Branding Photography– A Wellness Coach for People and Pets | Katy Houston Photographer

Branding Photography– A Wellness Coach for People and Pets | Katy Houston Photographer

It’s February! How are your New Years Resolutions going?

Have you ever thought it might be great to work with a wellness coach if only you wouldn’t have to give up wine and chocolate?

No more excuses! I’ve found your person in Blair Johnson of Blair Johnson Wellness. Added bonus: She won’t just help you get healthier, she’ll do wonders with your pets’ health too.

Her approach involves a healthy balance incorporating the things that add joy to your life — wine — chocolate — yoga — pets — laughter — friends.

Blair specializes in preventive and remedial healthcare for pets and their peoples, and I know for a fact that she has a great rapport with the four legged variety. Let her into YOUR life, and she will quickly become your dog’s second best friend too. My Lucy adores her — as do my cats!

Who do you know that can actually get a high five from a cat? Blair can! Our Fred and Pearlie Girl think that she is absolutely the Cat’s MEOW!

Need a speaker for an organization? I’ve heard Blair make presentations to several different groups since I have known her, and she is fabulously entertaining and extremely informative. Whether your group is interested in physical health, emotional wellness, or caring for pets, she’ll have your organization captivated. Here’s a link to her site for more information!

Fabulously Fit|Katy Houston Photographer

Fabulously Fit|Katy Houston Photographer

When you’re toned and fit, you not only feel better, you LOOK fabulous! Read on for the celebration of someone amazing.

Hair and Makeup by Cintya Velderrain

This woman is some sort of superhero if you ask me. Tamara’s all about clean healthy living while enjoying life to its fullest. She’s also intent on striving for fitness while accepting her body as it is. When we started planning her fitness portrait session, this mom of seven — yes SEVEN children made it clear that she wanted to look great but that she didn’t want extra retouching or shaping. She wanted to capture her image as it is!

That is so refreshing to me. I love seeing women who are comfortable in their own skin. That said, we agreed to keep it real. Still … just WOW!

“The reason I started improving my fitmess and health is that I felt God had something important for me to do and I needed to be stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally in order to be able to do it,” says Tamara.

“In the past, getting into shape meant hating my body and beating it into submission with hard exercise and depriving myself of foods I enjoyed eating. This time it meant loving my body the way it was and encouraging it to move in way that felt good and feeding it food that gave it good energy,” she added.

“This is why I didn’t want my photos to be ‘touched up.’ My body has always given me its best no matter how well or poorly I cared for it and I think that’s what true beauty is. I want people to see that cellulite and stretch marks and wrinkles and spider veins are part of a whole body that has shown me unconditional love and helped me do incredible things that are truly beautiful. That’s what my work is. Showing people how to love themselves and give back the very best to their bodies so they can do all they feel called to do.”

Tamara’s fitness routine is never the same two days in a row. She enjoys weights and yoga, but also picked up ice skating for her 46th birthday. Many Saturdays you can find her leading a hiking group as they explore a State park or wildlife preserve together.

She knows a wealth of information about healing with essential oils and natural methods, and has a great following at Tamara’s Essential Wellness For Life.

Check out her page at the link above.

Not only has Tamara has spent years studying the intricacies of using the oils along with other pure and natural methods of healing and prevention, but she can also hook you up with all the wonderful Do-Terra products. She will work with you to make sure you know how to best use them too.

As we enter a new year and a new decade, we’re all looking at ways to become healthier, stronger, and happier. I am so happy to know and work with Tamara both as a portraiture client AND as a wellness consultant for me and my family. She is a true inspiration.

If you are into fitness, I’d love to celebrate and preserve the beauty of your strength and your body with you. Call the studio today at 281.773.7465, and let’s create a portraiture plan designed just for you.

The Craziest Card of the Season and How We Pulled it Off – Katy Houston Photographer

The Craziest Card of the Season and How We Pulled it Off – Katy Houston Photographer

When it comes to holidays, they say that if you do something twice it becomes a tradition. Well, this is the third year running that we have created a fun story-telling Christmas card for the Wallace Family and these cards have been ANYTHING but traditional. This year we staged an all out down and dirty food fight. Festivus to the Extreme!

Festivus to the Extreme

Back in 2017 we created a kitchen disaster complete with fire, footballs, and flying flour and then 2018 brought the living room legacy of the falling Christmas tree, broken and falling ornaments, and a live electrical shock.

For a look back at the first two years of our project, just click on this link.

