{ 2015 top shots }

Another year has come and gone, with highs and lows and everything in between. My 10 year career in the home building business ended and I began a new one in the healthcare field, working for a family-owned and operated company that builds memory care communities all over the country for those living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Quite a change of pace, but a welcome one. I didn’t realize just how tired and burnt out I was until I had some time to decompress between jobs, and now I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be for the first time in a long time.

As I looked back through all the photos I’ve taken since last January, it was tough to narrow the selection down to a manageable number! It’s like trying to pick your favorite child, if you had, like, 41,625 kids… but I hope you enjoy this slideshow of some of my favorite photos from 2015! This is a mix of personal and professional shots, but they all make me smile! From my niece’s 1st birthday, to my new job at Autumn Leaves Memory Care, photographing Bo Jackson (Bo Knows Clare), Melvin Gordon, former Texas Rangers players, lots of 77 Prints shoots, a few evening strolls along White Rock Lake, two of my favorite bands, Dawes (yes, that is Dickey Betts’ son, Duane Betts) and Blitzen Trapper, plus a few random shots here and there.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for another fantastic year behind the camera! It is an absolute pleasure to see so many familiar faces again this year, along with some new friends! Hope to see you all again in the Spring!

{ elliott james }

I read somewhere recently that having a child is like having a part of your heart living outside of your body. It was the first time I’ve ever heard it described in a way that resonated with me. And while I will never fully comprehend the depth of love one can have for a child until I have one of my own, I’ve learned a lot by watching my friends and family members enter into parenthood. The highs and lows, the joys and sorrows, the sunny days and the cloudy ones, life and sadly, death. It’s a privilege to be there for all those moments, even when there’s nothing you can do except say “that’s wonderful” or “I’m so sorry”.

When Leah and Eric spilled the beans many months ago that they were expecting, I knew they would be fantastic parents. I just didn’t realize at the time that they would have to jump into that role of parenthood and all it entails long before Elliott even made his grand entrance. If I remember correctly, it was right around Leah’s birthday that they received the news that this tiny little bean growing in her tummy had something called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. I am not a doctor so don’t quote me on this, but from everything I’ve learned since his diagnosis, it essentially means that several structures on the left side of his heart formed incorrectly. Not only that, but he would have to endure several surgeries in his very early life and eventually, a heart transplant.  I cannot begin to imagine the tidal wave of emotions they experienced upon hearing this diagnosis, hard enough for a parent to hear, but before you even meet your little one face to face? Before he even gets a chance to be a normal newborn baby? Just unthinkable. And yet, Leah and Eric got to work researching and learning everything they could to figure out how to give Elliott the best chance at a long and healthy life. I don’t mean to say there probably weren’t many tears and sleepless nights, but to those of us watching on as they embarked on this life-changing journey, they handled themselves with a very distinct calm and grace well beyond their years. I don’t know that I could have done it, but they did, and do, continue to handle the daily hurdles in a way that is truly humbling.

On August 13th at 11:50pm, Elliott decided it was time to get right out into this great big world and make his presence known! Leah and Eric didn’t get to leave the hospital with their bundle of joy like most parents do a few days after delivery, but Elliott was in the very capable hands of the wonderful staff at Medical City in Dallas for his first few weeks and in late September, he finally came home! I’ve been lucky enough to get a few good long snuggles in with this sweet guy over the past few weeks, but I was so thrilled to be able to FINALLY take his “official” photos this past weekend. I wanted desperately to sneak into the hospital and get photos right after he was born and again after his first surgery, but alas, he wasn’t ready for his close up just yet:)

I had to adjust my normal routine for photographing a baby, but Elliott was a very agreeable model, all things considered! While I knew we’d get lots of cute chubby-cheeked baby shots, what I really wanted to capture was the deep and abiding love his Mom and Dad have for him. I hope you can see just how smitten they are with this special part of their hearts living outside their bodies. I only wish I could also show you in photos how very much he is loved by his extended family – grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, church, and beyond. Elliott has a long road ahead of him, but I look forward to photographing his many many milestones to come! He’s a tough guy for only being a few months old. Welcome to the world, Elliott! We all love you to the moon and back!

Cindy - Fabulous !!!

{ cuellar + master + fleetwood }

My time at Rhodes College introduced me to some lifelong friends, including the Cuellar family:)Stephanie and I just missed each other at Rhodes, but her cousin Catherine and I spent a few years there together and have remained friends ever since. What a pleasure to photograph another branch of the Cuellar family tree on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon! Stephanie and her twin sister Melissa, along with their husbands and kiddos joined us along with their delightful parents for a great extended family photo shoot. They exude love for one another, from their warm smiles and big hugs to their vibrant personalities and belly laughs – what a pleasure to capture these happy faces! Hope you enjoy a few of my favorite shots, and thank you guys for spending the afternoon with me!

{ kirby family }

I am certain I must sound like a broken record, but I truly do look forward to seeing these smiling faces each year for family photos! We always have a great time, and today was no exception. It was an absolutely gorgeous weekend in North Texas with blue skies and temps that swung from a hard freeze this morning up to the 50s by the afternoon. Not surprisingly, there were lots of folks out and about in Bishop Arts today, enjoying what I suspect is probably our last really lovely weekend for awhile. Live music on the corner of Bishop and 7th, families out for an afternoon stroll, the smell of Lockhart’s BBQ wafting through the air – couldn’t have asked for a more perfect afternoon! Well, ok, a few less people walking through my shots would have been nice, but you can’t blame everyone for taking advantage of this weather! It has been so fun (and surreal) to watch Ayla, Porter, and Stratton grow into tiny humans with their own unique personalities – I’ve seen all of them from diapers through to missing front teeth! I’m terrified of the day when they decide taking pictures with me is lame-o, but for now, I’m delighted that they still give me almost 2 hours to capture their sweet faces without much protest :) Nice work, Mom & Dad!

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{ charlotte + caroline }

Mother Nature did her best to deter us this weekend, but I still managed to get a few sessions in despite the near constant drizzle! I am lucky to have awesome families like these guys who aren’t afraid of a few raindrops! The canopy of trees actually provided nice coverage for us, so we were able to get the whole session done before it really started coming down. Even though Caroline had not yet arrived the last time we did their family portraits, I’ve actually taken their photos twice since then – once for her baptism, and again a few weekends ago for big sister Caroline’s birthday party! Always a pleasure to photograph these guys, and I’m so honored to have documented so many special moments in their lives. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek!