Every Thursday, I am going to post an old favorite digital photo of mine! This week features Taylor Dee. She’s a California chick and such a sweetheart. I love photographing her, and I love this photo.

Feb 12, 2015 - the day I turned 30 and realized the world, is in fact, my oyster.

It’s true, it took me 30 years to realize I can make my dreams come true. 

It’s allowed. and it’s possible. 

A lot of people (like my sister) have a mini crisis
when they turn 30, thinking their life/fun is over. I understand wanting to
be a big kid forever with no responsibility and the fear of growing old, but
maybe that fear will hit me later in life, or never. Either way, right now, I
am 30, and it’s the best year yet. The 20’s are so full of uncertainty,
insecurity, and the universe crumbling around you when one tiny thing doesn’t
go your way.  I was unsure of what I wanted
or what was right for me and had a weird inability to plan for the future.
Those are just typical symptoms of being a twenty-something year old, and you
gotta just figure it all out by making a million mistakes along the way. For
me, 30 is my year of clarity and fearlessness. 

Lemons for my oyster. Photo by Kassia

So far this year, I have quit my soul-sucking full
time job (THANK YOU late-twenty-something-year-old me for being so smart and
saving money at least.) It was the scariest leap of my life to leave something
real comfy with a fat pay check every other week, for essentially, my own
happiness. So YAY for choosing happiness! 

My 35mm film camera with a red filter. Photo by Kassia

I finally got my first tattoo that I’ve been wanting since I was ..ohh about 20 years old! Nothing like waiting 10 years to know you still want it. I’m so not good with pain (I’m a baby and I
cry at the dentist) so this was also scary. But my desire to have a big southern magnolia branch on my left side overwhelmed the fear of pain. I went
to a girl who hand pokes tattoos, meaning no machine, just poke poke poke with
the needle. It took 2.5 hours of complete torture and then it was done! And I’m
so happy with it. It’s my only edge, I needed it. 

This is how I vacay. Photo by Kassia

Next up, I am getting a PUPPY! I have wanted a puppy for soo long and would fulfill
that by swooning over random strangers’ dogs on the sidewalk, interrupting
their day to make baby noises in their pup’s face. I grew up with a precious
golden retriever, but haven’t had a dog in forever. I need that unconditional
love and cuteness in my life! I fell in love with a breed of dachshunds called
mini English cream. They are little sausage dogs with long blonde hair! How cute
– I die. I am waiting to hear from a breeder on the sex , as her due date is
March 20th! but I am crossing my fingers for a female so I can name
her Penny Sparkle! - Penny for short and Sparkle for when she’s feelin sassy.

coconut margaritas all day n all night. Photo by Kassia

Lastly on my list of amazing things I have made
happen so far this year, was my big wonderful 30th bday celebration
with all my besties in Palm Springs!! I’m so grateful to have life long
friends and a sister who would fly out to California to celebrate with me! We
rented an awesome mid-century house with a pool through airbnb. It was so
wonderful being able to cook together, blend up some coconut margaritas, and
relax by the pool all weekend. The only gift I asked for was a blow up swan! I
needed it. For pictures, clearly. My friend, Lindsay, who couldn’t make it that
weekend, had the honor of naming the blow up swan for us. Lindsay figured she
was a diva and named her Gloria. We only spoke Spanish to her all weekend.

Amazing photos taken by my talented and dear friend, Kassia! She lives and works as a photographer in LA. http://www.kassiaphoy.com/

no but like, I REALLY love Gloria. Photo by Kassia

Alli B, Hair & Make-Up Artist Extraordinaire

I have been working with Alli for about a year now. She is my super duper trusted beautifier of people! As a photographer, it is a DREAM to have a dependable hair and make-up artist that understands your vision. I can give her the ultimate freedom of creativity while trusting she will make our client look their absolute best. I also admire her so much for her talent and generous spirit. I am going to have the honor of having my own hair and make-up done by her for a special occasion in a few weeks! I will be sure to post some beautified selfies for you to see.

I shot this photo of model Rachel Pollari in my studio; Editorial Hair and Make-Up by Alli B

I highly recommend having a professional do you hair and make-up before our photo session. If you have a specific idea for your look, or a certain pop of lip color you want to wear, Alli’s your girl for making it happen. Not everyone wears make-up and may not even know how to apply it correctly, or what colors match their skin tone the best. I, myself, am terrible at curling my hair! I can never make it look just right. Alli is awesome at keeping things classic and beautiful while still looking like YOU!

She charges a flat $100 for make-up and simple hair styling.

