Before you know it, your precious baby has grown up right before your very own eyes. One day you’re chasing after them as they embark on their first run with those little feet and then the next you are receiving information about graduation caps and gowns. I’m currently trying to navigate my own feelings as my daughter, Olivia, is an upcoming Senior! While I am very excited for her, I find myself asking, “How did it all happen so fast?!”.
One of my favorite sessions to photograph are Senior Portraits because I get the opportunity to capture the cusp between childhood and adulthood that these talented young people experience. I am rewarded once more when I get the family together for their viewing and display the photographs – because the expressions of surprise, love and admiration are the greatest bonus I could receive.
I love seeing how each Senior chooses to express themselves during their session with their body language, the locations we go to, their clothing, and any props or important items they choose to add into their session. It gives me a glimpse into who they are and an idea of the kind of incredible future they will have. I have had students bring their baseball bats, footballs, guitars, skateboards, art supplies and surfboards to incorporate into their portraits and we always find fun and interesting ways to utilize their prized possessions to make their portrait unique. I am so thankful for the moment when they let their guard down and I capture the portrait where they are completely relaxed and comfortable because, that ends up being the one they love the most.
Senior Portraits are also a great opportunity to capture the family as it stands at that moment before they go off to college. There is so much that can happen in a year that it’s important to take photographs of everyone together before internships, relationships, and other life events pull people in different directions. I offer FREE family portrait sessions to every family that books a senior portrait session.
As the school year comes to a close, I am so proud of the Graduating Class of 2018. I know that you have an incredible future waiting for you and I am excited to see all that you will accomplish over the next four years. If you haven’t had your portraits done already, it isn’t too late to get some portraits done to commemorate this incredible moment in your life.
Looking ahead to the Graduating Class of 2019, I am excited to capture this year’s moments with Seniors and their families. I am currently offering a Senior Summer Session deal that is CRAZY and I know you won’t want to miss it.
Devon Shanor Photography is evolving once again with the addition of my new Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator, Becca Kajouras. She is a wonderful asset to the team, adding creative and new ways to organize my business space and market my portrait sessions.
Becca recently worked for the local SPCA where she helped find animals their forever homes helping to make families feel complete with their four-legged friend. It was there that she became interested in Marketing after helping to photograph some of the animals for the SPCA’s website. She’s currently finishing up a Bachelors degree in Psychology at Norfolk State University with a plan to pursue a Masters program in the future. In addition to working for Devon Shanor Photography and finishing up her degree, Becca is a single mom to her son, Wesley. Together, they have three dogs (Dakota, Lucy, and Winter) and a large tank full of fish! In her spare time, Becca enjoys painting, reading with her son, spending time with her dogs, and cooking.
I’ve asked her to answer a few questions so everyone can get to know her. I know you’re going to love her as much as I do!
What is your favorite color ? I love the color Green.
What is your favorite food? Give me Tacos or Home-made Greek food any day.
What is something silly you’d like to share?
I love to laugh and I love to make the people around me laugh. At home it is never a dull moment, I am always trying to be silly to make my son laugh, smile, or just hang his head in embarrassment. I love to sing and to create made up songs. Recently, I created a breakfast song that we have gotten stuck in our heads. I also enjoy playing Just Dance with my son and I always end up laughing when I mess up on a dance move. I am a Nickname Creator Queen at my house, and everyone has a ton of silly nicknames that we use. The dogs have the most nicknames at this point.
