What’s your favorite photo with a parent?
This is mine. It’s my dad and me when I was five, and is probably one of my most treasured photos. In the lush mountains of West Virginia with my baby sister strapped on my mom’s back, we explored caves and hiking trails in the area where my dad was born. I don’t remember a lot from that trip, but I do love the few photos that remain from our time together.
If you’ve had a child longer than one day, you know how FAST they change. (That goes for toddlers and teenagers.) In our digital and smartphone age, most of us have no shortage of photos of our kids.
But how many do you have where YOU are in the photo too? And of those, how many do you have printed out, that your child can frame and enjoy 30 years from now?
(My guess, if you’re like most people, is “not that many”.)
Let’s fix that, shall we?
I know, I know…a family photo session screams “stress and chaos”, especially if you have LITTLE kids (or a reluctant teen or spouse).
That’s why I’ll help you all the way through the planning process, from suggesting ideas for clothing to making sure kids (and dads!) have FUN at the session to helping you select the PERFECT artwork to grace your home. I even team up with hair and makeup artists to make mom feel fabulous.
You’ll get the clothes together (with guidance from me), show up, and have fun with your family. I’ll handle the rest.
I only have a few weekend dates left for full family or senior photography sessions with delivery guaranteed before Christmas, so be sure to snag yours before they are gone.
Fridays: 10/12, 10/19, 10/26, 11/9, 11/30 (all outdoors, your choice of Houston-area locations)
Saturdays: 10/27, 11/10 (late afternoons are all outside, mid-day can be either in the studio or a shaded outdoor location)
Sundays: 10/7, 10/14, 10/28 (mix of mid-afternoon northwest Houston studio sessions and sunset outdoor photo sessions at your choice of Houston-area locations)
Full sessions include:
- A 1.5-hour session at a location of your choice (I’ll provide options!)
- An in-person viewing and ordering appointment (at my studio or your home)
- A beautiful gallery of wall-worthy images to fill your home (all artwork purchases are made during your in-person viewing and ordering appointment, 1-2 weeks after your session – session fee does not include products or digital files) See the Studio Lookbook with full pricing details.
- ZERO guilt over spending money on digital images only to have them sit on your computer two years later despite your best intentions of making canvases, albums, etc.
AND when you book your full photo session by Oct. 1, you’ll receive a FREE box of 25 custom-designed holiday cards, printed on thick, luxurious card stock ($75 value) – my gift to you.
Yep, free holiday cards, DONE FOR YOU. Sign me up!
What about mini sessions?
If something shorter and smaller is what you need for your family photos this year, my annual Petite Sessions (sometimes called Mini Sessions) are now open for booking, with three date and location choices in and around the Houston and Bellaire areas. You’ll get 20 minutes with me and a proofing gallery of 10-15 images to choose from – perfect for holiday cards and quick grandparent gifts. (All purchases are separate from the $59-plus-tax session fee.)
Oct. 21: Spring Creek Growers (Christmas tree farm in Montgomery), 1-5 pm BOOK TREE FARM
Nov. 10: Private farm in Cypress, TX, 2:30-5:30pm BOOK CYPRESS FARM
Nov. 17 and 18: Private home in Bellaire, TX, 3:30-5:30pm BOOK BELLAIRE HOME
Hop to it! When they’re gone, they’re gone.
(If you’re someone who likes to see all the info before making a decision, check out the Petite Sessions price guide, including the 24 Hour Sale I offer immediately after the mini session gallery is opened for viewing.)
If you could remember ONE thing about your family this year, what would it be?
(To get right to the fall info, scroll down to Full Session. But if you’ll indulge me for just a minute, read on.)
My husband and I are in what I consider the “golden” stage of parenting – well out of the baby and toddler years but not quite to the angst and worries of the teen years. We can, for the most part, go where we want, do fun stuff (including a surprise day trip to Magnolia in Waco – Chip and Joanna’s cupcakes are awesome, y’all!), and basically live life without worrying about meltdowns, naps, or being glued to the lure of “likes”, comments, and Snaps. Sure, we have our issues just like everyone, but I know bigger ones are coming, so I am doing my best to savor this stage of parenting.
Family life definitely isn’t easy. But each year gives us something to celebrate.
This year, I want to remember that our son got braces, ran track at school, and crossed over into Boy Scouts. I want to remember our daughter’s excitement about her competitive gymnastics season that she’s worked so hard to prepare for. I want ot remember tha twe have turned the corner form the crushing loss of my husband’s brother 13 months ago. I want to remember that through everything life throws our way, we are doing the best we can to keep the long view in mind as we raise our family. (Sorry, that was more than one thing!)
