Are You Being Fooled?

I can't tell you how many times people have said to me, "We just got our child's milestone photos done at {insert major retail studio name here} and we ended up paying twice what we would have if we'd gotten the "works" with you.  What were we thinking?" 

Believe it or not, I used to refuse to take my own child's milestone photos.  Given that she was my first child, I had this crazy idea that I had to experience her photos as a parent, not as a photographer.  However, after paying close to $200 on just a few photos at this "discount" photo studio inside a major department store, I soon realized that I had been fooled. 

How do they do it?  They tell you it's a "free sitting fee" then they discount the photos to a certain low amount per sheet.  Then, once you're done, you end up paying a small fortune for photos you may not even like.  Not only are the photos just like every example you see on the wall at the studio and there is nothing unique to your child or your family in them.  But also, your photographer probably rushed you through the short appointment and ignored your ideas.  But because your children are the most priceless possessions you have, you buy.  They've got you.

But gone are the days of hiring an individual photographer once every 10 years for family photos.  Because I operate my business out of my home, I don't have that overhead that retail studios have.  Not only that, I allow you to own your own photos and print them on an unlimited basis.  That helps in the case that photos are lost or damaged.  You can maintain your own archives for years to come.  That's pretty priceless.  You're also free to share low resolution files on your Facebook.  I also work hard to make sure my clients know they are special, and that they are my friends.  That's the part I love the most about my job.

So no matter what, it's best to skip the big guys and give the "little man" a chance.  Be it your son's 3 month photos or your wedding, you're better off financially and for memory's sake to go with a photographer, not a studio.


Busy Busy!

This past week has been incredibly busy! What a whirlwind!

First I had the opportunity to photograph a gorgeous Senior named Emily. We had to postpone our original plans due to the weather, but made up for it by breaking up our session into two parts over the course of a day - using early morning and late evening light (the best). Emily and I have a special relationship that made this session so much fun, and of course we got a few new inside jokes out of the day :)

Then we made the trek to Tulsa for an event that I was asked to photograph on behalf of the Little Light House organization.

(View the complete set of the event here)

Next I took photos of the Beautiful Feet Dance Company recital girls (photos to come), and it was lovely to see their costumes up-close and meet them in person after photographing them in action at recital just a couple weeks ago. 

Then it was Jackson's turn - his mom wanted to see some of his chubbiness shine through, so I opted to take his shirt off.  What a cutie!  So glad I got to meet you, sweet boy!

And finally, cute little Crosby at 2 weeks - SO precious.  I just LOVE this part of my job - babies are my FAVORITE.

Little man and his big sis:

All in all, a total success because I had the chance to meet new and reconnect with old friends.  Thank you everyone!  Now on to post-processing and sending out those CDs!


Choosing the Right Outfit - Part 2

Newborns. Where do I begin? They're so beautiful. Completely fresh from God, and the way light bounces off of their wrinkles and rolls is unmatched by anything else. Rarely will you see me photographing a newborn in clothing other than a diaper cover or cocoon. The beauty of newborns is that they don't need the frills. For a moment they can be naked and be considered unoffensive and adorable.

So that's my post about chooing the right outfit for a newborn ;)


Choosing the Right Outfit - Pt. 1

This has to be the hardest part of your job as a photo subject: choosing the right outfit(s) for your session. I have several suggestions that you might find helpful for making the most out of your session.

Tip 1: Don't go "matchy-matchy." All white, all red, all blue, all denim jackets - all the same color AND style just doesn't show individuality. While cohesiveness is important, identical outfits tend to get monotonous. My suggestion: coordinate & compliment. Here are a few ideas for a family session:

A nice, non-busy sweater vest for dad with a solid color underneath and jeans. Wear with black Converse or black/grey dress shoes and you're set.

A cool, comfortable, but stylish cardigan with graphic shirt underneath for mom. Pair with black pants and a black flower headband. Black boots and chandelier earrings (check out Forever 21's accessories) would make the outfit!

Black and grey wide-striped shirt for girls sizes 7-16. Coordinates with both mom and dad if paired with black pants or jeans. Add a cute necklace and headband.

A grey military shirt with tie will compliment any young man. Pair with jeans and some casual shoes and you're set.

Check out amazon.com for some of the best deals around, and sign up for Amazon Prime while you're there - it's so worth it!

More tips to come!!!

New Blog Design!

Hello! I am back to the world of blogging! It is my hope that I can document my experiences in a new and perhaps more vibrant way in the days to come.

Life has been very eventful since I wrote my last entry. Lots of photos, lots of love and lots of events! Professionally there have been engagements, dance recitals, families, weddings and a host of other events to capture through portraiture, but personally I have had a great deal to capture with the birth of my second child! I have also begun the leap of faith of working full time with SummerWPortraitDesign and Designs by Summer, doing both photography and graphic design on a freelance basis under my own heading. So excited to begin this phase in my professional career, working from home and on-location to meet my clients' needs.

Wedding season is fast-approaching, along with other spring events such as coverage of The Little Light House's annual Garden Party at the end of this month. I am excited for new possibilities in creativity, and for meeting new people.

I leave you with some of my most recent work. Happy Easter to you all!

Mother/Daughter Session - Downtown Tulsa

Mommy Hates Cooking promotional shoot

Senior Session - Bricktown: OKC

Family Session - Downtown OKC


She Said Yes!

