Celebrate Valentine’s Day a Little Differently This Year

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, of course I had to do a Valentine’s Day blog! “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her.” SWOON! That was a line from one of my favorite rom-com’s Notting Hill.  But let’s continue before I really get sidetracked! So Cupid’s Day falls on Tuesday this year and most couples plan to still go out to celebrate even on a weeknight. I’ve come up with a few ideas that are just a little different from the dinner and a movie tradition. 




Have a catered dinner at home! Enjoy the deliciousness of a fancy dinner in the comfort of your home. This could mean ordering take out from your favorite romantic restaurant or hiring a chef to come to your home and cook for you and yours truly. It just so happens I came across Succulent Cuisine and they do offer private in home services!



Still enjoying the idea of staying home? Take dinner outside! Fire up the pit and cook your own dinner OR still order from your favorite restaurant and enjoy it by the fire. Plus, it’s easy to add dessert to the menu. What’s a backyard campfire without s’mores?




We’re sticking with the stay at home theme with this one. Hire a masseuse for partner massages before your romantic dinner or plan to give each other a massage! Oh don’t forget to pick up dinner.



If you have littles and can’t find a sitter on a weeknight this idea is perfect for the weekend. Book a one night stay at a local hotel. Find one that also has a restaurant in it for the perfect dinner (and breakfast). My husband and I have stayed at the Hilton Houston Westchase and the breakfast was fantastic! If you are in the Houston area we highly recommend it!



As I mentioned above, I am seriously a hopeless romantic. And one type of photo session that I haven’t done, and I would sooooo love to do, is a surprise engagement! If you or someone you know plans to propose soon please shoot me an email at hello@figleafphotos.com and you’ll be registered to win a FREE surprise engagement session! Just include the following details in your email:

  1. Introduce yourself and your ‘future fiance’. Include a picture please.
  2. Share your love story. Where’d you two meet? Why him/her? What’s the best part about forever with this person? Tell me everything!
  3. Ideas of where, how, and when you’d like to propose.

Easy right?! I’m so excited! Winners will be notified on February 1st via email first and then on social media.


I hope you enjoyed this blog! Feel free to share your most romantic Valentine’s Day in the comments! And don’t forget I am booking for March sessions. Family, Milestones (Birthdays), Seniors, Maternity, Couples (wink wink)!

3 Small Ways I Like to Save Money





If saving money was one of your 2017 resolutions I applaud you and wish you the best of luck! I have to put this little disclaimer though. I am not a financial expert nor do I claim to be one. I have worked hard not to have lousy credit (anymore) and have found a few simple ways to save money. I’m sharing them below and if you have your own little money-saving tip by all means, share your knowledge! Let’s get this started shall we!

Save your bills!

Now this tip I actually got from a former co-worker. JoAnn and her husband would save $5 bills whenever they received change. I never had cash on me so I thought this was absolutely genius! You can always start with $1 bills. I have been saving both actually. The $1 bills get put away for street people. And by that I mean someone standing on a corner asking for money, a little league football team trying to raise money for their team, or even the local fire department during their “Fill the Boot” campaign. I know I can help if even with just a little bit. The $5 bills I save get put in a special (easy to open) piggy bank. I wanted to be able to have money whenever the kids wanted to flag down the ice cream man or when they wanted extra snack money for school.


Good Ole Fashion Piggy Bank

You can actually use any old jar or container for this one. All of my loose change goes into two separate piggy banks. One is a jar and the other is a 5 gallon water bottle. The jar is mostly quarters that I plan on depositing into my bank when it gets full. The water bottle is pretty big and still needs a while to fill up so I haven’t decided what we’re saving that for. I shouldn’t but I get really excited thinking how much it will total up to!


Bank Transfers

I know a lot of people do online banking so this tip is for you. It has saved me money and headaches! If you don’t have a savings account, get one! Then schedule an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings every time you get paid. Now these are just suggestions. You know your financial situation better than I do so you do what’s right for you. If you get paid weekly I suggest starting with at least $20. It’s the fastest way to see your savings account grow to $100 in just a month. If you get paid bi-weekly I recommend starting with $40. You can save until you reach a certain amount or leave it with no ending date.

Now that last tip has several benefits. First, after doing this I realized that I could actually survive if I saved money. It’s funny to me now but that was the main reason I didn’t try to save money. I didn’t think I could survive since we were living paycheck to paycheck. Having that money easily transfer had me disciplined to not count that money in my budget. And second, because I realized that I could survive by saving money this way I was encouraged to increase the transfer amount. By just a little bit but guess what? I’m still surviving!  Have I had to dip into my savings since I started? Of course! Life happens! Which brings me to the third benefit. It’s your money and it’ll be there when you need it.


