PhoArtgraphy: Blog en-us (C) PhoArtgraphy-2015-2018 (PhoArtgraphy) Wed, 21 Feb 2018 04:29:00 GMT Wed, 21 Feb 2018 04:29:00 GMT PhoArtgraphy: Blog 114 120 Living in the moment | atlanta child photographer In this age of social media, it is easy to follow everyone's latest move. You can see when people are celebrating a birthday, having drinks with friends, working out or going to the movies. Nowadays everything is up for show and tell. There's nothing wrong with that, but is the moment really being lived or is it just being observed? 

A few years ago I used to take my camera to all sorts of special events and I would photograph what was going on. If for some reason I didn't have my camera with me, someone would invariably ask where it was. After a while, I realized that I wasn't really able to enjoy myself because I wasn't a part of the action. I was capturing the action, which is not a bad thing, but still apart from it. I decided that I didn't want to do that anymore. 

So this weekend was truly awesome! It started with me picking my son up from the bus stop. For one thing, I only had to drive down the street and around the corner to pick him up, as opposed to driving over 20 minutes away to pick him up from tennis practice. Then, as he was running to the car, he had this brilliant smile spread across his honey-complected face. I could have captured that with my iPhone, but I didn't. Instead, I chose to drink it in with my eyes and soul and revel in his happiness. Once in the car, he told me about his fantastic day. How the 7th grade had a field trip to the Georgia Aquarium. He showed me videos and said he didn't have a favorite part because it was all awesome! I just love that! We chatted all the way home. 

Shortly after that, my best friend texted me and asked me if I was available that evening. Since my husband works until midnight and my son was quite content playing video games, I said sure. Turns out she had tickets to the Morehouse Candle in the Dark Gala at the downtown Hyatt and her husband was in the bed with the flu. Not only that, but it was black tie. For those of you who don't know, I don't really get to go out much, especially not to a black-tie event. The first thing I worried about was whether or not I had anything appropriate to wear. Luckily I did, but I sent her a picture just to make sure. Once that was confirmed I texted my sister who is a wiz at makeup and asked her if she was available. Turned out she was! So when she let me know she had returned home, I took a quick shower, threw my dress on and some flipflops and headed over to her place. No, I didn't have makeup either. Well, that's not totally true. The makeup that I have is the makeup I bought when I was getting married...almost 19 years ago. I know, I know. Why do you think I didn't want to use it? Anyway, she did a lovely job with my makeup and even waxed my eyebrows!

Since my best friend and I live at opposite ends of the city, we decided it would be best to just meet at the hotel. I arrived first, so of course, I did what I always do. I found someone to talk to. When she walked through the door, she looked as lovely as ever. We hugged and then made our way to the ballroom.  Once we found our table we sat and started chatting. I met many of her friends and co-workers. I even saw one of my clients there! The first famous person we saw was Keith David. At first, we couldn't remember his name, but slowly it came to me. First his last name and finally his first. If you're not familiar with his name, you may be familiar with his face. Check this out if you're interested. Then a little later I looked across the room and saw someone who looked just like Lynn Whitfield. If you're not familiar, check this out. As she walked by our table she said hello and I called her back. She grabbed my hand and I said, "You look just like Lynn Whitfield". She smiled this beautifully, glowing smile and said: "I am!" She squeezed my hand and told me I looked beautiful and to have a wonderful night. She was so gracious and gorgeous and just down to earth. That really made my night! 

Later on, I was scanning the room again and I saw this woman with a funky afro taking pictures. I couldn't see her face, so I thought it was someone that was hired to do so. Actually, it was C.C.H. Pounder. If you are also unfamiliar with her here you go. First, she was capturing the goings-on with a DSLR and then she switched to her phone. I thought that was rather cool. During the night, I also saw Uyo Okebie-Eichelberger. I don't know her know her, but I do follow her on Instagram. She is a very successful entrepreneur. Two of her ventures are You Lingerie and Preggo Leggings. I didn't go say hi because like I said, I don't know her, I just follow her. When she posted images and video from that night I told her I saw her there. I didn't say hi because I thought it would be weird. She assured me that it wouldn't have been, so next time I will definitely say hello. I had great conversation, a good meal, and more fun on a Saturday night than I would normally have.

And to top the weekend off, my family and I went to see Black Panther. Initially, my son didn't want to see it because he doesn't typically like superhero movies. If you live in Georgia near Atlanta, you're probably familiar with Sugarloaf Mills. Well, that's where we went to see it. They have those leather recliners that actually recline. There's also some serious surround sound that can be felt through the seats as well. And the best part is that there is no bad seat. You will never have someone sitting in front of you that will block you from seeing the screen. My husband also loves that they have reserved seating. We thoroughly enjoyed the film. Even my son enjoyed it. He said he probably wouldn't have been against it, in the beginning, had he seen some previews. 

So that was my weekend and during that entire time, I didn't take any photos of anything we did. That may sound strange coming from a photographer, but we don't take pictures of everything. I just wanted to live in the moment. I wanted to drink in everything without thinking about whether or not the light was right or if I had good composition. I didn't care whether or not people would like what I was presenting because I decided not to be a presenter. I decided to be an active participant in my life and the goings-on in my life. Plus, sometimes my camera can get rather heavy and in the way. Let this be a reminder. Sometimes you just need to put down the camera or phone and live your life. Be an active participant of your life and live in the moment that is now. Now becomes later and later becomes yesterday and yesterday becomes last year. Pictures of that are great, but did you feel every little nuance in that moment in your soul? Make sure your experiences are truly experienced and not just captured.


(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta photography experiencing fun life living photography Wed, 21 Feb 2018 15:00:00 GMT
No shame in losing As many of you know I have a 12-year-old son. I guess you can say he's your typical tween boy. He still has that boy joy at times, but other times he's trying to be cool or has an attitude. I'm not particularly fond of the attitude persona but it is part of him. He's intelligent, kind, thoughtful, hilarious, inventive, creative and sensitive. He's also a procrastinator, dramatic, negative and lacks self-confidence. Some kids are born with self-confidence and others have to develop it. My son appears to be the latter. 

Over the years I have consciously worked to make sure he knew that he was capable of doing anything, within reason. I say within reason because little boys will come up with some fascinating things they want to accomplish, like being invisible. In addition to that I  worked to make sure that he didn't have an over-inflated ego as well by being honest with him. If he didn't do something as well as I knew he could I wouldn't praise him for it. I mean, if it was bad I would tell him so, but in a way that he would actually listen to my critique.  Not that I punished him, I would just say "I know you can do better than that.  Try again." I also never let him win at anything. I made sure that he knew when he won against me it was because he actually beat me not because I let him. That's probably why he stopped playing with me for a short period. Losing has always been tough for him. 

Fast forward to the present. He, like many people, is still afraid of failing. When he was seven or eight he had a tennis coach because he expressed a desire to play tennis. After a six months to a year he decided he didn't want to play anymore because he didn't want to play in tournaments. Do you know why he didn't want to play in any tournaments? It was because he was afraid of losing in front of people and being embarrassed. He was actually good, so it was quite frustrating and disappointing. 

Now he's back to playing tennis again on the high school JV team. He had his first match last week. He played doubles with another kid. They played a pair who were a level or two better than they were. Yes, they lost in fantastic fashion and he was a bit disappointed. So this past Monday he played a singles match. This kid was older than him but they were pretty much the same level. The kid got off to a better start than my son but my son wasn't giving up. After he won two games in a row he had a hard time controlling his smile. He battled back and got within one game. Then it started getting dark. I believe my son could have come back to win, but time was up. After he lost the last game and the match, he calmly walked to the net and shook his opponent's hand. He then gathered his belongings and walked to the gate with his head held high and a bounce in his step. During the match he only got emotionally down very briefly and after that he turned into a fighter. 

My husband and I were so very proud of him. I videoed parts of the match which he gleefully watched. He talked about the match in a positive light and was able to discuss what he could improve upon. I felt like he had matured during the match. I know he was maturing before that, but it just seemed to come full circle. He has finally begun to believe in himself and to know that you don't always have to win to be great. As I've always told him, as long as he does his best I will always be proud of him, win or lose. 

