Trade Secrets: Mary Catherine Brownfield

Not only is Mary Catherine Brownfield an Atlanta based lifestyle photographer specializing in families, fashion and professional portraits, but she is also a mama to two year old, Cate. We loved catching up with Mary Catherine and picking her brain on how to snap the perfect holiday family photo. 


Let’s start with a little background and personal info

  • What do you do? I am a lifestyle photographer specializing in families, fashion and professional portraits

  • What is your favorite part of your job? So much! I love connecting with all of these wonderful people, making clients feel and look their absolute best and creating special keepsakes for years to come.

  • What is your favorite part of motherhood? Watching Cate develop into her own person. She went from this babbling baby to a little lady with a kind heart and big personality! It’s just amazing.

    Child in floral dress sitting on hay bale
    • What made you want to become a photographer and how did you get started? I have an apparel design background and loved the photoshoots post design the most. I was always photographing my friends and it eventually became a huge passion and new career.

    Holiday cards are moving to the front of our minds as we head into Fall. When it comes to family portraits, what are your thoughts on the following:

    • To match, or not to match? Any wardrobe tips? Start with a favorite clothing item and it will become easy to find things for the other members of the family to match or coordinate...kind of like doing a room! Find the one piece that will anchor and then everything else will fall into place.

    • How to handle a toddler who is just not having it? Take a minute and let them relax... have a snack, walk around, play peek-a-boo. Make a game out of taking the photo!

      Child in floral dress at pumpkin patch
      • Most common mistakes people make during family photo shoots? Not thinking through the wardrobe and later regretting their choices. Two weeks before make sure you are happy with the clothing coordination. Also try on and take a photo of yourself to see if you should get things altered, etc.

      • As a photographer who often shoots so many talented, entrepreneurial women who are naturals in front of the camera, what tips can you offer for those of us who tend to feel uncomfortable in front of the lens? Before a shoot, pose in front of the mirror to know your favorite angles and send your photographer inspiration of portraits you love. Also, try to laugh which loosens up your smile!

      • In the age of Instagram, how have family photos changed? I am seeing more candids. We always get the standard posed portraits, but the organic moments seem to be a favorite.

          A little about momming and working and style: 

          • Any tips for making each day feel more balanced with family and work? Set aside time for just you and your child to play everyday. The one-on-one parent time (without your phone in hand) is what children need and crave!

          • Do you feel like your style has changed or shifted since becoming a mom? Yes, I look for good basics I can re-wear and quickly throw an outfit together! So many of your pieces are perfect for that.

          • We’re dreaming of traveling again, can you share a favorite kid-friendly travel destination? We've done beach trips with Cate, but I am very excited to take her to our favorite magical place, Aspen!

          • What are your biggest takeaways from this pandemic season as a mom, as a business owner, as a woman? While health and safety for everyone has been top of mind, I've also enjoyed slowing down and having more family time during quarantine. We have spent much time outdoors taking in nature's beauty and it's been so refreshing. I try to be thankful for this time together instead of letting my mind wander to all of the scary unknowns.

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