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

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Preparing for a photo session can sometimes be overwhelming. What will we wear? Does this outfit coordinate with that one?  Will the kids cooperate? Where should we take our photos? SO MANY DECISIONS!

But it doesn’t have to be. I understand those concerns and have built my business around making the session a stress-free and enjoyable experience for everyone involved (even dad! – and you can check out my reviews HERE). Before the session even happens, I meet with you to get to know your vision for the session and what you would like to do with these portraits in the end. But also, I want to know your worries and concerns to help mitigate any stress that might arise. Meeting before the session is crucial and always makes for better portraits.

Enter the LeVrier Family. Mom Lauren applied to be a Featured Family for the Cinco Spirit Magazine and has triplets to get ready for their session. While these kiddos are triple the fun, I don’t want mom to have triple the stress, so we carefully chose a location that allowed the kids to run, be safe and have fun. Lauren picked outfits, texted them to me and we went back and forth on ways for her family to look their very best.

On the session day, after planning and preparation (BTW, I’ve written a post about putting mom in the wardrobe selection process first HERE that might help you), it really was triple the fun with this adorable family, but don’t take my word for it. Let mom Lauren tell you all about her family’s experiences and how preparing before the session even happened makes all the difference.

Please tell me about your session experience:
We had a fabulous time working with Maureen!! At the session, she was able to make us feel comfortable and also have fun with each other! Really appreciated the details and time she spent with us. 

What made you decide it was the time to do a photo session? Were you marking any special occasion?
We like to do at least one family session a year just to document physical and emotional changes that happen so fast with the littles!!

Where was your session held and why?
In old Katy at the silos by No Label– we wanted something different than our normal Katy spots, and this provided great backgrounds for a different look!

What did you like about your location?
It was comfortable to move around in without cars, other people, etc. Also plenty of space for kids to run around and get some energy out 🙂

What did you like about your session? What was your favorite part?
Really liked all the random candid moments, and how she let the kids personalities come out! Very playful!

Any advice to other families before their photo session?
Take advantage of Maureen’s clothing advice and plan ahead!! Really made the evening easier to know I had everything set aside and coordinated!

What do you hope your kids/family will say years down the road when looking at these images?
Hopefully that it captured what our family is all about– real love, real laughs, and FUN!! Oh, and that mom didn’t have too many wrinkles YET ;)!!!



Nailing color combinations is not an easy feat, but Susan and Nathan Reese and kids nailed it. The Reese Family is the May Cinco Spirit Cover Family and look amazing in the coral, royal blue, what and navy blue color combination against this gorgeous natural backdrop.

Working with the Reese Family was a real treat! We had fun exploring the sanctuary and dabbing along the way (see below), checking out the local wild life – yes, we saw snakes and turtles – and I believe the mosquitos count as Texas wildlife, too! They were huge (photographer tip: always bring bug spray on set!)

Cinco Ranch is lucky to have the Reese Family living here and the Cinco Spirit is proud to feature them. Enjoy the photos and read all about the Reese Family in the May edition of The Cinco Spirit!

As a parent of two elementary age kids, I love when I get to work with parents who have older kids than my own. Enter Kristi and David Haley and their four children John, Jared, Katie and Anna ranging in age from middle school to college graduate. Watching young adults and teenage “kids” with their parents is so fun and this family does it well. Whether giving a noogie (see below and is that how you even spell it?!) or just making jokes and enjoying their time together, the Haley Family has a great time when they are together. I was happy I was able to document the love and affection they have for each other!

So without further ado, meet The Haley Family: The Cinco Spirit’s Cover Family for April 2017.

Okay, moms, this one is for you.

When choosing your photo session wardrobe it is easy to become overwhelmed but I do have a very simple tip: Pick your outfit first. That’s it. TRUST ME. Get your look together, your favorite colors and you pull everyone else outfits from there.

Now more specifically for moms, I love a long dress or skirt (especially if you have little kids at the session) – it ads movement to the photos and is always elegant. There is no such thing as “too dressed up” when it comes to a photo session so indulge in a beautiful dress or skirt to feel your best. Then plan all other outfits around yours.

