It’s time again for Hero Photography Session in Rockwall! This is my second year to participate and I couldn’t be happier! 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 Thursday, September 10, 2020 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.
Kids only! These sweet sessions will document your little one as they get ready for the new school year, however that looks! Bring your backpack, lunch box and your favorite school clothes. We won’t be sharing props, but I have a few things that will be sanitized that you’ll be able to take with you. 15 minutes includes 5 images for $250.
15 minutes includes 5 images for $250 | MINI SESSION
30 minutes includes 15 images for $450 | SHORT SESSION
PARK SESSION | SEPT 16
September sessions mean a little more green and lush…and though I hope there are no more shut downs, I think it’s best to get those family photos done sooner than later! Most likely Harry Myers but otherwise a north Rockwall field location. I may add an October date depending on Covid and bookings.
Downtown Rockwall is perfect in the fall with lots of variety for your session (and we’ll be adding in some new looks for my returning families). Plus a little extra time between sessions to maintain social distance and the schedule!
SUNSET FIELD | OCTOBER 23
We’ll be using a gorgeous field location in North Rockwall for some fall color at sunset. Join me for some backlit goodness!
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.
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…
How can I help tell the story of your business? Let’s get together and plan your session! Book now.
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.
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.
It’s back to school season! I love this time of year and have for my whole life. Shopping for new school supplies, getting my new backpack all ready for the first day, and labeling all of my supplies with my own special stickers or markers were all a part of the fun. With my own children, I still love it, just in different ways. And with three of them, I have had to come up with some hacks for getting out the door with my sanity by the first day of school.
My top 5 tips
Documenting their milestones is a ‘must’ for me! I wanted to share my top 5 tips for back to school photos to help you find the joy in what can be a slightly hectic season.
My top tip is to do it before the first day! The first day will be hectic as you adjust to new schedules. If you want to do it at the school, there will be 100 other mothers there doing the same thing. Save yourself here. On the first day, you can still snap a pic with your phone, but won’t have to worry about a 10 minute photography session before the bell rings!
Gather all of the items that document this time in their lives. Does he or she have a lovey/favorite outfit/favorite notebook? Bring it along. When my youngest was in preschool, he wanted to wear a pair of yellow rainboots all of the time. You can bet he wore them for his session. Be sure to bring this year’s backpack, lunchbox, nap mat, even a new folder that shows their favorite character on it! You will be glad to have this memory, and they will be excited to show off their prized possessions in the photo.
Speaking of milestones: include a writing sample. I have some old-fashioned personal chalkboards that I love to let them write their own names with chalk.
Head out to the school. I love to document kids at their own schools. Most schools have some great architectural features such as columns, brick, maybe stone or concrete steps that make for great photographic elements. Bonus tip: Go during golden hour for great lighting (an hour before sunset)!
And last, this tip could apply to all photography sessions with kiddos, a couple of cute props can be a sure fire way to engage shy or disinterested little ones. My chalkboard, standard #2 pencils, notebook paper, even an apple or two give little ones something to concentrate on instead of just looking and smiling. This will give you just a moment or two longer to document them than you may otherwise have. I also love to incorporate movement such as walking, jumping, even ‘running as though they are late for school’ to hold their attention and give some perspective to the shoot.
Documenting their lives is a beautiful way to freeze moments and memories each year.
This is the final post in a series that I’ve worked through on my favorite thoughts from Laura Vanderkam’s book, Off the Clock, which I found particularly pertinent to my life as a wife, mom to three, business owner, school volunteer, church member, friend, daughter, sister, and the list goes on. And I know that many of you wear those same hats.
First We Decide
If our goal is to attain that ‘off the clock’ feeling of time slowing, space to breath and seemingly all the time for what matters most to us, then it would follow the people closest to us are a great use of our time. We see that this meaningful interaction requires decidingto give someone attention—without thought of what you may be missing or what else you could be doing.
