Happy New Year from your Denver Yoga Photographer! I can still say that even tho’ it’s already Jan 25th, right?
January has started with plenty of Denver Yoga Photography and here is one of my favs: I’m thrilled to introduce you to Macy of Hungry Yoga, a local Denver Yoga Teacher and Small Business Owner. Macy was so so cute. A little backstory – I usually have people give me two or three levels of smiles when I do then portraits- small smile, medium smile and big smile. That’s because it’s hard to keep a big (real) smile on your face for an entire photo session. And also because it’s interesting to have a variety of expressions. Miss Macy is so darn happy that she told me “I just can’t smile small.” I love it! Big heart, big smile.
Here is a bit more about her, her Denver business, and what it was like to have a Yoga portrait session with Natascha Lee Studios:
1. Macy, tell us about yourself and your business:
Hey There ; ) My name is Macy Migchelbrink and I love teaching yoga, eating psychology, and lifestyle design. My personal business is Hungry YOGA, where I coach specifically women who emotionally eat or binge eat, develop a positive relationship with food and body through mindful movement, healthy thought patterns, and lifestyle changes. I also teach private therapeutic yoga at Ascent Therapy Clinic, employee wellness yoga at the City of Lakewood, chair yoga at Concordia Assisted Living, and Teen Yoga at Maha Soul Yoga Studio.
I believe that every BODY can do yoga, a person just has to find the right teacher and class that works best for them, at that stage in life.
2. What do you love the most about your job?
I love helping people feel better in the present moment. Seeing instant relief without giving a person anything outside of themselves; just their breath and body, is super powerful. I’m grateful that I get to work in so many different places around the beautiful city of Denver. I have students as young as 14 and as old as 93. Working in a physical therapy clinic allows me to take a more therapeutic and medical approach, and teaching teen yoga allows me to be more fun and playful. My biggest passion is helping women develop a positive body image and learn how to love food again!
3. What is your favorite style of yoga and why? Are there certain yoga teachers that you love and/or influence you?
My training at Yoga Garden SF empowered me to teach my own style of yoga. Their alignment-based hatha yoga teacher training originates from the teachings of Krishnamacharya, the teacher of B.K.S. Iyengar (Iyengar yoga), Pattabhi Jois (Ashtanga yoga) and T.V.K. Desikachar (viniyoga). This gave me a solid foundation of technical excellence combined with philosophical depth, enabling me to teach from my heart center.
I have to give credit to my first teachers Sonya Genel, Jonathan Issac, and Jean Mazzei for giving my the strong teaching foundation that I have.
Kathryn Budig has always been a powerhouse inspiration to me “aiming true” to my highest self, and I’ve attended many of her classes and workshops the last couple years at Yoga Journal LIVE in Estes Park, CO and whenever she’s in the Denver area I’m sure to support her.
Lastly, one of Denver’s finest teachers Lindsey Gonzales and her business Breathe on Board is someone who I have started to follow, like, and take her classes. She’s a teacher and trainer at Kindness Yoga, my home studio.
4. During the session, what was your experience like?
Natascha was awesome! She made me feel super comfortable in front of the camera, and told me exactly how to prepare properly for the shoot. She is very down to earth, and amazing at what she does. I loved the fact that she wanted to take some selfies with me too! I will recommend her to anyone that need professional photography done for their business or family.
5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I would teleport back to the 70s. Yep. Because it was an era full of love, groovy music, and straight hair : )
Reach Macy at:
Phone : 785-626-0048
Studio Image and Portrait on the Left, Outdoor Image and Portrait on the Right
Denver Children’s Portraits: Indoor Studio vs Outdoors
It’s beautiful Fall in Denver! Clients often ask me where we should take their family photos: Indoors @ my Studio, or outdoors? (Click here for a tour of my amazing studio.)
To help you out, here is a side-by-side comparison for studio vs outdoor photography for *family* photos for the top 6 Factors to consider: (BTW, for business headshots, I almost always recommend indoor, either @ my Studio or @ your place of business if the lighting there is great).
