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: ‘Photography for Me’

Our Time in Greece and Croatia…A personal share part 2

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

I’m continuing on this week with more images from our cruise. This time from Greece and a quick stop to Split, Croatia.

Our first stop in Greece was the beautiful island of Santorini. The hubby and I rented a car to explore this small island and arrived in Oia before the town awoke with tourists. 20 minutes without tourists flooding the small cliffside corridors is almost magical as you weave in and out between blue domes, coffee shops, houses and windmills.

The red sand beach of Santorini and one of the black sand beaches.

Time was running short in Santorini and the line to take the cable cars down the cliff wasn’t moving so we decided to take the long walk down the stairs. Going down wasn’t too bad as long as you watched where you stepped. We definitely smelled like the donkeys by the time we got back to the ship but I loved the experience. You can see the switchbacks climbing up the island.

The shear size of Athens is absolutely impressive and overwhelming. You can see it sprawling past past the ruins in a 360 degree view as far as you can see.

One sight hard for a dog lover to see were the stray dogs everywhere in Athens. They seem to be well taken care of and well mannered though enjoying free roam of the ancient ruins.

In Mykonos we didn’t venture far past the main town where we could walk to from the ship. Mykonos is beautifully bright but filled with tourists when the big cruise ships are in port. I’m sure it’s a love/hate relationship the locals have with them.

I don’t have much to say about Corfu, Greece. We rented a car with one of our favorite couples and had enjoyed a beach day in this little heaven of a cove.

Split, Croatia was our last stop before heading to our end port in Venice. We almost decided not to get off the boat here as exhaustion had caught up with us but decided to forego seeing more ruins at Olympia instead and I’m so glad we were able to see Split. It surprised me in so many ways. I would love to go back and explore the natural beauty here. Hubby and I would have loved to gone canyoning or kayaking here but just didn’t have the time in port to travel very far.

Friday will be my last post on our trip! I’m excited to show you some pictures of the hubby and I captured by a few talented photographers and a few that I took as part of the Orchestrated shoot in Venice!

Our Time in Italy…a personal share

Monday, November 12th, 2012

I’ve been debating how to share these images from our cruise to Italy, Greece and Croatia. I have so many that even I am overwhelmed. So I’m splitting them into 3 posts and I still think I might overwhelm a few. But we had such a fantastic time. We missed our boys fiercely but I’m so glad we took the time for ourselves and had the boys well taken care of by family.

We flew into Rome a few days before our ship left. What I remember most about Rome was the church bells. You could almost get lost walking though the small lanes in search of the bells echoing off the walls. I fell in love with cappuccinos in Rome and had my first taste of gelato. We walked everywhere we could. One morning walking out of our hotel room at 9am to explore the city we were greeted by absolutely no one. Sleepy Rome it seems enjoys their nights and their mornings even more. There were only a few people throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain. We walked to one of the Piazzas and watched the Farmers market come alive while we started and finished our American omelet as the only patron’s in the restaurant.

Cinque Terre was one of my absolute favorite places. Our day visit was way too short to see these cliffside villages. Last year they were devastated by mudslides but seem to be well back on their feet. The wine growers have built terraces on the hillsides for the grapes to grow. They use a roller coaster looking machine to bring them up the hillside to harvest. Having grown up near the wineries in California this was so intriguing to watch. The villages can be reached by train, boat or trail depending on which village you are trying to get to. The Lover’s Lane was another highlight. When they built the lane, it allowed for courting between villages. Young lovers would lock their love on the trail.

A private tour brought us to the Amalfi Coast with friends. We spent the day driving along the coast, shopping and chatting. We talked about how the Amalfi coast reminded us of the Pacific Highway in California. Except imagine lanes half the size with big tour buses coming through. :) I was very thankful we had a hired driver. We had a quick stop in Pompeii before heading back to the ship.

