Category Archives: Photography

Sparkle Closet – compliment to a Sparkle shoot

Planning makes for a better meeting, workshop or party!  It is also very important to plan before a Sparkle shoot.  Why?

The Sparkle shoot is your opportunity to shine.  Get your hair done. Your nails and toes done. Get a massage.  It’s your opportunity to get a beautiful portrait of yourself.  You with your daughter(s), your son(s), your Mom, or your best friend.

A Sparkle shoot leaves you with portraits.  It isn’t a snapshot.  Nor is it a “lifestyle” shoot, which is you and your family, a photographer, at a park.   And you receive a few images of ya’ll walking around.  Those shoots can be very well done.  They are usually for Christmas cards.  I’ve done that in the past.  Once.

It’s not that a portrait is more formal.  To me it’s more real.  It’s a connection that a snapshot just doesn’t have.  To illustrate look at the two photographs below.  Can you tell the difference between the two?

Snapshot vs Portrait

Snapshot vs Portrait

I took both of these.  The image on the left was a Valentine Limited Edition.  This is Avery, sweet girl and very photogenic.  The image on the right was a Sparkle shoot.  Makeup artist on set.  This is an image that in 50 years her children can point to and say “That is my MOM!”.   It is so real to me.

Here are some more examples:

glamour, Sparkle,

Savannah - Sparkle

Savannah – Sparkle

So the obvious question is “What am I going to wear?”

We can help you with that.   I have an ever expanding closet of clothes that are perfect for your session.  Take a look at the Sparkle Closet here:

(copy and paste the following)

Do you have any portraits of yourself?  Of your family?


Do you Pin? on Pinterest?

I love the idea of Pinterest.  I set-up my boards and try to remember to “pin” my favorites.   Only I usually rip out the magazine page and physically pin the idea to a physical board. (Yep I’m that girl).  But I am trying my best to embrace yet another social media.

As a Portrait photographer I’m constantly asked how to arrange images.  I’ve created a board just for that.  Here is one of my favorite idea finds:

framing ideas, glamour, portrait photographer

Keep The Picture collage arrangement ideas

For those of you who do enjoy Pinterest you can follow me at KeepThePicture.  Or click on the right hand side of the blog!

Glamour, sparkle, framing ideas, photo shoots

Sheila Hallmark Photographer

Have a SUPER week!

Grouping Frames

I’ve gotten quite addicted to Pinterest.  I love looking at anything design related.  One of my favorite boards is framing ideas.  But you know what?  All of the arrangements you can pin are great at getting ideas, but when it comes to actually putting it to use…not so much.

You might see an arrangement you like, but most of the time the dimensions of the frames aren’t provided.  Who has time to go to a frame shop and arrange frames…on the floor…to try and make them look like the arrangement you saw.

My favorite frame shop – Aaron Brothers is not only in the middle of their 1Cent sales, the Manager let me take pictures of my most popular frame sizes.   Then I arranged them on my computer.  And viola!  You can easily see what frame size goes where.  And after you pick out your frames, you can easily add the width of the frames+ the space in-between+ the image size.   For Example, let’s use three 8X10’s side by side in a row hung vertical.   If the width of the space in-between each frame was 1 inch (you add 2 inches because only two spaces are in-between three frames), and the frames were 1 inch wide, then you would add 6 inches (2 inches per frame times 3 frames).  So if the three frames were hung vertical, that would be 24 + 2 + 6 = 32 inches horizontal.  Vertical would be 10 (for the image size) + 2 inches for the frame, for 12 total.    So the wall space would need to be at least 12 inches  X 32 inches.

I’m putting together a Frame arrangement guide.  Here are a few I’ve done already.

Frame cluster - Keepthepicture

Hope you put some of your favorite images on your walls very soon!


2012 Christmas Limited Editions – Book EARLY!

Sorry that I have been MIA.   I had a major overhaul of blog, website, and business direction.  Add to that lotsa shoots, logo design work, promo material work – and I’ve been one busy girl.  And that’s just photog work!  Son is playing football, and our daughter is about to get her music thang on.  Oh and Christmas is like JUST around the corner.

I love Christmas cards.  LOVE THEM.  As a kid we would tape them on a door jam.   Although they are fun to make – they are extremely time consuming.  I’ve decided this year to forgo designing my own cards.  There is no way I could come up with enough variation in designs to satisfy my clientbase.   Creating custom cards for every client just isn’t feasible.

Remember every Collection I offer includes digital images with print release.   It is super simple to order your own Christmas cards.

Some of the options include: Tiny which currently has a 20% off special going (they also have a 20% off for Costco members if the current one expires).  Tiny Prints has 859 Christmas card designs starting at $0.89 cents per card.  This is a real press print card – not photo card. has 335 Christmas card designs starting at $0.32 cents a card. cards start at $0.40 cents per card.

If you want to reduce your stress level and get those cards done early, give me a call or shoot me an email.  We can get your annual family pictures taken that will give you plenty of options to choose from for Christmas cards, or quite possibly a new updated image for your foyer or family room!

