PhoArtgraphy: Blog en-us (C) PhoArtgraphy-2015-2018 (PhoArtgraphy) Tue, 14 Nov 2017 03:51:00 GMT Tue, 14 Nov 2017 03:51:00 GMT PhoArtgraphy: Blog 114 120 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
The (almost) great escape | atlanta portrait photographer A few months ago I decided I wanted to volunteer at the Dekalb County Animal Shelter that is being run by Lifeline Animal Project. If you are not familiar with this organization, you can click here for more information. It is a wonderful organization and all of their locations are no-kill shelters. If you're an animal lover then this is the place for you. There are three locations. One in Avondale, one in Chamblee and the other is Fulton County. Anyway, I've only gone a few times to volunteer. I didn't do much this month, unfortunately. Tropical storm Irma messed up my schedule and then other things got on my schedule and interfered with my volunteerism. But, at least I can say that I did volunteer.

My first experience after the orientation, I decided to start off easy so I worked in the laundry room. There were piles and piles of towels, blankets, soft toys, and rugs that needed to be washed. It was pretty easy. I just put the dirty items in the washer, hit the button twice and that was it. The dryer was just as easy. When those items finished washing I just put them in the dryer and pressed the button once and that was it. Of course, I had to fold the items, but towels and blankets are the easiest things to fold. While the loads were washing and drying, I would put the dog and cat bowls in the washer. Pretty simple and listening to music on my phone made it go by a little faster. 

The second time I went I decided to volunteer in the kitten nursery. The first kitten I wanted to take out was very friendly when the door was closed. He would rub up against the bars and let me pet him through the bars. But when I opened the crate and tried to take him out, he would move to the back of the crate. Talking about playing hard to get. After we played this game two or three times I gave up. After I closed the door that's when he started meowing trying to get my attention. Then I tried the next cat. He or she was friendly until I opened the door. Let's just say I didn't even attempt to take that one out. I finally made my way to a couple of kittens that were being housed together. One was a little shy, light-colored kitty and the other was a black and white, inquisitive kitty. I took the black and white one first, as he was not shy at all. They have these bonding rooms you can take the kittens. I let him run around and explore. There are even little cat toys in there for them to play with, as well as a little cat hotel. Here's a short video of him playing. I tried to take a still image of him, but he was a bit too frisky for that.

We finished playing, so while he rode on my shoulder I took him back to his crate and grabbed his crate mate. Same thing...we played and she explored until some people interested in adopting a cat came into the room. They had an older cat that didn't seem to like the kitten. At that point, I thought it best that I take the kitty and leave. Well, as I was putting her back in the crate the little black one I had previously decided to make a break for it. I mean he was fast. Luckily all of the places where the animals are kept have closed doors. There is no way for them to escape without the help of a human. After chasing him under benches and along the wall, I was able to corner him and pick him up and put him back. As far as I know, no one actually saw that. 

The last time I went to visit, I decided to walk some dogs. There was this adorable pitbull with the sweetest face and temperament that I thought about taking out. That had to be one of the largest pitbulls I have ever seen and it was nothing but muscle. Even though he looked very sweet, I had to pass that day. Next time when I go I'll take him out, but I hope he won't be there. That will mean that he got adopted. Anyway, we settled on my walking some puppies. As long as they weren't fresh from surgery, about to go to surgery or younger than 6 months old, I could walk them. The first puppy was a year old male. He was the sweetest thing ever! He actually liked to give hugs. He would gently jump up and put his paws on me so that I could pet him. If I stooped down, he would lay across my lap and sometimes put his paws around my neck as if he was giving me a hug. He was soooooo sweet. Here's a video of him.

I made sure that I walked and played with him well so that he'd be willing to go back into his crate. It was rather warm outside that day so when I saw him panting I figured he was ready to go in. As soon as I opened his crate door, he hopped in and started drinking his water. I thought, "That went smoothly. Let's try another." So I selected this sweet looking 2 year old female. She looked like she had recently had pups herself. Here's a video of her. I really wanted to take some still shots of both puppies or even a selfie with them, but they wouldn't be still. Imagine that.

So as I opened her crate to put the leash over her head, she jumped out as quick as lightning! I could not believe this. She ran around the little puppy area, sniffing dogs and all of the dogs were barking and jumping up and down. It reminded me of a prison riot. You know, when there's a fight between the guard and an inmate or someone's trying to escape and all of the other inmates are cheering them on. I mean there were barking, yelping, puppies knocking their water bowls over in their excitement. I finally cornered her, but she was fighting trying to get away the entire time. All I wanted to do was take her for a walk! Finally I picked her up and was about to put her back in her crate when I decided to continue to hold her with my left arm and use my right hand to put the leash over her head. Success! Maaaaaan! I was sweating like I just finished Zumba and I don't really sweat. Luckily she was only about 15 pounds or so. But 15 pounds of wriggly flesh is hard to contain. To top it all off I managed to lock myself out of the facility. Right as the door was closing my mind said, "Remember to prop the door open so you don't lock yourself out." Well, since we were out there I figured we should play. I wanted to make sure she was tired before we tried to go back in because I really didn't feel like fighting or chasing her again. A nice man, whom I had met there before, was mopping the floor so I knocked on the window and he let me back in. Once I opened her crate, she jumped in and happily began drinking her water. After that, I was done.

I was so tired that no matter how cute the other dogs were, I was not taking another one for a walk that day. Don't worry, I'll be going back. I do enjoy doing something good and playing with the animals. I've been warned that I might end up taking one home, but I doubt that seriously. I have one husband, one child and one dog, I don't need two of anything else. Please check out Lifeline and the animal shelters here in Georgia. There are so many wonderful cats and dogs who need great homes. They even have a fostering program if you'd like to do that instead. Donations are accepted as well. Thank so much for reading and feel free to share!



(PhoArtgraphy) beautiful child photography children children's photography fun happy photography portraits Wed, 04 Oct 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Listening is hard | atlanta child photographer Listening is hard. No, I mean really listening and hearing what is being said to you is hard. It seems like a simple task, but it's not. Every day we talk to people but do we really listen to them, especially if they say something that we don't agree with? In today's climate that seems to be a lost art. There are so many people talking but not enough listening. I'll be the first to admit that it can be difficult to hear a dissenting voice. Some things are just hard to hear. In order for there to be some understanding, you must first listen.

As a child, listening is how we learned. Children are eager to learn and that's a wonderful thing. As we get older, many of us lose that love of learning. We form opinions on everything and shut out opinions that are not like ours. We know that we are right and others who disagree are wrong. But wait, aren't opinions just what you think and how you feel about something? They may be rooted in facts, but they themselves are not facts. Opinion by definition is in general, a judgment, viewpoint or statement that is not conclusive. It may deal with subjective matters in which there is no conclusive finding. What distinguishes fact from an opinion is that facts are more likely to be verifiable. So with that said, an opinion is neither right nor wrong, per se. Sure you can prove your case by interjecting facts that help bolster your point, but in the end are you really right or wrong? In the grand scheme of things does it matter? Will you win a prize? If it will institute a change for the better, then yes it's important.

