Chart House Wedding

Chart House Wedding | Ashley + Tim

Once upon a time, two people named Ashley and Tim hired me to be their Chart House wedding photographer and to do an engagement session with them in my hometown of Dallas, TX but really what’s really important is that we got drunk and ate pizza and they met my mom and we became best friends forever.   

True story.

Tim is from Northern CA and he convinced Ashley that they should get married in Tahoe in August of this past year.  She was very concerned that it was going to rain.  “It never rains in Tahoe in the summer,” Tim assured her over and over.  “It NEVER rains in Tahoe in the summer!” I exclaimed with ultimate authority over and over.

It POURED.

But thankfully it poured seconds AFTER their ceremony and stopped by the first dance so clearly they are going to have the best of luck for the rest of their lives, which is what we tell people so that they feel better when it rains on their wedding day but is actually a lie.

Second true story.

Ashley’s aunts can really break it down on the dancefloor.  

Third true story.

Also, I went home with one of their wedding guests.

True or false?  You decide.

We were also all super pumped to do a post wedding portrait session and we went tromping all over the rocks out at Angora Lakes a few days later so I included some of those gorgeous images at the end of their wedding images.

Venue: The Chart House | Florist: Thran’s | DJ: Cornerstone Entertainment | Bride’s Attire: Allure Bridals from Terry Costa | Bridesmaid Attire: Lulu’s | Groom’s Apparel: J Crew | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Rentals: Camelot Party Rentals

Chart House Wedding Chart House Wedding Bride and Groom

Austin engagement photographer

Austin Engagement Photographer | Halie + Price

Once upon a time in my past life, I was a camp counselor at Camp Mystic for Girls.  I was a counselor there for six years.  Camp Mystic is a magical place where every summer, girls return again and again to spend either two weeks or a month of their summer with their cabin-mates, which stay the same all of their years spent there.  I was always the counselor who was left alone on my co-counselors’ nights off with dozens of children under the age of 10 to corral.  My cabin almost always had the privilege of getting out of rest hour early for commissary due to the fact that I consistently threatened to throw anything they left on the cabin floor out the front door.  I taught swimming and diving as my activities, training girls to do inwards and gainers and one-and-a-halfs despite their fears and worries.  I met and watched amazing young women grow up before my eyes and to this day, thanks to social media, I still keep in touch with many of them.  One of them lives in Mexico City, one studied abroad in London, some are married, a few are engaged, a few already have children.  I am so proud of all of them and who they have become.  

And then the day came that one of them got engaged and then asked me to photograph their wedding and that made me feel incredibly, unbelievably esteemed.    

You wouldn’t have to press me hard to say that Halie was always one of my favorites.   She has turned into the beautiful, smart, engaging woman I expected her to become.  There has always been a spark of laughter in her eye and to no surprise, she’s found the most amazing partner for her life.  Price is charming, respectful and clearly loves her.  I am so honored to photograph their wedding, which will be held just down the street from Mystic at Camp La Junta, and even more excited to share their Austin engagement session, during which I basically just made them go everywhere. At least we did have cocktails first though. Thanks for accomodating me, y’all and thanks for the highest honor you can bestow on your camp counselor.

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If you’re wondering, the umbrellas are an art installation on Aldrich Street in the Mueller neighborhood.

 

Tahoe backyard wedding

Tahoe Backyard Wedding | Incline Village, NV | Dost + Nick

These two. 

I adore them. 

I’m so thankful to call them friends now.  They love music, and dancing, and laughter, and good food.  They are adventurous, curious and sardonic.  They say yes when I invite them to concerts by bands they’ve never heard of and they invite me to concerts by bands that I’ve never heard of.  They are willing to go to burlesque shows starring my former clients.  They like brunch (but, I mean, never trust a person that doesn’t).  They have some incredible moves on the dancefloor.

Dost and Nick wanted an intimate backyard gathering with their motley crew of far flung friends and family.  Their guest list was as diverse as they are, with folks coming from as far away as Turkey.  They rented a beautiful house directly on the water through VRBO for their Tahoe backyard wedding and as an added surprise, it decided to snow that week.  Bonus: Dost made good use of a thrift store fur coat that was perfect for the occasion, which is to say, it was fucking freezing that day and she had no choice but looked amazing in it.

We were all thankful for the tent and for the best DJ around Dave Berkman, who was willing to completely break down and move mid-day his entire setup inside so everyone could cut a rug the grass in relative comfort while it was 40 degrees out in Tahoe in September.

Dost and Nick have since told me that they were drawn to my work because they loved the way I capture movement and motion, which is something their dancefloor had plenty of!  I’m so incredibly honored to not only have been part of their day, but have new friends also.

