Waco Photographer

Samantha | Bridal Portraits in Salado, Texas

Bride poses in a field with a Texas sunset behind her in Salado, Texas - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

We were starting to wonder if having bridal portraits taken was a dying fad since we hadn’t had a bride request that in a while. But then Samantha came along with her princess dress from JoAnn’s Bridal and said she wanted a portrait session in her gown, and we were so excited!

Samantha is a true Disney fan, even having a job as a princess for little girls’ parties! So when we she came out in her dress, with it’s beautiful beaded detail on the bodice and full princess skirt, we immediately thought of Disney princesses. It was almost what we would imagine Belle would wear when she married the Beast!

We started our bridal session in a gorgeous private home in Salado, Texas. When we walked in and saw the spiral staircase, we knew it would be a perfect spot to showcase such a perfect dress! After the home, we made our way down to the famous green bridge in downtown Salado. Samantha wanted to climb up on the railing, and before Jason could make sure it was a clean and safe spot for her, she had already hopped up and made herself comfortable, proving she was as much a cowgirl as a princess. We timed our session just right to end up in this expansive field right at sunset. And while we were in the field, the deer nearby walked past to check out Samantha, making her seem even more like a Disney princess.

Then we went home and had to sit on these images until Samantha’s wedding day to Hayden came. And it was so hard! We did send her a password locked gallery with a huge subject line “DON’T OPEN THIS AROUND HAYDEN!” And her and her friends all cried over how amazing she looked in her dress. We just knew Hayden was going to be blown away by it too. And we weren’t disappointed when their big day arrived, the curtains opened to reveal Samantha in her dress coming down the aisle, and Hayden started choking up. (Look forward to that picture in their wedding blog coming soon!)

As we look through this session, we are reminded again of how great it is to have bridal portraits taken. We were able to take time with Samantha in her own session, getting her some beautiful heirloom images to treasure. We weren’t rush in the hustle of the wedding day, trying to squeeze in some bridal portraits before the bride walked down the aisle. And now, when Hayden and Samantha’s children see these pictures of Samantha, they’ll see their mama looking like the princess she really is.

Bride poses on winding staircase - Jason & Melaina Photography - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Dear Samantha,

Thank you for restoring our faith in bridal portraits. We hope you remember forever how you felt like a beautiful princess in this session. And that every time you see these pictures for years to come you’re reminded of that feeling!

Love, J&M


Welcome to the J&M Blog! Stay awhile and check out some of the other J&M Sweethearts featured!

3 Posing Hacks to Rock Your Next Selfie

Christmas is coming, New Year’s Eve isn’t far behind, and you know what that means? It’s time for PARTIES!!! Christmas parties, office parties, end-of-the-semester parties, your kid’s classroom party, Christmas gatherings with extended family, and the biggest party of the year, New Year’s Eve! And do you know what parties mean? PICTURES! Whether it’s your Aunt Edna pulling out her point-and-shoot for family photos at Christmas dinner, or your BFF taking a million selfies on NYE, there’s a good chance you’re going to end up in a few pictures that make the rounds on social media in the next couple of weeks.

3 posing hacks to make you look less awkward in front of the camera - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

But what if having your picture taken fills you with dread and makes you get the nervous sweats? What if you want to look posed and confidence like the picture on the right, but are terrified you’ll look more awkward and uncomfortable like the picture on the left?

Have no fear, friend! We’ve literally taken courses on how to pose people in flattering poses and we’re going to share with all you ladies (sorry, fellas) 3 quick posing tricks to give you confidence the next time your picture is taken.

These posing tips deal with 3 areas of the body women often consider unflattering in pictures - their necks, their upper arms, and their hips. So scroll down to learn our tips to make your neck double-chin-less, your arms slender, and trick the eye into thinking you’ve dropped a full dress size!

The Neck - “The Turtle” Posing Hack

Ever open up the camera on your phone and look down to realize it’s still on selfie mode? Then you know how unflattering multiple chins can look! If the potential to have a double-chin or saggy neck is something you worry about when you get your picture taken, there’s actually a really easy fix for this.

Get rid of your double-chin in photos with this posing trick - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Before I tell you the fix, though, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. This posing hack is counter-intuitive to what your body will want to do. You see, when we have insecurities about how we’ll look in pictures, our tendency will be to back away from a camera. Someone brings out a camera or pulls out their phone for a group selfie, and we start worrying about how we’ll look in the picture and wish we weren’t getting our picture taken, and then we’ll start pulling our body away from the camera or phone in an attempt to “hide” ourselves.

But here’s the thing, if you pull your face back, you know what happens to the skin on your neck? It bunches up on itself! Even if you have barely anything to be considered a double-chin, pulling your face away from the camera is going to exaggerate that area of your neck. And you’ll end up with exactly what you were trying to avoid!

Profile view to demonstrate posing technique to get rid of your double chin in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

So instead of backing away, you need to do what we call “the turtle.” Imagine a turtle slowly stretching his neck out to push his face out of his shell. And then, ever so slightly, push your nose and chin towards the camera.  Pushing your face toward the camera slightly is going to stretch out your neck and get rid of any extra chins that could potentially show up.

The Upper Arms - The “Elbows Out” Posing Hack

Now not all of us are blessed with Michelle Obama arms and this trick isn’t going to help you have defined biceps. But it will help your upper arms to not appear as large as they could, which is a huge win!

Once again, your fears over how your body will look in the picture could in fact make your fears reality. Just like pulling our face away when we’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, our natural tendency with our arms will be to clamp them down at our sides. Maybe it helps us feel more secure, or maybe it’s our way of forcing ourselves to be as thin as possible? Whatever the reason behind it, holding your upper arms tightly against your body is going to force all the muscle and fat on your upper arm to spread out. Go ahead, try it now. If you hold your arms against you, you’re actually going to make your upper arms appear bigger than they normally are!

