Monthly Archives: December 2009

Denver To LA

My last shoot of the year!... couldn’t have been more fun and full with feelings of sisterhood.  I spent yesterday afternoon with the awesome energetic smart and sassy Rodriguez girls, four sisters who are visiting from Colorado and spending the holidays with their Dad here in LA.  They wanted plenty of sun and fun for their shoot, so of course we went to the beach and Santa Monica Pier.

All-American girls… ages 15, 12, 17, and 9.


Here comes the sun!…


Their dad, John, is a firefighter, a hero, a big kid, and the girls’ biggest fan…


See what I mean?


Once we hit the beach, their competitive streaks really came out!…


It was so great to take a few moments in the midst of the holidays and get our feet wet, get a bit sandy, salty and sweaty… let loose and laugh together.


I had the best time with these girls!… They made me feel like their nutty 5th sister, and I have to say – I kinda liked that 🙂

Hope you have a beautiful and free-spirited end to 2009!



Workshop FAQ’s

Hope everyone is enjoying a magical holiday season so far! A quick Workshop Update for you: I’m thrilled with the amazing people that we’ve got signed up for the workshop… men and women, young and not-so-young, from several states and as far away as Germany!

There are only two spots left! and here are the questions that y’all are asking…

Deb asked:
I am a photography hobbyist who is considering the transition to pro.  I have shot several friends/family and they have been extremely pleased.  But, do I need more experience under my belt before I take your workshop?
I can relate to where you are right now – I was there too 🙂  And I have to say, I wish I had taken some workshops when I was just starting out.  You can save so much time, money, and angst by learning from others’ experience, mistakes, and expertise.  This is the perfect time for you to take as many workshops as you can afford – you’ll be soooo glad you did 🙂  Half of my workshop attendees are looking to make major changes in their business and the other half are just starting out, and all of you want to take your photography to the next level!  I will give you everything I know and do the best I can to help you with that 🙂

Trisha asked:
I don’t know how to use Photoshop… do I need to learn that before taking your workshop?

Not at all.  I will teach you the simplest easiest way to use Photoshop.  Because as a photographer, you don’t need to know all that PS is capable of, just the most important tools.  I’ll show you the Top Ten Tricks I use all the time, and how easy it is!  You’ll be a photoshoppin’ freak in no time!

Nadine asked:
I’m not a professional and I’m just a beginner, so I’m a little intimidated… I still shoot on Automatic! Is that okay?

Yes, about half of the attendee’s will be shooting on automatic, and that’s perfect for where you’re at right now.  I will give the automatic shooters a quick easy lesson on how to begin the transition to manual.  But for the most part, let’s focus on what’s going on in front of the camera, not fooling with your settings.  (A small secret: I shot on automatic for waaaay too long, and I wish I had tried manual sooner!  So I’m going to shortcut that learning curve for you. )

Tina asked:
What should I bring?

Your gear: camera, lenses, batteries, etc.
A laptop if you’ve got it.
A sense of humor and playfulness!

Bob asked:
Are there still spots available?

Just two spots left!

Hope this information was helpful, and I’m really looking forward to meeting you all and geeking out together!  If your question isn’t on this list, call me up!  I’m happy to discuss whatever’s on your mind 🙂

For details and more information on The Workshop, click HERE.

Talk soon!  xoxo,


It’s Christmas Week!

As I wrap up final Christmas Deliveries for clients today, I am so excited to have some time off in the next couple weeks to enjoy the holidays!… I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping, and here’s a little peek at some of the packages… the red & blue is so cheerful right?

PS. the lingerie is from Victoria’s Secret (you can’t go wrong there!)… and the red panties read “Half Nice, Half Naughty” cause you know you’ve been equal amounts of both this year!

Merry Christmas shopping!



The Momtographers Interview

I was thrilled to be asked to be the first interviewee for the launch of the new photography website, a collaboration between two moms and photographers extraordinaire Adrienne Gray and Krista Njapa.  Their wonderful new site is focused on being a community and resource for moms and photo-enthusiasts of all levels.

I had such fun doing the interview with Krista and Adrienne, two girls with heart and talent!  Here are just a few of the questions from the interview….

“When did it become apparent that photography is something you wanted to do for a living?”