I've known Jamie since I was in High School. She was a friend of a friend. I remember squeezing out of the back seat of her little white car when she gave me a ride to our friend's house. It was hilarious, because all we could think about was that scene from Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls when he squeezes out of a mechanical rhino's backside and a family watches in horror. Okay, so way off-subject, but it made us laugh...

Once again we had a few laughs, this time under different circumstances. Jamie and I have not been in contact for a while, but she stumbled across my website and got in touch regarding her plans. Jamie has found her prince charming in a guy named Chad, and I have the pleasure of capturing everything along the way. I traveled to the OKC area for the weekend for various reasons, which was convenient because they are located there. Jamie is a photographer herself, and Chad works for The Little Gym.

Let me tell you, they are a fabulously cute couple. They are adorable. They make you want to vomit! Proceed with extrrrreeeeeeme caution...

I was literally having an out-of-body experience searching for new little "sweet spots" in the OKC metro. From downtown/ Bricktown, to Myriad Gardens, to The Vineyard in Norman, it was a huge thrill to be in uncharted territory. We are currently in the process of moving just south of Oklahoma City, and it was great to have a jump on my new stomping grounds. HOWEVER, you can bet that I will be back in the Tulsa area for all current and any future sessions!


Facebook Phenomenon

I've been a member of Facebook since the early, early days. The days when you had to have a certain college email address (community colleges didn't count) in order to join. The hottest social networking site was Myspace, and although I felt Facebook was more user-friendly, that was where everyone's time was spent. Businesses were quickly constructing Myspace profiles and promoting specials through them. Then, as quickly as it began, Facebook took over. As friends of mine has so often said, "Myspace is dead." And so it goes... The "circle of life" comes around more quickly in the social networking realm.

I've had a Facebook fan page for Designs by Summer since the invention of the "Fan Page" concept, but until recently, I was not at all sure of its purpose. Then I realized that I could begin offering specials to fans through Facebook. Not for the purpose of making money, but for the purpose of telling people thank you for your support.

If you have a Facebook account, please add Designs by Summer here. By becoming a fan, you will receive opportunities for seasonal bonus shoot days and be entered in drawings for discounts and freebies. You will also receive $25 off your next session if you post your (positive) thoughts on the page's wall. Just a simple thank you for your support and love.

We are officially moving to central OK in the coming months. I am now an official "Regional Creative Specialist," which means I serve both the Tulsa and OKC areas and beyond for all your photographic and design needs.


Senior Portraits

I had the pleasure of composing senior portraits for the lovely Amber. She is a beautiful, sweet young lady (man I sound old!) that I know through her dad. Her father and I were on the worship team together at church, and he used to call me "Winter." He got such a kick out of it that I let him :)

These are the moments that you can't get back....


autumn reflections

I sit here thinking the upcoming fall season, and I am so beautifully reminded that so many of the most amazing events in my life happened in the midst of the autumn breezes.

New year. Back-to-school time was always so exciting for me. I was never as nervous as my classmates, and new school supplies (including clothes) were the highlight of the year. From elementary to college, a fresh start on a new year was crisp, clean and I could see the future with more clarity than ever. The promise of that year being better than the last, new friends, new teachers, new classes...

New love. My husband and I met and fell in love in the fall. We dated for just 3 short months before becoming engaged, and were married the fall of the following year. My own wedding was much more than I ever dreamed, and although I had always dreamed of a beach wedding, it was a fairytale experience.

New life. My daughter was born in the sweet November of 2006. She stole my breath and my heart, and is the center of my joy.

Change is the theme of the fall. I have never been one to shy away from change, even though I find it harder to accept as I age.

The song "Every Season" by Nichole Nordeman sums up my thoughts on fall...

And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and was to come
You are autumn

God bless you all as summer comes to a close. Today you may be taking your child to their first day of kindergarten, or college to move them in and find yourself in a whirlwind of bittersweet emotions. I know so many people experiencing changes, including myself, that have left them reflecting and looking back on memories that have led them to this point. They are looking at old scrapbooks and being reminded of the bridal runner that never got rolled out, or the tiny raisin-like face that popped into the world at 7:29pm. Photos are such an important part of living, and I am thankful to have a passion that has a deep purpose.

Here's to the fall weddings, engagements, births, events and the budding and growing of all changes in life. I am so fortunate to be able to be there to help creatively catch the moments in life that people most cherish in any season.


Jessica & Allan

Jessica and Allan were married on July 25th. I arrived at the Burnett Mansion in Sapulpa at 2:00pm on the big day. The bridal party began getting ready, and by 3:30 we were ready to have the small "pre-ceremony" before heading to the church downtown.

I was able to grab a few photos of the couple before we left the mansion...

Upon arriving at the church, we had a blast getting honked at walking around downtown Tulsa for obviously being a wedding party (although we did get the question, "Are ya'll gonna be in a wedding?")

My wonderful, beautiful assistant Belinda and I had a blast at the reception - yay for the Cupid Shuffle!

I had the privilege of capturing Allan and Jessica's engagement photos and Jessica's Bridals ealier this year, and it was such a pleasure to get to know them. Not only as clients, but also as friends.

Allan and Jessica had an excellent cake bakery and candy buffet. Please take a moment to visit their sites!