photography

5 Tips For Photographing Your Kids This Summer

Hey Moms, 

This morning it took me 5 minutes to find a parking spot at the YMCA and I was late to yoga.  And because I was late I had to do my practice at the front of the room facing sideways and on display for the whole class.  It wasn't a formal punishment or anything, it was just literally the last spot in the room.  I kind of just assumed everyone would be on vacation with this being the first Monday since school let out.  Nope.  I was wrong and I had really had to be on my yoga game this morning because I was just sure everyone was watching me the whole time (likely that wasn't the case, but whatever).  

Anyway, moral of the story is summer is here and summer adventures start hopefully this afternoon once everyone leaves the YMCA and takes their kids to do cool stuff.  

But what's a summer if you don't have proof it happened?  And if you're going to have photo evidence of this awesome summer, wouldn't it be cool if the photos matched the awesomeness?  I was sitting here brainstorming summer photography tips to capture your kids' epic summer.  For today, this is what comes to mind.


5 Photography Tips For Capturing Your Children This Summer


1. Let them get wet

Mainly this is because getting wet is fun for kids and they're destined to give you some real authentic (and probably happy) moments.  Also water mixed with some sweet light can make an image so interesting and fun.  Just look at the way the light shines through the water droplets here.  The photo wouldn't be the same without it.  So get out the hose, the sprinkler, slip and slide, pool, etc. and let your kids have a good time.  Swimsuit not required.  9 times out of 10 my kids are still fully clothed and soaking wet.

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2. Look for the light (or even wait for it)

So this is kind of an obsession for most photographers.  It doesn't matter where I am or if I have my camera with me, I'm looking at light constantly.  Summer can be hard because a lot of what we do is in the middle of the day and that sun is bright, bright, bright.  That harsh light is fun to play with, but morning and evening light is where it's at for me 90% of the time.  Maybe we'll address the harsh light on another day.

This set of images is from an evening in the backyard.  Saida got on the trampoline and I could see the light streaming in there on her leg (picture on the left) and that light under the trampoline.  Because the sun was almost behind the fence I really want to use backlight (place the sun behind my subject) so I could get that beautiful golden summer glow.  I actually turned the trampoline around so I could shoot through the opening towards the sun and voila, beautiful golden summer evening images.  The light was so gorgeous that Saida didn't even have to do anything. 

This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera. Light coming into the area of the trampoline. This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

This is what I first saw when I grabbed my camera. Light coming into the area of the trampoline. This okay I guess, but not the awesome summer evening vibe I was going for.

Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.

Then I moved the trampoline so I could shoot through the open part with the sun behind Saida and this is what I saw.


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3. Don't forget the details

I could photograph just the details for the rest of my life and be a happy woman.  Lately my detail obsession as been hand and feet, but it could be anything really.  Hair blowing in the wind will also get me everytime.  Maybe it's also the sweet rock or shell your kid found or their missing two front teeth.  Don't leave these things out.  I promise they'll be a great addition to an end of summer photo album or just something so fun to look at and remember later on.

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4. Capture the everyday stuff too

Summer can be epic and normal, right?  I think so.  These everyday moments are ones we forget about, but are generally just as awesome as those orchestrated summer moments.  Also this is just a reminder that you don't have to spend money or go anywhere to make beautiful summertime photos. You just have to get outside and allow you kids to be kids.

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5. Don't ask them to smile (make them smile)

This actually sounds like I'm holding a gun to their heads and demanding a smile.  I swear that's not what I mean.  What I mean is play with your kids.  In this image I'm shooting and jumping over Saida on the trampoline.  This was actually her request and a great reminder to me.  Look for real smiles and interact with your kids in a way that gets you real smiles.  Get rid of the word "cheese", you don't need it.

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Hopefully this helps with summer plans and with those everyday moments.  Photography helps me be more present with my kids, which is a challenge for a lot of us moms with all the things on our plates.  Put those other things on the back burner (laundry, dishes, etc.) and just be there with your kids (look, I'm just as guilty as you are).  I promise you'll never remember a specific time the dishes didn't get washed immediately after a meal, but you just might remember that moment with your kids. 

Have an AWESOME SUMMER!!!!
 

-Monica 

Spring Break at Inks Lake State Park

You know what Saida and I fought about just before heading out with the camper to Inks Lake State Park? She didn’t want to go and and kept telling me we should just stay home. Homegirl junior. Not that she cares, but I had to pull the “well mommy and daddy don’t spend too much money a month on this camper to not go anywhere so do you think we should go camping or do you want to sell the camper?”

Obviously we went camping. I won’t say she didn’t cry about it for an hour and half on the way there though because she totally did.

Where’d we go?

Inks Lake State Park (and Longhorn Cavern State Park for a couple hours)

Site number?

