A couple of weeks ago I was stumped on what to blog about, so I put a poll out on Instagram to see if anyone would share some things they’d like to have me touch on in my Blog. I got some really great suggestions! I still ran out of time to blog that day… and the next… and the next… but here we are. I finally have found some time!

The first suggestion I’m using is: How does the change in weather inspire your sessions?

I have to say that the change in weather inspires me in life in general. I get very sick of the summer heat every year and with a toddler, plus the pandemic, this year that has been ten fold. It has been a real challenge to beat the heat anywhere but inside our house. So having the weather FINALLY start to drop into the 80’s is an absolute God send. We can literally just go play outside… as much as I am ready for bundled up clothing and hot latte’s, I’m thankful just to feel like I can take her outside in the afternoon and let her play. I start coming up with fun ideas of ways to entertain her outside and fun things we can do together.

From a photography stand point, this year in particular I’ve been exceptionally inspired. With the change in weather comes family portrait season. As someone who is primarily a wedding photographer, I get VERY excited for the change of pace that the fall traditionally brings to my business. This year, as you know, I haven’t captured a traditional wedding in a while, so just being out working with people in this beautiful weather gets me excited about what I do all over again. It has been hard to stay inspired when we have no idea when we’ll get back to the traditional days of weddings. However, this season lifts that dark cloud a little bit for me. As a Mom myself, I love family sessions more than I ever have before. For the next couple of months I get to see smiling faces (even if they don’t get to see mine behind my mask), and play and chat and enjoy time with these families on a regular basis and feel like I have a job again! Just this boost in energy for me, this time of year, inspires me to expand my marketing, come up with new fun ideas, and just gets my creative juices flowing. I can’t tell you how wonderful that feeling is after so many months of disappointment as our country continues to combat covid-19 unsuccessfully. While many businesses have been lucky enough to be able to re-open SAFELY, the wedding industry is still at a major disadvantage and will be one of the very last, I believe, to fully recover. So in the meantime I am inspired by cooler weather and cute-ass kids, sweet little baby bumps, and dogs in costume!!

Take a look at my first round of 2020 Mini Sessions:

My mini session dates are full for this year, but if you’re interested in booking a full family session – please feel free to reach out! You can message me at http://www.briannacaster.com or email me at briannacasterandco@gmail.com

Stay safe my friends!

This is a super insulting question to ask anyone in the creative field. So just …. don’t. Instead – read this blog and share it with those who would like a better understanding of what goes into pricing with things like wedding photography or family photography.

This blog post topic is brought to you by way of inspiration from my cousin 🙂 I was not at all offended when he asked me about photography pricing and why it’s so high, because he’s family and I know his question came out of a real desire to understand. But this immediately made me thing that I should talk about it. So here we are!

What goes into pricing for photography? No. Despite what you might think, it is not just an arbitrary number we come up with. It’s not ego… well maybe a little bit is ego, but well deserved ego 😀

Here is how professional photographers build their pricing and decide what they NEED to charge in order for a session to be worth their time, effort and talent:

Factor 1: The basics. 

Education. Not everyone can check this box with an actual degree, but most photographers can check this box with time and effort they have put in, and money they have spent educating themselves. Conventions, online courses, in person classes, etc. You might have a natural eye for beauty, but that doesn’t mean s-h-i-t if you don’t know how to apply it, or how to use your gear. I personally have a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography – so for me, the education part is all encompassing. I have a degree in my field, and I continue to spend money and time furthering my education and constantly am learning new techniques, equipment, and also – what they don’t teach you in art school… HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS.

Factor 2: Overhead.

What does it cost to run a photography business? This might shock you. I don’t often share these numbers but I think it’s important. Every photographer’s overhead varies. But there are things that across the board, every professional photographer HAS to spend money on.  These things include, but are not limited to: cost of equipment, cleaning/maintenance of equipment, insurance of equipment, liability insurance, contract/booking programs, editing & culling subscriptions, computer equipment, editors, back up systems, studio space, ADVERTISING, website building/design/upkeep,…. the list goes on and on. If you are a full time photographer – guess what… none of these bills stopped during Covid. So keep that in mind. With little to nothing coming in, all of these bills still had to get paid. Overhead for a full time photography business can be upwards of $50,000.00 per year…

Factor 3: Experience / Talent…. TIME.

