Aubrey! There’s so much to say about this ray of sunshine! This was the session that started it all, and I honestly can’t believe I’ve never blogged about it. I’m sure you’ve seen this gorgeous face plastered all over my website and Instagram, because let’s face it—you can’t help but be mesmerized by those eyes. So drumroll, please…it’s finally time to share Aubrey’s “Sweet 16” photo session!
I actually met Aubrey when she was thirteen because her sister married my cousin (and yes, connections like this are totally where the “small world” cliché comes from). Even then, I remember thinking how much I would love to photograph her, so when I heard that all she asked for as a sixteenth birthday present was a photo session with me, I was beyond excited! Aubrey spent her high school years living in an apartment in Dallas in order to attend a prestigious fine arts school and pursue her dream of becoming a professional dancer. Because of this, she didn’t really need a car for her birthday, and I’m SO thankful our session got to be her gift instead!
Even though it might be difficult to physically see a difference in your child between the ages of 16 and 18, I’m telling you that, maturity-wise, something major happens in those last few years of high school. Photographing a 16-year-old—even one who is completely gorgeous and dances on stage in front of hundreds of people—requires a little bit of extra time spent “drawing out” personality, and at the time of our first session Aubrey was no exception. She was a little shy and unsure, and I absolutely LOVED pulling her out of her shell throughout the session. Once she felt comfortable, so much of the session was just magical and quickly became one of my all-time favorites. When I’m asked to select a few images that really represent my work and style, I’m still drawn to shots from this unforgettable session!
Aubrey has since graduated from high school, but before she did, I had the honor of photographing her a second time for her senior portraits. I can’t wait to share those images, too, but I just knew I had to share these first! Stay tuned!
After my session with Madeline, I went straight to Instagram to post a few thoughts. That post went like this:
“I have so much to share about my time with Madeline…about how she was like a breath of fresh air, how I can guarantee she has an insincerity meter that is laser sharp, how because of this, she made me work for every joy-filled smile. And by work, I simply mean, she unknowingly forced me to truly make a connection—to see her for who she truly is, before she just gave me what is sacred, which I believe is an honest expression of how we’re feeling. I’m drawn to people like this, like Madeline, because I often hide in the shallow, too afraid to go after the depth I crave, because—you know—it requires just as much vulnerability to really ‘see’ someone as they require to be seen.”
Can you tell that our session had a huge impact on me? I truly treasured working with Madeline and her mom, Jerri. First, because of all of the real-ness and raw-ness mentioned above. Second—because hey, it’s okay to be a LITTLE shallow sometimes—her clothes were so awesome. She hired an incredible stylist to assist in putting together looks for the shoot, and it really paid off. If this is something you’ve been considering for your own senior portrait session, I would highly recommend it! Third, Madeline’s hair is just gorgeous. I’ve really never seen hair so beautiful—it truly looks like a mane, and Brittney with The Styling Stewardess did an amazing job on her hair + makeup.
Thank you, Jerri and Madeline, for choosing me to capture such an important time in both of your lives. I cannot wait to see what your future looks like, Madeline…your mom told me TCU is lucky enough to have you. Great choice!
I mean, look at handsome Conor. Who wouldn’t be thrilled to get the opportunity to photograph this kid? Aside from those good looks, what struck me about Conor is that he sincerely exuded integrity and lots of heart in the few short hours I spent with him. Initially Conor seemed a little shy or reserved, but I knew at some point I really wanted to get some great smiles out of him.
At the end of our session, once he had a soccer ball in his hands, I recognized his true passion and those fantastic smiles naturally followed. Conor is now playing soccer in Colorado, and I LOVE keeping up with him through his Mom, Michelle, on Facebook. He seems to be handling the whole college thing really well…I wouldn’t expect anything less!
Remember that integrity I mentioned before? I had the opportunity to witness it again later in Conor’s senior year, when I photographed Grapevine Faith’s prom. I took a group “senior guy” picture, and to be honest, several of the guys were spending a lot more time cutting up than they were listening to my instructions (imagine that, right?). As Monica and I struggled with the task of wrangling 40 or so boys on prom night, Conor spoke up alongside several other soccer players and helped us regain control of the group. While I can’t remember exactly what he said, the respect he inspired in the group was clear. I was impressed by the courage he demonstrated in speaking up and the strong leadership qualities he demonstrated.
Way to go, Michelle—you raised this guy right! Your son is sure to succeed no matter where life takes him, and I’m so thankful that I had the chance to capture just one special milestone in his life!
