Saturday, August 1, 2015

Shooting with Mary Kate Gutierrez

A couple weeks ago I decided that I needed a quick new headshot of my daughter because she is growing out her bangs and everything I have ready to use is very bang-o-centric.  My daughter’s print agency really only uses her tearsheets for submissions, so I send those along whenever I see them, but for on-camera, a recent headshot reflecting the kiddo’s current look is a must-have.  Casting directors are not too keen on getting kids who look nothing like their headshots!

I favor very natural photos, and I try to keep my eye out for emerging photographers or local photographers who may be offering a one-look mini-shoot at a reasonable price.  I’m pretty budget-conscious now (more on that in the future) but also want someone who knows the market so I get the look I need (in NYC, the more natural the better) so I asked around and found a great photographer who was available to meet up – even better – in two days.

Mary Kate Gutierrez has been building her photography portfolio over the past year in New York and Southern Connecticut.  A 2014 graduate of UCONN, she works full-time in advertising but pursues her love of photographing children as much as possible outside of work hours.  She hopes to parley that into a career pulling together the big picture of marketing kids’ fashion campaigns.  I’ve seen her work shooting for emerging designers as well as portfolio shoots for kids and some editorial work.  She credits her ability to work will with kids, parents and designers on her extensive sports background – she played competitive soccer, basketball AND lacrosse.  I would describe her style as clean, natural and fun.  She loves the opportunity to capture children as they really are – letting their personalities shine. 

With a rousing endorsement by a friend, I contacted Mary Kate on a Friday.  She had also been following me on social media, so when I messaged her we felt like old buddies – she’s very friendly and outgoing.  She suggested meeting up on Sunday morning, which was perfect, since she already had a shoot scheduled at Yale and I would be on my way to my dad’s for a family gathering nearby.  (I kind of live in the boondocks of northwestern CT, so New Haven is actually relatively handy for me in relation to NYC or NJ).  I asked for some wardrobe suggestions, and I grabbed a few dresses and some simple sandals and we were on our way.

When we met on our arranged street-corner, Mary Kate was ready to go.  It was a reeeeealllllly hot that day, but she showed up looking like quite the cool and casual photographer – cute clothes with a stylish vest and her hair pulled back.  She put my daughter at ease immediately (not that my daughter is uptight or anxious, but a fast connection is a great thing for a quick photoshoot).  We picked a dress, chatted a bit, and within a few minutes they were off and running, stopping here and there in the nooks and crannies of the collegiate neighborhood.

Mary Kate sent me all of the photos that night.  I loved the proofs and have settled on one to use as a headshot.  Most of all, I really enjoyed meeting her – she talks about her close-knit family (three brothers and a sister; all younger) and the high expectations her parents have for their academic achievement (each child pays his or her way through school as well).  Honestly, I left the shoot wanting to go have Sunday dinner at Mary Kate’s family’s house!

If you’re looking for some fresh photos with a really sweet and outgoing photographer, consider Mary Kate.  Full disclosure, I paid her full asking price and I did not receive any “favors” for the coverage in the blog here – this was totally my idea after the fact because I had such a great time with her and I wanted to spread the word.  She is “emerging” and not a full-time photographer, so her prices are quite reasonable yet she is no less professional than anyone I’ve worked with.  You’ll see a lot more of her work in the future – I’m sure!  You can follow her on Instagram at @marykategutierrez on facebook at MKG Photography or on the web at 

I've included a few shots below...the first is the one I'm using for her on-camera headshot now; the second is the "serious face" she was sporting that morning; and the third is just a fun shot that I love.

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