The Magic Wand I Wield

As often as I meet a mama who’s absolutely overwhelmed, frustrated, and at her wit’s end with her child and the particular phase he’s in, I meet another who’s just so smitten with how sweet and perfect things are right no (ok maybe not QUITE as often, but it does happen, I swear).


I myself have these feelings, fleeting as they may be. Will these kids ever be this cute again? I ask a friend over a beer, as our children are covering their naked bodies in chalk in the back yard. I wish they’d just stop growing for a while, I confide in my husband after we put them to bed and my daughter covers my face in tiny kisses and tells me she loves me SO MUCH about 400 times.

So as a parent, I get it. As a photographer, I get it even more. I’m lucky to photograph a handful of families annually (a few even multiple times per year), and every time I compare photos from a prior photo day to a current one, the changes blow me away. Not just the physical ones. The way the little personalities develop. The habits change. The independence grows stronger.

austin documentary family photographer

And thinking back across my own childrens’ lives so far, I hazily remember special time periods when things were just SO sweet that I just couldn’t get enough.

Jessi approached me during one such phase. As young mom to Rhys, a toddler of epic cuteness, she wanted to bottle up the right now so she could always remember what the world felt and looked like when Rhys was pint-sized and they were a sweet little family of three.

austin documentary family photographer

Rhys loves trains, smoothies, and playing at the park. He’s all smiles, giggles, and cuddles, and his independent streak is just starting to emerge.

On  weekdays, it’s just him and Jessi – each other’s constant companions. Daddy is a superhero, and you can tell by how the little boy’s face lights up when Lewis walks in.

Soon, life will be different – Rhys will have a sibling come fall, and he’ll bear the big responsibility of big brother while Jessi and Lewis learn to navigate the waters of Life With Two.

But rather than getting carried away by the current of future-dreaming, Jessi decided to spend a day truly celebrating the special magic that was happening in their home this spring. No waiting until baby, no waiting until it’s hot out, no waiting until the garden’s blooming.

austin documentary family photographer

Because Jessi knew. While you’re busy waiting for the future to hurry up and arrive, you risk missing out on the beauty and magic that’s right before you in this very moment.

I HATE having my picture taken!

I HATE having my picture taken!

The more you put something off, the more you dread it. The more you dread it, the more you put it off. It’s a vicious cycle, and it’s scientifically proven to be a real thing

  • Cleaning out your sock drawer (me)

  • Tossing out the mismatched, long-disfavored toys (my friend)

  • Replacing that lightbulb (me)

  • Going to the dentist (everyone)

  • Donating those too-tight jeans (me)

  • Having family photos made (you)

And who wouldn’t put off family photos?

The Other End of the Lens | My family's day as subject

The Other End of the Lens  |  My family's day as subject

It’s been a long time coming, but we FINALLY booked our own photographer to shoot a Day in the Life session with my family – and it all went down yesterday. Before I forget, I want to share with you some thoughts and impressions that are still with me, mere hours after the day ended. 

As a professional in the field, you KNOW I was overthinking it.

Seizing opportunity / FALL SESSION SALE

Seizing opportunity / FALL SESSION SALE

When the opportunity to toss my two preschoolers, my pit bull dog, and my own self into a car and drive 14 hours to a cabin in the mountains in Central Colorado for 5 weeks this summer arose, I grabbed on.

What’s the worst thing that could happen? (Don’t answer that)

But then a brilliant idea struck. If I’m basically taking the summer off, I’ve gotta fill my fall calendar NOW.


What's missing when YOU take the family photos

What's missing when YOU take the family photos

I’m here to tell you about a major revelation I had during this week of solo parenting all over Central Texas.

As a professional documentary photographer, I lugged my 600-pound pro Nikon along with me everywhere we went, determined to make great photos that reflect the realities of our “week full of adventures.”

BUT I FORGOT SOMETHING CRITICAL. When you are your own family’s photographer, there’s something important missing. YOU.

Now, stick with me – this point is actually a bit less obvious than it sounds . . .