“How did you find your style, and any tips for moms on how to capture your signature “authentic joy” in their own shots?”

“How do you find the best natural light?”

“What’s your #1 transformational tip?”

…and you’ll have to wait for the launch for my answers!  The launch is set for end of December, and I will keep you posted!



The Workshop

I’m beyond excited to announce details on my upcoming workshop for pro’s and those that want to go pro… including topics from branding to sales and everything in between!  The workshop will be held at my Studio + Gallery and is limited to a small group so you get plenty of one-on-one instruction and hands on learning.  You will be on your feet shooting alongside me during model sessions and will be granted use of the images for your blog and portfolio.  More info below…

The Workshop, with Christa Meola

Revolutionize your brand.
Create meaningful photographs with impact.
Take your photography and business to the next level!

Saturday January 23rd 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
Sunday January 24th 9:00 am – 7:00 pm

Held at…

Christa Meola Pictures Studio + Gallery
860 Via de la Paz, Pacific Palisades CA 90272


Topics include:

Personality and developing your unique style.  How to stand out from the crowd.  Selecting an in-demand product line, getting booked solid, communicating with clients, and selling emotion not images.

Nailing your price list so you’re busy, happy and well-paid 🙂  Best business practices including, contracts, release forms, and other good habits.

Family, Baby, and Boudoir shoots on location and in the studio.  Christa will do demos and you will get time with the models and rights to your images.  Learn how to capture honest moments and turnaround a kid’s meltdown, engage a reluctant dad, and relax a nervous mom or boudoir model.  Plus, my Top Ten Money Shots ™ and how to get them!

What’s necessary and what’s not.  Lighting techniques – how to work with the challenge and beauty of natural light, a simple studio lighting set-up that works for any subject matter, and the convenience of hand-held video lights.

A Workflow that’s easy, fast and effective.  Top 10 Tweaks I use in LR.  Top 10 Tips for PS… how to take off 20 lbs in 20 seconds, retouching, working with actions, and more.

Photo Parties…
How I made $25,000+ in one weekend with Photo Parties.  I breakdown the whole process for you and what I’ve learned that works best.

One-on-one time, individual portfolio review, Q&A session, awesome discounts from all of my vendors/sponsors, and a fabulous gift bag of my favorite things that make me happy 🙂



To register, call 310.383.6494 or email christa (at)


Space is limited and I’ve already signed up some amazing photographers, so register soon, and I can’t wait to meet you!



Morning Lovin’

There’s nothing like morning snuggling… staying in bed for hours, breakfast in bed, playing, laughing, falling asleep again, telling stories, hugging… Loving.  I could go on and on about how I love spending time in bed and doing shoots in the bedroom… a place we spend a third of our lives.  And if you’re lucky… you’re spending it with the ones you love 🙂


Rocking out!


The baby’s sleepy smile here is such a crack up!


There is so much I love about this series…  The little girl was telling her mom a story, stroking her hair, kissing, hugging… totally cute!  and look at her little feet and hands… so freaking adorable it hurts.


My favorite.  Look at the love and adoration on that little face!  Love, love, love it.


Then this happened – Dad is teaching his daughter “that is not a toy.” Lol!


You can find more of my Bed Portaits, HERE, HERE and HERE.  And there will be many more in the future!

Hope you get some morning lovin’ today 🙂



Date with Destiny

I love Tony Robbins! and I feel so fortunate and grateful to be here in Arizona at his best event, Date with Destiny.  The event is about to start, but I wanted to quickly give you a peek from a shoot this last weekend…  I love this picture!… this little girl is touching a picture from our last shoot “Summer Summer Summertime!” which you can see HERE.

Be back to blogging next week… hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season!

**Updated to add: having a phenomenal time at Date with Destiny – going strong all day long – this is the first break in 10 hours!!  and we are going back for another 5 hours straight.



Photographer FAQ’s, No. 2

The Christa Meola Portrait Workshop is set for January 23rd and 24th. And I am so excited!  I will be covering tons of topics, and details will be on the blog next week.  This workshop is for pro’s and those that want to go pro.  Feel free to email me christa (at) with questions and to book your spot.  I am keeping the class size small, so everyone get’s a lot of one-on-one time.  My workshop for parents will be scheduled on a different date.

