Thank you for your interest in our promotional Generational Portrait Session. Please complete all the fields below and click submit.
Value. That’s a word that carries a lot of weight these days. Everyone wants a good value. We tend to measure purchases and experiences by whether or not they are a good value to us. What is the price for value? Does good value have a price? What is the value of something that is priceless?
If you’ve read a few of my blogs, you’ve likely picked up on my theme of valuing family. To that end, I’ve started a project where I want to create some portraits representing several generations. This past weekend I had the privilege of photographing a family represented by Joann, the matriarch, her daughter, Ginger, her daughter Angela, and daughter-in-law Ashley, and her three daughters. That’s 4 generations! How special that is and how blessed this family is to be able to enjoy the uniqueness and variety of perspectives and love offered by this span of approximately 70 years. What a gift! A priceless gift!
What do you value? As I’ve quoted Michele Celentano previously, “you never know the value of something until its gone.” Don’t wait until something is gone from your life to fully appreciate the value it adds to your life!
Here are a few images from this generational portrait session.
Sort of like the commercial for Capital One, where they ask “What’s in your wallet?” my question is, “What’s on your wall?”
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of photographing a young family, Rebekah and Michael and their precious 2 year old daughter - Ruth. She was so much fun and had SO MUCH ENERGY!
Fast forward several months and Rebekah forwarded me the images below of her wall portraits that they purchased and now have displayed in their home! I love seeing these hanging in their home and know that as Ruth grows up, one way that she will know she is special and loved will be seeing pictures of herself hanging in her family’s home!
Do you have at least one family portrait hanging on your wall? With the Christmas season here - I know you are thinking about decorating gifts! Be sure to include this important gift of personalized wall art!
I am working on a generational photography project. It is currently in the planning stages. I have been thinking about it for some time now and I need to move it past the just thinking about it stage.
One of the main reasons I do portrait photography is to capture the connections in the lives of my clients. Capturing several generations of a family in one image captures the essence of why I am doing photography! What a special gift that one image can be to not only those who are in the photograph, but for many years and generations to come.
Do you have old photo albums passed down to you that you can pull out and look through and remember when? Maybe you have some generational photographs in your album (or box of photos). Maybe you can even see your connection to someone in the photograph because you look like your Aunt Mary, or your daughter has your grandmother’s eyes or nose. How special is that! And we can’t even fully appreciate what that connection does for us psychologically.
I believe in the importance of capturing these memories, while you still can. My mom has been gone for many years now. How I would love to have a portrait with me, my mom, and my daughter. At this point, I will have to hang on to the photos we have which I have stored in a family album and labeled the photos. I hope you won’t miss your golden opportunity to capture something truly special and memorable!
Stay tuned for more on my project!
Randy and I have spent the past week in Angel Fire, New Mexico. A close friend owns a home in the mountains and she invited us to spend the week here with her. Two other long time friends joined us and it was great getting to spend times and catch up with one another in the midst of this gorgeous scenery.
As it always seems to be for me, I need a vacation to rest, but spend some of my time doing work. This week was no different. After looking at work emails for the first few days, and actually doing some, albeit minimal, work remotely, I finally stopped looking at the work emails knowing if I was really needed, they would text me. In my defense, I hate returning to work to 500+ emails so I was trying to minimize that pain!
I also see a week away as a great time to catch up on my photography business that I don't always have adequate time to focus on. Alas, I was not as productive as I would like to have been, but console myself with the thought that some of the time just relaxing and playing games and taking long walks was needed therapy as well!
My two girl friends are avid walkers and they were positive encouragement for me to get out and get some great exercise. We had to plan our time carefully however, because the weather here has been a bit challenging with rain every day. That did not deter us, however, because thanks to technology at our fingertips, we were able to plan our walks and make it back just as rain drops were starting.
I've included some pictures that I took from some of our walks. Angel Fire is at 8600 ft elevation. That presents challenges when your body and lungs are not accustomed to that altitude. The terrain here is not flat either. Most of the trails, even if they look flat, go up and down. Some go really up and down. There are also lots of rabbit or gopher holes, that if you aren't careful you will find yourself down in a heap. Fortunately, that did not happen to any of us. Our last walk was the most challenging at 4+ miles and let's just say my glutes and quads got a really good work out. Most of the walk was in two different meadows, but to get from one to the other, we walked up a rocky trail up over the mountain and down the other side.
Along the way, we had great conversation and caught up with our one friend who has been a missionary in Japan for the past 35 years and they are now returning to the States for home assignment. We have seen her every five years when they came home on furlough and stay in touch through their prayer letters and email. We all became friends through our church when her husband was in seminary. It is wonderful when friendships span many years and distances.
So here's to a change of scenery - it is good for the soul and for refreshing our minds and bodies!
My photography journey started by making fine art images and continues to be one of my passions today. As I contemplate and envision my future, I'd really love to have a brick and mortar fine art gallery some day. Until that physical gallery is a reality, I've been building a website for my fine art images. I invite you to take a moment to check it out. This is through a much larger organization which provides a way to market my images in a variety of finishes and provides a means for you to purchase and receive the prints directly. And if you see an image you like that you'd like to have a favorite scripture added to it, contact me directly.
As many of you know, I work at UT Southwestern in the Cardiothoracic Surgery department. The doctors in my department save lives and accomplish miracles everyday. And I must say, it is pretty awesome to know that I am part of that in some small way.
Today, as I got off the elevators to go to lunch, one of our surgeons was waiting to get on the elevator. He was smiling big and said he had just run into 3 of his transplant patients in the lobby of our building. They were all doing well, and no doubt expressed their gratitude and appreciation to him once again. He said, "I should come over to the office more often!"
Knowing the life-threatening nature of the health conditions of many of our patients makes me very thankful for my health and what a blessing life is and how easy it is to take these blessings for granted. So hug someone you care about and tell them you love them, say your prayers tonight giving thanks for your many blessings, and next time you see your doctor, tell him or her how grateful you are for their knowledge, skill, and dedication!
I continue to be reminded of the importance of connections in our lives. Yesterday, I attended the funeral of my cousin, Tim. Tim’s life ended much sooner than we normally anticipate for his age, but such is the case with cancer. Attending a funeral always causes me to become introspective as I listen to the words spoken about the individual being honored and remembered. And I always wonder what kind of legacy I am creating, and what will those left behind when I am gone be able to say about me?
In Tim’s case, there were many, many friends and co-workers from his years in police work, in addition to our family members. They had many wonderful things to say about him and I was sad that I had not had more opportunities to know him better as an adult.
I was also sad that not many of our family members were able to be present and that again reinforced for me the importance of connections in our lives. As I hugged his brother and said good-bye at the grave site, I commented that we would have to have a family get together under happier circumstances. He said, “but we won’t do it, we never do.”
So there is my challenge to help make sure it does happen, and it is a challenge to all of us, to make sure that we look for and create opportunities to maintain those important connections in our lives, whether it is family or friends.
I was having lunch with Randy after church this past Sunday. We were at Jason’s Deli, it was crowded and noisy. My cell phone rang and I did not recognize the number. I almost did not answer it because these clever marketers call using local numbers so it is more difficult to discern. I’m glad I decided to answer it. The call was from Vicki, one of my many cousins, reaching out to let me know her father was in ICU and that she had received a message on her voice mail from another relative about their son, Tim, who was hospitalized and not doing well. The message had very limited information and may have been cut off. She was calling me to see if I knew what was going on with Tim. I did not, so I called another cousin who I was pretty sure would know, and she did. Turns out both of these cousins are in the same hospital. Bobby, with pneumonia and more senior in age is expected to recover, and the other, Tim, is dealing with an aggressive cancer and likely looking at end of life decisions. Tim is 5 years younger than me.
