April 30, 2012

Mama Monday: My Family's Portraits

If you can believe it, the only "professional" portraits we have had done of our family (other than by my camera) was at a quickie place in the mall when Miles was a tiny little sprout.  (It was an "interesting" experience.  Read about it here, and how it jump started my own photography business...)

My family, like many, can't just afford to spend thousands of dollars on portraits.  But I will say, professional portraits are an investment worth making.  They don't have to cost thousands of dollars.  But if done by a professional, they are professional pieces of artwork ("paintings," if you will) created specifically for you, so they are (and should be) a bit of an investment.

Being a photographer, I certainly understand the time, energy, and money that goes into a photography business, a single shoot, and providing customized artwork for clients.  We as photographers work weekends, long days, late nights, and pour everything we have into this passion of ours, mastering our camera and other equipment, educating ourselves for our craft, and creating images and services that our clients will love.  So yes... quickie places in the mall can give you okay images.  Or, you can work with a professional photographer and get those "wow" images (not to mention customer service and professionalism) to cherish forever. 

This time around, I knew that I wanted to have professional portraits done.
  1. Because Avah may be our last baby.  (Don't even get me started about what a sap I am about how quickly my tiny baby is growing!)  
  2. Because babies grow up SO fast, and it is amazing to capture their true tiny-ness, because as much as we may want them to be, they will never be tiny again.  
  3. Because I wanted someone else to do the work of the shoot, editing, etc. and get some sweet shots of our new family of 4.  I wasn't sure I would get all of the images I've gotten of tiny Avah myself (we had a lot of photo shoots the first 3 weeks when my mom was here helping at home), and wanted to make sure we got it on camera.  
Newborn photography is certainly an art, and requires a lot of talent, a huge dose of patience, and a great deal of strategy to get (and keep!) those cuddly little babies sleeping, to pose them, and to prepare for/set up/and break down the session (think equipment, space heater, props, etc.).   I shot my first newborn session in January 2011 and was amazed at how difficult (and fun!) it was.  I adore newborn shoots because it is such a special time in a family's life.  And since that first newborn shoot, I've worked with many newborns, done a lot of self education, attended workshops, and my images have come a long way since then.  Also, sweet little Avah has certainly made me a much better newborn photographer!

We did this shoot when Avah was one week old.  It is so important to do a newborn session before the baby is 12 days old, as they "wake up" a lot more around two weeks of age, and they are not as pose-able.  (But sweet shots can definitely be had when baby is more than two weeks old... click here.)

Our images were done by Neely Brook Photography.  She is a local photographer here in Austin, and I have been following and enjoying her work the last year or two.  I just love how the images turned out, and we will cherish them forever.  Thanks, Neely!

Professional portraits are definitely a splurge, but they are custom artwork, tailored to your family's needs, and such a sweet way to freeze special moments in time and look back on them for generations to come.  Here are a few of my favorite images that Neely captured.  Enjoy!

I have had a blast making newborn headbands the last month.  This is one of my favorites. 

{Austin Baby Photographer} 4 Weeks Old

Sweet girl at 4 weeks...

April 27, 2012

Our Products: Beautiful Photo Jewelry

Now Available: Photo Jewelry! (Available for clients as well as non-clients.  As long as you have printing rights to the image, we can put it in these jewelry pieces.)

I am so excited to add customized photo jewelry to my list of fine art products for clients.  These are available for anyone - not just my current clients.  Clients can use an image from our photo shoot - or one of your favorite images (that you have printing rights for and can email me in high-resolution).  

These pieces are so unique, and such a special way to cherish our little ones, significant others, families, pets, or landscapes.  I first saw the many pieces from this company at the Imaging USA national photographer convention in January 2012 and fell in love.  I knew that my clients would too once they could see and touch the pieces.  And I just ordered and got in my sample pieces... they are divine!

These are great to put on your "wish lists" or gift lists for grandmas, moms, friends, baby showers, and new mamas.  And men... These will score you major brownie points when you surprise the special lady in your life with this gift for Mother's Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or other holidays.

Gift certificates are available in case you aren't quite sure what your loved one would like best.  

Follow us on Facebook at "Miles of Smiles Photography by Sarah," as we'll be doing sales on these and our other products throughout the year - exclusively for our fans. 

Visit our "Packages & Products" page for all details and pricing information.  Pricing on current items ranges from $40-60, but check web site for most updated pricing.  Additional photo charms and stamped initial charms are available as add-ons. 

