Maureen O'Shay Photography » Senior and Family Portrait Photographer

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So back to school looks a little different this year, but that was not going to stop Team EmpowHER from our fun back-to-school photoshoot. This year I picked a fun and different location – the Katy Bus Barn! The yellow buses made for a great backdrop and the girls were (as always) so much fun to photograph! And up for my crazy posing suggestions!

Next up for the Class of 2021 will be the individual senior photoshoots – we start those in a few weeks and don’t stop til December! We do these in the fall when the weather is nicer and a little less hot (it was 100 on the bus photoshoot days!). In between individual photoshoots, we will have our team pumpkin photo shoot. Then in the new year, we will come together for our self defense workshop (one of my favorite team events!). Empowerment comes in many forms – and self defense is definitely one of them!

We’d love for you to follow along with our team adventures on Tiktok – follow us HERE. If you’d like to learn more about Team EmpowHER or sign up for the interest list for the classes of 2022 or 2023 – head on over HERE.

Good luck with the new school year!


Team EmpowHER had our 4th of July themed shoot earlier this summer and the photos are just too adorable! Because of Covid (don’t you feel like we have to say that a lot these days), the team was split into two groups – to allow for distance as much as possible. Our spring team shoot was supposed to be in April so this was their first time shooting with me and I have to say they NAILED it!

We had a great time together, being silly, trying new poses and mastering “the walk” — the girls know — but overall it was just so nice just to see each other in person. As a team, we’ve already had a few online experiences (college application workshop and a great video chat with my friend Amanda who is in Hamilton – she shared with the team about performing in a broadway production and how she got there)….but this was our first time together in real life since our makeup lessons in February.

We did a two outfits shoot – to make up for the missing spring photoshoot. So more posts to come in those looks. But if you can’t wait, you can always catch a sneak peek on my instagram at www.instagram.com/maureenoshay 

I hope everyone had a fun and safe 4th of July!

(Oh, if you are just reading this thinking “what the heck is Team EmpowHER?” – head over HERE to learn more.)

 

Love my tween sessions. I enjoyed spending time with these girls as they celebrated their last year of elementary school. It’s a rough way to end their 5th grade year but this class is resilient and will come out stronger.

**Please note: this shoot was in the fall of 2019 – not during quarantine **

 

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

Tween Photography Maureen O

The weather is changing (even here in hot Houston), and it’s about time to change over your wardrobe to the cozier pieces. Even though we don’t get the chilly temperatures that other parts of the country enjoy when the seasons change, there’s still enough cool days to don boots, scarves, and cardigans. Not only are they weather appropriate, they also photograph beautifully when you book a fall senior shoot with us. Although you might still be sweating just a little bit (ha!), those gorgeous shades of burgundy, brown, and taupe can lend your session an edge and polish that can’t be replicated during any other season. So, what staples do you really need this year, and where can you find the best deal? We have it all for you, right here:

The Ruana: This is a newer item that’s very popular on Instagram this year, and it’s actually very versatile. You could wear these little sweater/wraps layered over tees or tanks, when traveling (perfect for the cooler temperatures on airlines), or when lounging at home as a blanket. The best colors this season are taupe and camel, and we really love this affordable one from Target. It’s under $25, and it’s perfect if you want to try out the trend without investing in a very expensive wrap. If you’re ready to take the plunge, check out Nordstrom’s extensive selection, most around $80-$100 each. 

The Mule: Think of the mule as the happy medium between an ankle boot and a flat. They have a substantial look, and they go with just about everything, from dresses to skinny jeans. For a senior shoot, we recommend going with a neutral color like tan or black, and pairing it with pretty, soft neutrals to draw attention to your face and hair. If you don’t have a pair yet, we recommend this pair from Steve Madden, which run true to size and come in several pretty hues. They also go perfectly with the ruana type wraps we mentioned above. 

The felt hat: Whether you want a large, floppy brimmed statement hat, or a slimmer, easier fashion piece, the hat is really having a moment this season! You may have spotted pricy ones from Anthropologie and Free People on the latest Instagram Influencers, but if you’re saving for college or senior year, you may want a more affordable option. Hats are also one of those things that you may wear all the time or wear just once and never wear again, so it’s good to do a trial run before getting an investment piece. Believe it or not, Amazon is the best place to find a dupe for those really expensive wool hats, and most are under $20! Look for a structured fedora like this one, and choose an easy color that matches most of your wardrobe (brown, tan, black). 

