Friday, October 30, 2009

happy hauntings

I wanted to take a moment to wish all of my little ghosts and goblins a sugar-filled, cavity-inducing Halloween! I'm not sure what it is about Halloween, but I love it. I find myself starting to long for it around the middle of July. I'm sure the triple digit temps and unbearable heat has me wishing for crisp weather and abundant fall colors. For me, Halloween ushers in the holiday season: the promise of families gathererd around the table, carving Bubba's famous brown-bag turkey and devouring Mom's delectable stuffing; presents wrapped perfectly in glossy paper and topped with matching bows; fires in the hearth and warmth in our hearts; dreidels and gelt; snow globes and candy canes. It all begins with Halloween. So whether it's the first Halloween with your little pumpkin, or the 7th with your little Transformer, I hope you cherish the memories you'll surely make this weekend. And because it's such a favorite holiday of mine, Haute Shot Photography's only subjects this weekend will be a lovely little witch and a Charlie Brown inspired ghost (my only weekend off before the mayhem of the holiday season begins)! And because I rarely post a post without a pic, here are a few of the aforementioned little witch. Happy haunting to all!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

little saints & co.

A few weekends ago, I spent three afternoons with some of the sweetest families around. This was my second year to do family portraits for Little Saints and Scholars, and oh the fun we had! Over 5o families came out to smile and play, and we captured some very sweet moments. Here is a handful of my favorites. This year we shot on the porch of Taste of Home in Wylie. The quaint eatery is located in the heart of downtown Wylie, in an old home that was restored to accommodate the crowds that clamor to partake of Kathy's famous Chicken Salad. The next time you're out this way for a session, be sure to make time to stop in for a delicious meal! A special thank you to Charlotte, the amazing director at the school, for another wonderful opportunity. And much thanks to Kathy and her staff for giving up their porch so we could shoot! And, of course, so many thanks to all the families who came out to join me. Here's a little feedback from the mama of the little boy enjoying a leaf dinner (above): Thanks so much for a fabulous photo shoot! You worked magic getting the kids to smile. I know that a 4 year old and a 2 year old are not the most cooperative subjects, but you managed to make it look easy AND get the good shots! I appreciate the time you took to get great pictures and the rapport you built with Danielle and Andrew. Without your hard work I would still be waiting for some photos without "cheesy smiles" or tears. Thanks again, everyone!

todd & co.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to photograph my most unique subject to date: the harmonica. No crazy voices, silly songs or candy bribes would work for this session. The pictures were going to be used in a promotional campaign for a little documentary called "Pocket Full of Soul". So I took the harmonica to some of my favorite spots and submitted my photos. This past weekend the Austin American Statesman ran an article about the film, and my photograph accompanied it. The film is interesting, captivating and educational . . . and just alot of fun to watch. For more information, you can visit the movie's site by clicking here.

eugene & co.

Because I like to play a photographer on tv, I'm often asked the following question by friends and clients: "What kind of camera should I get?" And my answer always begins with, "Well, I am by no means an expert . . . ", and always ends with, "But you really should go see the guys at Competive Cameras." They've truly got the whole "expert thing" down to a science. And then I do my spiel about the greatness regarding all things Ramsey, Eugene, Van and Robert (and, if you're lucky enough to catch them, the lovely Mary and Gina).

With the holiday season right around the corner, folks will soon begin their holiday shopping (if they haven't already). And I know on so many of those Wish Lists is some sort of camera, be it digital, video, pocket, or slr. And yes, you might be tempted by those "free shipping" or "lens filter included" enticements that the big chains and online stores might be offering right now. . . . but don't be fooled. Because, at some point down the road, you will pay for the "free whatever" they offer. You will scratch that cheap filter. Sally will have accidentally poured apple juice on your camera. Or you might drop it while climbing over pumpkins at the patch, in the hopes of nailing the perfect shot. My point is, dear reader, when something goes wrong, you'll have to handle it yourself. With outrageous hold times waiting for a customer service rep (who, let's be honest, won't be much help, anyway). Or boxing up and mailing the camera back to the dealer yourself. And then you'll be kicking yourself that you didn't listen to little old me.