(PhoArtgraphy) hard work losing self-confidence sports winning Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Portrait Party Reboot Some time ago (please don't ask me how long ago because I honestly do not remember and I really don't feel like checking) I introduced portrait parties. Portrait parties? What are those? I'm glad you asked. Well, they are just like the name suggests. It's a party where portraits of the children attending are taken. Is it just about the portraits? No. It's an actual party, but the parents can choose to have their children participate or not. 

Normally when you go to a party you bring a gift. With portrait parties, you not only bring a gift, but you get one in return. The reason I call it a reboot is because I have updated some of the terms to hopefully make it easier to understand and participate. Here's the gist of it. The hostess has the opportunity to earn a free family portrait session and up to $600 in portrait credit. How does that sound? Now here is how it's done. When a portrait party is booked, the hostess must have at least 6 children signed up to participate. There is a $50, nonrefundable fee that is paid to reserve the child's spot. I will contact the parents who are interested and provide a complimentary consultation over the phone as to the theme of the party if there is one. I will inform the parent of their order options and collect their reservation fee at that time. 

You're probably wondering how to earn up to $600 in portrait credit. Well, you do that by the number of children who actually reserve a spot. For every child who reserves, the hostess earns $50 in portrait credit. So in order to earn $600 in portrait credit, which will be used to purchase products after the free session, they will need to have 12 children participate. That's it! Depending on how many children and how long the party is planned for, each session can be either 10 minutes or up to 20 minutes. The best thing is that the guests get a chance to try out my services and if they like them they can book a full session for a later date. 

I hope that thoroughly explained the program. Oh, I did forget one thing. The products I offer during these parties are my regular offerings but at a 15% discount. Kind of like a thank you for trying me out. There are also some special products added as well. Any questions? If so, please feel free to drop them in the comments or send me an email and I will be more than happy to answer them for you. Just click the contact button and we'll be connected! Well, not exactly but you know what I mean. Also, feel free to share this with anyone you think might be interested because sharing is caring unless it's the flu. You can keep that.

(PhoArtgraphy) children children's parties fun parties photography portrait parties portraits Wed, 07 Feb 2018 15:00:00 GMT
You ought to be in pictures If you follow me on Instagram, you probably have seen my postings about wall art. I am a very big advocate for displaying family portraits on the wall, but not just any portraits. Artistic portraits. Creative designs. Being that I am an artist I like having my work displayed. Having your portraits displayed has many benefits. One is that it enhances the beauty and warmth in your home. Another is that it helps increase a child's self-confidence which has actually been scientifically proven, so definitely something to think about. 

You may have guessed that I specialize in wall portraits. Well, I do. I love collages and montages! Single prints or multiple prints for a more dramatic display. Do you know images look better the larger they are? How would you like something like this on your wall?

Newborn photography

or this?

Newborn photography

There are standard designs that you can pick from or I can design something just as unique as you are. If you have a vision I can help you achieve it. If you just have a slight idea, I can help you develop it and bring it to fruition. Designing and creating are major parts of my persoonality and my business. When I'm creating I am at my best and when I'm creating for my clients I'm even better! So if you'd like for me to create some beautiful wall art for you it would be my pleasure. Contact me to schedule your complimentary consultation.

(PhoArtgraphy) babies beautiful children children's photography family family portraits newborn photography newborns photographic art photography portraits wall art Wed, 31 Jan 2018 15:00:00 GMT
(Mis)Interpretation of a solution Do you ever have really deep thoughts that are brought about by the movies that you watch or music that you listen to? Well, sometimes I do. Just recently I was prompted to think about how it is so easy to misinterpret what one should do when faced with what seems to be the answer to all of your problems. My husband and I were watching Knightfall, which is a History Channel series about the Knights Templar. If you'd like, you can read more about them here. In this one scene, one of the Templars who was previously seriously injured while helping a fellow Templar escape was lamenting his wounds. He suffers daily from pain caused by those wounds. He and his fellow Templar, the Master Templar, are about to go to the place where the grail of Christ is supposed to be hidden. When he asks the Master Templar if he would allow him to drink from the grail to heal him, the master basically tells him no. He said that God intended for his pain to be his fate and that he shouldn't use the grail to change it.

Now that's an interesting take on the man's situation. That the suffering that the man is going through is what God had intended for him, says the one Templar. But after the Master Templar leaves, the previously injured Templar gets on the altar and prays to God that he doesn't believe that God has intended him to suffer. Instead, he experiences an epiphany that God really wants him to take the grail from the Master Templar. Which do you think is right? Are we all meant to suffer what pain we've been given or are we supposed to find some type of healing for that pain? 

Do we correctly interpret our paths when given options to solve our problems? For instance, let's say you were deeply in debt. There was no way you could possibly pay off all of your debts and still live a decent life. Then while you're at the grocery story you slip and fall on a wet floor. Now's your chance! What do you think God wants you to do? Does he want you to sue that grocery store to receive perhaps millions of dollars for an accident that only caused you to have a sprained wrist? Or does God want you to speak with the store's headquarters and work something out so that you are fairly compensated for your medical bills for that injury and possibly any missed days of work? To be honest, I don't know what the correct answer is. For those who may not believe in God, you can still use the same scenario. Just replace God with your conscience. Which decision do you think is best? Which one can you live with?

For those believers, the way that I look at the store situation is you have a choice. Sure, you could sue the grocery store and receive lots of money to cure your financial woes, but does that mean your conscience will be heavy with guilt because you knew your injuries weren't that severe? Or perhaps you chose to be honest and get what was fair, but you still have all of your other debts to contend with. Your conscience will be clear and perhaps you have please God with your choice. It's difficult to say. That's why when I hear people interpreting what God wants for people I have to laugh. I really don't think they actually know what God wants for us. Maybe we're in charge of what we think God wants for us. Maybe He gives us a choice to see what we feel we deserve? To be honest, I don't think we'll ever really know what God wants for us until we talk with Him. What do you think? I'd love to read your comments. Feel free to share this post with those you think would be interested in this topic. Until next week...take care!


(PhoArtgraphy) blessed blessings desires god interpretation misinterpretation Wed, 24 Jan 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Afraid to fail Raise your hand if you're afraid to fail. Not too long ago I felt that way. Even though I know that you learn from failure that doesn't mean that I actually want to fail. Failure can mean being embarrassed but in the grand scheme of things that means nothing. Being embarrassed is hardly something that will cause you bodily harm or make you ill. It's something that happens, makes you feel "funny" but not in the ha-ha sense and then you (hopefully) get over it.

Not too long ago I started giving myself permission to fail. For some odd reason, I used to feel that I needed to be perfect. I think it started in my childhood. I thought my parents were perfect, especially my dad. I thought he knew everything and since I was his child, I felt that I should know everything too. I guess I was using child logic, which actually is an oxymoron when you're five. I have always been rather secretive because I figured if no one knew what I planned to do they wouldn't know what I meant to do. They wouldn't be able to uncover my failures. To be honest, that was exhausting and in no way fun.

So for a while now I've been trying new things and throwing caution to the wind. Putting myself out there for all to see was very difficult for me, but I had to grow. My business had to grow. How were people going to hire me if they didn't even know that I or my business existed? I finally came to the conclusion that if I failed, I failed. I'll just try something else and keep trying until I succeed. For instance, last year I planned and announced that I was having a photography summer camp. I advertised and told people about it. I even had people tell me that they were interested. Well, when the time came no one signed up for my camps. Was it disappointing? You bet. But I learned a lot from that situation and figured out where I went wrong and how I can do it better next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time. 

I think a lot of my irrational fear of failing came from me being a shy child. I didn't like to stand out or be noticed and you can't help but be noticed if you fail. To me, failure always seemed to be magnified more than success. Nowadays my challenge is getting my son to realize that it's okay to fail, as long as you learn from it. On the flip side, I do let him know that failing school is not okay. That usually happens because of laziness, not caring or not listening, but I digress. Trying to find the right balance to keep him motivated and unafraid is rather difficult. He's so like me when I was his age. The only good thing about that is that I understand where he's coming from and how he feels. 

