• Emily Marcella

Author Kristen Cagadas | Joyful Brand Photography in Northern Virginia

Sometimes we find our calling and sometimes our calling finds us.

Kristen’s daughter Laila was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome, a rare genetic condition present at birth, at two months old. This condition has a variety of impacts on individuals.


Kristen put a lot of time into learning more about the condition and wanted to share more about the diagnosis with both of her children. However, there were no resources available to share Williams Syndrome in a way that children would understand. Kristen knew she needed to write the book she was looking for, knowing that others would benefit from the book, too. Learn more about Kristen and Laila’s story on her website, The Pure Joy Mama.


Writing a book is no easy task and I won’t even pretend to know the process and write about it here. Major props go out to Kristen and those who decide to pursue writing and publishing a book! One thing she did need was professional brand photography to create intentional images to use in promoting the book.

During our planning call, Kristen shared that she was looking for lifestyle and headshot images to use while promoting the book on social media and for speaking engagements. She wanted to evoke feelings of joy, comfort, love, and understanding. Location would be an important element to help evoke comfort while also allowing her ideal readers to see themselves reading the book in their own homes with their children.


The star of the show was absolutely Laila, after all Kristen was inspired to write the book because of her daughter. Laila was gentle and excited to explore a new space. You can tell Laila loves reading with mom because she was ready to climb onto her lap and look through the book together. The two of them together brought out joy in one another, making it easy to capture in photos.


Brand photography comes through nicely when you adhere to cohesive visual elements. This book is full of color and wonderful illustrations. To keep the focus on the book, the setting needed to be clean, bright, and light. Props used in photos shared a similar color scheme to the primary colors – teal, purple, magenta, and pops of golden yellow. Even the lavender plant leaves align with the shape of the fern leaves on the cover.


At the end of our time together, Laila, unprompted, gave me a big hug. I melted and still feel the love and joy just writing about her hug. Want to experience the joy and love that Laila shares? Purchase a copy of Elsie with the Great Smile and read it with the ones you love!





You can learn more about Williams Syndrome and purchase your own copy of the book here.

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