Missy Mayo – Dallas Family Photographer » Dallas Photographer Missy Mayo captures joyful and genuine family, child, and senior portraits throughout the DFW metroplex.

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We all have bucket lists – things we would love to see/do/accomplish in our lifetime. I like to think that I have a “reality bucket list” and a “dream-world bucket list.” I’m going to go ahead and give you a spoiler alert – being hired to photograph a couple in Banff, Canada was most definitely in the “dream-world bucket list” pile. Having a severe case of wanderlust and a love for all things travel, I have long dreamed of moonlighting as a vacation photographer or even doing travel sessions in other states (so, feel free to contact me about that LOL).

I first met Jessica, of Fat Baby Photography, a couple of years ago at a photography workshop I hosted. She had just given birth as a surrogate to TWINS! I was amazed at her selflessness and her passion to follow an instinct that she knew in her heart. On top of that she was incredibly friendly and sweet. Fast forward to seeing each other at a few other photography meet ups and I eventually took family Christmas photos with her girlfriend and their sweet doggies. When I met Ana she immediately gave me a big hug and told me how she had heard great things about me and was excited to meet me – you know those people that do that, right? That make you feel special, immediately comfortable, and relaxed? That’s Ana. She is easy going, funny, and the perfect match for Jess.

A few months later I had heard through facebook that Jessica and Ana were engaged. What happy news!! Then I heard from Jess, asking if I would take their engagement pictures.

Would I mind traveling? Maybe Austin?? 

ummmmmm….. Are you kidding? Of course! I felt honored that they wanted ME to photograph them again. Of course!

Well, as you can predict, Austin never happened. The location wasn’t quite right and Jess and Ana wanted their photos to be EPIC. In a random moment of serendipity, a great deal on flights to Calgary, Canada popped up just as we were feeling the time pinch of nailing a location. In a matter of hours Banff was given a quick google image check, flights were booked, and we were all squealing that WE WERE GOING TO CANADA!!!!

I won’t lie – there were plenty of things I had on my mind….

Travel to another country, rent a car, stay in an Air BNB – all by myself???

Photograph at a location I know NOTHING about? 

What if it rains?

Or I get eaten by a bear? 

What if my gear gets stolen? Or I somehow lose their images?

I like Jessica & Ana, but what if we annoy each other? 

But, my greatest fears were not even close to being realized. We shot the images on our first full day and everything went perfectly according to plan. Banff is every bit as gorgeous as its reputation boasts and I did not lose my gear/images/limbs due to bears. (Although take a moment now to please scroll down to see that we were, indeed, just feet from a real live grizzly bear that was munching grass on the side of the road. Surreal life experience, for sure.) Also, Jess and Ana were a dream to travel with  – in fact, we spent quite a bit of time together apart from the shoot and had an absolute blast. We made SO many great memories and insider moments cemented a friendship (pizza + honey, mosquito swatting, glacier crossing, gondola riding, and more!). They were so sweet to me and I will forever treasure this trip with them.

 

And, now, a peek at some of my favorite images from Banff!!

 

At Vermilion Lake – first look at Jessica’s wedding dress:

 

After leaving Vermilion lake we headed to Johnston Canyon to hike and take pictures by one of the waterfalls. Along the way we saw “The Boss.” You guys. We were seriously FEET from him. (Don’t worry, Mom, we were safely inside our vehicle and were ready to hightail it if needed.) I will say that there were a few other vehicles that had stopped to admire him – some of those people actually GOT OUT of the car. crazy! I later heard about it on a Calgary radio station – the game warden came and had to get people back in their car! Nuts!

 

 

Our second stop was Johnston Canyon. The paved trail follows the Bow river, cutting through the forest and leading to several waterfalls along the way. It’s an easy and very rewarding hike.

 

 

Our final shoot location was actually in the town of Banff. Although sunset isn’t until almost 10:00pm, we were able to get some “golden hour” light as the sun slipped behind the mountains. It truly couldn’t have been more gorgeous! I love these images because I think it shows the playful relationship that Ana and Jess have – lots of laughter and fun!