West Loop, Site 43. I’d highly recommend this site especially if you like being right on the water and you like having the park store nearby with boat rentals and such. It is very close to the park store though and when they did fishing with a park ranger, there was a lot of foot traffic on the trail between 42 and 43. We didn’t mind, but if you do, consider a different site. And also fair warning, someone did mention to me on the Texas RV Camping Facebook page that they had seen a rattlesnake and some water moccasins in this particular area. We kept and eye out, but never saw anything.

What we did while we were there

Camped, hiked, paddle boated, made memories with family, made s’mores and hamburgers, watched movies in the camper (we’re real people), fished, hit up the park store for ice cream, made a quick trip to Longhorn Cavern State Park to take a cave tour.

Other Things you can do there

They have at least 2 playgrounds, a Kona Ice truck, kayaks, canoes, more hiking trails, swimming in the lake & events depending on the day. Also I had my eye on a winery up Park Road 4 called Perissos Vinyard and Winery, but we didn’t actually go there.


Around the campsite

Campsite 43. You can see the canoes from the park store behind the camper.

Campsite 43. You can see the canoes from the park store behind the camper.

Golden hour behind our campsite looking towards the park store.

Golden hour behind our campsite looking towards the park store.

From our campsite (43) looking out over the cove.

From our campsite (43) looking out over the cove.

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas
Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

Hiking

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

My kids aren’t exactly experienced hikers so when picking out a hike, we went for something that appeared manageable. We chose Lower and Upper Fisherman’s Trail and essentially made a loop. We ended up on the dark green trail for a few minutes so we walked a little further than originally anticipated, but overall this was a great trail for them. They got to climb a little, see the lake, and it wasn’t too long or challenging for them (ages 3 and 5). Corbin fell a few times, but that’s mainly because he’s a little more clumsy than your average 3 year old.

Upper Fisherman’s Trail

Upper Fisherman’s Trail

Lower Fisherman’s Trail and they were only climbing because the wanted to. This is actually just above the trail.

Lower Fisherman’s Trail and they were only climbing because the wanted to. This is actually just above the trail.


Paddle Boats

Anyone curious what happens when I ask my kids to stand next to each other for a picture? THIS! This is what happens. This is why I don’t ask them to do it. Also the only reason I have this sad image is because we were about to buy ice cream and they weren’t taking a chance of not getting it. Also this was after getting off the paddle boats which ended up being a disaster because everyone was tired and both kids (who couldn’t even really reach the peddles) wanted to be able to peddle at the same time. We didn’t even use our full hour and then when I asked Saida what her favorite part of camping was after we’d been home a few days, she said the paddle boats. Blew my mind. I’m like you mean that thing we did where everyone whined the whole time. They really did have a great camping trip overall though.

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas

Longhorn Cavern State Park

Camping at Inks Lake State Park in Texas and Longhorn Cavern

Longhorn Cavern State Park really wasn’t on our list of things to do on this trip, but when we realized it was literally down the street from Inks Lake State Park, we decided why not. To be honest I really wasn’t sure what we were getting into. I thought we could explore a cave on our own for like 20 minute and then go hit some trails (because from what I can tell they have some super easy and kid friendly trails), but turns out this cavern is much more expansive than I originally thought and it’s only accessible by a 90 minute guided tour. Obviously we took the tour and decided against any hiking trails since we were well into nap time by the time we finished. The kids absolutely loved it. Corbin was a litte over it about an hour in (because it was nap time) but overall he did really well (thank goodness).


We’re only three camping trips in, but so far we’ve really enjoyed each one. I think the kids are anxious to come back here again sometime soon. My final thought is that it’s a fantastic park for families and next time we look forward to bringing bikes for the kids as well. Maybe I’ll even hit up that winery and report back.

-Monica

Parabo Press For The Win + Free Square Prints + $10 Off

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I don’t have quite as much control over things when it comes to Saida anymore. She has her own style, her own likes, wants to decorate her room according to her own taste, and all that good business. I’m hanging on to as much control as I can, but I’m also kind of a believer in letting her explore and letting her take charge of some of those things within reason.

Putting up these super cute (AND FREE because we got the smaller ones which are always free) square prints from Parabo Press is a fun way for me to let her make her own decisions while winning the battle over her room decor. She got to pick each photo she wanted to display. Nevermind that we’re still wearing Christmas pajamas with unbrushed hair (and it’s the afternoon). Scroll down for a coupon code at the bottom of this post for $10 off your first order from Parabo Press. Or if you’d rather, just order the free prints and just pay shipping. Such a fun way to have your kids interact with photographs.

