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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

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

Happily Every Masters

#HappilyEverMasters  

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

happilyevermasters_smith_family_photography

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

Harlie received so many compliments on her stunning wedding dress!

Harlie received so many compliments on her stunning wedding dress!

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

Engagement Session - February 2017

Engagement Session - February 2017

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

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

This Christmas tree was the perfect backdrop for the proposal!

This Christmas tree was the perfect backdrop for the proposal!

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

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

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

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

Meet Our 2018 Senior Models!

This coming Saturday is the 2018 Senior Model Day!  It was very tough to narrow the selection down to only three wonderful young adults!  I am looking forward to working with them throughout their senior year!

Without further ado, HERE are the Class of 2018 Senior Models for Smith Family Photography!

Jazzmine

Jazzmine attends Groesbeck High School and she sounds like a super fun young lady!  In her free time she enjoys taking photos, shopping, working with the youth outreach, and hanging out with her friends.  She describes herself as optimistic, fun, ambitious, genuine, helpful, stylish, unique, and most importantly a team player.  Jazzmine told me that senior photographs are important to her because she likes to capture important moments - every moment captured tells a story.  When I asked Jazzmine why she would be an awesome model her answer amazed me!  She said she loves who she is and she's not ashamed for the world to see the beauty that God created in her.  She's comfortable and confident in the skin she is in.  How amazing is that?!?

jazzmine_class_of_2018_senior_model

Tyler

Tyler attends Riesel High School and is an awesome young man!  I know who he is, but I don't know him yet.  I know his mother and so I see him through Facebook :)  He loves to fish, run, play the alto saxophone and bond with others.  Tyler describes his personality as intelligent, understanding and laid-back.  From what I've seen, I definitely agree!  Tyler told me that senior photographs are important to him because his family didn't do a great job of preserving memories, specifically in the form of photography, when he was younger.  His family wants to change that for Tyler's senior year.  I think that's awesome!  Tyler will be a great senior model because he is very flexible, open, and has a good understanding of how to dress...and he's comfortable in front of the camera.  

tyler_class_of_2018_senior_model

Lexi

Lexi also attends Riesel High School and has such a fun personality!  Lexi likes to hang out with her friends in her free time.  She describes her personality as crazy, but fun...all in a good way!  Lexi says that senior portraits are important to her because they will capture memories of her during her senior year.  She says she'll make an awesome senior model because she has a fun personality and isn't shy in front of the camera.

Top 5 Reasons to Have an Engagement Session: Harlie and McKenzie's Engagement

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with Harlie and Mckenzie during their engagement session, which was included in their wedding package.  We had an absolute blast during the session, which was FULL of laughs!  

Harlie and Mckenzie have known each other a long time because her mom and his dad used to high school rodeo together.  Due to this, their families have pretty much always known each other.  During Harlie's freshman year, which was Mckenzie's sophomore year, they were in Spanish class together.  On May 29th, right after school released for summer break, they began dating.  Their first date was to the local Chinese restaurant in Mexia...more than likely :)  Harlie said that was almost six years ago so she could be wrong :)  

Harlie and Mckenzie's wedding will take place in Thornton.  The chose that location because it's really relaxed and close to family.  As far as a honeymoon goes, they're still planning that!  But one thing's for sure, they WILL stay in a bungalow on top of the water somewhere!

I love shooting engagement sessions before the wedding for several reasons, but I managed to narrow it down to five reasons.

1.  The couple has nice photographs before they start getting busy with all the wedding planning...and life in general.

2.  The couple has a chance to take creative photographs and just let loose...enjoying this time making memories.

3.  You can also use the photographs for your actual wedding.  Think Save the Date cards, wedding invitations, thank you cards, reception decorations, etc.  

4.  Practice!  The big day is quickly approaching and an engagement session gives you practice being in front of the camera.

5.  Meeting the photographer...and the photographer meeting you!  Both parties get to know each other and begin to feel comfortable with one another BEFORE the wedding.

Big Families Are My THANG!

