CLASS OF 2018 | TOMPKINS HIGH SCHOOL | KATY SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER

Hello Friends!

Summer is flying by and as it is definitely in full swing, I am finishing up senior sessions.  The unprecedented weather this year had me still shooting up until about a week prior to graduation! My typical cut off for senior sessions is towards the end of April or early May, so you can imagine how hectic it was leading right up until the big day.  Be on the look out as I have about 3 (including this one) high school senior sessions to share and then 2 college senior sessions!  The college sessions were much earlier, but due to schedule conflicts we are just now getting close to sharing them. :-)  Plus...now that summer is off to a full start, family is definitely part of my daily life so my work schedule is a little cray cray. :-)   

Fortunately my seniors are amazing and understand how busy this time of year has been for me.  If we had done this beauty's senior session any earlier I would have missed capturing her as Tompkin's High School's Prom Queen!  Yes, you read that right!  Meet Julia!  Julia is such a natural beauty with the most infectious smile.   It was so much fun to capture her and add the bonus of her prom dress and of course her "prom queen crown".   Although she didn't wear cowboy boots for her prom, she did add them into this session (only to avoid tall grass and unwanted critters)...who knew that those would end up being some of the favorite images of the session.  Something about seeing her walk in the boots with a few leaves dangling off the dress and a not so perfectly placed crown made these photos some of my favorites! 

Aside from capturing Julia in her prom dress, we also did some fun shots in other adorable outfits.  Her love for the look "small town girl" suited her perfectly.   My favorite being the red and white off the should with jeans.   She looked like she needed to be Cindy Crawford in pepsi or coca cola ad!  

Julia has far more to be proud of than the achievement of prom queen.  She is also a member of Tompkin's Choir (all 4 years ) and managed the Tompkin's Varsity Football Team.  She is a talented young lady with so much to look forward.   Julia plans to head to Texas A & M in the fall with enthusiasm for what the future holds! 

Congratulations Julia!   It was an absolute pleasure to capture you this year!  xo-Mrs. Nikki

NEW YORK SENIOR SESSION | DESTINATION SENIOR SESSION | HOUSTON SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER

Hello Friends! 

It is "summa time" and boy is it HOT in our great state of Texas!  It turns out that the senior session being shared today is the "Grand Finale" for my Class of 2018 model team!  I still have other 2018 seniors to blog (only a few left)....but this grand finale is a little extra special for a variety of  reasons....No. 1 being TODAY IS HER 18TH BIRTHDAY!!!   WOOHOO!!!!  Yes, this little sparkle of awesomeness is turning 18 today and with graduation just behind her it is the PERFECT chance for me to finally brag about this amazing young woman!  

We have been planning her New York senior destination session since September of last year...it is hard to believe that so much time has passed.   Why, New York? Well, lemme tell ya.....this tiny dancer spends much of her life dancing her way through the different stages of NYC.  Attending intensives, classes and competitions seem to always land in New York.  I mean, why not?   NYC does have EVERYTHING and completely suits Hannah's style, sense of confidence and overall vibe.  

The initial plan was that March would be perfect because it will be spring.  My research even indicated beautiful cherry blossoms in Central Park and beautiful sunny spring like weather.  After all, NY does fall into the category of having 4 seasons.   Little did we know that a snow storm would hit the day of my arrival.   There are a few things I can speak on with confidence...NYC does NOT shut down and in particular Forever 21 (Time Square)-they are open until 2 am and saved US BIG TIME!    Honestly, that was our saving grace!  We allowed ourselves time to buy things to accommodate the fact that packing consisted of SPRING and not winter!   I had a vision going into this shoot and it turned out that everything fell into place perfectly.   Without spending too much time on details, we found ourselves at the right place at the right time.   Walking in SoHo I had envisioned Hannah in a coat that had a little bit of a dress like feature to it...low and behold one would be hanging from the awning outside a resale shop.  It fit her perfectly!  Thank God I looked up!    We new we wanted some 90's glam to go with Time Square...well, Forever 21 seemed to hit it out of the park with all of their "MTV" looks.  Finally, from back in September I knew it would just look perfect to have Hannah in a  feminine tuxedo.   Little did we know they would have the perfect one in H & M.  Each part of the session unfolded in a matter of 24 hours!   We were bustin' a move through the city and making it happen! 

With the hustling of finding the perfect outfit we still managed some fun!  I mean, you cannot go to NYC and not have a few spare moments of sightseeing.   Ours would be attending Kelly and Ryan Live!  It was a blast to be on the set and watch how the production went down!  It would have been perfect if Hannah had been 18 to show her dance skills for the daily trivia! 

