be the picture perfect fairy tale they hoped for.
It may sound cliché, but everyone has a beauty about them.
Everyone: the mom preparing to bring a life into this world, the new baby gracing the earth with their innocence, the woman who just found out she’s ill, the child that would rather throw a tantrum than give a hug, the family that bickers about everything, the sisters who barely see each other, the young lady who’s about to become a wife, the grandmother who found out she’ll have a great granddaughter soon; the women who think they have 20 pounds to lose, the women who have 20 pounds they want to gain, and the women who just want to be loved for who they are.
We all have a story to be told, and we all have beauty to capture. I believe this with every fiber of my being, and THAT is why I wanted to open TeAirra Mitchell Photography.
Get adorable portraits of your favorite baby this July with a photoshoot specially crafted to capture the tiny features of babies 30 days to 12 months old. TeAirra Mitchell Photography is hosting a one-day Milestone Minis special to give moms a memorable portrait experience with their little ones Saturday, July 7th, in Oakland, CA.
This 30-minute portrait reservation includes the props and outfits needed for the session, along with a full-set of poses to give moms a gallery of beautiful “no-fuss” portraits to remember these precious moments of her sweet baby.
Perfect for mom’s who want to update their baby’s memory book, or get some cute shots for this year’s holiday cards, the Milestone Minis special includes wardrobe and props provided for baby, a 30-minute photo shoot, a viewing gallery of 12 fully-retouched images, one 5×5″ photobook of 10 images, and 3 digital downloads available in an online gallery. All for a limited-time offer of $300.
It’s February 1st, which means Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Now, before you start thinking about everything you need to get in order for the kids, the gift you had in mind for your partner, or the fancy dinner you’re going to host for all of your friends, what are you doing for YOU this Valentine’s Day?
If you’re anything like me like most moms and/or wives, you had no plans lovin’ on yourself this Valentine’s Day.
Well, ladies (and gents, too), do I have news for you!
I’ve had the pleasure of teaming up with an amazing Bay Area based makeup artist, who travels across the country helping brides slay on their wedding day, and her name is Allie Yamaguchi. Allie and I both have a personal mission with our work to help women embrace their true beauty, Allie with her makeup artistry, and I with my portraits.
This Valentine’s Day, we are hosting the Heart Day Giveaway where one lucky winner will win a makeover with Allie Yamaguchi and photo shoot with yours truly. You can use the prize all for yourself, or invite your partner, or even gift it to someone who may need a pick-me-up this Valentine’s Day.
The winner will be announced on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2018, and they will be able to book their makeover and photo shoot session. The photo shoot will also include a credit of $100 that may be used towards additional photo services or portrait products.
2017 was a pretty good year for us: we had a new baby, I finally began working full-time as a photographer, and I was graced with a many humbling life-lessons, which I’m always grateful for.
One major thing that happened last year was the Revamp. I had planned on keeping everyone updated on the in’s and out’s of everything that was happening as it happened, but, I’m not going to lie, adjusting to full-time momtrepreneur was more than I anticipated. With that said, the Revamp brought many changes internally, that shouldn’t affect you all too much, and some changes that you won’t help but be able to notice.
Ultimately, the Revamp was the first step to turning TMP into a full-service Wedding and Portrait Studio. A larger studio space is in the works, but it was absolutely necessary to establish some new systems to make sure our clients have a portrait experience they’ll never forget.
Refined Booking System I’m excited to say that we have been booking more and more sessions (you may want to check out our FAQ about how early to book your sessions), which also meant we needed to revisit some things to create a system that allows us to take in more inquiries without them getting lost among the many other emails coming in.
Now, when you’re ready to book your portrait reservation, we have a new client portal system to keep track of all of the details of your session and portrait order. The best part, all you have to do is send the inquiry from our Inquiry Form and you’ll automatically be sent booking information and be added into our studio queue.
Custom Styling + Styling Guide In the past, clients often came to me saying that they didn’t know what to wear to their session, or how to do their hair and makeup, and since this was for their portraits, it could sometimes be stressful. To ensure you get the best experience when planning for your portraits, you will have a one-on-one style consult where we’ll talk about how you want to look in your portraits and go over every detail.
We will discuss everything from basic wardrobe, to hair and makeup, and even any insecurities you may have about your body so that I can plan on how to pose you. The goal for every session is to create beautiful pictures that you love with all of your heart, and the Custom Styling + Styling Guide allows you to truly design the perfect portrait session.
