November 3, 2015

Glamour Photo Shoot | Maya

In 2012, there was a brand started within my business called YouARE.  YouARE was launched with a dream of photographing women, celebrating their relationships, and celebrating the inward and outward beauty of women.  At that time I was new as a photographer, new to the industry, new to business and I was primarily a family photographer with a wedding here or there and I really needed time to settle into who I was as a photographer.   While my niche is in weddings, my heart loves people and people is what I ultimately specialize in.

Big doors have been opened for my business this year, and the vision of YouARE has never left.  On September 22nd, I decided that it was time to put a plan in place to make this happen and Glamour Portraits by Shawon was launched.  It is always, always about more than the pictures for me, and one of the biggest aspects of Glamour Portraits by Shawon is to encourage, inspire, and empower women.  Each of us has a story to share, a kind word to give, and the ability to ignite the fire in others.

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough”
I am beyond excited to be on this journey, and today I share a part of Maya’s story.


Maya was born in Japan and raised there for fifteen years; during which time, she began working as a child model and training for piano and ballet.  After moving to the States at age fifteen, she pursued her aspiration of becoming a professional dancer, participating in numerous summer intensive workshops, performing in second companies, and starring as a guest artist at local studios throughout high school and college. After graduating from college, with a degree in Music with a focus on Composition, she explored the realms of music, modeling and acting, working as a live pianist and appearing in music videos, editorials and an independent film.


My favorite message in my life is from one of my ballet teachers (who I respect immensely). He encouraged and told me to just “Go for it. Be different.” I know it’s not the greatest quote (not really original either)…, but I do live by that motto because if you don’t try and “go for it” and give it your best, nothing will change in your life or you won’t gain anything. And I used to have an identity issue growing up in Japan, because I wanted to fit in and be “Japanese,” but because I looked “half” or “foreign” everyone saw me as different. But this teacher (who was one of the reasons I decided to move to the US to study ballet) told me it’s ok to be different, and taught me to embrace the person I am. So those are the two things I remind myself in pursing anything!

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Share your story, encourage other women, and experience an ultimate day of pampering for you and all of the special women in your life.  Email me at for more information and to book your date!

Watch the Behind the Scenes Video Here.

Gorgeous Hair and Makeup by Melissa Wilson, M.A.W. Beauty Studio




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