When you buy from Competitive Cameras, "Your problem is our problem." I can't tell you how many times I've heard Ramsey, the store's founder (and proud papa to Eugene and Gina) tell that to a customer. And I can't tell you how many times it's happened to me, over the course of a year.

By now, I'm a Competitive Cameras addict. I first walked into their store a year ago last month. And I think I've been back every month since. Sometimes several times a month. When we go to buy our next home, one of my "musts" will be that it's not too far from Competitive Cameras. I buy all my equipment from them: everything from batteries to the $2000 glass. And I am always beyond 100% satisfied with everything. From the purchase, to the excellent customer service, to the way the rest of the folks behind the counter treat me and everyone else waiting to be helped.

And be forewarned, you might have a bit of a wait when you go to see them. And that's because once someone buys from them, they keep going back. And they send their friends. And the store becomes a mecca for photographers, both the avid amateur and the seasoned professional. I've been in the store when someone walks in fresh off a road trip from Louisiana, just to buy something from them . . . while someone else in New York is holding on line 1. But your wait won't be long. Somehow, with the nonstop traffic into their store and the constant ringing of the phone from clients around the country, they help everyone. It's a fast paced environment, and I don't know how they keep it all going. But they do. And people keep coming back.

The place is family owned and operated. Ramsey opened the store almost 30 years ago. He and his wife Mary ran it, while their little children, Eugene and Gina, played and interacted with customers. 30 years later, Ramsey and Mary still greet all the customers. Eugene is now running the digital side and still interacting with customers, and Gina will sometimes moonlight behind the counter on the weekends. While talking to you about how many mega pixels you actually need, Eugene will also be telling his Dad what is on tap for the Family Dinner on Sunday. The charming Van and Robert round out the rest of the sales staff, and any one of them will take excellent care of you. Especially if you tell them that the Crazy Brownie Lady in Wylie sent you.

I will be honest, I had heard about the store for a couple years. But with two little kids, I was too intimidated to go there. I had barely gone professional, and I didn't think I'd have a place there. Three years later, I still kick myself. I ended up buying a camera at one of the major chains that I outgrew in six months. And when I finally did step foot into Competitive Cameras, with two little ones in tow, I was treated with nothing but respect and kindness. I know you're shaking your head thinking, "I don't want to shoot professionally. I just want a camera to take pics of my kids. I can buy online. Or from Wolf." And yes, you can. But they won't be any cheaper than Competitive Cameras. And you will never get the kind of service you deserve as a customer. Because, for Competitive Cameras, customer service does not begin and end with the swipe of a credit card. Six months later, when you walk back in to their store without buying a thing, you're still a valued customer. And the really great thing about Competitive Cameras is that everyone has a place there. Whether you're a stay-at-home mom, a college kid taking your first photography class, or your about to open your third studio in the heart of Dallas, Competitive Cameras is the photography store for you. Prices can not be beat, customer service can not be beat, and inventory can not be beat. And, most importantly, they will not try to sell you more than you need. I have never once felt high-pressure sales, nor have I heard them treat anyone else that way, either. They aren't looking to make X many sales a day. They want you to leave happy. And to come back happier.

The folks at Competitive Cameras, to me, are like the Great and Mighty Oz. Hiding behind the curtain, they are really the ones running the show. They outfit so many big studios and teach so many photogs so many things. They have stood behind me for the last year, patiently teaching and enlightening me. I can not thank them enough for the wonderful service they have given me this last year, and I know the next year will only be better. I hope you take a few minutes to stop in one day and see for yourself. I'm usually there on Thursdays. I'll save you a seat at the counter.

2025 Irving Blvd., #107
Dallas, TX 75207

Monday, October 26, 2009

loren & co.

