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Cole Collective Shoots for Autism


April is Autism Awareness month, and I would like nothing more than to share awareness!

As you know, this year has been a big one for my family. We discovered last spring that our sweet Jude has autism. In most ways, it was a joy to find out because of helping us learn how to better love and understand how he sees the world. But at just over 2 years old, it was also hard to swallow. I think it will always be overwhelming as a parent to find out that your child isn’t like most children. It can be isolating and overwhelming.

At the same time, it has opened us up to an entirely new world. Jude’s world. Jude has taught us to be patient with ourselves and the world around us. It’s comforting to know that other families are out there learning how to best love and understand their children with Autism. My hope in creating this fundraiser is that it is a way for me to connect with other families affected by Autism to help strengthen the community of hope around Autism Awareness in Austin.

I will be taking family portraits in honor of raising money for the Autism Society of Central Texas. This event is for EVERYONE!

Please contact to book your 10 minute family portrait! The family portraits will be taken at one of Jude’s happy places in Austin, Springdale Farm. It is the most special setting for a spring portrait!

Details: Please arrive 10 minutes before your actual arrival time. There will be a volunteer to check you in when you arrive. One week after the photo shoot, you will receive 5 high res digital images for print emailed to you.

I look forward to meeting you and your wonderful children. I trust this is just the beginning of something good.

Much love from Mel, Chase and Jude!


March 5, 2015 - 6:05 pm

Autism Society of Central Texas - This is fantastic! Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity and for sharing your gifts with others.

The Howell Family on film

Howell-7What an incredibly beautiful fall day it was when we got together to photograph this sweet family!

I couldn’t be more happy with how lovely these portraits are. The fall evening light really sets the mood for this wonderful family. “Happy”. What a happy family they are. I could feel it the entire time I was photographing them. These portraits make me happy too!

Mamiya 645

Film: Portra 160 & 400

Developed & Scanned by The Find Lab.


My beautiful boy is autistic.

EEcole001105-R2-E035I adore this picture of Jude. Recently, he and I went walking around Hyde Park neighborhood one early Saturday morning. It’s crazy how quiet this city is during an early weekend morning. The weeks are chaos in our household these days. That chaos has finally become our new normal, and we have all finally adjusted to the new routines. Since Jude was born, neither Chase or I had weekends off. We were both extremely focused on our careers and making a life for our child with two parents in the creative professional world. 3 months ago we made some changes that were difficult for me at first, but now more than ever I see how good these changes really were.

Today I got these sweet sweet film portraits back of Jude, and all I could feel in my heart was a burst of pride, I have the most amazing and beautiful son. Today I also received the call from the Austin independent school district letting me know that Jude’s evaluations has been completed. The speech pathologist and the diagnostic director called to let me know that Jude has been accepted into the school district for special needs. The speech pathologist told me that Jude has “absent of spoken language.”  I have learned quickly that everything has a specific label. AHG! I still feel that I have no clue what all it means sometimes, but I do know I’m trying like hell to understand and keep up, and I will eventually get there knowing that I will have my days that are harder than others.

It has has been 6 months of processing,  so much change, crazy up and down emotions, and so much time dedicated to autism research and evaluations.  Today I feel stronger and know that I’m the best mother for Jude.  My heart is full knowing that I have such a gifted and special boy in my life. He teaches us something new every single day. I plan to share my experiences and emotions being a mother to a child with autism here in my blog often, hoping that I will get to connect to other parents who have similar lives or just share our story. I’m an honest and open book.  All I truly want is for others to learn and open their eyes and heart to Autism. It’s a challenging gift and journey we are on.

Film: Portra 400

Mamiya 645

Developed & Scanned by The Find Lab.