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!
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.
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!
At 18 months in the making, this shoot has to be a record for me. Originally scheduled as an engagement shoot, we rescheduled for after the wedding for various reasons. Then I got the fabulous request to postpone it again…for a NEWBORN session! To make things even more special, we held the shoot while two of the grandparents were visiting from Great Britain, and the local grandmother got to be in on the party, too.
Happy BIRTHday, sweet Libby!
A family begins as two…then becomes three…and is now four. With the first baby, it’s not knowing what in the heck you’re doing, worrying over every tremble and regurgitated meal (is it reflux? The flu? There’s just SO. MUCH. SPIT UP!) With the second one, it’s more about “Honey, please don’t step on the baby’s head” as your toddler tears through the room, and you learn to scatter burp cloths around the ENTIRE house from day 1.
I think there’s no greater honor than to be invited back to photograph a family for the second, third or fourth time. This was our third session together and the second newborn shoot, and I can’t wait to continue documenting the growth of these two bundles of sweetness. (Check out the first newborn shoot here.)
Oh, and I have to take a second to brag on this doll’s grandma…she sewed ALL of the linens for the nursery…even the sheets!!! I think I need to hire her for my house!
This post is a little different from what I usually write on this blog, but I thought it was worth sharing. As the year winds down, I like to reflect on a couple of questions:
1. What worked last year? And
2. What didn’t?
Doing this for my business and personal life helps me restore some semblance of control at the end of a busy season and realign my goals and everyday actions with what I value most for the upcoming year. Here are a few of the things that worked for me in 2014:
Ever since ditching my Franklin Covey planner for the world of digital calendars, I’ve floundered with a good system for keeping my calendar and tasks organized. This quest has only become more difficult as children have entered the picture. This year I decided to return to the paper planner method and couldn’t be happier. While I still keep a Google calendar for my appointments (and kids’ activities), the Midori has become almost like my personal assistant for everything that runs through my brain. I love that it holds three small notebooks plus the current month of daily calendar pages.
I’m totally behind the times, I know. But it’s just been this year that I’ve harnessed the power of listening and learning while folding laundry, doing dishes, and driving. Some of my faves: After the Jump, Books on the Nightstand, Beyond the To-Do List, The Art of Simple, Read-aloud Revival, and The Accidental Creative.
Published in 2002, this book is now a classic among productivity geeks. I’ve found that as life gets more complex with more schedules to juggle and a growing photography business to run, I struggle with feeling on top of all my “open loops”. Reading this book this fall gave me hope that I can get my stuff under control and stay that way. The Weekly Review, while common sense, has really helped me face the week proactively. (A new edition is coming out this spring.)
4. Switching from daily to weekly weigh-ins
We have a scale in our bathroom, and part of my daily morning ritual has been to weigh myself every morning before my shower. It wasn’t until the battery in the scale died that I realized how this habit was affecting me. Every time the number would move up (even if only a couple of ounces), I’d start the day off feeling defeated and had a constant sense of worry (or guilt) about what was passing between my lips. Once the batteries got replaced a couple of weeks later, I discovered I’d actually LOST a couple of pounds! Not thinking about my weight every day has been surprisingly freeing – and has resulted in lower numbers.
5. Meal planning
I’ll confess I’m not as consistent at this as I’d like to be, but when I take the time to plan two weeks’ worth of meals (and the corresponding grocery lists), AND get the food into the house, there is such a sense of calm in the late afternoon and evening. I LOVE having a plan for what we’re going to eat each day and feeling good about feeding my family healthy foods. I’m loving the new Barefoot Contessa Make It Ahead cookbook for this purpose!
6. Getting crafty at home
After Reading The Nesting Place, I was inspired to add a bit of texture and whimsy to our den. This book pages wreath was the perfect thing to fill the empty spot over the TV. (She says it took about an hour to do hers. It took me five hours. Just sayin’.)
7. Subscriptions for Staples
Running out of basics like paper towels or toilet paper makes me feel like a total failure – so I put them on auto-ship with Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program. ePantry.com is another great subscription site that focuses on good-for-you-and-your-home products in the realm of home care, bath & shower, and more. Amazon automatically ships your desired items (and quantities) on your specified schedule, and ePantry sends a reminder email before your shipment so you can make any changes you want. You do NOT have to receive items every month. Now I never have to thing about buying paper towels, dish or laundry detergent, shampoo. soap, feminine products or household cleaners. LOVE!
8. Using the library
I’ve used the library before, of course, but I really relied on it a lot this year. Since there is a branch close to my photography studio in northwest Houston, it’s really easy to request a book to be delivered to my local branch and pick it up when it arrives. I also started using the e-book borrowing service for the first time – SO handy! And since I’m visiting so often, late fines have all but disappeared.
9. Implementing two inboxes in my home
This one is an offshoot of #3 above. I discovered I need an inbox for both the downstairs kitchen area (where I receive mail and school papers from the kids that need attention) and in my upstairs office. I chose a six-tray box for items that need attention downstairs, for filing, reading and a place for my meal planning items. I selected a three-tray box for upstairs. Now bills, notices, etc. aren’t slipping through the cracks like they were.
10. Tidying Up
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up just before Christmas and have been inspired to get my house in order. This simple concept makes the decluttering process so much easier: if it doesn’t inspire joy, toss it! I’ve also converted our drawers to the author’s folding method (folding clothes into bundles and placing them on end in drawers, rather than stacking) and it truly has freed up space and made it easier to find clothes.
So what’s worked for YOU this year? Leave your wisdom in the comments!
Once you have your favorite images picked out, what can you do to create a visually pleasing arrangement on your walls? Of course, my favorite way is through a gorgeous wall gallery display:
A wall gallery makes an incredible statement piece over the fireplace.
If you’re looking for other ideas, here are a few quick tips to help you make the most out of your space.
- Hang images in small groups rather than spreading them out. If you have a large wall and just a few pictures, the space will look much better if you group the images together. It gives the illusion of one large piece and keeps the focal point together instead of scattered.
- The center point should be at eye level. When you are hanging a group of images and art together, the center piece should be hung at the level of one’s eye as you are standing and looking at it. The other pieces can be grouped around this central piece.
- Have one thing in common. It adds interest if there is one element that ties all of the images together. This could be the frame color, or that the images are all in black and white, or maybe all of the images are of baby faces. Having a common theme gives your display a sense of cohesion.
- Use a shelf and lean the images against the wall. It’s a great way to display images in a fresh and unfussy way. You can also add a little candle or plant to warm up the entire wall display. Frames can even be hung just inches above the shelf while using the shelf for smaller frames or interesting art pieces.
- Hang big images where they will be seen from across a room and small images on a wall where people often stand. Think of the person viewing the image. If the wall is a narrow hallway that you within a foot or two of the images, it would be very hard to view a 48 inch canvas. Hang that picture on a wall across the room where it is easier to view from a distance and keep smaller pictures on the hallway wall.
- Create a frame outside a frame. Try hanging four square images in a square pattern so that the entire feature appears to be one large frame. You can do this with any number of images, and you may want to lay them all out on the floor before hanging them on the wall.
Have fun playing with your images! I am always available for in-home consultations on creating the wall gallery of your dreams!