Grapevine Lake Maternity Portrait Session

Ya’ll, I have been dying to share this session with you! I was holding out for this sweet girl to become a Mama but her baby boy is proving to be a bit stubborn. To celebrate this little guy’s pending arrival and this Mama hitting her 40 week mark, I am going to share a little behind the scenes from this sweet Maternity Portrait Session.

I met Amanda awhile back through mutual friends and was so excited to hear from her when she reached out about booking this session. In fact, the location we chose for her shoot has a funny background story about our friendship. Grapevine Lake was the sight of Amanda’s first kayaking lesson. After a bout of choppy water and more than a few hours of paddling back to shore, Amanda decided that it would be her last kayak lesson with me. Needless to say, I was pumped that I got to take her back and make a happier memory on the lake!

At 34 weeks pregnant, Amanda, her sweet Mama, Gwen, and her first baby, a pup by the name of Sadie, joined me for a fun portrait session to capture her last few weeks before her Baby Boy makes his arrival.

Amanda had 2 requests….a flower crown and that Sadie be in the photos with her. After all, Sadie was her first baby! I was happy to oblige so I reached out to my sweet friend Brittni Williamson of B. Marie’s Flowers for help with the flower crown. Needless to say, Britt outdid herself as usual and the crown was just perfect! I loved the delphinium and the mix of greenery with the sweetheart white roses and the seeded eucalyptus. The incorporation of this bohemian element was the cherry on the sundae!

This Mama is a rockstar. She waded into murky waters, wandered around the prickly bushes surrounding the lake and even dared to follow me to edge of more than one cliff to find that perfect lighting! Although anxious about the arrival of her baby boy, Amanda was calm, cool and collected during her shoot. She was the picture of grace.

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to photograph this special time in Amanda’s life. Having just become mother myself, I felt more than equipped to capture all those special glances at the bump, those belly rubs and the glow that was exuding from this sweet girl.

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Congratulations Amanda! I cannot wait to meet your sweet boy! Let him know that we are all anxiously awaiting his arrival and now that you are 40 weeks, he can feel free to join us whenever he’s ready!

To book your Maternity Portrait Session,  email therustienailhead@gmail.com to discuss pricing, packaging and details! And for all your floral needs, head to www.bmariesflowers.com and let my girl Britt know who sent ya! I promise Britt will bring your vision to life!

Family Portrait Session in Keller, Texas: The Smith Family

Meet the Smith Family! These guys are no strangers to the blog, though it has been awhile since I have had them in front of the lens. They have been featured before during our Christmas season Mini Sessions with a few other cousins! This go-around would be a little different, just the immediate family for a stroll in the park.

 

We met at Bear Creek Park in Keller, Texas for a few family portraits close to sunset. Thank goodness for daylight savings because we we’re able to have a late (7:15) start time for shooting. I knew we would be cutting it close with the kids getting off school and getting everyone ready but this way we all had a little leeway for that golden hour!

 

As usual, this tight nit group wasted no time filling me in on what they’ve been up to this last year. Between vacations, birthday parties and band concerts, these guys have been busy! 13 years of marriage, 3 kids and a bunch of after school activities will do that to ya!

 

We hung by the water for a few fun shots of the whole family first. I like to get these photos done first because 1-everyone looks there best in the beginning and 2-we always get the best smiles when everyone is comfortable and relaxed. I was glad to get the big shots out of the way first.

 

Ian was his usual self. Like any typical boy, he brought a ball along to play with and even tried to jump in the pond after he almost lost it. Dad helped him out and we managed to keep all the kids dry.  Though quiet and reserved, this kid is always keeping this crew on their toes. Whether he’s throwing the baseball around or climbing to the highest branch on a tree, there is no stopping him once his mind is set on something.