By the end of the day, I had talked on the phone and in person with 3 of my cousins, got caught up on several others, and on my way home, thought of a couple of others who I need to call. I’ve mentioned previously that I was adopted as a baby. My mom was child #7 of 10 children. That resulted in a lot of kids and although I was raised an only child, I grew up with a lot of cousins, and fortunately we spent time with many of them, frequently.
What’s the significance of that you may ask? Well, these are the connections in my life, and while I don’t see these relatives anywhere near as frequently now as I did growing up, they still hold a special place in my heart and life. They brought me into their family and gave me critical and life-long connections as a child that were extremely important then and are still felt today. It is fun to reminisce about things we did as children, the times we got into trouble, places we went to together, and to talk about things that others don’t know but we do because we experienced it together!
I hope you have similar connections in your life to resurrect fond memories, and I hope you have pictures that you can hold and look back through to remind you of these connections that shape us and ground us even when we don’t realize it. We certainly seemed to do a better job of printing out photos in past times (because that was the only option if you wanted to see them) than we do in this digital age.
Hug one of your connections today and then take a selfie with them - and then print it!
Its been an interesting few weeks for me. A few Sundays ago, after lunch at Spring Creek BBQ and a baby shower, I developed a gradually increasing pain in my abdomen that would not stop. Fast forward several hours and more unpleasant symptoms and I found myself in the emergency room. Several more hours and several diagnostic tests later, as well as a sleepless night, and we got confirmation that surgery to remove my gall bladder was the solution.
Now, three weeks and two days later, I had my post op visit today and got a good report from my surgeon releasing me to full activity! That also means that I had to go back to my day job, a regular schedule, and getting up early, just when I was really starting to enjoy being home and having the opportunity to get some things done at home that I rarely have a chance to get to! During my post op recovery time, I did manage to get in a full week of photography school that was already scheduled and paid for. I really learned a lot of valuable information and spent too much money at the trade show. I also managed to get in a couple of photography sessions over the last couple of weeks as well - didn't want to get rusty!
I am truly thankful for the physicians and nurses at Clements University Hospital in Dallas, where I received exceptional care and really appreciate my boss, Dr. Jessen, for coming to the ER at 10 p.m. on a Sunday night to check on me and keep an eye on things from a distance. And very thankful for my sweet caring husband who spent a couple of nights on the sofa/bed in my hospital room, as well as many of our church family who brought food to us in my first few days after going home.
Closing the chapter on my gall bladder and ready to get back to fun things, like photography!
What a wonderful time of the year for the seniors who are completing a major accomplishment and stepping stone in their lives. They've worked really hard for 12 long years and they are finally getting closure on that chapter and looking forward with anticipation at the many opportunities that lay before them. They likely even have some fears at the uncertainty of the future, but I am confident they will rise to the test!
I recently had the privilege of photographing Alex, a senior at South Grand Prairie High School. He and his family are members at my church and I've had the opportunity to watch him grow up and become a tall, handsome young man.
Here are a few of the images from his senior session. The murals are at SGPHS - really cool - I had no idea they existed. Alex will attend a local community college after graduation before moving on to a University to study business. We wish him much success!
You never really know the value of a portrait until it’s all you have left. Michele Celentano
Did you catch that? How easy it is to take it for granted that we will have our loved ones with us forever. How about you? Do you think you will live forever? Tomorrow is promised to no one, and no matter our age, life passes by all too quickly. Before you know it, your children will be grown and moving out of the house. When I recently hung this family portrait in Sally's home, she commented on how quickly her boys are growing and she was so glad they had this family portrait. How wonderful that her boys will have this in their home - it is a visual reminder of their family connection!
Not to sound morbid, but what memories will your children have of you when you have left this Earth? Will they have treasured photos of you? Will those photos include you with them in a photo? I know so many women who literally hate to have their photo taken – me included! I have to make myself get in the pictures, not because I don’t want to be photographed with my children or my husband, it’s just easier for me to take the photo and then I don’t have to see myself in it!
