PhoArtgraphy: Blog en-us (C) PhoArtgraphy-2015-2018 (PhoArtgraphy) Wed, 23 May 2018 12:16:00 GMT Wed, 23 May 2018 12:16:00 GMT PhoArtgraphy: Blog 114 120 Well, maybe it is you | atlanta child photographer Let me just say that I was going to blog about my son turning 13 last week but since I haven't had a chance to take any updated portraits of him I think I will hold off until next week. So instead of that blog, I will be blogging about taking pictures of your children. Before I go any further, I just want to say that I have never had an issue photographing my own son. He has always willingly posed for me. In fact, if he saw me editing images of another child he would ask me where are the pictures of him. So, no I do not normally suffer with not being able to get good shots of him. Now that he's 13 it may not be considered cool but I'll see later on this week.

Anywho, I often hear parents lament, yes even parents who are photographers, that they can never get a good image of their children. Their children might run away and hide or they'll make faces and cry. Some will stand there and either hide their faces or make faces just so their parents won't get a good picture. You may begin to wonder, "Am I the problem?" Actually, you are. Okay, I know that was harsh but you are the problem. It's really not your fault though if that makes you feel better. The problem is that your child is too comfortable with you so they take certain liberties when you pull out your camera. Let's face it, your kids are really cute so you always have your camera out.

When I photograph my clients' children very rarely do I not get them to do what I want. For the most part, they are model children. Sure they wander off sometimes (usually the one and/or two-year-olds) or lose focus, they're children. I expect it. Sometimes they will tell me no or just not do something I ask. That's fine too. During my child session, I try not to say no. If they object to something then I move on to something new. I tell my moms and dads that it's okay for them to say no. If they aren't comfortable doing something then we won't do it. The object is to keep the children engaged and having fun so that I can capture all that I need. 

For whatever reason, I decided to challenge myself by photographing my four-year-old niece. I photographed her when she was younger and things went pretty smoothly. You can check out that session here. Two-year-olds are pretty amenable for the most part. We played music and danced, used props and she was all for it. In other sessions I've sung songs, danced, played peekaboo and made goofy faces and sounds. Basically, I do what it takes to get the shot. Getting back to this most recent session, she was not the same little girl I photographed two years ago. The first image I captured was basically a test shot but it came out well.

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After that, it started getting out of hand just a bit. The major sillies came out to play and the session went sliding down the proverbial hill, as seen below.

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I was able to capture one cute one from this series but she still wasn't quite how I wanted her to be. Ah well...

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My sister talked to her a bit because me talking to her didn't work. Remember, I have to play the good cop and this is because she's too comfortable with me. Had she not known me we wouldn't have had issues like we did. After the talking to and a little bit of wrestling, I was able to capture these two shots.

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That didn't last long. So I asked my sister to get in the pictures with her to help calm her down. That didn't work as well as I had hoped. At first, she got upset because she thought that I was going to photograph her mom instead of her so she walked off. We called her back and explained and below is how the sequence went. It started out okay but then she started putting her legs in the air. By the way, she is still super flexible and it shows. I think when she grows up she might become a contortionist for Cirque du Soleil but I digress.

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I asked her to give her mommy a kiss because those are always cute. Well, this one looks like the kiss between Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca.

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I apologize to anyone who is reading this and doesn't know who those two were or have never heard of the movie. Then she does other shenanigans like turning her back to me, walking around the backdrop and sticking her tongue out.

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So for all of you parents out there who are unsuccessful at taking images of your uncooperative children, I feel your pain. Like I said, I was challenging myself. Why? I guess I wanted to push my limits and push my limits I did! In case you're wondering, my sister and I cut the session short and she ended up going upstairs in tears loudly apologizing and saying she wanted to take pictures now. Ah well....she learned just a little too late about following directions. I've been photographing children for 15 years and have never (knock on wood) had a session like the one with my niece. As I stated earlier, your children aren't cooperative because you're the one taking their pictures. It really isn't your fault. What I would suggest though is hiring someone to take your children's pictures. It will relieve your stress, you'll get beautiful images and you'll actually get to be in the pictures with your children.  I'd say that was a win-win. By the way, when I say, someone, I really mean me. 

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta child photographer challenging child photographer children's photography family fun photography portraits stone mountain photographer Wed, 23 May 2018 14:00:00 GMT
What do you value? | portrait photographer Okay, I know I've spoken about value before but something I saw the other day got me thinking about it again. If you're on Facebook you may have seen it. It's an ad that says that diamonds are literally worthless. They didn't have value until De Beers gave them value. My first thought was, "What? They have bamboozled us again!" But then, I really thought about it. Nothing really has value until we give it value.

Think about it. Let's say you're having a garage sale. There is an item you have that you feel it is worthless so that's why you're getting rid of it. Someone comes along and they see value in it so they will more than likely pay your (albeit discounted) price and go on their merry way with their new find. What's that saying? "One man's trash is another man's treasure"? How about the department store? Perhaps you're looking for a pair of jeans. One pair costs $121, another pair costs $50 and the last pair costs $19.99. Which pair would you buy? It comes down to how much you value jeans or brand names. 