When considering the length of your dresses or skirts, it’s also a good idea to factor in whether or not there will be little ones in your photos. If you have smaller children, I will likely have you sitting or crouching on the ground to interact up-close with them. Cute, shorter cocktail-length dresses photograph beautifully, but if you have little ones in your photos, a floor-length dress or skirt will make moving around with your kids much easier, and look perfect on camera, too.

Just like Stephanie did here in these gorgeous portraits!

This skirt is perfection. I love the movement and the color. She looks stunning in this outfit with a simple, feminine touch.

Next up is your husband’s outfit. He should be in a long, fitted pants and closed-toed shoes. And yes, I know this is Houston and it is hot here, but that look is most sophisticated and masculine look out there. His outfit is normally neutral colors (brown, blue, khaki, etc) but a pop of color that coordinates with your outfit in the form of a bow tie, pock square, vest or suspenders will help pull the look together. If he is not a “pop-of-color guy” that’s okay, too!

Wardrobe details are a lot of fun but sometimes can be overwhelming. Meeting with your photographer before your session and getting additional tips and tricks can really help and make you feel your best on your photo session day. We want you to look your best, also!

Anyone who has ever had family portraits knows it can go one of two ways – the photographer captures your family unit the way you really are or the photographer didn’t. Knowing how to capture a family unit does not start on the day of the photo shoot. Photographers and clients have to work together well in advance of the session day to maximize the most of their time on the day of the session.

Last year, I met a family who was scheduled to be the cover of January 2017 Cinco Sprit Magazine. Immediately I thought of doing some sort of New Years-theme photoshoot. I do not normally have themes in mind before I meet a family, but for a magazine cover it seemed like a great idea; plus, my publisher told me the family “would be up for something fun” so I was hoping my idea would be something they would like.  The mom and I touched base and talked about the her expectations of the session and her willingness to do something a little different.  I was excited to learn they had moved to Katy from New York City.  I proposed the idea of an urban shoot with a post-New Years Eve party theme and she was so excited. They were totally up for getting dressed up and have fun in downtown Houston. Then I immediately thought of those fun, HUGE, gold number balloons. Just like themes, I don’t use a lot of props, but these seemed to fit the bill and would be a really fun way to tie in the New Year’s theme. After a few more family-specific questions that I needed answers to, we scheduled the session date and were ready to rock and roll!


Having a pre-consultation doesn’t have to take a long, drawn out process but you need to allow enough time to for your photographer to figure out what your family is like and where they will be most comfortable. Working with your photographer before hand will help create a shared vision for your shoot. If your photographer doesn’t offer a pre-consultation, ask for one. Or find a photographer that does. When I first started out photographing families six years ago, I did not offer pre-anything. And trust me when I say, it makes all the difference in the photos and the experience.

But this is a two-way street – and you know all the details! My advice for clients is to be totally upfront and honest with your photographer. Give them the details about your family – the good, the bad and the ugly so they know what they are working with. If you really want to capture the details of your kids, like the little freckles, etc, – then let the photographer know. Want to make sure you get photos of just you and your husband together? Make sure you communicate that, too. Know child #1 and child #3 don’t get along and cooperate? Let her know.

Additionally, give thought to the end result of your session – what are these photos for? Holiday cards? Wall art? An album? Gifts for family? Letting your photographer know your vision will really help you get exactly what you are looking for in a final product. 

Robin and Matthew’s downtown urban session really turned out well.  But you know what happens to the best laid plans, don’t you? My gold balloons didn’t do too well with the wind on the deck of the parking garage.  We lost the number one balloon in our “2017” but the their sweet daughter, even through her tears (who wouldn’t cry if a big shiny balloon floated away!?) was determined to be the number 1 and held her hands up high! And it turned out to be one of my most favorite photos! I prefer the black and white image – which do you like?

All images Copyright Maureen O’Shay Photography