If you’re a business owner, you know there are many things to stress about. I think that’s par for the course in most careers. Fortunately, I am not one to stress out easily. But there are a couple of things that make me stress out heavily and unfortunately stress for me leads to depression. Not the kind of depression I can’t get out of, or the kind that makes me sink into a hole and hide… but the kind that makes me feel like my spirit is broken and I hang my head low until I can emotionally work my way out of that stress. I start questioning everything I do and wondering – is it me? That happens to us because the Photography world is intensely personal. It’s our artistic expression.

So what is it that causes this kind of stress for photographers? It’s not a 2 hour delayed timeline the day of; it’s not the request of 15 organized large group photos that we have to squeeze in along with wedding party and couple portraits in a 40 minute window; it’s not a late bride; it’s not a disorganized timeline; and it’s not 75 guests standing next to us with their cell phones trying to get pictures along side us. It’s that we put our heart and soul into what we do, and sometimes there are people that we can’t please… and we don’t get do-overs. I can tell myself and my team repeatedly that we can’t please 100% of the clients 100% of the time… but that doesn’t make it any easier when we have worked our tails off to organize the day, choose the best locations, get every single possible photograph that could be desired… we edit and re-edit the work to perfection before delivering it… and still the client finds something to be upset about. The 700 beautiful images aren’t mentioned – but the 50 they dislike are. The countless perfect moments captured aren’t acknowledged, but great Aunt Susie wasn’t photographed even though no one ever told us who she was or that she was important to be photographed… and tears have been shed over the fact that there isn’t a photo of her. There are 75 stunning images of the couple, but there are 4 where they don’t look super flattering and how could we possibly think those were good photos?

These are the things that cause deep stress and heavy hearts. All we ever want is to make our clients beyond happy, to exceed their expectations and give them images that perfectly emulate the beauty of their day; images they will cherish. When we are met with incredible reviews and emails that our clients cried tears of joy looking at their images – it puts us on cloud 9 and we are reminded of why what we do is so important. And 98% of the time those are the responses that we get! The other 2% of the time it’s the polar opposite… and while those odds are greatly in our favor, that 2% feels like 100% when it hits us square in the nose.

My hope with this blog is that photographers out there, and business owners know that you aren’t alone. Although it’s rare, we all get complaints… and they hurt our hearts! It is also my hope that couples out there understand that you are not going to be madly in love with every single image from your wedding – it’s not possible. So try to see all the beauty you received – and know that your photographer did everything they could to get you everything you could have possibly wanted, and they put their most artistic and talented foot forward for you.

 

For more information on Orange County wedding photography and engagement sessions… or whatever your heart desires – visit http://www.briannacaster.com

 

The older I get the more I fall in love with what I do, and the further I dive into my business the more I learn about myself. The harder things get in my business, the more I learn… and the older I get – the more I love to learn. I am a super nerd for my photography business; for photographing weddings, engagements, families, toddlers, and my own family, vacations, wild life and all the things I capture not for profit.

I said to some friends last night over dinner that some times, in my business, I ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing. Some days I want to give up because it’s hard and I feel like I can’t win. But I’m a really stubborn person. The kind of stubborn that when I start something, I wont quit. Unless of course it becomes something that could harm me emotionally or physically – we all have to learn when to say that enough is enough and it’s time to move on. But ultimately, I’m the kind of stubborn that reverse psychology works on. If you tell me I can’t, I wont cry and say ok and walk away; instead, my blood will boil a little, I’ll probably curse a lot (sorry Mom), and ultimately I’ll prove you wrong.

So although I do have days that are hard in business and almost make me want to quit… or I have short moments of envying those with a 9-5er who get to shut it down and go home (because my brain never shuts down even if I turn off my computer for the night… which I don’t even do because, what if something comes up and I need to send an email or look something up? Am I supposed to wait for the computer to start up all over again? No thanks.) – 99.9% of the time I love running my own business. It is worth every tear I have shed over it, every sleepless night I have experienced, every drip of sweat that has formulated in moments of chaos, and every ounce of self doubt I have felt. Because at the end of the day I have created this company… I get to live my passion and share it with others; and truly the greatest reward of all – is hearing how happy my clients are. I genuinely, deeply thrive on creating beautiful work that brings tears of joy to people’s eyes… And in times of deep sadness I have often received emails from past clients telling me how grateful they are that I captured such special moments with loved one’s who have since left this earth. To me that is priceless.

