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.
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
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.
Did you catch my last post about the Inner Superheroes Revealed project? If not, Click HERE to read it.
I am not by any means finished with the project. I will continue drawing out the fire of bold and powerful women in Houston and across the country. Do you think may be you should participate? YES you should. You and your besties absolutely should, and there are several ways we can make that happen. Just call the studio and let’s do it.
But first, check out these fabulous women of Superheroes Revealed Part II. They are all gorgeously powerful and very exciting.
We’ll start with Nicky. Her fearless bravado prevailed long before I ever met her. The first thing I ever heard about this wild Canadian woman was that she was going to walk on the wings of an airplane WHILE IT WAS IN THE AIR.
Sure enough, she did it. She loved it. She wants to do it again. I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see her start taking on stunt rolls for movies. C’mon somebody, write a movie script that calls for a gorgeous blonde to be climbing around on the wings of a plane in flight. We’ve got your gal.
We HAD to play with an aviation theme which quickly morphed into a stormy weather related series.
“There was a storm in her eyes, rocky seas from a hundred stormy nights…” — Atticus
Next came Carole. She is known for keeping a room full of young ninja wannabees under control and focused. She owns Fort Bend Tae Kwon Do.
You don’t want to mess with this gal — EVER — but you can send your kids to her so that nobody will mess with them either.
Giving kids the tools to become empowered.
Whether it’s with her creative personality or with actual electricity, Miriam, owner of Southern Voltage Electric Service will electrify you. She’ll also make sure your house doesn’t burn down for the lack of good wiring.
I stopped waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that b!7ch myself.
And Bobbe, beautiful Bobbe. As moms of boys more than a decade ago, we shared many afternoons centered around laser tag and nerf guns and carpools. Those boys are now amazing grown men. And Bobbe hasn’t slowed down, nor does she plan to.
Look for me in the wirlwind of the storm. – Marcus Garvey
How about gathering up four or five of your powerful women friends to unleash and reveal their super powers with SPCcreative Photography?
Contact me at the studio for details and to set up a celebration of power.
My latest project came out of a lousy Post- Hurricane Harvey Funk several several months after the main event.
No real back story here.
No poor me because my house and studio backlot are all in a shambles or because my studio is basically shut down due to the eminent domain of our salvaged personal property.
No bashing of our mortgage company for their horrendous red-tape policies and very-poorly run insurance claims department — Not even though I’d like to.
Nope. None of that.
Anyway, I could feel my inner bad @$$ boiling to the surface. Okay, she exploded through a series of raging phone calls and near meltdowns. She wasn’t pretty, and in fact it was making me physically ill to hold her in so I decided to redeem her. Release her. Let her fly.
With the help of my Favorite Boyfriend, the one that I married 21 years ago, I set up a simple gray paper backdrop in a front room of our empty downstairs. Then we dug out lights from the studio-turned-storage room and dragged them downstairs only to remember that we had NO ELECTRICAL OUTLETS below four feet. RATS!
“NEVER FEAR — EXTENSION CORD MAN IS HERE!” shouted FBF as he strung a heavy-duty cord and power strip over the stair rail and through our entry hall.
Then, nothing happened. Nothing at all until a few days later. That’s when I dressed in black, applied my Jet-Set-Red-Bad-Girl-Lipstick and a vampy eye then recruited FBF to help direct my poses and click the shutter.
When I shared these pictures on facebook and instagram, the response was amazing!
Maybe other women would like to capture their own super power in portraits too! SO… I put out a call to a few special friends.
First to respond, Michi! YOW, she showed up with a black latex catsuit, killer boots, and accessories. With her wicked-bad makeup skills she actually painted the black mask on her own face.
Of course we couldn’t possibly resist adding my black cat, Pearl to the mix. She TOTALLY ROCKED it! Don’t you agree?
Those who play with cats must expect to get scratched — Don Quixote
Next up, the beautiful mother-daughter duo of Maria and Maddie Grace came in.
Oh how I love these two.
All I had to say was black clothes, red lipstick, BRING IT! and they were at my doorstep.
Maria has transformed her life from ashes to beauty. — Well, actually she’s been beautiful all along, but this woman has definitely walked through fire in the last few years.
She makes broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.
She walked with the universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.
– A. Dancu
Maddie Grace is the quiet one, the gentle one. She mysteriously appears, and when she does — things happen.
