Shelly Hoffman Photography: Blog en-us Shelly Hoffman Photography (Shelly Hoffman Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:49:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:49:00 GMT Shelly Hoffman Photography: Blog 120 80 Austin Lifestyle Photography--maternity and toddler Family dynamics...dynamo family. Love truly rules in this house. 


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin lifestyle family photography Mon, 07 Sep 2015 14:37:53 GMT
Austin Newborn Photography--Perfection in Black & White Baby L had me at "Hello." 


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin baby photographer Austin Children's photographer Austin family photography Austin's newborn photographer Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:03:06 GMT
Austin Family Photo Session Mckinney Falls When we booked this session, I asked Justin if he was going to be "on board" with a little PDA. He laughed and let me know that he was fine with it, but his son might have a problem. Well, we decided to chance it, and I'm so glad we did. Some of the cutest shots came out of this set up. And fifty years from now, these will still make them laugh and remember this boy's love for his mom. 

Austin mom and dad kiss with toddler on daddy's shouldersAustin mom and dad kiss with toddler on daddy's shoulders As it dawns on him that mommy and daddy are kissing...
Austin photo shoot with mom, dad and little boy, mom and dad kissAustin photo shoot with mom, dad and little boy, mom and dad kiss A momentary win...
Little boy blocks kiss between mom and dadLittle boy blocks kiss between mom and dad Uh oh... Austin family photo session toddler boy with mom and dad McKinney FallsAustin family photo session toddler boy with mom and dad McKinney Falls Wait. What?! Austin McKinney Falls mom and dad play with little boyAustin McKinney Falls photo session, mom and dad play with little boy Victory at last... 2015_02_08_0812 Zookcolor2015_02_08_0812 Zookcolor

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin Children's photography Austin family photographer Austin lifestyle photography Thu, 11 Jun 2015 14:54:01 GMT
Austin Children's Photography giggly togetherness

summer sundown

backyard bliss


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Wed, 10 Jun 2015 14:37:35 GMT
Austin Family Lifestyle Photography Sweet family love,

swings and oak trees, 

laughter and a three-way hug, 

sharing a blanket sun streaming above...

Austin family photographer captures big sister kissing little sister in Austin backyard photos with sunflare. Big sister puckers up to kiss little sister in Austin backyard photos with sunflare

Austin photographer captures giggles with brother and sister stretched out on blanket beachy blanket.  Austin photographer captures giggles with brother and sister stretched out on blanket beachy blanket. Giggles and love in summer beach colors...aqua, blue and beige. 20141006Clarke-Family _29bw20141006Clarke-Family _29bw

Austin children's photographer captures genuine smiles and bright eyes. Austin children's photographer captures genuine smiles and bright eyes.
Playful children's photography in AustinPlayful children's photography in Austin

Austin casual family backyard lifestyle photography Austin casual family backyard lifestyle photography


Outtake! See below--it happens to all of us at some point...and I still love this picture because it's so real.  Austin Family Photography outtake--the kids are done! Austin Family Photography outtake--the kids are done! Big brother sulks, big sister loses it, and the toddler plans her escape--mom and dad hold on.


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Tue, 09 Jun 2015 18:53:06 GMT
Little Boy Blue Ocean Flash Flood Sale

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin children's family lifestyle photographer photography Sun, 17 May 2015 15:17:04 GMT
Austin Family Life Photography, Family with new puppy, happy hens and a curious cat Girls hold their Chickens in a backyard hen house.Chicken feet and little girl hands

Ran over to do a quick session with family friends and their new pound puppy and captured just a few of what I like to call "the menagerie." As we were looking through the images, my dear friend was reminded of the poem her younger daughter had written earlier in the school year. With permission, I am posting it here along with the photos. 

Where I'm From

I am from lots of animals, 

from painting and pictures

I am from the chicken coop in the backyard.

(Stinky, yet comforting

it smelled like a dumpster.)

I am from the big tree in my backyard, 

the small one too

whose shadow made shade

for me to sit under.

I am from biscuits and crafts,

from Oslo and Isabelle,

I'm from "five more minutes?"

and "dinner time."

from "get to work" and "time's up."

I'm from punctuation pages

and spelling corrections 

and from wonderful friends to help me along.


2015_01_25_0267 bw2015_01_25_0267 bw I'm from Bull Creek and Guadalupe River,

from eggs and bacon,

from the time the chicken got hurt

by the dog

to the water we pumped to keep my cat's heart going.

In my house is life

making joy.

2015_01_25_0377  bw_12015_01_25_0377 bw_1 2015_01_25_0428  bw_12015_01_25_0428 bw_1

A family of happiness 

to greet me when I see them.

I am from those moments

all from my life,

memories that never end.

--Camille Wilson

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2015_01_25_0455  bw2015_01_25_0455 bw 2015_01_25_0481  bw2015_01_25_0481 bw


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Mon, 06 Apr 2015 13:58:43 GMT
Austin newborn photography, Mother and Baby I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts,

there can be no more hurt, 

only more love. 

--Mother Theresa



(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin baby photography Austin newborn photography Mother and baby photography Newborn and mommy portrait Sat, 04 Apr 2015 18:13:34 GMT
Baby photographer, Austin, TX newborn photography If you live to be a hundred,

I want to live to be a hundred minus one day,

so I never have to live without you. 

--Winnie the Pooh


I loved meeting little baby J and spending some time with his parents. They are already so comfortable in the roles of Mommy and Daddy. Both young teachers, I'm sure that there is no shortage of virtue between the two of them. You have to have a lot of patience, hope, and love to want to teach elementary school children. But there is something about parenting that deepens your understanding of feelings and vulnerability. Only a very important, very short span of years encompasses a childhood.  But those are the years that stay with you. When you can't recall what you had for breakfast in the morning or where you put your keys, you'll still remember the way your mom's hand looked as she turned the page of a book, or the way your dad smiled down at you as you stood in line at the fair. Wishing you all the best childhood memories...good luck and safe travels, baby J.   

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin baby photographer Baby photography in Austin family photographer Austin TX Shelly Hoffman photography Thu, 02 Apr 2015 00:06:13 GMT
Newborn Photographer and Interior Design Austin, TX Newborn nursery decor, baby boy, red fox wallpaper, industrial vintage soft grey and orange accentsBaby boy nursery in grey and orange, newborn photography, neutral, wild baby animals, industrial, vintage decorNursery design by Stone Textile Design. When Lauren and Chris purchased their East Austin home just four months before the due date of their son, style and orderliness might have been threatened. But thall shall not fear the dark of disorderliness. Lauren and Chris quietly and calmly (I imagine) called on Elizabeth Mollen of Stone Textile Studio to decorate their entire home before they moved in. What resulted was a cohesive combination of grit and polish. From the home's black exterior paint that resembles an old school chalkboard to the tiny office nestled in the back porch nook, every light fixture, accessory and color conveys a well-executed, edgy farmhouse, industrial schoolhouse charm with lots of cozy soft textures mixed in. It's an ironic take on decorating that I love. 

12042014Luscombe02512042014Luscombe025 I had intended this to be the promised post about Chris, the Most Effective Dad. But as I started writing, it became clear that Chris' effectiveness is really about style--a perfectly executed, well thoughtout sense of style. Chris' nerd-chic glasses and his polished shoes don't just speak to his attention to detail--they kind of scream it. And that scream to my fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants ears is like a siren song or, more likely, the hymn of heavenly angels. Behold the organizational chart on the kitchen wall and just take a moment. Take a moment to bathe in the lovely peace that order brings.


So for those of us not in the corporate world, apparently this is a process organization strategy based on something called "Agile" project management. Note the Post it in the "Done" column that says "Pinterest board for Photographer." That's me! 

Though Chris was suffering some post-flu shot trauma the day I photographed, he hung in there like a champ and even followed up quickly with their designer's name post-session. And the next email I received from him read as follows: 

Ted talk link for the agile family:

If you really want to nerd out on Agile and apply it to life, check out this book on Amazon. 

Personal Kanban: Mapping Work | Navigating Life by Tonianne DeMaria Barry


I could not believe that Chris had taken the time to email me this information, but it is great information and coincidentally matches very closely to information I have been reading in a book called The 3 Big Questions for a Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni. More on these things later...




(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin Baby beautiful in natural newborns organic photography with Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:08:15 GMT
Austin lifestyle family photography 2015_01_25_98652015_01_25_9865 2015_01_25_9813web2015_01_25_9813web Baby girl in crib after nap with blanket, pacifier and giraffe.2015_01_25_9855Baby waking with pacifier and Rafi, the giraffe.

Remember the days of still sleepy, warm, happy-to-see-you-again hugs? Miss Caroline is growing up too fast. This is how we began her 9-month-session...and last week, she already turned ONE! I'll be posting little day-in-the-life snippets from her lifestyle session this next week before we get to her one year session. Enjoy these--because they grow up so fast!  2015_01_25_98712015_01_25_9871 2015_01_25_98722015_01_25_9872 2015_01_25_98742015_01_25_9874 2015_01_25_98862015_01_25_9886 2015_01_25_98942015_01_25_9894

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin baby photography Baby girl with Sophie the giraffe Baby girl with blue eyes Mon, 30 Mar 2015 18:42:54 GMT
Austin Family photographer creates with natural and organic family styling Here's the deal. I've been told that every family is my favorite family and that some of my friends are getting tired of hearing that I just photographed the cutest baby in the cutest nursery because, um, hello?, that's what I said about the last one. But really, guys. This family has the best style and the cutest personalities and the funniest little babies, and one of the dad's holds the title of "Most Effective Dad." More on that later. 

This is just another of my sessions done during the "off season" in Mueller. Proof that you don't have to wait until spring or wildflower season to have an absolutely gorgeous family session here in Austin, Texas. Warm neutral tones are, of course, part of my signature look, so I get pretty excited about dead grass! What can I say? Give me lemons--lemonade is on the way.  



(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin Children's Photography Austin Family photographer Austin newborn photographer Austin newborn photography children's photographer Wed, 18 Mar 2015 21:19:56 GMT
Baby photography in Austin Toddler with smiling newbornBig sister snuggles smiling baby girl. I never babysat. In fact, I was scared of babies. My older sister was the babysitter when we got our new brother. I was the diaper bag holder. With older kids--toddlers--I was bored. I fought it, but couldn't stay engaged around them. I was pretty sure that they didn't even like me. But something happened as I began to pass childbearing age. I started to crave baby.

I don't think approaching someone on the street and telling them that you'd be glad to take their baby is a good idea. So, okay, I haven't done it. But I have thought about it. I HAVE offered to hold other people's babies while they eat their meals. They laugh uncomfortably and let me know that they appreciate the offer while "Crazy lady, please go away" is written on their faces. I laugh--unashamed of crossing the line that is so hard for me to see. 