My family can be described in many ways, but the adjective that is most often used when describing my family is...BIG!  As I've mentioned before, my husband and I have a "his, hers, and mine" blended family that is sprinkled with a couple additional kids.  The grand total for kids that we have in our family is NINE!  Yes, you read that right....we have NINE kids between us.  

People ask me all the time if we are going to have any more children.  The answer is not as simple as a yes or no.  I can tell you that I will personally not give birth to any more children :)  But there is always the possibility of fostering children with the hopes of adopting them one day.  

Our family minus one :) 

Our family minus one :) 

While I love my big family, one thing about big families is a huge pet peeve of mine and that is that everywhere you go, people have their hand out for additional "fees."  After my husband and I married in June of 2011, we wanted to have family portraits taken.  We checked with a few photographers and they had very reasonable prices - until I mentioned the number of children we had.  At that time we only had six children and they were wanting to charge us for every child beyond two.  So...that meant we were going to pay FOUR additional "people fees!"  Suddenly their prices no longer seemed to be reasonable.  Luckily we have had some great friends that dabbled in photography and they were more than willing to take our family portraits without charging us extra for being a large family.

This is the very reason that our pricing structure is the way it is.  It allows for a family, large or small, to pay one set session fee.  This even applies to extended family.  I have several sessions each year which consist of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, etc. and they just pay one session fee.  Each family can then order the portraits they want directly from the gallery.  It is very affordable for all families and we have a great time making memories in front of the camera.  

If you are interested in a large family portrait session, give us a call or drop us a line and we would love to talk to you!

I Love Weddings! Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Weddings

I just love weddings!  Plain and simple.  It seems almost everybody loves weddings and many people have their favorite parts which are their favorites for very different reasons.  Weddings are incredibly emotional and bring out so many emotions in each of us. 

I recently photographed a wedding in Groesbeck, Texas and as I worked through the images I felt an array of emotions which compelled me to write this list...The Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Weddings!

1.  LOVE!  I love weddings because there is so much love and happiness all around!  The bride and groom are happy.  They are filled with a tremendous amount of love.  The family and friends are also happy - happy for their loved ones that will soon be united in marriage.  At this wedding, the venue changed slightly due to flooding in the area.  The wedding was supposed to be outside, however the grounds were very soggy and the weather on March 19th was pretty windy and chilly as well.  This caused the wedding to move inside a small building.  To some this might have caused the bride to become upset, however Courtney had a carefree attitude and was determined to make the small room absolutely beautiful for her wedding day.  When I showed up the day before to look at the venue, she was super calm and just told me, "When you get here tomorrow this room is going to look so different...it's going to be crowded, but it will be beautiful."  When I showed up on the wedding day and saw the small room, I was honestly shocked!  I NEVER would have imagined it would have looked so amazing!  Love kept her calm.

The Visitor's Center at the Historic Old Fort Parker site in Groesbeck, Texas was a wedding venue.  The wedding had to be moved indoors due to recent flooding on the grounds.

The Visitor's Center at the Historic Old Fort Parker site in Groesbeck, Texas was a wedding venue.  The wedding had to be moved indoors due to recent flooding on the grounds.

2.  THE DRESS!  I love seeing the bride's dress at a wedding!  There are so many beautiful dresses out there that and bride's look absolutely stunning in them!  Courtney wasn't any different!  The look on the groom's face when he sees his bride in the dress is priceless.  Many people don't notice this since they are all looking at the bride as well.  Seriously, how can you not look at her as she's coming down the aisle?

A beautiful bride in a beautiful dress!

A beautiful bride in a beautiful dress!

3.  DYNAMICS!  I'm a people watcher.  Everywhere I go, I watch people.  I am intrigued by the way they interact with one another.  As a photographer I get to watch people and photograph them interacting with one another.  I can honestly say that in two years of photographing families, I have yet to find two that are the same.  They might look the same at the surface, but their mannerisms and behaviors towards one another are completely different.  This isn't a bad thing at all!  Imagine how boring this world would be if we were all the same?  This wedding was not only a union of a couple, but a union of a young family.  Courtney has two children that Dustin married as well.  Watching him interact with those young boys melted my heart.  They are so lucky to have a man in their lives that cares for them that much.  It is obvious just how much those young boys are loved by their parents, family, and friends. 

