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!

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.

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.

 

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.

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!

Greensburg Salem Class of 2017: Kiara’s Senior Session

This lady is no stranger to the Blog. Kiara has been featured in family portraits and I have had the great pleasure of helping her build her modeling portfolio on more than one occasion. This go-around in front of the lens would be different. This shoot was all about this baby girl graduating high school in a few short months. Que the tears. She’s my little cousin. As in, she was born when I was already half grown so the fact that she’s graduating high school is kind of a reality check. Holy crap. I’m really 29. She is really 18. What is happening??? I mean, really guys. There is a story about us that gets told at every family function and to this day, still pains me.

It was my first time changing a baby’s diaper. Her grandmother had told me to lay a blanket down on the table and lay her down on her back, grab the wipes, blah blah. I was 11. I wanted to show her that I knew what I was doing. Everything was going fine. Until, I forgot to grab the diaper. So, I placed my hand on her belly to prevent her from rolling off the table and reached with my other hand for the diaper.

In those 2 seconds, this sweet little baby reached her tiny little hand around and grabbed the closest thing…a steaming hot cup of coffee. It spilled all over the table and down her teeny tiny back. I did my best to clean her up and calm her down but she kept screaming. I felt like I had burns all over my body. That’s how bad I felt. It was killing me to see her in pain. I was cursed. I was never going to touch another baby again.

After rushing her to the ER, they confirmed she was gonna make it. Or at least that’s how it felt to me that the time. Within a week or so, her baby soft skin had healed itself. We all forget how resilient kids are. We drill into them to get back on the horse. So they do. And they come back bigger and stronger every time. The reason I am telling you all this is because this girl right here is a fighter. Even as a toddler, she was sassy. She seems real quiet at first, minds her Ps &Qs, but just give her the chance to say what’s on her mind, and you all are gonna see the world a little bit differently. She is strong, kind and probably the biggest klutz I know but she has very bright future ahead of her. Congrats Kiara. I cannot wait to see where this journey takes you. And, I am officially stating how sorry I am for traumatizing you as a little one. Think of it this way, you’re still cute so we’re square. Love you Kiki!

Do you have a Senior graduating in 2017? Are YOU graduating this year? We offer Graduation Portrait Packages for every price point because we know how hard you’ve worked and that should be documented. I wanna hear your vision. Shoot me some ideas at therustienailhead@gmail.com because I’d love to hear what you’ve got in mind. Let’s start off the last half of your Senior Year with a photo shoot to highlight your achievements and get onto those Senior Week Trips and College Applications!!

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SIDENOTE: Yes, we did go down the humongous slide and it ended up being soaking wet. Still fun though. This huge slide is located at Mammoth Park near Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Words of advice: Bring wax paper and a little Pam and maybe, a pillow to land on at the bottom. 🙂

Laurel Highlands Portrait Session

These 2 goofballs are back up on the Blog! Their first official photo shoot took place at a waterslide at Linn Run State Park in Ligonier, Pennsylvania. Today, we are not going to talk about the shoot. You guys know the speal, We took pictures in a park and it was super awesome. Instead, we’re gonna chat a little about having these buttheads for baby sisters and the wild ride it was been.

The first thing you should know is, my sisters are 18 and 16 years younger than me.  I’ve been out doing the whole college-marriage-adult thing while they have been dancing on stage at the Palace and learning to play the saxophone. In the past, the girls would talk about my brother and I to their elementary school teachers and they’d laugh and think “How long have I been teaching?“, knowing very well it had been more than over a decade since a Greece had last sat in their class. It’s amazing how kids can do that to you. Abbie actually asked me one time what Saved by the Bell was and Gabbie has no idea how truly awesome NSYNC’s Christmas album is. They have no sense of 90s culture and it breaks my heart. But, they have taught me about Vine, Snapchat, Instagram, Ed Sheeran, Zac Efron, Ruth B and about a million other things.

My sisters have also taught me that life is this huge circle and and we just keep going round. It’s true what they say. Time flies. It feels like just yesterday that they were swimming in the baby pool with Reyna (my pup) at my old house on Tollgate. They loved that little pool. We pretended Reyna was the shark and she was gonna get them and we ate popsicles and pretended the Barbies were mermaids. And, then I blinked. Now it’s all Twenty One Pilots and Harry Potter, Selfies and Makeup. The world was much simpler back then.

 Truth be told, getting to be there for all their stages of life has been one of the greatest joys of mine. It’s all in the little things. Like, how they love to sing old Stevie Nicks jams in the car or how they are in constant search of their Troll dolls and how they always wanna go to the Skate Hop. I mean…deja vu much? Guys, this is stuff we all did, 20 years ago!

It is crazy to think that I used to worry about our age gap. Schmage Gap! I’m hip. I’m cool. Or, at least I’m gonna try to be because I always want these girls to know that they can come to me with anything that is weighing on their mind or peaking their interest. That’s what it’s all about, right? Being their role model is something that I was never prepared for but somewhere along the way, I found a rhythm that worked. Abriana and Gabriella have taught me to look at the world with a different set of eyes and I am thankful for them. In a way, they have always kept me grounded yet always looking towards the future.

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME: My name is Angelina Norris. I am natural light photographer based in Dallas-Fort Worth, with roots in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. I specialize in family and lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on real moments. I believe that the best portraits are a combination of  genuine intimacy and playful experience. I live for the opportunity to test out the waters of new shoot locations and discover new places all around the globe. If you would like to book your unique portrait session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.