Member, Professional Photographers of America

S'mores

I still remember the day I met you and smile because it was the best day of my life.
— unknown

Brad and Oryenne…best friends throughout high school in Riesel, Texas. They were voted as the most musical guy and gal their senior year. They were also announced as the Band Beau and Sweetheart their senior year. When everyone looked at them they knew they’d be a couple. Someday. In fact, many believed they were actually a couple already!

2017 - Senior Session between best friends

2017 - Senior Session between best friends

During this best friend senior session of their senior year of high school, they found “their tree” on the banks of the Navasota River in Limestone County. You can read more about the “Friendship Tree” here. A year and a half later, they’d meet again at “their tree” on their way to another photo session together.

2018 - A quick stop to visit “their tree” on their way to their camping themed session

2018 - A quick stop to visit “their tree” on their way to their camping themed session

In late 2018, Brad and Oryenne are finally an “official” couple. They wanted a fun session together as a couple so I suggested a camping themed session centered around them making S’mores. They only had one request. They wanted to actually make REAL S’mores with a REAL fire. Easy enough!

Life is S’more fun with you!
— Anna Johnson Smith

Mike and Mysti: A Wedding Proposal

For years now I have wanted to photograph a wedding proposal! And I finally had the opportunity to do so on December 22, 2018 in Mexia, Texas.

Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So, today is my new favorite day.
— unknown

One day I decided to post a simple ad on Facebook that stated I was looking for someone that would be proposing to the love of their life within the coming weeks. Within a very short amount of time I was contacted by one of my favorite client’s that informed me that her daughter’s boyfriend was going to propose to her daughter on December 22nd and asked if she could pass my information along to him. Of course I said she could! A few minutes went by and my phone rang. It was Mike, the daughter’s boyfriend! He was very interested in working together to create a unforgettable proposal that would be recorded in still photographs, as well as captured on video. Through these still photographs and video clips a slideshow would be produced for them to keep forever.

Mike informed me that Mysti really wanted professional portraits taken of them with holiday decorations in the background. That is where I came into the plan! We had a beautiful location chosen by the river, however Mysti had to work late that day. In fact, she didn’t get off work until nearly 5:30! By the time she would be ready for a portrait session it would be pitch black outside. We decided the river would not work due to the absence of light and decided to find a location in downtown Mexia. As I drove around I discovered a street that was super cute and had holiday decorations, with one storefront (Sassy Sisters, a boutique store) particularly decorated AND they even had a porch light turned on! I snapped a few photos and sent them to Mike for his approval. He thought it was perfect and then brought the ring to me so I could put it in it’s secret place.

The secret place was on a Christmas tree in plain sight near a peppermint ornament that was hanging on the tree. I figured Mysti wouldn’t notice it since she would be facing my way for the portraits and she was a tad irritated having to work so late. I made sure to snap a photo with the ring behind them in plain sight and then it was time to put the plan into place. I looked at Mike and he slowly stepped away from Mysti and got down on one knee as she was turning around to look at the tree after I asked her, “What is that in the tree?” She didn’t notice the ring right away and needed a bit more pointing from me, but she still did not notice Mike on his knee either! Suddenly, she noticed the ring and was so elated!

This experience was so much fun! In fact, I think I’m addicted! I’m a sucker for a good love story and Mike and Mysti’s love story is definitely one of my all time favorites!

Special thanks to Sassy Sisters Boutique in downtown Mexia, Texas for the use of your front porch and holiday decorations!

Christmas Mini Session Recap

This past year we introduced holiday themed mini sessions. We offered Easter, Fourth of July and Christmas themed mini sessions and I met a lot of wonderful families at each one. In fact, we enjoyed ourselves so much that we plan on offering many more in 2019! We still plan on keeping them short and sweet, but the products offered for each theme will vary. And that excites me so much more than handing over digital images since I am a product based photography studio!

We are still in the planning stages, however I’m not only thinking themed holiday sessions, but what about a session for your favorite fur baby? The sky is the limit and I’m ready for an even better year in 2019!

We wrapped up 2018 with two days of Christmas Mini Sessions, one day took place in Waco and the other day took place in Groesbeck. Both were beautiful locations!

Here’s to an even bigger and better 2019!

We’d love to hear your ideas for 2019! Please feel free to drop us a comment and let us know what you’d love to see offered!

Over the Years: The Craven Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Craven Family

Meet the Craven Family! I first met the Craven Family several years ago when I transferred two of my children to Hallsburg ISD. My son was in fifth grade with their son. Those two became friends and through that friendship our families became friends. We have LOTS in common since we both have large families! From the very first year of being in business, the Craven Family has been photographed by me. They have participated in several of our mini sessions as well as family sessions. Each session is full of laughs and no matter how long we go without seeing each other, the conversation will always pick up right where it left off. They have been there several times when I needed help and I am blessed to call them my friends. Through the years our kids have grown and although that makes me a little sad, I look forward to their future.

2014 - Fall Mini Session

2014 - Fall Mini Session

2014 - Halloween Mini Session (We STILL laugh about this photo!)

2014 - Halloween Mini Session (We STILL laugh about this photo!)

2014 - Candy Cane Mini Session

2014 - Candy Cane Mini Session

2014 - Family Session

2014 - Family Session

2015 - Senior Session

2015 - Senior Session

2015 - Valentine Mini Session

2015 - Valentine Mini Session

2015 - Easter Mini Session

2015 - Easter Mini Session

2015 - Fairy Imagination Session

2015 - Fairy Imagination Session

2015 - Fall Mini Session

2015 - Fall Mini Session

2016 - Family Session

2016 - Family Session

2017 - Senior Session

2017 - Senior Session

2018 - Family Session

2018 - Family Session

TWELVE sessions, y’all! The Craven Family has supported me from the very beginning and for that I am very grateful. Friends such as the Craven’s are a rare gift and I am blessed that I can honestly call them “my friends.”

Always take note of who supports you genuinely. Those are the people you should always keep around.
— unknown

THIS IS THE FIFTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

  4. The Dale Family

Over the Years: The Dale Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Dale Family

Meet the Dale Family! This family is filled with so much love…so much in fact that they have fostered several kiddos over the past few years. The Dale Family is truly generous and always willing to lend a helping hand whenever needed. In fact, several years ago my vehicle broke down on the way to drop my kids off at school. Michelle saw us and stopped to ask how she could help. She actually took our kids to school for us so we could figure out to do with our vehicle! I photographed their family for the first time in 2014 at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place in Cameron Park, Waco, Texas. Since that time I have photographed members of their family four more times and I have photographed seven of their foster children as well. Looking back at the photographs from their sessions over the years it is hard to believe how much their children have grown! I absolutely love being their family photographer! I love meeting the little ones that they foster and treat as their own! I look forward to many more years of capturing the memories of their family, as well as the little ones that feel safe and secure during their time with the Dale Family!

2014 - Family Session at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place. Look how little those two kiddos are!

