Lisa -Trash the Dress – Rock the Frock by Any Name, it’s Gorgeous Fun.

There’s this gorgeous young woman who officially joined our family nearly a year and a half ago — and there’s also this amazingly scrumptious dress that’s been hanging in our front hall closet ever since the day she and my first son returned from their honeymoon.

I’ve been waiting and waiting for her to get back into the dress and go play with me and my camera. The old adage about the shoemakers children having no shoes definitely carries over to photographers as well.  Our own kids are the last ones to get booked on our portrait schedules. It finally fell together not too long ago when we had a trip planned with just a little extra time to kill.

Lisa earned her degree in nutrition from The University of Houston, and she is very good at creating oh-s0-yummy and still super-healthy goodies in her own little kitchen.  That’s why Sweetpea’s Bakery provided a perfect first stop for us. Unfortunately, there was no cupcake sampling for us that day because the shop was going out of business. Everything was still adorably decorated, though, and we had private access.  Definitely a lucky coup for us.

  It’s great to have inside connections, and I’m thrilled that we got to shoot here before this place went away. BUT… an Italian Cream Cupcake sure would have tasted good about now.  RATZ!

Oh how I love working in  back alleys…. small towns, urban centers, doesn’t matter… give me some good grunge, and maybe a little street art… HEAVEN!

 Moving garbage cans out of the way gets a little bit nasty, but I know to carry wipes and hand sanitizer.

Probably the highlight of our session  for me was spending a little time at “The Station.”

We drove over to an old empty Mobile Filling Station that my grandfather owned and operated until the mid 1970′s when he retired.  It wasn’t just an ordinary filling station either.  This station had a  bar that served up ice cold longneck bottles of beer, and for the kids, every flavor of sodie pop you can name… and ice cream sandwiches. Mmmmmm!

I think that about a half dozen local retirees used to practically rotate shifts, sitting on the bar stools, drinking and smoking at the station.  I never knew their names, but can still see their faces in my mind’s eye.   A liquor store was attached, but with a separate entrance on one side of the building.  On the other side, a corrugated tin drive- in awning, or car-shade as we called it, allowed people to sit in the shade in their cars, drinking cokes or beer and eating snacks as long as they pleased.    When the customers wanted to place an order or were done and ready to leave  they could honk the horn and Pawpaw or one of his employees would come out side, take orders, and deliver treats on a window-mount tray.

I ran around this building with my brothers and cousins, barefooted and out of control for years…

My my how times have changed. The gas pumps are gone.  I do NOT get out of the car without shoes at a filling station or anywhere!

The  doors are locked, but the station building still stands, just a little more worn from the years that have passed.

I am so glad that I got to share this little bit of family history with our newest family member. 


Think this Summer is Too Hot for Outdoor Portraits? Think Again

Seems like everybody is dragging a bit in this dreadfully hot and dry summer, and they tend to think that it’s just not a good time to go outside at all, much less schedule outdoor portraits.

Well, I have news for you!  My favorite tips for survival are to move slowly, know a good Air Conditioning Repair Guy, keep a big pitcher of iced tea close at hand . . .

and of course, NOTHING beats a little POOL TIME!

Inspired by Macon, GA photographer Lee McDavid who says that a $12 kiddie swimming pool was one of his best investments ever, I started thinking about new ways to keep our summer senior photography sessions super cool. After a visit to the Goodwill store with one of my favorite high school seniors, we hit the pool with prom dresses and cameras in hand.

Sooo much fun!    After a little pool and waterfall time, we finished our session by breaking in my brand new bamboo shower wall.

I’m loving my private portrait park just a little bit more every single day.

Our summer may be flying by, but we’ve still got two or three more months of intense heat.  We’re onto something very cool over here!

Don’tcha think?

We Trashed the Dress on the Vegas Strip

It’s DEFINITELY NOT your mother’s wedding portrait.

Oh my!  I can’t believe it’s already been a whole year since we ROCKED the Vegas Strip at the 2010 WPPI (Wedding and Portrait Photographers International) conference and trade show. Thinking back made me want to resurrect some of the photographs I took a year ago.   I made some fantastic friends that day and just thought it was about time to share these never-before-seen images.

A  photoshoot sponsored by the Chicago Trash the Dress group was probably one of my favorite activities of the whole week.We met at the pedestrian overpass near our hotel before splitting up with our gorgeous models for two whirlwind hours of traffic-stopping fun.   Trash the Dress is  not just for models.  Every day more and more brides are scheduling after-the big-day sessions with their photographers to go out and  PLAY in their super gorgeous dress.  The end result — yummy, sexy, sultry, playful, joyful  and daring art.   Contrary to the name, we don’t actually “trash” or ruin the dresses, but they might get a little dirty or wet., but most wedding dresses today fare very well in the wash.  This is nothing like your mother’s or grandmother’s  wedding portraits.

Here are a few of my favorite Trash the Dress images from that afternoon   –  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.    Want to put on YOUR dress again and go “trashing?”  Give me a call and we’ll set you up.

Lovin’ That Dress Again

Long before I ever met Anikka, I knew I liked her bold and fun-loving spirit. Then after I learned that she wraps up a rough day by putting on her wedding dress to sit on the sofa and drink a beer, I decided she would make a great candidate for a Trash the Dress Session. And was I ever right! She jumped at the idea and even invited her good friend Kisha to join us.  I’m so glad she did too.   The more the merrier . . . We had tons of fun, laughing and playing all morning and we thoroughly enjoyed providing a little free entertainment for passers by who loved seeing such well-dressed ladies in very casual locations.

The term “Trash the Dress” is a bit of a misnomer. While some women are willing to stain, shred, or even burn their dresses, most just want to put them on again, play, and get some non-traditional images of themselves having a good time in their dream dresses. After all, there is a dry cleaner on nearly every corner of our city and most of these dresses even come out looking as good as new after a  bathtub hand wash or a gentle cycle in the washing machine.

We met early on a Saturday morning and headed down to a pretty little bridge for the first part of our session.

It takes strength and fortitude  to spend too much time in a low creek bed during a Houston summer day.  We’re renown in this part of the world for our heat and humidity anyway, and by climbing down the banks where no breezes can reach we had to remind ourselves that some people  pay good money to sit in saunas. Before long we decided that we were healthy and well-steamed, so we moved along to a nearby open field.  Trash the dress is all about fantasy though, so let’s call it a meadow instead.  That just sounds better.

Since we were photographing in a  newly developed area, we couldn’t resist a chance to explore a nearby home that was under construction.    The light in there was phenomenal, but because the external walls had already been put up, we again had no breeze at all.  Our respect for construction workers  jumped tenfold.

With only a few construction images, we walked out of the house as  the construction crews arrived.

They laughed.  We left — and headed for the lake.

As I mentioned before, some women embrace the idea of actually “trashing” their dresses.  While I never expect this of my brides,  I will not turn down the opportunity either. Kisha had brought a can of hot pink spray paint to end our session.  I asked her three times if she was sure she wanted to do this, and each time her enthusiasm grew.  Anikka changed clothes so that her own dress would still  be suitable for her next hard day’s night and then the spraying ensued.

We have tentative plans for Part II with these ladies and their phenomenal dresses before the end of the summer.  If it all pans out, you won’t want to miss the results.

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