AllSports Rockwall PopUp Session

Join us Thursday, May 7 at AllSports Rockwall as we honor seniors and other students in Rockwall ISD!  AllSports has installed some fun banners on their storefront that are perfect backdrops for a photography session:  one for Rockwall seniors, one for Rockwall-Heath seniors and one for other Rockwall ISD students.

Sign up for your free 10 minute photo session.  We’ll do one standard image, one fun image, and one creative image.  The creative image is totally up to you!  Use your imagination.  The sky is the limit.  Creative images will be entered in a fan favorite competition to win a gift pack from AllSports Rockwall! 

Have more than one child you’d like photographed? We can accomodate 2-3 kids at one session.  If you have more, feel free to book two sessions back to back.

Email questions info@meredithjoycephotography.com

I can’t wait to see you there!

Meredith

Class of 2020 | Senior Mini Session, Rockwall, TX

Book you mini session now!  May 17 in downtown Rockwall; May 21 park location.  Perfect for high school, college, pre-k and kinder graduates!

Sometimes I still can’t believe we are here.  6 weeks in and just about 6 weeks to go to an unfinished school year. No more sports, extracurricular activities, or awards banquets.  I am sad for my own kids.  But I’m especially sad for our sweet community of high school seniors.  These kids looked forward to their senior year with anticipation, they made plans for all of the events that characterize these last few months.  But that wasn’t to be.

It seems like an anticlimactic close.  One day school just ended and we never went back.  I can’t change the current situation, but I can help these precious kiddos document their last days of their senior year. How will we tell the story of their senior year?

This May, I’m offering Senior Mini Sessions.  These sessions are perfect for a quick cap and gown session or a mini session in a fun outfit (maybe two).  They’re 15 minutes in downtown Rockwall.

I am anticipating that the governor will release photographers back to work any day now, at least while maintaining social distancing measures, but if, for some reason, we are not opened up on the planned date, we will reschedule it out a little further.

My mantra each day is that ‘this too shall pass’.  I maintain a gratitude practice each night so that I can look back and remember how great this time to was to slow down, appreciate family, and live more intentionally.  But that doesn’t mean I cannot wait to get back out there with my camera to meet you!

Book your Senior Mini Session today.  Sessions on May 17, 4-7 pm.  15 minutes.  $250 with 5 digital images. Book mini session here.

Looking for a custom session for your special senior?  I’d love to help!  May and June are gorgeous and those weekend spots will be gone before you know it.  Book now here.

 

Better Together | Front Porch Family Photography for Lonestar CASA, Rockwall, TX

During the current health crisis, we can all imagine that service organizations like food pantries have additional burdens, but did you know that children in our own community need our help through Lonestar CASA now more than ever. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and this organization represents children who are in foster care due to abuse and neglect and advocates for them to find a safe and permanent home.  I’ve been contemplating ways to give back during this challenging time and when I reached out to Lonestar CASA, I was thrilled by their excited response.

 

Across the nation, photographers from all over have begun taking ‘front porch sessions’ to document social distancing for families.  Families come out to their porch and are photographed from the street. 

 

Due to the current guidelines in my area (photography is deemed non-essential and we are under a shelter-in-place order), I haven’t been able to get out and participate in this movement.  But it occurred to me recently that, though I may not be allowed just yet, I could offer these sessions over the summer as a special mini session event. I am currently living by the mantra that ‘this too shall pass’, and I have great faith that restrictions will begin to be loosened soon!  If we need to change plans due to changing requirements, we will do that.

 

I absolutely love meeting families in their most intimate spaces.  In-home sessions tell your story as a family better than most other types of sessions. During this strange time,  I won’t be coming into your home, and I will abide by all current local requirements. But I will document you at your home.  Out front.  

So grab your family.  Dress up or come as you are.  Grab your tricycles and your lawn chair.  Or just sit down out front. I’ll bring my longer lenses and document you being you.

 

And the very best news?  $100 from each session will go to Lonestar Casa!   

 

Booking now for summer sessions.  Fill out the form below and I’ll send over all of the details and a link with available time slots.  You’ll pick your session time and pay via online invoice. Then, you’re all set!   

 

MJP Mini Sessions are $250 and include 5 digital images.  20 spots are available with a goal to raise $2000 for Lonestar CASA!  Let’s work together to make a difference in the lives of Rockwall County children in the foster care system.  Book by April 30 for $50 off!

“So grab your family.  Dress up or come as you are.  Grab your tricycles and your lawn chair.  Or just sit down out front. “

$100 from each session will be donated to Lonestar CASA

Fill out the form below to sign up!  An email with link to the available time spots will be sent over for you to choose and book.