I hope you found at least one of these helpful and please share any tips you’ve learned in the comments. Oh and if you’ve saved money for a session with me, wink wink, click on the contact tab above!  You can check out my last session here and on the portfolio tab.
Best of luck to you!



My Last Session of 2016

For my last family session of 2016 I could not have asked for a more fun family to photograph! I’ll start by giving a huge THANK YOU to Christina and her family! Her and her family made it a great one! They came ready to smile and ready for fun!



Christina and I go way back! I won’t spill how many years but I will say that we went to high school together. Her and her family were in front of my camera in March of 2015 so when they came to me for Christmas card photos I was thrilled! Not only because I was going to see them again but because I was going to photograph her parents and her sister’s family! They are some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet!









A tree can only grow tall and strong with good roots. You could tell from the start of our session that this family tree is strong because of these two. I have to mention that they were up for anything, which you will see in a bit.

We met at Brackenridge Park in San Antonio, Texas and started out near the San Antonio River.





It was THE perfect spot for family photos!


The weather was a little concerning but as luck would have it Mother Nature was on our side! It sprinkled just for a bit and not until after our session had ended. It really was so much fun to do this session!

Here are more images from this session. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!












To book your family session please visit my contact page at the top or simply fill out the form below. I look forward to working with you!  

Preparing Your Family for Portraits

When it comes to taking pictures of kids, I have been extremely lucky to have had great subjects in front of my camera. There may have been one or two that made me work a little harder and I had to pull out a couple of tricks but that is to be expected. I have to give most of the credit to the parents though. Getting their kids to the session was half the battle! I think even if you’re not a parent you know this all too well…children can march to the beat of their own drum and at any time they want to. So here are just a few tips to help you and yours get to, and through, your portrait session.



Adults can tell when they didn’t get enough sleep. Usually, an extra large cup of coffee is at the top of the to-do list in the morning. Or, morning traffic seems extra annoying. By the time three o’clock rolls around they’re moving slower and yawning more. With kids, it’s a little different. Depending on their age they may not be able to tell you they’re sleepy or tired and the only way parents know it’s time for a nap is after a tantrum. Your kids might even have a sleep pattern. When booking a session with yours truly, remember to choose a time when you know your child would have had the best rest. Something to also consider is maybe your kids aren’t morning people. Consider scheduling a session in late afternoon. In the photography world this time of day is often referred to as the “golden hour” because sunset pictures can be beautiful!



You can probably figure this one out as well. Same as sleep, kids can get pretty grumpy when they’re hungry. And if we’re being honest, so can I! If you decide to feed your kids consider choosing something light that will hold their tummies over until after the session. Fruits and veggies are a healthy choice, just make sure they’re not wearing their picture outfits since some of those can get messy.  You don’t want them to spill anything on their new clothes before they’ve been photographed in them. Bringing along some dry snacks like crackers and something to sip on is a good idea in case they get a little ‘hangry’. Along with napkins or baby wipes, I think your family will be set!



Speaking of new outfits, you’ll want to pick out clothes that are comfortable for both you and the kids. Make sure accessories fit well. Ties, belts, suspenders, and hats are all cute but when too tight or loose, they can distract your child and may even irritate them and cause them to be fussy. I should also add that IF they do start to get uncomfortable I’ll take advantage of getting some natural shots before they get fussy. For example, I might snap a pic of your little guy trying to loosen his tie or putting loose suspenders back over his shoulders. I might even capture your baby girl hiding behind her hat or playing with the ribbon in her hair. We’ll make it work!

Smiling for the camera


I love cheese! Especially on burgers and nachos, and in even in my salads. I gotta have it! But for pictures, the word cheese doesn’t create a genuine smile for the camera. With the main goal being to capture your happiness, here are a few pointers for getting genuine smiles.

I know a few words that made my kiddos giggle when they were little and chances are you know a few to get your babies smiling. Feel free to send a list of these silly words to your photographer so you won’t forget. It would also be a great way for me to connect with your children without losing any momentum during the session.

Kids love to be silly! So take advantage of that and have them practice making silly faces. You could have them practice while getting dressed. Use the drive to your session to take turns making silly faces and vote on your favorites. The goal is to get that genuine laugh from your child and I’ll be ready to snap! I love to be silly too so expect me to be goofy and maybe do a little silly dancing. I might even to a little tap dance!


Bag of tricks


Think of your bag of tricks as your back up plan. Bring your child’s favorite toy or book. Maybe even a change of clothes. I would also consider bribery but as a last result. Hey, I have kids so I know that works sometimes! All of these can be life savers in different situations.


