2018 Senior Photo Trends

Gone are the days of super cheesy, posed studio photos.  You won't see any Olin Mills inspired sessions from any of your more popular senior photographers, that's for sure!  And you DEFINITELY will not see seniors draped over a giant 2018 or posing with their hand under their chin.  


Hello Texas sun!! Senior portraits that embrace natural light are often more authentic-looking than a more posed session.  You can get that vibe of "hey, look at me... just hanging in the park"... as opposed to very staged and "cold"!  



Upcoming graduates are ALL about doing senior photos with friends, significant others and groups!  This is a great way to get some interaction between friends and capture those relationships!  Just be sure to get some individual shots as well - nothing is more awkward than having all your senior photos with your significant other and breaking up after graduation!  A-W-K-W-A-R-D!!


Love your car?  Are you all about music?  Is gymnastics your life?  It's totally fine to incorporate what you love most into your senior session!



There is a time and a place to pose but nothing captures your personality like a good candid.  A great photographer can get these without you even realizing she is doing it!  



Many senior girls are splurging to have their hair and makeup done professionally and their wardrobe styled for their session.  Most photographers can recommend a hair and makeup artist and are happy to talk through your wardrobe with you.  I often have clients send me snapshots of outfits they are contemplating.  


For guys: casual, more dressed up (think suit) and then a hobby (baseball, trumpet, etc.)

For girls: casual, a pretty dress and something that is really "you"... this can be a hobby or one of your signature looks (I went to high school with a girl who wore orange Converse every single day!!)  




A park is great but not everyone is into nature.  Are you more edgy? What about a graffiti wall in the arts district? Or a cute downtown area.  Let your imagination fly!  


It's not too late to book senior photos for 2018 graduates!  Email me at sarah@sarahtothphoto.com to get on the calendar ASAP!!  

Bluebonnet Safety

The little blue flowers are starting to pop up all over Texas... first in the hill country and now heading north to DFW.  Love 'em or hate 'em, Texas bluebonnets put locals into a frenzy as they try to get the perfect shot of their kids in a field of Texas blue.  



1. Look down.  Yes, that's right!  Have you ever sat in a pile of fire ants?  Well, right before you take bluebonnet photos is not the time to check your toddler's pain tolerance!

2.  Snakes like bluebonnets, too.  The odds of finding a record-breaking rattlesnake while taking family photos is probably slim... but you never know.  Isn't it worth a few extra minutes checking the area to make sure your bluebonnet session will be snake-free?

3. Bluebonnets hang out safely next to highways... but you really shouldn't.  Seriously - use common sense. Don't unleash your children next to Texas' busiest highway to get a photo of the little blue beauties.  It can only take a second for an accident to happen.  It's just. not. worth. it.  


4.  Bug. Spray.  You can thank me later!  Really, though.  There's no reason to fight off a swarm of mosquitoes when a couple of sprays here and there can make your session MUCH more pleasant!  

5. Don't trespass.  Texas landowners can be very grumpy when you wander into their fields to frolic in the bluebonnets. You may not think it's a big deal, but if you've ever encountered an angry property owner, you'll know they can get pretty miffed about people lollygagging on their land!  

6.  Wear real shoes. Barefoot bluebonnet photos are super cute but remember there are other types of weeds mixed in with them and some of those buggers are really prickly!  So... wear your shoes and remove them and place them behind you before you take the photo.  

Shoes keep your feet clean, too. Nobody wants to see dirty feet!!

Shoes keep your feet clean, too. Nobody wants to see dirty feet!!

7.  Allergy medicine.  Spring.  In Texas. In a field of weeds.  Do I need to go on?  Benadryl is your friend, people!  Snot-filled bluebonnet photos are NOT cute.  Take your allergy medicine.

Most importantly, have fun!  Bluebonnets are a treat we Texans get to enjoy for about 2 weeks all year, so enjoy their beauty while you can!!  

I will be offering a very limited number of bluebonnet mini-sessions.  Email me at sarah@sarahtothphoto.com to be put on the list to receive info and be the first to sign up!  