Meet Mr. Gavin. Such a little sweetheart who had no intention of posing naked for me. Not for one second. I guess all his newborn buddies told him that the pics might be used years and years from now in a Rehearsal Dinner slideshow. But once we swaddled him, and mama fed him, he was good to go. Scott and Loren, the proud parents, could not have been any sweeter. And Gavin? Insane strength (he gave me a good 2 minutes of holding his neck up) and insane eye contact. As all the sweet parents of my newbies know, I love me some newborn lovin'. And sometimes I just can't help but pick up Jr. and snuggle for a second or two. Whilst snuggling with little G, he looked up at me . . . and just stared into my eyes. I'm not kidding. And at one point, while I was just whispering sweet nothings into his little ear, I think he smiled back at me. Ever the charmer. Loren brought along a little white hat that her Grandmother had knitted for Gavin. The story goes that when Loren found out she was prego, she bought the yarn and took it to Grandma. She told Grandma to knit her something for her great-grandchild, and Gavin was presented with the hat (and matching blankey). While he certainly has a little room to grow in to it, he definitely looks content wearing it! Loren and Scott, congrats on your beautiful boy! Thanks for letting me capture this special time in your lives, and enjoy the sneak!

lauren & co.

Sweet, sweet Sophie. They don't make them any calmer than this beautiful baby. When Lauren and Paul brought her out for her newborn portraits six months ago, at six weeks, I was in a panic. But as I wrote then, she was c. a. l. m. Calm. And at six months, she hasn't changed much. Oh sure, the to die for hair is even redder. And those gorgeous eyes an even lovelier shade of deep blue. That beautiful little pout a bit poutier . . . but she's still the calmest little thing around. And those rolls. Let's just say, I was in heaven. And I could, and you know I would, surely go on and on about this delightful little baby, but I want to share someone else's thoughts with you instead. While we were shooting, and in an attempt to make Sophie smile, Paul and Lauren kept singing the cutest little tune. It was so adorable. So catchy. And I wanted the words to sing to my own kids. When they told me it was a song Lauren made up for Sophie, I just about died! And then, of course, I wanted the words to share with you. Try NOT to smile (or raid the pantry) once you read it. So between Paul's "shhhoooooshing" in the newborn's ear trick and Lauren's confection of a lullaby, I'm stocked full of some sweet tricks for your little ones, dear reader. And, without further ado, Lauren's song for Sophie (which has since been stuck in my head):
Who's got jelly bean toes
and a gumdrop nose,
licorice lips,
and gummy earlobes?

Coconut eyebrows
and peach fuzz hair,
blueberry eyes and
cream puff cheeks?

Truffle chin
and a marshmallow tummy,
eclair fingers make [baby's name] so yummy!!

kristin & co.

What do you do when you book a 3 month session for your daughter, but you run out of time during said session . . . and you don't get to use some of the adorable outfits you bought for said session? Why, if you're Kristin, dear reader, you book another session! And so, to my delight, Miss Madison, Kristin and Nana came out to see me on Sunday . . . with three adorable little outfits, to boot. Not sure if it was the two hour conversation Madison had with herself at one in the morning in her crib (I'm sure it went something like, "I love my toes. I'm fabulous. I know it. And I'm gonna rock the camera today. I love rice cereal."), but Madison was all smiles, all giggles and all girl. I think Kristin has a bow in every color and every size (I am not kidding), and Madison knows how to wear them. I recently had some fabulous chairs fabulously recovered, and Madison loved them. Loved sitting in them, standing in them, loved them . . . The shot of her standing up and holding Kristin and Nana's hand is one of my faves: Kristin is a strong woman, and having worked with her so many times, I've met all the other strong women in her life. Her mom, especially, is such a force in Madison's life (she takes care of her during the week, for goodness sake!), so I like the idea of both women helping Madison stand, on either side of her . . . as they surely will her whole life. Kristin, dah-ling, you know I love you. Thank you so much for bringing the ladies out to see me, and I look forward to next month's (and the month after that!) mega-family session!

jennifer & co.