One of the most precious things I value is spending time with my son. Things are a bit different now than they were when he was little. Much of the time we spent together isn't even something he remembers but I do. He doesn't necessarily remember all of the times I read to him or took him to the zoo or The Children's Museum. He was just too young. But I remember them. I cherish those times together. Now that he's almost 13, we can make memories that he does remember. I can have meaningful conversations with him that will hopefully last him a lifetime. Not that we didn't have meaningful conversations when he was younger, it's just different now.

I say all of this to say if there is something that you value and someone else doesn't feel the same way about it, that's fine. They simply don't value it the way that you do. That doesn't mean that you're wrong and what you value is worthless. It just means your value systems are different. The premise goes with anything that can be considered to have value. If I had a choice to spend $5,000.00 on a piece of jewelry or a vacation to some exotic land I would choose the vacation. That's because I value the experience and the memories over this jewelry that really won't do anything for me. 

I'm sure you know that I value photography as well. If I didn't value it or believe in its value, I definitely wouldn't be a photographer. There are plenty of people who feel that photography is a need but it's not. It is definitely a want. I consider it a luxury. That's what's so great about photography. You can find a photographer who provides what you're looking for and how much you are willing to pay for it. I know that my photography will not be everyone's cup of tea and I'm okay with that. I'm okay with that because I know those who choose me and my photography will value what I can produce for them. I mean, who doesn't want to be valued? Tell me what you value. I really want to know.

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta experiences fun memories photography portrait photography value Wed, 16 May 2018 14:00:00 GMT
It's hard out here for a mother | portrait photographer Being a mom can be one of the most difficult jobs. In fact, it's multiple jobs rolled up into one. As a mom you can be a wife (which has its own challenges) but not always, a caretaker, maid, cook, chauffeur, teacher, laundromat, nurse, accountant, tutor, disciplinarian, cheerleader, counselor, confidant, scheduler, party planner, the purchaser of all things necessary, solver of problems and rememberer of all important dates. And since we have a dog, I just gained the additional title of vet. I'm sure I left something off. If you have any you would like to add, please leave them in the comments. Basically, we do a whole lot and it often gets overlooked...well that is until it isn't being done. Then all of a sudden people have questions. 


Lately, I've been a bit frustrated with my son. He's a really good kid but he'll be 13 this month and he's definitely got this "teen vibe" going. I've been warned that once children start middle school the sweet child we knew will no longer be there. I can't say that's entirely true because the sweet boy I knew does show up from time to time, just not often enough. He's still in that phase of wanting to be independent and dependent at the same time. It's exhausting. Even though I am pushing him to be more independent it's difficult to fully let go. I really think it's subconscious and a whole lot of muscle memory. For example, I find myself cutting up his waffles or his meat. Why? I don't know. 

Lately, my frustration has really come from him not doing what he's supposed to do. It's not like he is unable to because I know that's not the case. He's in the gifted/magnet program at school and has shown me he can do it but sometimes it feels like he just doesn't want to. Like he has no drive. That drives me bonkers! It would be one thing if I knew he didn't have it in him but he does! So, being a mom I had to make a tough decision. Every year the 7th grade goes on a trip. This year their trip is to Universal Studios Orlando. They will be attending STEM classes in the morning and then fun at the park for the rest of the day over a span of three days. Initially, I was going to let him go but after I saw his lack of performance I made the decision to not let him go. My thing is if you don't put in the work you don't get to play. 

Before I could break the news to him he found out at school. He was very hurt. I felt just a tad badly for him but that didn't last long. I, just like you, want the very best for my child but if you don't put in the work why should you reap any rewards? I explained this to him and told him if he wants to go on the 8th-grade trip then he knows what he needs to do. I am hoping that this little episode has quelled his laziness and non-compliance but we'll see. 

That was a hard lesson for him but I know he'll have even harder lessons as he gets older. I don't like having to dole out lessons or disciplinary actions but it's necessary. He needs to learn that for every decision there is either a benefit or a consequence. I just want him to choose the best option. I also want him to understand that not all choices are good choices but there are always choices. If I have to let him fail to learn a lesson then that's what I'll have to do. I can only do so much. After all of my options have been used to help him and he doesn't accept them or implement them, then there's nothing else for me to do. Believe me, I do not want him to fail but failure can also lead to success, that is if you keep trying. 

To me, the hardest thing about being a mom is watching my child struggle, especially when the control of his destiny is in his hands. Don't worry, he's not failing in school but he's still not where he should be. I'm glad that I'm here for him but I sometimes wonder if it's really helping him or hindering him? I was a latchkey kid and that helped me be independent at an early age. I've been working for myself for most of his life. All he's ever known is mommy being at home or volunteering at his schools or picking him up from the bus stop. I'm always there. Maybe I need to not be there all the time. Maybe I need to give him some space so he can use his brain to figure things out before he comes to me. I don't know. The only thing I do know is that I will keep doing the best that I know how. 