 

Then there’s Kylie! She is so much more grown-up than the last time I saw her. She showed up in this adorable blue and white striped off the shoulder top and a red rose floral headband. I was so impressed by her. She is involved in her school’s band and has a bunch of good girlfriends she loves hanging with. I found myself being envious of my preteen days, when it was all sleepovers and late night calls with your besties. Those were the days!

 

The last one for close-ups was Avery! This little girl is just the sweetest. She arrived in style, wearing a blue and white striped dress, jean jacket and some seriously killer red heels. What a babydoll. She is most definitely the ham in her family. She was doing cartwheels and running around in the flowers. She is always a joy to be around and I was glad to have some one on one time with her.

 

Our last stop was this massive tree near the pond. I joked that I had been saving this tree just for them and in a way, I had. They all just lined up by it and these shots were the result! The kids loved jumping on it and I just love the way the light reflects off the water onto this bunch. I always enjoy hanging out with Crystal, her husband and kids and I hope we have the chance to do it again!

Dallas Blooms: Hannah’s Portrait Session at the Arboretum

Hey guys! I am so pumped to share this session with you because this sweet girl is literally one of my favorite people on Earth! Her little hippie heart had a vision of capturing portraits while being completely surrounded by flowers and you could say, she chose the right person for the job, Ya’ll, Meet Hannah!

Hannah is a young girl attending the University of Texas at Arlington for her Engineering degree and I could not be more proud of her. I met Hannah a few years back when she started working at Piccolo Mondo (my other side gig) and we became fast friends. It has been such a joy to see her tackle school and work and play in such a graceful manner.

For awhile now, I have been bugging her to allow me the chance to photograph her portraits. I knew she would be the perfect model and man, was I right or what?

We met for brunch that morning and began a leisurely start to our day. After chowing down on some delicious Breadwinners, we jumped in the car and began the long haul from Keller to the Dallas Arboretum. She wanted flowers and I knew that there is no place better than Dallas Blooms in April.

Hannah had brought a few outfits with her and I was so glad because each complimented different aspects of the surroundings. Her purple top worked wonders in the lilac and wisteria patches. Even the sunglasses she brought were a perfect touch.

As we walked around the park, we took time to enjoy the scenery and had time to choose which setting would provide the best lighting. Hannah was patient and relaxed throughout the shoot and I was thankful for her trust. She listened to direction and when things got a little tough, posing-wise, she would flip her hair or go totally serious on me for a completely different kind of look. The result was simply stunning.

Though playful and wild, this girl gets things done. For real, ya’ll should see her planner. It is insane how much she packs into a week and I admire her for all her hard work. She is giving 150% to her schooling, busting her butt at not 1 but 2 jobs and in her spare time, she hustles for charitable functions in her sorority. Did someone say Rockstar?

This shoot was the perfect opportunity to unwind and have a little fun playing with my camera’s settings. I owe a huge thanks to Hannah for trusting my creative vision and speaking up for what she wanted out of the shoot. She must have said ten times that her Mom was going to cry when she saw this and I won’t lie, I kinda did. But, I am 5 months pregnant and love this girl to pieces so I have a semi-excuse for the tears.

We ended the shoot by circling back around to a tree that Hannah just loved and I am so glad we did. I love this image so much. The tree was dramatic and provided the perfect backdrop for her curls and that pretty red sundress.

Our last stop was the petunia house. I’ve been to the Arboretum for Dallas Blooms before and seen some pretty amazing displays but these houses were seriously so awe-inspiring. I captured a bunch of Hannah in the house and then I let her have the camera so my sweet friend could capture my little baby bump and those images will be some that I will cherish forever. It was a joy and a pleasure hanging with my girl for the day and I hope I get to share more from her in the future. Thanks Hannah! Lots of love to you my friend!

 

Newborn Session: Baby Levi

Hey guys! Time for ya’ll to officially meet Levi Wooten. My good friends, Josh and Taylor, welcomed their first child on March 1st and I had the amazing opportunity to photograph Levi’s first portraits.  At just three weeks old, on his actual due date, we met for the first time. Dare I say it was love at first sight!?

