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Let me take a moment to say how grateful I am to the weather for cooperating. The morning of our Texas State graduation photo shoot was chilly and cloudy, not typical for a Central Texas spring. Thankfully it semi-warmed up and we got some amazing cloud/sunset shots.

Lindsey is one of my good (and talented) friends from the good ol’ Texas State Ad Club days. I can’t quite remember when and where we met, but recently we’ve really gotten close with her impending graduation.

On May 10th, this lovely lady will graduate with TWO degrees in Communication Design and Photography. She’s got some mad design skills and I will be working with her on some future projects!

Also, this lady is seriously gorgeous. Amirite?

Graduation for Texas State is less than a month away. Who’s nervous? Don’t be! I’ve been in your place, and I’m here to offer a bit of photographic and just generally helpful advice :)


1.) Choose cute, but practical shoes and a dress you can breath in. You will be standing. Forever.

I know how tempting it is to buy those nude 5″ Steve Madden heels you’ve been eyeing and rationalizing the cost of wearing them to graduation and beyond (or so you say) but remember, most graduation ceremonies here in Texas are in fantastically (note: sarcasm) lit gymnasiums and more than likely you’ll have to walk down a flight of narrow, bleacher -ized stairs or two. Can you do that without looking down at your feet the whole time? Your family will be wanting to see your face as you proudly parade with 300 or so of your colleagues and after 4 (okay, 5..) years of managing to not completely bust on the Library stairs you won’t want to  ruin your record on the last day.

Also, you will probably be waiting for an hour at LEAST just waiting to line up before you walk out the doors and into the ceremony. Afterwards, Grandma’s gonna want a dozen photos together, so make sure they’re comfy!

image courtesy of Zappos. Oy your feet! (also: $100! double ouch!)

I encourage wearing a bright color! Color blocking is huge this spring anyways and with that black recycled plastic bottle graduation robe you’ll be wearing, a brightly colored shoe is a great way to stand out. Choose a heel that’s slightly lower as well as a bit chunky so sinking into the grass after won’t be as awful.

I can’t say enough good things about Gabriella Rocha. I bought a pair of her shoes for my graduation and they are SO CUTE and practical with a cute kitten heel as well! I get a number of compliments about them every time I wear them. :)

Gabriella Rocha Quilla: courtesy of Zappos //$59.00 for the hot pink, but the patent orange is on sale  for $44.99 and considering this year is the year of tangerine orange,  I say go for it!


And if you insist on wearing nude: the Gabriella Rocha Dancy is a great choice.  I love the red piping in these! And at a nice, don’t-break-the-bank price of $59.95

courtesy of Zappos

2.) River Jumping Tradition

If you go to Texas State, you know what these words mean. After we’ve crossed the stage, shook hands with Trauth,  received our diploma cover, and tossed our caps, it’s all over! Hooray you did it! Now it’s time to jump in the river, as per tradition. I know I didn’t do it and I regret it! . If you’re worried about makeup/hair/dress being ruined. Don’t be! This is a once in a life time opportunity and your hair and makeup can always be re-done for dinner. Some of my good friends jumped in and I was fortunate enough to get a photo with them afterwards. Fun memories!

texas state graduation spring 2011

3.) Cap Decorating

Arts and Crafts have always been one of my favorite things to do, as a kid and even more so now. Decorating my dorm was one of my most exciting things as a high school senior, and then as a college senior I looked forward to cap decorations! I knew I wanted to represent me and my interests and style.


This was mine! I was so proud. I still love it to this day.  Everything was purchased from the San Marcos Hobby Lobby and the best part is that it cost under $15! Save your wrist from hours of gluing rhinestones and purchase a large surface cover like ribbon or glitter.


4.) Makeup


Choose natural! I went with a neutral smokey eye and false eyelashes because I wanted to make sure my makeup showed up in photos. Sephora is a great place to get it done, or there are PLENTY of YouTube videos to show you how. All my makeup tutorials come from this makeup artist, Tanya Burr . She’s got a cute British accent and her tutorials are easy to follow. Not to mention she is a professional Makeup Artist!  If you’re doing it yourself, I highly suggest purchasing the  Too Faced Cosmetics, Natural Eye, Neutral Eye Shadow Collection, 0.39 Ounce over the  Urban Decay Naked Palette to do your eyes with.  It’s half the price, and has only the brown colors you need, vs the blues on the Naked. **Disclaimer** if you purchase either of those makeup kits through that link I receive a tiny, tiny profit off the sale. Barely anything, only 15%. Also, I wouldn’t recommend makeup I didn’t already know was quality  stuff.


5.) Dinner afterwards

Where are you going? :) I want to know! I went to Carino’s in San Marcos and I can’t speak highly enough of the service. Granted, I was a fairly small party but the service was impeccable and they were extremely professional about the whole deal. Be sure to let them know if you will be bringing a cake so they can plan accordingly. The bigger your group is, the earlier in advance you need to make reservations! Your wait staff and the managers will appreciate it. (tip appropriately, even with a large party gratuity.)

All of us at dinner:
That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope you enjoyed my tips and if they were helpful, leave a comment and let me know!  If you’re interested in booking me to come take family portraits at your graduation, drop me a line via my contact form and I would be happy to discuss it further.

Elsewhere on the blog recently:

Mary’s Graduation Portraits 

Second shooting best of 2011

Around the web this week:

Google+ got a facelift. What do you think of it? 

Pusheen never fails to cheer me up

Scarily accurate Texts from the dog 

Spring is here and that means it’s time to GRADUATEEEEEEEE! All you Texas State Bobcats down in San Marcos better be enjoying this gorgeous weather we’ve been having lately.

Mary is a spunky, whip-smart girl who loves her dog and her life. For our two hour session, Mary chose to do her graduation photographs in front of Old Main and my super secret San Marcos river location and I think we knocked these out of the park.

As a former Old Main dweller myself, I just love the crustiness and history of this building. The river was gorgeous and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for this Texas State graduation session. When you decide on locations for your graduation session, think outside the box a little and move away from just one look in the quad and opt for some creativity at my super secret river location.

She wants to do PR when she graduates and I think she will be great at it! Congrats girl and best wishes on your future endeavors!

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A few months ago, I made friends with someone who was a photographer. Not a wedding photographer, not a student, someone completely different. It was nice to meet a person who finally spoke the same language of light and composition (and brand of film!) that I did. The only difference? This person shot film. Exclusively. Anything and everything that was photographed was in black and white. Teaching yourself to think in shadows and patterns and simple subject matter composition for black and white is somewhat difficult, but I was ready to re-tackle it and get back to the heart of photography and why I love it. This blog post is a sampling of some personal film shots I’ve taken since being inspired by this person. Out of a whole roll of 36 exposures, I found 3 that I felt were worthy of sharing. It really makes you step back and think about how many shots you take digitally and making more of them count.

All photographs shot with a Nikon FM2 and Kodak Tri-X 400, scanned and edited by me.