A Classic Hollywood Portrait: Kendra

Baby It’s Cold Outside!

We love getting creative with seasonal accessories, like a hat and a scarf, to glam up some playful wardrobe for our classic Hollywood portraits!


Classic Hollywood portraits capture an essence of timeless beauty, femininity, and depth. It is a type of styling and photography that has captured our hearts for years. The photoshoot consists of vintage makeup and hairstyling paired with the right furniture, backdrops, posing, and dramatic studio lighting to achieve a Hollywood portrait replica – starring you as the leading lady. This is a great alternative option for a boudoir session or just for fun! 


May your holidays be gorgeous and bright! Cheers!

The Importance of Mentorship




1. an experienced and trusted adviser.


Mentorship is imperative for everyone. A mentor has more knowledge and experience than a mentee and they are there to share. A mentor can guide, advise, advocate, and inspire a mentee. Mentors are very special as they have intimate knowledge of your hopes, fears, wins, and losses, and really serve as a friend and confidant in several ways.

I have several mentors – for life and for business – who I lean on when I need help or a listening ear. I have always held my mentors close through the years of going through college, graduate school, and then starting my business eight years ago. I still talk to them when I’m wrestling with a decision and need to relay my view of the pros and cons to someone who might have a perspective I should consider.

I also have served as a mentor to many people. I’ve helped students, working professionals, fellow small business owners, fellow artists, and many others on their journey towards being their best self and living their best life. I am a calculated risk taker, a passionate life liver, and an aggressive experience maker. One of my favorite things to do is to coach someone towards getting more of what they really want. No one is an island. You’ll get there faster by surrounding yourself with more great people, and you’ll do it with more company, more joy, and more support.

Take a minute to thank your mentor today. And if you can’t quite define who that is and/or you feel like there is room for more, reach out to a potential mentor.

We’re all in it together!

A Winter Wonderland Wedding

Jenny got married on a beautiful New Year’s Eve day. We got them ready in a suite at the W Hotel in the Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis. Vick Photography captured gorgeous images of our bride and her perfect day.


Jenny had a bit of a vintage inspired hair and makeup look with a bright red lip and crisp top eyeliner and lush lashes. We also crafted a down hairstyle with waves and an old Hollywood s-curve in the front – complete with a styled birdcage veil that fell perfectly over her brow. The look complimented her gown and fur wrap perfectly. There is no better to ring in the new year than to help make someone’s dreams come true on their big day!


A review from Jenny:

“I want to sincerely thank you for making me feel and look amazing on my wedding day! You have a gift and it shows – from the first meet to you sending me on my way to go get married you have been nothing but kind and heartwarming. You made me feel so comfortable throughout the whole process. The moms and the bridesmaids were so thrilled with what you and your team did for them, I know they all felt so beautiful. It’s so great to be able to support a strong and passionate woman small business owner! You are a great person and I will gladly refer family and friends your way. I will email you photos once I have them! Good luck and thank you again for being a joy to work with!”

A review from Jenny’s mom:

“Thank you for helping make Jenny’s wedding so special. As a “tomboy” mom, I was a bit anxious to get a spray tan and hair/makeup done. That changed as soon as I met you! You were so professional and you made those experiences so relaxing. I couldn’t have been happier with how I looked as Mother of the Bride. I received numerous compliments!! Best of luck with your business. Your hard work and dedication will no doubt lead to continued success!”


​Brett Dorrian’s Glam Holiday Gift Guide

{For the Boss Lady in Your Life}

These are a few of my favorite things…


Bow Tie Earrings  

These tapered baguette earrings by Heidi Gibson are a perfect everyday accessory for your wardrobe. Her art deco-inspired designs are a gorgeous option for a holiday or milestone anniversary gift.

$650 www.heidigibson.com  


Wide Chevron Hinge Bracelet

J. Crew makes a whole slew of costume jewelry accessories that can make a perfect little stocking stuffer or secret Santa gift.

$24.50 www.jcrew.com  


Striped Italian Cashmere Wrap

This cozy little number from J. Crew will keep you warm in style. Make a gifted scarf just a tad more special with a luxury fabric when only the best will do.