Bluebonnets are coming...

Spring is in the air in Texas which means we will soon see our state flower - the Bluebonnet - popping up next to most highways.  Although beautiful, this doesn't mean you should throw caution to the wind and stop by the side of the road to take photos with these blue beauties.  


Bluebonnets are a double-edged sword here in Texas... residents love to see them and plop their kids in the middle of a big patch to get those coveted yearly photos.  Photographers often cringe at the actions of those who mingle dangerously close to the edge of the highway to get the perfect shot!  

Here are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about bluebonnets...

1.  Bluebonnets bloom for about 3 weeks with the peak being from late March to mid-April.  

2. The bluebonnet is toxic to humans and animals.  As part of the lupine family, the flower is considered poisonous.  

3. Bluebonnets come in several colors including blue, white, violet, red, pink, lavender and even Aggie Maroon! So if you see a flower that "looks like a bluebonnet" but is the wrong color... fear not, it's likely still our state flower!!!

4. Bluebonnets are really pretty... and yes, rattlesnakes think so too!


rattle, rattle...

(photo pulled from internet)

5.  It's not actually illegal to pick the bluebonnets... but do you really need to?  Just leave these little blue flowers alone!  If every Texas took home a bluebonnet bouquet, we soon will not see them coloring our highways!  

6. Don't trample them!  I totally understand trying to find the perfect spot for your yearly photo, but please be kind to the flowers.  There's nothing uglier than beautiful fields of bluebonnets dotted with crushed "butt prints" and flattened paths.  

7.  Bluebonnets are getting harder to find in suburban areas due to construction and land development.  Soon residents will have to travel to the "country" to see our state flower in all its glory! 

8.  If you haven't been to the Bluebonnet Festival in Ennis, Texas... GO!  It's so fun!  This year it's April 20-22.  http://www.bluebonnettrail.org/

blue for days!!

blue for days!!


I will be doing a very limited number of bluebonnet sessions this year, so if you want to be one of the first to sign up, send me an email at sarah@sarahtothphoto.com and I will contact you when the date and location are chosen!  

No Hippity Hop for me ... why I don't do Easter sessions with live bunnies!

One of the commonly asked questions around this time of year is “Will you be doing any mini-sessions with live bunnies or chicks for Easter?”  The answer is a firm no.  And here’s why…

1.     Rabbits are very delicate and little, excited fingers might not be as gentle as they should. Their little ears and legs can be broken and they can be seriously hurt during a photo session while being handled by little ones who might not understand how to be careful.



Probably not too fun for Mr. Rabbit.  

2.     Just like humans, animals can panic when they are frightened or in an unfamiliar situation.  Yes, rabbits can bite. Chicks can scratch.  Children have ended up in the ER because of this type of injury and that’s probably not the childhood memory you’re going for.

3.     Allergies and asthma are a really common problem and many children are allergic to rabbits and the last thing you want is to have a child go into anaphylaxis – especially during something avoidable like a photo session.  (I personally have to have an Epi Pen – trust me, it’s not fun!!!!)

4.     Lawsuits are common these days. No photographer wants to be on the receiving end of a lawsuit because a child got hurt during a photo session.  I certainly don’t.

5.     One word – chaos.  The chicks are running, the rabbits are hopping… your kids are chasing the animals and now I’m chasing your kids.  Sound fun? No?  Right.  It’s not.  Let’s just go ahead and avoid that stress and you can leave the Xanax at home. 


Run, bunny.

Eat it, bunny!! I'll make you like it!

6.     All that other legal stuff.  The use of live mammals in photography requires a license from the USDA.  But people take photos with the dogs, you say?  Yes.  They do.  You have an established relationship with your pet and they can be incorporated into photographs without a license. The client must own the animal – it cannot be rented.

7.     Poop!  Do you want to deal with that?  I know I don’t.  I love my studio and want to keep it as clean and hygienic as humanly possible.  This doesn’t include teeny-tiny rabbit poops all over the place as I chase Thumper around. 