There are other examples I could share with you as to how I have failed, but I don't want to bore you. Besides, I have grown as a person, business owner and an artist from those experiences. I strive to continue my growth and do the best that I can. I put my all into it and don't worry about failing. If I do fail, what did I learn? What can I do better? I'm sure there are many people out there struggling with the same thing. It's okay. Just let it go and try something new. Now there are some things that precipitate a legitimate sense of fear, like skydiving. That is something you definitely don't want to fail at. But in the realm of everyday things, the activities you attempt or plans that you make will not end in your ultimate demise if you fail. That should at least remove the fear out. If it doesn't kill you then you'll be fine.


(PhoArtgraphy) children's photography failing failure photography portraits Wed, 17 Jan 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Stylin' and profilin' | headshots For all of those whose first time visiting me, I am primarily a maternity, newborn and child photographer. I love that genre of photography and that is mostly what I concentrate on. I do sometimes venture out beyond that if someone asks me because I love what I do. Another one of my passions is photographing women. Why, you ask? Because women are so freakin' awesome! Plus we're beautiful, strong and fun to pose! Can you tell that I enjoy being a woman too? I do. There are times when it's difficult, but I wouldn't ever change it for the world. Well, one of my most recent sessions was a headshot session with my good friend and client, Belinda.

  atlanta headshots_MG_7079

A few years ago I photographed her headshots, but she felt it was time for some updated ones. Her look has changed, plus she's living a healthier lifestyle now and it shows. She told me that she needed some headshots for her 9-5 and for her blog and speaking engagements. In case you didn't know, Belinda has a wonderful blog called Wondergirl Chronicles. If you'd like to read it, click here. She talks about life happening and the lessons she learns from it. It really is fabulous. 

Regarding headshots, some people don't really put much thought into them. They figure if they dress nice and smile pretty that's all they need. I would disagree. When you have headshots done, you need to understand what message you are trying to convey. Because if you're confused about your own message, do you think others will understand who you are and what you're trying to say? Getting your message across can be done a number of ways and those ways typically work together. For one, wardrobe.

I don't know about you, but sometimes I don't always make the best clothing choices possible. Sometimes comfort overrules style. Sometimes tiredness overrules style. One thing I can say is that I always match! Anyway, Belinda felt that she needed a stylist to give her the look that would convey who she was and what she was about. Hence this beautiful royal blue dress. I love how well it goes with her skin-tone. What I see is a person with a calm, caring spirit, who is confident, trustworthy, competent and dependable.

atlanta headshots_MG_7079

Her stylist is Siearra Garcia of Strut It Styles. You can find her on Instagram as @strutitstyles. She really is fabulous. This next outfit was one that Belinda said she'd never pick out, but she loved it. As the session went on, I could see she was really feeling herself in this outfit.

atlanta headshots_MG_7099-Edit

Technically this isn't a headshot, but it's more of a branding type of shot I guess. Anyway, we both thought this outfit was adorable on her. Below are a few more images we captured because she was having such a great time with that outfit.

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These images make me think that she is a fun, outgoing person. Well, perhaps I'm cheating because she actually is a fun and outgoing person. I just love chatting with her. We always have a blast! 

Another important element, for women at least, is makeup. There are plenty of women who can apply makeup just fine, but some of us need a little assistance. That's where my friend and makeup artist Jamecia Bowers comes in. She does such wonderful work that I hire her as often as I can. Not only does she do an awesome job with the makeup, but she is as sweet as pie. After I typed that I could hear myself in my head saying that with a southern drawl. By the way, I am from Cleveland; therefore I do not have a southern drawl, just to be clear. In addition to her duties as a makeup artist, she also has a spa called Beauty by Bowers, in Tucker. You can find her website here. She can also be found on Instagram as @beautybybowers

Even though these images were taken indoors, not all headshots need to be. We did take some out on Belinda's deck. We had hoped to go to this nearby park to photograph, but that particular day I believe the temperature was in the upper 20s or low 30s and it was windy. The less time we spent out there, the better. But she wanted some outside, so we braved the cold for about five minutes and then we had to call it a day.

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So as you can see, all of those pieces fit together to complete the story for you. They say pictures are worth 1,000 words, so make sure your pictures bring to mind the right words. Oh, I almost forgot. This last image is my absolute favorite of Belinda. I told her that if she ever wrote a book, she should use this one on the back cover. What do you think? For some reason, a psychologist comes to mind. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing.

atlanta headshots_MG_7088

If you'd like to have fun getting your headshots done and have beautiful headshots to boot, give me a call. I'll be happy to help! 404-784-3008.

(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful business business portraits fun headshots photography portraits professional Wed, 10 Jan 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Another one bites the dust | atlanta portrait photographer So long 2017! It was real and it was fun...I guess that makes it real fun. I'm not going to say that 2017 was a bad year for me because it wasn't. Sure there were some things that happened throughout the year, but things happen throughout life. What am I going to do? Pout about it until things get better or fix my attitude to fix the situation? I chose to do the latter. Just like I choose happiness. Every year I have the same resolution and that is to be happy. What else is there? If you're not happy you really can't enjoy anything. Tomorrow is never promised so get as much joy, peace, and love out of today that you can. 

For starters, in 2017 three of my six sisters and one of my cousins and I have started a regular tradition of meeting for brunch every fourth Sunday. We pick restaurants that we have never been to and eat there. We enjoy each others' company and the food. We've eaten at some delicious establishments like Thumbs Up Diner in downtown Decatur, Holler and Dash on Howell Mill and Cafe 458 in Atlanta, which "helps to empower homeless individuals to achieve economic self-sufficiency." For more information on Cafe 458, you can click here.

By the way, we aren't leaving out our other three sisters. It's just that two live out of state and another lives out of town. 

Also this year my husband was able to finish up his treatment for prostate cancer and he is doing quite well. Here we are waiting for The Last Jedi to start. We had an afternoon date while our son was at school. Hey, you've got to get it in when you can!

He's really not one for selfies, but he tolerated this one! 

Other good news is that my son graduated from Wadsworth Magnet School for High Achievers and started middle school. It was a scary transition and the road to get there was paved rather roughly. Once he was acclimated to his new environment I witnessed him having fun marching in the school band. That was a real treat for me being a former band member myself. I would post the video but there are a lot of kids in the video with him and I don't have permission to post their images. Sorry. Moving on... one of my sisters was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society on her journey to be a chef. I was so happy for her. 

Oh, my husband's cousin published his first book last year too! Pick up the Scourage by R. Tilden Smith. I'd love to give a review, but unfortunately I haven't read it yet. I'm looking forward to carving out some time to do just that.

Let's see...what else? Oh, I participated in my "sista from another mista's" Glow Photo Series featuring women of color. First I assisted in photographing one segment and then I participated in her exhibit. What a joy and an honor to be included. Chanel is like my little sister and I cherish that. If you'd like to find out more about the Glow Photo Series, click here.

How can I forget that my husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage last year? I'm still in awe of that. It makes me think about all of the discussions that I've read where people hate to hear that marriage is hard. I guess in the grand scheme of things marriage isn't really hard. It's just something that needs to be worked on and not taken for granted. It's just like a flower. If the flower doesn't get adequate rain, sun and have good soil then it will wither away and die. Same with a marriage. It must be cultivated in order to grow. And it's also a give and take type of thing. Not in the sense where one person gives and the other takes, but in the sense of compromise. Nothing should ever be "my way or the highway". That's a good way to have someone ride that highway right out the door.

Climbing down off my soapbox now...Last year has really been good to me. Has it been perfect? Oh hell no. But that is what I'm focusing on. I think one of the best things was me turning 50. Now that's a milestone! I know people complain about getting older but getting older is a privilege. My gray hairs are a privilege. My wisdom is a privilege. Okay, so I don't really like some of the aches and pains I have, nor do I like that it takes me longer to heal than it used to, but that's part of the package. My 50th birthday celebration was awesome. No, I didn't go to Vegas or Hawai'i. Heck, I didn't leave the state. But what I did do was spend time with two of my sisters, my best friend in the whole world, my favorite cousin and two other wonderful women whom I am very close to. There was so much love and joy surrounding me, how could I not enjoy myself. If you want to read about my epic celebration, you can do so here.

