about me

Hi, I'm Joan Cusick. I focus on stories that bring generations together.

I've been fortunate to have three careers — the first as a Memphis newspaper reporter and editor, the second as a corporate communications director for Fortune 500 companies, and the third as a full-time photographer and freelance writer. I love what I do, and I hope it shows.

published work


Since 2013, my work has been published in Civil Eats, Comstock'sEdible Sacramento, New Farm, Outword, Real Weddings and other publicationsI am a member of the National Press Photographers Association and Professional Photographers of America.

I currently take a limited number of clients by referral only in the greater Sacramento area. I require a minimum six-week notice, though I book assignments as much as a year in advance. If you think I might be a good fit for your photo needs, please email me including the time, date and place of your event and how you were referred.

Q: How much do you charge?

I charge $300 per photography hour, which includes advance consultation, on-site photography, image processing and selection, posting to an online gallery, and client downloads of posted digital files. Additional services may include Photoshop editing, photo-book design, and/or writing. I require a minimum four-hour booking for major life events, such as b'nai mitzvahs and weddings.

Q: What is your turnaround time?

Your proof gallery will be posted within 10 business days. Faster turnaround is available for editorial assignments.

Q: How do I buy prints of my favorite photos?

Photo prints and merchandise may be purchased "a la carte" from your gallery. Use the blue "Buy Photos" button to place your order directly with Bay Photo lab.

Q: If I hire you, will I own all the photos you shoot?

No. As the photographer, I retain the copyright on all my images, so I "own" my creations. But every client contract includes a license for noncommercial use, so you can download digital  files, post them on social media, and print them with any vendor you choose. Only direct clients may download image files.

Q: What should I wear for my photo session?

Wear what makes you feel your best. Here are a few tips:

• Dress appropriately.  For professional "head shots," wear what you would normally wear to work, whether that's a jacket and tie or a polo shirt with your company's logo. For family photos, dress more casually in a park or outdoor setting and more formally for weddings and life events.

• Choose colors wisely. Blues and greens photograph beautifully, and solids usually work better than busy patterns. All black may wash out your skin tone. Bright or neon colors will reflect back on you.

• Avoid fad clothing, including T-shirts with slogans and designs. No baseball caps, please.

• Set a consistent style or tone. For example, you wouldn't want someone in dressy cocktail attire standing next to someone in T-shirt and jeans. But avoid "twinning" with lookalike clothing.

• Vary your look. Bring an extra jacket, sweater or scarf in a complementary color. 

• Don't hide behind your hair.  Keep your hair natural, but make sure we can see your face and eyes. Consider trimming overly long bangs or clipping back hair so it doesn't fall in your face.

• Apply makeup lightly. Lip balm can soothe chapped lips. A little foundation or powder can even out skin tones. But avoid heavy eye makeup, including highly-reflective metallics or glitter.

If you wear glasses, tilt your chin down slightly and avoid looking directly into bright lights to mitigate glare. If you wear transition or coated lenses, please let me know in advance.

Most of all, have fun! Be yourself and enjoy your photo session.


Portrait by Brian B. Fox

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