I’m skipping ahead of Greece to our return stop in Venice. We decided to stay a few extra days in Venice to relax and explore. Venice took a few days to open up to. Our first experience off the cruise ship was St. Mark’s Square. Surrounded by crammed tourists at every turn it was hard to appreciate the beauty that was Venice. Our hotel thankfully was outside the main tourist areas in the park at the fish tail. We enjoyed walking and getting lost among the bridges and canals. We never had a plan and our only decision was usually to go left or right. One of the most beautiful memories I have of Venice is seeing a gold and red adorned gondola floating under the bridge we were about to cross over. We stopped for a minute to watch a bride and her mother/grandmother arrive at the church for her wedding. As soon as she stepped out of the gondola the church bells went crazy. We could still hear them about 5 minutes later as we walked out of the area and decided on a restaurant for lunch.

We spent one afternoon island hopping to Burano, known for their brightly colored houses and handmade lace. We also stopped by Murano, known for their beautiful handblown glass before heading back to Venice for more exploring.

If you are enjoying these travel images I will have another post on Wednesday to highlight our time in Greece and Croatia! Santorini was absolutely breathtaking!

{Friends} | Virginia Beach Children’s Photography

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

This vision started with a mirror. A friend’s mirror that I kindly asked her to trek through the mud with it. :) She brought along her great-grandmother’s umbrella and I squealed when I looked at this test frame…

And then we let the girls have fun in a field with gorgeous golden light.

Be Mine ~Vintage Valentine | Virginia Beach Photographer

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

One of the best decisions I’ve made is to switch to the Showit platform for my website. The community is incredible. Not only the larger national/international community of photographers but our local group as well. Our SHARE group, led by Chelsea LaVere at Bit of Ivory Photography gathered one afternoon for a Vintage Valentine shoot. The concept was the work of Sarah Mariel Photography and we cleaned out the house of Melody Gillikin Photography for all the beautifully vintage props and Somer Chambley of Somer Anne Photography baked the delicious goodness. We had a blast with Valerie Demo, April Renee Photography, and Katy Blevins Photography as well.

I had to laugh at myself though because with all these amazing props at our disposal I hardly used any of them. It was a good thing to be out of my element though.

I loved Ash’s pink hair for this Valentines shoot! She and Aric were married last year in a gorgeous ceremony photographed by the amazingly talented Valerie Demo.

I spent the most time I think with Megan and Tennant who’s love was infectious. They can flirt with each other all day I think if I asked them too. :) And of course I loved the attire they picked out for this shoot!

And the last couple I worked with was Laura and Jake. These two aren’t married but immediately I noticed how much they light up when they are together. The way he looks at her is energizing. Yogi the bulldog was pretty happy to be included too!

Thank you to all our models and the to the Showit ladies for your community of support! In an industry where there is so much negativity and unwillingness to share and collaborate, Showit is at the forefront of changing that perception. If you are in the Hampton Roads area and are interested in making the switch to Showit, a Showit Open House is being held by Bit of Ivory Photography on March 27, 2012. You can message me for all the details!

Key West Vacation Rewind | Virginia Beach Photographer

Monday, February 13th, 2012

This past week I was able to meet hubby down in Key West, Florida. He makes the trip every couple of months for training but this was my first time visiting. It is an absolutely beautiful place to visit and I found myself wanting to capture the flavor, color and culture that was Key West. Some days I had to venture out on my own while he was working. And other days I simply had to leave my camera behind and just enjoy the day and night with him. I was surprised at how little sand is on the island. Most of the waterfront is either marina or rocky shore. You won’t get anywhere without a bike or scooter. The chickens roam freely. We had breakfast one morning at Blue Heaven, an outdoor bar and restaurant, surrounded by a few roosters crowing at us from the table umbrellas and rooftops. And the warm February days and pink and golden sunsets make you long to be back. Especially when we flew back to Virginia Beach and were greeted by snow.

Williamsburg Wreaths | Virginia Photographer

Friday, December 16th, 2011

It’s become a tradition of ours to head to Williamsburg to see all the beautiful wreaths. If you haven’t done it before, it’s worth the drive. I’m hoping we can see these for a few more years before moving on to our next duty station. Traditions are hard to come by in the military. :)

Vacation Rewind | Oregon Coast

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

We took this trip in September. Yes, I’m a little behind. But it’s funny how you can take away the silliest memory from a trip. In this case it was the food. One of our stops was at the WildSpring Guest Habitat in Port Orford, Oregon. We fell in love with this bed and breakfast and decided to cut our trip a few days short just so we could afford to stay here a couple days and I’m so glad we did. And Michelle is an amazing cook. I’ve made this dish of her’s a few times. It’s incredibly simple and so delicious!

WildSpring’s French Toast Custard: (From WildSpring’s recipe)

I keep a bag of cut French Bread cubes in the freezer – Ray’s /French Bread Loaf (this is like a dense Italian bread…it does not have the crackling crust of typical French bread), cut into 1″ cubes – leave the crust on.

Start by taking out the pan you want. This recipe is for 6 – 8 people…so a deep dish pie pan is perfect. Put enough handfuls of the bread cubes on it to cover the bottom…no stacking…you want it to be moist, with a layer of custard at the bottom after it cooks.

4 eggs
3 3/4 C milk (I use about 1/3 C of hvy cream, the rest 1% milk)
1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
1/2 t of vanilla,
1/8 t salt
2 dashes nutmeg

Beat WELL. Add bread to mixture, mix gently so bread is covered. Let soak while you brush crumbs from pan and rub all over with either butter or a piece of coconut oil (at room temp it’s hard). Pour egg/bread mixture into it, sprinkle top with cinnamon. Bake 350, for about an 1 hr – 1 hr 15 min. Turn pan around when half an hour is left to promote even browning. You want the top to be puffed and golden brown.

And FYI…to size the recipe, for each egg, you add roughly a shy 1 C of milk (a couple of T less), a shy 2 T. of packed dark brown sugar, small dash salt, med dash nutmeg, 1/8t. vanilla. The cook time will vary according to how big the recipe.

Warm Berry Sauce
2 C frozen berry mix (I use CostCo’s Triple Berry Blend, with a small handful of Marionberries or frozen blackberries thrown in to soften the flavor)
1/3 C sugar (depending on taste)
Splash of orange juice, dash of lemon juice
1 T rice flour

Heat berries, sugar, orange and lemon juices over low until sugar is dissolved, taste if needs more sugar. Sprinkle a T of rice flour, stir gently and see how thick it is after a few minutes….if it needs water or more flour for the right pouring consistency. When done, take off heat…it should be warm but not hot when served.

So I thought I’d share a few more pictures from Port Orford. This one was our cozy cabin in the woods. See why we fell in love?!

We grabbed a few sandwiches and headed down to the beach for a picnic. Nothing is more relaxing than listening to the Pacific Ocean waves crash along the shoreline.

I still have more pictures to share from Oregon. One of these days I will have time to go through all of them! In the meantime, try the french toast custard! Even my boys love it. ;)

Shoot for You | Miss M | Virginia Beach Child Photographer

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Once a month I try and do a shoot for me. Do you do that? Or if it’s not with photography, with something else? Just for yourself? I find it rejuvenating. Especially in the middle of a busy season. It grounds me. Brings me back to my artistic spirit of where I want to be. It brings me focus. So Miss M was my model for this quick shoot. We were out there for maybe 20 minutes shooting. I had her in mind for this particular field. It had just turned a gorgeous brown/red color and the yellow wildflowers were still blooming. She didn’t like the tall grass tickling her everywhere she turned though. But, you’d be surprised at how well a green lollipop can persuade her otherwise. :)

PSD ~ Oh Babies! | Virginia Beach Newborn Photographer

Friday, April 29th, 2011

My newborn style is veering in this direction. Natural, unposed, organic. These were all done with natural window light and I still can’t believe all 3 of these babies were asleep at one point during this session.

PSD ~ Beautiful Bellies | Virginia Beach Maternity Photographer

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

We had so much fun with these beautiful momma’s at PSD!

This raised walkway made the perfect softbox for us.

I wanted to show the movement to her skirt, so I dropped the shutter down to 1/25 sec at f/4.5

The last day of PSD sharing will be up on the blog tomorrow with some beautiful newborns!


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