I get to freeze moments in time for people. Time goes by too quickly… and memories are all we have at the end of it all. My greatest honor is being able to stop time for people in the form of photographs that allow them to relive those glory days. Everything I capture, for profit or for fun, I capture with intense love, care, and a deep respect for those who will receive it knowing that each moment is a treasure. I will never put my camera down.

If you’re struggling today with why – I hope this blog post reminds you to search for your “why” and remember that it’s worth the struggle.


Onto a wedding that still makes me smile from ear to ear. I loved working with Desiree & Dustin and their families. Desiree’s father had me laughing all day, along with everyone else. Through his jokes and silliness, his absolute adoration for his daughter was so evident… as was the love between Desiree & Dustin. Take a look at some of the priceless moments from their day:

 

For more information on wedding photography in Orange County or around the globe – please visit http://www.BriannaCaster.com and say hello! 🙂

Also – if you’re not already following me on instagram, please do so: @briannacaster

Hi friends!

How are you? Hopefully you’re doing well. Feel free to comment on this blog and tell me… it’s a genuine question.

Last week I scratched the surface of some of my top favorite photography misconceptions. This week I want to dive deeper into photography pricing and why it’s “SO EXPENSIVE!” I get a lot of inquiries from people with realistic budgets, but I also get a lot of inquiries from people with extremely low budgets and I can’t help but criiiinge when I see them. I don’t cringe because it insults me, or because I think negatively about low budgets. Listen, I GET IT!!! I just got married last year; I know first hand, what it costs to have a beautiful wedding. We didn’t have parents throwing money at us with budgets to the moon and back. We had parents who wanted to help us in whatever way they could… and the rest was up to us. The rest was a lot! We were trying to buy our first home, plan the wedding of my (I mean our) dreams AND an epic honeymoon. We wanted it all. We had a leg up on the situation because I work in the wedding industry and I had a very real idea of how much things were going to cost. Not everyone has that luxury. Some of our clients are the first in their families to get married in 20+ years and times have CHANGED. So people often have absolutely no clue as to what they are getting into financially when it comes to planning their wedding.

Want to take a guess at which vendor I blew my budget on? According to the online calculators (which I only recommend using as a guide and not the bible of pricing because they often really suck) I basically tripled my budget for this one vendor. Can you guess? Photography. Duh. Which brings me back to why I cringe when people approach me with very low budgets. I cringe because I am afraid for them. I am afraid of what they will get for that budget…. and I try to gently educate them.

Yes, I am biased. However, I believe that your wedding photographer is the single most important vendor to book. This person is in charge of your memories! Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in. If you hire someone because they’re cheap, they’re probably also very inexperienced and your chances of having crappy images or no images at all, increase greatly… and the memories of your day can only live in your mind and will fade quickly with time. Does this mean you should be like me and triple your photography budget? Maybe…. But if that’s not realistic for you then it’s not, and you can still increase your budget without being as crazy as me. How? Sacrifice another vendor that isn’t as important to you. Wow, that sounds really violent… What I mean is – decrease your budget elsewhere.

How do you know what a “good” photography budget is? Well according to Snap Knot, the national average cost of wedding photography is $2,814.00 – but in larger cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Orange County – the average cost is going to be closer to $4,000.00. ON AVERAGE.