Tell us about yourself:
I love helping others. Ever since I can remember I was that kid that gave away her toys to cheer someone up or did what I could to help another person. I love talking to new people and getting to know someone – it is the highlight of my day. I love spending time with my 8 year old son learning about what he’s into at the moment, right now it’s Dinosaurs, Minecraft, and Cooking. I have 3 crazy dogs; Dakota (my old lady) – she’s going to be 10 this year and has been with me through everything, Lucy (my little bug) – is a rescue I adopted in 2017 after I took her home to help her recover after an orthopedic surgery and fell in love, and Winter (the baby) – is also a rescue adopted in 2017, she’s very smart and sweet and loves to bring me shoes as her way of telling me she needs to go out. I recently got back into painting and feel so much happier that I’m being creative once again.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Northern Virginia and I honestly miss getting on the Metro and going down to visiting the museums – my friends and I used to do that often. We (my son and I) moved to Virginia Beach 5 years ago to be closer to the beach.
Why did you want to work for Devon Shanor Photography?
A few years ago, I asked Devon to do a portrait session of my family (Dakota, Wesley, and I) after I got my Associates Degree. If you know me, you know I am not a fan of being photographed but I loved how Devon made me feel throughout the whole process. Ever since then I’ve stayed in contact with Devon and when she had a position open for Marketing, I knew it was my chance to work for someone I admired and to work toward something I had fallen in love with. I feel that Marketing helps me bridge my love of communication with my creativity.
What will you be doing at Devon Shanor Photography?
I’ve only been with Devon for about a month now and I have done a variety of things including organizing her space, creating marketing material, and coming up with new ideas for the business. Everyday I get up excited because I know I’m going to learn something new and that I’m going to get a new idea. I know I will be doing a variety of things with Devon that goes way beyond Marketing and I am excited to meet all of her new clients and the clients she has had for years.
I am just like you. I have a job, a husband, kids, grocery shopping, a home to clean, bills to pay and a life to live! I budget and cut coupons and love groupon and discount sites! I hate spending more for something that I can get cheaper somewhere else. I only have so much money coming and and I really do need to make it stretch as far as possible. I get it! That said… you REALLY DO NEED A PROFESSIONAL HEADSHOT done by a professional photographer! A “picture of you” is not just a picture of you when you are trying to sell yourself. And we all need to sell ourselves at times!
I was just searching online for a therapist for someone I love. I found an incredibly helpful site that narrowed down therapists in my area to those that specialized in the the disorder I was looking for help in, where they were located, a short bio about them and their practice and a picture. I was completely turned off by MOST of the pictures! Only a handful had professional portraits and most were snapshots with distracting things in the background and were unflattering. A few looked to have been taken 30 years ago with outdated clothing or hair. They might be AMAZING therapists but I didn’t even click on their profile for more information.
We all love selfies but a selfie is NOT a professional portrait!!!! Yes, I am a photographer and of course I have a professional headshot… but be honest, if you were coming to do business with me about ANYTHING and I had this as my profile picture or on my website, does it look like I invest in my business? It’s a SELFIE with clutter all behind me!
These are the kinds of things I saw when looking for a therapist this morning. There was one where he was standing beside a horse and you could only see a portion of his face but ALL of the horse!
We shouldn’t make judgments on people by the way they look…. but we do have first impressions that are hard to get past. We often have a TON of options in front of us and we navigate ourselves to the ones that relate to us. Often, unless we are buying something and there will have NO interaction (like online), we want to feel connected to the people we will be working with, buying from, spending time with, etc. Some of the pictures I saw today, the therapists were almost scowling… and you want me to come and lay on your couch and tell you my problems??? No thanks, Mr. Grumpy. The outdated ones… um no thanks Mrs. Seventies show. The selfies… is this a legitimate business Ms. Smartphone?
The take-away from this is you NEED to have a professional portrait. It doesn’t need to be BORING but it does need to focus on you and how you are trying to sell yourself. Do you want to be inviting and warm? Powerful and important? Confident and trustworthy? Self controlled and competent? Amusing and charming? Selfless and calm? Different jobs call for different portraits!!
Here are a few of MY portraits. I usually try to go for inviting, warm, and friendly. Sometimes I include my camera, sometimes I don”t. I love to be outdoors and since many of my sessions are on location- I usually choose outdoor locations too.
This will include the session plus one digital image.
