Hello there!

  • You are a smart, motivated, and driven entrepreneur who is ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

  • You have a clear vision for your business.  Together, we can transform your vision into reality.

  • You are an entrepreneur who needs gorgeous branded images for your business, blog, website, and social media.

  • You are fiercely committed to create the most beautiful images for your brand.

  • You want to create images that speak to your audience and actually “looks” like you.

I help small business owners stand out in their crowded industry by creating imagery that will wow their customers.
If you are ready to stand out, you are at the right place!

The Artist
The Girl Behind the Camera

I am so happy that you stopped by, I want you to know, you’re always welcome here.  I am Cristina, owner of Cristina Photography. I am a contemporary portrait, headshot, fine art, and lifestyle photographer; photographing individuals and making them look good in photographs since 2001.

I specialize in “Vanity Fair” style contemporary portraits including beauty, glamour, boudoir, personal branding, families and generations.

In 2017, my businesses began focusing on women’ entrepreneurs and bloggers who need gorgeous branded photographs for their website.  I help them create images that tell their story and connect with their readers, while getting more traffic and credibility.

Either I take the photographs for you, or I coach you, I will guide you on how to plan creative shoots for your brand.  You do not live in Ontario, Canada? No problem, I am available for worldwide travel.

I love to travel.  I travel for photoshoots.  I travel to create art commissions.  I travel for pleasure.  There is nothing better than exploring a new place, camera in hand!  When I am not shooting or coaching, I can be found traveling and writing about it.

My story
How everything started

I remember that on every family trip my father was always taking pictures of my mom with his Pentax MX. When I was old enough to hold the heavy camera, he explained that the camera was a precious treasure and I needed to be verrrry careful when holding the precious camera. He also taught me to look into “the little window” and to move the little “wheels” slowly from one side to the other until I got the “green light”, which meant it was ok to take the picture–just imagine a 3 ft high little girl holding a camera bigger than her head. Yes — that was me — and that is when my curiosity for photography started.

I got my first camera when I was in fourth grade; since, then I was the photographer of my class.  Every trip, party, birthday, and school event I was always there with my camera capturing all the fun moments of my friends and the other students. During high school I took several classes about oil and watercolour paint, mural drawings, and graphic arts. That’s when I knew my future was going to be something related to the Arts. During the 90’s, Costa Rica didn’t have a photography university, so I went on to study graphic design in university, where I had the opportunity to take a few black & white photography and dark room courses.

After getting my degree, I spend several years doing graphic design for commercial ads, magazines, websites, newsletters, logos for different industries from fashion to sports. It was a cool and interesting time of my life, and it went well. However, as funny as it sounds, most of the projects I had were somehow related to photography. Photography kept popping up in my life; so, I decided to complete a bachelor’s for photography and do what I love the most professionally.

Travel bug

While living in Costa Rica, I did graphic design and art direction for local companies, and I also started a part-time photography business.  I had the opportunity to shoot models, events, weddings, fashion shows, and even a calendar photoshoot.

But what I wanted to do was to travel.

As a child, my parents took me to San Andrés, which is a little island in the Caribbean.  They taught me the value of travel and experiencing new cultures.

For my 15th birthday present, my parents gave me the option of having the traditional big party, or to travel.  Guess what I picked?  I switched the fancy dress and big party, for a plane ticket.   My mom took me, with my best friend, to Disney World in Miami, and to a cruise around the Caribbean!  We visited different towns, ate delicious food, and experienced many cultures.  It was an amazing experience, and although I was young, I realized I loved to travel.

So, when I got my first job, I immediately started saving up money because I wanted to be the first one in my entire family to travel to Europe.  And a few weeks before my 21st birthday, I got a plane ticket to Spain.  I asked for vacation at work, and just a couple days after my birthday I was already in Madrid.   Oh, what a city!   The history and the architecture there was breathtaking.

I spent a few weeks travelling the north of Spain by train.  Madrid, Toledo, Salamanca, León, Oviedo, Gijón… all of them had a special history, which made me easily fall in love with the Spanish culture.   Everywhere you see, there is a little detail, a stunning building, and historic church.   I came back home with more than 30 film rolls of 36 frames of all the beautiful places I visited.

But the travel bug didn’t go away.  Since then I travelled to Venezuela, Nicaragua, Panamá, Guatemala, and the United States.

After my 25th birthday, I started thinking about travelling again but this time I wanted to spend more time away… a lot more time.

Moving North

So, the plan started.  I was going to save up as much as I could, and then travel.

Although my first option was going back to Europe, I also wanted to learn and practice a new language while staying relatively close to home.  After looking into a few options, I decided to go to Canada.

I arrived in Toronto, just a couple weeks after my 26th birthday.  I was planning to stay for 4 months exploring the provinces of Ontario and Quebec.  It must have been destiny, at my landing the immigration officer decided to extend my work visa to 15 months, opening many opportunities.

Canada was so multicultural that it blew my mind.  I met so many interesting people in just a couple months, and I decided to take this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and stay for the 15 months.

Canada gave me new friends, new food, new weather, and a new language!

But it also meant, I needed to find a new job to help me support myself in a new country.  I worked as a web and graphic designer for one of the biggest shoe companies in Canada, and I added fashion to my graphic design resume.

After the 15 months, I was so in love with this country that I extended my stay but this time for another couple years.  I continued working as a web and graphic designer, however I also worked as a senior photographer for a Canadian magazine.

Long story short, I grew roots in this place, and it was now time to start my own photography business all over again but this time in Canada.  I started doing portraits and maternity photoshoots on weekends and evenings, while having a full-time job.   And slowly the photography took over.   [ Want the whole scoop on my professional background?  Check out my LinkedIn page.]

