The Best Me I Can Be | Santa Clarita Photographer

I am a firm believer in constantly educating myself. In my opinion, there is no better way to hone your craft and give your skill a bump than to constantly strive to be the BEST.  For me, I take online seminars and participate in interactive workshops, work hands-on with my peers, follow industry trends and I follow the work of many world-renowned photographers and artists.

Last night, I was sitting on my couch reading my RSS feeds and admiring the work of one photographer in particular who lives practically a world away from me.  I commented to my husband that she was really, really good and I have such respect for her work.  He looked at me and said, “Yes, she is good, but she’s not better than you. She’s just different.”

After I finished being embarrassed by the very sweet compliment, that’s when it hit me. What does being the best mean? Is it a universal term? My husband’s understanding was obviously different than mine. Did he think that I was admiring this photographer because I wanted to create the same artwork? For me, being the best doesn’t mean being better than everyone else – it means being MY best.  The work of other photographers is inspiring to me BECAUSE they use their talent to create a unique image with it’s own feel, warmth or coldness, emotion, and style…and it’s NOT the same as anyone else’s.

That got me thinking. What makes MY style my own?

When I’m photographing a client, my main goal is to capture their emotion and personality…those special little moments that mean more than everything else combined.  As I looked back through my blog, the emotion between kids and their parents…between lovers…between many generations stared back and at me and I felt that THIS is one of the main aspects of my style.  My images are bright and bold because I feel that this further highlights the magnitude of the emotion in the images.  I often use depth of field to tell a story.  I focus (and I don’t mean, focus with my camera) on the eyes, as I truly do believe that they are the windows to the soul.

When I say that I want to be the BEST, what does that REALLY mean to ME?

I think it is best described in that moment when I glance down at the LCD on my camera during a photo session and feel that moment of exhilaration, that moment of adrenaline, that moment of heartwarming emotion when I see that I have captured a moment truly and completely and I get to present that priceless memory to my client.  I think I get just as emotional as the client.  And I love that – it’s the best part about being a photographer.

Have I mentioned that I’m a hopeless romantic?

Feather Obsession | Santa Clarita Photographer

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with feathers. Well, to be more specific, I’m obsessed with photography props that have feathers. If they are peacock themed, even better!

I’ll admit that this little obsession started when I found these two headbands a few weeks ago:

Now I’m on the hunt for more!  I found a few super-cute versions from several different vendors. These aren’t advertisers or sponsors – I just love their products! Check them out!


Vendor: Two of a Kind Designs | Facebook:
The Woods headpiece ($40 plus shipping)

Image not taken by Cristen Farrell Photography. Image used by permission.


Vendor: Props for Tots | Facebook:
Cream flower headband with white feathers/band ($15 + shipping…+$1.00 for netting)

Image not taken by Cristen Farrell Photography. Image used by permission.


Vendor: Sew Whimsey
Pink & Lime Flower Headband ($14 + shipping)

Image not taken by Cristen Farrell Photography. Image used by permission.


Don’t be afraid to incorporate feathers into your photo session (or every day) wardrobe!

I’ve Gone Pinterest Crazy! | Santa Clarita Photographer

Ever wonder if your style and artistic vision will match up with mine? Of course, you always have the traditional route of viewing my portfolio on my website.  You also have the option of checking out the client session images I post here on my blog.  What do you do if you want to get a more in-depth look at what moves me…what inspires me? PINTEREST!

So, what is Pinterest?










Pinterest’s website describes it as:

“Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by people with great taste.

People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things — wedding inspiration, favorite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.”

Start following my boards to get to know me a bit better!  My current boards include:

Color Palettes | Places to Visit | Home Decor | Food & Drink | When I Win the Lottery | Kids Fashion  – Boys | Kids Fashion – Girls | Spaces | Photography Inspiration |
Cristen Farrell Photography

View my full profile or follow all of my boards with one click:


Hint: This is also a great place to go for ideas on what to wear for your session!

Photographers and Tech Lovers: To Upgrade or Not? | Santa Clarita Photographer

I have a dilemma. When I started my photography business, I bought all of my equipment out of pocket, so for the most part, I chose equipment that was within my budget, knowing that I had the skills to push it to it’s farthest limit. For my camera, that meant the Nikon D3000; a starter D-SLR, to be sure.  My D3000 has served me well and become my trusty sidekick on many an occasion, but I’ve come to a fork in the road.