Faith Christian School Class of 2014
Shoot Location: Grapevine, Texas
Remember when life was a little—scratch that, A LOT—less hectic than senior year is probably turning out to be? Your six-foot-something guy was just a toddler in striped pajamas, running circles around the Christmas tree because he was so fascinated by the twinkling lights and presents. And then there was your daughter: four years old, dressed in her Sunday best (with a humongous hair bow to match, of course), and prepared to tell the mall Santa all about the Barbie she couldn’t live without. The Christmas season filled them with a wonder that was contagious. All the seasonal to-do lists were forgotten for a few moments while the two of you played, laughed, and snuggled. Time seemed to stand still. Where did those days go?
Okay, let’s take a moment to regroup and put the Kleenex boxes away. When you’re ready, read on for some good news!
You still have time to make incredible holiday memories together, starting right now! Yes, he’s a senior. Yes, she’s going off to college soon. Yes, it’s been at least 48 hours since you’ve seen them emerge from the world of Instagram. Yes, you still have (very) last-minute Christmas shopping to do. But the whole memory-making thing isn’t as much about having time as making time. So, beginning now, take a bright red sharpie in hand and block off a few days this winter break for the two of you to make some new Christmas memories. Here are a few ideas to get those creative juices flowing!
C’mon, We’re Going for a Sleigh Ride. Snuggle up (hey, Christmas miracles are possible!) with your son or daughter under cozy, warm blankets and enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas from the comfort of a horse-drawn carriage ride through Highland Park, via Three Jays Carriages. Click herefor booking details.
Be a “Cool” Mom. Want them to see how “cool” you really are? Take your senior skating on the beautifully decorated ice of the Galleria mallAbsolutely guaranteed for a few laughs!
See the REAL Santa. 99% of moms agree that the Northpark Mall Santais the REAL Santa. Bribe your senior into going to the mall with you using words like “Starbucks” and “latte,” then sneak in one last photo-op with the jolly old man in the red velvet suit. Matching outfits optional! While you’re there, why not check out the amazing train display?
Bake it ‘Til You Make it. For a more low-key type of magical moment with your teen, pull out your favorite Christmas cookie recipeand let the baking begin! Once those totally non-caloric babies have come out of the oven (ahem…that would be Christmas miracle number two), put them on a holiday platter and pile on the couch with the whole family for a holiday-themed movie night.
Precious Mom, I really do believe it’s possible for time to stand still for you and your Christmas angel (AKA your son or daughter) one more time this winter break. So no matter which activity you choose, say this with me: I believe!
Mid-terms? Check. Sleeping in? Double check. The joy and ecstasy of Winter Break? A big fat triple check written in glitter pen with a cup of hot chocolate on the side for celebratory purposes.
School’s almost out, Elf is on replay (“The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!”), and Christmas Day is just over a week away! Which is GREAT, if you’ve finished all of your shopping. But if you haven’t? I don’t want to stress you out, but…that calls for the hashtag #panicmode.
At this point in the season, there’s no way around it: the mall is going to be absolutely nuts. Which means it’s extra important to go shopping with a game plan in the form of Love, Me Photography’s Last-Minute Gifting Guide. Read on for a few suggestions—we’ve got something for everyone on your Christmas list! Keep in mind that if the gift you’re eyeing is only available online, you may have to pay for rush shipping at this point…or wrap a printed photo of the item and include a note that says, “Santa was delayed, here’s what’s on the way.” Aside from those minor details, all that’s left to do is bundle up, hit the road, and shop like crazy!
Rock the Socks. Complement dad’s kicks with a set of argyle socks. Scientifically proven to close more business deals (and add a serious dash of fashion to his otherwise neutral wardrobe). Prices start at $7.99 a pair! Click here for details.
FOR YOUR BROTHER AND/OR BOYFRIEND
Ladies, two words: Custom Converse. Starting at $75, they’re a little pricey…but think of all the year-round Christmas cheer they’ll bring! (Mainly to you, because he’s going to LOVE YOU for this.) Click here to start designing! A less expensive option? A night at the movies. Enhance the presentation by making up a gift basket that includes a movie theater gift cardand his favorite snacks and candies.
FOR YOUR GIRLFRIEND
Guys, earn boyfriend points supreme by setting up a treasure hunt! Leave a series of clues and/or mini gifts (a coffee mug, nail polish) at nearby locations, ending with a favorite DVD. Hello, movie night! Other options: a gift card for a manicure/pedicure from a local spa, or a set of products from The Dry Bar.