YES – these are extremely valuable. When you hire a professional, they know exactly what they are doing. They know what lighting, timing, posing, etc. to use at the drop of a hat. I am of the belief that our time is the most valuable thing we have to give to another person… because it’s the one thing we can’t get back. Let that sink in.

Factor 4: Value.

This is probably the most important thing that people miss when trying to understand what they are getting when they hire a professional photographer. The best way I can express it is with this scenario: Your house is on fire. All people and pets are safe. What is the first thing you grab to take with you after your loved ones are safe? MOST people would say, photographs, albums, or hard drives that hold their photos. Why is that? Because those images are your legacy. They’re your life story. They are your most prized possessions because they are all you have left after the moment is gone. One day the memories will fade, but the photos help reignite them. One day your kids will look at your wedding photos and probably have them in their own home… One day your kids will be graduating high school, college… in the blink of an eye, your babies will be grown up… and all you’ll have to remember the early days, are your photos. If THAT is not value to you…. then clearly you’re not a fan of photography 😉 To me, these times, these days, these memories – are all priceless. I should charge more 😉

 

These four things are the majority of what goes into how we determine what we will charge. The question you have to ask yourself when making a decision to hire a professional photographer is, what will these images be worth to me 10 years from now? 20 years? What value will my children and grandchildren find in these? Divide the cost up by how many years you think you’ll cherish those images for. If it’s a lifetime… or two lifetimes… then it should be worth every penny. How many other things do you spend money on that last that long?

 


 

Here’s a look at a repeat wedding share 🙂 This gorgeous wedding at SaddleRock Ranch in Malibu is still one of my favorites.

 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Josh & Jaz! Two years and two babies for this power couple.

 

For more information on booking wedding photography, OR getting your family portraits on the calendar – visit http://www.briannacaster.com and send us a message.

Are we starting to see it you guys!? Is it finally happening!?

Today Orange County was removed from the California county “watch list” for covid-19 cases. Our cases here are finally on a steady decline…. FINALLY!!! Please, don’t take this as your moment to rip your mask off and run around bare naked on your face… the storm isn’t over, but it’s starting to let up. We have to keep doing what we’re doing… wearing our masks, social distancing, washing our hands, sanitizing things… etc etc so that we can continue this trend. But I dare say… I am finally seeing some hope.

There are still so many unknowns, but one thing I do know for sure is that 2020 has been a complete wash for my wedding photography business. At the same time, it has been a really beautiful time to get closer to my family, to be there even more for my daughter, and to explore other avenues of my business. As the summer creeps toward a close ever so slowly (can it be Fall yet?), I am gearing up to start planning my yearly family mini sessions. You guys – there has NEVER been a more important time to document your family. Things are WEIRD – this is a historical time that we will all look back on one day and talk about… hopefully along with the stress and anxiety, there are beautiful memories that are being created. Let’s capture them together.

My focus for the rest of 2020 will be to do just that; to capture this time for you and your loved ones. I will be announcing my mini session dates and locations next month – I hope you and your loved ones will join me.

Below are some of the quarantine shoots I’ve done this year already. I look forward to photographing you and your cuties this Fall.

If you’d like to be one of the FIRST to get my mini session dates and make sure you get on the list and get a primo spot… send me a message at briannacasterandco@gmail.com and let me know! The dates will go out to a select list of past clients before opening to the general public. My dates go FAST!! I can add you to this list by request only to guarantee you a spot.

See you in the fall my friends!

 

With love,

Brianna

 

 

What’s a Wedding Photographer to do when they’ve hit nearly 5 months on Quarantine with no end in sight? Do we stay positive? Stay the course? Or Pivot? Both? I don’t know. I do know that my business is not the only one suffering during these times. I also know that Weddings are one of the most sure-fire ways of spreading COVID-19 so I get it. It sucks – but I get it.

What people don’t realize is that although we aren’t currently photographing weddings, our business still needs to run. We still have work to do. Engagement sessions to photograph, blogs to write, clients to talk to, and people to book for post covid times… we have to move forward as if we are going back to work next month even though we have no idea if we will or not. Someone asked me the other day why I still have a babysitter coming to help with my daughter if I’m not working. Just because I’m not shooting weddings, and not taking in steady money – doesn’t mean there isn’t work to do. Not only that but I’m trying to book non-wedding business to help keep the doors open so that we CAN get back to weddings eventually. Bills still have to get paid.