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Code for $10 off your first order from Parabo Press: MNEHAE

Galveston Island Camping Trip: More of My Happy

If you’ve known me for more than 5 minutes, you probably know that the beach/bay is the place my soul craves. Our latest camping trip to Galveston Island State Park was gloomy, windy, and cold. I didn’t care. It rained all weekend at home so gloomy, windy, and cold with a bay view seemed just fine to me. The sun came out on our last morning just as it was about time to start packing up. We decided to spend just 30 more minutes exploring before we had to leave and the dunes on the beach side of the island is where we ended up. They called it their mountain. They were in thier own kind of heaven and I can’t even explain to you how overwhelmingly happy and at peace I was in this moment. It’s the kind of happy and peaceful you forget exists until it sneaks up on you. There isn’t a worry or a care in the world because in that moment nothing else matters except being present and completely soaking it in and storing it in a place to keep you content until that feeling sneaks up on you again.

Beachside at Galveston Island State Park

Beachside at Galveston Island State Park

Leaving was the hardest thing. Nobody wanted to go.

More of my favorites from our trip below.

Galveston Island State Park Hiking Trail

Galveston Island State Park Hiking Trail

Lensbaby detail in the camper

Lensbaby detail in the camper

Saki Monkeys inside the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens

Saki Monkeys inside the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens

Outside Moody Gardens Rainforest Pryramid

Outside Moody Gardens Rainforest Pryramid

Inside Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid

Inside Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid

Walkways over the intercoastal at Galveston Island State Park

Walkways over the intercoastal at Galveston Island State Park

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Hiking at Galveston Island State Park

Hiking at Galveston Island State Park

Camper window light with a lensbaby

Camper window light with a lensbaby

We stayed with our RV at Galveston Island State Park on the bayside in site 55. I feel like sites 58-64 would be ideal in terms of a killer view of the bay. That’s my goal for next time. I think I acutally prefer the bayside to the beachside. The bay has a sense of calm that is totally my jam so I think I’d do that again.

We try to keep things simple. This was a quick trip so Moody Gardens Rainforest Pyramid is the only attraction we spent money on. We did things like drive by port on Saturday while two ships were in and the kids thought that was cool. We didn’t take the ferry this time, but kids also love that and it’s free. Just do it when it’s not crowded. In the past we’ve done the offshore oil rig museum which is pretty cool and affordable and just right there by the cruise ships, just with the wind we skipped it this time. I think Corbin would love it though so I want to take him to do that someday. What I really wanted to do was the oil rig museum at 4pm when the ships left so we could wave to the cruisers on deck as it passed by. That would have been cool, but our go with the flow attitude meant we weren’t around for that. Exploring the park and connecting with nature was priority for me even though we made time for fun in town too.


Looking for an RV Park or Resort on the Texas Coast? I’ve got a list of more than 60 Parks just waiting for you to book. Click the button below to see the list.

The Picture That Sums up Why we Bought a Camper / Our Trip to McKinney Falls State Park

I promised myself I’d start blogging about our camping trips once we actually started taking them. I wasn’t sure what these blog posts would be exactly. I’m pretty sure I was thinking at some point I would become some sort of camping expert and people would flock to my blog to hear about our trips and what cool things I did/cooked that they too need to be doing, but I’m not sure this is where that is going. Big dreams, huh? I feel inspired for like 5 minutes and then it’s gone so…. Also, like, I’m never going to be that person. EVER. I don’t have my shit nearly enough together for that.

This morning I edited a picture from our trip that basically sums up our reason for buying a camper and trying to take a camping trip every month. Do you want to see it? Not that your answer matters because I’m going to show it to you whether you want to or not.

Here it is…

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You: But Monica, that’s just a blurry photo of your child swinging on her hammock. How could that possibly sum up your reasons for buying a camper?

Me: Um no, it’s not. That photo right there is a feeling.

But for real, the out of focus element of this image is giving me this out of body experience where time has slowed significantly and I’m just exactly where I’m supposed to be. It’s that thing I was reaching for when we bought our camper. It’s that thing I’ve wasted the past 6 months or so of my life anxiously awaiting. It’s that thing we’ve been missing in this life that doesn’t ever seem to slow down. It just goes faster and faster and faster and we were afraid that before we knew it we’d wake up and our kids would be grown and we would have let the opportunity for these kinds of experiences pass us up.

It’s easy to skip these things over. It’s easy to say, “Well, life is just to damn busy to stop right now.” We live in a world where we have to intentionally schedule time to slow down and so that’s what we’re doing.

Me: You wanna see more of my favorites from this trip to McKinney Falls State Park?

You: Yes, Monica. I can’t think of anything I’d love more.