Tips for Putting Your Best Face Forward at Your Next Virtual Meeting

Avoid Zoom & Gloom

Tips for looking your virtual best at your next Zoom meeting

AVOID ZOOM & GLOOM

Tips for looking your virtual best at your next Zoom meeting

LIGHTS!

Side light from a door or window is best.  Front light can be very flattering, just make sure it’s not too bright. Avoid light coming from behind you.  The light filtering in from the side, ideally at 45 degrees to the window, should provide the right amount. 

Don’t overdo it with overhead lights, natural light–if you can get it–is always best. Definitely avoid dark rooms.  Great light is always my biggest priority.

Choose an area with plenty of natural light

Face the light!

CAMERA!

Elevate that laptop so the camera is face on. You don’t want extra chins or weird angles.  And, don’t forget to look over your shoulder.  Consider removing the dead plant or laundry basket in the background.  Your hair and makeup crew won’t be coming in but that doesn’t mean you should get lazy.  Wrinkle-free clothes and some good old-fashioned hygiene will go a long way. Lastly, practice before your virtual meeting starts, so that you can see how it all looks together.

Place your camera at eye level

Grab a tripod, laptop stand, even a stack of books

ACTION!

The success to a good digital call is to listen, smile and be courteous.  Mute your mic if you’re not talking, no one needs to hear the dogs barking.  Try raising your hand if you have lots of participants to indicate you have a question or a comment.  Stay flexible.  If you find your bandwidth is challenged during the call, take the video capture off and just listen.  Consider taking your call closer to your router to help improve your speed and bandwidth.

Basic etiquette goes a long way

Photography and behind the camera magic is our expertise. 

 We look forward to serving you now and after our moments with Zoom!

original article text below

Best Practices for Virtual ‘Face-to-Face’ Meetings

We have all suddenly been thrust into a world where group meetings are almost out of the question (especially for larger groups).  We are watching in real time as these groups adjust to virtual meetings. And the adjustments can be rough as everyone gets up to speed on the new technologies, their own hardware settings, basic digital courtesies and best practices.  But don’t fret, we will come out on the other side of this. For now, heed these tips for your next virtual meeting!

1. Light your face!  If you have natural light, use it!  Set up in a bright area of your home or office.  Face a window straight on for really flattering light.  Getting too much light (you’ll know because your face will just be a white blurb without any features)?  Move back from the window a bit or close the blinds or a window shear curtain a little. If you do lots of virtual conferencing, you could consider getting a video light like I have shown in the picture.  I bought this for a different purpose, but it works great for virtual meetings for me. And they make smaller, desk sized versions too.

This video light and laptop stand help me put my best face forward when on a video call, but there are plenty of ways to achieve this look without a light and special stand, just sit in front of a window and put your laptop on a stack of books.

My husband likes to work at our coffee table. But a much better choice for a video call would be the light and bright breakfast area in the background.

2. Put your face in the middle of the screen and frame it like a headshot.  The camera in your computer’s webcam or your phone is working in auto mode, so make it easy on that little piece of robotic brain.  Position yourself right in the middle of the screen. The auto functions in your camera will be able to focus better and will expose better (that means you’ll be better lit up).  Finding good light will help here too. Another tip is to avoid an area with bright light behind you such as a window or large open room.

I see this a lot. If my face were in the middle of the screen and I turned my body 180 degrees to face that bright area of my house, I would have much better results!

3. Put the camera at eye level, straight on.  This is my best tip for a flattering image.  I know it is hard to look at yourself on screen when you’re looking up your own nose and at your double chin.  No one looks good from a down angle. Do whatever you need to do to put that camera at eye level, or even a tiny bit above for a really flattering composition:  stack books, buy a laptop stand like the one I have shown above, even a phone stand and mini-tripod (like those I linked below) work perfectly for this application.

Don’t you wish that phone capture was straight? Me too! Bonus tip, straighten up your camera! Nevertheless, stacking anything to get your camera to eye level (and I could still add more books here) is your best bet for a flattering image.

4. Minimize movement and touching your face and hair.  On a virtual call with one or two people, it’s not that critical, but if you’re on a call with 20 other attendees, it is distracting when one person is moving a lot and making large gestures if they are not the current speaker.  I know it’s challenging to look at your own face without continually adjusting your hair, necklace, and facial expression, but unless you are the person speaking, try to sit still.