Here are a few behind the scenes of the Christmas Limited Edition set planned for the following dates:  Saturday November 3, November 10 sold out, Saturday November 17.  I still have some dates available before my last shoot day of the year, Saturday December 1st (regular session fees apply, limited availability) but only 2 more Limited Editions for the year.  Due to overwhelming Sparkle shoots the “Great Gatsby” Limited Edition has been moved until the Spring!











This is the rustic Christmas Chandilier. 










I’m still able to get a smile – even for test shots.  Not so much combing her hair though.

Austin Sparkle Session : Tennis Player

I had the best time photographing two friends at a recent Sparkle session.  They are very good friends.  They are also a very good competitive tennis team.  Fierce.  They got game, and they also have strategy.  Nothing weak about these ladies!  One of the dynamic duo hasn’t seen her images yet, so I can only showcase the one for now.

 When this girl smiles – it’s an all out smile.  No holding back.  Love that.




















This was my favorite.  Well one of my favorites.












 Happy Tuesday!

What’s new? – Sparkle Session

I’m starting a new photography line.  It is similar to wedding photography because you will have your hair and makeup professionally done.   It is similar to glamour photography because you can get all gussied up.  It is similar to boudoir photography because it will reveal the décolletage.  It is actually a bridge between all three.

                 Introducing Sparkle

Sparkle  is when you plan a few days around yourself.  Get a mani, a pedi.  Get those highlights touched up.  Then come into the studio for your professional makeup.  Enjoy some champagne and strawberries.  Of course bring your Mom, your daughter or best friend, or all three if you like!  This is the ultimate in girl’s day out.  Or surprise your honey.  (I can’t be held responsible for how hot you will look!)














These sessions are so much fun!  I have a new love!


Strike a Pose

I find inspiration everywhere.  There are several magazines I peruse to check out styling and lighting.  And poses. Yep always looking for new and interesting poses.  Unless your a photographer you probably don’t think about it. But come on – think about it.  You can’t tell a client to well – just stand there.  Well sometimes I do that.  hee hee. just kidding.

Here is an example of what I’m talking about.  I ripped this pose from a magazine.  Yes it was my magazine. I’ve had it in my stash for months.  And didn’t think about it until I had this client walk into my studio.


Of course this client would look gorgeous anyways.  Even if I did tell her to just stand there.

Have a great week.  I’m planning on it!

In studio

I’ve been doing a lot of studio work lately. Could be that the temperatures in Austin in June (plus the mosquito squadron) are keeping me indoors! But I am really having a creative wave. Several of the shoots have been a surprise for Father’s day so I can’t post pictures. But one lately isn’t a surprise, and was a joy to photograph!


I’m prepping for another shoot today. Three generations. I can’t wait!
Moby is trying to help, but can’t seem to stay awake.














  Happy Summer!

Fun Friday May 25th 2012

So I was out of town last week. For the whole week people. Flew out Monday morning – the weekend AFTER graduation weekend. We live in Austin Texas, so not only did I have high school grads, but for those of you who just crawled out from under a rock, Austin is the proud home of UT. That would be “Hook ’em” Horns.

So upon returning home of course every bath tissue roll was empty. Every hand soap dispenser was empty. Seriously? How do people without a MOM wipe or wash?

Anywho I cleaned up the kitchen – spotless. Went on a few errands and came home to find this:

Really?  To which I had to send my hubby a text:

Poor Moby. He gets blamed for ALOT around our house.  But he is quickly forgiven. How could you not?

Hope you and yours have a FAB Memorial Day Weekend!

How much is too much?

Sometimes I’ll have a client tell me that their friends LOVED their images.  But then they are told “Wow, your photographer did alot of photoshop”. 

Wow indeed.  A dear friend of mine that is a psychologist has a name for that.  I do too.

But it does bring up a discussion topic that I have with 80% of my clients that are out of high school.  When I photograph someone I try to get a connection with that person.  One that shows in the final image.  I personally don’t care for alot of photoshop.   I just spent close to $1,400 just on software upgrades.  Not that I use it alot because 98% of what I edit has nominal changes that a simple “free” editing software would probably be able to do.  But as a professional I had to have it to correct an image if I make a mistake. 

If I miss the best smile a 5 year old has made one afternoon – so be it.  If I miss a toast at a 60th wedding anniversary – that is a different story.  And I would need the pro -edition to correct my raw files in post production.  I’ve worked years to get the image right in camera.

I promote loving who you are.  Who you are NOW.  I grew up being ridiculed for being skinny.  Tall, boney, skinny.  You know – so skinny she has to jump around in the shower to get wet.  Growing up and getting a few wrinkles is ok by me.  I’ve also gotten a little wiser, and have learned to love who I am.  Bones, wrinkles and all.  Which reminds me of one of my favorite poems by Derek Walcott.

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

I picked a random photo from a recent shoot to illustrate my typical before and after.  The only edit to the first image was to convert it from RAW to jpeg.


You tell me.  I think she looks beautiful in both.

Happy Wednesday!