Black & White Film and Darkroom Class

Fun Fact! I am a self-taught photographer. Kinda cool to say/ probably the hard way of learning. I stumbled upon an ad for CPAC Black and White Darkroom Film Class and I couldn’t pass it up (don’t you think sometimes the right things find us when we didn’t know we were looking?) All access to a darkroom and an incredible teacher who is an open book when it comes to critique, answering any technical question, sharing his wisdom, and understanding your art, at my disposal. The class was held in a basement of a mansion in Capitol Hill. There was surprisingly only 4 of us! Which was perfect for the size of darkroom, which is where we spent most all of our time. The class ran for 4 weeks. We had lessons each week and just a few days in between to shoot an entire roll of B&W 35mm film. For me, it’s a completely different way of shooting all together. Film forces you to take your time. It makes you think for a second longer before snapping the shutter. And anything but manual setting is irreverent. With digital, it’s all about documenting the moment (via lifestyle photography) or capturing a model in a perfect second (via fashion photography.) Portraits, I can very much do so with film! Speaking of, I have a roll of portraits of a very handsome fellow that I need to develop.

My class took me out of a comfy place I’ve been in photography and made me see things in a new way. I am seeing life like a photographer again.


I mostly use Instagram for photo inspiration by following talented photographers from all over the world that I aspire to be one day, models that I hope to shoot, and connecting with our local community of people who want to collaborate! It is such a wonderful way to share current work and support each other along the way. Are you following me? | @colleenobrienphoto |

Pinterest..is addicting. I’m pinning away and the next thing I know an entire hour has past, and I’m not sure what I’ve accomplished. But I do like to share my ideas and vision with clients, so we can be on the same page as far as expectations and what I like to shoot. I have really great senior portrait outfits and concept ideas that you should definitely check out! And fun engagement session location inspiration. I also have a wedding board {it’s why pinterest exists!} that shows the style of weddings that are my favorite to photograph. You may notice a few courthouse and elopements on there! I love the untraditional and straying from the norm. | @colleensobrien |

I am not currently on facebook, but you can keep up with my new posts via instagram and this here blog/website.

a little background story..

I decided to make photography my full time gig at the turn on this new year. I had been working for a landscape company as a branch manager about 60 hours a week for 3 years with the same company. The only time to work on photography stuff was during the weekends. I consistently did shoots every weekend for a good 2 years to practice and build up a portfolio, and I was shooting weddings as an assistant. I stopped doing shoots for practice and fun in the last few months of 2014. I took an intentional break to sort of step back and reflect on how far I have come in my craft, as well as look ahead to where I really want to be. During the break, it was sort of strange filling my time with other things. I focused more on my landscaping job, bought some books, and reflected. I found myself uninspired and sometimes bored. But I had chose that for myself at that time! And realized it is not what I wanted at all. I don’t ever want to NOT create and NOT shoot. It’s so hard creating when you’re not 100% in the creative flow! I knew this about being an artist, but I also realized not doing photography at all is not going to fly. It is what feeds my soul and the only thing my landscaping job was doing was feeding my bank account. This break showed me clarity to know what I truly wanted for my future.

So I marched my confident bum into my boss’s office on the first Monday morning of the new year, looked into his eyes, and let him know I was going to leave. He understood and was very supportive of the reason why I was leaving and everything left off on a good note. He left the door open for my return if I decide to go back, but I already know I won’t. I am so determined to be successful in this, as well as be an inspiration to others that they can live a creative, passionate, and fulfilling life too! It’s still a hustle and I have to make sacrifices and live a much more simple lifestyle, but it is quite the rewarding trade.

First Blog Post!

Hi and welcome to my blog! I intend to use this blog to post additional photos from my shoots and share current stories on what’s happening in my life! It’s important for me to connect with my clients and blogging is a great way to get to know me a little better before our shoot.
One of the (many) reasons why I love photography so much is that photo shoots are always FUN. It’s a great reason to get dolled up, maybe buy a new outfit or throw your favorite dress on that makes you feel good. It’s an excuse to wear flowers in your hair and run around a big open field. Photo shoots bring us to places maybe we haven’t been before, like the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, or among the yellow aspen leaves in Golden Gate Canyon State Park. It’s spending a day at the Denver Botanical Gardens or rooftops of Downtown Denver. I have plenty of location ideas, but I’d love to hear yours too and maybe experience somewhere I haven’t been! Typically, I will scout out the location first, so I know what to expect and we don’t waste precious shooting time when the light is just right.
The absolute best time to shoot outside is the hour or two before the sun goes down. The light is soft and flattering when it is low in the sky, and if we’re lucky, we get a golden glow, or crazy colors of a Colorado sunset. We just changed our clocks ahead, and I rejoice in the hour loss because it means longer days and more shooting time! March has been wonderfully warm weather so far, and I am itching to do some colorful springtime shoots!

iphone 5 self portrait taken by Courtney Roxanne

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