the blog

Melba and Josh’s Intimate Wedding Ceremony

Before we get into the exciting details of Melba and Josh’s intimate wedding ceremony, we should start with the story of how Josh proposed to Melba. It was Thanksgiving evening and they were baking in the kitchen. Melba’s mom was attempting her very first organic pound cake for Josh (its his favorite, and Melba’s mom LOVES Josh so she was excited to make something especially for him!). The cake went in the oven, and when it came out the only thing better than the delicious smell was how amazing it tasted! They cleaned up and Melba prepared to leave, but Josh wasn’t ready to go quite yet. He stood idle, talking about all of the fun they had that day, and how he “would like the fun to continue…” (Yes, Melba may be the only girl in the world who actually remembers what her fiancé said during his proposal!). At that moment, Josh got on one knee and pulled out a ring box he had been carrying in his shoe the entire day. Right there in the kitchen, with Melba’s mother by his side, Josh asked Melba to marry him!! Her mother screamed and everyone cried! It was the most special day of bot
h their lives.

True to our Creative Non-Fiction style, we wanted to capture Melba and Josh’s wedding through their most important details. One thing we love about weddings so much is how unique they are to each couple, and this was especially true with Melba and Josh. When the bride-to-be and groom-to-be began planning, they sat down with all the traditions and completely threw out the ones that they knew weren’t for them. The result was beautiful: an intimate wedding ceremony with just their immediate families at the White Hall Houston, followed by an intimate wedding dinner with just 30 of their closest friends at Brennan’s of Houston. The moments shared were nothing short of remarkable. Everything flowed together so seamlessly and the moments were equally full of laughter and tears of joy.

Once Melba and Josh knew that they wanted the foundation of their first day as husband and wife was an intimate wedding ceremony and to be simply surrounded by the people they love, they dove straight into the details, something that Melba absolutely loves. The three most important things were the florals, the cake, and the color palate. 

The florals came to life exactly in Melba’s vision with Megan of Lanson B. Jones on the team. Megan chose in-season blooms, which included the most beautiful blush garden roses that stole the show in Melba’s bouquet. For dessert, Melba and Josh chose a traditional white wedding cake, surrounded by their absolute favorite dessert of Chocolate Chip cookies and Milk; a dessert combination that was to die for from the amazing Whisk Bakery. And all of this pulled together the soft colors of blush, cream and Navy which Melba and Josh so perfectly selected. They permeated the day from the beautiful floral arrangements, her Mori Lee DRESS, and even their BHLDN vow books. One of Melba’s favorite things about their wedding was Josh’s custom tux made by Limitus Bespoke, which featured silk blush pink lining with gold piping and embroidery detail with their wedding date. He was pretty excited to show it off and we were just as excited to snap portraits of it! 

Melba and Josh truly planned a day that brought two families together as one. There was laughter and many tears, and it is these moments that we hope their wedding portraits will always bring back the memories of. Those tender moments shared between two people in love and the family and friends that surrounded them. Melba & Josh, your love is infectious in the best way and we are so grateful you invited us to capture it.



Melba and Josh’s Creative Team was absolutely a dream to work with. Click Below to see more of their work.

Ceremony Venue: The Whitehall Houston

Reception Venue: Brennan’s of Houston

Florals: Lanson B. Jones

Cake & Cookies: Whisk Bakery

Bride’s Dress: Mori Lee

Groom’s Tux: Litmus Bespoke

Hair and Make-up Artist: Adorne Artistry

Linens and Chargers: House of Hough

3 Tips for Wedding Planning

When Ryan proposed to me almost FIVE years ago, I didn’t actually hear anything he said. It was a blur of him being down on one knee and a ring box and trees all around. All I really know is that it was the most exciting moment of my life; which seems like a weird thing to say about a moment I barely remember!

We called our parents and closest friends, made it Facebook official, and a few weeks later we started talking about the wedding. Oy. Vey.

I had NO idea where to even begin. We were doing a lot of googling, a lot of talking around in circles, and a whole lot of NOTHING when it came to actually planning. Eventually, we figured things out, found the perfect venue, and got back to actually enjoying our engagement, but I certainly wish I had a little more help in the beginning stages!

So for all you newly-engaged friends out there, we asked some of our favorite wedding vendors a few pieces of advice for getting started, and we hope that it helps you as you dig into wedding planning!


From Lindsay of Lean on Me Events on Choosing your Venue

Before searching for your venue you’ll need to have a firm grasp on your budget and guest count. It’s never fun falling in love with a venue that can’t accommodate your two main needs. After doing some online research to find the venues that meet your needs then, you should schedule tours at your top 3-5 choices.


Pro Tip: When you’ve found “the one” don’t dilly dally around – venues only host one event per day and book quickly, especially during the months of January-March, you’ll need to be prepared to reserve your date.

texas hill country wedding dog friendly


From Skylar of Chancey Charm on Picking the Perfect Wedding Date

Wedding season in Texas is a little different. Due to our hot summers, the season runs from March through the beginning of June and takes a break until late September where it ramps up for our busiest month of the year – October.” One tip for stretching your budget is planning your wedding for an “on-season.” This is especially helpful for booking your dream venue!


brian gavin diamonds blue topaz engagement ring

On Keeping your Ring Sparkling All the Way to Your Wedding Day from Brian Gavin Diamonds 

Keep one to two ring trees in your house. Keep one in the kitchen so that you can easily take off your ring as you cook or clean. Keep the second tree in your bathroom or bedroom as I don’t recommend you shower or sleep with your diamond. Any soap or residue when you shower will stick to the diamond and only keep it dirty.



le san michele wedding photographer

And of course, we can’t sign off without giving you a few tips of choosing the perfect wedding photographer! We’ve put together a PDF of the top 3 photography questions you should be asking! You can download it here:

Caroline + Eric’s Houston Museum District Engagement

If you can’t already tell by scrolling through these engagement photos, Caroline and Eric are pure magic; they may even be brighter than the sun. They are truly the sweetest of couples, so of course they also have have the sweetest of proposal stories.

Eric proposed to Caroline on her birthday, which in 2017 fell on Easter. They planned to spend the morning with Eric’s family at his sister’s house. She lives across the street, so they walked over together. Along the way Erica had gone out early before Caroline woke up with a basket full of Easter eggs and set up on a blanket under a beautiful old tree in the yard. In the basket, among Caroline’s favorite chocolate bunnies and Easter candies laid a crystal egg with a small box sitting inside of it. Eric got down on one knee and asked Caroline to marry him.

When we began planning Caroline and Eric’s engagement session, Caroline knew two things for certain; the first was that she wanted to capture their true joy and the fun they share together everyday and the second, she wanted a timeless, classic engagement portrait in the tree lined streets of Houston. Of course, with how in love these two are and how much they make each other laugh, the first one was easy. And to make the second come to life, we headed to the Houston Museum District filled with the most beautiful oak trees and the gorgeous sunlight shining through. We truly could not have asked for a more beautiful day to share in capturing such beautiful moments with these two lovebirds.

Caroline and Eric are getting married next summer at the oldest Catholic Church in Texas, the Historic San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio, Texas and we cannot wait for their I-Do’s!

Brooke + Ben’s Wedding Featured on B. Loved


We don’t have favorites when it comes to weddings, but I think it is safe to say that if we fell into a Groundhog day scenario and had to relive and re-photograph Brooke and Ben’s wedding day over and over again, we would be just fine with it. And I guess our favorite international blog, B. Loved Blog agreed, because they featured Brooke + Ben’s beautiful outdoor Houston wedding today!



Brooke & Ben are exceptional human beings. They are kind, humble, and treat each person they meet with the utmost respect. Ryan and I were just a small part of the incredible vendor team they included in their wedding at The Carriage House, and Brooke and Ben treated each of us like a part of their family. We are truly grateful to have captured every moment of their day, and every detail that was so thoughtfully planned.

You can see the full feature here and you can scroll down to see some of our favorite images and moments from the day, as well as the incredible vendor team, spearheaded by Houston Wedding Planner, Garnished Event, that made it all happen!

We love the outdoor ceremony space at The Carriage House. The greenery arch is a staple, which makes your whole ceremony space look lush and beautiful. 

Cocktail hour included french fries, sliders, and a specialty Bridal Cocktail; all of which is SO Brooke & Ben. 

There was not a dry eye in the house during Brooke and Ben’s first look out on the Carriage House patio. <3 

Brooke’s grandmother, who was an integral part of the planning process, passed away just a few weeks prior to the wedding. Brooke included some of the sweetest details, including wearing her vintage rings and having a space saved for her at the ceremony. Without a doubt, she was there with us. 

The Ginger Snap Photo Camper is always a win. And how gorgeous are these greenery and floral church pew arrangements? 

Mary from Gypsy Blooms blew the wedding florals out of the water. Brooke and Ben had a floral hanging installation in their greenery ceremony arch. And the bridal and bridesmaids bouquets were absolutely to die for. And boutonnieres are often overlooked, but these were absolute perfection so I had to include an image of them below! 

Wedding Planner: Garnished Event
Wedding Venue: The Carriage House
Bride’s Dress: Brickhouse Bridal
Cakes: Whisk Bakery
Florals: Gypsy Blooms
Catering: Cafe Natalie
Linens + Rentals: Artistique Events
Hair and Make-up: Sunkissed and Madeup
Photobooth: Gingersnap Photo Camper

3 “Getting Ready” Tips for your Wedding Day

We wanted to hone in a little bit today on the getting ready part of your wedding day – and not just how it pertains to photography. If we had to sum it up in three main objectives, they would be:

Big Windows. Cushion Time. And at least ten square feet per bridesmaid.

But let me explain.

The hours leading up to your wedding ceremony should be relaxing, filled with excitement and anticipation. We believe this because your wedding ceremony is the single most important part of your wedding day, and arguable, of your life, and hours of stress and anxiety don’t seem like a good platform to head into the most important time of your life on.


So let me start with cushion time. When we build a wedding photography timeline, we add in extra time throughout each section of the day for “cushion”. But your photo timeline likely won’t start until the end of hair and make-up. So it is important to acknowledge and plan ahead for cushion time in your getting ready schedule. Even if you have the best hair and make-up artist (like our favorites over at Hey Lovely Make-up that somehow manage to NEVER be behind schedule) there are other factors to consider that will need cushion time; For instance, a late bridesmaid, lunch delivery, dress malfunctions, etc. We promise you, starting your day 30 minutes earlier will always be worth it when the extra time is needed. And if everything goes perfectly? You are finished getting ready thirty minutes early and have time to take a breather, capture some extra gorgeous getting ready images, or have a drink with your maids.

Second: Big windows. This may seem like it is solely for photo purposes, and it is true, we LOVE gorgeous window light, but the natural light a big window in your getting ready room will give you benefits far more than photography! Your hair and make-up artist will also LOVE it. While there are incredible light stands and set-ups that hair and make-up artists can use when a window isn’t available, natural light is always going to give the best perception of how your make-up will look once you walk out the door. Having that window also eliminates the need for those light stands, which can add clutter to your already bustling getting ready room.

Speaking of clutter… Number 3: At least ten square feet for every bridesmaid. This is not a precise number by any stretch of the mind, but think space, and lots of it. Girls come with lots of stuff. Bags, dresses, hair and make-up, hairspray, cell phones, chargers, shoes (probably 2 or 3 pair if they haven’t decided what they are wearing yet)… you get the picture. There is probably going to be food, wedding day mimosas, gifts, bouquets. Girls also take up space to get ready in AND just hang out in. Once you get all of your bridesmaids, and likely your mother, grandmother, aunt, etc. into a room, it will get crowded quickly. If you are getting ready in a hotel, consider a suite or multiple rooms. If you are getting ready in a venue space, think about having your girls limit what they bring to the venue with them to just the necessities.


Additional Getting Ready Resources

What to Wear:
Girl and A Serious Dream

On-Site Hair and Make-up Artists:
Hey Lovely Make-up
(Seriously, they are ALWAYS on time!)

Wedding Day Snacks Everyone Loves:
(And won’t be too messy!)
Topo Chico

Thank You’s + Wedding Invitations

I am obsessed with handwritten thank you notes. I believe there is power in snail mail for hundreds of reasons; but that will have to be for another blog post. (Because I would roll on and on and on and on and on and on about it.)

Because of my love of the good old USPS, it was a no brainer when Katie from Basic Invite reached out to me to ask if I would be interested in testing out their online card design system. Thousands of thank you notes at my fingertips? Absolutely.

Basic Invite, based out of Southern Utah (USA Based businesses for the win!), has gone above and beyond the “template” world of online ordering. They have hundreds of gorgeous designs that you can 100% completely totally customize to your liking. They have 180+ colors to chose from (and they’ll even mail you a handy printed color sheet!) and over 100 fonts which makes designing exactly what you want super easy.

So Basically, I have said goodbye to boring thank you notes. (“Basic”ally, see what I did there? 😉 )

And the best part for all of my brides out there, they have FULL wedding invitation suites! Save the dates, invitations, RSVP card, envelopes, accommodations, etc. So if you want a wedding invitation that is truly you, but don’t quite have it in the budget to splurge on an artist designed fully custom suite, Basic Invite is an amazing option! They’ll even mail you printed samples so you don’t have to guess from a computer screen how it will print!

I have already used every single one of my thank you cards (good thing I photographed them as soon as they arrived!) and can’t wait to order more. I am especially excited to try out their “Modern Clear” line which launched shortly after I placed my first order.

(Full disclosure, I didn’t take the picture above. But I am so obsessed with this clear print that I needed to share it so Katie sent me a stock photo from the Basic Invite collection!).

Basic Invite also sent custom notecards to all of the gals that went to Colorado with us. So obviously, I had to take a photo of my favorite one (because, coffee!) with the Colorado Red Rocks.

Katie was also sweet enough to share a discount code for all of you to receive 15% off your order! Just input 15FF51 at checkout!

Happy Snail Mail!

Refresh: The Anti-Hustle

 colorado springs wedding photographer
Dress: Lovely Bride | Florals: Layers of Lovely | Hair & Make-up: Hey Lovely Makeup
hus·tle / verb
force (someone) to move hurriedly or unceremoniously in a specified direction.
We live in the world of “the hustle”. It is preached and praised to hustle for our businesses. But I believe hand-in-hand with hustle, we must find people and places to relax, refresh, and refuel.
And that is exactly what our annual Colorado week is for. Along with a handful of our favorite fellow photography business owners, we pack up our bags, head for cooler weather, and spend a solid week with the slowest internet 2017 can find. We shoot, laugh, explore, try out new things, talk through old things, brainstorm, and we all leave feeling as much as possible like Leo Di Puprio in this picture below.
When your business is your life, and your life your business, it is incredibly hard to truly turn off. “Paid Vacation Days” where we can leave the office and not think about a single work thing for 7 days until we walk back in the door just don’t exist. And thats okay. In fact, in the grand scheme of being a business owner, I prefer it. But it does require more intentionality in turning off work, separating personal life, and ensuring we care for ourselves, not just our business.
You don’t have to escape to the Rockys to do this, but I must say, fresh mountain air certainly helps. So does a spa day, a bottle of tequila, some fresh limes, and friends who make you laugh until you cry.
We will be showing more of our trip over the next few weeks (including our first roll of film!). In the meantime, even if you can’t jet off for a solid week away, I want to encourage you to set aside some relaxation time: get a manicure, go for a walk without your phone, grab a glass of wine with a friend and shake hands on no business talk. I promise, it will be worth it.

Fine Art Boudoir Photography Featured on Style Me Pretty

“She instills grace in every common thing and divinity in every careless gesture.”
-Edmond Rostand

Bridal Boudoir Photography by Houston Wedding Photographer Smith House Photography at Olde Dobbin Station

A few weeks ago we teamed up with a few of our favorite Houston Wedding Vendors to write an article on Style Me Pretty: 3 Reasons to Combine Your Bridal + Boudoir Sessions

This was an especially exciting blog post for me to contribute to, because I LOVE bridal portraits AND I love classy, soft, and feminine boudoir images. But often our brides feel the need to chose between one or the other. Whether it is because busy schedules don’t allow two shooting days on the calendar, or because wedding budgets don’t allow for two portrait sessions, two bridal bouquets, two hair and make-up appointments, etc. our brides are often playing rock paper scissors to decide BRIDAL portraits OR BOUDOIR photography?

But truly, shooting them together is a win all around! Your hair and make-up is already absolute perfection, you are already at a beautiful venue, and your gorgeous bridal bouquet gets to be shown off twice as much! And thats just the tip of the iceberg! Hop over to our feature on Style Me Pretty and read the in-depth reasons we think you should shoot your bridal and boudoir photography on the same day! And of course, on Style Me Pretty and by scrolling down below, you can see a handful of our favorite images from Katarina’s boudoir session at Olde Dobbin Station!

style me pretty photographer

Vendor Love

Venue: Olde Dobbin Station
Florals + Event Design: Mibellarosa Designs
Hair and Make-up Artist: Hey Lovely
Bridal Robe + Lingerie: Girl With a Serious Dream
Love Letter Calligraphy: Camel & Birdie


How beautiful is this side-braided bridal hair-style by Hey Lovely? We love how the loose braid flows into Katarina’s soft curls! We also love this was a transitional hair-style! Katarina started with her hair pinned up, and then transitioned into her curls down on her shoulder part way through our boudoir photography session!

Bridal Boudoir Photography by Houston Wedding Photographer Smith House Photography at Olde Dobbin Station


Janelle + Kaleb Engagement Portraits at the Allen Farmhaus

The Allen Farmhaus Engagement Portraits at Sunset

We first sat down with Janelle and Kaleb over coffee on a Sunday afternoon to talk wedding and engagement photography, but our 45 minute consultation turned into nearly two hours of getting to know each other! And yes, probably a solid 30 minutes of that time was spent talking about our dogs!

When we finally came back around to the task at hand and started discussing where they would like to shoot their engagement portraits, there was no doubt in Janelle’s mind that the perfect venue was The Allen Farmhaus in New Braunfels. Kaleb and Janelle picked this venue for their wedding and it truly made the most gorgeous environment for their engagement photography as well.

The owners of the property, sisters (and amazing women!) Cassie and Maitlyn, have done an incredible job making the large property feel intimate and welcoming. Each space has been poured into with love, hard work, sweat and tears, and you feel it the moment you pull into the parking lot. From the 100 year old white farmhouse which serves as the bridal suite, all the way to the open-air chapel that overlooks a large open field at the back of the property, every step is not only beautiful, but filled with history and family. The barn doors were handmade and the stained glass was specially chosen; and that is only the tip of the iceberg when you start to dig into the details that were curated by the family for the farmhaus. How could you not want to start your own life as husband and wife with that surrounding you!?

In just the short hour we spent shooting Janelle and Kaleb’s engagement portraits at the Allen Farmhaus, we felt like we were being welcomed into the family.  My heart (and photographer cravings!) have been excited to go back out every day since!

Engagement Photography at the Allen Farmhaus in New Braunfels , Texas

Interested in booking engagement portraits with Smith House Photography?
Get in touch here. We’d love to meet you!

Welcome Back to the Smith House Photography Blog!


When you need great blog photography, you need great props! We love this custom watercolor notebook from May Designs, a local business based in Austin, Texas. We use this as our long-term creative calendar to track goals, wedding photography booked for the year, books read, and more. And yes, this cute little May Designs notebook is almost always sitting alongside our canon camera gear and a cup of coffee.

“You MUST blog.”

This line sounds a little bit like it should have come from Yoda, but it didn’t. These three words were coming from everyone possible in the photography/creative world. Blogging was the number one marketing strategy I heard over and over and over again when I first started this little photography business 3 years ago. Everyone who said it has slightly different advice, but the bottom line was always the same: blog everything you do, every shoot, every wedding, every meal you eat, and every thing you could possibly have to teach someone.

So I tried. We tried to post “at least twice a week” (and still didn’t feel adequate because we were continually told blogging every day is better). I also tried to take in every piece of blogging advice I could get, which, if you have ever gotten advice about anything in life, I am sure you can understand that every person has something contradictory to say from the previous advice-giver which makes finding GOOD advice incredibly difficult.

After spending way too much time (and energy) on a platform that was bringing more stress than clients, Ryan and I decided it was best to take a hiatus from blogging. We pulled the blog link down off our website, archived our “things you must blog” list, and threw up the big “Peace-Out” fingers to the anxiety it was bringing. And we haven’t once regretted it. 

But now we’re back (from outer space… thanks for letting me drop those I Survive Lyrics).

We spent more than a year out of the blog-o-sphere and in that time we have learned a lot of things about ourselves, about our business, about what purpose a blog would serve us and our business no matter what anyone else said we or our blog should be doing.

So get excited. We certainly are. We can’t wait to start sharing our business and our lives with you again. But this go-round, we are doing it entirely on our own terms, and honestly, we think you’ll like it better this way.

And a final note, because we know how flippin’ cute it is and we know you want the scoop: that perfect watercolor notebook is from May Designs!