Help Me Make 2015 Better – Closet Clean Out

So you know how at the end of the year it’s time for New Year’s resolutions and clearing the clutter? Well at least at my house it’s like that. Start the new year off with a peaceful mind and a clutter free home.  I want to help with all that.

Right now I’m currently building up my studio closet and I’m asking for a bit of help. If you have any clothing that has sequins, ruffles, tulle, chiffon, I WANT IT! And I want it bad! hahaha.  Let me take that off your hands and you can start the New Year off with a some space in your closet for new things. Get rid of the stuff that you can’t wear, don’t want to wear, don’t have anywhere to wear it to, whatever the reason and donate it to Megan Smart Photography.

Bring it to the studio on December 27th between 9am-12pm.  You will receive a print credit – determined by the quality and value of the clothing!  Below is what I’m looking for and I would greatly appreciate it if you help me.  You never know, I might send you a gift certificate to go out eat. (I’ve been know to give free food) Lucky you!   Will you help me out?

 

ClosetCleanOUT

 

If you can’t make it to the studio between 9am-12pm on Decemeber 27th, but have something fabulous to donate, please contact me and we can work something out.  info@megansmart.com

Violet’s Bridal Portraits – Tin Star Ranch – Fredericksburg, Texas

At the Tin Star Ranch in Fredericksburg, Texas, we braved the cold weather to capture Violet in her beautiful wedding dress. I have waited a whole month to share these images! And I can’t get enough of them.  Violet has her own style that is lovely and unique. With ruffles on her bridal gown and  pink gemstones in her engagement band, we set out to create images that were unique to her. We started at her family’s first homestead and then moved on the wedding venue to round out the day.  About every other shot, we had to put in her in a big jacket because of the weather. I think my camera was frozen to my hand, but I believe we achieved what we set out to accomplish, and it was totally worth it. Sometimes you have overcome the elements and just go for it.

Violet is one of my second shooters and I was so honored to capture her bridal portraits and her wedding day. Enjoy her bridal portraits below.

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Violet’s hair and makeup done by Raw Mane Lounge of Kerrville, Texas.

 

 

Arrow Following – Lisa Williams

This past month, I had the pleasure of photographing Lisa and her daughter, Brittany for Arrow Following. Lisa is a fabulous woman with a big heart. We had so much fun getting all dressed up and having a girls day! We giggled, talked about self-image, and about being a woman. Her daughter Brittany, is a high school student, and when I was taking their images together you could tell they were very close.  Which is always a good thing, because mothers will be their for their daughters. No matter what. And it is beautiful.

Read on to see what Lisa has to say about self-image and confidence. About achieving dreams and being a woman!  Oh, and her images, drop-dead gorgeous lady!

 

1. To woman and young girls out there.What would you like to say about pursuing goals and dreams?

Having a daughter who is a young lady, I tell her to never give up on her dreams what ever they may be. Life is going to throw you some hardballs and how you deal with those will define you and shape you and make or break you. As long as you keep going, you can and will reach your dreams.Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your dreams are to big, your too young or too old.

Megan Smart Photo

2.What would you say was the hardest part about achieving your goals?
Well considering I am 35 and still trying to decide what goals I am trying to achieve. I am a full time wife and mother and being the best for them is all that matters to me right now. Staying healthy and fit is a new goal of mine.

I have lost 52 pounds in 18 months. That took a lot of dedication and will power. But I knew I needed to get healthy for myself and as well for my family.

3. Growing up? What kind of self image did you have?

I had really low self esteem. I was shy and hated talking to people and meeting new people. That was in my teens. I was more comfortable with myself as a child. But once I hit pre teen and teen, I didn’t like anything about myself.

 

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4. If you could go back what’s the one thing you would change?

I would say my education. In my Junior year, I had decided school wasn’t for me anymore. I had lost total interest and got a job and liked my job more then school and I really didn’t have anyone tell me ” school is important.” Now its the one thing I stress my kids about. School is very important.

5. Have you always known you were going to be a ” mom” or did you evolve as you went along?
I grew up with 4 younger brothers who I took care of a lot. So I guess you can say when I became a mom it was scary at first being trusted with this little human being. Totally needing you 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. As I went along it became pretty easy and now I love being a mom to 3 wonderful kids. There is never a dull moment in our lives. I love being called ” Mom”. And I would t change it for the world.

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6.For the women out there dealing with fear and self doubt, what do you want to say about that?
Don’t give into fear. Get yourself out of that dark place and find some light. There is always light at the end of every storm. I was afraid of of meeting new people of being out in the world. But, now I am not. I left that fear behind with the other person I was. Once I realized I was the one person holding myself back. I released all that fear and self doubt. I am happier person . I love meeting new people now. Going out and doings things. I no longer fear the world.

7.What’s next for you?

