How I Became a Photographer


People often ask me how long I’ve been a photographer.  The truth is that photography has always been a part of my life.  My dad was an amateur photographer and always had a darkroom.  I’ve always been around it and grew up with film photography. 

I was gifted my first camera when I eight, and have photographed my family, friends and world ever since.  Secretly, I always wanted to be a photographer, but was too terrified of the idea of talking to people, so I focused mainly on landscapes and my own family. 

I worked for years in the heartbreaking world of social work, never truly happy or fulfilled, siting on this pipe dream of mine.  I even bought a book one day between appointments, called “How to Start Your Photography Business”, which I read cover to cover and then shelved, not daring to think about that being my reality.

cutest baby in the world

Years later, after my son was born, I was obviously taking a million photos of him because he was a gorgeous baby and I adore him.  I just realized it was now or never.  How could I tell this beautiful child that he could do anything he wanted in life, when I myself was afraid to do the same...?   

“Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment and especially on their children than the unlived life of the parent.”

― C.G. Jung

So I made up my mind and took the first steps to becoming a portrait photographer.  I started asking friends to sit for me and slowly built a portfolio.  Then, with great trepidation and herculean effort on my behalf to quell my anxiety, I photographed someone I didn’t know.  A stranger.  And do you know what?  I didn’t die.  I absolutely loved it, and now I cannot imagine doing anything that would bring me more joy. 

What is it that brings you joy?  That you would do no matter what?   The thing that makes you lose track of time when you’re doing it… Do more of that thing!  Give yourself permission to explore it fully.  You only have this one life, and there’s no time for regrets.  Once you take those first baby steps, the next ones get easier and easier.  But you do have to take that first step.  I know how scary it is.  You don’t have to have it all figured out, you just have to start.  Why not do it today? 

What is it that’s holding you back? I’d love to hear from you!  Let’s start the conversation to get you going!


Why You Need a Professional Headshot

collage of professional headshots new braunfels headshot photographer

No matter what business you are in, you’d benefit from having a professional headshot.  No question about it.  Having high quality, professional images can help you stand out from the crowd and make a great impression with potential clients.

mans headshot sitting new braunfels headshot photographer

These days everyone is online and with so many options in front of them, you can stand out from the crowd with high quality and professional images that portray your business’ brand. 

It’s easier than you think, as well.  From an initial phone call or in person consultation, we’ll plan out all the details, and after your session, there is a quick turnaround for your images.   

While my studio is located in New Braunfels, I’m also available to provide headshot sessions on location, including the greater San Antonio and Austin areas. 

Put your best foot forward with professional headshots and personal branding photos for all of your marketing needs! 

Let’s talk today, to make plans for yours!

mary kay smiling woman headshot new braunfels headshot photographer

Charlie and Jack | New Braunfels Children's Portraits

You guys, I cannot begin to relay the impression these two had on me when I first met them.  Charlie and Jack are stand up, first class, pleasant and polite in every way. 

portrait of boy with red hair and freckles and glasses new braunfels photography studio

You know how we always hear about bad things going on all around us?  The news is a constant stream of negative fear based stories, painting the picture that the world is an inherently dangerous and bad place. It’s easy to believe that to be true when you hear it over and over.

These two are proof that this is absolutely not the case.  There’s always a talk of how lazy, dangerous, selfish, etc. the next generation is and how they’re going to ruin everything.  These boys are proof that there is hope.  It’s not an exaggeration, just the truth.  As their parents, Jessica and Seth are doing an amazing, fantastic, incredible job at raising these two stand up members of society. 

They were in my New Braunfels studio a while back for my Couture Kids portraits and they were a blast to photograph!  I adore working with kids of all ages and in all settings.  I love doing portrait sessions in studio especially when the weather in Texas can’t make up its mind! 

I want every family to have beautiful portraits!  It’s become very popular to have newborn photos done and maybe a first birthday photo session, and then nothing until high school senior portraits. I want to capture kids as they are at every age and stage, especially those in between years… The years between babyhood and being on the cusp of adulthood.  Think of the legacy you can gift to your children, having beautiful portraits done of them throughout their lives!