2014 - Family Session at Miss Nellie’s Pretty Place. Look how little those two kiddos are!

2016 - Imagination Session. A young Ashley - she has always been super animated and creative!

2016 - Imagination Session. A young Ashley - she has always been super animated and creative!

2017 - Family Session. And just like that the Dale Family grew by one!

2017 - Family Session. And just like that the Dale Family grew by one!

2017 - One Year/Cake Smash Combo Session. Caleb is ONE!

2017 - One Year/Cake Smash Combo Session. Caleb is ONE!

2018 - Family Session. Look how much those adorable kids have grown! This session was bittersweet. It was the first “family session” they had in which they included their foster children (not pictured).

2018 - Family Session. Look how much those adorable kids have grown! This session was bittersweet. It was the first “family session” they had in which they included their foster children (not pictured).

The Dale Family are among my favorite clients! The are genuinely caring and absolutely selfless. Within a few months after their latest family session, the foster children they included in the session would leave their home. This was incredibly tough for the entire family, including the foster children. On the very day the foster children left, they were asked to take new foster children into their home. On this particular day Michelle wrote, “The need never stops. There's always another kid that needs you, that needs a safe place to land for a little while. Today my heart hurts for the ones that just left us, but I also wonder what happened to the ones that needed someone yesterday. We didn't have it to give and I pray that someone else was ready and willing.” And THAT is why they are among my favorite clients.

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion.
— unknown

THIS IS THE FOURTH FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

  3. Tana and Layla

Over the Years: Tana and Layla

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

TANA AND LAYLA

Meet Tana and Layla, the gorgeous mother and daughter that I am lucky enough to photograph every year since 2015! At that time Layla was so little, just two years old! She was so full of energy and really made us work for each and every shot! Since that first session at Tonkawa Falls in 2015, I have captured their incredible bond in four other sessions. Layla is now five and has the same beautiful smile as she did when I first met her! This year’s session was a little different for them. And Layla was a little jealous. This year’s session included Tana’s fiance, Guthrie, in some of the poses. The two will soon be married and Layla is still trying to learn how to share her mommy. I absolutely love being their family photographer and I am looking forward to many more years of capturing their memories!

2015 - Family Session. An adorable two year old, Layla.

2015 - Family Session. An adorable two year old, Layla.

2016 - Family Session. This session was so sweet! Like momma, like daughter…absolutely stunning!

2016 - Family Session. This session was so sweet! Like momma, like daughter…absolutely stunning!

2017 - Fairytale Session. Layla had a birthday approaching and it was going to be Princess and the Frog (her favorite) themed so she had a session where she dressed up and posed like Tiana.

2017 - Fairytale Session. Layla had a birthday approaching and it was going to be Princess and the Frog (her favorite) themed so she had a session where she dressed up and posed like Tiana.

2017 - Family Session. For this session they ventured out to Limestone County for a rustic session at the family ranch.

2017 - Family Session. For this session they ventured out to Limestone County for a rustic session at the family ranch.

2018 - Family/Engagement Session. Layla is a little jealous about having to share her mom nowadays!

2018 - Family/Engagement Session. Layla is a little jealous about having to share her mom nowadays!

Tana and Layla (and Guthrie) are the PERFECT clients! They value photography and understand the importance of capturing the memories of their family over the years. We are comfortable around each other, which really shines in their images. Days after this session I saw a job posting Tana posted and at that time I had two kids (adult kids) looking for jobs. I sent them her way and she put them to work! I can’t thank her enough for that. Seriously!

Let what you love be what you do.
— Rumi

THIS IS THE THIRD FEATURED FAMILY IN THE "OVER THE YEARS" SERIES.  CHECK OUT OUR OTHER FEATURED FAMILIES!

  1. The Wier Family

  2. The Lopez Family

Over the Years: The Lopez Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."  

The Lopez Family

Meet the Lopez Family! I first met the Lopez family in 2016 when they booked a spring session when the bluebonnets were blooming close to the Easter holiday. Even though this session took place over two years ago, I remember it vividly. They are an incredibly beautiful family - inside and out! I learned an important lesson during this session. Be prepared for what could happen if you pose a family under a tree. One word. Birds! After that incident I thought for sure they’d never book another session with me again, but I’m grateful they did! In fact, they book at least one session each year! And I love each and every one of them! I love capturing these kids grow. I love capturing their changing personalities. I am beyond blessed that we crossed paths and I have been chosen to be their family photographer. Here’s to many more years of capturing memories!

2016 - Family Session. I learned two important things this session. Be mindful of birds in trees. And little Ricky LOVES his baby blanket!

2016 - Family Session. I learned two important things this session. Be mindful of birds in trees. And little Ricky LOVES his baby blanket!

2017 - Family Session. I learned that some days, two year old boys do NOT want anything to do with family portraits!

2017 - Family Session. I learned that some days, two year old boys do NOT want anything to do with family portraits!

2018 - Family Session. Seriously?!? Look at how gorgeous these kiddos are!

2018 - Family Session. Seriously?!? Look at how gorgeous these kiddos are!

And they already have another session booked for December! Can’t wait to see them again!

For the past few years now I have captured memories for the Lopez Family. And each session has been full of laughs. I love having such loyal clients that are comfortable with me and likewise I am comfortable with them. When we meet for our session we can pick up the conversation exactly where we left off the year before. We have built a relationship that is priceless.

The only way to do great work is to love what you do.
— Steve Jobs

This is the second featured family in the "Over the Years" series.  Check out our other featured families!

  1. The Wier Family

Strong As An Oak

September 22, 2018 was the first official day of fall. The PERFECT day for a wedding - especially for a bride that loves all things fall! And the weather on this particular day definitely felt like fall! It was very cool, with a light breeze. The sky was filled with clouds, but the rain stayed away. It felt like a crisp, fall day at Vintage Oaks Ranch in Axtell, Texas.

When I first met Tobie and Chad at their engagement session in November of 2017 I knew they were meant for each other. They just had “that” connection.

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. - With You I Am, blog about their engagement session

A collage of images from  Tobie and Chad’s engagement session.

Their wedding day was filled with just as much love for one another! I don’t know how else to explain it other than contagious. You just look at them and you can’t help but smile.

bride blog smith-family-photography
groom blog smith-family-photography

The ceremony took place at Vintage Oaks Ranch in Axtell, Texas and began at 6:30 pm. And just as you would imagine, it was filled with emotions…which included happy tears.

ceremony blog smith-family-photography
Mr. and Mrs. Walker!

Mr. and Mrs. Walker!

Even Tobie’s grandmother was included in the day in a very special way.

Even Tobie’s grandmother was included in the day in a very special way.

