Member, Professional Photographers of America

Let's Talk Cards

Cards are a great way to share your favorite photographs with your family and friends.  You can send them anytime of the year for any occasion.  We realize you have plenty of choices when it comes to cards and that is why I only order your custom cards from professional print labs.

Customized

Our most popular card that we offer is the Flat Card.  They are simple, yet sophisticated.  Flat cards are two sided cards that are completely customized based on your needs.  You can choose from a wide variety of pre-designed templates or we can design one for you that is completely unique.  No two cards are exactly alike - EVER.

Paper Choice

The options don't stop there!  There are several different types of paper for you to choose from.  They're all fabulous so there's no need to worry about choosing the wrong one.  

  • Classic Felt is one of the finest papers made and has a luxurious feel and smooth finish which create a timeless option for your cards.
  • Potato Paper in an innovative paper with rich colors made from particles of potato starch so your card has a distinctive texture.
  • Pearl Paper offers a subtle shine to your custom cards.  Although this paper is gorgeous, it is not recommended for small text as it can be difficult to read.
  • Linen Paper has a "canvas" type texture and is one of our most popular paper choices.
  • 100% Recycled Paper is made from recycled waste with a bright white matte finish.  
  • Cotton Paper is made from 100% cotton, blending old world elegance with new world sophistication.

Fast Turnaround

Your custom cards will arrive within 3 business days from the time you place your order.  There are also express shipping options (for an additional fee) if you'd like them quicker.  We have even received them in less that 24 hours!  

See for yourself just how gorgeous they are the next time you need cards!

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Introducing the Class of 2018!

Time is flying by!  The end of the 2017-2018 school year is just weeks away.  Everyone is ready for summer break, but the members of the Class of 2018 are extremely ready!  One chapter is ending and another is beginning.  Many decisions must be made.  College?  Apartment?  Roommates?  Job?  Bills?  And so many more!  

Parents will be excited, yet a little sad, and at the same time so incredibly proud.  They too have many unanswered questions which revolve around those same decisions.  

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child raising, they are unemployed.
— Erma Bombeck

To the Class of 2018, those that I had the privilege of photographing and those that I did not, I wish you the very best.  Just remember when things get tough in your adult life, what feels like the end is merely just the beginning.  

Senior year is for the tears, facing the fears, and the cheers. You find out how close you are to some and how far away you are from others. You’ll have your lasts and your firsts, then look back on it and remember it forever.
— unknown

Texas Bluebonnets!

It’s not only the state flower, but also a kind of floral trademark almost as well known to outsiders as cowboy boots and the Stetson hat. The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England and the tulip to Holland.
— Jack Maguire

Every spring many central Texas roadways and pastures are covered in beautiful blue wildflowers, the Texas bluebonnets.  Many people LOVE to have their kiddos photographs taken sitting among these gorgeous blooms and for that very reason I offer Limited Edition Bluebonnet Sessions.  These sessions are limited to four per year and can be taken at any time during the bluebonnet season.  You might be asking yourself, "Why would someone pay for a bluebonnet session when they can just take their own pictures of their kids?"  While that is true, some people want to invest in professional wall art of their little ones enjoying Texas bluebonnets.

 Sneak Peeks of our four Limited Bluebonnet Sessions in 2018.

Sneak Peeks of our four Limited Bluebonnet Sessions in 2018.

If you're interested in booking one of our four Limited Edition Bluebonnet Sessions for next year, consider signing up for our weekly emails so you'll be notified when booking begins.  

Even if you prefer to take your own bluebonnet photos of your little ones, please use caution when doing so.  You can read more about this on our blog article that was recently published in the Groesbeck Chamber of Commerce quarterly magazine or you can find it on our blog

Bluebonnet time is when the sky falls onto Texas.
— A. L. Walker

I Challenge You...

Decisions, decisions.  DSLR camera or smartphone camera?  Today's phones have awesome cameras compared to those of phone cameras just a few short years ago.  Editing those photos using apps is insanely easy!  So why do you even need an expensive DSLR camera if you already have a phone with an awesome camera?

