Above the Boardwalk

Almost two years ago, I visited Austin, Texas, for the first time. And one of the first things I did was check out the Boardwalk along Ladybird Lake/Town Lake /the Colorado River. (We really need to make up our minds.) 

Today marks exactly one year that I've been living in Austin, and what better way to commemorate it than with a maternity shoot on that same Boardwalk. We got started a little late for this sunset shoot, but Emily glowed nonetheless. 

Oh, The Places You'll Go

On Sunday, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with four people that the world needs more of. Lisa, Bob, Anna, and Allyson of College Matchpoint are college and education consultants, and they help high school students in Austin, Texas. 

As College Matchpoint revamps their new website, we had some fun with an on-location session around the office. With gorgeous natural light and pops of color, I'm in love with the results from our photo shoot. Enjoy!

Put Some Sass In It

Every once in a while, the personal and professional collide. This week, I had a camera in hand and dancing shoes on my feet while shooting head shots for local dance group Sass N Strut, which I'm so lucky to be a part of! 

This season's performance, set to none other than Queen Bey's "Work It Out," included some strong and beautiful women decked out in gold, gold, and more than gold. Shot on-location in the dance studio ahead of our July performance, the photos from this session turned out fantastic! 

Move Aside, Bud

Moving to Austin from Washington, DC, this photographer was used to annual excitement surrounding one flower, and one flower only: cherry blossoms. Tourists flock every April and May to view the gorgeous, pink flowers, and I shot more than a few engagement sessions there. 

Last weekend, I got a taste of a new flower fever, and one that starts earlier in the year: bluebonnets! Ava, who chose her own blue and purple outfit to match the violet flowers native to Texas, had a great time getting her portrait taken at Brushy Creek Lake Park in North Austin (technically Round Rock, but who's counting?) And I had a great time getting to know this gorgeous, delicate flower - which Ava didn't REALLY pick, officer. 

A Very Austin Graduation

Because I shoot on-location as a rule, clients often come to me for advice on what those locations should be. But when Linda anted three spots for her graduation photo shoot, she needed no recommendations. 

As a high school senior looking to stick close to Austin, Linda chose iconic spots that spoke to her as home: South Congress Street, the San Jose Hotel, and of course, the Texas Capitol. 

From Rocks to Gems

There are few places in Austin I love more than Mt. Bonnell. So when jewelry company From Rocks to Gems needed lifestyle photos for their beautiful pieces, I knew there was only one place to go. 

Sourcing all their jewelry from stones dug up by the owners themselves, From Rocks to Gems is a company that requires a natural backdrop. And no better spot than Mr. Bonnell. 

A DC Tog in Dixie: Feeling Rustic in Wells Branch

It's 2018! But I want to write about last November! #laterblog

November 2017 was a marathon month of family photography sessions, which gave me the chance to explore new locations outside of central Austin. My favorite, up in the 'burbs, was Katherine Fleischer Park in Wells Branch.

It's kiiind of a hike from one end to the other, but it's packed with things to do - playground, pool, community center, and all manner of sportsball fields and courts. But the big draw for me was a gorgeous covered gazebo and the rustic backdrop of the Gault Homestead, located near the entrance. 

Huge kudos are due to Trudy Y. and her family, not just for introducing this Austin-area newbie to the park (sometimes referred to as simply Wells Branch Park) but for their impressive color coordination.  Click through to view some of my favorites from the day below!

A DC Tog in Dixie: That's So Meta; The Picture of the Picture

A DC Tog in Dixie: That's So Meta; The Picture of the Picture

Selfies, group shots, Instagram, Snapchats – our attachments to social media mean we’re constantly on the lookout for a great image to share with our followers. Which means this gal, the IRL follower, is going to catch every dessert picture you snap.

A DC Tog in Dixie: The Environmental Portrait

Sometimes, a pop of color is all you need to make a great head shot. Other times, you have to show people in their element – their home, place of work, or favorite coffee shop – to capture who they are.

Enter the environmental portrait. The phrase is a holdover from my photojournalism days, but it’s one of the most popular types of head shot portraits I do right now, and there are a few elements that go into making a great one.

1.  Light: This should go without saying, since photography is, at its core, an exercise in manipulating a camera to get the best possible (and hopefully most interesting) light. But a space that is well-lit and bright can go a long way when selling a business. For Lindsey, creating a cheerful space was important in promoting her new private practice as a therapist, so I brought in two umbrella lights to help the already great natural light in her office.

2. Intention: Want to capture someone in their element? You have to find a space that leaves no question as to who they are and what they do. The team from Laura Britt Design welcomed me into their 6-room office with no shortage of options in which to shoot. But for lead designer Lauren, the back office, covered in samples of her work, was the perfect spot.

3. Lack of clutter:  Lauren’s portrait makes complete sense for her, but for Orange Theory instructors Melanie and Katie, a more Zen-like approach was crucial. Environmental doesn’t necessarily mean cluttered, and assuring that every item in the photos is intentional keeps the eye from getting distracted. For their fitness photos, a serene pool and a simple metal wall outside their gym allows the customer to focus on them, while also giving a sense of space.

Portrait of a fitness instructor in Austin, Texas
Portrait of therapist in Austin, Texas
Portrait of designer in Austin, Texas
Portrait of a fitness instructor in Austin Texas

A DC Tog in Dixie: Fun with Colors!

Austin’s got some great walls.

Yes, everyone knows about the “I love you so much” mural on South Congress. We’ve all snapped a selfie at the Hope Outdoor Gallery. But some lesser-known pops of color throughout the city can be a game-changer for a simple head-and-shoulders portrait

First, the blue tiled wall on Sabine. Technically at the corner of Sabine and E. 5th Street, and technically two connected walls, the exterior of the Austin Hilton is a popular spot, but worth sharing with other photographers. During my session with Alison, two other photographers came by. Fortunately, the massive wall provides plenty of room.

Second, the exterior of in.gredients on Manor Road. To be specific, the back of the building, facing the parking lot. Sheryl, whose portrait I shot for the cover of her first novel, opened my eyes to the wonders of green with this awesome color-blocked wall. The staff is generous with their space if you check in with them ahead of time, but it wouldn’t hurt to buy a latte while you’re there as well.

Lastly, art galleries! Austin has a ton, and though the exhibit Sarah and James visited for their engagement shoot was only temporary, Art on 5th, Mexic-Arte and Pump Project have rotating exhibits so you never get bored (bonus for Pump Project, the striking yellow on the building’s exterior!). Just make sure to check the photo policies before you go!

Portraits in Austin at the Blue Tiled Wall
Portrait in Austin on Green Wall
Engagement Session with Color