Tobie and Chad, I am beyond honored that you asked me to help capture the memories on your special day. Marriage is a journey that goes much further than your beautiful wedding. This was just the beginning of the path you’ll travel together as you overcome obstacles and weather the storms together - forever. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!

forever blog smith-family-photography

Vendor Credits

Venue: Vinatge Oaks Ranch, Axtell, Texas

Coordinator: Kaylen Dunks

Florist: Penny Lenamon- owner of Rusty Rose

Cake: Simply Delicious Bakery

DJ: Johnathan and Christina Price

Makeup and hair : Susana Rocha and Laura

All dresses: Georgio’s 

Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse

Officiant: Jimmy Cotton

Invitations: Flatt Stationers

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the memories for Tobie and Chad!

All Eyes On Us

The week leading up to the wedding of Jack and Bailey on Saturday, September 15, 2018 was filled with tons of rain. The forecast was even calling for high rain chances for that Saturday. As the week crept by, those high rain chances slowly begin to decrease. As everyone continued to cross their fingers, Saturday arrived and those rain chances were pretty much gone. The sun was shining and it was a perfectly calm day. It was a picture perfect day - literally!

That Saturday at 6:30 pm, under clear skies, Jack and Bailey would say, “I Do,” at the beautiful Wind Dancer Retreat in Bryan, Texas.

Jack and Bailey first met...

...in Corpus Christi at work.  Bailey was working as an office manager and Jack was one of the vendors.  He delivered goods to her workplace for a month or two and he would always ask Bailey what there was to do in Corpus.  Bailey noticed that Jack was always very polite.  Bailey's best friend noticed (and insisted) that Jack was interested in Bailey, however Bailey just thought that Jack was being professional by creating small talk.  This continued for several weeks until one day he was in his truck and asked Bailey if he could take her to do dinner.  Bailey told him that he could IF, and only if, he could remember her phone number and she shouted her number to him as he sat in his truck.  

Bailey did not expect Jack to remember her phone number.  He was sitting in his truck and she shouted it to him rather than writing it down for him or allowing him to write it down. But Jack did remember her number!  He sent Bailey a text about an hour later which said, "You owe me dinner ma'am."  

That same evening Bailey replied to Jack's message and told him that she was caught up at work and would not be able to make time for dinner with him, even though she was actually at home.  

The following week Jack showed up to deliver goods at Bailey's workplace and he asked her if she would make time for dinner with him.  Again, Bailey said that she would.  However this time she actually did go to dinner with him.  They drove to three different places before finding a restaurant with good customer service.  They enjoyed dinner and laughed...a lot!  

Over the next few months they continued talking casually.  One weekend Bailey decided to travel with Jack for a weekend trip to visit his parents.  They met his parents at Texas Roadhouse (THEIR place to eat) and then went to the family ranch, where Jack showed Bailey around.  Jack had Bailey put on some torn up dirty overalls and they began working on the ranch.  Bailey had a great time!  It was completely different than her life in Arizona.  

Eventually Jack asked Bailey to move in with him and ever since they have been inseparable.  

One day Jack surprised Bailey…

with a shopping trip for a fancy dress.  Jack would not tell Bailey why she needed the fancy dress.  The next day Jack told Bailey that they were going to dinner that night and she had to be ready at 5:00 sharp...and she HAD to wear the new fancy dress.  Bailey joked about dressing up for dinner at Texas Roadhouse!  Jack laughed and told her to get ready.

At 5:00 Jack told Bailey that it was time to go and she headed to the garage as she normally did.  Jack told her to just use the front door.  After all, "It's easier," he said.  Bailey questioned Jack about this as she walked out the front door and saw a limo waiting for them.  Bailey was so excited and began to get tears in her eyes.  They enjoyed the limo ride to Del Friscos Steakhouse in Houston, a beautiful restaurant with an amazing view.  They enjoyed a delicious dinner, even though Bailey noticed that Jack was acting...different.  Jack told her that he loved her and would continue to love her forever and he would do everything he had to in order to give their family a good life.  He went on to say that it was not the right time to get married because they weren't stable enough yet, but he just wanted her to know that she was his world.  

When they finished their meals, they decided to order dessert.  Bailey ordered cheesecake since that is their favorite dessert.  Jack left to the restroom and was gone for awhile.  When he returned Bailey told him that she didn't know it took 20 minutes to bring out dessert.  About this same time the dessert arrived...and it said, "Will you marry me?" Bailey began to panic because she was sure that the waiter brought them the wrong plate!  She looked at Jack to tell him how embarrassing it was that they brought the wrong plate to their table and saw Jack on one knee with a ring.  Bailey jumped into his arms as she cried and said, "YES!"  She gave him her right hand instead of her left hand!   

You can read more about Jack and Bailey’s engagement here.

jack-and-bailey-engagement-session-smith-family-photography

Special Note to the Newlyweds

Jack and Bailey, I wish you both a lifetime of happiness. The amount of love and respect you both show each other throughout your words, as well as actions towards one another is so calming to all those that surround you. You both have tons of love and support from your families and that is absolutely priceless. Kaden is truly blessed to have such wonderful parents and grandparents in his life!

Vendor Credits

Venue: Wind Dancer Retreat, Bryan, TX

Coordinator: Shana Wells

Florist: University Flowers

Linens: Party Time Rentals

Cake Artist: Dianna Brannan

Caterer: C & J Barbeque

DJ: Downtown Entertainment

Make-Up and Hair Artist: Naturally Flawless

Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal

Bridal Gown: VIP Bridal

Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse

Officiant: Floyd Stanley

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the memories for Jack and Bailey!

Over the Years: The Wier Family

The other day I was talking to my favorite person (my grandma Jo) on the phone and we ended up talking about the career paths we chose.  She was a nurse for most of her adult working years and I was an elementary school teacher for five years until I decided to resign and begin my photography business.  She told me there have been times when she thought about doing something besides nursing, but looking back now she couldn't imagine doing anything else.  She LOVED nursing!  Then she asked me what I career I would have chosen if I could start all over again.  As I thought, I honestly couldn't think of any other career choices I would have made.  

I loved teaching, but I didn't love the confines of teaching.  I loved that no two days were ever the same.  I loved having to adapt and be flexible throughout the day as different situations arose.  I loved the students and coworkers.  But I did not love the schedule.  I felt very confined.  When I decided to resign I immediately felt a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I could now breathe freely.  

I absolutely LOVE being a photographer!  I love nearly everything about it - besides paying taxes.  I love making my own schedule.  I love creating wall art for families that will be treasured for years to come.  I love it when clients tell me that my work captures so many emotions.  But most of all I love meeting new people and connecting with them!  I love to capture them year after year and create beautiful wall art that showcases their family!  For this reason I have decided to begin a series which focuses on my loyal clients over the years titled, "Over the Years."

The Wier Family

Meet the Wier Family!  I first met the Wier Family in 2014 at my first ever fall mini session/pumpkin patch mini session event.  At this time they had one gorgeous daughter and one handsome son.  I had such a great time with them and I hoped they would schedule a future session with me...and they did.  In fact they scheduled many more sessions with me since that time.  Just take a look at how much their family changed over the years!  And look how much my photography changed as well!

