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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send it over now.
Ready to start planning your own session? Let’s get going. Contact me here to 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 a studio space in Dallas or Plano. 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 to three 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 $450. I can’t wait to start planning your session.
Or book 4 sessions throughout the year (once a quarter) for $1200. This is the best deal! You’ll also have some perks like additional images and a say in some of the decision process for locations!
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. email@example.com
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.
This is the third post in a series of four where I’m sharing my favorite highlights of the book, Off the Clock by Laura Vanderkam. We’ve already discussed how to become more mindful of time here and how to create beautiful moments worth remembering here. Now we can figure out how to appreciate these beautiful moments.
Rush, Rush, Rush
I am chronically late. I don’t want to be late, I don’t want people to have to wait on me. I read somewhere that one should look at the drive time to get to an event and then double it and plan to get in the car at that time. I attempt to do this and then somehow I end up realizing I was going to start the dishwasher and Roomba before I get in the car–that’ll only take 10 minutes–and now my youngest can’t find one of his shoes–a quick 3 minute run upstairs yields the shoe–now I’ve just realized my daughter’s hair still hasn’t been fixed–5 more minutes in the bathroom. And now we are in the car, just running 5 minutes behind the original drive time, which wouldn’t be all that bad by my usual standards, except that there is construction on the road and we end up waiting 10 minutes at a road closure. All of this is a daily occurrence for me. I arrive at most destinations with my hands tightly gripping the wheel, my neck and jaw tense, barking at everyone to get out quickly, apologizing profusely to the others involved for our tardiness. Vanderkam recounts a story of one of the subjects of this chapter, but she could have told almost the exact one about me. The subject in this chapter realized the error of her ways and began to build extra time into her life. She says “Late is not taking into account the thing you know they’re going to do”–referring to the things her children will do such as running to the bathroom at the last minute as they load the car and in the process forget a crucial piece of sports equipment for the event they must attend. Such is life with children. This permanent setting of rush, rush, rushing around is a recipe for running through the day and getting to the end of the day, the week, and the year and wondering where the time went, and what the heck did I do? All while experiencing unnecessary stress.
The subject in this section settled on the idea of building time to linger into her life. She no longer wanted to be late, running last minute and ragged at every turn. Instead she made a conscious choice to take her time. And to enjoy every minute–or, at least, the enjoyable ones. I love this idea of lingering. First, I love the sound of the word but more importantly the idea it invokes. The idea that when we find something enjoyable, we can just keep doing it. That we can build a life where we don’t have to run from one thing to the next as fast as we can. We can choose, at least occasionally, to simply revel in a moment, and to take as long as needed. I am constantly caught up in the thinking, what should I be doing next? What’s next on my list? What else to I need to accomplish today? But Vanderkam points out that the answer to these questions may simply be ‘to linger’ and that’s a worthwhile answer.
On a recent holiday where my family was all home on a Monday, I realized at the end of the day that I had a sneaking sense of dismay at what we had not accomplished during the day. I literally had nothing on the agenda–so it wasn’t as though I had failed to complete a task. We had done the laundry, and the basic daily chores, but otherwise had laid around watching a movie, napping, and just being together. So why was I disappointed at the end of the day? I’m still pondering this, why do I need a to-do list that I can check off to feel accomplished? But I have a suspicion that simply writing in “Linger” on the list might be a great exercise on a day like that day. I can remind myself to slow down and revel in a day where we had no other duties or work.
Vanderkam points out that lingering isn’t just about learning not to be late, but about learning how to appreciate the present and thus ‘stretching your experience of time’.
My favorite way to do this is with a gratitude practice. We can work to savor moments of pleasure, both so that we can appreciate the present and so that we can remember them later and appreciate them again. I discussed my bullet journal habit in this previous post, but my gratitude practice has been an important way for me to pay attention to the best parts of my day and dwell on them (instead of the least savory parts).
