Family pictures in The Woodlands / Amend Family

Life can be so busy, it’s hard to find time to even get together with friends as much as I would like.  This time of year my weekends are full of family pictures, soccer games, more fall photo sessions, and more soccer games.  Lucky for me, I have clients like this family who I consider friends.  It helps make work feel a lot less like work.

Last year we did their family pictures as an in home photo session at their gorgeous new house. This year they allowed me to try a new location out with them.  We actually had to reschedule this session due to some of those sports schedules I mentioned above, but thankfully we escaped the heat on our original date and were rewarded with a gorgeous fall afternoon.

What to Wear?

Erin is always so good at putting together outfits for her crew.  You can see their past sessions here and here, and you’ll see what I mean.  I think the hardest thing about preparing for a photo session is figuring out what to wear.  Once you figure out that, the hard part is over!

That’s one reason I provide phone consultations for all of my clients and share my Pinterest page for inspiration.  I also ask each family to put all of their outfit choices together and send me a picture.  I’m happy to share my thoughts on what I think will photograph well and help you decide on little details and choices that can help pull everything together.

I usually tell the moms to pick their outfit out first and build in the rest of the family’s outfits based on what they choose.  Usually, this is the opposite of what everyone does!   You should ask yourself three questions.
Do you feel beautiful?
When you feel like you look super, your outfit is flattering and you are the best version of yourself, you’ll have a natural glow for the camera.  I love outfits that allow for movement (I’m mainly talking to the ladies here), a flowy dress for example.
Is it comfy?
Nobody wants to spend an hour or more dressed in something that pinches, itches, or is too hot or cold…especially for children and dads, who won’t hesitate to make their displeasure known.  =)  I recommend each family member wear their photo shoot outfit around the house for at least 10 minutes to try it out if they haven’t worn it before, shoes included!
Is it you?
Simple but profound.  Every person in the family should wear clothing that is an honest reflection of his or her style and stage of life.  Aim for timeless attire, rather than the latest trend.

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Eilers / Family Portraits in The Woodlands TX

Wouldn’t it be great if the weather would actually match our fall wardrobe for family portraits?  The heat indexes creeping over 100 degrees is just not acceptable in the middle of October.  I keep doing a double take when I look at my calendar.  Each “cold” front that breezes in escapes before the weekend, which for most of us, happens to be the best time to take family pictures.   Luckily, I have troopers for clients.

These two kids were AMAZING.  I honestly didn’t even hear one little grumble about the heat out of them the entire session!  I think they were excited about the pizza that was waiting for them when family pictures were done.  Having your session on the Waterway has it’s advantages.  Ahem…Grimaldis.

One of the many things I like about this location is the gorgeous natural light that seems to be everywhere.  It’s got a more “urban” feel than what we typically find out here in many other locations around The Woodlands.  We spent the session exploring some really cool areas, staircases and bridges before ending up on top of the parking garage.   People may see parking garage and think…WHAT, how would that work for pictures?  I see a bunch of gorgeous light in a blank canvas that we have all to ourselves.

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Hawkins / The Woodlands TX Family Photographer

Doesn’t this time of year always start to feel a little crazy?  Anyone else, or is it just me?  October is to photographers what April is to accountants.  We fit family pictures and photo sessions in whenever we can, filling up weekends and squeezing in open slots whenever possible.  Then we juggle them around soccer games, school, and other family activities.  We then remember that we have to also find time to edit all of those sessions!  Sometimes it feels like I need another month somewhere between October and November on the calendar to fit everything in.

I’m such a planner girl…like the old fashioned desktop kind.  In July I get really excited to order my new one and even get stickers and highlighters to make it “pretty”.  I figure looking at a colorful, cute spread may distract me from the reality of how busy my weeks are this time of year.

Every August, I look at my calendar and try my best to plan ahead for busy season, promising myself I won’t over do it this year.  I decide how many sessions I can realistically handle in the fall, and then release them to my existing clients first.  Those sessions usually book up by early September, and then inevitably, I try to squeeze just a few more in….because saying no is hard.  After that, I sit back and pray for good weather.  Sometimes I get greedy and pray for cooler weather.  So far this year, I’m 1 for 2 in those requests, but I’m grateful nonetheless.

I had a very small window to make this family photo session happen…as in one day.  Other calendar conflicts and commitments gave us one Friday morning to work with.  Luckily, weather cooperated perfectly and we got their family photos checked off the list!  These two sweet girls were a little reserved at first but came out of their shell quickly.  It might have been due to the rad dance party we had in the middle of the park.  Who can stand still when the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Hot Dog song comes on?  Not me!

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Ransom maternity / The Woodlands TX Maternity photographer

When Kelly emailed me a couple of months ago to let me know that this sweet boy was about to become a big brother, I was so excited!  This family of three is just the sweetest, not to mention ridiculously photogenic.  I mean, Thomas’s blue eyes and my camera have a special relationship all of their own.  I love that I have had the chance to see him so much over the last couple of years and cannot wait to see how sweet and loving he is with his little brother.