2014 - Fall Pumpkin Patch Mini-Session

2014 - Fall Pumpkin Patch Mini-Session

2015 - Easter Mini-Session

2015 - Easter Mini-Session

2015 - Halloween Mini-Session

2015 - Halloween Mini-Session

2015 - Fairy Session

2015 - Fairy Session

2016 - Fairy Session

2016 - Fairy Session

2017 - Newborn Session

2017 - Newborn Session

2018 - Family Session

2018 - Family Session

For four years now I have captured memories for the Wier Family.  That is just amazing!  And I am so incredibly happy that they finally had a family session with me!  When I schedule a session with them, they already know what to expect from me.  We can easily carry on conversations.  I know their children.  Everything is just so smooth!  

The Wier Family is a perfect example of WHY I love my job.  

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
— Confucius

Miracles

September 1, 2018 was a beautiful day for a wedding for William and Victoria! After a very long, dry summer in Central Texas, the area suddenly began receiving rain. Isolated showers were in the forecast and the clouds began to build, but the clouds parted which gave way for the sun to shine brightly for their outdoor ceremony at the Knob Creek Chapel in Temple, Texas.

hammond-wedding-smith-family-photography-texas

Victoria and William met online and had their first date on January 16, 2015 at the Farm House Restaurant in Mexia, Texas. After dinner the two laid under the stars in a pasture as they listened to music and enjoyed each others company.

They continued to get to know each other over the next few months and then something unexpected happened. On July 7, 2015, at the young age of 22, William had a brain aneurysm. He was in a coma for two weeks in the Intensive Care Unity at Temple Baylor Scott and White Memorial. Slowly he healed by the grace of God, family support and the dedication from the medical staff.

After nearly a month, on Victoria’s birthday, William spoke for the first time since the aneurysm. William told Victoria that he loved her! One week later he was discharged to Austin Neurological Rehabilitation where William had to learn how to walk, talk, write and eat again since he lost the ability to do these activities after he suffered multiple strokes from his brain injury.

In October of 2015 William finally returned home. Each day he continues to improve. He now attends Texas State Technical College and is enrolled in the Aviation Mechanics Program. Victoria was inspired to become a nurse so she enrolled in the McLennan Communtiy College Nursing Program. She graduated in May of 2018 and now works at Baylor Scott and White Hillcrest in Waco.

William proposed on June 3, 2017 outside of Leakey, Texas by the Frio River in front of the mountains. Victoria would soon become a stepmother to William’s five year old daughter, Alaya, and she couldn’t wait! Victoria says that Alaya is a blessing to both of them and it is a true blessing to have her in their lives.

William and Victoria continue to further their education and commitment to each other…and to Alaya.

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the special details and memories on this extraordinary day!

A Change is Comin'

Smith Family Photography is a Central Texas based portrait photographer serving Waco, Mart, Groesbeck, Mexia and the surrounding areas. We strive to provide a fun, modern, and creative photography experience while creating wall art that showcases your family.
— Anna Johnson-Smith of Smith Family Photography

Smith Family Photography has been a business for over 4 years now.  When I decided to open this business I had one vision, which was to provide families with meaningful portraits that would be displayed as pieces of art and treasured for generations.  You can read more about my "why" here.  However, over this past summer I began evaluating my business just as I do every single summer and for some reason, it hit me smack dab in the middle of the forehead!  My goal never changed over the years, BUT I wasn't providing my clients with the experience to meet this goal either.  It was so obvious!  Why didn't I see this in the beginning?

Every single year until now we have had a session fee that was not dependent on the amount of people included in the session.  This will remain the same as it is a big pet peeve of mine when large families are priced higher than small families.  This session fee includes many things, but it mainly covers the expenses associated with the session itself (time, fuel, equipment, etc) and has nothing to do with the actual images.  The images are purchased separately as you like with no minimum requirements.  The session did include a $35 credit to use towards the purchase of your images, which was enough to cover the Basic Print Collection.  This collection included one 8x10, two 5x7s and 8 wallets.  Suddenly, this collection seemed so silly and totally against the original vision for Smith Family Photography!  Where was the wall art??  It certainly wasn't a tiny 8x10 unframed print!

Seriously, if my vision was to provide families with portraits that would be treasured as wall art why was I only giving them an 8x10 and two 5x7 and 8 wallets?!?  Now that I realized I was not providing my clients with what I visioned, I had to find a way to give them something special - something that only I could provide them.  Something that would be so unique and special that it would be treasured for generations to come.  And that something would be a custom hand crafted piece of wall art which would be known as Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography.  A certificate of authenticity is also included with each Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography.

Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography

Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography

Each session will now (beginning on sessions booked after September 1, 2018) include one Memories Art Print © by Smith Family Photography rather than a $35 credit.  This new hand crafted piece of wall art can be customized directly through your online gallery with your choice of wood in brown, natural or gray.  

Another way in which I can better meet the needs of my clients is by providing them with complimentary digital images for social media sharing.  These complimentary social media images will accompany any printed product that is purchased as an 11x14 or larger - even if you do not purchase a collection.  This will allow you to share your favorite images with family and friends online via social media without a watermark going across the entire middle of the image.  

We have also simplified our product line and created a tab on our website titled, "Investment," which explains each product, as well as provides prospective clients insight into our different types of sessions:

We now have four collections to choose from, as well as al a carte professional products.

Collections

  • Art Print Collection
  • Memories Art Print © Collection
  • Canvas Collection
  • Metal Collection

Al a Carte

  • Professional Photographic Prints, lustre and matte
  • Art Prints
  • Canvas Gallery Wraps
  • Vivid Metal Print
  • Coffee Table Book
  • Custom Pendant

I'm so excited to FINALLY be providing my clients with the experience I originally envisioned!  When I began this business venture I asked myself what types of products I should offer - digital images, prints, canvas wraps, metals, etc.  I chose my product offerings from thinking about what my best friends would like to receive from me since I knew I wanted to treat all of my clients just like I would treat my best friend.  I feel this change truly reflects that.  I'm so excited about this change and I hope all my clients will be as well!  

Hidden Messages

A few years ago my husband received a Christmas gift from a relative.  He opened the gift to find two hand stitched quilt blocks.  But what made these two hand stitched quilt blocks ordinary was the letter that accompanied them.  This letter explained that these quilt blocks were hand stitched by his grandmother, "Big Mama," while she was in a nursing home.  She never got around to putting the blocks together and one of the nurses felt that the family would appreciate these one day.  She gathered them up in hopes of one day putting them together to make the quilt.  

To me, the beauty of a quilt or a dress lies within the stitches and the thought of the person who made them. When you spend time making something with your two hands, you impart love in a way that buying never can.
— Natalie

As time went on and lives stayed busy, these quilt blocks just sat there.  When the nurse stumbled upon them again she knew they could no longer be sewn together to make a quilt due to the age of the fabric and stitching.  The only thing she could think to do with the blocks was to reach out to the family and give them all the blocks.  And that is exactly what she did.  That family member split up the quilt blocks and gave them to the children and grandchildren.  