Factor #1: Weather
Indoor, of course, is stable and predictable. And if you are doing newborn infant portraits, it’s about the only way to go (unless it’s super warm outside). You can wear whatever you want, since you don’t have to consider the temperatures. And you probably won’t have to reschedule due to weather (snow storms excepted, of course.)
Outdoors, you may have to reschedule if it’s really cold. But I have done portraits in the rain, in the snow, etc. It can add some great variety to your family portraits to have snow softly falling. The wind can make your hair look great – like a fashion model with your hair blowing around you!
Winner: Tie, since indoor is weather-neutral, but outdoor can offer great variety and even some hair-flattering wind! (Yes, I am a predominantly outdoor portrait photographer – that’s why I love the variety)
Factor #2: Light
Indoors is a bit more stable, but if it ‘s cloudy, then outside get the win. It’s lovely to photograph in cloudy weather; we call it God’s Softbox. If your kids have blue eyes, they will be more sensitive to the sun, and indoors will be easier on their eyes – so we have less squinting.
Winner: Since I am mostly a natural light photographer, and I have an amazing studio with great light, the win for this goes to indoors.
Factor #3: Backgrounds
My studio has tons of different backgrounds inside and out (just check out this recent small business owner headshot session for an example of that), but there is nothing as beautiful as Colorado nature backgrounds. Or your own home, for that matter -whatever space is special to you and your family! I have photographed at Wash Park for a stylish urban family, in the Boulder Mountains for an outdoorsy, community-leaders family, at Red Rocks for a family that LOVES Red Rocks, at a private barn for a close-knit family and at a beautiful local pond space for a sweet active family that wanted to include their crazy dog! If a space is special to you, then we can craft your family portraits there.
Factor #4: Young Kid-Friendly
Kids love being able to move, and run around. If you have just one kid, Studio Sessions can work well, especially if you like the Urban feel. (I even do photos on the roof @ my studio – very hip and Downtown-Denver Urban vibe.)
But, if you have more than one child or a very rambunctious one, and def. if you plan to include the family dog, then outdoors is the way to go so they have plenty of space to run and move.
Factor #5: Teenager-Friendly
If you have a teen, you already know the answer; teenagers prefer my Studio – the huge loft-like feel, the urban outdoor spaces, etc. But since *Mom* (or Dad) is organizing and paying for the portraits, please go with what YOU want to put on your living room wall. The kiddos will be gone to college in a few years (which, BTW, is a great reason to schedule family portraits NOW), and you will be the one who gets to look at that portrait for years to come.
Factor #6: Number of people
If you are doing more than three people, I recommend outdoors. The vast space will accommodate more people and move configurations of you and your family members.
There you have it, 6 key factors to consider if you aren’t sure whether to go with indoor or outdoor photos. And since “outdoors” won slightly over “indoors”, be sure to also check out this post on the best outdoor locations for family photography,
As a photographer, I have the honor to create amazing images for my clients – families, models, executives, business owners, etc. And I love getting to know them. Recently I did one of my Headshots with Personality(sm) Sessions for a wonderful, kind woman, Juliana Vergaray. Here is a bit more about her, her business, and what it was like to have her session done by Natascha Lee Studios:
- Juliana, tell us about yourself and your business:
I have been practicing social work for 10 years with an emphasis on the children and teen population. My specialty is in trauma (an event that has impacted you on a level where you felt your life was threatened in any shape or form). I decided to focus on that because of the need: There are long waits at clinics and it’s important to provide treatment quickly after trauma. (The earlier you provide treatment, the more coping skills you can give them.) This can increase their resiliency.
- What do you love the most about your job?
I love being able to support people. To be a witness for them when they are at their lowest point in life, and then to work with them, seeing them when they are done with treatment and in a healthier place – This is all an honor for me.
- What made you decide to get professional photos done now? How will you use the photos?
