Courtney McManaway Photography

Welcome to Courtney McManaway Photography! I am a lifestyle photographer, wife, bookworm, Sephora addict, sometime snowboarder, carb lover, and so much more!

Read more about me on my bio page, or contact me!

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Engagement Session Tips for Brides and Grooms

September 15th, 2014

You are entering a very exciting time of your life, and likely the one in which you’ll be the most highly photographed! For most couples opting for an engagement session, this is the first time they are being professionally photographed as a couple.  It’s a lot of fun, but also cause for a little nervousness! [...]

 

You are entering a very exciting time of your life, and likely the one in which you’ll be the most highly photographed! For most couples opting for an engagement session, this is the first time they are being professionally photographed as a couple.  It’s a lot of fun, but also cause for a little nervousness! Below I’ve listed some tips that should help to set your mind at ease ;)

What do we wear?
This is the question I hear the most! Many of my couples opt for two outfits, and change halfway through the session. My advice on what to wear is to look coordinated without matching, and avoid competing patterns. If, for instance, your fiance is wearing a long-sleeved shirt with a checked pattern, a solid-colored dress in one of the colors on his shirt would look fantastic! Usually one of the outfits is casual, and the other is slightly more dressy. I also recommend staying away from large patterns or screen-printed tees (unless that’s the theme of your shoot). These types of elements can be distracting and draw attention away from what should be the focus – you! :)

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If you have a shared hobby, it’s a great idea to bring it to the shoot! I loved working with Tina + Cory, who are both athletic and wore their workout gear the first half of their engagement session!

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No matter what you wear, make sure you feel comfortable! If you’re not worrying about your outfits, it will help you relax and be yourselves during the session.

Should I get my hair and makeup done?
Many of my brides use their hair and makeup trial run for their engagement session. This is just something else that will make you feel more confident when my lens is 3 inches from your face ;) If getting your hair and makeup done isn’t an option, I would recommend using a slightly heavier hand when applying your own makeup. This should help your features pop a little bit more!

Where should we shoot our engagement photos?
I’m always happy to help clients find a location! I ask them what type of backgrounds they’d like to see in their photos, and it’s usually split into urban and rural environments. Occasionally we can do both. For instance, when I shot Tina + Cory’s Dana Point engagement session, we shot a portion of it in downtown Dana Point, and finished the rest in a small park close by.  Stacy + Kevin’s Laguna Beach shoot was done partially in a field, and we finished the rest at the beach, which was within walking distance. The key is to not only find a background that suits you, but not to be too ambitious! I time all of my sessions so I’m shooting an hour before the sun sets (the most flattering light), and having to get in a car and drive to a new location halfway through interrupts the flow of the session. It’s also important to check with your photographer to see if he or she has any restrictions before making a final decision on your shoot location.nk_img06

My fiance doesn’t like having his picture taken! Help!
Trust me, I hear this all the time! Keep in mind I am a photographer and even MY OWN HUSBAND doesn’t want his picture taken, and I have to get approval before I upload anything to social media! Yet he was pretty great about getting his pictures taken during our engagement photos and wedding.

First of all, don’t underestimate what your fiance will do to make you happy! Secondly, a good photographer will help you to feel comfortable and have fun. I give my couples a lot of space during the shoot. I definitely provide them with direction, as it’s awkward to have a camera pointed at you and at first, you just don’t know what to do! So I help out with loose posing, but then back away a bit and allow you to get some natural interaction together. Hopefully, any couple that works with me is okay with having things shouted at them such as, “Oh my god! Keep doing that!” “You two are so cute, you’re kind of making me sick!” “Okay, now give me some Blue Steel!” Sometimes the result of this “encouragement” is laughing, and those are some of my favorite shots of the day.

Overall, just remember to have fun and be yourselves! You really can’t go wrong with that :)

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2014 Mini Sessions!

September 13th, 2014

Update: The October 4th date is completely sold out – I still have several session times available for the 18th. Thanks! This year I will be offering 2 mini session dates! It’s a great opportunity to get a few nice photos without committing to a full portrait session. This year, I’ll be shooting around downtown [...]


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Update: The October 4th date is completely sold out – I still have several session times available for the 18th. Thanks!

This year I will be offering 2 mini session dates! It’s a great opportunity to get a few nice photos without committing to a full portrait session. This year, I’ll be shooting around downtown Orange on October 4th and old town Temecula on October 18th. A gallery will be posted within one week of your session, and you’ll be able to choose 8 hi-res digital files; additional files can be purchased for $15 each. If you refer a new client to me, you get 3 additional files in your session at no charge! To book your session:

  • Email me with your top 3 preferred time slots (info@courtney-mcmanaway.com or via my contact form). I will be booking on a first come, first served basis.
  • Payment is due at time of booking in order to hold your session time. Once I have confirmed your time, I will email you instructions on how to pay.

