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July 27th, 2021

Happy Birthday, Haley!

Today's birthday girl is Haley Webster, photographer behind Three Smudges. Each month we celebrate a local business owner on her special day.

Happy birthday! How are you celebrating?
I was in Mexico in early July and went surfing - I feel like that was how I officially want to consider “ringing” it in, but I also took my boys to Typhoon Texas before they left town to celebrate. But for the actual day… low key and a quiet dinner.

How many candles are you blowing out?
42. And I’m THRILLED.

What's on your birthday wish list?
Books. RTIC one gallon jug and new GoPro.

Tell us about your background before starting Three Smudges.
I was an elementary school teacher and taught 5th grade. I have nightmare regrets about homework now that I’m a mom.

Digital or film?
Both! I came from film and now shoot both. I LOVE (insert 50 million hearts here) film and think a lot of digital photography is trying to mimic the look of film. I think there is a place for both.

Photography equipment you can't live without.
I’m sort of purist… so, I don’t really have a bunch of crazy gadgets, but I bought my Lowepro backpack for a trip I took to Guatemala last year and I don’t know what I ever did before it. Best. Thing. EVER.

Most memorable shoot to date? 
I was hired once to photograph this family saying goodbye to their family home. There were boxes everywhere and they were all lingering around looking at things that meant things to them. I had followed the parents (now grandparents) back into their bedroom for a moment and they were walking out together when they noticed the painting of their children hanging in the hall at the same moment. They both turned and looked at each other and burst into tears. It was such a private moment and I was there and caught it. I was honored to have been included on this emotional journey. 

Favorite outdoor place in Houston for family portraits.
Memorial Park/Arboretum. It’s so beautiful and wild.

My dream vacation spot as a photographer.
My life dream has been to go to Africa for a photo safari. I almost got to go years ago, but it didn’t work out… I’m going to figure it out one of these days!

Best time of day for a shoot?
I don’t align myself with the idea that you can ONLY shoot during golden hour. Any hour of light can you provide with you interesting lighting. It just depends on the story you are trying to tell.

Three tricks when photographing newborns. 
My shoots are lifestyle/documentary so I tend to come in and start shooting as things are unfolding. 1) Mom and Dad’s first priority is attending to the baby and never to me 2) no ceiling fans 3) awake or asleep doesn’t matter.

Most fun part about working with children?
You never know what you will get or what they will say.

Most challenging part about working with children? 
You never know what you will get or what they will say.

Spill 3 tricks for us amateur iPhone photographers. 
Trick 1. Rule of 1/3- Don’t center your subjects.  Trick 2. Look for leading lines-these are lines that lead your eyes. Trick 3. When editing you want your whites to be white and your blacks to be black.

Your daily uniform? 
Jeans, a white t-shirt, the biggest most colorful earrings, and Chucks.

Neighborhood you call home and why you love it? 
I live in Lynn Park and I LOVE it. It’s close to a lot of things and my studio. It’s just a cozy little nook and I know many of the people around me. My kids have a ladder against the fence in the backyard and they climb it to visit the neighbors. Can’t beat that.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner, where are we most likely to find you?
Breakfast Eloise Nichols (they have tater tots!!), lunch is Green Fork & Straw, and dinner at either MF Sushi, Bravery Chef Hall or Doris Metropolitan.

Three local businesses you love supporting. 
Covenant Gym helps keep me moving, my friend Carrie makes cards at Molasses Candy and Tres Market

Three apps you use in your job.
VSCO, 8mm, Helios.

Series you're addicted to…
I started My Unorthodox Life on Netflix and it’s a guilty pleasure for sure.

What's your sign?
I’m a Leo and there are some definite things about me like being determined and loyal. I can also be stubborn and overbearing… so, now that I have looked at the list of traits, I’m more certain than ever that I am without a doubt a Leo. 

#filter or #nofilter?
If they are my work photos they have no filter. If they are my iPhone photos I edit them with vsco and play with those things all day long-have FUN!!

Want to be the next Tidbits Birthday Girl? Tell us why at submissions-houston@gotidbits.com.

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