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The Brutiful Life Project : Megan



Several years ago, we started The Brutiful Life Project. You can read about our goal to give families with life-altering diagnoses hope and encouragement through gifted family photography sessions HERE. Several weeks ago, Megan’s news of a cancer diagnosis while pregnant crossed my path and immediately I knew she was going to be our next Brutiful Life Gift. (That’s right – our gift – these sessions are meant to be a gift from us but always inevitably end up being a gift to us.) I met Megan in college, and thanks to life-changing Facebook, I was thrilled to remain connected to her through the trusty internet social circles because it allowed me to follow her life adventures. And let me tell you what. Megan is full of life.  Her friends would describe her with many many wonderful and inspiring adjectives, and I would be willing to bet that “funny” or “hysterical” or “a comic” would be at the top of the every person’s list. Because she is so good with words and a fabulous writer, many people who haven’t even personally met her have been touched by her honest and touching writings about life and love as her messages of hope, joy, and laughter have been spread through social media and sites like Scary Mommy over the years.



Her gift of staying positive, grateful, and happy through a diagnosis of Hodkin’s Lymphoma at 28 weeks pregnant with her fourth baby, and a 5-week-early delivery to ensure timely cancer treatment is inspiring to say the least. I’m so grateful to be a tiny part of this chapter in her journey by capturing these photos of Megan with her – as she puts it – “My amazing kids.  My husband.  My family.  Life.  And the power that everyone possesses to fight whatever gets in their way.  To fight for what they love and what is important.  So, I plan to fight on.  Not just to annihilate cancer, but to live life.  I am going to enjoy sunsets, and yoga, pedicures, those darn wheatgrass shots I have been slugging down, and maybe, just maybe, even an episode of Paw Patrol.   There is so much that I am grateful for and no pesky disease is going to get in my way!!!”



Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful and perfect baby boy, Archer - The protector. One of great strength and courage.  Whose arrow will guide you on your path no matter what may befall you. Archer. The one who protected you, inspired you, and comforted you before he was even born.



We love you and we stand with you, Megan! Thank you for opening up your life and your family to us, and for giving us the gift of being a part of your journey. #MeganCrushesCancer



And just in case you’re wondering if Megan’s spunky kids are as funny and full of life as she…… welllllll…… Dan noticed this post-it note had been placed on his back about half way through the session. The fastest way to Dan’s heart is through laughter, so he was pretty smitten with this family right from the start.:):):):):):):):):)



You can read more of Megan’s journey to annihilate cancer on her new blog: https://cancercrusherchronicles.wordpress.com

How To Choose A Senior Photographer

As a senior (or almost a senior), one of the traditions you may be looking forward to is taking your senior pictures. That’s probably why you’re reading this. But how do you ensure you get the photos you want, the ones that make you say, “Wow!!”? It takes some investigation and preparation.

To help you get the senior pictures you want, we’re sharing a list of 10 tips from the Professional Photographers of America Organization. From what to look for during your senior photographer search to preparing for your photo session, this time-tested advice is a great cheat sheet to getting those picture-perfect shots.

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1. Shop Around – It’s important to at least have an idea of the photography style you like the best, and that comes from researching and looking at photos! Michelle Moore of Michelle Moore Photography in Seattle, Wash., says simply, “Look for images that speak to you.”
Some photographers’ styles are more retro, some may be more “sexy,” some edgy like in a magazine, some photojournalistic, some more classic and clean…which appeals to you? That is how Beth Forester, M.Photog.Cr., CPP, of Forester Photography in Madison, W.Va., says you should think as you research possible senior photographers. “Really look at the person in the photograph,” she adds. “You may think, ‘Oh, that’s a pretty good picture,’ but would you be happy if it was YOUR image?”

2. Ask to See It All – As you shop around, be sure and ask for samples of entire senior photography sessions (like an entire album). This will help you see if a photographer lacks consistency in the quality of the images…and if the images suddenly start to look alike.
“Photographers can shoot 150 images, but only display the three that are good,” explains Forester. You don’t want to be limited to just three choices, do you? That’s why you need to see an entire session, so you can tell if the photographer is consistently good…or just lucky every now and then.In addition, seeing more image samples can show you how creative the photographer is. “You don’t want to see everybody standing by the same tree,” says Kent Smith, M.Photog.MEI.Cr., who runs Kent Smith Photography in Pickerington, Ohio, with his wife Sarah. “You want a uniqueness in the images so yours don’t look like everyone else’s.”
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3. Look to Connect – Find a photographer you can connect and be yourself with. “Feeling comfortable during your photo session is the number-one most important thing if you want to have great, relaxed photographs,” says Moore. When you’re relaxed and comfortable around someone, you become more natural in front of the camera, allowing for even better pictures. So look for the photographer whom you click with as a person!


4. Seek Out Service –It’s harder to learn about the quality of a photographer’s service than it is to learn about their photography. This is where testimonials and reviews come in handy. Browse photographers’ websites for testimonials and stalk their Facebook pages.

Ask the photographer what their policy is if you don’t feel well the day of your senior photo session. “If you don’t feel 100 percent, or the weather isn’t cooperating, rebook your photo session. Find a photographer willing to reschedule,” advises Anundi. “We’re here to make you happy. This is about service and experience.”


5. Have A Consultation – Look for photographers who want to know about YOU. Some may give you an actual survey to fill out, others may simply ask questions about your likes and dislikes in a consultation. Their goal is the same, though: to make your photos reflect you.