$128 www.jcrew.com  


Cozy Cream Colored Robe

Local lingerie shop Flirt Boutique carries Eberjey items and they have some of the most comfortable pajamas and robes for any boss lady that likes to be glam even at home. This is the Elsa Robe.

$166 www.flirt-boutique.com  


Cashmere Slippers

Another favorite from Flirt – these little slippers will keep your tootsies warm in style on cold winter nights.

$96 www.flirt-boutique.com  


The Perfect Red Lipstick

You can’t go wrong with a red that looks great on everyone. Nevermore is my signature lipstick color.

$22 www.elixery.com  


Classic Red Nail Polish

Dior nail polish in color Rouge 999. Do two coats with a top coat and you’re good to go for nearly as long as a manicure.

$27 www.sephora.com  


Diamond Pattern Turkish Towel

Turkish towels from Kisa Boutique serve as a beautiful scarf, swimsuit cover up, beach towel, and more. It’s a nice versatile piece.

$44 www.kisaboutique.com  


A Watch that Goes with Everything

The Kate Spade Pave Bunny Mini Eldridge Watch has a nice neutral taupe-colored band with just a frosting of bling to dress it up. It’s like a watch crossed with a bracelet.

$225 www.katespade.com  


A Sophisticated and Chic Tote

The Jet Set Large Top-Zip Saffiano Leather Tote by Michael Kors is a lovely accessory – especially with all of our extra winter accessories to keep track of while out and about.

$187.50 www.michaelkors.com  


Bourbon… of course Bourbon

A favorite of mine is the Basil Hayden’s 8 Year Bourbon. It’s a smooth and dependable bourbon that’s great neat or on the rocks.

$36 www.surdyks.com  

Pack This

13 Must-have Makeup Items For Travel

As people start to plan their winter vacations or brides are thinking ahead to their honeymoons, we wanted to share some great tips for packing products and a few of our favorites.



Keep your face fresh while on the road.

Burt’s Bees- Facial Cleansing Towelettes, $5.69


Keeps lips happy with a little love throughout the day.



Choose a liquid foundation you can sheer out with moisturizer or layer up for a fuller coverage for a night out.

Make Up For Ever - Mat Velvet + Mattifying Foundation, $38


Waterproof mascara will minimize smudging.

Maybelline - Great Lash Waterproof Mascara, $3.79 


Spot-treat with this compact that offers three different color correctors.

Senna Cosmetics - HD Hydra-Cover Concealer, $38 


A little pop of color puts a nice flush in the face.

Bobbi Brown - Shimmer Brick Compact, $46


Keep it simple— choose a light and a dark eye shadow to do a basic contour.

Senna Cosmetics - Eye Color, $18 


Pick up a little travel-sized brush set to stay equipped yet compact.

Senna Cosmetics - Brush Clutch, $65 


This magic little product is an SPF 45 powder sunscreen you can put on after makeup.

Peter Thomas Roth - Instant Mineral SPF 45, $30


Choose an earthy color that is easy to apply quickly and will match the muted tones of your wardrobe.

Smashbox - Be Legendary Lipstick, $20


Make sure to moisturize in the morning (before makeup) and at night (after cleansing).

Embryolisse - Lait-Crème Concentré, $28


This does double duty—substitute powder for your liquid foundation when you want super light coverage or if you have oily skin, powder over your foundation to set it.

Dior - Diorskin Forever Compact SPF 25, $52 


Use waterproof eyeliner to minimize smudging while you’re running around.

Make Up For Ever - Aqua Eyes, $19

Our Bridal Getting Ready Room

Start your wedding day off right with styling, mimosas, and your most important friends and family by your side!

A bride prepares for her big day in our getting-ready space.

A bride prepares for her big day in our getting-ready space.


Our Minneapolis getting-ready room is a great option for brides to relax and enjoy the pre-wedding experience.

If you are looking for a solution for where to get ready, have we got an option for you — we are thrilled to offer our beautiful studio space as a private bridal getting-ready room to our wedding clients!