We also attended the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation event.  Hannah had auditioned the day prior and the event would be announcing scholarships at night.   I found it so ironic that Hannah kind of "downplayed" her success at the audition and was remaining incredible neutral about her achievement.  Her mom was even remaining very low key.    Deep down I just had a feeling....and before the night would end she would be the recipient of a $12K scholarship from the foundation to attending the college of her choice! What an incredible achievement and honor!  

Going back a bit regarding the destination session itself.   I would never want to give the impression that a destination session is a "breeze" and just a mini vacation for the photographer; especially being so far away.   Even with Hannah having been to NYC so often we had no clue what the weather would be like, the traffic and lighting.   There is so much involved in making a session like this work.   One of those things is having a senior and their parent being flexible.   We did allow a "backup" day which is important and the biggest time saver for NYC was having a driver that I have used in the past.   Shappel is incredible and made the trip perfect.   He was able to get us priority parking spots so that Hannah could change for each portion of the shoot and made sure that she had complete privacy.  He made her feel super special and helped us coordinate locations based on time of day, hair being down, then up, then down...and so on..ha! ha!    

Hannah's signature look really involves her red lipstick...so keeping that looking fresh was key!  She also loves wearing her hair down or in a pony tail.   Those were wonderful looks for what we were doing and the hair and makeup artists we had in NYC (name to be provided later) really did an incredible job! 

Now, a little about Hannah!   I have to brag on my girl...I mean I have literally been keeping up with this young lady since her junior year.   She just simply stands out.   I never could put my finger on it...but she has a true sense of self and confidence that never comes across arrogant but always polite and always happy.    Her dancing ability is truly her expression of herself and it is evident in each move.   I am loading some video from instagram below so that you can also see what I have been privy to over the past couple of years. 

Hannah graduated from Houston School for Performing and Visual Arts and has known for quite a while her career would be as a dancer.  We have all waited for so long to find out who was the lucky winner of this amazing performer's heart for more learning and more growth....and the winner is....Boston Conservatory!!!   I am sooooo excited for her......you will see only a few dance photos in the blog because honestly IT WAS FREEZING AND YOU WILL SEE SNOW TOWARDS THE END OF THE SESSION (BEGINNING AT HER DANCE SHOTS ON THE BROOKLYN BRIDGE)....although they are awesome, I want more of this girl doing what she loves most!  

Hannah didn't get to this point in her dance career without help from many people, she has danced at Stephanie's Dance Studio, Becky's Academy of Dance, TopFlight Dance Studio and METdance.  She has been mentored by sooooooo many people and has enjoyed her continuous learning process.  I will say that the ones I have heard her mention recently have been Melissa Jackson ("MJ"...amazing apartment btw) and Jonnesha Hawkins Minter.    Hannah was accepted into 10 college dance programs, 3 of them being Boston Conservatory (where she is attending), PACE University and Point Park University.    I don't know how the girl manages to not want to pass out and sleep for a month!  However, I can say....Lord have mercy....all of her hard work has truly paid off.  

A few things to not about our session.   We had such a wonderful busy day.  Our locations (in case you are unfamiliar with NYC) were full of fun and a few surprise spots.  We were using The Plaza hotel to walk through to get to another location when BAM..an awesome spot made itself known as a great spot for some editorial style shooting.   Of course, we all know and love Time Square....we had a blast shooting in the middle of SNOW...it made for some incredibly fun crazy lit images that took me out of my comfort zone a bit...I LOVED IT!   We enjoyed Central Park, The Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station...many busy streets and of course, just our time capturing such special memories for an amazing human. 

So without further ado....let me share with you the NEW YORK session that you guys have all been asking about!   Hannah-I ADORE YOU SWEET GIRL-keep dancing-stay focused-never ever doubt yourself and keep that smile on....you know how to wear it well! xo -Mrs. Nikki

 

A little Hannah Garcia in action…

CLASS OF 2018 | SEVEN LAKES HIGH SCHOOL | GALVESTON SENIOR SESSION

Hello Everyone!

Although Class of 2018 has walked the stage and everyone is taking their first steps into "adulting", I am still finishing up senior blogs.  So between now and the next couple of weeks I will be sharing some very fun sessions.  We all know they are all fun, however, I will tell you right now....the one below might be the one that "takes the 'cake'" in terms of things falling into place all according to God's perfect timing.  

Chandler is a senior at Seven Lakes and is also one of my 2018 models.  Upon getting to know her I learned she was from Lake Charles and had relocated after Rita   Her family misses Cajun country and Louisiana flair so it seemed fitting to attempt a destination session in Louisiana.   It seemed that no matter what we did to make that happen something blocked it.  Whether it was weather, my schedule, Chandlers, etc...it just wasn't in the stars.   We finally determined that Galveston could still provide that New Orleans flair and so we began our plan to make it all work.  