For me, there is a difference between photos taken with a DSLR and those taken with a mobile device.  I take way more personal photos with my smartphone.  It is so much more convenient to pack around.  It's much smaller, much lighter, and much quicker.  However, when I am taking a photograph of something super important I choose to have my DSLR ready.  Why?  Well, it does take better photographs.  

Beyond this great debate, YOU make the photo beautiful...the person behind the lens is making that happen...not the camera.  Cameras are not magic.  They are machines that do what they are told to do. 

So...I challenge you to be more creative with you smartphone camera!  Use it for more than taking quick snapshots of your kiddos.  Every once in awhile play around with it's features and find beauty in something that surrounds you.  I have even compiled a short list of some tips to use during this challenge.

1.  Frame your photo.  Don't just point and shoot.  Actually put some thought into what you want the final product to look like.  Turn on the grid and frame the entire scene, not just the subject.  How do you want this to look when you post it on social media?  

2.  Lighting.  Some things to consider before you frame your photo deal with lighting.  Look around and find an area with good exposure and even lighting paying attention to avoid harsh shadows.  I've recently discovered the sky feature.  Game changer!  Use a flash to enhance the front part of your image while keeping the details of the background.  Just play around with it and have fun!

3.  Explore!  Get out and explore new areas.  When you find something that catches your eye, frame it, check your lighting, and capture it.  Imagine that you're taking the photo for the cover of a magazine.  What do you want others to see?  And make it happen!

4.  HDR.  If you're taking photos of nature or landscapes, HDR might be fun for you to experiment with.  HDR is a filter option that significantly adds more lighting and detail into your image.  Beware, this option is not often favorable when a person is your subject.

5.  Fun tricks.  Do a quick Google search for fun smartphone camera tricks.  There are a ton of them out there!  Check out this awesome video I found on YouTube!  

I hope you accept this challenge and have fun!  And remember, no matter what you use to take your photos, the most important element of a beautiful photo is the person behind the lens.

Fishin'

Karen and Keith were now engaged with a wedding date set in June of 2018!  Such an exciting time in both of their lives!  There are TONS of details to attend to - venue, dress, bridal party, food, drinks, flowers, shoes, cake, photographer (that's where I come in) - the list goes on and on it seems.  

One day Karen was talking to a good friend of mine and she mentioned her need for a photographer for the upcoming wedding.  My friend referred her to me and gave her my contact information.  I LOVE referrals!!  She contacted me and soon after I was hired.  Yay!!

I actually met Karen and Keith in March at their engagement session that was included in their wedding package.  They were so much fun to be around!  You can see the genuine love they have for one another, which just makes you want to be around them.  She informed me that they had some ideas about certain poses, or themes if you will.  They are very active in the outdoors and LOVE fishing together so they did want to incorporate fishing into the session somehow.  

karen_and_keith_engagement_smith_family_photography

Keith and Karen met at the beach, where they were encouraged to meet and exchange numbers.  Reluctantly they did meet and arranged a first date hiking at Keith's cousin's house where they looked for fossils in the creek bed.  It was such an adventure...literally!  They encountered a snake and a hornet's nest complete with four stings on that first date!  Keith asked Karen to go on a second date.  This time they would go...fishin'.  They've been seeking adventures, fishing, and just enjoying spending time with each other every since.

Keith romantically proposed one year later at the same beach where they first met each other.  They will say, "I Do," in June and I am beyond excited for them!  

Say, "CHEESE!"

School portrait day.  It's such an exciting day for the students!  They get to dress up in nice clothes, fix their hair and head off to school and anxiously await their classes turn for portraits.  Just think back to your school portrait day.  It was exciting!  And YEARS later, everyone still LOVES looking at those portraits - especially the class portraits!  There is definitely a certain amount of historic value in those and they bring back so many memories about your childhood classmates.  

As exciting as it may be, some students do find portrait day to be a tad nerve-racking.  They really aren't sure what to expect.  I find this to be true with the younger students, as well as with the shy personalities.  Rest assured that I work with the classroom teachers to make this a positive experience for everyone.

