It’s all about your heart…

Stefanie and Homer

Stefanie and Homer

There’s a song… I used it for her senior video (I’ll attach it at the end): ♫ ♪ It’s not about your scars… it’s all about your heart ♪ ♫…. It couldn’t be a more perfect song to tell the story of Stefanie Miller and her beloved horses! Stefanie is one of the “mover and shaker” volunteers with my sister’s Equessense Horse Therapy program for disabled kids. But the amazing thing about horse therapy is that the “therapy” doesn’t stop with just the kids. EVERYONE, professional and lay person alike, finds healing therapy for their own soul
Loving Red Rock

Loving Red Rock

through these animals. And, you could feel it in Stefanie’s life. Of course, she wanted her senior pictures with the horses she has grown to love so much, so we headed out there one spring evening, and captured this amazing, beautiful girl who wants to be a veterinarian, and who so obviously knew she belonged there… and she knew she had a wonderful purpose in the lives of those horses — and the kids — kids whose lives and joy are not about their “scars”, but are all about their hearts! Stefanie knew she was so much a part of all the magic that happened on those grounds. She was radiant, and it was such a joy being with her, celebrating this huge milestone in her life.

Web-9251My favorite part is that Stefanie’s favorite horse is a sweet horse named Homer. He is completely blind. That is so like her to love a “scarred” one with a huge heart the most!

Stefanie… You are amazing! And it has been such an honor to celebrate your high school graduation with these photos. You are going to make an amazing veterinarian, so here’s to the beginning… or I should say… here’s to the next step in that beautiful journey!

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All things for good….

Web-8678_ARemember that one particular “everyone’s favorite” Bible verse — the one so comforting when things don’t seem to be working out very well? Romans 8:28: “ALL things work together for good for those who love God….” Ok… so that would include me… and, I had a very sweet opportunity for God to make good on that promise while photographing little 3-month old Elliana. She is so CUTE! And when she Web-8647arrived at my home studio for her photoshoot, ohmygosh, she lit up the dark gray overcast day with her radiant smile and sparkly eyes. She was still so very tiny for 3 months (still in the 9-lb range), and it didn’t take long before she decided that she would rather NOT pose for pictures, thank you. I mean…. she “pleaded” with us to quit messing with her, and she quite plainly told us in no uncertain terms that she was not having fun, so “STOP IT”. My heart went out to her! Web-8605I never ever EVER want to make a child’s experience with me horrible. It’s why I never schedule anything else on a baby shoot day. It takes so much time and patience to NOT make them uncomfortable and aggravated. But, it seemed the only thing that could calm her down was when her daddy took her into another room, just the two of them, for a few minutes. Hmmmm….. you see the challenge?

Web-8577Sooooo, what did I do? I kept calm (believe it or not)… and I prayed :). I prayed for Ellie. I prayed for calmness. And I prayed, “Okay, God… what should I do?????”. And I snapped pictures every moment I even thought I could do so without upsetting her. In the end, I have to admit, I was afraid to even download the pictures. I was afraid there might not be any that would bless Elliana’s mom and dad and make them feel like we captured their precious, heart-stopping baby girl!

Web-8656But then… the moment of truth. I couldn’t believe it! Somehow, amidst the tears and cries, we got some beautiful photos. Photos that you would never know were snapped in sporadic instances when she wasn’t sad. Photos that caused me to think, “When did I take THAT one?” “Really???”. It was such a beautiful moment to see that 🙂 And I didn’t forget to thank God for making all things work out for good! He DID!!!! 🙂
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Posted in Children | 2 Comments

A Whole World Full of Special

Good-bye, beautiful Princess!

Good-bye, beautiful Princess!

I was so incredibly blessed and humbled by having 2 occasions in one week to photograph the most beautiful children… no… I’ll say instead, the most beautiful “PEOPLE” on Planet Earth. They were two separate groups of special needs children. My heart is still tender thinking of their faces. Their tears. Their laughter. As well as the sacrifices their families and teachers make to ensure that the kids have hope and joy in their lives — and that they reach their full potential. That part happens so much in part by gifted special education workers. Michelle Griffin, Judy Hendon, Summer Teel… moms and dads of these amazing kids, you are my HEROES, and I truly mean that!

