Posts in “Collaboration”

Romantic Mediterranean Inspired Wedding Ideas

Monday, November 28, 2016

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Today, I’m excited to share with you a collaboration I did a few months ago with some talented vendors. This is a Mediterranean inspired wedding captured by Claire Casner Photography. I had worked with Jennifer from Harper Hadley Events, on a previous shoot. (link) She invited me to join her as a makeup artist and collaborate with other talented vendors. Together, we were able to execute a romantic and lovely set for this photo shoot. Here are the amazing vendors you need to check out! Plus, this shoot was featured on Check it out! 🙂

Photography: Claire Casner Photography // Design & Styling: Harper Hadley Events // Floral Design: DIRT // Rentals: Pretty Little Plates // Linens: La Tavola Linens // Paper/Calligraphy: Prairie Letter Shop // Gown: Saint Isabel Bridal // Makeup: Em Smith // Hair: Macey Burns // Jewelry: Shapiro Diamonds // Favor Boxes: Marigold & Grey // Model: Alice Mamula



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!


Tips on how to prepare yourself for your next photo shoot.

Monday, June 6, 2016


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A few months ago, Brent and I did a wedding shoot with Leah and other talented vendors (see details below) in Summerfield. It was one of the most fun sessions I have done, especially because I had a chance to do it with my husband. Being in front of the camera can sometimes be overwhelming, even more so if you are not used to it. I’m not a professional model, but I do have experience in front of and behind the camera. So I thought I’d share a few of the things I like to do and what I’ve learned from my past experiences. These are not complete guides as I’m pretty sure there are tons of things to do besides what I list. However, these are just some guidelines that you might want to know for your bridal shoot, wedding shoot or any other kind of photo session you are planning to do.


CLEAN NAILS – I liked to make sure my nails are always clean before I go for a shoot. I clean and color my nails on my own, and I love to use OPI nail polish in a light cotton candy color. Colored nail polish that is more of a natural finish to match your skin tone will be perfect. That is of course, unless you and photographer will be taking some creative shots or something. summerfield_romance_bridal_shoot_tips_for_model_shoot_2

AVOID BRA STRAP MARKS – If you’ll be wearing an off-shoulder, V-Neck, backless or any kind of style that will show your shoulders or back, avoid wearing a tight bra strap that might leave marks. You’ll also help save the photographer’s time from editing your skin.


DIRTY HAIR – Not all women will agree with this, but really, don’t shampoo your hair the day before your shoot. This will help your hairstylist style easily work with your hair. I’m not a hairstylist either, but this is always what I was told by professional hairstylists that I have worked with.



ARRIVE WITH NO MAKEUP – Oh please do this. It saves the makeup artist a lot of time if the model/client arrives with no makeup on. I know some women don’t want to leave the house without makeup on, but you can try to wear sunglasses if you’d like (to make you look cool too right?). Eyebrow or lip makeup is fine, but for the eyes and the rest of your face? No. No.

EXFOLIATE YOUR FACE/ LIPS – Photographers will take a variety of pictures of you: whole shots, half shots, and close-ups (more of these), so be ready to show off your skin and lips, flake-free. I know there is Photoshop, but natural looks are still always best option. 🙂

GLOWING SKIN – I like to put lotion all over my shoulders, arms and even on my ankles and feet just in case the photographer takes picture of gorgeous shoes. From what I mentioned on my blog with tips for spring and HERE, I also like to use baby oil for my shoulders to give off a glow in the picture or use a highlighter powder. However, don’t do this if you want a matte look for your in the image.

MIRROR MIRROR – This might sound vain, as my husband says to me (Haha!), but I learned to pose by practicing in the mirror. By doing this you’ll know what your expressions look like when you move your chin up, open your lips, smile, etc. I also like to use the mirror to check my posture. In my opinion, looking at yourself in the mirror to practice poses adds to your self confidence. Although, the photographer Leah directed me on how to pose, which is great if a photographer knows how to direct. However, it is also great if you can contribute your own natural looking poses.

BROWSE IMAGES – Try to ask for images to inspire you for poses, or for the look and feel of the shoot from your photographer. Pinterest is also a great way to browse bridal/wedding poses. Try to do a pose that you feel comfortable with and looks natural.



BRING DRINKS AND HAVE SNACKS- If you know the timeline of your shoot and will be staying longer, better bring some snacks and drinks. Waiting is a part of the photo shoot, especially if it’s a collaboration with a big production team. For this particular shoot, Jenn and Leah were kind enough to bring snacks and drinks for everyone, which is totally professional for a collaboration shoot like this.

BE FRIENDLY – Try to introduce yourself and talk with the crew who are part of the shoot (makeup artist, hairstylist, photographer). Not only will you be friendly and approachable, but this is also a great way to make yourself feel comfortable with everyone around the shoot. Most of the bridal and portrait shoots are only with a photographer, but in this case, there was a big production team with people from floral design, furniture, and location staff. The great part of this was that they were all very friendly! 🙂

PLAY MUSIC – You can request to play music during your makeup/hair session to help you relax. If I’m in a photo shoot like this, I prefer not to use earphones since I like to talk to the artist/s doing my hair and makeup. I just think it is better to converse with the people around me instead of being in my own world.

STRETCH and WARM UP – I like to stretch my arms, neck, feet, and back to warm up my body. It helps me to not look stiff and keeps me from slouching. Since I have mild scoliosis, this also helps to make my posture look good in the photos.