So let me tell you, as a baby photographer, when I am able to hold someone's sleeping NEWBORN baby for an hour or two and they can't do a thing about it--I am thrilled! Okay, yes, technically someone could decide they want me to leave, but they never do. There have been times when new Mama, in the middle of a hormone-induced hot flash has about had it with the heat in the room, and I've thought that we were going to just have to call the session done. But what I most often hear are exclamations of astonishment such as "Oh my goodness, you are so good with her. You are so gentle. I can't believe how she doesn't startle when you are moving her."

Let me just say that those are proud moments for me. I have come so far from that 11-year-old who was less than thrilled with being the diaper bag holder. I love every part of this job. I love getting to know you and seeing your favorite Pinterest ideas for newborn photography, and newborn poses, and newborn headbands, and all of the wonderful creative ideas you new mommies have. I love gently handling your newborn and explaining to you what I'm doing and making it a positive experience for all. But really, most of all, I love knowing that the beauty of the pictures we take today will get you through some of the more difficult times ahead.

Thank you Austin mommies and daddies for trusting me with your lovely babies. 

newborn swaddle on blueBaby snuggly swaddled in cream on blue blanket newborn closeup of face and toesLittle baby toes curled up next to newborn wrinkles, lips and nose. Austin newborn with organic headbandNew baby posed with face propped up on hands, sweet organic headband

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) baby photography in Austin Thu, 16 Oct 2014 14:55:03 GMT
Central Austin senior girl photography session in Mueller park Senior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltSenior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltThe Austin greenbelt, God's own perfect light, a senior girl's glowing skin, and beautiful photography combine for a lovely senior girl photo shoot.

Years ago, when this young lady was just a little bitty thing, her dad and my cousin dated. With her bright brown eyes and curly hair, this spunky girl captured all our hearts. The relationship between my cousin and Krystal's dad didn't last. But Krystal is a forever grandchild of my Aunt Mary and Uncle Mickey, a loved member of our family. I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to capture her as she is now, this last year of high school, this last year as a child. I know that with her faith, her ability to love, her patience, intelligence, and inner strength, she is going to continue to amaze us.


Senior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltSenior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltThe Austin greenbelt, God's own perfect light, a senior girl's glowing skin, and beautiful photography combine for a lovely senior girl photo shoot.

Senior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltSenior girl photography session in Mueller Austin greenbeltThe Austin greenbelt, God's own perfect light, a senior girl's glowing skin, and beautiful photography combine for a lovely senior girl photo shoot.



(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Central Texas family photographer Sat, 13 Sep 2014 01:06:29 GMT
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS)--We need Austin volunteers! This month is recruit a photographer month! Fellow Austin photographers, I invite you to consider volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. Many hands make light work is a true statement. Though remembrance photography may never truly be categorized as "light work," sharing the calling with other photographers would ease the load on our Austin volunteers. My own motto with NILMDTS is "I do it because I can." 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) NILMDTS volunteers Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:19:37 GMT
The most difficult challenge in the life of a professional photographer Daily, we have new photographers dipping their toes into the world of professional photography. Welcome! Aside from mastering your equipment, photoshop, lighting, posing, your finances, your client database, pricing, cost of goods, self-employment taxes, sales tax and marketing, you will need to have a good grasp (pun intended) on the following skill...


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Wed, 10 Sep 2014 14:58:38 GMT
Austin Children's Photographer Back to School mini-sessions Before I run off for our family vacay...I must post this announcement. Please contact me through email ([email protected]) as I won't be taking calls while making eye contact with my husband and children this week!  back to school mini-session announcementback to school mini-session announcementCelebrate the start of a new school year with a beautiful back to school photo session!


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin's best children's photographer Sat, 16 Aug 2014 03:58:16 GMT
Newborn bunny portrait and bunny boudoir portrait session Austin, TX newborn photography Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. My obsession with newborn photography doesn't end with human babies. Olivia and I got obsessed with little mini accessories for newborn shoots and the craft obsession coincided with the birth of four baby bunnies next door. So, like peanut butter and chocolate, the two had to become one. It was awesome.

Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime.

Not too far into the project, we decided bunnies are the key to world peace.

Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime.

We thought of sending some to Russia, but thought better of it and for the bunnies' sakes decided to call it off.

Of course, when you are photographing bunnies, as with people, there's always that one--that one bunny that decides to go rogue on you. And suddenly you find yourself shooting boudoir. You can take the bunny out of the mansion...

Newborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyNewborn bunny portrait, Austin, TX newborn photographyPhotographers are always told to "shoot what you love." Well, I LOVE baby bunnies! I love newborn portraits. And I love these gorgeous baby tiebacks and crown that Olivia and I have been working on in our playtime. Austin TX Newborn portrait, newborn bunnyAustin TX Newborn portrait, newborn bunny