5. Mute your mic unless you are the speaker.  We’ll see more and more memes about this, but if you have to be on a call with more than 3 people, muting your own microphone is imperative if you’re not the speaker.  The way the speaker system works on platforms like Zoom is that any noise your microphone picks up is broadcast. So if you’re using the computer or phone’s built in microphone it is built to pick up any noise including your washing machine that just started the spin cycle, the weird way you have to keep clearing your throat to avoid a coughing fit, the way you slurp your coffee, the dog’s toenails clicking back and forth across your wood floors, the silverware clanging at the table next to you and your co-worker’s desk phone that keeps ringing off the hook.  Just mute your mic. And if you’re in an active conversation and cannot mute, consider wearing your earbuds with the mouthpiece. That type of microphone is designed differently and picks up much less background noise.

6. Smile!  Whatever you think, it’s hard for everyone to look at themselves on screen, but we are human and we connect with faces–we are hard-wired for it.  So, during these strange and changing times, grin and bear it and know that you are doing the best thing for your business–and maybe even the health of the human race!

Helpful links:

My video light (Flashpoint 19″ ring light from Adorama)–you’ll also need a light stand something like this

Laptop stand

Phone holder with a mini tripod

branding for business

I help business owners tell the story of your business and your brand through photography.  We work together to come up with a gameplan for how to tell your story, we create beautiful photographs to meet your unique needs, and I provide a satisfaction guarantee.  I promise that after your session, your brand will be stronger.  My purpose is to grow your connection with your clients in order to improve your business.

Business Photography | Heating and Air Business, Rockwall, TX

Lyons Air and Heat is a local air conditioning and heating company with top-notch service, but more importantly, I just love their hearts for serving in the community and sharing their values for family, great customer service and, of course, a comfortable environment in your home or business. Looking for new unit or a repair? Give Holly and Johnny a call! And then check out some of the images from our recent business photography session…

Holly and Johnny Lyons | Lyons Heat and Air
Business photography image of air conditioner technician checking gages, Amana air unit outside a home
Business photography image of technician works on Amana heating unit in attic

How can I help tell the story of your business? Let’s get together and plan your session! Book now.

Business Headshots for Industry Event

This local business owner was involved at an event in her industry and was asked to submit business headshots for promotional use. By the time she realized she needed one, it was due almost immediately. She called me, I believe on a Monday. We were able to meet for a quick 15 minute session on Wednesday morning at the Harbor in Rockwall. I sent over her gallery on Thursday morning and she chose her images. She received her final files that same day and submitted them for her conference.

It is not always possible for me to accommodate last minute requests. So I encourage everyone to schedule early to get a spot that works best for your schedule and mine, but I understand that there are extenuating circumstances. And I am always happy to offer that level of service to my clients.

Learn more about business headshots and personal branding photography here. Ready to book? Start here.

business headshots next to concrete wall
business headshots for woman in purple shirt with blonde hair
collage of business headshots of woman in purple

Gold Hope | Go Gold in September

I had the honor of meeting Beckett this summer and working with his family for a Gold Hope photography session. We created a session that included his immediate family and also more of the village that is supporting this family. Beckett was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in April 2018. Due to Beckett’s condition, other family members have stepped in to help care for his sisters and help his parents. Read the full post of his story here.

I was blown away by Beckett’s beautiful spirit and joy. I also fell in love with the family who have rallied together during a trying time. And I was honored to spend a little time with them on a Sunday evening, watching the kids play with trucks, love on each other and run a little wild pretending to be super heros. You may follow more of Beckett’s journey on his facebook page.

Almost 16,000 children per year are diagnosed with cancer and since 1980 there have been only three drugs approved for use in the treatment of cancer in children (source: https://www.cbtff.org/post/be-the-hope-go-gold-this-september ). Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children and teens in the United States. September is the month to Go Gold to spread awareness and raise support for research and funding of pediatric cancer.

Gold Hope is an organization that spreads a message of hope for families with children in the midst of a cancer diagnosis. This organization provides a photography session for families to document their child during a time when a photography session may not be a top priority.

I have shared a few specific statistics in this post. I do not pretend to be a researcher, so I’ve included the exact articles where I got this information and have not done exhaustive fact-checking. I do support spreading awareness for pediatric cancers and more funding for research. I also love to support families in the throws of dealing with a cancer diagnosis. If you know of a family who could benefit from a Gold Hope session, encourage them to learn more at www.goldhopeproject.com.

The Story of your Brand | Personal Branding Photography in Rockwall

Personal Branding Photography can help you tell the story of your brand and reach your favorite clients.  The ones fill your heart with joy when you serve them well.  Let’s plan a session showcasing all of your best assets to truly connect with your customers and show off your business and your brand in the very best light! 

