Christene Schaaf, Photographer

About C.S. Photography, Inc.

C.S. Photography features the unique Home.Life.Art family sessions and Bébe Firsts sessions. What is Life Art? Well...Life Art is YOU! It is the relationship that is captured between family. A moment... a portrait created by me and turned into beautiful Life Art décor that makes you smile every time you walk by it and inspires your home to greet you.

My blog is filled with the inner workings of my photography passion. I will be featuring sneak peeks, tutorial tidbits, Life Art Décor suggestions, product offerings, client gallery designs and inspiration.

If you would like more information or want to schedule a Home.Life.Art or Bébe First session, please visit or email

Archive: ‘Uncategorized’

The B Family | Virginia Beach Family Photographer

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

This little guy ran circles around me during our time together. Notice the only way to contain him was to throw him up in the air or hold him upside down. ;) Thank you to the B family for sharing your evening with me!

A View From Inc 500 From a Military Entrepreneur | Virginia Beach Photographer

Monday, September 26th, 2011

So many thoughts, ideas, and actions ran through my head yesterday. I felt like a hamster on a wheel unable to stop my brain from moving. I’m glad I had the 3.5 hr car ride home from DC after the Inc500/5000 Conference. I needed to absorb, to let it resonate inside. I needed to feel that motivation, spirit and passion for a few more hours before I headed back into military life juggling preschool with phone calls, dinner and clients. I still pinch myself for being chosen among a small group of military spouse entrepreneurs to take part in Inc. Magazine’s 1st Mentorship Fair and then had the incredible honor to attend the entire conference as a special delegate. I hope to provide you with a few lessons that have given me a clear focus of where I want to take my business.

Entrepreneurs and specifically those CEO’s in attendance have an incredible ability to think big. One lesson that has resonated so clearly is to start in the future. All businesses start with an idea. The job of the entrepreneur to to visualize that idea as it exists in the future. What does success look like? Visualize yourself there, walking around and observing. Then map out how you got there. What did getting from point A to point B look like? What steps did you have to take? Who did you meet? Who did you hire? What infrastructure did you need to have in place? What about going from point B to C? The written roadmap is the key. With it you can align your strategic plan to support your vision. Without it you just have a jumbled idea lacking clarity and focus.

A few speakers touched on how to balance work and life, something I am constantly trying to achieve with little success. Russell Simmons said “Work should be like a prayer. You should be able to put your head down and enjoy it.” And Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella & Dot reminded us to leave the right things undone. So many tasks in business can spiral into that time suck. Social media is one of them. Our task as business owners and entrepreneurs is to 1) focus on revenue creating tasks. 2) Focus on those tasks that directly align with your roadmap and vision. Do something everyday that gets you closer to the next point in your roadmap. Ric Elias, CEO of Red Ventures recommended the book Choosing to Cheat which discusses the idea that you are cheating your family if you are putting them 2nd.

On the discussion of social media, like the rest of your business strategy, it shouldn’t be tackled blindly. Find out how your customers are hearing about you. What are they thinking during the decision process? Why did they decide to hire you initially? Find out the answers to those questions and align your social media campaign to build value. One of the most comical speakers, Gary Vaynerchuck of Vayner Media made the analogy that “most companies are treating social media like a one night stand. Trying to close on the first interaction.” Create context in your social media campaign and shift to your customers emotional center. Have a real relationship with them. A survey is not human, a phone call or favor is.

Social responsibility and accountability is a prominent theme amongst successful businesses. There is a fundamental desire to give back. Ted Leonsis of Monumental Sports & Entertainment says to find the double bottom line. Make money and do good for your community because the journey in business is where the reward comes from. But on the subject of thinking big, Scott Harrison of charity:water highlighted his marketing tactics to take on the world’s water crisis. I was talking to a fellow milspouse at lunch who had missed the keynote and told her to imagine if you had it in your mind to go out and solve world hunger. And you did it. I feel like that’s the inspirational platform he sat from. More so than his ability to market such an inspirational cause and get people to take action, Scott Harrison taught me the value of one person and an idea. And when passion, discipline, and persistence is present one person can do extraordinary things. At the moment I am so excited to be working with a charity project that I’m not quite ready to announce. But it’s a big one. And I have so many ideas swirling in my head to make it that much bigger. So I’m off to map it out to present to the coordinating partners.

I want to thank Inc. Magazine, specifically the President Bob LaPointe and the Event Director Courtney McNeese who had the idea of partnering with Joining Forces after she watched an episode of Oprah highlighting the Bravest Families in America . I watched this episode myself and distinctly remember the questions Tom Brokaw asked viewers which was: “Do you know someone fighting on the front lines in Iraq or Afghanistan? How about a family in your town that has a loved one serving?”. Another quote that hit me hardest from the episode is when he goes on to say “less than 1 percent of the American population is bearing 100 percent of the burden of battle…I, as a political reporter, believe very strongly that this democratic republic cannot have something that involves our blood and treasure assigned to only a very small part of our population, and nothing else is asked of the rest of us. That’s not just unjust. In a way, it’s immoral.” If you hadn’t watched the episode you can read the highlights here at . Thank you Courtney for watching this episode and making such an invaluable impact in my life and the rest of the military spouses and vets who were also in attendance. And thank you to our awesome host Natalie Thomas and Bridgett. You two were amazing in your own right and I feel so incredibly blessed to take park in the event you helped create. Thank you to General Stanley McCrystal for taking time after his inspirational speech on leadership to meet with the military spouses, vets and Pat Tillman Scholars. My incredible mentors were Steve Richard of Vorsight and Scott Dudelson and Eron Zehavi of Prodege who all gave me a different angle to view my business. An unofficial mentor for me was Matt Zemon of American Support whose company is uniquely aligned to offer work at home jobs in rural areas near military bases. Milspouses, sound enticing?! And thank you to my hubby who took leave from work so he could stay at home with the kids.