6. Get the Parentals Involved – No way, you may think—but hear us out. Your parents have different tastes, yet they do want what’s best for you, and they are paying for those pictures (usually)! Plus, they have the perspective of time, according to Smith. “You may want to wear every trendy outfit for your pictures, but parents know you’ll regret it in the future,”

he says. “You need at least one outfit that will stand the test of time, one you can look back at and not be embarrassed!”

That may be hard to visualize as a senior, but your parents most likely have experienced it. What was trendy to wear in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s doesn’t always look so cool now…


7. Be Outfit-Savvy – This may seem like a simple task, and it is. The main thing you need to do is be yourself and try on your outfits ahead of time. Moore even suggests having a friend over to help you choose. “Layering your outfit is a good idea, too,” adds Forester. “It gives your photographer many options and gives you many different looks—taking off or putting on a scarf, jacket, hat, etc.”
And just say no if you are tempted to hit the stores and buy stuff you’ve never worn before. Why? “The main regret we see in our senior clients is someone who was talked into a new outfit, then looks at her images and says, ‘That’s not me,’” recalls Smith.So instead of shopping, look in your closet. Consider outfits that you live in, things that people would recognize you in. Try it on and see if you feel good in it. “If you don’t feel good in that outfit, you will project it in the photos,” says Forester.
8. Pay Attention to the Details – You may be a procrastinator, but don’t try to rush through your senior portraits. Just as you need to try on your clothes before the session, you might want to test-run other things so the session goes as smoothly as possible.

For example, don’t over tan! If you tan before your portraits, don’t do it the day before. Build it up slowly, so the look is more natural…and you don’t overdo it. And thanks to his experience photographing seniors, Anundi knows that if you do your hair right before the session, you’ll be concerned about it the whole time (especially you girls). That’s why he suggests doing a test-run with your hair and makeup at least a week before the photos.


9. Think About the End Result – What do you want to take home with you? Part of your photographer search and planning should include what portrait products you want. Do you want something for Facebook? Ask the photographers what they have to offer for online use. And don’t forget about what you want in print. Do you want something a little different? Something more than the usual wallets?

“Digital images are great, but it’s best to go that route only if you have a plan on how to display them on your own,” cautions Moore. “And going through your photographer for products will ensure the highest-quality keepsake around.” After all, you don’t want your senior pictures online only…you’ll want to show them off in the house.

Some photo products that are hot right now are senior albums/storybooks and video slideshows. The slideshow of images (incorporated with video clips) is great for open houses, and don’t underestimate the custom-designed portrait album, which can contain quotes and other items to tell your story. “Albums are a great way to keep a collection of your favorite images without breaking the bank on piles of wallets you may end up shoving in a drawer,” Moore adds.


10. Compromise Smartly – Remember that your senior photography choices don’t depend solely on your desires. Who is paying for the photography? If your parents are, you should definitely consider their thoughts, which may include a certain type of product they want, their favorite pose and, of course, the budget.
One of the best pieces of advice? Discuss a budget beforehand. Then gather information—based on the tips above—to support your best choice. When you look at the budget again, your research in quality and service may help sway your parents if needed.“Budgets are important during your senior year, but if photography is really important to you, choosing a professional photographer who provides great customer service and an experience of a lifetime will be better than going to an amateur,” says Moore “You’ll want to find a compromise in terms of style and budget; but ultimately, it should be a decision that both you and your parents make.”As you can see, it takes more than a nice camera to get those great senior shots you want. It takes finding a professional who’s invested in training and techniques, someone who knows how to hide your little flaws and bring out your best features. Someone who will go above and beyond to make you happy, comfortable and satisfied.

For more information on BRAND PHOTODESIGN’s senior photography services, please contact us at info@brandphotodesign.com or Brooke’s cell, 317-670-5880.

Shaun T in Indianapolis


As a photographer I get to do some pretty cool things and meet great people. One of those great people is Julie Voris Fitness. She is inspiring in everything she does and has energy and focus like no one I’ve ever met before. All while lifting up everyone around her. Because of her, on Saturday, I had the privilege of meeting and photographing Shaun T. For those that don’t know, Shuan T is a celebrity fitness trainer, known for Insanity, Cize, Max:30, and a million other INSANE workouts. I completed Insanity a few years back so I knew the intensity he brings but what I didn’t realize was the compassion, heart, and love that he shows to everyone he meets. To say you left the event motivated would be a huge understatement. Thank you so much Julie for the opportunity and Shaun for the much needed motivation and encouragement.


holiday special now accepting reservations

It’s that time of year again! Just like those pumpkin spice lattes, our annual Holiday Special is back again too! This year these popular mini sessions will be happening on October 3 (Sat) and October 11 (Sun), at Billericay Park in Fishers.


For just $129 plus a $300 deposit toward your order, your family can join us to capture fall memories, just in time for the holidays! The $129 includes a 20-minute session, your choice of either two gift prints or 25 custom holiday cards (yes, you can order more!), and 20% off your order!*
Contact us to reserve your appointment; there are limited spots. We are ready to walk the trails with the colorful leaves of fall and capture your family’s special moments!
Please email brooke@brandphotodesign.com or call/text 317-670-5880 to reserve your spot! We can’t wait to see familiar faces and new ones too!!!!
*Discount applied on all products with the exception of additional holiday card sets.

first photo sessions at new studio


Despite having been in construction mode at our new studio/house location the last few months, we’ve been fully functional in the new studio since May! Our families are now able to do studio AND outdoor shots in one session, thanks to the beautiful property.  I’m excited to start posting some of Dan’s work from the last several months!!! We are so happy to be on this new journey; it’s been awesome!