Friday, October 29, 2010

Q&A with Cathy Mores Photography

Happy Friday everyone! To continue our photographer Q&A series, I am extremely delighted to have the fabulous Cathy share with us what makes her tick and her photography "story"! She's an incredible person with an amazing heart. You can, and will, learn TONS from her...I know that I have! Thanks Cathy! =)

CHRIS: Let's start with a little background info, tell me about yourself.

CATHY: Thanks, Chris, for the opportunity to share my story with others! I'm humbled and grateful to have a few moments to talk about my life in front of, and behind, the lens.

Where do I begin? I am addicted to Dots. Pick out the green ones and we are BFFs for life. I love too much. Sleep too little. Indulge at Starbucks more than I should. I have a weakness for handbags. I could burst with pride every time I hear the Iowa State fight song to the roar of a packed stadium at the start of a Saturday morning football game. Seriously, it brings tears to my eyes. I would like to pack my suitcase and move into an Anthropolgie store. I may appear like a tough nut, but I'm so soft at heart. I get to know my clients as if they were part of my own family. I love pretty things on paper--the touch of letterpress as it graces an envelope with a handwritten note makes my day every single time.

I'm a native midwesterner. I understand the value of hard work and a sometimes-stubborn attitude. I created Cathy Mores Photography to provide my clients with a portrait experience that is about more than making great pictures. Currently based in Manhattan, KS, we serve clients all over the Northeast Kansas, the Kansas City metro and some of our favorite places across the midwest and beyond.

My website is and I keep a blog of current news, sessions and ramblings at I'm on facebook too at; my twitter handle is I'm pretty much an open book at this point. You can read about what I had for lunch, see my latest session, or find my latest flea-market find at any one of those.

CHRIS: How did you become a photographer?

CATHY: I have always been a creative person; I took a huge fascination to the magic and mystery of creating beautiful images as a child. My dad had a Canon AE-1 and a couple of good lenses. He wasn't a professional photographer, but was a huge influence as I began making pictures at a very early age. I took that camera to college, where I studied photography as part of my major, and I still have it today as a reminder of where I've come from. (It proudly sits next to my collection of vintage Kodak Brownie cameras from the 1930's and 40's.)

I didn't lose my love for photography after college. I knew I'd ultimately come back to it :: the smell of darkroom chemicals were too embedded in the fabric of my life. :) But it took a burner to my work in the advertising industry, in nearly ten years spent in ad agencies across Iowa, Colorado and Kansas. I did a little commercial photography during that time, and it energized me. I saw a need for photography that did more than capture the physical attributes of a person, and instead photograph their emotions and interactions. It was the underlying premise and desire to create Cathy Mores Photography.

CHRIS: Why should I book you as a photographer?

CATHY: I listen. I hear your story and turn that dialogue into imagery that you'll have your entire life. Generations from now, those images not only share what you looked like, but who you are as an individual. Who you are as a family. Your story is so unique, and you deserve to have someone behind the lens who you trust to tell that story.

I am your trusted partner through each step of the experience. I'll help consult you from the first time we meet to discuss your session to selecting the right portraits and products for your home. I develop long-term relationships with my clients; when I photograph your family, you become part of mine.

I take the responsibility of being your family's storyteller very seriously. It's a great honor and privilege to be able to document your family's story through photographs.

CHRIS: How would you describe your style?

CATHY: I call my style "photoartistry". It's kind of a mutt of traditional portrait photography turned on its ear and blended with photojournalism and strong emotional ties. Basically, it boils down to this :: I want you to feel something when you look at my photographs. Joy. Warmth. Love. Comfort. Family. Respect. The moments you remember most between you and another person aren't necessarily the ones that involve "tip your head this way and look at each other like that". It's the moments that happen in between posed shots. The way dad swings his little girl around or the comfort of mom's warm embrace. The kiss on a nose between a new bride and her groom.

CHRIS: If you had to pick your favorite piece of equipment, what would it be and why?

CATHY: You're killing me with this! I can only pick one? :) I would be lost, completely lost, without my prime lenses. I like that I have to force myself to move to get a great shot--that I can't just zoom in and expect that to be good enough. Right now that includes the 50mm f/1.4 and 105mm f/2.8. Tack sharp and buttery-beautiful all in the same breath.

CHRIS: What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?

CATHY: Connect with others. No man is an island in this business--connect with others on SOME level. Online, through a mentor, workshops. There are so many useful resources available to help you succeed. But also don't be afraid to think outside the box and blaze your own path--those mentors and workshops are merely available to offer you their opinion. It's hard work, but worthwhile and humbling too.

CHRIS: Care to share 5 recent photographs?

CATHY: Oy!! That's like asking a mom to chooser her favorite child. :)

This remains one of my favorite images to date. My husband and Little Man were playing in the grass one night, laughing and being silly. I still hear Little Man's giggle when I see this image.

I went to San Francisco a couple of years ago to study with four photographers who changed my life. (Not to mention the other photographers that I still connect with!) It was an incredibly intense, emotional weekend of discovery and art. In one exercise, we were matched up with a member of the Stinson Beach, CA community to hear their stories and photograph them, with the images donated to the community's historical records. I was matched with a woman who recently retired and was finding her new wings of freedom, and trying to re-discover what inspired her. We were blocks from the ocean on a chilly early May morning, so we grabbed our shoes and walked to the beach, one of the places where she feels most alive.

This little guy totally wasn't sure about me at first. Think about it to a two year old--you're a new person with this big black box in front of your face and telling him to smile? Yeah, right. So he stayed where he was comfortable, right between mom and dad--and all of a sudden he was hamming it up. We're totally BFFs now, minus the Dots.

This image feels like childhood! Fresh, free, unabashedly chasing after a dream. You can't make moments like this up. It screams happiness. And summer.

This is a really recent one--if you're a regular blog reader, just a couple of weeks ago. We photographed this beauty at a fresh five days old; I love newborns because you have to be SO patient and calm and it's a wonderful step back from my usual pace. I didn't learn until I arrived at the session that the baby's dad was about to leave a few days later for his first deployment overseas. Knowing he was holding her for the first and last time for the next several months still pulls at my heart. I cried while editing this session--this is what I talk about knowing the deep responsibility that I have as a photographer--that these are some of the few photographs that he'll have while he's away from his family. It's so humbling, and incredibly gratifying too, to share those gifts with others.

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Crystal & Jeremiah | Wedding | Nassau, Bahamas | Brandi & Chris

We are blessed. Brandi and I are ridiculously blessed. Blessed to have amazing clients. Really blessed to do something we absolutely love! And blessed that people appreciate our work enough for us to continue doing it! In 2008, when I officially launched La Brisa Photography, I had no idea where it would take me, but never in a million years did I ever think I would ever have the opportunity to photograph a wedding in the Bahamas!!! Well, not only did I get to go, but Brandi came with me as well! An EPIC milestone for La Brisa Photography! Ok, enough about us.

Crystal & Jay were married at the Atlantis Resort and their wedding was absolutely incredible! You may recall them from their super fun engagement session - Crystal & Jeremiah ~ Attraction Session! With a romantically intimate wedding of 40 total people, Brandi and I had a fantastic time with everyone and we definitely felt like we were part of the family! Thank you again so much for the amazing opportunity and I hope that you LOVE your images!!!

The girls did an early morning walk on the beach before all of the festivities

While the girls were getting ready all morning, the guys were playing at the awesome waterpark!

The best part of having two photographers is the ability to show contrast throughout the day. While Crystal was painfully getting her ears re-pierced, Jay was...enjoying himself =)

The wedding site =)

In one of the sweetest moments at a wedding, Jay immediately hugged Crystal even before her dad could give her away.

 dancer at the dinner? talk about awesomeness!

We finished the evening with a little light painting on the beach!

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Nikki & David | Attraction Session | Manhattan, KS | Brandi

Brandi had the distinct pleasure and privilege of photographing the engagement session of the incredibly gorgeous Nikki and David! I asked them if they could separately answer a few questions for the blog and they agreed! Thank you again so much for taking the time to do this as well as for selecting La Brisa Photography for your engagement session! Congratulations again! =)