Funny thing is when I started this post I believe my thoughts were headed in a different direction. I had to stop typing in order to cook dinner and while I cooked dinner other thoughts flooded my brain. All I know is the struggle is real! Regardless of the lessons, my child needs to learn he will always know that I love him and whatever I do is for his benefit. Even if "Mean Mommy" as he sometimes calls me, comes out it's only because she needed to. I only have a few more years with him so I really want to make them count. My husband and I are planning on taking him out of the country before he goes off to college. We've been out of the country but not him. At least he has been out of state and one of those times was without us. He thoroughly enjoyed that.

Well, this is where I try to wrap all of this up. There are so many mothers out there who are dealing with way more than I am. I am truly blessed and I know that. My son doesn't hang with a bad crowd, nor does he use drugs, he isn't a fighter and isn't into girls yet. All he and his friends want to do is play Fortnite online with each other. What I worry about most, apart from him doing ALL of his work in school is whether or not he puts on his deodorant every day. To all the moms out there, I know that raising children is not easy. Raising children can take so much out of you but it can also bring out parts of you that you didn't even know you had. Raising children allows you to build and shape your children into productive members of society who can help to improve it. There are so many possibilities out there for them to create and discover but it starts with us. We are the beginning. None of us are perfect so we should do the absolute best that we can for them. Remember, you are ENOUGH! No matter what, make sure your children know you love them. Even if they get punished, let them know why and that you love them. Happy Mother's Day to all the birth mothers, adopted mothers, stepmothers, and spiritual mothers! Since it will be a while before your children actually thank you for all you do/did, I will thank you. Thank you for being awesome mothers! MUAH!

(PhoArtgraphy) child children jobs mother mothers day Wed, 09 May 2018 14:00:00 GMT
Too saucy for you | portrait photographer Well, hey there! It has been a minute. Last week I had a guest blogger submit a helpful article for those of us with children. I hope you enjoyed it. It's not often or actually ever that I allow others to post to my site. I guess it's never too late to try new things. Anyway, I am back this week and for the coming weeks. Yay me! I hope I'm not the only one happy about that. (gives side-eye) Anyway, this week I decided to write about my sister Robin. She's number seven amongst my nine siblings. In case you're wondering where I fall, I'm number four. 

You might be wondering what's so great about my sister. Well, for one, she's my sister. I think that's great. Two, she's a great mom. And three, she's a wonderful chef. At this particular point, she has finished her training to be a chef and will graduate next Monday from Atlanta Technical College. About two weeks ago I attended her white coat ceremony at the school. I must say, that was one of the more entertaining ceremonies I've ever been to. Prior to this, she was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society for all of her hard work and excellence. How cool is that?

If you follow me on social media, I know you've seen pictures of my sister and her children. For the past two or three years, I have photographed her and her children for their Christmas cards. She always comes up with really great ideas and the cards come out so cute. Do either of these look familiar?

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Yep, she's the mastermind behind it all. She tells me what she wants and I capture it for her. I always look forward to these sessions. I think they do too.  So this time you may have noticed that it's not Christmas. In fact, it's graduation season and yes, she's graduating. She already has a job set up and everything! From the looks of things, she was born to be an entrepreneur. She used to own her own nail/beauty salon in Snellville. She did very well for herself and had clients clamoring for her services. At some point, her love of cooking turned into a passion. We always looked forward to Robin's dishes when we had a potluck during the holidays. Now that passion is going to be a career. She aspires to be a personal chef. She's worked in a restaurant and has come to realize that is not what she where she wants to be. She wants more freedom to let her creative juices flow and she feels that being a personal chef will allow her to do that. 

At any rate, I am proud of my sister. She may have taken many different paths to get here but I think it was all worth it. Below are a few of the graduation portraits I took of her. This time she just wanted a classic headshot, so that's what I gave her. Of course, there were a couple where she did add some sauce!

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I had to add the knife portraits because she has some serious knife skills. 

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And in case you can't tell, her shoes say Chef Rob! Now I bet you want some of your own, don't you? Thanks so much for reading and please help me congratulate my sister on a job well done!



(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta portrait photographer branding chef family fun graduation happiness happy photography portrait photographer portraits sibling sister Wed, 02 May 2018 14:00:00 GMT
6 Ways You Can Help Your Children Live Healthier, Happier Lives The following post was submitted by Amanda Henderson of Safe children

Helping kids make healthy choices can be tricky. But healthy habits learned in childhood tend to stick a little better as those kids become adults. What we eat, how we work out and the way we handle stress can make a difference in our health and happiness, so it’s crucial to help your children make better choices. Here are six solutions for helping your family live a little healthier each day. 