Little Carter came to see me on Sunday. And his bright blue eyes and gorgeous smile was exactly what I needed to start my marathon day of sessions. Carter was a sweet, gorgeous newborn. And at six months, he's even sweeter and more gorgeous than the day I met him. Mama Jennifer picked out the cutest little sweater for him, and Daddy Ryan picked out the coolest pair of jeans for himself. Or Jennifer did. Or he picked them out and she bought them . . . or something like that . . . just don't ask them. At least not when they're together. ;) I had such a fun time with this sweet little guy, and we even went out back to my own little "pumpkin patch" and took some halloween costumes pics. Does he not make the cutest monkey, dear reader? I also had fun with his very sweet parents. And it's always a treat when I get to hear stories of Mom and Dad before they were Mom and Dad. Like when Jennifer was about to become Mrs. Ryan . . . and her little flower gir stepped on her veil and ripped it out of her hair, literally as she was about to walk down the aisle! Can you imagine that photo opp, dear reader? Jennifer and Ryan, it was so much fun. He is just about the sweetest thing, and I hope you enjoy the sneak!

sury & co.

Sury, Sury, Sury. She was one of my first clients, and at the time I had not ventured into the world of blogging. Had I blogged then, I surely would have written what I am about to write now: her family is one walking Ralph Lauren ad. Back then, we met in her parents' yard for some immediate family pics. This past Saturday we met in Highland Park for some extended family pics. Sury and David's children, and the couple's nieces and nephews, were recently in a wedding. So Bubbe and Zede wanted pics of their "delicious babies" all decked out. The kids looked smashing, and the adults ate them up. After the Cousins Pics, Sury and David did not pose, I repeat did not pose (David is not a fan of the posey shots and goes for more of the . . . Ralph Lauren style spreads you see in magazine ads, actually . . . ) for pictures with the kiddos. Such a fun family, and it was neat seeing all of them interacting with each other. After the session had ended, and as Sury and her family made plans for a great big family dinner, I asked David if Sury and her sibs were close. Without hesitating, he replied, "They're best friends." And I'm pretty sure I see that word in the cousins' future, too. Guys, thanks for not posing with me on Saturday. It was so much fun. Enjoy your sneak!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

jenny & co.

Two Junes ago, when I had just started this whole photog thing, Jenny booked me for a session with herself and her daughter, Camille. The session was a success, and Camille became one of my many little muses. And so began my love affair with Jenny & Co. She's just one of those people who clearly defines simple elegance. I am still swooning over the sweater she wore to last evening's session, as well as the boots she paired with Camille's dress. I die. Literally. The last time we met for pictures, new baby Ford had christened his heirloom christening gown (so to speak). I couldn't believe how much he'd changed in six months. Like his gorgeous sister, he has some killer baby blues. And like his sister, he is Mr. Personality in front of the camera. Jenny had warned me that he had just started crawling and taking pictures of him might be a challenge. Not in the least. He sat, he posed, he smiled . . . and I'm proud to report he earned himself the title of Mr. Muse. Patrick, the patriarch of the lovely family, is always so good at laughing at my jokes, and he usually has a few zingers of his own. I always, always, always have so much fun with this family, and I really think I should entitle this post Jennyficient & Co. I think we were done with our session in less than an hour. And with two little ones, that is no small feat. It was practically impossible narrowing the sneak down to just a few, but I did my best. Guys, thanks so much for letting me, once again, capture this time in your lives. It's always a pleasure, and enjoy your sneaky to the peeky!

jessica & co.

The sweet little family of three met me at the Arboretum last week for baby boy's one year portraits. And since Mama is someone who records almost every second of baby boy, the focus of this shoot was family. Daddy Derek took time off from work (major points for him), and Jessica did an outstanding job coordinating everyone's outfits. And little Ellis? What can I say? He was a natural. For just having turned one, he's very verbal and would enthusiastically "talk" to me while I was behind the lens. "Yeah!" and "Hey!" were just a few of the words he loves to say right now. And my how he loves to people watch. A group of field trippers walked by at one point, and Ellis smiled and waved at them, playing the total ham. I honestly think he would have run off and joined them for the rest of the tour had we let him. Social, adorable and oh so charming, he was such a sweetheart. Derek and Jessica, it was wonderful working with you! Thanks so much for letting me capture this time, and enjoy your sneak!