Better With Age

I have a studio photograph of my parents as a middle aged married couple, a posed portrait with her best outfit on, leaning on my dad’s back, both with pleasant, fixed smiles. 

This is the same pose we always have of ourselves through school, printed in the yearbooks, and remembered by friends.  

But years later the children have only these photographs to recall their fathers, mothers, and beloved partners.  What is remembered of their sparkle and vitality?

It is no accident the photograph of my parents my sisters share the most is one of them as childhood sweethearts in their youth and energy, graceful in the naturalness of that candid, immediate moment.  

And it is kismet that years later, I find it is the seed of my creative technique in my search to capture real emotions for the romantic parents I love to photograph.

It stems from my desire to capture livelier, more engaged and energized portraits of mothers and fathers, photographing parents as the childhood sweethearts and lifelong soulmates they are.

My portraits are moments between two people in love, showing tenderness and affection. Glowing from true feelings inside for life and each other.

This intimate portrait is a gift that keeps on giving.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

Contact her studio here.

Share a Breath


Take time to hear someone’s voice from the inside.

Match your calm breathing with the breathing of your partner,

and ‘share a breath’ in and out for a time of silence.



Not only does this calm emotions, this action serves to ‘sync’ one’s heart with the other,

to humanize a connection, and energize the space for a newer – or deeper – conversation.



It is my wish that you have enriching experiences

using this technique throughout moments in daily life.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Love Needs Courage



“When the seed becomes a sprout

it is going into something unknown.

When the sprout starts growing flowers

it is again a movement into the unknown.

And when the fragrance leaves the flowers —

again, a quantum leap into the unknown.

Life needs courage at each step.” 

~Osho


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

I Have News For You


Poem by Tony Hoagland

There are people who do not see a broken playground swing
as a symbol of ruined childhood

and there are people who don’t interpret the behavior
of a fly in a motel room as a mocking representation of their thought process.

There are people who don’t walk past an empty swimming pool
and think about past pleasures unrecoverable

and then stand there blocking the sidewalk for other pedestrians.
I have read about a town somewhere in California where human beings

do not send their sinuous feeder roots
deep into the potting soil of others’ emotional lives

as if they were greedy six-year-olds
sucking the last half-inch of milkshake up through a noisy straw;

Do you see that creamy, lemon-yellow moon?
There are some people, unlike me and you,

who do not yearn after fame or love or quantities of money
as unattainable as that moon;

thus, they do not later have to waste more time
defaming the object of their former ardor.

Or consequently run and crucify themselves
in some solitary midnight Starbucks Golgotha.

I have news for you—
there are people who get up in the morning and cross a room

and open a window to let the sweet breeze in
and let it touch them all over their faces and bodies.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Cleaning the Viewfinder

I have my website with a company that offers the ability to add and change things at will without waiting for my webmaster to do it. Today, in addition to changing ALL the fonts (!), I had been tweaking the info on my contact form. 

The item in question was in scheduling a screening call, to see if we clicked, and to make an appointment to meet, so over a calmer, more relaxed time, I could see them, and strategize how to help.  

Just contemplating the sentence that I could not discuss price before I understood the parameters of the project flooded my nervous system with past memories of all the people that had done JUST THAT:

A caller would tell me the bare bones of a project, then immediately ask how much it would cost.  Or not tell me very much at all, and make the give-and-take of a conversation as painful as pulling teeth.

Maybe they weren’t serious and wouldn’t follow through, but I would feel that I had mishandled an opportunity to work with someone who had called me.

That frustrating kind of conversation suddenly seemed like a perfect metaphor for the way I felt people were seeing me and my work,

and filled me with such a sudden, heated surge of memory, I had to step away from the computer until I cooled down.

The inner movie kept playing, negative experience after experience.

These images were obviously something that I had pushed into my subconscious, and blindsided me for a bit, but instead of giving in to the part of me that wanted to let them all ‘talk to the finger,’

I let myself finally feel all these emotions,

and with my intuition as my guide, began to investigate with curiosity and a willingness to be conscious to what I had been doing.

