Dallas Senior Portrait Photographer – Catie Ronquillo Photography » Editorial & Stylish Senior Portraits for Girls

When I was in college, I avoided business classes like the plague. I chose a major that wouldn’t require much math, no business classes, and no hard science (I’m totally not suited for organic chemistry). I thought that I would never be interested in anything remotely related to business. I had no idea that I would ever start my own business, let alone have a huge interest in it.

Early into my photography business, I would stop by the library or Barnes & Noble and peruse the business aisles. Considering that I had decided to start a business and yet had no background in it, I had to start learning somewhere. I would browse books at Barnes & Noble and borrow books from the library (still do) and just try to learn everything I could.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized how much I do like business. I never thought that I would be an entrepreneur. It’s a little scary taking a risk. Okay, it’s a lot scary, but it’s worth it and so exciting. Yes.

Business is exciting.

Another thing that I find super exciting is helping other creatives figure out and grow their businesses. I find myself constantly thinking about business ideas that I could implement or help other people implement and it’s just so fun and exciting.

One of the things that I’m proudest of in my business in the last two years is how I have been able to switch my niche. I transitioned from photographing weddings to only taking bookings for high school senior portraits for girls. I basically had to start over in my business, begin serving a completely new market, find a new clientele, which at first was really overwhelming, but now I know that it was the right move.

I feel like I’m in the thick of business building. I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have a magic formula. But I know that with hard work and determination, I can build my business into everything that I want it to be.

And I want to help other people. Other photographers. Other creatives. We can build our businesses together. We can learn to market. We can grow together. We can thrive together.

So are you a photographers or creative small business owner? Are you an aspiring photographer wondering how to get started? Do you have a business question you’re dying to have answered? Leave a comment with your question and I will put together answers for a future post!


And, coming soon, coaching for photographers. My favorite thing to do outside of photographing my clients is getting together over coffee or a meal and talk business. Even if you’re not local to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, there’s this awesome thing called Google Hangout! Business ideas, strategies, and coming up with solutions for your burning questions. We can talk marketing, pricing, accounting (yes, I actually like accounting/bookkeeping!), workflow, editing, pretty much the gamut of what it takes to make your business happen. Interested? Send me an email catie [at] catieronquillo [dot] com and we can chat!

  • Tracee Mcbeth - This is awesome… Becoming an entrepreneur was never on my radar… I knew I would be a good wife of an entrepreneur but never thought it would be me to start a business. I am still a lot afraid but that fear goes away daily with things that are being revealed to me.ReplyCancel

  • Tracee Mcbeth - This is awesome… Becoming an entrepreneur was never on my radar… I knew I would be a good wife of an entrepreneur but never thought it would be me to start a business. I am still a lot afraid but that fear goes away daily with things that are being revealed to me.ReplyCancel

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I’ve been participating in the Feel Good Blogging Challenge and these prompts have been fun. You can check out Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 to catch up!

10 Things You Don’t Know About Me 

  1. I learned to read and write in French before English. I learned to speak English first, but since we were living in France when I was in pre-school, kindergarten, and first grade, and I went to a French school, everything I learned was in French.
  2. I have a photographic memory when it comes to people’s birthdays and anniversaries. My sister said I’m like Rain Man. It’s a gift, people!
  3. I have a ridiculous phobia of mice and rats. Spiders and bugs generally don’t bother me too much, but a rat will make me jump out of my skin.
  4. I met my husband at DisneyWorld. We both did the Disney College Program after we graduated from college (me in California and him in Georgia) and our worlds collided in Florida. I think we both made great decisions to spend a couple of months in Orlando.
  5. I eat waffle fries from Chick-Fil-A from smallest to largest. I do it completely unconsciously, and I have no idea how I developed this habit…my husband finds my quirk hilarious.
  6. I am not a native Texan. I grew up in California for most of my life. I say “like” a lot and “dude” as well. I don’t sound like a Valley Girl though. I’m still trying to figure out how to correctly use the phrase “I’m fixin’ to…”
  7. I avoided any and all business classes in college. I especially avoided Economics. Little did I know they might have come in handy with my small business.
  8. I once got locked in a bathroom. At the University. In France. The lock broke. I had to call the director of our program (thank God I had my cell phone and there was service) and explain to her that I was stuck in a bathroom. Oh that was a hilarious conversation now that I look back at it.
  9. I tend to hear song lyrics incorrectly. Often. Anyone know that scene from Sister Act 2 where they sing Oh Happy Day? I always thought that it was “…when Jesus was” but my husband between hysterically laughing at me the first time he heard me sing it, informed me that it was in fact, “….when Jesus washed.” Oops.
  10. I am a stickler for spelling and grammar. It’s one of my pet peeves and really drives me crazy. Call me a spelling snob, if you will. It’s usually the first thing that I notice in someone’s social media update or blog post. I want to tell them to correct their typos. Maybe I was a copyeditor in another life… But, admittedly, I married someone who relies on auto correct and spellcheck, so I’ve learned to live with it.

Catie Ronquillo Photography Epcot World Showcase

Well there you go…10 things you now know about me.