We beg your pardon for that. 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin newborn photography Mon, 04 Aug 2014 19:29:15 GMT
Austin family photojournalism grandparents come to Austin grandparents visit with grandchildren black and white photojournalism This is what happens. They pair off. Deep in their own special conversations. Granny and Grandpa can't get enough. It's so lovely. So wonderful to see their intent interest in my babies. They fully love them. Appreciate them. Revel in the stories of their latest escapades. Celebrating, truly celebrating, who the kids are--how they think, speak, laugh, and breathe. We love Granny's and Grandpa's visits, but they're never long enough. 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin family photography generational photography Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:53:04 GMT
Austin Newborn Photography New Baby Smell, Baby as Art Newborn swoop poseNewborn swoop poseWhen I saw this pose done at the Baby as Art workshop, I fell in love. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to replicate it on my own. And I didn't have a newborn session lined up right away! What if I forgot all that I had learned?! I put out a model call, and a wonderful mom from my neighborhood responded. She had a newborn for me--a beautiful, seven-week-old, not due til July 4th, fresh out of the NICU newborn. He was lovely. I'm in love! Newborn rolls, macro lensNewborn rolls, macro lensYes, I ran out the day after the Baby as Art workshop and bought a Canon 100mm macro. I'd been dying for it anyway. I had tried to convince myself that I could just do the detached and backwards 50mm trick. But that proved too difficult for good results and not something I wanted to mess with during a newborn shoot. I'm thrilled with the results--macro newborn back hair (the ONLY time back hair is cute). Newborn toesNewborn toesI dream of newborn toes. I regularly put my babies feet to my face and just inhaled. Weird? I don't know. But my hormones made me do it. Newborn egg poseNewborn egg poseI have to laugh at myself. I bought this wrap prior to attending the Baby as Art workshop. And I tried to put the baby in it. I mean IN it. See it's knitted into a tube of sorts. When I saw that, I thought, "Oh, that will be so much easier than swaddling with it." So I just gathered it up like panty hose and pulled it over the baby. Results? Not cute. But funny, yes. Newborn loveliness, Neutral tonesNewborn loveliness, Neutral tonesI couldn't resist pulling this one in close. I love how releaxed his lips and hand are. And I love his dark hair with the creamy wrap. Newborn scarf wrap, moody lightNewborn scarf wrap, moody lightI was having too much fun with all the posing. I love the way the scarf has a feeling of blowing in the wind. He reminds me of a little cocoon or chrysalis with its one thread attached to the tree. Swaddled newborn cocoonSwaddled newborn cocoonSimply swaddled in lovely neutral tones. Just peaceful baby love. Wrapped in my brother's armsWrapped in my brother's armsI remember how my daughter quickly got thrown out of babydom and into big sister land when my son was born. Suddenly there were expectations! These two brothers have the same 3 and a 1/2 year spread between the two of them. I hope for the same kind of love for these two as mine have for each other. It is such a joy to watch your children actively love each other.

New baby smell, it’s a real thing...yep, that’s what the headline said.  We moms know new baby smell. I virtually start lactating at the thought. 

I LOVE new baby smell. But I would NEVER ask to smell someone else’s baby’s head. But, yes, a mom told me the other day that she has had two different ladies approach her for the same. I’ve got to say that even I wouldn’t cross that line. 

Instead, I take newborn photos. I seriously feel a little bit like a crook having people pay me to hold their newborns. No one has to know that I am getting my fix for new baby smell during the process. But I am an open book. And guilt, as it often does, brought me to share my thoughts...Hi, my name is Shelly, and I am a new baby smell addict.   

See The New York Times article here...

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin newborn photography Wed, 02 Jul 2014 17:30:26 GMT
Central Texas baby deer, not your usual newborn photography The image of this spotted newborn emphasizes the natural in my style of photography. Newborn deer in a Central Texas fieldA baby deer is both fragile and wild. Such an amazing combination of all things beautiful. Grammy found a baby buck in her pecan orchard. Of course, now he's known as "Bambi"--I suppose that name just happens when you become mommy to a baby with white spots, spindly legs, a flipped up tail, coal black nose, and, well, doe eyes. 

Grammy has been feeding Bambi with a bottle. Early on, as when this image was taken, he was so scared that he was simultaneously drinking from the bottle and trying to run away. He was visibly fighting instinct to stay and get the nourishment he desperately needed. Seeing that internal battle happening for the first time, I found myself truly understanding the obvious, "Oh my goodness, it's a wild animal."

But Grammy was patient and talked softly. And now Bambi drinks calmly, and Grammy's kittens dance underneath his chin waiting for any spills. 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer children's children's photographer family photography Tue, 17 Jun 2014 13:26:21 GMT
Emotive children's photography in Austin, Central Texas country 2014-06-08_00032014-06-08_0003

Shopping in the Lucky Brand store, I read the cashier's tattoo once, then again. "The thing think you have time."

Those words accompanied the week everything happened at once. Will left for Europe for three weeks, Lincoln finished first grade with the ever-exhuberant Miss Zabilka (she shares the honor of teaching Lincoln to ENJOY reading--along with sister Olivia), and on the 5th of June, Olivia turned ELEVEN and graduated from elementary school AND cousin Theo was born.

Along the way this year, I promised myself to join the kids in the cafeteria for lunch more often, to be the parent P.E. helper with Coach Deline, to be the parent reader on Friday, to invite more friends over and forge real relationships. The thing is, I thought I had time. I thought I had both the time to do all those things, and the time to put them all off for another day. And then Olivia was blowing out 11 candles and walking across the stage to accept her diploma. It all happened that fast--I still distinctly remember the first day of school! 

Happy 11th birthday, my dear Olivia. Congratulations on all your hard work and your many accomplishments as a Highland Park Scottie--and more importantly, as a human being! You are my love--my sweet, sensitive, amazingly smart, introspective, creative, soulful blessing of a child. I love you forever and always and with all that am. You are the child that made me see what was good within myself. And I am forever grateful to you for that. 

Honor yourself. Honor each moment. You are already so very special. No pressure. Just be YOU each day, and that is enough. No sense in pondering what could have been. Enjoy what is, enjoy what was, and look happily into the future for what will be. All my love.   

