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Ways to Encourage your Friends

Recently, we shared a blog about protecting your mental health, and the steps you can take to preserve your sanity and your health during stressful times of your life (hello, senior year!). We also wanted to share information today about ways you can help encourage a friend going through a hard time, whether that is a mental health crisis or a difficult situation in their life. Part of being a good friend is sticking together in spite of life’s ups and downs, and during some of the worst times as well as the great ones! Here are four practical ways to help a friend in your life who is suffering:

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

-Listen without offering advice: It can be hard not to interject advice into your friend’s life, especially when you feel you have a good solution. But often what they need is just simple listening and someone who will be there for them. Ask if they’d like advice before offering it, so that it lands on open ears and helps them feel heard. Also remember to set aside time if they need to talk, in a coffee shop or a quiet place where you can listen without distractions.

-Bring them a care package: What things make your friend happy? Do you know their favorite restaurant or coffee shop? If you’re able to, bring them a care package of some of their favorite items or food and leave them on their porch during a difficult time. It can really cheer someone up to know you’re thinking of them. Here are some ideas of things to include: smoothie or coffee, a cute mug, socks, candy, a movie, a magazine or book, hairties, video games, cards, notes, a journal, gift cards, etc.

-Make them a priority: Make yourself available to be a good listener, and let your friends know they are a priority in your life. Make sure that you balance your other commitments, and never allow yourself to become a doormat, but if your friends know you are there for them, they will be more likely to come to you for help. Ways to do this would be: setting aside time each week to see a friend or two, answering texts and calls when you are able, and listening without texting/being distracted when you are together. Check on your friends who are going through a hard time, even if they aren’t reaching out to you. Sometimes, it is too overwhelming when going through difficulty with family, health, or school to reach out to anyone for help.

-Encourage them to get outside help: If a friend is dealing with depression, health problems, or other issues where outside help might be useful, encourage them to reach out to a counselor or other trusted adult. Go with them if appropriate, and if they need support. Remember to keep their issues confidential (unless they involve harming themselves or others and you need to tell someone), and don’t share their personal problems as gossip. Let your friend know there is no shame in getting help!

Being a good friend takes intentional work, and practice. Being there for your friends will make you into a more compassionate person, and the people in your life will know you are someone who can be trusted!

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Ashley | Texas Senior Photographer

Meet my gorgeous niece, Ashley! I’m about as proud as an aunt could be. She’s not only pretty on the outside, she’s someone I love very much and enjoy being around….a pretty special human. When I found out I was going to do her senior photos, we got to work putting together outfits that would fit the location we had secured: downtown Houston. It’s urban flair and cool architecture was just what we wanted, in order to try out tons of chic looks and different styles. Ashley is wearing a rented dress from the awesome company Rent the Runway, and we both fell in love with the tiered styling and the icicle earrings she added. Rent the Runway is a perfect choice for senior photos, because your dream dress may be a jaw-dropping formal dress like this one, that you can’t afford or won’t wear often enough to justify purchasing. Because Ashley was up for anything, we did tons of different styling and looks, and I’m sorta partial to the “Nope” shirt…it made me giggle and came out as such a fierce, editorial style!

Ashley’s a grad from Tarkington High School, and is active in her local FFA chapter. She’s got big dreams of becoming an ultrasound tech, and says high school has been a learning experience of beginning to truly love herself! When she has free time, she enjoys spending time with family, like her mom who she says “is who inspires me. She never complains that being a mom and a dad is too much to handle, and she smiles even on the bad days”. Ashley says her goal is to be remembered as someone who helped others, and always followed her dreams! I think she’s well on her way.

Do you follow us over on our Facebook page? If not, you're missing out on our events, special offers, behind the scenes peeks, and tips and tricks for high school seniors. We post all of these things and more, and we would love for you to join us!

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Tyler's Senior Session - Foster High School

When a session pushes me to be creative, and come up with fresh ideas, it’s always exciting to me. So, when Tyler shared that he loves trains, the Rosenberg Railroad Museum was the perfect choice for an unique senior session. The Railroad Museum is nestled in downtown Rosenberg, and is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. There are endless things to look at, including scale models of trains, and a restored, historic railcar. It was opened sixteen years ago, but many of the models and acquisitions took many years to put together before the first visitor. I loved it, and enjoyed looking at the many exhibits as we did Tyler’s session. Tyler is part of the graduating class from Foster High School, and is part of the high school band. “Fun, creative, and adventurous” are the words he’d use to describe himself, and he dreams of one day being a train engineer. 