8.     The horror stories.  I mean, truly... HORROR!!   Yes, rabbits have DIED during photo sessions.  They have gotten so stressed out they go into cardiac arrest right on the spot.  Talk about an expensive photo shoot when you now must pay for therapy for your kid for the next 20 years!  Chicks have had wings pulled off and other horrible things that I don’t even want to go into.  JUST. NOT. WORTH. IT. 

I’ll be really honest – many times you’ll see a beginner or amateur photographer at a park using live animals around Easter to “boost” their portfolio.  Very rarely will you EVER see a truly professional, educated, informed photographer doing this. Even with full coverage insurance, most will not take the chance.  And call me a softie, but in no way to do I want to risk hurting an animal. It’s just not worth it for a couple of cute photos.

But Sarah… do you photograph pets?  YES!  I love to do that.  It’s so much fun!  If you have a pet that is part of your family, I am more than happy to include them in your photo session.  My own Great Danes are a part of my family photos every single year!

And want to know a secret?  Many of the photos you see of bunnies and chicks in an Easter setting are simply VERY realistic (READ: expensive!!) photo props. 


Spoiler alert...

these chicks aren't real...

There are so many other options at Easter and in the spring for wonderful photos.  So let’s avoid the bites, scratches, diseases, poop and trauma and go with Plan B.  I promise you’ll be just as happy!  And so will Thumper!!


Nice studio setting. No bunnies were hurt!

Note: no photos in this post were taken by Sarah Toth Photography. All were pulled from the internet and used as examples only. 

The Maternity Boudoir Session

Sexy for days!  Cutest baby bump ever!  Glowing mama! Awesome pregnancy hair!  This session gave me ALL the feels!  

I've been wanting to do a maternity boudoir session for a while now, but haven't found the right person to come to my new studio and "play" with me.  Enter "Mrs. KRob"...  she is fun, sassy, confident, sexy and gorgeous... but most importantly she is even more beautiful on the inside!  

Mrs. KRob... 35 weeks and counting

Mrs. KRob... 35 weeks and counting

Mrs. KRob and I know each other a couple of different ways... we have worked out together. (PS - she looks better in yoga pants than me for SURE!), we are part of the same local MoMs group and we have lots of mutual friends.  But no matter how much you like someone, nothing says "I think you're awesome" like asking them to come get naked in your photography studio. 

Mrs. KRob is fit and active so I knew she wouldn't be offended if I asked her this and much to my delight, she was ALL about it!   


I'm not going to lie - we had a blast!  There was lots of giggling and girl talk.  I have to say this might be my favorite kind of session.  



Lace + bump = amazing

There is something magical about knowing this is your last time to be pregnant.  Mr. and Mrs. KRob have decided that 2 is their magic number and the baby factory is closed after "Baby M" arrives. So now is the time to embrace the belly, the constant need to potty, the swollen ankles .. oh, and all the good stuff, too.  The kicks, the nudges, the flutters...  it's pure magic!  

We got so many unbelievable, super-sexy photos, but these are just a few of the more blog-friendly ones.  We'll let Mrs. KRob save the best ones for her Mr.  

Thank you to my partner in crime for this session.  I had an absolute blast photographing you and "Baby M" and I can't wait to meet your little princess!!!  Muah!!!



You don't have to be "naked" to be sexy!!


That hair, though!


Valentine's Shopping Dilemma and Ideas

If you're like me, buying Valentine's gifts for your special someone can be a challenge.  First, we've been doing it for 14 years, so I feel like I used up all the "good" ideas a while ago.  Second, we don't "need" anything, so my practical self struggles with purchasing frivolous gifts he doesn't really need.  

I decided to come up with a few fun gifts for those of you who, like me, struggle with shopping for this Hallmark holiday.  ;)

Here are a few general things I try to look for when shopping for Mr. Toth:

1.  Something funny

2. Something sexy

3. Something he wouldn't buy for himself

4. Something to compliment one of his hobbies


Ok, so I'm not going to lie... just about every man would fall over and die if his woman had the guts to do a boudoir photo session.  SO - first and foremost - I recommend you do THAT.  I did one last year for my 40th birthday and I've never felt sexier or more empowered!  