We have specifically designed our space to fit your needs. We offer ample seating, light refreshments, beautiful decor, and private usage for your group. Our space has no food or beverage restrictions, so feel free to bring in whatever you'd like. Lounge, dress, and get styled in our luxuriously designed 900 square foot space with lots of natural light, vaulted ceilings, and professional styling stations. There is even a shooting bay for portraits should you want a clean backdrop for your getting ready shots with your photographer.


Our location in the arts district in Northeast Minneapolis is very close in proximity to downtown; and our building offers a free parking lot for your convenience. We are in the trendy Solar Arts Building on the 2nd floor among the artist loft suites.

We would be happy to host you for your big day!

Though, should you prefer to get styled at another venue of your choice, we still offer on-site styling packages in our Wedding Collection for your convenience.


Spark Letterpress Marketing Collateral Shoot

We were so happy to create the visual story of Spark Letterpress for all of their various marketing needs. We did makeup, hairstyling, and photography for their shoot. We spent time story boarding out a shot list ahead of time to make sure we were efficient on the shoot day. We spent a half-day styling and shooting on-site in their lovely space in NE Minneapolis. 


It’s important to have the right images that tell the story of your brand and your business readily available for use on your website, printed materials, and social media. We took care of styling, headshots, staff group shots, and then working shots to make sure we visually covered every aspect of how they perform their work for clients.


Planned to fit your marketing collateral needs, these professional, editorial-style shoots tell the story of your business. These shoots are great for individual entrepreneurs who need a variety of shots, small business or corporate teams that need on-site staff pictures, and every business wanting to communicate what they do more effectively through lifestyle images of their services and/or products. Camera-ready makeup and hairstyling can be added onto your booked time for an individual or smaller groups; or additional studio artists can be added onto the package for extensive styling requests. We do half-day and full-day shoots, which include a digital download of unlimited edited high-resolution images, client copyright for unlimited usage, custom edits/requests on 10 favorites, and wardrobe consulting. 


Consider doing a marketing collateral shoot when you need more than a headshot in order to effectively convey your brand and your story. 

The Importance of Time Off


There were times in my adult life as a small business owner that I didn’t take vacations. I blamed it on money; I blamed it on schedules and a whole slew of other things. But the fact of the matter is we all need a break. We all need a vacation. We all need some time off. And we need to make it a priority lest it fall victim to making excuses.

Taking time off in terms of planning vacations is key. I do it big and I do it little.

I do it big when my Michael and I travel internationally a couple times per year for “vacation” in the truest sense. We also take some domestic trips for long weekends each year.


But on top of that, I take a whole weekend off every couple months to prevent burn out in busy season. And then weekly I make sure I get my equivalent of a “weekend” off even with my crazy schedule. Daily I take breaks for walks in the sunshine and enjoying a cup of tea. 

We all need time off. If nothing else, start with walks outdoors, but please, oh please, build up to a bucket of beers on the beach in another country – because we only live once and there will always be more time and more money to replace what you spent making memories.  

Cheers! xxoo 

We Picked a Date! Wedding Plans Announced!

My Michael and I met back in January and I knew right away he was my person. As a prominent wedding vendor in the Minneapolis/St. Paul luxury wedding scene, I have worked with a lot of brides. Over the years, I’d hear “when you know, you know!” And I was like yeah right… until I met Michael. Our first date ended up lasting nine hours because we just didn’t want it to end. The magic started that day and we both knew it.


We enjoy our wonderful life together in Northeast Minneapolis with our baby Frank (the most lovable little chihuahua you’ll ever know). We are just a half-mile away from my makeup/hairstyling/photography studio in the Solar Arts Building. We love biking around to restaurants, having a good glass of bourbon, talking business #bosslady, cooking together, and above all just appreciating the fact that every single day is easy and fun. 


Michael proposed to me very thoughtfully on Friday, September 23rd. He had me expecting it was maybe going to be the next weekend since I had a weekend blocked off from wedding bookings and we were due to spend the whole thing together. I knew he had been looking at rings but I didn’t know he already had it! It turns out after he commissioned it, it happened to come in that day. He knew I wanted to be surprised so he still went and got groceries after work. When he came home, he unloaded the car and the last thing he brought in was a floral arrangement from a florist (which is not surprising since he is a sweetheart and gets me flowers out of the blue often). Then he handed me a large gift bag and said he got me something (also not out of the blue for him to do). 