 

The leather or suede jacket: We know you probably have a denim jacket that you wear often, but this season’s best staple piece is a suede or leather jacket. For just about every event that you’d wear a denim jacket for, you can swap in this polished and pretty alternative. It goes perfectly over boho dresses, with high waisted “mom jeans”, and paired with structured skirts and graphic tees for a fun and unique look. Real leather can of course be quite expensive, but there are many vegan leather alternatives like this really cute jacket from ASOS (it’s under $65!). 

When you have a slim fashion budget, but a lot of style aspirations, it can be hard to track down the items you need to fill your wardrobe, but it’s totally possible. We have been so surprised with the things we have found at retailers like Target, which could easily pass for a higher-priced item from Macy’s or Bloomingdales at a fraction of the price. Stay tuned to our blog for the best tips on finding deals as you build your session wardrobe!

School is back in session and the high schoolers are already gearing up for homecoming. I am seeing signs for mums for sale and hoco-proposal pics on Facebook and Insta, so you know it’s almost time!

In additional to the dress, the date, and the right dinner spot, high schoolers are searching for a cool place for their group photos.  But I have a little secret….

Location is nice – but lighting is MORE important. 

In real estate you often hear that “location, location, location” is top dog. For photography, it’s “lighting, lighting, lighting” that wins every time. I’ve seen so many group photos in a great “location”, but the lighting is terrible — someone is totally in the shadows while others are in such bright light that they are squinting.

So, here’s my tip: find a place your whole group can fit and that the sun is not right in the kids faces or leaving dappled light on clothes (dapples happen when the sun shines through the trees – like light polkadots). This time of year, the sun sets around 7:30 so make sure you allow enough time to get ready, drive to the location, coordinate with ALL your friends and their parents, and have at least 30 minutes for pics in decent light. 

And, you don’t have to go far for a nice spot. Remember, the high schoolers are the focus of the photo – so a well-lit backyard will do just fine. Your local park? Perfect! It doesn’t have to be fancy.

But still, I know the kids want some fun spots – so here are my suggestions for places in Katy with good lighting – keep in mind you might have to look around these areas.

  • Cane Island – I like the green house in the background – with the kids’ backs to the sunset. Lots of fun spots for selfies, too!
  • Katy Historic Society: 5990 George Bush Drive – has the cute houses and the Katy mural (professional photographers need to pay a fee).
  • Cinco Ranch Rock Waterfall off Cinco Ranch Blvd (next to the water park pool and tennis courts) – watch out for the resident alligator!
  • Cinco Ranch South lake park (beach club) lots of green space, lakes, fountains (but watch for “dappled” light and super reflective water)
  • Gazebo in Grand Lakes, Phase 4 – this is also a decent spot if it’s drizzling, because a big group can fit under the gazebo. But not raining hard, because you do have to park and walk to it. Located at Grand Trace Lane and Lake Bluff.
  • If you are a member or call and ask permission, Meadowbrook Farms Golf Club off Fry.

Further into Houston:

  • Hermann Park – there are so many beautiful spots. Centennial gardens is a popular one but most people go to the main lawn where it can be very bright. Head to the left when you enter and go to the Japanese pergola. Nice light there with open space. Go early and find your spot – parking is harder here.
  • Garden/parks near science museum near – lots of little pocket parks around that area.
  • Any cool city street – if your group is smaller, you can find some fun streets in The Heights or even in shopping areas that look like cities like La Centerra or City Centre and have a very cool little photoshoot.

Rain is a possibility, of course, and since you can’t reschedule the day, here are my rainy day backup locations.

Rainy day backups:

  • In a parking garage – the light is usually GREAT here. I shoot in these all the time even when it isn’t raining. Watch for cars!
  • Your favorite hang out place! I’ve seen photos at places like Bucees or Target! This isn’t a stuffy photo session – have fun! Just be mindful of the other customers.
  • Under any large overhang or car drop off area (think a hotel, museum, event venue or shopping area)
  • Light drizzle? Get some cute umbrellas from Target!  (see below!)
  • Inside Gallery furniture (you MUST call ahead).

My overall advice is find the most convenient place for your group and the parents and go check it out a few days before. Watch for soggy grass (high heels sink!) and look for nice areas of shade. If you are planning to take photos on private property, make sure you get permission first!

But most importantly, HAVE FUN and enjoy the moment!