Own It {Destination Wedding Photographer, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer}…

Meet Mo.  This lovely lady entrepreneur came to me for professional head shots. Stuffy, boring head shots are no fun, and really don’t you want to do business with people that you feel like you connect with or relate to? If you want to draw more business through your web site, show off your personality a little.  I told Mo during our shoot, “Own it!”  She burst into laughter because ‘own it’ is part of her business slogan.  That set the tone for her session.  She’s a girl after my own heart with her love of classic black and white, too.  Relax, head shots can be fun….just own it!

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A Funny Thing Happened at The Park: Connor + Baleigh’s Engagement Session {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photography, Oklahoma Engagement}

Looking at Connor + Baleigh’s engagement session you would never know what happened that day.

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They were so cute and cozy, and the images turned out lovely.

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But if you’ve spent any time around me you know that well, somehow everything becomes a story that we’ll laugh at later.  Or so that’s what I’m told every time something like this happens. These two were laughing the entire session.

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There was a lot to laugh about…they are in love and getting married.

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The sun was providing some wicked ring shots, too.

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Everything was perfect.  The session was almost finished.  The park we were shooting at was closing, and out comes our friendly park ranger with a bullhorn announcing that the park is closing in five minutes.  Actually the park should have been closing in ten, but the park ranger decided it was five.  I directed Connor and Baleigh to head out to the middle of the bridge, because I wanted at least one image on the bridge.

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It was totally worth the bullhorn warnings we were receiving.  Everything was perfect, right?  Well, their session was most definitely.  Then, that’s when a funny thing happened at the park.  I realized I couldn’t find my keys in my bag.  I have three children, this isn’t my first rodeo with missing keys.  My husband put a Tile on the key ring a while ago.  If you haven’t heard of Tile, and your children misplace your things often, order one now.  Anyway, I called my knight in shining armor, and he said the Tile app is on his phone and he has to be within blue tooth.  He was fifteen to twenty minutes away, and my bullhorn warnings had long expired.  So I politely walk over to the park ranger with a giant smile as I now want to befriend him and his bullhorn.  I told him the situation and he so kindly said he’d wait until my husband got there instead of the alternative of locking my car in the gated parking lot.  I frantically combed over every area we shot.  I couldn’t find the keys anywhere.  I searched my bag numerous times taking everything out of it.  My darling husband showed up shaking his head and laughing at me.  (This isn’t his first rodeo either.)  We started searching.  The tile was making a noise much like the ring tones of an old Nokia flip phone, the GPS on the app was going crazy.  The old school ringing that we couldn’t track down and the out of control GPS saying we were a few feet away confirmed that the keys were here and not lifted by park aliens.  My bag got heavy.  I set it down.  My husband searched it too.  Now this bullhorn commandeering park ranger was staying way later than he was suppose to.  I believe he was motivated by kindness, but also maybe a touch out of curiosity about how well the Tile app worked.  A good half hour passed, and it was the same thing over and over again: GPS going crazy, us hearing a sound in the distance, and the three of us wandering in the woods.  Then, just before the sun was about to go down and sweep any chances of key recovery.  We went to check my bag again.  I have carried my trusty Kate Spade backpack for a few years.  For some reason, the GPS was telling us we were near the keys when we were near the bag.  My husband checked again in the bag.  No keys.  Then my McGyver found the hole.  The hole that allowed my keys to slip between that cute polka dot Kate Spade liner and the actual bag.  Yes, that’s right, my keys were in the bag and couldn’t be seen the entire time.  The entire time we marched we the “bullhorn turned kind park ranger” chasing down the Nokia ring in the distance.  Ugh.  I gave my business cards to the park rangers, as another ranger came to spectate as we were now the life of the parks and rec party.  I offered any type of free park photography they might need for their patience and understanding.  I had all but forgotten about that bullhorn and wanted to cover them in kindness to deflect from my witch hunt.   It was only the icing on the cake that when we got home I found a tick on me from crawling through the trees in the park.  A tick, I couldn’t make this stuff up people.  So a funny thing happened at the park, but also, a beautiful thing happened too. And the beautiful thing is worth way more than that thing we’ll laugh at later. Congratulations Connor + Baleigh!