How about you? What do YOU want to remember about your family this year? Maybe Harvey destroyed your home and you’re in survival mode. (No, you won’t want to remember that, but maybe you’ve experienced the love and care of others, and you want to remember THAT.) Maybe you or someone you love has gone through a major medical event and came through it with a fresh perspective on life. Maybe you’ve added a baby to the family or gained a son-in-law or daughter-in-law.
Whatever you want to remember, I’d love to help.
My job is to create an archive of your family’s life – in THIS moment – while giving you a FUN and enjoyable experience together.
Your job is to show up and enjoy your family. It’s that simple.
I offer a couple of different photo session types in the fall to meet a variety of needs. Which one is right for your family?
With up to 1.5 hours of shooting time, and your choice of date and location, full sessions are customized, just for you. We have plenty of time to take breaks, have snacks, and enjoy some special Mom/Dad/kid time (whether those kids are 2 or 20). It’s perfect for families who haven’t had a session in a long time. The session fee is $195 plus tax and you choose and purchase your wall art, image boxes or albums during an in-person viewing and ordering session with 35-40 printed proofs to choose from – or choose my all-inclusive Storybook Session, focusing on your family’s unique bond and relationship. Book by October 15 and receive a complimentary Artist’s Choice custom collage print (8×10) with your order – plus a complimentary box of 25 cards and envelopes when you book by Oct. 5.
Petite sessions are perfect for an annual update when you need a shorter time frame and fewer images. With 20 minutes of shooting time, you’ll get a gallery with group shots and individual images of the kiddos. Smaller packages are available for Petite sessions, making them a great choice for families who want a smaller investment.
Two locations are available: a beautiful wooded property in Cypress, TX with walking trails, lakes, bridges and sweeping Spanish moss, and a Christmas tree farm in Montgomery, TX. You choose – a serene, natural setting or the energy of the holidays amidst fresh and fragrant pine and Cypress trees. Seasonal props will be on hand for those who would like to use them.
Petite sessions include 20 minutes of shooting time, an online gallery of 15-20 images, full retouching on all purchased images, access to smaller packages than a full session, and access to a 24 Hour Sale after your gallery goes live. Book by October 15 and receive a complimentary Artist’s Choice custom collage print (8×10) with your order. Session fee is $75 plus tax to book; products and packages are purchased separately through your online gallery. A la carte prints start at $65 and packages start at $197. Digital and print packages (as well as a digital/print blend) are available.
BOOK YOUR WOODS PETITE SESSION NOW (Nov. 12 and 19, 2:15-5:15pm; six spots available each day)
BOOK YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE FARM SESSION NOW (Nov. 18, 2-5:30 pm; six spots left)
I can’t wait to see you this fall!
Hey Mom – yes, I see you with your super-long to-do list that includes everything from grocery shopping to picking up the dog’s medicine at Costco (HUGE money saver right there!). Maybe you even need to show up for work in there somewhere. With our lovely (insert eye-roll) 90-degree Houston September weather, the holidays seem a million miles away, but you know they will be upon us before we know it…and you KNOW you need to get your family portrait session scheduled but you just haven’t had the time to think through all the details.
I get it.
Getting ready for a family photo shoot can be a lot of stress and work, not the least of which is deciding who to hire. Here’s my list of 7 things to consider before you hire a photographer this fall.
- What kind of feel do you want your photos to have? Do you want the perfectly posed, everyone-looking-at-the-camera shot to hang over the fireplace? (This kind of shot takes more skill on the photographer’s part than you probably realize.) Or maybe a more relaxed version of everyone looking at the camera? Do you want candid shots of your family loving on each other? Or do you want to highlight the quirkiness of your family’s relationships with a water balloon fight, night at the ice cream parlor, or something else your family enjoys doing together (commonly known as lifestyle photography)? Once you’ve decided what kind of images you want, look for a photographer whose portfolio matches up with how you want your images to look.
- What do you see in the photographer’s portfolio? Do the people look relaxed and natural? Do the hands look natural, or are they stiff, awkward and have nothing to do? What about expressions? Are smiles forced, or does the smile reach the eyes and really communicate authentic expression? Being able to coax real expression from subjects is a developed skill, and some photographers are much better at it than others.
