Harper’s 3rd Birthday Portraits

Wow!! I cannot believe this kiddo is 3 YEARS OLD already. Harper Lee was one of my very first clients. He was just about to turn one when I started this business so he actually became the first baby to make the blog. I think it is very fitting that we keep up with the tradition of Birthday Pics!

His first birthday pictures took place at a Baseball Park in Keller, Texas. Looking all dapper in his Rangers gear, we spent the afternoon giggling over a box of Cracker Jacks! To check out that 1st Birthday Session, head here.

The next year, we headed to a large mural wall in downtown Keller. With a bag of peanut M&M’s in tow, we set up in front of a Dr Pepper advertisement and then headed to a field nearby to watch the sunset and practice our Harry Potter spells! This session is still hands-down one of my all-time favorite shoots just because Harper had such a good time. That, and listening to a 2 year old try to yell “Expeliarmus” always makes for a good laugh. That shoot and all the #bts are on Harper’s 2nd Birthday Shoot Spotlight. HARPER3YR-16This year, we jumped in the car with no plan whatsoever and decided that for Harper’s 3rd birthday pictures, if we saw a fun spot to play, we would pull over. Our first stop was in North Richland Hills near a small pond located just outside a community neighborhood. Harper had packed his fishing pole in his back pack and I had the camera ready just in case this little guy happened to catch anything interesting.

After playing in the pond for a little while, we worked our way back to a nearby flood plain. This location would be perfect to let Harper play with his jets and rockets. He spent the next ten minutes playing “BLASTOFF!!”, a game comprised of throwing the jets near, but not quite at, the camera.

More than anything, I found myself in awe of his vocabulary. Though he has always been a vocal little guy, none of it had made much sense until recently. It was like out of nowhere, his jibberish turned into a full blown conversation. He was telling me all about his toys and telling Mama, Tiffany, how much he loved her. Harper, quite literally, left me speechless.

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His Mama and I became fast friends after a short stint at a flower shop here in Texas. I knew right away that I liked her. Tiffany’s passion and zest for chasing life’s dreams are inspiring. She is always the first one to jump on board one of my crazy travel “work” trips and she has made this entrepreneurship journey such a fun experience. Did I mention she is a total boss babe? A few years ago, she started her own floral design business, Wanderlust Florals. Her unique vision creates the most amazing arrangements for weddings, anniversaries, you name it. If it involves flowers, this girl is in. Follow along on her Instagram (@wanderlustflorals) for all the #bts of her creative work.

And because of our crazy journey together, I have ended up with the most unexpected best friend ever in Texas. Gosh, am I thankful for this girl and more importantly her little dude too. Harper is like my favorite little buddy here. Problem being, these guys just moved to Florida and I am definitely missing this sweet girl’s smile!

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But, it is looking like I may have to head to the beach for his 4th Birthday pics and that is nothing to complain about! Or maybe…dare I say…the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Don’t even get me started.

Seriously though, I miss these nuggets so bad but I can’t even begin to express the amount of joy I am sending her way as she tackles this new adventure. Best of luck to you sweet girl and make sure HarpDog remembers his Nina. We’ll need a FaceTime sooner rather than later! Happiest of Birthdays to this blue eyed baby boy! I hope 3 is your best year yet little man!

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To check out Tiffany’s latest floral design work, remember to follow along on her Instagram. While you’re at it, head over to @therustienail for our Travel Updates, Mini Session Specials and Fall Portrait Session Availability!

Meet the Grasmick Family!

Hey guys! I know, I know. I have been blowing up your timelines with all the Portrait Sessions from my last trip home but seriously, they all turned out so cute! In fact, the family featured on the blog today scheduled their session one day prior to the actual shoot. Totally impromptu and completely adorable. Meet the Grasmick Family!

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I was introduced to Colby through our mutual friend, Kelly, and we immediately hit it off. Once she found out that I was a portrait photographer, she asked if I might be able to fit her family in the next day for a quick Mini Session. I told her to be there by 5:30 and we would make it work! I love having the chance to shoot an new client while in the Latrobe area.

Little did I know, Miss Colby just so happened to have recently become Mrs. Grasmick. She married a childhood friend of mine, Dave…aka “Doobie”. He had played football for my dad as a kid and in high school, his cabin was the place to be on a Friday night. I was so excited to see that Doob had settled down with such a lovely lady and even more excited to find out that they had recently had their first baby.

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To celebrate their little guy’s 1st Birthday, we headed to the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve at Saint Vincent College. They have a small pond located on one of the walking trails and Mama Bear thought it would be cute to put Baby Dean in a fishing hat and give him a little pole. Seeing that Baby Dean isn’t the best walker yet, I was worried we may not be able to get a photo of him holding the rod but sure enough, this baby boy was over the moon once we put the pole in his tiny hands!

After throwing his hat in the water and hamming it up for the camera, we headed to the Lochry Block House to snap a few photos of this Mama and her boys. After surveying the grounds for that perfect light, I made sure to get individuals of both Miles and Dean with their sweet Mama.

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And, then it was Daddy’s turn for photos with boys! While Doobie lugged the baby around like a football, older brother, Miles, helped by tickling Baby Dean and making funny faces at him. The boys were perfect. Not too smiley, not too tough, just the right amount of boyish charm in each photo. I mean, look at those blue eyes!! Colby better watch out, her little guys are going to be a lady killers!

I can’t stress enough how beautiful this backdrop was. The flowers are so vibrant in the Laurel Highlands this time of year. I didn’t want to do anything too girly because of the boys but I did want Colby to have a few classic images in this collection so we headed into the adjacent garden. I told Colby to just love on her baby boy. Baby Dean was wiggling and dancing around in her arms the whole time. He was all smiles for his Mama.

I stood back for awhile and watched them all together as a family. Colby, the carefree boy mom, and Doobie, the first time Dad, are just about the best contrast. It may be that they have boys and Moms and Dads of boys tend to be a little more lax about getting dirty but I think it’s also just their personalities. Both Colb and Doob are loving parenthood. They have figured out how to give each child the right amount of attention and how not to sweat the small stuff.

Their love story isn’t half bad either. They met on the street at the 4th of July parade in downtown Latrobe and a few months later, they headed back to the same spot to get hitched. Colby’s son, Miles, stood by and smiled as he gave his Mom away to his new step dad. Simple, sweet and absolutely perfect.

Yeah, so you could say that these two seem to have it all figured out. Or at least, they look good while trying to figure it out. Doob rough-houses the boys while Colby sits back and gingerly smiles at her new husband with their children. If I had to guess, I would say that their chance encounter in front of BC Kenly’s just might have been destiny playing its’ hand.

We worked our way from the garden to the big red barn located near the entrance. Miles climbed up on Doobie’s shoulders for the photos which I thought was such a great touch for the photo. From their simple wardrobes to the genuine smiles on their faces throughout the shoot, you can see that this session was a piece of cake. We were in and out of the park in less than 30 minutes; just a family of 4 taking a walk around the park. It was an absolute pleasure meeting and spending time with the Grasmick’s and I hope to have many more chances to photograph this family when I am in the area.

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To book your unique Portrait Session or to inquire Pricing, Packages and/or Travel Mini Dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I would love to hear your vision and help bring it light!

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!