This week, I had a very special shoot. Meet Hannah, the very first CDP senior! I had the pleasure of shooting her senior portraits on Wednesday & she nailed it. Hannah chose Brushy Creek Lake Park as her location for a more natural setting & after having to rescheduling her first appointment due to thunderstorms (always a bummer) we arrived on her shoot date to discover fields of wildflowers! What a lovely surprise.
In case you missed my post on Instagram earlier this month, Baby Patrick–yes, his name is actually Patrick– arrived just before St. Patrick’s day. You have no idea how excited this makes me. With his name, his Irish heritage, his two red-headed sisters & a birthday right before St. Patrick’s Day we celebrated a little during his newborn session.
In contrast with the last blog post, this next family portrait session that I’m about to talk about took place on a chilly, off-and-on rainy day. But the family I worked with, much like the great state of Texas, was made of tough stuff. We made sure to take breaks to wrap up in warm blankets, hide under umbrellas or get the little girls in a heated car during the husband & wife shots thanks to the incredible “toddler helper” mom & dad brought with them. This time, playful cousin, Kate.
If you don’t know what I’m referring to when I mention the name toddler helper please read refer to a part in my last blog post, “Fall Fun with Liam & Avery”.
Kyle & Angela married over 3 years ago & live up in North Texas where Kyle is a program director of a Catholic youth camp. They both feel called to serve God & neighbor through ministry, together. Angela also serves their family as a stay-at-home mom to their two little girls, Elizabeth (2.5 years) & Juliana (11 months).
Kyle & Angela know a little something about the cold. They’re college sweethearts who attended Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio where snow is not uncommon. As I’m typing this blog, Steubenville students are waking up to morning classes to a temperature of 35▫C. I can’t handle the cold! I’m a Texas girl all around. Angela told me stories in the past about the campus being built around some big dip in the middle (for some reason) with campus buildings built on the top of each hill so she literally had to “walk uphill to school each day through the snow”. Brr!
One of my favorite ways to help couple loosen up a bit for the husband & wife shots are to have let them dance together for a bit. (See, you’re not the only one uncomfortable in front of the camera!) And while everyone might not be dancers, that’s not the case with Kyle & Angela. Want to know how you can tell? Check out how their hands & arms are interlocked in this next shot. That wasn’t my suggestion. That’s after Kyle executed a real dance turn & dip with Angela. The kiss wasn’t staged either. That’s all them. 😉
I met Kyle four years ago when he started dating Angela. Now,he’s a very hands-on dad with their two little girls. Listening to him speak over the years, I’m sure there’s no greater earthly influence on his parenting style than his father, Tim. Kyle holds his father in high regards for his love, for his balance & for the glory he gives to God.
So, yes, not all shoots are sunshine & roses. Some are in the cold & cacti but with charming families to warm you from the inside out. Thank you to Kyle, Angela, Elizabeth & Juliana for being so patient as we huddled together for a fabulous, family portrait session.
Until Next Time,
#celebratefamily #celebratelife #celebratelove
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I had so much fun during my recent family portrait session with this family of four at Butler Park. Liam (6 months) wins the award for most content little baby during the photo-shoot. Seriously, this kid never lost his cool once. Happy as can be & adorable as possible in a bow tie Liam nailed his family portraits.
Avery (3), on the other hand, required a little more finesse. Which is 100% expected with toddlers. Toddler mamas don’t worry about a little extra struggle during family portraits. Your photographer knows what to expect & I promise you, I’d tell you if we just weren’t getting what we’d need. 😉
I recommend a “toddler helper” to anyone with a toddler. A toddler helper is a family member or friend who helps behind the scenes by rattling a noisy toy or making silly faces behind me to help a toddler look at the camera. Not only does this help kick your portraits up a notch, it allows you to sneak in some husband & wife shots without worrying about “what is my child doing right now?” Lol. An auntie or grandma (or grandpa!) is usually willing to help during photo-shoots & is that special someone who can often make kids smile the biggest.
In this case, we had a very special someone… Grandma!
Jason & Anna are one of the couples who make relationships look deceptively easy. They balance each other out, they’re fabulous parents & they’ve been loyal CDP clients since I opened almost 4 years ago.
Thankfully, the weather held out & we had a warm afternoon (no coats needed due to rain or cold) & the leaves this year are stunning!