Never assume that loud is strong and quiet is weak.
She has the mindset of a queen and the heart of a warrior.
She is everything all at once and too much for anyone who doesn’t deserve her.
She is you.
STAY TOONED for some more amazing and gorgeous Inner Superheroes Revealed in our next blog post.
Same Bat Time. Same Bat Channel.
Would you and your friends like to reveal YOUR inner SUPERHEROS? It’s fun and it’s empow-HER-ing.
I’m loving this project and hope that you are too. Let’s name your superpower and showcase it for the world to see! Contact me today.
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.
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?
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!
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.
It started out as a simple thought. Bruce and Linda had not had a portrait taken together in a long long time.
Chances are pretty good that most people who don’t have small kids at home, and many who do, haven’t taken the time to be photographed together either.
They were getting ready to celebrate their 45th anniversary, so Linda called to schedule a portrait session for the two of them. The longer we talked we realized that a basic portrait just wouldn’t do. We absolutely needed to capture the very essence of this relationship, and in doing so we needed to create a true heirloom legacy — something to one day be passed along to their grandchildren and to remind them of the joy and the active life and the romantic feelings that these two have for each other.
If you knew this couple, one thing you would know for sure is that they are every bit as much in love today as they were 45 years ago. They’ve traveled quite a ways together down this road called life, and they still have a long long way to go. We decided to spend the better part of a day together so that we could document a relatively normal day in their life — from breakfast time to a dinner date with some fun stuff thrown into the middle of it all.
Our schedule was a little bit whack-a-d0odle and out of order, but we were aiming for the essence of a day. We came pretty close!
To keep things real, westarted out at breakfast time. Toast and eggs. T-shirts, newspaper, and coffee. It feels like home! That’s for sure.
The garden needed a little weeding and trim work, so after breakfast we headed out to the back yard for a little work session.
And then we all came in to exercise.
… Ahhhhh! So that’s how Linda keeps her girlish figure and how Bruce keeps up with her day in and day out. Did I mention how much I love love love their energy?
Most days find Bruce and Linda very-well connected to their tablets and computers where they check up on their grandchildren, their own parents and siblings, and of course their friends.
Have you heard the old adage about the couple that hunts together? That’ okay. Neither have I. In fact, aside from my own grandparents, I can’t even think of any other couples I know that both people enjoy a frosty trip out to the lease, but every year they hunt together . . . deer, quail, elk . . . whatever else it is that people hunt.
Sooooooo — just for fun we decided to create a Texas Hunting Season parody version of the famous American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. The house next door to them had a peaked gable that worked nicely for the background.
We laughed and laughed.
Fortunately none of the neighbors came out to find out why we were standing in the middle of the cul-de-sac with camoflauge, hunters’ orange safety gear, a deer rifle, and antlers, but if they had we would have made up a crazy lie.
I don’t believe that we could have gotten a more accurate facial expression than Linda’s stern look if we had brought in a professional acting coach. PRICELESS! It was so very hard to keep a straight face.
On another note . . . did you know that Bruce is actually ONE SUPER COOL GRAMPA? Well, he IS! His granddaughter is learning how to drive, and when he takes her out to practice, he lets her drive his “baby,” this classic Porsche convertible. Granddaughter wasn’t with us when we were shooting, but we still made sure to save time for a drive to the park. THIS, my friends, is one sweet ride!
It was a beautiful day to put the top down and enjoy the breezes, and also to take a walk through the park.
As a highlight to our very active day, we brought my makeup artist, Cintya Velderrain right to Linda’s own boudoir for a special hair and makeup session so that she could be her loveliest in time for their at-home date night.
For date night, Bruce and Linda prepared a delicate chicken piccatta with broccoli and artisan bread. Of course they washed it down with some red wine.
Bruce is a fantastic chef, and he makes a mean chocolate martini too, but that’s a story for another time.
Dinner and dancing — Forty-five years of marriage — and the romance between these two is still palpable. There’s something very very special about the way the look into each others eyes.
We took all these beautiful images and a few more and bound them together into a lovely album to showcase their unique relationship and the love that has carried them through the years.
Happy anniversary Bruce and Linda! You are a most special couple. I absolutely love you to pieces!
Wow February went by fast, didn’t it? My attempts at a daily non-portrait type of photo a day have not been perfect, but I”m hanging in here. If I miss a day or two, it’s really not a big deal. We aren’t doing this to prove anything to anyone but instead it’s a way to keep shooting things that are out of my normal realm. And the important thing is to pick up and continue and to have fun with it.
