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 31, 2010

Slice of Life Sunday: Gotcha!

Barley doesn't really care for her crate. She doesn't whine or cry when I put her in there, but she never chooses to go in there on her own. But Giggles loves Barley's crate. He would sit in there all day. So, naturally, what one has, the other one wants. And I caught them snuggling together this morning.

Then, and I'm sure any pet parent can relate, just as I took this picture and thought I had such a sweet and well-behaved pooch, I stepped away. Into a patch of pee-soaked carpet. In my socks.

Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Focus in 2010: Slow and steady wins the race

I'm a planner. I make lists. And I set goals. I make lists of goals. And I set goals to make lists. An unfortunate outcome of all of this planning and goal setting is unrealistic expectations. As a planner, I should be well aware that things, any things, take time to complete. Usually more time than I allot in any given schedule. I want it all done RIGHT now. This leads to setting myself up for failure.

I've set off setting my 2010 goals for this reason. I fear that I will expect too much of myself. I fear this, because I did it to myself last year. You see, I am a bit of a conundrum. I am a planner and also a procrastinator. One of my favorite phrases is "One day, I want to _________." Lots of things have filled the blank, such as organize my closet, or own my own photography business. So I did it last year. I officially "started" my photography business. How I qualified the start date, I'm not exactly sure. But I registered my DBA, got a sales tax number and received payment for my photography. Sure, I "started" but the months following I overwhelmed myself feeling that I had an inadequate Web site, inadequate equipment, and inadequate confidence in my abilities. Anything I felt I lacked, I deemed "a 2010 initiative" thinking that by 2010 I'd have a better grip on things.

So it's 2010, do I have a better grip? Heck no! But after a quick review of 2009, I've decided that a better grip on my business isn't necessarily what I need. What I need is a better grip on my life. "Build your business to fit your life, don't make your life fit your business" is a sound bite I took home from a photography business workshop I attended last year, and while I wrote it down and circled it 20 times in my notes, I haven't taken it completely to heart. Thinking things can happen RIGHT now if I only stay up late this one night, or agree to this one shoot on a weekend that's not really good for me, or fill in the blank with some other sacrifice isn't going to make it happen any quicker.

All this is to say, that with a little help from Itty Biz's article How to Make Unstupid Goals I have made a list of realistic goals, that I actually want to get done this year, that will not kill my social life or burn me out miles before the finish line. After all, what good is my multi-year plan if I expect to get it done in one year?

2010 Goals
  • Redesign my Web site
  • Take more personal photos! (I made this one after realizing how many personal photos I did not take in 2009. When did this happen?)
  • Complete more personal projects (such as my Australia photo album, Kim's wedding album, updating my photo walls at home and work, etc.)
  • Develop my business brand (this goes along with the redesign of the Web site and includes one of my favorite things: packaging!)
Of course, I do need to include some not-so-fun goals that I still want to accomplish this year:
  • Start on my business plan (you like that? I said start, not finish, leading to something I can successfully do!)
  • Create manageable and consistent workflows for shooting, client management, bookkeeping, etc.
And that's it! Well, not exactly, but these are the umbrella goals. Accomplishing anything else will be gravy. And I need to remind myself of this on a very regular basis!

The photo below is from the 2010 Chevron Houston Marathon on January 17. A friend of mine from my office ran it, and I snapped this while we waited for her at the 23rd mile in front of our office building. Laura has been such an inspiration to me through all of her training over the past several months; and for accomplishing her goal, however long it took her. And this runner is an inspiration to me for a totally different reason: If we can't enjoy ourselves in the race of life, what's the point in running it?


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gretchen, Jeb and April at Christmastime

*I've been on hold with my bank for 20 minutes, we shall see if I'm still on hold by the time I finish this post. Thank goodness for the speakerphone on my cell phone!*

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you've become quite familiar with my cousin Gretchen and her baby April. Well for Christmas, I drew Gretchen's name for our family's gift exchange and decided to design and publish a coffee table photo book as the gift. Except Gretchen had asked me to take some photos at our family's Christmas gathering and I knew I wanted to include those in the book. So what did I wrap and give her? A sample book I had already published with someone else's photos! I had to explain a lot, but I also included some predesigned pages I printed at home to show her what April's book would look like.

*Editing and uploading photos. Still on hold. Total time=32 minutes.*

These are just a few I snapped at Christmas. Stay tuned for the coffee table book design and photos!