 

 

The next few days exploring Banff were nothing short of incredible. It is a photographer’s paradise, for sure. And there is so much to do! One day we took the gondola up to Mt. Norquay and spotted this incredible view. Those red chairs are placed by Parks Canada at some of the most scenic locations in the Rockies. It was fun to see them! We also knew that the location was too good to pass up – so on our final day we did one last mini shoot to capture a few images in this scenic vista.

 

 

And that is a wrap! I’ll leave you with a few “behind the scenes” images of the rest of the trip. Some of these were taken with my DSLR and others were taken with my GoPro. It was an incredible experience and I am so grateful that I was able to capture these images!

 

Oh goodness, what a sweet little family I met! This morning I drove over to Argyle (a most beautiful drive from Flower Mound, by the way) and met this darling family at their home. By early morning it was already a bit toasty and humid (gotta love Texas summers) but that didn’t seem to effect this sweet girl one iota. Goodness, her smiles and chubby cheeks gave me some serious baby fever. There was discussion of me just taking her home with me, but I *suppose* her momma and daddy thought they should keep her around :). I think what I loved most about this morning was seeing how much they doted and loved on their little girl – I have to admit that I miss the days when my husband and I just stared and stared at our babies and fawned over their every move. Nowadays I spend most of my time literally running behind them and trying to keep up, ha!

This was a 20 minute petite session, which was perfect for capturing the four month milestone without wearing anyone out. I am now booking fall photo sessions and have almost filled up my petite session dates. If you are interested in booking either a regular or petite session with me, please get in touch! missy@missymayophotography.com

 

There’s something a bit magical about photographing a family of five.  The parents are outnumbered and the dynamics and unique personalities of the children make for the funnest sessions.  It’s funny how I can see patterns with families – when I photograph a family with one child it is usually a quiet affair.  The attention is completely focused on that boy or girl, and they always soak it up.  With two children, parents are still trying to gain some control of the situation – much like they did when they just had the one.  (I can say this with authority, being a momma of two).  Typically there is one child we try to “wrangle” and one that is easy-peasy.  But with three kiddos???  Oh, now that’s fun!  Most of the time the parents have given up.  And, ha, not at all in a bad way!!  They stop trying to control the chaos of managing the kiddos and just relish the “is what it is” approach.  And IT WORKS!  As a photographer, that is my dream!  The magic happens in all of the silly giggles, stinky toots, and unexpected reactions.

This sweet family of five was no exception.  We did a quick “petite” session and was able to get tons of beautiful shots – some smiling at the camera ones and many candid shots (what I personally adore!).

 

Is there anything more bittersweet than the ONE year birthday?  So many emotions are wrapped up in that day.  For both of my children I felt this countdown starting from the minute they were born…….. the days of their true babyhood ticking down to their first birthday.  And while there is just nothing better than sweet baby snuggles (in my humble opinion), the daily surprises of learning and personality that come is also pretty dang amazing.

This sweet boy was having a woodsy nature theme birthday party (And if I remember correctly, it was later on the same day we shot these.  Talk about a super momma!).  Everything from the teepee to the woodland cake was thought out perfectly!  Happy First Birthday, Sweet Boy!

 

As my own family gets older, expands, and puts roots down in other towns and states, I have learned how remarkable it is to have ALL of your family back home during the holidays.  For these sweet grandparents, they finally had their children and grandchildren together again for Christmas.  Capturing them together was important…. because after all, who knows when it will happen next?!?

Also, I love their color combinations of navy, burgandy, gray, and a touch of black.  Those are colors that everyone has in their closets, and can easily pull together to match the group.  They looked fabulous!

Finally!  I have been a pretty patient photographer over here.  Just biding my time for Dallas to finally get some fall foliage.  Aside from just wanting the beautiful amber and golds to make an appearance, I have just felt sorry for my poor clients.  They have been SWEATING in thick sweaters, cozy vests, and stifling scarves.  But, alas, this week…. FALL HAS ARRIVED! Wahoo!

And can I just say that it’s appearance couldn’t have coincided more perfectly with this stunning family? They couldn’t be any cuter.  Plus their outfits were on point.  (They didn’t even have to sweat in them!) I KNOW that lovely momma must have searched high and low to find each perfectly coordinated accessory.  Well, she nailed it.  Bow tie and all.