If you are looking for a photographer in New Braunfels, or in the greater Austin or San Antonio areas, I’d love to talk with you about what you have in mind.

portrait of boy sitting with golf cap and white shirt new braunfels photography studio
portrait of male teen with red hair and glasses new braunfels photography studio
black and white portrait of boy in bowtie and top hat new braunfels photography studio

How to Make Your Business Stand Out


These days, just about everyone is online, and if your business is not, you are missing out on reaching potential clients. With so many different platforms, it is important to have a consistent visual message for your business, your brand. 

How do you stand out from the crowd? 

With professional, high quality images that will convey your message and your business to potential clients.

That is personal branding.  You want to make sure that potential clients recognize you and what you stand for, what you can do for them. 

Here’s the good news:

It’s so much easier than you think!  During your complimentary consultation, I will guide you through planning out what your message is and how to best show that to clients.  We will design a photoshoot custom tailored to you and your business. 

A personal branding photo session includes headshots for you and your employees/colleagues, your place of business, client interaction or on the job photos, as well as product photography.  Whatever you need, we can do! 

True Med is a center for integrated medicine and healing located in San Antonio, Texas.  I loved meeting the staff and photographing their office and products!  I love being able to help businesses update their library of images to showcase what they offer in the best way possible!  If you are in business in New Braunfels or the surrounding areas, I am here for your personal branding photography needs.

Contact me today for your complimentary consultation.  I would love to talk with you about your business’ needs! 



Celebrate Your Relationship with Beautiful Portraits

I had the opportunity to photograph this amazing couple a while back while they were visiting our beautiful New Braunfels.  Dick and Becky are my husband’s aunt and uncle so while they were in town they stopped by the studio for a portrait session.  Their granddaughter Esther joined them on this trip and jumped in the frame for a photo as well!

Do you have a professional portrait of you and your significant other since your wedding day?  Let’s make sure that you have portraits celebrating every age and stage of life.  I invite you to a consultation with me to talk portraits!    

Sibling Photoshoot | New Braunfels Portrait Studio

These kiddos were in the studio a while back for a sibling photoshoot and it was such a fun shoot!  Living in New Braunfels, there’s no shortage of beautiful scenery for location photoshoots, but I love doing children’s portraits in the studio for that classic and timeless look.  My goal when photographing children is always to make it a fun experience and in the process capture them just as they are now at this age and stage. What a beautiful and priceless gift you can give not only to yourself and your family, but for your children to have and share with their own families one day.  I’d love to talk with you about planning a portrait session for your children in the studio or a combination of location and in studio.  

Contact me today for your complimentary consultation!  

black and white portrait of sibling children in new braunfels photography studio

What is Boudoir Photography, Anyway?

My style of boudoir photography? Beautiful, feminine, elegant. Intimate portraits that will remind you just how gorgeous you really are as a woman. Whatever you have in mind we will design a photoshoot to make it happen. Maybe you've always secretly wanted to do a boudoir photoshoot but were nervous that you aren't the right "type" of person for that. I am here to tell you that you absolutely are. And, I am giving you permission to go for it! Do it for yourself, to reconnect to your inner goddess that you may have forgotten about, or never knew you had.

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Back to School Photos in New Braunfels!

I invite you to bring the kiddos into my New Braunfels studio for a fun and laid back photoshoot to ensure you have beautiful portraits of them to display in your home, gift to grandparents and loved ones, and to save as keepsakes for when they’re older. 

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Smith Family Shoot | New Braunfels Family Photographer

black and white portrait of family in gruene texas

Mamas of little ones, especially of super high energy little ones, this post is for you!  I know how tired you are, how exhausted you feel most days, how you are doing your very best to keep up with those kiddos all while the dishes may be piling up or the house never stays clean for more than five minutes. 

For this beautiful family’s portrait session, we met in Gruene, Texas, which always makes such a beautiful backdrop.  As a photographer in New Braunfels, there’s no shortage of beautiful locations for photoshoots!  Kaylee and Josh are fantastic parents and Bode has done an excellent job of keeping them on their toes.  He is the sweetest little boy, and man does he have boundless energy! 

When little ones are involved in a photoshoot, I always follow their lead.  Bode was not in the mood to have family portraits done when they showed up for their shoot.  We took our time and let him warm up to the idea, and then we got some beautiful portraits! Easy peasy.  Ok, full disclosure, we did give him treats!