With the help of a wonderful friend and mentor I’m now offering studio style business portraits. I’ve been asked many times about this but have only ever offered natural light portraits. Quarantine is as good as an excuse as any to learn a new technique! I am not one to sit back and wait for things to get better… my wheels keep turning, I make plans, I pivot…. Instead of sitting back and thinking about how much it sucks, I figure out what I can do in the mean time. At the end of the day, it expands my horizons and allows me to continue to offer MORE to those who come to me.

Portraits are important for every field of business. Whether you’re an Artist, a Banker, a Lawyer, a Real Estate Agent, a Singer, an Actor, a Teacher…. you name it… people want to see your beautiful face! So… let me shoot your face 🙂 Whatever kind of portrait you need – most likely, I can do it for you.

Take a look at some of my favorite portraits over the last year:

 

Studio light, Natural light, you in your element… whatever that may be – I’d love to photograph it. For more information please visit my website at http://www.briannacaster.com – or message me directly!

 

I have been meaning to post for Pride Month literally all month long. I’ve been distracted with all of the other things going on in the world, and once I got this engagement session on my calendar, I knew it was going to make for the perfect Pride Month Post. So here I am! Better late than never – it’s still June!

Here’s a little history on Pride Month thanks to our friends at Wikipedia:

Pride Month occurs to commemorate the Stonewall Riots which took place at the end of June 1969.

What were the Stonewall Riots, you might ask? They were a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the LGBT community in response to a police raid that began in the early morning hours of June 28th 1969 at the Stonewall Inn which is in Manhattan, New York. Patrons of the Stonewall as well as other lesbian and gay bars in the neighborhood fought back when the Police became violent. These riots are widely considered to constitute one of the most important events leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBTQ rights in the United States.

Does this sound familiar to anyone? When people have had enough, people have had enough.

I believe our country has done a massive disservice in not recognizing Juneteenth as a national holiday. Full disclosure – I don’t recall ever hearing about Juneteenth until this year. I do recall learning about the Emancipation Proclamation and how long it took for the news to get to those still enslaved in Texas… but I don’t recall ever hearing that this was a date that is celebrated by black people across our nation until this year. This date should be celebrated by EVERYONE in this country, as should Pride month. These monumental moments in history should be a badge of pride, recognition and celebration for every US citizen because we should be celebrating any movement that brings us forward in the fight for equality among gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity, etc. We are a melting pot and we should all be celebrating equality in all of its forms, and all of its movements. These are not holidays for just black people, for just LGBTQ people… these should be holidays we all recognize.

Let’s not forget where we started or how we got where we are today. We have a LONG way to go, but we finally seem to be getting somewhere. HISTORY is vital. We cannot forget our history, if we don’t want to repeat it. Don’t forget our history.

In honor of Pride Month, and just because they’re so damn adorable… I have to share my engagement session with Abby & Isabelle. These two are high school sweethearts and come from families who have supported their relationship from the very beginning. Here’s to hoping their story, their families love and acceptance, the fact that they did not have to grow up hiding who they are…. becomes the norm in our country and around the world. Congratulations to this beautiful couple. I cannot wait to photograph your wedding!

Happy Belated Juneteenth to everyone in this country. Happy Belated Pride Month to everyone in this country. Let’s keep each other accountable, let’s be kind, let’s remind each other to honor these important dates.

 

Abby & Isabelle are both becoming teachers! In honor of these bright young women going out in the world to help shape our Youth I want to share some educational resources for children.

For information on how you can educate your children on discrimination and help bring this country a better future by teaching your kids about acceptance and love, check out these articles:

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/teaching-young-children-social-justice-jinnie-spiegler

https://parentline.com.au/older-kids/issues/helping-kids-deal-discrimination

https://www.apa.org/topics/kids-discrimination

 

For information on booking wedding photography, engagement photography, family photography or anything photography related – check out my website and drop me a line at http://www.briannacaster.com

 

Peace, Love & Equality,

Brianna

I haven’t blogged in quite a while.

