Milestone Session: Jessy, Jacey & Kessa

These girls are no strangers to the Blog. In fact, I have been photographing Kessa since shortly after she born! You can check out her adorable Newborn Session here. It’s hard to believe that this little baby is already TWO YEARS OLD! So, today we’re gonna put a little spotlight on one of my littlest loves!

These girls are always so easy because they are down for whatever. We’ve hiked miles into the woods for more than one session and this would be no exception. This time, our friend, Jamie at Lonigro Photography, invited us to a farm in Marguerite, Pennsylvania for a day of smoke bombs, rusty old cars and wheat fields for days! It was a dream come true shoot and you are going to get an inside look at this awesome Two-Parter.

Kessa, was…well, two. She was all over the place and making just the funniest faces throughout the whole shoot. She is such a sweet baby and you can tell that she has her Mama’s adventurous spirit. She really cracks me up.

AND THOSE CURLS!! Her Mama has notorious long locks and it looks like her baby girl is going to take after Jess. Jacey definitely has her Daddy’s hair so I’m pleased as punch to see those baby ringlets sticking around for this little munchkin. She’s like Jess’s mini-me!

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One of the greatest joys in my life is to have a front seat to these girls’ growing up. Jacey has taken on being the best big sister possible and it is amazing to see. She loves her baby sister so much and I am still in awe of how big Jace has gotten since the last time I was home. Every time I come back, I make it a point to put in some solid quality time with these girls. I make sure to listen to Jace and all her wild stories about school and Kessa. I don’t want to miss a thing.

If you didn’t know, I got to be one of the first people to meet Jacey. Right after this sweet girl came into the world, I got to shower her with a ton of hugs and happy tears. Heck, my best friend just had her first baby. I was bawling, big, fat sopping wet tears filled with so much love for this little girl. I could not be more proud of the little lady Jace is becoming!

After a quick outfit change, we made our way to the big red barn for a bunch of shots near the silos. Tell me Kessa is not the cutest thing with her little pink hat!

We had been expecting rain all day so Jaime and I had brought along umbrellas. Fortunately for us, it didn’t rain but thank goodness we brought the umbrella because these girls were just too cute carrying them around. Kess could barely hold it up!

Around this time, Kessa was pretty much over the shoot. We had played on the farm for hours. So as Jessy got Kessa ready to go, we took Jacey out for some fun with the smoke bombs. The girls were so excited and it made the shoot so much more fun once we pulled the caps. We were all running around with them giggling at one point. In fact, watching Jessy run through the field had me doubled over. She just looked so dang happy.

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It was long day. Hence the photo above. But, it was the best day. We had the absolute best time munching on Red Brick pizza and enjoying the last few warm moments of fall. Thank you again to Jamie soon–to-be Lonigro for allowing us to come shoot with you for the day. We cannot wait to do it again! To check out another Shoot with the Ray Girls, head here. 

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!

The Kramer Family Portrait Session

Hey guys! I’m back at it again with another adorable Family Portrait Session. This time around, I met up with the Kramer Family in Grapevine, Texas to snag a few family photos. Meet Joey, KD, Joss and Emily!

You may notice this little girl, Josslyn. She has been featured on our blog before during the Waters Family Portrait Session. That shoot was all about cousins, brothers and sisters but this shoot was all about the immediate Kramer Family, just Mom, Dad and their sweet baby girls.

KRAMER -28We initially met in downtown Grapevine near Tolbert’s to take a few pictures of Dad, Joey. He was in need of a few headshots for his up and coming chiropractic office and we both thought Main Street would provide the perfect backdrop. But more about those Headshots later…

After Daddy’s photoshoot, we headed to a section of shoreline called “Katie’s Woods”. Located near the boat ramp at Grapevine Lake, the cypress trees lining the small beach front would be perfect for blocking out that harsh morning light. Both babies were all smiles.

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KRAMER -38After a few test shots, I was ready to start posing these guys. But, they were all about play. Joey and KD lovingly tossed their little ladies in the air while each of them giggled endlessly. These 2 photos pictured above are my absolute favorites from their session. You can see how stoked the girls are by just looking at the huge smiles on their faces. Pure Joy Y’all!

Once we all had calmed down a bit, Joss was all about loving on her baby sister, Emily. She kept reaching over to tickle her and give her kisses on the cheek. KD and Joey have some heartbreakers on their hands so they better watch out!

After we managed to get a few of all 4 of them looking at the camera, Dad headed back into work for a little bit while mom, KD, stayed behind to grab a few photos of just the girls! While KD changed their outfits, I got a small blanket out so we could set Miss Emily down without getting her all dirty.

Does this girl have the prettiest blue eyes or what? And man oh man was she a happy little girl. She kept smiling at her Mommy and not once did she try to take her headband out of her hair. She even let me love on her for a little bit. While KD was changing Joss into her 3rd Birthday tutu, Emily and I bounced around in the shade.

We managed to get a few of the girls together but it was getting pretty hot out by then so I didn’t want to test their patience. We had started at 7 AM and it was nearing 8:30 when we realized how high the temperature outside had raised. Luckily, the breeze blowing off the water kept everyone in a good mood.

KRAMER -63Or maybe my iPhone playing Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” on repeat kept them in a good mood! Seeing that Joss is a Trolls fan, like so many of us have been or are, I figured this song might help Princess Poppy with her twirling!

We ended their shoot by letting Joss don her 3rd Birthday tutu and wand! With that big pink bow in her hair and the colored pom-poms on the inside of her rainbow colored tutu, Joss proved to be just about the cutest 3 year old in the whole wide world! I had a blast shooting this family’s session and I look forward to seeing lots more of these guys in the future!