In-Person Reveal + Order Session Ok, so in the past, figuring out how to sell portrait products was tough for me, but there is something so powerful in holding a physical portrait. I cannot begin to describe the joy that wells up in my heart when I hold portraits of my own family. And if I’m truly being transparent, I get the feeling as I’m putting the final touches of my client’s orders. Seriously, printing your portraits is such an important part of your portrait process, and I want all of my clients to have gorgeous heirloom portraits that leave a legacy for their family’s future generations.
When your portraits are ready, clients are invited to return to see their images and choose their favorites to build their Portrait Order using our simple pricing menu. Being in-person allows whatever questions you have to be answered right then, taking out the hassle of sending emails back and forth, playing phone tag, and putting more time between you and your final product. We want you to get excited about designing your portrait display, and we’re here to help however we can.
New Service Remember how I said clients often were overwhelmed by hair and makeup? Well, now we will have (drumroll please!)….
HAIR AND MAKEUP STYLING WITH SESSION BOOKINGS!
Yes, friends! TMP now has a hair and makeup artist to help ease the stress of achieving that picture-perfect look for your portraits.
“Who is this artist?” you may ask, well, that is a blog saved for another day, so stay tuned for the big introduction.
Well, friends, that’s all I have for you this post. I’ll be back to share some stories from TMP and give more insight into who we are as a company, but for now I just want to say: thank you for reading.
One of the most common things I hear from clients is, “I have no idea how we should dress.”
No worries, I’ve got you covered.
Portraits are created to immortalize a moment in time, and often, these portraits are displayed front and center in your home. The pressure to look good is a little heavy, and that’s where I step in with my clients.
During their Style Consult, we talk a lot about the look they are going for. Sometimes clients know exactly what they want, and other times they have no clue. When I sit down to plan a client’s session, here’s what we do:
Choose a style.
When you submit an inquiry form on our website, we ask how you would like to be photographed, and include some examples to choose from; this is your desired Style (or Styles).
The mom from this Fall Family Portrait session knew she wanted everyone to dress classically: dressy attire, but not too over the top. So we went from there.
Decide on colors.
How are you planning to display your portraits? If you’re thinking of a room in your home, you may want to consider having a pallet that compliments the room you have in mind. Or maybe there is a holiday card design you’ve been eyeing, think of colors that will look good in that layout.
We wanted to go for a gold and cream look here, and we knew Burgundy would offer a nice contrast, especially considering our shooting location.
Book hair and makeup appointments.
Even if you feel you can do your own hair and makeup, take it from me, it’s so much better to treat yourself to booking with a stylist and makeup artist. Not only are you guaranteed to look amazing for your shoot, but you’ll also be a lot more relaxed with one less thing to worry about.
For this shoot, the mom’s hair was styled by @taylordhair and her makeup was done by @allieyamaguchi. Be sure to check out these ladies’ Instagrams, especially if you’re looking for artists for the upcoming holidays.
Accessories will truly make or break your shoot. Sure, “less is more,” but I would love to style a session with many shiny and sparkly pieces. =]
The dress was our accessory for this shoot. I found it in my studio stash and instantly knew it would be perfect for this style. (Yes, I do look for outfits for my clients, but only if they let me.)
Rock the shoot!
Now that you have all the styling components for your shoot, get out there and work it! Even if you’re a bit nervous, your photographer should be able to direct you into poses that flatter you. No need to worry about if you “look good,” your photographer has that under control.
As I tell my clients, “Relax, and be beautiful!”
Just remember, your portrait experience should be enjoyable. And with a little planning and preparation, you will absolutely love them.
Last week, I published a TMP blog for the first times in a long time (since June, I believe), and the one post was an entire ordeal that felt like such a struggle for me.
But first, a bit of an introduction may be in order due to my absence for such a period of time. I’m TeAirra; most people call me TeAirra, or some affectionate name they’ve bestowed upon me. I am a wife, mother, and budding entrepreneur (photography isn’t my only passion). I stay home with my littles, running my business whilst being Mommy. My life can sometimes seem overwhelming, but, oh, how I love every moment of sweet, agonizingly amazing love and chaos– and I mean that with every piece of my soul.
When I first began Light From My Soul– I can only rub my forehead and chuckle– I had no idea what I was doing.
I knew I wanted it to have at least some personal touch. After all, “Light From My Soul” seems a bit deeper than just some marketing pieces here and there, but that’s what happened; the blog slowly began to fill up with TMP marketing pieces here and there. And in a way, I feel like that’s what happened in my business. I began doing the things I thought I was suppose to do, the things that were required of every “professional photographer.”
Which worked pretty well for awhile, but photography began to lose it’s spark with me.