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The Womb Haircut (Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer)…


Kids will make milestones.  They are celebrations of growth.  They are moments in time we want to freeze.  They are specks on the radar of life where I lose my ever lovin’ mind.  Yes, of course, I want my children to have these milestones.  I know it reflects that they are becoming their own person.  I do cherish each stage for what it is.  But, Heavens to Betsy, I’m insanely sentimental, and as I get older it has reached profusely obnoxious levels.  Two and half years my son’s hair grew.  As I stood in the salon, I thought, “Those are the exact hairs that were on his head when I gave birth to him.  Those very hairs were the ones he had in the womb.”  Oh, Sheradee, come down from the crazy place.  You are not going to keep those tiny baby hairs God formed on his head there until he’s 23.  Or can I?  Can I grab him and run right now?  What was intended to be his first haircut, was a glamorous trim.  I’ll admit it.  My husband insisted we take him to the sweet stylist, Karen, who use to cut my husband’s hair.  Karen is on the short list.  You know the incredibly short list of women allowed to kiss my boys.


I love Karen, and I knew I could con her into leaving the curls.  I secretly knew she’d be on my side.  So, we loaded up and road tripped 45 minutes.  He fell asleep on the way there.


Karen kissed all over his precious cheeks while she casually trimmed his blonde locks all the while he was nearly comatose from not having a nap.


He slept while my last grip on his babyhood fell to the floor in chunks.  I kept every last hair…every last womb hair I kept until I had a hairball like you’ve never seen.  The trim was indeed casual, as there wasn’t much hair gone. I couldn’t stand to actually “cut” his hair as in a visible difference in length cut.  A few weeks passed, and I knew it was time.  Time to stop living in denial that I might be raising Samson.


I was raising a boy genius yes (notice the t-shirt), so wisdom he already had, however, it was a haircut he needed.


This time we went to Andrea, a stylist who is not a road trip away.  And this time, the boy was awake.  Wide awake.


I’m certain I looked this side of ridiculous grabbing each blonde curl as it hit the floor and tucking it away into my womb hair envelope.


The boy, however, rather enjoyed his haircut.


So much so that he asked me to take him to “Disney World” after ward  (also known as Barnes & Noble to the reading world).


He shook the stray pieces of hair from his cape onto the sparkling salon floor, and just like that, the womb hair was gone.  His boy hair curled up just enough to frame his face with the cutest little pieces over his tiny ears.


That face I’ve been in love with since I saw it.  It was slightly different, slightly more grown up than before the cut.


It was perfect.  He was still a boy genius, I have a ziploc bag full of womb hair to pull out and show his future girlfriends, and he still believes Barnes & Noble is Disney World. Everyone wins.



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Mark + Misti’s Snow Wedding (Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photography)…


Long before this wedding, I saw it in Mark’s eyes.  I saw the way he looked at Misti.  In fact, the first time I met him, I told him in my best Beyonce, “You better put a ring on it.”  I think I was even shaking my finger and dancing a little bit.  Fast forward to after the proposal, he told Misti, he didn’t even know that was a song when I said that to him.  So, he either thought I was slightly odd or very good at developing lyric.  (Both can be true at times.)   I giggled a little to myself while I photographed their rings thinking of that.  And I promise you that look I saw him give her when she couldn’t see him, I’ll never forget it.


Snowstorms wreak havoc on meal planning, seating arrangements, and what not at winter weddings.


It seems like a planning nightmare.  However, for one moment, if you step back from the near panic attack that well meaning guests inflict by their worry and last minute declines after RSVP, take a step back from it, and really take a good look around you.


