Make My (xxxx) Smaller – Larger – Firmer – Taller – Prettier -Uglier in Photoshop (the not so fugly truth)

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)


Check out the cartoon artist HERE


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)


On the left is how I see myself (my preferred image)- The right is how other people see me :Photo Credit: Bree (my 11 y/o daughter)


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!

This is a typical client edit with minor changes made all because of Photographer error (and the redness because she was chasing her child around in previous shots)



This is an example of the amount of PS work I will not do for a client without them paying a per hour PS creative fee.  It’s not you, and unless it’s for some special project why would you want an image that didn’t represent you at all? Also, if this wasn’t a silhouette it would take hours to do and look realistic.


“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” Amy Bloom



Newborn Portraits in Bullard, TX

Adorable baby Silas Heath was born on April 16th 2016 in Tyler, Texas and now resides in Bullard, TX.newborn photographs tyler tx Normally, at the end of a three or four-hour newborn photo shoot, I am covered in baby poop, pee and tears (sometimes of the exhausted mother) but Silas went out like a light!  Besides one little sprinkler accident, Silas slept through two hours of an indoor shoot and jostling around on the walk to and positioning of him for the outdoor portion of our shoot.  I was impressed!  Mom & Granny patiently held a blanket up to block his little body from the sun so he wouldn’t wind up with a sunburn.photographer of newborn babies tyler txWe had to wake him up at hour four just so mom could get some awake photos with baby.  And adorable portraits they are!  Mom loves her precious little baby so much.

newborn baby and mom tyler tx

Check out all of Silas’ Newborn Photographs on his YouTube Video


Criss can be found floating around on her  Website,   FacebookInstagram, or Twitter accounts when she’s not running around the house in her cape.



Annual Blue Santa Event

They really need some adult supervision (the cops, not the kids)

Most of my clients know that along with owning and running my photography business, I am also a police officer in East Texas.  And if you know any officers or any other public servants, you know that this is not something that we just do, it’s who we are.  (Because we dang sure aren’t doing it to get rich)

It’s so nice to see old friends and co-workers and it NOT be for a funeral! (Source: Facebook)


Rarely do my skills in both of my jobs get to come together in any kind of good way but this year I had the absolute privilege of photographing (along with Ryan Jordan from Ryan Jordan Photography) this years Blue Santa Event.

Blue Santa was sponsored by the East Texas Fraternal Order of Police in Tyler lead by Tyler PD Officer Chuck Boyce. With donations and assistance from officers and various businesses in the area, it gives underprivileged children, children that have been victims of crimes or that have lost parents because of crime, the opportunity to go Christmas shopping at Wal-Mart with a police officer.  Children were allowed to spend around $100 and on several occasions this night, I saw officers pulling out their own cards and cash to pay for the children to have extra.  Or in the case of one young man, the officer purchasing him a helmet to go with his new bicycle!

That was probably a good idea officer.


Blue Santa was there taking pictures with the kids and asking them what they wanted for Christmas when they first showed up, then they received a Christmas stocking full of goodies made from old uniforms by Michelle Askew.

The stockings were a big hit!
Santa puts on his blue suit for us! Thank you Cops 4 Cops for sending Santa to us! (Source:Facebook)

Animal Control officers were also on hand to wrangle the stuffed animals that they were handing out to all the children.


There were so many officers (around 80+) who volunteered that Officer Kerry Long called the fire department across the street so I could stand on top of the fire truck to take the group photograph of them! I’ve never been so proud in my life to call these people family.

Officers, Deputies, Animal Control, Game Wardens, State Troopers and MANY MANY MANY departments represented from all over E. Texas as far as Dallas and Marshall!

One officer joked that he didn’t volunteer he showed up for a call and saw all the kids and wanted to shop with them, the call could wait.

The children were awesome!  I got big smiles out of everyone and was even informed by SCSO Sergeant Schultz and  LISD PD Officer Wilson that I was to address their child as princess and princess only.  My bad!!


For a little while, I thought we were going to have to arrest some officers for kidnapping because I didn’t think they were going to give the kids back to their parents!

Deputy McDowell, your husband is right behind you, he says you have to give her back!

For anyone who has never spent much time with an officer, most of us are just kids ourselves at heart.  We were those kids that wore capes and were going to save everyone and the world.

CBS left their mike behind on accident, that provided at least 30 minutes worth of entertainment for Officer Boyce. Thank goodness they didn’t leave a camera!

And you know what, maybe we aren’t still running around with bed sheets tied around our necks (well maybe some of them are, we won’t talk about what they do at home) but on days like this maybe, just maybe we kept a child from going without for Christmas or MAYBE  we even touched a kid’s heart enough that it breeds a whole new generation of cape wearing heroes.


Do me a favor, readers of mine (all 4 of you), please share this. There is so much bad news out there that these stories of love and happiness need to be shared, recognized, and appreciated this holiday season. And if you would like to donate for next year OR sponsor a child please check it out HERE.


Criss can be found floating around on her  Website,   FacebookInstagram, or Twitter accounts when she’s not running around the house in her cape.





What to Paint on your Face (How to apply makeup for your photo session)

As I sit here sipping my Real Sangria (YES it says REAL and it’s $7.00 a bottle and I’m not ashamed to be seen with the bottle because it’s not that pansy ass Arbor Mist stuff), I reminisce about my mother teaching me how to put on makeup.

