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What do you want out of your Senior Session?

This is such an important question. I encourage every single one of my seniors to ask themselves this, and to have their parents or guardians think about it, as well. Some seniors come into their shoot hoping for some glam images for their social feeds, others want an editorial experience, and others can’t wait for the prints and products to display in their homes. Some are uncomfortable in front of the camera, and others cannot wait to be a “model for a day”. No matter where you come from, or why you decided to do a senior shoot, I want you to walk away with one thing: confidence. Here are some great ways to make sure you get the maximum senior experience with us:

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-Know your personal style: Knowing the types of outfits and locations you want really helps as we plan your shoot together. Yes, I am more than happy to always direct you to where and why and how to put together outfits and style a shoot (and it’s totally part of your senior experience), but it helps to have a personal starting point to work from. I encourage you to go through your closet and your inspiration, and put together a Pinterest board, or take some screenshots on your phone to show me. It helps me being dreaming up how to make your vision come to life. Even if you feel like you “don’t” have a vision, there are likely 2-3 images or outfits that make you feel amazing, and those are the place to start.

-Know what you want to use your images for: Are you eager to make a huge canvas for your bedroom? Or to make graduation announcements that will be the envy of your friends? This is really a helpful point to start with when you and your parent(s) begin thinking about the collections and products that you want most. We highly encourage our clients to also measure any wall space where you may want to frame or display larger pieces, so that you know how they will look. We can always direct you to our most popular items, or what may work best for your space or ideas. Don’t forget about using your images for your graduation party or for gifts for family members, too!

-Soak it in: Your senior session should not be a stress-filled, frantic moment in the midst of one of the most stressful times in your life! It should be the one time that you feel pampered, confident, and special, rather than just checking something off a list. It can be really hard to clear your headspace and relax, but some ideas that have helped other seniors really soak in the moment is to get their favorite snack or drink, clear their entire day/schedule and yes, include your parent in the special time! Believe it or not, it is one of the best memories you can make together before you make that leap into college…invite them to share it with you. And lastly, prepare everything you will need (we can help you make a good plan), so that when you wake up on the big day, you feel nothing but excitement.

Thinking ahead and preparing are some of the best hallmarks of a successful senior shoot. The ones who know what their expectations are, are generally the ones who walk away feeling completely happy. And, that’s always my goal!

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Jamie's Senior Session

There are many common misconceptions about photographers. I think many people assume that we just walk around with big cameras, and collect “oodles of money” to snap a few photos! I wish people understood that it’s so much more than that. For me personally, being a senior photographer gives me the opportunity to speak into the lives of young people in a way that I wouldn’t get to normally. As for “oodles of money”, well, I wish that were the case ;) When you break down by hour the work of an elite photographer, after editing, scouting locations, consulting on wardrobes, and more, it breaks down to not much more than minimum wage some days! But I feel truly lucky to get to do what I do, and I always want every senior to walk away feeling better than when they arrived. After all, there are already enough messages from the world telling them they aren’t skinny enough, pretty enough, or unique enough to make their mark. I believe they are perfect just as they are.

My senior reps play a huge part in my business, and the way they represent my work is incredibly important. This is Jamie, who you may remember from a partnership with our local boutique, Backwater Boutique, and she was one of my 2019 senior reps. I’m so proud of this young lady, and the exemplary student and young person that she is. She is a leader in her community, a good friend, and as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I love this breezy, outdoor session we did together to mark her commencement, and the way it shows off her sweet smile and personality. I can’t wait to see where her future takes her next, and what big dreams she will achieve!

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Best of Target for Fall

We all know that Target is the best spot for accessories, adorable faux plants, and the best bedding deals! But have you checked out their exclusive, in house brands lately for clothing and shoes? They’ve been having a major moment, and coupled with sales, they are just right when it comes to back to school shopping on a budget. Whether you are heading back to high school or making the big journey to college, Target is truly the best place to go. Don’t forget to download the Cartwheel app, which has exclusive coupons and apparel deals, that you can add to their awesome sale prices.