Mama, Taylor, brought her little man over to the studio bright and early one Spring morning. We had chatted before about what she had in mind but I could not have imagined how handsome this little fella would be. Levi’s Mama brought a ton of fun props and outfits to play with so I knew then that we had a full day of shooting ahead of us.

We started off in a room full of natural light. Levi’s first outfit was a blue kitted one piece with a stocking hat. This outfit choice was simple yet masculine and I just loved it. When we attempted to change into the next outfit, Levi let us know that he needed a break. It was then that we busted out the pacifier. After that, this little guy was happy to let us put him in a fisherman knitted outfit and then a penguin suit. He just dozed off while we played dress up for awhile.

Though I love the playful outfits, I am a sucker for the timeless swaddles and clean backgrounds. To make sure that we captured a few classic photos for Mom and Dad, Mommy fed my new little friend and then we swaddled him in a classic blue blanket and moved to a different room for a little moodier lighting. With his little stuffed animal horse in tow, Levi slept peacefully through the next 1/2 hour of our shoot. These were my favorite images because the black and whites were just as captivating as the color edits and for real, look at his toes?!?

After a little nap for Levi and a few snacks for the pregnant photographer and new Mama Bear, we buckled this little guy up for a road trip to a park nearby. Though it was a bright and sunny day, we managed to find some shade for a few Mommy & Me photos at Bear Creek Park. Spring had really just begun here in North Texas and I wanted to capture this first time Mom with her bundle of joy.

Levi was a perfect angel. He slept and cooed in Mama’s arms while we strolled around the park. I think he was dreaming about Mommy and Daddy’s upcoming Wedding. Yep, you heard it right. Taylor and Josh got engaged last year, began planning their big day and then Levi decided to make his surprise appearance so this sweet Mama will officially become Mrs. Josh Wooten in a little over a month! Needless to say,  Levi and I are over the moon about their impending nuptials.

Since this little guy managed to make his appearance a few weeks early, Mommy and I thought that we would absolutely need to capture a few Easter photos. We brought this little guy’s favorite comfy blanket along and while he napped in a big wicker basket, we threw Easter eggs all around him.

Our last few shots took place at the Keller Sports Complex. We had every intention of taking a few photos on home plate but since the parks we’re locked, we settled for a few in Daddy’s baseball glove. I had an absolute blast getting to spend some time with my sweet friend Taylor and her new little love. I can’t wait to get this little guy in front of the camera again! Congratulations my friends!!

Reminder for all of our Dallas-Fort Worth Friends! Throughout the month of April, The Rustie Nail Creative Studio is offering $100 Spring Minis! All sessions are 30 minutes long and include the edited images in a downloadable gallery and a blog spotlight! These are great for family photos, upcoming Birthday pictures, exciting announcements and updating headshots. Email therustienailhead@gmail.com to book your unique portrait session.

Girls’ Day at the Tulip Farm

Ahhh, Texas Tulips! This place never disappoints. Since moving to the North Texas area, I have made it a point to plan a visit  to this magical place at the beginning of the spring season. Located in Pilot Point, about an hour North of DFW, this Dutch tulip farm is known for its colorful display of blooms!

Last year, Tiffany, of @WanderlustFlorals, and I headed to the Tulip Farm for a day of frolicking and picking out a few of the gorgeous stems. You can read all about that trip, how muddy our boots got and see the variety of blooms here.

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This year, I had the opportunity to visit the Tulip Farm with a few first-timers. My dear friend, Jenn, and her daughter, Emma, met me in the wee hours of the morning for a hearty breakfast and then a quick drive north for their first glimpse at the rows and rows of petals popping up at the farm.

Jenn had mentioned that Emma had an interest in photography and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to let her try out my Canon Mark iii 5D. Plus, I needed a new headshot and Emma didn’t disappoint. She really has a good eye at the tender age of 15 and I cannot wait to see where her new found love for this hobby will take her.

