Dallas Fort-Worth Holiday Portrait Session: The Auten Family

Hey guys! We are back with another Dallas Fort Worth Holiday Portrait Session! This time around, I met the kindest family at River Legacy Park in Arlington, Texas for an early morning Holiday Photo Shoot!

Mom, Victoria, reached out in the fall after having won a Rustie Nail Gift Certificate in an auction at a Save-the-Boobies event to raise money for Breast Cancer Research. My good friend, Cassie (who is about to be up on the blog with her adorable family and maybe even a few chickens), helps coordinate this event each year and I am always happy to donate a Portrait Session to help raise money for this cause.  I was over the moon that this family had bid and won so I wanted to make sure they had a great experience!

It was an early Saturday morning when we met and I was….wait for it…..late. I HATE BEING LATE!! Seriously though, it is the worst especially after Mom had warned that the boys would be cranky having to have gotten up so early on a Saturday. I even left my house super early so I could scope out the scene and check my lighting but go figure, Dallas-Fort Worth traffic got in my way. Thankfully, these guys were so great about it. They were calm and cool and ready to go from the beginning.

I met their youngest, Vaughn, first. He is a quiet little guy. Like most guys, he’s not too keen on smiling. He’s content being himself and confident in the way he presents himself which is something I really admire about him. Big brother, Josh, has the craziest head of curly hair and a really great smile when he busts it out. This guy is on the precipice of adulthood and you can totally tell that he’s ready for the next adventure.

On to Mom and Dad…these two are seriously so ga-ga for one another. When I ask most couples to impromptu dance in a field, they hesitate and fumble with how to hold one another or spin around but not these two. From the minute I asked them to pair up, they began twirling and laughing together. The way Norman looks at Victoria reminds me of the way Noah looks at Allie and I kinda love it. (#theNotebookisstilltheBESTmovieEVA)

After running around near the paddling trails of the Trinity River, we started making our way towards an open field with a few Christmas trees because I freaking love Christmas and these guys came prepared to hike around with me!

Again, these two with the dancing. Could they be more adorable?

Once we’d manage to snag individual shots of everyone, I wanted to make sure  we got good ones of Mom with her boys! This was the moment that Vaughn gave me the biggest smile. His Mom just gave him a big bear hug from behind and low and behold, the boy was grinning from ear to ear!

After snagging a few shots of Dad with his boys, I set out the blanket that Mom and Dad had brought along so we could grab a few more of this sweet family all together. You would never have guessed it but we are right next to a major highway and that’s another thing I love about this job. Sometimes it is about creating an illusion and other times its’ about overcoming that obstacle but regardless, I love the challenge and this sweet family had the notion to trust my vision.

As we came to the end of our session and we were making it back to the car, we stopped one last time to take a few photos in front of the changing leaves. Fall in Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t last very long and Victoria kept that in mind while planning her session so I made sure to get her some really bold photos with those golden leaves in the background.

I could not have dreamt up better clients to take a hike with on a chilly fall morning in Texas. Thank you to the Auten family for allowing me to document this special time in your lives and thank you for your generous donation for Breast Cancer Research. Every little bit helps and we are so thankful for people like you who donate your time, energy and love towards a cause that affects us all.

If you would like to donate to Breast Cancer Research or to inquire how you can help at next years Save the Boobies event….head here.

Fall Mini Sessions: Pretty Pretty Princesses

These crazy girls are no stranger to the Blog. They were featured a few weeks back when their Mommas chose to set up Pida’s Fall Minis and Brit’s Mommy+Me Session on the same night. See, these gals are best friends forevaaaaa and wanted to get their pictures taken together! Both moms admitted to me at one point that most of the time, these 3 are inseparable.

