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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.