photo sessions

The Weaver Family

So it’s that time of year where we spend a little time looking back and being thankful for what this year has done for us and start looking forward in anticipation of what this next year will bring. My word for 2018 (instead of a new years resolution) was Rise. I wanted it to be a constant reminder for me to take each tough situation and make the best of it; to come out of it a better person than I went in. Now that we’re approaching the end of the year I think my biggest “tough situation” was just honing in on who I really am as a photographer and letting go of the parts of photography that I’m not and just owning it.

It’s been an interesting lesson and one that had me really thinking about whether or not photographing people is really the right thing for me. If you look back through my year in photographs you can actually see that struggle happening photographically. But I do want to photograph people. I just want to do it with my vision, which is the whole point of art, right?

This means I’ve lost some clients in 2018. That’s okay. I still love those awesome families and am grateful for every second I got to spend photographing them. It also means I’ve started working with some amazing new families that share my vision for their session.

The Weavers are one of those amazing new to me families.

Weaver-6518.jpg
Weaver-6602.jpg
Weaver-6621.jpg
Weaver-6653-2.jpg
Weaver-6648.jpg
Weaver-6687.jpg
Weaver-6699.jpg
Weaver-6695-2.jpg
Weaver-6728.jpg
Weaver-6755.jpg
Weaver-6775.jpg
Weaver-6847.jpg
Weaver-6954.jpg
Weaver-6972.jpg
Weaver-7006.jpg

Focus on What Matters: Featuring The McKenzie Family

Austin and Central Texas Lifestyle Family Photographer

The McKenzie Family was the first family who was totally on board with using the online styling tool provided with their session and their session just so happens to be one of my favorite sessions of the year.

So why do I offer this service if my focus in a session is not clothing and what people look like, but rather what it feels like? There’s a couple reasons actually.

  1. You feel good when you know you look good which translates into confidence in your photos or whatever it is you’re doing in life right then.

  2. Clothing can sometimes be distracting and take away from a moment or feeling in an image. What I mean is you might have this beautiful moment, but little Johnny is wearing a neon shirt and when you look at the photo you see the neon shirt before you see the moment.

So basically using the online styling tool allows us the confidence to focus on what matters in a lifestyle photo session, the moments, and obvioulsy adds that extra touch of beauty in an image. While moments are my primary focus, I’m always thinking about the aesthetic of your images as well and my goal is to take your moments and enhance them the best way I know how. The easiest way to do this is with beautiful light, camera ready clothing, and super gentle posing that allows for your moments to happen naturally.

Any my goodness did it come naturally to this sweet family. I feel so much each time I see the McKenzie Family’s photos. I can’t wait to see them again this Spring for their in home session to celebrate their sweet girl’s first birthday.

McKenzie-5649.jpg
McKenzie-5697.jpg
McKenzie-5721.jpg
McKenzie-5826.jpg
McKenzie-5835.jpg
McKenzie-5890.jpg
McKenzie-5912.jpg
McKenzie-5936.jpg
McKenzie-5966.jpg
McKenzie-5997.jpg
McKenzie-6019-2.jpg
McKenzie-6046-2.jpg
McKenzie-6200.jpg
McKenzie-6155.jpg
McKenzie-6170.jpg

A Photographer's Photographer: Featuring the Scott Family

Austin and Central Texas Lifestyle Family Photographer

I’m going to let out a little secret about me. I want you to hire me because you love what I do and it makes you feel something. If you literally just need one photo for your Christmas card, I want you to hire someone else. There, I said it.

I realize that might sound crazy, especially to my husband who wants me to accept every potential client because he thinks in terms of money and because I could just shoot one or two quick family images and not put as much effort into each session, but I’m not that way. I never have been. Money is not my motivator (much to Tyler’s dismay).

My ideal family is one who’s main focus in a session is to capture something real. Something that makes them feel and fall in love with their imperfect, but amazing and beautiful life together. A family that knows that these small moments are actually really big ones and that when they look back on them 10 years from now, every emotion will come flooding back and they’ll remember that time of life that seemed so hard as something of pure beauty and so worth the struggle.

Do you know that feeling I’m talking about? It reminds me of my first couple years of marriage. There was absolutely nothing glamorous about it, but looking back now the simplicity of that time is something I will always treasure.

I’m going to get a little passionate for a minute.

