Kelly Tarleton's portrait

Welcome to my blog! I am a Houston portrait and wedding photographer,
and I also custom design wedding and special event stationery.
This is where I share photos of my latest portrait sessions, design assignments,
and personal projects. Take a look around to see what I've been up to and
be sure to let me know what you think. I love comments!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

New website and blog are live!

I am proud to introduce the new KellyTarleton.com and blog! Please head on over and check it out and be sure to update your bookmarks with the new blog address - www.kellytarleton.com/blog.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The evolution of a web presence: redesigning my blog and website

One of the best pieces of business advice that has stuck with me is "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." As I mentally filed it away, I told myself I would apply this towards saying no when I'm stretched too thin, outsourcing tedious tasks, and putting money towards things I could do myself, because at the end of the day, my time is valuable!

I will be the first to admit that I am horrible at taking this advice. I want to do everything. Because I want to be in control, I want to take ownership, and I want the satisfaction of knowing I've accomplished the goal. And yet this is how I end up with so many unfinished projects!

At the start of 2010, (yes - now TWO years ago) I decided I would redesign my website. Never mind that I was stretched thin, could outsource this, and had the resources to do so. The site was horribly outdated, didn't send the proper message of who I am or the services I provide, and well it was kinda ugly. At the time I built it I was limited to what I could code and design based on the knowledge of my college coursework, and at the start of 2010 I felt I could do a lot better. Well, kind of.

I had to check books out of the library, I spent hours pouring over the internet, drawing sketches in Illustrator, staying up late writing my own CSS and HTML, etc. Yes, I had the satisfaction and control over my personal project, but for what? I stumbled upon this wonderful product available that I could buy for a few hundred dollars that would have put all that nonsense to bed. But no! I had to do it to prove some silly little nonsense to myself. Right.

That site never saw the light of day. I got it to a testing stage and it currently lives in a testing folder on my server. And it never will see the light of day. Because TWO WEEKS ago (yes, I went from two years spinning my wheels to two weeks making stuff happen) I bought that wonderful product. The one I was so adamant against. And I feel like a fool. It's amazing. ProPhoto has given me the ability to custom design my site from a template I selected and make it entirely my own. Without knowing any code or writing my own CSS. Their customer service is incredibly responsive and helpful and I've been able to build my entire site + blog in two weeks! Now I'll have a seamless design all wrapped up in a nice little blogsite package. And I couldn't be happier. I was in control. I took ownership. And I'm pretty darn satisfied with the outcome. Why must lessons always be learned the hard way?

Here's a few screenshots of my new site! I am so excited to introduce it. But It isn't live just yet :)

Screenshot of the new Kelly Tarleton Photography & Design website

Screenshot of the new Kelly Tarleton Photography & Design website

And for the satisfaction of seeing how far I've come, a few other screenshots.

This blog, the one I adapted with my own design from a free template found online:



The 2010 website redesign, or the site that will never see the light of day, that I designed to match this blog:



My website, as it still appeared up until the ProPhoto redesign, that I published right out of college to promote myself:



And the very first website I ever created myself, as part of a college course. To my instructor, Cindy Royal, I owe everything I know about web design, HTML, CSS, etc. to you! Your class started it all for me, and it's been a wonderful journey.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011: Year in Review

What a year 2011 was. I got engaged. Finally moved to my dream Houston neighborhood. Sat by family members who fought off health scares (and triumphed!). Got promoted at work. Took more time for me.

That last one meant a shift in work/life balance and I think I might finally be finding the swing of things. Although who really ever does? We moved out of Grace Hart & Company selling off my dad's collection early in the year. Which was huge in gaining "me time" back (thanks, Mom!). And the longer I work as a part-time photographer, the better I seem to be getting at balancing all that that requires - the fun shooting part and the not-so-fun business part. And I'm really looking forward to 2012 and continuing to hone all of those skills.

Here are several of my favorite images that I took in 2011. Thank you to all of my amazing clients! I have enjoyed working with all of you and watching your families grow over the past year. Thank you so much for entrusting me with your photos.


A collage of Kelly Tarleton Photography & Design's favorite photos from 2011

Monday, January 2, 2012

Hello, 2012!

I said goodbye to 2011 by going to bed early with a migraine, but it was a year I was grateful for nonetheless. I woke up yesterday to a Facebook news feed full of "good riddance 2011" posts and it made me a little sad! All my joys of 2011 have prepped 2012 to be a wonderful year.

Barley and I have spent the long weekend catching up on rest, getting rid of headaches, and gearing up for the new year - it's going to be a busy one! The past year has seen me at my worst in regards to blogging, so to catch up - I will be getting married next year and Jared and I will be an aunt and uncle later this month! We're very excited for this year and what lies ahead for our families.

And Barley's super tired from having her favorite playmate (Jared) available 24/7. Here she is with her Christmas toy, already showing signs of holes and missing stuffing. She loves it.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tired Beagle with stuffed giraffe toy

About Kelly Tarleton

I've always been a creative person, and the one who always had a camera on-hand at a moment's notice for any occasion. Photography and graphic design dominated my life in school and I loved every minute of it. I miss that constant creative outlet and want to share more of it with my family and friends through this blog.See more of my work at my website: http://www.kellytarleton.com/.

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