Source: Pexels.com

Source: Pexels.com

Open-front layering sweater: We love all of the Universal Thread items, because they look so similar to Madewell’s pricier pieces, but they’re all pretty much under $30, rather than $100. This simple and pretty sweater is super versatile, and it comes in six beautiful shades that work with blouses, tees, and jeans and can carry you through multiple seasons. We love the grey and the cream colors. 


Denim jacket in light and medium washes: When we can get a jean jacket for under $30, we are on board! This is an amazing price on a staple item. We love the slight stretch in the material, and the way the sleeves are the perfect crop length, whether you roll them up or down. For the price, you can get both washes, and layer them over dresses, maxi skirts, or simple tees (yes, denim on denim is perfectly fine if they are two different colors). This jacket also looks amazing with black skinny jeans.

Utility anorak: Another staple piece, this time under $40. We love the green for a very classic look, but you can try the rust color for something more unexpected. Pair with mom jeans and white sneakers for a look that can go from class to class, and even out to brunch with the girls. We recommend sizing up so that you can fit sweaters and sweatshirts underneath without it being too tight in the shoulders. 

A rockin’ dress under $25! Everyone needs a dress they feel amazing in. This body con dress is flattering on just about everyone, and looks incredible under the $30 denim jacket above! We like the pretty olive color, paired with simple mules with a low heel. The red dress is beautiful too, and would be great for the holidays. Be sure to pair it with seamless undies and bra so that you don’t have that dreaded panty line when you wear this adorable number. For under $25, you can buy one in every shade!

Classic mules: We have been swooning over the Madewell suede mules, but they’re over $100, and these are just $22! Target keeps running BOGO and 20% off sales, which makes them even more affordable. They come in black and a pretty rust color, and they look fantastic with something as simple as a white tee and high waisted jeans, but also look great with a high waisted chiffon skirt. A New Day is one of our favorite brands at Target, because they are surprisingly well-made and they hold up for more than just one season!

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Grown Up Shopping List

It’s a part of growing up…suddenly realizing you need those things that you didn’t think about till you were preparing to head off to college: pricy necessities that you realize that mom or dad provided for you up until this point. But how do you know what to buy? And when to buy it? And where to find a good price? That’s what you’ll learn in today’s blog: how to make a grown up shopping list for those certain items you’ll need when you’re living on your own:

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Source: pexels.com

Luggage: While many of you can still borrow this from your parents or friends, it’s really nice to have your own pieces that you can take on short trips (especially if you plan to come back and forth on the weekends). We love a weekender bag like the one from Sole Society, that’s very chic but also roomy enough for a 2-3 day trip. It’s under $100 and you can find it HERE. If you need your own rolling suitcase, consider investing in a nice one from Nordstrom or Macy’s, where they often have coupons and online sales. We like this one from Macy’s, that is more of an investment, but it’s high quality

Iron: You can definitely get by in college without an iron of your own (we recommend having a mini or portable steamer), but having a good one is truly an investment you’ll use for years to come. Especially with the many occasions that come up in college or life on your own to wear professional clothes, such as scholarship interviews, job interviews, or work in a professional environment, you definitely want the chance to have clean and pressed clothing. This one from Black and Decker is awesome

Sheets: You can go A LOT of years with sheets with low thread count, but we bet that when you try some higher end ones, you will never go back! You don’t have to spend a ton of money to get ones with higher thread count and organic or Egyptian cotton, and you’ll be much more cozy than the $10 ones from Walmart. We really love the Hemstitch collection from Target, and they start at just $70 for a full size set. Most dorm beds are twin sized but if you’re lucky enough to have an apartment with a full, they are your best value. If you have an XL Twin in a standard dorm room, you can also try these awesome sheets from Bed, Bath and Beyond for under $30

Cooler: Another thing that you may not realize you need, but that’s super useful and something you will reach for often! You will be able to take a cooler camping, on trips, and even for days at the lake, for years to come. A smaller version will be just fine until you have a family of your own, and you want one that can easily fit in the trunk. Of course, the Yeti brand coolers are the very best, but they’ll set you back about $150 for a personal sized one. The Igloo brand is just as durable, although it won’t keep your food cold for days and days, and it is just under $30 at Dick’s Sporting Goods. 