The people closest to us are worth the bother! And they don’t just help us pass the time, but they can make the hours spent together that much sweeter. This is such an important thing for me to remember when I get caught up in my daily grind of three children at home for the summer; with inevitable arguments, messy bedrooms,and all the rest that comes with raising three kids. The best I can do is focus on the relationships I am building with each one.
Then Create Space
So the question remains: how do we create this space for relationships? If the past is any indication, I know that waiting for the time to come when I’ll be completely finished working or cleaning up the house, or be otherwise completely relieved of all outside tasks is never coming. If I waited for that to happen before I had quality time with each child or a date night with my husband, I’d be waiting forever. I know I have to prioritize those times ahead of at least some of my work and all of my household chores.
If you’ve been following this series, you know I am a fan of the bullet journal and in addition to daily planning, it helps me keep yearly and monthly goals. I plan in three categories: Personal, Professional, and Relationships. Setting some kind of intention at each juncture helps me at least become aware of the time I am or am not spending on each of my most important relationships: my marriage, with each of my children, and then with various friends and extended family members.
At the beginning of this year, my husband and I set a goal to have a date with each child, alone, once a month–so each quarter we’d see all three of our children in this one on two format. After just a couple of months, we realized that is just not feasible and changed the goal to have a date with one child every other month and a family date with everyone in the other months.
The basic point is that planning in this time is important. Whether you have time to devote a whole day to a relationship or just a few minutes at bedtime, they can both be beneficial. Vanderkam quips that you would not show up at work at 9 am with no plans until 1 pm, and when you arrive home at 6 pm with no plan or structure, that time can get sucked away with Netflix instead of dedicated, meaningful interaction with your children, spouse or friends. Planning well means we prioritize these tasks.
Vanderkam references Reach Out, by Molly Beck, which I promptly purchased and have almost finished. She encourages ‘reaching out’ to colleagues, friends and acquaintances on most days of the week to increase your professional network. I was struck by her message but want to take it further to my family ties. I have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and other more distant family members who I have seen more regularly in the past, who have become distances due to proximity and time, but want to rekindle some of those connections. And I love the discipline of sending one note or call per day. Building a routine to stay accountable to myself and reach my goals.
This chapter prompted me to reach out to a group of moms in my neighborhood and church that all met up last summer for a discussion of a Christian podcast (Don’t Mom Alone is still fabulous if you want to check it out!) that we all listened to. This summer I didn’t get started as early as I wanted to, but didn’t give up and we finally started getting together last week for a new study of Bob Goff’s, Love Does.
Take a moment to consider your relationship goals for the rest of the year. What will you prioritize? How will you create memories with the people that you care about? What will you gain from giving the gift of time?
Have you read “Off the Clock”? What were your favorite takeaways? I just lent my copy to a friend, but when it is returned to me, I’d love to lend it to you! Reach out and let’s keep in touch! Because you are a great use of my time.
I’m on a constant journey to live my best life by balancing (is that even possible?) or at least having a peaceful coexistence between my job as a mom and my work in my photography business. Since both of these actually happen at my home during the summer, it has its challenges. I listened to “Off the Clock” by Laura Vanderkam via audiobook several weeks ago. I checked it out from our local library and listened to it twice in the two weeks I had it. I then went and purchased it because I just had to highlight it and note it up to read and reread again–I highly recommend you do the same. Time management books hold a special place in my heart. The overarching theme of the book is a directive on how to achieve those moments of freedom that you feel when all of your everyday responsibilities and obligations are otherwise taken care of or not present. One can simply enjoy the present and the peace–the wonderfully liberating feeling of being ‘off the clock’.
She outlines 7 key ideas to attain this feeling. I found four of them especially interesting and have been working to implement the principles into my life with intentionality. I’ve got a blog series planned for these four ideas. This is the first of four in the series.