While I had played around with some composite work before, I knew that I needed to step up my game so our first year I turned to my friend and photography instructor Dan McClanahan for pointers. I had participated in Dan’s Hawaiian Photography Retreat and Workshop that summer and was blown away by his skills and talent, including his now famous work Friday Night Food Fight. You may see a few similarities here, and I will admit that his piece provided a good bit of inspiration for us this year. Anyway, Dan most graciously provided critiques and tips to help us out.

This year when the Wallaces requested a food fight, I was excited but also concerned about doing anything that would copy Dan’s image too closely and I was hesitant to even ask him for help this time. SO first so we set up some ground rules of our own No copying of his poses or pranks. This meant no spaghetti on the chandelier, and especially no skewered chicken or the ultimate pie pan landing like a hat. In the end I did send him our image and he still helped me improve it a bit. This is one thing I absolutely love about having talented friends and mentors in this industry, people who share knowledge and help each other expand skills.

The first image we created was a very formal beautifully set table which would become the front cover of our card. I’m sure recipients who now look forward to receiving this family’s card every year were confused. Brinkley, the dog seated at the table was the only thing even remotely unusual at first glance. — Oh — and the artwork on the wall — and maybe the mischevious grins on every face. They had to actually OPEN the card to reveal the big surprise.

This project is actually a composite of several images with each person being photographed separately to capture the best action from everyone. We shot in the very brave clients’ own dining room so that we could incorporate their own light fixture and furniture. Our first task was to block out the back window with a painters drop cloth so that we could replace it with a solid wall that would include our two earlier projects.

Once we had that formal image down we messed up the table and the fun began. We knew we were on a roll when we nailed our very first shot, Brinkley catching his favorite treat, a marshmallow, midair. Then we began dripping food onto dress clothes one person at a time, careful to make sure the cranberry sauce didn’t look too much like a gunshot wound. Somewhere along the line the carving knife ended up in the ice tea pitcher so we left it there as we photographed each family member individually.

SAFETY NOTICE: The wood floors became SUPER slippery , so when Braden tipped his chair back, we had older brother, Joshua, securing the feet to keep it from slipping out from under him. A word of warning — repeated for anyone who wants to try this at home — the wood floor became VERY slippery with spilled gravy, potatoes, and jello.

No humans or dogs, however, were injured in the making of this image.

After cleanup in the house, behind-the scenes-magic began. First I created clipping masks of each person and then dropped them all into a shot of the table.

This created a flat cartoonish looking image that became our starting point. I could tell right away that Brinkley didn’t have enough personal space in his original position, so we flipped him around and moved him to the other side of the table. We also needed a little more food in the air so I purchased a bag of frozen veggies, sprinkled them onto a foam board in an arching shape where I photographed them in my studio.

Next it was time to add the artwork to the walls, re-construct the actual floor and baseboards without the sideboard buffets, and to burn in some shadows for depth. Voila!

In the true spirit of Christmas, the Wallace family says it’s always better to give than to receive. And they were still laughing and smiling as we finished and cleaned up. Yes — Dad DID get to smack his youngest son with a cherry pie. Oh MY!

We are already working up plans for 2020 and I can hardly wait. In the meantime, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I would LOVE to tell YOUR family story in a fun and unique way too.
If you would like a personalized story-telling family portrait or Christmas card of your own, reach out to me at SPCcreative.com now. These things take time to dream up and create. Let’s start now.

In the meantime, May your Days be Messy and Bright.

A Simply Glamorous Bride|Katy Houston Portrait Photographer

Makeup: Brandi Alea/Hollywood Hippie

Hair: Tisha Zuercher

Flowers: Kim Boyd-DeBerry/ Boyds Blossoms

One of the hardest things about creating bridal portraits is waiting until AFTER the wedding to share the images, but now that Leah and Ben are an officially married couple, here she is!

Traditional beauty with an artsy Boho vibe capturing moods of awe, wonder, and a little bit of fantasy. That’s what Leah wanted in her bridal portraits, and we were more than happy to deliver from Dutch Master dark styling with rich colors, intense light and deep shadows to a flying Disney-esque princess.

Leah’s bouquet, an abundance of delphinium, dianthus, eucalyptus, and sweeping greens designed by Kim Boyd-DeBerry of Boyd’s Blossoms in Baytown lit up the room almost as much as our bride did. Soooooo! Gorgeous!

Leah brought her own hairdresser and makeup artist to our portrait session so that they could all get a trial run together. Tisha Zuercher of TMZ styled those fantasy locks, and I was beyond excited when I learned that Brandi Alea, owner and founder of Hollywood Hippie Cosmetics would be in charge of her makeup. I’ve known Brandi and worked with her in studio countless times before, so it I knew from the beginning that Leah’s look would be in the best of hands.