Looking forward to capturing some fun memories this year of you and your loved ones! :)

2014 Holiday Sessions

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Coming Soon!

September 8th, 2014

I will be announcing mini session dates soon! Please be sure to email me to be added to the list if you’d like to receive email notification when I release the dates :)


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I will be announcing mini session dates soon! Please be sure to email me to be added to the list if you’d like to receive email notification when I release the dates :)

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Valerie + Matt: Europa Village Wedding

August 26th, 2014

One of my great joys as a wedding photographer is shooting an intimate wedding.  Valerie + Matt’s Europa Village wedding was one such wedding, where those who were important to the couple were intimately involved in the day.  There was a sense of ease about their wedding, a word you rarely associate with a wedding! [...]


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One of my great joys as a wedding photographer is shooting an intimate wedding.  Valerie + Matt’s Europa Village wedding was one such wedding, where those who were important to the couple were intimately involved in the day.  There was a sense of ease about their wedding, a word you rarely associate with a wedding! Much of the time after Valerie + Matt’s first look was spent with their family and friends, enjoying their company. Their ceremony involved close family and friends and an especially touching section where they presented Matt’s daughter, and now Valerie’s stepdaughter, with a necklace and Valerie promised to be a wonderful mother to her. There was not a dry eye in the house! This was followed by a gorgeous outdoor reception that had the same intimate feeling. Instead of a series of reception events, Valerie + Matt’s theme seemed to be “fun,” complete with Tenzi dice on all of the tables and lawn games for the guests. Thank you for trusting your memories to me, Valerie + Matt! Enjoy!

Wedding Venue: Europa Village
Hair and Makeup: I Do Makeovers
Florist/Bakery: MFG Floral
DJ: Sterling Productions

 

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I love these first look photos! :) You never know how the groom is going to react – I think Matt’s face says it all!2014-08-23_00132014-08-23_0014 2014-08-23_0015 2014-08-23_00172014-08-25_0004 2014-08-23_0018 2014-08-23_00192014-08-25_00082014-08-23_00222014-08-23_0027 2014-08-23_0028 2014-08-23_00302014-08-25_00112014-08-23_0032 2014-08-23_00332014-08-23_0036 2014-08-23_00372014-08-23_0034 2014-08-23_0035 2014-08-23_0038 2014-08-23_0039 2014-08-23_0040 2014-08-23_00412014-08-23_0042 2014-08-23_0043 2014-08-23_00442014-08-23_0056 2014-08-23_00582014-08-25_0010 2014-08-23_00572014-08-25_0009 2014-08-23_0049 2014-08-23_0051 2014-08-23_0052 2014-08-23_00542014-08-23_0055Congratulations, Valerie + Matt!

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Erin + Ranil: Woodland Hills Country Club Wedding

August 8th, 2014

One of the first questions I ask couples considering me as their wedding photographer is the engagement story. Each couples’ story is so different, and in Erin + Ranil’s case, Ranil went BIG! Their engagement involved a surprise limo, what Erin thought was going out with her mom for manicures, then the proposal and a [...]


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One of the first questions I ask couples considering me as their wedding photographer is the engagement story. Each couples’ story is so different, and in Erin + Ranil’s case, Ranil went BIG! Their engagement involved a surprise limo, what Erin thought was going out with her mom for manicures, then the proposal and a big party with family and friends at the end. It was so sweet and well-thought-out, and it was no surprise to me that their wedding followed the same vein! There’s always excitement from the bride and groom on the wedding day, and I saw that excitement clearly echoed on both sides of the family, that they were finally coming together. They had a touching ceremony and their Woodland Hills Country Club wedding was the perfect balance of shared moments with friends and family to everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, out on the dance floor! I was also honored to witness the lighting of a traditional Sri Lankan oil lamp, symbolizing both sides of the family coming together.

Many thanks to Michael D’Avello for second shooting with me, and to Sara of At Your Door Events for introducing me to Erin + Ranil! Enjoy!

Wedding Planner: At Your Door Events
Wedding Ceremony: St. Bernardine of Siena
Reception Venue: Woodland Hills Country Club
Florist: Romance Etc.
Hair and Makeup: Passion For Makeup
Linens: Linen Lenders
DJ: Special Occasions
Transportation: Upperclass Limousine
Videography: Viken Productions
Cake Designer: Portos Bakery

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ABOUT COURTNEY     WEDDING PORTFOLIO     WEDDING FAQ     WEDDING PRICING     TESTIMONIALS     CONTACT

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Cliff Mautner’s Lighting and Skillset Workshop

July 29th, 2014

Last fall was an incredibly crazy time for me. My husband and I purchased our first home, and moved into the house in September after a 6 month build process. I was having my busiest wedding season since I started shooting weddings – and usually in the fall things slow down! Earlier in the year [...]


