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.

Pennsylvania Holiday Mini Sessions: Ricky, Hanna & Grandpa

Ya’ll!!!!! Meet Hanna! This is my beautiful ginger haired baby cousin! I have been wanting to photograph this little lady for the longest time and we finally made it happen when I was last visiting back home in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Back story, real quick. Hanna is my 2nd cousin. Her dad, Ricky, is my first cousin and his Dad, my Uncle Rick, is also my Godfather so I think it’s fair to say that my heart just exploded when I got the chance to look through these images. For as long as I can remember, my whole family has been telling me that Hanna is my mini-me. See, when I was a little lass, this girl and I could have been twins. Yep, I had that red hair, those big blue eyes and the same wild and crazy personality!

We met at Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg, Pennsylvania for a huge gathering of family photos but more on all that goodness later. Hanna and her Dad followed me down to the lake for a few quick shots of just them together. These are my favorite images because they look so natural and relaxed. Ricky is even giving her “the claw” in one of the photos. If you don’t know what the “claw” is, trust me, you don’t want to.

Soon after, the oldest and wisest of the Greece clan (9 kids in all) made his way down for a few photos with his son and granddaughter. My Uncle Rick was a surprise that day and man am I glad he came! I hadn’t seen him in so long and it was so good to see him and chat him up. He’s the same, smart and kind, just a little more gray than the last time I saw him. It really isn’t fair. All the men in this family just get more handsome with time.

I remember being a kid and looking through boxes of old photos that all those before me had taken. I loved it. I still do and it’s such a neat idea to think that Hanna and my sisters and all the younger cousins will get a chance to look through these one day and talk about how we all met at the park for photos and then we all went out to dinner at The Red Brick for pizza and then we laughed until we cried. That’s what I love most about this shoot, that I got to share it with so many of the people I love, especially these 3 looney tunes.

I had the best time catching up with my family during this shoot. I always tell everyone that it is so hard to see all of them when we come back to visit but man am I thankful that I have a family who will rearrange all their schedules in an instant just to have one afternoon being together. This family is wild and crazy, that’s for sure, but they are a group of people who love fiercely and uplift one another always and I am so thankful to be a part of it! Love you guys!

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For more information on when and where The Rustie Nail will be heading to in 2018, follow along on Instagram @therustienail. We’ll be back in PA, Canada and up next, Arizona so keep an eye out for travel updates!

Milestone Session: Jacey & Kessa

Hey there! This session is another one of my impromptu Laurel Highland Minis and I cannot wait to share because this session in particular is a part of our Milestone Series. I have been photographing these girls for as long as I can remember and I love being able to document the transitions they’ve made over the years! Y’all, meet Jacey & Kessa!

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My longtime childhood friend, Jessy, and I had made plans to spend the morning at the park in downtown Latrobe, Legion Keener. Seeing that this place was a favorite pastime of ours, both Jess and I thought that this spot would be the perfect backdrop for the girls’ shoot.

We figured we could bribe them with swings and jungle gyms so long as they both behaved during the shoot. Which, thankfully, they did. Jace has taken on this older sister role with such grace. She helps with Baby Kessa and is constantly looking after her, holding her hand, giving her a hoist up somewhere she shouldn’t be, all the things big sisters do for you when you are too tiny to get in real trouble by yourself.

KESS+JACE_07.17-10We walked behind the park and headed towards the train tracks above the Loyalhanna Creek. After walking around the tracks for a little while, we headed down a dirt path that led us to a clearing near the water. All the while, Jacey filling me in on school, boys, how bad Kessa is and all the usual elementary gossip!

Kessa, or “Goose” as I like to call her,  stumbled around the park, honking at any and everyone in her way. She was on a mission. If we turned around for one second too long, she would already be down a different path, taking off into the woods. She’s a handful, quite like someone else I know, cough Mommy cough. But, that’s what our mothers’ would call our penance. Payback for all their sleepless nights.

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By the time we made our way to the water, Kessa was ready to get in. Nevermind that she was wearing white shoes or that Jacey was grossed out by all creatures residing even remotely near the creek, they both jumped right in. We had to stop Kessa from drinking the water a few times but she was loving it. She kept splashing around giggling at her big sister. And, we even managed to stumble upon a small waterfall!

Jacey resumed her big sister role and managed to help keep Kessa from diving in head first. Not one spot landed on either of their pretty dresses! Jacey especially loved showing off her “toothless” status since the fairy has recently come to visit. It really was kind of crazy seeing Jace being so grown up. I remember her running around in her diaper like it was yesterday. Isn’t it amazing how fast the time goes by!?

