Friday, August 31, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

We'll be closed for the holiday starting this afternoon (Friday) and will re-open on Tuesday. All calls and emails will be returned at that time. Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Holiday Card Preview!

Introducing the 2007 Holiday Card collection! Sharing just a few although there are 18 cards to choose from this year, plus last year's cards are still available.
Just a reminder that Holiday Mini Sessions on October 13th are almost full. Session Fees are $125 for up to 2 people, and packages will be available. Call us ASAP if you want to grab one of the last spots.

Holiday cards are available 3 ways:
5x7 Flat Cards (printed on photo paper)
4x5 1/2 or 5x7 Fold Over cards (printed on art paper with custom greeting on the inside)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Finally as promised, your Q&A

I am caught up enough to start to answer some of the questions that have come my way over the past few weeks. Hopefully worth the wait!!

This is a mixture of questions I received both from photographers starting out and parents.

Q:How much "fixing" or actually photoshop work do you do to your photos? (maybe it is a secret). It seems that I do A LOT.....maybe too much?? I am always fixing the levels & changing it from color to bw. I am also always cropping the picture to get that "angel look".....But am not very good at it I am afraid...Sure it just takes a lot of practice. Anyways, wish I lived closer to you, I could be your next intern! You do FANTASTIC work!
A: Yes my photoshop work is top secret classified. Next question.

Kidding! Seriously when I first started out I had the compulsion to do tons of PS work on each and every picture. I quickly learned that just because you can doesn't mean that you should; At least, not for me and my style of photographs. I have learned over the years to get the best possible in-camera results and just use PS to crop and "tweak". I will typically crop all proofs to 5x7 dimensions, and add more contrast and get the exposure right with levels. Other than that I sharpen with unsharp mask only before printing or posting on the web, and that is it.

Q: I love receiving your updates, and I do have a question for you :) When taking photos, my biggest problem is not knowing what to say to people when snapping to get a natural look out of them. Everything I read just says to keep it light and humored, but when in the spot, I'm not sure how to carry this out? I would love to hear how you get some of your priceless faces as a lot of people are uncomfortable in front of the camera.
A: Every family and child is different, but I do have a few sure-fire tricks to getting different expressions. Peek a boo from behind the camera works with babies almost everytime. (my baby planners are all nodding their heads right now) I'll also play peek a boo with big kids who think they are too cool for me, just to crack that 'real' smile. I have to do that with my own 8 year old son incidentally! With kids I just get to know them and get them talking about their lives, their expressions will turn natural when they forget they are being watched. Just remember that generally, most people are not comfortable in front of a camera, so turn the tables on them and act like a fool so that they become conscious of you and not themselves. Talking to you or each other=good, uncomfortable silence=bad.

Q: Do you shoot RAW or JPEG? What is your reasoning behind your choice?
A:Jpeg, mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to mess with RAW, but also because I feel at this point like I have perfected my exposure and color correcting. RAW is great when you are just starting because if you mess up your color or exposure by a couple of stops, you can fix it. I've never used it and I know lots of photographers out there sware by it, but I heart JPEG.

Q: How do you convert your digital images from color to black and white? Of all the digital b/w images I have come across, yours look the most like film.
A: Thank you Molly! I worked a long time to find that "perfect" BW look in photoshop, and I'm a real snob about black and white images since I learned photography the old fashioned way, processing my own film in a black room. Basically without getting into all the nitty gritty details, I use the channel mixer tab, select the "lightness" channel, and then adjust the contrast from there. When I'm tweaking my images I make sure skin has lots of highlights in levels. My college professor always taught me that a perfect b/w image has a nice mix of white whites and deep blacks.

Q: I just bought a Canon 5D and love it. I want more than anything to do what you do and I want to take clients someday. How do I make the move from friends and family to real clients?
A: If you're a photographer just starting out in this business, my best advice is to pay your dues and know your stuff inside and out before you start charging. When I say know your stuff, I don't mean you can take a picture that your family and friends like. I mean know your camera from the inside out, understand Photoshop and how to use it, understand lighting, develop your style, and that is just the photography part. To run a successful business you need a business plan-a set of goals for yourself. You also need to understand basic accounting or hire a bookkeeper, set up a sales tax permit, file a business license, know how to market yourself, and provide customer service that is specific to the market you want to work in. It took me four long years of portfolio building, classes, unpaid internships, and practice before I felt comfortable charging even close to what I charge now, and you owe it to your clients to be knowledgeable and professional before you take their money. Go to workshops, intern with another photographer, take business classes, build your portfolio--and the business will come when you are ready!

