Maureen O'Shay Photography » Katy's Family Lifestyle Portrait Photographer

When you move to a new city, life can be overwhelming. And often it takes a small but impactful gesture from a kind person to make you relax and remember to take one step at a time (and that soon, this place will feel like home). When we moved to our home in Katy, our nextdoor neighbors Robert and Rachel stopped by with a welcome-to-the-neighborhood gift and a smile. They were so kind and my husband and I will not soon forget that. We had moved out of a very social neighborhood and I was worried that we wouldn’t have friendly faces around for a long time. Not the case with the Crawford family. It didn’t take long for their teenage daughter to become our babysitter and there is nothing like knowing you have some one literally next door if you need anything.

Fast forward a few months in January. I was running to the grocery store and before I back out of the driveway, I checked my email. And there is was. I thought it was an error actually. I often get emails meant for other people with a similar email addresses, but I checked again and it was not. Rachel had been diagnosed with cancer.

Now if you know me, the first thing I think about (after I freak out for a moment) is how can I help? They are going to need help. I sometimes over commit (my spell check just made commit “committee” – see I have a problem!) but really, what could my family and I do? What does someone dealing with cancer need? I suffered through a chronic disease and then surgery and I can relate but it isn’t the exact same. When I was sick someone once told me “When mama is down, everything is down.” And this is where the “it takes a village” idea kicks in. My husband and I talked about how we could help. Sure I can make dinner for the family but something more impactful and meaningful was offering a family photo session (and when we texted about the session, Rachel joked “she didn’t want to rock the bald look so let’s do it this weekend”). So that is what we did.

Often times at sessions it takes a good 15 minutes for everyone to warm up, relax and be in the moment. Not for the Crawfords. Be in the moment is what they are living every day. And that is the best thing EVER to come out of a horrible disease. Realizing this is now and this is what we have. So many people never get that shock (and obviously I don’t want them to) but once you do, you see life differently. The love, living-in-the-moment laughter and family bonds really come through in their portraits – just look at the way this family looks at Rachel. This is how a family loves.

Please send your thoughts and prayers to Rachel and the entire family as they take this one step at a time.

Six years ago, in an effort to learn more about photography, I stumbled upon a photography blog that have visited countless times since. The style and skill level of Michele Anderson, the photographer and business women behind Pinkle Toe’s Photography was, simply put, stunning. Her work was what I dreamed mine would look like one day. It is creative, fun, inspiring and authentic. Her personality and those of her clients seemed to jump of the blog pages.

I had just started my business then and realized she offered a workshop for photographers. I met the requirements (couldn’t live in Austin and we were in Chicago at the time). But back then, it was a wee bit out of my price range and then a few months later, can you guess where we ended up moving? That’s right – Austin. So, now I was not able to take her workshop – which I completely understand yet was still bummed (no savvy business women is going to give out all her secrets to someone the same market). The years in Austin went by and I work, and worked, and worked some more to hone my skills both in camera and with clients. I dealt with a chronic disease that slowed me down for a bit, but I never stopped learning, reading and practicing.

Now, I have a successful business and love what I do. I get to meet new people all the time and capture them enjoying their family and I get to make people laugh and feel their best.

So, fast forward a few years and here we are moving, again. The a suburb of Houston. Most people would think that was tough to leave Austin (and of course we do miss our friends) but you know, one of the first things I thought was I GET TO GO TO PINKLE TOES WORKSHOP NOW! (Not living in Austin does have an upside – at least professionally.)  And this March, I was able to do just that. And you know what? It was the right time. If I had gone 6 years ago, I would not have been ready to process all the information and details. I needed the time to get better on my own, experience crazy situations, deal with them and learn from them.

But now, it was finally on the calendar. I dropped the kids off at school one Friday morning and headed off to Austin. It felt like summer camp, a professional conference and a girls weekend all rolled into one. I jammed out to 90s country music all the day (hello Dixie Chicks and Garth Brooks) and took in the sights of the Texas bluebonnets just starting to bloom.