The Daily Vacation
My favorite part of this section is Vanderkam’s suggestion of what she calls a ‘daily vacation’. We can’t always linger over our morning cup of coffee, especially if we have to get the kids to the bus stop by 7:25 and then get to a meeting at 8:30. But we can build in time in the day when it is appropriate to linger. Maybe we watch a sunset, go for a run at lunch, or even take a few minutes for some deep breathing. Whatever you need, take just a minute at the end of the event to appreciate it. Take a moment at the end of the day to write it down. And take a minute once a week to think back to all 7 vacations from the previous week. This approach increases mindfulness and helps us really savor our time instead of letting pleasurable moments slip through our fingers to be forgotten in the slog of our everyday lives.
Stop right now and think of your future self this evening. What 3 things are you going to write on your gratitude list? Have they already happened today? Or do you still need to come up with some items that you truly appreciate to write down? Can you stop right now to do a meditation? Or do you need to plan in a few minutes of something wonderful this afternoon?
Vanderkam’s next lesson centers on creating moments that warrant great memories. This is my specialty. As a photographer, I’m constantly looking for ways to document my kids in a unique and beautiful way as a creative outlet. It brings me joy.
In recent years, I’ve heard some speak out against the curated versions of life people share on social media. I don’t subscribe to this belief, instead I believe that social media users who share the most beautiful parts of their lives are doing their part to commemorate the things they want to remember. I hope that seeing the images I share brings you joy and inspires you to create and document your life, but more importantly, I adore looking back at our posts from a year ago or more. Facebook has done an amazing job with its Timehop feature.
‘If it brings you joy, celebrate it!,’ is my motto. Upon reading this chapter of her book, it helped me voice my thoughts here a bit better.
Our Three Selves
One of her most poignant points for me was when Vanderkam outlined that we each have three ‘selves’: the past self (which we remember fondly with nostalgia), the present self (which for me is often running late and short on patience), and the future self (which I idealize as having more time and energy). She says, “Bliss is possible in the past and in the future, but seldom in the present.” This seems so basic and obvious when I read it, but again and again I plan events and then am disappointed by the outcome, hurt that my children didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought they would , annoyed that my husband would hardly try whatever new dish I’ve made, and frustrated at myself for ‘losing it’ over something that should not get the best of me. But this lesson reminds me to give myself grace. Give it time for the memory to form–for the very best of the moment to rise to the top and stay at the forefront of my mind. I try to find gratitude in the parts that went well and dwell on the positives. So the lesson, I’ve realized, it to go ahead and plan the event, load the kids up in the car, pack the snacks and the sunscreen and the towels and the water toys and the snacks and the water and the camera. Forgive yourself for yelling at the kid that forgot their shoes, and know that what you are doing is beautiful. Or will be one day when you look back and remember the warm sun on your body, you’ll laugh at the thought of a kid without shoes hopping around on the sand, you’ll remember cold watermelon and the sound of squeals and laughter and the rest will fade away.
I recently attended a discussion at our church with our youth pastor about raising great kids in society today and he lamented a recent lock-in at the church where he had to reprimand several junior high kids sternly. He remembered this moment at the event with frustration, but the kids recounted the lock-in as awesome and a highlight event of their time at church. We all frame and remember things differently. We get the opportunity to curate memories for ourselves and, to a certain extent, our children–through photography or scrapbooking or journaling or home videos–synthesizing down the hours of time that could be mundane into distinct points of memory. And I think we can help our children foster this skill with a gratitude practice. After most vacations, or even at random times during the summer, I have the kids draw or paint their favorite parts of a trip or an adventure we had. I include these drawings in our family yearbooks (note to self: add a photo of this to this post).
For some events that are traumatic or tragic, every detail may be seared into our memory forever. But for the things that we do have control over, we can choose to curate adventures and memories to build a life worth looking back on with gratitude and love.
Think back, what memories are most vivid for you? What events stand out about the last few weeks? Do you remember them fondly?
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.
I photographed Olivia’s older brother when he was a senior a couple of years ago. So when Olivia’s mom contacted me this year for her senior girl photo session and to document her senior year, I was thrilled. I just love this sweet family. And when Olivia and I did a little brainstorming for her session and she told me some of her ideas, I was even more excited. We ended up shooting at their private property and got to finish up at our local airport. You see, Olivia has been taking flying lessons for quite a while, and her father is also a pilot, so they were able to get permission to end her shoot on the runway! I love making these shoots memorable and meaningful for my seniors and this one definitely fit that bill.