If you haven't been living under a rock and you do have electrical power, then you know what's been going on for the past view days, weeks, months, whatever. If you're like me you've noticed that there has been a lot of talking, but not a whole lot of listening. We all must listen to each other no matter how difficult it may be. You may not like what is being said, but when you understand why it is being said, perhaps that will help in your comprehension. I remember when my son was about 6 or 7 and he told me that he wanted green eyes. My son has beautiful brown eyes so of course, I was surprised at this admission. I started to wonder if he was having an identity crisis because the next door neighbor's child has sort of hazel green eyes that change color. So instead of getting upset with the little bit of information that he gave me, I decided to ask him why. He told me because green was his favorite color. How simple was that? I could have taken that little bit of information and ran, but I needed to find out why he felt that way. I know this is a simplistic example, but it still shows the importance of listening.

Do you realize how many conflicts can and probably would have been resolved if people would just listen to each other? It's not all about agreement or disagreement. It's about understanding someone's viewpoint instead of just writing their viewpoint off as invalid because they don't agree with you. We all want to get out points across but what's the point if no one is listening? When you're having a discussion and no one is listening, that is no longer a discussion. That is an argument.

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta child photography child photography children's photography photography portraits Wed, 27 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Do it scared | atlanta portrait photographer Last week my son was out of school for four days because of tropical storm Irma. Monday was when she came to Atlanta and we lost power. Our power didn't return until the following morning. If you want to read about that experience, you can click here. They were out of school all week until Friday because the power was not on in all of the schools in our county and there were downed trees and electrical wires. Some schools had trees on their roofs as well. Don't even mention all of the spoiled food that had to be replaced. It was a mess! I felt like I lived in a snow globe that had just been shaken.

Anyway, it was time to go back to school. Of course, I and many others were thinking, "Why go back to school for one day?" Aw well, I don't run the county so we just followed the rules. The day started off normally. My son got up and dressed and I made him breakfast. His dad got up and took him to the school bus shuttle not too far from our house. Before my husband returned home from dropping him off I received a text from my son stating, "I'm the only chapel on the bus and we're already off the stop." At the end of the message, there's a worried emoji with a single tear. Of course, I needed clarification. So we went back and forth trying to figure out what was going on. He wanted me to verify that they were traveling in the correct direction by asking me what direction they should be going. I told him south and then east. Just to tell you how worried he was, he was using his compass to track his direction and from what it was telling him, he wasn't going in the correct direction.

So I told him to ask the bus driver where are they going. He was nervous considering he didn't know where they were going and didn't know anyone on the bus. He said when he did ask everyone looked at him funny and that made him not want to ask any more questions. That's when I explained that he had to ask so that I would know where to pick him up. He waited until all of the other children got off the bus and asked the bus driver. That's when he told me the name of the "blue school". So I suggested he ask the bus driver if there was somewhere he could wait while I came to pick him up. The next text read, "She's driving again." I urged him to ask the bus driver where she was going to, but he was afraid. Sidenote: he can be a little shy at times. I explained that I understand that, but sometimes you just have to do things regardless of how scared or nervous you are. He would rather me track him with my iPhone than to ask her. I tracked him and he asked her and eventually made it to his own school and wasn't late.

I was happy he made it to his own school and once I see the bus driver I will thank her with a little gift I got for her. On my personal Facebook page, I recounted this very same tale. Some of my friends wondered if I panicked. Just to let you know, I did not. Panicking is not something that I do. I am a little bit of a control freak and panicking is not allowed. Besides, it's difficult to make good decisions if you're panicking and at the time I did not feel my son was in danger. He just wasn't where he needed to be, but for all intents and purposes he was safe. Now had he been wandering around somewhere by himself, that may have been a little different, but thank goodness for technology.

This whole ordeal started because he thought he was getting on the right bus, but it turned out he wasn't. The sad thing is that his schoolmates (notice I didn't say friends) saw him getting on the wrong bus, but no one said anything. I thought, "This is a good teaching moment." I sat my son down and explained that even when you're scared, sometimes there are things that need to be done. He needed to find out where he was and where he was going if I was going to be able to help him. He needed to be brave and just ask. Being brave is not losing all of your fear. It means doing what needs to be done even though you have that fear. I also explained that he must choose his friends wisely because as was demonstrated, everyone is not always your friend. Had his best friend been there, I have no doubt he would have at least asked him why was he getting on that bus. The last lesson was that no matter how good you are or how much you do right, people will only focus on what you did wrong.  Even if people laugh at you or look at you funny if there is something you need to know or do, learn it or do it in spite of those people. People will not always be there for you. You must be there for you.  

It's going to take continued support for him to gain more confidence in himself and my husband and I will be right there to push him along. I know exactly how he feels because I was the same way. You get to a point where certain things need to be done and they can only be done by you. I believe this message is for anyone, not just my 12-year-old. We all have our own fears and sometimes we get in our own way because of them. We need to learn to work through the fear. Don't wait for the fear to subside, because it might never subside. Push through to your successes to get what you want or need. Yes, it's easier said than done, but you'll never know until you try. If you know someone who can benefit from this blog, please share because sharing is caring unless it's a canker sore or the flu, then you can keep that.

(PhoArtgraphy) encouragement fear photography portraits success Wed, 20 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT
The night the lights went out in Stone Mountain | atlanta portrait photographer As many across America know, Hurricane Irma attacked Georgia, or at least parts of Georgia on Monday. The day started off fine. It was overcast and a bit windy. We were well beyond breezy at this point. We knew the storm was coming and prepared for it best we could. At first, I thought closing the schools for 2 days was a bit much. Now I think they did the right thing. I know I didn't want my son riding the bus in all of that rain and wind nor did I want to have to drive to pick him up in that rain and wind. Even though today wasn't storming, just a little bit of rain, I understand why they didn't go to school today. There are trees and power lines down everywhere, along with debris. It looks a mess, kind of like a teenager's room who has clothes strewn all over the floor.

One of the things that I had hoped wouldn't happen did...we lost power. Things were going great. I was editing my latest session and doing a few other things when the lights started flickering. I said, "Please don't let the lights go out." Well, that prayer wasn't heard. As the wind whipped the trees and the rain, we lost power. Fortunately, I have a UPS (uninterruptible power supply, or something like that) which allowed me to save my work and turn off my computer. I didn't always have one of these, but after spending about 10-15 minutes in photoshop on a special image the power went out. This was my reaction:

I don't experience that look anymore. Yay! Getting back to the the lights are off and I'm in my office, which is in the basement. I do have windows and since it was around 4:00 p.m., there was still enough light for me to get out of my basement safely. My husband who was working and my son and I all met in the living room. I opened up all of the blinds at the front of the house to let the most light in. My husband and I were fine, my son, however, wasn't taking it very well. OMG! He couldn't play his PS4 anymore! Oh, the horror! Whatever. I guess it wouldn't have been so devastating if he hadn't just finished practicing his trumpet so he could play his video game. Who am I kidding? He would have been devastated no matter what. Ah well...such is life.

So as we were progressively getting bored, we decided to play a game. Since my husband is the pickiest of the three, we let him choose the game. What game did he select? Monopoly. Anyone who has ever played Monopoly knows that it can take FOREVER to finish. In fact, I don't know if I have ever really finished a game of Monopoly. Usually, we get to a point where everyone is just tired of playing and it doesn't matter who wins. We just stopped. Anyway, I opened up more blinds and we proceeded to play. As time went on it got darker and darker. Eventually, we were playing by candlelight. The entire scene could have been romantic or scary because it kind of looked like we were about to hold a seance. Considering my and my husband's eyes aren't what they used to be, we would sometimes have to use the flashlight to read the Chance or Community Chest cards. Heck, it even got a little difficult to read the names of the properties on the board. 

Well as time progressed and we still didn't have any power, we decided we needed to get something to eat. We really didn't want to open the fridge because we wanted all of the cold air to stay in there. We had already had sandwiches earlier, so we (mostly my husband) wanted to venture out to see what we could find. One thing we found was a road blocked with caution tape because of a downed tree. We also saw lots of fallen branches and leaves everywhere, as well as other cars. I was quite surprised as to how many people had ventured out. (Don't ask me why I was surprised.) Stone Mountain was pretty dark and we were told by a neighbor that the only thing open was Wal-Mart. There was nothing that we wanted at Wal-Mart. So we went to Tucker and they had power! In fact, there were several restaurants open. Mickey D's and Burger King had lines around the building. There was a Chinese restaurant, Longhorn and a wing/bbq place open. We eventually settled on Papa John's pizza. No matter where we went, there were plenty of people trying to get food. 

We made it back home safely, finished off the pizza and played Monopoly until our son went bankrupt. We tried to call it before we left, but he was determined to be bankrupt before the game could end. So the time had come for my husband and me to count up our money and property. Of course, he was trying to claim himself as the winner, but I told him he would have to prove it. Ha ha! I won! In yo face! 

Even though Monopoly should be called Marathon and it took a few hours to play, we had a great time! We were about to play Qbitz, but it was after 11:00 p.m. Not that we had anywhere to go the next day, but it was still late and we were tired. We said we'd play the next day and we all went to bed. Well before we could play, the power came back on around 11:00 a.m. It was a double-edged sword. I was glad that the power was back on because I could stop worrying about our food spoiling, but our family time would be cut short. My husband returned from walking the dog and then sat on the couch catching up on all the news he missed. Our son sat on the loveseat playing games on his phone. At that point, I declared that we schedule a family day/night where we would do something fun as a family instead of everyone sitting in the same room not communicating with each other. When the power went out we may have been in the dark, but we were together and actually interacting in a fun way. I want that, but I don't want to have to lose the power to make it happen. 

Do you have a story about your experience with Hurricane Irma? If so, just drop me a note. I'd love to read about it! Everyone take care and be safe during this tumultuous hurricane season!


(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta atlanta portrait photographer babies baby photography baby portraits child photography children children's photography family photography portraits Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Introducing, Gabby! | atlanta portrait photographer My latest session was with a sweet 17 year old named Gabby. I met Gabby this summer. She ran with the same track club my son ran with, Sapphire Track Club. Because I lived so close to her and it was on my way, I would pick her and her sister up and take them to practice with my son. On the way there Gabby will tell me about her day and she was always so cheerful. She would also smell really good and act like an air freshener for my car, which was an added bonus. She and her sister are so mannerable, polite and sweet as honey. They were also very candid about their daily activities and lives in general. It was so refreshing talking to them.

So getting back to the session...since Gabby was so sweet and we already had a rapport, I thought she'd be a great person to be a model for me. We actually communicated via text messages to see what she was going to wear. I wanted her to be comfortable and be herself. She's so bubbly and cute that I knew she'd pick something cute. When my photo assistant and I picked her up she came bounding out of her home with a big smile on her face. We drove to the first location, which was the Village of Stone Mountain. I had her sit on the steps of the gazebo and on the bench next to it.

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Okay, I thought I'd throw in a couple of images of me actually working. I didn't realize that my assistant, Jailan had taken these.

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I love photographing in the Village because it has such character. There are so many spots to choose from. Like this one, which is my favorite.

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And this one.

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Sometimes the only problem is waiting for the cars to stop driving by. I had to have my assistant watch out for cars to make sure Gabby and I didn't get hit by one. I bet you didn't know that photography could be dangerous. 

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The last location we photographed in was at the park in the village. I love the fence line and this cute little mural, as well as the trolley car.

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The funny thing about all of this is that Gabby was telling me that she felt awkward in front of the camera. I totally understand because even though I am a photographer, I too feel awkward in front of the camera. Being able to relate to my clients has helped me immensely, plus it puts them at ease. The best way, in my opinion, to put them at ease is to make them laugh. I crack jokes and talk to my clients so that they forget that it's a portrait session and just consider it a conversation. Many times Gabby would give me some serious face, like so...

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and then break up laughing. Sometimes it would be something I said. Other times I think she would get slightly embarrassed. No matter which it was, I found it adorable. She told me that she wasn't nervous anymore and just had fun with it.

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After we finished up at the Village, we drove over to Stone Mountain Park. Another one of my favorite places to photograph. It was a Saturday evening, so it was quite busy. I forgot all about the people that might be in attendance of the laser show, but oh well. Fortunately, our wait to get in wasn't too long. I was a little disappointed that my favorite spot was taken up by people having a picnic around it. I mean there were about 3 or 4 separate groups just hanging out. Luckily I had a backup plan and another area. There were people there, but not like my fav spot. The Grist Mill was our last main stop. I had to photograph around people who were fishing from the walkway. No matter, we made it work. So on the way back to the car, we made a few stops on the steps. By the way, the light was beautiful! I don't normally photograph this late in the evening, but I may have to change that!

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The last stop was the track of her high school. By this time we were really pushing it for daylight. I didn't get what I wanted, but something is better than nothing. Sometimes you just have to be extra creative to make it work.

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Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed photographing Gabby. She's a beautiful person, inside and out and it was totally my pleasure getting to know her. If you'd like an experience and beautiful portraits like Gabby, just give me a call, send me an email or even a text. I would love to photograph you as well!

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta portrait photographer beautiful class of 2018 fun happiness happy high school senior photography portrait photography portraits senior senior girl Wed, 06 Sep 2017 14:00:00 GMT
He said what | atlanta child portrait photographer Last week I was involved in a conversation on Facebook that I semi-regret. (I'm sure we have all been there.) Just to be clear, I don't regret anything I said, I just regret getting involved with it. But sometimes I just feel the need to say something when I see something so egregiously wrong. I understand that opinions aren't necessarily right or wrong, but the statement I was addressing was factually incorrect. Some may look at it as a perception issue, which I can see, but it basically wasn't true. Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not there. I won't get into what the discussion was about because that's not what this post is about. It's about sexism. Funny thing is the post itself wasn't sexist, just some of the responses from others.

First of all, I do not consider myself a very good debater. The reason being is that I get revelations about conversations after they've happened that are deeper than what I conveyed during the actual conversation. The best part about Facebook is that I do have a chance to think about what I want to say and thoroughly weigh what has been said. So when I see a controversial post I do one of two things, depending on my mood. I either scroll past it because I feel that the statement that whoever made was just so ridiculous that I can't be bothered with it. Basically, I'm not in the mood to entertain what I consider to be nonsense. Or I respond because it's so ridiculous that it needs to be addressed and I happen to have the time and the desire to educate said foolishness. Of course, it's my opinion that I'm determining whether something is foolish or not, but it's also my prerogative to do so, just like anyone else. 

Anyway, whenever I post a response to anyone's wall whom I differ with, I am very respectful of them and their opinion. I don't just barge in and say "You're wrong and here's why!" No one wants to read that. Besides, my mother always taught me to treat people like I want to be treated, so I do. Now I can't control how people will respond to me, but I can control my response back. At any rate, this one guy hops on the conversation. He totally disagrees with my point and that's fine. Actually, there were quite a few people who disagreed with me, but that is to be expected. To be fair, there were people who sided with me as well. He started getting sarcastic with me. I don't know this guy from Adam's house cat, but I wasn't going to just sit there and take it. So I did my best nice/nasty in responses to let him know I'm not the one to play with. I don't think he appreciated that too much, but I didn't really care. As my mother also used to say "Don't start none, won't be none." For those not familiar with that colloquialism, it simply means as long as you don't start any trouble, there won't be any trouble. 

Well, he realized that I wasn't going to back down and it was getting late, so he decided to try to be cute and nice and end the conversation on a good note. After all of the back and forth the end of the conversation was fine with me. We all said goodnight and went back to our respective corners. Much later another person I actually knew decided he'd add his two cents to the conversation. Let's just say he's one of those "pot stirrers". He calls himself trying to give another person a synopsis of what happened during the whole conversation and decides to mention me. Awwww, come on! I just escaped that conversation and now he's trying to draw me back in! He basically said I and the other person I was textually sparring with may have made some hateful comments with a little bit of name calling thrown in. I couldn't just let him tell a bold-faced lie on me because I don't call people out of their names. I do not use hateful speech either. Sarcasm, yes. Hateful speech, no. 

So I corrected him and he tried to then give his overall view as to what would improve the situation that we were talking about in the first place. I could have let it go and given him brownie points for trying, but this was too important of an issue to let him minimize it. In the best way I could I stated how he had minimized the issue and what actually needs to happen. He, of course, took offense to me calling him out. The sad thing is that the particular issues we were talking about don't necessarily affect him, so I don't know how he understands the problem or its solution better than I do. He called me argumentative. Whatever. (Insert eye roll). Then the other guy pops back on to make a few points. He then says that the conversation is going in a stupid direction or something to that effect and he wasn't going to participate anymore. He then stated that I was being emotional and that's why I wasn't listening to anything he said. No, I understood what he said. It's not my fault that he couldn't adequately defend his position or refute mine.

If you're wondering what I did, I did nothing. Why? Because I was tired of typing to people who weren't listening. And after I read those last statements by both men, I realized that what they said seemed a bit sexist to me. Just because I corrected his minimalization of a particular problem that affects me and not him, he believed that I was being argumentative. It's like I, as a woman, don't have the authority to do that. I could be wrong, but that's how it felt to me. I didn't dignify his answer with a response and definitely didn't apologize. I was not going to let him lessen my pain to make him feel better. And the second guy calling me emotional was a big tip-off. I gave him tit for tat and never once went below the belt. Perhaps he wasn't used to that. I don't know, but he said I was emotional. (Insert extra hard eye roll). He doesn't know me, so I can't be too offended. But I am a control freak. Emotions make your thinking cloudy and can cause you to lose control; therefore I don't let my emotions get in the way. Especially not when having a Facebook conversation with people who have no sway over me or my life. It's really not that deep.

I know this is a long post, but if you follow my blog that's my norm. I know I can be verbose, but I can't help it. I type like I talk, so this is me having a (one-sided) conversation with you. The moral of the story is do not let someone lessen your pain to make themselves feel better. When a man is talking to a woman and doesn't like what she says, he may say she's being emotional. It makes me think of when Sen. Kamala Harris was questioning AG Jeff Sessions and Jason Miller said she was being hysterical during her line of questioning. Really? Hysterical? And the fact that it seemed that her line of questioning kept being interrupted was annoying as well. I don't know about you, but I felt that was rather sexist behavior. Getting back to me being "emotional". I wasn't emotional, I just thoroughly believed what I was saying and I wasn't backing down. If that's what he was expecting, I suggest he look elsewhere.

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta child photographer commentary opinion portrait photography Wed, 30 Aug 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Child's Play | atlanta child photographer In case you all didn't know, I have a best friend that I've had since I was in 10th grade. We met in 1982. I was a new student from out of state and she was a 9th grader with friends she'd had for years. To be honest, I don't remember exactly how we met, but the important thing is that we did. We clicked immediately. During a time in my life where I didn't feel I fit in and was uncomfortable in my own skin, she made me feel like I had found my tribe. 

Fast forward to today. She is a successful career woman who works at Coca-Cola here in Atlanta. We still keep in touch and actually get to see one another from time to time, but not like it used to be. At one point we even lived together. Talk about the perfect set up! Anyway, getting back to the story. Her current position at Coke is relatively new. With the new position came a new office. She's all moved in, but she has a space on her wall that has hangers for a missing picture. Considering how that looks, she decided she needed to hang a picture there to decorate the space. People at her job suggested she go to the archives to select a picture to hang, but she had other ideas. That's where I come in.

She had this really cool idea that involved her sons, my son and her sons' friends. She wanted images of the boys playing together and she wanted it printed large enough to fill the space on her wall. The wall space is approximately 20 inches wide, so I know I can make that work. Anyway, I threw some ideas out and she loved them. The images were designed to show friendship, childhood, and summer all rolled up into one. And being that she works for Coke, she bought all the boys Coke shirts. Below you can see what the shirts looked like. I had to take two of these because getting eight boys aged 6 through 12 to look the way you want them to is not that easy. 

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The second one I told them to interact with each other and that one turned out better. Of course one of them ended up still looking like an impatient old man, but that is his personality. 

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When I photograph children, the parents are usually the child wranglers for me. Yes, I normally photograph children younger who don't always follow directions well. This wasn't too different. Luckily one of the fathers was there to help corral the boys when they got out of hand. Like when I had them playing football and soccer. They were really trying to arrange teams and all of that. Uh, no. I had to tell them that we were pretending to play and I would tell them exactly what I needed them to do. The issue was getting them to stop playing when I was finished photographing that particular activity. Well, it's just like any other day. Trying to get my son to stop playing so he can come and eat can be a challenge. Here are a couple of images from the sports segment.

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By the way, these boys don't play football. The dad and I had to explain what they had to do and what it meant to be a rusher. When the dad asked one of the boys to show their three-point stance, he did some sort of disco move. It may not have been correct, but it sure was funny.

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Just to get them warmed up, the first thing I had them do was run towards me. Then I had them jump! And then, dab. Yes, evidently dabbing is still in. Nothing seems to bring joy to boys like running...

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and dabbing!

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After the running and the sports, I figured now was the time for them to have their popsicles. Bomb pops to be exact. Remember those? It was a bit warm, but not too bad. The session was held at 4 pm and we had cloud cover, which provided for such beautiful light. I think the popsicle images were my favorite.

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All the kids liked their bomb pops except for one. Again, I told the boys to talk and laugh like they normally do, while they eat their popsicles. One of the boys was staring at the camera, smiling, holding his popsicle. I had to make sure he interacted because it just looked weird.

Another idea I had was for them to have a water balloon fight. We started off with a water balloon toss which they weren't particularly thrilled about. They wanted some violent action. I had to preface the actual water balloon fight with "No head shots or face shots", which they all replied "Awwwww!" Being that my son wears glasses he was happy for that directive. The water balloon toss was pretty uneventful and we ended up with no winner. We thought we had one, but he dropped the balloon and it burst. Ah well. Anyway, you can see how we ended the session. They were a little wet, a lot tired, but extremely happy. This was probably the most difficult to capture because when they were running away from the balloons, they often would run out of my frame. 

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Finally, I just told them they'd have to move closer and take the hits. 

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It was a really fun session. The boys were actually great. After the session, my best friend, whose name is Alvia, took all of the boys out for pizza to thank them for participating. Then my son and I went to her house to visit for a bit.  While chatting with her I noticed the wording on the Coke shirt she was wearing and it gave me an idea. 

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That's what was on her shirt. I felt inspired by it. 

(PhoArtgraphy) americana boys child photography child portraits childhood children children's photography fun happiness happy life photography photos play portraits young boys Wed, 23 Aug 2017 12:43:54 GMT
It's time for my annual, obligatory post | atlanta child photographer If you have followed my blog for a few years or at least since last year, you'll know what time it is. It's anniversary time! It's my anniversary...anniversary. (as sung by Tony! Toni! Tone'!). Actually Monday was my 18th wedding anniversary. When I think about it, it makes me say wow. I have been happily married to the same person for 18 years. We've been together a little bit longer because we dated for 5 years before we even got married. That is a long time to go to bed and wake up with someone, but I'm not complaining. 

Now before I get started, I just want to say that I do NOT consider myself a marriage or relationship expert. The only relationship I am an expert on is my own and then sometimes that may be called into question. I can tell you what has worked for us and what may work for you. Take it however you like. I just hope you enjoy my blog and that it blesses you in some way.

When I first told you how long I've been married to my husband, I made sure to say that we are happily married. Some people may infer that just because we've been married for 18 years then we must be happy. Right? Wrong. There are so many couples who are happy and miserable. Why you ask? Here are a few reasons that I think this happens. And by no means am I judging these people. They have enough going on without me trying to figure out the flavor of their Kool-Aid. Some couples stay together for the children. That one was a no-brainer. That's been going on for decades. Another reason could be that perhaps one of them doesn't want to be alone. Loneliness or the fear of loneliness can be so powerful, where you would rather be miserable than lonely. Another reason could be that one of them is the bread winner of the house. So perhaps they fear not being able to take care of themselves. I'm sure there are probably others, but this post isn't about why people stay in unhappy marriages.

Now being in a happy marriage does not mean that either of us is happy all of the time. We're not. We're happy most of the time, but definitely not all of the time. It seems the longer we are married the more we learn about each other. Perhaps learn is the wrong word. I think we get to a point where some of the things that our spouses say aren't as funny or as cute as they once were. I remember him telling me some years ago that when we were dating, one of the things he loved most about me was my friendliness. Right now I think it's one of his least favorite. Ah well, my friendliness is not going to change because that's who I am. He's certainly not going to leave me over it, so I don't think it's a deal breaker. I used to think it was amusing and even cute when he used to offer to help me with things that I didn't necessarily need help with. Now I find that annoying because he's not helping me to help me, he's helping me to help him. I know that sounds odd, but it's true. I have an issue with my desk being particularly, how should I say....messy. It drives him crazy. He doesn't even have to see my mess unless he comes into my office. His version of cleaning my desk is by throwing everything away without even evaluating what's there. I must say that kind of irritates me, but I'm certainly not leaving him over that.

I don't know about anyone else, but we don't do big celebrations every year. We try to do something big every few years. Travel tends to slow down after you have children. We went to Belize in 2004 and our son arrived in 2005. Can you tell that was a really good vacation? Then in 2015 we went to Chicago.  I think we'll probably try to go somewhere in 2019 for our 20th, but I don't know where. This year we exchanged cards after our son went to school. Then we had a nice lunch at this Asian fusion restaurant in downtown Decatur called Green Ginger. Then we kind of lounged around, watched tv and cuddled. The rest of what we did is really none of your business. 

Oh, before I sign off, I would like to impart two bits of wisdom for your consumption. Try not to take yourself too seriously. Couples sometimes make silly demands of each other and it's at those times you have to pull back a little. Ask yourself, "Is what I'm asking reasonable? If he/she asked me the same thing, would I feel the same way?" Just try to be in each other's shoes sometimes before rushing to judgement. Sometimes you may find yourselves on the opposing end of a situation, conversation or the like. Realize that being right is not the goal. Being understood and respected is the goal. Sometimes being right just means being in agreement. But try to see each other's side and put forth a valid argument. Don't veer off and try to change the subject when you feel you're losing. That's called cheating. Face it like an adult and humble yourself if necessary. Just remember, you should be able to be vulnerable with your partner without fear. If you can't, then that's something you need to work on. We all can't be strong 24/7. So what better person to lean on than your partner in life?

Sorry for the long dissertation, but I can be a bit loquacious at times. Again, if you've followed me for any length of time, I'm sure you already know that. Well, take care and I hope to see you back next week. Feel free to tell your friends about my blog, website, photography...whatever makes you feel good. Because sharing is caring...and you know the rest.


(PhoArtgraphy) anniversary atlanta atlanta photographer celebration happily married happy married photographer Wed, 16 Aug 2017 14:00:00 GMT
I just can't fathom it | atlanta portrait photographer Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a fantastic day! My day is going pretty well. I can't complain...well, I guess I could complain but it's really not going to do any good, so I won't. Anyway, this past weekend I spent Saturday hanging out with one of my lovely sisters. 

We had planned some time ago to visit the Center for Human and Civil Rights in downtown Atlanta. It was a ridiculously gorgeous day, even though it was a bit hot. Luckily we didn't have to walk too far from where we parked and the facility had air conditioning. 

When we approached the building, we noticed this beautiful structure. It's quite captivating, don't you think?

Of course, I had to snap a quick picture of it. My sister took a picture of me sitting on the bench but I made her hurry because that bench was hot! Talking about hot buns! Anyway, after realizing that we were trying to enter through the wrong door, we made our way to the correct entrance. Everyone there was very nice and relaxed. There was even a family reunion that had come on a rather large passenger bus to take in the center. Prior to entering the center, I knew I would be exposed to information and sights that were familiar to me, but I didn't think about how all of this would make me feel.

The center has three floors. The first floor is dedicated to Martin Luther King, Jr. His papers and correspondences made up the bulk of this room. This was the only room that no one was allowed to take pictures in. We took our time reading the documents and getting some insight on his thoughts. My sister nor I realized how much work he had done in and with Guana. That was something new for us. 

Then we moved upstairs. After passing the gift shop (you knew there was a gift shop) we went into this area where we were confronted with two walls. One was labeled White and the other labeled Colored. These walls depicted life on both walls. Both walls were filled with happy people having fun. The only real difference, aside from the activities if you want to be specific, was the people in them. Then we moved on to another wall that listed laws that were enacted during the Jim Crow era and segregation in various southern states. If I remember correctly there were 4 or 5 categories, the last one being "Really?" because that one was usually the most ridiculous. The "Really?" law in Georgia, I believe, was being sentenced one to two years in prison for marrying someone who is not the same race as you. There were other ridiculous laws as well, but I'm sure you get the drift.  

My sister and I then sat at a lunch counter to experience what it was like to participate in a lunch counter demonstration. We had to put our hands flat on the table. We wore headphones and then had to close our eyes. The audio was of people screaming and making violent threats. This one voice was so close that it made you feel the breath from his mouth. Then there was a simulation of our chairs being kicked as they yelled: "Get up!" It was definitely an experience. Also while on this floor we read about all of the names that are displayed around Atlanta on street signs like, Ivan Allen Jr., Ralph McGill and John Wesley Dobbs and on buildings like, Robert Woodruff. I must say that I learned a few things that day.

There was so much on this floor that I don't think I could do it justice trying to remember every little nugget. Just know that there were personal accounts on events, like the march on the Edmund Pettis bridge and what happened to the marchers that were arrested. There were so, so many images of the haunted past on full display. There's even a display to honor the four little girls who were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.   As we walked through and read all of the stories of the many people who fought for equal rights, we were greeted with the recording of when Dr. King's assassination was broadcast over the radio and television. That was rather surreal.

Lastly was the third floor. There were movies of Dr. King's speeches and so much history to take in. It was all so interesting and unbelievable at the same time. I was feeling so many different emotions by the time we arrived here. When I first started I was in awe. Then my emotions went to sorrow and even despair. At times my sister and I laughed, but not because something was necessarily funny, but because it was difficult to believe. How ignorant many of these people were. But the last emotions I felt from viewing the final part of the exhibit were anger and incredulity. This particular part of the exhibit was of the bombing of the Freedom Riders' bus. There were separate pictures of the bus in various states of distress. Each image had a caption as to what had happened. I was angry when I read how they trapped the bus and started tearing it up with metal bars and other instruments. Then they threw a bomb on the bus, so everyone had to get off. When this happened, the riders were overtaken by this mob of people and beaten. The ambulances refused to take the riders to the hospital, so kind strangers ended up taking them. That part gave me a little hope. But what really made this all incredulous is that the mob went to the hospital to have the riders ejected. They said that if the riders weren't removed from the hospital, then they would burn it down. My mouth dropped to the floor when I read that. I shook my head and wondered how could anyone be so hateful as to want to destroy a hospital because there were people with a different skin color in that hospital? I was like, "Wow." I honestly cannot fathom having that much hate in my heart. That's the kind of hate that turns cancerous and infects others. 

There is no room in this world for that kind of hate, but unfortunately it has found a way to exist. Some months ago I read this story where this black man was trying to save the life of this elderly white woman who had collapsed and her husband would rather she die than be helped by this man. Really? I just don't get it nor do I want to. I don't ever want to think or feel that about anyone. We are all on this earth for a reason and I really don't think it's to hate anyone. If you are in Atlanta, I would highly suggest you visit the Center for Human and Civil Rights. Wear comfortable shoes and a have an open mind. Take in all of the information and process it. Discuss it. I know this was a lot and if you stayed until the end, I truly appreciate that. After absorbing all of that history which conjured up all of these feelings, I had to find some way to release it and TA DA, this was it. The funny thing is later that night I watched the movie "Me Before You", which I thought was amusing. Not the movie, just the juxtaposition of what I had experienced earlier and the movie. Anyway, thanks again and I hope to see you all next week! Oh, before you go...please tell me if you've visited and what you thought of it.

(PhoArtgraphy) black history civil rights history human rights tourism tourist us history Wed, 09 Aug 2017 14:00:00 GMT
How do you want your story told? | child portrait photographer Earlier this week I had the pleasure of delivering a portrait book to one of my long-time clients. She has been with me for going on six years. I absolutely adore her, her mother and her daughter. She is so much fun and boy does she have a good sense of humor. Whenever I see her, whether it's for a session or the delivery of her order, I know I will be there for a while because we always have a lot to talk about. To be honest, it's like visiting an old friend, which after 6 years, I guess we are!