As we were leaving there were talks from Inc. magazine about offering this opportunity again next year. If you are a military spouse or vet who owns your own business, or even if you just have an idea, apply and give all of your attention to the opportunity.

Thank you for letting me share. :)

New Year…New Blog | Virginia Beach Photographer

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

I’ve migrated my blog to my own domain and am saying goodbye to Blogger forever. So, update your bookmarks to my new page and follow me on the new blog!

Here’s to a great 2011!

My Go To Gift | Holiday Decor

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Do you have a “Go To” gift for the holidays? This is mine. We usually make it every year for the guys in hubby’s squadron. But it is so simple to make a batch and have on hand for neighbors, friends, hostess gifts, etc. And then of course I get to sip on the leftovers ;) The bottles I ordered from Bottles and More and the gift tags are mini moo cards from Moo. I love these because you can add a personalized touch to your gifts. We have a family picture on the front of the card and a personal message on the back. And the ribbon is natural raffia that you can find at any craft store.

Coffee Liqueur
3 TBSP chocolate syrup
11 1/2 oz whiskey (Jim Beam or other)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp coconut extract
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 pint half and half

Blend together in blender and pour into bottles. You might need to add a bit more to the bottles after they’ve sat for an hour or so.

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails | Norfolk Family Photographer

Monday, November 8th, 2010

B was such a trooper today as we braved the “arctic wind” in Norfolk. :) My hubby would laugh at that. He always says I have a 2 degree temperature range where I’m never cold or hot. This little guy is starting to come into his own boyish personality. Of course sticks were the coolest thing in his world and sitting still for pictures was torture in his mind. But he is so genuinely loved by his parents and his momma still beats out sticks any day. :)

Thank you to the C Family for letting me spend some time in your “backyard”! I hope you enjoy your sneak peek!

To book your family session, please contact me at or visit for more information.

{Last Flight} | Virginia Beach & Oceana Photographer

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Some things in life, I just can’t fathom. Flying a jet is one of them. Sometimes I feel so detached from the life of a pilot. A conversation that a good friend had with her husband pretty much summed up the difference in the lives we lead. It went something like this… Husband: “I’m flying out to Ohio today to have lunch with Dad.” Wife: “Oh, that sounds nice, when will you be back then?” Husband: “Probably no later than usually. Should be home around 5 o’clock.” And so leads the life of a pilot. Pilot wives will probably recognize the story behind this picture. A ritual for every last flight. For this pilot it could be THE last flight. Always guided by the needs of the Navy, only a specific career path will lead him back into the air. Another thing I just can’t fathom. Never knowing if you’ll take up your passion again…Always at the mercy of someone else. This pilot and his wife have meant so much to me these past few years…through two deployments and the birth of two babies. I wish them all the best in their new Navy endeavor and hope to see him in the skies again!

Halloween Monster Mini Sessions | Virginia Beach Children’s Photographer

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

Announcing my Monster Mini Sessions for your costumed cutie!

30 Day Bucket List

Friday, August 13th, 2010

I’m in the process of reorganizing. There is frustration at the end of my day. The house still looks like five boisterous toddlers ransacked it. I still have no clue what to make for dinner. I can’t seem to find the time to get my business past hovering off the ground, and that personal “me” time gets shifted until it resembles the 5 minutes it takes me to brush my teeth at night and drag myself into bed, and those glorious 2 minutes where I just want to stretch out on the matress and melt into the sheets, in total silence.

I recently followed a twitter link @fleurdeleigh posted about a 30 day bucket list she was putting together for a lifestyle challenge she had undertaken. Intrigued I read a bit more and wrangled the hubby into doing it with me and motivating me along the way. :) So, I have a feeling I’ll be adding to this list, but I thought I’d share it to hold myself accountable for completing it, and also to motivate you into making positive changes to your own lifestyle! :)

My 30 Day Bucket List
Put the legal/financial ducks in a row for CS Photography
Declutter house and sell/donate/throw out anything unused or unwanted
Buy new lens :) (So excited for this one!)
Finish my loft shelving and art project
Learn to crochet
Exercise at least 4 days/week
Plan for and make dinners 5 nights/week
Try a new recipe once/week
Potty train Logan
Find an avenue to volunteer
Organize office into professional space
Clean off hard drives to both computers
Complete and blog a weekly photo assignment
Write morning pages
Plan once/week dessert date with hubby
Spend Sunday’s “unplugged” with the boys
Personally accomplish 3 things on our “honey do” house renovation list.

So, that’s my list for now. Seems a bit overwhelming to me but everyday I’m going to accomplish something that helps me to start crossing things off. And I’m so excited that the hubby is there to keep me motivated. He is working on his own list and we gave ourselves a start date of Aug. 17th so we both had time to finish and talk about our lists.

So, here we go!


Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I’m starting to play catch up with my images from California. This is Miss M. She is applying for an advanced dance program and needed some headshots to go with her application. My focus on her was her incredible brown eyes. I tried to capture the beautiful golden light in her eyes with every pose that I put her through.

Epiphanie Bags Giveaway

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Normally I don’t blog about contests and giveaways, but Epiphanie Bags is giving away a Canon 5D Mark II that I would just LOVE to have. So, if you want your chance to win this awesome camera, check out their blog for details…


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