Camp La Junta Wedding

Camp La Junta Wedding | Hunt, TX | Halie + Price

I think that almost everyone has incredibly fond memories of their time at summer camp. My best memories come not from when I was an actual camper, but from when I spent years as a camp counselor at Camp Mystic for Girls. Nestled among the cypress,  live oak, and pecan trees in the hill country of Texas, Mystic is located in camp haven along the banks of the Guadalupe River. It’s flanked by a number of other camps, some co-ed, some not.  It’s a veritable summer camp-land, with dozens of camps lining the river.

Mystic is a magical place where you eat fried chicken every Sunday and the cabins have names like Wiggle Inn and Chatter Box.  The girls remain with their initial cabin members for the duration of their camp lives. Since I was a counselor there for six years, I watched my campers grow into women and I still, to this day, keep track of many of them.  Particularly those in my first cabin ever and those who year after year, signed up to take diving with me as an activity, as Halie did.  Today, many of those young campers that I knew as 7 year olds are now getting engaged, married and starting families of their own. I feel incredibly lucky to have not only had the opportunity to be part of such rich and lifelong tradition, but then to have watched, helped create and been a part of such long lasting relationships between these women who are doing incredible things with their lives.  I couldn’t be more proud and it’s the highest honor to be asked to be their wedding photographer!

Halie’s relation to summer camps lie not just with Camp Mystic, however. Her family is tied to the nearby Camp La Junta, which for 80 years has been encouraging the growth of self-confident and independent young men through their camp traditions.  It’s a beautiful property and it provided an incredible backdrop for her wedding. Price also grew up in the area and although he and Halie went to the same high school, they didn’t reconnect until their post college years. As such, Camp La Junta was the perfect location for all their families, friends and loved ones to watch them wed.

The camp sits adjacent to Bridget’s Basket, an incredible market, bakery and farm in the area. Ingram, Hunt and Kerrville are getting kind of hip y’all!  The Market stocks artisanal items from local, regional and small US producers and carries anything you might need for a wine country weekend picnic. It offered an incredible reception venue space for a wedding! Everyone was able to dine on the lawn, dance under the string lights and watch the sunset in the warm Texas night.  It was the perfect location to close out Halie and Price’s Camp La Junta wedding!

I love the Texas hill country more than I can put into words. In addition to holding a very special place in my heart because of my summer camp ties, I just find it to be breathtakingly beautiful. The pace of life is a bit slower, not only because you can’t drive too fast because of the deer: the beer is colder, the trees seem to be extra shady, and the people have that special Texas friendliness that I love so much. I get to return in November for another summer camp wedding at Vista Camps and I am counting down the days.  Can I just lock down that Kerrville wedding photographer market and only do summer camp weddings? Because that sounds like a dream come true.

Halie and Price, I love you to the banks of the Guadalupe River and back. I can’t wait to watch your family grow!

Wedding Venue: Camp La Junta | Reception Venue: Bridget’s Basket | Florist: Showers of Flowers | Bakery: The Market at Bridget’s Basket | Catering: Rudy’s BBQ | DJ: Patrick Sifuentes | Bride’s Attire: Amsale | Grooms Attire: Marc Jacobs | Wedding Party Attire: Etsy and Marc Jacobs | Hair: Michelle Rios | Make-up: Collin Korenek

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Senior Pictures

Reasons You Should Have Senior Pictures Taken

It’s finally the time of year when the sun begins to poke its head out again and we have the types of days that lure you out to the city parks.  In addition to the sun creeping out, the retail store shelves have suddenly become lined with stuffed animals bearing a cap and gown and space for signatures and “Oh the Places You’ll Go” books out front.  Not only does this time of year signal the beginning of spring, it’s also a signal that many people are completing an educational milestone. Its graduation season.  Though people graduate throughout the year, May and June tend to be the biggest months for celebrating these accomplishments, with one of the biggest being high school graduations.

High school graduations have come with their own traditions since just about forever.  Some are ancient and over the top, but a few are worth continuing: one of which is senior pictures. Having senior pictures taken is a good idea for several reasons and most of them are extremely unselfish or vain.  So, before you think about skipping out on them, read ahead for a few reasons that you shouldn’t.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 1: The Family

Your family and close friends like having solid proof that all the love and support they have provided to the graduate over the years has actually matriculated into a finished product and a more well-developed person.  Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and even 2nd cousins have watched you grow up and it’s nice to have comparison photos throughout the years.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 2: For Practical Reasons

If you are a proper person or just someone who likes people to receive gifts for their accomplishments, you will likely send out invitations to the graduation ceremony. A nice addition to any graduation invitation is a picture of who is exactly graduating.  Many of your guests may not have seen you in some years, so including a picture will help them put a name to a now-grown-up face. If you slip and miss sending out the photos with the invitations, they can also be saved and sent with the thank you notes.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 3: To Share and Exchange with Friends

I know you may have heard this before, but it is very likely that you (or the graduate) will never see some of these high school friends again. Everyone grows up and moves to different places and chooses different paths in life, so having the ability to exchange photos makes sure they have something to show when they are telling stories about how much of a blast you guys had in physics class. 

Senior Pictures

Reason # 4: To Capture Who You Are at This Moment

As mentioned in reason number 3, you may end up going down many different roads as you progress into adulthood.  Your habits, interest and friends may change, so senior photos are a good opportunity for you to capture exactly who you are in this moment.  Has playing basketball defined your high school years?  Maybe the debate team or spanish club?  No matter what your interests are at this moment, try to capture them in your photos.  Meet your photographer at an empty basketball court and use that as a setting or bring props that have special meaning to you. Make your photo shoot representative of you.

Senior Pictures

Reason # 5: To Celebrate Your Accomplishment!

I would say the most important reason to get those senior photos done, is that it gives you the opportunity to celebrate your own accomplishment!  Finishing high school is a big deal.  We have all been there and know how crazy those 4 (or maybe 5!) years can be, but you have done it and done it well.  That deserves a celebration.  That deserves photos that you can look back on and smile or share with the future graduates that come after you.

Senior Pictures

Valentine’s Themed Birth Announcement | Cooper Family

One of the best parts of my job is that I get to collect amazing clients as friends and that often, long after I photograph them for the first time, they hire me again and again for their changing and growing families. Julia and Mark were wed in a beautiful Edgewood wedding last summer. When they decided to add onto their family this winter, the first thing they did was email me, which is the highest honor! Julia is incredibly creative and has an awesome eye for graphic design. In fact, she used to work at Minted and designed all her own wedding invitations and stationary. Her idea for the newest addition was just as inventive: a Valentine’s themed birth announcement! I was so honored to brunch with them in Berkeley and then tromp around the greens at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden to make her awesome idea come to fruition.

 

Valentine's Themed Birth AnnouncementValentine's Themed Birth Announcement Valentine's Themed Birth Announcement

 

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.