Go Grocery Shopping Together


Shopping for healthy foods can take some skill. Grocery stores tend to be set up to make you choose processed, unhealthy foods, so take your kids along and show them how to shop like a healthy pro. Stick to outer aisles, where produce, healthy proteins and fresh foods are typically kept. Look for coupons and specials to help you shop on a budget but know that healthy foods tend to cost a little less than processed options anyhow. When you hit the middle aisles, look for healthy grains and snacks. Teach your children how to read nutrition labels and be on the lookout for hidden sugars and fat. 


Prepare and Cook Meals With Your Family


One of the best ways to help your kids stick to healthy eating is to teach them to make meals at home. Cooking also can be a great stress reliever, so getting your family into the kitchen can have multiple benefits. Go over food and kitchen safety with your children before you begin to prevent cuts and burns. Watch little ones as they use appliances, cooking surfaces and knives, or find kid-friendly options to make cooking safer. 


Show Your Kids How to Stay Healthy While Eating Out


Eating at home may be the best way to stay healthy, but your family’s hectic schedule may make eating on the go necessary. You can curb eating out with some meal prep but when going to restaurant is more convenient, take some time to help your kids make smart choices. Try to stick with high protein, grilled options and watch out for hidden salt and sugar. Choose water over sugary sodas and don’t order more food than you need. 


Promote Exercise and Play 


Staying active is essential to maintaining good health, but that can be challenging with kids. Video games, phones and television make it all too easy for children to spend hours on the couch, which can be detrimental to their health. Turn off the electronics and encourage your kids to get outside and play. Get in the backyard for a healthy game of hide-and-seek or play tag together. Getting up and moving can help prevent obesity and disease in children and adults. 


Encourage Healthy Hobbies


Hobbies can be a healthy means of relieving stress and developing the mind. Start early and help your children find hobbies that are constructive and creative. Set up a space to let loose with art or invest in some lessons with an instrument. Studies show that playing music can have benefits for children, so getting your kids playing a piano or violin is a good investment. You can even help get your kids outside to explore with fun hobbies including bird watching, gardening or biking. 


Foster Good Sleep Hygiene 


Most kids hate bedtime and it can be tempting to let them stay up late. But getting a good night’s sleep can be more beneficial to your child’s health than diet, exercise or stress relief. Sleep is essential for brain development and the maintenance of our immune system, so letting your kids skip sleep could set them up for serious issues later in life. Stick to set wake up and bedtime schedules, even during school breaks and weekends and help them get into a good nighttime routine. 


Your kids’ happiness is important to you and good health can be the key to a happy life. Getting your kids to make healthy choices when they are young will make it more likely for them to sustain their health as they get older. As difficult as it may be now, your kids will be thankful for these lessons, and ultimately, helping them live longer lives.

(PhoArtgraphy) child children dun health safety Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:00:00 GMT
The bees' knees I think I've mentioned before about the cool people or seemingly cool people that I follow or "meet" on Instagram. There have been a few that I have actually met out in the real world and they are as cool as they seem. Well, this week's blog is another account of someone I met on Instagram who is definitely as cool as she seemed. By the way, I hope this doesn't seem stalkerish. If I feel a synergy with people online I want to meet them in person. Can you tell I spend a lot of time by myself when I'm not photographing? 

When Bee's and Quotes first showed up on Instagram I thought it was a neat little business located in Johns Creek.


It is geared towards art, creativity, and children. How can you go wrong with that combination? So of course, I started following them.

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By the way, I nor the owner, Angela, are grammar deficient. She chose to use an apostrophe S to show that everything doesn't have to be perfect. She said she's already been harangued by some teachers regarding this very matter and I don't want you telling me something I already know.  

At any rate, Angela is a really sweet, hardworking woman with a dream. A dream that allows children to let out their inner artists. For them to be as creative as they want to be without adult interference. To have fun and create all in the same space. Sometimes you just have to let children be children.

I remember when I purchased some unpainted, wooden letters that represented my son's initials. We had decided it would be cool to hang them on his wall. I had just painted his room orange. Yes, that's the color he chose. Since I painted the room, he wanted to paint the individual letters. In case you don't already know, I am a bit of a control freak. Not the kind that tries to control everybody and everything because I have a full understanding of what I can and can't control. I'm more of the kind that prefers things to be the way that I think they should be. Anyway, he decided that he didn't want to paint the letters a single color. He painted one letter orange, green and black. I just about lost my mind. I so wanted to "fix" it and show him the "right" way to paint the letters but I refrained. I realized that this was his room, his letters, and his creative expression and I didn't want to interfere with that. Man, was that hard!

Getting back to Angela...she is truly a delight. I had been telling her through DMs (for those social media challenged, that means Direct Message) that I was planning on coming to meet her and see her studio. Finally, one Saturday I was able to follow through on my promise. As I arrived she was cleaning up from the last event. In fact, there was still a family lingering around because their children weren't quite ready to go. You know it's a good sign when the children aren't ready to leave when it's over. The little boy was running around with a dinosaur hand puppet attacking his sister and parents. It was adorable. One of the things that caught my eye was a small pool filled with confetti. How much fun would that be to play in?