Olivia_11_elementary graduation07Olivia_11_elementary graduation07



(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer children's children's photographer family photography natural light photography photography Mon, 09 Jun 2014 00:14:23 GMT
Newborn bluebonnet session in Central Texas, Austin area, vintage pastels 2014-05-06_00022014-05-06_0002Beautiful newborn photos in the bluebonnets don't just happen. LOL.

I love these images so much that I'm not sure I want to tell what went into capturing them. I could write a recipe,maybe. And it would go something like this...

Newborn Bluebonnet Bliss

1 newborn, freshly nursed

2 completely chilled parents

1 photog assistant, unshaken

1 newborn photographer, fully-prepped

1 antique doll cradle

2 25# sandbags

1 pink bonnet

Various pillows and blankets

Haul all ingredients to the farthest spot in the park--because that's where THE ONLY tree with bluebonnets surrounding it exists in this locale (of course). Take photos of the family first so we don't have to move the baby unnecessarily. Anchor cradle with sandbags--because these bluebonnets are (of course) growing on an incline. Prep cradle with pillow and blankets. Have assistant LIE DOWN on the ROCKS to both hold the cradle as extra insurance that it's not going anywhere and keep herself out of the shot.  And my favorite part--hold baby and sway. Get sweet lovin' spoonful all situated and breathe. Check to make sure everything is as it should be. Take photos. Make small adjustments. Take more photos. Check your camera settings and notice how the light is changing. Take more photos. And voila! Beautiful bluebonnet baby photos! 

Note when editing that the bluebonnets aren't actually visible in the closeup photos. Ah, you win some, you lose some. The baby is totes adorbs, and that is all that really matters.

Special thanks to Richard and Amy, Miss Caroline Pearl (of course), and my lovely friend and fellow photog--my assistant for the day-- Lori Gola.

Fellow newborn photographers: Please be aware that a spotter should be within arm's length of the baby at all times. In this situation, two were needed, one to spot the cradle, and one to spot the baby. Happy photo making! 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer Texas bluebonnets children's children's photographer family photography inspiration natural light photography newborn photography newborn session how to Tue, 06 May 2014 14:40:06 GMT
Beautiful newborn family session, natural light, neutral tones and pastels Caroline PearlAs the coldness of winter turns to songbirds and flowers, Caroline Pearl graces her parents with newborn smiles, coos, and cuddles. Introducing Miss Caroline Pearl! It just tickles me to say that name--it marries the softness of magnolia leaves with the twinkle of the moon on still waters. All loveliness. I have to say that it matches its owner perfectly. Caroline Pearl is a little love bunny.

Confession: As with all my newborn sessions, I told her parents that I would have to hold her after she nursed to get her used to being handled by me. It's true, I do need to do that. But it felt so self-serving that I felt a twinge of guilt. Truly baby snuggling is my favorite part of the job.

See Mama's maternity session here.

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin newborn photographer Central Texas Family Photographer children's photographer family photography inspiration natural light photography parenting Thu, 01 May 2014 12:11:55 GMT
How to properly display family portraits in public areas of the home with style and class There really is nothing better than feeling like you’ve done a great job and your customer is as delighted with your work as you are. Seeing my work proudly displayed (and properly hanging--thank you, Andrew Anderson, check out his art here) makes me happy. 

Ibsen_wall_display010Ibsen_wall_display010 Ibsen_wall_display022Ibsen_wall_display022


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Andrew Anderson Studio Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer WHCC canvas children's children's photographer family photography photography proper hanging of wall art wall display Mon, 21 Apr 2014 16:42:49 GMT
Real family portraiture in Austin, TX 201404182014 proj365 voodoo doll_04_18_9114Olivia_voodoo doll201404182014 proj365 voodoo doll_04_18_9114Olivia_voodoo doll


I took Olivia's phone away. Olivia made a voodoo doll. 


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Rosalind Wiseman children's photographer family photography natural light photography parenting photography Sat, 19 Apr 2014 02:53:12 GMT
Maternity session for in baby's nursery, Butterflies and Roses How can I describe meeting Miss Amy for the first time? Striking red hair to match the warmness of her heart. A lovely vintage dress perfectly fitted to her figure--understated but rich in its fine stitching and detail. Only the shoes gave a whisper of a mischievous side. Okay, actually, they didn’t whisper. Those shoes were actually having one heck of a party on Amy’s feet. 

They were gorgeous and not to be ignored. 
This first glimpse into the glorious style of Amy was in a chance meeting on the sidewalk in front of our houses. Amy wasn’t going anywhere special. She can't help but dress fabulously, because this is how she lives. It’s who she is...there is a perfect full laugh behind that unassuming calm just like there is a perfect pair of screaming hot shoes for that lovely dress.
I guess it’s been a couple of years now since Amy married her Prince Charming, Richard. Amy and Richard planned every detail of their wedding down to the gnat's eyelash, from Amy’s beautiful wedding gown purchased from Anthropologie’s wedding line to her bouquet exquisitely made from collected antique buttons, and even offered vintage handkerchiefs to their Barr Mansion guests. See pictures here. 
Given my love of Amy’s style, it’s fair to say that I was ecstatic when Amy and Richard chose me as their newborn photographer. I had seen their nursery. I knew just how amazing it was. I’d seen that Anthropologie wallpaper. And I was itching to get in there and take some pictures. But Amy wasn’t keen on having maternity photos--her feet and ankles were becoming one with her calves and she just wasn't feeling all that gorgeous.
Well, that didn’t sit very well with me. As the baby’s due date got closer, I started feeling like we were missing an opportunity. So I called Amy up and told her, “No pressure, I know how you feel about pictures of yourself, but let’s just take them, and whatever...if you want to throw them away, no one ever has to see them!” So, reluctantly, she agreed.  
And, y’all, this is what happened. Behold!
Seriously, y'all. My kids kept walking into my office as I edited and saying things like “Oooh, who is that? She’s so pretty. Ohhh, she has perfect lips. I like her hair.” And on and on and on. It was like they were seeing something new every time they walked into my office. And I was delighted.
And, yes, I think Amy is very glad we took these photos. Her husband even said that I had captured Amy’s spirit, and I felt the same way. But Amy made it easy because she was willing to let me in, and I thank her so much for that. Lovely Amy. Thank you.
(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Anthropologie wallpaper Austin maternity photo session Austin, TX Baby photographer Central Texas family photographer Mueller Austin Mueller photography birth photography children's photographer family photography maternity photography natural light photography newborn photography nursery decor Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:31:49 GMT
Newborn hospital birth photography session in Austin, TX , black and white
Baby Ty1Baby Ty1 Baby Ty2Baby Ty2 Baby Ty3Baby Ty3