Venue: VRBO | Caterers: Carson City BBQ | Rentals: Celebrations Rentals | DJ: Ascent DJ | Bride’s Attire: Maggie Sottero | Groom’s Attire: Paul Smith

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Austin Family Portraits

Why Fall is the Best Season for Family Photos in Texas

About three years ago, after gaining a new writing client, I thought it was time to finally get some
professional headshots taken. The timing was perfect. I was updating my website and had created some
marketing materials so things were falling into place.  Everything was great, except for the fact that it was
the end of June, in Texas. Of course, the photoshoot needed to be outside to catch some of the amazing
natural light, which meant that I spent about three hours in the sun on a 103° day. Keeping the river of
sweat on my forehead from photobombing my professional shots proved to be more work than the mile-
long hike it took to get to the location of the shoot. I survived that shoot, but later on I thought about how
it could have easily been avoided had I planned for a shoot in the cooler months. Hopefully this post will
convince you to do the same.

So, Texas is finally getting some fall weather, which in the South typically means anytime the
temperature drops below 70 degrees.  Southerners have waited an excruciatingly hot six months (yes, six
months) of summer for these cool days. Now is the perfect time to get out there and take those family
photos. Why wait until the winter season to have your holiday card photos taken? Here are a few reasons
why the fall season is best time to line up little Timmy and Tanya or Rufus the labradoodle outside and
create photos that will last a lifetime

 

Tahoe family portraits

1. You Won’t Melt into a Puddle of Sweat.

Please see my story above.  Let’s face it, it’s hot as Hades in Texas between the months of June-October.
 Around the end of October we finally start to see glimpses of what I like to call, “Cold Front Season.”
 It’s not quite a normal fall in terms of getting cold and staying that way, it’s more like a cold front that
drops temperatures below 70 degrees for a few days, and then it jumps back up to 85°-90°. Either way,
you have to take advantage of the ability to actually sit (or stand) outside for longer than 30 minutes,
which means the photo shoot won’t leave you burned and applying aloe vera to your skin several days
later.  You can actually pick a shoot location outdoors and get some great natural lighting without melting
your face off!

family photos

2.  The Colors Duke, the Colors!

Summer is nice, but in Texas it tends to get so hot, that things just turn brown and die without some
diligence in watering. However, fall seasonal colors are the best.  The foliage is no longer getting beat up
by the unbearable summer sun and the leaves finally begin to realize that winter is coming.  What that
means for you is that there are lovely colors everywhere, and lovely colors mean lovely pictures.  Because
fall colors tend to be neutrals, you can color coordinate to your heart’s content.  In addition to the color
coordinating, the weather is cool enough to add in some additional matching accessories.  Try hats,
mittens, gloves or scarves for additions to your holiday card.

3. Holiday Props

In addition to cooler weather, the fall season welcomes in what the internet lovingly refers to as
“HallowThanksmas,” or the season in which we celebrate or prepare for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and
Christmas/other holidays. What this means for you is that you have the ability to use lots and lots of props
of your choice in your photo shoots. Feel free to pull out that Menorah and Dreidel, plant yourself in a
pumpkin patch or pull out the famous ugly Christmas sweaters and lawn snowman. Try variations of all
of those things if you are feeling adventurous this year.  Just know that fall is the perfect season to take
advantage.

Hopefully this article encouraged you to go ahead and book your family photoshoot now. Take advantage
of the cool breezes, the awesome fall colors and the opportunity to pull out the Christmas tree early.  The
cool weather might not last for very long and come Christmas, we may very well be looking at a sunny 90
degree day.

Tahoe Family Photos

Landing Resort Wedding | Lake Tahoe, CA | Jaymee + Jacob

When you grow up in New Orleans, no wedding is complete without a second line.  New Orleans is my favorite city in the world, and in fact, I am spending most of October there.  A second line is basically a parade – the main line, or the first half, is the brass line.  Those who follow the band are the second line.  You parade for any celebration in New Orleans: a funeral, a wedding, for mardi gras, for festival season, for no reason whatsoever.  Umbrellas and handkerchiefs (napkins will do) are essential, so when I showed up to photograph details in the tent for Jaymee and Jacob’s Landing Resort wedding and discovered feathered umbrellas on the back of their chairs, well, I knew that we were going to have a second line and I got VERY excited.  

