Hi! I’m Criss. Nice to (virtually) meet you all! Please come in, grab a drink (or 3), sit down and enjoy the craziest Photography blog on the internet. None of us here take our medication so we’re always having a good time! Please excuse any foul language. There’s just some things in the world that can’t be expressed without a good FORKING, FRACKING, GOSH DANG, or HECK!
I’ve been a photographer since 2002, when I joined the US Army as a combat Photographer/Videographer. I have a little bit of an adrenaline addiction….. I'm still have a full time job in public service in another slightly less dangerous profession! FUN!
In 2010 I started Phoenix Rhys Photography. In 2014 I went really crazy and started this blog. Why? Who knows, I figured I should stop talking to myself and maybe talk to other people about these insane thoughts of mine!
THERE WILL BE ABSOLUTELY NO standing around with pained expressions and awkward smiles in my pictures! It is absolutely NOT ALLOWED. If you’re a fuddy duddy that can’t possibly have a good time, I’m probably not going to make a good photographer for you!
Do you like to dance in the rain? Have a water balloon fight with the family in the front yard? Horseback riding? Motor cross? Four Wheeling? Take a hike in the woods? Holy FRACK I’m IN!
So…. Until you decide that I’m going to be YOUR photographer for all stages in your life, you can be happy just stalking me on this here blog!
Amber & Ashton, high school sweethearts, live in the DFW area with their adorable toddler Jace. They’re both from Tyler, TX so they are getting married in their home town at the Tyler Rose Gardens on August 20th!
All of my wedding clients receive a complementary engagement session and with their wedding FAST approaching we had to coordinate them in the dead heat of summer with 100+ degree temps + 90% humidity. (Good thing they’re Texas natives 💁)
I’m originally from the DFW area and most of my family lives there, so I immediately thought of the Dallas Arboretum but then I was warned about how much more humid it is in the gardens. 😫 Wilted clients are just not cute (or happy). After talking it over with some other photographers Amber and I decided on the Fort Worth water gardens, thinking that it “might” be cooler if we happen to have a breeze. WHEW we lucked out and although it was hot as….well you know those sayings…. we did manage to occasionally catch a breeze.
Safety is a big concern at the water gardens especially with a toddler in tow for the shoot. There are some deep (but beautiful) fountains with motors that have a lot of suction. There is no swimming signs posted everywhere. Jace however was the most well behaved toddler that I have every seen in a public place. I was sorely tempted to see if Amber & Ashton wanted to trade a toddler for a teenager!
I loved how Jace’s outfit coordinated with mom and dad. Bringing in elements of both of their wardrobes brought the whole look together without looking too “matchy”.
Their wedding is THIS Sunday (and the temps are supposed to be in the 90s 😬) So stay tuned for what is sure to be some beautiful wedding portraits at the Rose Gardens!
My Philosophy : Pictures are our way of capturing a sliver of time, a moment, so that we can tell it back to ourselves later. It’s my job to capture that moment for you in all its intensity and beauty so that you can hold onto it through times both bad and good. My passion is storytelling, I just use a camera instead of a words.
Criss can be found floating around on her Website, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter accounts when she’s not running around the house in her cape or digging in the dirt in East Texas.
SO…. there I was, lying in the bathtub with a nice glass of Riesling near at hand and it comes to me (as things always do when one is having a nice relaxing bubble bath, right?) that I really need to have a series for my readers. All 32 of you now! So here is the new Sangria After Dark series. It will be full of sarcasm, maybe some NSFW material and lots of wine.
Do you have a job and some people seem to have no idea of all the things that you do or how any of it works?
That’s probably everyone right?
SAHM’s seem to have that problem a lot. You’re just a housewife. You lie around, watch All My Children every day and feed the kids some Benadryl in cheese so they nap well.
They do that right? …..
How else can one watch their stories in peace? …..
Clearly they don’t do that AND I would make a horrible SAHM. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am raising little assholes that act like….. their father….
So what’s something no one understands about my job and how it works?
WHO OWNS THE IMAGES THE CLIENT PAID ME TO TAKE
Why do I need a print release?
Why can’t I scan these and then have Walgreens print them?
Why does it say I can’t alter the image?
There’s this REALLY AWESOME filter I’d like to put on my image on Instagram and I like it more than I like your filters. GAHHHHH
Then I realized that none of my clients are photographers and very few are artists in general (and I love the clients I have) so HOW WOULD THEY KNOW?
Copyright is really Property Law
A photographer owns any photograph, or other work of art, they create the moment they click the shutter on the camera (paint it on a canvas, etc).
FROM HERE ON OUT WE WILL SAY HOUSE because it’s property, just like my house.
Even though you are in the house (photograph), I still own the house
You cannot paint, move walls, or share the house (even online) with other people without my permission
You may pay me to share my house (photographs) with you but you still do not own the house.