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Where we stayed: McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas

Campsite: 18, (1 of 12 50 amp sites with water and electric). Very large pull through campsite with one site very close by (worked out fine because they never came out of their camper) and next to the bathrooms which turned out to not be a big deal at all. In fact when Corbin pooped in his pull up we were just thankful there was a dumpster nearby.

Newborn Registries: Give or Get the Gift of Newborn Photography

AUSTIN AND CENTRAL TEXAS LIFESTYLE NEWBORN PHOTOGRAPHER MONICA BROWN

There are two reasons I don’t get hired for newborn sessions. One is that I don’t do posed photography. I’m always happy to make photographer suggestions if this is a thing you’re looking for, but the truth is it’s not my art and I don’t feel inspired to create posed photos. The second reason is because I’m expensive. And yes, I understand it feels this way (maybe a conversation for another day? because nobody wants those details in this post).

So because I can’t really do anything or don’t want to do anything about reason number one, my solution to reason number two is registries for your newborn photo session.

So what does it look like to do a registry with me? Baisically we’re going to start like any other session. I’m going to send you the questionnaire and welcome guide and you’re going to make sure what I do is what you are looking for. Once you’ve decided that my style is what you want, we’ll find you a date on the calendar according to your due date and I’ll create your registry based on the things you expressed interest in as part of the questionnaire. You’ll have a unique web link with a place for friends and family to contribute to your session and any products you’d like to have gifted. Before you know it, your session is completely taken care of (or if there is a remaining balance, you’ll just take care of it on session day). It’s the simplest thing and such an amazing gift (especially for these second and on babies when you alread have all the other things).

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A GIFT FROM ME FOR CREATING YOUR REGISTRY

The first 5 expecting mommas to sign up for a registry will receive a 5x5 Print Pack (24 prints) as a gift from me. These are perfect for casually displaying around your home (or gifting to grandmas and aunts and things) and are printed on 110 lb recycled matte paper with a 0.2" white border.

More Than Just Joyful Moments

Grief and heartache are beautiful in their own way. They come with emotions so overwhelming that shape us in ways we never expected; ways only grief and heartache can. Without love these things don’t exist. It’s part of our story and for each struggle we survive, we rise stronger and more beautiful than the person we were before.

The story of Amos is a roller coaster of heartache and uncertainty. I’m not a religious girl, but it’s one of God’s will and this sweet unborn baby never having to live outside of the womb in pain or struggle. But they knew him, they felt him, and they loved/love him and even though he’ll only be with them for just a short while longer, his story will stay with them always.

My friends, this is why I make photographs. It’s how we love and rise that makes our stories so beautiful. I’m giving you permission to document more than just joyful moments because those moments are really a very small part of what makes us who we are.

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A Letter to My Friends Who Use a Different Photographer

Y’all,

It’s okay!!!!

If you don’t read any further, just know that it really is fine and I’m not offended or upset. I don’t expect everyone to identify with what I’m doing or feel my style is the best way to represent their family.

So here’s a little secret about photographers… or at least me. We don’t want to be the right photographer for every single person out there, unless of course every single person is passionate about the exact same thing we are and completely shares our vision. I do something specific. I’ve spent years trying to figure out who I am as a person/photographer (still working on it), shoot in a way that reflects that, and cater specifically to those who are in the market for that exact thing. No matter what our style of photography is, we photographers recognize that we are made for a specific client or set of clients and those people aren’t always the friends we already have. They can be and it’s totally awesome when they are, but it’s also okay if they’re not. There’s a really good chance we’ll still be your friend anyway.

Okay, now consider this permission to go forth and work with whatever photographer you feel you and your family most identifies with and will represent you most accurately or in the way you’d like to be represented.

I’m still your friend,

Monica

P.S. To the friend who prompted this letter, thank you! I still think you’re cool and I probably needed to write this anyway.

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.

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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.

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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.

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Just a Little Personal Work

So what do I do when I’m not photographing lifestyle family and newborn sessions for all of these amazing Central Texas and Austin area families?

I have impromptu mini sessions with my kids in sweet light and then swoon over them for a bit and oh my goodness does it make my heart happy.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Unraveled Academy Review and Free Course

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Lifestyle Family Photo Session: The Zeiglers

Monica Brown | Central Texas Lifestyle Family Photographer

Sometimes the best part of my job is just getting out there and meeting some of the awesome people who live near me.  This is the most rewarding part about the work I've done with our local neighborhood magazine, Neighbors of West Buda.  The September issue showed up in my mailbox last week and I'm just can't not share this Family Lifestyle Session with the Zeiglers with you.  

My one word to describe this family is AWESOME.  Also if you love a good romantic suspense novel, Amey (mom of this family) wrote one worth reading called Baker's Dozen, which can be found on My Amazon Favorites page.  I've personally read it and can definitely recommend it to you.  Click the button below to buy it.

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