There is a gorgeous day waiting to be yours.

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Winter brides, embrace the snow, embrace the ice, embrace that people just can’t deal.  And, live it up…it’s your wedding day.


And like Misti and Mark’s, it’s an incredibly beautiful day.


Misti let go of the cancellations, the food orders, the particulars that can creep in and create worry.


Sporting a brilliant smile, her bridal gown, and snow boots to match Kristoff from Frozen, she laughed in the snow.


She soaked in the day.  She embraced the snow.  And it. was. beautiful.


And you guys, he still looks at her that same way.


Here’s to a life of ditching plans and finding peace in that look.



Location The Hall at Railway House, Rings Mitchell Jewelry


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Matt + Cassandra {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer}

Details of weddings do tell stories, but the emotions, for me, are the heart of the day.  A laughing bride, or a crying bride, or a little of both, it lets us into her inner most feelings on her wedding day.  Matt and Cassandra’s classic black and white day, needed only the color of their happiness to brighten it.  I think you’ll agree, their emotions were heart warming.  From her glow while she got ready to his reaction when he saw her during the first look under the tree.  The bridesmaids and the bride even had special Toms so that they could comfortably dance the night away.  It was a beautiful night.  The kind of night that when I go through the images, I can’t help but smile with them.






















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Love Can Build A Bridge, Steve & Maree’s Engagement Session… {Oklahoma Wedding Photographer, Destination Wedding Photographer}


Remember that song The Judds sang, Love Can Build A Bridge?  As I slowly rocked back and forth desperately attempting to balance myself to photograph this gorgeous couple I was reminded of it.


This bridge, it looks like something straight out of a movie with hobbits, it’s so authentic.


I instantly felt the connection Steve and Maree’ and her family had to this beautiful hidden treasure in their back yard.


The bride’s mom and dad laughed telling stories of Maree’s childhood.  This swaying bridge was home to many memories and most importantly, it was built by Maree’s Dad.

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It must have taken him months to dangle and secure each slat until the bridge finally stretched across from one side to the other.  It created a fairytale like feel in the already very enchanted woods.  They laughed about memories of Halloween parties and the creaky bridge being the perfect scare tactic for the older kids to use on the younger kids.  After years of memories, here their full grown daughter stood with her soon to be husband on the bridge Maree’s dad put so much into making.


That’s a moment where the sentimental mother in me wants to stop what I’m doing and hug Maree’s parents and cry.  And, let’s be honest, I would have if I felt like I could have got steady enough footing to actually move or even exhale a little.  From where I was standing, I could see the pride in their eyes though.  She’s all grown up, but just like love can build a bridge, love too, can build a daughter into a bride.


And what a lovely one she’ll be walking down the aisle to marry Steve arm and arm with her father as she holds the hands that built that bridge and helped build that daughter.


Congratulations, Steve and Maree’! (Check back when I blog their May wedding to see the barn her dad’s hands built and how it shaped Steve & Maree’s love story, too.)

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Merry Happy Cattywampus Whatever (Family, Oklahoma Wedding Photographer)…

I haven’t blogged since October.  It’s probably my longest stretch until I say that next time.  So to usher in the new year, I thought it was time for some Hurst Christmas Photo Booth fun…about one month late.  We don’t do Pinterest baking and hand stamped wrapping paper at my house.  We bake, and I set off the smoke alarm (numerous times over Christmas), and we wrap, but it looks like my kids did it.  So, our family tradition is the Hurst Christmas Photo Booth. We do the photo booth every Christmas Eve in my office studio.  We use a remote to shoot our own family photos.

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You can even see the remote in some of the images.

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A few are even blurry, because, well, no one is behind the camera.

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That’s to add charm, you know.

Since I’ve been absent from the blog world three months, here’s a quick update. Our sweet dog, Chee Chee passed away.  We got a new dog, Willie Nelson, who yes, resembles Chee Chee quite a bit.  Willie Nelson made a photo booth appearance too.

