Hi there! We're Luke and Cat, and we're so happy you're here. We hope you'll stay a while! We’re a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Houston, Texas. Ranchers-turned-photographers, our world looks like this: a Craftsman-style farmhouse; our newborn, Knox, in our arms; coffee in the kitchen; Edison lights on the back porch; and a pair of English bulldogs at the foot of our bed. Read more...

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How Our Favorite Fashion Quotes Helped Us Take Better Photos

Nov 28, 2017 / Business, Shooting

Have you ever found yourself clicking through other photographers’ websites and wondered how their clients look so…fashionable? As if they’re all professional models with couture wardrobes? How does every shoot seamlessly and stylishly blend with the next? In the earlier stages of our business, we had styling envy.  Why couldn’t we get our clients to dress like that?

Of course, we eventually learned that we could. Keep reading….

Getting photo-ready isn’t easy — even for us. (See Cat’s recent Instagram on the topic.) Choosing what to wear is a painstaking process; we’ve all been there: Will it look good on me? Will it photograph well? Will I look like I am trying too hard —or worse, like I didn’t try at all? Cat often tells people how before becoming a professional photographer, she was that person who wanted to look thinner in photos — which, for her, meant wearing black, lots of black. Now she knows that there are so many better options.

Fashion magazines and style guides make it look easy, but we regular folks all know that our closet can become our worst nightmare, especially when trying to dress for a photo shoot. We consistently found that our clients looked nice but, we weren’t getting that high-end look. Remember our favorite quote from our business coach? It finally dawned on us that if we wanted that pulled-together, timeless, romantic look, it was up to us to style our clients.

While we can’t (and wouldn’t) tell our clients precisely what to wear, we can certainly guide them to the clothing combinations we know photograph well. After all, we all want the same thing: beautiful photos that look great for years to come.

The Takeaways:

  • “Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”— Karl Lagerfeld: Fashion is a difficult world to navigate. We’ve all fallen victim to those trends that make us thankful cell phone cameras and social media weren’t a thing in middle school. For a comprehensive list and a little giggle you can check out some of the more iconic fails of all time here. If you offer a few classy suggestions, you can steer your clients into a photo they won’t want to face palm over when the styles change.

  • "Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory." — Coco Chanel: Don’t let your clients fall victim to the last-minute jitters. If you offer a few “What Not To Do’s” —like wearing too much jewelry—you can avoid the pitfall of having the session look like it was photobombed by Claire’s.

  • “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” — Yves Saint Laurent: Not everyone can afford YSL, Armani, or Christian Dior.  Help clients understand that they don’t need to spend thousands for the photoshoot. The key here is to provide them with a style board that helps them see how items they already own will work with your vision. By suggesting a color palette and a few simple pieces everybody owns, you will get them a lot more bang for their buck.

  • “I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.”— Ralph Lauren: It’s not about the clothing; it’s about the look and feel of the photo.  By giving our clients a template, we help them create what the very wise Mr. Lauren is talking about – classic, dreamy, effortless-looking elegance.

Things changed dramatically when we started to include a simple paragraph in our pre-engagement shoot email that reads:

“When you're picking out your outfits for the day, make sure you wear clothes that you feel good in. If you need some inspiration, we have a Pinterest board with some of our favorite outfit ideas that photograph well. Girls look great in layers over a pretty dress. Remember that you can switch up your accessories to give a photo a new look. Guys, you look great in a well-fitting button-down shirt, with a tailored sports coat if you’re feelin’ fancy. Don’t worry about matching, but we do recommend neutrals and pastels – avoid bright oranges and reds, stark white, and solid black.”

Check out that Pinterest board, and you’ll see that we’re creating a certain style and vibe for our clients. As soon as we started including this information, ladies started showing up in long, flowing dresses; guys were wearing coats, and almost every client arrived in the color palette we wanted for our work. Our engagement sessions went from casual dresses and jeans to a more elevated style. (Note: we don’t just share this information once; we counsel our clients on what to wear in our Bride Guide and wherever else it bears repeating.)

The result is win for us and them! Our clients appreciate getting trusted advice based on our expertise; they have less stress when it comes to outfit selection; and, our portfolio looks more high-end and cohesive.