At the recent photography conference I attended, one of my favorite photography speakers, Michele Celentano made the statement above about the value of a portrait. I had heard her say this previously but hearing it again in person just reemphasized the truth of the statement. Another speaker at the same conference commented about how much a nice sofa costs these days - $2000 to $3000 and more. Then he asked, “If your house were to catch fire, would you try to carry that sofa outside with you?” Highly unlikely! But you very likely might scoop up photo albums or carry that heirloom portrait of your family out with you. My sister-in-law did that very thing one evening when there were grass fires near their home in the country and we were encouraged to get out of the house. All she could think of (aside from everyone’s physical safety) was grabbing whatever photographs she could gather and carry out.
How about you? Do you have portraits of you and your family? Do you know the value they will bring to your family members in the future? Remember Michele’s saying - You never really know the value of a portrait until it’s all you have left. Make sure you leave something valuable behind for your family!
Approximately one year from now, the plan is for me to leave my current full time job in academic medicine and transition to my photography business full time. I suspect that I will miss my current job more than I can appreciate at this time, and I know I will miss the daily interaction with our doctors and clinicians and being a part of helping behind the scenes as they provide such excellent care to our patients.
Anticipating the change is a little fear inducing and a lot of excitement generating! I’ve been working toward this for the past couple of years and over the next 12 months my plan is to continue putting the pieces in place in my business that will allow me to step into my new journey. As with most things, when you first start a new endeavor, you really don’t know what all is involved or what all will be required. And as when we start on any journey, we can’t always see the end of the road, but we can see just far enough in front of us to move forward and then we rely on maps and other resources to help us anticipate and plan for what lies ahead around the next curve in the road and up and over the next hill.
And, like other journeys, I am very much looking forward to what the future holds. As Randy frequently reminds me as I am up late working, editing images and reading about technical things and the business-side of photography and spending more of our money than I ever could have imagined, that I am laying my foundation now! I am very thankful for his support and encouragement - definitely helps when I feel guilty for being in front of the computer so many hours and feeling like I'm not being a very good wife.
I'm keeping my transition date still open to adjustment at this time but will need to make a more firm decision by early fall to be fair to my current office and co-workers.
Stay tuned for periodic updates throughout the year.
I had somewhat of an epiphany recently about the word "connections." If you've read my "Why" section, you'll know that I feel strongly about our connections to our loved ones and how these connections are essential to our well-being, to who we are, who we are a part of, and where we belong in this life. What I realized is that there is one important fact that I did not include in my Why section and that is WHY connections are so important to ME!
Those of you who know me well already know that I was adopted as a baby. I was raised by two loving parents who were unable to but who desperately wanted to have children. It was a private adoption, facilitated by my aunt Beth who knew my birth mother and was married to my adopted mother's brother, Uncle Harvey. I was brought home from the hospital, I believe, by a couple of my aunts (see photo below). In fact, on my birthday this year, one of my cousins commented to me on Facebook that she remembered when they brought me home saying she "was so excited to see you being carried into your new home wrapped in your Christmas stocking, ..." While I grew up an only child, my mom had a lot of sisters and brothers, so I was always surrounded by lots of cousins. I was indeed blessed.
Sometime after my mom died (and my dad died when I was a teenager), my aunt Beth called me to ask if I was interested in meeting my birth mother? Wow, what a question! And not one I ever anticipated being asked. It was one of those things that you always wonder about but you are sort of afraid to really go there. My mom always told me that she didn't have any information about my birth parents. I found out she was afraid to tell me anything for fear of losing me. Long story short, I did meet my birth mother and my half-sister, who is a few years older than me! My birth mother has since died, but my sister and I stay in touch with one another. An interesting aside note, the first time we got together after Randy and I moved back to the Dallas area, I sat across the table from my sister and looked into her eyes and it was like looking at my own eyes. I'd never had that experience before!