Despite, the heat, we were fortunate enough to strike gold with magical light for this maternity session.  Magical, golden sun kissed light is one of my most favorite things!  I can get over 100% humidity and crazy September heat if I know I get gorgeous light to work with.

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Toupal family / The Woodlands TX Family Maternity photographer

You remember that glorious fall preview weekend we had two weeks ago here in Houston?  I mean, it was so cool I even wore long sleeves and a jacket that weekend!  Granted, I was in Michigan then visiting a friend and 40 degrees in the morning warrants a jacket.  I remember thinking how that weekend would be a gorgeous time for a photo session!  Only, since I was out of town for that glorious fall preview weekend in Texas, I didn’t get to kick off my fall photo season until this past weekend.   Last weekend, I worked with this beautiful family.  They are expecting a baby boy in just two short months, and jackets were most definitely not part of our attire for this family maternity photo session.

Big sister greeted me with the most gorgeous grin as soon as she got out of the car.   She didn’t stop grinning for the entire session.  Despite the heat and 95% humidity, we had such gorgeous light! I loved mom’s dress.  It fit her like a glove but allowed for beautiful movement and get this….wasn’t even maternity!  I mean, if I think back to what I looked like at 7 1/2 months pregnant, this is pretty much exactly what I looked like.  Ahem.

I always take a few moments during a family maternity session to pull mom aside and get some shots by herself.  We know life can be hectic with a toddler while pregnant.  Sometimes there aren’t that many quiet and still moments.  That’s why it’s so important to take a few minutes and breathe.  Take some quiet moments to be with this little one growing inside of you.  It will only be a few weeks before you get to hold that baby in your arms and touch those tiny toes.

 

The Woodlands Baby Photographer | Logan 5 Months

When I spoke with Stephanie on the phone a few days before her next Watch Me Grow session (and also a few days after the worst natural disaster to ever hit our city took place…Harvey, I’m looking at you), she expressed apprehension about moving forward with our session at a time like this.  I completely understood where she was coming from.  I too have been feeling so much over the last week.  There is so much destruction and loss for so many around us. You almost feel “guilty” doing anything else but showing up in some way to help people every day. The need is there and will continue to be there for a very long time.  And we will continue to show up in whatever way each of us can.

However, in the midst of such tragedy, I feel strongly that it’s ok and even more important to show up in the moment for our own families.  We need to feed our broken hearts with laughter, snuggles, quiet moments, and love.  We need to appreciate our blessings and pour gratitude out on our loved ones.  Even better if we can document those joyful, loving moments and display them in our homes. Those pictures will remind us on those harder days what will always remain….love for each other, appreciate for relationships, and hope that there will be better days ahead.

You may remember seeing this family quite a bit on the blog over the last few months.  I first met them early last spring for their maternity session. Then I got to witness Logan’s incredible birth and literally saw him take his first breath. That was one of the most amazing honors I’ve ever had.  We saw each other again a few weeks later for his newborn session.  This past weekend I caught up with them and saw how much he’d grown…(and believe me, it was a lot)..in just 5 months.

Ben / The Woodlands TX Newborn & Lifestyle Photographer

I met Christi and Jose back in July when we did their maternity pictures.  At the time, that was the only session they had planned on doing, but I encouraged them to take advantage of my Maternity / Newborn package, because newborn photos…I can’t imagine not having them!  They are only this little for such a short period, and those first few days are such a blur!  I’m so glad they were easily swayed and I loved getting to meet little Ben.

Evelyn / The Woodlands TX Spring Houston Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Watching first time parents so naturally take to their new role during a newborn session is one of the best parts of my job.  Those first few days getting know your child can be such a blur…and exhausting…and sometimes even down right hard.  You may not feel like a natural at all, but what I hope my photos remind you of is that you were perfectly chosen to love and care for this little one…there is no “right” or “perfect” way to do anything in parenting.

Love pours out and provides even when other resources feel depleted…like sleep!  I love documenting all of the in between moments that continue to assure you in those first few weeks..those little eyes locked on you guided by your voice that they already know so well

the look from your spouse that lets you know your love for each other just hit a whole new level..

Newborn photography is really documenting the creation of family and providing images to help define an infinite amount of love that words alone cannot give justice to.

 

Our Happy Place / The Woodlands TX North Houston Destination Vacation Family Photographer

I rarely share personal photos here, but since I’ve been loving Happy Place sessions the last few months, I decided to share a little bit about our own Happy Place.  About three years ago our family moved back to Houston after a four year “vacation” in San Diego.  We try to go back as often as we can because we love and miss it so much…the friends, the weather, the beach, the hills….gah, I could go on and on.

This summer, we knew we wanted to take the kids back to Disneyland but we decided to add on from there.  Andy’s sister and her family recently relocated to Washington state and we had been anxious to visit, so we figured..why not just extend the trip and combine the two?  So our original week long California getaway turned into an almost three week adventure exploring the Pacific Northwest and ending up in Southern California.  It. Was. Amazing.

Rather than go on about it, I’ll stop and share through pictures and video (if you make it all the way to the bottom of the post, you will find my first personal  Life in Motion video).

West Coast Travels 2017 from Melissa Lebo Parsons on Vimeo.

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