I have put together a tip sheet for parents - a guide to help prepare parents and students for portrait day.

school_portrait_day_tip_sheet

Spring portrait day is my favorite!  There are always two background choices.  I always have a very spring-like background with flowers or trees and I have another one that has a rustic theme to it without flowers.  To see the background choices for Hallsburg Elementary's 2018 Spring Portrait Day, click here.  Seeing the background choices prior to portrait day will help you plan your child's outfit for their portrait.  

Remember, school portraits are meant to be an exciting and fun experience while documenting a time in your child's life.  I also believe that these portraits should be affordable to all families with a starting price of $5.  

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate in contacting me.  

Chicks, Chicks and More Chicks!

Our Easter Mini Sessions were nearly sold out!  I'd like to think it was because everyone wanted to spend time with me...but it's a lot more likely that people wanted cute photographic memories of their little ones with CHICKS!  

As I work through all the fun images and get them ready for galleries, I can't help but have a smile on my face the entire time!  Each family created so many memories for their kids, as well as for me!  Just check out the slideshow gallery below to see for yourself.

Mini Sessions are something new I'm doing this year for holidays.  They are meant to be a fun, low cost way to have holiday themed photographs of your child.  Our next mini session event will be 4th of July themed and will take place in June.  If you'd like to be notified when booking begins, please consider signing up for our newsletter.  

Shout Out!

As a business owner I constantly rely on other businesses to help me provide the best service to my wonderful clients.  One such business owner that deserves a shout out is Angela Bailey.  She is the owner of Angela Bailey Photography in Waco, Texas.

Angela has been assisting me capture memories at weddings for the past year and I has agreed to continue to do so for 2018.  There are so many benefits to having two photographers at a wedding!  And I am reminded of that each and every time I upload her images after a wedding.  Her images add variety to mine in so many ways which enhances the collection that I give my clients.

Without further ado, meet Angela Bailey!

Hello! Nice to meet ya’ll! I’m Angela Bailey – lover of all things pretty, clearance shopping, and diet coke. I was born and raised in Waco, Texas. I moved away for a short time, but came back as fast as I could! I love (LOVE) Waco and living in Texas. I’m a wife and mom to our two sweet girls. They are my everything. I started taking photos to document the faces and events of those I love. That hobby turned into a business, and now I’m 110% hooked. Family photography is my passion – every family has a story to tell and my job is to help you tell that story. Nothing makes me happier than catching that perfect moment on camera. I love my clients and the trust they put in me. I take photos in Waco and all surrounding areas. I’m here to help with family photography, newborn sessions, headshots, weddings, and everything in-between. I look forward to working with you!

 Angela Bailey

Angela Bailey

I Loved Her First

I loved her first
I held her first
And a place in my heart will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she’d find you someday
But it’s still hard to give her away
I loved her first
— Heartland

February 10th was a HUGE day for our young daughter, Lily.  She was going on a date with her dad!  They were going to the Daddy Daughter Dance in Riesel, Texas.  

Lily was so excited when she heard about this date!  She had to go dress shopping, shoe shopping, and we couldn't forget the accessories!  Her older sister curled her hair before the big day and then we went to Groesbeck for a photoshoot.  It was truly a magical day for Lily!  And the best part was that she got to spend the entire night dancing with her dad, being treated just like a princess - just like we hope she's treated in the future.

Although the dance was a lot of fun, I feel that it taught Lily some important lessons about life and relationships.  

daddy_daughter_dance_smith_family_photography

Fathers have a HUGE impact on the lives of their daughter.  The role of the father is one of the most important in a daughter's life.  A father can set the standard for how a girl should be treated - as someone special.  Little girls seek approval and attention a lot!  If she is getting that from her father, it satisfies her needs.  If she does not receive that attention, she might seek it elsewhere.  Fathers often have busy lives due to work demands.  When a father gets to spend quality time with his daughter she is being told she is important and that her dad is making time for her and only her.  She is special and should be treated as such.