Tell us your engagement story

Nikki - David and I met when we were in 3rd grade. I wrote in my diary that I was in love with him after watching him on the playground (honest - I still have the diary! ha!). We were biology partners during our freshman year of high school. Junior year we did some fundraising together for prom and that led to a few dates. We started officially dating on November 30, 2007. Eventually, we graduated and came to K-State together. On October 29, 2009, David took me to dinner. As we were leaving he said that he wanted to play a game and I had to close my eyes. He led me by the hand and stopped suddenly. He asked if I remembered my trip to Floria. I was confused so I opened my eyes. I saw that he was holding a beautiful ring with my anklet that I had bought in Florida looped through it. I remembered that I had made a wish when I tied the anklet on and it was supposed to come true when it broke. I had wished to marry David. He told me how much I meant to him and then he asked me to marry him. It was perfect.
David - Nikki and I go way back. In 3rd grade, she wrote in her diary about how she loved me (I've seen it!). We grew up together in small town Paola, Kansas and started dating junior year in high school. 

PLANNING - I had gone out a few weeks before with my two best friends, her brother and my roommate. After encountering every type of sales person and 'discount' we finally selected and bought a ring. I had my big plans for that night. My roommate had a very high quality camera, and we had it all planned out. He was going to come to the restaurant and take pictures of the proposal happening! The day before, we had drawn out diagrams of the parking lot to be sure he knew where to stand judged by where I was parked. After analyzing the Google Earth picture and going over numerous scenarios, we felt prepared. Part two of the plan was the way I was going to propose. Nikki had gone to Florida a year or so before on vacation with her family. She had bought an anklet as a souvenir. The legend behind it was you made a wish when you tied it on and the wish would come true when it broke off. She wished we would get married. It had already broken off about 8 or 9 months before we got engaged, but I still had it. I had the ring looped around the broken twine in my pocket, ready to propose and make the wish come true. 
PROPOSAL - On the night we got engaged, it was seemingly just another ordinary date for Nikki and me. We went to Olive Garden, her favorite restaurant and had dinner with a movie expected to come. I left many times during the night to 'go to the bathroom'. I was a little nervous, but the main reason for this was to check on where my roommate was. We finished dinner early and she couldn't figure out why we couldn't leave. Finally, he arrived and gave me the go-ahead. I paid and we got up to go outside. I asked her to close her eyes and began to remind her of her anklet and the wish she made. As I led her outside, I continued to remind her and tell her how much I loved her. I got down on one knee and asked her to open her eyes as I pulled the ring out of my pocket and asked her if she would marry me. She was so excited, she almost forgot to say yes! Then she said yes! When we got into the car, she decided she didn't want to go to the moves anymore because all she wanted to do was go wedding dress shopping! Instead, we went out with our friends and celebrated!

What was the most important thing that you wanted from your engagement session?

Nikki - I wanted people to be able to look at the pictures and feel the love (cheesy, but true! ha!). I also grew up in the country and I really wanted them to have that natural Kansas feel. They are exactly what I wanted.
David - We wanted something contemporary, fun pictures to remember this time of our lives together. We wanted high quality, creative and unique. We got exactly what we wanted.

How did you feel after your engagement session?

Nikki - We felt like it was one of our best dates we had ever been on! It was so much fun to be together doing something out of the ordinary. We were so excited when we left. We couldn't wait to see them!
David - We felt happy. We had a great time with Brandi. It was relaxed, fun and perfect.

What made your engagement session really special?

Nikki - Brandi was awesome. She made us feel right at home. She never asked us to do anything that made us feel dorky. It was great to see that she really loved the work that she was doing.
David - The way our personalities were captured. It looks like us, but we all of the sudden became art as well!

Why did you choose the locations/outfits that you did?

Nikki - The Konza was the most beautiful location I could think of. We love the look of the tall grass and the open sky. It had a real Kansas feel. We chose our outfits because they complimented the location. As my mom would say, we looked like "country music stars." ha!
David - The first dress Nikki wore she picked out specifically for these pictures. The pink one is the one we got engaged in. I bought the shirt as something that would match her dress for the pictures.

Which is your favorite photo and why?

Nikki - My favorite photo is the one below. I love this one because I have a picture of my dad and I from when I was about five that looks almost identical to this. It is so great because when you are a little girl, your daddy is your whole world and I think it means a lot to see that same adoration for my future husband! 

David - I love all of them. It's very hard to pick a favorite, but if I had to, I would say the one with us in a field with the landscape in the background and me looking at the camera.

And here are a few of my favorites from their session! =)