So – what are you paying for? If you’re spending upwards of $2800.00 on photography you’re getting (or SHOULD be getting):

  1. A seasoned professional
    1. Someone who has done this for 5+ years.
    2. Someone who has heavily invested in their education and equipment.
    3. Someone who knows how to organize your timeline and roll with all of the punches and changes and chaos of a wedding day.
    4. Someone who knows how to organize groups and move you through your day without missing a beat.
    5. Someone who knows how to direct you, pose you and make you look and feel incredible all day and you don’t have to think about it. You hire this person because you love their style and trust them to create beautiful imagery saving you the hassle and stress of not knowing how to pose or asking for poses that you want. You know and trust that they have it all covered and you just have to show up.
  2. Safety & Trust
    1. Back ups of back ups of back ups and redundancy shooting throughout the day.
    2. Security knowing that your images are being handled with white gloves and are backed up and safe at all times.
    3. A back up plan in case of emergency! A professional photographer will never leave you high and dry even if there is an extreme emergency preventing them from being at your wedding. They will have a back up in place in case of a last minute disaster. They have connections.
  3. Professional Business
    1. Consistent communication! Someone who responds to you efficiently and promptly because this is ALL they do!
    2. Someone who has invested in their business and their talent. They have proper liability insurance, a legal business, professional contracts that protect you and them.
    3. You will have the highest quality images delivered to you in a reasonable amount of time (3 months MAX – our max is 2 months).

Photography is expensive when you hire the right person because you have hired someone who has invested in their company in so many ways. They have overhead! As business owners who do it right, we are calculating the cost of running our business and factoring that into our prices.

For example – our company overhead is worked out to be about $500.00 per wedding. That is just the basics; the flat fee’s we have to pay yearly no matter what in order to keep our doors open. That pays for our server, our cloud storage, our CRM, our insurance, our office space, editing subscriptions, website hosting, blog hosting, advertising, collateral (albums, prints, etc that we provide to venues), etc etc. That does NOT include taxes, photographer fees, editing fees. Those fees are all on top of our overhead. It also does not factor in our education (I personally have a BFA in Creative Photography), what we’ve invested in our equipment, our time, our talent, or the countless hours we spend in the office all week long running the business.

So while $2800.00-$4,000.00 may seem like companies are making a killing on each wedding… and to some, those prices seem ridiculous… When you have hired a professional photographer who’s living depends on their photography business alone, you are paying for a top quality business that you can trust.

When you are paying $500-$1500 on average for a full day of wedding photography (8 hours) – you are paying for someone who has not (yet) invested in their business. Maybe they are just starting out – fresh out of school. Maybe they just aren’t very good at what they do but they’ll show up and snap the photos for you. Maybe they’re scamming you completely. How can you know for sure? You can meet them in person and ask them the following questions:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Is this all you do?
  3. How many weddings have you photographed? Or how many do you photograph each year?
  4. Can I see at least 3 full weddings that you have photographed from start to finish?
  5. How do you protect my images and make sure nothing gets lost?
  6.  What happens in case of emergency the day of my wedding, if you are unable to attend? How do you make an effort to protect me?

When I first started out, I charged $1,000.00 for my very first wedding. My clients were happy – but they also knew that it was my very first wedding and were ok with that risk. Everyone starts somewhere. You just have to decide: Do you want to risk the memories of the most important day of your life with a beginner? Or do you want someone who knows what they are doing and has invested in their business… someone you can fully trust?

That is up to you. But I hope this blog helps people understand WHY photographers charge what they do.

—–

Check out our adventure with Monica & Phil last month. Their rainy day wedding was perfect.

 

It can be stressful if the forecast shows rain… but when you hire the right professional photographer – rain on your wedding day offers beautifully unique opportunities for stunning imagery… as long as you keep an open mind and aren’t afraid to get a little wet 🙂

For more information on our services – visit our website and send us a note at http://www.BriannaCaster.com

 

There are a lot of misconceptions about photography… Some make me laugh, others make my blood boil, but most are just because people don’t know any better. So today’s blog post is a PSA on some of my favorite Wedding Photography Misconceptions. Ready? Here we go.

Misconception One: “You have a really nice camera. No wonder your photos are so great.”

Fact: I do have a really nice camera. I’ve invested more money than you’d care to know in my equipment… Actually, people probably do really want to know that… but that requires me adding up a lot of numbers and math and I don’t mix, so I wont be sharing that total with you today.