Photo by Robin Sherman Photography



And this one right here might be Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner for Mr. Toth.  Lord knows my man loves anything having to do with BBQ!


My guy already has one of these, but trust me... you won't regret buying this for him to make you delicious meals with.  Best filet mignon I've ever had!  Nom, nom, nom.  

Disclaimer: I haven't been compensated in any way by the manufacturers of the above products.  They're just things I've found online that I thought would be fun.  The "Buy" button is just to make it super easy for YOU!

Happy shopping!



Clients and friends...

I'm so fortunate to have many clients who are also friends and many friends who use me as their family photographer.  Some of my very best friends started out as clients - how cool is that?  

I have a love/hate relationship with the fall rush for family photos.  Many people choose this time of year to do their annual family photos in time for holiday cards.  I love being busy and I love what I do... but...  I do not love being away from my family so much.  

At the end of the day, it's so wonderful to be a part of making so many special memories with my clients.  And it's SO fun when the holiday cards start arriving in December!  I'll share a few of my faves with you shortly!  

There are a LOT... so consider this my first installment!

More to come!  

Naughty or Nice?

I love, love, LOVE my annual Santa photos in November at our local charity craft fair!  It allows people to get their photos done early and avoid long lines at the mall!  AND... my Santa is amazing and the kids actually get to talk to him and make a special memory!!  

A few of the happy kiddos...

And of course my sweet baby monkeys love having their photo with Santa.  They think it's pretty cool that he makes a special visit to let mommy take pictures of him each year!  :)

And of course my sweet baby monkeys love having their photo with Santa.  They think it's pretty cool that he makes a special visit to let mommy take pictures of him each year!  :)

The end of cheesy sports photos....

Let's face it, I was tired of getting overpriced photos of my children against super-cheesy digital backdrops.  I was tired of having to buy HUGE packages of prints that would never see the light of day because what I really wanted was a couple 4x6s for the fridge, some wallets for grandma and a digital image for social media!  

SO... I decided to find a backdrop that would work for several sports and all ages and do sports photos MYSELF!  

That's right ... no pre-determined packages with prints you'll never use...  no weird digital backdrops of an obscure and generic fan-filled stadium ...  and no horrid, illegal scans of printed images that violate many copyright laws.


Want more info about how your child's team can have cute, fun sports photos that you will actually WANT?   Email me at sarah@sarahtothphoto.com for more information!



Senior portraits... when and where?


One of the most common questions I get from people is "When should I do my child's senior portraits?"

Here's the thing... teenagers can change a LOT in a matter of months.  I have actually had to shoot a senior in June AFTER already taking her photos the previous August because she had changed so much.

If you like fall colors, lots of layers and that "look" then I would suggest September - November of senior year.  If you prefer a more fresh, summery look then I would say March - May.  

There is no "correct" answer... it all depends what look you're going for!  


This is really a matter of preference.  Usually there are two choices - green or urban.

I like them both equally.  Two very different "looks" but both produce gorgeous senior portraits!

I usually suggest urban for guys - unless they are very outdoorsy and want to showcase that!

For the ladies, I do love outdoors.  Urban is also very cool.   

A good photographer will give you choices and guidance.  Make sure your photographer is familiar with senior photography and has a style that aligns with the look you are going for.  All photographers are different and have different strengths and weaknesses.  The session should be stress-free and fun!  

If you're interested in working with me for your son or daughter's senior photos, don't hesitate to email me at sarah@sarahtothphoto.com.

Sorry friends, no discounts...

One of the most common questions I get is "Do you give discounts for friends?"  

I used to struggle with this a lot.  For some reason I felt obligated to discount my services for my friends.  Some would even request "free" photos.  But here's the problem... those photos are NOT free... not for me at least.  

I completely understand that professional photos can be an investment, but here are some things that factor into my pricing...