Not only was there a second line, but Jaymee and Jacob’s diverse group of friends brought a dance party like no other to their celebration.  I have been blessed with a number of epic dance parties this year, but theirs is definitely in the top three.  I had such a blast

Venue and Catering: The Landing Resort and Spa | Florist: EcoFlower | Bakery: Tahoe Cakes by Grace | DJ: High Sierra Sounds | Bride’s Attire: The Ultimate Bride | Bridesmaid Attire: Jenny Yoo | Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Second Photographer: Finger lickin’ good Nicky Lockman

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How to choose the right photography conference

Choosing the Right Photography Conference for You

I believe that continuing education is incredibly important: it keeps you sharp, makes sure that you aren’t becoming stale in your work, and revitalizes low spirits and energy after a long wedding season.  With my work season jam-packed into four or five short months every year, I can tell you that a dose of inspiration is essential to my spring!  That being said, there are a gazillion workshops and conferences out there to choose from, from the small to the massive.  Choosing the right photography conference for you is a hard task.  How do you know where to focus your energy and hard earned dollars?  Where do you put your focus?

The first thing that matters to me when choosing a conference is WHY and I have three of them.  They very rarely overlap in the conference world.  I’m either going: 1) to put my hands on products, 2) to master or learn a new skill, or finally, 3) for inspiration and networking. 

Choose the Right Photography Conference

 

1. Go to photography conferences to put your hands on products.

Every three years, I head to one of the big two, which are Imaging USA and WPPI, simply because their expo is the easiest place to source out vendors for client products and new technology.  From USB drives, to album companies, to camera manufacturers, you’ll be able to touch and feel anything you can dream up out of the thousands of exhibitors at these expos.  With quality face to face time with the brand reps themselves, you can often purchase new gear on site at a discounted rate, and secure lower pricing for bulk orders from print labs and product manufacturers.  

While the big 2 certainly offer a wealth of networking drunken debauchery and parties, along with “conference” sessions intended to impart photography wisdom on you, I’m a pretty firm believer that the best learning isn’t crammed into a giant convention hall and a one hour talk, nor is the best networking done at an event where there are thousands of people.  

Choose the Right Photography Conference

2.  Go to a photography workshop to master or learn a new skill.

Small hands on workshops lend themselves to more in depth dissection of key skills.  A few years ago, I attended Azulox Photography’s Anytime Light workshop in Austin, TX.  With only 8 students and a full day dedicated exclusively to difficult lighting scenarios, I walked away feeling significantly more comfortable using off camera flash and strobes to make sure that I could handle anything.  

Last year, I attended the Missouri Photo Workshop in Perryville, MO for hands on learning in photojournalism.  Guided and mentored by world renowned  freelance photojournalists and photo editors, I came away with a better understanding of gaining access, shooting, and creating photo essays. 

I try to narrow down what I want my focus to be for the year in learning and choose a small format mentorship, workshop or online resource that fits that ideal.  If you’re interested in pursuing family lifestyle sessions, I would recommend looking into mentorship by Kristen Lewis.   If you love my moment-filled portrait and wedding work and want to improve on drawing the same reactions out of your own clients, I would recommend starting with Candice Cusic’s Moment Driven Workshop in Chicago.

Choose the Right Photography Conference

3. Get inspired and network

There is no conference more inspirational to me than Fearless Conference Europe.  (Tip: to save a buck or two, there is one in the USA every November as well).  Huy with Fearless Photographers has made a pointed effort to create conferences that are diverse, filled with women, and welcoming.  It’s incredibly easy to network at Fearless Europe – everyone is so incredibly open.  I walk away every year with nuggets of incredible inspiration and a new stamp on my passport to boot.

Other great medium sized events that offer a wealth of fun, inspiration and networking opportunities include Field Trip and Laura Babb’s incredible Snap Photography Festival.  

How to choose the right photography conference

What to Take With You

Don’t forget to fill your pockets with business cards, branded koozies (a must for me), and lots of smiles.  Remember that everyone at a photography conference is there for the same reason: to learn, to grow and to meet like minded people.  As such, open yourself up to opportunities.  Say yes to new things, new people and new conversations. Don’t sit with people you know: find someone new every day.  Be welcoming, smile, and make it a point to open up conversations to include strangers who happen upon your group.  Introduce yourself to others and extend invitations and you’ll walk away with a lifetime of laughter, friends and perhaps some new skills.

Start Small

Eventbrite makes it easy to attend and organize events.  So easy, in fact, that there are dozens of small format photography classes and events on there near you.  Take a portrait photography master class!  Learn how to get started in bird photography!  Learn the ins and outs of food photography!  I just ended up in a rabbit hole of options and I barely even got started.

Where will you find me next?  

I’ll be at Mystic Seminars this January because I’m desperate to hear Pete Souza speak, and the Fearless Conference Europe in Split, Croatia this March.  As usual, you’ll also find me running amok, networking, taking photos and basically drunk everyday at SXSW 2018, which is like everything the photography world has to offer on steroids.  

