Hello from 2022! I’m coming to this post to add an update because this is still my #1 viewed post of my blog career. People find their way here from Pinterest, so I guess it’s because people are searching for pink rainbow party ideas. If you’re a lover of pink rainbows, I want to advertise my teeny weeny Esty shop for math resources. I went back to my roots and am teaching math again with a handful of travel photography gigs here and there. If you love someone who could use the multiplication table as a resource, check out my shop. Thank you for your support! xo
Now back to the reason you came (originally posted November 26, 2013):
Sometimes I am lucky enough to be asked to photograph a family’s most exciting events, like the first birthday party. I know your first question is going to be, “Who did this decorating, and how do I hire her?” The fabulous parents of this baby girl stayed up most of the night to finish decorating their house in a beautiful theme of pink rainbow colors and growing up, up, up balloons. I’ll check on their availability for party planning and decorations for you. :)
My goodness, this birthday girl was the sweetest polka-dotted birthday girl I’ve ever seen. She was talking sooo much–just babbling away the whole party and showing every guest all of the balloons. I love how she is in a sea of rainbow goodness…right down to her first slice of cake.As a former (very amateur) cake decorator myself, I liked the back of this cake as much as the front. People ask me all the time about how to get beautiful wedding or party/event pictures. Here’s the first and most important secret: have a beautiful party. Then hire a great photographer. :)I’m so honored that you asked me to be there for such a special day. I would continue to gush about how happy I am for you and your lovely family of three, but then that would sound overly romantic and nerdy, but I am overly romantic and nerdy, and truth be told, the word I would really use to describe myself would be “quixotic,” but now I’ve said too much and proved my nerdiness. Sorry.
Anyway, I hope you’ve gotten some sleep since the party and can’t wait to show you the rest of your beautiful pictures!
Hey, hey. What’s your blog about? Are you a photographer? A videographer?
Are you a shaker, a baker, a candlestick maker?
It doesn’t matter what your creative outlet is, if you’re a blogger, you have certainly run out of ideas for blog posts at some point. Here’s my number one trick for when I don’t know what to write about but I still have to write all the words so it’s recognized as a credible post.
Think about a theme or blog post topic, and include at least three pictures that you want to use in a post. And goodness gracious, if you borrow the picture from another source on the internet, cite the photographer or website where you got it. Then, for every image you post, tell a little story about each one.
When you’re crafting your story, remember your audience.
Are you selling a product? Who would buy it? Would it make a great gift? Mention that. Who is your reader and who would she buy the gift for? Give her some ideas. Here’s an example blog post about a product I have in my small Etsy shop, which I have to help pay for my GED coaching work.
Are you writing a photography blog post? Is this a sneak peek of an entire gallery of images? Your audience is going to be the momma of the family in the pictures. Also, your audience is the future momma who wants the same pictures of her babies, so remember to articulate how these pictures could work with her unique situation, location, or family members.
Here’s an example using a mini-session I did one of these years ago but never posted.
Ask yourself these four questions:
What is the point of the post? For this one, I would use it to advertise upcoming mini-sessions.
Who is the audience? The mommas I want to book those sessions with.
What is the story? This sweet baby girl and the benefit of using mini-sessions to get “the shot.”
What is the title of the post? “A mini-session might be the best choice for your family’s annual holiday card photo.”
By the way, we are great friends with this sweet family, but some of these details may not be true. This was two years ago, and I just don’t remember. This was back when I was pulling all-nighters in my doctoral work while teaching math and coaching businesswomen and running my small photography business. My brain has double bolted that filing cabinet shut. You know how they say that you’re able to recall memories if you get back into the same mental state you were in when it happened? I would have to multiply my stress level by 10, be awake at 3am with a fresh pot of coffee, while physically feeling my individual hairs turning gray. As much fun as that sounds, I’ll just make up a little tale for you.
You know how no one besides Momma wants to take family pictures? Why is that, by the way? Don’t we do everything for our people, and all we ask for in return is for you all to happily pose for a few pictures? Well, the mini-session might be the answer for all of us.