I do understand that not every little girl has a father in her life.  But every little girl can have a positive role model in their life to show them that they are special.

Creating Unique Valentine Cards

Young kids LOVE Valentine's Day!  They LOVE giving their friends and teachers cards and candy!  They LOVE their classroom party!  

As a busy mom it's super easy to buy a box of cards from the store and call it good.  But it's just so...boring.  Those cards seriously just hold the candy and will find their way to the trash can by the end of the day.  Why not make some super cute cards for your kiddos to exchange - cards that are truly unique?

I am going to share four super simple personalized Valentine card ideas that your kids' friends and teachers will LOVE!  

1.  Cut out some pink and red hearts from construction paper and tie them to strings.  Then tie the strings of hearts to an umbrella.  Add as many hearts as you'd like!  Take a photo with your kid holding the umbrella.

vday idea 1.jpg

2.  Buy a pair of inexpensive heart shaped sunglasses and have your child be a sassy model wearing them!

vday idea 2.jpg

3.  Buy inexpensive paper hearts that look like a doilies.  Then write each friends or teachers name on a heart.  This Valentine takes a little more time to prepare since they are even more personalized for each individual.

vday idea 3.jpg

4.  Make a mustache out of brown or black construction paper and take it to a popsicle stick or straw.  Your child can hold the mustache up to their face as if they are in a photo booth.

vday idea 4.jpg

With each of the above ideas you can use a free photo editing software, such as BeFunky, to add text, frames, graphics, etc to your personalized Valentine cards.  

I'd love you to share any ideas you've tried for creating personalized Valentine Day cards!

These ideas were found at:  https://www.masteringyourfancycamera.com/2018/01/15/4-adorable-and-easy-photo-valentines-for-your-kids/

Love Bugs!

Who wants adorable photographs on their little ones on fun days, such as Valentine's, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween, and Christmas?  Nearly all moms want these photographs, but they don't want to spend a lot of money on them since they are just for keepsakes.  Typically, these photographs are shared online rather than printed and placed on walls.  For this reason I am offering Themed Holiday Mini Sessions at a low price with digital images rather than prints.  

These sessions are only $40 and include your choice of three digital images.  

We had a lot of fun at our Valentine's Day Mini Sessions and we're looking forward to our upcoming Easter Mini Sessions in March!  

 These two cousins had a great time at their Valentine Mini Session!

These two cousins had a great time at their Valentine Mini Session!

Easter sessions are next and will be held outdoors with a bunny!  Pre-booking will begin on February 13th for our newsletter subscribers (so watch your email) and booking for non-newsletter subscribers will begin on February 16th.

Themed Mini Sessions Are Here!

Every year I am asked if I am going to offer holiday themed mini sessions.  I have never offered them before because I always offered holiday themed photographs at My Little Play Place for their themed parties.  However, now that My Little Play Place has closed, I feel that themed mini sessions now have a place with Smith Family Photography.

As a mother, I want photographs of my children with the various holiday themes, but I don't want a full session with lots of prints.  I just want a few prints or digital images to share online.  So that is what I decided to offer.  These themed mini sessions will include three digital images for $40 with the option to purchase additional images or prints.  We will offer the following themed mini sessions:  Valentine's Day, Easter, 4th of July, and Christmas.  We will also be offering free Halloween photos to existing clients at our FIRST ever Client Appreciation Party!

Mini Session Schedule

  • Valentine's Day :  January 20 & 21
  • Easter:  March 17 & 18
  • Fourth of July:  June 23 & 24
  • Halloween:  October 20 (existing clients only)
  • Christmas:  December 1 & 2

Booking will begin approximately 30 days prior to the event, with a special pre-booking for newsletter subscribers followed by an invitation for non-newsletter subscribers to book.

If you'd like to sign up for our newsletter and be the first to hear about special events such as these, please send me your name and email address and ask to subscribe.  

HO, HO, HOPES!

On December 19th I took photographs of kiddos and their families with Santa at a Christmas event for the HOPES program.  The smiles were contagious to say the least!  What is HOPES you might ask?

