Mother Daughter Portraits Last a Lifetime-Katy Houston Photographer

Hair and Makeup by Rachael Elise Walker — Elise Artistry

Some people are simply so  full of life and adventure that you never know what’s going to happen when they get creative, but you know that it’s going to be fun.  Originally we had planned to only photograph Mary, the mom in this series. BUT — as we worked through our consultation, we realized that we would all be missing out if we didn’t bring her daughter into the session as well — and I am so glad we did.

This is something I believe EVERY mother and daughter should do tpgether. Not only did they get to spend an afternoon laughing and playing “dress-up”  together, they both looked AMAZING when they left the studio for dinner..

I secretly wished I could have tagged along just to watch people’s reaction as they walked by.  Stay with me, and you’ll see why!

AND _ to top it off, they’ll have fabulous heirloom images of each other to treasure for ever.


 R is a gorgeous young teen.  She is sweet, quiet and soft-spoken … UNTIL she unleashes her inner goth. It may seem like an oxymoron, but  when she turns on her dark side,  THAT is  when she really lights up.

We started out our session with a nice casual feel,  and with the help of  our in-studio makeup artist and stylist, Rachael Walker, we  worked our way up from there.

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Mary took a more formal route . . .


Isn’t she lovely?


But she was a great sport about letting R play out her inner rock goddess complete with blue hair extensions and super-dramatic makeup.


Very moody, huh? 2015-10-23_0042 2015-10-23_0048

Because  Mike Chetty  and I raised five sons, we have a collection of old band instruments in our closets.

Most are in better shape than this old French Horn that had been previously destined to the trash heap, but  I love how well it played into our theme.   We didn’t  have to worry about damaging it, and I am super glad it found its way into my prop closet!

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This was by FAR one of my favorite sessions in a long time.  I can’t wait to do another concept escalation based on creativity and dreams.  There’s one in the planning stages now, and I would  love to create one for YOU as well.

Summer- Turning Day to Night- Katy Area Professional Photographers Blog Circle

Hi friends,

Every once in a while I like to throw something different out here, so I’m really excited about today’s project.

The Katy area is chock-full of photographers who can photograph you and your family — and some of those people are downright FABULOUS.  I’m delighted to be friends with some of the best locals around.  While I love to work with your teens who really would prefer to be hanging with their friends than taking ‘FAMILY’ photos to make mom happy,  than sugar-crazed toddlers, I have the resources to take care of  TODAY.  See, these collleagues of mine happen to be particularly WONDERFUL Childrens’ photographers.  That’s right.  If you call me for a photography job that I think is more suited to someone else, I will do my darndest to get you together.  After all….. You have a choice,  and a four-year-old is WAY DIFFERENT from a High School Senior.

SOOOOOO….. If your kids are beyond the new walker stage and younger than 10, SPCcreative MAY NOT be the best studio for you.  HOWEVER….. I have connections…. YES!!!!! RIGHT HERE IN KATY!!!!!!

Just for grins, my close-circle of local professional photographers has started a blog circle.  You can read through a selection of  our blog posts and then follow a link to  yet another one of our colleagues.  Be to follow the circle all the way around until you get back to where you started.

UMMMMMM…… That would be ME!!!! HELLLOOOOOO!

Our blog circle this month centers around the theme of SUMMER.

So, even though you already know that I specialize in portraits — and there’s NOTHING I love more than high school seniors and teenagers, this is where I”m letting my LEFT BRAIN …. or maybe it’s the RIGHT take over.  Whatever it is, OTHER LOGICAL SIDE — SHUT UP and let me play!

 Come join me as we PLAY in the backyard garden.


All of these images were created in broad daylight, but I used my flash to darken the background and eliminate distractions.

What’s that? you say… Use a flash to make it dark?

YEP!  .  You’d never know that just a few feet behind this lovely Picasso’s Fantasy Petunia hanging basket there’s a white garage, would you.

