Burks Newborn

Oh my goodness. Squishy babies are the best ever! My daughter is just about as obsessed with these images of Baby Abbey as I am! And how cute is her big brother Simba peeking into her crib?

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Murphy Family

In the summertime, indoor sessions are the dream. So when my client recommended we have her session in her home, I was super excited. Also, it helps that her home is gorgeous and looks straight out of a magazine. Extended family sessions can be hard to arrange, since over half of this family lives in Austin, but are so so so worth it!!!

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Maddox Proposal

I often get to photograph my own family throughout the year, but this session was extra special. I photographed my uncle’s family this summer, and we invited his girlfriend and her kids to come have their pictures taken too! But surprise surprise, we had something extraordinary planned over a month before! Near the end of the session, my uncle got down on one knee and proposed! Woo hoo! She said yes, and then all their friends and family screamed with excitement from where they were hiding up the hill!

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Aviles Family

With summer being so very hot in Texas, I always get excited when I get to have a session indoors. Even more so, in a client’s home. There is just something so special about family pictures taken in their own space. And this session really benefited from being in their home because we got to use the piano in the pictures too! Elizabeth teaches piano lessons, and the boys just love playing it with her!

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Spain Mission Trip 2018

Totally different from my normal blog posts, today I am posting about my recent trip to Spain! This summer my husband and I had the amazing opportunity to go to Northwest Spain on a mission trip with the church he works at, Highland Park Presbyterian Church.

There is a pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago, also known as the Way of Saint James. The legend is that the remains of Saint James, one of Jesus’ disciples, was taken to the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela. The pilgrimage to Santiago was the most popular Christian pilgrimage back in the Middle Ages, but it has become popular again recently. Over 300,000 people walked in 2017, but most people do not walk for religious reasons, more popularly for sport or travel. Historically people would start their journey from their home, but now that people walk on The Way from all over the world, there are tons of different routes and starting points. The most popular trip, the French Way, goes from France all across northern Spain, and is 477 miles and typically takes about 6 weeks by foot.

All along the way the pilgrims (or peregrinos) stay in hostels or group albergues (typically a huge room that sleeps 60–100 in bunk beds). The Camino can become very costly: financially, physically and emotionally. Agape (CRU organization in Europe) owns and operates a small albergue called La Fuente del Peregrino (the Pilgrim’s Fountain) in Ligonde (about 5 days walking distance from the end of the Camino). It is a donations-only and volunteer-run hostel that provides up to 13 pilgrims a place to sleep, homemade dinner, and breakfast. They also stamp the pilgrims’ Camino passports (they have to receive a certain amount each day to earn their certificate at the end), have clean bathrooms, free drinks and snacks, and provide a place of rest for anyone along their journey. During the summer, several thousand people pass by every day. Agape has different churches, groups, and organizations around the world come work at La Fuente, and we got to be one of them!

This trip was all about radical hospitality, which is my family’s biggest spiritual gift and calling. It just seemed perfect for us to go on this trip. Jonathan is a videographer, so he filmed most of the trip, and even got to interview some of the pilgrims that stayed with us. We will eventually share the video of the trip, once we get it finished and add it to this post.

We had pilgrims from France, Colombia, Italy, Bulgaria, Holland, England, Canada, China, Germany, Russia, Australia stay with us during the week, but also a handful of Americans too! Arizona, Georgia, and even Dallas were all represented! Not to mention all the people from all over the globe that just passed through. Each day we would put pins on our map to represent each country from the pilgrims that day. It was so amazing to see the map fill up. During our week we had a large group from South Africa and a lot from South Korea. By far the most popular countries were Spain and France.

Our team did everything from cleaning the bathrooms, making all the meals, washing the bedding, stamping passports, to greeting (and dancing with) pilgrims as they pass by. It was so interesting to learn about each person’s reason for going on the Camino. Most of them seem like they are in search of something, and it was really great to reflect with them on their journey so far, and nearing the end.

Most of the pilgrims asked us why we were there, since it was very obvious we had come from America. We got to tell them about how we came to spend our vacation serving them, which was really shocking to a lot of people. Every night we played the Jesus Film in whatever was the most spoken language of our overnight guests. We also played this game called Solarium after dinner using images and stock photos. It helped them reflect on what life was like before and during their pilgrimage, and what they hope for it to look like after the Camino when they get home. A lot of spiritual seeds were planted and watered.

