Rachel {maternity} | Killeen maternity photographer

You probably have heard of Rachel Brenke - she is sort of the most awesome couples/senior photographer in Central Texas, and she happens to be one of my best friends ♥  I was so lucky to be the one that Miss RB herself asked to photograph her pregnancy...I was nervous to be honest, but she totally ROCKED IT!


How to make Photo booth props for a party

Have a wedding coming up? Birthday, bachelorette party, or well…just any excuse to wear a mustache? We will learn how to make those famous mustaches on a stick today. Simple, easy and fun, all in one. Let’s gather our supplies shall we? You will need:

-Mustache stencils/download from this site: http://www.designhousedigital.com/content/blog/happy-april-fools-day/

-Kissy Lips/ download from this site:  http://blog.catchmyparty.com/2011/03/08/free-photo-booth-prop-printables-from-the-paper-dolls-shoppe/

-Superhero Action Words download from this site:  http://www.accenttheparty.com/party-blog/view/79980

- Dowel rods (the skinnier the gauge the better)

-Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks

-Felt (preferably all wool felt)

-Scissors and exacto craft blade

-Embroidery Floss and thin embroidery floss needle.

-Fabric marker

-Tip Print your printables out on a thick paper to ensure sturdiness.

1-First step print out your free printable link listed above, yes free! Next step take your scissors and cut out all of the stencils from your paper.

2-Now place your paper stencils on top of your wool felt and trace the outline. Why wool felt? Wool felt is by far more sturdy and durable than just regular craft felt. This ensures more durability of your photo booth items so that they can be used time and again, as opposed to being disposed of after just one use. On a side note how fun would it be to use faux fur for a furry mustache? Give it a whirl!

3- Take your scissors or exacto knife and cut all along the outline that you traced with your fabric pen (make sure to use a fabric pen because a regular marker may seep through your felt). Remember to turn the side with the fabric marker towards the back (the side you will hot glue to the stick) so that the outline does not show after cutting. Voila! Mustachio! Now on to the kissy lips!

4- Grab your embroidery floss and needle and get to stitching! Stitch them in a way that is complimentary to the design. Pictured is the back of the design, the floss is knotted at both ends.

5- Now go get your photo booth on!

Weeeee! Time to get down and dirty in a photo booth baby! Go bananas! XOXO

Guest blogger Amy Jo Wagner, is a stay at home mom, military wife, crafter, student and photographer. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all how to craft on a budget for personal use or photography use . Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog and Pink Paisley Photography.
"My real job is being a stellar mother and wife, my hobbies are crafting and photographing life's special moments"
Websites: http://www.mrswags80.etsy.com/
Blog: http://monkeyandabeesittinginatree.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/MGMPhotography3/142781549125516

It's an experience

When I started college...well technically when I started my marketing and business classes for my major I had an amazing marketing professor that made me really  think, seriously think about how businesses sell their products - it is really about the experience and perceived notion of the business/product and not necessarily the product itself.
Take Starbucks for example (it is a staple in a photographer's life after all)....do they really make the best coffee and treats or do they just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside and just down right special?!
Well, I do think their pumpkin spice latte is the best thing since sliced bread ♥
Aside from that, let's see how the 'experience' breaks down.
When you go in or drive in you are greeted with a "Hi! I'm John what can I get created for you today?"
What...really they just told me their name and make me feel like I'm a creative genius - awesome!
So then you place your order and what do they do? They ask for YOUR NAME and they write it on the cup - so cool.  When your order is ready, they don't say "Order number 235" they say "Morgan your order is ready" with a smile!
So that is pretty awesome right - but then they go even further! If you go there enough you get a customized gold card, pretty special, and other freebies and perks.
If you go inside you're greeted with an 'at-home' feel with cozy couches and chairs and it just reeks of 'worth it' for what they charge.

Let's put this into photography world speak.
Make your clients feel special - make them feel like you went above and beyond everything to make their experience the best you could!
Bring water along for during the session - the client won't think of that!
Bring tissues, a towel or anything else for wiping sweat or yuckiness off.
If they have small children bring an age appropriate toy or an assortment for their good behavior during the shoot.
If it's the older crowd bring something special that pertains to them as a unit or individuals - something small that lets them know you care.
Learn their names before you ever meet them! Yes, I am serious, learn all the names. If you don't personally know them get the ages and names and match them up.
So the session is complete - let them know how much you enjoyed them, yes they are paying you - thank them!
During the session get to know little things that make them special and set them apart from everyone else - that way when you do your sneak preview on your blog you can show them that you did listen and you do care.
Once your clients have completed their order and you are presenting it to them make it beautiful!  Have your packaging reek of 'worth it' make it like a special present and include a thank you note, a personalized thank you note.

The session is over, so no more contact with your clients? NO WAY!
When they fill out forms for you - have them put birthdays, anniversary etc. and send them cards for the special occasions in their lives. When you're mailing out Holiday cards - send your clients one from your business.

Offer repeat clients perks. Show your clients that you do care, they are your bread and butter and allow you to continue to do what you love.



How to make a Burlap Swag Banner

How to make a Burlap Swag Banner
Gather your supplies, you will need:
-Fabri Tac
-Selected paint colors
-Paint brush
-Fray Check
-Bias Tape
-Measuring tape (for fabric, not pictured)
-Stencils (you can make your own with a craft exacto type razor and thick scrapbook paper)


Not created equal

Probably my most insightful quote to date:

"Not all photographers are created equal.
Don't go to someone based on price - instead invest in the one that makes you love looking at the world through their eyes.
Don't go to the one all the 'cool people' go to - invest in the one that makes your heart sing when looking through their photos.
You need to love almost everything your photographer offers and more important than that, you need to love your photographer's personality - those are most important or you won't get the magical images that are uniquely you."