The first family photograph!

The first family photograph!

4.  KIDS' REACTIONS!  Look at the photograph above.  The look on the boy's face says SO much!  Again, I'm a people watcher so I love watching facial expressions.  This image cracks me up because the young man looks like he is telling the world, "This is MY mom and I will ALWAYS be here for her!"  His mouth is clenched and his eyes are almost glaring at me.  Either he really dislikes me (which I doubt because everyone adores me (: ) or he's giving the world a secret message that he protects his mom.  I'm pretty sure she feels the same way about him too!

5.  THERE'S ALWAYS ONE IN EVERY CROWD!  At every wedding that I have attended, there is always one guest that is the entertainer.  I LOVE watching them!  They just have a fun attitude that draws attention.  Well, this wedding there were TWO entertainers!  Courtney is a lucky lady because she both of them as dads!     

When Courtney danced with her dad, they had an upbeat song which was fun to watch them dance too. 

When Courtney danced with her dad, they had an upbeat song which was fun to watch them dance too. 

Courtney's dad striking a pose.

Courtney's dad striking a pose.

Two fathers, both with big personalities!

Two fathers, both with big personalities!

I am sure you have your own top 5 reasons why you love weddings and I'd love to hear about them!  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

More Than A Picture...It's Wall ART!

It's more than a picture, it's wall ART!  That sounds fascinating to me, but what does that actually mean?  This topic is going to be a five part series, with each part focusing on a certain product that we are offering our clients.  If you visit the "About Me" page of our website you will find a lot of information about us and our beliefs.  We believe that if you are putting in all this effort for photographs, you want products that are quality - you want products that will last a lifetime. 

We strive to provide you with the service that you and your loved ones deserve. With that being said, typically a great amount of planning and preparation goes into a photography session - everything from deciding on a photographer, choosing coordinating outfits, choosing a location, etc. All of those factors take a great deal of time and energy! We want that time, effort, and energy to shine in your portraits! For that reason we have a large selection of print products to offer you in your personal online gallery - everything from standard professional prints that will last a lifetime to beautiful canvas gallery wraps and vivid metals. The products that we offer are professional quality and will last a lifetime. They will become cherished memories for generations. They will be beautiful pieces of art that are displayed on your walls for years to come.
— Anna Johnson-Smith at Smith Family Photography

Part One - Collages

Collages are a popular item that we began offering last July.  I personally have always loved collages, however I wasn't sure that others shared this same love until one client received her online gallery and adored her family photographs, but asked if I could create a collage for her with certain images.  I told her that I'd love to put something like that together for her and she loved it!  After that I began contemplating the inclusion of collages in each online gallery.  I began planning and finally decided to include at least one pre-made collage in each and every online gallery and provide the option for building a personalized collage if the pre-made ones do not meet your needs and/or wants. 

Since the introduction of collages in the online galleries, nearly every client chooses at least one collage!  They have become THAT popular!  They are a great way to display your favorite photographs on one print.  This makes them a perfect addition to your wall of photographs, as well as a perfect gift for friends and family. 

An example of a customized collage that was ordered as an 11x14 print.

An example of a customized collage that was ordered as an 11x14 print.

Most collages are ordered in print form, however sometimes they are also ordered as a canvas gallery wrap.  I had a client show me a wall display of various canvas gallery wraps to make an art piece for a wall in their home.  She wanted a large canvas gallery wrap, 30x30.  I put together a customized collage that was very similar to what she was looking for with separate canvas gallery wraps. 

An example of a customized collage that was ordered as a 30x30 canvas gallery wrap.

An example of a customized collage that was ordered as a 30x30 canvas gallery wrap.

As you can see, collages are a creative way to display your favorite photographs from your session!  The sky is the limit and I love creating one of a kind pieces of art that are printed at professional printing labs so you know you are receiving a quality product that will last a lifetime plus some. 

In two weeks we will continue this topic with Part Two:  Prints. 

Looking for 2017 Seniors!

Model Call!! 