For information on how to book your unique Portrait Session, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com or head to our Instagram page (@therustienail) to follow along with upcoming events, mini session and travel dates!

Garden Party with the Foley Sisters

Hey guys! I am just getting back from another whirlwind vacation home to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania and I am so excited to share a few sneak peeks of the Portrait Sessions that I crammed in during my visit. My first session was a long overdue play date with my younger cousins, Kaylee and Ryan! Their Momma is my first cousin and we have been trying to work her family into my books for months now!

We decided to meet at one of our family’s favorite restaurants, Rizzo’s Malabar Inn. In fact, Russell and I had our Rehearsal Dinner here. Settled into the quaint, country farming community of Crabtree, Rizzo’s has grown and evolved over the last 75 years from a small sub shop during the coal mining days into a fine-dining establishment with a massive banquet hall and outdoor patio!

After initialing launching Bar Rizzi, the company chose to adapt the space to fit the needs of their clientele. They turned the Bar into a Banquet Hall. Weddings, company meetings, baby showers and many other events have graced the adjacent ballrooms but the staff still felt like something was missing. Just this year, Rizzo’s chose to add on an outdoor ceremony site, a gorgeous water feature and they even added a Fireworks Package for those who book the space.

Because these little girls have a Daddy with a major hookup at Rizzo’s (He’s one of the longtime chefs!), we were able to sneak out onto the property and use this location as our shoot site! I must say, Rizzo’s has done a fantastic job with the space! The pergola is simply decorated with Boston Ferns and the water feature was exquisitely designed making this site a perfect backdrop!

We spent the first half of the morning frolicking through the freshly planted flowers and practicing our best dance moves! Kaylee was her usual self; quiet, reserved yet silly and polite at the same time. From the time that she was little, she was always good at taking direction and this shoot would be no exception. She patiently waited for instruction and followed them meticulously. You could tell that she has come into herself over the years. She knew which side was her “best” side and which smile was her “best” smile. She has become quite the little lady and I am so proud of her for being so responsible all the while maintaining her childlike wonder!

Ryan, on the other hand, is Kaylee’s opposite. She is crazy and wild and has a short attention span. I guess that’s the way it goes with sisters. Ryan is constantly moving. Whether she is exploring a new place or telling a story, there are always a lot of ideas running through her little mind. She told me all about her summer plans and how NOT excited she was to go back to school in the fall.  Ryan is a handful, in the best of ways. Even when she was a baby, she could find a way to keep the whole family in stitches. We are kindred spirits in that sense and I am so happy to see that someone else on the Miller side of the family, besides me, got the “wildchild” gene.

We ended our shoot by jumping in the water. I had promised them in the beginning that if they were good, I would let them get dirty and play in the water feature. Both girls were so excited when I told them it was time to make “Martha Washington” hair! They built houses with the rocks they found in the riverbed and even tried to climb into the massive water bowls at the base of the fountain. We ended the shoot by drying them off and giving them both their first photography lesson. I let each of them have a turn at taking a few photos! I loved getting to spend some time with my baby cousins and I look forward to seeing them every time I come back to visit!

For more information on this location or how to book your next event at Rizzo’s, head to www.rizzosmalabarinn.com. And for information on how to book your Portrait Session or to learn about our Pennsylvania Travel Dates, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com.

Mommy & Me Mini Session

My favorite little ladies are back up on the Blog this week! Last week, my good friend, Pida, stopped by with her little ones, Zoee & Paizlee, to set up their Mother’s Day shoot! Every couple months, these girls participate in our Mini Sessions and I swear each session gets better and better.

We started the shoot at one of my favorite locations, Bear Creek Park. In all season, this space provides ample light and gorgeous backdrops. This time would be no different. We headed to the park and immediately made our way into the Spring Wildflower patch. Full of Indian paintbrushes, blue bonnets and sweet pea, this spot would be perfect for the girls to run around!

I was a little nervous about heading deep into the flowers. Last time I headed out with these girls, we ended up in a sunflower field. Though the photos turned out adorable, it was definitely a nightmare shoot. Though now we laugh about it,  all of us were badly bitten by chiggers as we made our way through the flowers. For the whole story on how my husband came to the rescue, head to their Summer Session.

After taking a few quick photos in the wildflower patch, we decided to head into West Lake. A short drive up the street led us to a series of water features located on a walking trail near Vaquero. The girls were loving it. They immediately jumped right into the overflowing pond.

We ended the shoot at a series of columns near 121. As the sun set in the west, Mama Bear, Pida, jumped in for a few pictures with her monkeys! They were sweet as ever. It’s always so cute to see them battle for their Mama’s attention. Zoee just snuggles in, always wanting to be closest while Paizlee waits for their Mama to give her direction.

It is always a joy working with these sweet girls. They are always flexible and Pida is the best stylist I’ve got. Her girls always come dressed to the nines. I learn more and more about each child’s personality after their shoots. I’m also learning more about their relationship together.

Watching these sisters love on each other is something I look forward to doing year after year. Each time they surprise me and each time, I find myself loving them a little more. They are so comfortable with me taking their photo and they seem to thoroughly enjoy being a part of the process. In fact, at the end of every shoot, we have a small photography lesson and I let the girls take a few photos with my camera! I hope we keep this ritual up and one day, these girls can become my assistants/stylists!!

If you would like to book your Mommy and Me Session before Mother’s Day, shoot me an email at therustienailhead@gmail.com. I am offering a 20-30 minute portrait session within Dallas Fort Worth for just $100! I’ll include 15 hi resolution images and special surprise for Mom!

***Special note for all the dads out there, I will honor this price and package in the form of a gift card if you want to surprise your special lady this Mother’s Day!