The misconception here is that I’m a great photographer BECAUSE of my super nice gear. That’s false. I could hand anyone my camera and I could teach them how to use it… but that still doesn’t mean that they will photograph the way that I do, edit the way that I do, or hustle the way that I do to constantly be learning what’s new, and how to improve. Being a great photographer doesn’t start and end with the gear… Yes – the gear helps… but experience, having an eye for photography, knowing how to direct and pose people, how to set up those seemingly “candid” photographs, and nailing the lighting situation… that all comes from experience, talent, and personal style. So the next time you see a professional photographer – don’t say that 🙂

Misconception Two: “You charge a LOT!”

Fact: I don’t charge as much as I should. I guess that’s not really a fact, so much as an opinion – but there are so many misconceptions behind photography pricing. It is one of those things that people assume have a lot of negotiation room. People assume we just slap random figures together and take 100% profit on what we charge, making them think it’s very easy for us as business owners, to adjust our pricing to meet their desired budgets. If I laid out the numbers and figures of what it costs me to keep my doors open and run my business month to month (equipment, computers, repairs, server, CRM, cloud back ups, insurance, etc etc etc), most of you would crap your pants. If you knew what I pay in taxes every month, you’d break down in tears crying for me… and thank your lucky stars that you don’t run your own business (unless you do, and you totally get me right now). So when booking any photographer – try to understand a little and don’t assume we’re trying to charge you ungodly amounts of money just because we think we can. We’re running a professional business, we have a lot of bills to pay, and our experience and talent that are worth every penny.

Misconception Three: “I need a photographer who has worked at my venue.”

Fact: This is false. Does it help to hire a photographer who has worked on the property you’re getting married at? Sure. Will it hurt you if your photographer has NOT photographed on the property before? Absolutely not. When you hire an experienced professional wedding photographer, like myself, this thought shouldn’t even cross your mind as a concern. I LOVE photographing at new properties for the first time. I feel so excited and energized to create something unique and new that all of my creative juices start flowing from the time you first inquire with me. I will immediately google your venue and check it out and get uber excited to create amazing images there. If I can, I may take a trip out there prior to your wedding. If I am not able to do that, I will arrive long before our scheduled photography start time the day of and walk the property to get inspired. You see, when you hire a pro, you are hiring someone who is looking through the lens of their camera even when they aren’t holding it up to their face. I see photographs in everything I look at. I can’t help it… I analyze light even when I’m just out for drinks with a friend… I can’t NOT see photographs everywhere I go. It takes me only moments to find the best location and the best light. I know where the sun is going to set, and I know what it’s going to look like when it peeks through the trees or dips behind the hills. I know these things even when I haven’t been to your venue before, because THIS. IS. WHAT. I. DO. So if you love my style, and if you’re excited at the opportunity to work with me… don’t, for one second, worry if I have not photographed at your venue before. Trust me.

We’ll leave it at these three misconceptions for this week, and I’ll add some more later as they pop into my head. But speaking of that last one… This gorgeous couple has hired me to come out to Tulsa, Oklahoma and photograph their wedding this May. I am beyond thrilled for so many reasons… I LOVE to travel… and as I just mentioned, I LOVE photographing in places I have never been to before. I am full of love for this couple and excitement for their big day. I met Whitney when she was working at one of my favorite venues (which I photograph at regularly!) and we became friends. She has told me for years that when she gets married, she would hire me… and she did, and I couldn’t be more honored. When other industry professionals, who work with SO many different photographers, choose ME, over all the others… I am humbled beyond measure. Take a look at their adorable engagement session in Corona Del Mar.

 

For more information on booking your wedding photography in Orange County, or any other place on this beautiful earth… and to view more work, please visit my website at http://www.briannacaster.com and follow me on Intagram @briannacaster

Topicless.

While I could blog about amazing women and being a woman the entire month of March… (and beyond) I fear it would get my blog off track and down the rabbit hole of talking politics and human rights and all of those things which present a lot of dilemma’s in my head… and I’ll be honest, I have enough daily dilemma’s in my head. That and – I’m a photographer, not an activist… although sometimes I want to be an activist… but that’s a hill I’ll consider climbing if and when I’ve conquered all of my photography goals. Until then I’ll leave it to the pro’s, I’ll donate to the causes, and I’ll cheer them on and support them in the way that I can!