I’ve reached a point in my career where I wanted photos that accurately represented me and what I offer. Since I am more advanced in my career, I needed professional photos taken by a talented photographer.
- What made you select Natascha Lee Studios for your photos?
I started on Google and looked at many different photographers’ websites. There was a realness to Natascha Lee Studio’s photos. I could tell that she brought out the uniqueness in each person, and captured their essence. They were not heavily photoshopped.
And while I wasn’t looking for kid portraits, her children’s photography is part of what convinced me – her photos of children capture their angelic essence. I thought, “Well, if she can do that with kids, I’m sure she can get authentic photos of me.”
As second aspect was her professionalism – from all the photographers who I contacted, she was one of only two who responded within 24 hours.
- Before the session, did you have any concerns?
Not many, but I was wondering what to wear. Natascha helped me with that via our phone conversations. It wasn’t time consuming to follow her lead and prep tips, but it sure was helpful. She gave me enough info that I felt confident coming in that morning.
She also helped me think through my vision. Initially I wanted to use some clients as models, and Natascha’s experience and advice helped me avoid certain legal and logistical issues. I was able to make a more informed decision how to use a model. (I ended up using a good friend as a model instead of an actual client.)
- During the session, what was your experience like? How did it compare to what you expected?
It was amazing. I just expected to get my photos taken but it was so much more than that. Natascha made me feel felt special and appreciated. In my line of business, I am always the support for others. But this shoot felt like a treat to myself, like I was the one being taken care of and supported. Natascha is full of positive energy, but still very professional in her approach. It was a self esteem boost in a healthy way.
I was surprised as how quick the session lasted (just one hour), but we got a lot done – lots of poses and locations and even three different outfits.
Natascha gave directions, but not in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. It felt like she was trying to get my most authentic reactions and smiles.
- What did you think when you saw the photos? If you have already used or shared the photos, what sort of feedback have you received?
I thought “Wow!” I love them, because they are exactly what I was looking for, something unique and very professional. They are warm and convey my brand well. I was thrilled; I still am.
- What advice would you give to someone else contemplating getting professional headshots done?
I would say look at different websites to find someone whose style matches yours, who has photos that somehow resonate with you. And don’t make your decisions based solely on what you see online. Talk to the photographer to make sure you would be comfortable working with them – look for a connection with them.
Juliana’s private practice, Help Hope and Healing / Ayuda Esperanza Curacion, LLC, is located in Capital Hill within a holistic healing center, she sees client’s as young as 3 to adulthood. You can connect with her via:
It’s not just Family Portrait Season! It’s also Headshots and Marketing Photos for Small Business Owner Season!
We all need headshots at some point, and headshots that are professional (and of course flattering) are crucial! Just as I do for my family portraits, I specialize in creating headshots and marketing photos that convey your unique personality. That’s why I call them Headshots with Personality(SM). There are four types of headshot services that I offer:
1) Team Headshots where I come to your location, or you come to my studio and I photograph all members of your management or executive team individually and/or as a team. These are for 4 or more people, where you want the images to have a cohesive look to them.
2) Marketing Session for Small Business Owners where I do a variety of images of you in different poses, different expressions, different backgrounds. These are great because just one headshot is never quite enough; it will rarely meet all the needs you have as a business owner. Sometimes you are presenting at a serious conference and you want a conservative, semi-traditional image. Other times, you may be participating in a charity and want a more light-hearted fun headshot. Or you may be trying to reach a new customer group and you want an image that is more edgy and creative. The Headshot Marketing Session gives you several different images to meet these needs, and keep your website/social media/marketing materials fresh and interesting. The photos at the bottom of this post are from a Marketing Session.
3) Model Portfolio Sessions for child, teen and adult models, actors, dancers and performers. These are held @ my Studio and include three outfits, a headshot, 3/4 length and full body in each outfit, and printable files that you can give your agency.
