RLP Studios by Paula Holsen | Blog


Hello!  Welcome to my website/blog.  I am so glad you have found your way to my little corner of the photography world.  Grab a cup of coffee, hot tea or glass of wine (red if you are like me) and spend a little time browsing through my site getting to know me and my work a little more!

I am 48 years old (and may stay that old for a long time if I don’t update this page every year or on a sliding scale backwards if I do!).  Yes, I am a redhead with brown eyes, not the lovely blue or green that other lucky gingers get!  I come from a long line of redheads and use to hate being a redhead but learned to appreciate just how special it is!  I am married to the love of my life and between us we have three amazing adult children (2 girls and a boy); and, one absolutely, out of this world, adorable grandson.  We have two dogs, an English Bulldog and a Pug, and a beautiful tabby cat.  We live in Phoenix, Arizona and, while I miss home (Louisiana), I'm one of those weird people that loves the Arizona heat, clear nights, and mountain views.

My journey to photography…I can honestly say, started when I was 10.  Not to date myself but, I received my first camera for Valentine's Day and it was a Kodak 110 Film (yes - film) Camera.  By the time I became a mom, I purchased my first "big girl" camera...it too was film, Nikon F100! Yes, I am a Nikon girl - for the most part (wink)!  Daily I would dress up my baby girl and take literally hundreds of pictures documenting her life as a baby so I would not forget one single moment.  She, and her sister, will never forget their lives as babies and children.  Because I've always had a love for photography, having constant models made me want to improve my skills, and that is where my journey began.  I started researching, taking classes and spent hours mastering my camera and technique.  While photography was not my first career, I am also a Paralegal, I had limited time as the girls began school, activities and due to my own legal career.  Thus, not pursuing my passion. 

Fast forward to about 5 years ago, I decided it was time, without a doubt, that my passion for photography needed to be resurrected...what??? Digital, Photoshop, Lightroom - mind blown!  Yes, I had to reteach myself everything from the film days to the digital world.  Once again, I found myself submerged in research, classes, reading manuals, learning new software...countless hours and late nights.  I've also invested in my craft by attending numerous hands-on workshops and even hosted a workshop in my own Studio. So, here I am doing what I love and am passionate about!  I speak from personal experience, it is never too late to pursue your dreams.

I have a studio in Phoenix and I specialize in maternity, newborn, milestone and cake smash sessions. My goal is to capture a moment in time making memories forever cherished.  Why newborn photography??  Because, time passes in the blink of an eye, moments are fleeting, and they are only this little once! So, with that, I want my newborn sessions to be an experience; calm and relaxing for mom and dad, while I get to snuggle their little one and capture their sweet newborn at this precious stage that will pass by too quickly.

I LOVE coffee, anything coffee, Starbucks, home brewed, fancy flavored creamers - I'm all about it!  I love my sweet Lola, the pug of my life!  I love anything crafty.  I REALLY have a fear of heights - this is not a good thing when you live in a state with lots of mountains!  I can literally give myself a panic attack when we head up to north Arizona.  I love being barefoot and am always cold.  But, I would rather crank the heat than wear bulky layered clothing.  I love to read, don't watch the news and love to cook. I love black and white photos, and I love my family with all my heart.

I am so excited to meet all of you and can’t wait to capture your babies - so Give Me Your Babies!






DIY Farm to Table Artwork

March 21, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I was on a mission to re-decorate my kitchen and living room.  The kitchen had the same decorations with moderate upgrades for the last 20 years!  As ever so popular, I wanted to go with a Farm to Table vibe in the kitchen.  I immediately found my way to Amazon and located several Mud Pie items in all white that were just perfect!  I didn't realize how well the Mud Pie line matched with the Rae Dunn line.  Instantly, another Rae Dunn fanatic was born! This led me to SwipSwap groups on Facebook and I enlisted anyone and everyone to keep on the look out for Rae Dunn items.  It worked and I had more than enough items for my kitchen makeover.

I found really cute Farm to Table kitchen mats that matched the accent wall and my stove which is the prize and center focal point of my kitchen.  I also set up an elaborate coffee bar.  If you read my welcome blog, then you know how much I love coffee.  So a full on coffee bar is right up my alley.  I found a few more pieces at Hobby Lobby to finish off the decorations. 