In the meantime, here are some recent FAQ’s…

Marc asked:
What did you start with as far as a portfolio?  Did you already have a good body of work to show?  If not, what kinds of things did you do to build it?

Lol!  You are going to laugh when I tell you my first “portfolio” was a promo card with 5 photos on it of the same baby!… I hadn’t started my business yet and didn’t even own a pro camera, so I borrowed one to photograph my friend’s new baby.  One of those pics became my logo (the shot above), and the other four follow below.

That promo card got me my first job with the Kennedy family – story of that is HERE.  Then I made a website with two portfolio galleries: Baby and Family, with about 20 pics from that baby shoot and 20 pics from the Kennedy family shoot.

And my business has been built on strong referrals from then on.

You can start too, with amazing shots of just one person.  I was honest with clients and just put a good angle on it: “my family portfolio is of just one shoot so you can see how much great stuff we’ll get on your shoot.”  See what I mean?

Lastly, just start!  Don’t wait for the planets to be aligned and your portfolio perfect.  People will hire you based more on your personality and a handful of great images is all they’ll really want to see… that’s been my experience anyhow.

Remember, these were shot in 2004 with a borrowed camera…



Andrew asked:
What lens are you using?

Ninety percent of my pics are taken with the 24-70mm.  It’s like my favorite pair of boots – goes everywhere, appropriate for almost anything.  I also use the 85mm 1.2 – I loooove this lens! for really juicy almost velvety close-ups.

Marc asked:
Any suggestions on how I can break into boudoir work?  As a male, I always feel like I’d come off as ‘creepy’ to try and get a woman to photograph that way.

To build your portfolio, do a few things:

1. Try a few of the model community sites – I use Model Mayhem, found HERE. I’ve always had great luck with their models and am very happy with the professional standard of the ones I’ve photographed.  Make sure they know you’re a pro, even if it’s just portrait work you’ve done before.  Start doing sexy shots of a girl in a dress, or in bed sheets, wearing lingerie, etc. since most girls won’t get naked for a guy without seeing those types of shots in his portfolio. Smart girls 🙂

2. Find artist’s models – like the ones I used for my Nude series, see those HERE.  Those girls are the best at posing nude and knowing how to find really sensual beautiful poses.  They are also so much more likely to be happy to pose nude for you even if it’s your first time 🙂  A great resource for artist’s models is The Gallery Girls (contact them HERE).  Ask for Sara S. and Jennifer F.  If you’re in a different part of the country, try your local art school or college, or call some gallery owners.  Be resourceful!

3. Lastly, you can put a woman at ease with a great sense of humor and a high standard of professionalism.  Make sure you are confident and handle everything positively and politely.  She will feel however you feel – if you’re nervous or feeling creepy, she’s going to pick up on your energy and feel the same way! Also, a tip from Kim Weston for the guys: make sure to ask her if you can move or touch her, and keep your distance.

Once you’ve got an amazing portfolio, get it out there!… and that’s a whole other question 🙂

Happy Shooting!



Oh Baby!

I love nakedness! Skin is so beautiful and a joy to photograph whether it’s boudoir, babies, or fine art nudes…  it’s luminous, timeless, and my preferred wardrobe option.  Here are the top ten pics from a recent newborn shoot…

Big brother and baby sis… Rolls and rolls of the good stuff!…


Too cute.


Lest you think baby shoots are sweetness and light, here’s a little dose of reality for you….


This was a fun follow-up to the mom’s pregnancy shoot, which you can view HERE.

More Photographer FAQ’s coming up tomorrow!  You can see the last edition HERE.



Well Hello Again!

I’ve been MIA on the blogging for a bit… the holiday crush for pictures has overwhelmed me this year, in a good way 🙂  I feel so fortunate to have shared in the lives of so many families, artists, models, moms, shoe-shiners, street musicians, and people from all walks of life.  Creating a portrait of someone or someone’s family is an honor and gives me such a unique and intimate glimpse into their lives, and I couldn’t be more thankful this holiday season.

This is a quick peek from yesterday’s shoot at Disneyland.  Thank you Juliette, David and little David for such a memorable day!  ps. you may remember this guy as Yummy Empanada Feet… from this post HERE.

Be back soon!