Hi there! We're Luke and Cat, and we're so happy you're here. We hope you'll stay a while! We’re a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Houston, Texas. Ranchers-turned-photographers, our world looks like this: a Craftsman-style farmhouse; our newborn, Knox, in our arms; coffee in the kitchen; Edison lights on the back porch; and a pair of English bulldogs at the foot of our bed. Read more...
 
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How Our Favorite Fashion Quotes Helped Us Take Better Photos

Nov 28, 2017 / Business, Shooting

Have you ever found yourself clicking through other photographers’ websites and wondered how their clients look so…fashionable? As if they’re all professional models with couture wardrobes? How does every shoot seamlessly and stylishly blend with the next? In the earlier stages of our business, we had styling envy.  Why couldn’t we get our clients to dress like that?

Of course, we eventually learned that we could. Keep reading….

Getting photo-ready isn’t easy — even for us. (See Cat’s recent Instagram on the topic.) Choosing what to wear is a painstaking process; we’ve all been there: Will it look good on me? Will it photograph well? Will I look like I am trying too hard —or worse, like I didn’t try at all? Cat often tells people how before becoming a professional photographer, she was that person who wanted to look thinner in photos — which, for her, meant wearing black, lots of black. Now she knows that there are so many better options.

Fashion magazines and style guides make it look easy, but we regular folks all know that our closet can become our worst nightmare, especially when trying to dress for a photo shoot. We consistently found that our clients looked nice but, we weren’t getting that high-end look. Remember our favorite quote from our business coach? It finally dawned on us that if we wanted that pulled-together, timeless, romantic look, it was up to us to style our clients.

While we can’t (and wouldn’t) tell our clients precisely what to wear, we can certainly guide them to the clothing combinations we know photograph well. After all, we all want the same thing: beautiful photos that look great for years to come.



The Takeaways:

  • “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”— Karl Lagerfeld: Fashion is a difficult world to navigate. We’ve all fallen victim to those trends that make us thankful cell phone cameras and social media weren’t a thing in middle school. For a comprehensive list and a little giggle you can check out some of the more iconic fails of all time here. If you offer a few classy suggestions, you can steer your clients into a photo they won’t want to face palm over when the styles change.

  • "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." — Coco Chanel: Don’t let your clients fall victim to the last-minute jitters. If you offer a few “What Not To Do’s” —like wearing too much jewelry—you can avoid the pitfall of having the session look like it was photobombed by Claire’s.

  • “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” — Yves Saint Laurent: Not everyone can afford YSL, Armani, or Christian Dior.  Help clients understand that they don’t need to spend thousands for the photoshoot. The key here is to provide them with a style board that helps them see how items they already own will work with your vision. By suggesting a color palette and a few simple pieces everybody owns, you will get them a lot more bang for their buck.

  • “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.”— Ralph Lauren: It’s not about the clothing; it’s about the look and feel of the photo.  By giving our clients a template, we help them create what the very wise Mr. Lauren is talking about – classic, dreamy, effortless-looking elegance.


Things changed dramatically when we started to include a simple paragraph in our pre-engagement shoot email that reads:

“When you're picking out your outfits for the day, make sure you wear clothes that you feel good in. If you need some inspiration, we have a Pinterest board with some of our favorite outfit ideas that photograph well. Girls look great in layers over a pretty dress. Remember that you can switch up your accessories to give a photo a new look. Guys, you look great in a well-fitting button-down shirt, with a tailored sports coat if you’re feelin’ fancy. Don’t worry about matching, but we do recommend neutrals and pastels – avoid bright oranges and reds, stark white, and solid black.”

Check out that Pinterest board, and you’ll see that we’re creating a certain style and vibe for our clients. As soon as we started including this information, ladies started showing up in long, flowing dresses; guys were wearing coats, and almost every client arrived in the color palette we wanted for our work. Our engagement sessions went from casual dresses and jeans to a more elevated style. (Note: we don’t just share this information once; we counsel our clients on what to wear in our Bride Guide and wherever else it bears repeating.)

The result is win for us and them! Our clients appreciate getting trusted advice based on our expertise; they have less stress when it comes to outfit selection; and, our portfolio looks more high-end and cohesive.

Look-books and Couture brands,
(Guide your clients to make them look and feel their best!)

Luke & Cat

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We (Almost) Lost Our Own Wedding Photos

Our Favorite Online Proofing System

Nov 21, 2017 / Business

The other day, a post from 2011 showed up as my Facebook “On This Day” memory:



It’s been six years, but it seems like forever ago that we had four floor-to-ceiling cabinets full of discs with our clients’ images on them.  Here we are in 2017 with four different computers instead. And guess what -- not a single one of them even has a disc drive! Those discs of 2011 are on the same path as my Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood cassettes: dust-collecting relics.