In addition to gorgeous traditional images, I wanted to create a fantasy portrait for Leah, something like a real live Disney princess on her magical day. This was all in fun, but I love the way she seems to glide through the clouds.

The day we held our portrait session was a warm muggy Houston-style early fall afternoon so we chose to do most of our work inside the studio with the air conditioner cranked. We did, however, wrap things up outdoors to add a little landscape and warm fall colors to our collection.

Best wishes to Leah and Ben. May you both be blessed and joyful together for years to come.

Celebrate Success|Katy Houston Branding Photographer

This last week proved a huge milestone for Laura Frnka Davis, APR and we are beyond delighted to celebrate with her. This month she celebrates one whirlwind crazy busy and successful year for her new public relations agency, LFD Communications. As part of her celebration Laura came to SPCcreative for a curated portfolio of studio portraits to use in promoting herself and her business. Special thanks to Cintya Velderrain for Hair and Makeup!

It was just a year ago that life kicked Laura in the teeth. She lost a job where she had worked diligently for nearly ten years. The loss came as a shock and sent her reeling — but not for long.

This powerhouse of a woman didn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself — not for a minute. She picked up the phone, started calling colleagues she had worked with in the Public Relations profession, and began making connections. Within a year she not only founded LFD Communications, she has achieved a phenomenal success rate for her clients by developing extensive communications plans, booking television, radio, and online appearances, and placing written articles in The Houston Chronicle, Houston Business Journal, and trade publications.

LFD Communications offers communication strategies, writing and editing services, digital marketing, media relations coaching, and social media for nonprofit organizations as well as corporations.

If your organization has a story to tell and wants results, give Laura a call. She can help.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to mention … she’s an avid supporter of her Alma Mater, Texas A&M.

Pretty Dresses and Puppy Kisses – Katy Houston Pet Photographer

Pretty Dresses and Puppy Kisses – Katy Houston Pet Photographer

You may have heard that we’ve got a new Grand Dane. That’s right, our kiddos made us proud grand-pup-parents again with this handsome guy, and we couldn’t be happier.

They brought him over for dinner last week so we had to dash up to the studio for a few quick baby portraits. He is a Great Dane, so we know he won’t stay this small for long. Get a load of those PAWS!

We don’t play in the studio often together when the kids come over, but decided this would be a great occasion for our daughter in love to step into the gorgeous lilac dress that we recently added to our studio collection. Isn’t she a dream?

Laughter and puppy breath. Sooooo sweet! We had a wonderful time playing together and it is going to be so much fun watching this pup grow up. His name is Dos, and he’s the second official mascot of Grateful Dane Distilling Co. right here in Houston, Texas.

The next time you are enjoying a cold locally craft distilled beverage and wonder if there really is a Dane behind the label, now you know!

The original Grateful Dane, Jaeger, will never be replaced. He left a pretty big pawprint on our hearts to fill, but I believe Dos has begun filling that space quite nicely.

Portraits for the Pastor | Katy Houston Photographer

I’ve always believed that God sends us exactly what we need, precisely when we need it, in His absolute perfect timing. The man you are about to meet, Pastor Leo Tyler, is a prime example of this. He came to lead our church at just the right time a little over two years ago.

I was honored to create a series of portraits for for him so that our church could put his face on social media and printed materials as we share our many growing ministries.

A little over two years ago our congregation at Bear Creek United Methodist Church seemed adrift. Oh, we had a firm anchor in Christ and wonderful people who wanted to to do great things but we simply couldn’t seem to catch the wind in our sails. From my pew, it sadly looked as if we had become another of the dying churches across America. To be honest, we were a lot of gray haired white folks with very little to offer the younger generations or the diverse neighborhood that had developed around our building.

Thankfully Leo came in equipped to change all that. He has a God-given gift of relating to people on an individual level, finding their skill sets, and putting them to work — together — for good. His enthusiasm and joy for Jesus are downright contagious.

In the two short years since Leo took the helm of our ship, we’ve done things quite a bit differently than in the past — and the change has been dynamic!

Whatever you do, do it as for The LORD.

We have grown in numbers and in spirit. Our youth and children’s programs are flourishing, and we have become a very well-respected resource for our members and for the community. We’re even in the process of becoming a flagship community health center, educating and equipping the our neighbors to make better nutrition, lifestyle, and medical choices. As our community learns how much we care about them, they are learning to trust us as their spiritual family too.