 Kenda with the HOPES program taking time to visit with Santa at the HOPES Christmas Event.

Kenda with the HOPES program taking time to visit with Santa at the HOPES Christmas Event.

The HOPES program serves families in McLennan County that have kids ranging in ages from prenatal through Kindergarten. It is a free program where the parent educators come along and support the parents with their child/children. The visits usually consist of a parent child interaction that involves items that they most likely have at their home already, child development, and overall family well being.

Children that participate in the program are better prepared for kindergarten. Once a month HOPES hosts a group connection which allows the families to come together and participate in family activities or where the parents can learn from each other.

The December group connection was focused around Christmas. We were lucky enough to have volunteers to play Santa (Richard Aleman) and take pictures (Smith Family Photography). Kenda stated that she "felt that pictures with Santa were a big deal since the majority of our families do not have the opportunity to get them done." HOPES will be printing the pictures and giving them to the families. Each child was also able to receive a gift through generous donations. HOPES was able to serve 26 families that night (almost 90 kids)!

One huge component of the program is literacy and providing board books to the families, both English and Spanish. Many of the families now read books as a family, which is something that was not done before being a part of the HOPES Program.

The HOPES program is always accepting board book donations in both English and Spanish if you'd like to donate.  If you'd like to donate books, please call Kenda at 254-732-0482.

 

With You I Am

When I meet a couple at their engagement session I learn about them - and how they feel about each other - just by watching them interact with one another.  I absolutely LOVE this part of my job!  

When I met Tobie and Chad in November of 2017, I could instantly tell how they felt about one another.  They genuinely love each other on a deep level.  They have the type of love that is full of compassion, support, respect, and encouragement.  When I asked Tobie to tell me their "story," she explained this very type of love.

tobie_and_chad_love_story

Tobie and Chad met unexpectedly in July of 2014.  Tobie was a single mother of eight month old twins, a full time college student, and she also worked part time.  One day her storage building was vandalized and had her belongings stolen.  

During this time, Chad was an investigator for the county.  Any guesses how Chad and Tobie met??  You're right!  He picked up Tobie's case!  He worked really hard to recover her belongings.  Even after most of her belongings were recovered and the case was closed, Chad continued to text Tobie.  She was focused on her twins and school at this time in her life so she had to blow Chad off several times.  However, Chad was not going to give up on Tobie.  He continued to reach out to Tobie and after a month, they finally decided to go on a date to the Prairie Hill Drag Races.  They had an amazing first date and were inseparable from that time forward.  Maybe it was love at first sight?  Fate?  Call it what you want, but they were meant to find each other.  

After six short months Chad decided to apply for the DPS Academy and Tobie applied for the OTA school.  They knew that realistically only one of them would be chosen to advance their careers at this time since only one thousand applicants are chosen for the DPS Academy and only two hundred applicants are chosen for OTA school.  Any guesses who was chosen?? 

THEY BOTH WERE!!  

Before Chad left to the academy, he purchased a home for them, even though he would not be living there while he was at the academy.  About one year later, Chad graduated the academy with Tobie in the audience supporting him.  Earlier that day she took her first final in the OTA program and drove straight to Austin to watch Chad graduate.  

After graduation from the academy, Chad was stationed in Corpus Christi for a year and a half.  Tobie and the kids saw him once a month.  Tobie says that their relationship had never been so strong.  They never doubted their future together even though it was difficult living apart.  

In April of 2017 Chad was stationed in Limestone County and Tobie graduated one month later in May.  They purchased their dream home soon after and have plenty of room for their cattle, which is a big part of Chad's family.  

Chad popped FINALLY popped the question in September of 2017 on a family outing.  They loaded up the truck and went to the river on Chad's grandparent's land.  Tobie and Chad sat on the tailgate as they watched the alligator gar with the noise of the kids playing in the background.  Tobie was taking photos of the kids as they were playing.  During this time Chad says, "Let daddy take picture with y'all," and told Tobie to turn around and count to three before she turned around to take his photo with the kids.  When she turned around, Chad was on one knee with the kids posing behind him.  Tobie caught the exact moment!  

