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Meet Robin Foley of Robin Foley Portraits in Pasadena

Today we’d like to introduce you to Robin Foley.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1989 with a B.F.A. in Photography, then started freelancing for some LA magazines doing editorial product shots. I loved it. Every photo shoot was a meditation–an exercise in composition. I nerded out on products in the same way van Schooten might have meticulously positioned his strawberries. In 1994, I went a different direction, specializing as a texture artist for photo-real 3D worlds at Cyan Inc., a gaming company. There, I worked on the Riven, The Sequel to Myst. While it’s common place now, creating something photo-realistic was very revolutionary at the time. From there, I moved to film. I learned new software, became a texture supervisor and helped create “Godzilla” (the one with Matthew Broderick) from a shape of shiny gray virtual clay. Other movies followed: Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within as well as Matrix 2 and 3.

I left the industry when I was pregnant with my second child, and embraced motherhood with open arms. In 2009, I founded Imprecious, a metal clay jewelry business I could do from home. Each charm was a, hand-crafted, kiln-fired and customized fingerprint of your child.

In 2012, after being professionally photographed by my niece, I had an epiphany.

In these photos, I saw the woman I’d lost touch with. The artist from the past. She was confident, bold, gorgeous & carefree. I realized that person was still inside my soul. She’d just been buried during that loving hard work of raising good humans. I realized then and there that I had all the talent and ambition to help other women seek and find themselves.

Has it been a smooth road?
About five years ago, I was really struggling with marketing, accounting and networking. The business side. It wasn’t my thing. I didn’t gravitate toward it. I didn’t like to talk about myself. How would I truly evolve my business without this critical piece?

Then I looked at my past. And I realized that I was really good at becoming masterful at many things. Ceramics. 3D Graphics. Texturing software. Still life shots. Whatever I study, I dig deep. I realized that I had a block. Marketing didn’t feel like a creative endeavor, and so I had categorized it as insurmountable. I had to give myself a good talking-to. And then I paused. Recalibrated. And set to work on that side of the business. Does it leave less time for my art? Yes. Is it sometimes annoying? Yes. Is it essential to my success? Absolutely.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Robin Foley Portraits – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I started my business in 2012 after a portrait-inspired epiphany. After finding a lost part of myself in a photograph, I realized I could help other women find themselves. Women who are hurting, who feel unworthy. Women who aren’t living their best lives and who need to remember who they are. Women, who, deep down, long to feel cherished and honored–especially at home.

As a high-end, experiential portrait photographer, I consider myself a love-giver. A self-esteem filler-upper. A freaking fairy godmother with a camera. My luxury packages include wardrobe, hair, make-up, and lots of hand-holding.

What’s my process? First, we discuss that iconic image–the one that’s been living in my client’s head. Maybe they’re wearing a boa. Or crossing a bridge… or dancing the cha cha. Drawing on my own experience with movie sets, celebrities and ego, and leveraging the nuance of pixels, the power of light, the magic of place (Venice, anyone?), I then create a luxurious photo-shoot experience, helping clients feel seen, and bringing their essence to the surface. Where it breathes. Celebrates. And shines.

Oh, but the fear, right? That’s where I stand apart. My most important job is making my clients feel comfortable in front of the camera. We encounter vulnerability. And terror. Sometimes a tear or two. And it’s no wonder. We’ve all been traumatized by the clinical nature of school photos and perfection-seeking family portrait. But when I take the time to connect with my clients as a human being, and when they get in touch with parts of themselves they’d long forgotten, a conversation happens. Beliefs shift. Freedom emerges. Self-perception changes. Suddenly, my client is in tune with themselves and the world. And that’s what I’m really all about.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
What I like best about LA is that I can have this super chill experience living in Pasadena. Most days I love my 5 mile radius life, but being in such close proximity to LA is what keeps things interesting. I love the diversity, especially in food, which we all know is a great bridge between cultures.

What I like least? Traffic & Parking, enough said.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Credit to Lori Patrick for the photo of me in Venice with my subject.

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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