Posts in “Featured”

Portrait Session With Dr. Tran

Friday, November 4, 2016



Since we moved back to Houston, we’ve been reconnecting with our old friends. One of those friends is Jana. I met her through my husband’s grad school and clicked. Plus, we both like makeup. 😉 I’m glad we had the time to see each other, chit-chat, and have a fun time during this photoshoot. I’m proud and happy for Jana and the others my husband and I met through his psychology grad school program.After long years of studying and hard work, they now have their doctorates and are happy with their field of work. Here’s some info to get know a little more about Jana.

Dr. Jana Tran is a psychologist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Houston.

She works full time as a staff psychologist at the Houston Fire Department, where she provides therapy services to firefighters and responds to critical incidents, such as line of duty deaths. Dr. Tran also has a private practice aimed at supporting survivors of trauma, including combat Veterans and survivors of childhood abuse, rape, and interpersonal violence.

Her research interests center on the impact of trauma on sexual behaviors and functioning, and she recently published a paper on this topic in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. On a more personal note, Dr. Tran has a passion for yoga, lifting weights, salsa dancing, camping, and spending time with loved ones, including her pug, Leo.

If you are looking for a therapist to give you advice or tell you what to do, then Dr. Tran is not the right person for you. She regards clients as the experts of their own lives, and she honors and respects their beliefs, values, and goals. As your therapist, her job is to provide a safe, nonjudgmental space to facilitate your own healing, self-discovery, and personal growth. Dr. Tran offers a free 5-minute phone consultation to determine if her practice is a good fit for you.





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If you’re interested in having a makeup or portrait session, please email me at: 🙂


Meet Lauren Bloom Photography (+ How to Apply as a Model)

Sunday, August 7, 2016


Lauren and I have worked together for almost a year. She’s one of the most talented, humble, and down-to earth artists I know. I remember the first time we were planning for our first shoot, she found out that I also did photography, and was friendly enough to invite me to join her session. It was then that I knew she was a cool and humble person.

When it comes to planning for a shoot, the model is usually the main subject. Most of the models in my makeup portfolio are first-timers, with no experience in modeling. I have already approached friends/classmates of my husband, a girl from church and some people on social media to work with. I honestly don’t care if the models are not coming from a modeling agency, as long as she’s photogenic, fun, has a good attitude, and is on-time. 😉

Lauren and I like to search for fresh faces to place in our portfolio, whether they’re from the internet or people we know. (See my favorite shoot with her HERE, HERE, HERE  and HERE) Since I’m leaving Dallas and moving back to Houston this month, I thought I’d feature Lauren and her skills by asking her some questions about what she does. Plus, she shares how you can be part of her amazing work!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a photographer. 

It was very random, but after college I had been searching for a job that allowed me to be creative and wasn’t a typical desk job. I ended up working for a wedding planner who shared an office space with a photographer. I continuously became more interested in what the photographer did and the ones at the weddings I would work with. I asked them tons of questions and eventually decided I should try photography instead of wedding planning. The rest is history! 

2. What’s the fun side of being a photographer?

It’s never boring! You get to meet tons of people and sometimes you get hired to travel and take photos in fun locations! I just got back from San Francisco actually from doing a fashion shoot.

3. How do you find a model and what are the requirements? 

I am not doing many test shoots these days, but I do look for models if I have a certain concept in mind. I really try to find someone with good vibes too, no experience is necessarily, but no prima donnas please! Anyone is welcome to contact me about test shoots though. Even if I am not doing test shoots now I might have an idea pop up in the future I could use you for. 

4. When’s your favorite time to shoot and why?

Golden hour without a doubt! So, that would be sunrise or sunset. The beginning and last bits of light are the best. PS- if the photographer you are wanting to book looks like they are shooting directly in midday sun (shade is ok) DON’T book them! Any good photographer knows about lighting 🙂

5.What’s the most challenging part of being a photographer?

A lot of people want your services for free. Also, you are one of many, so that can be disheartening working in an oversaturated field. There are also a lot of “photographers” who aren’t necessarily that good, but they have a consistent look that can look appealing to people. 

6. What cameras and lenses do you love to use and why?

I am in love with my Canon 6D.  I’m sort of going off trend with this one because most pro photographers have a mark ii or iii. I actually bought it because it’s lite and has better low light capabilities than some of the other canon models, I have found this to really come in handy for long wedding days and traveling. My Canon 35L lens pretty much never leaves my camera. 

7.Any advice or words of encouragement for those who want to be a photographer like you?

Don’t be discouraged if you run into some snobby photographers. Really learn how to use your camera technically, learn about lighting (good lighting is everything) and then know that really there is no right or wrong way to take photos. It’s art, there are no rules! 

8.Where do you get inspiration from when it comes to your photography style?

Nature without a doubt! It’s where all my inspiration comes from. Candid moments too. 

9. Do you have any Instagram photographers you love to follow?

I try not to follow too closely with other wedding photographers because there are SO many. Comparison isn’t healthy. I find a lot of inspiration from fashion photographers though. Here are some of my favorite wedding/fashion photographers.

Nicole Hill- She only does fashion photography… and girl fashion photographers rock! 

Shannon Lee Miller ( – she was one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to start photography. Her photos just make me happy. I want my photos to make people happy too. 

India Earl ( her lighting and adventurous shoots are everything.

Kirk Mastin ( he reminds me about simplicity in photography, especially wedding photography, and to not play into the status quo as far as trends in photography. 

10. What are your tips for the first-time model who models for your shoot? (How do you make them feel comfortable in front of the camera?)

The best photos come from movement not from staying still and sometimes new models will stand stiff in one pose when I direct them thinking they have to stay there. As far as making them comfortable, I try to get to know them a little bit and ask them about their day. I want them to think of me as a friend they are hanging with. It’s supposed to be fun!








Photography by Lauren Bloom

Makeup by Em Smith

Hairstyling by Styling by Macey

If you would like to apply to be a model for her work, go to her contact page and forward your details along with a URL link to a recent photo of you. It can be from your Instagram, Blog, or Facebook. Just please make sure it is public so she can see it. 🙂 Check out her blog too to see her other works!


Welcome to Hello Island Mama! I love to share about motherhood, makeup, DIYs, home styling and faith. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from Philippines. Thank you for your time to read and don't forget to subscribe above! - Em

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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