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family photos

Over the Years: The Leonardelli 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 Leondardelli Family

Meet the Leondardelli Family! I first met this amazing family in 2015 at a bluebonnet family session. As a matter of fact, one of my FAVORITE bluebonnet images was taken at this very session!

2015 - One of my favorite bluebonnet photos!

2015 - One of my favorite bluebonnet photos!

This particular session was important because some of their children were going to be moving away to live with their mother in another state. It was so wonderful spending time with all of them together!

In 2016 I was fortunate yet once again to spend time with them during another family session! I absolutely love Jessica’s vision that she brings to each of their sessions and I welcome the challenge of making those visions a reality for her images.

2016 - Family Session

2016 - Family Session

In 2017, Jessica and Matt asked me to photograph their upcoming wedding in August. I was honored, but shocked! I was shocked because I totally thought they were already married! I was so excited for the both of them, as well as their entire family. I just knew the wedding would be phenomenal and I was looking forward to it! You can read more about their stunning wedding on the blog.

2017 - Jessica’s Bridal Session

2017 - Jessica’s Bridal Session

2017 - Leonardelli Wedding Slideshow

In 2018, I was asked to photograph two of their children for very special events. Their daughter, Jordan, had an upcoming quincenara and their son, Jose, would be starting his senior year of high school. Two big milestones for the Leonardelli family! It was so much fun spending time with each of them on a more personal level.

2018 - Jordan’s Quincenara Session

2018 - Jordan’s Quincenara Session

2018 - Jose’s Senior Session

2018 - Jose’s Senior Session

Amazing at how much their family has changed over the past 3 years and I can’t wait to see what 2019 and beyond has in store for them!

The most precious moments of your life deserve to be captured.
— unknown

THIS IS THE SEVENTH 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

  5. The Craven Family

  6. The Carpenter Family

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

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.

Big Family Session? No Problem!

When was the last time you and your entire family got together for a family photo session? If you have a big family it may have been years since your last photo was taken. While arranging these types of shoots can be difficult, they are worth it!

Our very own large family portrait.

Our very own large family portrait.

Whether you’re introducing a new family member or getting ready to celebrate a family milestone, you’ll want memorable photos. So just where do you begin when planning for a fun shoot you want your family to enjoy?

Large family portrait of the LeNoir Family.

Large family portrait of the LeNoir Family.

A lot of families often ask about location, wardrobe and pose ideas. This is always the fun part for me because I get to see the personality of the family come out. Shutterfly created a great resource that helps with all these topics. You can check out their large family photo guide and share it with your family to brainstorm more ideas.

Higgins Family large family session.

Higgins Family large family session.

The most important part to remember is that I’m here to make your photo session unforgettable. Whatever makes your family feel comfortable is exactly the direction you should go!

Large family session to celebrate grandma's 75th birthday...

Large family session to celebrate grandma's 75th birthday...

...and another celebrating grandma's 85th birthday!

...and another celebrating grandma's 85th birthday!

Bluebonnets! A Texas Tradition.

I moved to Texas in the summer of 2007 so I experienced bluebonnets for the first time in the spring of 2008.  I was amazed at how beautiful all the highways became as purple flowers bloomed and lined the highways for all to enjoy.  Surprisingly, this was the first year that I offered Bluebonnet Limited Edition Sessions.  I just assumed that people just took these photos very quickly on their cell phones and moved on down the road, but I quickly realized that this was not the case.  So many people want professional photographs of their loved ones in the bluebonnets!  They want WALL ART of their loved ones in the bluebonnets!  

After three years of clients asking me if I offered Bluebonnet Sessions and me telling them that I did not, I finally decided to give it a try and I must say, I was impressed.  I only offered four sessions and they filled up quickly!  I'm in love with each of the sessions and I'm going to give you some tips to taking your own bluebonnet photos that you can use now while we still have some as their season is coming to an end.  

Tip Number One.  Photograph in the early morning or late evening hours.  I know these hours aren't ideal, but once you experience the light at these times of the day you will never go back to noon bluebonnet photos.  I've had a number of clients that are amazed at the difference this makes!  This portrait of the Loewen Family was taken around 9:00 am on a Monday morning.  Dad JUST got off work and their baby normally naps around this time, but they are very happy they adjusted their schedule for one day to make this happen.

Loewen Family at the abundant bluebonnet field at Spring Valley Elementary in Hewitt, Texas.

Loewen Family at the abundant bluebonnet field at Spring Valley Elementary in Hewitt, Texas.

Tip Number Two.  Take your bluebonnet photographs when they first bloom before they get trampled down.  I prefer to take them at my husband's family ranch in Limestone County for a few reasons - the patch is on private property so I'm the only photographer that uses this area for photographs and it's safe.  It's away from roads so little ones are not going to run around accidentally run into traffic.  I encourage kiddos to have fun at their sessions and this is the perfect place because there is an abundance of area to run around and enjoy themselves to let loose some energy between poses.  This portrait was the first bluebonnet session of the season.  Notice how full and tall the flowers are!  It makes a difference, trust me.

Johnson Family at a fresh bluebonnet patch on private property in Limestone County.

Johnson Family at a fresh bluebonnet patch on private property in Limestone County.

Tip Number Three.  Always bring a blanket or stool to sit on.  Some people do not like to sit in the flowers.  It can be overwhelming when they are almost as tall as you when you're sitting down and they are completely surrounding you.  I always bring several different things to sit on - a blanket, a metal bucket, and a wooden crate.  Sometimes I also bring a red wagon.  Baby Caleb loved the red wagon!

Baby Caleb enjoying a wagon ride in the bluebonnets.

Baby Caleb enjoying a wagon ride in the bluebonnets.

Tip Number Four.  Get on their level.  Often times people stand above the person/people being photographed and just snap a quick photo.  That works for a quick snapshot, but if you're wanting something a little more posed try bending down and getting on their level.  During sessions I squat, kneel, even lay on the ground to get different angles.  For a group portrait such as this one of the Schmedthorst Family, I wanted all of them looking directly at me so I could see their faces.  This meant I had to sit down and get on their level.  Since mom was in the middle, I needed to be level with her.  

Schmedthorst Family in a patch of bluebonnets at eye level.

Schmedthorst Family in a patch of bluebonnets at eye level.

Tip Number Five.  HAVE FUN!!  AND STAY SAFE!!  Before sitting little ones down, do a quick check for ants, snakes, and other creatures.  You can't see them all, but you can check the immediate area you are going to use.  I've learned this lesson the hard way...and continue to learn this lesson the hard way (I'm pretty stubborn apparently).  I always check for my clients, but obviously never check where I'm standing or sitting.  More than a few times I have stood in a fire ant pile to get that "perfect" shot.  One time, I even SAT in a fire ant pile!  So be mindful when entering a patch of bluebonnets and remember that insects and creatures call that patch home.  

Due to the great success and demand of this year's Bluebonnet Limited Edition Sessions, we will offer them again next spring.  Mark your calendars because we will begin booking them in February of 2018.  The best way to be notified of special sessions is by subscribing to our newsletter.  You'll receive our monthly e-newsletter, blog articles, special deals, and be notified of bookings before I post them on my page.  If you'd like to subscribe, just fill out this quick form.