Tyler looks up to his dad, because of the way he pushes him to be his best, and hopes his classmates remember him as a great friend. He was really excited for his senior session, which made my job pretty great. He is a really kind young man, and has a very quick smile. Of course, his love of trains made him very comfortable on the museum grounds. If you are a parent of a senior (or a senior yourself), you may be wondering how to incorporate your passions and hobbies. Perhaps you love something like trains or music, and I'd love to know that when you book with me. I can scout out special locations, or think up new ways to add in your props or ideas...it's one of my favorite things to be able to customize your shoot!

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Five Tips to Find The Perfect Senior Photographer

Milestones are a big deal. At this point in your life, you’ve already hit a good deal of them, like taking your first steps and entering your teenage years. Now that your teen years are almost over, you’re about to hit your next milestone: graduating high school! You’ve worked incredibly hard to get here, and now it’s time to celebrate and take one of your first steps into adulthood. I wrote about how important an event it is in a previous blog, and since it’s so important, it’s going to be one you’ll want to remember, and remember well. That’s why you’ll want to find a good, professional senior photographer to capture it in a way that does justice to your work and your personality. To help you do just that, here are five tips on how to find the perfect photographer for your senior photos.

Source: Pexels

Source: Pexels

Take some time to look around

Don’t rush into anything. One of the biggest things to look for in a photographer is their ability to make you feel comfortable. If you’re uncomfortable in your photos, it’s going to show through in the pictures you go home with. But how are you supposed to figure out if someone you haven’t met will make you feel at home in front of their lens? Well, one of the best ways is to look at their reviews. What have their clients said about their experience? Another way is to look back over their portfolio. If you’re not a fan of their past work, pass them by. A bit of research goes a long way when it comes to something as once-in-a-lifetime as your senior pictures, and trusted referrals are your best friend.

Involve your parents

Some of you just had shivers run up your spine. But trust me, their perspective is invaluable. Maybe your parents had their senior photos taken as well, and they regret wearing the funky trends of their time. How many of us “old people” do you know that have an embarrassing hairstyle we rocked way back when, or some stylin’ clothes that, for good reason, aren’t around today? Your parents might be able to give you some great style advice for your senior session, because they’ve been through it themselves. Your senior session is all about you and your style, yes! But most often, it’s your parents that know you better than you know yourself. Getting them involved beyond financing your shoot might be the best thing you could do for your session!

Value Connection

Being able to connect with your photographer might not seem as important, but here’s why: they should be able to understand your vision for your session, and bring it to life. You’ll want to find someone whose biggest goal is to capture the real you (like me!), otherwise they’ll just be interested in what they think looks good. They might be able to give you nice-looking photos, but not photos that reflect who you are. And who you are is what your senior session is all about!

Think about your wardrobe

Most often, picking out the perfect outfit is a lot easier than it sounds. Since your shoot is all about you, what you like to wear the most will be the perfect outfit! Maybe you like to dress up all fancy, or you like the more modern and urban take, or maybe for you it’s all about boho - no matter which it is, your favorite look is the one that’s going to look the best on you. To make it easier, get a friend or two to help with narrowing it down to a couple outfits, and get your parents’ advice on what looks best. Make sure that you’re bringing your favorite outfits to your senior session, and you can’t go wrong!

Source: Kamdora

Source: Kamdora

Think about the end result

Everything’s digital these days, it seems like. Call me old fashioned, but I still love physical prints of my favorite photos. If you’re like me, then getting a disk of your senior photos just won’t be enough. Some photographers save you the step of finding a good printer for your pictures by providing those services themselves, and it’s worth looking into if you’re someone who likes to frame their pictures. If the photographer is printing their own work, you know they’re going to handle it well, and that you’ll get some quality prints for your graduation announcements/invitations. Easy is nice!

You’re at such an exciting point in your life! You’ve worked so hard to get here, and you deserve to have some wonderful photos to commemorate your efforts. If you’re looking for a senior photographer who’s dedicated to your experience and satisfaction, contact me here to book your senior session with me today!

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Why Do Senior Pictures Matter?