In one direction is my current camera… In the other direction is the Nikon D7000.  Lately, I have found myself longing for a camera where I can truly push the ISOs and shutter speed, something that I can’t necessarily do with my current sidekick.  And then there are the lenses. My D3000 requires AF-S lenses – considerably more expensive than the AF lenses that the D7000 requires.  Did I mention that the D7000 takes 1080p video, while my current camera does not take video (handy for events!). My quandary is whether or not these reasons justify the major expense of the upgrade, especially in such an unstable economy.  If I DO purchase the D7000, I plan to sell my 50mm f/1.4G AF-S and purchase the same lens in AF version (a savings of a few hundred dollars).  On the flip side, I would be keeping my D3000 as a backup camera when shooting weddings and events.

So I’m stuck…I still can’t decide. I’d love feedback!  Here are the stats:

D3000: $499.95  |  D7000:  $1,199.95

Comparison Graphic Courtesy of

iHeartFaces Weekly Photo Challenge: Motherhood | Santa Clarita Photographer

I am really starting to get into these weekly photo challenges over at iHeartFaces! This week’s theme is MOTHERHOOD. I had such a hard time choosing which photo to feature – I have so many wonderful, emotional images from previous sessions.

©Cristen Farrell 2010 | Cristen Farrell Photography

The Big 1-0 {A Personal Note} | Santa Clarita Photographer

Tomorrow is the big day…the big 1-0: 10 years of marriage for Thomas and I.  Instead of my usual Wednesday photography post, I am dedicating this post to my husband because his presence in my life has given me the inspiration to do what I do, day in and day out.

Thomas and I met when we were in high school, although we went to different schools. We were fixed up by two friends who were dating and, after our first meeting, we were inseparable.  Though we were young, it wasn’t long before we were talking marriage.  On a sunny Santa Barbara day, Thomas got down on one knee on the pier and asked me to spend forever with him.  Of course, I said yes!

April 7, 2001 was a cold, rainy day. Not exactly what we had hoped for when we planned an outdoor wedding in a beautiful gazebo.  The funny thing was, I really didn’t care. I was marrying my best friend. I was marrying the man of my dreams. I was marrying the man that made me feel special, who loved me, and who I imagined growing old with.  That day, we tied the knot [indoors] and I couldn’t have been happier. Everything was right in the world.

10 years and 2 kids later, there have been very good times and there have been very difficult times.  And still, I see him the same way as when we first met. My knight in shining armor, my best friend, my love.  He gives me the courage to be myself, to challenge myself, and to believe in myself.  In the same respect, I am proud of the man he has always been and the man he has become.

This weekend, I will officially be off the grid…truly, off the grid. As many of you know, that rarely happens.  Thomas and I decided to take what we are calling our “random road trip”. My mom is watching our kids. We are setting off bright and early on Saturday morning with no particular destination in mind…no hotel rooms booked…just each other’s company.  We couldn’t be more excited!

Of course, pictures to follow!

Happy 10th anniversary, Thomas!

Anything But a Face – I Heart Faces Weekly Photo Challenge


This is the first time I have entered one of the iheartfaces photo challenges, but I couldn’t pass this one up! This week’s theme is “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes…Anything But A Face!”  I photographed the Hills Family in 2010 and these silver boots were the the cutest, especially because this little girl was so super proud of them!

Display Suggestions: How Should I Arrange My Prints? | Santa Clarita Photographer

You have had your session and you are now ready to decide which prints are the best fit for your needs.  If you are like me, you love to show off your prints in a creative way. To help you find that perfect arrangement, I’ve created some helpful guides to follow or even just get your creative juices flowing.  I’d love to see these guides (or your ideas!) in action, so don’t forget to send me a photo of YOUR arrangement once it’s on the wall, shelf, mantle, or wherever!

For easy future reference, these guides can be found on the Cristen Farrell Photography Website

At the bottom of this post, I’ll also give you a glance at what MY wall looks like! Sorry for the strange angle, but it’s at the bottom of my stairs, so I had to hang over the banister.

Is it Spring Yet? | Santa Clarita Photographer

Though the Santa Clarita Valley had snow this winter, it has been beautiful pretty much ever since. How lucky am I to be a photographer in a place that has such beautiful weather?  And how silly would I be if I didn’t look forward to Spring every year when the weather is a perfect 72 degrees almost every day and all of the flowers are in bloom?

This morning I peeked out my back door and caught sight of a few signs that Spring is on the way.  Not quite here yet, but I’m feeling encouraged…