We put the letter and two quilt blocks into an end table that had a glass top to create a shadow box.  I loved seeing them inside!  I didn't know my husband's grandmother, but I've heard lots of stories about her so I feel like I know her to a certain extent.  My own grandmother enjoys genealogy so I grew up knowing that family is important and part of that includes keeping artifacts and stories of your family alive.  My grandma loves to write so she has written down many stories of her family, as well as of her own life over the years.  I find it so fascinating to listen to her tell me these stories!  She has collected hundreds of old photographs that have been put into  binders to preserve them next to their pedigree chart (family tree).  

Back to my original story...  One day my I was watching our cat, Trixie, play with her toys and she walked over to the couch like she has down thousands of times before and began to scratch her nails.  UGH!!  I suddenly had a thought!  Trixie needs a cat scratching post!  And not one of the cheaply made store bought ones that she's already shredded.  I'm talking about a solid scratching post she can really use.  I looked on Google for ideas and found a few that I felt Trixie would enjoy.  I drew a rough sketch of the cat post and went to Lowe's for the supplies.

As the supplies sat there waiting for me to get around to putting everything together, I heard it!  I heard the SAW!!  I quickly went outside and found my husband building the cat post...completely WRONG!!  AHHHH!  I know he was just trying to help, but I had a very specific idea and this was just not it...at all.  I couldn't say much because he was so proud of himself so I asked a few questions about his plans and went back inside, but I was kinda sad to be honest.  

When he finished he brought the cat post inside, but we couldn't attach it to the wall yet because we didn't have those supplies so he sat it in the corner of the living room.  Fast forward to the next morning.  I was in my bedroom putting up laundry and I heard a loud crash accompanied with the sound of glass breaking.  I FROZE!!  I hesitantly walked out of the bedroom to investigate and saw Sadie Lou sitting there with this look on her face, a look like she had no clue what she just did, but she did something.  Any ideas what she accidentally did?

You guessed it!  She accidentally knocked down the cat post and it fell onto the end table with the glass top which encased the quilt blocks and letter.  

OOPS!

OOPS!

First things first, the broken glass had to be cleaned up for obvious safety reasons and then I could assess the damage.  The end table was ruined so it had to go to the trash.  The cat post was also damaged, but I decided to salvage it.  Now I was able to put it together as I hoped so that part was a win!  The quilt blocks were not damaged, but now I had a problem.  Where would I put them to protect them?

I decided to put them into frames so they'd be behind glass to keep the fabric and stitching preserved.  As I was framing the quilt blocks I wondered how I could also preserve the letter.  I decided to put it in the frame, but behind the quilt block so it was hidden.  As I was doing this I had an idea!

I included the framed quilt blocks at the end of our wall art gallery.

I included the framed quilt blocks at the end of our wall art gallery.

What if we included personal hand written letters with our priceless photographs that are hanging on our walls?  How special would that be for my children to turn around their photograph to find a hidden message from me telling them how much I love them and just how special they are?  I decided to put a letter behind the senior portrait of each of my children.  I'd love for you to do the same!  

If you're interested in doing this as well, fill out the form below and I will send you the templates I used when writing my letter.

Name *
Name

Names Carved in a Tree

August 4, 2018 was a very hot day, like most days in August in Central Texas.  But this particular day was very important!  This particular day was the day that Kelsey and Hunter would say, "I do," in Palmer, Texas.

Kelsey and Hunter

Kelsey and Hunter

It all started with a simple introduction by Kelsey's sister.  Hunter asked for her number and they began talking.  Soon after this initial meeting, Hunter showed up at Kelsey's workplace one afternoon and said that he wanted to give her a ride home from work.  Kelsey told him that she would like that and she returned to work to finish her shift.  

At the end of her shift, Hunter was there to pick her up.  He said they had to go out to eat dinner first before he took her home.  They had an amazing meal together where they enjoyed each other's company.  After dinner they went to spend some time at Lake Clark, where they continued to learn about each other.

As time went on, Kelsey and Hunter fell in love and continued to visit Lake Clark.  It became "their" spot, which they marked by carving their initials into one of the trees.  Eventually Hunter decided it was time to "pop the question."  But where would he propose?

You guessed it!  He proposed to Kelsey at Lake Clark in front of the tree where they carved their initials.  The same tree where they had their first kiss.  And the same tree where he told her that he loved her for the first time.  It was absolutely perfect!  Kelsey and Hunter were engaged!

When their wedding day arrived, they were both excited - yet nervous at the same time.  Their wedding was simple and beautiful!  But they said the best part of the entire wedding day was relaxing with each other after the wedding was over.

Coslin Wedding, August 4, 2018

Coslin Wedding, August 4, 2018

When I asked Kelsey if she had any advice for couples that were planning their wedding day, she jokingly replied, "Don't do it!  Elope!" as she laughed.  

Plan realistically. Give yourself plenty of time to plan and save.
— Kelsey

Vendors

Ceremony Venue:  J Bar C Cowboy Church, Palmer, Texas

Reception Venue:  Coslin Party Barn

Florist:  Jessica Land (Hunter's sister)

Cake Artist:  Renaissance Cake

Make-Up Artist:  Katie Durham

Hair Artist:  Katie Durham

Bridal Gown:  David's Bridal

Officiant:  Charley David

Stationary:  Cheryl Rogers

From 'Roo Mates to a Joey

The cutest Joey!

The cutest Joey!

First we had each other. Then we had you. Now we have everything.
— unknown

Meet Grayson!  Isn't he the cutest Joey EVER?!?  

doughty-lifestyle-newborn-session-smith-family-photography-texas

You're probably wondering why I am referring to him as "Joey?"  It has nothing to do with his name and everything to do with his parents, Blake and Katie.  

Blake and Katie met at Austin College in Sherman, Texas - which is located in GRAYSON County.  Blake played football and Katie played softball.  They attended college together and the both graduated in 2012.  They had their "first date" on campus the first weekend they were on campus.  They would get married on this campus on March 3, 2015 surrounded by family and friends.  THIS is how they came up with the name of Grayson.

So how does any of that have anything to do with "Joey?"  A "joey" is a baby kangaroo and the mascot for Austin College is a kangaroo.  Now let's move on to Grayson's parents, also known as "'Roo Mates."

Blake and Katie on their wedding day

Blake and Katie on their wedding day

Blake is the head basketball coach at Groesbeck High School and Katie is a middle school math teacher for Cesar Chavez MIddle School at Waco ISD.  This will be Blake's seventh year in education and coaching and this will be Katie's sixth year in education.  They both LOVE what they do, which is ultimately to help kids reach their full potential.  They explained that they have had plenty of "kids" along their journey and they're excited for Grayson to grow up with these other "kids" as the first "official" member of Team Doughty.  