- How will the photographer help you prepare for your shoot? Will she provide you with suggestions on how to put your outfits together? What about hair and makeup recommendations? Should you have your hair and makeup done by a professional? If so, will the photographer help you set that up? (Shameless plug – my answer on this one is YES you should have it professionally done if possible and yes I will help with appointments!) Will the photographer work with you on finding the perfect location for your shoot, or is she limited to only a few places? Is there an indoor option if that’s what you prefer?
- What kind of deliverables do you want from your photography session? Do you want digital images only? Or are you interested in top-quality, professional photographic art that will grace your home for years? What about framed prints or canvases to beautify your walls, or albums for the coffee table? There’s no right answer to this question (well, on second thought I MIGHT have an opinion on that, ha!), but give it some thought. Some photographers offer only digital images, some only provide printed products, and some offer a mix of both. (I’m in the third category, in case you’re wondering.)
- What’s the photographer’s turnaround time and when do you need your images or products? If a photographer is doing all of her own editing and processing, it may take two to three weeks to receive your proofs or images. If you need your images the same or next day, you may need to make a trip to the mall. If you want professionally crafted portrait art, the design and printing process can take some time, so just check with your photographer before you book to ensure she can meet your timeframe. This is especially important during the holiday season when portrait photographers are at their busiest.
- Is the photographer reliable and someone you want to work with? If you have found your photographer online and not through a friend’s recommendation, ask for references. If you like talking on the phone, set up a time to chat – it’s a great way to get an idea of what it might be like to work with someone new.
- Do you understand the pricing? Pricing for photographic services is all over the place, and encompasses everything from the photographer’s time and skill to her costs associated with the business. A photographer who uses top-of-the-line gear, has years of experience and education, and operates a dedicated studio space will charge more than someone who’s just starting out. Regardless of what the price point is, make sure you understand how the prices work and what is included. Some photographers offer all-inclusive pricing and some use a model of a session fee and a la carte or package purchases after the session. Again, there’s no right or wrong here, just make sure you understand what you are purchasing. (For example, session fees usually do not include any prints or digital images.)
Want to know more about my fall availability? Pop your email below and I’ll send it right your way, along with a pretty cool surprise, too! Happy fall, y’all!
Send me the fall scheduling info!
Heartwarming photos of you with your kids aren’t frivolous – they’re a necessity.
Because to them?
You’re too indispensable to be omitted from their past.
Introducing Celebrate Mothers…the Mother’s Day project to make sure YOU aren’t an invisible part of their childhood.
What is it?
Celebrate Mothers creates beautiful artwork of a busy mom and her children, so she can look back when her children have grown and not regret that she was always behind the camera. (Or that the only shots she has with her kids are cell phone selfies.)
The imagery is mixed with her hand-written words answering, “What do you want to remember most about your children at the age they are right now?” And the words or drawings of her children answering, “What do you love most about your mom?”
Mark your calendar for April 11, 14 and 16. We only have three dates open for sessions and a limited number of sessions each day. Book yours before the Celebrate Mothers portrait sessions are gone.
The Celebrate Mothers project is closed. Look for another celebration of Moms in 2017! Join my email list to make sure you’re notified.
Of course, new parents are thrilled when they finally get to meet their tiny baby they’ve been anxiously waiting nine months for…but there is another couple who also anxiously awaits that new one’s arrival…Grandma and Grandpa. Then multiply that excitement by three sons, and there is a whole lot of anticipation and joy going on in this family!
With children flung in various parts of the U.S. and the world, it’s not easy to get everyone together at the same time – but I caught up with this sweet family at their gorgeous property in San Antonio, TX, and we made some magic happen! Since they booked my multi-family Storybook Session option, they got to keep every single image – the looking-at-the-camera shot that will be prominently displayed above the mantle, along with all of the other little details that make each grandchild unique – the smirk from the baby girl, the coy grin of the preschooler, and of course the laughing smiles of the newest grandson. Their image box and album will provide years of enjoyment, along with their custom wall gallery that will soon be making an appearance in their living room. (And didn’t they do a great job of styling their outfits?)
Check out their fabulous session, and don’t forget to use the Contact page to check with me about making some magic for YOUR family!
Fall in Houston – 90 degree days with pumpkins and Christmas decorations already and ghosts and apple crisp. (Which I made a couple of days ago, and the whole house smelled like sweet-tart and saucy apples and cinnamon and memories and fall.)
It’s also time to treat yourself to an evening of memories with your family – playing, laughing, hugging, lots of tickles…or if you have older kids, just letting them know how special they are (or possibly breaking out into a spontaneous belly laugh competition – who knows?!?!). And I’m there to capture every minute.