What to wear to your family portrait

What to Wear in your Family Portraits

I am constantly getting queried by clients on what to wear in your family portraits, so I thought that a handy dandy blog post on the subject matter was required! I promise, you are not the only head of household that’s been stressed by the daunting task of trying to figure out what to pack for your family vacation portrait session. It’s not that hard when you break it down simply, I promise!

What to wear at your family portrait

1.   You want to pick coordinating colors, but not matching!

For family portraits, it’s best if you pick 3 coordinating colors such as two brights and a neutral to work with so that everyone is coordinated but not too matchy-matchy.  This color wheel tool is a great way to choose complimentary coordinating base colors.

what to wear in your family portrait

2.  Use your accessories to add pops of your colors.

With two primary colors and one neutral, you can mix and match your colors as much as you want.  If someone in your family tends to be more subdued, they can still dress without bright colors and bring in that pop of coordinating color through their accessories.

What to wear at your family portrait

3.  Still stuck? Consider placement.

Are you filling space on one of your walls with a print from your session?  Consider the colors in your home (which are probably the ones that make you happy) when picking your color scheme.  If you love your orange and turquoise living room, then  start there!  If you’re a family of Aggies, don’t be hesitant to show off your colors!

What to wear in your family portrait

4.  Jewel tones work great but stay away from greens

Taking photos in the Tahoe forest?  Don’t blend in!  Greens don’t pop very well against our all green forest, but other jewel tones like dark blues, golds, and plums, look great!

what to wear in your family portrait

5.  Limit patterns, logos and branding.

Say no to anything with big logos or branding and limit patterns, especially on adults.  Patterns often tend to read too busy on adults.  That being said, small children in patterns is a great choice to compliment your color scheme!  It adds a mini-dose of fun to any portrait.

What to wear in your family portraits

6.  All white or all black: just say no.

All white?  Sends you straight back to the 90s yo!  This isn’t a Florida beach photo.

What to wear in your family portrait

7.  Keep it classy, San Diego.

Stay away from trends and hip current fashion.  Keep it classy and classic – especially when it comes to high school senior portraits.  It will prevent your photos from looking dated in a few years.

Tahoe Engagement Photography

Tahoe Engagement Photography | Kiva Beach | Rosa + Justin

I’m so thrilled to be connected with these two!  Justin is brother to one of my clients, Julie.  Julie, Michael and I had an incredible day romping around San Francisco once for their engagement session.  Since then, I photographed their wedding and they had a child!

I love staying connected to clients and their families afterwards and this is one family that is so fantastic to be part of.  Rosa and Justin are getting married at the Landing Resort this summer and I can’t wait!  I envision gorgeous blue skies and an awesome holiday weekend in their future.  I expect it will look very different from their super snowy winter engagement session at Kiva Beach!

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Presidio Engagement Session

Presidio Engagement Session | San Francisco, CA | Kelli + Lucas

Kelli and Lucas came to me by way of another one of my favorite couples, Sara and Will.  In fact, Lucas is standing in half the photos on their blog post.  I am equally excited about Lucas and Kelli’s wedding.  If there’s anything I know about this crew of friends, it’s that they surround themselves with awesome.  I expect nothing less than another amazingly beautiful, love filled, raging dance party and sing-along celebration for Kelli and Lucas!

Kelli and Lucas really wanted to get married at Cavallo Point Lodge, across the bay from the Presidio, but it was (not so surprisingly) out of the budget.  It’s a little spendy over there y’all.  Next best thing: engagement photos in the Presidio, clearly!  With a travel loving, adventure seeking, wine drinking photographer who is always willing to climb into the bushes for her clients.

I had such a blast with these two, sharing stories about half marathons and trips, both taken and future, and their November Sacramento wedding is one of the ones I’m most looking forward to this year!

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Botanical Garden Engagement

Botanical Garden Engagement | Berkeley, CA | Jane + Robbie

Jane and Robbie showed up to their botanical garden engagement session in a clown car.  Not literally, but certainly figuratively.  Jane had found these giant air beach balls that say “LOVE” on them and wanted to use them for the session.  They had blown them up ahead of time and they filled the entire back of the car.  But then, they couldn’t get them out of the car.  And then, we decided maybe it would take too long to re-inflate them.  So, in the end, the smallest of them was used and we saved the bigger ones for their wedding.  Although you can find them on the internet as the Big Love Ball, I would not recommend simply googling “love balls.”

Jane and Robbie found me on Thumbtack and I am incredibly happy we were connected.  They are totally my people: smart, engaging, social craft beer lovers.  We had a great afternoon tromping around in the Berkeley Botanical Gardens for their engagement session and then beers at one of their favorite area bars.  Their wedding was just a few weeks ago in Maryland and I’ll eventually be sharing that as well.  It was 110% representative of their personalities: laid back and relaxed with a dash of goofy fun (big love balls, anyone?).

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