  • Christina Vanvuren - Haha the way you eat fries is awesome! Thanks for sharing about yourself!


    Christina VanvurenReplyCancel

  • Christina Vanvuren - Haha the way you eat fries is awesome! Thanks for sharing about yourself!


    Christina VanvurenReplyCancel

  • Sashaographer Holloway - Well you might want to stay away from my personal and photography blog, LOL. I loved all of your facts and cracking up at your fries ones. LOL. ReplyCancel

  • Random Little Faves - Love this list! :) I completely agree on #10…misspelled words drive me crazy!!!! I kind of do the same thing with the waffle fries, but I never really thought about it. I think it’s because I always like to save the best for last and the bigger ones are the better ones!ReplyCancel

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I’m one of those people who sits down in front of the computer to do something and then I get distracted by the Internet. And the original reason I sat down at the computer is completely forgotten. Has that ever happened to you? Happens to me all the time. My short term memory is terrible sometimes.

In order to keep myself on task and get things done, I have a process.

1) Big Master List – as a business owner, there are always a million things to get done. I’m constantly changing hats from accountant, bookkeeper, editor, photographer, marketing manager, oh and CEO. There’s SO MUCH. So I keep a master list. I’m a huge fan of lists and a huge fan of notebooks, so it’s a win-win situation. Every week, I try to make a master list and update it with things that need to happen. It might be editing, blog posts, social media posts, bookkeeping (how fun!), or emailing. I get a whole lot of satisfaction of crossing items off a list.

2) Choose 3 things – It’s hard to get everything on the master list done. In fact, it’s impossible to get it all done in one day. And it feels totally overwhelming knowing that you have a HUGE list looming in front of you. Every day, I look at the master list and my schedule and see what I can get done that day…but not everything, just three things. Accomplishing a task feels REALLY good, and accomplishing three tasks feels even better!

3) Brain Dump – At the end of the day, I use my handy notebook to write everything that I need to get done down. For me this includes things like calling the vet, calling the pharmacy, paying a bill, or emailing a client. It’s all the little things that are so easy to forget! If there are things you need to remember to do, write it down during your brain dump. It’s always a bummer to remember that you were going to do something and it’s too late or the deadline has passed.

This is my mini “tutorial” for getting things done…like a boss!



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I’ve thought long and hard about sharing this post. It’s always difficult to share your most authentic self online, but if this post helps just one person, I know that it was well worth the risk.

I’ve been thinking about why I decided to start doing high school senior portraits. Besides the fact that high school seniors are a fun age group to photograph, especially since most teenage girls enjoy being in front of the camera and feeling like a model for a day, it’s more than that. There’s more to it than just that “it’s fun”. It goes back to my own experience in high school and growing up.

From second to eighth grade, I went to a small Catholic school where we wore uniforms. As much as wearing a uniform felt like a drag, it took away the “What do I wear today?” question. When I got to high school, it was a relatively small Catholic school as well, but there were no uniforms. There was a fairly strict dress code, but I got to choose what to wear each day. As someone who is far from being a fashionista, this was kind of overwhelming. Confession: I used to keep a piece of paper taped in my closet to make sure I didn’t repeat outfits. Oh goodness, I can’t believe I just admitted that!

People talk about adolescence as being a tough time. Oh it is. Especially if you’ve ever had one bit of insecurity. For me, I was shy and quiet. I was very observant and was fascinated by watching other people (still am). But throughout my high school experience, I hardly ever felt like I belonged. I remember one of my friends from grade school left me by the wayside for new “cooler” friends (at least that was my perception). I was overweight and couldn’t shop in the Juniors section or juniors clothing stores. I would bow out of shopping invitations from friends, because I didn’t want them to know that I couldn’t shop in the same section. I never really felt pretty. I was awkward around boys. I was your average nerdy girl teenager who just longed to be considered cool. Even for a second.

My self esteem was further butchered one afternoon when I was confronted by a bully (who was ironically smaller than me) for something that I had said about someone else. Life lesson girls: Don’t say (post/write/tweet/instagram) anything you might regret later. It has a funny way of coming back to haunt you. I admit I made a mistake, but I never thought that it would come back to get me. The details of that confrontation don’t matter, but I do remember feeling horrible. I felt reduced to nothing.

Did I mention that happened freshman year?

It was after that experience that I was more self-conscious than ever. I worried about what other kids would think of what I wore/said/did. I worried about being judged. I would tell myself that I didn’t care what other people thought, but you know we all do! I was so insecure. I wouldn’t let anyone know that, but I was so terrified of what other people thought that I let it control me sometimes. I compensated for my outward insecurities by burying my nose in my books and acing tests and getting good grades. I figured that if there was one thing that I could get right, it would be doing well in school.

And I did.

I graduated second in my class. I was proud of that accomplishment. I knew that I would never be the most outgoing, the prettiest, the loudest, or the most popular, but I could leverage my intelligence. It wasn’t until I really started to accept myself for who I was that I started to love myself. It’s been a long and slow process and many times that insecurity seeps into my life even now as an adult. But I don’t let it control me anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful, supportive family, and I had a great group of friends in high school. These struggles were internalized on my part. Because really, who likes to talk about their insecurities?