I literally love hanging out with these little princesses. They are stylish and love to take direction and improvise on that direction. They love to pose and they get such a kick out of my fart jokes. Every time I have had the chance to photograph them, these girls act like it is their favorite day of the year. I’m serious. I feel like I am celeb status when they are around. They wanna know what color I painted my nails, how the camera works, who braided my hair and where did I get those shoes! To say they crack me up is an understatement. These spirited little ladies have taught me a lot about whose trust you need to gain at photo shoots.

I swear, if I didn’t have little sisters I would have no clue how to talk with these mile-a-minute princessas. But, I am blessed with little sisters who taught me that you’ve got to pay attention to what they are saying and to remember what they say. Kids will test you. Don’t doubt it. They love to make sure that you were listening and you can believe, I am. I have come to learn that kids really do want to talk when you find out what fills their days. I always make an effort to just play with the kids or talk to them about school or their bikes whenever I first start a shoot. I need these little guys to be comfortable with me. And when they are, that’s when the magic happens. They’ll actually look at the camera, on purpose…I know, unbelievable. They will twirl on command or whisper that secret in Mommy’s ear. I try to show each and every client that hearing them is one thing but actually listening to them envokes a whole different style to the photos. I hope I can pass that along to the littles that grace this portfolio. I want each and every one of these kiddos to walk away from our shoot feeling like they are extra special.

Combining Mini Sessions just might be one of my favorite concepts for achieving this feel. Every time I have had the pleasure of shooting 2 friends or 2 family members in a combined session, I have gotten genuine smiles, endearing gestures and a lot of laughs. There is something so neat about seeing how the two parties interact with one other. I can only describe it as watching an inside joke unfold and not being a part of it. This factor alone is the key element in making these sessions work. As  I’ve developed this skill, I have found that my work keeps evolving. I will always try to get the families their “everybody looking at the camera” shot but I have found that the ones they love the most are almost always the candids. The natural smiles and the knee-slapping laughs are what makes a portrait stand out from the rest. I was thankful that these 3 girls have no problem telling secrets and playing hide and go seek with me in the woods. It is a quality that keeps me on my toes and has taught me to anticipate the crazy shenanigans.

So whaddya think guys? Any sisters, brothers, cousins, best friends in the mood to shoot an off the wall session? I’m thinking we head to the State Fair and chow down on fried food or we can head to the playground and let the kids run wild while Mom & Dad have a picnic? If you’ve got a vision like mine, one that pushes the traditional envelope, shoot it my way. I’d love to see what you have in mind! therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Pennsylvania Holiday Travel Dates are November 22, 23, 25 and 26! Book your Session in the Laurel Highlands today! Email therustienailhead@gmail.com for information on how to book your custom holiday shoot.

Winters Family Portraits

This family has a lot going on this year. Their firstborn just graduated high school, their middle child is starting her modeling career and the baby, well she isn’t a baby anymore. This may be one of my favorite sessions to date because I can literally remember when each of these kids were born. All their lives, their mom made sure to include a family portrait in every Christmas card. I literally have all their newborn pictures in a box somewhere in my office. It has been a whole other kind of joy watching these 3 grow up. The last time I took their portraits, only Keon and Kiara were involved so you can imagine how happy I was to hear that the whole gang would be joining us for this go-around.

We all met around sunset at Twin Lakes State Park. I was a little nervous at first because when I arrived it was pouring down rain. Luckily, these fashionista sisters took a little longer than anticipated fixing their hair. By the time they arrived, the sun came out and washed up all that rain! Having spent a lot of time playing here as a kid, I had a gameplan in mind. We would start at the boathouse. If we rallied the whole gang in the beginning, we would have more time for individuals as we hiked throughout the park.  We managed to find some towering rhodedendron bushes for the ladies to pose nearby and I love that those portraits turned out so fierce. As for the boys, we’ll share a little more of them in the next Blog; keep an eye out for Keon’s Graduation Portraits.