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After they left, I got a chance to really talk to Angela and find out more about her and her business. At the time of our meeting, she wasn't full-time with her business but she was working on it. She has a plan in place to take Bee's and Quotes to the next level. If you are interested in what Bee's and Quotes has to offer, please click here. She has some fantastic offerings during the week, as well as in the Summer. If my son was younger I would definitely take him to see Ms. Angela. He would have loved it. She really has a special way with kids and they just love her. Just talking to her I could tell she has a love for children and a love for creating. I wish I had a picture of her but she is a bit camera shy, plus she wasn't ready for me to photograph her. We, women, need to be ready before we have our pictures taken. Don't just show up with a camera and expect to snap way! With that said, check out some images of the studio. Don't they make you want to create something or at the very least want to visit?

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If you know of parents with little ones in the Johns Creek area, this would be the perfect place for them to let their little ones create! Pass this blog onto them. I think they'll thank you for it! As we all know, sharing is caring...unless it's pink eye. And in that case, you can keep that!


(PhoArtgraphy) art art studio artists child artist children drawing fun painting Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:00:00 GMT
Wise beyond her years Just recently I had the pleasure of photographing one of my sister Robin's closest friends. She is helping me with a project of mine and gladly accepted my invitation to participate. Ok, she's helping me with my book about natural hair journeys if you really want to know. My goal is to have it published by November. Why November? Well, it is my birthday month after all, so I thought it was fitting. 

I've been wanting to photograph Kyla for years but we could never find the time. Or if we had the time she didn't feel she looked right. I always thought Kyla was beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside no matter how she felt about her physical self. My sister has many wonderful friends but Kyla is my favorite. 


What I like about Kyla is how she can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. She is what you would call a straight-shooter. She's not ambiguous. She says what she means and means what she says. She's very honest and sometimes bluntly so but it's all out of love. I appreciate all of that about her. She's even very honest about herself. It's very difficult for some people to be honest about themselves. Sure the good parts about us are always easy to discover and share. But what about the not-so-good parts? To me, Kyla seems to acknowledge all parts of her self... good, bad, indifferent and has made peace with all of them. I truly believe she is trying to be the best person she can be.

She is incredibly wise, intelligent and level-headed. She is quite humorous as well. Even though her brother is a photographer she told me that she feels uncomfortable in front of the camera. Does this look like she's uncomfortable? Well, she also said that being silly helped to ease that discomfort. 


I think when I captured this image she was in the middle of talking about something that someone did or said that made absolutely no sense.


Even though I don't see Kyla often, I always enjoy my time with her. Kyla's one of those people you can tell anything to and she will thoroughly listen without judgment. Plus she understands and can commiserate. I think everyone needs a Kyla.

Below are a few more images from our session. I probably don't have to tell you that we had a great time during the session. We even went out and got some tea at the coffee house across the street from her home. It was freezing and windy that day too. The shots that I captured outside were done quickly and with haste because I hate being cold. I don't think she liked it much either but she was definitely game for whatever I wanted to do. I liked this image I captured of her scratching her cat, Mick Jagger. Yes, that's the cat's name. What? My older sister has a dog named Will Robinson. If you don't know who that is Google it or Lost in Space.

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(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta portrait photographer beautiful happy location photography outdoor photography photography portraits Wed, 11 Apr 2018 14:00:00 GMT
Making new friends How many of you have come to the conclusion that it's difficult to make friends once you become an adult? And what makes it extra difficult is when you are an entrepreneur with no employees. If you don't get out of your office you will never meet anyone! Well, that's me. The times I have gotten out it was because I had to take my son somewhere. While waiting for him to finish his activity I would invariably meet another parent and we would start chatting. Usually, we would get along famously and exchange contact information. That's when I would realize we had a problem. They usually lived way on the other side of town. How can I hang out with you when we have to drive 40 or 50 minutes just to meet? It was such a bummer for me. I sometimes feel like a recluse, but I continue to try to get out when I don't have any clients or client work.

Since I've been on Instagram, I have made many new friends. There are some of the most fantastic people on Instagram! And because it's my nature, I have to meet said fantastic people in person. Is that weird? Do you have the urge to meet people in person that you meet on social media? Gee, maybe I am lonely. My husband works from home too, but he usually stays on his side of the basement so we don't really interact. He actually deals with the public over the phone, so I can't just go start talking to him when I need to expend some verbal energy. Some of the fantastic people I have met live out of town/state, so that's usually a no-go depending on where they live. Then there are those who live here in Atlanta and actually have the time to meet me. The fact that they want to meet me as well is truly a comfort. I'd hate to feel like a stalker. 