Wanna know how it’s done?


First, you do need a camera that allows you to use the manual settings, and you’ll  to know some basics about how your camera works.

You also need a flash unit that allows you to control the strength of the flash, and it’s WAY COOL if you can trigger that flash from off the camera.

Okay — if you need help,  go get your manual.  It’s okay.  I’ll wait.

This will be a little bit technical but I am SOoooooooo not a techie person that I HOPE I can explain the steps in a way that makes sense to you and me both.

If you don’t know how to adjust a few settings on your camera, take a moment to read up on them.  They  include turning OFF all automatic settings and putting your camera in MANUAL mode, then adjusting your

 ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture.


  There’s NOTHING automatic about this little exercise, so the very first thing you want to do is shift your camera over to the MANUAL mode.

Thats the M on the dial that probably also has a little green square. Maybe there are some  pictures like a flower, a runnnnnning guy, and a mountain.  You might  also have other letters like B, A, T, & P — but we want the M as in Monkey or Moon or . . .  Magic.

 Got it?  Now you’re TOTALLY in charge of your camra.    Feel empowered?  Let’s go on.

Next, lets set your camera so that it reads very little of that bright summer outdoor  light.  So find your ISO setting.

ISO stands for International Standards Organization, but that doesn’t matter.  It simply affects how fast your sensor collects the light once it’s let in.   The controller is probably on the right side of your camera near the shutter button, but use your manual if you need help finding it.

Choose the lowest number available.

I don’t speak Nikon, but most Canon cameras typically go down to 100.


Next you want to set your shutter speed so that it is as fast as possible without outpacing your flash. Some systems can go as fast as  1/250 of a second before  you have to make a battery-draining high speed sync adjustment to your flash.  On other models you may only go up to 1/200 before  high-speed sync becomes necessary. We don’t want to fool with the high sync thing, but if you shoot faster than your flash will allow, you’ll only get about half a picture.  Nobody wants THAT!

Still with me?  Great!   Go ahead and set your shutter speed at 200.


Next you want to adjust your aperture (that means the size of the hole that opens up in your lens to let light in) as small as possible so that it doesn’t let in much light at all.

Here’s where things get wonky.  The higher the aperture numbers go, the SMALLER your aperture really is.  So….. if your aperture is set on 2.8 or 5.4, the hole is really big, and lots of light gets in.  That’s great for if you want to freeze action, but that light just comes into the camera  and goes EVERYWHERE – and for THIS project we want to block out most of our surrounding light so that we only see the light that our flash puts on the subject.

NOW… with your shutter speed set fast, start adjusting your aperture to the bigger and bigger numbers  – smaller and smaller hole — until you can take a picture and the result is totally (or nearly all) black.  20 or 22 is usually pretty good.  Once you get a black image, stop.  Keep those settings where they are.


NOW — we’re going to bring in the flash.

Be sure it  is set on its manual setting too, not automatic or ETTL,  or it will try to do the thinking for you and you’ll just get whatever exposure the camera thinks is normal.

Start with the flash at about 1/8 power and hold it about  3 or 4 feet away from the  subject …. we’ll just say it’s a flower since it’s summer and things are blooming like crazy.

Be sure the flash is pointing DIRECTLY at the flower.

Take a picture.

What did you get?  Is it all still black or too dark?  If so, there are two things you can do.  Either move the flash closer to your flower, or turn the  power up a stop to 1/4 power — but not both!

Is your subject over-exposed?  Then what do you think we’re going to do?

BINGO!  Turn the flash power DOWN or move it away from your subject.  How cool is that?

This is where it’s super fun to have a flash that you can fire from off your camera. Once you find the exposure and flash distance that works for you, you can move that light around and experiment.  Try placing  the flash above your flower pointing straight down …. now try one with the flash off to the side or even behind or underneath the flower….. Pretty cool to see the light falling on just one part of your flower, isn’t it?


