homecoming bonfire

2017-09-28_0001 It is homecoming week. So in small town spirit there was a homecoming carnival followed by a bonfire and the crowing of the Homecoming King for class of 2017/2018. Let me tell you, I went to a very small school. We graduated with 160-ish students. It was a school where you might not had been best friends with everyone in your school, but you for sure knew everyone four years above and fours below you. You could play and shine in more than one sport, and most did.  (well except for me I couldn't contain all this athleticism even with all that offered) haha


so when our sweet little town grew into a "city" we found this sweet town... now hear my heart, I have fought this town...hard. I love it for everything it has to offer my kids, but we are in the middle of nowhere, we have to travel at least 45 minutes to a decent grocery store or a Target, dr appt, lets not even get me started on a mall... and my clients are all about a 2 hour drive away...so Ideally for an adult with a busy life raising 4 kids, running a business, and trying to keep up with a home life...the placement and opportunity isn't ideal.

BUT what I didn't take into account was the heart this town had. Oh it is hard when you are an outsider. You don't have the history like you do in your own "hometown".  And lets just address the *insert the rest of that saying here bc I have no clue with it is, but I will make it up* unicorn in the room... ME. I am a little different than your typical small town Texas gal. The only "cowboy boots" I own come from Free People and aren't made for walking in dirt.


But what I do know is my heart. I see how this small town loves on my kids...and honestly how these small town kids love on me and my family. In a time where the world seems out of its ever loving mind... I feel so blessed to be surrounded by every shade of skin color in the rainbow...becasue no matter that, the smiles are ALL. THE. SAME. and those hugs feel no different than another. and for me, that is ALL that matters.


Here, we all pray and glorify the same BIG GOD that created us all to be equal. These kids call me "momma" and to be honest, I am. my heart sees then just the same as my own. Here we respect adults, we honor each other and we smile in passing. Here we stand and show respect for our country. We pray for our visitors. Here we love.


desert dreaming....

a year ago when I attended WPPI  a few of my photographer friends and I decided to call up some models and go out to the desert and shoot since that terrain isn't anything like what we have here in Texas. it was a small group of us so we all got to shoot...a lot. So many people have swooned over those images...as did myself... I thought it would be fun to do it again this year! A few of my friends were talking about it and we decided it would be more fun if YOU got to come too!

So here is what we planned. FOUR photographers specializing in high school senior portraits....that means FOUR different shooting styles to learn from!


EIGHT senior aged models... I am NOT kidding when I say you are going to DIE when you see these girls...

and one of Nevada's most sought after locations to not only shoot at but just to see while you are there... Nelson Ghost Town. Y'all. old abandoned buildings, plane wreckage, desert sunsets...are you kidding!!!

we will break off into four small groups, each group will get one shoot "leader" and 2 models. you will then be broken into 2 smaller groups to shoot. we want a VERY small shoot/model ratio to ensure you each get the shots you want and have time to instruct and pose your model before switching to the next model and rotating groups. the shoot leaders will be there to help field questions, give suggestions, help pose, etc... we are there to HELP so come with questions! :)


Sunday March 06, 2016 

4 hours of SMALL group shooting & 1 hour of open Q&A for all the instructors.

We are providing transportation from the MGM Grand where WPPI will be hosted, to and from Nelson's. We will also provide light snacks and water. 



or email us at: wppiseniorshootout@yahoo.com

more detailed information will be sent upon registration...like pick up times etc.



its that time of year...

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so it is that time of year...where the excitement of all things re-newed and that overwhelming sense of  the "what if's" fill our minds. the dreams, the goals, the motivation to change. to do better.


I am with you. this year that feeling seems to be a little stronger... it seems to be pulling a little harder and the cheers seem to be a little louder in my mind. that "Spanki, you can do it! you can dream and you can plan and this year YOU WILL SUCCEED" has got me so excited for the year to come. I am not sure why this year I am more excited, more ready to face whats ahead, maybe it is God telling my soul "You got this"...but I am. I am ready.


this year I will let go... let go of the things holding me back. let go of that voice saying I am not enough. let go of things I can not change. let go of other peoples opinion.

this year I will love... I will love and nurture relationships that are worth investing into. I will love harder and with more intention. I will accept the love I receive and I will accept the love I give...it is enough.

this year I will live... I will live richer. I will take life in. I will breath the air around me and be aware of every moment as it passes.

this year I will feel more... I will cry harder and longer. I will smile bigger and laugh louder. I will allow myself to really feel each moment.

this year I will push myself... I will push myself physically. I will push myself mentally. I will challenge myself and I will challenge those around me. to do more. be more.

this year I will not allow someone else to defeat me... I will not be frozen by words. I will not let others determine my self worth. I will not.

this year I will take control... I will stand up for myself. I will listen to my dreams. I will believe in myself.

this year I will travel... I will pick two places I have never seen before and do everything I can to get there. I will explore my own city. I will discover something new. I will be enriched by this world around me.

this year I will slow down... I will live in the moment. I will relish the good and learn from the bad.

this year I will give my life to God... because in the end no matter what I want and hope for myself...HIS plans are grater...so if none of the above happens the way I want...it is okay because I know HE is in control.


ok and here are a few personal legit real ones..