So, the latest person I met via IG is Daphne of DRG Business Consulting. She is in a Facebook group with me and many other women. That's initially how I met her. It was all online. We would comment on each other's IG posts and have DM conversations. Then one day I suggested we meet for coffee, tea, whatever. I just felt like she was "my people." She accepted my offer and we began planning. I ended up having the same issue with her that I have with everyone else...she and I lived at opposite ends of the city. But we didn't let that stop us. To make it fair, we decided to meet in the middle so we met at the Grant Park Coffee House. It was a really quaint little coffee house across the street from Zoo Atlanta. I had a wonderful time just chatting it up with her and I would imagine she felt the same as well. We learned so much about each other and our prospective businesses.

During our conversation, I asked her if she would like to participate in my book about natural hair journeys and she said yes. At that point, we scheduled a time to discuss what to wear, where we were going to shoot and when. A few weeks later it was time to meet up again for the session. Guess where we met. You guessed it! The Grant Park Coffee House. We figured, why not? It had some really great scenery and the day was a great day for photographing outside. The only thing that was stopping us was a woman with three little girls who were playing wildly with a ball around the outdoor seating. Once they cleared out we had free reign of the patio. I photographed her in front of the shop, on the sidewalk, inside the shop. I wanted to make sure we used as much of the scenery as we could. 

One thing that happened while we were there is that a man came by and unlocked this gate behind Daphne in this image. atlanta portrait photographer_MG_7327-Edit

I thought the gate was there for decoration, but it turns out that this man has renovated two units upstairs and rents them out. We both wanted to see what they looked like and the man obliged. They were really nice units and I could see them being used for a girls weekend or something. Anyway, after our curiosity was satisfied, I captured a few more images of Daphne and then we had to part ways. I'm so excited that she is participating in my book project and I can't wait to share it with all of you! Here are just a few more images that I want to share. I'm not going to show you my favorites because those are going in the book.

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One last thing. Daphne and two other business coaches held the Fly CEO Challenge, which I participated in. It did  help me to form better morning and evening routines. I just have to make sure I stick to them. That's the really hard part. But during all of this I have determined that Daphne is definitely one of my people.


(PhoArtgraphy) branding branding photography business business portraits fun headshots photography portraits Wed, 28 Mar 2018 14:00:00 GMT
I know it's spring but...|atlanta family portrait photographer Yes, I know it's spring but I just realized that I didn't write a blog about one of my sessions last year. Last November to be exact. It was a few weeks from being officially winter when I had this session. I met sweet Anjli back in 2016 or 2017 at a blessing ceremony for the Atlanta Birth Center. Sorry I can't remember the year exactly, but time seems to run together for me for some reason. I'm doing well to remember my own birthday sometimes. Anyway, there was a blessing ceremony at the Atlanta Birth Center to prepare it for services expectant parents during the birth process. It's a community filled with wonderful caregivers, doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas. If you'd like to learn more about the Atlanta Birth center, you can check out their website here.

When I first went to the facility, I was thoroughly impressed. It is a beautiful, welcoming space. It was so calming and peaceful. I could see many pregnant women wanting to give birth there. And not only was the atmosphere exquisite, so were the people and Anjli was one of them. Actually, Anjli is one of the founders and the executive director of the Atlanta Birth Center, also known as ABC. She is a very passionate advocate for empowered childbirth and feels that all laboring women should have a supportive team behind her to help her have the type of birth experience she deserves. 

Even though I got a chance to meet her at the blessing ceremony we didn't have a chance to really, really talk. She had so many guests to attend to and thank for coming, so of course I couldn't monopolize her time. Fast forward to last year. An opportunity came up that allowed me to get involved with ABC. They were having a fundraising gala and needed, not only donations but items to auction off. That is something that I could definitely get behind. So I contacted ABC to offer a gift certificate for photography. They were so gracious and appreciative and I felt wonderful for being able to help support such a wonderful organization.

After the gala was over (which was quite successful) Anjli contacted me to let me know that she is the one who bid on the gift certificate! I felt truly honored that she would do that. She said it gave her a chance to contribute to ABC as well. From there, we talked about the type of session she wanted and the location for the session. Since I'm not really familiar with Duluth, she provided suggestions. I even got suggestions from a few of my photog friends. Since their last family session was at McDaniel Farm Park, we decided to go to Rogers Bridge Park. I arrived earlier than they did, so I decided to walk around and check out the area. There were plenty of ducks and geese, so of course I photographed them, along with the Chattahoochee river as well. When they arrived they were like a breath of fresh air. She arrived with her husband, father-in-law and three-year-old son. 

Initially I was a little worried about photographing outside so late in the evening in the fall. You know how the sun likes to set a bit early. Well, after seeing the beautiful light that the setting sun was emitting, I worried no more. Below are a few images from the session. Thes are images from the very beginning of the session. I try to start out easy so they can get comfortable with me and in front of my camera. 

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I believe Anjli's husband was quite comfortable because he used to be a model. The way their son follows direction and is comfortable in front of the camera makes me think he might end up being a model too. Plus, he's as cute as the dickens!

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Just look at this gorgeous November light!