I hear horror stories on a weekly basis from clients who contact me after going to someone with a webpage who claimed to be a professional, but the pictures they got back were atrocious or the customer service was awful, or they just plain got ripped off. Avoid the bad PR that you will no doubt incur by knowing your stuff inside and out before you get out there- It will be worth it in the long run!

Q: Are you ever going to have those parent workshops you promised us?
A: Yes! I was completely overwhelmed at the demand for the workshops and decided that I wanted to put them off until I could devote my complete attention to them. I am looking at a date in January or February when things are slow for me and families are not on vacation. I will keep you updated-if you would like the latest info on those emailed to you, please make sure you are on my list of interested parties-

Q: What software do you use for your slideshows? Amazing work! Your an inspiration!
A: I use Pics2Exe, and thank you!

Q: You seem to really love what you do and have a natural ability with children, what is your background?
A: Before I was a photographer, I was a preschool teacher and director for 5 years, and of course, have 8 years experience as a mom. My college major was elementary education. And I can't imagine doing anything else, and thank God every single day that I have been so incredibly blessed with this gift and the circumstances to live my dream!

Q: What do you do to pass the time when you are proofing? Thanks and I love reading your blog everyday!
A: Sometimes I set up my laptop next to my monitor and watch movies or ABC online (old episodes of LOST or Desperate Housewives) , but most of the time I rely on on good ol' Itunes to pass the time. I also have a large list of blogs I keep up with when my pictures are batching. The blogs I read are a wide range, from friends and family to mom blogs to other photographers to business and marketing to celebrity gossip.

Thanks again for the questions and keep sending them! I know I have missed a few but my eyelids that have been open since 5AM are not cooperating with me anymore!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Back to school! What a day.

Today is a whirlwind of emotions for moms across the state as our elementary aged kiddos head back to school.

I remember my son's first day of Kindergarten...I cried for a week or so and was really honestly depressed for awhile. He was so happy and loved it, but the transition was really hard for me. So this goes out to all you mommies out there who had to send your baby to Kindergarten today. It's rough! I have one more year before my middle child goes to Kindergarten and even the thought of that makes me feel ill.

But then there are the moms who have done this before and spent the entire summer counting down the days until their bored-to-tears constantly-needing-entertainment-school-aged kids headed back to school, and yes, I'll admit to being in this category. Although my son, who is now in THIRD grade (I still have to say it out loud to believe it) began riding his bike to school this year and that has been a bitter pill to swallow. As of now I'm still following him on foot, and eventually will probably move up to stalking I mean following him in my car. Not sure if or when I'll be ready to let him do it alone!!

That being said I need to let everyone know that my schedule is packed beyond belief for the next 2-3 weeks. Aside from the normal pre-Holiday rush, I have three different children starting at three different schools this year. This means three Meet the Teachers, three parent orientations, three classroom visitations, three first days of school, and none of them are at the same time, just nice and spread out over a 2 1/2 week period. So if I am difficult to reach, I apologize in advance as I am probably somewhere avoiding the "Volunteer sign up sheet" at one of my children's schools (can one of you please tell them how busy I really am??)

And finally a sneak peek for two of my sweet Baby Planners, who both had their second of four sessions with me last weekend!
First up, may be the most photographed entryway in the entire universe. Not only do we use it for Robin and her clan, but we even borrow it for Robin's friends (stay tuned next time for an awesome maternity session shot here!) Why, do you ask, do we always use the entryway? Aside from the beautiful hardwoods, it just has the greatest natural light! Baby girls must have tutus!

And next is a rough and tough baby boy who knows how to turn it on for the camera!
And here's Grandma and Grandpa, sitting on the front porch rockin', reminiscing about the good ol' days! (or, it's his cousin who also just joined the Baby Plan! Yay for me!!)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Mommy wanted to show you my first steps...