FOR YOUR SISTER AND/OR BEST FRIEND
For a sister who’s 10 or younger, consider a special trip to the American Girl storeat the Galleria Mall. She’ll remember it forever!
Your older sister and/or best friend will appreciate a gift card to her favorite store—if it’s Starbucks, “wrap” the card by sticking it inside a coffee mug. I’m a fan of the cute + funny hand-lettered options created by Ashley Brooke Designs.
Last but not least, photos are ALWAYS a great gift idea! I’m a senior portrait photographer, so naturally I’m a little biased. But truly…photos are the only gifts that really and truly will last forever. If you purchased digital prints from your senior session, use them to create something fun via a service like Artifact Uprising.
Okay, so you’re way past the age of creating a wish list, postmarking it to the North Pole, and sprinting to the cookie plate on Christmas morning to see if Santa prefers chocolate chip or peanut butter…or both. That being said, assuming you’ve been good this year—and I know all of my clients have—you’ll probably still get a present or two. If mom’s been sniffing around for gift ideas (because hey, we’re not mind readers), consider dropping hints about a few of these soon-to-be college necessities. Or just text her a direct link to purchase. Somehow, I think she’ll get the idea.
Laptop—There’s no better time than Christmas to put in a request for this spendy yet completely essential item. Hint: The Mom and Dad duo formerly known as “Santa” will probably be more likely to okay this request if you offer to chip in some of your own hard-earned cash, too. If you already have a laptop, deck it out with a sturdy new case. Speckmakes brightly-colored cases for a variety of computer styles. Voila! The perfect stocking stuffer.
Dorm Bedding—A bedspread, two pairs of sheets (that extra set comes in handy on laundry day!), a blanket for the foot of the bed, and throw pillows are worthy contenders for inclusion on your wish list. I love the eclectic looks styled by Anthropologie, and Target offers a great line of duvets for the dorm room as well. Practical alert: Even if you’re not wishing for it now, I PROMISE you’ll be wishing for a foam mattress topper later. Because nothing robs a girl (or guy) of beauty sleep faster than a circa 1970-something box spring. Click hereto browse a few options.
Desk Chair—While most college dorms come pre-furnished with a standard bed frame and desk, they say (okay, I say) that “the cuter the work zone, the more likely you are to get good grades.” Add a dose of personality to your study space by bringing your own desk chair. Pottery Barn Teen has TONS of great options to choose from.
Fitness Membership—In all likelihood, your college campus will have a great gym that’s open to students. However, in some cases, you may have to pay for that on-campus membership. Ask mom and dad to front the cost so that you have a place to burn off some stress during finals week. Not feeling the weight lifting thing? Scout out another type of studio that’s located close by—think Pilates, yoga, barre, ballet, or hip hop—and add a six-month trial to your wish list.
Did you catch LMP’s recent blog interview with Grand Slam Glam’s Jordan Bawcom? If so, then you’re in the know about all things beauty-related for your fall or winter portrait session: makeup shades you should be sporting as temperatures continue to drop, the secret to keeping “hat head” at bay, and the best products to keep your skin looking fresh, clean, and moisturized all winter long!
Now, let’s talk about winter wearables – cozy coats, adorable scarves, and knit beanies just begging to be worn during your upcoming senior portrait session! In case you’re still on the hunt for a photo-ready look or three, I’ve put together a few no-fail combinations that I’d love to see on camera. Put your own spin on the looks showcased on these inspiration boards, or pull together something completely different. I can’t wait to see your personal style shine through during our winter shoot!
LOOK ONE: WINTER WHITES
Pair shades of ivory and crème with a bold red lip, and what do you get? A completely classic look in every possible way – no snow required (although it would definitely make a stunning backdrop)!
LOOK TWO: PATTERN PLAY
Tartan, herringbone, stripes, and plaid – all are equally chic and completely winter appropriate. Should you choose to incorporate one of the aforementioned designs into an ensemble, however, I do recommend limiting the pattern to just one piece (like a scarf or a hat). With too many elements in the mix, your portraits will start to trend toward the busy side. Keep the focus on you rather than your wardrobe by playing with patterns in small doses!