I’m offering a few days of “Golden” Petite Sessions – often known as Mini Sessions – in early November. Petite Sessions are quick and easy – 20-25 minutes of shooting time at a beautiful outdoor location. In that time we’ll get images of your whole family, an individual shot of each child, and if we can, shots of just the grown-ups too. You’ll get:
- 10 digital images (printable up to 8×12) that you can use on your holiday cards and make prints for gift giving
- Five gorgeous 5×7 loose prints of your selected images for gifting OR keeping. (Because PRINTS MATTER.)
- Web-size versions of your 10 images for social media sharing
- A $35 credit toward holiday card purchases AND a $100 credit toward wall art purchases
- PLUS a super-secret surprise
It’s a flat rate of $395 plus shipping and tax. Dates are Nov. 6, 7 and 8 (Cypress/Tomball area). Sign up for your date and time and pay your session fee here. Session fees must be paid within 24 hours of reserving a time slot to keep your date and time.
Want a full session instead? You pick your date, time, and a location that perfectly fits your family. (I’ll help!) You’ll get more shooting time (up to an hour & a half), premium weekend time options, and absolutely stunning product options, from heirloom albums to swoon-worthy wall galleries. (Just ask my clients who get to look at their gorgeous wall galleries every day – worth every penny!) Check out the available weekend dates here, and just contact me if you prefer a weekday. (Pssst…if you book your full session before Nov. 1, you’ll get a FREE box of custom-designed holiday cards. That’s a $75 savings right there!)
Can’t wait to see you this fall!
PS – Want that apple crisp recipe? It’s in Molly Wizenberg’s memoir, Delancey. And it was SO. GOOD.
I promised a summer bucket list post awhile back, and here it is, July 15, and I’m finally getting around to it! (It’s amazing what DOESN’T get done when the kids are home for the summer, but we are having all kinds of beautiful adventures. I’m so grateful to have this season with them!)
A couple of years ago, I realized that our summer had just sort of slid by, without much intentionality about how we would spend our days. Being a working mom, I can’t bring my business to a grinding halt just because my kids are out of school (although I do take on fewer clients during the summer months), but I also don’t want the summer to pass by, not having accomplished much or created lasting memories. Enter the Summer Bucket List.
Last summer, our family made a list of all the things we wanted to do before school started back up. I’ve learned it’s one thing to “want” to do something fun, but unless it’s staring me in the face in form of a written reminder, chances are it just won’t happen. (Weird, I know.) So we made our list, prettied it up with individual scrapbook pages for each activity, and posted everything on the wall. Our den was plastered with all of the fun we wanted to enjoy together, and it was really motivating to make sure we scheduled each item at some point during the summer. And we got it all done!
This year’s list is a bit more relaxed. Rather than wallpaper the den with gorgeous scrapbook pages (as fun as that was), this year’s list lives in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook (which I’m seldom without). The reminder isn’t as constant, but our list is simpler this year. (I found that including a lot of stuff on last year’s list produced a bit of anxiety because I felt I *had* to do it all.) So here’s what we’re up to this summer:
1. Family vacation to Wimberley, TX (check!) Our vacation happened just a couple of weeks after the devastating flood that roared through the Blanco River, carrying houses off their foundations, ripping one-hundred-year-old cypress trees out of their banks as if they were twigs, and killing several people. It was a bit more somber trip than usual. But we still managed to enjoy Cypress Creek (our accommodations offer lots of private, creekfront land), some amazing food (our faves: The Leaning Pear – a MUST, The Salt Lick, The Grismtmill), and relaxing family time in a simple, natural setting.
2. Schiltterbahn – we had hoped to visit the New Braunfels location while in Wimberley, but Tropical Storm Bill had other plans, so we’ll go to Galveston in August.
3. San Antonio – we’re going next week!
4. Family Camp at Lutherhill – our annual tradition the week of July 4th. The kids always have an incredible time (so do I), and this year was even better with the addition of my sister and nephew!
5. Blue Bell Tour in Brenham, TX. Obviously, our list was created was before their operations were shut down. We are hoping they will be back up and running before the summer is out – I miss me some Blue Bell!
6. “The Farm” – friends of ours have property in Hempstead, TX, and no trip to the farm is complete without a dip in the pool and a ride on the 4-wheelers. Check!
7. Finish summer reading challenge from the library. We’re working on it.
8. Swimming. Check, check, check! They are in one pool or another almost every day.
9. Go to the beach. Coming in August!
10. Go to Mountasia. (Putt-putt golf and go kart place.) I’ll be honest, I don’t look forward to this one in the summer. But it’s part of their summer reading rewards, so OK!