 Chad's proposal to Tobie 

Chad's proposal to Tobie 

It was far from what most people would consider perfect, but it was better than Tobie could have ever imagined.  They were at their special spot with their three most prized possessions.  Tobie told me that they are "far from perfect, but God blessed the broken road."  She explained how they have had to endure several struggles to become what they are today.  They appreciate one another because they know what it's like to not be appreciated.  Together they make a family...a whole family.  They have kept the Lord their number one throughout all their trials and tribulations and thank him every single day for their life together.

 Chad and Tobie are engaged!

Chad and Tobie are engaged!

A Letter to All the Beautiful Mothers

I absolutely LOVE photographing people!  I love watching the way they interact with one another.  I love watching them be genuine with one another.  I love it when I can SEE how they FEEL about one another!  However, there is one thing that I do not like and that is when I hear beautiful mothers talking about how they don't like certain parts of their bodies.  You are BEAUTIFUL!

Women, sometimes men, but mainly women, put so much time and effort into planning their photo session.  They have to go shopping for the perfect outfits, bribing kiddos to cooperate (and husbands too), making sure everyone stays in a great mood, choosing a location that fits with what you have in mind for your wall art, etc.  I notice, believe me...I NOTICE.  I love that you put so much time and effort into your session before it even began!  I want nothing more than you to absolutely LOVE and CHERISH your photographs because they will last a lifetime and the generations to come will LOVE and CHERISH them as well.  

Photography is the memory of our lives.
— unknown

But...

...so many BEAUTIFUL mothers ask me to...

  • "Can you make me look skinnier?"
  • "Please hide me somewhere behind my kids."
  • "I just want photographs of my kids.  I need to lose 10 pounds before I am in them."
  • "Can I see what the photo looks like on your camera?  I hate the way I look."
  • "Photoshop me as much as possible!"

...the list goes on and on.  And it makes me sad.  This makes me sad because you can't even recognize your own beauty.  I'm not talking about being the perfect size, with perfect makeup and hair, and gorgeous clothing.  I'm talking about YOU!  I'm talking about the way you LOVE your family.  I'm talking about the way your family LOVES you.  The way your family looks at you is breathtaking!  

Life is not perfect.  It isn't meant to be.  Life is messy, yet beautiful.  Life is meant to be enjoyed.  Life is meant to be lived in moments.  Moments are meant to be photographed and documented.  

I can promise you this, I was THAT mom.  I have TONS of photographs of my kids, but where am I in these photographs??  I was hiding.  Every single time the camera came out, I ran.  I needed to lose weight.  My hair wasn't fixed.  My outfit wasn't picture worthy.  But my kids...they were adorable!  And all I think when I look at those photographs is how I miss holding them in my arms, getting slobbery kisses, giggling with them as we played, and snuggling.  I can never get that time back.  I hold onto these memories, but at some point they will be lost in my mind.  Lost for no one else to SEE.  My own kids won't even SEE us interacting with one another. 

But I'm certain that IF I did allow myself to be photographed with my children, they wouldn't look at them and laugh at my hair or outfit.  I'd like to think they would cherish those photographs because they are documenting a moment in time between us...our beautiful family.

So to all the BEAUTIFUL mothers out there...BE PHOTOGRAPHED!!  As difficult as it may be, do it for your children and your grandchildren.  You won't be sorry...I promise.  

 I stepped out of my comfort zone and was photographed.  I'm not as thin as I used to be.  My hair was not perfect.  But our foreign exchange student said it best..."I will never forget that family picture."  I am glad I am in this photograph...for my memories and the memories of my family.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and was photographed.  I'm not as thin as I used to be.  My hair was not perfect.  But our foreign exchange student said it best..."I will never forget that family picture."  I am glad I am in this photograph...for my memories and the memories of my family.

Princess Storybook Sessions

Once upon a time...