Her Mama, Jenn, came dressed and ready for flower picking. At $2.50 a stem, Jenn’s basket soon become a treasure chest of every color, size and variety of Dutch tulips! I was loving all of her choices so I just kept following her around and grabbing compliments to her bouquet.

We had a blast catching up and I was so glad that they didn’t mind me documenting their first visit to the farm. Jenn and Emma are an adorable Mama/Daughter duo and I was so happy that they allowed me to photograph them enjoying their first experience in Aubrey.

I was equally impressed by the blooms. In the past, I had visited the farm in April when the tulips had been picked through. Though the fields are never scarce, it was really nice to see the fields in such good condition. Each variety had just popped and were bursting with color. The pinks were perfect, the reds were vibrant and the purples were on point!

Towards the end of our visit, Emma was sweet enough to model for me. At 15, this girl is a heartbreaker and I was over the moon to get her in front of my lens. She had all the right poses. She was serious in some and goofy in a few. Emma is a fair-haired beauty and I hope I have the opportunity to photograph her again in the future!

As promised, I made Jenn jump in for a few photos and I couldn’t be happier with the result. These two have such an incredible bond and it really shines through in these portraits. I was so happy to have a day of hanging with these fun-loving girls and I cannot wait to see what adventures we come up with next!

Colleyville, Texas Portrait Session: Meet the Montgomerys

Meet the Newlyweds, Larry and Mary Beth Montgomery! These two crazy kids tied the knot just a little over a week ago and we had the chance to document the last few days of their engagement. These guys had been in my books for quite some time but the weather in Texas just wasn’t agreeing with our schedules. No worries though! Just as they were approaching the finishing line, the sky cleared up and we ended up shooting their engagement photos on the first really nice spring day in North Texas!

Larry had purchased this session for his then-girlfriend over Christmas. He knew that she would love to have a few photos taken of her with her little boy, Liam. Little did she know that Larry would propose shortly after and this session would become their first shoot as a Family of 3!

MONTGOMERY-10After checking the weather for several weeks and praying for a day without rain, we decided to meet just 7 days before their “I-Dos” at the Colleyville Nature Center. Mary Beth had stressed that she wanted nature to be a the forefront of importance in their portraits because both Larry and Mary Beth lead active lifestyles. Located smack dab in the middle of the metroplex, the Nature Center would be an awe-inspiring backdrop. Spring had just begun and the flowers were blooming all over the park.

They arrived in style. Seeing that they were so close to the big day, Mary Beth had arranged to have her Hair & Make Up Trial that morning and she showed up looking fabulous! I fell in love with her skirt and the simple black off the shoulder top was a beautiful complement to her jeweled necklace and long dark locks!

To boot, the boys were  dressed simple, casual and so very perfect. Larry brought a classic neutral gray suit jacket to wear over his button down and Liam looked picture-perfect with his black and white gingham backwards hat and red corduroys. It was the perfect combination of style and laidback glam.

DID I MENTION THE ROCK ON HER FINGER? Holy moly, it is gorgeous. It is shiny and beautiful and looks oh-so perfect on her freshly manicured fingers! I even gave Larry a High Five! Good Job Buddy!

We strolled around the park stopping underneath fresh blooms and by the various waterways that surround the Nature Center for  photos of this sweet new family. If truth be told, it seemed to me like they had been a family for quite some time.

Liam really loves his Mama. It’s hard not to notice the way he looks at her. But, he really admires Larry too. You can tell. He looks up to him and has this ease about playing and joking with his StepDad that comes with an air of trust and respect. It made my heart so happy to see them all lovingly holding hands and embracing this new journey they were about to take off on.

