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18 January . 2022

Sweetwater resident Shannon Worley captures precious moments in her family portraits

When taking a family portrait, sometimes nothing is harder than getting kids to sit still and smile. But as a mother of two young children, professional photographer Shannon Worley has some tricks.

“I get down on their level and try to make them smile and laugh. If all else fails, I have Smarties in my purse,” says Shannon, who moved to Sweetwater with her family in late 2020.

Shannon started out as a wedding photographer, but now she focuses on family portraits, with a special focus on newborns.

Whatever type of family she’s shooting with her Canon R6, patience is her key to success.

“My goal is to put families at ease and capture them in a natural state that looks fun and spontaneous, not posed,” she says. “I’m never rushed. People need to warm up, and I take all the time needed to get the perfect picture. I love what I do, and I hope that passion shows through in my work.”

Shannon started her photography business in 2008, when the family was living in the Phoenix area. Since relocating to Austin, she has quickly developed a strong following among her neighbors in Sweetwater and surrounding communities in the Lake Travis area.

Shannon and her husband, Chris, had lived in Arizona since they were both teenagers, and they moved to Austin in 2020 for Chris’ job in financial marketing. 

When looking for a new community, strong public schools were a priority for the family, which includes Everett, 10, and Georgia, 7.

They also wanted a community that was still growing, with other young families still moving in.

“We’ve experienced over the years that it’s easier to get to know your neighbors when they are new too, and when there are lots of young families with kids the same age as ours,” Shannon says.

The Worleys bought a Perry home in Llano Terrace, a new neighborhood filled with new residents who had recently relocated from other parts of Austin and from throughout the country.

As a bonus, the highly regarded Lake Travis Independent School District opened the new Rough Hollow Elementary School just before the family moved in.

“It was great for our kids that everyone was new to the school,” says Shannon.

Both Everett and Georgia are thriving at Sweetwater and Rough Hollow Elementary.

Everett was elected student body president, and he and classmates Ethan Kuhr and Cason Wilkinson are running a thriving Sweetwater business called Neighborhood Squirrel, which cleans up pet waste from residents’ backyards.

Georgia plays on the Lake Travis Youth Association girls basketball team, which Shannon is helping coach. The family has also enjoyed quite a few resident events at Sweetwater, including the July 4 parade and Adult Cocktail Night.

“We love Austin and Sweetwater,” Shannon says. “So far, we haven’t missed Arizona at all.”

If you would like to talk to Shannon about a family portrait, you can contact her through her website.

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