Smith Family Photography is currently looking for guys and gals that are currently JUNIORS in high school! 

senior_photography_model_call_in_mart_groesbeck_riesel_axtell_surrounding_areas

When:  Saturday, February 20th, 2016 around 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Where:  The location has yet to be determined, but it will be in the Mart/Groesbeck area

What Will the Modeling Session Look Like:  All juniors that have secured their spots will meet at the location on February 20th around 4:00pm.  We will take several individual photographs of each junior.  My hopes are that every junior will begin their senior year of high school with some senior portraits and that they will also meet some new friends through this experience.

What Will You Receive:  Each participating junior will receive a FREE modeling session/experience and they will have access to the private online gallery where they will have a credit of $25 to use towards their choice of prints and/or digital images.  If they'd like to purchase more, they may certainly do so, however it is not expected.  Each participant will also receive a coupon for 20% off a FULL senior session - a $30 savings!   

Cost:  Participation in this event is FREE, however we do require a $25 commitment fee to secure your spot.  This fee will be returned to you in the form of a credit to use towards the purchase of prints and/or digital images of your choice in the private online gallery from the session.

How Do You Apply:  If you are interested in applying for this once in a lifetime opportunity, please message me at ajsmithfamilyphotography@gmail.com or contact us through the form on our website.

New Year, New Package!

Last week's blog post mentioned a new package that would be introduced.  The time has come for its arrival!  We are excited to announce our "Watch Me Grow" Package! 

Our "Watch Me Grow" Package is designed to document the first year of your child's life through several photography sessions at different stages in their development.  This package will include five sessions during the first year - maternity, newborn, six month, one year, and cake smash.  Each session will include a product credit that may be used towards prints and/or digital images.  The choice is yours!

watch_me_grow_package

The Maternity Session is typically done when momma is at least seven months pregnant.  The session includes a $25 product credit.  We understand that some mothers do not wish to have a maternity session, therefore we are providing the option to exchange the maternity session with a family session. 

The Newborn Session is typically done when the baby is about ten days old.  The session includes a $50 product credit.  This session can be done at your residence if you wish, however we will be limited as to what items we can bring.  Some items such as posing beanbags are rather large and difficult to transport.

The Six Month Session is a fun session!  Babies can typically sit up on their own or with minimal assistance at this stage.  They laugh and smile....a lot!  This is such a fun age!  The session includes a $25 product credit. 

The One Year/Cake Smash Combo Session is so much fun!  We begin by taking photos for the one year portion of the session.  Often times parents change outfits and request a certain theme to match the child's upcoming birthday party. Some parents even request a certain setup for party invitations.  After the one year portion of the session, it is time for CAKE!  We get the setup ready for the cake smash portion of the session while you get your baby ready. The cake smash portion can go very quickly or it can take a long time...it all depends on the child and what they decide to do with all that cake!  After the cake smash portion of the session, we move onto the bath.  After all, do you want your child in the carseat covered in frosting??  This session includes a $40 product credit and a personalized 8x8 storyboard of the cake smash.

After all of the sessions have been completed, you will choose your favorite image from all the sessions.  This image will be given to you as an 11x14 canvas gallery wrap. 

watch_me_grow_package_pricing_and_information

Our normal policy for booking a session requires a 50% deposit with the remaining 50% due anytime before the day of the session.  However, since this package includes so much we are offering a payment plan for those that would like to take advantage of it.  A deposit of $89 will be due at the time of booking, with the remaining amount due divided into 4 equal payments of $89.  Each of these payments will be due at the time of each session. 

We are looking forward to watching your baby grow in front of our camera! 

Halloween/Fall Mini-Session Success!

The weekend of October 17th and 18th was a FABULOUS weekend for Smith Family Photography's Halloween/Fall Mini-Sessions!  The weather was nice and dry...and warm and sunny.  By all accounts it was a perfect weekend for the sessions! 

The sessions on Saturday were held in Groesbeck at Old Fort Parker.  We only had three available time slots for this location and they filled up quickly!  I was SO incredibly happy when the Wier Family booked the first time slot!  Last Halloween was the first time I met them at our very first Halloween Mini-Session.  They kiddos have grown a lot!  It really is amazing to watch them grow in front of the camera and know that I am helping their family capture their memories. 