The only thing left was the artwork for my accent wall.  Did I mention that I am an Amazon Queen?  I live on Amazon and prefer to shop via Amazon than physically going to a store.  I pride myself on how resourceful I can be at finding whatever is needed on Amazon.  I spent hours trying to find just what I wanted with NO luck whatsoever.  I was amazed that something as simple as fresh veggies on barnwood could not be found on Amazon or with a quick search on Google.  I spent night after night after night and what resulted in countless unsuccessful hours searching the web for artwork.  Sure, I found colorful whimsical adaptations of fruit or veggies, just not what I was looking.  I just sat at the computer thinking to myself, I really just want a photo with fresh veggies against barnwood.  Wait, what?  Umm I am a photographer and I have barnwood in my studio!  I immediately made a plan.  Buy fresh veggies and photograph them.  Simple, right?  No, not exactly.  Let me explain.

If you have never photographed food before, here are a few tips to help you get it right the first time.  I ended up buying the veggies twice because of not following these tips.  Now, I am by no means a food photographer and I'm here to say I am not the next Pioneer Woman (although I would love to be her and would love to meet her).  But, in the end, I ended up with just what I wanted for my walls.  

  1. Pick the freshest ingredients.  My carrots and living butter lettuce did not look as fresh as they could have and had broken stems.
  2. Plan to photograph your fresh veggies the day you buy them.  I left mine in the fridge overnight (maybe 2 nights) and this caused them to look less than perfect for photos.
  3. Only take out of the fridge what you plan to photograph and leave the remaining in cooler temps.
  4. If you are on barnwood and have the bright idea of lightly spraying the veggies with water, don't do it!  The barnwood will end up with water spots that you will either have to Photoshop out later or wait for them to dry.  Yes, I did do this!  Spray away from the barnwood!
  5. Using a wide-open aperture (small f-stop) and focusing sharply on one area is a great way to emphasize texture.
  6. I've read to use natural light but I used my studio lights, Paul Buff Einstein.
  7. Use multiple angles.
  8. Minimize clutter.
  9. You don't need a big fancy camera to take great food photos and you could probably get by just fine with a point and shoot.  I used my Nikon D810.
  10. I love prime lenses because they usually offer wider apertures, giving me greater control over depth of field and more flexibility when shooting.  I used the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4.
  11. I used a reflector.
  12. A tripod may be helpful to avoid camera shake, however, I didn't use one.

So, after all of the searching, buying and re-buying of veggies, here are the photos that I printed and then framed in barnwood frames to hang on my accent wall in my kitchen.  I printed, matted and framed two as 12x12's and two as 16x20 prints together with a windmill wall clock.  This is one DIY I'm pretty happy with!

Smash & Splash Photo Session

March 20, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Smash & Splash Photo Session

Have you ever heard the term "cake smash" and wondered what that meant?  I mean who works so hard to bake a cake just to smash it!  Well, when it is your first birthday, your first taste of cake, you have the right to do with it as you please!

A photo session with me isn't just about taking your photos, it is an experience.  Your session is customized to your theme to create images and artwork that you will treasure forever.  RLP Studios provides all of the props and accessories necessary to make your cake smash session a success.  What better way to celebrate your little one turning one than with a customized photography session.

How it works:

~The session starts with capturing timeless photographs of your little one.

~Then we turn to the cake, they get to smash and eat cake!

~To wrap it up, your little one gets a bubble bath in one of our many tubs that you get to choose from.

Don't expect me, you or your little to stay clean for this session!  And, that is okay...the more it gets smashed the better.  We will work at the pace of your little so that we get those perfect images of your little having his or her first taste of cake.

Once we have all enjoyed a little taste of cake, we will pop your little one into one of my beautiful tubs to capture a few images of them splashing around, grabbing bubbles and getting rid of the frosting!  If water is not your little ones thing, that is okay.  We have plenty of wipes and can go with a waterless splash session.

To allow sufficient time to customize your Smash & Splash Session, book in advance of your baby's birthday.  Sessions are best for babies 11 months to 15 months old.  Contact me today to book!


Smash & Splash Session


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