For now it’s onto other topics. What topic, you might ask? I don’t know guys. I’m stumped this week. It’s been a super overwhelmingly busy two weeks for me!

My amazing daily office manager (and cousin- Stacey) has left me for a full-time job… and while I’m super happy that she found what she needed, I cry myself to sleep every night because I miss her help equally as much as I miss her company. Ok I’m not really crying myself to sleep EVERY night… I just wrote that for dramatic effect. But I’ve come close, I’ll tell you that much. Also, my dear mother, who manages two of our properties lead lists and booking is playing hooky. She’s off galavanting across Europe, while I sit here drowning in emails, text messages, phone calls, studio meetings, shooting engagements, and weddings, doing edits and training people to take over Stacey’s tasks, AND keeping up with the potential clients she’s been talking to. Doesn’t quite seem fair, does it? I WANT TO GALAVANT ACROSS EUROPE!!!! Who said she could go on vacation without me anyway?

So I’m doing the job of 3 people…. which is cool. But that’s why I don’t have a super fun and interesting topic to share with you this week. I’ve been too busy feeling sorry for myself and screaming for help… and then slapping myself across the face (literally AND figuratively) for being whiney crap-head, and reminding myself how effing cool my job is… I’m a freaking WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER!!!! And that BUSY IS GOOD!!! I’d rather be overly busy, than have no work at all. So suck it up buttercup…. and post a gosh-dang blog already!!!

*Insert giant smile and crazy eyes*

Speaking of doing what I love… check out this adorable wedding I photographed. I really loved everything about working with Amanda & Brandan from their engagement through their wedding… They were so kind, and sweet to each other and to us, and everyone around them. They are good people to their core – and look how sweet they are together:

 

For more information on Orange County wedding photography, engagement sessions, or destination wedding photography – please check out my website and drop me a line: http://www.briannacaster.com

Thanks Friends!

 

 

Guess what DAY. IT. IS!!! Nope. It’s not hump day… (If you don’t get that reference then I’m sorry…)

It’s International Women’s Day! Damn I love March. There is so much celebration for the women of the world this month – so I’m embracing it.

I want to talk… or type I guess… today about the women in our lives. The strong forces that keep us going… that stand by our side during our biggest triumphs, and are lowest of lows… the women who hold our hair back when we’re praying to the porcelain gods… the women who cheer us on when we accomplish great things… who help us kick doors in when it’s necessary… who help calm us down when kicking doors in ISN’T necessary… who always have extra tampons or excedrine on hand… who show up with a big ol’ bucket of ice cream and a box of tissues when we need it… who FIGHT FOR US when we can’t  fight for ourselves… who fight along side us when we are READY to fight like hell for ourselves… Those who MARCH against injustice… Who scream at the top of their lungs for equality for all… The LOUD women… The quiet women… The women WE need to fight for… The women who can’t speak up… The women who need encouragement… and the women who encourage…

Our friends, our sisters, our Mothers. If anyone has EVER told you that you didn’t need anyone else… if anyone has ever told you that they should be all you need in this world… They are wrong. We need people. We need friends. We need other women. I’m the first to admit that I probably can’t go a single day without talking to my Mom or my sister. I NEED them, and it’s ok to NEED people. It’s human nature. We are all stronger when we stand together.

I pulled some of my favorite photos of the sisters and “sisters” I’ve photographed at weddings… and I pulled a few of my own from my wedding, captured by Brandon Chesbro.

Celebrate the women in your lives today and every day! HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAAAAAYYYYY!!! Let’s here it for the Ladies!

 

Go out and thank an amazing woman in your life today!

K Bye. I love you.

 

Preach Kesha, PREACH!!! My FRIENDS!! It is MARCH 1ST! Do you know what that means?

It is officially National Women’s History Month!!!!! YEEEAAAASSSSSS! This is one of my favorite months of the year. It’s also my month of birth, and the older I get the more proud I am that I get to share my birth month with the celebration of Women’s History.