The morning of July 10th, 2018 was the beginning of their adventurous day.  One of Katie's best friends and coworkers was already at the hospital because she delivered her baby boy early that morning.  The two constantly joked around saying that they'd have their baby boys on the same day and they'd be delivered by the same doctor.  The doctor did not believe them and dismissed them each time with a laugh as he would say, "What are the odds?"  Turns out those odds were actually pretty good!  

Katie woke up and checked her phone looking for an update from her friend about her delivery.  At this time Katie's water broke!  She sent a text message to her friend telling her that they were on the way to the hospital as well.  Both friends could not believe that their boys were going to be delivered on the same day!  

Blake and Katie left their house for the hospital rather quickly.  This was noticed by a Texas State Trooper!  As the officer approached the window, Blake informed the officer that Katie's water broke and they were on their way to the hospital.  After all, the towels and trash bag that Katie was sitting on was the evidence!  The trooper felt terrible and promptly sent them on their way as he apologized for pulling them over.  

The two arrived in Mart, Texas along their route to the hospital just as the tire pressure light came on in their vehicle.  Blake pulled into a parking lot to quickly inspect all the tires.  At this time, one of Blake's former athletes, Sabion, pulled in behind them to make sure they were alright.  As Sabion got out of his vehicle, Blake informed him that they were alright and they were just checking their tires because they were on the way to the hospital since Katie's water broke.  Sabion quickly wished them well with a terrified look on his face and quickly left the scene.  The Doughy's were back on the road to the hospital!

They arrived at the hospital at 7:30 am.  Their family began the journey to the hospital ready to welcome Grayson!  They had no idea they would have to wait a very long time to meet him.  Grayson was finally born at 8:16 pm.  He is the first grandchild on both sides so we all know what that means!  Blake and Katie describe Grayson as the greatest blessing and he has made their family complete.  

doughty-family-photo-smith-family-photography-texas

Better Today

Zach and Harlee said, "I Do," on July 7th, 2018 in Groesbeck, Texas at the Groesbeck Convention Center on a day dotted with isolated thunderstorms that completely cleared out by the time of their ceremony.

Meeting you was fate. Becoming your friend was a choice. But falling in love with you was beyond my control.
— unknown

Zach and Harlee met through work.  Harlee told me that meeting Zach was that day was the "craziest thing" since it was during an intubation.  Harlee works at the local hospital and Zach is a paramedic.  After this crazy meeting, she told her coworkers that the she thought he was SO cute!  

Fast forward a few weeks and these two saw each other yet again at a local convenience store.  They talked a little bit and decided to hang out with each other that night - nothing fancy, just sitting around a fire at Zach's house where they literally talked about everything until 3:00 in the morning.  As the night progressed, a horrible storm came in and Zach invited Harlee to stay the night rather than driving home in the storm.  Zach gave Harlee his bed while he slept on the couch.  That morning he woke Harlee up with an amazing breakfast complete with French Toast, bacon and eggs.  

Harlee told me that this "date" wasn't a typical first date, but nonetheless this was their first date and she had a tremendous amount of respect for Zach after this date because he treated her with respect by watching out for her during the storm and taking care of her as well.  

That December Zach proposed.  They went to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and during one of the days they decided to get on a bus to take a helicopter tour.  The helicopter took them on a trip over the Grand Canyon.  During this trip Zach pulled out his phone and asked Harlee to watch a video.  The video was a video of his three children asking Harlee to be their stepmom.  It was the sweetest thing she ever saw!  Zach then showed Harlee a ring and asked her to be his wife.

Harlee's bridal session

Harlee's bridal session

I first met Harlee at her bridal session where I learned a lot about her, however I did not meet Zach at this time.  I knew he had to be someone special because it was obvious that Harlee adored him!  When I first met Zach at the wedding, he was extremely calm and almost always had a smile on his face.  Seeing Zach and Harlee together was a beautiful thing, but what made it even more beautiful was seeing Zach and Harlee together with Zach's three children.  They each looked at Harlee so lovingly throughout the entire wedding day, especially during the ceremony!  Harlee expressed how much she loved Zach's children when she told me that when when she married Zach she also took on a huge commitment of parenting as well.  She now has three beautiful children that she loves with everything within her!

Mr. and Mrs. Barkouskie with their three children.

Mr. and Mrs. Barkouskie with their three children.

I am always in awe at each and every wedding (and this wedding was no exception).  Every wedding is completely different.  Every wedding has a different feeling about it.  Every interaction between the bride and groom is different.  During the ceremony, Zach and Harlee symbolized their bond with a Unity Braid Cross.  These can be purchased online, however Harlee's father made it for them.  In fact, he made many of their decorations for the wedding.  There was so much meaning behind all the details!

Unity Braid Cross made by Harlee's father

Unity Braid Cross made by Harlee's father

Always keep God in your relationship. Choose to love each other even when you struggle to like one another. Always make time for one another, even when it seems impossible. Surround yourself with friends that will support your relationship and strengthen it. Learn to listen to understand, not just to respond. Put old relationships in the past, and don’t compare it to y’alls relationship. And never keep secrets or lie to one another.
— Zach and Harlee Barkouskie
Mr. and Mrs. Barkouskie

Mr. and Mrs. Barkouskie

Harlee and Zach, I always find a song to dedicate to newlyweds.  Finding your song made me really think!  I wanted to find a song that talked about the love for you two have for each other, but I wanted something that went above and beyond that - a song that could also depict the love that you both have for your children.  I listened to song after song, but none of them felt right until I stumbled upon this one.  It was completely new to me!  I played it over and over, just to make sure that it was "the one."  And it definitely is "THE ONE!"  Harlee and Zach, I hope you always remember that you are each "Better Today" because you have one another in your lives each and every day, and even more so because you are blessed with three beautiful children each and every day.  

Special thanks to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the special details and memories on this extraordinary day!

Vendors

Ceremony and Reception:  Groesbeck Convention Center

Coordinator:  Glenda Bennett (mother of the bride that did an EXCEPTIONAL job)

Florist:  Penny Lenamon at Rusty Rose Flower Shop in Groesbeck, Texas

Cake Artist:  LaNei Cadenhead at Butter Cup Bakery in Centerville, Texas

DJ:  Colby Blacknall

Makeup Artist:  Shelby Ellison (sister of the bride)

Hair Artist:  Meredith McClinton, Hubbard, Texas

Bridesmaids Dresses:  Georgio's Bridal

Bridal Gown:  David's Bridal

Tuxes:  Bealls

Officiant:  Clint Mello (ordained/uncle)

Invitations:  Shutterfly and Walmart

Security:  Limestone County Sheriff's Department

This Is It

Keith and Karen said, "I do," on June 16th, 2018 at the First Baptist Church in West, Texas with a reception immediately following the ceremony at Cottonwood Hall, also in West, Texas.  The church was absolutely beautiful, complete with stained glass windows!  And Cottonwood Hall was the perfect venue for the reception with a large dance floor and bar.  