I never want a mama to put off having family portraits done because they feel their children may be uncooperative, or fussy, or what have you.  I have worked with children with every behavior imaginable, and I have a super high energy son of my own.  I love working with kids… all kids… and I promise to take beautiful portraits of your family that you will cherish forever.  Don’t put it off.  It’s my job as the photographer to manage the chaos and energy that kiddos bring to the set!  Contact me today for a complimentary consultation!

 I cannot wait to be able to photograph their next family portraits once they welcome a new baby brother very soon!

Joy Rebel


31/52 {Black and White} of Project 52

This amazingly awesome t-shirt was a birthday gift from my sweetie, and it’s perfect for this week’s theme for my weekly photo challenge, Project 52: “Black and White”. 

Rarely in life are things ever just black and white.  When you look at any situation or person up close you begin to see a seemingly infinite array of grey.  It’s like the saying goes, “Never judge a book by its cover.  We all have a story and it’s always more complex than it may at first seem. 


That’s where this shirt comes in.  Or more importantly, it’s message.  It is a call for a joyful rebellion.  For each of us to be a light in this, at times, seemingly dark world.  To show love in the face of hate.  Always. 

Even when the world seems against you, even when the weight of injustice feels too heavy, even when no one chooses to stand up with you.  It is especially needed in these times. 

I’ve always been a bit of a rebel.  A quiet one, but still... I can’t help it.  I’ve always felt like a bit of an odd bird.  Like I never quite fit in… When I was younger, I believed there was something wrong with me.  Why did I have to question everything? Why couldn’t I just be satisfied with what seemed to make other people happy?  Why did my mind always wonder to these metaphysical questions?  And why couldn’t I just be happy to spend my time doing things everyone else my age seemed to be interested in? 

Fast forward to the beginning of my third decade, and I finally began to make peace with myself.  I realized that here is nothing wrong with me, and more importantly, there never was.  In a moment of epiphany, it dawned on me that I’ve always been in tune with my true self, I had just kept it tucked away, under layer, upon layer, upon layer of defensive walls, never allowing it to see the light of day. 

I’ve been diligently uncovering the true version of who I am ever since.  I now see my whole self through the lens of love, and I know without doubt what I stand for and seek to create my own path rather than feel victim to my circumstances. 

I understand now that the way in which you see the world is how you see yourself, and that the only way to happiness and peace is through love.  Through acts of loving kindness, through empathy for others and yourself, and through choosing to respond with love in the face of fear and hate. 

We are all connected whether we like it or not.  What we do impacts others.  You can choose to be a light in this world, filling others with hope, or you can add to the darkness of anger and hate.    

Just know that you are never alone when you chose joy.  You begin to realize that a joyful life is more beautiful and brilliant and peaceful that you could ever imagine, and you want nothing more but for others to join in your new and hopeful vision of the world. 

So here’s your invitation... 

Joyfully rebel.

And know that you are never alone in your journey.


Pick up your very own t-shirt and find tons of uplifting and lovely things from the Montague Workshop, HERE!

The Gatsby Sessions | New Braunfels Portrait Studio

black and white portrait of beautiful woman in 1920s dress makeup and hairstyling new braunfels portrait studio
behind the scenes photoshoot new braunfels photographer

Oh la la!  These Gatsby inspired photo sessions were such a blast!  We had so much fun doing these 1920’s themed and styled shoots!  

Each beauty was pampered with professional makeup and hairstyling after choosing her favorite dress to wear from the studio wardrobe including jewelry and hairpieces, all inspired by the romantic beauty and glamour of the roaring 20’s! 

After having makeup and hair done, we did a short photo session and each person received 5 portraits to remember the beauty of the day for all time.    

We had so much fun doing these shoots we’re already planning the next theme for a day shoots! 

Make sure that you sign up for my email newsletter where specials and promotions are announced first before being made public. 