All right – time for some real talk. The world is crazy right now. It’s crazy for everyone… for Immigrants, African-American’s, and women especially. Every time I turn on the TV (which I avoid a lot lately) I hear of another shooting, another injustice against people of color (and I’m talking just about all colors), or another political figure or movie star / musician / television star being accused of sexual misconduct. It is a CRAZY time… but it’s a time of change. It’s a time of #enough and more than ever, people are speaking out against these injustices and I think that is POWERFUL.

While I celebrate ALL who are speaking out; this month in particular, we celebrate Women…. So in case you haven’t already realized – this blog today is going to be about being, in the words of Kesha, “A mother fuckin’ woman!”

The younger version of me thought there was nothing left for women to fight for. I thought, naively, that things were even. I didn’t feel oppressed by men. I didn’t feel that life was unfair for women in any way because I wasn’t experiencing it. I was raised by parents who, let’s be honest, wanted me to be a doctor for goodness sake. I was raised in a family where ALL OF THE WOMEN are the bread winners. Literally ALL of them. How rare and cool is that?

When I got into wedding photography I assumed, like most of you might assume, that it would be a female dominated industry. I was VERY wrong. Even my industry is dominated by men… Is anyone shocked to hear that?

There’s a convention every year in Las Vegas called WPPI or Wedding & Portrait Photography International. Photographers from all over the world come to this convention. I’m always surprised at how many of the speakers are men. So this year I decided to count. 60% of the speakers at this convention for 2018 are men. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – but it sends me on a tailspin of “why?”

Most of my biggest wedding photography competitors in Orange County are men. Why is that? This thought forced me to dig pretty deep and ask myself some hard questions. Why do I feel so intimidated by male wedding photographers as competitors? Sometimes I look at their portfolios, and listen, I know I’m not the best out there; but I’m LIGHTYEARS beyond the worst out there. I look at some of these competitors and I see their prices DOUBLE mine, but their work and talent doesn’t. Some of them I can gladly admit, are far better than I am; but not all of them. Several of the male photographers I research are talented but it’s not like they shoot liquid gold out of their asses, so why can they charge double what I charge? Better yet, why can’t I charge that much? The answer is….

 

Me.

 

I am fortunate to be my own boss, which means I am the only person who dictates what I charge, what I am worth, and what I get paid. Which means I am the only one holding me back from charging what they charge. And where does that come from? It comes from confidence, or lack thereof. It’s my opinion that in general, many men exude a confidence that many women do not. I certainly do not exude the same confidence that a lot of my competitors exude and the only reason I can come up with is…

 

Fear.

 

Fear of what? I have a fear of not booking another client if my prices are too high. I have a fear of not being able to pay the bills because I’m not booking enough clients. I have a fear that I’m not strong or powerful enough to demand that pricing or that clientele. And do you want to know what doesn’t help?

 

Social media.

 

Literally every time I lose a follower on Instagram I feel sad. I feel sad when I don’t break 100 likes on a post. I feel sad when I can’t get my following over a certain number. I CANNOT FIGURE OUT what these people with 5k, 10k, 20k, 100k, 1M followers are doing that I’m not. I take the classes, I follow the rules, I learn the algorithm changes…. But I can’t win, and it beats down my ego. I’ve been told I should teach. I’ve been told I should speak…. But if I can’t get more than 50 likes on average on my Instagram posts, and can RARELY get people to actually engage and comment on my posts (other than my friends and fam – THANK YOU btw for engaging) who wants to hear from ME? I’m nobody.

How ridiculous is that!?!? I feel like a moron even typing it. Why does my business-self worth rely on what Instagrammers think? Well because that’s how the market is ruled right now. Everyone. Is. On. Instagram. I didn’t want to believe it but it’s true – couples are looking at your IG probably more than your website before they call you. And it is such a powerful tool that they have to constantly change up the algorithm to screw with us all because we figure out a trick that works to get attention and likes, and we get too many and it gets out of control – and they have to come up with some other rule to limit us.