Web-8758The first event was a memorial tribute to the most amazing horse, Princess, who gave her life serving special needs kids through the Equessense Horse Therapy program. She was a kind, sweet, majestic animal who was so beloved that some of the children (and ummmm…. her owners, caretakers and photographers as well) are still reeling from the loss of her. She had gotten a bad infection in her foot, and sadly, the massive Web-8713antibiotics she had to take to save her foot, caused a deficiency in her good bacteria, and she developed a tummy infection and colic. She and the Equessense team fought so hard! Last weekend was their chance to say good-bye. They wrote notes to her and put them inside balloons that were released up to Heaven where she now runs in a striking display of color and emotion. Gosh… did I say their little faces are still emblazoned on my mind? My heart is still broken for their broken hearts??? Like Princess, they are so pure, it is painful thinking of anything causing any of them to suffer! I hope I was able to capture for them their sweet, amazing hearts, and their loving tribute to their beloved Princess.

8801The second event was more lighthearted, but still amazingly tender for me. I was invited to photograph a class of special needs children during their field trip to the zoo. By the end of the day, I seriously wanted each one of those kids to be my own child! And I couldn’t help thinking how wonderful life would be if we could ALL enjoy life and simple pleasures as much as they do. They 8981weren’t even as concerned with seeing the animals as they were the flowers, the water, their reflections in glass, the popcorn… you name it… they soaked it ALL in with such delight your heart just filled up with love! I heard amazing stories of each child. Their struggles, but also their progress has been so awe-inspiring! I believe God gives them their special-ness as a gift. To keep them separate and protected from some of the stresses, anxieties and biases that we all so easily get sucked into.

So thankful for my “job” (Really???? Is this work???? Nahhhhhhhhhhhh! 🙂

To you, Princess!

To you, Princess!


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Lawyers are so fun. . .

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Web-8386_AAnd amazing… and a joy to hang out with! And, the only reason I even mention this is because before being delivered (literally) into the life I enjoy now as a photographer, I spent many of my years working for attorneys in different capacities. Web-8467Not to say that some of them weren’t nice. There were some that were very nice. But for me, I always felt a little more like a puppy living in a nice cage at a shelter — plenty to eat and not treated horribly, but… you know… we’re “there”… and sad.

Web-8453Not anymore… Now, one of my favorite things to do is hang out with these particular lawyers. The lawyers and staff of The Weisinger Law Firm. They have brought redemption to everything and everyone legal. Yayyyy! THANK YOU, CHARLIE! Course, it doesn’t hurt that I’ve had the pleasure of falling in love with their most photogenic little newborn either! OhmyGOODNESS that is a beautiful little boy!

Web-8395So, one bright, sunny February morning, we headed to Main Plaza in San Antonio, and took new website photos for the Weisinger Law Firm to include their new attorney, Amanda Batsche and Olivia, who is taking on a professional role with the firm as well.

Between the true “professional” shots, we laughed, giggled and played on the Riverwalk. I love the personality of this law firm. It is highly professional in every sense of the word, yet there is a warmth when you walk in their office, and it is casual and down-to-earth, and “real”. I would say ANYONE needing any type of estate planning, guardianship, or probate work would be comforted and blessed by the experience of The Weisinger Law Firm !
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To my friends…

Web-8316To you, I would give the world. . .

And the songbirds are singing
Like they know the score.
I love you, I love you
like never before,
[Eva Cassidy, Songbird]

Eva Cassidy. She sang sweetly for us the entire weekend. A weekend of the most amazing friendship a person could ever be blessed enough to have in their lifetime. For us, the friendship has BEEN for a lifetime. I will never stop thanking God for that gift! I love you, my childhood friends more than I can even say!

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Welcome, Master Benjamin!

Web-Swing_8168What a JOY to photograph your grand entrance into the Hosea family! Just 2 years ago (but seemingly yesterday), I was photographing your big brother, Nathan, at 5-lbs and 6 days old. Now, an “all-boy” BEAUTIFUL blonde-haired, blue eyed two-year old marched proudly in to lavish kisses and hugs on you, his baby brother, for your very own first photo session (when he wasn’t drawing with chalk or playing with a Jedi light sabre of course).