There were so many great moments for me last year. If I tried to recount all of them we'd be here for quite a while and honestly I think you might have better things to do. Like I mentioned earlier, this year hasn't been all fun and games but it wasn't filled with disaster either. We are all going to have bad days here and there. It's not what happens to you that matters, it's how you handle it. There are still fires to put out, but I am happy that I have a fire extinguisher to help with that task. Happy New Year everyone and I look forward to creating 51 more blogs for you this year! Hey, if there's anything you have a question about regarding photography or would like to have me write about, let me know! I'm trying to keep you all interested, not bore you to death. Plus, it always makes me feel good when you feel my blog is good enough to share with your friends and family. If you don't feel that way, maybe you shouldn't tell me. Or maybe you should. You never know what type of fruit a little information like that will bear. 


(PhoArtgraphy) 2017 2018 celebration family friends fun happiness life love new year photography Wed, 03 Jan 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Last session of the season Well, it finally came. The last session of the season. It's a rather bittersweet time for me because I enjoy photographing people, but I have to have a stopping point to plan for all of the people I will photograph next year. Yes, even people who love what they do need to take a break from that thing they love to plan to do the thing they love even more! The best thing about this last session is that it was with one of my most favorite families! I just love them! It turns out that I have been photographing them since 2010! Wow! In that time I have seen their children grow and a (not so) new addition to their family. It has been such a blessing for me to be involved and to feel so included. Out of these seven years, only one year I didn't get a chance to photograph them. Belinda had a friend who was a photographer and she wanted to do Belinda's annual family Christmas card. She explained it all to me and I was like, sure. Believe me, it was fine. This was her friend and she wanted to support her friend. I'm all about that, so I didn't mind. Was I sad? Yes, I was, but it's because I cherish the time I get to hang out with them and photograph them. 

Fortunately, it was only that one year that I missed. After that, we've been able to get together for our annual ritual of picture taking! Since my son is now in middle school he has a lot more on his schedule these days, which sometimes shortens my days. Because of his schedule and Belinda's schedule and life in general, I had to squeeze Belinda and her family in. The session also was a little shorter than usual because of the time crunch, but she was willing to do it. Not only was my schedule filled, but hers was as well. Plus she had to wrangle the schedules of everyone in the household. Now that's a major feat right there. Kudos to her for pulling it off. Amidst all the busy schedules, they had just moved into a new house. That was another reason for limited scheduling options. Anyway, the important thing is that we were able to make it happen once again. The only other difference is that they will be sending out New Year's cards instead of Christmas cards. Ah well, such is life. Below are a few images from the sessions. As I've said before, their sessions are often very entertaining. I really should make a video so you all can see how much fun we have.

By the way, it was rather cold that day, so I must applaud little Livy for braving the cold as well as she did, even if she was a little extra at times.

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For a change of scenery, we decided to move to the front of the house. Livy was in (not-so) rare form again. And she wasn't alone.

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If I hadn't shown you the first image above, you never would have known. Below are the images with the kids being the kids with their mom.

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And last but not least, the parents always need images without the kids. I mean, they were regular people before they became parents, right?

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Well, that wraps up my year. I couldn't have selected a better family to end it with. Now I think I need to photograph my family. It has been a few years since our last session. Okay, something else I have to plan. For all those who are reading this, thank you so much! I know you could have spent those few minutes doing something else, but instead, you diligently read all that I had typed and I truly appreciate that. I do hope you enjoyed it and I will try to keep it interesting/entertaining or make it more so in the coming year. I'm not the best writer, so I guess that's why I'm a photographer. I let my images tell the story. Since this is my last blog of the year, have a very happy new year and I wish you all nothing but peace, prosperity, joy and a whole lot of love! Dueces!




(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful child photography children children's photography family fun happiness happy life love outdoors photography photos portraits Wed, 27 Dec 2017 15:00:00 GMT
A new addition | atlanta newborn photography  A few weeks ago I photographed a family newborn session for a beautiful family. It was Michael, Aviva, and Ari. When Aviva contacted me she stated that she had been meaning to call me for a while, but you know how life happens. So when she did call me I believe Ari was about 7 weeks old. Yes, he was past my desirable threshold of 6 to 10 days, but that threshold isn't a line in the sand. Basically, it's there to let new parents know what is the best time to have their baby photographed to ensure that the baby can be all nice and curly. After that timeframe, I can't guarantee nice and curly, but I can guarantee a whole lot of cuteness.

Anyway, I arrived at their home and was greeted by their dog Violet. Aviva had already warned me about her barking so she made sure to give her treats to let her know it was okay for me to be there. Violet barked when I rang the doorbell and maybe a second or two after I entered and after that she was fine. It seemed that we had become fast friends. Well, that's until I had to leave the house again to bring my equipment in. After that, it took her a while to settle down. Just so you know, she really is a sweet dog. She was just doing what all good dogs do which is protecting their people.

When I met Michael he was holding Ari and complaining about Ari's stinky farts. Fortunately, I was unable to smell them. {insert smiley face}. After we had all met, I set up my equipment and was ready to go. Ari was a little fussy that day so we took a few breaks here and there. We figured out why he was fussy. His poor little tummy was upset. I do believe he had to have his diaper changed about 3 times while I was there and one of those times was a blowout! Yes, I missed that too. {insert another smile}. 

One of my favorite things to do during a session is to talk with my clients and learn about them. To be honest I have many favorite things about my sessions. It's kind of like when my son was eight and he had three best friends. I can't choose just one thing! Moving on...during our talks I learned some very interesting things. For instance, even though Aviva and Michael ran in the same circles and attended the same events they had never met. This was evidently over a period of years. The funniest thing is that Michael, being a lighting technician was actually hired to do the lights for Aviva's first wedding. When they told me that my mind was blown. How incredibly crazy is that? 

Since Ari wouldn't go to sleep, I decided to take some images of Michael playing with him. It was the most adorable thing! And the faces that Michael made just made me giggle. Check it out for yourself.

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Michael seemed to be having a ball and I wanted to make sure that I captured all of it. Next was Aviva's turn. She wasn't quite as animated, but it was just as lovely all the same. 

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He was still awake and kicking, so we decided to try family portraits. 

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Then I thought it would be cool if Violet joined in the family portrait. Let's just say that it sounded a lot cooler than it actually was. To say that Violet was a little uncomfortable would be an understatement.

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These were the best ones with her in them. There were some images where she was lying on her back and all you saw was her belly and paws. Definitely not a good look. Funny, but no. As you can see from little Ari's face, he was not having any of this. So we took another break and he may have had to be changed again. This time he actually went to sleep. How exciting! I wrapped him in some cheesecloth and kept his onesie and diaper on. When Aviva and I were discussing the session over the phone, I had mentioned Ari being naked. She then told me that that probably wasn't a good idea because he would definitely poop. So wrapping him up was the way to go.

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Being that Ari was eight weeks old he had grown since he was born. In fact, he had grown so much that he was too big for my round basket. Luckily Aviva had another basket that I could use. As you can see, he was pushing the boundaries of that basket too. By the way, him sleeping in the basket was shortlived. At this time I felt we would be able to get away with a creative shot that I love doing. I figured that since his dad would be holding him that he would remain calm.

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He started getting a little fussy, but we successfully made it through. The image below is a candid image I captured of Michael and Ari. He had just finished feeding him and I just thought they looked really cute. 

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The last thing they wanted to try was wearing the special sweatshirts that they had made for their wedding. The only thing is that Ari did not want to all. The image prior to this was one of Ari thowing his head back and bawling. He was just tired and he definitely let us know.


It really would have been cute to pull this off, but Ari just was not having it. I may just photograph him. Who knows. All I know is that Michael and Aviva love pizza so much that they had the #pizzawedding. The only thing they love more than pizza are each other is Ari.


(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta portrait photography beautiful children's photography family family portraits fun happiness love newborn photography portraits Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Hope and persistence always wins Hope and persistence are two of the best attributes to have. If you have no hope, then why continue? If you don't persist, then you'll never get what you want. Being hopeful and having persistence brings about the desires of your heart. I know that if I didn't have hope that my husband and I could raise a child safely and sanely in this world that my son would not be here. I know if we aren't persistent in teaching him the importance of hard work and doing those "necessary" things that it wouldn't be instilled in him. Same goes for my client. Even though they lost their daughter, Zoe because of cervical insufficiency, as described in this post, Nyasha and her husband persevered and tried again. 

Success! On November 21, 2017 little Elijah was born via C-Section. 