This means more than even just the surface text.  There is a reason that a lot of photographers advertise that they specialize in something - it isn't just because that is what brings in the most money or what is the highest in demand.  A photographer with a specialty knows what they are good at and know the ins and outs of it - not all photographers are created equal.

So for example:
You are engaged and have hired photographer Jane to capture your special day - that is her specialty after all :) GREAT!
A year later you find out you're expecting, you give Jane a call and she says 'no' - don't be discouraged.  If that isn't her field of expertise she would be doing you a disservice to take your hard earned money not having the experience in maternity/birth/newborn photography.

Not all types of photography are the same! If you want to hire a photographer, do the research and find the photographer that works best for you....both in price and quality....don't just go to the one everyone else goes to.

Sports - your photographer will need to have the proper equipment and time
Wedding - your photographer will need to have the capable equipment, time and an assistant
Birth  - your photographer will need to have the equipment, emotional/mental and flexible schedule to accommodate
Portrait - your photographer will need to have the equipment, knowledge and skills
Newborn - your photographer will need the equipment and experience


Honoring the organizations that give back

It's hard.  Life is always a battle, but when something rocks your world your first reaction isn't "Do I have pictures of my family?"  Likewise you shouldn't have to worry about the little things - step in the non-profit organization.  These groups make it easy to partner the client with the photographer to make these memories last a lifetime, with most the one in need contacts the organization and they handle the rest.  It's one less thing to worry about, but one amazing thing to keep you going later - a little something to bring back your smile in remembrance of the great moments together.  So if you do fit any of the organizations requirements - just contact them, get the portraits done, capture the memories...if not for you, for your loved ones.  Photographers, if you can join at least one non-profit, I promise it will bring you more joy than you can imagine!  I've worked with non-profit organizations of the years and I loved it ♥ being a part of something just for the joy of giving someone a gift of photographic memories is amazing.

The list is a continual list, so if I'm missing a non-profit or a new one just started let me know so I can share the link and information.  Also feel free to share the post, just a quick link will work to spread the word of these amazing groups selflessly helping others.

Inspiration Through Art - Our mission at Inspiration Through Art is to help provide and capture memories for families who are dealing with hectic schedules due to having a child who is suffering from a serious illness or life altering disability.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep -  Our mission is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy.

Preemie PrintsOrganization dedicated to sharing hope with families experiencing the difficulties of life in a neonatal intensive care unit with a premature or sick baby through information, photography, gift bags, support, and prayer.

Shoots for a Cure - A charitable organization, comprised of a network of professional photographers, serving two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause.

The F.I.L.M Project -  Photographers worldwide gifting professional family portraits to cancer patients and their families during their most fragile time.

The Maple Leaf Mission - "THE GIFT OF LIFE IN PICTURES" We want to help you capture those precious moments & memories and will do so in the most gentle and accommodating way Our soul purpose is to make those final moments with a loved one absolutely Beautiful!!!

The Tiny Sparrow Foundation - A non-profit foundation that will provide professional photography, free of charge, to families of children with life threatening illnesses. These photos will provide the families with the gift of precious memories:-)

The Tiny Light Foundation - Provides Free professional photography for children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. We provide families with the lasting memories in the form of photography.

OpLoveMost people are so overwhelmed with emotions they forget to simply point and shoot the camera they are grasping of their child's first hug, or that single tear of relief from a mother being able to hold her twenty year old son again. With the help of Operation: Love ReUnited and local photographers near your base, you can.


A Wee Lil Princess Crown Tutorial

Thank Morgan for letting me come back and start my crafting tutorials again. I took quite a bit of time off in order to take care of personal family health issues, but now I am back in the saddle! This is a tutorial on my Newborn princess crowns, as always feel free to make and sell these items but you are not allowed to (alter) and sell this tut in anyway or fashion. Also please credit Morgans blog as it is always nice to credit the source :) I know that you may have seen these wee lil crowns around but who wants to pay 14.00 for one? Here is how to make your own.

-1 can of starch (or extra hold hairspray)
-A roll of lace
-Fabri Tac glue
-Fabric tape measure (not pictured)

First take your lace roll and tape measure and cut it to “about” 9 inches (give or take) in order to fit the newborns head. I bought this roll of lace from Wal Marts craft/ribbon section.

Next grab your handtowel, your cut piece of lace, and your hairspray. Hairspray (or starch) your lace piece and lay it atop your folded towel. Fold your towel in half covering your lace piece and iron over the top of the towel several times. After your lace piece seems very stiff (may take several hairspray applications and ironing) flip it over and repeat on the other side.

Now take your starched lace piece and apply just a wee bit of Fabri Tac to the end of your lace piece and glue the ends together. This should take about a good 15-30 seconds to dry.

Here it is in action (photo taken by me):

Guest blogger Amy Jo Wagner, is a stay at home mom, military wife, crafter, student and photographer. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all how to craft on a budget for personal use or photography use . Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog and Pink Paisley Photography.

"My real job is being a stellar mother and wife, my hobbies are crafting and photographing life's special moments"

Websites: http://www.mrswags80.etsy.com/
Blog: http://monkeyandabeesittinginatree.blogspot.com/


Remembering 2011

2011 was a wonderful year!
I photographed over 60 clients - totaling nearly 100 sessions
I had my first magazine shoot (first time being published)
I held my first co-workshop with Rachel Brenke
Rachel and I also launched our brainchild Fstop Frenzy
I began my photo[ed] course
I temporarily closed my camera to clients

Thank you all, fans and clients alike for making 2011 a wonderful MKP year to remember.
May 2012 bring much happiness and success to you all.

♥ Morgan


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