I really wanted to link this to simplysadiejane's blogpost on what to take to the hospital, but the link won't work. Ugh! Google it, y'all! It might save you being in the position I was in with my first. No clothes packed for me or the baby when we got to the hospital! What, what?!




(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer birth photography children's children's photographer family photography natural light photography newborn photography photography Fri, 28 Feb 2014 16:30:00 GMT
Natural light family and maternity photography, Pastels and yoga at sunset in Austin, TX D4S_6701D4S_6701When selecting your photos, sharpness is key. Exposure (especially bright road surfaces) can easily be corrected. If flash reflections, background riders/drivers or utility poles/lines are distracting, add Custom Shop to your order and the distractions will be eliminated. RockStorePhotos may make substitutions to photo orders if a substantively similar but materially sharper image from the same sequence is available.

Photos whose file names begin with D8C are extracted from 7360 x 4912 36 megapixel originals. D4S files are extracted from 16.2 megapixel 4928 x 3280 files.

The older you get, the more things seem uncanny--people and places and experiences overlap and run together and you find connections in places you think you wouldn't. I never expected to get feelings of nostalgia on the job with two people I barely knew and their three children. But as often happens, we got to talking, and of course we found things in common--the mom is from my neck of the woods, so to speak, small town Texas anyway, and the dad has just got to be in the top two or three easiest going guys I have ever met. At the top of that list is my Uncle Gene. So that's how that nostalgia thing got started. And Uncle Gene happens to be from the mama's hometown of Shiner. Small world. 

You've got to be wondering where Don Williams comes into this and I'll tell you. I thought of Don Williams because of two things--one of them being that Uncle Gene always reminds me of Don Williams and the other being that this couple embodies the same easygoing, love-centered wonderfulness that Williams' song "I Believe in You" is all about. The kind of easiness that makes you feel instantly at home. The kind of real love that makes it easy for their children to forget I'm there and just snuggle with Mama or Daddy. The way those girls look at their dad--pure love. And he gives back to them with those awesome whiskery big bear hugs. They'll never feel safer. 

And that brings me to my sweet Uncle Gene, the faint scent of cigarettes and beer, a real hug in strong arms and rough whiskers against my face. I was a little girl when I used to get those hugs, a little girl with worries soothed by the smoothness of Don Williams' voice in the background, a hug and a "How are ya, Girl?" from Uncle Gene. And he'd always hug me tight then take a good look at my face as if to see just how I really was doing. Always smiling eyes looked back at me. Always smiling.

It's those hugs and that connection you want to go back to, the people that can somehow put things right for a time, or at least right enough, and with one long look make you feel what life is all about. It's the babies, the children and the old folks, the mamas and daddies, and the love.  

From "I Believe in You"...

I don’t believe in superstars organic food and foreign cars
I don’t believe the price of gold the certainty of growing old
That right is right and left is wrong that north and south can’t get along
That east is east and west is west and being first is always best
But I believe in love I believe in babies I believe in mom and dad and I believe in you

I don’t believe that heaven waits for only those who congregate
I like to think of God as love he’s down below he’s up above
He’s watchin’ people everywhere he knows who does and doesn’t care
And I’m an ordinary man sometimes I wonder who I am
But I believe in love I believe in music I believe in magic and I believe in you

And if you want to hear that smooth Don Williams vocal...

Up next: Same mama, but a maternity shoot like you've never seen before! I can't wait to share... 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX Central Texas family photographer Don Williams children's children's photographer family photography inspiration love maternity photography natural light photography nostalgia parenting photographer photography Tue, 25 Feb 2014 17:17:04 GMT
Selfie with Dog Tutorial Austin family photographer in natural light golden retriever, natural light photography, selfie tutorial, Austin family photographyShellyandBostonGolden retriever and natural light photographer selfie tutorial.

So yesterday, I realized that it was time to get a blog Welcome done. I'm playing graphic artist and web designer for myself--so all of these branding things and web elements are getting done piece meal. Anyway, the blog welcome I wanted needed to include a photo of me and I couldn't find one that I really liked that was current, so I decided to take it myself. And because taking a decent photo of yourself isn't hard enough, I decided to get my golden retriever in on the project. (Working from home can be lonely.)