I think a lot of photographers/creatives feel in this same sort of way. I think that’s what makes us artists. It’s not that we just have a nice camera and decent enough eye for composition and decide we could make a few bucks. I mean, maybe a lot of us start off there, but some of us get to the point where we want this thing we’re doing for a living to feed our own soul instead of kill it and we really, really want the people we work with to feel just as deeply about what we make for them. We want our work in the hands of someone who will feel with their whole heart each time they see the love they have for each other captured in an image taken by us. That’s what I want for my work and those are the families I want to work with.

So yes I’ve put a price tag on my work, but part of the point of that price tag is to weed through the families who don’t want what I want from a session. The point of that price tag is to find my families; the ones who truly value the unique story of their own lives.

I think this is how I became a photographer’s photographer.

Now in the spirit of community of competition I present you with the beautiful Scott Family Photos. Michaela is also a photographer in the Southwest Austin area (Michaela Scott Photography). Her family is beautiful and so full of love for each other and I consider myself extremely lucky and honored to have had the opportunity to photograph them. The funny thing is Michaela just wanted one photo, but not for her Christmas card. Our session was worth it to her, if she got just one photo of her family that accurately depicted the love she and her family feel for each other. Good news though, this is only a slice of what she got. Both of our hearts are full.

Scott-8410.jpg
Scott-8453.jpg
Scott-8476.jpg
Scott-8479.jpg
Scott-8618-2.jpg
Scott-8573.jpg
Scott-8560.jpg
Scott-8558.jpg
Scott-8659.jpg
Scott-8707-2.jpg
Scott-8675.jpg
Scott-8846-2.jpg
Scott-8854.jpg
Scott-8871.jpg
Scott-8904.jpg
Scott-8878-2.jpg
Scott-8940.jpg
Scott-8953.jpg
Scott-9076.jpg
Scott-9094.jpg

The Bazan Family: Austin Texas Lifestyle Family Photographer

A Central Texas Emotive Lifestyle Photo Session

The Bazan Family could have booked a session with anyone to document how they looked at this very time in their lives. There are countless photographers in the Austin area that could have done that for them and probably they would even do it for less money. The thing is the Bazan Family wasn’t interested in documenting how they look right now. The had something else entirely in mind.

The Bazan Family booked a session because they wanted to document the love and commitment their family had for one another with photographs.

These people are my people.

Not that traditional portraits don’t have their place because they do, but it’s not what I do. My single hope is that when my clients look at their photos years from now, they know that they were loved. I want them to feel how beautiful all the small moments were with just a single image. If they have half the response I did while editing these photos, I’ve done my job. This is the standard I have set for myself. This is why I’m picky about the kinds of sessions I’ll do.

These moments and being able to photography them and share what I do with others is a huge part of what fills me up.

Bazan-4261.jpg
Bazan-4265.jpg
Bazan-4384-2.jpg
Bazan-4353.jpg
Bazan-4497.jpg
Bazan-4510.jpg
Bazan-4548.jpg
Bazan-4448.jpg
Bazan-4463.jpg
Bazan-4475.jpg
Bazan-4633.jpg
Bazan-4812.jpg

The Myers Family: Buda Family Photography

Monica Brown - Central Texas Lifestyle Family Photographer

I love a good ole Lifestyle Family session that actually takes place on the family’s property. It just adds that extra touch of personalization that makes their photos even more uniquely them and my storytelling photographer heart leaves the session so very happy. This was one of those family photo sessions. The trees were absolutely perfect and the light was everything I could ever ask for. We had to dodge a cow pattie or two, but I’m totally cool with worse if it means this is the result. And of course that’s all just bonus to working with one of the sweetest families in all of Buda, Texas. Secretly I’ve been wanting to photography their two beautiful and kind girls for years.

Myers-7882.jpg
Myers-7918.jpg
Myers-7951.jpg
Myers-7960.jpg
Myers-7979.jpg
Myers-8017.jpg
Myers-8062.jpg
Myers-8074.jpg
Myers-8119.jpg

I love working with families in the Buda/Austin/Central Texas area that are looking for something a little different from the typical “say cheese” photos. If you’d love to hear more about what I do or if you’re ready to book a session, please contact me. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Buda Texas Newborn Session: Welcome Baby Hannah

Buda Texas Lifestyle Newborn Photo Session by Monica Brown

Lifestyle Newborn sessions have my heart. There is just something about a new life that makes you forget all the ugly things swirling around and allows you to just focus on this one beautiful and hopeful life. These sessions are full of love and awe and I consider it an honor to be present for these moments in my clients’ lives.