Web-8129If you ask me – the only thing cuter than newborn babies in photographs is siblings loving on them. What FUN we had! REALLY! Nathan was beyond precious! Ross (Benjamin’s daddy) was the best assistant newborn photographer one could EVER pray to have! Web-8149_BWMy heart turned to mush as Ross so patiently and delicately helped with getting his baby’s hands posed “just so” and comforting him softly by rubbing his beard softly on his back (which worked EVERY time). He was the first to grab binkies, wipeys, blankies and whatever else was needed on the spot. What I loved so much about all — besides the help with the baby posing I mean — was that he was working so hard at letting Cindy just sit back and rest and not worry herself with anything. She was due more pampering than either of us could ever give her, right?

Web-8042So after several hours, endless very well-deserved treats for Nathan’s hard work, a macaroni and cheese lunch, a snack or two for Benjamin, and what looked like a tornado having swept through the studio… Voila… beautiful newborn photos ready for the art of post processing. Woo HOOOOO!

I… SERIOUSLY… am in love. Both with this family, AND with our resulting photography! Thank you, thank you THANK YOU, Ross, Cindy, Nathan and Benjamin for the gift of this experience doing a second newborn session for you. And thank you for photos that I know I (and my portfolio) will treasure forever. ♥
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Posted in Family, Newborn | 1 Comment

To Studio… or not…

Web-7901_ASooooooooo, I love having a fairly big enough studio in my home. I love the freedom it gives me in my business. I can’t even imagine how much I would have to charge if I was having to pay rent, utilities, and taxes on commercial studio space (eeeeeeeeeeeek)! Web-7806_BW_ABUT… the downside to an in-home studio is that the size and background constraints somewhat limit what you can do — especially with more than a couple of people. Typically, the majority of my studio work is with newborns, a couple of start-off senior photos, and glamour. It works great for just one or two people.

Web-7878_AFamilies are more of a challenge because I am NOT a “huddle up in a perfect triangle and say cheese” kind of portrait poser. Web-7888I like people to look and feel relaxed — comfortable engaging with each other — spread out and easy. So, space and background area become the challenge. Once, for a wonderfully large family with 10 kids, I took pictures of everyone separately and made a composite photo in photoshop after the fact. I’ve done that with my own family too, and it has worked well.

But, the studio idea wasn’t really an issue with Robyn and Florin’s family because our plan was to go to an urban area on the Riverwalk to get some edgy photos with peeled paint backgrounds, old colored brick walls, rusty aluminum backdrops. Web-7846Yummmm! My favorite! Except… well… it is winter (on some days anyway — certainly on any day we tried to do the shoot). So, on a rare for San Antonio, bitterly cold day with a sick baby, we rescheduled for a wishful warmer day. But, life happened, and we found ourselves in a situation where we couldn’t do the reschedule date either, and our only choice was to take the family portraits one evening in the studio. I have to admit to having been a little nervous about shooting 4 “adults” and a baby in the studio — as well as how to combine studio photography with the urban edgy look they really wanted as their first choice. I had the privilege of having shot Robyn’s wedding, and because I respect so much her value of photography as art, I really wanted to do a good job for her!

Web-7818Ta-daaaaaaa! We did it! And what fun! There are a couple of composites, but mostly, just paying reeeeeeeeallllly close attention to angles and space made it work just fine. We’re actually all pretty delighted with our urban studio look.

Thank you so much, Robyn, Florin, Josh and Nicole (and of course sweeeeet Baby Asher)!! I was amazed at how photogenic you guys were! Such easy natural smiles, obviously evident of an amazing family! I love our accomplishment! And what a BLESSING to do this follow-up shoot after having taken the photos of your beautiful wedding! ♥
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2014 Brings Flashes of Hope

So, so SOOOOOOO happy today! It’s the first real day of the new year (work wise), and I got an invitation that makes me very happy! A few months ago, I read about a non-profit organization I immediately knew I wanted to get involved with. Flashes of Hope. They are a prestigious national organization that provides portraits to families with children who have cancer. This has been something very close to my heart ever since I walked with a co-worker through the death of her 3-year old granddaughter with cancer years ago. It was devastating. Once she was gone, there was no way to ever again get pictures of their baby, and I noticed most of the photos they had of her were faded snapshots — the kind that most people snap of their family that don’t always truly convey the child’s radiant personality, or even the relationships with the child that mean so much to them.