Please invest in yourself and in your business. Put your best foot (er… face) forward and see the difference it makes!
Another amazing year has passed. Last year at this exact time, I was just so thankful 2015 was almost OVER. It was a year filled with so much sadness and loss. I prayed for 2016 to be a BORING year at least! I just wanted to get past all the pain of 2015. God answers prayers and more. Like he states “There is a time and a season for everything.” The BORING year I was praying for didn’t happen, instead He gave me so much more.
Personal highlights of 2016… I started the year off on a cruise with my family. The first cruise we have done together and it was a beautiful welcome to the new year! In the spring, I visited NYC with my son and godson and got to see my childhood crush, Will Smith (aaaaahhhhhhh) film the movie Collateral Beauty. (Seriously, I was like a giddy child- and the coolest thing was it was an unexpected surprise to see him on set!! Thanks to an amazing friend who set it up!) In the summer, I visited Ethiopia again, with Habesha Momma, and got to start the process of opening a home for homeless and trafficked children. I also FINALLY got to take my husband to NYC. I love NYC and Brett has said for years ”NEVER” when I ask if he’d like to go with me. However, he finally agreed and we had a fabulous time together enjoying the big city!
One of the biggest personal and business highlights was I moved my business out of my house and into a true commercial space!! It was a HUGE leap of faith but I am so very thankful I took the risk. I LOVE having my own space. I’ve been a successful photographer for years BUT having my own name on the outside of a building makes me feel “I’ve made it!” It has been an amazing whirlwind of a year! I had a phenomenal Open House in my new space and felt so much love poured out. I have been blessed by the opportunity to photograph so many amazing people, families and projects. I truly love my job and don’t take for granted the fact that I am given the gift of creating moments in time for each of you.
This blog every year is one of my hardest… to go through the year and pick my favorite images to share. Each one of you are so special to me, all of our shoots hold special moments and laughs. In every single session- I am creating memories that I pray will be cherished for generations to come. Narrowing that down to 15-20 images to show my year in review… it is SO HARD! But here are some of the highlights I was able to narrow it down too… and once again thank you. Thank you for trusting me, thank you for supporting me, thank you for allowing me into your family.
Years ago, I visited Colombia in South America on a mission trip. Jamie, one of my fellow travelers, and I lost touch over the years, although we stayed FB friends. (Jamie is now living the adventure life in ALASKA! So jealous… until I realize I’d have to be cold all the time! Then I realize why I like Virginia Beach!)
Anyway- back on track, Janie’s mom Margaret has recently gone into real estate and needed professional portraits and Jamie refereed her to me! What a blessing. I LOVE referrals.
Margaret wanted beautiful, relatable, friendly images and the Founders Inn provided a perfect environment. She wanted to incorporate the beautiful gardens and architecture that they are so well known for at the Inn. She knows her architecture too and told me all the names of the arches, windows, treatments, stones, etc that we saw. I’m NOT educated in these things, and I had little to add as she discussed the beauty in the hotel! I can tell she’s going to do amazing in real estate. She knows her stuff, she’s relatable, she’s kind and she’s a joy to be around. If you are in need of a realtor, I think you’d find a perfect fit with her!
Check out her website here: http://www.margaretboundspresents.com/home.html and see her beautiful images enhance her website!
Lauren is great friend of mine who is SUCH an inspiration. She is a wonderful mom and wife and loves all things natural and is a phenomenal business owner! In fact, she has so much talent, ideas, inspiration and passion, she has multiple businesses!
She has her own natural skincare line and I have been purchasing her homemade organic soaps and skincare for over a year now.
Then recently, she completed school and is now a Professional Esthetician! (I have gotten a facial from her and it’s heaven!!) You NEED to check out her spa services!
She contacted me recently to help her with pictures for her website and we had such a great time together! She truly does lead an inspiring life and you can find lots of great tips and ideas on living a budget friendly, natural life plus you can order products, schedule appointments and just find some daily inspiration!