Over the years she has placed orders for party invitations, various prints and even a 40x60 collage on canvas. But I think my favorite order was my portrait Storybook. As I'm sure I have stated before, I just love telling people's stories and I love doing it with a portrait book. Don't get me wrong, I love large wall collages as well, but to be honest, there are only so many images that I can fit on it. In a portrait book, I can fit many images. The largest portrait book I offer, the Story Album, can fit all of the images from a session if you so desire. You can also include images from previous sessions to tell a story that may span months or years. The Storybook that I delivered this week spanned sessions that we've had over the last 5 years. Below are a few of the images of the Storybook.

atlanta child photography_MG_5673 atlanta child photography_MG_5673 atlanta child photography_MG_5673 atlanta child photography_MG_5673

In case you're wondering, I offer three sizes: 5x5, also known as the Brag Book; 8x8, known as the Storybook and 10x10, known as the Story Album. They are all high-quality portrait books with a variety of cover options and the choice of page thickness. No two albums are alike because they are all hand-designed by me. Each portrait book tells its own story and cannot be duplicated.

So if you're looking for a great way to tell your story, I think that portrait books are the way to go. To me, they are best at showcasing Before and After sessions, My First Year sessions or multiple sessions you've had with me. They are also great for any other session you can think of. Even though I love the wall art that I create, they aren't portable like the portrait books. Here are mother and daughter showing off their new Storybook!

I would love to read what you think! If you have a moment, just drop me a line and tell me how you feel about portrait books and tell me why. Don't be shy! I'm interested and others might be too. Anyway, thanks for reading and if this has enticed you to talk to me about booking a session, then woohoo for me! You can click here to send an email directly to me. Of if you would like a more personal touch, I can also be reached at 404-784-3008. Don't forget about my August Special that's going on too! Yes, I am trying to entice you even more! You can find out more about it here

Thank you again for reading and enjoy the rest of your week! Oh and don't forget to share! Sharing is caring unless it's an STD or the can keep that.


(PhoArtgraphy) books child photography children children's photography family portrait albums portrait books portraits stories storytelling Wed, 02 Aug 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Pick me, pick me! | children's portrait photography When searching for a photographer or any other service or product provider for that matter, do you feel like we/they are jumping around saying, "Pick me! Pick me!"? Well, in actuality we are. We all want your attention. We all want you to like us. We also want you to pick us. We are all trying to stand out. 

I'm sure when you are shopping for something that you want, there is a certain criteria that you are trying to meet. I know I have criteria for certain things. Like when I was looking for a car, one thing that I always had to have was a sunroof/moonroof. There was no negotiating on that. Another option I wanted, but wasn't totally necessary was the color of the car. I really wanted blue, but if I couldn't have that, I'd be okay without it. As long as it wasn't white, I was cool. 

Getting back to you...I know that there is something that is a deal breaker regarding the type of photography you're looking for. On the off chance that you don't know exactly what you're looking for, please let me provide some suggestions that may help in your search. 

The first thing I'd like to suggestion is figure out what type of portrait photography you like. Do you like lifestyle photography, which is a very relaxed, unposed type of photography?  It captures candid, but styled moments, usually around your home or outdoors. Then there's studio photography, which is posed in front of a backdrop or it could be outdoors as well. 

Next, you need to find a photographer who has a style that you are drawn to. Please, please, please for all that is sacred, please do not select one photographer's style and ask another photographer to copy it. We really hate that! If you like a photographer's style, then you need to investigate that photographer further. Call them, email them, meet them. Something! I find it's best to check them out because nobody wants to work with a brilliant person whom they don't like. Can you imagine having to give your hard-earned money to some moron whom you can't stand? I can't.  Also, if you're looking for someone to create newborn portraits for you, I would suggest you not go to someone who specializes in weddings. Find a photographer who actually photographs the types of portraits you want to have created.

Another thing to consider is your budget. Photography is a creative luxury. It is not a commodity, so the price range will vary quite a bit. Do you have a ceiling? Do you even care? If money is no object, then that's one less obstacle for you. If money is an object, then there are plenty of photographers who will work with you to make sure you get what you want in the best way possible for you to get it.

Something that may or may not be important to you is the location of the photographer. Will you need to go to them? Do you want them to come to you? Is distance something to consider? I'm just trying to give you things to think about so that you will be completely happy with your selection. Of course I don't have any control over the outcome of your session, but if the photographer seems to be consistent in their portraits, then you shouldn't have a problem. 

That leasds me to the final suggestion which I alluded to in the previous paragraph. Make sure the photographer you select is C O N S I S T E N T! What does that mean? That means all of their images are amazing and don't look different from one image to another. What I mean by that is that the images don't look like different people photographed each image. There is something that ties the images together and confirms that they were all created by the same person. 

So I think that sums up what I believe you need in order to find the photographer for you. If you have questions for any photographer, please ask them. They should be more than happy to answer your questions and if they're not, then maybe they're not the one for you. Now all you need to decide is what is most important to you. What is your deal breaker? What is negotiable? What do you like? What don't you like? What do you want? 

Of course I'd love for you to choose me. But if I don't offer what you want, then it would be best for both of us if you didn't choose me. One very last thing, if a photographer offers a consultation, I strongly suggest that you accept it. This will ensure that everyone is onboard and knows what to expect and what will happen. No one likes surprises, especially if it's not their birthday. 

Good luck with your search and much success in finding the best photographer for you. If you have any other suggestions, I'd love to hear/read them.

(PhoArtgraphy) atlanta child photographer atlanta newborn photographer atlanta portrait photographer beautiful child photography children photography portrait photography portraits Wed, 26 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Friends, how many entrepreneurs have them? | atlanta portrait photographer Ok, I don't know about you, but I grew up in the 80s. You know the time when the kids wore two Polo shirts at the same time, high top, non-basketball shoes, big hair and leg warmers! Yeah, those times! Jane Fonda and her workout tapes were popular, as were the movies Ghostbusters and Gremlins. Oh the memories I have. Well if you are an 80s baby, then maybe the title of my blog post made you think of the song Friends by Whodini. In case you're wondering, Whodini was a popular rap group back in the day. Here is a sample to either introduce you to them or to remind you of them. 

You may be wondering why I'm even thinking of Whodini and their song. Well, being an entrepreneur can be difficult and lonely. I hear so many entrepreneurs say that their family or friends don't/won't support their business. They don't believe in their dream, but will gladly pay a stranger for their dream. I've heard that they lose friends because of their entrepreneurship. Evidently, their friends secretly didn't want them to succeed or at the very least, do better than they are doing. I've also heard that when friends and family want to support them, they are always looking for a hook-up, which is also known as a discount. I understand that people want to save money where they can, but everybody has bills to pay. E V E R Y B O D Y.

In light of all of this negativity I hear and read, I feel very blessed. My friends and family have always encouraged and supported me in my business. I don't make it a habit of asking my friends to support me, mainly because I feel weird about charging them. Now if they ask me to photograph them or their children, then that's different. They'll ask me for my price list, which I will provide and we'll move forward from there. What I have learned is that not everyone values photography, great or not. So perhaps one of my friends doesn't really want to spend $400 on a wall portrait. That's ok. I understand. What they will do is go to the functions I have or tell others about me and my work. At the very least, they will give me encouraging words. I get that both from my friends and my family. 