Keith and Karen met each other at the beach while they were both on vacation.  They were introduced by a mutual friend, Tina (also the matron of honor).  Neither one was looking for a relationship, but they were encouraged to meet on a friend level rather than a relationship level.  They ended up exchanging numbers and reluctantly arranged a first date hiking and searching for fossils in a 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.  

Exactly one year later, Keith proposed while they were on a family vacation at the exact same beach where they first met each other.  They were surrounded by all of Keith's family.  Keith and Karen were officially ENGAGED!!

smith-family-photography-texas-sobota-gerik-engagement

Keith and Karen love spending time outdoors together, going on adventures and fishing.  Their honeymoon was actually a fishing trip to Rockport, Texas where they caught lots of trout and red fish.  That is a trip that definitely fits their personalities!  After all, Keith's ring is actually made with fishing line!

Keith's ring is actually made with fishing line!

Keith's ring is actually made with fishing line!

As we photographed the wedding and captured special moments between them we quickly noticed that they were always surrounded by family.  They have such an amazing support system with wonderful role models!  The way that Keith and Karen look at each other is something from a fairy tale.  It is difficult to describe, but can be felt by everyone around them.  They have so much love and respect for one another.  

Sobota Gerik Wedding - Reception (413).jpg

June 16th was not just Keith and Karen's wedding day.  June 16th was also Keith's parents wedding day 45 years earlier!  I was not aware of this until the ceremony when Tommy and Sara were asked to stand by Keith and Karen.  

Tommy and Sara being recognized for 45 years of marriage.

Tommy and Sara being recognized for 45 years of marriage.

Forty-five years!  That is such a commitment of love!  Tommy later told me that they have been through it all - richer and poorer, sickness and health, better and worse - and every single bit of it was (and continues to be) worth it.  Such an inspiration!  Keith and Karen even included them in the reception with a cake to celebrate their anniversary, the original cake topper from their wedding cake 45 years ago, a jar for anniversary wishes, and a special dance for them.  I have to admit, it made me tear up!  

Tommy and Sara celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary.

Tommy and Sara celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary.

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
— Desmond Tutu
smith-family-photography-sobota-gerik-wedding

Keith and Karen, as I captured special memories of your beautiful wedding day I was deeply touched by the fact that you have an AMAZING family that surrounds you both and supports you both.  While this was beautifully amazing, what was even more amazing was that you both appreciated this rather than taking it for granted.  You truly do have something special.  

A special THANK YOU to Angela Bailey with Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the beautiful memories from Keith and Karen's wedding day!  

Vendors

Ceremony Venue:  First Baptist Church, West

Reception Venue:  Cottonwood Hall, West

Coordinator:  Ann Marie Dennis

Florist:  Michele’s house of Flowers, West

Cake Artist: Jennifer Sulak Gerik, Hillsboro 

Band/DJ: DJ Michael G, West 

Make-Up Artist:  Brenna (personal friend), Houston 

Hair Artist:  Basy from Salon Posh, Waco

Bridesmaids Dresses:  David’s Bridals 

Bridal Gown:  JoAnns Bridals 

Tuxes:  Squires 

Officiant:  Shea Gutierrez, Elm Mott

Fourth at the Fort!

Our Fourth of July Mini-Sessions were so much fun this year!  In the past we partnered with My Little Play Place in Waco, however when they closed their doors we had to find a new partner.  This year I decided to work with Old Fort Parker in Limestone County.  The property at the Old Fort provided the exact backdrop I was looking for with our All-American themed set complete with Coca-Cola and American flags so I decided to ask permission to use the property.  

Each session was 10 minutes in length and includes three digital images of the client's choice PLUS two adult passes for admission to the Old Fort at a future date during normal operating hours.  

Each session was 10 minutes in length and includes three digital images of the client's choice PLUS two adult passes for admission to the Old Fort at a future date during normal operating hours.  

It was important to ask for permission to use the grounds as it is private property and trespassing is a serious violation in Texas.  The Old Fort also has an active shooting range that is used after hours.  This is another reason to ask permission to use the grounds.  It would be awful to have people using the grounds when someone shows up to shoot their firearm!  

History of Old Fort Parker

You can watch a short two minute video about the history of Old Fort Parker here.

"The Parker family, members of a group of pioneers settling the Brazos Trail Region in the early 1800s, arrived near the future site of Groesbeck in 1833. Determined to make a go of it despite the longstanding presence of Native American populations throughout the surrounding countryside, the Parkers proceeded to clear brush, plant crops, and build a stockade known as “Parker’s Fort.” The fort was constructed of split cedars, anchored in the ground and rising approximately twelve feet. Blockhouses were built in opposing corners, providing a view of the landscape (and as aides in defense). Within the stockade walls the family and fellow colonists built two rows of log cabins as living quarters, completing the project by March of 1834. Despite the stockade’s heavy construction and defensive features, the colony came under a successful attack by a band of local Native Americans and, once it was over, all members of this small pioneering community were either dispersed, kidnapped, or dead. Nine-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker would be one of the kidnapped victims, launching a legacy of assimilation and tragedy that tops the state’s list of historic frontier legends. Fort Parker, abandoned after the attack, disintegrated with age. In 1930 the first replica of the fort appeared on the site, followed by a rebuild in 1967. Today, Old Fort Parker provides a living history interpretation of early life in the region courtesy of the Fort Parker Historical Society and the city of Groesbeck. A full, year-round event schedule includes trail rides, festivals, and celebrations. Rental facilities are also available for family reunions, weddings, and private parties." (Texas Brazos Trail)

Special thanks to Sarah and her staff for doing all they do to preserve Old Fort Parker.  If you'd like to plan a trip to visit the fort, you can find information on their website.

Just Come With Me

I first met Jack and Bailey... 

...in April of 2017 when they asked me to photograph their family at Jack's family ranch near Kosse, Texas.  Bailey's parents were also visiting from Corpus Christi so they would be included in the session, as well as Jack's parents.  Their ranch is a beautiful place with lush green pastures and mature trees.  Even though I just met them, it was obvious that Jack and Bailey had a special bond.  

Bailey and Jack with their parents in 2017.

Bailey and Jack with their parents in 2017.

Jack and Bailey ALWAYS look at each other with love in their eyes!  

Jack and Bailey ALWAYS look at each other with love in their eyes!  

Jack and Bailey first met...

...in Corpus Christi at work.  Bailey was working as an office manager and Jack was one of the vendors.  He delivered goods to her workplace for a month or two and he would always ask Bailey what there was to do in Corpus.  Bailey noticed that Jack was always very polite.  Bailey's best friend noticed (and insisted) that Jack was interested in Bailey, however Bailey just thought that Jack was being professional by creating small talk.  This continued for several weeks until one day he was in his truck and asked Bailey if he could take her to do dinner.  Bailey told him that he could IF, and only if, he could remember her phone number and she shouted her number to him as he sat in his truck.  