First, COVID-19 had me feeling like I was losing this business I’ve worked so hard to build. Having to cut out my assistant and lose a lot of help I had because I couldn’t pay anyone caused a couple of minor break downs. I have been juggling trying to keep my head above water in business, keeping the bills paid without any money coming in (thank goodness I have been smart enough to save for business catastrophes), and being a full-time Mom to Brynlee because we also didn’t have our babysitter for several weeks. This meant I was doing anything and everything I could do during Brynlee’s naps. And if you know me well enough, you know the epic short napper that my daughter is. I have been TRULY blessed that my Mom works for me as does my long time friend and colleague Elaine. They both do sales for our team, and without question, have continued to work our leads and help us book business for post covid times and have not asked me for a dime because they understand the predicament my business has been in. People like them and loyalty like theirs, is beyond priceless. Without the two of them, this whole operation would have truly fallen apart. They kept my business going and I am forever grateful to them for their understanding of my needs without having to be asked and their willingness to see past the RIGHT NOW dollars, to help me without question or pay, and to understand that their help now means we all benefit later. A LOT of things have fallen by the wayside in this time, but so many things kept going because of them. They kept going because they believe in me and what we have built. Financially, I will eventually be able to repay them – but emotionally… holy cow.

In addition to covid, the world has just been all over the place and I haven’t been able to find the words. I have not posted anything for work in several weeks because it just hasn’t felt right. There is a huge movement going on, and talking about anything other than that movement has honestly felt like it would be a betrayal to the cause. At the same time, I realize that I have to get back to work… my Instagram account is more about growing and maintaining my business than it is about my personal life and I can’t let my business continue to fall apart. I say continue because for the last few months it’s felt like it was falling apart in the chaos of COVID-19. So I’ve been left with this question daily… How do I get back to posting for my business without taking away from the cause? How do I use my voice to help my community without abandoning my business? The truth is, I still don’t have an answer. It feels like the two can’t be merged because I’m trying to help educate friends and family on racism and inequality, but also trying to book some family sessions and weddings.

I even thought for a minute that I shouldn’t bring this up in a blog, but truth be told – I just can’t separate the two. It doesn’t feel right. And if people are bothered by my topics of conversation they don’t need to follow me anymore and they don’t need to book me as their Photographer. I am not here to maintain the “status quo” – I am here to help in the movement toward change, and those that may be bothered by this, are not the right clients for me. I want to see more equality in this country and in this world. I want to be a part of bringing people together, not apart of deepening the divide.

I hate how political this movement has become too. I don’t know why I am even remotely surprised about it… nothing big in this country can happen without “taking sides”. I wish that people would turn off the news, and listen to their fellow humans instead of one-sided news networks who are trying to convince them that the other side is evil and horrible and making things up. I wish we could all just come to the table and agree that we all need to be better. We need to demand better, and we need to stand for nothing less than fairness and equality among everyone. Our country is literally called the UNITED States of America. Does anyone feel like we are United right now?

So back to the question of how we can move forward in continuing to push for equality but also keep our businesses going and talking. If anyone has an answer, I’d love to hear it. For now, I just am not going to shy away from any of it. I’m going to keep sharing helpful resources, and start sharing my work again in all of its facets.

I’m going to kick it off with one of my favorite couples… Michelle & Christian. Michelle’s details were so elegant, so fierce, and so beautifully HER!!! They both have smiles that are incredibly infectious and families who’s love just oozed from every angle.

 

For more resources to help this movement and to understand what is happening in this country right now PLEASE do your research:

https://blacklivesmatter.com/

https://www.rachelricketts.com/antiracism-resources

http://www.resourcesharingproject.org/anti-racism-resource-collection

 

Don’t make assumptions. Fact check. DIG in. Write to your representatives, CALL them, be heard. Be the change.

 

Peace & Love always,

Brianna

 

We are all going through something pretty bizarre right now. “We’re in it together” is a phrase we hear multiple times a day. We cannot get away from talk of Covid-19 no mater what channel or station we turn to… and here I am writing yet another blog that also mentions it…BUT – this one is hopefully, I think.

It seems most of the world has just stopped. I applied for my Real ID in early February and still have not received it in the mail. My license is a month expired…. thankfully I have my temporary license, but is even the DMV closed? Or did they just forget me? Anyway, I digress…

You know it’s really bad when court shuts down… Not only did everyone’s wedding get put on hold, but people couldn’t even get a marriage license. The good news is that slowly the world is finding ways to get some things going. Shows are being broadcast from peoples homes, new mandates and health and safety requirements and procedures are allowing things across the country to start moving again. We still have a ways to go… but in a lot of states you can even get a marriage license again! Check your local counties for how to do this if you’re interested.