That brings me to the point of this story - I was reminded on Sunday in church, which happened to be National Sanctity of Life day, of the fact that I could have ended up not ever being born. You see my birth mother, who found herself pregnant and not married to the man who participated in getting her pregnant, told me that he offered her money to end the pregnancy. Despite being scared and not sure how she was going to make it since she already had one child and was not married, thankfully chose to not terminate the pregnancy. And as He always does, God provided a way for her (and me) through my aunt Beth and my parents. So now, I am blessed to have many, many connections in my life. And I have a photo album with lots of photos of many of my cousins that my mom collected through the years and I treasure it and the connections that I have to all of them!
Well, Randy and I made it back from Nashville and thus back to reality! It was a great opportunity to attend Imaging USA in Nashville. This was our 2nd time to attend this annual photography conference. It was 3 full days of classes and trade show. The classes are top notch and are led by some of the most accomplished professional photographers in the business today. I took lots of notes, and for several classes where classes I was interested in overlapped, I sent Randy to one and I went to the other. On returning home, I made myself type up our notes - an old habit from college that helps to imprint the information in my brain - which served as a good review of all the great information that was presented. The 3 days of the trade show provided opportunities to meet vendors, learn more about their products, figure out what works best for me in my studio and then decide what I can afford!
We did go a couple of days early to check out some of the Nashville sound. Because a winter front arrived about the same time we did, we were advised to stay at the hotel our first night because of the snow and sleet coming down. Thankfully, we were at the Gaylord Opryland and that place is huge! Saturday, we ventured downtown about mid-day and toured the Country Music Hall of Fame museum and Historic Studio B recording studio. If you've never seen these - we highly recommend both - you can purchase tickets as a package deal. Then we took a couple of hours to enjoy one of the many very talented local bands at AJ's place on Broadway. Randy was thoroughly enjoying it!
As with most conferences, I came back a little overwhelmed feeling like I have SO MUCH to do to get my business in a better place! And I'm trying not to think that I don't have enough time to do everything, although I must admit I am feeling that way, because one of the speakers quoted Seth Godin who said, "You don't need more time, you need to decide!" I get the message, but I think that is going to take some practice to implement!
In the end, I feel very privileged that we were able to attend the conference (even though my bank account is cringing a bit still!). I continue to be amazed and grateful for the professional photography community and how generous everyone is with their time and knowledge to help other photographers learn not only the technical side of photography, but also the business side.
As regular as clock-work, 2018 has arrived! Are you looking forward to a great year! I definitely am and hopefully you are as well.
To get a good start to making it a great year, here are 3 suggestions to improve your odds of that occuring!
Number 1 - Do one thing at a time.
I don't know about you, but in my job, things are flying at me all the time and I am constantly bombarded with emails and interruptions and get pulled back and forth between tasks. I get to the end of the day and realize how much I've started but not finished. I think I'm a good multi-tasker but in the end, if things are left undone, I must not be accomplishing as much as want to I think. Studies show that we are more effective when we focus on one thing at a time and I find that is true for me. While we can't always control the emails and interruptions, we can control (most of the time) how we prioritize handling these and if we don't take charge, then the tasks will and then we are overwhelmed, frustrated, and less effective.
Number 2 - Accomplish something that you have been meaning to do but keep putting it off.
You'll feel so much better. It is surprising how things hanging over our heads weigh us down. Sometimes we don't even realize what is keeping us from moving forward. Go ahead, just jump in, get it over with, and done! You'll be surprised at how good it will feel to have it done and then it will free you up to start on something more exciting!
Number 3 - Invest in yourself - Learn something new!
No matter how accomplished we may be or how much education we've completed, there is always something new that can be learned. Learn a new skill, increase your vocabulary, a new language. Read a book. Go to a museum and really study about the artists. View your city as though you are a visitor and go sightseeing in your city or one nearby. Go ahead - it will make you a more interesting person as well as it being fun!
Here's to our improved selves in 2018!
I can’t believe this year is quickly coming to an end! As usual, it seems like it has gone way too quickly and yet I also often feel like I am living for the weekends and counting time by the weeks rather than looking for opportunities each day to make a difference somewhere.