The light came from behind this little baby dragonfly.  That’s why his legs have that pretty rim-lighted effect.

Can you guess where my light was for the mushrooms?  That’s right, it was at about 10 o clock to the subject and was laying on the ground.

Now, the plumeria picture is a cheat.  The sun was actually shining right through the petals so I made some quick adjustments and took that picture without any flash at all, but I still used the same principles, making the swimming pool background a deep dark teal instead of black.


Think you want to give this a try?  I believe you can do it too.  I’d love to see the images that you can come up with.

Go play and let me hear and see how it goes!

NOW — so the SUMMER-THEME circle remains unbroken, click THIS LINK to get to know my fellow photography buddy, Desi and what she and her ADORABLE kiddos have been up to this summer.

  And when I say KIDS, you really will see GOATS!  How cool is that on a hot summer day?

When you get to the bottom of her blog, keep on linking until you get back to where you started. !

Flash Turns Day into Night for a Volunteer Squash – Something Different for Backyard Photography

Every once in a blue moon I allow myself a little time to just play.

It’s fun.

I don’t do it often, but I should.

Every time I do, I learn something new or at least put into practice something that I already  know but need to play with so that it comes more naturally.  Occasionally I think it’s just  so cool that  want to  share it.


In honor of the first day of summer, I’d like to introduce you to a cheery little  friend of mine.


This volunteer is a squash plant named Shipley.

How did he get a name like Shipley?

 Easy, I was looking for”S” names (since he was a squash) and there it was.  Shipley … from the Sheep Meadow.  That was the best fit I could find for a volunteer that got his start in the compost pile.

Compost . . . Sheep manure… In the long run, it’s all the same S_ _ _ _  STUFF!  Count the blanks.  STUFF

Shipley doesn’t live in the compost pile anymore.  He must’ve been no more than a sprout when he hitched a ride with Arvin the Avocado earlier in the spring.  They room together in a big pot on the patio where Arvin is growing tall and straight while Shipley just drinks up Arvin’s water while he  wanders around dropping blossoms on the ground.

Anyway, the play portion of my day involved making daytime look like night.  Can you believe it?  If you want me to, I’ll teach you how to do it too.

It was hotter ‘n blazes and full sun out when I shot these images , so I didn’t last too long — besides I had other work to do.     I’ve toyed with the idea of adding some how-to lessons to my blog, and this might be a good place to start.  If  there are a few people who would like  a step by step tutorial on how to do this, I want to hear it.  ASK and you SHALL RECEIVE in a future blog post.

Let me hear from  you.


Glamour Splash 2013 — It’s Hot and it’s COOL! Katy West Houston Senior Photography

I don’t know where the year has gone, but it is  time for Glamour Splash 2013 — and I’m so excited I can hardly stand it.    We’re celebrating all the soon-to-be High School Seniors, and doing something VERY special for our community.

Picture this!

YOU… a formal dress.. in the water — YES — IN THE WATER at your gorgeous BEST —  for one of the most exciting portraits you’ve ever seen…

AND — all proceeds go to Cinco Charities to help build and operate the Ballard House, a temporary overnight housing facility for families that travel to the Katy/West Houston area for medical care.

 Ready to take the plunge?  Reserve your session HERE! and then keep reading for more details.

Glamour Splash started last year,  benefited a local food bank, and it was FABULOUS… but, between you and me, our timing was a little bit off.  We waited too late into the summer, and quite a few of our potential participants were already out of town, so this year we’re not even waiting for the last day of school.  In the Katy schools, students get to exempt a number of their final exams based upon what grade they are in, their attendance, and academic performance — so we’re celebrating their achievements and playing HOLLYWOOD while their younger siblings are sitting  in finals.

na na na na boo boo!

 Glamour splash is open to any girl who has shot her senior portraits with our studio, regardless of the year, as well as to anyone in the class of 2014 or 2015.