Such a beautiful place it is, to be with friends.
–Doby, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
(To be clear I’m the book-nerd, not Anna & Jason. 😂)
What a pleasure it was capturing your family portraits again this year! I can’t believe how fast Avery & Liam are growing. How big will they be next year? What will they be thinking about next year? I can’t wait to find out.
Ladies have you ever been frustrated by a strand of hair caught in front of your face in an otherwise lovely picture of yourself? Caty Dunlap Photography’s first posing tip video to the rescue!
This week I took a short video while on location to share some of my posing knowledge. In this video, I’ll describe how to remove any unwanted distractions sticking to your face in your portrait before you even take a picture. I call it the “Swish & flick”. Try it out today. This posing tip works for selfies too.
Can anyone think of what influenced the name of this posing tip?
Check out the CDP gallery for inspiration & examples of families knocking it out of the park!
I don’t know why I choose a sports metaphor. I don’t sport. 😂
Wow. I’m truly touched that a busy mom, with 2 boys under 2, invested time & thought to write such a thoughtful client review. I mean, her portrait session was only 2 days ago! (And yes, obviously, I’m a little biased because she’s my cousin. Lol.) Thank you, Sarah, for this unexpected gift. Great way to end my day! 😘
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of capturing three familiar faces to Caty Dunlap Photography & one new one. Wow! Does time fly. You may remember Alec & Sarah from their engagement session right before Christmas 3 years ago. I was a second shooter for Alec & Sarah’s wedding & what a blast we had anticipating the arrival of their first child during their maternity portrait session at the Kemah Boardwalk. Then, of course, the in-famous newborn session when now big brother Ezekiel pooped on his daddy during his photoshoot. Lol.
Now let me introduce you to Ambrose! He’s 4 months old & ADORES his big brother, Ezekiel.
As the Director of Family Faith Formation, Alec leads youth (& adults) to develop a personal, lifelong relationship with Christ & Sarah serves the Lord & her family at home raising these two precious boys. They both strive to live a healthy, holistic lifestyle so if you need a doTERRA Essential Oil hook up text me & I’ll give you their contact info. They will set you up! As a someone who suffers from chronic migraines I would not just mention any old oil in my blog. But I’ll leave oil purity conversations for the experts below. 😉
Sarah’s learning all about the many adventures of being a #boymom
As a NICU nurse, I have many “Caty-isms” or things I say all the time that related to premies or breastmilk. I also have photographer-hat “Caty-isms”. As I mentioned recently in a post husband & wife shots are a “must have set” during a portrait session, even during family portraits. I know most of us are uncomfortable in front of the camera (photographers are the worst about this) & sometimes we just want more people in the frame to feel more comfortable. But, and here’s the “Caty-ism” of the day,
children are the fruit of the marriage not the root.”
This, right here (below) is the origin of this beautiful, holy family you’ve been looking at through out this post. The love between them created this family & nourishes each member. Take time each day & definitely during a portrait session to honor that. Let your children see you take that time too. You don’t have to announce it. Children are sponges. When they see you make time to dance with your spouse in the park, in the kitchen, when the house is a mess… they know where your priorities lie. #allbecausetwopeoplefellinlove
Yesterday evening there was about a 10-20% chance of rain during a scheduled portrait session with no chance of storms. Cloudy days, as I’ve mentioned before, provide the best lighting for portraits; provided they’re not storm clouds. I discussed the weather with Angela 2 days before & we decided to proceed. That chance of rain in Texas is practically nothing! On the day of the shoot, I arrived at the park 30 minutes before the portrait session & called her saying, “the weather is great! Cloudy & a bit chilly but no rain.”
*Sigh* So she packed up her lovely, camera-ready family & literally as soon as they stepped out of the car it started sprinkling. But they’re a tough, nature-loving family so they we’re patient & flexible with the rain even when it started pouring.
Sophie is in boy scouts, girl scouts & archery. She’s well suited for the outdoors.