This little gal made her holiday card debut this year. Since we did a mini-session that only took about 5 minutes–really!–we were able to get a few quick shots of Daddy and Big Brothers holding her.
And then we let her run!
The beauty of the mini-session is that we want to get the one shot of the family and then a few updated ones of the kiddos. Everyone posed, and then I followed the little lady around.
This is one of my favorite Momma-and-Me poses. The babies always giggle, and the mommas are always so happy to play.
I hope this helps you think about what to include in your blog posts. The danger I was always found was that I seemed to say “Isn’t she so cute?!” in every post, so I had to mix it up a little. It’s okay if you use similar words every time, but then you’re competing with yourself for SEO. You’ll want to use a variety of words when you can. I’m one to talk, though. For a while, I was really worried my kids’ first sentences would be, “You are so cute!”
Post, post script, I fully realize that all of my posts may seem scattered. However, all of the funnels I have for affiliate links (once I get approved through Etsy, I will change these links to affiliate links) and businesses and coaching programs all lead to my passion in life, which is working with GED-seeking women. I want to do all of this other work so I can offer my services for free to them. Thank you for reading and clicking or any other good vibes you send my way. xo
Yes, I start all of my sentences with “first of all,” because who isn’t a fan of a well-written list? I figure each spoken paragraph should get the same treatment. The problem is that my husband tells me I never get around to the “second of all” bit. My guess is that is probably because I’m already on to the next one by then.
So, FIRST OF ALL, I’m still sorting out my plans. When I say “my plans,” I really mean “my life.”
Wait. I think this would be articulated best via a numbered list.
1. I have finished studenting. Yay! Here’s my proof:
2. I am part-time GED teaching and part-time coaching (academics and business) all the time. I am also actively searching for a full-time job in adult education. Ideally, I would love to consult community colleges with their GED programs and students.
Ahem. Dear Universe, I really want to work for the GED Testing Service. If I may throw in the title I want? Community Colleges Consultant. Pretty please with sugar on top.
Can I somehow @ the spectacularly good-looking, kind, and extremely intelligent people at GED and send them magical notifications to read my blog? I’ll get my almost teenager on the case. I’m confident she can use SnapChat to solve this riddle.
Ok, but on the real, real, real. If you or someone you know wants to earn the GED, I promise it’s not too late. Go register at GED.com to get started, or call me, and I’ll help get that thing once and for all. You’ve got this. For real. Turn this off and head to GED.com. Did you get that? GED.com
3. So, if you can’t tell, I don’t have time to take pictures anymore. Even if I could squeeze you in, my shutter count on my practically now-vintage camera is–NOT KIDDING–100,000 clicks beyond its estimated lifespan. So, I’m rightfully terrified that it’s going to die mid-shoot. I always bring a backup camera, of course, but I charge a lot of money. I don’t think my fancy clients would be thrilled at my camera springs exploding or disintegrating in my face mid-shoot. I have no interest in dropping several more thousands of dollars into a shiny new camera, especially when cell phone cameras are getting better by the nanosecond.
Also, my Photoshop version is old. Like, old, old. Like, Instagram and my second child weren’t even created yet old. I’m very cranky about spending a monthly fee for Creative Cloud–their online version that you have to subscribe to, which is not cool. I bought and paid for this one with my first-ever photography gig profits. I’m very attached to it. It still works right now, but the laptop I am writing this on just had its second visit to the computer hospital, and the outlook is dismal. Once it goes to PC heaven, my Photoshop will ascend with it.
4. But, I sure love this little blog of mine. I get why people post reels and stories and updates on social media. This was my version of talking to my “followers” back in those days when I also wanted to brag to the world about the lovely clients I had and the gorgeous shots I had created.
I have already closed my Facebook business page and have turned down many kind clients, so I was thinking that I should turn this off as well.