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Last fall was an incredibly crazy time for me. My husband and I purchased our first home, and moved into the house in September after a 6 month build process. I was having my busiest wedding season since I started shooting weddings – and usually in the fall things slow down! Earlier in the year I had committed to a workshop, and as the date in October approached, I wondered if I had made a mistake.  I was feeling overwhelmed, and I was also wondering if I was truly ready.

Back in 2008 when I started shooting weddings, I happened upon a forum of wedding photographers. One of the first questions I asked was what workshops were the best bang for the buck. As I’ve come to learn over the years, this industry is LOUSY with workshops, and some of them are not as good as others. I knew I wanted to learn from someone whose work I respected, someone that continued to be a working wedding photographer, and that criteria led me to Cliff Mautner’s Lighting and Skillset Bootcamp.

It’s hard to boil down the experience into words, but this workshop was absolutely the best investment I could make in my education.  I was pretty nervous going into the workshop. Intimidated, actually. I really admire Cliff’s work and feel like there’s a gap the size of Grand Canyon between his and mine, and I was starting to think maybe I was missing some innate vision that this workshop wouldn’t be able to teach me. Happily, I was very wrong. I learned SO MUCH about seeing moments, about seeing light, about using the right tools for the setting. About helping my work to stand out. I can already see a difference in how I approach my work since last year.

The second surprise was Cliff himself. Now, I’ve never been to a multi-day workshop, so I don’t have any other comparison, but I highly doubt there is a photographer that works harder at giving value to his students. There was not a single second of downtime during the workshop. We had breakfast and lunch at his studio, and those were all working meals. Cliff would stand up at the front of the bus on the way to shoot models on location, hold on to a hand rail, and answer questions from the front of the bus. We all had dinner as a group, and of course the discussion revolved around photography then, as well. Our mornings were typically dedicated to technique discussion, and in the afternoon we’d go outside to practice what we’d learned. We covered everything from differences in lens selection and output, to reception lighting, to making your clients look great outdoors, no matter the time of day. Cliff also shared information with us on the business end, including meeting with clients, how he runs his studio, and how he processes and delivers images and albums to his clients. That was really important information. I feel so many photographers focus on the “art” because it’s more fun, and it’s what we love to do. One of the first things Cliff said to us was, “Don’t turn off your phones. I know you are all running a business, and if someone calls you, then you should take that call.”

As I said, going into the workshop I felt like I wasn’t ready, that I might be wasting my money. Leaving the workshop, I was SO GLAD I made the decision to invest in my skills. The investment level for this workshop was more expensive than any other course I was considering, and it was 100% worth it. I really can’t more highly recommend it if you are looking to take your skills and business to the next level! I also met a great group of people. We started a Facebook group after the workshop and it’s been awesome having a group of photographers to connect with, bounce ideas off of each other, and see how we’ve all progressed since the workshop. It might even be worth it for Cliff to set up an advanced workshop (hint, Cliff! ;) for photographers who have taken his bootcamp!

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Erin + Ranil

July 27th, 2014

Sneak peek of Erin + Ranil’s gorgeous Woodland Hills Country Club wedding. Can’t wait to share more of these soon!  


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Sneak peek of Erin + Ranil’s gorgeous Woodland Hills Country Club wedding. Can’t wait to share more of these soon!

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I’m So Flash-y

July 20th, 2014

My husband often tells me I’m a marketer’s dream. I’m a total sucker for a fancy display and am apt to say, “Oh my god, I NEED that!” when we’re out and about for things I clearly don’t need. I love and appreciate nice packaging and I always buy Papyrus cards, even though they’re absurdly [...]


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My husband often tells me I’m a marketer’s dream. I’m a total sucker for a fancy display and am apt to say, “Oh my god, I NEED that!” when we’re out and about for things I clearly don’t need. I love and appreciate nice packaging and I always buy Papyrus cards, even though they’re absurdly expensive, because they’re the prettiest.

I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with this digital world when it comes to photography. On one hand, I love giving my clients digital files. Delivering them can be as easy as putting them in a Dropbox file and emailing the client. But at the same time, I feel that kind of takes the “wow” factor out of their wedding files. For many of my clients, this is most amount of money they will ever spend at one time on photography for themselves – and I feel the end product should reflect that sentiment.

I recently upgraded my final product delivery to include a Courtney McManaway Photography branded flash drive (!!!!) and a custom box with a wedding day image. I don’t want to say this packaging is fabulous…oh wait, I just did! Tina + Cory were the first clients to receive this new packaging and I just about squealed when I received it in the mail.  I hope my clients love it as much as I do! :)tc_woodblog