...my daughter Lily told Sadie that she was Elsa, the Ice Princess.  As I was cleaning the kitchen, listening to the girls play as they imagined they were different princesses, I suddenly had an idea!  Why not dress them up like princesses for photographs and make them a hard cover book with the images?  

I started to toss this idea around more and more throughout the summer.  I began looking at dresses.  I was convinced that the girls would love this project!  There was just one small problem.  Time.  There never seems to be enough of it when you have seven kids living in the house!  

One day, out of the blue, one of my lovely clients messaged me asking if I offered princess sessions.  Her daughter was turning four and wanted a Princess and the Frog themed birthday party so her mom thought it would be a great idea to have a special session just for the occasion.  

Immediately I said, "YES!"  This was so amazing!  I was trying to find the time to do this personal project and a client was asking me about the very same type of session!  I offered to do the session as a modeling session IF she would share the session time with Lily.  Being as sweet as she is, Tana agreed.

We met at Cameron Park with girls that looked like beautiful princesses and took lots of photographs!  They had a great time having their photographs taken like princesses, but they also enjoyed playing with each other.  

I have since decided to start offering Storybook Sessions.  These special sessions will include a Hard Cover Book of their images to cherish forever. 

...and they lived happily ever after.

Princess Storybook Session

Layla's Hard Cover Book

...and they lived HAPPILY ever after

I love weddings!  Each and every wedding I have photographed over the past three years has been completely different.  No two weddings have been the same.  The details are all different even though they might be the same in theme.  Each ceremony "feels" different.  I'm not sure how to explain this aspect of a wedding since it's just something one experiences.  Some feel more serious, while others feel more casual.  

I first met Brittany and Andrew in October of 2016 when we met in Hillsboro, Texas for their engagement session.  I knew their wedding was going to be very special based on their interactions with one another at this session.  I'll never look at a fire truck the same way again!

"Burning Love" by Elvis Presley

On October 7, 2017 I photographed the wedding of Brittany and Andrew at The Eagle Historic Warehouse in Hillsboro, Texas.  During the entire event, I couldn't help but smile.  There was so much happiness!  It just felt...different.  As the evening progressed, I had a conversation with the other photographer, Angela, and we actually discussed how HAPPY everyone was.  They smiled...a lot!  They laughed...a lot!  And they loved...a lot!  

The secret to a happy marriage is to choose LOVE everyday.
— unknown
 The bride and groom showing off their FUN personalities before their wedding!

The bride and groom showing off their FUN personalities before their wedding!

 More laughs by the happy couple!

More laughs by the happy couple!

 I absolutely LOVED the cake images!  These images sum up their relationship perfectly!  Always having fun and laughing.

I absolutely LOVED the cake images!  These images sum up their relationship perfectly!  Always having fun and laughing.

 It's official!  Game over.

It's official!  Game over.

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting in capturing the memories of the Raley Wedding.

Happily Every Masters

#HappilyEverMasters  

That was the catch phrase for a beautiful day in September.

happilyevermasters_smith_family_photography

On September 30, 2017 McKenzie and Harlie were married at the Thornton Rodeo Grounds in Thornton, Texas.  Everything about their wedding was GORGEOUS!  I heard SO many guests compliment her dress, which was absolutely BEAUTIFUL!   

 Harlie received so many compliments on her stunning wedding dress!

Harlie received so many compliments on her stunning wedding dress!

When I meet engaged couples I like to hear "THEIR" story - how did they meet, what was the first date, how did he propose, etc.  I first met Harlie and McKenzie at their engagement session in February of 2017.  At that moment I just knew their wedding was going to be spectacular!  They just had a chemistry together that others can see and feel.  It's difficult to explain, but can definitely be experienced.  