If you would like to do any of the above, I have to sell or lease partial or full ownership (ie: print release) of my house (photographs).
It is cheaper to rent the house than to own the house. (although I WILL totally sell it to you if you want!)
If I want to make more money on the house with you in it, I have to have your permission. If you want to make money on the house, you have to have my permission! (selling the image of you to an advertising agency for example)
What CAN you do with the images? (Please read your contract, every artist is different.)
If you received digital images from me, you will receive permission to print them at any consumer printer of your choice up to 11X14 in size (anything larger has to come through me & that’s a whole different post). You may also share them online with family and friends provided they are not altered in anyway and you tag PRA in them.
If you received wall art or albums you may decorate your home, or your loved one’s home with them!
If you see your image on my social media TAG, SHARE, COMMENT, SAVE! Please do not alter the images in any way (like cropping out my logo) or attempt to print them. Online images are very small and would look distorted if printed.
So remember, in most instances, photographs belong to the individual who took the image and not to the person(s) in the image.
What’s the one thing that people don’t realize about your job? Tell me down in the comments!
Follow below to get notified when the next Sangria After Dark is posted!
About the Author: Criss is a full time mother, public servant and artist. She has 2 kids, four rescue dogs, a rescue fiance, a rescue horse that she can’t ride and 49 and counting chickens. She has a passion and love for preserving history and storytelling. Follow her antics on Facebook & Instagram!
As I sit here drinking my glass of wine trying to use my time that I think I have to sit and type this, I’m being glared at by two teenagers who seem to think that staring at me will make me use my time to cook them dinner, like I feel like parenting tonight or something! Surely there’s some kind of law that says teenagers should be able to cook their own meals at this age? So they’ll keep staring and I’ll keep typing and making pointed looks at the cabinet that contains the ingredients for a healthy, filling, PB&J sandwich.
When I think about time (not in philosophical ways, that’s waaaay to deep of a subject for this blog) I think back to one of my first weddings many moons ago. The bride wanted to pay me for 2 hours of services and of course she assured me that we would be able to fit the getting ready, wedding, bride & groom portraits, bride with family portraits, bride with groom and family, bride with bridesmaids, groom with bridesmaids……. etc. etc.. portraits in that two hours. It was only pictures for goodness sake and all I was doing was clicking the shutter. Oh HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA……I was so dumb….. Do you know how long it takes to wrangle drunk uncle Bob into portraits and get him to stop making those stupid faces (or grabbing a bridesmaid’s ass)?
So now, during consultations, brides & grooms and I go over a sample timeline of mine so we can decide which moments they truly need time for and which moments are not important for me to capture for them and I would like to share this with everyone! (Because I’m just super awesome like that.)
1:00 – 3:00 Bridal Party Hair & Makeup – two hours or longer depending on how many in the party and how many professionals you have working on you! I will use this time to also photograph the rings, the dress by itself, and some detail shots of the venue.
3:00 – 4:00 Bride & Groom getting dressed (and everyone else getting dressed) there WILL be a last minute emergency that has to be addressed (such as a bride needing duct tape to get her dress on, or when someone has to run to get the rings out of the groom’s house! )
4:00 – 4:30 B&G First look – One day I will write a blog post about why I love the first look (when I have time) but ultimately this part is completely up to the bride and groom and their wants.
5:00 – 6:00 Wedding – Yes, you told the minister that you wanted to keep it short and sweet but trust me, some of them think short and sweet equals 45 minutes instead of the 15 minutes you were thinking. Also everyone getting into their places (and the likelihood that you will be running behind) will take longer than you think.
6:00 – 6:30 Hugs and Greetings – Some enthusiastic wedding planner will insist that everyone wait for you two at the reception. There might even be an announcement. Plan for half of the people to think that this will not apply to them.
6:30 – 7:00 Herding – If you hired a planner (even a day of planner will do) then congrats, most likely you and your party will not be doing the herding of people for family portraits!
7:00 – 8:00 (ish) Family & B&G Portraits – Now part of these can be moved to a different time. Such as during the time we allotted for the first look or if there’s time after getting ready. Bride with family and groom with family can be done at the same time if you have purchased a package with two photographers present so the B&G don’t see each other before the wedding. If you do a bunch of separate poses for each family member. Such as Bride with mom/dad/sibling and groom with mom/dad/sibling. These formal images can take much longer. And generally, besides the wedding, these are some of the most cherished images! So allot yourself plenty of time for these images. I say 10 minutes for a single photographer per group and another 30 minutes just for the bride and groom alone if this wasn’t done at the first look (generally everyone else will be asked to make their way to the reception area during this time).
8:00 – 10:00 Reception – Food, cake cutting, bouquet tossing, first dances, speeches, photographs with all the tables, any formal photographs not taken after the wedding, present opening and the exit can be completed in two hours or less. We can even fake the final exit early so there’s absolutely no reason for me to bother you again!