Princess Anna and the Gnome, 2015

Princess Anna and the Gnome, 2015

The difference a year makes!  Here is one of their Halloween/Fall Mini-Session images from last year.

Wier Family, 2014

Wier Family, 2014

It's always so much fun spending time with these cuties!  They have so much personality and we all feel so comfortable around each other, which really makes the photographs just that much better because they are genuine.  With Kayson walking this year, we were definitely moving around much more trying to keep up with him!  These siblings have so much love for one another :)

Sibling Love!  Isn't this the sweetest??

Sibling Love!  Isn't this the sweetest??

Another family I have had the pleasure of watching grow in front of my camera is the Craven Family.  They were also clients from the first Halloween/Fall Mini-Session last year.  They are also becoming more and more comfortable each time we have a session.  This year, the youngest three participated in the session.  The older ones all had somewhere else to be...as older kiddos typically do. 

The three youngest Craven children...all smiles this year, 2015

The three youngest Craven children...all smiles this year, 2015

Miss Emma really came out of her shell for this year's session!  She was ALL smiles!  Last year she absolutely refused to be in the group photo with her brothers.

The Craven Clan (minus Emma), 2014

The Craven Clan (minus Emma), 2014

We have recently started adding collages into galleries due to the amount of clients that have been requesting them.  Collages are a great way to showcase your favorite photographs from the session in one frame! 

A collage for the Craven Family

A collage for the Craven Family

We had one more client for the Halloween/Fall Mini-Sessions in Groesbeck, Miss Dixie...I mean, Wolfie.  This young lady is very energetic, spunky, and full of personality all the way down to her toes!  She would howl like Wolfie one minute and then want to show me how fast her horse could run the next! 

Dixie was in character as Wolfie...and howled!

Dixie was in character as Wolfie...and howled!

As we ran from area to area, posing in various positions and acting the part of many different things, her mom stated that she would like one nice photograph with her daughter.  They got into position for the one photograph that mom requested and then this happened....

Dixie gave her mom a surprise when she asked for one nice photograph!

Dixie gave her mom a surprise when she asked for one nice photograph!

Mom finally got all she wanted...one nice photograph!

Mom finally got all she wanted...one nice photograph!

The last session on the Halloween/Fall Mini-Session weekend was held at Hewitt Park with the Senn Family.  They had to have an early time due to some obligations at church that morning.  I was honestly a bit worried when I was driving to the location because the sun really wasn't in the position that I hoped it would be for the session.  I arrived and began setting up.  As I was getting everything set up, I stood back and watched the sunrise.  I realized at that moment that this session was going to be amazing!  The light was going to be absolutely beautiful!  I was even more blown away when I began working with the family and realized how cooperative all of them were...even the three young children! 

Look at that light...and those cooperative kids!

Look at that light...and those cooperative kids!

This session went so smoothly from beginning to end!  The kids cooperated so well and much to my surprise, one of the first photographs that we captured had every single member of the family looking at the camera with a happy face!  Absolutely stunning! 

For their session I decided to make them a fun collage which would showcase each of the children with a family photograph.  Again, collages are great to showcase favorites in one frame.  I personally love them! 

Senn Family Collage

Senn Family Collage

We have recently started creating one or two collages per gallery.  However, beginning today you will now be able to customize your own collage within the gallery by choosing the photos you'd like!  You will simply choose the number of images you'd like on your collage and then you will choose the photos.  I will arrange them in a collage and email you the "proof" for your approval prior to ordering from the professional lab.  If you have a different size in mind, or a different amount of photographs, just let me know and I will do my best to build a product that you would like.

Mighty Mart Panthers - Times Two

The 2015-2016 school year is well underway and many seniors are now scheduling their fall senior portrait sessions.  Some seniors choose to wait until the spring season for their senior portraits.  Others prefer to have senior portraits taken year round.  This week's blog post is going to be all about two Mart seniors - Eric and Alyssa - that decided to have their senior portraits taken in the fall.