...but I had other plans. She's always following me around with that camera and I just can't take it anymore.

First she took me to the back patio but I was just too interested in the patterned brick to stand up...
Then she decided to take me out front. I love to make her crazy so I immediately started to walk when I saw that her camera settings weren't ready yet...She picked me back up, stood me up and told me to try again, because now her camera settings were right, but I just looked at her like she was nuts. You snooze, you lose, you know??My poor Mommy looked a little frazzled at this point so I decided to flash her this quick smile before I had a complete meltdown.
She says we'll try again tomorrow. We'll just see about that!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Tonight I had the absolute pleasure of photographing a really fun couple who are celebrating their engagement...the bride-to-be happens to be my cousin! I couldn't wait to come home and post these for her to see. Alex, welcome to the family--I love how happy Michelle is when she's with you, and it definetly shows!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Calling all little models!

Now we all know that I have the absolute most BEAUTIFUL and HANDSOME clients in the entire world, right? Well here is your chance to have some fun with it!

Little Heiress has been asked to perform a fashion show at the Junior League of Plano's annual extravaganza in November, and they are looking for models!

Auditions for the show will be held on August 31st and September 7th at Little Heiress. Call the store at 214-432-1612 and reserve your audition and to get further details. They need boys, sizes 24 months to 4T and girls, sizes newborn to 16.

At the auditions, Little Heiress will be photographing your child and have them walk a make-shift runway.

I will see you guys there, you know I'm getting my own little models in on this :)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fresh from Heaven

All my moms with newborns know that everytime I come to do a session with one, I start in with the whole, "Well, maybe I should have just ONE more...." and it sure doesn't help things when they are this precious. I have a million that I want to share but these will have to do for now.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Another year rushes by.

I'm sure that's how it feels to Mom and Dad (I can totally sympathize!) The baby who had Dad choked up (and all of us, in turn) a year ago is now celebrating his first birthday, and in style I might add! Check out the faux-hawk on this little charmer:
And we were able to complete our "couch" series, check out what a difference a year makes:

1 week old

6 months old

1 year old And here are "the guys" together, it is so neat to see how much their love has grown and developed over the past year. Their shot together last year is my most asked about image!

And all you Plano moms and dads must stop by Dad's gym ( and tell him what a mini-celebrity he is (and while you're at it, check out the's awesome!)
Tons of sneak peeks coming in the next couple of days, stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

She's 10 months old now

Photography by the soon to be famous Michael Silvestre, age 8 (and you all can say you knew him when)
I haven't been posting much because I've been about 10 sessions behind in proofing thanks to my vacation, but starting to come up for air. Sneak peeks coming soon for all of you.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Heart Gallery of North Texas

Please be sure and stop by North Park Mall in the next couple of weeks and see the North Texas Heart Gallery display, located just outside of Dillards next to the large fountain. I had the amazing opportunity to take pictures of some of the children waiting to be adopted in this area.

The Heart Gallery of North Texas is a photo exhibit of children waiting for an adoptive family. The gallery provides a photographic journey into the essence of the children's hearts, all who are anxiously waiting and looking for families to nurture, love and care for them. It is featured at special events in the community throughout the year.

You will never be the same after you see the faces of these awesome kids! The Heart Gallery will be displayed at North Park Mall through August 18th.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Back but buried

We're back...just at quick glance I have a million emails and phone calls to return tomorrow, so I'll be returning them all as soon as possible. Thank you so much for your patience with me.

Ever felt like you needed a vacation from your vacation??

The only shot I've pulled since we've been's almost painful to look at.
I took this shot at Chankanaab, the Quintana Roo state park located in Cozumel. In case you are wondering, I set the camera up on a table behind us, focused on my husband, and used the self timer. I may look relaxed but the truth is that I had just run across the hot sand and plopped into the hot wooden chair a millisecond before the timer went off...but it's an accurate representation of the rest of our vacation. The pineapples are cleverly packaged pina coladas served to us while we listened to mariachis serenade us and declared Cozumel to be Heaven itself. Hopefully more shots to come later.