When you arrive at Michele’s studio and home, you can’t believe how many gorgeous pictures she has on the wall. And how welcoming she is – the voice you hear when you read her blog is the person you meet when you go to this workshop. Funny, warm, smart and kind.

On that first day, we did intros and talked about tricky client situations and then dove into marketing, sales, etc, etc. It was a major brain dump of info and I soaked it up. All weekend we stayed up late, got up early, ate tacos and mini bundt cakes, talked about our families and our businesses. We photographed families, one in the home and one on location. We photographed multiple maternity clients at a (my first) sunrise shoot. We learned more about photoshop, lightroom, client relations, and more. We even were photographed ourselves by Michele (new headshot coming soon! I hope it is my “best angle”).

When the weekend was over, I could hardly believe it. It just went by so fast. Once I made it home, I think I slept for two days. The amount of info and the excitement of it all was exhilarating and exhausting. But I wouldn’t trade it for a thing.

So, what you have all been waiting for…drum roll please….here are some images from the weekend. It was all about being creative and trying new things. A few maternity shots of this adorable couple:

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This dress was amazing but I loved the b/w conversion too. And love me some airstream shots!

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Behind the scenes watching Michele at work photographing the beautiful Leah Cook who is also an amazing photographer (visit her site HERE).  Her family was too precious!

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And here are a few from the in-home newborn shoot. I think it is hysterical that most of my shots are behind the scenes shots. It was fun to watch Michele do her thing!

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And this star of the show…the sleepy baby!

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I am so very thankful for Michele, Annette and this workshop and my fellow attendees. I learned so much. If you are on the fence about this workshop, don’t be. Go. Go. Go. Go! Just remember to bring your boots and your bug spray 🙂

If you want to learn more about the work shop, visit HERE.

A few of my fellow attendees blogged about their experience. You can read Erica’s HERE and Laura’s HERE. 

 

 

 

After several days of rain and dreary grey skies, the sun and the blue sky came back just in time for this gorgeous evening session two weeks ago.  I first met this family during a hot August “meet your new classmates” playdate. That was the ONLY before Kinder playdate that I managed to get to and it was fate that our girls met that day, then turned out to be in the same kinder class together and now can’t get enough of each other. Instant BFFs and too cute for words! When the opportunity came about to photograph the Herrera Family for the Cinco Ranch Magazine, I was so excited! They are so fun and full of energy, I knew the session would be a blast – and it was! We had a great time and here are some of my favorites– but for my all time favorite photo from the session, click here.

 

So, January is my catch-up month. The fall/winter season is so busy, both professionally with sessions and personally with holiday events and both my kids’ birthdays. And this year we added our first ever family transatlantic trip to the mix (my headed almost exploded trying to pack for that trip). While I am thankful for all those experiences, needless to say, I get behind on a few things – blogging is one of those things. But these photos are too awesome and this family is too cute not to share…even in mid February – better late then never!

The Dale Family was the featured family of the month for The Cinco Spirit Magazine and I can’t say enough good things about them. We enjoyed a beautiful fall afternoon for their session – a lovely family and Cinco Ranch is lucky to have them! Here are a few more photos from their family session.

Interested in updating your own family portraits? Click HERE. 

 


Photographing for the Cinco Ranch Magazine is such a treat for me! I get to meet new people like the Stewart Family and discover a new area of this awesome community!! One cold afternoon last fall, David, Autumn and their two girls met up to take family portraits for the February cover and inside photo spread. The magazine highlights different sections of the Cinco Ranch so we take family portraits in a pocket park or open area close to the featured family’s home. Despite the cold and damp weather, we had a great time. The girls enjoyed playing at the local park which was a helpful distraction so I could get a few photos of mom and dad. So often the last time parents had portraits taken ALONE was on their wedding day. It’s nice to have an updated couple’s portrait that is NOT a selfie. So great to meet you, Stewart Family!!