Hi, I’m Brianna Doby and welcome to my blog. Please take a spin around the blog to find samples of my work, tips on how to make your photography session a success, and some general musings about my craft.


I have a secret

I really love the last 5 minutes of a photo shoot.


In the last five minutes of a shoot, especially with kids (not toddlers, but the 4-to-14 set), the kids have relaxed faces, they don't flinch at the shutter sound, and they magically seem to blink less! (Not medically possible, but I swear it's true!)

The last five minutes are always full of surprising candid shots for me.  I love to see what can happen.  We're comfortable, no longer nervous, and usually well on our way to becoming friends.  So, there you have it: my very most favorite part of the shoot?  Always, always, the last five minutes. :)


New kind of family portrait

There have been a few seminal moments in my life:

Moving to Denver, Colorado in 2001

Marrying my best friend in 2001, who is now my kind and loving co-parent and best friend (but no longer my husband)

The birth of my daughter

The birth of my son

The death of my mother

That last one has been a real game-changer.  As I like to tell my children, everyone has their "unfair"--it's unfair that some children have to grow up in an unsafe place, it's unfair that some people become sick, and others die well before their time, it's unfair that some people lose their jobs, etc.  Everyone has their "unfair" because no one's life is perfect. 

My "unfair" was the early death of my mother.

It's hard to express what happens when, as a young adult, something happens that shifts every single point of reference you (previously thought) you knew.

Holding my mother's hand while she died quickly, yet somehow so slowly, after an accidental brain trauma due to a seizure...something in me broke, or shifted, or shattered, or pulled.  I don't know how to describe it, but there was a fundamental movement in my life that has altered every moment going forward.

I didn't write a big Mother's Day post last week, not because I begrudge the celebration at all, but because it's still a day I would rather spend with my covers over my head and plenty of tissues for all the sobbing that, inevitably, will occur.

I don't quite know how to describe what it feels like to live without my mother without falling into cliches.  But I will say that the way she called me in the mornings to make sure I knew the weather forecast--"Hey, darlin', it's going to be chilly today! Wear a scarf!" and the way she smelled like clean clothes dried in the sun with a touch of Youth Dew and the way she listened without already deciding she understood and the way she hugged her grandchildren with her WHOLE BODY, a WHOLE HUG that said how devoted, how in love she was with these little ones...

God help me, I ache as I miss her.

It's hard for a photographer, someone whose everyday work is to CATCH something, to literally and metaphorically CAPTURE a moment and SAVE it--it's hard for me as a photographer to be 100% unable to express in an image what connection I had, and still have, with my mother.

Maybe that's why I am so incredibly interested, even driven, to do that for my clients.  "Hang onto this beautiful moment together! SAVE IT!" I'm saying as I take their portraits, take their little moments and keep them safe for a future day when it is missed, when it is needed, when someone is aching because someone else isn't there.

Save it, catch it, capture it, keep it.  Not because you want it to leave, but because it inevitably will.

Here's my new family portrait.  It's not like the ones I take for you, my clients.  It's the only one I can take, because where she is, I can't be.  This will have to do for now. 

Save it, catch it, capture it, keep it.  Because my mother left, but who she was to all of us--that remains.


"I don't know what to do with my ARMS!"*

*70% of my clients say this.**

**Okay, maybe not 70%, but A WHOLE LOT OF THEM.

Let's talk about posing.  Because, what's a photography blog for, if not making you feel awkward every once and awhile!  I know, I know...when people are taking your picture, it's hard to know what to do with your arms, hands, feet, because everything feels weird, contrived...but yet...

There are things you can do to make it easier.

Are you a couple, planning an engagement sessionCheck out this link, and get some good ideas about how to be near each other without feeling too touchy-feely!  I really like the renderings on this site, since it makes it easier for you to picture yourself posing.

Are you planning a wedding, and want to think about OMG WHAT DO WE DO TO LOOK CUTE?? :) Well, check out this handy guide from Martha about what do do, together and apart, for some sweet and authentic shots (with a liiiiiiiitle bit of guidance about how to arrange those pesky arms!).

Finally, think about it this way:

The most important thing is for you to feel relaxed and comfortable.  Good photographers know how to frame shots, and good photographers will also give you little bits of direction to help you in the moment.  Sometimes I'll tell a client, "Hey, maybe brush your hair behind your shoulders!" or "How about if you clasped your hands in front of you?" etc. etc.  Good photographers have a way of understanding what it will take to get a great shot, so pick a photographer*** that has other shots that you like...and it's a great bet that you'll like what they come up with for you, posing or not.

***as my toddler would say, "PICK ME!! PICK MEEEEE!!!!" :)


Why I am passionate about photography, part 837

Got this in the mail today from a new client:

Thanks again for making our first family portrait experience so easy and enjoyable.  I know we will get many years of enjoyment from your photos of our young family. 

It sounds cliche, but I'll say it anyway: it is priceless to have these photos that capture E and M in their early years!

I work really hard to create a positive, "easy and enjoyable" experience for my clients.  This is deeply gratifying to hear, and I will end today remembering that the work my clients and I do together is--



30 minutes, 200 photographs, no fuzzy wand

I hear a lot of horror stories as a photographer.  I used to be shocked; now, I almost expect everyone to share a terrible story about THE WORST PHOTOSHOOT EVER as we work together.  I'll share an example with you now.

This is little I, an adorable baby I met this weekend. 

 Such a sweet girl.  I's mama told me about another photoshoot they had attempted at a local photography chain.  She explained: "Little I looked so uncomfortable!  They kept making her cry, kept waving a fuzzy wand in her face--I kept thinking, oh no!  She hates that wand AND what about all of the germs!"  Between the wand and the discomfort, it was traumatizing.  They didn't order a single picture, and felt terribly that little I was so upset.

In stark contrast, I did not have a wand.

I didn't shout, or makes weird faces, or startle her to get her attention.  For many of the shots, she rested in her mama's arms.

What's my secret to 30 relatively easy and happy minutes with a baby--all the while with a big camera around her? 

My secret is simple.  Here's the thing about photographing infants: they are little people.


That means they cannot and should not be expected to just sit still and make only the happiest of smiley faces.  They have expressions.  They have moods.  They might

be calm, they might be happy, they might be intrigued, they might be frustrated...and those feelings can and should be reflected on their sweet faces.  I treat babies as little people.  I wouldn't want a fuzzy, germy wand rubbed in my face to get my attention or force a smile.  No one else--babies included--would want one either.  Ergo, no wand.

So, sometimes little I looked interested, sometimes peaceful, sometimes excited.  She always looked like herself, a beautiful little girl with a loving family.