So the month kicked off — (get it? football joke … bwahaha) with Super bowl XLIX and TV Time — football — commercials — avocados — red wine
February 2, 2015
Groundhog Day… Puxatawny Phil saw his shadow today…
But my favorite boyfriend brought me these pink beauties.
” … If Winter comes, can spring be far behind?” – Percy Bysshe Shelley
February 3, 2015
When I come “home” from work, the commute is a an exhilarating 16 steps from the up to the down. My only traffic jam consists of a rescue pointer mix or a geriatric Aussie on steps 4 and 5 from the bottom. Once I weave past that obstacle, this is what greets me in the kitchen when I arrive. Fred has an innate tablet aptitude, and he just wants to help.
February 5, 2015
Just a motley collection of selfies. I have a goofy little habit of taking selfies as I set up lights in the studio. Sometimes I even save them, but I don’t really have anything to do with them – so I gathered up a few in one place for grins. (One day I’ll get the guts to pull the really super bad scary ones – everyone will love that! )
I have had super-short hair most of my adult life, but last summer I discovered a salon that specializes in curly hair. We are taking the anathema of my youth to new lengths – and embracing it. Although this collection is in no particular order, I think I will continue this little game and document our progress – as long as it lasts.
February 6, 2015
The new office manager, Fred the Cat is in charge of catnaps and distractions. I REALLY do love my commute.
February 7, 2015
Saturday mornings meant one thing in our home when I was growing up. Pancakes! As I got older and started spending Friday nights with friends, I was always disappointed to find that my price for a night of fun and giggles away from home usually meant cold cereal. I just couldn’t believe that other families didn’t eat pancakes on Saturdays like we did. What were they thinking?
Pancakes on Saturday continued as long as I can remember, except on weekends that we made WAFFLES! Oh My! When I was in high school, my dad got in on the act too. He experimented with a wide array of different batter recipes and home made sourdough too. Lots of variety, but always loads of melty butter and dripping with syrup. To this day when I smell fresh cut grass (another Saturday tradition) it automatically triggers the thoughts of maple syrup … and bacon too.
I tried to carry the tradition forward while raising my own kiddos. Some weeks were more successful than others – and then my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease. No more pancakes for us. – UNTIL a sweet neighbor gifted us with a box of King Arthur Flour Company’s Gluten-free Pancake mix and a bottle of Vermont maple syrup. And it was GOOD!
The griddle lives again, and Saturday mornings are special once more.
February 9, 2015
Stylus – oh the drama
When the stylus disappears, stress increases by the minute. Found this afternoon – on the floor – under a shoe. I think Fred the Cat may have been involved.
February 13, 2015
Happy Valentines Day – One Day Early
Way back on our fifth anniversary, I gave Mike a box full of funny little gifts signifying our love. Among the items, a handful of glass hearts with instructions to carry one in his pocket as a reminder that my heart was always with him.
I didn’t just give him ONE heart. I gave him a bag full because I didn’t want him to worry if something happened and he lost it. I wanted him to know that we had plenty of love to spare.
Guess what … he has carried the same glass heart in his pocket every single day and never lost it.
He dropped it once, and there’s a chip in it now, but I think that gives it character.
We will celebrate our 18th anniversary in two weeks! A heart of glass is more durable than you think it is.
February 14, 2015
Do you dare surprise someone on their 99th birthday?
If it’s MY Mawmaw, you sure do. Is she not amazing?
She didn’t want to have a party this year because she’s saving that for the big 100, but fortunately for us her birthday fell on a Saturday. That made it fairly easy for nearly all of her grandchildren to gather for lunch in her hometown. My son stood in for my brother who lives more than 700 miles away.
February 16, 2015
Fred has discovered the magic cursor.
February 19, 2015
Lenten Photo Challenge – Preparation
I’m going to take a stab at the Lenten Photo Challenge with devotional thoughts again this year. Two years ago I did a pretty good job. Last year, not so much. Here’s to 2015…
The wooden spoons and chopsticks in my kitchen take quite a bit of abuse. I use and misuse them all the time. They have a role in nearly everything I prepare in our little kitchen – and I’m a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself.