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It’s fun when Willie Nelson makes an unexpected appearance anywhere.  Am I right? Also, mid way through the photo booth my middle child left the photo booth and put on some red lipstick.  I have to really watch this one and the red lipstick.  But, if ever there was a time for red lipstick, it’s the Hurst Christmas Photo Booth.

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This Christmas Eve my husband got off work just in time for us to set the self timer for a family photo too!  It’s cattywampus, but so are we.

7D9A8486 wMerry Late Cattywampus Whatever from the Hursts.











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Kindness Matters (Photography)…

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I’ve always love the lyrics to the Jewel song, “In the end only kindness matters.”  In life and in work, I truly believe that.  At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, was I kind?  We had a rough couple weeks recently when the kids got a stomach bug, and then our family dog passed away.  While some fantastic things were happening with my business, personally there were a few sad days.  In the midst of it, a package from Florida arrived on my doorstep.

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Inside the box was the most sincerely written card and a box of gifts.  The gift givers were a couple that crossed our paths a few months ago on one of the most exciting days of their lives.

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In February, as my family walked into the Magic Kingdom for the first time, we stood before the famous castle.  My husband starts nudging me and directing my attention to a man who was proposing to his girlfriend right in the middle of the Magic Kingdom.

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I grabbed my camera and photographed it for them.  After the beautiful moment, I got their e-mail address and sent them the images.  This kind couple packaged and shipped a thoughtful box of thank yous.  The words they wrote in their thank you card were so heart warming.  They also sent chocolates and a statue with Mickey and Minnie that says, “And they lived happily ever after.”  My oldest daughter quickly staked claim of the statue for her room to remind her of the proposal she saw.

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Also in the box was a small piece of fabric that says, “Kindness Matters.”  I held it for a minute, thinking.


This I’m going to frame, I thought.  When it’s just been a rough week, I want to look at that and remember, beyond all the “problems,”  kindness matters.  It’s so interesting the way God introduced these then strangers into our lives.  There are many more “strangers” that will cross our paths in different ways, all as an opportunity to show that kindness matters.  Kindness matters, when nothing else does. Thank you, Michelle and Kevin.  They don’t call it the Magic Kingdom for nothing.

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See their engagement post here:http://wp.me/p3hmbh-vH


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Pre-K The Sequel (Family)…


This isn’t the first time these boots have seen the first day of Pre-K.  Yes, it was just a few years ago the tan, slouch boots danced their way into the school building while the video camera rolled.  My oldest daughter donned them as a new era dawned in our lives…the school years.  See I know what these boots started.  They marked the day that my baby started to become a little girl.  And now, like a song on repeat, the cycle has started again with my second baby girl.


Albeit, in a much, much different beginning, but it’s started.  This time those tan slouch boots didn’t skip, but rather quietly and bravely inched into the Pre-K classroom.  Last time they paraded in on my oldest daughter’s feet with lots of bouncing , jumping, singing, and dancing.  This time, my peanut wore them as she ventured into her classroom to immediately plop down next to her best friend.  Yes, this is the day that laying in her underwear and wearing Nutella on her face take second place to the dinosaur song in music class.  I don’t think school is the big bad wolf.  I don’t even think it’s close.  In fact, I think it’s happiness and rainbows and youth, and that’s so darn hard to accept as a parent.  I don’t doubt the education or the care of my children, in fact I know it’s nothing less than top notch.  However, it’s the first time I let go of my tight grip on those five little fingers since the day they appeared on Earth, so there’s some adjusting for mom.