Some years later, I met the love of my life and although I am from sunny Costa Rica, I now live in Toronto, Canada with my wonderful husband and a sweet puppy, Maggie. [Maggie is more famous than me (lol) and she has her own Instagram’s account. Check out Maggie’s Instagram account].

Do I miss the beach and the all-year warm weather, absolutely!  But Canada is now the place I call home.  ❤

The day everything changed

On Christmas day, 2015, I woke up with a horrible pain in my head and face, I thought it was a bad migraine so I went to bed early that day thinking if I sleep enough I will feel better the next day.

How wrong I was.

Early next morning, I was already in the hospital. I suffered a “nerve failure” (something similar to a stroke) leaving me with half of my body paralyzed. (Including a severe case of Bells Palsy). It took me over a year before I started to get better, and another year to recover to 80% health.

As a self-entrepreneur photographer, who needs her body and eyes fully functioning to work, doing photoshoots and portraits was almost impossible. Not being able to do what I love was killing me.  So, while I was still in bed, without being able to move much, that’s when I started the online store.  (Go here to visit Cristina Photo Store).  I needed photography in my life even when I was not able to walk.

During those two years, I kept running my online store, photographing for a few clients, doing volunteer work for cancer survivors, and giving every drop of energy to those who put their trust in me.

Where I Am Today

My Bell’s Palsy recovery has been the hardest part. You give for granted so many things in life, and having Bell’s Palsy teaches you that NOTHING is granted, not even your ability to blink or smile!!! After years suffering from this awful disease, it still breaks my heart every time I have a mirror close to me, and not being able to smile as I used to, there are days that it still brings me down. But knowing how far I am today compared to where I was just a couple years ago, makes me very grateful.

Thankfully, I consider myself 90% better today and still improving, day by day.

Just a few months ago I started a journey of eating healthier to help my body heal.  I need the body to get stronger to recover to a 100%, right? So I have eliminated sugar and gluten from my diet. Wish me good luck!  🙂

But most important, this illness gave me a “second chance in life” kinda feeling, and I am deciding to continue doing what I love: Photographing people and creating fine art photography; however, not just creating simple plain portraits, my mission and the focus of my business has now changed.

Photograph taken by the amazing Melanie Hillock.
Visit Melanie’s Instagram account for some fun photos.

“He who seeks beauty will find it”
– Bill Cunningham


This illness taught me that the beauty that shines from within is most important, and the importance is to document life right where you are. You have to cherish every moment.

In saying that, I find so much joy in helping my clients rediscover their beauty, their confidence, and their self-love. It is my mission to show you how beautiful you are, right now, in this moment. No matter if you have 10 or 20 extra pounds, have no hair from cancer treatments, or have a crooked smile like mine!

I want to capture your beauty – not only for you but for your loved ones and for all those who follow in your footsteps. It is through my art that I will preserve memories that will last a lifetime and be passed to generations to come.

I believe there is no greater honour than having someone trust me to capture his or her authentic, genuine moments. These moments will become their family’s precious heirloom.

I invite you to come experience a wonderful day of pampering, laughter, and a beautiful photoshoot with me.

things I ❤ big time!


My philosophy
a passion for the arts

I view photography as a natural extension of my passion for the arts. With a designer’s eye, I am constantly searching for the perfect moment to tell the whole story with a beautiful composition, while applying all my knowledge of 15 years as graphic designer consultant and a lifetime as a photographer. After so many years,  I still get butterflies in my tummy before every photoshoot, and I still run excitedly to my computer after each shoot to download the images! 🙂

My goal in photography is not only to produce beautiful works of art but more so to capture those moments that represents the beauty that is life and the emotions we all endure as we travel along its path. I aim to make clients feel comfortable while I work and that pictures I produce have a candid and authentic quality to them. I believe extraordinary pictures result from knowing my client’s desires. As a perfectionist no detail is ever overlooked. As a highly computer savvy designer I can add a little touch to every photo I take to go far beyond my client’s expectations.

I am a storyteller and I want to tell your story.


Want to look and feel like a model for a day?

Our glamorous, editorial styled sessions are perfect for any woman, any age: tweens, teens, moms, and generational portraits.

If you have a business, then we can assist you with your commercial photography. Our clients usually use these images for their websites, printing, and social media including general promotion of their business. We will be on hand during the shoot to ensure you have the best possible imagery for your business.

Do you prefer a personal branding session? Put your best face forward. Your customer’s first impression is often made with your website, social media, or business card image.   We offer a personal branding session that is perfect for professional updated images.

I’d love to get to know more about you and your business!  Click the link below to schedule your FREE consultation with Cristina.

Let’s see how we can transform your brand from just blah to YES, PLEASE!

Fine art
Love for travel and nature

Since her childhood, Cristina Arce’s experiences in nature were to become a large influence in affecting her ultimate passion for the beauties of the natural world.  As she started reading everything she could get her hands on about photography, she quickly realized that this was an art form that would enable her to express her inner feelings about the world around her.  This soon became an insatiable desire to record that rare magical moment when the perfect light embraces nature in all its glory, and the camera became the perfect medium to do it.

Cristina’s background truly prepared her for where she is now.  Growing up, she was always the child who signed up for art camp instead of soccer camp, and took painting classes for her electives in high school and college.

Combining her love of travel with her dream-like aesthetic, Cristina creates visual poems that evoke a sense of magic.  When she is not travelling, she turns her eye and her camera to nature for inspiration and for subject matter, with a particular fondness for trees and coastal landscapes.

Cristina has been part of several group and individual photography exhibitions in Costa Rica, Panama, Spain, and Canada.

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