That way you can book your shoot before they’re gone and be sure not to miss out on any of the fun! 

gatsby inspired photo shoot portrait of a beautiful woman in vintage makeup and hair and flapper dress

A big thank you to Kaitlyn of Becoming Beauty – Makeup and Skin Care for doing such an amazing job on the majority of these shoots, and to Christy Dodds for also providing makeup and hairstyling for one of these shoots.

portrait of woman smiling and dancing in flapper dress new braunfels photographer
new braunfels photographer great gatsby flapper inspired portraits for everyday women
portrait of woman in flapper dress new braunfels photographer
behind the scenes during photoshoot at erin valkner photographer new braunfels photographer

Kory | Life Inspired: Finding Confidence and Happiness

Kory, whose story is featured in this installment of my Life Inspired Project, is both amazing and gorgeous.  She is a hard-working, hella resilient, and super loving single mama to her two beautiful children.  And with two small children to raise, she is creating a life she loves and helping others in the process.  You just have to check out her blog, Kory Needs Coffee, and also her business, Coffee Run Virtual Assisting, which can help you with just about anything! 

I’m so happy to have met her and to be able to share her incredible story with you. 

Find out more about my Life Inspired project here, and as always, if you’d like to nominate someone with a story that needs to be shared, yourself included, please contact me today

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And Today I’m 37 | This Party's Just Getting Started

Oh la la!  Well friends, it’s my birthday! I’m not much of a partier these days, but I do looooove birthdays! 

Closer to 40 than to 30 now, whew!  You have no idea how much I look forward to growing older.  I plan on living to be at least 100, so this party’s just getting started. 

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Kaitlyn | Red Hair and Blue Eyes, the Rarest Beauty

portrait of woman with red hair and blue eyes new braunfels portrait photographer

Oh la la!  Am I excited to share the images from this recent photoshoot with the gorgeous Kaitlyn!  She is a makeup artist and I’m so happy to have met her. 

When a redhead walks into my studio, I know it’s gonna be a good day! And there’s something just striking about the look of red hair and blue eyes, which is apparently the rarest combination on the planet.  And as you’ll see, Kaitlyn has both. 

We had fun with a few different looks for her shoot and obviously, being a makeup artist, she did her own makeup and hair! 

You can follow her on Facebook HERE, and on Intsagram HERE.   

I love, love, love doing photoshoots in the studio and if you are looking for a photographer in New Braunfels or the surrounding areas, contact me today, and let’s chat! 

portrait of woman with red hair and blue eyes new braunfels photographer
portrait of woman with red hair and blue eyes new braunfels portrait photographer
portrait of woman with red hair and blue eyes new braunfels portrait photographer

Electric Wizard Tattoo | New Braunfels Tattoo Shop

Today, I’m so happy to share this set of photos from Electric Wizard Tattoo, my husband’s tattoo shop in New Braunfels!

Whether you are looking to have your first tattoo done or just add to your collection, you need to check out Electric Wizard Tattoo in New Braunfels, Texas.  Joel is the owner and a tattoo artist with over 13 years of experience.  This is the place to get a high quality tattoo that will hold up over time, and get you complimented over and over.  You’ll love the atmosphere of this place, and with so much artwork you’ll have to come back again just to take it all in. 

Check out the shop’s website here, Facebook page here and Instagram here!

And if your business needs professional photos for your website, social media and print marketing, contact me today for a complimentary consultation.

Autumn's Photoshoot | New Braunfels Portrait Studio

portrait of beautiful woman new braunfels portrait studio

I recently had the pleasure of meeting and photographing Autumn in my New Braunfels portrait studio.  She is building a modeling portfolio and we shot several different looks for her.  When we first talked and started planning, I just loved the style/looks she had in mind and it was so much fun to create them for her in the studio. 

That’s one of the most fun and magical parts about doing a photoshoot…During your consultation, we take the ideas you have in mind, we plan out your shoot and bring those ideas to life through your beautiful portraits. Which by the way, you will have forever! 

Portrait of beautiful woman new braunfels portrait studio

Gatsby Inspired Sessions | New Braunfels Photographer

If you’ve ever wanted to be a flapper for a day, here is your chance!

Erin Valkner Photography is offering Gatsby inspired photo sessions July 20th and 27th. There are limited spots available so sign up now! These sessions will take place in my portrait studio in New Braunfels, Texas.