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Talk about some happy people! When you think about it, it really is amazing to see and touch your dreams that came to fruition. That's what happens when you have a baby. All that you longed for is finally here and you're able to bear witness to it. Babies really are miracles regardless of the situation. Some miracles just happen to be bigger than others.

Prior to me photographing Elijah, Nyasha and I had text conversations to get the final details of the session together. I didn't want to call and wake her or Elijah up because we all know how sleep-deprived new parents are. Fortunately Vince was on paternity leave and he was able to help. Vince gets several high-fives from me for being such a trooper and an excellent dad/husband. Since Nyasha had a C-Section she wasn't able to go up and down the stairs. Let's just say that Vince has gotten plenty of exercise since they brought Elijah home. Here are the happy parents with their bundle of joy.

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The session really didn't take long because Elijah slept for almost the entire session. Oh, I almost forgot to tell you another thing about Vince. Evidently he knows how to swaddle babies! Yes! I gave him my cheesecloth to use and he swaddled him right up. Little Elijah was as snug as a bug in a rug. And as you can tell by the last image above, he likes having his hands around his face. You can also see that his diaper is still on as well. I wanted to make sure I got a "safe" shot before proceeding to the possible water works. I always inform my parents that when the babies are naked there is a good possibility that they will either poop or pee or both. All of my props are washable, so just concentrate on not dropping the baby.

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In the first picture above Elijah yawned and was a little fussy. Shortly there after he peed down Vince's belly and then pooped in his hand. But I must say Vince never once looked like he would drop him. Great job! It was a three person clean up effort but we got it done. After that, we cleaned him up and I took a few more frames and I was done. I didn't want to keep them too much longer because I knew they were tired. Nyasha had energy in the beginning, but I could see her starting to fade. So I wrapped up with these shots and then went on my merry way.

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They are such a beautiful family and I couldn't be happier for them. It was a blessing for me to be able to capture these moments for them and I hope to capture many more in the near future.

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta baby photographer atlanta photographer beautiful child photography family happiness love newborn newborn photography newborn portraits photography portraits Wed, 13 Dec 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Holiday pajama party | atlanta child photographer The holidays are here and what better way to commemorate it than with family portraits. I have clients whom I photograph their holiday portraits every year. Now I can add my sister to my list of clients. It all began last year with this session. We always have a wonderful time during the session and there is always lots of laughter. Between my sister and her three hilarious children, you know there will always be laughter and so much energy.

This year was no different. Last year they wore festive sweaters, each with their own clever statements that were applicable to each person's personality. This year they wore matching pajamas! Not just any ole pajamas, but the footie kind! How cute is that? I can always depend on my sister to bring the creativity. I love designing their holiday cards too! Sometimes the most difficult part is culling the images down for the holiday card. 

During the session, the boys were as rambunctious as ever. Between jumping around, diving and dancing I was being thoroughly entertained while I set up. And my niece Taylor was busy giving me her best Tyra Banks impersonation and duck lips, which completely cracked her up.

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I love lots of laughter during the session. When my clients have as much fun as I do then I know it's a good session. One particular episode was when my nephew Caruso decided to show us the yoga poses he learned in Yoga Club. I didn't even know they had Yoga Club in elementary school. Well, I didn't know they had Yoga Club in any school. By the way, I do believe he is in just about every club that his school has and he's running for SGA president. Just so you know, he wants to be a lawyer when he gets older and one of his monikers is "El Presidente". 

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Often times I let the children do their own thing. Sometimes they know what they want to do and other times they need a little nudge. With my nephew Roman, I asked him to do his superhero pose and he jumped right into it. It was great! This other image I like to refer to as his "Zoolander" look. To be honest, I don't know what the heck he was doing, but I thought it was amusing so I captured it.

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Now he did have an issue with smiling at one point, so I promptly tickled him and that seemed to do the trick. As I've learned through the years, children don't necessarily know how to smile so laughing is the best way to get a natural smile. 

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As I said about my niece, Taylor, she was killing those duck lips. Evidently she's bringing them back.

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Since I was photographing famliy, I figured my son would like to come along so that he could see his cousins and his aunt. Of course I put him to work. He made a video for me, which was a little dark and a lot crazy. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen it. What the heck, it's not professional, but you can tell it's the work of a bored 12 year old.

He did however enjoy visiting with them, just not helping me setup my backdrop and such. After the session was over he and his cousin Taylor put either shorts or underwear over Roman's head so he couldn't see. That got a serious giggle storm going and Roman escalated it by walking around with his arms out saying "I can't see! I can't see!" in this semi-hysterical and extremely dramatic voice. 

Anyway, it was a wonderful session and I'm glad that my sister asked me to photograph them again this year. This is definitely one tradition I am totally here for. Below are some of my favorites.

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(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful child photography family family portraits fun happiness happy holiday portraits love photography portraits Wed, 06 Dec 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Rainbows are awesome | atlanta baby photographer Rainbows and babies. Both are things that make most people smile. If they don't make you smile then you need some happiness in your life. Separately they mean one thing but put them together they mean something totally different. In a previous post, I explained about rainbow babies which are babies born after the loss of a previous baby or child. Didn't mean to bring you down, but this should bring you back up. A very good client of mine is expecting their first child after the loss of their baby during her second trimester. She and her husband are ecstatic, as am I! The last time I photographed them was when her parents were visiting from Africa. On a side note, her mother has since passed away, but at least she has the portraits that I took for them. Knowing things like that make my job even more worthwhile.

The reason for her loss was because she was born with a short cervix, also known as cervical insufficiency or cervical incompetence. At 24 weeks the mother's cervix is generally 35 mm long, but when a woman has a short cervix, it is 25 mm or less. As you can see from the measurements, this would present a problem. This particular condition can be treated with medicine or something a bit more drastic like stitching the cervix closed. The latter is the choice my client made. She said she didn't want to take any chances. 

Before my client told me about her condition, I had never heard of it. From what she told me, cervical insufficiency is not usually diagnosed until after the mother loses her baby. Evidently there is no diagnostic test for this condition, which is quite unfortunate. So this means many more women will have to suffer a miscarriage because of this condition. Even though my client suffered a loss because of this condition, she has chosen to become an advocate for informing women about it. 

I said all of that to say that we had her session on my birthday because she waited a bit late to let me know that she was pregnant and wanted to capture her pregnancy in portraits. You know how it is. You're pregnant and working and trying to get everything ready. Portraits are the last thing on your mind until it hits you that you will probably not be pregnant again and you need to do something about that. Plus I think it took time for her to find my contact information. She told me she was having the C-section on the 21st and I talked to her maybe a week and a half prior to that. Considering it was such short notice the only day I had available was my birthday because I don't normally work on my birthday. It really is great that I love what I do and my work doesn't feel like work because otherwise, working on my birthday would suck.  

We had the session at Stone Mountain Park. It was a lovely day. Maybe about 64 degrees and sunny. We went to my favorite spot for photographing. The light there is always spectacular! We talked and laughed and had a great time. We're both rather silly so there was so much for us to laugh about. Below are a few images from the session. The first is my absolute favorite. She just looks so gorgeous!

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(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful fun happiness happy maternity maternity portraits photography portraits pregnancy pregnancy portraits Wed, 29 Nov 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Nifty Fifty | Atlanta child photographer If you've been following me then you know that this past Friday was my 50th birthday. Yes, you read that right F-I-F-T-I-E-T-H! Five zero! Believe it or not, turning 50 is a very bright spot in my life because getting older isn't something we should lament, but something we should celebrate. I feel honored to have lived a half a century. There are plenty of people who didn't see today, let alone make it to 50 years old. It is truly a blessing and I don't plan on wasting it. This weekend was probably the best birthday I have ever had. Never have I celebrated for an entire weekend. In fact, the last day I celebrated was on Tuesday. It was amazing and I'm about to share the details with you. So just relax, get your coffee or tea and hopefully, you don't have to be anywhere anytime soon. 