The sessions will last 20 minutes each, and you can use your own formal dress or choose from one of ours.

To register, go to .  A minimum donation of  $20.00 will reserve your session, and you’ll get a free Facebook/social media profile picture.  Additional options are available to increase your contribution to Cinco Charities — and they come with extra goodies.  After the session prints and electronic files will be available online — still benefiting Cinco Charities.

Session reservations are non-refundable, but every single penny goes to this great cause. 

We highly recommend that you bring your own dress for the session because that will make your session totally personal, but we also understand if you don’t want to take the risk of putting your pretties into a chlorinated swimming pool.  We have a few dresses in the studio that you can choose from — or you can wear your own bandeau-style swim top or tube top, and we’ll use fabric drapes to create your special images.

We are also accepting dress donations for future Glamour Splash events!

Should you use your own dress, please bear in mind that you are doing so at your own risk.  Most synthetic fibers are perfectly safe in the water as are quite a few natural fibers, but I am NOT Heloise and I will not make any promises. —  What I WILL promise is that you’ll get a ROCKIN photo session.  We’ll have fun, and you’ll have the coolest summer photos around.

 You know you want it!

And to add a little more of your personality to some of your images, you’re encouraged to bring  your own hair decorations and anything that will float — EXCEPT GLITTER.  We don’t need glitter in our filter.  Flowers and petals would be lovely though.   If you have other cool ideas we’re ready to hear them!



Oh … and the ooky part:  All participants who are under the age of 18 will be required to bring a release form signed by their parent or guardian.     You’ll receive the release after registering, and it simply covers the legal mumbo jumbo  allowing us to photograph you and put the images into the glamour splash website for preview and order.  The release also talks about how we can’t be responsible for your dress or your safety… even though we trust that you’ve got good sense, and we are very safety-conscious over here.     Oh… and since your images WILL be gorgeous, we have to cover the fact that they will probably be blogged about right here!  It also releases Cinco Charities from any liability…

No release?  No shoot for you.  So sorry but it’s super important.  After all… we’re all in this to do GOOD things.

SO — click here to reserve your spot or to volunteer.

 Volunteer?  Did you say volunteer?

YEP!  We have a few spots for gals looking to add a few hours to their community service log or to just gain some behind the scenes experience at a fashion photo shoot.  You’ll be serving as a hostess, helping other girls get ready for their session or acting as a photographer’s assistant, helping adjust dresses and fabrics, moving and holding lights and shade cloths.  Call the studio at 281.773.7465 during business hours if you’d like to help out.

 Ready to take the plunge?  Reserve your session HERE!




Katy Houston Baby Photographer – Benjamin’s Box

There’s not much in this big ole’ world that can bring a smile to people’s faces the way a sweet little baby grin can.

I can’t even begin to resist the charms of an impish little guy like Benjamin. When he came to visit for his four-month photographs, he  absolutely would not  wouldn’t stop smiling until he suddenly conked out for the car ride home.  When it came time for his mother’s viewing and ordering session, she faced a huge but wonderful dilemma . . .

How in the world do you  choose between cute, adorable, and melt my ever lovin’ heart?

Click here to revisit  our session and see why the decision was so hard to make.  After all, these cutie pies don’t stay tiny for long at all.    It took us a while to match schedules, so he had already grown quite a bit between his camera session and the date when we selected his artwork.

The answer?  Just box em all up!  Benjamin’s mommy chose a few of her “very most favoritest” images for gifts  and to build a composite print,  and then we custom designed a fine art box for her and filled it with 5×7 prints in a shiny metallic finish. The box included a disc with electronic files of each print along with personal-use reprinting privileges.     Now this little cutie-pie’s  parents can enjoy all of these images for years to come, and they’ll also be able to make extra copies for all the aunts and uncles, cousins and friends who just can’t narrow down their selection either.

Smile on little Benjamin.  You’re already quite the charmer.  I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for you.

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