Camera equipment is expensive, ya'll.  E-X-P-E-N-S-I-V-E.  It's not just a camera and a lens. There are many different lenses a professional needs (and knows when to use each one).  There are backdrops, lighting, computers, software, etc.  None of this is cheap.



We take classes. We attend workshops. We hire mentors and work with accountants and other business professionals.  This is not a "grip it and rip it" type of profession like a lot of people think.  No, my "degree" is not in photography, but I have spent countless hours educating myself. 

Editing Time

Let's be really clear here...  there is a LOT more time that goes into your photo session than the precious minutes I spend with you and your family.  There is prep time.  There is actual shooting time.  But most significantly there are MANY hours of editing time and post-production that you never see.  N-E-V-E-R.  I promise you that when all is said and done, I am not making $200 per hour.  I swear.  Just ask my husband.

And most importantly...  time away from my family

This is hard to put a dollar amount on, I won't lie.  Except when I have to hire a babysitter for MY kids so I can be with you and YOUR kids.  But that's the cost of doing business, right?  Abso-freakin-lutely.  But what is harder to account for is the time away from my husband and kids.  I try really hard not to shoot on Saturdays.  And yes, I have clients who get frustrated.  But you know what, first and foremost, I am mommy.  And I want to be a good one.  So I avoid Saturday shoots if I possibly can because that is my family day. I have missed out on stuff because I've had a session scheduled for months and I don't want to let my client down and reschedule it.  It can be tough.  There are times I'd rather be playing with my boys but I'm on the computer editing because, darn it, my clients need their photos so they can order Christmas cards.  I get it.  It's a constant balancing act.  

Here's the reality... I charge even my best friends.  MY. BEST. FRIENDS.  Because if they owned a business I would expect them to charge me full price.  This is a business, not a hobby.  If it were a hobby I would be doing it for fun and not charging ANYBODY.  I won't lie - I sometimes do throw in extra images or order a few prints for my besties.  And I definitely order gifts now and then for my most loyal clients.  But those are gifts from me and definitely not expected.

Bottom line... there's a lot that goes into the production of your family photos. I love what I do and I'm proud of my work.  And most of all I'm so honored that you would choose me to capture your family's memories.   Thank you!!





I met Blane a few years ago and he's one of the nicest guys you'll meet.  He's humble, sweet and easy on the eyes... am I right ladies?  And let's talk about a voice to swoon over...  Blane's single "Promise to Love Her" is one of the top 2017 wedding songs... and for good reason.  It's amazing.

I had the opportunity to do some headshots and promo shots for Blane the last time he was in Dallas.  His concert was rained out but he's back at Love and War in Texas on July 1st.  Don't miss it!   

Even up-and-coming country music stars sometimes need a little help from mom!!

Even up-and-coming country music stars sometimes need a little help from mom!!

And what's cuter than a guy and a puppy?  Nothing, that's what!

Pause for puppy snuggles....  

Pause for puppy snuggles....  

See you at Love and War in Texas in Plano on July 1st!  I'll be the one with the camera stalking Blane all night.  :)

My Fave Humans (Girlfriend Edition #1 - The First 5)

This is in no particular order, by the way...  but these are the women in my "tribe" that inspire me.  I think a great way to get to know somebody is to learn about who they hold near and dear.  

1.  Casey Gerwer - or 'Aunt Casey' if you're my kid



Mother to Quadruplets, Former reality TV star, Badass Soccer Mom, former gymnast... and she can still rock a handstand.

Casey and I met in 2004.  She is married to my husband's best friend of many, many years, Rob.  We hit it off instantly and life hasn't been the same since. She's loving, sweet and sassy with a slight flair for the dramatic and amazing fashion sense.  She loves fiercely, but don't piss her off.  (Trust me, I've done it.)  She's more like a sister than a friend. There's not too many people who I would spend the night at their house to help feed their newborn quadruplets overnight... let's be honest.  Her kids are her world and she's an amazing mom.  Oh and she still manages to work full time.  Feel free to bow down to her now.  