A lock box or safe: A mini or portable box is a great idea, even just to have a fire-safe place for valuables. As you enter adulthood, you will start to have important papers accumulate, like licenses, passports, applications, etc, that you will need a place to store. Look for a fireproof box or safe, with a lock or electronic code. It is best to have one that attaches directly to the floor in a closet or under a bed, so no one can run off with it, but that is tricky in a dorm room. If you can, see if you can store your most valuable possessions at a family member’s home, and keep other replaceable valuables in your personal safe or lock box. 

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Making the Most of Your Photos

With nearly everyone having a smartphone these days, the ability to take a great photo is at our fingertips nearly every moment, for any event. It used to be that we had to lug around a DSLR, but iphones, androids, and portrait mode have made our cell phones into amazing tools! Of course, you still want the quality of a true camera for your senior photos (duh!), but your phone is a great way to document your regular, day-to-day life. But when your camera roll is full, what do you do with all those photos? How do you make sure those memories aren’t lost if you accidentally lose your phone or drop it in the lake (yes, we have done that!)? Here’s how to make the most of your images:

Source: Pexels.com

Source: Pexels.com

  • Back them up: We highly, highly recommend a backup method for your smartphone images. Whether you choose google drive or iCloud, these are a really valuable way to make sure your images are accessible even without the phone they were taken on. Be sure to back them up regularly, and remember that when you erase them, they do erase on multiple devices.

  • Make prints: Instead of letting those special memories languish on an USB drive or in a drawer, make sure you create prints. Even if you choose a regular lab like Costco or Kroger, it doesn’t have to be fancy to be memorable (although we of course recommend our luxury prints and products for your senior session), and it’s better to make some prints of those iPhone snaps, rather than find them a year later and wonder why you didn’t frame them.

  • Display them: We love the photo display wires that you can find at Ikea or Target, that have tiny little clips on them. You can put up square prints, larger 8x10” images or a series of teeny images on cardstock. Parabo Press makes the cutest little prints of your Instagram feed, and they look incredible on a photo wire.

Source: Pexels.com

Source: Pexels.com

  • Share them: We have all felt the pressure to have a curated feed, or even one that is our personal “brand”, but I hope you feel the freedom to post what you want, when you want! Your feed should be an expression of your heart and your life, not just photos chosen to present a personal “look”. So many photos go unshared, because we deem them not “good enough”…Let’s all let that standard go, and enjoy social media for what it is: a fun way to stay connected and celebrate life.

  • Be selective about your senior photos: Yes, of course I want you to choose me as your senior photographer, but more importantly, I want you to find a photographer you truly love. The one who will bring your dream and vision to life, and the one who will give you the images that you will treasure forever. If you are interested in a senior shoot, please contact me, and we can guide you through the process of selecting and using your beautiful photos!

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Books and Podcasts to Enjoy this Summer

Summer…the perfect time to kick back and relax, and the perfect time to also catch up on the reading you’ve been missing out on while studying! Not only are books and podcasts a great way to pass time out on the lake or while exercising, they also encourage your brain to stay active and engaged, and many research studies show that reading books and listening to audio materials helps prevent depression and anxiety among teens and adults. We have rounded up our favorite new offerings below:

Source: Pexels.com

Source: Pexels.com

Serial: It’s remained a top podcast for a reason! We love the way the podcast shares important stories, and it’s hard to stop listening once you start. If you’ve never listened, be sure to start with season one, the story of Adnan Syed, and prepare to be totally captivated. You’ll be pulled in by the characters, and the way you will be left to come to your own conclusions. (Warning: Has language and adult situations surrounding a murder).

American Scandal: We love this one too, mostly because of the wide variety of stories and topics that you can choose from. Each leg of the series covers a different scandal in American history, and we are totally obsessed with the “Payola” one, which talks about the rise of modern radio and the financial scandals associated with it. It might sound boring, but it’s anything but. (Warning: has some language).*

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert: Amazon has named this one of the best books of 2019, and we are pretty pumped to get our hands on it, too! Elizabeth Gilbert also wrote “Eat, pray, love”, and this one is another great work of fiction. It is about a young lady in the theater world in the 40’s in New York City. It’s full of glitz and glamour, and it sounds like the perfect book for a beach read. 