Our last stop was by the ponds. I had promised Liam that he could take a few photos. I try do this with all my sessions because you would be amazed at the authenticity of the smiles you get when the little ones become the one behind the lens. Liam had Larry dipping his Mom and was posing her all kinds of funny ways.  He really enjoyed himself and I was glad to see his perspective documented so naturally.

I had asked them to bring a blanket to sit on. This is usually an easy photo. Not with these guys though. I was crying laughing at Larry on that blanket. He could not get comfortable to save his life. We tried so hard to make it work and in the long run, the photos were really cute but only they and I will know what a struggle that blanket was. Larry kept tipping over and wrestling to get comfy. Liam and Mary Beth couldn’t keep it together while watching him struggle. I hope that in 20 years from now, these guys still laugh at that memory that way I do.

Congratulations to the Montgomerys! I could not be happier for you guys! I wish you a wonderful and prosperous life together and I appreciate you allowing me the opportunity to document this very special time in your lives!

Dallas-Fort Worth Holiday Portrait Sessions: Reece, Katie & Rose

Up next on the blog are some of my favorite people in the whole wide world! Meet my brother-in-law Reece, his wife Katie and my absolutely adorable baby niece, Rose! Katie and Reece reached out about having their Christmas Card photo taken and I was so stoked to have a chance to snap a few photos of them with their little angel!

We met at their house in Dallas and proceeded to head to Flagpole Hill. Katie is a Portrait Photographer as well and had been doing a few of her sessions there this season. She was loving on all that afternoon light and considering this is just around the corner from their house, it was the perfect spot to set up shop!

Right out the gate, we managed to snag a bunch of photos of them just loving on their baby girl. Katie was loving the dark greens that were scattered around the park and against her purple dress and Rose’s pink cheeks, the fall foliage would serve as the perfect backdrop. They even managed to recruit a friend, Kristen, to come along and sing songs for my niece and keep Rosie in stitches during our shoot.

Last year’s photo featured this adorable rocking chair and Katie wanted to make sure we got another one of Rose sitting in it. I love the progression images. It is so neat to see just how big Rose has gotten over the last year. It is crazy to think she is going to be TWO soon. Time really needs to slow down. As much as we love watching her grow,  I just want to freeze her at this perfect age. She’s starting to talk and running all over the place but she still wants to be held and she never leaves home without her “WUBY”.  She is seriously the sweetest baby girl.

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Their Golden Retriever, Dutch, aka Rose’s best pal, managed to make his way into a few photos and I am so glad he did. We weren’t sure about bringing him along just because he’s a bit of an adventurer but I am so glad he came. This pup has been with Reece and Katie since I first met them and I couldn’t imagine their family without him.

We ended the shoot by taking a small stroll up the hill and stopping for a few images of this trio in a huge clearing amongst the tree line. I am so thankful for this opportunity because I have always admired Katie’s work and I consider them asking me to be their photographer a great honor. I have never met more driven and passionate people than Katie and Reece. Whatever obstacle they choose to tackle, they put their whole hearts into it and I am inspired daily by their commitment to God, family and hard work.

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To check out what this Mama has been up to, head to www.fotolanthropy.com. Katie heads a nonprofit organization, FOTOlanthropy, in Dallas, Texas that devotes time and energy into capturing stories about those who have overcome adversity.  Browse their site for more information on how you can nominate someone for their next story or purchase anything from the shop (genuine leather camera straps, tote bags, luggage tags, journals) and 10% will be donated toward their cause!

Reece and Katie recently made headline news when their documentary, Travis: A Soldier’s Story was released on Netflix! If you haven’t seen it, make time and get tissues. It’s uplifting and light-hearted and totally inspiring; definitely worth watching with the whole family! For more information on this film, Travis Mills and his story, check out our  previous blog. It’s jam packed with exciting news about the Mills Family and what they’ve been up to recently. Besides being on Ellen!!! and meeting the President, the Mills Family recently welcomed their 2nd child, a baby boy, appropriately named Dax, after the two medics that saved Travis’ life overseas.