 

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When I was contacted this summer about coordinating fall photos for this awesome family, they only had one request….. “We’d love something that says Texas.”  Ohhhhh, fun!  That’s easy enough and we could have gone a million different ways with it, but I thought that capturing the Dallas Skyline would be a pretty iconic location.  As it turns out, this family is originally from Chicago but is here for work for one short year.  Now isn’t that fun??  Of course, I can’t imagine the effort it takes to make smooth transition to a completely different state  – especially when you have young children to consider.  But on the flip side?  An adventure with your family where you can explore, learn, and be a tourist for one year?  Sounds like fun to me!

I was trying to think of a few suggestions on fun “Dallas-y” spots/restaurants/events they should check out.  Here is what I have so far…..

 

Empire Pies (my first suggestion when they were considering an after photo session treat)

Klyde Warren Park

Grapevine Parade of Lights (& other Christmas Festivities)

A day to dine and shop in Downtown McKinney

Date Night at Reunion tower

Kids Museum at Dallas Arboretum

Perot Museum of Science

Fort Worth Stockyards to see the Cattle Drive

Date Night at the Bishop Arts District (Hattie’s Restaurant is my fave)

Walk and Ride Bikes along the Katy Trail

See a Musical at Bass Performance Hall

State Fair of Texas

Dallas Cowboys Game

Pecan Lodge BBQ (I must admit that I have not eaten there, but I hear it’s the best if you love BBQ!)

 

What other ideas does anyone have?  Best of luck to this sweet family!

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“With your loving, there ain’t nothing
That I can’t adore
The way I’m running, with you, honey
Is we can break every low
I find it funny that you’re the only
One I never looked for
There is something in your loving
That tears down my walls”

Adele: “The Sweetest Devotion”  {Written after the birth of her son}

 

Last night I had the absolute pleasure of going to the Adele concert in Dallas.  It was her 99th concert of her tour (of 107, I believe).  I would have thought that after performing 99 times, there might be a weak link…. a little less oomph, a slight mistake, a bit of tiredness.  Nope, nada.  She killed it.  It was AMAZING.

Why am I writing about Adele when clearly I have a beautiful family session to show you?  Well, Adele is a bit of a talker.  She chatted quite a bit (in her adorable accent that made me want to “hop the pond” and visit London).  One of my favorite things that she talked about was her inspiration and the STORY behind each song.  I loved hearing the background and what the lyrics mean to her. The lyrics to “The Sweetest Devotion” were written right after the birth of her son.  She opened up about the rush of love and life changing moment she had when she first laid eyes on him.  I think all of us mommas can relate!

Now I consider myself an artist, but I am NO ADELE.  Yet I felt a kinship last night about portraying a story and expressing what’s on the heart.  Of course, when I take pictures I am trying to tell another family’s story but there is still so much of my own influence there.  Generally I am thinking of my own family and children – their ages & stages and what I would want to have captured if I was in my client’s shoes.

For instance, right now my kids are ALL ABOUT DAD.  They love rough housing and being silly with him in a way that I could never duplicate.  And I love that.  So lately I have been trying hard to focus on the playfulness and silliness that dads can naturally evoke from their children.
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And for the mommas?  Well, lately I must admit to having a bit of baby fever.  I’m not getting pregnant again, but GOSH I WANT TO SNUGGLE MY LITTLE BABIES again.  In this sweet session, that was a priority for me… I wanted to capture baby snuggles.

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So, those are my “Adele Inspired” thoughts behind a few favorite images from this beautiful session.  It was an honor to photograph this family!  (Momma is a fabulous newborn photog, by the way!!)

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I’ve had the honor of photographing this amazing family for the last three years, which is always an honor because Mom is a rockin’ photographer, so I know she has a discerning eye with her own family’s images.  I LOVE to photograph other photographer’s families.  They always arrive perfectly styled (ummmmmm, did you notice that big sister’s nail polish was perfectly coordinated???), are easy going, and often have a few fun ideas of pictures too (soooo glad that Mallory suggested we get that final silhouette shot!).

