Life is Beautiful

Meet my fellow-photographer and friend Cristina's family. Aren't they a lovely bunch? These kids are adorable! The entire time I was editing I couldn't keep a smile off my face.

I am so grateful to know strong people who have turned some of life's hardest trials into something sweet... the whole "make lemonade when life hands you lemons" deal. Life truly is beautiful...Thank you Cris for always reminding me of this!

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Some of my favorites...

I am doing my best to get caught up with sharing all of my past sessions with my lovely clients and friends but this belly and the two little people who are my full-time bosses make things harder to get done on *my* timeline. Excuses aside, I hope I can figure out how to soon be a mother of 3 (!) and still do what I enjoy doing: photographing these special moments for people that I love and have known forever and for those who I now call friends. So stay tuned, I still have some sessions to post- I haven't forgotten any of you! _DSC7129 _DSC7115bw _DSC7058 _DSC7057bw _DSC7033 _DSC7314 _DSC7270bw _DSC6624 Untitled-1 _DSC6575bw _DSC6514

Howell family

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My baby turned 1

I guess it is time to start thinking about another baby since 'my baby' is no longer considered a baby...Why do they have to grow so fast? Isn't she adorable? You know I am biased, but really, isn't she? She is a little bundle of sweetness, giggles, feisty, and a mean-eating-machine...This girl devoured half of that cake in like 5 minutes. Jessica, apparently Khloe thinks you are an exceptional baker and agrees that you need to start a baking business too! Beautiful tutu is from Koko Blush & CoK2 k3 K1 k4 k6 k5 k7 k8 k9 Do ya think she enjoyed it?! k11 k10 k12 k13 Boy, do I love her.

What It Takes

"You have a great camera."

I get this all the time...and yes,  I do. It is a wonderful piece of equipment and the model itself makes a huge difference in the quality of my photos. However, what most people don't realize is that it is not the camera, or lenses, or other equipment that make photographs look the way they do.

Sure, they make a HUGE difference; but the truth is that it is practice, skill, and lots and lots of time researching, learning from trial and error, and most importantly, it is simply experience.

You know how they say that "practice makes perfect"? Well, I am in no way claiming that my photography is perfect. Au contraire,  I feel that it is far, far from perfect and my husband can attest to my feelings of inadequacy. What I am trying to say is that that adage is so true...and I hope to encourage those who may feel inadequate or incapable or perhaps even discouraged. I am amazed when I look back at the pictures I took when I first embarked on this challenging yet very rewarding endeavor and can see the progress I have made, even if it is not as drastic as I would love for it to be. Bottom line: the effort, time, and devotion you put into anything will be the pivotal keys and will make the difference.

With this said and getting back on the 'nice camera' topic, there are many factors involved in the production of great photography. And may I please say this and hopefully have it resonate: there is a big difference between having a nice camera and taking great pictures. Anyone can have a nice camera...but not everyone can take great pictures.

At first the 'nice camera' comments would really annoy me. Then I realized that I had been just as guilty as they were of thinking/making such "ignorant" {if you will} comments. To be blatantly honest, before I picked up a camera I used to think that photographers went out and spent money on nice cameras and lenses, took pictures, and uploaded them onto their flashy computers and burned them onto a CD for the overpriced photo package someone had bought. "What?! $300 for a photoshoot?! That is ridiculous!!!" I would think...


I could not have been any more ignorant than I already was. I am actually embarrassed to be admitting to this, but I do so in hopes to make anyone who thinks or has thought this will not feel like a cheap/terrible human being. It is very normal, and perhaps even expected, for most to think this way...until they understand how much work goes into producing that CD of high-resolution images.

So, in case you are wondering what exactly I mean by "how much work goes into",  here ya go.

Did you know:
*photographers spend literally thousands on that 'nice camera', lenses, lighting equipment, editing software, props, backdrops, etc? 
* it takes a photographer at least 2 hrs to take pictures for a relatively easy/planned photo shoot? Personally, it takes at least 30 minutes of total driving time to get to my appointments. This means I am spending time away from my family,  in addition to sometimes having to pay a babysitter, put mileage on my car and use up gas to come meet my fabulous clients. 
*once the picture is taken, it takes about 10 minutes to upload and back-up picture files?
*it takes me, Kristal, at least 8 minutes to edit each picture? 
I do not batch edit. Batch editing is clicking on a button in Photoshop that will apply a certain look/filters to all of the selected images the same way, across the board. This may work for some photographers, but it definitely does not for me. I pride myself in spending time on each and every single picture to meet my standards of quality and personalization. Translation: that pimple that showed up on your forehead from all that chocolate you had last night? Corrected. The lipstick stains on your teeth that mischievously showed up just as we got that perfect shot? Corrected. That grape juice stain that got on Junior's shirt as you were driving to your appointment? Gone. That picture that would be perfect had one of the kids been looking at the camera instead of the random dog running behind me? Perfected, once I swap out his distracted face for one from another image that has an ear-to-ear grin.
*then it takes more time to transfer those wonderful images onto a cd, package them to look nice and pretty, make my way to the lovely and efficient post office to send that little package with lots of love, and hope that hard work is received with gratitude and satisfaction.


That is what it takes, folks.

So, the next time you are thinking that the quote you just got from a photographer is a little too high, you may want to remember that it is not the 'nice camera' doing the work and, most importantly, "you get what you pay for" :)


I don't know about you, but one week after I give birth I look just that: like someone who just had a big beach ball removed from their abdomen, dark circles under my eyes, straggly hair, and the oh-so-beloved-glow from pregnancy is.long.gone...but not Tiffani. She is one of those very, very lucky ladies that look absolutely amazing despite all the hard work they are putting in as new mommas! And to top it off, little Avary is one of the most beautiful babies I have seen...seriously, I just wanted to put the camera down and pinch those little cheeks. avary2 avary3 avary4 Avary1 avary6 avary5 avary8 avary7


One of the best things in life is relationships...I am so blessed to have wonderful friends who each bring something wonderful to my life. This little beauty turned one of my dear and beautiful friends into a mother...a radiant one, I must add. It is beyond amazing to see how the girls you used to play dress up with and pretend you were both Hollywood starlets with, become women with their own families...Love you Alex! Adyana1 Adyana2 adyana3 adyana4 adyana5 adyana6
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