As you can see for your average to large wedding, you will need at least 6 – 8 hours of time.
So when you meet with your planner, photographer, catering company etc. with a guest list 300 people long and you look them dead in the eye and say “This is only going to take 2 hours.” That look on their face, is the look of disbelief from experts in the field who have many weddings under their belt.
Do us all and yourself a favor and pad your schedule with plenty of time so you don’t feel stressed out and rushed to get through one of the most important days in your life.
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” –Jim Rohn
About the Author: Criss is a full time mother, public servant and artist. She has 2 kids, four rescue dogs, a rescue fiance, a rescue horse that she can’t ride, two geese, 8 ducks and 38 and counting chickens. She has a passion and love for preserving history and storytelling.
Before you ask down in the comment section, YES, it has been requested that I make someone uglier. Specifically a bridesmaid that (to the bride) looked better than her. I think she was joking……
Why You Hate Photos of Yourself
Your mirror is F***ing You
Seriously, you’re not fugly (probably). It’s just science that makes you think you are. I mean, I’m a photographer for goodness sake. I have been for over 15 years and I still absolutely despise most images of myself and I KNOW how to pose my body to my advantage. Also, I am confident person, I don’t have body image issues. I can stand in the mirror prepping for a session, think heck yeah I look good, Look at that sexy bitch! (You do it too, don’t lie) then a client or my assistant will take a BTS (behind the scenes) photo and I’m like…. NOOOOO… how can I post that? I look hideous! OMG why didn’t someone tell me the top of my crack (love handles, bra bulge, bra strap, double/quadruple chin) was showing when I knelt down? (Seriously people, let a girl know if her crack is showing)
So who do I blame?
Because of an effect called “mere-exposure,” people react more favorably to things they see more often. Like their mug in the mirror everyday! A psychologist named Robert Zajonc, who formulated mere-exposure, tested this with everything from shapes, to facial expressions, even nonsense words. Since we see ourselves most frequently in the mirror, this is our preferred self-image. According to the mere-exposure effect, when your slight facial asymmetries are left unflipped by the camera, you see an unappealing, alien version of yourself. In case you didn’t know, the more symmetrical your face is the prettier/handsomer you are (supposedly). But very few people have perfectly symmetrical faces. So when you see your face swapped, and others telling you how awesome your photographs are but you think they’re hideous, remember that you’re not seeing the everyday face in the mirror but this is how your friends and family see you! (Don’t cry)
The camera’s “eye” is better than yours – Your brain is better than the camera
Our eyes see color differently at different light levels than a camera. Typically, if you saw an image of mine prior to processing, it would appear darker than the final edited images but the color would look a lot brighter than it appeared to your eyes in person. Also, cameras freeze motion and allow us to see details that are typically not noticeable while a person is in motion. Those two sun spots on your face, no one really notices them when you’re standing around talking to them or walking by. The camera however latches on to every little detail and captures them forever (and ever and ever) and in a sharp focus.
Why can / can’t you Photoshop me (more) beautiful?
Different photographers and editors do things differently based on their personal style and tastes. Some think PS is a no no – (besides basic light & color adjustments) you should never change how a person appears, it’s insulting. Some like to make their clients look like a plastic doll.
Personally, when I edit client images, I like to edit out things that were either my fault (that belly lump because I didn’t pose the client well or notice that DANG HAIR BAND on their arm), or things that aren’t permanent on their body (acne, stray hair, redness, bruises, those weird marks your skin makes when you’re cold, minor tan lines etc.) If I know prior to editing, that a client has a special request (like removing a scar) I will take care of those as well. Most clients never realize I’ve even done so much work. I just want people to feel good about themselves, so I’m going to present them with the best (realistic) them possible!
“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ― Amy Bloom
Angela & Jeremy have waited around 17 years for this little miracle named Jax. After years of negative pregnancy tests, they began fostering their precious boy Caleb (AKA: Monster) when he was a few months old.
Shortly after Caleb turned 2 (and just after them officially being awarded permanent custody of Caleb) , Angela began having pregnancy symptoms. Friends kept telling her to go take a pregnancy test but after having been disappointed so many times over the last 17 years, she really didn’t want to take another one just for it come up negative again. Plus she was almost 40, there’s no way she was pregnant now after all these years of trying!
But apparently there’s a higher power that has a plan because after cajoling from family and friends she took the test and the rest, they say, is history.
Not entirely enough months later due to complications, baby Jax was born on November 22, 2016 at 5:38 P.M. and weighed in at a little over 3lbs. A month later, Jax finally got to have his newborn portrait shoot and he is absolutely adorable! (and the spitting image of mommy but don’t tell daddy…shhh). Here’s some of my favorite Jax newborn portraits!