Do you want to know what else doesn’t help?

 

Mean Girls.

 

There are a lot of mean girls in this world and I think that’s the saddest truth in all of it. We are in a time where women need to stand together, support other women, reach out a hand to another struggling female in your life and ENCOURAGE her. I don’t care if she’s your competition. No one gets to the top alone… and beating other people down along the way only makes you a crappy person and gives you bad karma. So be nice!! Kindness gets you everywhere. Now more than ever we need to build each other up and help each other succeed; not tear each other down. Hoe’s before bro’s, am I right? Haha JUST KIDDING! That’s probably one of the most sexist things I could say in a blog about empowering women. I’m the worst.

I have one more point to make and then I swear I will wrap up this (so far) three page blog post / rant. I feel that this is my most important point, so if you have read this far – hang in there with me…. Because I believe that THIS is how we need to begin to shape future generations.

 

Words.

 

Does anyone remember that incredibly powerful Always commercial about what it’s like to be a girl? If you haven’t, please get a tissue then open a new tab, go to youtube and type in, “Always girl commercial” and watch it. I’ll wait… go head. Even if you have seen it – go watch it again.

Moving isn’t it? Think, for a moment about how often you use phrases like this? I have been guilty of it myself. I grew up with two older sisters, two younger brothers, and was very often around one of my cousin sets of 4 boys. So it was often my sister Melissa and I against 6 boys playing basketball, video games, baseball, whatever it was that we were doing. I was constantly told that when I punched my cousin (which I did a lot) in the arm it didn’t hurt because I hit like a girl. And I KNOW they were not literally trying to destroy my self-esteem as a female. I KNOW they loved me and still love me dearly; we are all very close to this day. They weren’t the only people I heard those words from either. I have heard them from my own mouth.

“Whatever. You hit like a girl.”

“Don’t be such a p*ssy.”

“Don’t act like a b*tch.”

“Don’t be such a GIRL about it.”

Friends…. It has been engrained in us from the time we could speak that women are weak. Men do it to us, we do it to each other, and we do it to ourselves. And it all seems like harmless teasing doesn’t it? I don’t feel anger or resentment toward anyone for saying those things to me. Certainly in the moment I didn’t. I laughed it off. But now I realize that my FEAR…. My lack of confidence as a female entrepreneur, my struggle to find my place in my industry and make a name for myself… It’s all a product of society and the way we beat down women emotionally often without even realizing we do it.

So I have personally vowed to stop using those words or phrases no matter what. I don’t ever want my beautiful niece Adalynn to lose her spunk and zest for life. I watch that three-year-old little girl run around with her best friend Mason NEVER feeling for a second that she can’t do everything he does. I watch her kick a soccer ball with all her might, fall on her little booty and get right back up and keep going NEVER losing a shred of her confidence. And it tears me up inside to think that someday people will try to break her spirit. All we can do as her family, is try to foster such a strong sense of self-worth, that by the time people try to break her spirit, its titanium.

We all deserve to be PROUD to be women. We are strong, resilient, badass humans and we need to own it and TEACH it.

Ok. That’s all folks. I love you. Be kind. Thank you for reading and….

Happy National Women’s History Month!

02_26_18 Portraits BS-39

 

 

Portraits by Jennifer McNeil.

 

I totally missed my blog opportunity last week. Did anyone notice? Did you miss me? A little? Well – I’m back! You’re welcome.

So you know how the saying goes Right? “Jack of all trades, and master of none.” That was hard for me to muster when I was beginning my photography career because I wanted to photograph EVERYTHING. I didn’t want to turn any work away, I wanted to say YES to everyone.

But as I got further into my business and had the words, “pick ONE specialty” ringing in my ears all of the time I realized I really should. I am a photographer…. but my specialty is weddings. So when people ask me what I do, I tell them that I’m a wedding photographer. That doesn’t mean I can’t also photograph other life events though… and if it did, I’d break the rules… Because what I love MOST about being a photographer is capturing people in their greatest moments and telling their love stories. Love stories don’t end on the wedding day…. they carry on for the rest of their lives. The wedding day is just the beginning, and when I build strong relationships with my clients, it is an honor that they come back and ask me to photograph their next milestones.

