Cat Thrasher's Fab 5: A New Paradigm For The Family Photo-Shoot in Charlottesville, Virginia

Is it possible to get fantastic family photos in five minutes?  Well, if you're Charlottesville based photographer, Cat Thrasher, it is! I'll be the first to admit that when Cat told me her idea of shooting family photos in five minutes I thought she was a little crazy. I just didn't think it was possible. But she did it, and she continues to do it. In the process, Cat is re-defining the idea of the family photo-shoot.  Want to know how she's making it happen?  Well, so do I!  So I asked. —Sandra Coan

What is Fab 5?

Fab 5 Day is a day of quick pictures and yummy sweets! For just $85, participating clients receive 5 framable pictures in 5 fantastic minutes and $5 worth of cupcakes or candy!

How did you come up with the idea?

I had been vying for a new business model for my photography business that was more democratic. There were multiple problems with the paradigm for family photography that I had plugged into when I started my business, and it was not working for me. I wanted to fuse old-school formal portrait sessions with modern custom photography in an effort to provide an easy portrait experience and greater access to contemporary family portraiture. I also wanted a product that would rock my world, both as a consumer and a business owner. As a mom, I'm looking for a portrait experience for my family that is easy to execute with my busy schedule, gets me the product that I want fast, and at a price point that I can afford. However, as a business owner, it was a tough puzzle to solve without going under.

The day I figured out the answer was after shooting Santa photos during the holidays. We had scheduled participants relatively close together, and I was very nervous about how it would work out, having so little time with each subject. But it worked quite well. SO well, in fact, that I thought, why can't we do Santa photos without Santa? Why can't we have a day of quick, 5-minute sessions to provide classic and fun portraits during the rest of the year? That was the day that Fab 5 was born.

How does it work?

Families come in for a quick, 5-minute photo session, and within 24 hours, their 5-to-10 best photos are sent to them for digital download. Immediately after their session, they get to eat $5 of sweets at the local cupcake added bonus for the kiddies that makes the experience rewarding for everybody! It's the 5-5-5 plan.

Do you have enough time?

It sounds hard to believe, but five minutes turns out to be the perfect amount of time to get studio portraits of children. Little kids are oozing with energy and personality, but they also come with super short attention spans. When we limit our photo session to five minutes, children do not get worn out, and everyone is very motivated to make magic happen in a short period of time. Even fussy children will work with you if you're only asking for 5 minutes!

What kind of feedback do you get from your families?

Parents are in love with the Fab 5 paradigm. And that is the most rewarding part for me! They end the session with huge smiles on their faces and walk out with exactly what they wanted and needed: awesome portraits of their growing children that they can share with family. Children also walk out with smiles, marching their way right to the cupcake line for their reward.

What is your favorite thing about this kind of photography?

There are so many great elements to Fab 5! The ease of the session for families, the perfect portraits that we get each time, the overall flurry of positive energy at each Fab 5 Day, it goes on and on!

I think if I had to pick a favorite thing, it would be knowing that I helped to put professional custom portraiture in the hands of families that would not have otherwise had portraits taken. It could have been because they were too busy to book a two hour session or too overwhelmed by the investment of custom portraiture. For whatever reason, they found that Fab 5 was an easy, no-brainer solution. I'm thrilled to know that we created an innovative solution to custom photography that makes it more accessible and enjoyable. ♥

Cat Thrasher has shared a sample Fab 5 session with us below. To book a Fab 5 appointment for the Fall 2012 Fab 5 date in Charlottesville, visit Cat's awesome Fab 5 website, or contact her directly at! You can also join the Fab 5 email list.