2. Cori Dossett  - AKA "Aunt Cori"


Meeting Planning Expert, Irish pub lover, godmother to Adam, former roommate

Cori and I met in 2001 in Washington DC at George W. Bush's inauguration.  (True story.) We palled around DC for 4+ years together. She even tolerated living with me and my dislike of wearing clothes indoors.  God love her.  Cori tends to be quiet when you first meet her, but once you get to know her she is hysterical. Don't be fooled by her sweet face - this girl doesn't take any crap from anyone!  (Love that!!!)   Cori runs her own meeting planning business in Dallas and travels the world planning amazing events for people, non-profits and corporations.  She is mom to 2 furbabies who are spoiled rotten.  

3. Melanie Maxcey Nicholas - AKA "Auntie Mel"


Blogger, Writer, Mom of 2, Rockstar wife, Sarcasm expert

Melanie has been a rock for me for many years... since 1997, I think?  Maybe 1998.  I interned for her while still a student at Texas A&M. She was young, hip and cool and took me under her wing. Mel is not only brilliant and beautiful, she's one of the sweetest, most caring people you will ever meet.  She has 2 amazing children, referred to in her blog as Parksalot and Bodacious.  Her husband David is amazing.  He nursed me through the worst sunburn of my life when I lived with Melanie for a month after college.  (I promise it's not creepy; he's a nurse.)  She is one of my rocks in life and is a constant in terms of giving wisdom and advice. Thank god for her and her ability to steer me away from past boyfriend... so I could meet my future hubby when the time was right.   

4. Maegan Vestal (Soon-to-be-Chappelle) - cousin, bestie and "Aunt Maegan" to my kids


Cousin, bestie, amazing teacher and painfully crafty

Maegan is technically my cousin, but is more like a sister. We're closer than close and I love it. Her kids are my niece and nephew as far as I'm concerned and she's Aunt Maegan to my kids always.  She lives in Arkansas and is a devoted teacher. She has navigated her way through some tough personal times this last year like a total rockstar. She's newly engaged to a great guy named Zac (don't worry, I've approved of him) and will become Mrs. Chappelle in October 2017. I'm so proud to call her family, but even more honored to call her one of my best friends.  

5.  Allison Cawthon Elliott  - AKA "Aunt Allie"


Friend since high school, fiercely loyal, amazing mom, Alex's godmother, exceptional interior decorator and pretty much rocks at everything she does 

It's pretty impossible to find a recent picture of Allie because she loathes selfies and hates having her photo taken.  (That's very annoying for her photographer bestie.)  Allie set the bar high for all moms.  She's a whiz in the kitchen, puts everyone ahead of herself (sometimes also not-so-good, ahem... Allie) and can do anything she sets her mind to.  She's funny, smart and is a great listener.  She will also call you on your BS, which let's face it, sometimes I need that. She is Alex's godmother and we love her lots and lots. 

Well, I'm officially out of time and have to go pick up little man from preschool.  

To be continued...  

School Photos in a non-traditional way!

I was so excited to offer Spring Photos at Trivium Academy in Carrollton, Texas.  Trivium is a brand new charter school that is paving the way for public education in North Dallas! 

Parents were thrilled that we offered sibling photos!


Celebrating 40!

Thank you to my amazing friend Robin Sherman for helping me make my 40th Smash Cake idea a reality!  I had so much fun!!!

Photo Credit: Robin Sherman Photography

Photo Credit: Robin Sherman Photography

Bluebonnets in April

Bluebonnets are  double-edged sword for Texans.  We love to celebrate our state flower, but unfortunately they are becoming much more rare up here in North Texas.  Luckily there are still a few impressive fields in the area.  

I don't offer that many bluebonnet sessions anymore, but I certainly love the ones that I do!

M&M are some of my favorite girls to photograph.  They are sweet and fun and I love the memories we make together!  


Sweet Miss K is too cute for words!  We have lots of fun twirling and being silly!  I love watching her grow!  She gets sweeter every year!!

Twirling, twirling... 

Twirling, twirling... 

And no spring in Texas would be complete without taking my OWN munchkins out for some bluebonnet fun!!