However, I have a lot of content over 12-ish years that just feels wrong to flush and delete. And, although I haven’t done a spectacular job at keeping it updated or even showcasing my favorite work, I’m still getting a lot of web traffic. While it’s nice for a few pennies in clicks, it’s not so good for people who really need to find a photographer. I imagine it’s quite frustrating to find my website and not have any up-to-date information.
5. It finally dawned on me. (Time for the next layer of list: the sub-list.)
a. It’s time to monetize my blogs in a smarter way. Oh, yes, it’s coming to all of them.
b. I’ll do it by continuing to post informative photography-related rants posts to educate people on how to pose big families or how to attract clients for a special photo session, etc.
Sidenote: Remember how way back in the day you had to write 300+ words for Google to recognize it as a solid post? Well, hold onto your hats, buddies, because they are now recommending 1000-2000+ words per post. You thought I was rambling before? Let me give you an Amazon affiliate link here so you can go and buy said hat.
I’m not kidding. That was my segue to beg you all to start using my affiliate links to buy lovely things to support my bigger mission of helping women earn their GEDs. So, for real, bro. Go buy some stuff and help at least two moms out. I’m one of those gals, if that wasn’t clear.
Ah, great news. I just received the email approval for affiliate links through Esty, as well. I’ll always try to find items on there to support a fellow small business owner when possible. Okay, standby on that. It’s not as intuitive as the Amazon affiliates, so here’s a link to my favorite shop in the meantime: Sun Is Up Shop. She started as a client and has since become a friend who has made me many beautiful items over the years.
Sheesh. Are we at one thousand words yet? See what I did there? Writing out 1000 adds two more words. I’m at that point of sixth-grade life when you write that “the book was very, very, very, very, interesting” to hit the word count–as if any of you would believe that this little nerd would ever have done that. We met friends for kayaking the other day, and my mom friend asked me, “Oh, did you know about the waiver? Did you fill yours out online ahead of time?” I said, “Of course,” which really meant, “Woman. You have known me for 12 years. Have you ever known me to NOT follow the rules and do the homework for class?”
Y’all. Clearly, I’m struggling with this thousand-word foolishness. Okay, I am going to wrap this up. I have no doubt I’ve lost the four readers I had, so it’s really become more of a journal entry at this point. Back to my 6th-grade-ish ways, I guess.
Dear Diary, I worry that my friends will think I’m a sellout for using affiliate links in all of my old blog posts. Will they still respect me tomorrow? PS, I have a crush on a blue-eyed boy. He has gray whiskers in his beard, which make him look really distinguished.
xo, Dr. Andie
FYI, this is my new and improved name. Since Baylor University upgraded me from Former Captain, I’ve changed it. Now no one will mispronounce my first name as On-DRAY-uh and no one even has to attempt Bacle anymore.
Hey, y’all! I wanted to give an update for anyone looking for pictures and do a little educational post (#nerdforeva) about sunset pics at the same time. I am still in business while I finish up this degree, but I am only taking a few photo gigs this summer.
Although, it has been so long since I’ve posted that wordpress has changed the format for blog posts. I appreciate that they think my brain has enough cells left available to learn a new system. Cute.
Another important announcement: I am only taking beach pics for the foreseeable future. If you’re already planning to call me for Christmas card pictures, I have bad news for you. Unless, of course, you invite me to a beautiful tropical location for those family card images. I hear the overwater bungalows in Maldives are quite lovely in December. Wait. Is it THE Maldives? I’m not sure, but I know there’s one way to find out….
So, when you call me about beach pics–these were all taken in Galveston, btw–I’m probably going to ask you what time of day you’d like to do them. I’m always going to suggest to do them when the crankiest person in the family will be happiest. Sometimes that is 7am for toddlers. I get it. One of my kids woke up at 6am on the dot for YEARS. The other kid slept like a proper baby. I’ll let you sort out which one is my favorite. ;)
Anyway, if you would like some sunset pics, there is a big difference between the hour before and the hour after sunset. These first pics were taken as the sun was nearly all the way down, from 8:20-8:50ishpm.
