A Photoshoot for Someone Special

Laura found me on a Google search and told me that she loved the portraits she found there. “I’m looking for a special gift for my boyfriend, a man who has everything”, she told me in our initial consultation.

“You’ve come to the perfect place!”, I told her. “Women’s portraiture is a specialty of mine.” And I’m talking about women of all ages and sizes. So many women I photograph are in the 50+ demographic, including Laura, believe it or not!

We proceeded to discuss over the phone how she wanted to be photographed, how she planned to use the pictures, wardrobe choices for the shoot and my overall process. 

This was going to be fun! We were both excited for the photoshoot.

The day of the shoot had arrived.

Laura showed up with several outfits, like I suggested. While my fabulous hair and makeup artist, Nikki Reign of Studio Facade, was setting up, Laura and I went through the clothes she brought.

“Which outfit is your favorite, that you feel the most attractive and sexy in?”, I asked her. She pointed out a few and I agreed that they would read well in the photographs.

“We’ll use those”, I said, and proceeded to match them up with my different backdrops as Laura and Nikki got to work on Laura’s makeup, chatting and with the music playing in the background.

We planned three different “looks” for Laura. A natural look in the window light with natural makeup and lighter toned clothes:

Then a bit of a darker makeup look in the natural light and black backdrop:

And lastly, a “smokey eye” with her wearing sexy black attire and an open leather coat in my dark grey backdrop and professional lighting:

Laura worked the camera with expression like a champ as I guided her through the shoot. Her excitement grew as I showed her the back of the camera from time to time and as she warmed up to the experience. We ended up shooting for longer than anticipated because we were having so much fun.

I sent Laura the gallery afterwards and she exclaimed “the photos are fabulous!” and proceeded to order several. She printed out two for immediate gifts for her boyfriend, then had me make two albums for him, with promises for more purchases in the future. 

Later she told me that he got tears in his eyes when she gifted him with the first prints – awwww, that made my day!

Lisa Mueller: From Software Engineer to Intuitive Guide and Coach

Pure white hair, easy authentic smile and sparkling, intelligent blue eyes- Lisa is such a beauty, inside and out! Upon meeting her for the first time at an Illuminating Women Girl’s Night Out event, I was taken with her compassionate and warm, open manner. Lisa comes across as a listener, friendly and compassionate, with a strong side of humor and laughter to boot.

A lead software engineer in the Aerospace industry for about 28 years, just over a year ago she switched career roles to follow her yearnings to guide others along the spiritual journey that she’d been traveling along daily, despite her left brain profession.

The change from full time software engineer to intuitive guide and coach was profound. After losing her Mother 10 years ago, she was adrift – unsure about her future and purpose in life.  She was not happy with her engineering career and was unclear about what made her happy.  She turned to various spiritual teachings where her mind began to open up to all the possibilities of the Universe.  Over time she created intentional daily practices and began to feel a connection to her True self and the Universe.  With a new sense of peace and purpose from within, she began shifting her life.  

These days, Lisa helps her clients get more in touch with their true selves in order to open up to a new way of life.  In her business at Lisa Mueller Coaching, she is a teacher and guide, holds virtual classes and meditations for clients, co-hosts a podcast and holds one on one sessions for her clients.

Check out Lisa online! You can find her website at www.lisaannmueller.com, or on FB at https://www.facebook.com/lisaannmueller or listen to her podcast at https://anchor.fm/practical-consciousness.

Take a peek under each photograph here to see the concept behind the picture when we were considering her branding and how to think through creating the picture.

This studio shot demonstrates her interests, her wisdom and whimsy
This image shows a feeling of hope and optimism, and her love of nature
Here, Lisa is holding up the name of her new FB group, “Your Higher Wisdom” while in nature, her pose showing her fun side
Here Lisa wanted a picture in her arsenal to be prepared for upcoming speaker events in her future.
Lisa used this in a Facebook post in which she discussed doing an energy detox. It is a picture to promote a sense of peace and awe.
Here, we see Lisa as someone with whom we can share our tea and friendship, as someone who we would like to spend time with. Which is ever so true!

#Quarantinediaries – The Thread that Pulled Me Through Lockdown

Selfie reflection

My #Quarantinediaries project started as a personal one. I figured I’d document my household’s time in lockdown using words and photos. Then maybe use an online book making program to create a little book to keep for our memories. 

For me, if I’m not creating, my world is not as bright. And I’ve been naturally drawn towards writing and photography ever since I was a young ‘un in Middle School. So this project idea seemed to just make sense for me.

In chatting with others about business and some frustration about not being able to move forward with my photo shoots, I came up with the idea to share some of these images on social media. People seemed to like them! My project had taken on a life of its own. The Facebook version was less personal and wordy of course, but gave a peek into my household during lockdown.

#Quarantinediaries was a thread that has pulled me through the lockdown so far. It was a project that has allowed me to focus on my physical area of lockdown as well as ponder the themes that I’ve observed both within myself and within the society around me. I used my family that I live with, my virtual family and friendships, social media, news, essays and even poetry as multiple sources of inspiration for the themes and pictures I’ve posted.

Here’s the first of the themes that I presented in the #Quarantinediaries posts on Facebook:

#Quarantinediaries- “Walking the dogs

Daughter Molly and I are taking long walks with the dogs through the neighborhood lately! Well, maybe a normal thing for us, but what’s different recently is that everywhere we walk, we see loads of other people walking two by two, but the streets nearly empty of car traffic. Gyms and businesses are closed, and people are antsy to get out of their houses and move their bodies too. We all wave and smile as we walk past each other (maintaining our social distance, of course). Exercise, fresh air, being friendly and actually seeing your neighbors – it’s nice, right?

Piper whining to go on a walk – always ready to go! Especially during my Zoom calls it seems.
Fun in the sun!
Piper is so happy! Our dogs love the quarantine because it means their “pack” is constantly surrounding them. I’m enjoying spending time with my pack as well, even if it isn’t the whole pack, just my husband and one of my three adult children. The other two live elsewhere, but are doing well during the quarantine, thank goodness. I hope your pack is well
Piper and her Auntie Maya

The next FB post theme was about how we have been spending our time during the lockdown.

#Quarantinediaries – “Spending Time”

How have you been spending your time so far during the lockdown? I’m genuinely curious. It may be strange, but I’ve found the enforced lockdown to be an unusual gift that has made me slow down unlike any other time in my life. For me, it’s been a time to focus on family connections and some creative ideas that otherwise would be pushed to the bottom of the pile. Here’s another little tiny peek into how we’ve been spending our time lately in our household. Please post some of your pictures in the comments below if you’d like to share…

A time to meditate
Hahaha! Ok, so I faked the whole meditation photo above and cracked up the next second and Molly caught this one. I’ve have “monkey mind”, or a racing mind and have tried to meditate for years without much success. I so admire people who meditate regularly, like my good friend, Marianne Mersereau. So now I do something called Disciplined Mental Practice which I learned from the wonderful Maleah Jacobs.
A time for artwork- Molly doing her digital drawing, often multitasking with watching something on her accompanying computer screen and chatting with her international friends on a different platform.
A time for working at home – here’s hubby blessed to have paid work that he loves and can do at home during quarantine
A time to wait, once again. To wait for the humans to let them in, let them out, let them in, let them out, let them in…..etc
A time to fidget!
A time to wait – Maya, waiting for the delivery man so she can bark at them while I’m on my Zoom call next to her….

What Does Family Mean to You?

Family, It’s complicated, right? They are those people you love unconditionally, but that can also drive you crazy occasionally. Families come in all shapes and sizes. No one family is perfect. There are tight bonds and then there are feuds that last for years and can hurt our hearts. There are opposite personalities and then friendships that shift over the decades. But even through these love-hate relationships, there tends to be a loyalty to each other, We say “well, they are family” when one of us needs help, or when one of us is dealing with difficulties.

Then there’s children and their parents. No parent is perfect, we all make mistakes, but we do the best we can at the time. I think back to when my husband and I were raising our children and the mistakes that were made that I see now on hindsight. For me, it meant getting my fingers too much in my son’s business as a teenager, when all he wanted was privacy. Maybe we enabled them at times? Or was that just kindness and concern? There is a tendency among today’s parents of older children (including myself) to not allow their kids to experience their own failures and pains. Maybe it’s a reaction to the last generation, where our Moms would kick us outside and tell us to not come back ‘til dark. A different take on parenting for sure.

I’m reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming. What a good story she tells. Anyhow, I’m so impressed by Michelle’s mother. Her Mom said she was “raising adults”, not bringing up babies. She showed caring and love, yet allowed her kids the room to make their own decisions, do their own work and even fail from time to time. She didn’t overreact to their travails or their successes, but offered a constant unconditional support for all of their efforts and experiences. I admire her. She was wise beyond her years while raising those two kids.

So… family. It is that time of year when family is the focus. This time of year brings out pain and loneliness in many folks. Memories of a lost loved one due to death or just absence. For others, like myself (I’m fortunate to say) the season brings along a sense of connectedness, of coziness and an extreme appreciation for family – ever important, yet imperfect. I invite you to join me in counting out your gratitudes, and in sharing your family stories- both the joys and challenges.

I had the opportunity to photograph Katie’s lovely family at Greenlake recently. I could see the love and playfulness that existed between them. So beautiful to witness. Here are a few of the pictures that I captured on that sunny Seattle day.