High school is a fun and great time, but it can also be a tough time. Especially if you are shy. Especially if you are quiet. Especially if you’re a little nerdy or geeky. If you feel like you don’t fit the mold of what it is to be in high school, your experience might not be all Friday Night Lights and cupcakes and unicorns. Sometimes, high school is something you have get through.

I was that shy, insecure, nerdy girl. I get what it’s like.

Now, as a photographer, I’m honored to take your senior portraits. Because they are not just pictures. I strive to give you an amazing experience of feeling beautiful and confident in your own skin. Because that feeling is empowering; it’s an experience that can change your perspective. I hope to give high school girls an experience I wish I could have had in high school. The permission to feel brave, brilliant, and beautiful. The permission to let go of any insecurities that may be haunting you.This is my heart. This is why I work with high school senior girls specifically.

BEAUTIFULEvery girl is beautiful and deserves the chance to see how amazing she truly is.

  • Jen Kashak - I think it is great that you wrote this! I really think that the majority of people were insecure teens, even the ones we might have thought were “cool” or “popular”! I had my group of friends, but never really even tried to talk to the popular kids, and I had several experiences of running into them as adults and having them say that they wished I had talked to them! I’ve also talked to people who were considered popular, that told me it was completely exhausting because they were constantly afraid to “mess up” and do something that would deem them “uncool”. I think the service that you offer young girls – the chance to be confident and feel beautiful as they are – is wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Patricia Joaquin-Burkhalter - You always gave me the impression of someone brave and confident…..certainly intelligent, no….brilliant which you are. I am proud of you, ReplyCancel

  • Lesile - Great story. Intelligence is beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - Whaaaat???!!! You weren’t the coolest girl in school??? From what I know of ya, they missed out! I think you’re KILLER!

    … and if someone accidentally drooled all over your website, it wasn’t me. *wipes chin*

    I love your eye!!!ReplyCancel

  • Anna Morgan Dobrenski - This is awesome Catie! Thanks for sharing your story. Makes me want to hug you! Anyone that decides to step in front of your camera is lucky : )ReplyCancel

  • Marlene Lebel - So forthcoming in your complete honesty! Nice getting to know your photographer before the shoot! <3ReplyCancel

  • Katie Sack Prentiss - well said catie! ReplyCancel

  • 10 Things You Don’t Know About Me | Dallas Senior Portrait Photographer - Catie Ronquillo Photography - […] in the Feel Good Blogging Challenge and these prompts have been fun. You can check out Post 1, Post 2, and Post 3 to catch […]ReplyCancel

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While I’ve been blogging for a while, it’s always fun to blog about yourself every once in a while…

My name is Catie and I’m the CEO (Chief Everything Officer) of Catie Ronquillo Photography. I specialize in custom photography for high school senior girls. I’m based in the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex, but I grew up in California. I’ve had two stints of living in France, once for three years and a second time for a year when I studied abroad. I met my husband working as an intern at DisneyWorld. Yep, dreams do come true at the happiest place on earth. We’ve been married for five years (that went by fast) and we have a black and tan dachshund named Kevin. He’s pretty cute. I think he knows it.


I originally started my blog about five-ish years ago to document my photography journey and share my work. Over the last few years, my photography has morphed from focusing mostly on weddings to exclusively on high school senior portraits for girls. I want to share my recent work, tips for having an amazing senior portrait session, personal stories, and inspiration.

My blog is for girls in high school who are getting ready for senior year. Senior year is a super exciting time of your life because you’re in this in between. In between childhood and crossing a major milestone into adulthood. Finishing high school and going onto college or whatever is up next for you. My blog is also for new and aspiring photographers looking to specialize in senior portraits. I love helping new photographers…I’ve been there before and I’d love to help you get to the next level.

Something that I’ve been working on lately that I’m REALLY proud of has NOTHING to do with photography. In fact, it has to do with exercise. WHAT? Yeah. Seven weeks ago, I started a free 12-week fitness program called Live Fit, which focuses on lifting weights. I love it. And I’m most proud of the fact that I’m still doing it and it’s week 7. I haven’t given up! While I’m still working on getting all the nutrition in place, I’m actually loving going to the gym and pumping iron. I never thought I would ever say that I enjoy going to the gym! Ha.

The one message I hope people take away from my blog is that we are all our own kind of beautiful. As a high school senior portrait photographer for girls, I understand how hard it can be to be a girl in today’s society. Between self-esteem and confidence and everything that the media throws at you each and every minute of every day, it can be SO HARD to navigate who you want to be. I want you to be your best beautiful, whatever that may be for you. I don’t believe in a standard of beauty. I believe that every girl is beautiful and deserves the chance to see how amazing she truly is. THAT is why I love specializing in high school senior portraits for girls, specifically. I get you. I was in high school once. I was the nerdy girl with a complete lack of fashion sense. And while I’m nowhere near a fashionista as an adult, I can relate to you on a real level. I’m all about real talk.

Now, tell me a little bit about you…


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