Our dear friends Dale & Megan were one of millions of couples who have had to put their wedding on hold, but Megan was quick on her toes. She and Dale left work early on March 13th, just before quarantine officially started in the state of California, and they got their marriage license. They still plan to have their big beautiful wedding later this summer, but they did what was most important to them… they had a beautiful, heart felt, emotional social distance wedding ceremony with their parents, as well as Megan’s Maid of Honor and Dales Best Man (my husband, Randy!). I stepped in as their photographer to help keep their guest count down.

So exactly HOW do people do this? What is the etiquette for a Social Distance Wedding? While I am a professional photographer, I am not professional at Social Distance Weddings…. no one is, we are all brand new to this… BUT – here is my advice for couples hoping to accomplish this over the next few months:

  1. Keep it extremely intimate. 10 guests or less (your photographer and officiant should be included in this count).
  2. Ask all of those attending to PLEASE self quarantine for two weeks prior to your event to help ensure no one gets sick or spreads germs.
  3. Just incase someone in attendance is an essential worker, and also – just for the safety and comfort of those you’ve invited, provide masks and gloves.
  4. Have your ceremony OUTDOORS in the fresh air.
  5. Make sure there is enough space in your designated ceremony area that everyone can stand 6 ft apart and feel comfortable and safe.
  6. Keep it short and sweet, enjoy toasts, champagne, and send your guests on their way.

These two took it one step further and live streamed their wedding for other close family members and coworkers to witness their wedding. It was beautiful. It was simple, it was sweet,  It was held in Megan’s fathers backyard, and it was perfect. We can’t wait to celebrate again with all of their originally intended guests this summer and to see Megan in her bangin’ wedding dress!

Check out the photos from their Social Distance Wedding:

 

If you or anyone you know is interested in having your Social Distance Wedding Photographed, please visit my website at http://www.briannacaster.com and send me a message 🙂

 

Stay safe my friends, and stay healthy!

I actually am shocked it’s already been 20 days since California got our statewide “Stay Home” orders. The first day hit me hard emotionally and I thought, “I’m too extroverted! I can’t do this!! I NEED people!” For many reasons, I am thankful to be married and have a daughter… but in this time, I am EXTRA thankful. My husband is working from home, my daughter is all over the place constantly… it is hard to get bored around here.

Yes – I wish I could take her on a Target run, to visit ANYONE outside this house, to the park… literally anywhere. I am not a homebody. I never have been. I like to be out and about… so that aspect of this has been challenging, especially with our unusually rainy weather we’ve been having.

Still – I count our blessings. Yes, I’m losing business left and right. Yes, I’m out of work. Yes I get bored doing the same thing every day. BUT… I’m not alone. We are all healthy. We don’t have to spend our days in the hospital. We have what we NEED. We have technology that keeps us connected to our friends and family (weekend Zoom game nights have been super fun), and that allows us to get things delivered to our door so that we don’t HAVE to go out. We aren’t living in snowy weather, we CAN go outside and go on walks when it isn’t raining, we can explore the neighborhood and play in the dirt… We are fortunate. I am grateful. I will continue to stay home, and when I do have to go out for groceries, I will gladly wear my gloves and fashionable red and white polkadot mask my mother-in-law made for me.

This will be a blip in our history if we all do the right thing. It is a trying time, but we CAN DO THIS. Stay home. Stay healthy. And if you go out, wear gloves and a mask. We can beat this!

If you are feeling lonely, disconnected, scared, depressed, unhappy in anyway… CALL SOMEONE. Staying home does NOT mean complete isolation. Use technology to your advantage. I’m happy to chat or play games with anyone who needs some interaction on FaceTime or Zoom. Hit me up! I’ll even get out of my night time pajamas and put on my day time pajamas for you 😉

And on a final note… Let’s remember that we’ll be back to regular life soon if we all do our part. We’ll get back to going to beautiful weddings like this one below, hugging our close friends and family (yep, I still plan to be a hugger) and probably washing our hands more thoroughly and regularly forever.

Last week I shared their engagement… today I’m sharing their beautiful wedding at The Retreat in Corona. ENJOY!