Educated by Tara Westover: There is a reason this book has remained at the top of the bestseller list, and it’s because it’s amazing. It tells the tale of the author and her dysfunctional family, and their upbringing “off the grid”. She prevails through a number of hard circumstances, and it’s truly inspiring. You’ll be left feeling encouraged and amazed by her resiliency, and the things that she goes on to do in life, despite an unimaginable childhood. If you enjoyed The Glass Castle, you’ll love this autobiographical work, too. 

Limetown: This is a fictional podcast, so it’s more of a radio theater type experience, but it’s the perfect thing for those long road trips..the time will pass in a flash! It tells the tale of a mysterious disappearance of masses of people, and you’ll be left wanting more, with every single episode. Make sure you download all the available episodes, because you won’t want to miss a single one. 

*These are suggestions, and all the advertisements on the podcasts do not necessarily represent the professional views of Creations by Jewel as a business :) 



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Maycie | Senior Photography in Texas

Control. It’s a big part of our lives, and something most of us struggle with (yes, even me! Ha!). Learning that we can’t control everything in our lives is a major struggle, but something that is so valuable. It’s a lesson you really learn in your high school years, amid the stress of senior year and the excitement of heading to college. Often, many of my junior and senior clients face obstacles as they finish up their high school careers, and I always admire seeing how they handle them with grace and determination. For Maycie, one of my recent senior clients, one of these obstacles was that their family home flooded during the huge hurricane last year. It was a very difficult time, but they relied on their faith and each other, and made it through. Maycie explained that the experience really showed her that God is in control, and that she isn’t in charge of anything in her life…a very meaningful although difficult lesson. The Needville High School seniors also credits her mom with teaching her many valuable lessons, adding, “My mom is an amazing women, and I look up to her…she started having adult responsibilities at a very young age, and she is strong because of that. I love her, and would never trade her for another mom!” 

Besides the obvious growing and learning she did in high school, this bright young lady also was part of many clubs and activities at Needville. She was in the National Honor Society, and also held a part time job at a local coffee shop, which kept her very busy. During the last few years, she has gained a real passion for the medical field, and the help it provides to those who need it. She plans to attend college to become a physician’s assistant, and I know she will be amazing! She has a really giving spirit. When Maycie and her parents were looking for senior photographers, they settled on my work and I am sure glad they did. We did this entire session at a place very close to her heart: her home! Yes, every image except the ones with the truck, were done at their family’s yard, and the tree she’s sitting in is one where she loves to hunt. 

Maycie, I am grateful to be a small part of your senior year, and hope these photos always remind you of your hard work and how far you’ve come. You have so much to be proud of!

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Abby's Senior Session | Texas Senior Photographer

“Find out who you are, and do it on purpose”. -Dolly Parton

I hear a common misconception among the seniors who come to me for senior portraits. Many of them think that the must choose just one “look” during the shoot, and that it must be bohemian, urban, or modern. I really want every client to know that we can do multiple looks during the photo session, and that it doesn’t make you less authentic. I believe every senior can put their own spin on any outfit or location, and make it “them”. For Abby’s session (below), we showed off her love for softball, her love for high fashion, and her adorable everyday style! With each outfit change, we also chose an appropriate location, and I am head over heels for the way the ones with the granite steps came out. All of these images represent Abby and her journey in high school, and just because they are all different, doesn’t make her session less impactful. If you are struggling with coming up with your theme or style, I am always here to help, and enjoy guiding clients to find what will make them feel most confident. We really get to know our clients on a personal level, and find out their passions and interests, in order to capture them in their best light.

Abby is graduating from Needville High School, and will be attending A&M Commerce to play softball when he graduates. She is incredibly bright, fun and interesting, and a joy to talk to. Right now, she is currently on a special trip to Amsterdam (lucky girl!), and I cannot wait to hear about her adventures when she gets home. Congratulations, Abby!