April wasn't really cooperating, so my aunt and uncle are off on the side making faces at her:


Gretchen finally gave her a lollipop hoping that would make her smile for some photos but instead, the session ended because she got cranky when we tried to take it away from her. This is her victory smile:


This series is so sweet to me. April waited patiently while Jeb went outside for a moment and then he came back and made faces at her through the window. She thought it was the funniest thing. I love the kiss!


She was checking me out. I think her hair makes her look like Cindy Lou Who.


We made another attempt for photos the following morning, but she still wasn't having it. I snapped a few good ones though!


*Alright, final totals from waiting on hold for my bank: total wait time=47 minutes. Length of conversation with bank customer representative=10 minutes. If it's any consolation, she was extremely polite and helpful!*

Monday, January 11, 2010

January desktop calendar wallpaper

I'm a little behind on this for this month, but I stumbled upon this idea while reading The Digital Photography School's article 30 Photographic Goals for 2010 and I love it! This is the first of 12 monthly desktop calendar wallpapers.

Since I'm a little late on this first one, I simply grabbed the photo already on my desktop- a shot I took of sunset at Uluru during my vacation in Australia. But I also see it is an inspirational image for the start of the year. And the quote is so fitting for this month, as we all start this year and decade with hope and determination towards one thing or another. If you are making resolutions, I wish you luck!

I made three different sizes based on the screen resolutions utilized by the most frequent visitors to my blog, according to Google Analytics. Simply click on one of the resolutions below and a new window will open up with the photo in it. Right click to save to your computer.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

1920 x 1200
1280 x 800
1024 x 768

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elizabeth's Baby Portraits

Not very long before this shoot, I had a "Eureka!" moment- one that seems obvious in retrospect. And one that I should have had awhile ago. (My excuse will be that my education is in photojournalism where the moment is primary, lighting is secondary.) Nonetheless, it came at just the right time. The realization was simple: the location is not what matters, it's the lighting in the location.

So when I drove to Kellie's house on a dreary and unusually overcast and foggy day, I was confident that the lack of light wouldn't spoil the show. Clouds are nature's softbox after all. And with a little help from my flash bounced off the wall, I captured some great moments and expressions of little Elizabeth.

Kellie and I attended school together starting in the second grade when she started at Greenwood Elementary and I blame her transfer for my lifelong existence as "Kelly T." I was there first! But I guess it rolls off the tongue better than Kellie L. (her last initial). I got over it, and Kellie and I spent the next several years in several of the same classes and and were both on the yearbook staff in high school. It's easy to see that she has passed on her energy and bubbly personality to her baby girl. However, Elizabeth seemed determined to hide this from me at first. I have, oh I don't know, about 50 images of her looking straight through me with her mouth shut. Kellie seemed disappointed, assuring me that she is the happiest baby 100% of the time. We took on the challenge and then it wasn't long before this stubborn baby showed me a hundred different expressions, most of which I was able to capture.

Without further ado, please meet Elizabeth:



This is her Gerber baby face:





I LOVE this expression!



See what I mean about the light?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Slice of Life Sunday: Auntie Kelly, dogsitter

I thought I was ready to live in the Heights. I mean I really want to, but staying alone in a creaky old house built in 1939 with a dog who scares the living daylights out of you by barking at shadows and staring out the window like she sees something when there's in fact nothing there, has made me rethink my move-to-the-Heights timeline. Barley and I dogsat for friends this weekend at their house in the Heights and Barley really shook up my nerves last night. She never barks, and yet at midnight she decided to run up and down the length at the house, switching back and forth between barking at the front and back doors. She doesn't look like it, but she has the bark of a dog twice her size, and twice as mean. It makes my head hurt to hear it, and it always puts me on edge because of how infrequently she does it. So I do what I always do when I'm shaking in my boots- I called a friend, who matter-of-factly assured me that Barley was chasing a possum running underneath the floorboards.

And I have one other embarrassing confession from the weekend. You'll see little Norah's front paw in bandages in the photos below, and while one might assume it was because of something my rough-housing dog did, it was really me. I accidentally broke one of her claws while coming through the back door and she shrieked in pain as I hit her and limped away leaving a trail of blood. I took her to the vet and they removed the claw completely, sending me home with her in a bandage up to her underside, and one of those plastic cones around her head so that she wouldn't bother the wound. I felt awful! This happened yesterday, and by today the vet's bandage had fallen off and her spirits were up 100%, as you can see in the photos below. She was such a trooper and assured me with kisses all over my face that she and Auntie Kelly are still friends.

They play hard


And crash just as hard!

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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