Along the course of this we also planned a prom mini session.  Chandler's dress was simply stunning and getting an opportunity to insure gorgeous photos without fear of weather on prom day was just simply a necessity.  During that session, Chandler's mom shared a photo of Chandler when she was a little girl with pink roses.  It did help create a little nostalgia and desire to kind of recreate some of those "little girl" memories as a young woman.   More on Chandler's mini session with her prom dress in a bit.

As we were beginning hair and makeup for Chandler's senior session we were running almost an hour and half behind schedule and we still had to make it to Galveston.  I was a bit nervous but I knew we could do it.    Chandler had already worked with me as my model and all of our locations (once in Galveston) were fairly close to one another.   As Chandler was getting her hair and makeup done, Courtney, Chandler's mom mentioned we should have brought her cat.   She went on and on about the cat and how much the cat adores Chandler.   I was thinking, there is NO way we could possibly travel with a cat to Galveston!  There simply wasn't time to do it...we just kind of talked about how sweet it would be because Chandler LOVES cats.

Fast forward to our first location.   Chandler would be wearing the most adorable white eyelet dress with tiffany blue shoes.  I knew the perfect wall with ivy where she would just pop.  As we approached it, let's just say my stomach was in knots.  All of the ivy was dead.  It was hideous.   I knew I had to find an alternative.  We did a few shots with out the ivy looking bad and those turned out nicely but still wasn't exactly what I was looking for....I decided to back track towards the street where the car was located.   Let's just say as a photographer, the fact that I went that direction was not directed by me.  It would place us in direct SUN!  Even with a reflector and all the other equipment it was not ideal.   

As we were walking, Courtney looked to her left and saw the cutest little table with chairs...I had noticed the wall having the colors of the shoes, but hadn't noticed the table.   It even had cushions that matched the shoes! I mean, it was as though someone staged the session for us. As Chandler sat down, she looked behind her and what you see in the first set of photos below is the true reaction (I was checking my light on that first big photo)---there was this big cat in the window with the biggest blue eyes...then sitting across from her bathing was another one!  On that busy tourist street these cats were so chill.   They loved (or I like to think they did) their session!  Timing is everything....as soon as we completed it our few photos, the manager would come and remove the table and cat as it was closing time!   She had no clue we were there and we certainly hadn't planned it.  If we would have been a moment later, this would not have happened.   We knew at that point the session was set for greatness...but what next?

Well, Chandler's next outfit was red white and blue.  I was a little unsure of what would work with it and was going to place her in a spot that was familiar to me when I look across from our cat place and see an ice cream shop that is RED WHITE and BLUE!!!   Not to mention, let's just say our girl Chandler loves to eat! ha! ha!  I am not saying anything she wouldn't already proudly own! Give this girls some Taco Bell Fries or Ice cream and she is up for the modeling task!

We shot the red white and blue and then it was time to see if we couldn't pull of one other tribute to New Orleans.   The trolly.   We didn't see one, but as we began the task of searching (almost giving up), a trolly stops right next to wear we are standing.  The sunlight couldn't have been more perfect.  The driver was happy to allow us a few photos and our night was made to perfection.

As we approached time for the other outfits, time was of the essence.  We pushed my camera to the limits (love my Nikon D850) and managed to shoot Chandler's cap and gown photos after sunset.  We tried a little assist from streetlights, but it was limited.   We literally pulled it all off!  We managed the floral dress with the roses, cap and gown and all the shots that truly depict this gorgeous, friendly and funny senior.   I absolutely love working with Chandler....we had a blast!

I always love the stories that come from my sessions.  Each one is unique and creates a memory that just capitalizes on the "Senior Session Experience". 

I want to share a bit about the prom mini session.   When Courtney asked me to do this, I was excited!  This year I had mentioned to my seniors we could use the studio for prom photos.  I have a way to make it all work and it would eliminate fear of weather.   Each year, one of the schools will have prom when the risk of weather is just horrible.   I am texted many times with folks asking where the best spot is to take photos since the weather is bad...well, since I usually only shoot outdoors I don't have a clear answer.   However, if we did studio mini sessions, the problem would be solved!  It also takes the guesswork out of so much....so 2019 we are coming for you with Prom Session Minis...stay tuned for more info on how it will all play out and making sure you don't miss out on a spot!

Finally, Chandler Rose...your name is so Southern and so sweet, it also has a hint of sassiness to it and it couldn't be more perfect for you!  I am so thrilled to share that Chandler will be attending the University of Arkansas this fall and will be majoring in Nursing.   Congratulations Chandler, being your senior photographer has been such a great pleasure!  I adore you!  Keep on enjoying life...it will be fun to watch you achieve your dreams! 