I love what I see happening in our little church these days and would love to invite YOU, dear reader, to be our guest. Whatever worship style speaks to your heart, we have one for you. Traditional worship starts at 9:00 a.m., and our contemporary bi-lingual service begins at 11:15.

Just come. You’ll find Jesus through the joy, acceptance, friendly people, and sincere prayers. Maybe you’ll even find a new church home of your own.

You’ll also find Pastor Leo.

And I know what he will say.

He would LOVE to be YOUR pastor too.

Bear Creek United Methodist Church is located at 16000 Rippling Water, just off HWY 6 near Keith Harrow in Katy, Texas.

Check out our website for more information.

Seniors, We’re Ba-aaAACK!

Seniors, We’re Ba-aaAACK!

It’s time to shake the dust off my blogging fingers and let the high school class of 2020 know that SPCcreative is back up and running and ready to create the perfect senior portraits for you.

The past two years have been hard for us here at SPCcreative. It was two years ago just last week that Hurricane Harvey ate our home and our studio, trying his hardest to knock us to the ground. The road back has not been a fun or easy one, but finally we are in a very good place and feel blessed beyond measure, but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.

Over these two years, I pulled back drastically from my business to take care of our rebuilding efforts and to do my best to stay calm and focused. During that time period I did not actively market our services, and only took on a few select clients one at a time. As much as I love working with seniors, it was my choice that I only photographed SIX of them over those two years. Yep, just six. But that was good. Each session brought us new challenges that made me wonder if I should be shooting at all. Some days I could barely even find my camera. Still in spite of our need to wing it, every single one of these kids absolutely ROCKED their sessions. Check ’em out!

You’ve got to hand it to them, the kids who came to us for portraits in 2018 and 2019 were great sports. We improvised like never before, providing hair and makeup in among hanging painters drop cloths while balancing ourselves on paint buckets and hopping over stacks of flooring material.

Oh … and it was all dusty. SO.VERY. DUSTY.

We blocked up windows with black plastic and moved backdrops and lights into whatever room could offer us just a little space. We adjusted our outdoor angles to cleverly hide the contractor’s porta potty.

We laughed.

What other choice did we have?

Thankfully most of the outdoor sets in our Studio backlot survived being submerged. We tossed a few things, hosed the mud off the rest, added fresh paint here and there, and brought in a few new fun props to pull off some fun fresh concepts. Oh, and the piano! What a find! How many studios do YOU know with their very own outdoor piano?

Class of 2020 — Here’s Lookin’ at You.

This year’s gonna be so bright you’ll def need shades.

We’re currently booking senior portrait experiences for the class of 2020. With only a couple of openings left in October and November, it’s already time to plan ahead into spring break. The best dates are filling fast.

Let’s mix your look and personality with our expertise. Together we’ll create the senior portraits you’ve dreamed of. Call the studio today at 281.773.7465. Let’s start planning your portraits now.

Not Your Mama’s Christmas Cards – Katy Houston Photographer

Not Your Mama’s Christmas Cards – Katy Houston Photographer

 I simply MUST share my favorite new Christmas Tradition with you.  If you do something twice during the holidays and you enjoy it, it becomes a tradition, right?

THIS is how the Wallace Family  of Katy, Texas rolls!

Seriously, they’ve got to be the FUNNEST Christmas Family in Texas.

You see, It all started when Mom, Jenny,  called in 2017 looking for a fun and unique family Christmas card. They had a general concept in mind, but needed a pro to help them pull it off. Oh my goodness!  It was exactly the project that had been bubbling in my own brain for quite a while, and suddenly these people just called me to create it! How does that even happen? Did I ever tell you how much I LOVE my job?

As we began planning for our session, I reached out to one of my photography instructors and friends, Dan McLanahan. Dan is very well-known in professional circles  for his amazing skills and talents, but my brain at this time was  all-consumed  by the reknown “Friday Night Food Fight” composite that he had created a year before.   Click on this link to check it out!    Dan gave me some pointers to help make our session go smoothly, and he also offered a gentle but extremely helpful critique during the post-production stages of  Christmas Kitchen Chaos 2017.

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The magic of a project like this comes in compiling  several photographs until one composite image is complete. I don’t know what part of this scenario I enjoyed the most.

It could have been Scott’s flaming skillet. (Yes we used real fire).

Or Jenny’s flying flour  which looked so realistic because the sons hid behind the island throwing flour and mashed potato flakes into the air until we captured our perfect messy cloud.