I think my favorite images from this session are the sunset shots of just mom and dad.  When was the last time you had a professional image with JUST your spouse? When I think back on my grandparents’ and great aunt/uncle’s homes I remember that they each had framed portraits from when they were probably the same age as I am know.  I remember studying those pictures for hours – I loved the fashions, seeing how they looked in their youth, and truly getting that they had spent a lifetime together.  Anyhow, I hope that these portraits bring the same joy to this family today and many, many years down the road!

 

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I’ve got jokes today! Yes, I do.  I was reading some funny “only in Texas” sayings and thought I would pass them along to you…..

Only in Texas…

You know the best parking space is determined by shade instead of distance.

You realize asphalt has a liquid state.

There is a Dairy Queen in every town with a population of 1000 or more.

“Spring” is the grass being grown for two weeks – then it’s brown…. for the rest of the year.

Mexican restaurants are judged by the salsa.

You’ve ridden a bull.

High School football is a way of life.

 

Even though my sweet client are originally from Canada and I am a born Okie, I thought those were pretty funny and true :).  As a photographer, I think I would add “longhorns join your photo session and no one thinks anything of it.” Because – why not?

I enjoyed meeting this beautiful family so much!  We had a terrific morning together.

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jokes from “www.ebaumsworld.com”

Alrighty, folks.  Buckle your seat belts and get settled in…. it’s like April 14th for an accountant around here.  The fall photo season has begun and is kicking into high gear this weekend.  It’s a time when I eat, sleep, breath photography.  I snap, edit, email, post, repeat, repeat, repeat.  And oh goodness, do I LOVE it.  I get this giddy feeling in my stomach – kinda like a kid on Christmas Eve.  Because I get to indulge my love for families, flex a little creative muscle, and play the “honey, you got the kids tonight because I have photos” card whenever I want.  (Hey, when you have a 2 year old and a 5 year old that’s a pretty sweet card to play every once in awhile!)

This sweet family (an awesome photographer momma, by the way) was the PERFECT way to start the fall season.  They were happy, fun, and so easy to work with.  Plus we went to my all time favorite location, which always puts a smile on my face.

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When your clients step out of the car in coordinating cowboy boots AND their sweet pup is even photo ready?? Yep, it’s gonna be a great session! This Texas family knew just what to wear – and as it turns out the boots where a pretty smart idea.  The morning dew made things a bit damp, so I was a bit envious!  (I tend to wear my “photo boots” on the sessions I didn’t need to and my “cute shoes” when it’s wet/muddy/tall grass.)

Anyhow, I loved that they included their “third baby” with their family photos.  We had a terrific session!

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What a beautiful morning for family pictures by Lewisville Lake!  It was a little warm, but SO much better than trying to battle the evening heat.  I was really excited to photograph this sweet family – mom is not only the SWEETEST, but she is a very talented photographer herself.  Getting to work with other photographers is always a treat for me – we tend to “get” each other, the outfits are always spot on, and they are pretty much game for whatever idea pops into my head.  That’s a win-win!

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First off, let me say that the current temp in Dallas today is a steamy 100 degrees.  It is more than hot.  It is suffocating and you will only find me away from air conditioning between the hours of 7:00am – 9:00am.  I don’t even run arounds during the day anymore.  Anyhow, all of this to say that I am still taking client pictures!  Early morning sessions are the way to go – refreshed kiddos who aren’t up past their bed time, cooler temps, and a highly caffeinated photographer is a recipe for August photography session magic.

Another tip I wanted to share – we did this sweet momma/daughter session in their neighborhood.  Sure, there are lots of pretty ponds, trees, and playgrounds all around but I think it makes it extra special to do a session in a location that matters to my clients.  Home is where your heart is, right?  Just a little something to think about!

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One thing I always like to ask parents of young children is, “What ‘thing’ can I capture that you most want to remember about this stage?”  There are always little quirks, new tricks, stages, and milestones.  I can take pictures of things I see – their laughter, silly faces, the small size of their hand in yours, etc, but I always want to make sure that I try to capture those elusive bits of childhood that makes each child unique.

I got two answers from the parents at this beautiful family session – 1.) get their son’s AWESOME dinosaur chant 2.) capture that precious little “rat tail” curl on the back of his head (double points if it glistened in the sun)  How awesome is that??  We were able to get both and it made me so happy!

Take a peek at their gorgeous family images – this little guy was the HAPPIEST boy ever!

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