As I pulled out a James Allen box, he said he just couldn’t wait one minute longer to ask me to be his wife. I opened the box and in it was a red ring box. As I opened that, he said simply, “Will you marry me?” And I said a single, “Yes!!” And then we laughed, I cried, we laughed some more – all in a spot in our kitchen where we’ve had all the big chats in our relationship. Then he told me that I had time to change and call parents and that we were going out to reservations to celebrate and recreate our first date. What a guy!!


We both really love fall and here we were with a perfect fall engagement! We spent the next weekend off enjoying the time of being newly engaged and starting to figure out wedding plans. Since travel is a big part of our lives, we decided the perfect wedding for us would be a destination wedding. So we are eloping in less than a year for our wedding! And then we will celebrate with all of our family and friends at a casual reception in Minneapolis when we get back. 

We asked Michael’s brother, Jordan, and Jordan’s wife, Alyssa, for their advice since they are international teachers and have traveled the world more than most could ever dream to do. Jordan and Alyssa said that their favorite city in the whole world was Porto, Portugal. 


It’s a gem that sits in a ravine and is split by the River Douro. On one side are beautiful vineyards and wineries, as Porto is known for producing port wine. While the other is the vibrant city with a historic district filled with cobblestones and all. And the train station served as an inspiration to J.K. Rowling for the Harry Potter series. The food is sure to be delicious – and we even found some GF restaurants to add to the list for me. Hooray!

Porto will make for a gorgeous backdrop for wedding pictures! We decided to rent out the back room of a romantic winery to have an intimate ceremony later in the day after gallivanting around town for pictures, and then host a wonderful meal for everyone to eat and drink the night away. 

Once we picked the spot, we picked a date. We already had plans for Portland and Mexico this fall, and will be going to Shanghai in March, so we needed to look at next fall. Drumroll please… the official Brett-Michael’s wedding date is October 2nd, 2017!! We will fly into Madrid, Spain for a little pre-honeymoon solo, and then rendezvous with folks in Porto for the wedding. We have asked Jordan and Alyssa to be our two witnesses as our best man and maid of honor.        


To ensure that we are not stressed out about having to hire someone local we don’t know, we are bringing along a photographer. Shannon is the other Brett Dorrian Artistry Studios staff photographer, whom I’ve worked with for over eight years shooting weddings and who is also a wonderful friend. We are so happy to have her capture our big day! She just took some wonderful pictures of us at the studio so we have new family photos with little Frank.


And our dear friends Laura and Nick will be attending, and Laura will do us the great honor of officiating our wedding. She works in book publishing and editing and will craft the language of our ceremony beautifully.


We are so looking forward to getting married, though our forever together has already started! We couldn’t be more thrilled!  

We are enjoying researching venue options, looking at florists there, and mapping out the things we’d like to do on our trip. Next up will be picking colors, going dress shopping at Flutter Boutique, and starting to organize our Minnesota reception.  

Life. Is. Grand! CHEERS! XXOO


Happy Thanksgiving!

This year I have so much to be thankful for! When Michael and I were on our first date back in January, we declared 2016 to be “The Year of Awesome.” And it has been nothing short of awesome!


Life really is holistic – it’s all the moving parts that work together that make it great. I’ve never been so loved nor loved back so much. I’ve never been so content in my home. I’ve never worked fewer hours but accomplished more. I’ve never had such a picture perfect crew as the one we’ve evolved to at the studio. I’ve never had such a perfect home for the studio space. I’ve never been more inspired by my work. I’ve never connected more with clients. I’ve never been healthier. I’ve never been in the groove of my rhythms more than I am now. This is a year of complete thanks and gratitude from every angle.

I will continue to grow, work, inspire, love, create, guide, be present with, nurture, and fully be a part of the world around me in a way that makes me and everything I am a part of and everyone I come into contact with just a little bit better.  


If 2016 was the year of awesome, what will 2017 be? My Michael suggested we deem it 2017: The Year of All the True Love – partly because we are getting married in 2017, but also because there is so much room for all the true love with all of us in our work, our relationships, and ourselves. Where can we unabashedly, truly love all areas of our lives? I think Michael was onto something there… 2017: The Year of All the True Love, indeed.

Cheers! xxoo  


I recently had the pleasure of doing some professional speaking in Portland as one of the masters at Class: Where the Masters Teach by Erica Carr. I was on the business panel with Kate Johnson, moderated by Erica Carr. We had a wonderful time sharing tips, advice, and gems about how we do what we do as successful business owners. The artists in attendance got access to some intimate knowledge about the intricacies of running a business.  


At the end of the day, you always have to ask yourself – do I love doing the craft or do I love doing the craft and I want to sign up for the hustle of having my name on the door? Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart, but if you’re ready to get your logo designed and/or you’ve been in the game for a while whether as a single freelancer or a studio owner, my message is to be a lifelong learner. 

Everyone should be investing in their education as an artist and a business owner in order to grow more successfully faster and with more enjoyment. Buy a book, take a class, hire a coach, join a group, travel to a program, watch a webinar – do something. Going in the right direction is more important than just going in any direction. Claim your future by becoming the best you can be in all aspects of your life and work. Knowledge is power and strategy is fueled by knowing the WHY behind all that you do.




Enrollment for Class 2017 is already open.

If you’re considering attending, save your spot soon since Class 2016 sold out. Check it out here:  http://www.imgoingtoclass.com/ 

Here’s a bit more about Class from the website:

Class is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn skills and techniques directly from top beauty industry artists. 
Who Attends? Professional makeup artists who want to add significant value to their career and learn from the finest master beauty instructors in the business.
The Experience? Three classes taught daily for five days, with over 12 hours for you to practice what you’ve learned and receive valuable feedback. Class is a chance for you to invest in yourself and your business in a supportive goal-oriented setting.
Beyond Networking: Class offers an opportunity to meet makeup artists from all over the world in a unique learning environment. You’ll trade helpful tips with fellow students and learn how instructors cultivated their business.
Accommodations:  The host hotel, EMBASSY SUITES, is located in beautiful Downtown Portland, Oregon. After Class, you can grab a coffee or craft beer with new friends or shop the area’s conveniently located boutiques. Portland is known for its excellent cuisine and its laid-back artistic vibe. It is a top U.S. destination, but also a place to relax and unwind as you gain inspiration both from natural surroundings and local creatives. 

Class is a makeup artist’s utopia in beautifully hip Portlandia

The 2016 Masters:

Sam Fine

Pati Dubroff 

Reggie Wells

Alex Box

Michelle Coursey

Christopher Milone

Lora Arellano


Joanna Schlip

Beau Nelson

Sandy Linter

Gregory Arlt

Jessica Padilla

Stephen Dimmick

Jessie Powers

Julianne Kaye

Madeline Leonard

Elizabeth Hanley

Brett Dorrian


Kate Johnson

Erica Carr

Pricing Yourself for Profit


Many business owners approach pricing their services by just doing a minimal amount of market research and setting their rates wherever they see competitors’ rates. That’s fine – if for some reason you are running the exact same business model as they are with the exact same financial considerations. Otherwise, it’s just the easy way out because it requires minimal strategic consideration and no extra math.

I challenge every business owner to do better than that.

You can start by coming up with what you need to make it. What is the magic number of revenue required to cover what you need to earn, costs of goods sold, expenses, and estimated taxes? Now you’ve got that nugget of information that will guide all of your marketing to hit your sales goals to work towards that income goal.  But how many of each thing do you need to sell to get there? That is answered in your pricing.  

When you work on pricing, you need to figure out if you are luxury or a commodity. That piece will inform your rates as well as your branding. If you are a commodity (dime a dozen) you are competing on price and then the market will decide your rates. If you offer XYZ in the same way the other guys do and it’s a no frills volume-based kind of approach, then you made your services a commodity. It’s pretty cut and dry and then that basic market comparison mentioned above will need to be a stronger consideration.

If you are luxury, then you need to create a value-add in a very special way that creates solutions for clients who are willing to pay more for an elevated experience with an expert. The little touches make a big difference. And you need to create and communicate reasons why you are different and why that warrants the higher cost. You can’t just slap a higher price tag on the same commodity as everyone else – you won’t last long doing that.  It’s got to be genuine and thoughtful and, again, special.  

You will spend a whole lot more time, money, energy, and creativity attracting the perfect-fit clients who are willing to pay more for a luxury service that includes your experience and expertise. And you will spend a lot fewer resources garnering any-fit clients who want to just make the cheapest thing exist for your commodity service since you cater to the masses. Commodity clients still want it to serve a purpose and be nice enough – but there’s the qualifier. Nice enough. Good enough. Fine, even.  Luxury clients want it to be perfect and special, and just thing they needed for it to be really right.  


So are you a commodity or are you luxury? Now that you know that, go back to the math of the nugget. Your commodity pricing – competing at a lower price – will demand volume bookings to make it. You will need to sell more of XYZ at that lower rate to get to the total you desire. Your luxury pricing will require you to sell less of XYZ at the higher price to get to the total you require. You will, however, spend more resources on what it takes to be special and get that client who is willing to spend more. 

There’s no right answer until you do your own math for your own business model and consider your brand. You’ll need to decide – is that something the market can bear? Then you’ll know if the pricing you set for the thing you do is feasible for yourself and feasible for your clients and the market.

If business were easy, everyone would be doing it. Asking these tough questions will help you build a business that thrives more than it survives.

Strategy is everything and knowing WHY you do what you do in every decision you make in your business is key.  

Why You Need to Hire My Designer

brett-dorrian-hair-and-makeup-business cards

As many of you know, we recently went through a branding refresh along with doing a new website. I couldn’t be happier with how everything turned out! We’ve had Megan in-house as our Senior Design Coordinator and Brand Manager since June. I have been very happy to serve as one of her business mentors and am so pleased to announce the launch of her own design business, Tinyloud Creative Co.!  

Tinyloud Creative Co. is a small studio specializing in bringing high-quality strategic design to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Megan does her work thoughtfully, efficiently, and with great talent.  


On top of that, she is sensitive to the fact that sometimes in small business you need to take things a step at a time rather than all at once either because of resources or creative direction. She will give you a lot of bang for your buck and get it right the first time. She is worth every penny. Before working with Megan, I never knew what it felt like to have my brand perfectly represented and to have my marketing collateral suite house everything I wanted it to contain.  

Whether you need a logo, a website, various design projects, or you want ongoing blog/social support, Megan is your gal. But give her a shout soon – her dance card is already filling up quite nicely and space is limited to be in her queue. You can chat further by shooting her an email at megan@tinyloud.co or check her out at www.tinyloud.co.



Family Holiday Pictures: A Brett Dorrian Tradition

Every year we have the pleasure of working with some of our favorite past clients (and a few new clients, too) during our annual Holiday Picture Special! We love creating a mixture of holiday-inspired vignettes and clean background options in order to capture perfect Christmas card pictures, along with a few individuals of the kids because they just grow so fast.


It’s become a tradition that my mom, Maggie, makes her famous cookies and candies for the families that come in. Everyone gets a special tin to take home, filled with homemade goodies wrapped in wax paper – very old fashioned. It’s such a treat to have a few Christmas cookies in November before you’re inundated with them closer to the holidays!  


I shoot these photos personally, and some clients choose to add on makeup and hairstyling to their shoot with me as well. It’s nice for our past brides and other clients to get to work with us again. 

I will also give myself the credit of being the toddler whisperer! Ha! There is something really magical about the way I am able to get kids to work with me comfortably and quickly, which every parent appreciates. It takes a lot to prep for family photos and we know it’s important to get great shots while the kids are still cooperating. The promise of cookies at the end of the shoot always helps!


The annual special is coming up November 11th-13th and November 18th-20th. We decided to run it for two weekends instead of one this year since it’s always been so popular. There are a few spots left if you’re looking for a solution for your upcoming holiday cards.


Cheers! xxoo 

East River Road Fall Family Shoot

The Kutzera family comes to the city every year to get their family photos taken with us. They lucked out with one of the most beautiful fall days when they had this session done. We started at the studio and then ventured to the East River Road behind St. Thomas University in St. Paul.


The fall colors were just phenomenal and the kids had a great time playing outside, which allowed me to capture their personalities. It’s always a good idea to keep moving when you’ve got three kids in your session because it keeps their energy and interest up. We love doing family photography! 


Preparing for your headshots

Everyone needs a headshot – business owners, entrepreneurs, artists, speakers, and corporate people – you name it, they need it.


Things are so visual in today’s professional world. There’s LinkedIn and other social media, plus now some companies want your image on your email signature. So that snapshot of you on your friend’s deck with the glass of wine cropped out just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Yet most people still approach getting their headshot done like a dental appointment they just don’t want to schedule. Because when was the last time you had a picture taken – senior photos? Your wedding day? Having solo photos taken can give some people anxiety, whether it’s about getting through the session itself or wondering if you’ll like at least one of the photos after all the time and financial investment in the shoot. But you know personal branding is important so you book it. Now what? Here are our tips on preparing for your headshots so you can have the best session possible.



Prepare your wardrobe ahead of time. Don’t scramble the morning of your shoot and stress about what to wear.


Define what you want to communicate in your personal branding. Are you going for Boss Lady, Artist, and Lifestyle Casual in your shoot? All in one shoot?! It’s possible, but you’ll have to plan your outfit choices accordingly to achieve the most variety.


Look like you played dress up in a lawyer’s closet – unless you are a lawyer. Just because you need a formal headshot does not mean you need to look overly formal if you are a casual person.


Bring clothing with pet hair on it. No, we’re not going to “just Photoshop it out.”  Prepare your wardrobe ahead of time to be clean and without issue. This goes for stains, too.


Bring along clothing options and accessories if you just can’t decide. We are happy to help pick your top three when you arrive at your session.


Stress about what you’re supposed to do during the session. Your number one job is to just show up. We will pose you and create shots that communicate what you need.


Be sure to be well rested for your shoot. If you are ill or something has come up that would otherwise prevent you from being present and ready to go, just reschedule your shoot.


Choose colors that are electric or patterns that are too busy. Color can be good, but think about throwing a cardigan or blazer over that bright dress so it’s an accent and not the main palette. And pattern can be lovely, but if it’s too busy it will be distracting.  


Book professional makeup and hairstyling for your professional photo session. If you don’t know how to properly do camera-ready makeup and hair, leave it to the experts. We include styling with our Premium Headshot package that we do in our NE Minneapolis studio. This goes for guys, too.  


Prepare to be pleasantly surprised at how fun and quickly the session goes – you’re really going to enjoy your time with us and the images we create for you!


A Sweet Fall Baby Announcement Shoot in St. Paul

The Smiths prepared their cute props so that they could use a photo from their session to announce their pregnancy. It was important to capture all the sweetness fall has to offer for this special maternity session.


We met at the studio to do full makeup and hair (we love when we get to style and shooting sessions for our clients) before we went over to the East River Road in St. Paul behind St. Thomas University. The grove of bright red trees near the bike trail is just stunning in the fall! It’s important with any fall shoot to do some scouting a few days before your photography session since the colors change dramatically so quickly.


We had the pleasure of doing hair and makeup at their wedding, so it was very sweet to be able to circle back and be there for their next very big life event – having their first child.  

Hiring the right help


Hiring the right help can be one of the hardest things for any small business owner.

You need to find people who will work harder for your business and with more heart than they would at a corporate job – and with less cushy stability. But at the same time, you are offering them a chance to make good money while making a difference in the small company, along with having direct input in the growth of their career.  

photo by Studio 220

photo by Studio 220


At times, managing teams can feel a little Glengarry Glen Ross coming down on performance management; other times it can feel like Rudy being carried across the field. A lot can soar or suffer based on the team you have. Your time can be spent dealing with HR issues or dealing with running your business. And the fact of the matter is, you have to figure out a way to deal with it because people are what makes the world go ‘round.  

One of the best things you can do is to try to identify people with the same values. I always say I can teach someone how to curl hair but I can’t teach them how to be a good person. It’s about integrity, about doing the right thing whether you’re being watched or not. It’s easy to illustrate that thought with a notion from the wedding industry: there’s a napkin laying on the floor and there are certain types of people who will pick it up, and certain types of people who will look at it and walk on by.  

I’m only really interested in the people who would pick up the napkin. Because at the end of the day, what we do is 90% customer service and 10% delivering services. Doing great makeup, hairstyling, and/or photography is a given – talent cannot be skimped on. I’m saying that how people are treated and what their experience was while receiving their services is what makes all the difference to whether or not it was of value. And every single person who represents you and your brand is doing so through their actions and attitudes.

photo by Lauren B. Photography

photo by Lauren B. Photography


In small business, we really need to avoid sinking costs into training and onboarding, especially if it involves skilling up and not simply going through the employee handbook about your model of policies and procedures. It can be devastating to invest in the wrong-fit people. You need people who can do their jobs accurately and efficiently while being a positive team player.  

Think about creative ways to go through the interview process to make sure the candidate’s values and goals align with yours. Have benchmarks, check-ins, and probation periods where you are able to see if they are a good fit before making major commitments to one another. Follow your gut. But remember – if the person is truly the right fit, give them no reason to leave. The keys are generosity in compensation, flexibility, and genuinely caring about them.

We sink or swim together in small business.

Your 12-Month Checklist for Wedding Day Beauty

Photo by Jeff Loves Jessica

Photo by Jeff Loves Jessica


12 months

  • You should have already booked your wedding day makeup and hair artist.
  • Start a waxing regimen with your esthetician for appointments 1x/month if you anticipate doing regular waxing in order to achieve hair that grows back thinner and finer over time.
  • Start a facial regimen with your esthetician for appointments every 4-8 weeks. Discuss options since dermaplaning, microdermabrasion, laser treatments, and peels fulfill different needs. Coming up with the right plan for your skin is important. 
  • Start a cut/color regimen with your regular stylist for appointments every 6-8 weeks. 

6 months

  • Start the process for any drastic hair color changes with your regular stylist. For example, going from brown to blonde is not going to happen in one appointment. It will take a few appointments scheduled every couple of months for six months to successfully accomplish that transition while keeping the hair healthy. 

3 months

  • Get your extensions. 
  • If you’re going to try tape-in or sewn-in extensions, have them colored, placed, and cut to match a few months prior to the wedding. They last 6-8 weeks, so you’ll want to try them out for a round or two prior to the big day to make sure they’re the right choice for you. 
  • If you’re purchasing clip-in extensions, you need to order them and get them cut/colored before your trial run appointment. 

2 months

  • Schedule your makeup and hair trial run appointment and start discussing the wedding day schedule. 
  • Schedule a spray tan before your trial run appointment to try it out if you’re considering it.

2 weeks

  • Schedule one last color and cut so things are fresh but have time to settle. Schedule any men’s cuts around two weeks as well.

5-7 days

  • Get your last facial before the wedding – but only a gentle facial – no aggressive treatments should be administered this close to the big day. Consider a dermaplaning appointment to get rid of peach fuzz and reduce texture issues. 

3 days

  • Schedule waxing appointments. Do not get brows or lips waxed less than three days before the wedding or the makeup won’t sit right on the skin in those areas.

2 days

  • Schedule your mani-pedi. 
  • Get your spray tan for the wedding. Do not get your nails done after spray tanning or the solution may come off of your hands and feet. 

1 day

  • Get your rehearsal dinner makeup and hair done.
  • Men can get a straight-razor shave a day or two before the wedding but not on the day of the wedding. The appointments are lengthy, and sensitive skin will look flared up for a bit afterwards. 

wedding day

Wash your face, drink some water, and let your artist take care of the rest! 

Family Photography: A Sunny St. Anthony Main Shoot

We have worked with the Jankovic family for years, photographing all their special moments in life. Between Christmas shoots, maternity sessions, and important milestones, we are telling the wonderful story of their life and growing family. With plenty of snacks and dad taking breaks to be playful, we were able to get across all of our favorites spots at St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis. One of the most charming outcomes of this shoot was how joyful their son was about playing in the leaves. This was a precious session and a very exciting time for this family.