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How to create an amazing resume

Making a resume: it’s not something that may be on the top of your to-do list for the summer, but it should be. No matter if you’re in the middle of freshman year or packing for college, learning how to make a resume is a life skill that everyone should know. Of course, there are plenty of resources like LinkedIn, where you can have a digital record of your employment and references, but many jobs require a paper or PDF copy that you will need to design, update, and store. Here are our very best tips on how you can create a resume that totally wows (and hopefully lands you the job of your dreams):

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

-Start with a list of your volunteer and employment histories: A simple legal pad or notebook paper will work for this step. Identify any things you’ve been involved in, such as volunteering at the Humane Society, working a part-time job (even if it’s nannying or babysitting), and anything that you can provide viable references for. You do not need to include your grade point average, or miscellaneous awards, unless they directly correlate with the job you’re applying for. Have a parent or other trusted adult check your list for relevant information, and to help you narrow down what is truly pertinent.

-Nail down your references and timelines: You don’t need to go back to your kindergarten years (please don’t!) to find relevant work history. It’s better to have less information than to try to scrounge around and fill it with things that have nothing to do with your reliability as an employee or intern. When you have narrowed down your specifics, make sure you contact anyone you worked under or for/with that would be a viable reference for you. You must ask their permission in writing, in order to include them on your resume as a personal or employer reference. Double check email addresses and phone numbers on anything you provide. If you’re unsure of when you started or stopped a job, make sure you ask the employer. 

-Always be honest: It is never okay to lie or include misinformation on your resume. As we mentioned, it is better to have a sparce, emptier resume that is truthful, than one padded with falsehoods. It will always be found out when you lie on one, and it sets you up for both legal trouble, and failing at a job. Only include experience you actually have, and only add names of people you truly know. Employers can see right through exaggerated lies, and you will always be on your toes, wondering if they will “find out” you stretched the truth…it’s best to always be honest! If you were fired or let go from a job and are embarrassed about it, be prepared with a truthful but concise statement because employers will likely ask you about a gap in work history.

-Design and save/print: There are so many awesome resources out there for resume building. You can google free templates from Microsoft Word if you want to keep things very simple and clean without much effort, but our favorite program is Canva for truly showstopping graphics and designs. They are free for almost all graphic elements, and only $1 for the fancier photos and fonts. It makes it a cinch to drag and drop your information into a beautiful and professional looking resume. Save a copy in Canva, where you can edit it as you add or take away work experience, and save a PDF and printed copy for your own files. 

Now, that you have a gorgeous resume, you are ready to go get your internship or dream job! We can’t wait to hear about it! Stay tuned here on the blog for more advice and tips as you prepare for college!

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Megan | Foster High School

Our heroes and the people we look up to, often show a lot about ourselves and our priorities. Sometimes they are celebrities (which is totally okay), but oftentimes, they are just regular people who have influenced us in positive and amazing ways. I have found more often than not, the people that my high school clients list as their biggest heroes are their parents or their coaches. Megan is no different; and shared that the two people who have changed her life the most have been her mom ( who is “strong and hardworking”) and her head athletic trainer, Tiffany. I love that, because when regular, everyday heroes are our role models, we know we can strive to be like them. This lovely young lady is a senior at Foster High School, and she is an exceptional athlete. She is part of the athletic training program, the National Honor Society, and the Pals program at Foster, and she is passionate about all her pursuits. One important obstacle that she has pushed through has been the challenges of being an athletic trainer during high school, and how it helped her be a better leader. 


Her favorite highlight of her four years of school would be the football season of her sophomore year, because “of the friends I made and the friends I grew closer with during the long, undefeated season”. Another one would be when the football team made it to the state semi finals. Although they were narrowly defeated, it was one of her favorite games, and such an exciting time to be part of the student body. Throughout her four years in school, she has also honed plans to become a physical therapist after graduation, and hopes to attend Texas State University. “My favorite quote is a little cliche, but I live my life by it”, she adds, “It is that God has a plan for all of us, and we should trust Him to lead us in the right direction”. I know these words are definitely true for her, and I can’t wait to see where her path leads. In five years, she hopes to be getting into physical therapy school.  I know she will be successful in whatever she does, and I loved creating these images with her!

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