I will accept that age is just a number...especially around October 15th when I turn a year OLDER! that being said... I will religiously keep up with botox, bc if age is just a number I should be able to look any age I want to pretend to be right?

I will stock pile some root touch up kits, lets get real if I don't have wrinkles thanks to botox, I shouldn't have gray hair either.

I want to BADLY take my children on a road trip... and I KNOW that after about 10 minutes in the car I will be rethinking this dream BUT I plan on getting us to san fransisco and do the Hwy 1 road trip down the coast.

I knew I had Italian roots somewhere in my blood line... but I found out in 2015 that I am in fact one quarter italian... thats a LOT, which leaves me to believe I need...MUST travel to Italy to visit my heritage. So a girls trip to my mother land is on my list for 2016.

I dream of collaborating with some amazing photographer influences and inspirations this year...some of which are already in the making....eeeeeek!

what else???  I am sure I will think of a few more as soon as I hit "publish" on this post...but this will hold me over for now!


HAPPY NEW YEAR friends...here's to an amazing 2016!

share with me at least one of your new year goals/dreams....




30 day IG challenge...

social media. it is a funny thing isn't it. like many of you I just dove in...head first. all my friends were doing it so I should too right? ;) today I am starting an Instagram challenge and I invite you to join me.... over time I have noticed the difference between doing it "just because" and those who are "doing it right"... here is what I have discovered (just my own 2 cents, *disclaimer: I am not a professional social media interpreter*). I have read and researched a few different ways to reach your followers via instagram and I am totally intrigued and want to give it a try!

after research I have discovered that you have to have purpose, that you must have a clear definition of what you are wanting as an end result from your instagram. If you are just wanting to document your everyday so nanna can see how the new puppy just chewed your coffee table, then that is fine...but what I am more interested in is as a business... how am I connecting to my followers.

a few things I have realized... like anything else in life, there needs to be a plan...I know, plan shman...but lets give it a try. I mean...whats 30 days right?

I have been a little confused by my instagram feed. I love looking at very pretty and visually appealing feeds however, when I tried to make my own instagram "pretty" I noticed not many people cared about my perfectly frothy latte and homemade gluten free pop tart sitting perfectly on the distressed wooden table in the perfectly moody light. I know, right? I mean that makes for one "perfectly perfect" image am I wrong? but not one comment. nothing. just a few likes and that was it.


so do my followers not want "perfect and pretty"...I have realized I am not defining my followers. I had no clue who they are and why they are there, following ME? it wasn't until recently that I have started getting a little more clarity as to why they are there...but I am always learning more...

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so lets make a plan...


STEP ONE: lets find out WHO our followers are! Why are they there, why did they hit that "follow" tab and why have they stuck around.


STEP TWO: lets define why YOU are there? why do you have an instagram and what is your message? I read that you need to treat your IG like you would a blog and create categories... be consistent and have a REASON behind each post... ok y'all we can do this. let's write down FIVE categories you want to break your IG into. what do you want to share? I read somewhere about "percentages" of what content you should post and I'd like to keep that in mind but I am not getting that technical about it sooooo if you are a numbers person and a "rule follower" go search that out. I am just going to try being generally aware of what I am posting and why. :)

mine: 1. photography (my work) is my main category 2. my personal life, who I am, my kids, my home life, etc 3. travel images. 4. local attractions/food, I love visiting and sharing fun places in Austin that I love! 5. behind the scenes, at work, on shoots, basically "a day in the life"...it is as simple as that. but now I know where to begin when I am needing to post!


STEP THREE: create a theme... it sounds similar to what we just talked about but it isn't... a theme that isn't content related but COLOR and MOOD related. having a feed that is color consistent is just more visually appealing and more likely to make people like it and stick around to see more! so write down a few words that describe your overall feel. I love IG feeds that are bright and airy, but that isn't me... I am a little more moody and muted so that is what I post...and remember to be consistent, once you commit stick with it!


STEP FOUR: commit to 30 days of interacting with other instagrammers... respond to your commenters and maybe comment on a few posts you follow... interact with others.