There's no buts about it...Mart is a HUGE football town!  Every Friday night during football season the town is literally dead.  Why?  Because everyone is either at the game or at home listening to the game.  Mart is serious about football.  This coming Friday is going to be especially eventful due to all the Homecoming festivities.  This Friday - Homecoming - is going to be a great day to be a Panther!

Meet Eric.  He is one of the football players that will entertain the crowd on Friday night.  He is a handsome young man with a bright future ahead of him.  He isn't quite sure where he is headed after high school just yet.  There are just so many things to consider.  After all, what's the rush?  He still has several months to narrow down his amazing plans.  One thing is for certain, he LOVES football!  He LOVES being a Panther!

Meet Eric.

Meet Eric.

Eric is always ready for gameday!

Eric is always ready for gameday!

Senior Portrait sessions with Smith Family Photography are fully customizable based on the specific memories that the senior would like to help capture.  For Eric, this meant the Mart Football Field.  For his mother, this meant the Mart Football Field and the grassy field behind the stadium to showcase his "country" side.  Many guys don't really care for the photographs to be taken.  They do it for their moms.  During Eric's session, he put his foot down and said he was staying on the football field - no grassy field photographs!  THAT is how much Eric loves football! 

I recently stated that I truly enjoy senior portrait sessions for several reasons, but most of all I enjoy interacting with the young adults and capturing their personality within the portraits.  As the session proceeds along, they start opening up more and more and finally they just seem to forget about the camera and just be themselves.  To me, that is when I capture the best portraits!  Things weren't any different with Eric.  At first, he was very attentive to what I was asking of him.  As the session progressed, he would wonder off to play football with his little brother, Alan.  He was relaxed and completely in his element.  He is a Mart Panther. 

ericisapanther

Let's take a look at another Mart senior.  Meet Alyssa.  She is one of the Mart cheerleaders that will entertain the crowd on Friday night.  She is an amazingly beautiful young woman with the whole world ahead of her!  She plans on heading off to college at either Baylor University or the University of Mary Hardin Baylor.  She plans on trying out for the cheer squad at both universities.  Alyssa LOVES cheerleading!  She LOVES being a Panther!

Meet Alyssa

Meet Alyssa

This year's Homecoming game is especially exciting for Alyssa!  She is nominated for the Homecoming Court!  I will be at the Homecoming game this Friday night to cheer on Eric and the Mart Panthers, as well as support Alyssa...and capture a few shots of her looking dazzling in her gown!

alyssahomecomingcourt

Young women are typically less reserved in front of the camera than young men are.  They just seem to be more comfortable with having their photograph taken.  As their session progresses, their personalities shine through just the same.  However, with girls it seems to happen much quicker.  I think we have the era of new technology to thank - cell phones with nice cameras and selfies! 

alyssathesenior
alyssa2016

As Alyssa's session was nearing the end, she had a few requests.  One, she loved sweaters so she wanted to wear one during some of the shots.  Two, she wanted to take some photographs on the tire swing.  And three, she had to take a special photograph for her close friend, Sadie.  I absolutely LOVE it when the clients begin to take ownership in their photographs! 

Alyssa with her sweater.  She loves sweaters!

Alyssa with her sweater.  She loves sweaters!

Alyssa swinging on the tire swing!

Alyssa swinging on the tire swing!

Alyssa striking a pose for her close friend, Sadie.

Alyssa striking a pose for her close friend, Sadie.

Senior Portrait sessions are fully customizable based on the needs and wants of the senior.  After a session is officially booked, we begin collaborating on everything from locations, clothing, poses, themes, etc.  Senior sessions need to be authentic and really showcase the individual.  That is why it is so important that we work together to build a session that will let them shine and give them memories to last a lifetime.

If you are interested in booking a Senior Portrait session, you can message me or give me a call and I will give you more information.  Until next time, head over to Mart, Texas this Friday night (or any Friday night) and watch a football game!  It is an experience of a lifetime!

A Tale of Two Terrific Models

I LOVE FALL!  I LOVE HALLOWEEN!  As September and October inched closer and closer, I could not get those two things off my mind and I had a gazillion ideas running through my mind about a fall and/or Halloween photography mini-sessions!  I researched and I brainstormed for weeks.  Finally, it hit me like a ton of bricks - I should have a Fall/Halloween mini-session in three towns over a weekend in limited quantities. 