Welcome Sweet Hannah. She’s perfect in every way and the perfect addition to this little family. Big sister is big sistering like this was the moment she was born for and big brother is working on being okay with losing that youngest child status.

Lee-0798.jpg
Lee-0820.jpg
Lee-0829.jpg
Lee-0869.jpg
Lee-0900.jpg
Lee-0946.jpg
Lee-0959.jpg
Lee-0990.jpg
Lee-0991.jpg
Lee-1009.jpg
Lee-1029-2.jpg
Lee-1032-2.jpg
Lee-1075.jpg
Lee-1173.jpg

The Unraveled Academy Review and Free Course

20748090_10154564378280881_4746162038057323356_o.jpg

THERE IS A FREE COURSE AT THE END OF THIS SO DON’T LEAVE.

Last year I signed up for the Unraveled Academy. I was on the fence about it, but I figured I’d just do a month to month membership and if I didn’t like it after a month or two the loss would be minimal. No harm done.

Basically I’ve decided they can just charge me via paypal forever. I’m currently a little behind on courses, but I need to get with it because currently there is an SEO course I’m dying to take. Oddly my favorite part of the whole thing is the Facebook group. It’s worth the price of membership alone. They regularly do Facebook Lives where you can ask pretty much anything you want to a group of experts plus the community has got to be one of the least judgemental and supportive group of photographers I have ever experienced. The founders actually care and feel like friends.

So what exactly is the Unraveled Academy? The Unraveled Academy is a school and community for photographers looking for a safe place to explore their art and business. When you log in to the wesbite you are presented with all of the courses that have ever been. Yes, you heard me correctly. They are all there. You get to go through them and learn at your own pace. You get to engage in the community on the website and/or the Facebook community and take advantage of additional videos there. There are behind the scenes videos and editing videos, some presets, and a monthly gift for all memebers. And then just that sense of belonging that I don’t quite get other places. I’m a fan, obviously.

If you’re no longer on the fence and you want to sign up, please use the button below so they know I sent you.

28827964_10155062451105881_3223918825314500378_o.jpg

If you want to check out the free Unposed Course before signing up, check it out here.

I’ve personally taken this course. It’s sooooo inspiring and will make you want to get out there and shoot. I definitely suggest at least checking out this course. It’s free so you can’t lose.

If you decide you want to join the Unraveled Academy after taking this course, please come back here and use the button above so they know I sent you. I am an affiliate because I love this school that much and want everyone else to love it too.

Professional Wardrobe Styling For Your Photo Session

Monica Brown | Austin, Central Texas Family Lifestyle Photographer

Probably 9 out of 10 clients completely freak out when it comes to trying to coordinate session day clothes for the entire family.  It's literally the most time consuming part of booking and preparing for a session for so many.  If the idea freaks you out, it's totally normal.  I completely get it and obviously you're not alone.

But guess what!!!!!! I've got your back momma.  

Professional styling for the whole family from the comfort of your couch (complete with kids screaming in the background) is now included with your lifestyle session fee.  

I want to make this as stress free as possible.  I want you to show up to your session feeling confident and ready to just be with your family.  I want the experience to be enjoyable and not feel like work.  

I need to show you how easy this is.  You answer a few simple questions about who you're dressing, what your vibe is, and voila, you're presented with clothing options perfect for your lifestyle family photo session and you simply pick the ones that fit your style and budget.  You can view your outfits together and then once all is said and done, you can email your selections to yourself so you can purchase later.

The image below is looking at your outfits together post making some selections.

Screen Shot 2018-09-08 at 1.05.46 PM.png

The video to the right is all of your selections conveniently located in your inbox.  Do you have to buy these exact clothes?  No, you don't.  Likely the men in your life have something similar in their closets that they can use or maybe you found basically the exact same shirt somewhere else for a better price.  Work with those scenarios if you can or if you find it easier to just purchase the suggested items, go for it.  

Planning for your session shouldn't be a chore and who really has extra time to plan things like outfits out?  It's just not necessary to hit up every store and blindly try to coordinate some things and hope it works out and I'm not going to make you do it that way.  