Please take a moment to check out her website! http://www.thenaturallyinspiredlife.com/
Join the Club!
Everyone whom I photograph is special to me, I adore all the people, families, children and couples I am blessed to photograph, but there are SOME clients who have become family to me. Clients whom have been in front of my camera time and time again.
I adore the high school senior who gets engaged and asks me to photograph the engagement and wedding and then a year or two later become Baby’s First Year clients. I love the family portraits that begin with the kids in middle school whom I am now capturing as they graduate from high school. The heart of my business is with those clients who stay with me year after year, milestone after milestone. It truly is what I have founded my business on. I WANT to develop relationships that last a lifetime. I WANT to be your lifeographer… the photographer whom you call during every big milestone in your life.
Therefore, I am so excited to be offering a new program inside Devon Shanor Photography, called the FourEver Family Program. You are automatically welcomed into this program after you have booked and held four sessions with me. Then, forever after that session, you will be eligible for discounts, specials, inside information and more!
There is no additional cost to be added into this program, you are added once you have had four sessions with me!
I’ll be reaching out to the families that are automatically enrolled and I can’t wait to add more as the years go on. I love my job and I LOVE my clients who have truly become like family. It is my honor, joy and pure pleasure to be able to capture memories for you that last a lifetime. Seeing your family grow up before my lens is truly a blessing!
I just returned from The Mid-Atlantic Regional School of Professional Photography (MARS) in New Jersey. It is a school I have been attending for the last seven years to stretch and grow myself as a family and portrait photographer. I love spending time with other professional photographers. Often, we will talk about WHY we became photographers and I have found that my story into becoming a professional photographer is often different than others. Most of my peers fell in love with the ART of photography. They began taking pictures at a young age and learned to develop film in a darkroom, excited by the process of photography. They often began by taking pictures of flowers, sunsets, landscapes, etc. Often that love of photography transferred into taking pictures of people. They seem to all have a deep appreciation and love for art of all kinds. They love visiting museums and often are skilled as artists with a pen, paper or paintbrush as well as behind a camera. They are passionate about art.
My story is different. I didn’t have a camera in my hand growing up and I’ve never developed film in a darkroom. I don’t often visit museums and I never did very well in art class. If you ask me to draw a dog, it might end up looking more like a horse… or a bunny. I fell in love with photography as a TOOL to capture love. I LOVE people. I am passionate about people and the connections between them. I began photography because I wanted to capture the love of family, the strength and passion in a marriage, the love of parents for their children, the connections between siblings, the transition of a young man or woman as they graduate high school and the beauty of new life in a newborn. THAT for me is the art I am passionate about. Photography for me is so exciting because it allows to to take those moments and preserve them forever.
That being said, I don’t shoot landscapes, flowers, trees, inanimate objects very often. I often will see a beautiful landscape and think “That is beautiful, I wish I had a family or couple here so I could create a beautiful portrait.” I notice the beauty, but to me, it would be made more beautiful if I could incorporate the love and connection of people into the scene.
Recently, I reconnected with an old friend who is an amazing artist in multiple different mediums. We had some long discussions about art and the definition of an “artist.” He inspired me to stretch myself and try to expand my view of art through my own photography. Don’t get me wrong, I see so much beauty and talent in landscape photographers, I have some friends who are incredibly talented in that field! I am in awe of what they capture! I just have a hard time myself bringing that same beauty to life behind my own camera.
Like I said, my friend encouraged me to try and stretch myself, and see beauty, vision and perspective in way that DON’T include people. Since I was going to be at MARS in Cape May NJ, a gorgeous place to photograph landscapes, old Victorian homes, animals, boats, etc, I decided to take him up on the challenge.
