What I love about doing Personal Branding photography is how ‘personal’ the portrait sessions become when I’m tuned into my clients and their needs/vibe. Being an empath and somewhat of a chameleon; this comes naturally to me. Some sessions are fun, vibrant, bold, alive and LOUD. Others, require a more subtle, gentle, divinely guided presence. Maya Made’s personal branding session felt like one loooooong deep luscious breath and I’m excited to share it with you.
Maya Pagan is the author of three wonderful books, Hope Make Heal, Reinvention: Sewing with Rescued Materials, and Girls Home Spa Lab: All Natural Recipes Healthy Habits and Feel Good Activities to Make you Glow.
Each of her books shares the common thread of personal wellness, healing, and a reclamation of ones’ heart space through self care and creative crafting. Much of the work she does beckons our inner stillness, and heart felt intention. Her personal branding session needed to reflect these qualities while also illustrating the multifaceted array of offerings she creates for our community. She is not only a published author, she is a Vinyasa and Restorative yoga instructor, and Mother*Well transformational guide for mothers desiring to acquire a deeper balance in their lives.
When asked to reflect on what her work in the world is about, the words spaciousness, support, and ease came to mind. What also struck me so deeply about Maya while being in her home is how much her created outer world has become a reflection of her inner world. Each item her home houses is lovingly placed and thoughtfully brought in. While Maya was working with Brenda, my incredible Hair and Makeup artist, I began photographing the various altar spaces in her home.
Once she was ready to place herself in the frame, we began. We started with her perched in her picture window, her preferred cozy space to sit with clients and do consultations. Maya’s workspace is such a beautiful reflection of the work she does in that space. Light filled, bright, joyful and intentional.
A large part of the work that she does with her clients involves intention setting, tuning into ones heart center, journaling and prayer. Her centered, calm and loving presence is such a huge gift to those who have the opportunity to work with her.
One aspect that needed to be documented during her personal branding portrait session was the restorative yoga work that she offers to her clients. Restorative yoga is a gentle practice which uses the support of props like folded blankets and blocks to allow the body to enter a deep sense of relaxation. When the muscles are not doing the work of holding one in place, one can more clearly focus on the alignment of breath and body to achieve transformative results in their wellness journey. Maya’s careful consideration, and guided support was so evident in even just this little mini session we created for her photo shoot.
In addition the restorative work she offers, she also is a trained Vinyasa Instructor that offers an array of vinyasa flow classes at a variety of the local Ithaca yoga studios. She is best known for how she integrates fluid movement with guided stillness practices to support her clients in finding expansiveness in body and mind.
One of her personal favorite power spots has always been North Point at Taughannock Falls State Park. We decided it would be ideal to head there during what turned out to be a glorious sunset for her final portraits. She worked through a gorgeous yoga flow and I felt myself dropping into a meditative state just by photographing it. The sound of the gentle waves, and combined with her poise and grace was inspiring.
Of course no photoshoot of mine would be complete without a visit to a nearby tree, and me laying somewhere on the ground. While Maya arranged herself into a “legs up the wall” restorative pose, I captured a few frames, and then yes, of course, I had to crawl down on the ground to see her perspective. Her and I shared a sweet moment looking up the trunk of this beauty and feeling deeply grateful for one another’s company.
Its in the simple things that Maya finds joy and purpose, and she wanted this to be evident on her website. From something as simple as building a stone sculpture along the waters edge, all the way to something as unique as building what she calls her “Permission Ships” she fuses a curiosity and wonder of the natural world with creative intention in all of her work. For those of you wondering what Permission Ships are, take a gander at her book, HOPE MAKE HEAL, where she outlines the process to how to release whats not serving you.
What an absolute joy and privilege it was to work with Maya, our session ended on a magical note with these divine images of her floating out her new intentions into the universe. When intention, creation, and powerful women align, magical things happen. These images are the tangible memories of this blessed Personal Branding portrait experience. To learn more about Maya and her offerings, please visit her updated website https://www.mayamade.com/.