Hudson was the first to speak up saying they could last the whole photo-shoot. And trust me, this family could’ve toughed it out. But they shouldn’t have to tough it out. Every family should be comfortable during a session. What you’re feeling during a portrait session will impact, in some way, every final image & want you to LOVE your family portraits. So, Martin family, let’s do this again when the heavens decide not to open up & try to drown us. 😂
Hudson’s face just cracks me up:
Gambling with Texas weather is tricky. There have been days we’ve played it safe & postponed a portrait session due to an unfavorable forecast & the weather turned out normal during the originally scheduled shoot. There have been sessions where I’ve advised clients to postpone due to weather, but it was their only available date, so they kept the original time & the weather miraculously was perfect. Highly risky but it worked out for them.
As you know, I’m a big believer that natural light is the BEST, most flattering light for portraits. But you do have to chase the light & the forecast can chase you away like it did for this sweet family yesterday. If you keep a positive mood & flexible spirit like the Martin family natural light will reward you. Even if you only have 15 minutes during pouring down rain. 😂
I’m sorry your family portrait session was cut short. But I learned a lot about your family it a short amount of time. You’re not a family of complainers & Hudson doesn’t like saying “cheese” for the camera, but “pizza” is ok. Lol. Best wishes Martin family!
Ok, you guys. I’m having the hardest time narrowing down the images from the Dobson family portrait session last week to share with you in this post. They did so good! Alexis told me her kids we’re old pros at family portraits by now & you can tell. It turned out to be a good thing because Georgetown Town Square was packed with 7 or 8 other families who had the same idea we did that evening.
Nate is a black belt in karate so watch out!
Rachel keeps her big brother on his toes & has her yellow belt in karate just like her mom.
For appearances he pretended like he didn’t like this shot, but I think we can agree he likes his sister at least a little bit right?
All because two people feel in love…
Big thank you to Papa for lend a hand with dog duty, sometimes kid duty or even holding a reflector. I always recommend a doggie helper if you want to include your furry, family member in family portraits. Not only can they help your dog look at the camera when there are distractions a plenty but can give your pup a break when it’s time for a couple shots without your favorite four-legged beast.
Why is the title of this blog post about hugs? Because these two angels gave me MANY hugs. Quality hugs too. It may have been our first portrait session together but I felt like part of the family. I even got a hug from a little girl getting having a portrait session with another photographer! She came right up behind me when I was shooting & gave me a hug. #theeveningofhugs
FANTASTIC job Dobson family!
Until Next Time,
P.S. Thank you to The Union on the Eighth for letting us borrow the outside of your beautiful venue for the shots with the big, blue door.
No, not just a blog post but a fresh update on the Caty Dunlap Photography (CDP) brand. A brand is what you offer. It’s not just your name, logo & tag line. It’s the service you provide & how you distinguish yourself from others. Branding is how you create & display your brand.
What Hasn’t Changed
From the beginning, CDP has been a people-oriented service. Not a customer-oriented service that separates the consumer from the person within. My clients have come to feel more like my friends. #peoplefirst I live this everyday personally as well as professionally. Celebrate family. Celebrate love. Celebrate life.
Portrait sessions are what you make them. Let’s make them fun! You’ll find all over the CDP website & blog the saying “having your portrait taken is only a chore if you make it into one”. I still firmly believe this. It’s like going to church. If your child says “I don’t want to go. Church is boring,” and you respond, “I know but we have to.” How miserable will your whole family be? How will that impact how you feel about the message that day? How will that make you feel about going back?
I still believe natural light photography is the best for portraits. It’s not always easy on the photographer but it creates the most flattering, natural images of people & that’s who I do it for.
Last, but certainly not least, CDP continues to offer full sized jpegs in every portrait package. Not thumbnails here! This puts my images in my clients’ hands for life without having to make the tough decisions about which portraits to print if your budget is limited. With digital printing rights, each family can print unlimited portraits for years to come or come back to me for professional-grade prints.
What Has Changed
In the 3.5 years since I opened CDP quite a bit. My photography style has evolved into dreamy, light & airy portraits that focus on people, not everything in frame. I decided I want my brand to be more consistent with my photos. I can’t very well recommend picking outfits in natural, muted colors like soft pink & blue with timeless neutrals like cream & heather gray then have bold, hot colors all over my website can I? Lol.
Here’s a side-by-side comparison to see my updated style:
Parts of my old style are still present as you can see but I’m loving the updated quality. To better match what you see in my portraits I’ve updated the CDP colors but most of the other branding elements have remained the same.
You may have already noticed the new paint job in an email, the CDP galleries or social media. Let me know what you think!