IT WAS HARD! I am so used to having a vision of what I want to photograph before I start, a vision that ALWAYS includes people. To just walk around and try to find inspiration in the objects around me… that was hard! I only really had one day to work on this personal project, and that day, it was raining and foggy. So my go-to sunrise or sunset pictures were out.
I’m definitely not ready to start selling postcards, but thought I’d share a little piece of myself with you. I feel like a brand new photographer again, as I definitely have a lot of room to grow here, but it’s important to stretch yourself and grow. Here’s me growing…
What a year this has been. Last year was a pretty terrible year for me personally and I was so ready for 2016. I was expecting a much better year, but I didn’t expect this!!!
Less than two weeks ago, I signed a lease on my new office space. It has been dream of mine, to get out of my home office, for such a long time but I have been so afraid to take the leap. With a HUGE nudge from my husband, I finally took jumped off the ledge and did it!
My space is located at 1642 Pleasure House Rd. Suite 108, Virginia Beach. The downstairs space is Synergy Space, an amazing multi-use space that can be rented for multiple different uses (parties, classes, networking, meetings, etc) and the upstairs space is ALL MINE!
It’s not a huge space, I’ll shoot newborns and professional portraits/headshots here, but I’ll still rent my other studio space for larger studio work. It is an AMAZING space though to work, edit, meet with clients and have my viewing sessions!
It’s been a long two weeks getting it ready and I am SO THANKFUL to everyone who helped me. Jeris at Smartgiraffe (www.smartgiraffecs.com) was amazing at helping me get my computer up and running and a new screen projector installed and working. My friends were amazing and stepped up helping me paint, decorate, rewrite and organize. My husband Brett did a majority of the work while I was out of town and did all the heavy lifting! I may run this business alone, but I am SO VERY thankful to those who lift me up and surround me with support.
Here is a progression of our before and after images!!
My Olivia helping put up my curtains and touch up all the paint!
My handsome bandyman. I wouldn’t be here without his support and encouragement!
ALL DONE!!! A few little tweaks here and there BUT I’m officially open for business!!!
Soon, I’ll be announcing my open house date and I can’t wait to celebrate with you as I embark on this new adventure… but don’t feel you need to wait. I’d love it if you’d stop by and say hello. I love visitors!
Six years! I have been in business over six years. I started with an office in my bedroom and then moved into my garage. Then, four years ago we moved across town and I finally had my own office space in my home where clients could come do their viewings. It wasn’t ideal having everyone come to my house, but I was still a new business and it worked! For the past year I have been praying about moving my business outside my home. I have had a lot of reservations, mostly rooted in fear, but decided to put it out there and see what God would do. I was pretty specific about what I wanted though. A space where I could meet with clients and do their viewing sessions, a small studio space for my newborn sessions, within a specific price range AND needed to be near my home. I have been looking around and NOTHING met those criteria. I wasn’t discouraged, I had faith the right place would show up when the time was right.
Unexpectedly, two days ago, that time was upon me! I am now the owner of my own business space less than a mile from my home! “Cue fireworks and confetti”
WOW! Yes, I’ve been praying on it, but seeing places that were 2-4 times by budget just made me think that finding a space meeting my requirements just wasn’t going to happen. Should have known not to doubt God!
Wednesday morning I posted this on Facebook…
I posted this in the morning and then, just happened to check craigslist on a whim for office space. By 6:00, I had the keys to a new space in my hand!!!!!! WHAT??!!?!?!?
All I can say is that I am in awe. I am scared, nervous, excited and overwhelmed! But I have great friends and a supportive family and we’re busy painting and buying furniture and working hard to get it ready.
Can’t wait to show it off!!!! I am heading out of town Sunday for a photography school in New Jersey. (www.marsschool.com) I’ll be home next weekend and plan to be in the office and working by that Monday!!!
I am so thankful for the past six years. I am honored to have been blessed by so many of you who have trusted me to capture your precious family portraits. I am so excited to see what the future holds for Devon Shanor Photography and thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for standing by and supporting me!