Well hoping to get all my kids thru school in one piece. Continue living a healthy life style. Maybe take up photography myself.
8. What are 5 things people don’t know about you.
1. I have an autoimmune disease
2. I have 6 brothers and 1 sister
3. I prefer camping then hotel room
4. I love reading true crime books
5. I hate horror movies
9. The glamour experience with Megan Smart, How did that make you feel?
I absolutely loved it. It felt pretty aamzing. beautiful, I felt like a million dollars. I thinks every woman should experience that at least once in their lives.

10.Self confidence, How do you keep it up and keep working at your goals?
It helps having such and amazing husband who doesn’t go or hasn’t gone one day out of our 16 yr marriage telling me how much he loves me or tells me I am beautiful. I have only had the confidence I do now for 19 months. But I feel like I can do any thing. I just stay positive all the time and  keep working hard to get and be were I need to be. Not to say I am not happy where I am. But I know I can and will do more.

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The hardest part about achieving dreams

A friend asked me to join a book club that meets once a month on Sunday evenings last friday. And right now, they are reading  “Imagine Big” by Terri Savelle Foy. I’m joining a little late so I had to play catch up last night and read through chapter 1.  I have to get to chapter 5 before January.

Anyway, chapter 1 is about imagining your dreams.  Turning off limits and just dreaming. No matter how big. Like you did when you were a child. I thought I can do this, no problem. I was supposed to write down 20 things I wanted. And it didn’t matter what they were, big or small. And, you know what?  I had the hardest time!  It was like I forgot how to dream!  I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted. “I don’t know” kept popping up in my head.   I sat there and tried to focus on just anything that I wanted.  And my mind would not let me wander. I kept thinking about the stuff I had to and things that needed my attention. And whenever something would come into my mind that I wanted, I would immediately shut it down.

Like, I would love to own a beach home on the east coast. And as I was thinking this, my mind said, why? you live in Texas. What the heck are you going to do with an east coast home?  I did this with several of my wants.  Like  I want to be  fashion photographer, but I don’t want to live in New York or LA so how in the world is that going to happen?

As I finished chapter 1 of the book, Terri goes on to explain that as a kid we don’t set limits to our imaginations.  We just want what we want. And we aren’t afraid to express that. But somewhere along the way, as we grow into adults, we start to think that they aren’t possible or that we’re being selfish.  Or other things get in the why. We take a back seat to what we want and then we forget how to dream.

Again,I took five minutes yesterday morning to try and imagine what I wanted for my life. Because the book says it will get easier the more I do it. Just like a muscle.  And my mind was a little more open to just dreaming this time. And not worrying about the hows, whys, and the why nots.

But being clear about my dreams, that’s the hardest part about achieving them.  I don’t know how my dreams are going to come true, but I do know that I want them. So I’m going to take that, as a good start.  And then take  small steps towards those dreams.

I’ll keep you updated on the book as I read along and maybe together we can figure out how to achieve great things.

 

 

*I’m not receiving compensation for reading or promoting this book. It’s just something I have been enjoying and thought you might too.

Caitlin’s Bridal Portraits

I’ve been aching to share these images!  Caitlin and Justin’s wedding was this past Saturday and I’ve had to keep Caitlin’s bridal portraits a secret for almost two months!  Do you know how hard that is, when you have such a beautiful girl like Caitlin in front of your camera lens.  Super hard!!! We had excellent weather, and The Settlement in Bulverde, TX provided the perfect location with it’s old buildings and of course those turquoise doors!  A place after my own heart. Caitlin did an excellent job with making these images her own by bringing a blue jean jacket (super cute), her grandpa’s ladder and an adorable old chair.  I was in prop heaven.  Enjoy some of her bridals below and stay tuned for her fabulous wedding!

Megan Smart Photo

Megan Smart Photo

 

 

To learn more about the Bridal portrait keep reading…

The Bridal Portrait is mainly a southern tradition where 1-2 months before the wedding, the new bride has a photo session with her full wedding attire. It is one of the few times in a women’s life where she will have her portraits taken alone, and most brides use their trial run on their hair and makeup for the session. No sense it wasting all that beauty.

It’s also used to create those beautiful images that you don’t have time for on the wedding day and for the bride and the photographer to get to know each other a little better. It makes for a wonderful afternoon spent in your dress, all made-up, feeling like a supermodel. Also, you get that gorgeous portrait at the sign in book for your wedding which is traditionally given to the mother of the bride..  A Bridal Portrait is a must, because they are great gifts for the groom, parents and grandparents.

The daily struggles

Last week I posted on my Facebook page, “What are you struggling with?” because I really want to help people with their lives. I was prepared to give out advise (if I had any) or send them a link to an article I found, or a blog I like, or a book I’ve read or send out referral. Whatever it took to help them in their life’s journey, and while nobody said anything because my Facebook following isn’t very big, or they just didn’t want to tell me, I started to think about my own struggles. So I’ll go first. And right now, I’m struggling with believing in myself.  Struggling with if I can even do this photography/business thing.  I’ve been at for three years. Well that’s actually a lie. I’ve been super serious about it for a year, and have had my business for about three.  And that gets me down too, because what the heck was I doing for first two years.  Oh, that’s right, I had no clue what I was doing.  hahaha.  Which is typical of any first-time business owner.