Since Friday was my actual birthday, I decided I wanted to start the celebration on that date. Normally I don't work on my birthday, but I made an exception for a wonderful client of mine. She was very pregnant and had a C-Section scheduled for Tuesday and my birthday was the only day I had available. It's a good thing that I love what I do! Anway, I'm usually not a very good planner, but I was able to put this together. Also, the planning of my birthday excursion has gotten me to rethink my ineptitude regarding planning. It may not be that I suck at it, perhaps I just don't like it. Whatever...anyway, the evening started with my cousin, Gayle flying in from Tampa, my older sister, Allison coming from a few miles away and another sister, Myesha arriving from Barnesville. My sisters and I picked up my cousin from the airport and headed toward the restaurant or so we thought. I had the bright idea of providing the name of the restaurant to Siri, in hopes that he could find a faster route. Basically, I should have been more specific with Siri because he was trying to take us to the location in Charlotte. I figured this out when I looked at the arrival time and it said 10:08 p.m. and it was only 7:35. I ended up missing my exit, which was the wrong one anyway and having to turn around. By the way, this was in rush hour traffic in Atlanta. Eventually, we got on track and all was well.

Despite the traffic, we got to the restaurant early. The restaurant I selected to celebrate my birthday was The Cowfish at Perimeter Mall. I have never been to nor heard of The Cowfish before I found it online. It's a burger and sushi bar and it just sounded so interesting that I had to try it. Besides, I just love sushi. Since we were early, we decided to window shop to waste some time. After arriving at the restaurant, my friend Simone was already there sitting at the bar waiting for her drink. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. We were seated but were still waiting for my best friend, Alvia and my really good friend who used to be my client Sirena. We decided to order drinks, well except for me. I was driving plus I don't really drink much. Alvia gave me her order over the phone to make things go quickly. We talked and laughed and had a great time. We also had the most awesome server! I believe her name was either Kaitlyn or Katie. She was so awesome! I feel bad that I can't quite remember her name because she was so awesome, but I can describe her. She was a little height-challenged, with short brown hair, pretty ice blue eyes, and tattoos on her forearms. She really was amazing. When she offered me two different desserts to choose from for the birthday celebration, I informed her that I really had my eye on the cheesecake. She said, "I'll see what I can do." Next thing you know, she brought me this humongous piece of coconut almond cheesecake that was to die for! I think that was possibly the best cheesecake I have ever eaten. It was called Chef Dave's Not Factory Made Cheesecake. If you don't try anything else at The Cowfish, please try that.

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Part of effective planning is being able to have a contingency plan for things. Well, I didn't. I really wanted an 8:00 reservation, but the earliest was an 8:30. I know how I and my friends are and we would need more time. Our next stop was an escape room and our reservation was at 10:15. I didn't want it to be too late, but I wanted to try to give us enough time to finish eating and then go. Anyway, we didn't leave the parking lot until 10:17, so yeah, we were late. As we were driving to Mastermind Escape Games I received a call. I didn't recognize the number but decided to answer it. It was Mastermind Escape Games calling me about our reservation. Here I was thinking we would end up forfeiting our time, but they were calling to let us know we had other options. I was so relieved because if I couldn't experience an escape room on my birthday I was going to be quite upset. In case you're wondering, I am being very mild with my words. Anyway, they were extremely nice and helpful and got us squared away in one of the escape experiences. We initially signed up for The Bank Heist but didn't want to wait until 11:30 to play, so we picked Lost in Time instead. It was so super cool. We almost got out too! We just needed 10 more minutes! I tell you, that 60 minutes goes by fast! If you haven't experienced an escape room, you really should. Well, I guess you have to be into those things to really enjoy it and luckily we all were. Well, I highly recommend it. 

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Are you still with me? If so, I'm almost done. I'll try to go quickly because I do realize that you probably have other things to do. So Saturday my cousin, Gayle and her two friends, Michelle and Tamala met us for lunch at Holler and Dash Biscuit House on Howell Mill. That was Gayle's and my second time there. If you love biscuits, you have to go! Heck, if you love good food you have to go. They have the most delicious beignets ever! My mouth waters when I think about them. So the selling point to Michelle was the beignets and of course, they were out of them when we got there. Talking about being bummed. We were so disappointed and one of the owners happened to be in the vicinity when he heard us bemoaning that fact. He introduced himself as "Dash" and apologized for not having any beignets at that time. He then suggested that we try the Strawberry and Dash. Not only that, he comped them and said that if we didn't like it he would swap it out for something else. Talking about being blown away! We accepted and went to our table to wait for our food, which did not take long at all. The Strawberry and Dash was amazing! While we were eating Dash, whom we found out later is named Jay, stopped by our table to just chat with us. He was so wonderful and warm and we really enjoyed talking to him. The food is one reason I'll continue to go back and meeting Jay will be another.

Before I decided to extend my celebration through the weekend (actually it wasn't planned, it just happened that way) I had signed up for a book signing and entrepreneur conference hosted by my friend Lenise Williams. Gayle went with me and we had a great time. We met some wonderful women who started their own businesses and talked about their wins and losses. They gave advice and just opened up to the room full of women. It was an excellent way for us to spend Saturday. I've been in business for a while, but it never hurts to get input from others who are doing it as well. By the way, if you're in business but don't know about Lenise, you're missing out!

Michelle and Tamala were inviting us out to dinner at South City Kitchen in the Vinings. We had a fantastic waiter named Jay who took really good care of us.  There was a mussel incident that I won't go into, but he took care of it right away. And he was so knowledgeable about the restaurant and the food you would have thought he not only owned the restaurant but that he cooked the food too! I don't know about you, but I was in awe of the details he knew. As we chatted with him, we found out that he used to be one of the opera singers at Macaroni Grill. Yes, we asked him to sing. He sang happy birthday to me in Italian and it was beautiful. He then brought me a sweet treat for my birthday, He was truly amazing. After that, we left in the wind and rain. Oh, I did have to stop off at Popeye's chicken because my son wanted some and my husband was working so he couldn't get it for him. 

Sunday morning I dropped Gayle off at the airport and met some friends for brunch/lunch at Sweet Melissa's in downtown Decatur. They had live entertainment that day and the performer reminded me of Bruno Mars. Finding parking was a bit of a chore, but I did it! That night I actually ate dinner at home. My husband made some barbeque chicken, which was really good. Monday my husband took me to Marlowe's Tavern for dinner. We had never been there so he wanted to try it. Our waitress was very sweet and helpful and the food was pretty good too. While we were there I ran into my client/friend Jillian and her daughter and mother. We chit-chatted for a few moments and then my husband and I went to see The Justice League as Sugarloaf Mills 8. They have the premium seating and Dolby surround sound. My husband is so into all of that. I can tell you that was the first time I have ever watched a movie in a theater fully reclined in a chair with sounds from the movie rumbling under my butt. It was an experience. Pardon my husband's expression, he's not much of a selfie person. Or should it be called an usie?

And the last thing I did was get a birthday cupcake from Piece of Cake in downtown Decatur. I didn't go crazy. I just had the carrot cake cupcake and called it a day. And that was my 50th birthday celebration. Now I am exhausted. I had a holiday portrait session with my sister Robin and her three children, so I'll have to share that later. 

Thanks so much for hanging around to read all of this. I don't know about you, but I love excellent customer service and that is what I have gotten all weekend long. I am so humbled by all of the love I have received and quite grateful for all of the people in my life. This has truly been one for the books. Thanks for reading and I hope you'll be back to see what else I've been up to. 

(PhoArtgraphy) age birthday celebrate celebration fun happiness holler and dash mastermind escape games mature milestone not old photographer piece of cake south city kitchen sweet melissa's the cowfish Wed, 22 Nov 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Preparation is key | atlanta child photographer Being prepared is a prerequisite for many things, even portrait sessions. Some people may think that the only thing you need to think about is what to wear and that's it. Yes, what you will wear is a big part of being prepared, but that's not the only thing. In this post, I will break down the many things you need to think about in order to have a successful session. By the way, these are also things that would be discussed during a pre-session consultation with me. I'm sure you already guessed that, but it doesn't hurt to say it anyway.

What kind of session will this be? Will it be a serious studio session? Will it be a wild and fun outdoor session? Will it have a theme or will it be more of a lifestyle type of session? These are actually real things to think about. Remember, you are the ones who will be looking at these images on your walls or on your tables and you need to be extremely happy with them. For instance, Christmas is coming up. Perhaps you want to have a session where you all are trimming the tree. Maybe a cute session with the children setting out cookies and milk for Santa or holding gifts and other holiday items. What about a heartwarming family session that can be used for your holiday cards, like so:

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Or if you have actors in the family, maybe this is more your speed:

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Themes can be used for any session. Other examples are first birthdays, rainbow babies, sessions around hobbies or classic, artistic portraits. It's your session so you choose. There are times when my clients aren't really sure what they want. So during the consultation we talk about what they like and I take it from there.

