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Over the last 5 years I have taken many photography workshops, both in person and online, always coming away with new knowledge and confidence.  This summer I was finally able to attend one I’d been coveting for years, the PinkleToes Workshop in Austin, TexasMichele and I go way back to when I was pregnant with Caden.  Back then (which seems like a decade ago) the big deal in the photography community was Flickr.  Flickr was what we used to help daydream before there was Pinterest.  One of my all time favorites to follow was this photographer “pinkletoes.” I LOVED everything she posted. And I mean everything.  From a leaf to a portrait of her daughter (who was a BABY at the time Michele!).  I was fascinated by how unconventional her portraits were.  They were more documentary style then family sessions, what I would later come to know as lifestyle photography.  It didn’t help my obsession that I was very pregnant at the time and saw her sharing amazing maternity images left and right.  As a present to me, my parents gifted me my maternity session and I was able to meet and be documented by my photog heroine!  She was amazing and lived up to every expectation I had.  I mean, come on, who else could have made me look so graceful and serene (I was 50 lbs overweight and a constant ball of stress).   I was so fortunate to have met her, and over the years as I worked on my craft I found continued strength to one day be able to document the way she does.

Cut to a few years later, when I was perusing her blog I noticed she offered photography workshops, online mentoring and other various goodies (all of which I very much wanted).  If I could go back in time, I would have done everything I could to attend one of those workshops YEARS ago.  And if anyone is starting their business now, or fairly new and looking for guidance, I urge you to run, not walk, to the next available workshop she holds.  So many of the things she talks about are things I struggled with, spent months researching, and countless hours stressing about.  I joked with Nick that the weekend spent in Austin was as close as I’ve been to college in *ahem* years.  We sat in our “classroom” listening intently, taking notes, gaining more confidence in ourselves and our work and validating that we weren’t alone in the journey!  It is possible for local photographers to be friends, share, and help one another.   I am so grateful for the friendships I gained and the calories I burned from laughing so hard that my stomach hurt the next day (11pm underwater selfies are real, and they are amazing).  Sorry Michele!

I wish I could say that I have more photographs from my time there, but for me, the workshop was more about reflection and observation.  I was truly happy sitting back and watching, listening and learning from both Michele and my fellow attendees.  It was fun to see we all shared some methods and techniques and learn new and innovative ones as well.


And I mean, leave it to me to go off the beaten path of capturing humans and get lost in the beauty of the nature & landscapes around me!  It’s just what I do:)

And don’t forget the AMAZING maternity session I came home with.  Sunrise sessions really hurt in the beginning, but they are always worth it.  This one was my absolute favorite!

I can tell you, the business knowledge I came away with was amazing, and again, I wish I would have learned it years ago.  But I think for me, the most beneficial thing was coming home with more confidence. Confidence in my abilities and peace of mind in the anxious storm inside of me.  I’m proud of where I’ve come and proud of where I’m headed.

And I’m proud of my MAD meme abilities. Two of my triumphs I HAD to share:)

Want to hear about the other SUPER talented girls that attended the Austin workshop with me??? Well guess what! You CAN.  Check out what Jennifer Maley – Houston Family Photographer – had to say about her time with us as well.  And keep following the links to visit each of the attendee’s blogs about the weekend including miss Michele’s!

  • I am literally in tears over here, Jessica. What a wonderful trip down memory lane and I just adore the images you captured. Even my sexy underwater headshots, lol!ReplyCancel

  • CindyYfmSA

    Thanks, Jess, for walking me back down memory lane and the wonderful weekend we had in July, ’14! You are one of a kind! This blogpost was super!ReplyCancel

  • Hey girl, you rock! 😉ReplyCancel

  • XOXO. Love you girl. And not just for your mad meme skills:) So glad we met through Pinkle and have stayed in touch!ReplyCancel

As summer is coming to a close, I’m finishing up editing some of my favorite pictures for our summer album. This was one of my favorite mornings. We were looking out the window watching the rain fall, and decided to head out and play! By the time we actually got dressed and out the door (a 2 hour production in our house), the rain had stopped but we had fun splashing anyway!  I mean who wouldn’t have a blast hanging out with this face.

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This summer has been a whirlwind. I have so adventures I want to share that I thought I’d just start at the VERY beginning. We took a much needed family vacation (what feels like a year ago) to Marco Island, Florida. We were all able to just relax and although Alivia hated the sand (literally cried if her feet touched it) I think all in all we can deem our vacation a success. There are far too many moments to share so I grabbed some of the highlights for your viewing pleasure.

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Okay, yes, I know this is not a home decor blog. And yes, I know I’ve stated that before. But this post is relevant to photography, I swear….. Bare with me.

When we did our final walk through of our home, with the inspector, I took my camera and photographed EVERYTHING. Every room of the house, layouts, right down to the light fixtures and the hardware on cabinets. It was sort of my virtual check list so I could remember all of the things I wanted to work on. I’m so happy my super organized OCD self did such a thing, because now I have my very own time capsule. I LOVE looking back at these pictures and seeing all the progress we’ve made. We bought a house that was in great condition and had amazing bones.  However, it was super dated.  We changed the wall color in EVERY room, and made a long laundry list of things we wanted to do.  Some things we updated when we first moved in, others have been slow, slight changes over the 2 years. The latter makes it hard to really see how much of an impact we’ve made on our space. So every so often it’s cool to take a step back, look at these images and say, “Wow, we really have transformed this place.” I mean, aren’t photographs AMAZING!?


A couple of very short months after we moved in, we welcomed Alivia into this world, and into our new abode! I remember taking a picture of her or Caden lying on the floor and thinking “Ugh I hate the wall color!” I was so caught up on the decor I wa actually hesitant to do anything with those pictures.  Now, looking back, I LOVE those images so much more. I will glance through an album I’ve made and say, “Oh look! remember when our fireplace was still orange?!” Nostalgia man. It’s a great, romantic, beautiful feeling.


Cut to 2 years down the line and that little nugget is now a full fledged toddler chilling on that same family room floor. Her current obsesssion is listening to the Cinderella soundtrack. She just puts that album on repeat and lays on the floor tapping her toes and letting the beat in. And as much as I’d like to say I can close my eyes and picture these moments, the truth is my brain is fuzzy. It remembers the general moment, but I have to squint really hard to get the picture in focus. That’s when I turn to these pictures.


I know that clients are hesitant to book in home sessions for this very same reason. They haven’t had time to decorate, they want new furniture, and they have this idea in their head that in order to photograph something it needs to look perfect. The opposite couldn’t be more true! You want to preserve these memories, and remember when your walls were a crazy shade of yellow with an orange and pink fireplace.

Also, I’m of the mindset that our family room will never be “finished.” We want a couch that actually fits the layout and other various small projects (my husband of course wants a bigger tv. men.) I mean, every time I look at Pinterest I think we should scrap the whole room and start over (evil temptress Pinterest). But as I wait patiently to tackle these projects I’m going to breathe deeply and focus on the days spent in them. And not be afraid to pull out my camera because there’s 3 baskets of laundry piled high in the background.

And just for your viewing pleasure, more progress pictures of the family room as we continue to piece it all together.  This before and after just makes me giggly and happy.

This was what the house looked like we when toured it:

And this is what it looks like today:

This was stage 3 of the makeover:


And here we are in stage 4….. ALMOOOOSTTTT finished.