April 22, 2012

Oh, what a month! {Birth Announcement}

My baby girl is one month old now.  I really cannot believe everything that has happened the last 30 days has happened, but I feel incredibly blessed to have this beautiful life in my life.  She is an amazing baby, and I cannot wait to watch her grow into the person God made her to be.

Today as we were driving to church, my little (2.5 year old) boy Miles looked over at his sister and said, "I sure am glad to have a baby sissy."  That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?  :) 

Birth announcement...

Before & Afters: My DIY Transformations

I love finding little "treasures" and restoring them to be "perfectly imperfect."  For some reason, it brings me great satisfaction to take something that is old, dirty, and sometimes abandoned and then clean it up, paint it, and find unique beauty it.  I think it is the creative side of my brain that just loves making trash into treasure. 

My photography business has given me a great excuse to really dive into this passion (and to justify all the "stuff" in my corner of our garage to my husband!), because I am able to use much of what I restore in my photography sessions.  Here are a few of my DIY projects as of late.

Last summer, I was on my way home from a photo shoot and saw this chair and mirror sitting in a big pile of "stuff" along the road.  I stopped my mini-van (which is a great "stuff" carrier, by the way!) and grabbed a chair and the mirror - knowing I could eventually make them sparkle.  And sparkle they do!  Every time Miles sees this chair in my studio space, he looks at it and says, "Awwwww... cute chair, mom!"  (He doesn't even know the story behind it... he just thinks it's cute.)  :)



 The mirror is hanging on the wall in my office, where there are all (accent) things this color (Jamaican Sea by Behr) and my other favorite color, "Peacock Feather" (also by Behr).


I also re-did this chair in Jamaican Sea color.  Got it (and a desk) for $10 at a garage sale last year.


More to come!  My sander and paint brushes have been busy!  Stay tuned...

April 18, 2012

My Little Sunshines

Today I was playing around with my (somewhat) sleepy 24 day old baby girl, and just as I was finishing up, sweet Miles walks into the room.  (Okay, maybe he had already messed up a few blankets, knocked over my studio light, etc.) 

He sweetly hopped up onto the newborn posing bag and says, "Hey Mom - can you take a picture of me?"  And of course... I obliged.  :)  So glad I did, because I love any chance I get to capture the beauty of this boy's eyes, personality, and sweet face.  Enjoy!

April 10, 2012

Mama Monday (urrr... Tuesday): Day 16

Ah... Day 16 of my little baby girl's life.  I can't believe how quickly she is growing and changing already.  And I definitely know why us photographers want to do newborn portraits before babies are 10-14 days old, as they get much harder to pose.  My camera and editing software have been very busy the last 16 days! 

The other day, I found the cutest ruffly yellow fabric and made Miss A a headband to match, so I had to test them out today.  :)  Here are a few of the shots that we got.

I have gotten a few props from our farm in Iowa, where I was born and raised.  This old crate is one of them.  It has been fun incorporating them into photo shoots, as they have so much history.  I'm in the process of refurbishing an old high chair that used to belong to my Grandad (over 90 years ago!), and can't wait to spruce it up and use it in photo shoots with little ones.

Enjoy little miss sunshine!

April 05, 2012

Before & After: Newborn Shot

My camera has been pretty busy the last almost two weeks since my daughter's arrival.  She is nothing short of amazing, and I am just in awe of her sweetness, and her older brother's sweetness toward her.

One unexpected (and welcome) surprise is how much time I've been able to spend editing her images.  A lot of people probably wonder where I find the time.  But if you've ever breastfed a newborn, you know how much time is spent doing so.  (If you want the math... 7-8 feedings a day x 30-40 minutes per feeding.)  And it just so happens (to my surprise) that the most comfortable nursing "station" in my home is my office chair!  And that allows me to edit while my sweet girl feeds.   (Once a multi-tasker, always a multi-tasker.)  :)

I wanted to show you something, just so no one thinks she has the most perfect, creamy, blemish-free skin like a little doll.  This is what photographers specialize in - in addition to creating your images... we spend a lot (a lot) of time editing them and making them perfect.  Enjoy this before and after...

Straight out of the Camera (SOOC)

After a little editing...

April 04, 2012

What I've been up to...

The last 10 days have been nothing short of intense, life changing, amazing, sleep deprived, and did I mention amazing?!  This is what I have been up to...