As I said before, I am blessed. What I learned a long time ago is that, good friends come in quality, not quantity. If you lost friends over your business, I believe that they really weren't your friends, to begin with. Those types of "friends" are what I like to call acquaintances. I've been fortunate to have the ability to discern who is for me and who is not. If they aren't genuine, then I don't want them in my circle. As for family members not supporting you, I think that's jealousy and insecurity. They see you doing big things and perhaps they aren't. Just a guess. I have 8 siblings and they all root for me and I root for them as well. My parents support me and they tell people about me and what I do. It's all love, appreciation, and respect.

The subject of this post also makes me think about the song by TLC called What About Your Friends. They wrote a song about it. Wanna hear it? Here it goes! If you have any entrepreneurs as friends of family members, please remember to support them. Whether it's actually patronizing their business, referring people or just sending the kind words and vibes, these are all some of the ways you can show them love and that you respect them and what they do.


(PhoArtgraphy) business entrepreneurs friends lost friends support Wed, 19 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
Head shots do matter | atlanta portrait photographer Have you ever seen head shots on LinkedIn or people's websites and you were like "OMG" and not in a good way? Well I know I have. If you purport to be a business person, then you should have a business portrait. Let me just say that a picture of you, albeit a nice one, that you cropped someone else out of is not a proper business portrait. I know, I really like that picture of you, but it just won't do. I am pretty sure that if you find the right photographer they will be able to create a portrait that makes you look even cuter than that cropped pic you have.

I hope it doesn't seem like I am picking on anyone, because I'm not. It's just that in this day and age, people may be judging you by your profile pic. If your profile pic doesn't at least look professional, how can someone expect for you to act like a professional? Yes, I understand that looks can be deceiving, but why go through that stress? Think of all of the opportunities you may have missed because someone thought your profile pic was subpar and so they thought that you might be too. You should never judge a book by its cover, but it many people still do. So put your best foot forward and walk from there.

Recently I had a new head shot client. She was referred to me by a friend/client of mine who I photographed a few years ago. It is always a blessing when people tell other people about me and my work. It just reinforces that I must be doing something right. Anyway, from what I was told, my friend didn't come out and tell her friend/co-worker about me. When Cynthia, my new client, walked into her office, she had seen portraits that I had taken of my friend/client and loved them. She is starting a grant writing business with a website and she needed some head shots, pronto. That is how I became connected with Cynthia. 

When I called Cynthia she answered the phone rather abruptly. Once I greeted her and announced who I was, she relaxed and was very apologetic. Turns out that she was in the middle of planning several rather large events that were all culminating at the same time. It was her 15th wedding anniversary, which ended up turning into a family reunion, which was going to have a cookout as well. To add to this, she is trying to launch her grant writing business. Oh yeah, she and her husband had just bought a new house and were still moving in. I don't know about you, but I thought that was a whole lot of stuff to be juggling at once. After she explained to me what was going on, I totally understood her frame of mind. She thought I was a relative or family friend asking for something else to be done by her. What I have learned is you never know what someone is going through, so make sure to treat the with kindness and understanding. 

We talked for a while and I was able to fit her into my schedule that week. She was ecstatic and I was glad that I could help. When I got a chance to meet her, we had a wonderful time. She is bubbly, warm, friendly and funny. She also tells great stories, so I was thoroughly entertained. She was still a little frantic, but once Jamecia of Beauty by Bowers did her makeup, you couldn't tell her anything! Cynthia snapped a quick selfie and sent it to her husband! After her makeup was done, Cynthia and I went upstairs so that I could see what outfits she had chosen. Since they were still in transition, all of Cynthia's clothes were not available to us. She had two good options, but I just wanted to add a pop of color, so we found a red scarf to add to her outfit. Here are  our absolute favorites images with that scarf. 

business portraitsWoods-1 business portraitsWoods-1

She also selected a darker suit to give her a different look. 

business portraitsWoods-2

We had such a good time talking and laughing during the session that you can't see a bit of anxiety on her face or in her body language at all. I think each of her portraits says something about who she is. I also think that they say "beyond this cover is an excellent novel."

(PhoArtgraphy) business business portraits businesswoman head shots portrait photography portraits Wed, 12 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT
The Men All Pause Do you remember the song "The Men All Pause" by the group Klymaxx? If not, you can go here to refresh your memory.  I may be dating myself, but back in the day I when I first heard the song I thought they were saying "The Menopause". As I really started to listen to it I realized that wasn't what they were really saying. Anyway, I started thinking about that song this past week. Why you ask. Well because I think I am perimenopausal. 

Yes, this is a rather personal subject, but it's not like I'm the only woman going through this. As we get older, it's going to happen and we'll have to deal with it. I thought I had more time, but from what I've read, I don't. Perimenopause usually starts years before actual menopause and can last for up to 4 years. I also found out that perimenopause usually starts in a woman's 40s, but can also start in her 30s. So with that said, yeah, it's about time.

I came to this conclusion after I realized that the intense hotness I felt for no apparent reason was not just random. All of a sudden I was just hot. It was enveloping and I could feel this burning from the inside out. When I touched others they would look at me incredulously because I was amazingly hot. In fact, one person thought I had a fever. After it happened two more times I considered that it might be perimenopause. I'm not a doctor, but sometimes I feel as though I should be. I'm really good at self-diagnosis. Don't worry, I do go to the doctor to confirm, except this one time...but that's a story for another day.

If you're wondering how I feel about this (and even if you're not wondering, I"m going to tell you anyway) I feel fine. I'm not ill nor on my deathbed, I'm just getting older. It's time for my body to move to the next stage of life. Getting older is a blessing. It just means we are allowed more time on this earth with the people we love. My gray hair is a testament to my staying power and what knowledge and wisdom I have gained.  To be honest, I can't say that I am looking forward to menopause, mainly because of the awful symptoms that it produces. I'm not going to act like it's not happening. I will try to embrace it as best I can. 

You may be wondering if I consider my self old now. Well, to be fair you may not care, but again, i will tell you anyway. No, I do not. Old is a state of mind. Yes, I am older, but no, I am not old. I stay active and enjoy my life. I'm still very mobile and in my right mind, so I'm really good. Again, menopause is something that women have to go through. If you're lucky enough to live long enough to experience it, I think you should embrace that.  Hey, maybe if we change the words to the song, we can have a menopause theme song. What do you think? If you have some lyrics you'd like to submit, that would be so awesome! I always love a good laugh!

(PhoArtgraphy) age aging life older perimenopause woman issues Wed, 05 Jul 2017 14:00:00 GMT