Expect the unexpected. It still may not go exactly as planned but the most important thing to remember is to go with the flow. These are just a few tips to help your family and I work together to have a great session!

Ready to book? Shoot me an email at hello@figleafphotos.com. I look forward to working with you!


Then, Now, Tomorrow

Then, Now, Tomorrow

In my first blog I shared how the name “Fig Leaf Photography” came to be. And now, as promised, here’s the first chapter of my photography journey, my very first session! It was a very special one actually. And now that I look back at my work in 2013, as I pat myself on the back heehee, I am motivated to keep going. I have learned so much about photography and have met some amazing artists! Both have helped me understand what kind of photographer I want to be. What better way to show how far I’ve come than to share some ‘then and now’ images. Enjoy!

Missed my first blog? No worries! You can check it out here.

Almost three years ago my brother-in-law announced he would be marrying the mother of his kids. I would be lying if I said half of my excitement was for the opportunity to capture that special moment in Javier & Alejandra’s lives. I would also be lying if I said that even before I asked, I had already imagined where I would need to stand to get the best shots, or that I didn’t already have a list of poses I wanted to try. So, as a gift to the bride and groom, I asked if I could be their photographer. She said yes! And so did he, of course.




And it turned out to be a very special moment. A civil ceremony with a small entourage of family as witnesses. The justice of the peace seemed truly honored to be performing the ceremony for all of the couples waiting. I was the only ‘photographer’ there and the judge helped me be in the right spots, pointing to where I should stand to get the exchanging of the vows, the first kiss, and even posing with the newlyweds afterward.

2013 Edit


2016 edit

2016 Edit


After the ceremony, we headed to Hermann Park, a very popular photo destination. Javier and Alejandra didn’t hesitate to try out any of the ideas I had. And the kids followed their lead! I admit, some of those poses were pretty common but we had fun anyway! They couldn’t have been a more perfect first client!

2016 Edit

2016 Edit


An updated family session is in the works! It’s going to be so fun to see how much the kids have grown in three years and I look forward to showing you!

I cannot even begin to express how much I loved this session. And every session since has been an opportunity to learn and grow as a photographer, each one as special as the last. This little stroll down memory lane has only gotten me more excited for what’s to come. And until then, have a peak of the rest of the images from this event.










Are you getting married? I am happy to quote civil ceremonies and small weddings upon request. Contact me today!


Nice to Meet You!

Nice to Meet You!

And here we are! My first blog post as the owner of Fig Leaf Photography! It has been 3 years in the making. I can finally check off “have a website for my photography business” from my very long to-do list! What else is on my list you ask? More on that in a bit. But first, let’s start with the name!

What’s in a name?

Hi there! I’m Vanessa Figueroa, owner of Fig Leaf Photography. It’s very nice to meet you!


The name “Fig Leaf Photography” is a combination of several branches of my life that are important to me. (See what I did there?) “Fig” is short for my last name. And as much as I love my name, I could not force people to say “Figueroa Photography”, much less “Vanessa Figueroa Photography”. That just seems like a mouthful. And like my name, my family is very important! This brought to mind my family tree. Family trees are about roots, history, and growth. I’m also a Taurus, which is an earth sign. So it makes sense that the trees, leaves, roots appeals to me. And it’s no coincidence that recycling is very important to me.

How do we tie these all together? Stay with me a little longer. (haha) Taking pictures is basically documenting history. A-ha moment! This is what I wanted to do! This is my passion! Preserve memories! Document people’s lives! So then BAM!! “Fig Tree Photography” popped into mind. Great, right? Nope. That name was already taken. Not to fret! Turns out that “Fig Leaf Photography” was the better solution.

As important leaves are to a tree, so are my clients. All of my clients are important to me. And my passion for preserving history is what drives me to do the best I can to preserve the memories and history of my clients. That includes constantly learning this craft of mine in order to do just that. We have this one life and what better way to prove we lived it than by documenting it.

My to-do list was long. So back to my to-do list. It WAS long. First item on the list, take pictures! My very first session was my brother in law’s courthouse wedding. I will definitely blog about that another time. But I was so nervous! But I had a ton of fun!! And it was such a learning experience! I’ve done two other small weddings since!

Quote 1


Next on my list was learning my camera’s capabilities inside and out, check!

Practice on more people, check!

Start charging for my services, check!

Register my business, check!

Create a website, check!

And here we are! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I loved sharing! And I hope that you are considering documenting your own history and more importantly, that you’ll consider becoming a leaf on the tree of my photography journey!


Vanessa Figueroa