The biggest take away for me was that if God has called you to do something, don’t let whatever you think is a limitation stop you. Some people might think just housing 13 people a night isn’t worth it, when there are other places that can hold over 100. But the small amount of people really helped us focus on and have really in depth-conversations with them, instead of being a for-profit business. The trip has also reminded me to be more flexible. I am such a planner and love to know exactly what to expect, but on this trip you have no idea who will be staying with you each night. And sometimes people show up exactly when you are starting to serve dinner. But you know what, we made it work, we just added another plate at the table and readjusted.

Now time for pictures, what we are all here for:

IMG_8761.JPGOur team from Highland Park Pres.

IMG_8995.jpgOutside Family Dinner!

IMG_9284.jpgPilgrims getting stamps. The yellow booklets are a type of tract explaining the spiritual meanings between the different symbols of the Camino.

IMG_9021.jpgCows down the street from the Camino. They walked in front of the hostel every day in a parade.

IMG_9274.jpgWhat it looked like in front of the hostel all day until about 5PM.

IMG_9275.JPGOur last family dinner before we left La Fuente.

IMG_8852.JPGA part of the group from South Africa.

IMG_8847.jpgA group of pilgrims just around the corner from the cathedral!

IMG_8873.jpgWe flew in and out of Santiago de Compostela, and got to spend some time there. We saw the Cathedral where most of the pilgrims’ journey ends. The cathedral was breathtakingly gorgeous, and was originally opened in 1211. We also attended a pilgrim’s mass service which was such an amazing experience.

IMG_9081.jpgIMG_9087.jpgI can’t forget to mention Rosa, the cheese lady. She taught some of our team how to make cheese, and she was by far one of my favorite people in Spain.

IMG_9311.jpgThis is the Roegner family. They are missionaries that live in Spain and work for Agape. They originally are from Highland Park Pres, and we love them.

IMG_9232.jpgJonathan and I can’t wait to come back and bring Sailor when she is a little older.

 

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Summer Session Tips

Summers in Texas are extremely hot, but don’t let the heat stop you from getting new family pictures. Here are a few tips to make sure your family session is as cool as possible.

Packing List: First let’s start with some things you need to bring to any summer session. Lots of drinking water is the absolute most important, make sure you have extra bottles for everyone. Battery hand-held fans are great ways to cool down in between poses. And maybe bring an umbrella to use for shade if we have some extra walking at your location.

Time of Day: The best time for sessions in the summer is the morning! Earlier the better. If your family can handle getting up shortly after the sun, do it! But if you are anything like me and have a family member that simply cannot function before 10 AM, evening right before sunset is fine too. You can photoshop out some sweat and redness, but not a bad mood. Just remember that 8 AM can be 15-20 degrees cooler than 7 PM, and that makes a huge difference.

Location is Key: Certain locations can help a lot with your summer session too. If you have a very specific location in mind that has little to no shade, it might be best to wait until Fall. Shaded areas help so much with the heat, but also look much better in pictures. Also consider moving your session indoors! A lifestyle session in your home is always so special. And trust me, your home DOES NOT have to be spotless or designed by Joanna Gaines. If your kid is anything like mine and loves the water, we could have a water themed session! This might be best just for the kids, but we could get some fun unique shots at a splash pad or the sprinkler in your backyard.

Mini Sessions: Last, but certainly not least, is to just shorten your session time! My full sessions are about an hour and a half, but you could do a short and sweet mini session that is only 30 minutes long.

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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Professional Image Restoration

I worked on this amazing image this past month and loved every second. Restoring old images and giving them new life is truly such a fun part of my job. This particular image was really interesting. It was printed on fiber paper originally, then mounted on a type of linen fabric. I really think the linen fabric helped it stay together this long, since we believe it is over 100 years old. I have all my images 11×14 and larger mounted on a mat board, but had never seen anything mounted on linen before. It took a while to get all the details restored as best as possible, since a lot of information with the background had faded. The hardest part was definitely recreating the shoes and repairing the tears and folds.

 

Restoration_Website_Munoz

For more information on my Professional Image Restoration services, please visit my website at : http://www.melissamaddoxphotography.com/restoration

Family Model Search 2018

Hey friends! Last year, my Family Model Search was such a great success, I decided to hold one again this year! If your family needs some new pictures, and want to help me test out some new locations, please apply! Go to the link below to enter, and share with anyone that might be interested.

One family will be selected for a Mini Family Session with Melissa Maddox Photography. You must be a new client, and live in the DFW area. Must enter by June 1st, 2018. The session will be scheduled sometime this summer.

http://www.melissamaddoxphotography.com/family-model-search

FamilyModelSearch2018

Copyright Melissa Maddox Photography 2018

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