C. Wright Photography » Houston Weddings & Engagements, Portraits, Lifestyle, and Sports Action Photography

Hurricane Harvey

Image by Natalie Gene Creative

Hurricane Harvey has been unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. I went grocery shopping days before, bought sand for the doorways of our home and kind of scoffed at my husband and his worrying. The first day, the Friday, I was flippant about it, there wasn’t as much rain as they were anticipating and I thought maybe we would get passed up.

Then I tried going to bed, that’s when sh*t started to get real. It came upon us quickly and we were suddenly under tornado warnings {not watches, but immediate danger}. My phone kept buzzing and the amount of sleep I got that night was minimal. Robert stayed up all night watching the news, the radar on his laptop. When I gave up on sleep at 6am, Robert retired quickly and I took over watch of our home. I might have had a three hour nap once the rain ebbed off.

Then I started my morning ritual of opening Facebook and seeing terrible destruction in Houston. Saturday was just a taste of what was to come–damage from tornados and people in pain. There was no flooding yet. Robert and I went out and got a few more groceries and with the lull of rain, we were feeling comfortable again. Then the night came. Nights and hurricanes are terrible. At night the upper atmosphere cools, which creates instability, thus increasing the updrafts in thunderstorms throughout the hurricane system. Which is exactly what we experienced Saturday night. The tornado warnings that night were much more intense and I definitely turned to alcohol to help my nerves, because they were officially shot. If you watched any of my Instagram stories you would have seen all that lightening and thunder going off consistently. We were lucky, it only lasted an hour over us but other people to the east of us, they had it for three hours. The National Weather Service confirmed 16 tornadoes in Houston, including seven Saturday. Also, the National Weather Service issued 64 tornado warnings by Saturday night. Adding insult to injury? Saturday night is when the flooding really started.

Image by David Tannery

Robert, as per our new schedule, stayed up late that night and I got up early. This also started the staring at Facebook and crying. I woke up to stories of homes destroyed in one night because Harvey simply hovered over Houston and unrelentingly rained on us. I went for a walk that morning and saw our streets were flooding and I knew there was no path out for us now, our cars were too low-lying. But even if we could make it out, where would we go? Everywhere was flooding. So we hunkered down. Distracted ourselves with Game of Thrones and listened to it rain.

My newsfeed on Facebook was impossible to keep up on. But both of us were glued. I am so thankful those people in my life were posting regular updates, like I was, on how they were, their homes, everything. Worried messages were sent to those who hadn’t checked in. Conversations about being anxious but also numb were had, there was no in-between. You were either absolutely anxious or you were in shock and completely numb and felt outside yourself. This could have been a great time to get work done but I couldn’t focus. Besides, all those pretty wedding pictures and portraits? Those felt frivolous in the face of this hurricane and people’s lives being in danger. I also completely lost my appetite. I would wake up hungry and make a breakfast of just eggs and iced coffee and couldn’t finish it. Lunch? Not hungry. Dinner? Forced myself to eat. And after eating I felt gross-full.

Houston hurricane

Image by Katherine Blanchard

Sunday was also the day when so many heroes emerged, like famous people from JJ Watt, Ellen Degeneres to Kevin Hart. But also local people stepped up–nurses and doctors who were not leaving hospitals because they had no replacements.  First responders who were working so many hours pulling stranded people from rooftops and homes that they crashed on concrete floors. Ordinary people, who once were maybe special ops, or regular joes with a flat bottom boat, just getting out there and rescuing families. These people simply jumped in, went out and saved lives. Tons and tons of lives. And I know a lot of them personally. As someone who couldn’t be out there to do it {and let’s be honest I don’t have the skills to do what they are doing either}, I was so grateful to see this happening. This pulling together, this community, this is like a bright light in all of this darkness.

Hurricane help

Image from NY Times

Hurricane help

Images from local hero David Tannery

Monday it continued to rain, and I felt like I was losing my mind. I saw the water rising in on the street around my house and I tried to think in my head how much longer we could last with it raining this hard before we were flooded. I felt we had one more day and then things would become dire. We don’t have a second story, so I felt the second level in our garage might work. But I didn’t want to entertain the thought. So, like the day before, we distracted ourselves with Game of Thrones. And then the rain slowed down {never stopped}, and we saw the street drain. My anxiety lessened.