It’s the time when I said, “You can do this!” and thought “But I can’t.”  It’s sad, not because it’s some terrible thing, but because it’s some wonderful thing.  It’s sad because she got in the car when I picked her up after her first day, and honestly answered, “No” when I asked, “Did you miss me?”  It was only two and half hours, but I know.  I know what happens in two and half hours at Pre-K.  I know, because I’ve done this before, with these very boots.  I’ve stuffed my heart in these little boots before and let them walk in the door to Pre-K.  So, I know that by May, those boots will be too small, and that tiny piece of my heart will be smarter, bolder, and ready to take on the world.  It was hard.  It was hard to let go of her hand.  I had flashbacks of cooking dinner with her in that baby carrier on my chest.  Then I thought of that incredibly clingy monkey baby who gripped her feet so tight around my waist that it was easier to just carry her everywhere I went rather than put her down on her own.  But I know that this time if I don’t let her go on her own, she’ll be monkey wrapped around me until it’s obnoxious.


I wasn’t the only one letting go of a hand that’s been there since the beginning.  This little guy was letting go (well for two hours a day) of his his partner in crime, his candy stealer, his interpreter, his best friend.


So, I, make that we, let go of her hand.  I pulled her close and squeezed her harder than I ever have.  I slowly walked back to the car with her dad and her brother’s blonde curls blowing in the wind.


My husband got in his truck to go to work.  Me and the boy started for the long two mile drive home, just the two of us.  Tears streamed down my face as I looked at her empty car seat, just like when I dropped her sister off a few years ago.  Then, out of nowhere, the sweet blonde behind me began shouting, demanding that I hold on to one of his feet while I drive.  He insisted, “Hold my soot!” (That’s foot.)  So, knowing that his cowboy boots will all too soon make their way through the doors of the school, I held his right foot all the way home.  I continued to cry until he started shouting in his caveman voice about giants, and spiders, and monsters.  Then I laughed out loud, but I didn’t dare let go of that foot.  What on Earth will I do when I drive away and there’s no high maintenance “giant” begging for my attention in the back?  What will I do when I finally drive off in a completely empty car?  The better question is what on Earth will *they* do with the opportunity ahead of them?  It’s hard to swallow, but preschool rocks.


(The First Day of Pre-K for my oldest is posted here: http://sheradeehurst.com/2011/08/22/pre-k-go-away/ )


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Confessions: Dog with A Blog (Don’t Tell Disney)….


Hey, It’s National Dog Day! Yeah, that’s me talking to you.



So, I’m guest blogging for my person, Sheradee. (That’s me above in the pink bean bag.)  It’s my first time to blog, so pardon the spelling.  I have the tiniest little nails to type with and I have cataracts, and I couldn’t bride any of the three little people around here to type this, mainly because two of the three can’t spell.

So, the subject at hand is wedding photography, but stay with me to the end because I’m dishing up confessions on my person, too. I’m celebrating National Dog Day with some photographs of dogs and weddings.  Below is Danielle and her pup, and Jessica and her big baby proving that bow ties are not just for humans.

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Now, I know my person, Sheradee is known for making confessions on the blog.  Bet she never ‘fessed up to this???  (See below.)  I’d love to give a photo credit here, but I don’t know who the photographer was on hand that day at the pet store about ten years ago when it was right before the 4th of July, and my person was feeling all patriotic and did this.  And then, in a weird twist of events, a friend of hers put it on a customizable coffee table book.  And so now this treasure of me, will live in history forever.


Yeah, that’s me draped in an American flag.  Long before she had those three little people, she dressed me and acted like I was a child.  I must say, it was a relief when the little people started filling up the house.  No more velcro on my belly or weird fake wool sweaters around my neck.  Although, there were some weird outfits that transpired when the little people got big enough to put doll clothes on me.  Those I’ll never speak about in public.  Never.  These days I’m just strolling naked through the house, like a geriatric dog should. Sure, I’ve got some grey these days, okay a lot of grey, but I’m finally comfortable enough in my manhood to sleep in a giant pink bean bag, and I’m looking pretty good for being 16.  Happy National Dog Day, Ya’ll!  XOXO, Chee Chee7D9A0597


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