Nothing beats the feel of wooden spoons against a pan or in a mixing bowl, but I am not careful with them. They stir our oatmeal and then rest too close to the burner, getting scorched. They reach vitamin tablets that bounce under the stove. I throw them into the dishwasher where they withstand heat and harsh detergent ….
Even though I have a canister filled with wooden utensils, there are a few that I always reach for first. These are the ones I have had the longest, too. They just seem to be the most seem to fit my hand and work the most efficiently. These are the ones that are worn to a rich patina, their grain is tighter and water doesn’t damage them nearly as easily as it does the newer ones. One of them even got caught in a blender blade once, but over time the chipped end has worn to a new funky smoothness, and it’s still a favorite.
Eventually they ALL become dry, and pale, and rough and just plain tired, so when I can, I place them all together into a pan and season them with mineral oil. Just rub it in real well and let’em soak overnight. After a little time of rejuvenation and polishing with a soft cloth, they’re ready to go back into the canister by my stove where they will continue to serve well.
Sometimes after a good oiling it’s hard to distinguish the old ones from the new.
Life does that to us as humans too. We go about our business, doing whatever needs to be done. We spend our time and energy doing things that are not always in line with our priorities. We don’t take good care of ourselves, and we get tired, cynical, distracted, and depressed. But there are always a few people who seem to be in the midst of every activity, every service project. They’re the first ones to offer encouragement. They’re the ones organizing coat and sleeping-bag drives for the poor and meal schedules for families in crisis. They always seem to have a smile on their face, time to listen, and a warm hug to share. Sometimes they even get stuck in the blender blades of crisis themselves, and they crack a little – but they bounce back faster than others.
And we as believers gather together, the seasoned leaders and disciples, the raw eager learners, the givers, the needy, the creative thinkers, and the organizers who bring us back onto topic… and we mingle and work together, soaking up the healing oil of hope, the balm of mercy. And we serve together again. Each time we are a little more scarred, a little more worn down, but also a little more trusting, a little more resilient.
I want to be like the most used and worn out spoon in the kitchen.
This is Lent, y’all. Let’s soak up the Peace that passes all understanding so that we can do everything that we are called to do.
“ For by grace you have been saved through faith; and NOT OF YOURSELVES, it is the gift o God; not as a result of works, THAT NO ONE SHOULD BOAST. For we are His workmanship, CREATED in Chris tJesus FOR GOOD WORKS, which God prepared eforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10
February 22, 2015
– and it’s Fred on the Red … Carpet that is!
February 23, 2015
Lenten Photo Challenge – Water
It’s mentioned more than 700 times in the Bible and it is so important to everything in history
From the days of creation to Noah’s flood to Moses’ baby basket and the parting of the Red Sea . . . through the waters of baptism to the water that Jesus turned into wine.
Cities have been founded on it. Wars fought over it
Water … it’s a blessing, and it’s generally abundant. It refreshes. It makes things grow, and it washes away the dirt.
Parts of our country are in severe drought stages. Not just one year or two with low rainfall … SEVERE! Lakes sit stagnant and nearly empty. Farmers have shut down operations. Once verdant hillsides have turned brown and crispy, but when just a little bit of rain falls in those areas, the tender grass greens up quickly, wildflowers bloom, and people who are not aware of the overall situation forget that water is in short supply. They turn back to their wasteful ways. … and eventually the taps WILL run dry.
Is your soul in drought?
The Living Water that our savior offers is different from the water that comes from a well or the garden hose. Take a tiny sip. Drink up. Jump in! Splash around and get yourself soaked – right down to the skin. . . . Because THIS water will never run out. THIS! This is the good stuff!
“ … but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” — John 4:14
February 26 –
Spent some time this weekend photographing people photographing people. Lots of great food and fun.
February 27, 2015
Day two of the barbeque cookoff. NRG stadium, looking back across the bridge at the end of the evening
Cowboy Mardi Gras
Wrapping up the barbeque cookoff with the amazing Dim Fiefelmann Cookers . What an amazing group of people. They made me feel like a true part of their family.
I’ve lived in Houston for about 16 years, and have thoroughly enjoyed Rodeo Season, but this was my first experience with the cookoff. I promise y’all, there isn’t anything else like this . . . anywhere.
1/5 second at f 2.8 while zooming. Shot with rear curtain flash, a technique that needs a little more practice.
So there you have it … a picture a day for MOST days in February. Happy March everyone!