Milestones are something that I consider often, as a photographer and a mother. I remember the milestones of my own little ones, like newborn photos and those blurry first days in the hospital. Then come those toddler years, and then school photos, replete with missing teeth, pigtails, glasses, or braces. In between, snapshots with friends, and maybe a yearly family photo or two. So, why is the senior year so important? Typically, senior photos are the last professional photos before a wedding day (yes, I am serious!), so I cannot underscore enough how monumental they are...the time does not come back to us. The era of high school is brief and beautiful, and over far too soon. I also know that senior year is full of so many opportunities to spend money (cringe), and often, parents try to pinch pennies in every area that they can. Oh, how I understand this as a mom...I know that graduation expenses, that gorgeous cap and gown, announcements, parties, and college visits (not to mention college itself) can empty your wallet faster than you can imagine. But I beg of you this: please don't skimp on senior photos for your son or daughter. Your friend or your cousin may have a "fancy new DSLR", and you may be tempted to just let them snap a few photos. 

I will admit that I am not the typical photographer, in that I didn't pick up a camera years and years ago, and fall in love with it. I loved taking pictures, but did not make the point to get professional pictures more than a couple of times in their (my three boys) lives. Senior pictures were not a “thing” yet in the rural area we lived when my oldest graduated. We had a friend who was just starting out and she did take some senior pictures for me, for which I was so grateful for, especially in hindsight (remember this was not a “thing” where we were) Not to mention, that money has always been an issue for our family, and this was just not deemed as a necessity.  As their childhood and adulthood continued, I really understood the importance of printing photos as well.  We never race back into the fire for a precious USB or CD, we race to the albums, the scrapbooks, and the framed photos. This is because of technology changes. Could you even imagine trying to get things off a floppy anymore without it becoming an ordeal?  But a print in your hand or off the wall is what becomes a true heirloom. 

Think of senior photos as building your legacy, one image at a time. Senior year is irreplaceable, and so is the experience of senior portraits! 

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Lauren's Senior Session - Katy Texas Senior Photographer

A beautiful girl and a gorgeous pair of boots...Now, that's a pairing that set the stage for the perfect senior shoot here in Texas! Lovely senior Lauren is a graduate of Foster High School, where she loves participating in cheerleading. "I was a competitive cheerleader for almost ten years", she explained, "I became a school cheerleader, and experienced quite a bit of drama as team captain. I overcame these struggles by staying focused." Lauren also describes her time as a competitive cheerleader as "having a team who was like a family". Besides cheer, she enjoys being involved in FFA, 4-H, and the National Honor Society. I know her friendly, loyal, and fun personality is surely an asset in every activity she is involved in! 

As a teenager, Lauren believes it is important to be involved in current events, and says, "I enjoy watching Jessie Watters on Fox News, and I think there are many young people who aren't paying attention in school or to current events. It is important to know what is going on around you!" When she has a free afternoon, this grad enjoys reading and listening to music, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends. Besides her parents, Lauren also considers Dr. Pol (a famous veterinary doctor) one of her role models, as she wants to become a veterinarian in the future. Texas A&M is her new college home, and she's very excited to get started on her future aspirations. 

Did you know that Lauren found my images on Instagram when she was looking for a senior photographer? She told me it was the "glamour and country" stylings that she fell in love with! You can find our Instagram HERE!

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Hanna's Senior Session | Senior Photographer in Katy, Texas

I meet quite a few high school seniors in my line of work, and I always find something interesting about all of them. Usually, it’s something surprising that maybe I wouldn’t have guessed, and I always love finding out the little tidbits that make them who they are. Hanna’s interesting fact is that she wants to work for a record company one day, and deal with public relations! I loved this unique career aspiration, and know she would be perfect for the job with her sunny personality and kind spirit. Hannah is part of the Class of 2017, and she describes herself as, “loving, sensitive, and honest”. 

During her time in school, she was part of both choir and theater, and she’s passionate about music and the arts, as well as their influence in her life. Hanna enjoys listening to music in her free time, and you’d probably find her with friends if she had a free afternoon. Reading is also something she enjoys, and she adds, “A book that changed my life would be Sisters Grimm. It was really the first book that I ever had that made me fall in love with reading!” Hanna says that her mom is her personal role model, because of her positive attitude and outlook on life, and that she herself would like to be remembered for the same traits in twenty years. This girl is as sweet as she is beautiful, and I feel lucky to have crossed paths with her. These days, she is attending Sam Houston University, and is a member of Alpha Chi Omega. 