But then, after some soul searching and a many sleepless nights, I realized I still hadn’t accomplished what I set out to do. I’d become stuck in a cycle of “good enough”, and I wanted more. I wanted my clients to have more. I wanted the business to give more. TMP was always designed to be more of a luxury service, but we know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built overnight”
And man, did the Revamp whip me into shape, but that’s a story for another day.
I made a decision, that no matter how many sleepless nights, how many mistakes, how many rejections, how many obstacles, I’m going to put this vision into action. I’m going to put ALL my visions into action. The only difference between those who are successful and those who are not is one put in the work, and one did not. And I’m here to put in all the work.
Hello, I’m TeAirra, and I am here to live my life apologetically. I invite you to do the same.
November is in full swing, and you know what that means? That’s right: Family Portraits!
I shoot a lot of maternity and newborn portraits, but that doesn’t mean I don’t shoot families. Actually, since I meet a majority of my families during their pregnancy, I usually get to see them once a year after for their family portraits.
Fall Family Portraits are quite popular for a few reasons:
Fall gives a Golden Hour that is totally worth keeping the kids out a bit past bedtime (Daylight Savings makes it even earlier).
The leaves are changing and gives a backdrop of yummy warm autumn tones.
Holiday Cards need to be made and mailed, and what makes a better Holiday Card than a gorgeous family portrait?
Right now, we are offering a free set of Holiday Cards with your Family Portrait reservation. Choose a design from out catalog, and maybe even custom postage stamps, to give Holiday Gifts your family and friends will surely adore.
If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed gaps in our posts. Well, sometime in December of 2016, I felt it was time to reevaluate TMP. I was nine months pregnant at this time and spent the final days of pregnancy as well as the first few months after our daughter was born examining the TMP brand for areas I could improve. Now, the examining, studying, and planning is done and it’s time to initiate a revamp!
Why the revamp?
3 years ago, I decided to embark on the journey of building a photography business because I wanted to give mamas the gift of having nice pictures of their little ones and the bellies that those little ones were carried in. As time went on, I added services while deciding to specialize in Maternity and Newborn portraits, but always felt something was missing. Sure TMP has been growing and doing pretty well, but with each client, I would find two or three things I wished I would have done differently. Recently, I’ve realized I’ve lost focus of what was most important to me in my business: the women I was creating these portraits for.
The purpose behind this revamp is to bring the focus back to these women, their babies, the partners who love and support them, the new chapters of their lives, and any other reason that is significant enough for them to decide to document through photography.
What will be changing?
I’m transitioning TMP into a full-service Wedding and Portrait studio, meaning from start to finish every detail of our clients’ experience with us will be tailored to them and the artwork they want as keepsakes for their homes. I’ll be updating my portfolio, adding services and products, and simplifying pricing.
Keepsakes clients may want could be wall art hung as large individual pieces or group of portraits hung to create an in-home portrait gallery. Or perhaps you would rather keep your walls as they are and would prefer to have a gorgeous folio box to hold many portraits or have a handcrafted album designed with your portraits. I want our clients to have many options for custom products, and I want our clients to know that the possibilities are endless.
With all these changes taking place, they key focus overall is to provide a simple structure that makes our clients’ experience enjoyable and unforgettable. Great communication, excellent service, and quality products are a part of the improved structure, with client satisfaction being our top priority.
What will be affected during the Revamp?
While everything is under construction the TMP website and social media platforms will be changing, and some technical difficulties are sure to arise. These platforms will be quiet for awhile, and I will slowly resume posting in about a month or so. My responses will be slower, session availability will be limited (we are open during construction), and other complications I can’t even begin to fathom may occur, but I will do my best to address issues that come up as swiftly as possible. I apologize in advance for any inconveniences.
What does that mean for you, reading this?
The whole motivation behind this revamp is the satisfaction of you, the client (and also our fans!). So I want to hear from you, tell me what you’ve like most about TMP until this point, tell me what you would like to see done differently, let me know what you’re most excited about the revamp and any suggestions you may have. You can click here to complete a survey, or leave a comment below.
If you would like to be kept in the loop about the Revamp, including being the first to know when the relaunch will happen and how you can participate, sign up for our email list here.
Thank you to everyone that has shown their love and support to TMP over the last few years. I’m forever grateful for the feedback you’ve all given, the good, bad, and the ugly. Even more so, thank you for allowing me to be me and pushing me to be better. The experiences I’ve had on this journey have been priceless in my growth spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Words could never express the gratitude I feel and I hope to be even better with TMP 2.0.
Stay tuned for more updates, I’m excited for what’s to come, and I hope you are too!