Before and after examples of posing trick to make your arms look slimmer in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Instead, remember our simple trick, “elbows out.” If you’re concerned about how your upper arms look in pictures, when it’s time to pose simply pull your elbows away from your torso. This will allow a slight gap between your upper arm and your torso. By leaving this slight space you give your body definition and avoid flattening out the muscle and fat in your upper arm. Your upper torso will appear slimmer and the upper portion of your arm will look it’s thinnest. Win-win!

The Hips - The “Hip Swivel” Posing Hack

What if I told you that remembering to do our “hip swivel” posing trick in pictures will make you look one dress size smaller than you are? I haven’t actually measured to verify this claim, but I can say our “hip swivel” will trick the eye into thinking your hips are not the widest part of your body.

If you are concerned about how your hips look in pictures, you’ll want to avoid standing squarely facing the camera. Standing with your hips squared with your shoulders, pointing at the camera, is going to showcase the exact width of your hips and make them appear as the widest part of your body. But keeping your hips at an angle is going to give the illusion of a slim bottom half.

Before and after examples of posing technique to make your hips appear smaller in photos - Jason & Melaina Photography, Waco & Texas Wedding Photographers - www.jasonandmelaina.com

Here’s how to pull off our “hip swivel” technique. First, figure out the hip closest to the center of the group in the picture. Next, shift your weight onto that leg, pushing that half of the hip towards your rear. Now bring the other side of your hip slightly towards the camera. Finally, put a slight bend in your front leg, popping the knee and pointing it slightly towards the center of the picture.

So for example, say you're posing for a picture with your office BFF and she’s standing on your right side. You’ll need to shift your weight onto your right hip/leg and push it slightly behind you. Next you’ll bring your left hip slightly forward toward the camera. And finally, you’ll put a bend in your left knee and angle it towards the center of you and your friend.

Ta-Da! Now you're selfie ready!

And there you have it! 3 quick little adjustments you can make the next time you're in front of the camera to tweak any body areas that concern you. But more importantly, these posing hacks will give you confidence in front of the camera, and confidence is the most important tweak you can make in front of the camera!

Did you find this post helpful? Share with a friend and help all your BFFs look amazing in your next picture!

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Cory & Jackie | Couple's Portraits Session | Waco Wedding Photographer

Couple poses in front of Starry Night wall mural in downtown Waco, Texas

Cory & Jackie are childhood friends of Jason's family, growing up in the same church and attending many youth group events together. Back in 2009, these high school sweethearts became engaged and asked us to take their engagement portraits. We were just starting out as wedding photographers and loved the opportunity to photograph some engagement portraits for friends. Cory & Jackie were one of the first engaged couples we photographed together...and by together I mean Jason took the pictures while I stood there holding our camera bag. I was still learning the ropes of photography way back then!  

We all agreed it would have been awesome if we had been able to photograph their wedding as well. But unfortunately, my family was taking a years-in-the-making vacation to Disney World that summer and we weren't available for Cory & Jackie's wedding. After their wedding, we'd occasionally connect with Cory & Jackie mostly through social media, especially when I began watching the entire Gilmore Girls series last year and Jackie, a Lorelei and Rory fan, would comment her theories and ideas on my MANY Facebook posts about the show.

Then early this spring we received an email from Jackie, asking if we'd be available to do a photo session for them. You see, they were expecting their first baby! And while Jackie wasn't going to be far enough along in her pregnancy for a traditional maternity shoot when they were visiting family in Texas before heading back home to Nashville, TN, she didn't want to miss the opportunity to have portraits taken with us. She wanted to get some portraits of this time in their story, of the final months of it being just the two of them before their sweet little girl arrived in the fall.

So one day we met them in downtown Waco. Jackie had seen the Starry Night mural mentioned online in her searches about things to see in Waco, and thought it would be a perfect backdrop for their portraits. And I couldn't agree more! Starry Night is actually one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings, and I told Jason we needed to take our own portraits in front of this wall too! After spending some time at the mural, we headed to the Carleen Bright Arboretum to use it's beautiful gazebo. See, Jackie had the PERFECT idea for a pregnancy announcement portrait that would make any Gilmore Girls fan squeal. So we set Cory & Jackie up like Rory and Lorelei in the final scene of the Gilmore Girls movie. Jackie and I had to coach Cory through how Lorelei looked when Rory revealed her pregnancy, but in the end he nailed it. And then we finished out their couple's session freezing time on some romantic moments between this husband and wife so years into raising their family they can look back on these portraits and smile.

Husband and wife laugh in front of Starry Night mural in downtown Waco
Husband and wife laugh in front of Starry Night mural in downtown Waco
Wife puts head on husband's shoulder in front of Starry Night mural in downtown Waco
Husband and wife pose in front of Starry Night mural in downtown Waco
Couple recreates final scene of Gilmore Girls movies for pregnancy announcement



"I'm pregnant."

Couple embraces in front of rustic barn at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas
Husband and wife stroll hand-in-hand through the garden at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas
Couple embraces on bridge, walks hand-in-hand, at Carleen Bright Arboretum
Couple dances in the gazebo at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas
Couple walks away from camera, hand-in-hand, under string lights at Carleen Bright Arboretum in Woodway, Texas

Cory & Jackie,
Congratulations once again on your little girl! We can't wait to meet her when she comes. We hope y'all enjoy these final months of just the two of you, and we're so excited for this new journey in your story!
Love, J&M