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I truly enjoyed photographing them and I hope it shows. I believe they had fun too. As the session was winding down, we decided to have a little extra fun.

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As one photographer said, "Don't pack up your gear until you've left the location." Had I packed up early, I would have missed these shots.

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I hope you've enjoyed viewing this session. Don't you think it's about time for you to schedule your own session? If not, I'm sure you have friends who would like to. Don't be a meany...share because sharing is caring. Well, unless you're talking about the flu or genital warts. That's not caring at all. 

(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful child photography children children's photography family fun happiness happy outdoors photography portraits Wed, 21 Mar 2018 14:00:00 GMT
Sisterhood | atlanta child photographer If you've been reading my blogs for a while, then you probably know quite a bit about me. I'm not sure if you caught this but I can be a bit of a homebody. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy going out but sometimes I can get comfortable or downright lazy. With that said, meeting new people is a challenge unless I'm going to a client's home for a portrait session. Lately, I've been pushing myself to get out more. Go to networking events. Go on photo walks, like last weekend. Run errands. I need to do something that will break the cycle that ends with me sitting at my computer all day. 

So, my older sister, also known as my twin, and I went on a sort of a hike with this group called Outdoor Afro. Both of the women in this picture are my sisters but I'm sure you can tell which one is considered my twin.

My sister is the one who found the group and she thought that I would enjoy a nice hike as well. And she was right. We met up at Gibbs Gardens in Ballground, Georgia. It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get there from my house. I enjoyed the ride. It was a beautiful day and not too much traffic on the road. Even though I had only had about five hours of sleep, I was wide awake for our conversation. I so love hanging out with my sister because we consistently make each other laugh.

When we finally arrived we didn't see anyone who looked familiar. Ok, so no one was really going to be familiar to us because this was our first outing with Outdoor Afro. Basically, we were looking for other black women. Farther up in north Georgia you tend to see less and less black people, so we knew if we saw any black women they were more than likely with our group. Slowly but surely all the women started to trickle in. We stood in a fairly conspicuous place so that no one could miss us. Everyone introduced themselves and stated what they did for an outdoor hobby. There were a few runners in the group, as well as bike riders. 

Even though they called this a hike, I considered it more of a leisurely walk. There was nothing strenuous about it. It was very scenic and quiet, except for us talking to and laughing with each other. Unfortunately, I didn't take my camera. The reason being, I thought it would be an actual hike and that the weather forecasted rain during the time we were there. Look, my camera is not the type of thing that I would want to get wet. So I had to settle for iPhone pics. You want to hear something funny/sad? I had to remove the protective cover from my phone because the case I have was for my old phone. Since my new phone and old phone are the same size, I figured I would just use the same case. WRONG! The case fits, but it partially covers my camera lens. I just haven't purchased a new case yet, but I will. I'll have to find a new image to put on the back of it, as I've had the same case for a few years now. And now that I think about it, it took me a while to settle on an image then too. Considering that, it might take me a minute to get a new case.

We really had a great time and the gardens are absolutely beautiful. My sister and I plan on going back when other things are in bloom. Oh, I almost forgot. While we were all just standing around the Japanese garden talking I happened to look up and saw a woman I had graduated high school with. I mean, what are the chances? It's really funny because I yelled her name and everyone was looking at me and thinking, "Who is she calling? There is no one in this group named Angela." At any rate, we were all amused.

After we finished enjoying the gardens, it was time for everyone to go. We said our goodbyes and planned on seeing each other at the next event. Me being rather goofy, I was so looking forward to this part because one of the participants was named Felecia. So I got to say, "Bye, Felecia!" That just made my day! So now enjoy some of the iPhone images I captured.

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(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful exercise fun gardens photography sisterhood walking Wed, 14 Mar 2018 14:00:00 GMT
Community over competition | atlanta child photographer This past Sunday I had the honor and privilege of photographing with a great group of women. I belong to a Facebook group called Queen Photographers of Georgia. This group is a special space for us photographers to top shop and life. It's like a virtual meeting with your homegirls and besties. It functions as a sisterhood that provides support, inspiration, ideas, information, varying degrees of assistance and camaraderie. Perhaps there is a project that someone is working on or they just started in photography and they want a critique. The sisterhood is there to help put them on the right path to betterment or enlightenment. I love this group of ladies. The only thing better than being in the group is actually meeting and being with them in person.

So, this last meet up that we had was for a headshot swap. Try saying that five times fast. Being that I do not like being in front of the camera, I usually capture my own headshots. This is not necessarily an easy task. If I don't have my son there assisting me with focusing, it's basically a trial and error type of thing. The current headshots I use on my social media accounts are those that I have taken myself. It was just me and my trusty camera timer. I like images, but one is almost 3 years old and the other is almost 2 years old. To be honest, I could continue to use them. The only thing that is different is my hair. I cut it recently and am about to get it cut even shorter. My main focus wasn't having my headshots taken but being able to hang out with these wonderful women. The headshots I receive are just an added bonus. 