Maybe it was Braden’s athletic skills catching a football mid-air with his LEFT hand so that we could still see his face –HOW MANY TIMES?

 Josh’s feigned  boredom with the whole scenario absolutely cracked me up because it couldn’t have been further from reality. In fact, he offered keen thoughts, insight, and even served as a voice-activated lightstand  throughout the session both last year and this year.

However, the story I LOVE to tell about this shoot is about the family dog, Brinkley. This dog is so well-trained that  he absolutely refused to steal the lasagna off the counter. In order to make that scenario happen, we had to send dad to another part of the house while Jenny and the sons coerced and tempted him.

This was my first ever attempt at a relatively complex composite image, and it was so much fun.  The Christmas card recipients started asking what this year’s card would look like, and the Wallaces quickly realized that they couldn’t ever go back to a traditional smiling family portrait card.

When they called me this year, we sat down together and brainstormed until we came up with a new concept.

Deck the Halls  — Wallace Style

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The family has actually experienced a couple of real-life falling Christmas tree incidents, so they knew that their friends and relatives would understand the significance.

Everyone maintained their  basic persona from 2017.  Jenny’s tripping over her own enthusiasm, and so surprised that she’s practically juggling the ornaments as they smash to the floor. Josh is once again absorbed in his  technology and light untangling mess. Braden’s adding Santa to the top of the tree — Elf Style. And of course we’ve got Scott, once again about to burn down the house with his Griswold-inspired electrical connection.

We even included last year’s card on the television screen at the back of the room.

Best memory from this year’s photography session?  The pure thrill on the guys’ faces when they got to actually throw glass ornaments up into the air, allowing them to smash on the ground. Josh said it was the one thing that you’re always told not to do.

“Don’t drop the ornaments, don’t let them break, be careful with them. Don’t make a mess.” 

But on this one day we shattered ornaments on the floor and made a royal mess.

Merry Christmas from SPCcreative Photography via The Wallace Family.

I will let one little secret out of the bag.

We’ve already started planning for 2019.

What will it be?  I’ll never tell.

 

The Amazing Energy Wizard – Katy Houston Branding Photographer

Keveney Evanne is one of those people who just draws you in with a feeling of calm confidence all  wrapped up with a big,  bold,  energetic twist.

 And after spending some time with her, I left feeling refreshed and confident.  Now, if THAT wasn’t backwards!  After all, as a photographer I consider a large part of my job to be putting my client at ease and making HER feel comfortable enough to bare her soul for my lens.  In this case, it’s almost as if the energy was reversed.

That really comes as no surprise, though, because Keveney IS The Energy Wizard. and I was delighted to work with her as she re-branded her personal coaching business, Keveneyevanne.com.

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 Now, I’ll be the first to admit that  in talking with her to plan her photography session, I was a little bit — okay,  a good bit —  out of my element.  After all, I’m just a small town gal  from Midland-Gosh-Dern-Texas who never was even  exposed to concepts like chakras, auric cleansing, or universal law.   The theories always intrigued me but I truly knew nothing of them.

Please don’t laugh, but  my first though was, “How do we illustrate Keveney’s work without  falling into Harry Potter meets Fairy Godmother?”

Ha! It wasn’t hard at all.

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Keveney’s brand is solid and grounded because she works with high-level professionals who don’t mess around. Still, she is serenely uplifting. She uses a palette of deep rich plum and violet along with natural elements, calmexpressions peppered with joyful invitation.

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She helps people like lawyers, engineers, doctors, professional coaches — and even their pets– break free from the the illusions of what society says their life should be. Together they align their goals and actions with  their intuition,  otherwise known as their “gut.”

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Keveney  describes herself as a free spirit who had achieved a wildly successful life  with a thriving legal career, beautiful home, loving husband, two great dogs, and more. Still she  became disenchanted, so she started to wander.

She didn’t just  aimlessly amble around until she found something palatable. She set aside her  legal practice and took on adventures  that could conceivably become another “Eat, Pray, Love” genre novel.    She practiced yoga in Costa Rica. She cooked alongside  award-winning Native American chefs and built a sweat lodge with shamans in New Mexico.   She studied with a world renowned animal communicator at a horse rescue in the Texas Panhandle.  She learned about ancient healing and energetic technologies… And she played on the beaches of California.

Now settled back in Houston, she puts all that she has learned together to help others move past their history to a different and fulfilling mindset.

I loved working with her — and have learned so much just by hanging out with her for a while. It will be fun to watch her prosper along with her clients.

Visit her new website to learn more.

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