Hanna, thanks for lending your light and love to me for a little bit during our shoot. I am so proud of the young lady you are!

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Olivia's Senior Shoot - Class of 2017

Meeting Olivia was like meeting a real-life ray of sunshine! I love her bright outlook on life, and her adorable style. When we first began discussing her senior session, she informed me that she wanted to look trendy, and wanted to really celebrate her high school accomplishments. "I'd say my best characteristics include being nice, easygoing, and caring", she says, "I really look up to people like my grandma, who has always put others before herself and genuinely cared about them. I hope my classmates remember me as someone who was extremely nice." Olivia has lots of favorite things, including favorite fictional characters (Four from Divergent is her current pick), and favorite things in her closet (especially things that are grey, her favorite color!), and her favorite stores: Urban Outfitters and LuluLemon. She dreams of one day working with Orangutans in Indonesia and putting her caring spirit to good use there.

When it comes down to choosing a senior wardrobe, some girls are overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing something that reflects their personality, but Olivia was prepared and ready! She had selected a very nice collection of elegant, age-appropriate, and stylish attire for her entire shoot, and she definitely looked trendy, as she'd hoped! I loved the nineties vibe of her off-the-shoulder white top, and her light wash denim. Olivia is ready for success as she steps into her future, and I know she will achieve some pretty amazing things; after all, having a kind heart is the greatest success of all, and she certainly has that. Congratulations, Olivia, on finishing your senior year!

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Jordan's Senior Session | Texas Senior Photographer

It’s pretty fitting that this amazing senior chose such a colorful top for one of her outfits, because she’s got the personality to match! Jordan approaches life with lots of zeal, passion, and wow, is she excelling! She’s a recent graduate, who overcame an interesting challenge during high school: “We actually had to move in the middle of my senior year, but I ended up loving it!” She approaches much of life with that sort of positivity, and I loved working with her. At her school, she was part of the Interact Club, Mu Alpha Theta, Rho Kappa, the National English Honor Society, the National Honor Society, Beta Club, the Hispanic Honor Society, Big Sister Club, LEO Club, and the Honor Choir! Whew! Somehow, she also found time to be part of the student leadership, as well. I think her incredible work ethic will serve her well, because she hopes to attend law school in the future. 

“I would say my personality is hardworking, independent, and fun”, says Jordan, “I like to read, and found the book Night by Elie Wiesel to be so inspiring; he wrote about his experiences during the Holocaust, and it made me realize how amazing my life truly is. Elie Wiesel is someone who really inspires me”. In her free time, you’ll likely find this sweet girl watching tv, sleeping, or dreaming of the beach! Some of her other favorites include songs by Ed Sheeran, movies with Tom Hanks, and of course, Harry Potter. 

For her session, we chose a few different locations that matched her fun wardrobe, and Jordan brought a stunning smile and a great attitude! Jordan, I loved working with you, and wish you so much success and great things in your future. I have no doubt you'll make an incredible lawyer!

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Dakotah's Senior Session | Houston, Texas Senior Photographer

For starters, I loved this girl’s name! Dakotah is as fun and special as her name, and she brought tons of personality and spunk to her senior shoot. She was a graduate of Foster High School, where she was very involved in the theater arts department. She is passionate about the arts, and dreams of one day being an actress. I definitely saw her expressive self come out during our time together, and I have no doubt she will be successful in the acting world. When I asked how she would describe herself, she said the three words that came to mind would be, “passionate, hardworking and ambitious”, which I would certainly agree with. I worked hard to capture these aspects of her personality in our shoot. 

Although her free time was mostly spent working on her craft (acting), she also enjoys watching Netflix, and reading. Dakotah is actually a very avid reader, and she says, “I love reading, and think all good books leave a piece of themselves with you.” Some of her favorite literary characters include Hermione Granger and Aelin Galathynius. Lastly, she wanted me to know that she wants her classmates to remember her as someone who was kind, and that she consider her mom her hero. For her shoot, I searched for the perfect location, and found it at Binder’s Garden in Needville, Texas. This picturesque spot is located off Highway 36, and is often a cherished wedding venue, and for good reason. It boasts tons of grassy areas and towering trees, and was so beautiful. I loved meeting this kind, thoughtful, and talented young woman, and I can’t wait to see her someday on the Broadway stage or silver screen! 

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