In her first chapter which Vanderkam titles ‘tend your garden’, she explains how we can start by taking a mindful approach to our daily time. Mindfulness is a great way to talk about how we can stop allowing our days to ‘happen’ to us. We can take control of our days. My experience, when I started staying home, were full days where I could not remember sitting down the entire day, yet I’d fall into bed at night and wonder what I had done all day. This was juxtaposed with my life before stay-at-home-mom-life when I worked in an office, with schedules, deadlines, and a wonderful sense of accomplishment each day when I had met my own goals and those of my organization.
Michael Hyatt, another author, is one of my favorite resources for developing mindfulness in my professional and personal life. I listen to his podcasts, but he has also written several books and sells a line of planners targeted at no-nonsense professional types (which are right up my alley). I took a long hard look at using this type of planner, along with a number of others, but settled on a bullet journal. This habit alone has made me vastly more productive and mindful of my days and where my time goes. More on that below.
One of Hyatt’s main lessons is the Big 3. Choose only three things to focus on each day. When you put 27 things on your to-do list, you will never get them all done, and you’ll just feel defeated at the end of the day. I choose three items that can each tie back to my yearly big goals –and if I can’t relate something back to my yearly goals, then I really question whether I should be doing it or not.
We can each be mindful to increase our awareness of time’s passage and our perception of it. Vanderkam refers to our ‘blind spots’. This is a nice way to say that, in general, humans lie to themselves about just how hard they work. She has researched extensively in this area and has found that for most people, even those that think they work 50 or 60 hours per week, work about 40-45. They may have had one week that required a much larger effort, and our brains single this week out and choose to remember it as the ‘norm’. Or our brains lump in our commute, the personal errands we ran at lunch, the call with your mom that you took in driveway when you arrived home all as part of our ‘workday’. Time tracking can help us realize just how much time we spend on each task. So how do we logistically track our time? Vanderkam promotes a system of tracking in an excel sheet in 30 minute increments. This is too much effort for me, so I sometimes use an app called Lifecycle. I’m sure they are collecting all sorts of data on me and selling it to an advertiser somewhere, but at least it automatically tracks my time with minimal input from me. Since I work from home, I do have to tell it when I am working, but for the most part, this makes my own time tracking much easier. It also makes me aware of how much sleep I’m getting (or not getting)–which I have to prioritize to avoid being a pretty cranky mom.
Make a Choice
Most importantly, one has to CHOOSE their priorities, set goals and then TAKE time to do those things. If you don’t make changes, nothing will change. I like to tell myself a story that I can’t grow my business in the summer because my kids are home. I have to actively tell myself this is not true each day as I make my to do list and concentrate on creating actionable goals at the beginning of each week. At the beginning of the summer I had planned to arrange childcare on Tuesday and Thursday each week in order to get uninterrupted work time, but so far that has proven ineffective and just not that realistic. When I only have care for my kids that sporadically, I end up making appointments on those days and there is not real time for deep work. Only upon thinking about this for this post have I come upon the idea that I should plan an hour into my early morning, before the kids are up, to do a bit of writing, reaching out and planning, in order to advance my business. I’ll let you know how that goes in a few weeks. The point however, is just that through mindful attention to my daily goals and time log, I have realized I’ve not been dedicating the time I want to dedicate to my business and want to find more time to do so.
How I bullet journal:
I’ve learned a lot about bullet journaling in the last year. The short version is that a bullet journal can really be whatever you want it to be–there are a million different variations. My daily ritual is to record the date, my water and food log (I make sure I get three big bottles of water and 3 servings of veggies and 2 fruits at a minimum), and then a list of daily tasks on the left with my schedule on the right column. At the end of the day, I write 3 things I’m grateful for and my prayer list. Most of this happens at night. In the morning, I take a few minutes to review this entry and my calendar–both my phone version and my printed one–yes, I keep both. I also cross off completed tasks from the previous day and copy down or plan for anything that I didn’t get to the day before.