Next comes clothing. It's rather difficult to decide what you want to wear if you don't know the theme of your session. I'm not saying it can't be done, but sometimes in order to know where you're going you need a map. Now I'm not really strict on what people wear. Sure I want them to have a nice, cohesive and complementary look, but I'm not going to force them to look like someone else. Wouldn't it be awful to have your portraits taken and every time you walk past your portraits you silently wonder, "What were we wearing and why?" I don't want that to happen to you. I do, however, give guidelines as to what would make a pleasing portrait. For one, it is not a must to wear the same colors, but at least have complementary colors. Also, keep it to the same type of clothing. Either everybody is dressed up, relaxed or somewhere in the middle, but not a mixture. I think it would look kind of crazy if dad had on a tux and mom had on jeans. I'm just saying... Also, no crazy patterns or neon colors. We want your friends and family to notice you, not what you're wearing. If your clothes are all people could talk about, then that may not have been the right choice for you.

Next would be where is this session going to be? Will your living room work? How about your den or backyard? What about the park down the street or maybe a cute urban area in your or my neck of the woods? Below are a few examples of some places I've photographed my clients.

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Don't worry, we don't have to travel anywhere. I can definitely photograph a session right in the comfort of your own home.

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Depending on your desire, it can be with or without a backdrop. I bring my studio with me, so we always have options. What usually happens is that I get inspiration from being wherever it is that I'm photographing and the session goes from there. 

I guess it goes without saying that you need to figure out who will be getting their portraits taken. Ok, I felt the need to say it. I want to make sure that we're all on the same page. Once I  know how many people are being photographed it tends to make my job a bit easier. That mean no having people jumping into the portraits right before or after the session has started. It's just a common courtesy. Doing that is tantamount to RSVPing at someone's house for 2, but you end up bringing 4 people with you. Not cool.

Last but not least is when. What day and time should you schedule it?. If you have small children, late mornings may work. As long as it's not right before their nap and they are not hungry, we should be able to get a good session out of them. If this is a newborn session, I want it to be scheduled during their nap time. Always make sure everyone is well rested and fed. Try to relax. I'm just taking pictures, not interrogating you about stuff you don't want me to know. 

Ok, ok, this is really the last thing. It's important for me to know what the children and/or pets like and dislike. I want the children to enjoy having their portraits taken, which means that they will gladly do as I ask. Plus I don't want to be bitten by the dog trying to protect you or said children. I think that's pretty much it. If you have any other tips to add, I would be glad to read them because collaboration is my jam! Hey, if you know of anyone needing to prepare for a portrait session or you just enjoyed reading this post so much, please pass this along to them. They'll thank you for it. I know I certainly will!

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta atlanta child photographer child photography children children's photography consultation family fun happiness happy photography photos portraits prepare Wed, 15 Nov 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Does style matter? | atlanta portrait photographer What is style? The dictionary defines style as "a manner of doing something." That something could be anything. It could be the way you do your hair, the clothes you wear, even the way a photographer creates images. Regardless of what it is, we all have our own way of doing things. We photographers have our own styles and they're not just relegated to the genre of subjects we photograph. It is how we photograph those subjects. Our perspective on those subjects. One of the worst things you can ask a photographer is "Could you photograph me just like photographer XYZ." That's not how it works. Our styles are innate. They usually mimic what we like. I for one photograph what I like and how I like to see it.

One of my favorite quotes is "Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like." And that is how I approach my photography. I can just feel when the right moment is there. I show you exactly how I feel in that fraction of a second. There are different things that elicit various feelings. It could be my client's expression or what they are wearing. It could be the location that we are in or the energy they are giving off. Many photographers that I know plan their shots prior to the session. I tried planning my shots but usually ended up abandoning those plans because a better idea popped into my head during the session. When I'm being creative, my heart works much better than my brain. It's just how I'm wired. So when I say I don't have the slightest idea how the session will proceed, I am being honest. I let the session unfold naturally and I let myself become inspired. Now there are those times when a client has told me during the consultation that she/he wanted a particular shot and that would be the only one that is actually planned.

When you look at my images, I hope you can see the beauty and uniqueness of each subject. I hope you can feel what I felt in the moment that I released the shutter or at least feel some type of way about the image. I spent so much time working jobs that I didn't absolutely love that I don't want to spend another second doing that, which reminds me of another favorite quote: "Shoot what you love." During my sessions well all have fun. Invariably I will have someone in front of my camera who doesn't want to be there. My remedy is to help them have as much fun as I am. Usually, it's the dads who aren't as into the session. So I'll talk to them, crack jokes and only photograph them for the shots I need them in. After that, they are free to go do whatever their little hearts desire. If I remember correctly, all of the unwilling men told me that it really wasn't that bad and that they even enjoyed it once we were done. To me, that is high praise.

If I were forced to describe my particular style, I would say that it's modern yet classic, fun yet dramatic, colorful, and artistic. Do I use all of these elements in each image? No, but again, it comes down to how that particular moment in time with my clients and the location inspires me. Look at the images below and tell me what you see.

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So, if you're attracted to my work, then you probably like my style. I guess that makes us style buddies of sorts. I would love to read how you would describe my style. It's always so interesting to hear/read other people's perspectives. Also, if you want to book a session or know someone who does, just click here to get the ball rolling. I would love to be your photographer!

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta child photographer atlanta newborn photographer atlanta photographer baby beautiful child photography children children's photography family fun happy life outdoors photography photos portraits Wed, 08 Nov 2017 15:00:00 GMT
Love at the end of the rainbow | atlanta newborn photographer Last year I told you about my client who lost their beautiful baby girl to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). It was such a tragedy. As she told me about it my heart just sank and sank for her. That was the one thing I never wanted a client to tell me. If you'd like to read her story, you can find it here. I've had clients who told me that their beloved grandfather died or that they got divorced, but never has anyone told me that their 3 month old daughter had died. If I was devastated, I think it only scratches the surface of what my client was feeling. I tried to console her as best I could, but it just didn't seem like enough.  The only thing I could do was to provide her with images of her daughter for her memorial service. Nothing I could say could make things better, but at least I could provide her with images to remember her perfect little girl.

So earlier this year I received a text from this same client telling me she was pregnant! The last time I had spoken with her she wasn't sure if she wanted to try again. That is so understandable. So when she told me she was expecting I was overjoyed for her. This time she is pregnant with a little boy. This is her rainbow baby. 

I remember the first time I had heard that term and didn't know what it meant. In case you're in that same boat, I'll tell you. The best description I found is as follows: "A "rainbow baby" is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better.  A rainbow baby brings light but by no means replaces the angel baby." I couldn't have said that better myself.

I'm telling you all of this because I attended my client's baby shower this past weekend. It was so great to see her. She looked radiant and ever so fly. I mean, this woman makes pregnancy look good and stylish. She was happy and feeling good and surrounded by people who love and care for her. I couldn't have been happier for her. Even though she, her husband and their 2 year old daughter anxiously await little Zechariah's arrival, I can tell she still mourns her daughter. It doesn't seem like she's obsessed with it, but the memory will always be there. She had only a short time with her daughter, but I know that time was very precious to all of them. 

(PhoArtgraphy) babies beautiful child photography children children's photography love photography photos rainbow babies Wed, 01 Nov 2017 14:00:00 GMT
How to keep your sanity | atlanta portrait photographer In this day and age, it is so difficult to keep your cool. I mean there is so much going on ALL of the time. There's also so much that needs to be done ALL of the time. Do you know sometimes I hate walking through my house because I know I'm going to see something else that needs to be done? Being a wife, mother, and solopreneur keeps me very busy. If I'm doing photography work I'm making dinner, washing clothes, driving my son somewhere, volunteering or helping with homework. It really is a grueling schedule. Am I stressed? Not really. Tired, yes. Stress is something I try to keep to a minimum. The only other thing I try to keep lower than stress is drama. As I like to say, the only drama I like is on ABC.