STEP FIVE: be intentional with your bio. let people be clear who you are, what you do, and for the love of all things holy if you run a business PLEASE list where you are located! There are so many photographers posting their beautiful work, work I'd love to hire them for but I have no clue what state they are even located in... i know it is easy for people to "figure it out" but make it simple, don't lose potential clients bc they don't have the time to dig and play clue.


ok so lets start with a fun 30 day Instagram challenge. I'd love to have you join me. use the hashtag #dreambig2016IGchallenge  **change these up a little to best fit your categories, this is geared a little more towers photographers so change it as you see best fit for YOU**

also...I have seen some people do a weekly prompt, for example "on Mondays share something personal, on Tuesdays share BTS of your business...etc) For me, and I haven't at all gotten it all figured out by any means, but I do more so what is visually appealing on my feed, for example, I TRY not to post 2 black and whites in a row or that will line up on top of one another, I also try not to post busy images in a row by breaking it up with a close up or simple/clean landscape etc... so you do what works best for you and your personal instagram goals.

here we go....


day 1: selfie. introduce yourself to your followers... I know, I know... a SELFIE! but for real, you get new followers and you can't just assume they all know who you are so TELL THEM!

day 2: get to know your followers... post a pretty picture from one of your five categories and prompt conversation. ASK them about themselves. leave a call to action and encourage interaction.

day 3: #BTS or workspace...let your followers in. share a glimpse of YOU in your everyday environment and ask them a question that relates (ex. where do you get most of your best ideas, while working at your desk, while laying in bed, or while you fold laundry, etc?)

day 4: landscape/places. post an image of one of your favorite views/places... maybe the view out of your office window, maybe the beach, or the skyline to your favorite city...tell us what you feel/remember as you look at this image and ask your followers to tell you their favorite view.

day 5: post an informative image... maybe a picture of "whats in your bag" or "whats on your desk" and ask what is one thing your follower can't live without.

day 6: personal. depending on our personal categories, post a fun "day in the life" maybe you cooking with your kids, or your daughter riding her bike... ask your followers their favorite time at home with their family.

day 7: client. post an image of your recent work. .

day 8: #BTS. of you working...tell us how your week is going and ask others how it is going for them.

day 9: personal. share your "to do list" for the day or the book you are reading or a fun quote that resonates with you at the moment.

day 10: free time. post an image of a hobby or craft you do or wish you did... ask your readers if they had extra time in a day how would they spend it?

day 11: landscape. choose from one of your categories and post a landscape/travel image or food/fun and tell us your favorite places to go.

day 12: everyday. take a picture of something you see everyday, but capture it in a way that is new and unique.

day 13: personal. "day in the life" image of you at home, around family, or just doing what you love to do to relax.

day 14: client. revisit an old client session and post an image you have forgotten about.

day 15: reflection. post an image of something that means something to you or represents growth or change. tell us about it.

day 16: landscape. if you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? post an image and tell us why!

day 17: smile. share your smile and tell us what makes you happy. ask others to share what makes them smile too!

day 18: activity. what do you love to do? jog, knit, bake? share with us what you love or what you have created.

day 19: friends. who influences you and how. ask your followers who their influencers are.

day 20: goals. share your current 3 goals and ask others to share theirs.

day 21: selfie. tell us something unique about YOU and ask your followers to share too.

day 22: street art. capture life. what intrigues you about this image? the light, the people, the stillness? what makes this image speak to you?

day 23: personal. what are you working on? share a client image or anything you are currently working on.

day 24: city. where do you live?  tell us a few things you love about your city and ask others to share about this city.

day 25: #BTS of you working...tell us something fun that made you smile today. prompt others to share too.

day 26: share. tell us something you have learned or something that interest you.

day 27. client. again share some of your work with us.

day 28: personal/business. share one thing that makes your business unique.

day 29: thankful. tell us what you are thankful for and ask others to share their thoughts with you.

day 30: reflect. post an old image. show us how you have grown...personally or work related. you decide.


after you do this 30 day challenge, go back and look at your posts. how much interaction did you get? what post resonated with your followers the most? let it help you to navigate through what your purpose is and who your followers are. happy gramming friends. make sure to come tell me how it is going and what you are discovering through this challenge! :)



Marketing Bootcamp

SpankiMills_1279 Lets get you out of your marketing rut and start the new year with fresh ideas! Together we will make your business work for YOU by starting out how to market to the clients you feel are out of reach! You are worthy of the prices you believe you are... your time and talent are VALUABLE. It's time to stop thinking it is you and step outside your comfort zone to find those clients who will appreciate your talent and VALUE your prices.

We will meet once a week via a live webinar where we will discuss the ins and outs of marketing in a way that works for YOU. (These will be recorded and available for replay) You will be given weekly assignments starting with easy ways to prep your promo and the psychology to the "approach". Together we will create simple events for you to implement this coming year to change the course of your marketing and client reach. Each week we will have time for live Q&A and you will be in a private FB group where you will continue with group support through out the year.

Jan 15- Feb 15

Live meetings each Thursday. (recordings available)

PDF of printable notes.

Pay in FULL : $450

Save your seat: $250 now and $250 due Jan 1

**due to limited availability seats can NOT be refunded, but you are more than welcome to sell your seat on your own in the event you can not make it**


"I remember my mind being blown, on multiple occasions...She had such simple, but effective, ways to suggest marketing to me in ways that I had not even considered. Being so new into the business, I was only thinking about the “traditional” ways to market. I was forced to think about billboards (which I couldn’t afford!) as opposed to looking at the businesses that are UNDER the billboards. She also helped me to understand that I needed to focus my efforts on marketing to a specific KIND of client instead of EVERY kind of client" -Rosie Suerdieck  Reflections by Rosie