My favorite part about this shoot was that I got to take a few pictures of my cousin and his wife together, alone. For as long as I can remember, Lori has been sending me pictures of the kids but Mom and Dad are never in the photos. It’s become much too common of a thing. When this family of five first started, Nat and Lori were just a few kids. It’s crazy to think that now their kids are almost grown up. It just goes to show how fast time really does fly by.  I love that this family set up this shoot right before their firstborn heads off to college. It’s such a great way to capture their bond and the direction this family is moving. I can’t wait to photograph these guys again and look forward to seeing what’s next for this wild and crazy bunch!

To schedule your Family Portrait Session or to inquire about a personalized session, shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. And don’t forget to Follow us on Instagram (@therustienail) to stay up to date with our events going on and special deals!

Waters Family Portrait Session

This session has been in the works for quite some time now but I can happily say it was worth the wait. Awhile back, my coworker, Doug, approached me about getting his Mother the gift of family portraits. As you very well may know, family schedules are crazy when you have such a huge age gap between kiddos so it took us some time to get everyone together. On an early Saturday morning in April, the Waters family and I met on a ranch in Keller. Actually, ranch doesn’t quite describe it. This property once belonged to the great Terry Bradshaw. For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Bradshaw is the legendary #12 quarterback who managed to lead the Pittsburgh Steelers to 4 Super Bowl titles back in the 70s. His property boasts views of more than one pond, horse stables, fields of wildflowers and an assortment of wildlife!

This group was a wild bunch but luckily, we had our fair share of characters to help out with outfit changes and prop setup. I wanted to make sure we had individual shots of all the kids and of course that proved to be the easiest task. Kids love being the center of attention so they all hammed it up for their individual portraits. When it came time to get all 4 together for a group shoot, that proved to be a little more of a challenge. Thankfully, I live for the opportunity to rise to the challenge. Eventually, they did all look at the camera at the same time, I just had to get to know each of them a little better.

Mason, the eldest of the group, towered above his younger cousins. (Not to self: Bring stepladder. 15 year old boys are much taller than you.) Mason definitely needed the most encouragement to smile but that seems to be a common trait among guys his age. Taking pictures is so not what he wanted to be doing, but the sweet kid totally smiled and helped pose the little ones for every picture. Respectful and kind, he made sure to put a smile on his Mom’s face.

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Abbie was the little lady of the group. It was cleat to see that she is smitten with her baby cousins. I can’t lie, I was her at that age. Always sneaking in the other room to wake them up, they were like my own little baby dolls. I adored playing house and doting on all their little woes. She was my easiest of the bunch. She was so perfect, hair in her eyes, took direction, dressed impeccably and played a huge role in keeping the youngsters happy, almost like she understood them. It was such a nice treat having her be my right hand throughout the shoot.

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Zach…simply amazes me. At one point, I watched this little guy pick up a stick and wave it around. Then, he began making a buzzing noise and pointing it in every direction. I asked him “What are you doing buddy?”. He looked me straight in the eye and uttered a single word, “lightsaber”. I was crying laughing at his Star Wars shenanigans. And, then he attempted to jump in the lake. He danced. Then, he decided to try his luck at fishing, which resulted in a whole lot of giggles and then an attempt at running backwards into the lake. He absolutely kept me on my toes and in this weird way, he reminds me of my coworker, Doug. This kid kept me in stitches but it was an absolute joy to see how crazy smart he is.

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Last but not least, Joss, this adorable baby girl who was clearly not having it when we started, but completely blossomed as we brought out the butterfly kite and adventured our way into the wildflower field. By the end of the shoot, I was carrying her on my shoulders! She feed the mini horses and munched on snacks while we trekked away around the expanse of this gorgeous estate.

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At the end of the day, they made me laugh and I’m happy to know these guys. It really was a fun way to start off a Saturday morning and I hope we have the chance to do it again sometime. Look out for these people, the Waters clan. They are the type to remain tight knit, the ones who love each other on the good days and the bad, through thick and thin and it’s nice to know that kind of joy still exists in the world.

Are you trying to book your Family for a Portrait Session, just shoot us an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com to set up a completely personalized session!