4) Marketing Session + Product/Service Images, which are ideal for small business owners delivering a service in person (like financial service or therapy) or who deliver something tangible (like jewelry, cookies or food.) These include the marketing session (#2 above) as well as photos of you delivering your service or photos of your actual product. The Marketing + Product/Service Session creates a full suite of images for you to use for all your marketing needs.
I recently did a Marketing Session (type #2 above) for a local small business owner, Juliana Vergaray. Juliana is a therapist specializing in helping children with trauma. She wanted some photos that reflected her yoga/breathing/meditation part of her practice, and some that reflected the “meeting with you in my office” part, and also some edgy, outdoor images for when she is working with teens (we shot those on the rooftop of my studio.) She wanted her images to have a variety of feelings (quite, meditative, inquisitive, fun, happy, etc.) – but always warm and caring.
I am in LOVE with how her images turned out (and so is she!) Check out her amazing images below, and then read her interview tomorrow.
You may have seen our Community Series where we focused on locally-owned small businesses. I’m thrilled to expand that to include organizations that exist to better the lives of those around us. Now, that technically applies to all businesses – we are all trying to provide a service or product of value to improve the lives of others. But charitable and philanthropic organizations have that service-to-others as their main raison e’tre. Today I’m interviewing Desiree Jewell, a fabulous local Broomfield woman involved in a great local charity. And, she happens to have one of the cutest little redhead girls. Check it out:
I know, right? So very very cute! She was one of my models for a Little Ballerina photo shoot I did a while back. You can never have too too much tutu and tulle! Or glitter and sequins!
Desiree volunteers with a wonderful organization called , Denver Urban Scholars (DUS).
DUS provides a life of opportunity for high risk students in the Denver area. Their mission places tremendous value on fostering positive social and academic settings, increasing graduation rates, and ultimately creating individual pathways to college and career success. The long and short of it, they give local students the tools, time and attention they need to succeed in life.
Read on to learn more about Desiree, what she would do on a day off in Boulder and Lousiville (yes, it involves hiking, a small deli called Salvaggios, and ice cream!), more about how you can help DUS and most importantly, what superhero power she would pick. (BTW, the superhero power she picked is one that no one has ever selected before – and I’ve been asking the “What would be your superhero power” question for YEARS!)
And, don’t miss the YouTube video she mentions at the end of her interview – you could get to be a human foosball table. How cool is that!????
Desiree, tell us about yourself and your family:
My name is Desiree Jewell and I live in Broomfield, Colorado with my wonderful husband, Todd, and our eight year old daughter, Eden. I am the Director of Marketing for Online & Blended Learning with Pearson North America. Each day I am able to combine my love for teaching/learning with my passion for marketing – there is never a dull moment and I know I am positively impacting the learning experience for someone each and every day!
If you had a day off work and a $250 budget to spend in your town, what would you do and where would you go?
Wow! This is a tough one. Given the seasons are changing, I would head into Boulder and walk around Pearl Street, while taking in the gorgeous views throughout the area. I absolutely love the CU campus this time of year and it requires zero dollars, so money well spent! There are so many fantastic restaurants in Boulder, but our “go to” is a small deli named Salvaggios. They have the most amazing rolls and you can get the best prime rib sandwich for under $7. I might grab my kiddo on the way home and have a nice “girls day” getting our nails done somewhere around town. A pretty simple day honestly! I would definitely have to cap the day with some delicious ice cream from our favorite shop in Louisville, Sweet Cow. Any remaining funds would go to charity!
How do you know Natascha Lee Studios?
We have known Natascha for years and have always loved her work! We had the pleasure of working with Natascha Lee Studios for a super fun dance model shoot and the pictures came out amazing. She and her team did a wonderful job of making the day extra fun for the girls, while still ensuring the work was professional and in line with their overall vision. Some of my favorite shots were totally candid and really captured the personalities of all of the girls – it takes a special gift to draw out the true spirit of your clients and Natascha nails it!