What does it mean to tell the story of your brand?

When you think about photography for your business, many of us think of headshots.  In fact, on my website I have simply called what I do headshot photography because that’s what people are searching for on google and that’s how I’ve had the greatest success of them finding me.  But I’m on a mission to spread knowledge of how much more powerfully photography can help you reach your people–those clients that connect so deeply to what it is that you do and those clients that you love to serve.  You definitely need a headshot, but there is so much more to your brand than just one smiling tightly cropped picture can convey. A personal branding photography session will help you hone your brand messaging.

We will discuss your business and your brand specifically to determine what types of images would be most useful in sharing your message. Do you have a unique process for your service? Do you produce an amazing product? Do you want to reach millenials or retired baby-boomers? We will photograph you interacting with your team and doing the work that you do everyday. We can photograph your place of business. Or we can work together to come up with a plan to showcase your home based business in a professional way.

Check out a couple of examples:

I followed a group financial professionals into a flower field in Richardson so that they could share with clients that they were more than buttoned up and stuffy financial practice, they were fun-loving and full of personality.  We photographed them jumping in a field and kicking up their heels. We even went to a local coffee shop where they clinked their coffee cups to say ‘cheers’ to their clients who were celebrating an accomplishment.

three men at personal branding photography session 'cheers' with coffee cups
‘Cheers’ to clients to celebrate with them

I met a local artist who specialized in pet portraits.  Her clients were from all over and sent her snap shots of their pets for her to paint.  She needed images to show her clients a little more about her process. We captured headshots, but we also captured her painting in her home studio, got detail shots of her tools and her at work for her website and promotional brochures, and of course captured images of her with her own pets to that clients knew she loved her own pets as much as they loved theirs.  I realized I was helping each client tell their individual story to their clients.  

women kissing dog at personal branding session by Meredith Joyce Photography
This artist loves her pet as much as her clients love their pets
art supplies image by Meredith Joyce Photography
We will showcase the tools you use everyday in a beautiful and authentic way

So, what is the story of YOUR personal branding?

I hope that by seeing some of the images here you’re getting some ideas, but I know it can be daunting to come up with ideas for a full suite of images that show all that you want to share at your personal branding session. So, I’ve created a Branding Questionnaire for my clients. This document asks lots of questions about your brand to get you thinking. And to help me help you in this process. We will brainstorm ideas together based on your answers.

Adults at meeting with mornin' world changer coffee cup
Mornin’ world changer. What coffee mug messages showcase your brand?
chiropractor adjusting child at personal branding session by Meredith Joyce Photography
Let’s share what you do everyday

And the best news? This questionnaire is a valuable way to help you brainstorm all of your marketing messaging! Clients and friends (that’s you!) get a list of additional resources that have helped answer these same questions in my business. I’d love to send it over right now! Send me an email at info@meredithjoycephotography.com and I’ll send it over now.

Ready to start planning your own session? Let’s get going. Contact me here to book now.

four adults walking from courthouse in Rockwall, TX
We can capture your team at an iconic location to reach local clientele

Branding Shorts |Book Now!

Personal branding in bite-size chunks. This is a great option to get you started or for fresh content throughout the year. Branding shorts will be offered quarterly at different locations. This is the best deal for personal branding! You’ll come visit me at my studio-for-the-day–this time around it’s the Lumen Room Dallas. I’ll be all set up with a lounge space (think couch or sweet chair), work space (think desk/table for you to set up your computer or whatever you use to get work done) and standing and seated posing areas. Plan two outfits. You’ll get a questionnaire and homework to plan your props–even a packing list to be sure you bring everything you need. We will hit the ground running when you arrive so that you get the most bang for your buck at this 30 minute session. You’ll receive 15 images for $300. I can’t wait to start planning your session.

Have two or more people? Want additional outfits? Reach out with questions and we’ll work together to come up with a great strategy for you. info@meredithjoycephotography.com

See available time slots and book now.

Book now right here!

Hero Sessions | Rockwall Family Photographer

Hero sessions are my favorite way to honor local heroes and one way I love to give back in my community.  Fire, police, first responders, and active duty military personnel are eligible for a free mini session with Meredith Joyce Photography.  Please provide appropriate ID at your session.  Mini sessions will be held in Rockwall, TX at Harry Myers Park on Wednesday, September 11 and include a 15 minute session and 5 digital images.  Book your session here or forward this link to a friend who could benefit.

I’ve partnered with a group of photographers all over DFW, so if you are from a different area, visit our group page www.911heroesportraits.com for a listing of different photographers in different areas.

Thank you for your service!