Just in case you are ever inclined to do the same, here are some essential steps to the process. First and foremost, have plenty of dog treats on hand. Secondly, choose your location based on lighting and background (just as you usually would). Be aware of hot spots and try to have even lighting across the location where you and your dog will be sitting. I don't try to get the dog to cooperate at this point. I just run my hand through the air in the general area he will be lying in and look at how the light falls on my hand through the whole space. Adjust your location accordingly. I would have opened the front door in this particular location to let in more light, but my dog would have been in the street, so I just dealt with it. Alright, the next brilliant thing I thought of was to use my dog's favorite rug which happens to be the exotic game hide that my dad gave my sister and I later snagged. Sorry Dad, but the B-dog LOVES it.  

This may or may not be more complicated for those who shoot on automatic. I'm not really sure it's been so long since I went strictly to manual mode. I set my aperture a little tight for both myself and the dog, but I wanted to make sure I shot close to my usual style and that usually is 2.8 and under just letting the light do it's thing. Next I went across the room to setup the camera. I metered for the rug, changed the drive from shooting a single frame to shooting on a timer. Gave myself about 10 seconds on the timer. Then I got the treats, walked around with said treat in front of the dog until I lead him to his spot, got him settled and gave him the treat. At this point, I say "Stay" several times as I walk over to the camera, I focus on the dog, and set the camera down still holding the shutter half-way so as not to re-focus and then depressed the shutter completely, run over to the dog, sit down, and flip my hair so as not to look overly posed. I would cross my fingers and hope for the best, but there is not even time for that in the mix. Repeat 30 times or until the dog finally looks at the camera. 

Okay, so I got ONE photo with both the dog and myself looking at the camera. And I have been so sore today and could not figure out why. Well, all that running and throwing yourself down on the floor so you have time to look composed and relaxed before the shutter goes off is jarring to the body. I advise taking some ibuprofen after your selfie session. 

Another option is to just hire a professional photographer!



(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin children's children's photographer family photography golden lighting how to pet photoraphy tutorial photographer photography retriever selfie selfie tutorial Fri, 14 Feb 2014 16:28:28 GMT
NICU photography sessions in Texas March of Dimes, natural light photography, NICU photography, preemie photography, special needs photographyMOD_collage_blogpostPortraits of premature babies and their families served by the Texas Chapter of March of Dimes.


Mid-2012, I had the honor of working with a cross-section of the families served by the Texas Chapter of the March of Dimes. The families were diverse in every way--ethnicity, economic status, education level and circumstance. But the things they had in common hit at every parent's core. After all, the very first thing you hope for when you find out you are pregnant is that you come home from the hospital with a healthy baby. Nothing else matters as much. 

For parents served by the March of Dimes, it's often that very first wish that seems so out of reach. Most of these parents thought they would bring their babies home from the hospital when they were just a day or two old. Instead, they found themselves spending the first months of their newborns' lives in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), a strange place filled with beeps and cords and nervous parents and very, very small patients. It's not the environment any of them thought they would be bonding with their babies in. 

All of the families I interviewed had stories that were complex and deep and painful.  To tell them with any integrity and give them the attention they deserved would have required turning the March of Dimes exhibit from banner project to book. I had about a paragraph's worth of space to dedicate to each, just enough to hit the high points really. But one of the things that occurred to me with this project is that there seems to be somewhat of a secret society of all the people who have been there. And they all can fill in the blanks. They don't need to read the whole story because they've lived it.

I look back at the pictures and I see Maria and Gabriel who spent twenty years trying to have a baby.  In Mexico, where Maria had an hour’s walk to reach a doctor and four hours to a hospital, she lost seven babies--six babies at four months gestation and one baby at five months. Maria and Gabriel came to America for medical care but she lost another baby here. Finally, with her ninth pregnancy, Maria had a cerclage done and carried the baby boy to 24 weeks. He was delivered by c-section; they named him Angel. He was just as cute as could be when I met him in the NICU. 

One of the moms photographed was homeless and five months pregnant when she found out her baby would probably be born with spinal problems. He was born with respiratory failure and a genetic birth defect which causes malformed bones in the spine and ribs. Babies born with his syndrome have difficulty breathing because the rib cage does not expand for their growing lungs. He had three major surgeries scheduled when I photographed him at just one month old. 

In another picture, a little boy puts a bear on the wing of a plane. This family lost their first son, Jacob, at six months old, to chronic heart failure. They made a stuffed bear that weighs the same as Jacob did at six months. The "Jacob bear" is their way of introducing the three sons they had after him to their brother.

At Texas Children's Hospital, I met the surgical team who operated on Baby E in utero at 24 weeks gestation and then operated on her again the day she was born. To meet those doctors just two days after such an amazing surgery was humbling--they were so human and, in my eyes, so superhuman too. And the parents! The parents had been through so much--I was expecting people who were distraught. But here these two were playing with the still-a-toddler big brother and in such delight over their new baby girl. They seemed almost unaware of the scar that ran half the length of her spine. I'll never forget the mom leaning over to kiss her baby girl and saying, "God heard our prayers and healed us...and blessed us with a perfect little girl.” 

Perfect. Of course. Our babies are perfect however they come to us. Blessings for sure. 

I have to add a little interesting, and again humbling, aside:  One of these amazing neonatal surgeons had huge black bags--yes, kind of trash bags, I guess--piled up about chest high around the wall to his office. Inside were medical supplies that we are only allowed to use one time here in the U.S., drip bags, etc. But they are perfectly fine, so he takes them with him when he travels with Doctors without Borders and uses them again in places where they wouldn't have any if he didn't bring them. I love that. Not filling his ego (as you might expect after watching a couple of medical dramas), but filling bags with medical supplies to serve others more.