So, how do I keep from stressing, you ask? It's a number of things. One is the motto that I live by. If I can't change it, then I'm not going to stress about it. Why spend precious time worrying about something that is going to happen regardless of what I do or don't do? If nothing I do can deviate the course or whatever, then why am I stressing myself out about it? Sure, I still get nervous about some things, but I don't stress to the point of losing sleep or my hair falling out. Often times stress comes about because we don't know what is going to happen. My son is a "what if" kid. He always asks me what if [insert something bad] happens. That's when I counter with, "What if something good happens?" Why always look on the negative side of things? Life is filled with pros and cons. I prefer to look at the pros when I don't know what's going to happen and when I have no control over the situation. Now if I can affect change, then I will weigh the pros and cons of all that is involved and make my decision. 

Another way I stay mostly stress-free is by ignoring all of the drama. If any of you have accounts on Facebook, then you know what I'm talking about. It appears that keyboard courage runs rampant over there. I try not to log on every day because I know I'm going to see something that will make me roll my eyes. When I do log on, I check the groups that I'm a part of and see what my friends and family are doing. If it's someone's birthday I'll send a nice birthday message. Perhaps I'll comment on my wall with a funny anecdote regarding a conversation with my son or just post some information about Lifeline Animal Services. Now there are days when I am feeling a little mischievous and I may post something that is somewhat provocative or I might respond to someone's egregious comment. But that's not stressful for me, it's entertainment.

My parents always taught me to treat people like I want to be treated. Even in heated debates, I am very cordial. Besides, those conversations aren't really that deep for me. I'm not emotionally invested, therefore I won't go all psycho over a disagreement. Happiness is a choice and I always try to choose happiness. I am who dictates my mood. I am responsible for how I interact with people. If I stay on a positive tract, I attract positivity. I exude positivity. It's rather difficult to be stressed when you're in a positive state of mind.

Half the battle of being stress-free is fought in your mind. I know that I can't do everything and that's okay. There are things that I may be a little behind on, but I know I will get it done sooner or later. In fact, I've been cleaning my desk for months, literally. It's still not done. It is a work in progress. A messy work in progress, but a work in progress nonetheless. I do most things on my schedule, which is a great help for me. I don't like being tied down by other people's schedules if I can help it. But because I manage my own schedule, it makes everything else so much easier for me. 

You have to do what you feel works for you when eliminating the stress in your life. Just to reiterate, I don't stress over things that I have no control over and that includes people. As an aside, I think my son is the only one who truly stresses me, but I think that's all a part of motherhood. Continuing on...I keep a positive attitude and try to avoid drama like the plague. As a friend of mine likes to say "When you see a pot of crazy don't stir it. You might get some on you." Other ways would be to get a massage, read a book, take a soothing bath. If you like shopping (I don't) do that. Whatever frees your mind and takes it off of your stressors, do that. Oh and if you have a significant other, spending time with them can also help too and I'm not talking about conversation! Well, I guess that can work too.

(PhoArtgraphy) fun happiness happy no-stress photography portraits stress-free Wed, 25 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMT
A honey of a session | atlanta portrait photographer Recently I had the chance to photograph a wonderful couple way up in Clarksville, Georgia. In case you don't realize how far that is from me, it took me approximately one and a half hours to get there. Your next question may be, "How did they find you?" Well, my high school FBLA teacher (we reconnected on Facebook) was involved with an organization that needed items for their silent auction. So I donated a session and a print product to help them raise money. This was last year. 

My ex-teacher told me who won the bid and that she'd be calling me. Neither of us knew that it would take her almost a year to do so, but that's ok. When she finally called me I was delighted to speak with her. She was so sweet and easy to talk to. We hit if off immediately. We scheduled the day and it was on. 

When we talked initially she told me she was the largest employer in Georgia. She said she had 9 million employees. Do you know what she does? She is a master beekeeper and her employees make honey for Mtn Honey. If you love honey, you can check them out here. As I stated previously, it was a long drive but a beautiful day so that wasn't a problem. As I was looking for the address I came upon this one house where I couldn't see the house number. I knew this was the house as there was bee paraphernalia and honey/bee puns everywhere. I parked and rang the doorbell and was greeted warmly by Virginia. She welcomed me in and introduced me to her husband Carl. We briefly discussed how the day would go and she gave me a tour of the groudnds and the sugar house where they harvest the honey for packaging. She had me put on a beekeeper jacket because she wanted to make sure that I didn't get stung. Amazingly enough, the hood was not difficult to photograph through.  Below are a few images with the bees.

As with all my sessions I talk with my clients the entire time. Since the session was at 11 in the morning the sun was starting to get high in the sky, so there was a little squinting involved. We worked it out, though. I even got in on the action. They asked me if I wanted a picture with the bees. Of course I did! Now had they been spiders then that would have been a big no. Virginia was nice enough to take pictures of me to capture the moment. Not sure when I'd have this opportunity again. So, what do you think?

Virginia told me that I was holding about 1,000 bees. How cool is that? I told my son about it and he asked if I was scared. Nope! Anyway, we finished up with the bees and headed back to the house so Virginia could change her clothes. I took a few more images of then in the front of the house. Carl and Virginia were such a cute couple. During the session I found out they had been married for 19 years. Even after all that time they were still very close and Carl is a flirt. I really enjoyed photographing them and they were a joy to meet. As she told me when I was leaving "Have a honey of a day!" I then responded, "You are so sweet!" Yes, there were honey and bee puns then entire session! 

Fun fact: It takes 2 million flowers for bees to make 1 pound of honey. 

(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful bees couple fun happiness happy honey husband and wife love photography portrait photography portraits Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMT
No cheese, please | atlanta child photographer I don't know about you, but I can't stand when people tell their children or other little kids to say "cheese" when having their picture taken. I totally understand why they do it. Supposedly when you say cheese it looks like you're smiling.  In reality, it can look like the child is in pain. Or maybe their expression makes me feel pain when I see it. Hmm, I'll have to think about that one. Either way, it's just not a good look. Just so you know, young children don't really know how to smile on cue. Well heck, there are adults that can't do that either. Anyway, when we demonstrate how we want them to smile, it's usually forced and unattractive and that's exactly what the children portray. They are only following your lead and you are leading them down the wrong path when it comes to smiling.

When having your child's portrait taken, I would imagine that you want the most authentic image of them. Now if they run around with their teeth firmly pressed against each other and their lips spread in a grimace on a regular basis, then fine. But if that is not the case then something has to be done and saying cheese is not it. Here is an example of the grimace that I so dislike. 

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Now here's one of him with his real smile. See the difference?

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First of all, I photograph children because of how genuine they are. What you see is generally what you get and I appreciate that. Secondly, children, depending on their age, do not care what they look like. Besides, they can always say it wasn't their fault the way their mother dressed them. Aside from that, when children are having fun or find something funny, they will give an authentic smile or a laugh or giggle. That is what I do. I make them laugh and we have fun so I don't ever have to have them say cheese. I don't necessarily even ask them to smile. We play or sing or talk funny until I get the smile or reaction that I'm looking for. 

You might ask, "What about the children who are generally very serious?" Well, if that's their personality, I photograph that. Even though there are very serious and thoughtful children out there, they do smile every once in a while. If I know they don't smile often, then that lets me know that I don't have to work extra hard for a smile that I may not get. I just let things flow naturally and if they have fun they will share a smile with me. Like this little fellow here. He was very serious, but after spending time with him and playing with him, he showed me that he has a beautiful smile.

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Knowing that he wasn't much of a smiler, I don't believe I asked him to smile at all. But when I got the above image, I felt that he trusted me and decided to reward me with a smile. Just to let you know, I had to do some serious searching to find an image with the "cheese smile". Since I don't use that tactic those types of images don't really exist for me. If cheese was ever uttered it was not by me, I assure you. Usually, I have some awesomely helpful parents. I love the assistance, but please don't tell your child to say cheese. I will sing their favorite song with you, do a dance, whatever, but please don't tell them to say cheese. If you want them to say something, tell them to say something that will make them laugh. One of my little clients was thrilled to get to say the words "pee pee". That cracked her and her sisters up! 

So, if you have images of your child with a pained expression on their face that's supposed to be a smile, bring them to me. I can fix that for you! And remember, please don't say cheese, unless you're ordering it on your sandwich.


(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful child photography children children's photography fun fun with kids happiness happy life photography photos portraits Wed, 11 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMT