Tuesday, September 7, 2010


I wandered the southern Coast region with my friend Bryan this weekend. He introduced me to Camp Myrtlewood, a place of healing and peace.

We hiked a mile-and-a-half to a beautiful vista, and spent the afternoon eating and talking (and I took a nap). The forest felt primeval and I felt Tolkeinesque wandering amongst the giant ferns and firs.

The camp hosts are among the most loving people I've ever met. They opened their home and their hearts to us.

True riches reside not in accumulation, but in fullness of heart and soul.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Finally - an event for Men!!!!

I'm looking for confident, sexy men to be part of our Band of Brothers - Men in Kilts event! The first photo shoot is happening this Saturday, August 7. The images will be used on calendars, posters and on websites. Are you game? We will provide the kilts. Give us a call NOW! 503.508.5157

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Bold Riley!

I recently photographed a Celtic band, Bold Riley. (Yes, the guitar player/lead singer is my new assistant, Christopher.) For this type of photo shoot, I'm not just capturing the essence of the individuals, I'm trying to capture the corporate spirit - attempting, in images, to portray the flavor of their music. Imagine hard-driving and joyful, energetic and intense - now how do we 'catch' it in visual form?

The first step was to take them into an unusual setting. A local park worked well, because it screamed CELTIC - think Stonehenge and Druidry - it put the music into context in an almost subconscious way.

The next step was to catch them as they played, because the intensity and the joy shows on their faces when they perform.

I scouted out the location ahead of time, so I could choose the appropriate time of day for this session. I chose early evening, around 6 pm. The sun was low but the light wasn't yet flat.

I'm pleased with the results, and the band is THRILLED. Here's a link to their website, just in case you're local to the Pacific NW...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Welcome to my new Creative Assistant!

So, I finally had to own up...I couldn't do it all. Ouch, it hurt to admit that. I really, REALLY needed someone to handle, among other things, the all-important verbal communication piece for the studio. But where would I find someone eloquent, personable, and able to deliver the 'Cherie Renae' experience to my beloved clients when they call?

Enter one talented and amazing person - Chris Buckley! I've known Chris since 1994. He is one of the most gifted musicians I've ever met, and he currently leads a Celtic band, Bold Riley, which plays to packed crowds here in Salem. He is a counselor to many and a friend to all.

I'm thrilled that he's going to be working as my Creative Assistant here in the studio. Between Chris, who will be my right hand; Harper, who handles my filing; Eli, marketer extraordinaire; Ariel, my capable business consultant; and Gabriel, who pinch hits where needed - I just may be able to keep the wheels on my busy bus!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Camera 101 continues!

People are welcome to join our Camera 101 class!

This ongoing series explores both technical and creative aspects of photography, and is appropriate for both beginners and more advanced amateurs.

Learn how to 'see' the light; how to take the camera off of 'auto'; what on earth is MASP, ISO, and all those other technical terms - and why should I care? :)

We spend about an hour in the studio learning a new concept every month, and an hour-and-a-half in the field, practicing. You can join at any time. Pop in for a class!

Cost: 39. Limit 10 students. Call ahead to ensure there is room in the current month's class. 503.508.5157

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Extreme Business Marketing Makeover contest winner!

Matt's Entertainment won the Salem Extreme Business Marketing Makeover contest. Tim Fahndrich of The Third River was the mastermind for this contest, which offered over $10,000 in marketing services to the lucky winner. I was pleased to be part of this campaign, along with Tim and Signworks of Oregon.

Matt came into my studio on Monday for his new biz pic. What a great guy! He is personable and reliable, and I am thrilled to find a DJ/Master of Ceremonies that I can recommend whole-heartedly. The link to his website is: Matt's Entertainment.

As part of the marketing makeover, a NEW website will debut tomorrow. I can't wait to see it!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Question of Balance

I had someone ask me today how I balance the math & science part of myself with my artistic, creative side. I responded:

"Life is all about balance, isn't it? It's about standing under the sky at night and dancing with the stars. It's about love poems to the setting sun and sharing grief with the predawn moon. It's about walking the wilderness and knowing that even if I die, some part of me will walk out whole, ready to enter the land of milk and honey.

"It's about looking at those around me and caring more about what they need than what I want. It's about laughter and joy and being gentle with myself when I get knocked awry. It's about believing in good, in love, in those around me. And I do believe."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Vision Carrier

A friend recently told me I was her vision carrier - that I believed in her dream, and it gave her the courage to believe and work toward it, too.

I think we are all called to be vision carriers for one another.

A vision carrier does more than just believe in others' dreams, though.

A true vision carrier holds up a God-mirror, revealing each person as God sees them. For it is only when we can look upon ourselves as God looks upon us that we will have the courage to step out, to believe, and to live fully and joyfully in our dreams.

I realized that's really why I'm passionate about creating portrait art - I strive to be a vision carrier for everyone who is led to my studio door. Who are your vision carriers, and whose visions do you carry?

Sunday, February 28, 2010

One more Moon shot

The moon is still lovely tonight. What a terrific combination - February clear sky & a full moon. Perfect!

PS: The camera was set on Manual - 1/15 sec. at f6.3. You can't get images like this with an Automatic or Programme mode setting. Yes, it's a shameless plug for my next Camera 101 class, to be held on Saturday, Mar. 20 from 1 - 3:30 pm. Or you can join MyPhotoMentor, and for $9.95 a month, learn how to do it ALL! :)

Reflections of the Moon

It was a glorious full moon last night, and it rose large through the trees. I grabbed my camera to capture the orb's ascendant moments.

I posted the images on Facebook (of course), and was soon echatting about the beautiful view with a friend who is going through a painful time. I shared these thoughts with him:

The beauty of the full moon on a clear night ENCOMPASSES the world. There is joy everywhere and in everything. We have to look harder to see it in some places, but it’s those troubled spaces that give us a chance to grow our souls, so we can appreciate the moon moments even more.

And don't fear for your young, who have yet to experience their own dark nights, for they will grow into their souls in their own ways.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dare to Be RED 2010

The second annual Dare to be RED event kicked off today with a visit to my studio by Vandy Bennett. Vandy is an artist in several mediums - check out Vandy's work here.

I'll be using the images from this event in my marketing for the upcoming year. Look for more images on my Facebook page: Cherie Renae Photography.

We have two weeks of great photography coming up!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Even More

I attended a spiritual retreat last weekend. It was three days of no cell phone, no computer, & no camera (!) – time to spend looking inward rather than outward. I was skeptical about the concept, but willing to give it a try.

I came away a changed person. Thanks in part to letters collected in advance from friends & family, I was able to see myself as you see me – and I realized how much gentler & kinder you are toward me than I am toward my own self. I resolve to love ‘me’ better from now on.

On Sunday night, I stopped at home, moved my toiletry bag into another (pre-packed) suitcase, and immediately headed to Portland for the annual state photographer’s convention. Again, I was feeling skeptical. I was tired and introspective after the weekend. Did I really need to go meet & greet other photographers and attend more classes?

Once again, I was amazed at what I learned. For me, it wasn’t about new techniques of lighting, posing or retouching. It was about the heart of my business – about what I love to do and how I can do it in a way that delights my clients even more.

In the next few months, expect to see tweaks to sessions and to collections. Expect to see expanded art options. Expect an experience with me to feel even more personal, as I move into an even more authentic place with both myself and my business.

I have to laugh, because I repeated ‘even more’ three times in the last paragraph. That’s a taboo for writers – to repeat the same words again & again. But I can’t change it, because in each place it is exactly the right phrase. I think I’ve discovered my theme for 2010 – EVEN MORE. Even more passion for what I do. Even more love for those around me.

And this is all because of a couple of seminars that on the surface appeared very different, but were, at heart, the same – about sharing my passion and about living life to the fullest. The opportunities to grow are all around me, even if I’m skeptical.

My deepest thanks to you, who have shared my studio and my life. Thank you for accompanying me on this wild, magical journey. The experience would be much poorer without you.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Whisper of the Divine

I have always believed that there is a huge difference between what is 'real' and what is 'true'. Lately, I've been coming across articles that show me I am not alone in my ruminations, including this one from 1978, written by sci-fi/fantasy writer Phillip K. Dick. It is a beautiful exploration of life, the universe, and everything. (Wait, that's a different fantasy author...) :)

On Facebook this morning, I quickly quipped my thoughts. When I went back, I was struck by how deeply it was MY truth. I thought I'd share:

People always comment on how unique my portrait art is. I think it's because I'm always striving to capture truth, which is deep & beautiful in each person. 'Reality' is so unreal, and I try to take only that part which is integral to each person. I mainly focus on revealing the amazing spirit within. And then my art has beauty & integrity, because it captures a whisper of the Divine.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Classes, classes, CLASSES!!!

I realize this probably got lost in the article below, so I am repeating the information:

Camera 101 begins Saturday, February 20, from 1-3:30 pm. This monthly series will begin at the very beginning and grow with my students. The first topic is See the Light. We’ll start in my studio, talking about light and how to ‘see’ it. Then we’ll continue on to Deepwood Park, where we’ll practice nature and portrait photography. It’s going to be fun! I will accept the first 10 students who call and sign up. Cost is $39. Call (503) 508-5157 if you’re interested in participating.

I have already had people signing up, so call right away. Can't wait to see you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

By Popular Demand - classes!

As many of you know, this month I started graduate studies. I am in an MFA in Creative Writing program, and I just returned from a 10-day residency at Seaside. The fire in my belly for writing has been rekindled with a vengeance.

Interestingly, during this residency, I also realized that I NEED to do portrait photography. I didn’t realize just how passionate I was about capturing a person’s heart & soul through photographic art, but after a week away at grad school, I was pining to photograph someone. Thankfully, a couple of fellow students kindly offered to be models. Their images are included in this article – a shout-out to my new friends for rescuing me from the photographic doldrums!

What an eye-opening experience. Because I discovered that not only am I passionate about writing AND photography, I also realized just how much I love to teach. I have returned with a renewed determination to nurture beginning photographers, so that they can express THEIR passions through photography. I am so excited to continue the adventure of MyPhotoMentor.com, and I am also starting local photography classes.

Camera 101 begins Saturday, February 20, from 1-3:30 pm. This monthly series will begin at the very beginning and grow with my students. The first topic is See the Light. We’ll start in my studio, talking about light and how to ‘see’ it. Then we’ll continue on to Deepwood Park, where we’ll practice nature and portrait photography. It’s going to be fun! I will accept the first 10 students who call and sign up. Cost is $39. Call (503) 508-5157 if you’re interested in participating.

What are your goals, dreams, and passions for this new year? I hope you’re off to as exciting a start as I am!