When we got married in 2009, own digital files were delivered via disc along with our printed wedding album. Five years later, when we were redesigning our website, I pulled out our disc of images to look for a photo for our “About Us” page. This is when the unthinkable happened…the disc had an error. We had heard of disc failure, but it happened to us, with our precious wedding day images! Fortunately, we had a physical album and Luke had a backup on his computer. 

But what if the same thing happened to our clients? What if they weren’t financially able to order all of the prints they wanted at the time of their wedding? What if they needed to replace their images after a tragedy like a fire or a flood? What if our software was obsolete by the time they wanted more prints? What if we ran out of space to store all of these discs? (We live in a circa 1900 farmhouse) that we love for its Craftsman-style details but loathe for its lack of storage – how long could we devote an entire bedroom to disc storage?)



We started searching for an online gallery that would eliminate these worries. I don’t know how many we tried, but I know that I can’t count them on one hand. The absolute best we found is Pixieset. There are dozens of reasons we consider this to be the most convenient and reliable online gallery, (and we’ll detail them in future posts), but our absolute favorite feature is how it beautifully showcases our images. For example, once we settle on a cover image, we can set it as a default without ever having to set it again. Pixieset even resizes images to fit on a variety of platforms including mobile devices and social media. This means, our clients can easily share our images with built-in quality control.

Other features we love (and we’ll talk about in detail soon) include the ability to have:

  • a customized URL (example gallery.yourphotobusinessname. com)
  • a customized online store
  • customized image download sizes (requiring PINs)
  • customized default settings for image categories, price lists, cover images, and more
  • specific images set as 'private'
  • clients place their orders directly via the online gallery

 

 







Best of all, Pixieset will store all of the images and the albums you upload as long as you are a paying subscriber. Or, if you prefer, you can set your own expiration date (in which case, the images can still remain ‘hidden’, but safe on the Amazon-hosted cloud.)

If you are still using discs or USBs and are looking for an online proofing and file delivery system that is at once sleek and sophisticated, yet super easy-to-use, take a look at our favorite, Pixieset

Landlines and Cassettes
(technology changes fast)

Luke & Cat

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Love & Coffee #4

A list of this week’s ‘loves’ made over Monday morning coffee

Nov 20, 2017 / Our Life

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Besides being the signature to Luke’s email, this blog series features the things we’re loving as we start each Monday morning with gratitude and coffee!

View previous editions here:
Love & Coffee #1
Love & Coffee #2
Love & Coffee #3

Here’s what we’re discussing over our morning coffee on this week!



  • Post Workshop Exhaustion Syndrome. We hosted our first workshop in over a year last week, and as anyone who hosts workshops can tell you, PWES is a real thing. Post Workshop Exhaustion Syndrome hit us all hard on Thursday and we're still recovering. We both have colds and sore throats and we're just trying to essential oil our way through it and keep baby Knox from catching the illness! Luke's mom and sister flew down from Indiana to help us put on the workshop, so I think PWES may be sweeping through the midwest as well!
  • Just hear those sleigh bells. We haven't put up our tree yet, but we did decorate our mantle for Christmas over the weekend. One of the best moments of parenthood so far? Hanging Knox's stocking for the first time using Cat's great grandpa's red hammer. 
  • Baby's first laugh. Other people have heard it, but we still haven't gotten to hear that first giggle from Knox. What the heck! We're around him the most of anybody. I guess he just doesn't find his boring ol' parents that funny.
  • Cereal and Carrots and Sweet Potatoes, Oh My! We started Knox on solids this week. So far, we've had cereal and carrots. I did a lot of research on whether we even wanted to feed cereal or not, but we ultimately settled on this oatmeal and Knox loves it! He had his first taste of vegetables this morning with carrots and although the first couple of bites made him make some funny faces, I think they gave him a ton of energy! He was shrieking with delight! In 3 days, we get to add some sweet potatoes to the mix, just in time for Thanksgiving.
  • Thanksgiving Cooking. We'll be hunkering down in the kitchen starting tomorrow to prep dishes for our family Thanksgiving. Luke's the main chef in our house, although I (Cat) am pretty proud of my dessert making skills. We have a few dishes left to be determined, but I'm most looking forward to carb loading on Luke's famous yeast rolls. He also makes a dish that is a staple in his family but something we had never heard of on a holiday table until Luke joined us: chicken and noodles. 

 

Have a fantastic week!

Love & Coffee,
(In our well-used Anthro chipped L&C mugs this morning!)

Luke & Cat

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