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And Kessa, one minute, she was this teeny tiny baby who only slept and ate and now she’s this little human running all over the place with her precious blonde locks and those big blue eyes, constantly getting into everything. It’s time like these that I wish I could just freeze her at this age. She still wants to snuggle every now and then but she’s also craving her independence. She wants to do everything on her own…until she can’t. Then she is super sweet. Anyone say heartbreaker??

Both these girls need to slow down. I feel like every time I come home, they are 2 feet taller and ten times prettier than the last time I saw them. More than anything though, I am thankful for the opportunity to not just document their lives through photographs, I actually get to be a part of their memories and play with them. Since I am gone most of the time, I really try to make an effort and show them how much I love spending time with them when I am home and I hope these photos are a reminder of our time together.

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If can’t already tell, Jess and I go back…like wayyyy back and I am so thankful for her friendship. I am even more thankful that she was the first one to make me an “Auntie”. Both Jacey and Kessa are such a wonderful addition to my tribe of little ones and boy do they know it. I don’t think it’s a secret that these girls have me wrapped around the finger. But, then again, who isn’t at this point? It’d be hard to say no to either one of these little princesses! Love ya girls. See ya soon!

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For more information on how to book your unique portrait session or for more information on our Pennsylvania travel dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

To see more of these Milestone Sessions, take a look at our other photo shoot with the Ray Girls! Or check out Kessa’s Newborn Session. It is seriously the sweetest set of photos!!

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!

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.

Donovan’s Christmas Shoot

Over Thanksgiving break, I had the most amazing opportunity to hang out with a few of my favorite people and help them work out a surprise for this little guy’s Grandma! This Christmas, Donovan and his aunt Casey had the idea to surprise his MeeMaw with some good old fashioned portraits. After months of waiting for the right chance to pull this off, we managed to pick a perfect time, light-up night in Ligonier, PA. The diamond in Ligonier has served as the epicenter for this quaint town in the hills of Pennsylvania since the days of George Washington. A long sought after attraction, Fort Ligonier, brings thousands of visitors  to this serene town in the mountains each year. And their Christmas display is something out of the movies. Actually, this very scene is found in many a movie including the recent holiday hit, The Coopers. Check it out folks!

As Casey and I discussed her vision, I knew that this would be the best place to start. I even brought my sisters along to keep Little D in a good mood! Though I won’t lie, he seemed pretty excited to be a part of the photos, an uncommon trait found amongst even the littlest of fellas. With his friend Elfie in tow, we made our way from the Gingerbread House to the Letters for Santa Box and finally onto the tree in the gazebo! It was perfect. Donovan smiled and giggled and when he started to wander, my sisters were just the right thing to pull him back into the shoot. They were directing him and posing him. I literally love that this business of mine is slowly but surely becoming a family business. Seeing my sisters work so hard to produce the image they want is a reminder that they have so much of me in them. Poor girls…lol

After we finished up at the Diamond, we made our way to Rolling Rock Farms for a few pictures near a creek and up to Linn Run State Park to let the kids run at the playground at Adams Falls. Casey was so sweet and had though of everything. She had brought reindeer ears, an beautifully colored blanket (that I just might steal) and even a wreath with a big red bow. This shoot was definitely all about Christmas but you can totally see the family undertone in these images. Though a usually shy kid, Donovan was totally into being a part of the photo shoot. He loved his outfits and kept telling me how comfortable he was. Which is huge because it is so hard to dress a kid so he can run around and play and look good enough for photos too.

This shoot was a complete team effort. Casey had brought things to keep this guy smiling and had dressed him in a way that allowed him the freedom to play. My sisters were essential. They were singing songs and tickling him. Having them there totally took the shoot up a notch. It was perfect. From the way that Little D wanted to surprise his Meemaw to the fading leaves of fall, this shoot was full of Christmas cheer!! And we hope you are too! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from everyone here at The Rustie Nail! We hope that 2017 brings you loads of love and laughter!!

For Information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. Throughout the month of December 2016, I am offering $150 Mini Sessions in the Dallas Fort Worth area. These sessions include a 45 minute session within DFW, 15-20 Digital Images delivered in an Online Downloadable Gallery and Print Release. Perfect for Christmas Card Photos, Surprise Holiday Proposals and even Gifts. You can buy this deal for a limited time as a Gift Certificate in 2017!