Tell us about the charity you are involved in – what do they do, what makes them special.
For the last twenty years, Denver Urban Scholars (DUS) has been dedicated to providing a life of opportunity for high risk students in the Denver area. Their mission places tremendous value on fostering positive social and academic settings, increasing graduation rates, and ultimately creating individual pathways to college and career success. The long and short of it, they give local students the tools, time and attention they need to succeed in life.
DUS is incredibly special because the organization follows students from middle school into early college/career and empowers them via mentoring, case management and academic support. I have never seen an organization arm their students with so many resources, across so many areas of their life, for so many years. They truly provide the long-term stability these students need and are honestly some of the most generous, passionate, inspiring people I have ever met!
How did you get involved with this charity? What do you do with them now?
I was introduced to the organization via a friend and the fit was instant. I have been working closely with DUS for the last year and currently serve on their Board of Directors, as well as Chair their Marketing Committee. It has been such a pleasure to get to know all of their amazing staff and volunteers.
One of my biggest goals this year is to build awareness around the great work happening within this organization, so I am very appreciative of this opportunity to share a bit about DUS with the Natascha Lee Studios audience!
Where can someone go to learn more?
www.denverurbanscholars.org has a wealth of information about the organization! You can also follow the team @DenverScho via twitter or Denver Urban Scholars on Facebook.
You have a special event coming up….
Yes, we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary this year and have a fantastic fundraising gala, The Class Act Dinner, planned Saturday, November 7 at the Seawell Ballroom within the Denver Performing Arts Center. Tickets and full tables are available for purchase and everyone is invited to attend! If you are unable to make the event, but would like to give in another way, we are actively seeking silent auction donation items, as well as volunteers to help with the evening events. The theme is “Hollywood Glam”, so I assure you it will be a night full of fun – you can learn more here.
You can also give to Denver Urban Scholars at any time via their website, or during Colorado Gives Day this December 8.
If we can’t make the event, how else can people contribute and/or help out?
Financial assistance is always appreciated; however, we are also actively looking for new mentors to pair with our growing student list! If you or someone you may know is interested in learning more about our mentor opportunities, click here.
You can also plan ahead for our “Summer Games” in June 2016 (date TBD) which is the most incredibly fun, “adult” field day you will find in the Denver area! If you like videos, this YouTube video will give you a great overview of the event.
And the most important question of all – if you could have any superpower, what would it be?
The power to heal!
Thanks Desiree – it was great to learn more about you and about Denver Urban Scholars!
I’m so honored – Colorado Parent Magazine asked me to write an article for local Colorado parents on “Tops Tips for Unique First-Day Back to School Photos of your Kids”
You can see that article and my photos in their Aug issue that came out like 5 minutes ago. 😉 (That’s the magazine world – they seem to publish about week before the actual month. I think that’s to give the postal service time to distribute the publication.)
Click here, and check out page 11 to read: “8 Pro Tips for Unique First Day Back to School Photos”.
One of the tips I recommend everyone check out is #6 – “Have your child hold a prized possession.” Something that is meaningful to them at this current age and stage. I know from the children’s portraits I create, that children love to customize a photo with their own personality and possessions. For a parent, there is nothing more unique than our child themselves so we often don’t think of including a piece of sports equipment, a stuffed animal, or a special book. But kids love to include their cherished object(s) in their photos. I take photos both with and without that object, so that you have some variety. Oh, and even if the object is so worn that it looks like the Velveteen Rabbit, be sure to include it in a few images.
True story – I just did family portraits this weekend where the 2 year’s old’s favorite thing was a baby doll that had initially been the dog’s chew toy! Sure, it looked worn, but we were going to include it in a few photos anyway….until he changed his mind and wanted the bright yellow truck instead! 😉 So, even if the special object isn’t quite photogenic, it is still a good idea to include it (in at least a few photos.)
Colorado Parent Magazine: Top Tips for Unique Back-To-School Photos of your Kids