I included this one because I wanted to show that the sunset colors really were that spectacular and not photoshopped. But, now that I am writing it, I guess I could have also photoshopped her phone screen. But, y’all! They were really real. I promise. It was kind of ridiculous.
This last one was taken around 9pm, well after the sun was down. I personally love the colors and think it’s a cool option to change up from the usual beach pictures you probably have. Also, as good as the cell phone cameras are these days, they still aren’t great when there is little light, so that’s when the professional cameras pay off.
If you prefer a lighter look, definitely go for the earlier side of sunset. These next few were taken about 30-45 minutes before sunset, so we could still get some good color in the sky. If you back it up to an hour or more before sunset, the sky will still be pretty bright, like these, which are still beautiful. If you like the more pastel-y beach pics, try for a little closer to sunset time. Also, when you finally decide on that perfect time and sky color, remember that it will go down FAST. Be ready, and don’t be late for your appointment, or you may end up with a gallery of post-sunset colors. This has happened plenty of times with clients with me, but–hair toss–you know I pulled out some magic.
It’s hard to go wrong on a beautiful beach with happy people, but I hope this helps you narrow down a time you’d like.
Call me for a beach shoot or wish me luck on finishing this lovely dissertation…if only that photoshop magic would translate to word documents.
Hey, hey! I am in the middle of going to school, teaching school, and helping my kids with online school, but I see that I have had lots of web traffic lately, so I thought I’d write a new post. Maybe more people are at home and have already watched YouTube twice, or they are wondering when they can take pictures again.
(If you need updated pictures now, I have a mask and a long lens!)
I have also been wondering if and when we will have events again–what will they look like? I wanted to share the lovely pictures I did for a fancy-pants event at The Woodlands T&Co way back when we didn’t wear masks and could gather together. I was able to bring along my second shooter + model + photog assistant. Now, once I get my son skilled on the drone, we’ll be a one-stop-shop family business for all your photography needs.
Are you building your business and your brand? Make sure you know how to keep your finances separated between business and home life. I offer coaching services if you need help with that. Also, here’s a link for the credit card I use for all of my business purchases to keep everything straight and make life easier come tax time: Capital One.
So, have you heard the good news? I’m one year down with two to go in my doctoral program at Baylor! The best part of a Zoom meeting degree? It lets me keep up my crazy travel pace. Now, if I could just avoid the studying, reading, writing, and all-nighters, it would be really fantastic.
So, it’s January of a new year and that means I am planning out all of my travel trips for the year. Most of my shoots will be on location this year, so I thought I’d post about this one that’s been sitting in my “drafts” tab since last year.
My oh-so-gorgeous friend needed new headshots and branding images, so I packed my camera bag for Los Angeles (and Santa Monica and Marina del Rey and Venice Beach) and shot my new favorite postcards.
My most favorite travel spot on the planet is Venice, Italy, so I made sure we went to Venice Beach in Cali, so I could see our American version of the canals (if you don’t count The Venetian in Vegas, which is also pretty fantastic). It didn’t disappoint. It’s just as darling as I hoped it would be.
Not that I would ever fib (because I am old and don’t care about looking cool), but I change my hair color far too often to ever pretend this just happened. I would tell you how long ago it was, if I could remember. I’m pretty sure it was sometime in 2019. That’s the best I can give you.
This is my favorite pic I took of this lovely lady, and then scroll down to see what was on the cover of my in-flight magazine on the next trip I took. See? I told you I was cool.
We made sure we had some fun in between the hard jobs of modeling and photographing. Found the best star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!
Selfie museum. Who knew this was a thing? We’re so Hollywood.
Because you know I am the Queen of Obvious:
Yes, I do have the best job ever.
Need a gal to drive you around a cool city and take your fabulous pics? Call me. I’ll be your uberazzi any day! 508.768.5808
Hey, y’all! The lovely people at minted.com have sent me a code to share for 20% off discount: HOLPHOTOBACLE
If you were unable to get your act together to take pics and order cards before the end of the year–oh, wait, that’s me–I have some time over the last two weeks in the year to take pics for some lovely 2020 cards.