 Engagement Session - February 2017

Engagement Session - February 2017

At their engagement session I learned that they were high school sweethearts and both attended Groesbeck High School.  McKenzie was one grade above Harlie, but they were both in the same Spanish class while she was a freshman and he was a sophomore.  While they knew each other at this time, they weren't dating.  However, just as the summer began they did start dating.  One of their most memorable early dates was after Harlie's sister's softball game.  McKenzie picked Harlie up so they could hang out.  McKenzie was driving his 1992 Ford single cab pickup with a standard transmission.  While they were on the way back to Harlie's house, McKenzie said he wanted her to try to drive his truck.  Harlie, being the go-getter she is, jumped at the chance.  She stalled the truck about four times and blinded herself when she accidentally turned on the bright LED lights on the gear shifter!  She jumped out of the pickup and said she would never drive that truck again and they laughed the rest of the way to her house!  

Nearly six years later, McKenzie proposed to Harlie in their living room just a few days before Christmas in 2016.  It was a quiet proposal with just the two of them in the living room.  Harlie said is was sweet and romantic.  Just the two of them.  In their living room.  With their ugly oversized Christmas tree they chopped down a few days earlier.  It was definitely not the envisioned proposal (public with someone photographing the event), but it was definitely the perfect proposal!

 This Christmas tree was the perfect backdrop for the proposal!

This Christmas tree was the perfect backdrop for the proposal!

Harlie and McKenzie informed me that it was great being high school sweethearts for a lot of reasons, but mainly because they learned so much about each other through those high school years.  They never had to introduce those awkward puberty days to each other because they were experiencing them together!  They went on to say that it makes them feel accomplished in their relationship when they look back and see how far they've come in relation to all their friends' relationships that have ended.  They've made it this far because they communicate with each other.  COMMUNICATION IS KEY!  Harlie explained that McKenzie is terrible at communicating at times so she has to make sure she is asking questions and updating him throughout the day to keep the line of communication open.  

As I write this at the age of 39, Harlie's words are running through my mind, "Communication is key."  When McKenize is not communicating as well as she'd like, she picks up the slack and makes sure she takes the active role of initiating the conversation.  This is so important!  It's so easy to sit back when your partner is sitting back.  But we all know when both people in a relationship sit back and no one takes the wheel, a wreck is inevitable.  

So today I challenge you to take the active role in your relationship and COMMUNICATE!  

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting with capturing the memories from this special day.

We've Been Featured!

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We received an awesome email a few weeks ago from BasicInvite.com, a custom card company. 

The email said, "I wanted to reach out to you because your photos are fantastic and we would love to do a post on our blog featuring you.  BasicInvite.com is a custom card company that allows customers and photographers to instantly personalize everything from wedding invitations to holiday cards. We would be honored to be able to work with Smith Family Photography."

How exciting is that?!?  I replied and told them that I would love the opportunity to write a blog post for them.  It took me a few days to think about the topic.  I finally decided to write about our business and what we do to MAKE a session.  I used images from a session taken during this spring at Mother Neff State Park with an amazing family.  

I’m in love with your style, and all the moments you decided to share with us.
— Makenzie with BasicInvite.com

You can view the featured blog post on BasicInvite.com, which can be found here.  And while you're there, check out their awesome products!  You can save 20% by using the following code.

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A 200 Year Old Portrait

We've all heard the saying, "A picture lasts a lifetime."  But do they really?

My grandmother's favorite hobby is genealogy.  She has binders full of family trees and old photographs.  I must admit, I find these binders fascinating!  I love looking at the old photographs.  Although they differ so much from our current photographic style, they are still full of emotion.  And I can't help but wonder if my own photographs will last that long.  

There is a lot that goes into producing a photograph that will last a lifetime, such as the quality of the paper, the ink, and the elements (humidity, sunlight, etc).  As you've heard me say before, professional labs are worth the extra cost - they are worth the investment.

One of our latest products is an Art Print.  These prints are printed on fine or linen paper.  The awesome quality of Art Prints is their longevity.  They are made to last.  They will last 200 plus years with less than 8% color fade during this time.  Ah-mazing!  

And now you can try one for FREE!  After you have booked five sessions, you will receive a coupon good for one complimentary 11x14 Art Print from your next session.  I can't wait for you to experience them for yourself!  They truly are an investment for your family's memories.

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