LOOK THREE: BERRY BEAUTIFUL
A raspberry knit scarf, a pair of blackberry-tinted tights – these are the wardrobe pieces that gorgeous winter portraits are made of! Rich jewel tones and bold shades of berry are the perfect way to brighten up a barren winter landscape. Bonus: You can make as many outfit combinations as you want within this color family! Each shade complements the others beautifully, meaning you can layer (and layer) to your heart’s content.
And there you have it! Three looks to inspire your senior portrait wardrobe selection. I can’t wait to see the looks you rock during our shoot!
Your turn to do the talking! Tell me: What’s your go-to winter wardrobe staple?
It’s Thursday, so you know what that means – it’s time for another throwback session! Dan was a class of 2014 graduate from Grapevine Faith Christian School, and he was so easy to photograph! Super personable, easy-going, and fun to be around. Guys aren’t usually over-the-top excited about having their pictures taken, but Dan didn’t seem to mind the experience too much.
His personality made the shoot a breeze, and I genuinely loved getting to spend time with him and his mom, Lynn. Plus, let’s just state the obvious – he’s so cute! (I can say that because I’m a mom and 15 years older, right?)
Dan‘s session is proof, guys – senior portraits are actually not a form of torture. They are, however, a wonderful chance for you to step into the spotlight, celebrate all the accomplishments you worked so hard for, and spend a little quality time with mom.
Calling all moms of boys! This blog post is especially for you – I would speak directly to your sons as well, but for some reason I’m thinking they’re not going to be into the idea of sitting down to read a lovey-dovey blog post. Just a hunch (wink wink).
I’m the momma of two girls, and since that’s the only experience I can speak to personally, that’s exactly what I’ll do. So here’s what I know: It’s pretty easy for me to find ways to engage with my daughters. We can get our nails done. We can go to Starbucks and curl up with chai tea lattes. We can play dress-up, we can put pink streaks in our hair, and we can go to Taylor Swift concerts with our friends (in fact, we just did that very thing – and it will be talked about and relived in our household for the next 365 days to come, minimum). I also know that when it comes to taking pictures, my girls are armed and ready with a smile and a pose, no “say cheese” or squeaky toy required. Does this have something to do with the fact that their mom is a photographer? Definitely. But I think it also has something to do with the fact that, plain and simple, they’re girls. It’s fun to dress up. It’s fun to have your picture taken. And it’s really fun when you get to do both all at one time.
I’ve heard rumors that, in many cases, the photo-taking experience is just not the same with little boys – because who wants to stand still for an hour when you could be running around with a Nerf gun, right? And, as I’m sure you all know too well, little boys soon become big boys. Big boys who turn into high school seniors. High school seniors who really and truly need to have their portraits taken but can’t stand the idea because, well…who wants to stand still for an hour when you could be running around with your friends, or watching football, or doing anything other than having your picture taken?
I get it. I really do. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to give my senior guys a free pass to skip out on quality senior portraiture. And here are four reasons why:
No matter what they say, I think guys enjoy being in the spotlight for a few minutes. Especially when they bring a prop along that represents the activity they most enjoy. From strumming the guitar to showing off soccer skills, my guys shine during their sessions when they forget about taking pictures and just do their thing, in their own element…with plenty of applause and words of affirmation from mom + photographer to follow, of course.
This is the most “involved” he’s ever going to be – and he’s going to want to remember it later. Unless your son is on track to become a professional athlete, chances are that high school graduation will mark the end of his competitive sports career. Sure, he might play club rugby or pick-up basketball, but that “Friday Night Lights” feeling will soon come and go. He’s going to think back on these memories fondly, and you’re going to want a photo of him in his letter jacket to help remember them, too.
The next time he’ll have his picture taken solo will likely be his wedding day. Not to make you cry, but…#BreakOutTheTissues. This is the truth, mommas. He’s not going to arrange weekend photoshoots with his friends just for fun during college (like I may or may not have done a time or two). If he gets a picture taken at his fraternity formal, it will only be with his date. As for his formal fraternity portrait? His chapter president is not going to send a letter home with him so that you can order copies, I can promise you that. That being said, I can’t encourage you enough to invest in quality portraiture now, while he’s still living at home and years away from sporting a wedding band on his left hand.