11. Take a drawing class. We took advantage of a great opportunity at our library this summer for a free drawing class. Jacob has really been enjoying it. Julianne and I hang out and read while he’s sketching.
12. Eat cookies. Every day! Our daily read-aloud time is called “Cookie Time”. We all pile on the couch with cookies, glasses of milk and great books. The den is a bit messier than usual but the kids do not want to miss a day!
13. Throw a party. I’m not sure what they have in mind for this one, but sounds fun to me!
14. All-day movie marathon. Sounds like a great post-San Antonio activity.
So that’s it! In addition to these “fun” things, I also developed a flexible daily schedule that includes chores, quiet time (for naps and/or personal reading time), read-aloud time (aka Cookie Time), and limited screen time, plus a long list of “I’m bored” activities that they can do by themselves. It’s been a great summer so far; I’ll be sad to see it come to an end.
What’s on YOUR summer bucket list? Let me know in the comments – I may need to start my 2016 list early!
April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” -William Shakespeare
Every year, the magical transformation that unfolds in my backyard during the last two weeks of March is indeed a balm for the soul. The grass, which has languished, brown and dormant, is suddenly awakening with the deep, emerald green of new growth. Our azaleas, those ubiquitous Southern blooms, have burst forth from their buds, releasing their secreted potential into brilliant displays of white and pink. And who can forget the trumpet lily bulbs? They are still hidden away beneath the crumbly earth, but will soon be pushing their way skyward, reaching for the sun’s sparkle, scarlet and proud.
Each season brings its own gifts, and the beauty of renewal is always my favorite of spring’s calling cards. The metamorphosis of my backyard view inspires me to open my eyes and see, really see what’s around me. Like the fact that my daughter’s 6-year molar is now fully ascended in the back of her mouth (I’ll spare you the photo!). My son, lean and bemoaning his shorter stature, has almost grown out of his fall jeans. It’s time to capture them again, right now, in the midst of their own transformations, wiggly and giggly and pure, showcasing the exuberance of a childhood that is fully “in bloom” and all too quickly lost.
If you want to celebrate the awakening of spring with some gorgeous portraits of your most precious people, I’d love for you to join me for my “In Bloom” Limited Edition sessions, May 7-9. I’ll have a perfectly darling, natural light studio set (northwest Houston, TX) for morning and afternoon sessions – perfect for babies through elementary-age kiddos.
The late afternoon/evening sessions will be held at a lush arboretum in north Houston. Moms, it’s a perfect opportunity to be photographed with your kids, or surprise Grandma with a Mother’s Day gift she will always treasure – a photo shoot with her grandbabies!
The “In Bloom” Limited Edition session packages start at just $149 plus tax – and they ALL come with a credit to use toward additional purchases! Jump over here to check out the four exclusive packages. Then head here to make your reservation and pay your package fee. Payment plans are available for the top two packages – just ask!
Pssst…the Image Box is a client favorite. Usually only available in a 5×7 size with my all-inclusive Storybook Session, it’s my best package deal for In Bloom at a GREAT price!
Spaces are limited, and everyone who reserves by Wednesday, April 15 (to give you a little boost to your Tax Day!) will receive a FREE surprise gift with your session package. You’re gonna want it, I promise! Here are those links again:
See you soon!
Sometimes the simplest slices of life are the most profound.
Her little feet treading not-so-quietly down then stairs as the day is new and pregnant with promise.
His slender form curled up in bed, the quilt tucked over his head as the eastern light spills through the window.
My husband home before 9 on a weeknight.
A rainy afternoon with nowhere to go, snuggled on the couch with popcorn and The Princess Bride.
The degree to which we allow ourselves to experience gratitude is, I believe, the key to relishing life through all its mountaintops and valleys. And what could be simpler, or more satisfying, than journeying through life with a full heart and content soul?
(This post is part of a blog circle I’m participating in with several other lovely photographers…be sure to check out Rebecca Keller Photography for the next link and follow the circle around! And check here for my first post in the series if you haven’t seen it yet…Real Life.)
Being the mother of one son, I can only imagine what it’s like to raise THREE active boys! And I must say that their very different personalities shone right on through during our time together. We had cool, solemn, goofy, giggly, inquisitive and even a little pouty…but they played right along with all my crazy requests. Check out one of my faves here – I think it’s the essence of boyhood. 🙂
PS – Isn’t this location just divine? I call it “my” forest. 🙂