What locations are meaningful for your senior year? Let’s start brainstorming together. Class of 2019 it’s time to start thinking about your session! Reach out here and I’ll send over my Senior Guide!
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.
I have a confession to make…this session took me over a month to edit…and I’m not talking a like 4.5 weeks, like closer to 6–cough–I mean 7 weeks. Whew! I feel better just getting that off my chest. Don’t worry it’s been delivered now. With the end of summer and a few last minute trips to the start of school, things were insane for a bit. And I took one look at this session and loved it so much that I just couldn’t sit down to edit it without the proper time and energy. Nor could I bear to let it go and send it out into the world. But now that I am finished, I have to say, I’m proud. I think it is my favorite session to date. This family is dear to me and they are dear to each other, which is the most important thing I hope to capture with an in-home lifestyle photography session.
I’ve been asked before–how I learned to be a photographer….you may know my story. Fitting that I start with ‘my story’ in a post all about storytelling.
I didn’t go to college to be a photographer. I’ve always loved documenting loved ones and friends, but it didn’t occur to be to use anything other than the auto mode on every camera I’d ever owned until my children were born. And then I realized I was missing their special moments because I just couldn’t capture them fast enough. Or they’d be playing in front of the bedroom window and I’d take a picture only to find that their face was completely black, but I could see the car driving by outside, or I’d see a beautiful sky and try to capture it only to find it completely white on my camera screen. I had to figure it out! So I took a class at a local camera store to learn how to shoot in manual mode. Since then, I’ve taken online classes through a few online forums. Some of my favorites have been at Click Photo School. They have full classes that usually last around four weeks, but they also have ‘breakout’ classes that are short courses in a specific topic.
I took a breakout class recently called “The Stories That Make Us”. I feel like ‘story’ and ‘storytelling’ are buzz words in photography, business, marketing, and probably society in general, right now. But I get the draw. I love the idea of capturing ‘story’. Telling a story. Reading a story. Being part of a story.
And so, for the class assignment, I had to gather my favorite personal images. I began to see the story I’ve been telling for my own family. Though I know my photographic style will be ever-evolving, it will always probably involve bright color, bold light, movement. Those are the first things I notice when I study this set of images.
The next assignment was my favorite part. It’s the jumping off point for my next big personal project. The assignment was to choose a few images and tell about the image. Why you took it. Why you pushed the shutter when you did. What it means to you. And then to determine themes for the image and for your work overall. The following images are the ones that I turned in. I wrote my thoughts directly on the images. And for my larger project, I’ll print these for a photography journal that I’d like to start to document my family but also look over my progress and growth over the years.
I love a good creative project, and I’m still working through the details, but I know it’ll be more about writing down the stories (and intentionally photographing them) for my children. I know they will look at my photographs and appreciate them, they already do, but I want to have more of my voice in this project. More story for them to remember and appreciate.
I write this partly to hold myself accountable for updating you on some of my personal projects over the next few months. But also to inspire you to give a bit more thought to how and why you photograph whatever it is that you love. How will you intentionally tell your story?
I believe in the importance of family lifestyle photography. Our babies grow and change so fast! Even with the best of intentions, even for someone who is paid to take photos, it is sometimes farther than I’d like to admit between capturing photographs of all of us together. I have to make an effort to get photos of myself with each member of my family. This precious family had a similar story. They clearly have a strong bond and are a loving, close-knit family, but haven’t gotten family photos in quite a few years. Working with them was rewarding in that we started out a bit tight and ended up working into some of my favorite poses for families with older children. Natural hugs, smiles and genuine interaction and connection. Plus a beautiful evening! I think everyone in the family would agree it was relatively painless and maybe even fun (I know it was for me!). Thank you A family for coming out and trusting me with your family lifestyle photography session!
Check out a few of my favorites from this session. Want to learn more about your own session? Start here!