Does the idea of a photo session sound a bit more appealing now?  

I still have some Fall sessions left and obviously you'll look like a million bucks.

Why I Don't Do Mini Sessions | Monica Brown Lifestyle Photographer

Central Texas Lifestyle Photographer | Monica Brown

Okay so I've done this blog post before, but I switched websites and it's gone now so I thought I do it again.  It was literally the most visited thing on my old website.

But first let's just get something super clear before we get this started...

Mini sessions aren't bad.  I'm not saying you should never sign up for mini sessions.  I actually envy the photographers that do them and do them well and there is absolutely a place for them in the market.

This blog post is about me, what I want out of each photo session, and how wanting that means I can't get to the part of the session that I consider my art in under 20 minutes (the typical length of a mini session).

So on to why I don't do mini sessions...

My goal 100% of the time when I'm photographing a family session is to get to the meat of the session.  That part where you can really start to see a clear picture of the family dynamics and genuine connections between family members.  

My most favorite compliment I get is when someone tells me I've captured their child's soul or when a family tells me the images we created together really tell the story of their family.  I can't tell the story of your family in 20 minutes.  I can't do the thing I consider my art in 20 minutes.  I've tried.  I'm just not capable.  I did mini sessions once and there was absolutely nothing mini about it and we didn't get to the part that makes my heart really sing until at least 20 minutes in.  Were the pictures from the first 20 minutes bad?  No.  We're they the stuff my dreams are made of?  Not really.

In the first 20 minutes were trying to settle in, I'm figuring out the family dynamic and the best way to incorporate it into the images I'm creating.  Everyone is getting used to the camera attached to my head and figuring out that they don't need to look at it.

And then once we get through all of that, the magic happens

So to really illustrate my point, I want to share with you some of my favorite images that were taken AFTER THE FIRST 20 MINUTES.  The images that would never be, the moments we'd never have created together, if I shut it down at 20 minutes.

daug-8338.jpg
Dean-4599.jpg
Hoffer-5118.jpg
Krosta-1459.jpg
Mel-9985.jpg
North-8813.jpg
Newton-2650.jpg
Myers-8011.jpg
Myers-7979.jpg
Zeigler-9101.jpg
Zeigler-9185.jpg
Obrien-1618.jpg

So let's just leave those family photography pinterest pins right where you left those pins for organizing your home closets..... on pinterest.  We don't need them because we're going to slow down, take our time, and create moments everyone else is going to wish they had, but they'll be yours.

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday | Monica Brown Lifestyle Photographer

Monica Brown | Buda Texas Lifestyle Photographer

We'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but let me just say Wednesday is rough so far.  I should have known immediately that day 3 of school was going to be a hard start because the reminders to eat breakfast were aplenty.  Day three came with tears at drop off and my sweet girl saying she just wanted to be where I was today.  Break my heart.  You better believe I wanted to say okay and take her back home.  Enough of all that.  Check out these photos I've posted to Instagram over the last week.

Lee-1173.jpg
Corbin-1328.jpg
Lee-1029.jpg
Lee-1276.jpg
Saida-1796.jpg
Obrien-1618.jpg
Obrien-1644.jpg

Motherhood Sessions

Tell the truth mom, where are you usually when pics are getting taken on a day to day basis?  Are you the one taking them?  

Photo May 19, 10 15 35 AM.jpg

Not always, but it seems most often moms have taken on the role of family historian in families these days, which means mom ain't in the picture.  I personally have tons of pictures and videos of my husband with the kids, but anything with me in it is a selfie and most likely Corbin is sticking his tongue out because apparently that's what you do when you're two and taking a selfie or you get the fingers in the nose like this picture here.

My solution, motherhood photo sessions.  

I mean, what mom doesn't want beautiful photos of herself with her children?  I've recently added motherhood sessions to the menu of photogaphy services I offer and they're a little shorter than a typical session, which means they're also more affordable.  

"I'm so upset I have these pictures of myself with my children" - NO MOM EVER

I'm pretty sure this sweet photographer momma has zero regrets about treating herself to the gift of beautiful photos of her and her children.


Dean-4282.jpg
Dean-4464.jpg
Dean-4494.jpg

Dean-4599.jpg
Dean-4654.jpg

Dean-4739.jpg
Dean-4955.jpg