(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin Children's Photographer March of Dimes NICU Texas Children's Hospital bifida birth preemies premature spina Thu, 23 Jan 2014 04:42:17 GMT
Mueller family photography in Austin's natural wildflowers Pink Tutus and Bulldogs Pink Tutus and Bulldogs Pink Tutus and Bulldogs This was one of those days.

I found myself prefacing the shoot with "It's really hot out there. We're going to have to walk from shade spot to shade spot. It's going to be a little bit tough to get the lighting right." 

Why do I say stuff like that? I immediately regretted it. You don't want the client hearing you second-guessing yourself! Ugh!

Dubiously, the dad says, "Well, you're the professional. That's what you do."

Oh. Yes. Right! That's what I do!

I'm pretty sure I start every session with a moment (or two) of self-doubt. It usually ends about the time I finish editing the photos and right after the client places an order. Ha!

It's the challenge of every shoot--the ever-changing light over an hour-long outdoor session, the relationships of the family members, the relationship between you and the client, THE DOGS, THE FIRE ANTS, THE TUMMY ACHE, that blasted weed that popped up right in the middle of mom's smile in what was otherwise the perfect family portrait--it's all of these things that make what I do about the chase. Intellectually, it's about problem-solving. Psychologically, it's about the chase. It's an adrenaline rush behind the calm.

Back at the house, I upload the photos to my computer. I hold my breath as I wait for the download. And then there they are on my monitor--an entire collection of images that reward all the second-guessing and mark the victorious end of another game of chase!

(And then there's processing...and selling...and doing it all again!)

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX children's children's photographer family photography inspiration natural light portraiture pet photography photography self-doubt Fri, 17 May 2013 15:25:00 GMT
Black and white photojournalistic, candid children's photography in Austin, TX I couldn't figure it out. I'd lost my mojo. I was looking for something. Something to purchase? That's my default solution. I'm not doing it this time. A workshop? Lord, no. I've got magazine subscriptions I haven't read. I've subscribed to a photoshop group that I haven't once looked at. No. That isn't it.

Homework, A Study in Black and White Photography, Austin TX

Don't look at what other photogs are doing. That's the advice I'd heard so many times, so I don't. But I'm feeling like I've been sucked into a black hole. I'm in my own office--this is NOT a black hole! But I'm feeling increasingly disconnected--and from what, I don't even know. What I do know is I'm not going to find it thirty photos deep in photoshop.

So, what the hey. I look at the other photographer's work.  I don't know why, but I look. And I see it--I see what's missing. SHE was taking pictures of her own kids--the kind of pictures I used to take. She was seeing the light in the moment. That same light that I was walking hurriedly by. The light that I would turn away from because it would just mean more hours of post-processing. But that's not what I saw in her images. In those images, I saw my own missed moments.

I saw the reason I love photography. I love photography because I want so badly to hold onto the beauty of that moment. That evidence that my kid's were happy kids. That photo I can hold when I'm 80 and remember the warmth of my boy's neck, his giggle, his "Mommy, I want to be with you." I want that forever. 

So today, I vow to see the light again. I will see the way it reflects off the cheekbones and the nose and the fine little armhairs that I love. And I'll take the picture that will one day bring me back to these wonder years. 


(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX and black children's family photography homework inspiration kindergarten mojo photography photojournalism portraiture white Wed, 01 May 2013 15:06:06 GMT
Children's concept photography in Austin, TX Austin children's photographer creates Amelia Earhart inspired portrait of daughter



As we scrambled to get out the door Monday a.m., Olivia calmly looked for her shoes (Yes, she was calm. I scramble, my kids stay calm). Being the helpful mom that I am, I tried to get her to visualize where they might be, and I asked her maybe five different questions hoping to hit on the whereabouts of the shoes. Finally, I asked if she remembered taking them off somewhere. Then we got to the meat of the problem.  My daughter, wiser than her nine years, turned to me and said matter-of-factly, "I don't really keep track of the non-exciting things that I do on a daily basis."

Friends, I didn't really know what to say after that. But I know that comment will explain so much for so many.

AND to tie in the photograph of might even explain why Amelia Earhart probably ran out of gas over the Bermuda Triangle--because maybe she wasn't keeping track of the non-exciting things, she just knew she had to FLY! 

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX adhd children's photographer Sat, 12 Jan 2013 02:45:36 GMT
The apocalypse did not happen, so now I must blog... If you watch the Discovery channel, you should know that the Mayans did not predict the end of the world. They simply made a cyclical calendar that many people misinterpreted as denoting the end of the world.  It's December 30, 2012.  We're still here.  I must blog. 

In 2010, I attended a Jinkyart workshop. I came home that hot August knowing that I needed to start a blog.  The rest of 2010 went by.  No blog.  All of 2011 slipped threw my fingers "like the sands through the hourglass." (Thank you, Days of Our Lives).  Then 2012 came and almost went the same way.  But here I am POSTING! 

I am posting even though someone stole my very expensive professional camera and lens.  I may be posting BECAUSE some very bad person stole my  camera and lens. Had it not been for that misfortune, I would probably be editing pictures and postponing this, my first blog post.  Instead, I welcome you to my blog (hip!hip!) with an important photo from 2012--one of our beautiful nephew, Lewis, taken on the most wonderful day--his adoption day!My nephew, the best thing to happen to our family in 2012.Lou

(Shelly Hoffman Photography) Austin, TX adoption children's photographer children's photography children's portraiture family photography Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:08:00 GMT