So how do I find the middle ground? I don’t advertise as anything other than a wedding photographer. The majority of what I post and share are engagements and weddings. (Share what you want to sell, right?) I don’t seek out new clients to capture their maternities, newborns, etc etc. In fact I refer those out. However, I will often take on my past clients, and OF COURSE my personal family and friends.

No, I am not a maternity photographer. I am not a newborn photographer. But if you REALLY love me (like really really), and want me to capture these milestones… I am HONORED to. I am a wedding photographer who often gets blessed to continue capturing my clients love stories long after their wedding day.

Nikki & Trevor are dear friends of mine. I captured their engagement, their wedding, and now their maternity as they get ready to welcome their son into the world. Knowing it means as much to them as it does to me to have ME continue to capture their story – is why I often do it all.

Check out this sweet session:

 

I cannot wait to meet their precious baby boy!! Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Porter!

For more information on engagement and wedding photography, visit my website and drop me a line: http://www.briannacaster.com

And if you want a great referral for a REAL maternity & newborn photographer – I am happy to refer you!

East meets West

January was a whirlwind of a month for me. It started out nice and calm and mellow… and then BAM! Wedding season is already upon us. I know, it’s only February – but as a team we have 11 weddings this month! That’s compared to just three in January, and four in December. So you get the point.

In the middle of the month I took a girls weekend to Joshua Tree (as you saw if you read my blog regularly), then I had a week full of engagement sessions and meetings and was off to Costa Rica for a week. When I came back from Costa Rica, just 4 days later I was off to photograph a wedding in Palm Springs… well… more accurately, La Quinta which is outside of Palm Springs.

I’m back now and I am trying to really focus on the marketing game this year… Which I also said last year, and I did! But one year is not enough for getting a strong marketing game. It’s an on going project that I will probably always be working on. If I knew what I know now when I was in college, I would have minored in Marketing. Although – maybe that wouldn’t have mattered a whole lot since the marketing world with Instagram, Facebook and blogging is SO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT all of the time. Rules are always changing… so maybe it wouldn’t have helped all that much. Anyway, I digress…

Palm Springs. La Quinta… both areas I love love LOVE. This wedding held a lot of firsts for me! It was my first wedding of 2018, my first wedding in La Quinta, AND my first Persian wedding!!! I’ve photographed weddings with Persian elements but never a full Persian ceremony! Add to all of that, the bride is a dear friend of mine from my volunteer days at Camp to Belong Orange County. Pantea has a heart the size of Texas, she really does… and she has a spirit, and gentleness about her that matches. Not only that, but she is a badass boss babe! Fairly recently, she moved to the desert from the mountains of Big Bear and opened her own Law firm!! My girl is KILLING IT!!!! Opened a law firm and snagged a husband who is just as impressive as she is. Derakhsh has his own OBGYN practice. Yep. Say it with me friends, “POWER COUPLE!!!” They both smile non-stop in each others presence, and make everyone feel like family. They are a beautiful match for one another and I am so very happy for my sweet friend. Take a look at just a few highlights from their beautiful wedding at La Quinta Country Club:

 

Special shout out to Alexandra & Stacey for shooting and assisting all day and taking over at the reception so that I could be a guest and enjoy this awesome party. And of course to Pantea & Derakhsh for asking me to photograph your wedding AND enjoy as your guest. Much love to you both and best wishes for an amazing future together.

For more information about wedding photography anywhere in the world – reach out to me! Say hello… follow me on instagram @briannacaster or visit my website and drop me a line at http://www.briannacaster.com

Vendors:

Venue – La Quinta Country Club

Photography – us, of course… Brianna Caster & Co. Photographers

Videography – Amber Exposure

Floral – Jenson’s (Mary Cass)

Planning – Celebrations of Joy

Rentals – Signature Party Rentals & BBJ Rentals

The beautiful table for the Persian Ceremony was put together, and all treats were made  by Pantea’s mother Poury Ilbeigi