There has to be some crazy trick to lip paint because I still don't understand how this stuff is supposed to work!
There has to be some crazy trick to lip paint because I still don’t understand how this stuff is supposed to work!

Actually, that was probably a sangria induced hallucination because my mother was and is a tomboy (She taught me how to change the oil on my car not how to curl my hair) Mom’s idea of getting dressed was slapping on a size 00 pair of cut off wrangler jeans, Daisy Duke style (that’s two zeros people, they do make clothes in those sizes in case you’re wondering because I sure as hell never bought a pair in that size) and whatever random t-shirt she could find that came about mid-thigh. (Which is actually in style now?) If she was really in a dressy mood she put on some eyeliner, mascara and a pair of whole wrangler jeans and maybe a dressy button up shirt, oh, and curled her bangs.  There’s nothing wrong with that and my mother is beautiful.  We just have to do some clothing and makeup adjustments before a photo shoot.

This is what my makeup looked like in middle school!
This is what my makeup looked like in middle school

Needless to say my foray into makeup was interesting.  I went from middle school with WAAAYYY too much make up because that’s what you do when you’re 13  to a grown up tomboy myself saying, “Screw it I look great without it.”  And I did but then I turned 30….. It hurt a little to type that….

At 30, this strange thing happens overnight.  All of those days in the sun start to take a toll on your face.  So does the smoking, drinking, late nights doing those two things and the 4 hours of sleep you tell yourself you can live with, while sleeping those 4 hours in your party hard makeup. (This was the only time I put on makeup). You see these little lines appearing around your eyes, and strange dark marks and weird hairs sprout. Also, acne does not go away when you turn 20 or 30, I’m hoping on 40.

This stuff became my new best friend!
This stuff became my new best friend!

Anyway, so GOOGLE….  I had to GOOGLE how to put on eyeliner, curl my hair, what type of face regimen to use etc.  Then I started doing more studio portraits and hello …. I had to hire a makeup artist because yep I didn’t know what to do for my clients.

SO without further ado…here are tips for how to paint that crud on your face for your portrait session…. YES it’s different than every day makeup!


Primer… If you don’t have it, get it.  Primer not only gives you a smooth even complexion but leaves your make up flawless for an extended period of time.  Any primer will work!


Ya’ll know I’m a color kind of gal BUT unless we are doing some type of stylized fashion shoot OR you regularly wear hot pink eyeliner, then DON’T get too crazy about trying something new for your photo-shoot. Even if you look fabulous, if it’s not you, then you may look at your portraits and think “What was I thinking.”


Do you regularly wear shimmery, gold dusted, glittery make up? If you do and you’re over the age of 18, DON’T.  If you don’t, sure as heck don’t start now!  Shimmery make up reflects light and that can make your face appear oily in photographs.  If you’re using these to “highlight” your face see contouring below for a better, more natural appearing option.


Oh how I love contouring!  This right here can totally change your whole face!  I am so going to link you to My Pinterest because yea there’s a good tutorial HERE for contouring but the basics are this.  You have three foundations.  Your regularly tinted foundation, one lighter and one darker. You use a lighter for the highlight areas and a darker for your shadow areas to bring out the angles in your face. I suggest sticking with the same brands OR you can buy a contouring kit or stick.  I like NYX Cosmetics Wonder Stick because it takes the guess work out of what shade you should buy.  Plus, I’m a cheap ass and it’s $11.99 at


Don’t be too light handed with your make up when preparing for your photo-shoot.  Sunlight and a camera flash can wash out the color on your face.  Do your make up and then step out into the sunlight with a hand mirror. Make sure the light is actually on your face when you do this to see how your make up will look in light. Go heavier on the blush and contouring than on the eyes. The eyelids do not wash out as easily because light hits your cheeks first.  DO NOT RIM YOUR WATERLINE IN ALL BLACK!  This makes your eyes appear smaller.  Use a white or nude pencil on your waterline and then use brown (lightly) under that to make your eyes appear larger!

Does anyone else take selfies to see what your makeup looks like? That’s so what I was doing in these! Anyway….purple eyeliner doesn’t make eyes look as small as a all black eyeliner.
Without black waterline...I really need to work on my happy face in my selfies
Without black waterline…I really need to work on my happy face in my selfies
With a all black waterline (See I was trying to hold my eyes open further)
With a all black waterline (See I was trying to hold my eyes open further)

Professional Makeup

If you have your makeup done by a professional prior to your session, be sure to inform them that you are getting it done for a photo session & that they understand that there is a difference.

SO what have we learned today?

FIRST Arbor Mist Sangria is a wussy girly drink.

SECOND you have learned that there is more to learn on my Pinterest board here.

C : Don’t be scared to use your makeup, learn to contour, you’re not 12….get rid of the glitter, and don’t get too adventurous with makeup color.  OH and primer…..just like painting a wall use this before your paint your face.


Fourth- D- whatever:  Cameras are not magical.  It spits out a 2D image of a 3D person.  Even if you don’t wear makeup regularly, wearing it for your photo shoot will enhance your already beautiful face.

HOW TO CHANGE YOUR OIL – Go to your Husband/Boyfriend/Friend with Benefits and say, “If I have to change this oil myself then what do I need a man for? I own a vibrator.”  Go back in the house, practice putting on makeup….watch your oil get changed.  For better instructions, ask my mom…..

GUYS…..why are you reading this? You know you don’t care what your face looks like. You just want to know how much you have to spend on this to make your wife/girlfriend happy.  Muahaaaaaa!!