Since there were several of us, we decided to split up into twos and alternate photographing each other. As more women started to come we ended up with an odd number, so there was usually a group of three as well. It was really hard switching up because I would have so much fun with the one group that we didn't want to stop shooting. This happened in each group that I was in! The last group was a group of three and one of the photographers (Takia) brought her one-year-old son. Now you know that was right up my alley. He was so adorable. She so graciously took pictures of me playing with him. Most of the time she couldn't shoot because he didn't want her to put him down. Eventually, he got comfortable enough to ramble around and I was right there for it. She was even able to photograph the other photographer in our group and be photographed herself. So it worked out well.  

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It was such a beautiful evening on the downtown Decatur Square. We started a little after 4:00, so the sun was getting low in the sky. As it got later, of course, it got cooler and a little busier. Restaurants were opening for dinner and it started smelling soooooo good and I was already hungry! After we finished up, we met back at the square and a nice passerby offered to take our group picture. It truly was a truly wonderful and fun-filled evening. Below are a few gems from the outing. Enjoy!  In order of appearance: Latricia Buffington of Precious T Photography and Andrene Rozier of Soft Hues Photography.

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Brittany Richardson of B. Rich Photography and Takia Ebonee Lamb of TK Consulting & Design.

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Tiffany Powell of Tiffany Powell Photography and Chanel French of Chanel G. Photography.

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Those were the headshots that I actually captured myself, but there were other queens there too that I want you to know about. Here are some behind the scenes. Some were taken after we were done and just hanging around.

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Here are Jalivia Blumenberg Northern of Livi Blue Photography and Jessielyn (Jessie) Wade of Jess Creating Memories.

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoyed reading about our fabulous time and the wonderful photographers I had the privilege of shooting with. It's difficult to convey everything that went on. Trying to find locations with good lighting and little traffic was a bit of a challenge at times, but we did it. And Brittany telling me to give her a fake laugh always made me burst into a very real and hardy laugh. What can I say? It was one of those ridiculous, haughty laughs that only people in the 1940's movies did. Anyway, it was an excellent time had by all. Regardless of your photography needs, I am sure that someone on this blog would be able to provide you with what you're looking for. 


(PhoArtgraphy) collaboration community fun happiness happy headshots photography photos portraits working together Wed, 07 Mar 2018 15:00:00 GMT
Never too early | mommy and me portraits Spring is just around the corner. Actually, here in Georgia, it feels like it's already here. We've had temperatures in the mid-70s, the trees are starting to bloom and the animals seem to be more active. Don't get me wrong, I am totally loving this weather but I know it's not right. February is the coldest month of the year for us here and lately, it feels like we're in Florida. But I digress...

Not only is spring around the corner, but so is Mother's Day. You're probably saying, "But Mother's Day isn't until May." Yes, I'm a mind reader. You didn't know? Well, my husband and son think I'm quite great at it. Anyway, I know it's not until May, but now is a good time to start planning for it and I've got just the thing. Mommy and Me Portraits! What mother wouldn't love a portrait with her beloved children? You could give her a gift certificate and let her schedule it or you can schedule it for her. That's just one idea.

Another idea is Daddy and Me Portraits. If you're trying to keep it a surprise then this one is so much easier to pull off. Just send your wife to get a pedicure or have a day with the girls and daddy and the kids can have their portraits taken. Mom will never be the wiser! Either of these ideas or even a family portrait can be created and given to the mother/grandmother/mother-in-law for Mother's Day. There's nothing like giving beautiful memories on Mother's Day. 

And lastly, you can have portraits of just the children to give to mom, grandma, nana or your mother-in-law. How could they not love them? The reason I am talking about this now is because schedules don't always work out as planned. Don't you just hate rushing to make sure certain things get done in a timely fashion, especially when you're trying to surprise someone? If you want to get ahead of the rush, you can start planning now. Determine when you want to have your session. Schedule your consultation and session. Then the session will be photographed. Place your order and if you like, I can hold on to it until a day and time you want me to deliver it. That way, no one will accidentally stumble upon it and ruin the surprise. Well, depending on how young the children are, you may have to bribe them to keep them quiet. 

One last thing, during this time I also like to offer jewelry for the moms. I mean, wearing a piece of jewelry with the loves of your life displayed on it. How cool would that be?  If you sign up for my newletter, you'll be abreast of all of the specials before they come out. There are some specials that only those on my newsletter list are notified about. And don't worry. I only send out my emails once a month, so I won't inundate you with emails. You can actually sign up here if you're interested. If you have ideas of your own, please let me know. I always love collaborating with my clients and trying new things. There is no telling what type of awesomeness we could come up with. I am so looking forward to any comments you all may have and below are a few examples of what can be created. These samples are definitely not exhaustive.

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(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta baby beautiful child photography children children's photography family fun gifts happiness happy life love photography photos portraits Wed, 28 Feb 2018 15:00:00 GMT
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.

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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.

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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