As they come up, I add in lists and goal planning wherever they fall in my timeline. The first page of each journal is a table of contents. Truth be told, I’m not great at keeping up with the TOC. The magic of this type of journal, for me, is that at one time I would have had 6 different notebooks with a few pages used in each one. Now, I keep them all together and with me all of the time. I have my yearly goals (I recopy these on the first page of each new book). My monthly goals (which are the small parts of my yearly goals that I can reasonable accomplish in the shorter time frame) fall in line. I also keep lists such as upcoming blog ideas, books I’d like to read, and project plans–for me, my active ones right now are the VBS planning I used at church, an upcoming community camera class I’m planning and a women’s retreat I’m working on for my Sunday School class.
When I first made my website, I included ALL of this information on the ‘About’ page. I’m the type of person who wants to read a person’s whole story. When I visit a website for a new business, I go looking for how that person got there. But it turns out, not everyone is interested to read my life story. In fact, almost no one who comes to my site wants to know this much about me. I know this for a fact because of my google analytics. Most of you just breeze right by. But for anyone who wants to know a little more about me, this is the place to read the full bio. Get ready.
I went to college to be a structural engineer at Texas Tech. Go Tech (I’m a Red Raider through and through)! I then went down to Austin for graduate school at UT. I met my husband while living down there. We got married shortly after graduation and stayed in Austin. Within the year we were expecting our first child. And the second followed the next year. I went back to work as an engineer after each birth–because I enjoyed my work and we had amazing childcare. In 2014, when we were expecting our third child we decided to make a big change and take a chance at relocating to be much closer to my family near Dallas. We packed up and moved to Rockwall, TX. Though I found an engineering job and started working locally, all of it was just a little too much for our family, so we made the decision to slow down a little and for me to stay home with the kiddos. I’ve loved every minute. This window gave me a wonderful chance to connect more deeply with my children and also pursue another passion of mine: photography.
I’ve always been interested in photography. I loved taking pictures since my first toy camera when I was 6 years old. But the birth of each of my children brought a new sense of urgency to photograph them well and preserver each memory. My husband bought a ‘big camera’ shortly after we started dating and though I used it occasionally before kids, I became much more interested after they came along. While working full time with very small children, I didn’t have much extra time, but I took several photography classes through local camera shops and online. From there, I’ve just taken thousands of photos of friends, family and mostly my kids. Documenting their days has turned my interest into a passion. And now I’d love to do the same for you.
After almost four years in business, I’m as passionate as ever. When I show up at your session I am giddy with the anticipation of what we will capture, what we will encounter, and how your family will inspire and challenge me. I love all of it! And the feeling when I leave each session… my heart is full. I’ve just experienced magic with you, even in chaos, even when things seemed out of control (which they often do with small kids), I can’t thank you enough for sharing your precious treasures with me and my lens.
I can’t wait to meet you and hear your story!! Still have questions about your session? Contact me.
This gorgeous duo contacted me for a session in the lovely downtown Forney area. We started at home to get mom some headshots and then headed downtown to document their lives at this stage. This little one will be entering the teen years soon and I love documenting these ‘in-between’ years–when they have outgrown baby-hood, but haven’t lost all of their child-like features. My oldest is also this age and I ache as he grows and inches toward adulthood (quite literally, he is growing inches every month it seems). Check out this sneak peek–there’s more goodness where this came from. Stay tuned! Interested in booking your own session, customized to your family? Contact me here!
Every year, every week, and even at every single family photography session, I learn more about photography, business and myself. This fall has been wonderful and tough at the same time. I have met more families than ever before. I’ve enjoyed getting to meet each one of you and in our short time together boil down the essence of your family–to take the short course in your unique family dynamic and capture that with my camera in a still image. It makes my heart swell just writing that.
But this is the year that I said “no” to my Santa Sessions. I have LOVED doing Santa Sessions. Santa Emmett is the absolute BEST (he posts his schedule on his website so you can see when he has events with other photographer shoots and even free events like Bass Pro Shops around DFW if you want to go find him). And all of the precious kiddos that I meet are so much fun to capture as they meet and interact with Santa Claus.
Before I ever started a photography business, I was always struck by how time flew from mid-November through the end of the year. And now with three children AND a photography business, it flies from mid-September through the end of the year.