As my portrait work has progressed, I have longed to make photography for families like my co-worker a part of my life. My heart is capturing the soul of my subjects, and they of all people, need lasting memories of their child. So, in applying, I noticed that their application said that almost all their photographers are chosen from The American Society of Media Photographers. High end, commercial photographers who work with brands like Luvs Diapers, Fisher Price, or Gerbers Baby Food. Eeeee…. Here I am, just me, serving my local area with portrait art. I thought it was a long shot, but you never know unless you apply, right?

So HAPPY NEW YEAR, Sandy! I get a wonderful, personal email from the Developer of Photographers with this organization complimenting me on my work which she studied from my website… Aaaaaand… saying they’d love to include me in their organization.

They are still in the process of establishing Flashes of Hope in this area, so she warned me to be patient as they worked out all the kinks to get started, but I should be up and running with this amazing organization before too long, and I absolutely can’t wait.

Yep… about the best way Sandy Powers Photography could start out its new year! “Thanks, God!” 🙂

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Shooting Bittersweet

7530_squareIt’s so amazing. And humbling. When long time, long ago friends contact me about doing a family shoot. I love it! And as always, I think I raise my bar for wanting to do excellent work even more. That’s why I was so happy to get to meet and take family portraits of my friend from school, John Shimek and his beautiful (I mean, REALLY beautiful) family! The occasion is what was bittersweet. They were all together — the two sons, a daughter-in-law, and two of the most strikingly beautiful little granddaughters I’ve ever seen, who happened to be leaving for Belgium for three years just two days after the shoot. They were all so close, and so obviously had alot of fun being family. It was great hanging out with them for the evening. That was the sweet part.
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7504What struck me all evening was how much, their five-year old reminded me of my own little five-year old granddaughter. She had a similar striking beauty, very similar expressions, same adorably girlie mannerisms, and same special bond with her Nana and Papa. Being such an empathetic person by nature, I was really feeling how hard it would be to say good-bye to such an important part of your life for 3 whole years. *snif*

7523_squareSo thankful for Skype and instant connections via Facebook and texting. I actually remember being five and living in Germany with my military family, and grieving horribly for my grandmother the whole three years. But we had no way to connect back then, so at least easier connectedness for the Shimeks will hopefully make the time apart more manageable.

I’m so grateful for the privilege of taking these photos. So impressed by the family. And so wishing a fast three years. Or… maybe a couple of fun trips to Belgium for vacations!
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Princess Savannah

Web-6949Bridal Portraits are so… hmmm… what’s the word. Surreal? It’s a girl’s first feel of what it will be like being a bride. She has the dress on. The shoes. She’s had her hair done. Her make-up exquisitely applied by a professional artist. She looks in the mirror, and the person looking back at herself amazes her. She’s breathtakingly beautiful! In Savannah’s case, she even said, “Is that ME????” Web-6979It’s magical. Even if it quickly becomes surprisingly awkward maneuvering “the dress” around for poses and getting from here to there. No matter tho. When you have dreamed since you were a young girl of having your wedding dress designed by the internationally renowned designer from Barcelona, Spain, Pronovias, nothing takes away the awe of being in that dress, getting a sneak peak at what it will feel like to be the bride you always dreamed you’d be.

See why it feels a bit surreal? Like spending an afternoon in a fairy tale.

Web-6972In Savannah’s case, it was even more special to me because she is my family. She is the sister of my daughter-in-law, Natalie, so I felt even more deeply the special feelings of being part of a beautiful young girl’s dreams coming true.

I hope I did her justice because she looked absolutely exquisite. Like Italian Royalty. She had a vintage beauty that literally took my breath away when I framed her, clicked, and saw what we came up with! And I have to say, I’ve never done bridal portraits where so many passers by felt compelled to stop and tell her how gorgeous she was. Even strangers were sneaking photos of her!

Web-6995Her wedding was Saturday, in Houston where she lives. I did not take her wedding photos, so I had the pleasure of enjoying a relaxing and very fun road trip with my other daughter-in-law, Breanna, and Abby and Carson. We stayed in the amazing Hotel Sorella where the reception was and had such a great time together! We indeed made a few forever memories that I’ll treasure always. And it was so nice to just sit back with family and friends, basking in the fairy tale with Savannah and Carlos. It was as perfect a dream-come-true as perfect could get. Every detail was spectacular!

Thank you, Mrs. Cavazos. I adore you, and I am so honored to have shared your bridal portrait experience with you! ♥
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