A special thanks to Mikey's Ice cream in Galveston and The Naked Mermaid (yes, that is the name of the store). and of course The Houston Studio for the prom session.   Finally, Ashley Carlton for bringing your A game to every session this year!  You keep these girls looking fancy and photo ready each and everytime!   Until the next post..xo-Mrs. Nikki

p.s.  yes, I am posting this on vacation from a hotel computer..the keyboard stinks so no telling how many words are spelled wrong!  I just couldn't wait to share this session on the blog!  

 

SEVEN LAKES HIGH SCHOOL | RANCH SENIOR SESSION | KATY SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER

Hello Everyone! 

This is the weekend!  This is it...it is the weekend where Katy area schools are graduating! 

I still have a few more sessions to finish up and share, but we are down to me counting them on ONE HAND!!  Wow!  What a year!  

To kick off the weekend, I have been on  pins and needles to share this handsome fella's senior session.   Meet Austin from Seven Lakes High School.   Austin loves the outdoors and his session definitely depicted the lifestyle that he truly enjoys.    Austin has been a member of the FFA at Seven Lakes and served as Seven Lakes FFA Chaplain.  He has won numerous awards and of all of them, the one that impressed me the most was his 1st place for 1st catch in the Katy Rodeo Calf Scramble!  If you are unfamiliar with the calf scramble, you have to google it and check it out...that is not an easy task! 

Austin currently works at the Burger Ranch near Katy.   Lisa Burger (owner) was kind enough to allow us to use the property as a backdrop for Austin's session.   Let me just say, I was in Heaven!  However, I had to laugh because two days prior I was in New York City on a session!  I love my job!   Austin's session consisted of not just pretty scenery, but him taking care of the animals that he works with everyday.   We also were able to play with the tractor a bit, bales of hay and of course showcase his love for hunting.   

A little about the animals.  We were able to photograph Austin with Gucci.  Yes, that is her name and boy does she OWN it!  This beauty is 9 months pregnant...and still managed to pop her hip and do a lean like Kim Kardashian!   I do believe the highlight was when Lisa asked if Austin wished to have his girlfriend brought out?  I was curious in that it seemed odd that Austin's girlfriend would be "in hiding"! Ha! ha!  The next thing I see is "One Feather"...the chicken! Oh, "One Feather" loves Austin!  She allows him to give her a little hug.  I swear he is like the animal whisperer on this ranch!   Austin's day was made when the tractor came out and he was able to get a few shots with it as well...and yes, I made him continue to eat the apple as I thought it added "character".  Ha! Ha! 

Austin has plans to attend Sam Houston State University (go Bearcats!) and major in Criminal Justice.  He hopes to become a game warden or park ranger.  Without further ado, let me introduce Austin, "One Feather", and "Gucci"!  A special thanks to Lisa Burger for the hospitality and sharing your beautiful ranch with us! Happy Graduation! Enjoy! x

 

CINCO RANCH HIGH SCHOOL | KATY SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER | HOUSTON SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER

Hello Everyone!

Wow!  We are on the home stretch!  I cannot believe that tomorrow is the last day of school!!!  I will still be finishing up some seniors, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.    I have ordered 20 albums in the last 48 hours!!!  5, 10 x 10's and 15, 8 x 8's!!!!  My lab is having quite a fun time wit me for sure!  Of course, that doesn't include all the canvases and albums over the last school year.   As summer approaches it is fun to reflect on what made this year a success.    It is without question my seniors.   Katy was thrown a huge curve ball with Hurricane Harvey, add several snow days (seriously, how can that be the case!!) and a lot of winter rain and we were hustling to squeeze it all in and still ensure each senior had the experience that they were guaranteed.   I like to think we delivered.  Ordering sessions and turn around may have been slightly delayed, but we got them done and all of the images had tender loving care.  

My seniors (yes, I call them mine, because I love to just adopt them into my extended family) of course are awesome...they have been so helpful and so positive during what could have been a rough year for them.   This group that folks like to refer to as "entitled" really showed an immense amount of strength, class, and resilience during so much craziness. 

I just had to share those thoughts on today's blog because I find it important to share my perspective. 

Today, I am so thrilled to introduce Avery!  Avery, well, just stop and stare.   Her eyes, fair skin and that HAIR!!  Her style, mixed with a little from my closet just worked seamlessly with this session. 

Avery is a student at Cinco Ranch High School and  plans to attend Texas State University in the Fall.   Avery is also an incredibly talented dancer....I just love her more modern look on dance with the graffiti walls below.    This beauty can rock any hairstyle and every color! I mean, even ORANGE!!  Talk about lucky! 

We had so much fun on her session.....please check out all of her awesomeness by scrolling below!  

Avery-you are stunning young lady with so much to look forward to!  I am so excited to see your journey unfold at Texas State!  Thanks for choosing me as your photographer! xo-Mrs. Nikki