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Flapper for a Day! | Gatsby Inspired Sessions in New Braunfels, Texas

black and white flapper style portrait of woman in new braunfels texas

I’ve always related to the rebellious spirit of the flapper girl from the 1920’s.  She defiantly said “no thank you” to what society told her she should be and how she should act.  She chopped her hair short, wore short dresses and dramatic makeup and danced and drank alcohol. She was fun loving, adventurous and romantic.  She remains an icon to this day because we all want to be what she embodies: carefree and beautiful. 

Well, I am here to tell you that we all have that spirit within us.  You just have to tap into and realize that it has been there all along. Set aside the weight of other people’s opinion of your life, and be the true version of yourself; the one that exists when no one is looking.  That’s your true self.

If you’ve ever wanted to see what it’d be like to step into the role of a flapper for a day, here is your chance! 

This Month… I’m offering Gatsby inspired shoots that include makeup, hair and wardrobe styling.  All you have to do is show up and my team will do the rest.  We have gorgeous dresses in sizes Small – 3X, so there’s something for everyone!  Get ready for a day of pampering, f.un and beauty! 

There’s only a $100 deposit to book, but there will only be a couple of days of these shoots so sign up early to secure your time.  The remaining balance will be due the day of your shoot.  

These shoots are priced at $275, and include makeup, hair and wardrobe styling as well as 5 digital images.  This is the perfect opportunity to experience a professional photoshoot at an unbeatable price.  This would be so much fun to include your best friend, your sister, or your daughter.  If you book with a friend (or sister/daughter/etc), you’ll each receive a 10% discount. 


The talented and lovely Christy Dodds did makeup and hair for me a while back and I made the pale pink flapper dress. This was such a fun shoot, and I just wanted to make the experience available to you all, so we came up with these Gatsby Inspired mini sessios. I cannot wait to do these flapper inspired photo sessions with you! It is going to be so much fun!

Contact me now to book your shoot and we’ll go over all the details!

Jolene | New Braunfels Headshot and Personal Branding Photographer

I recently had the pleasure of working with Jolene for a personal branding shoot.  She is a realtor with RE/MAX River Cities, based out of the beautiful New Braunfels, Texas.  Guys, if you are in the market or about to be in the market for a house, you need to meet Jolene.  She is the best!  Not even kidding.  It’s rare that you find someone who really listens and works with you to find just the right place.  Who’s on top of their game and truly professional, through and through.  Buying or selling a home can be a stressful process, but not if Jolene is your realtor.  She is a gem and if you’re not connected with her you’re missing out, and that is a fact.  Connect with her today HERE and HERE!

Know you want to bring your business to the next level, but don’t know where to start?  Let’s talk.  I will help you to develop a personal branding plan, create a library of images and make a plan for your social media marketing.

In addition to updating your headshots, your personal branding session will give you a library of images to share on social media to show the world what you are about and what you have to offer.  Having a cohesive look to your website, social media sites, and print marketing materials gives you the advantage of standing out from the crowd as the first class professional that you are.  I would love to talk with you about your brand and marketing and help you create a library of images to bring your vision to life!  Contact me today for your complimentary consultation! 

Heather’s Portrait Session | Transformation is a Beautiful Thing

new braunfels photographer portrait of woman

Never let anyone tell you your limits.  Or that this is as good as it gets for you.  One of the most beautiful parts about humans is our unbelievable ability to transform ourselves.  To change.  To effect change on our own lives and act as a beacon of hope for others to do the same in their own. 

Heather came in to the studio for a photoshoot to celebrate the fitness transformation she’d made in her life after committing to working out at Burn Bootcamp New Braunfels since its opening.  At the time of her shoot, she had already lost 30 pounds and 17 ½ inches over the previous 8 months, and was being featured on the gym’s transformation wall.  As if showing up every day for herself to work out at 4:45am doesn’t make her enough of a badass, she also is a mom of two boys, a wife and works full time as a hairstylist.  This woman is unstoppable and it was such an honor to photograph.  The women in this town never cease to amaze me.  Being a photographer in New Braunfels allows me to meet, photograph and share their incredible stories.  There’s nothing I enjoy more!

And now, meet Heather!

Make up: Christy Dodds

Hairsytling: Heather Hudson

new braunfels photographer burn bootcamp transformation