However, recently I’ve been second guessing myself. And I HATE that.  The unknown is super scary to me and failing is something that I can’t stand.  Which in long run means I’ll never give up.  But I’m worried that I will be driving myself into the ground, working so hard for something that might never get here.  I guess that’s where Faith comes in, and I’m trying super hard to believe in that.

 

Sorry for the rant this Monday, but I had to get some things written down.  I found this little motivational quote for today!  I hope it helps you with whatever your struggling with and I hope it brings some light to your life.

 

HAPPY MONDAY, MAKE THINGS HAPPEN TODAY!

DontbeAfraid

Wedding Wednesday!

Whew! It’s been awhile since we had a Wedding Wednesday! Larra and John’s wedding in Comfort, Texas was the wedding every little girl dreams of with beautiful colors, pretty flowers and of course a handsome groom. They are definitely a Texas A$M couple and that’s what’s so great about them! Their commitment their university and the fact that they made a commitment to each other.  We had A&M koozies, an A&M grooms cake and even sang the A&M fight song. It was one fantastic night filled with good food, love, and fantastic dancing. Enjoy some of their wedding images.

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Taking a stand…

Over the past several months I have had several brides contact me and then say I’m to expensive to hire. Which is perfectly fine. I understand that my prices do not fit into all budgets. Everybody is different and everybody has different financial situations. However, most of them say they have a family friend or family member who has a pretty nice camera, and they are going to do their wedding photos. Here is where I have a disagree, UNLESS your family member or friend is professional photographer, please do not do this.  IT’S REALLY NOT THE CAMERA THAT MAKES THE IMAGES! and yes, I’m shouting at you because it’s really true.  A great photographer can make awesome images with a point and shoot.  I’m not just saying this because I’m a photographer and I want to get hired to pay my bills. I’m saying this because your images are all you have left after your wedding day is over. They are the memories. Your first family heirlooms.

I’ve also had people contact me and want me to edit the photos their family/friend took and make them look like my images, and while I will for sure give it my best shot. It’s very very VERY hard to do this. I can’t advise enough about hiring a professional for your wedding photos. Even if it’s not me, find a photographer that you love and try to work something out with them. There are plenty photographers out there, one will be in your budget.  Start the memories of your lives together off right. Don’t be disappointed when you see your images. I’m a big believer in you get what you pay for and it kills me when I see an email stating, “my images are terrible, can you help?”

If the images are important to you, let a professional handle it.  Like I said, even if I’m not the photographer you hire, I want the images of your day to be perfect. Think about it.

 

The Back of My Camera

When I first started my glamour brand, I invited some friends over for a “girls night in” at my home studio. I paid for hair/makeup artists and I wanted to get some photography practice with models and build up my portfolio. The night went pretty well, we had wine and snacks. We laughed and dressed up in pretty clothes. The girls were so excited to see the photos that they kept asking to see the back of my camera. Only I knew that I was just practicing and that there would probably be some not so flattering shots on there, because let’s face it, I didn’t know what I was doing! I was learning, making mistakes, and basically just practicing my posing.

Handing over the camera, was like handing over my heart. And it was super hard to except the fact that the shots weren’t perfect. That someone of them just didn’t work, some were under-exposed, sometimes I caught them when they were blinking, and some poses were not as flattering as I thought there were. Also, when the girls did see some of the images, they picked themselves apart (like most women do) and that was totally not my intent with hosting the party. I wanted my friends to feel pampered and gorgeous.

To this day every time someone asks to see the images on the back of my camera, I cringe a little inside. It’s my least favorite part after a session (and something I do not let clients do because it ruins the surprise). And while I’m trying to get better about letting people see some of the photographs, I still feel really vulnerable. When I watch CreativeLive, I’m all always amazed at how confident those photographers/instructors are shooting tethered to a TV screen. I guess I’m struggling with that fact that not every image I take is going to be perfectly exposed, perfectly lit, or perfectly posed. I’m a human photographer after all. And I’m always learning, or at least trying to get better.

 

Words to LIVE by…

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I hope as you read the words above that you feel empowered to take on the world and to accomplish anything because that’s what they do for me. I have this quote on my phone screen saver to act as a reminder everyday of what I’m trying to mold my life into. Something I can be proud of. A reminder that it’s ok to be a girl but make sure you’re a classy lady. And that in today’s world, you have to think like man. You have to be smart. And while I know, females have made huge strides in that last couple of years towards their careers and holding positions of power, men are still number one. And if you want to get somewhere, sometime you have be inside their heads. And of course my favorite. Work like a boss. Because I’m HUGE believer in hard work. Work hard and work smart. Two keys things to making your dreams come true.

Have a happy rest of week everyone! Don’t give up on whatever you’re trying to accomplish today!

-M