Senior portraits are a chance for both of you to slow down and savor time spent together. One of my senior moms told me her son didn’t talk much on the way to the shoot, but that afterward he was talking her ear off – the most he’s shared with her in months! That is just the coolest thing to me. Like I mentioned before, if I want to connect with my daughters, we set aside “girl time” for nails, movies…anything! But from what I’ve heard, finding ways to connect one-on-one with your son gets more challenging as the years go by. So hear me loud and clear: THIS IS YOUR CHANCE. To help pick out his clothes again (because we both know he’s going to ask for your opinion). To be his biggest fan (because chances are, you’re the only member of the family who’s going to gain admittance to his session). To cherish a blissful 90 minutes sans phone, friends, schedules, and plans (and to steal a few photos together after his solo shots have wrapped). Sure, you want this time with him – but he needs it, too. So steal it. Take this opportunity. And then capitalize on it by sneaking in a Starbucks run or a mom-and-son movie date after our session has concluded (just saying).
Last but not least, I hear from a LOT of moms that their sons are not too happy on the way to pictures but on the way home they say something along the lines of, “That wasn’t so bad” or “I kind of liked having my picture taken.” So, have I convinced you that quality senior portraits for him are a treasure worth investing in? If so, be sure to click hereto check the status of the Love, Me Photography session calendar. I just opened spring session dates and available slots are already flying – be sure to snag yours today!
See what other boy moms are saying about a session with Love, Me Photography!
April Music – son Josh
I was very pleased with my final senior photo book and the grandmothers loved theirs as well—my books will probably be even more treasured 20 years from now when I reflect back on this time with Josh. I liked that Crystal and my son, Josh, made his wardrobe selections together. She really captured who Josh is.
Michelle Langenbahn – son Conor
Crystal does a great job of capturing the student in their element. I love the athletic shots of my son Conor and the genuine smile on his face; Crystal was able to make the photos natural but stunning. She is able to work with students, especially the boys, and capture them looking relaxed and happy to be there.
Meg Hinkley – son Michael
My son, Michael, is usually not keen on having his picture taken, but Crystal made the photo shoot so fun. I liked the unique locations where the photos were shot and how Crystal captured Michael. It was also great having him in different clothing and in different environments. I LOVE the pictures Crystal took of Michael and me together. I can’t tell you how sweet that picture is and what it means to me. In a competitive field, you have a gift. You easily connect with the kids and you capture them well. Keep doing what you’re doing!
Another Thursday, another throwback session that I’m so excited to finally share! What’s really humbling about my job is that I constantly get to work with people who inspire me. While I hate that I didn’t get to share these images when they were current, I’m loving doing these throwback posts because they give me the opportunity to reflect, remember, and celebrate each (former) senior one more time…and an excuse to stalk them all on Instagram and see what they’re up to now. Pretty cool to see all that they’re out there accomplishing, to say the least!
You may not be able to tell in the photos, but Allison’s session was SO cold…but she was such a trooper (until the last fifteen minutes or so, ha!). Her session was unique because her mom, Marcy, and her dad, Greg, both came along to join in the fun.
I have to admit that most of the time, dads are better off skipping the two-hour session and focusing on the final result of all the effort that goes into the photoshoot (and the money spent to make it happen) – his baby girl looking gorgeous! But every once in a while, there are instances when it’s really just better that dad comes along for the ride. Greg was that kind of dad, and Allison’s session was all the better for his presence!
I loved Allison’s energy and occasional “sass,” and I also loved that she brought her big, fun personality to the session. She had so much trust in me to do whatever I thought was best. She’s such a strong and beautiful girl, and her session ended up being a first for me in one way in particular. While I usually twist and turn my girls throughout shoots, Allison was concerned that her severe scoliosis would show up in the images, so we adapted the shots to fit her body. I’ve loved keeping up with Allison through social media, and was so inspired to see that she had a massive back surgery during her first year of college at ACU! I can’t even imagine having so much on my plate as a college freshman, but she did it…and she’s grown two inches post-surgery! Truly amazing.
Since our session, I’ve photographed Allison’s whole family, designed and installed a floor-to-ceiling heritage gallery wall filled with images from their family tree (seriously…they have the best looking family ever), and have also taken business headshots for Marcy, Marcy’s team, Greg, and thirty of Greg’s co-workers.
Quick side note for anyone in the area looking to buy or sell: Marcy is a realtor and her agency is The Barkemeyer Group. While I specialize in photographing seniors, Marcy is so persistent and kind (and SO good at making me feel like the absolute greatest) that she convinced me to tackle those headshots for her. She sold me on stepping outside of my usual realm of work, so I have a feeling she’s pretty darn good at her job…wink wink.
Clients like the Barkemeyers are truly special, and I’m so honored to have played a part in their lives over the last few years.
Birdville High School class of 2014 Session Location: Fort Worth, Texas