Member, Professional Photographers of America

mini sessions

I Like Your Last Name

Dates got you to a place where you wanted to marry each other. If you want to stay married, then keep dating your spouse. ❤️
— Andy Traub

If you’ve had a family session with Smith Family Photography you know that I ALWAYS try to get a few shots in of mom and dad together, with no children. Why? Well, most couples don’t have their portraits taken. They have family portraits taken and generally they focus on the children. After all, the children are drastically changing year after year and parents want that documented that they often simply forget about THEIR portrait.

When I ask parents if they’d like a portrait together they usually look at each other with a, “What to you think?,” look and they both shrug their shoulders. So I make them pose together and try my best to keep the kids occupied for a few seconds to get a few poses in. Afterwards I ask them how long it’s been since they’ve had their photo taken together they almost always tell me that they haven’t had one professionally taken together since their wedding. SINCE THEIR WEDDING!! Definitely time to have that updated!

For this reason I decided to offer Date Night Sessions. We began offering these sessions in July of 2019 and quickly booked three of the four sessions for the year!

Couples Date Night ad.jpg

The first couple that took advantage of this offer was the Schmedthorst Family. They were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary this past summer and really wanted portraits of just the two of them to showcases the love they have for one another. Twenty-five years…that is amazing!

I have had many sessions with the Schmedthorst Family over the years. They take advantage of our mini sessions throughout the year to document the growth and changes of their children so I was extremely happy when they decided to book a session just for the two of them to celebrate such an amazing day.

At this time there is still one remaining Date Night Session. If you’re interested in learning more, please send me a message and we’ll get your Date Night Session on the calendar.

Introducing *NEW* Mini Session Contests!


I believe in offering low cost themed mini sessions for families. Most families don’t want to spend a lot of money on a full session for any holiday. They just want a few fun portraits of their kiddos to document the holiday. That’s it. Most of these portraits won’t even make it to the wall! They will be shared on social media and then placed in a file on the computer. Sad, but true.

With that being said, I LOVE these fun, quick sessions! Kids are excited and the parents are so relaxed just watching their kids have fun since it’s not a super formal session. Kids can be…KIDS!

This year I have decided to change some things up with regards to mini sessions. I want to foster a lasting relationship with the participating families and I feel like the old way of doing things was not matching my brand. Each mini session is just that, a super quick session, BUT there is a new twist! These are now mini session contests - which just means that one image from each mini session will be entered in our monthly contest. The family with the most “votes” will win a complimentary 8x10 print, as well as a complimentary mini session for the next theme.

Here is the schedule of the mini session contests for 2019:

  • February - Valentine’s Day

  • April - Easter

  • May - Seniors

  • June - Couples

  • July - 4th of July

  • August - Back to School

  • September - Pet

  • October - Halloween

  • December - Christmas

Each ten minute mini session will include your choice of two digital images and one photo from your session will be entered into the contest. The sessions are only $45 if you book during our special pre-booking events or $50 if you book during a regular booking event.

If you’d like to be added to our email list so you’ll be notified of our pre-booking events, just fill out the form below and I’ll get you added.

Name *

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!

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.

Chicks, Chicks and More Chicks!

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

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

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

Love Bugs!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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