TALK TO YOUR PARTNER – Yes, this is VERY important, especially if you have a husband who is camera-shy and not a fan of having photos of him taken; like my husband. I actually spoke to my husband Brent before the shoot, to discuss what would be happening or what could happen during the session. I asked him to bring a laptop, and of course his phone, so that he had something to do while waiting. Again, waiting is part of modeling for a bridal/wedding shoot. I also gave him information on the timeline of the shoot, and who the people there would be. Even though my husband is not into posing in front of the camera, I’m proud of him because he did this photo shoot together with me.


ASK THE PHOTOGRAPHER – Feel free to communicate and talk to your photographer on how you are doing in front of the camera. In my opinion, after a 5-10 minute of session, I like to ask the photographer if I can view a couple of images. I do this to get a better idea of what is going on, which helps a lot. But please don’t ask the photographer every minute! Haha!

EYEBALLS – If you do the “Look-away” make sure your eyeballs aren’t too far to one side because it will just make your eyes look all white and unbalanced in the picture. Always be aware of where the lens of the camera is.


GRACEFUL HANDS- Always try to move your hands gracefully. I mean, if your photographer tells you to hold your hair, try to do so in a smooth and graceful manner. Avoid being stiff.


COMPLIMENT YOUR PARTNER –  Try to encourage your partner about how he is doing great with the camera. Compliment him on how he looks great in what he’s wearing. These are just a few of the things you can do to help your partner feel more comfortable and relaxed.


LAUGH – Have fun during the shoot! This is probably the most important tip here. Everything will come out nicely if your happy faces and laughter are natural. If you don’t know what you are doing, just laugh or smile about it, and *CLICK* Your photographer will snap that gorgeous face!



I hope you found these guidelines and tips helpful for your next photo session! By the way, these images were featured in Wedding Chicks. Please visit their website and share it! 🙂 And don’t forget to follow these amazing vendors on Instagram who made this shoot possible!

Venue: Summerfield at Tate Farms (@summerfieldtatefarms)

Photography: Leah Golter Photography  (@leahgolter)

Design & Styling: Harper Hadley Events (@harperhadleyevents)

Floral Design:The Backyard Bouquet  (@thebackyardbouquet)

Rentals: Rent my Dust (@rentdust)

Paper/Calligraphy: Paper & Posies (@paperandposies)

Gown: Truvelle (@truvellebridal)

Hair/Makeup: Brittany Jones Weddings (@brittany_a_jones_hamu)

Jewelry: Shapiro Diamonds  (@shapirodiamonds)

Cake:  Sugar Bee Sweets (@sugarbeesweets)

Models: Em and Brent Smith (That us! 🙂 )



Are there other tips or experiences you want to share from your shoot?

“Consider it pure, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” James 1:2





Mother’s Day GIVEAWAY: Python Bracelet

Thursday, May 5, 2016


These past few weeks, I have seen 3 snakes! If you know my husband, he loves nature. Whenever we walk with our kids before bedtime, he tries to look for snakes to show to our son (Follow me on Snapchat: ememist). I’m totally not a fan of them, especially if there is snake where I am walking! It totally makes me freak out. I mean, I don’t mind looking, but I don’t want snakes touching my skin, and I won’t hold them!  Anyway, when I tried on this Python Bracelet from Rebecca Lankford, I felt that I conquered my fear. Haha! This bracelet is hand-made in Houston, Texas. The cool thing about this bracelet is that you can use this as a choker necklace too! It has a magnetic closure which is easy to open and close. What I love about Rebecca’s work is that it is inspired by love, faith and nature. If you love necklaces, bracelets, rings and one-of-a-kind accessories, check out Rebecca Lankford’s website for her stunning designs!


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We are giving away one Blush Python Double Wrap Bracelet! Head to my Instagram  to learn how to join this amazing giveaway! 🙂
Contest ends on Mother’s Day at 11:59pm CST and it is open to everyone! Good luck! 🙂



Skecher’s Shoot

Thursday, February 25, 2016

It was cool to work again with this talented lady, Lauren Bloom, who invited me to do a shoot for Skechers’ newest sandals for Spring collection. For the model’s look (her name is Lauren too, who is a fashion blogger in Dallas by the way, check out her blog!), I decided to create a subtle and natural look yet defined. Hairstyling was done by the talented Macey. Here are my favorite shots!

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Photography: Lauren Bloom

Makeup: Em Smith (me)

Hair: Styling by Macey

Model: Lauren Morgan


Featured Blogger: Lauren Morgan

Thursday, January 28, 2016

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This beauty blogs about food, travel and style! She is also a psychology nerd! Visit her blog at

Photography by Lauren Bloom

Hairstyling by Macey 

Makeup by Em Smith (me)


Featured Blogger: A Dash of Koko

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Kailee(1of1)-43 Kailee(1of1)-28 kailee(1of1)-19 Kailee(1of1)-35 Kailee(1of1)-30 Kailee(1of1)-27 Kailee of A Dash of Koko is a fashion and lifestyle blogger here in Dallas, Texas. I love her style because it’s simple yet classic! Shop this style and few of the makeup that I used for her at  

Beautiful images by Lauren Bloom Photography

Makeup by Em Smith (me)





Say Cheese!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


I’m sharing some of my favorite photos captured by Lauren. She chose a great location for this shoot near Downtown Dallas. The place was attractive even though it was cloudy at the time.

I don’t remember the last time I posed in front of a camera in public. It feels weird and funny to smile and pose because I am always behind the camera and to think, I have kids now. I remember the days in college when I had fun taking photos of myself. I loved having the chance to be photographed, and was always happy to be a subject (model) for my fellow Fine Arts friends.  Those were fun times!





Beanie from Target




I used Infiniti Pro by Conair Curling Iron (Size 1.5″) to curl my hair.



Photography by Lauren Bloom


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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