Now that I had a plan, I still had a lot of preparation in putting it all together.  I had to find a "set-up."  I envisioned hay bales, mums, pumpkins, possibly a scarecrow and maybe a few other items...and LEAVES!  Leaves are a must if you are going to have a fall mini-session, even if you live in Central Texas!  I climbed into the attic and scoured through the storage shed to see what decorations we had.  I made a list of items that I needed and went shopping.

The set-up was complete after a quick shopping trip.  I think it actually took me longer to dig through what I already had at the house!  Next, I needed to put together a flyer, but before I could do that I needed to find two models.  Typically I just use my own kids for these things, but they just don't give me the excitement anymore for some reason.  I thought and thought about who I could use and then I had another revelation!  I could do a model call to find some terrific models with fresh faces that would actually be excited to be in front of the camera! 

The ad I used to find my two terrific models.

The ad I used to find my two terrific models.

I posted this ad in two places.  I posted it on my business Facebook page and I also posted it in the Limestone County Sway N Shop Facebook page.  I received several inquiries and was only going to take the first two children that met the requirements.  The children had to be a certain age.  I wanted kids between the ages of 3 and 6, as they are generally able to concentrate for the amount of time I needed them to and they are just plain fun to work with.  Another requirement was that they had to be able to have a cute costume by mid-September for the modeling session.  The final requirement was a signed model contract and a $25 deposit to secure the modeling session that would be returned to the parents in the form as a credit to use towards prints from the session.

The first two models that met all three of these requirements were....Miss Dani and Miss Genesis! 

Meet Miss Dani

Meet Miss Dani

Meet MIss Genesis

Meet MIss Genesis

Miss Dani's modeling session was first!  She bounced out of the car and was so excited to have her picture taken (or at least I'd like to think that was why she was so excited).  She had the cutest curls in her hair with a gorgeous blue princess dress.  She was the blue Cinderella :)  She cooperated so well and did everything I asked.  You can tell that she felt so incredibly beautiful in that adorable dress.

Blue Cinderella

Blue Cinderella

Dani also brought a candy corn dress to wear for some of her photos.  This dress was way adorable!  It came with a necklace and head band that coordinated with the dress.  Again, you could tell that Dani felt so beautiful wearing that dress! 

Dani feeling pretty in her candy corn dress!

Dani feeling pretty in her candy corn dress!

The second model was MIss Genesis and she arrived just as excited as Dani.  She hopped out of the vehicle wearing an adorable cheetah costume complete with beautiful curls and whiskers painted on her face!  Genesis also cooperated so well and did everything that was asked of her.  She looked so stunning in her costume and again, you could tell that she felt like the cutest little cheetah EVER!

Genesis the cheetah

Genesis the cheetah

During the session with Genesis she posed a variety of ways and we were able to get some great shots.  When I began looking at the images on my computer one photo in particular caught my attention.  It was an ordinary image of a beautiful girl standing on a bale of hay in the park.  The more I looked at it, I realized that it would make a beautiful creative image for fall.  I decided to turn it into one of my Signature Edits. 

Fall Signature Edit

Fall Signature Edit

Photography is my passion...like cake :)  Signature Edits are like my cake with a TON of frosting!  I start with a beautiful image that for whatever reason makes me wonder, "I wonder what this would look like with..."  I start putting the vision together piece by piece.  Signature Edits take a great deal of patience and time to put together.  It is not uncommon to spend over two hours working on a Signature Edit.

With the help of these two terrific models and their parents, I was able to put together an ad that I love to advertise our upcoming Fall/Halloween mini-sessions.  I pre-released the details to my newsletter subscribers for early bookings.  I have limited sessions - 3 in Buffalo, 3 in Groesbeck, and 6 in Waco during the weekend of October 17th and 18th.  Due to the pre-release, 3 of the sessions are already booked so far!  The public release of the mini-session will be October 1st. 

Fall/Halloween mini-session ad

Fall/Halloween mini-session ad