Change & Seizing the Moment

September 20, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

It's been a long furlough! Summer vacation, sudden relocation orders, traveling with kids, settling into a new house in a new state, kids starting school, oh my!

We landed in Salt Lake City, UT -- an amazing place with wonderfully mild weather and gorgeous mountains all around. Soon, I'll be posting previews of portraits from the Beehive State.

Between the move from Texas to Utah, we took a detour back to the DC area. It was wonderful to see my friends and visit favorite places. Even more, it was wonderful to see my parents and for them to see how much the grandkids had grown in the last year. In a rare turn of events, my brothers resurfaced and it was an impromptu reunion.

With all her kids home, my Mom shed her worries and was happy through and through. It was late, most of us had our pajamas on and were winding down for the night. It dawned on me that the whole family hasn't been together in the same place at the same time in a decade. I seized the moment, gave everyone 15 minutes notice to get dressed and upstairs for some long overdue family portraits.

This meant I also only had 15 minutes to prep a cramped space, figure out lighting (I only had one on-camera strobe with me), set up a borrowed camera, and get myself dressed and do make-up. Rushed and unexpected, this was an occasion I couldn't let slip through my fingers. Things weren't perfect, but the family was all together. And family is everything.

Mui Chao
Photographic Artist
SimplyMui Photography







First Communion

March 13, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Young Diego had been studying hard for weeks with his Grandfather in preparation for his First Communion (and he apparently did wonderfully). Family came in from out of town. His sweet mother orchestrated the details: a cozy ceremony at home, followed by a delicious lunch prepared by a good friend, and a delightful candy bar for the kids to delve into. The family had asked me to photograph this important milestone in Diego's life.

With love,


a token from his baptism

father & son

beaming with pride, and loving his personalized Bible

little brother showing his gift

The Pastor and his daughter, very fortunate they happened to be in town

the candy bar
hand-stamped goody bags

the proud mom

when night falls, the kids turn into clowns

fun, musical clowns


Lip Gloss

February 14, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

Mrs. Andrea's company gives her monthly perks. For Valentine's Day, she received a lovely shade of Arbonne lip polish and was asked to post a picture of herself wearing the lip gloss.

We got together, did her makeup, and headed outside with the camera while the boys played. She chose a perfect ensemble for Valentine's -- a romantic and casual white lace top over a red tank top. Sometimes, it's nice for a working mom to spend some time on herself and let all that inner beauty out to play.

These were the results of our spontaneous session.

-- Mui Chao
   Photographic Artist



Monkey party

February 14, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

My no-so-little one turned TWO. We had a small party for her and the theme for the party was a given. I've carried her on me since the day she was born, even when shooting portraits and weddings because she wouldn't go to anyone else. Even now, when going down stairs, she insists on climbing on my back for a ride. And when I ask, "Who's my monkey?" she proudly points at herself and squeals, "MEEEE!!! Monkey Meghan!"

fun flowers for my birthday girl

Monkey poppers for shooting mini marshmallows

festive flower garlands

Homemade cupcakes & cookies

Couple of delightful guests

blowing bubbles outside

or just making bubbles on her hands

Fort under siege during the bubble wars of 2012

balloon volleyball time!

Always a monkey on my back

Time for a song

Make a wish

cupcake time!

caught in the act

daintily cleaning her hands

Not so daintily gobbled down the cupcake in question

pinwheels blowing in the wind

Enjoying her presents



January 27, 2012  •  Leave a Comment
Evidently, Rodeo is a big thing here in Texas. (Understatement much?)

I volunteer with a friend for the PTA bulletin board at my oldest kiddo's school. Last time, it took an afternoon to take down the previous board, and design & put up the new display. Each month, the display gets changed and I figured this month's would be as simple. Nope. One word:


And to boot, almost all the previous years' decorations had been lost, worn out or disposed of. So we had to start basically from scratch. There were photos of the displays from the past, and we used that as our inspiration and expanded on it. So, it took a bit longer than one afternoon, but for the love of the arts (which, unfortunately, when money is tight, creativity and fun are prime targets for cuts) and for the sake of the kids, it was totally worth it.

Every kid (and teacher, and staff) got really excited whenever they passed by the display. They spun around and around admiring all the details and pieces we created (for Rodeo, it wasn't just one bulletin board, but the entire lobby). The expression on their faces made it totally. worth. it. And I got to play with the lamination machine (awesome!!)

Can't wait to see what Rodeo is all about this week.

Mui Chao
Photographic Artist
SimplyMui Photography

This was fun to make -- upcycled from cardboard box scraps. Add paint, coffee, fire and rope and TA DA!!

Canyons, and oversized silhouettes by me. Puffy relief styled fencing, southwestern sun and ranch sign by A.R. The cowboys & cowgirls were made by the students.

Detail of the cowboy & horse silhouette

Detail of the covered wagon & oxen silhouette

Huge cardboard sign by AR & me (did I mention we're all about the being reducing, reusing and recycling?). Log cabin facade by the PTA volunteers

Dancing cowgirl silhouette by me, pennant sign by AR

There were a LOT of cowkids to put up :)

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