Look-books and Couture brands,
(Guide your clients to make them look and feel their best!)

Luke & Cat

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Weekend Snapshot

Bookend Those Bridesmaids

Oct 6, 2017 / Shooting, Weekend Snapshot

Weekend Snapshot: It’s our weekend ritual. Every Friday before shooting a wedding, we spend a few hours feasting on inspiration: glossy magazine spreads, favorite Instagram feeds, wedding site editorials, ads for luxury brands, Sprinkles’ cupcake window displays…. It ensures we arrive at every wedding fueled by fresh ideas. Now, we’re bringing a delicious bite of inspiration to you. Start your wedding weekend with a Luke & Cat Weekend Snapshot. The icing on the cake? The hands-on, how-to advice that accompanies each photo. Sweet.

View others in this series:

We can’t help but love the photos of the bridesmaids. Pretty ladies, pretty dresses, and pretty flowers  - it’s the perfect trifecta for great photos. But getting great, natural-looking poses from them requires a little extra consideration from you. Here’s today’s tip for getting perfect bridesmaid shots:

Bookend those bridesmaids!

When lining up people for group photos, try to put the two tallest people at each end. This will anchor the photo and help it look more balanced and symmetrical. We like to see the maid and matron of honor flanking the bride - that’s one on each side. Before taking the first photo, we spend a moment with each person in the group, showing everyone how to hold their bouquets, ensuring visual unity and symmetry. It seems silly, but you’d be surprised how often a clenched fist around one’s flowers can ruin the line of an otherwise perfect shot.

Line 'Em Up and Create Something Beautiful,

Luke & Cat

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Our Biggest Editing Secret

and Our Offer to Edit Your Photos for Free!

Oct 3, 2017 / Shooting

Has this ever happened to you?

You finish a session, say ‘goodbye’ to your clients, and immediately download your cards. Anxiously, you toggle from one shot to the next, looking for a perfect “Sneak Peek” to post on social media.  Aaah….found one! You apply action after action in Photoshop, trying to quickly achieve a perfect look for your Instagram feed.  But frustration and doubt creep in – you can’t seem to get the look you want to achieve.

We won’t lie. It happened to us. Heck, sometimes, it can still happen!

For years, we tried countless Photoshop actions and Lightroom presets; we even attempted making our versions of both! Finally, we found an editing system that we love—it only requires a few clicks and it yields picture-perfect results time after time.  Take a look…we can go from Before to After in just 15 seconds!

It’s as simple as applying the preset, and adjusting the white balance and exposure. Just a few seconds of editing yields results we will be happy with for a lifetime. And, there’s no need to keep RAW files and re-edit them in a couple of years if we change our editing style.

We’d been using the Fuji 400H preset from Mastin Labs.  We didn’t think it could any better – until it did.  We are now using the newly released Fuji 400H Pushed preset from Mastin. (Full disclosure: We love Mastin Labs so much, we’d tell you about their presets for free. But, Mastin Labs is so cool, they pay us a few bucks every time you purchase this product.)

If you’re not already in love with Mastin Labs, you should get yourself over there right away and check out the amazing set of film emulation presets they’ve created. Fuji 400H is our go-to option for almost everything that we shoot. We also use the Kodak series for receptions and the Ilford pack for a classic black and white moment.

Curious to see what your image would look like edited with a Mastin preset? Our love for Mastin Labs knows no bound, which is why we’re giving away free editing to the first twenty photographers who reach out. Just email your RAW file, and we’ll edit it and send it back!

Note: since we have thousands of photographers on our mailing list, we really do have to cap the offer after the first twenty replies. But, email us anyway - we’d be happy to share some more of our own Before and After examples privately, or answer any questions you may have.  And we have a question for you: What other editing struggles do you encounter? If we have answers, we’d be happy to share them.

Hungry for more of our secret editing sauce? How about a live editing demonstration? Stay tuned….we’ll be announcing the date for a demo soon.  And just like our beloved Fuji 400H Pushed, we promise that our demo will be short, sweet and packed with tips you can use instantly.  

Lightroom Tips & Consistent Images,

Luke & Cat 

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