Bailey did not expect Jack to remember her phone number.  He was sitting in his truck and she shouted it to him rather than writing it down for him or allowing him to write it down. But Jack did remember her number!  He sent Bailey a text about an hour later which said, "You owe me dinner ma'am."  

That same evening Bailey replied to Jack's message and told him that she was caught up at work and would not be able to make time for dinner with him, even though she was actually at home.  

The following week Jack showed up to deliver goods at Bailey's workplace and he asked her if she would make time for dinner with him.  Again, Bailey said that she would.  However this time she actually did go to dinner with him.  They drove to three different places before finding a restaurant with good customer service.  They enjoyed dinner and laughed...a lot!  

Over the next few months they continued talking casually.  One weekend Bailey decided to travel with Jack for a weekend trip to visit his parents.  They met his parents at Texas Roadhouse (THEIR place to eat) and then went to the family ranch, where Jack showed Bailey around.  Jack had Bailey put on some torn up dirty overalls and they began working on the ranch.  Bailey had a great time!  It was completely different than her life in Arizona.  

Eventually Jack asked Bailey to move in with him and ever since they have been inseparable.  

Meeting you was fate, becoming your friend was a choice, but falling in love with you was beyond my control.
— unknown

Are You With Me?

One day Jack surprised Bailey with a shopping trip for a fancy dress.  Jack would not tell Bailey why she needed the fancy dress.  The next day Jack told Bailey that they were going to dinner that night and she had to be ready at 5:00 sharp...and she HAD to wear the new fancy dress.  Bailey joked about dressing up for dinner at Texas Roadhouse!  Jack laughed and told her to get ready.

At 5:00 Jack told Bailey that it was time to go and she headed to the garage as she normally did.  Jack told her to just use the front door.  After all, "It's easier," he said.  Bailey questioned Jack about this as she walked out the front door and saw a limo waiting for them.  Bailey was so excited and began to get tears in her eyes.  They enjoyed the limo ride to Del Friscos Steakhouse in Houston, a beautiful restaurant with an amazing view.  They enjoyed a delicious dinner, even though Bailey noticed that Jack was acting...different.  Jack told her that he loved her and would continue to love her forever and he would do everything he had to in order to give their family a good life.  He went on to say that it was not the right time to get married because they weren't stable enough yet, but he just wanted her to know that she was his world.  

When they finished their meals, they decided to order dessert.  Bailey ordered cheesecake since that is their favorite dessert.  Jack left to the restroom and was gone for awhile.  When he returned Bailey told him that she didn't know it took 20 minutes to bring out dessert.  About this same time the dessert arrived...and it said, "Will you marry me?" Bailey began to panic because she was sure that the waiter brought them the wrong plate!  She looked at Jack to tell him how embarrassing it was that they brought the wrong plate to their table and saw Jack on one knee with a ring.  Bailey jumped into his arms as she cried and said, "YES!"  She gave him her right hand instead of her left hand!   

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Jack and Bailey are engaged!

Jack and Bailey, this song is for you!  I am beyond excited for you two!

You're Still the One

On Saturday, May 26, 2018, Brooke and James made each other a promise in front of their family and friends - a promise to love each other forever.  

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Brooke and James were married on a rather warm and sunny day in Thornton, Texas at the new Thornton Civic Center.  Their wedding was actually the first wedding to take place there and everything was absolutely perfect!  Brooke stated that the venue was so much better than she expected and I must say that I completely agree with her.  The lighting in the building is incredible!  There is so much natural light that pours in through the windows and completely fills the very neutral colored space.  I LOVE the way the city of Thornton used parts from the old Thornton School building in their new civic center!  

The new Thornton Civic Center

The new Thornton Civic Center

James and Brooke first met when they were high school students at Groesbeck High School in Groesbeck, Texas.  James was a junior and Brooke was a freshman.  Brooke was dating James's best friend when they first met, however after a few months that high school relationship ended.  James and Brooke soon began dating.  Their first "official" date was going to a high school play that school year.  This date led to many more wonderful dates over the years.

Eventually, James decided to propose to Brooke in the driveway of the house he grew up in at Old Fort Parker State Park.  But this wasn't his original plan.  His plan was to actually propose to Brooke down by the water at the lake, but there was a problem.  There was construction going on at the state park and they were in the process of building a new boat ramp at this time so James had to improvise.  The driveway would have to do!  

James had a white Chevrolet pickup truck in high school and still to this day he owns and drives this truck.  After all, it is his baby!  James picked up Brooke on this particular day and drove to the driveway.  He got out of the truck, ran to the front of the truck and opened the hood.  Brooke had no idea what he was doing so she waiting in the truck patiently for James to finish looking at this truck.  He finally walked back to the driver's side of the truck and leaned over to kiss Brooke...and then proposed!  Brooke was completely surprised and answered, "YES," without hesitation!

From the minute I met Brooke and James, I could tell they loved each other and were completely comfortable around each other.  They were both very laid back and nothing seemed to stress them out at all.  After years of high school and the years after high school, they are still so in love and respect each other.  The way they look at each other is truly breathtaking!

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Love is when you look into someone’s eyes, and suddenly, you go all the way inside, to their soul...and you both know, instantly.
— unknown

Family is very important to both Brooke and James and so it was vital that they were included in the details of the wedding day.  Brooke's mom and cousins made the cakes and cupcakes.  The cake stand was truly unique!  It was a custom, one of a kind, cake stand made from pieces of wood that was built by Brooke's cousin.  All of the wood that was used throughout the wedding (cake stand, guest book, table decor, etc) came from their family land near Bremond and Kosse.  They will truly be keepsakes for generations to come!

Custom wood pieces built by family using wood on their family land.

Custom wood pieces built by family using wood on their family land.

Do what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to do this or that. It is your wedding day and you can do what you want.”
— James and Brooke Davey

Brooke and James, I have a wedding wish for you.  Love is best when shared.  Together you are stronger because together you are ONE.  Here's to a happily every after!  Thank you for allowing me to capture some of the memories from your beautiful wedding day!

Special thanks to Angela Bailey and Angela Bailey Photography for assisting me in capturing the beautiful memories from Brooke and James's wedding day!

Vendor Credits

  • Venue:  City of Thornton - Thornton Civic Center, Thornton, Texas - Kenny and Pam Capps
  • Cake Artist:  Jennifer Lloyd (mom) and Jamie McCaleb (cousin)
  • Make-up and Hair Artist:  Vanessa Coatney (sister)
  • Bridesmaids Dresses:  Pat's Gowns, Waco, Texas
  • Bridal Gown:  David's Bridal, Waco, Texas
  • Officiant:  Ricky Joe Waller, First Baptist Church, Kosse, Texas