Then I started to see some people were able to get out and organize for those there were displaced from their homes. Something that continued into today, and I know will continue for a long while. The truly amazing thing I have seen, is that people have donated so much that people have been turned away! The lines of volunteers at the George R. Brown Convention Center have been the length of the building, with people waiting patiently in the rain to get in and help. Following friends who could make it out was inspiring and heart warming.

Hurricane Harvey

Image from It’s Not Hou It’s Me

I also need to talk about survivors guilt. It has been hard to watch people lose their homes and know I am in a home that is miraculously on high enough ground that didn’t see damage. I had power the entire hurricane and TV to help distract, when I could turn off the news. And I sat there feeling guilty that I was blessed to have all these things. And then I felt trapped because all the roads out of my home were {and still are} blocked by high water, so even if I wanted to help, I can’t. But I did what I could–I reposted about places needing donations everywhere, plus donating myself. And I am glad I did because now that I see donation centers are filling up, they are requesting money.

Hurricane Harvey

From the Houston Chronical

Today, the sun shines. It’s the most beautiful thing I have seen. I don’t even get upset as the wasps fly outside my door. My husband and I are about to see if we can get anywhere, hoping for some groceries and then to help others. It all depends on how much the water has dropped. In the end, it was predicted we would get roughly 30 inches of rain, but we got 39, and an area 15 minutes from us? 49 inches of rain.

But Houston is still hurting and I encourage you to donate:

There is of course the American Red Cross Houston Texas and if you want to donate to an organization that 100% goes to aide go to UMCOR{http://www.umcor.org/}. There’s also:

Samaritan’s Pursehttps://www.samaritanspurse.org/disaster/hurricane-harvey/
Save the Children US
https://secure.savethechildren.org/…/H…/apps/ka/sd/donor.asp
North American Mission Board (NAMB)
https://www.namb.net/send-relief/disaster-relief
Heart to Heart International
http://www.hearttoheart.org/

You can also donate to Houston Food Bank or the Texas Diaper Bank and for animals there is the Houston SPCA.

 

Share on FacebookTweet this PostBack to Top

wedding picturesYou’re sitting here thinking “Of course wedding pictures are important to me, Christine!”. But I ask because when you are planning your wedding there are a lot of areas where you can cut costs, and with some of those choices you don’t notice the cut, but in others you do. In all honestly, wedding pictures are an area where if you cut too deep, you wind up with images you might not just regret but ultimately hate.

When a photographer is breaking into the wedding industry they typically price themselves in a lower {aka more appealing} price bracket. For reference, the average cost for a wedding photographer, according to The Knot, is $2783. I like to say the you can find a great photographer within $500 higher or lower for this amount. But anything less than $2200 and you are entering into what I call “newer” photographer territory. So to help navigate these waters, where you don’t want to spend an arm, leg and kidney for your images, but you still want the WOW factor, here are some tips in getting there:

1. Do you Mesh?

You are your photographer are going to be around each other all day—on a day that sometimes can be very stressful, highly emotional and a lot of times there is nakedness involved—on your end! Experience makes a difference here, as does their personality. Are you comfortable being mostly naked in front of them? Getting in your dress is a bare-all experience! And sometimes for the men too! I was photographing the details for the men in an adjoining room when the groom walked in, in his underwear. We laughed it off and joked about it for the rest of the day, but only because we had that rapport. Plus, I have experience dealing with near-naked moments and have a few one-liners at the ready for such a moment.

wedding pictures Houston TX

2. Price < Personality

I know I just discussed meshing with your photographer, but how do you get to that point of comfort? And how to you interview photographers to find the best fit for you and your partner? I cannot emphasize meeting in person enough. Ask them to bring a complete wedding with them or send it to you ahead of time. See if they are interested in you two, or if it is all about them. If the conversation is only about pricing and business and doesn’t flow into natural conversation, it’s not the best fit. And you won’t know that until you meet with them in person. I know it is so easy these days to email and text to get pricing and a portfolio, but tone and personality fall flat in these forms of conversation. With this person being in your world for all the moments of your wedding day, ensuring a good personality fit is paramount!