As is typical when something comes to a close, we often take time to reflect back to think on what was good and not so good, what we learned and what opportunities we may have missed and what we could have improved. To further drive this thought process for me is the fact that we have had 3 men in our church pass away this year, with the most recent one occurring just before Christmas. This most recent gentleman (and his wife) was someone we socialized with fairly regularly, so we felt his passing on a very personal level. And then, the father of my very good friend also passed away just before Christmas, so we had 2 funerals in 3 days. It is these circumstances that cause me to pause and think about my life and at the point that my time on Earth is done, wonder how will my life be remembered? Will I have made someone’s life better through my interactions and involvement? Will I have been a good witness for my faith in God?
Let me start my reflection by listing the things that I am thankful for – something I realize I do not do often enough! (Our friend Rusty had a list of things he was thankful for and how blessed Randy and I were to find out he had included us on his list!)
1) My faith in God above all else because this is what gives true meaning to my existence and provides the firm foundation of my life.
2) My husband – Randy – who I know loves me faithfully and unconditionally.
3) My children – Lisa and Greg – who are grown, independent, smart, self-sufficient, successful, but most of all loving and caring.
4) My friends, co-workers and extended family who enrich our lives and keep us grounded by having a sense of belonging to something bigger than ourselves.
5) My day job managing a clinical academic department at a major medical center – although sometimes I may grumble about it, it has been a wonderful provision for us and has allowed me to grow in knowledge, skills, and experience as well as being part of a group of very dedicated surgeons and care givers who save lives and make a positive difference in the lives of their patients every day!
6) My photography business – how blessed I am to be able to learn a craft that started out as a hobby and developed into a business that gives me the opportunity to continually learn and grow both in the technical and business aspects. The photography community is amazing and so very helpful and not afraid to share their knowledge. But most importantly, my photography business is allowing me to grow as an individual and provides me with the opportunity to hopefully enhance the lives of those who I serve.
This is a good start but definitely not an exhaustive list!
Now it’s time to set some goals for the new year!
Event photography can be physically demanding at times, but its also really fun! Usually the crowd is there for an event that they have happily chosen to attend and in most instances, they are having a good time. Such was the case at a recent picnic event at the Dallas Arboretum. And if you haven't been to the Arboretum in the fall when they have it decorated with thousands of pumpkins and other fall decor, well, you have missed a real treat.
You can check out some of the event and individual family photos, as well as a few taken around the garden. And, remember to make time to enjoy this beautiful fall weather in Dallas and enjoy the Arboretum and the State Fair of Texas!
I was so in awe of the opportunity on Monday to take professional headshots for the staff of Texas Ballet Theater based in Fort Worth. They have a staff of about 30that includes front desk staff, finance/accounting, marketing and box office sales, a seamstress, education staff, fund raisers, creative directors, and executives. And of course the company of dancers! It was a rare opportunity to see this type of organization from the inside, and I only had a glimpse. What I learned is that this is a passionate group of individuals who consistently go above their normal job expectations to ensure this wonderful organization is able to deliver outstanding performances to bring culture and entertainment to the rest of us.
Here are just a few of the many faces at Texas Ballet Theater. The most tenured individual there is Masako, who has been there I believe she said since the 1980's. She is responsible for ensuring all the costumes are tailor-fit to each dancer.
Be sure to get some culture and attend one (or more) of their performances - they are top notch!
Despite the 95 degree temperatures we continue to experience daily here in the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex, the date on the calendar says it is now fall and we are seriously only 3 months until Christmas. Don't you know the time will fly by!
Have you started thinking about gifts yet? It can definitely be overwhelming!
I want to help with that and I have a great suggestion for you! Give a gift that will be cherished for a lifetime. A photograph of you, you and your family, and/or your children! Beyond the regular photo prints, there are so many great options available today that you can definitely find just the right way to show off your photo(s) with all the people on your gift list.
And, because I know you are busy, I'm offering both Mini Sessions and Regular Sessions and these can be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date and time. Don't put this off any longer!
Give me a call today - 214-697-5898.
Here is more information on the difference between the mini sessions and regular sessions. Can't wait to hear from you!