Engagements – Erin & Elliott

I snuck out of Kingwood to head up to Nacogdoches to take Erin & Elliott’s engagement photos in between packing up our house & trying to clear stuff out in a garage sale, and y’all, let me tell you. I am SO glad these two were a part of that weekend!

I love the mix of laid-back & natural, combined with romantic & classy. And these two were so much fun! They’ve adventured together (got engaged after skydiving – what?!?!), and you can just see how they push each other to live fuller lives. And that’s the best, right?

As the sun came up, we had the arboretum to ourselves (minus one photobombing dog), and these two were killing it from shot one!

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I always love getting to photograph couples who are just as comfortable laughing with one another as they are getting in close for quieter, more intimate moments. There’s just something about being able to see the full range of their relationship within their images that makes my heart happy!

Kingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown Nacogdoches

Erin & Elliott, y’all are just too good together!!

Kingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown Nacogdoches

LOVE this one! Erin – you’re stunning, girl!

Kingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown NacogdochesKingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown Nacogdoches

The morning light streaming through the trees was so pretty! And it just seemed to wrap these two up in it. Love love love.

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This. This right here. When they look at each other, it’s like all of Nacogdoches froze. This is the kind of look that tells me they’re meant for each other. They’re a couple in it for the long haul, and wouldn’t want anyone else by their side. And in that moment, I was just so honored to get to be the one to help that look, that moment, that memory stick around.

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And can we please just take a second and applaud Elliott on this ring?!?! So gorgeous!

Kingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown Nacogdoches

This was seriously one of the first few shots of the day. Pros!

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Erin went to Texas A&M and Elliott went to Tech (wreck ’em!!), and I love that they wanted their class rings to be incorporated into the shoot. Only way it could have been better is if there were two Double T’s on either side of that diamond!

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At this point, as he reached over for Erin’s hand, I barely heard him tell herΒ that walking along this street was the first time he held her hand. Such a sweet thing to remember, and I love that they went back to the very beginning as they head into a new beginning as husband and wife.

Erin & Elliott, thank you for spending your Saturday morning with me, and I hope you know how happy I am for y’all! I hope to hear all about your future adventures together! Congrats!!

Kingwood photographer morning engagement session in arboretum & downtown Nacogdoches

The Shoot & Share Photo Contest 2016

So let’s just be honest – it’s hard to put yourself out there. Whether it’s sharing an idea at work, asking for a first date, or entering a contest. It’s scary to know that you might not get the reaction you’re hoping for.

For me, it’s been even tougher when it comes to putting myself out there in the photography realm. Sure, I share a ton of the photos I take, and some may get more of a reaction/likes/etc. than others, but that’s not really putting myself out there in a serious way.

Entering a contest full of work from tons of super-talented photographers? That’s putting myself (and my work) out there. It’s scary because I love what I do, I love my clients, and I love their stories I’m able to tell, so I’m really invested in those photos.

I’m proud to say that for the past two years, I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and entered my work into the amazing Shoot & Share Photo Contest. This contest is completely anonymous (no names, no watermarks) and chock-full of talent. Once images are submitted and voting begins, 4 images in the same category pop up on the screen and you simply click the one you like the best to place your vote. It gets kind of addicting!

More than 225,000 photos were submitted from all 50 states and 120 different countries. It’s crazy to think that my work gets put up against photographers from around the world, including some of the photographers I look up to (and learn from), like Amy & Jordan, Justin & Mary, & Katelyn James. Completely intimidating? Um….. yes. Pretty cool? Also yes.

The results are in, and I am proud of how my work finished out! Did I win any of the categories? No. Were any of my images finalists? Unfortunately, no. But I did end up with images that scored in the top of their category. I had two images in the top 10%, four images in the top 20%, and 1 in the top 30%. Pretty darn good for my second year entering as a part-time photographer! And it’s an improvement from how my photos ranked last year, which is a win in itself.

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So being the nerd that I am, I of course had to go in and figure out exactly where in the top 10, top 20, top 30 my images ended up… The image above landed at 3.7% in the “Children: Preschool/Toddlers” category that had 18,329 photos submitted!

The ring shot below landed at 6.8% of the 6,514 images submitted to the “Wedding Details: Ring Shot” category.

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This next ring shot was in the top 14%.

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This image of these two adorable guys landed in the top 16%, and the shot of the rings below just squeaked in to the top 20%.

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This image went into the “That Just Happened” category (which was sooooo entertaining to vote on!), and ended up at 16% of the 2,103 images submitted.

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And this sweet one of two of my very most favorite people went into the “Lifestyle” category & was right at the top 25% of the 5,244 images submitted.

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Overall, yes it’s exciting to have images finish in the top percentages of their category, and I’ll be honest and say that it’s somewhat validating to think of that on those days where I fall into the overly-self-critical trap creatives tend to fall into.

But really, the main thing for me in all of this is the pride I have in myself for putting aside the fear and self-doubt and submitting my work. The win for me is continuing to love & serve my amazing clients by capturing real-life moments and getting gorgeous shots of a symbol of love and commitment.

So please don’t read today’s post as a way to praise myself, but more as a reminder that we should always try to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, because the growth that comes from that push is the most important win of all.

Engagements – Ruth & Mario

This shoot was another one postponed by bad weather, and instead of taking place here in Nacogdoches, we ended up meeting in Kingwood the morning after my best friend got married.

It was such a great shoot for so many reasons….

1. I got to see gorgeous Ruth again (I took her senior portraits when she graduated from SFA).

2. I got to meet her sweet fiancΓ©, Mario. This guy is a trooper who showed up for a sunrise shoot on about 2 hours from sleep due to work. He never let on that he was exhausted, and you could tell Ruth was his motivation for that. So sweet!

3. I got to go back to the same location where Max and I took our engagement photos, and where I’ve done a few other shoots for some dear people in my life.

Love. Love. Love.

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Such a great looking couple, am I right?!?!

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LOVE this one!!! Seriously, Ruth, you’re stunning!!!

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Ruth’s ring is b-e-a-utiful, y’all. And I swear, these two look like they could have just stepped right out of a magazine.

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Another favorite for sure…

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Ruth & Mario, I wish you both nothing but the best!!! I pray you enjoy each and every day leading up to your wedding, each and every moment of your wedding day, and many many many years to come as husband and wife! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me to capture this amazing time in your lives.

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