Dang. One of the hardest parts of being a kid? When you have to move or your friends move away. We had to get this little crew of besties together before they had to say goodbye for a while.
Pro tip: When you want to schedule a photo sesh with a group of kids, the trick is to give them something to do. They don’t want to sit and smile at the camera for long, so make sure you have a plan. Bubbles, a new toy to throw around, a playground…all of these work. The trick is to not let them play with whatever your plan is before the shoot. If you’re going to have something fun to try out or play with, like a kite or frisbee or new football, don’t let them see it until the camera is ready to shoot, so you can capture the surprise and genuine smiles.
For this group, we played in the fall leaves. In Texas, we don’t have too many “play in the fall leaves” opportunities. My lovely Momma client had a few trees in her front yard that had just the right leaves, and then we timed the play date for right before sunset. They had a blast!
These two have a history of climbing trees together, so we had to get a good shot of them together.
Can you tell Little Bro wasn’t interested in getting in the shot? That was as close as he was willing to get.
I hope these kiddos are together again some day. If not, they’ll always have these memories and pics. On another note, when you do take pics of your littles with their besties, don’t forget to print a few copies to put in their rooms and some to send to their new pen pals.
Remember that time I went to L.A.? No? That means you must not follow me on Instagram. How did we document our lives before The Gram? Seriously, I even told Grandma the other day to follow my stories if she wants to see what we’re up to. The problem I have is the “instant” part. When you take pictures on a “big camera,” the results are not instantaneous, hence lots of posts that start with “remember that time” and #thatonetime….
Anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to head to Hermosa Beach, Cali, to photograph this lovely gal and take branding pics for her small business. It’s the coolest!
Fit Armadillo: “online personal training & private fitness sessions over 2-way video chat.”
The cutest, right?
She has hosted fun runs and fitness events:
If you follow her on Instagram, @fitarmadillo, you’ll see her little business mascot travelling all over the world for training and marathons.
Here’s her virtual gym where she will train you from your gym (your house!):
If you want a positive, happy, adorably giggly trainer, this girl is your match. I don’t think she stopped smiling the whole time!
If all of that wasn’t impressive enough, this business savvy gal has even published her own book! Here’s an Amazon link: Superwomen Secrets Revealed
I hope you get the feel of what Catherine offers through these pictures. It’s like having a personal trainer from the comfort of your home.
Fit Armadillo, I’m so glad to support your business, and I’m so proud of you for being such a #bossbabe and taking over the training world!
Do you have a small business that needs some updated branding pictures? Call me. We can plan out your Instagram and Facebook posts, website pics, and headshots…or whatever you’d like to do to show off your beautiful business! xoxo
Hello, little one! I had to include this precious little cross eyed look, because it makes me smile. He was still so little that his age could still be counted in hours, yet he was acting like he knew exactly what was up. He was awake and looking around and–not kidding–starting to hold his head up already. In a past life, I think he must have been a wise old man. He came out seeming to know everything.
So, you’re a natural model who loves to look straight into my camera? Please tell your friends this is how you do it.
There is something so special about introducing siblings to each other for the first time. What’s cool is how they’ll grow up together and get to know each other and then will always be able to see the first few moments of meeting.
This is my most favorite picture. Momma couldn’t look more beautiful mere hours after doing the most impressive work of all. Middle is still a baby herself, sweetly clinging to her momma’s body, still soft from carrying and growing a baby. Big brother is already fulfilling his role of watching over and taking care of his little bro, while Momma happily holds all three of her little ones at once.
Can you tell I love what I do? The beauty of motherhood and bringing new life into the world will never cease to amaze me. I think I must have been a midwife in a past life.
Oh, precious family, I really am so honored to capture these moments for you. Getting to watch your babies grow is the best part of my job!
Hey, families! If you’re wanting a similar hospital session (these are often referred to as “Fresh 48” sessions in the photography world), give me a call so we can pencil in your due date. I always leave certain days open in my calendar just for my sweet newborns and their unpredictability. xoxo