The common thread that ran through all of these incidents was a lack of boundaries and ‘backbone’;

Giving in on price and taking less (sometimes a lot less) than I asked for.

Being wobbly on policies that were important to me.

Letting myself be pushed around by bold or aggressive clients.

Letting my easy-going nature be misinterpreted as weakness.

The lack of resolve has been reflecting itself in the work of the past years, and influencing my inner confidence in the current stages of moving forward.  

I am in a profession I love, and I want to continue to be in a profession I love.

So it is my responsibility to keep searching out the gaps in my protocols and policies, and strengthen them so that hidden feeling does not steal joy and cause me to become cynical or embittered. 

Though these things have indeed happened, each step today becomes the next one tomorrow.  I saw that my part in this is slower & more connected communication. 

To not be rushed or in a hurry to close the deal.

To know that not everyone who wants my work is my ideal client. 

To know my ‘deal-breakers’ and be able to stick to them.  To listen to my gut.

And keep a regular practice of self-examination and ‘dusting the cobwebs’ that build up in the corners

so I am able to be ready, whatever happens, with clean sensors in my cameras

– and in me.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Windows to the Soul



A valuable skill in our sensitive, seeing world

is relaxing the eyes’ focus (letting the eyes ‘go fuzzy’)

when waiting or resting.

It rests more than your eye muscles:

it also gives the ever-spinning wheels of mind a rest, too,

and lets your intuition come through

to show you how to see something new.


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Watch Without Words

Benefit: Helps develop a ‘wider gaze.’ Useful as a daily practice. Helps to become more aware of photograph-able things happening in moving or crowded situations.

This is effective when coupled with deep, steady breathing to help stay creatively effective in highly emotional or moving situations.

Step backwards.

Step back, as if moving your body.  Make the movements to step back, sensing everything: temperature, your pulse, your breathing, the fabric of your clothes, your muscles in your knees and feet.

Step back again.  Keep stepping back until you feel a release of breath, a relaxing.  Keep breathing, steadily, deeply.

Watch without naming colors, reading words, or signs.

Open eyes wider, open ears, open nostrils, relax jaw.

hold it briefly, lightly, gently.

Gradually have all senses open at the same time.

hold it briefly, lightly, gently.

Open your pores, feeling in all fingers and toes, all at the same time.

hold it briefly, lightly, gently.

Continue to hold in that middle. surrender. breathe. go deeper with whatever your body feels. hold it briefly, lightly, gently.

Take a deeper breath. Come back to your focus gently.

Please write if this exercise works for you: I would love to hear if this helps you imbue your creativity and photography with deeper emotional content.

Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

Not Always For Instagram


A bit of counter-intuition for friends, photographers, and everyone in between:

Don’t be so eager to photograph the daily treasured moments of your life

above all else.

To be in ‘pictures or it didn’t happen’ mode, twenty-four seven.

To be removed from the reality of interaction with family, children, experiences.

Take time to enjoy and feel the depth and beauty of what you witness.

Bring the energy of your presence – go quiet –

be fully there.

Even a second of this type of connecting brings this beautiful state of present energy to the photographer –

and within the photographs you create.✨


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.

The Beauty Way


In beauty I walk

With beauty before me I walk

With beauty behind me I walk

With beauty above me I walk

With beauty around me I walk

It has become beauty again

Today I will walk out,

today everything negative will leave me

I will be as I was before,

I will have a cool breeze over my body.

I will have a light body,

I will be happy forever, nothing will hinder me.

I walk with beauty before me.

I walk with beauty behind me.

I walk with beauty below me.

I walk with beauty above me.

I walk with beauty around me.

My words will be beautiful.

In beauty all day long may I walk.

Through the returning seasons, may I walk.

On the trail marked with pollen, may I walk.

With dew about my feet, may I walk.

With beauty before me, may I walk.

With beauty behind me, may I walk.

With beauty below me, may I walk.

With beauty above me, may I walk.

With beauty all around me, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, lively, may I walk.

In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.

My words

will be beautiful.✨


Dorothy Perry is a Chicago portrait photographer specializing in custom family portraits, modern headshots, & personal branding for women and executives.

 Contact her studio for commissioned work here.