wedding pictures

3. Getting all the Right Moments

Your wedding day moves fast, as do the off-the-cuff important moments. I remember the first and second wedding I photographed, I missed moments because I didn’t anticipate them {like the mom instantly cry when her daughter was in her dress and all done up, but walked away quickly to compose herself}. But now I understand an almost unwritten rhythm of the wedding day, things people don’t necessarily talk about, but happen at every wedding. You learn when to anticipate the tears, the wiping away of tears, the guffaws of laughter, the hand-to-chest, head tilt emotional smile moments. Those are the moments people cherish in their album. Yes, they love the formal portraits, but it is those off the cuff moments that wind up on their walls.

wedding pictures

4. Plan to WIN

As mentioned above, your wedding day disappears in the blink of an eye. Having a plan for your day, with those important moments {mom doing up the dress, dad seeing you for the first time, doing a first look if that’s your jam} worked in is invaluable. Seasoned photographers know to build these moments into the timeline, ask about it in advance, and want to deliver these important moments to you. Not only will they instinctively know where to be, they will also have it in their timeline to be prepared. Heck I even just recently bought an Apple watch so that it will vibrate each step of the timeline for the day!

Soul-Mate Photographer

5. The Fine Print

One of the few things not talked about as much is ensuring your photographer is licensed and insured. Newer photographers are less likely to be a legitimate business, which also allows them to be less expensive. If they aren’t paying taxes or insurance, then any possible horror stories could happen. They might not show up on your wedding day at all {God forbid}. What if a guest falls over lighting equipment at your wedding and breaks something? Or knocks a camera to the ground and breaks a lens or the memory card inside? A licensed photographer is covered for such terrifying moments. And a lot of times your venue will request proof of insurance from the photographer for such situations.

In the end, getting wedding pictures you love is about value—finding that hidden gem within your price point. If you can afford wiggle room, I highly recommend going with a photographer who is slightly above the national average if the personality fits. Because a great fit is truly priceless.

 

Houston, TX PhotographerLove my work? Want me to capture you and yours? Let’s talk!! It’s easy, my email address is Christine@cwrightphotographyhouston.com. Let’s have a heart-to-heart, get excited about the possibilities of your wedding or session and come up with a plan that is uniquely you! I want to hear from you!

Share on FacebookTweet this PostBack to Top

Your Senior Year Photographs

Senior year is all about having fun and tackling new adventures, right? So why not channel that right into your senior portraits?…Let’s call them senior photos because ‘portrait’ is so formal! Seniors are getting much more creative and the days of just the cap and gown formal portraits has gone. Considering the cost of senior photos, the trend to truly personalize them is perfect. I’m loving this new movement!

Don’t get me wrong, you earned that cap and gown, so we’ll get some snaps of that, but I want to see the fun and creative side of you too. I strive to bring out the personality in my seniors. Before any session we sit down and discuss what’s truly unique to you. You want a GQ-fast food shoot like Andrew McBurnie at Taco Bell? You got it! I love that he used that opportunity to 1. Look freaking sharp and 2. Chose a location that he and his friends spent a lot of time at during his high school career. You can’t look at those photos and not see his personality shine right through, serious – but clearly not too serious.

View full post »

Share on FacebookTweet this PostBack to Top

Sarah’s Bridal Portraits

The sun was soft and warm, the morning of Sarah’s bridal portraits. She was ready at the break of dawn, her mother having flown on a red-eye flight to make sure she was there to help. Sarah’s dress is strapless with pockets and a gorgeous belt. Combined with the sun and nature, Sarah’s bridal session is nothing short of gorgeous.

I am excited to share Sarah’s bridal portraits, as she and Earl got married yesterday! Remember their engagement session? The wedding was beautiful and fun! Congratulations to this amazing couple!

SarahHouston bridal portraitsHouston bridal portraitsView full post »

Share on FacebookTweet this PostBack to Top

Canada Day

On Canada Day, as a Canadian, I felt it was important write about my favorite things about Canada. Especially since this year Canada turns 150! There are so many things I could write about, from my favorite celebrities, food places, cities or national parks. To be succinct, below are my top 5 things about Canada!

Toronto wedding photographerView full post »

Share on FacebookTweet this PostBack to Top