So this year, we’ve filled our schedule–and I know the time will still race by–but our greatest priorities are all spelled out. “Decorate the house” takes a prime spot the weekend after Thanksgiving (this is normally when I would have scheduled Santa)–right after the Christmas parade in our town. My husband and I actually get to take a little weekend getaway the second week in December, which I would not have been able to even consider in years past while I was buried under a pile of editing.
And saying “no” to Santa Sessions has allowed me to concentrate more fully on the family and newborn parts of my photography business, which have both grown this year.
I decided at the beginning of this season against doing Santa sessions for all of the reasons above, but I was running this morning and listening to The Happy Hour podcast with Jamie Ivey. Her guest was Myquillyn Smith (episode #218). The episode was actually about home decorating and cozy minimalism–and I could use more of both–but I was struck by a small part where they discussed how society usually doesn’t hear our “no”. It only sees our “yes”. You never hear about what events I (or anyone) DID NOT go to. You just see my posts on social media about where I did go. You don’t see the sessions that I turned down this season in my business, just the posts I make about the awesome clients that I did get to see.
So I wanted to share my “why” for saying “no” to Santa Sessions and “yes” to my family and other parts of my business.
If you’re looking for more information about contacting Santa Emmett, or finding another Rockwall photographer who is doing Santa mini sessions, reach out on my ‘Contact Me’ page.
If you’re interested in booking a family or newborn session this fall, it’s not too late, but it will be soon! Contact me now.
This precious family wanted to get family photos before the rush of school started. July is typically hot in Texas (I know you’re shocked by that statement), but Rockwall family photography sessions can go just fine if you’re willing to start early. These guys met me at a local park in Rockwall and were finished with their session before breakfast.
With every family I meet, whether they have a baby turning one, three children under five, a baby on the way or even a senior in high school, my goal is always to capture them together. To capture whatever stage they are at and whatever moment occurs while I am with them. I met this sweet family before Christmas when their little one was six months old. Now their baby girl is about to turn one and they wanted to capture this milestone for her.
Mom reached out to me for a cake smash session. I think it’s really fun to document one year this way, but I always encourage families to take some family shots, as well. And for any child, I love to document them in their own surroundings. I love to document the crib, the high chair. This family had recently moved and mom was a little unsure if the house would be ready to go. They were also having renovations done on the home, but I assured her it would be fine. When I arrived on the morning of our shoot, I pulled up to a precious craftsman style home full of character and charm. There were a few boxes still out and the usual toys and gear that come with all homes of babies. The first thing I do when I pull up for an in-home session is take a walk around. It’s not too hard to walk into a home, decide on a few choice areas for our shoot and clear out any items that would distract from an image.
I meant to take a few pullback shots of the spaces where we shot, but forgot once we were finished up. Nonetheless, when you look through the images, imagine that there are a number of brightly colored baby toys in bins scattered behind me in the baby’s room. In the master bedroom, there are still a number of boxes against the wall. And when I walked in, the breakfast area was full of empty boxes and packing paper. I’m telling you all of this so that you understand, everybody’s home is lived in. And we can create beautiful art for your family just the way you live.
I was contacted back in the early fall by a mom that was expecting in spring time. She inquired about a year-in-the-life session, which is just an all inclusive price for a standard in-home newborn shoot, and then milestone shoots for 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. I love when my families are this organized and plan in advance, it helps me plan my year out as well. So we booked her session and then just after Christmas she realized she may want a maternity lifestyle session, as well.
I love any chance to document a growing family, so, of course, I jumped at the chance to do a maternity session. This family also had a 17 month old at home which made it doubly awesome. He was as sweet as can be. I loved capturing the moments of anticipation for their new baby girl, but also them soaking up every last moment of their first baby as an only child. Take a look at some of the highlights from this in-home maternity lifestyle session below.
Are you expecting? Ready to book your lifestyle session? Let’s chat! Contact me here.