Tuesday, November 26, 2013



Friday, November 22, 2013

Sneak Peek Family Session

Sneak Peek of todays family photo session

More to come tomorrow!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Family Portrait Session at Freemans Mill Park

Photo session: Family Portrait Session
Location: Freemans Mill Park, Lawrenceville, GA

I am so happy that I came across the hidden gem in Lawrenceville, GA (Freeman's Mill Park).  The place is awesome and the perfect place for portraits.   The weather was all but accommodating, in the drizzling rain everyone showed their love by sticking through it and making their contribution to fulfill Gigi's wish of having an entire family portrait.  You know you're loved when people are willing to show up in the pouring rain! 

Four generations of women:


Monday, November 4, 2013

When a plea for help comes along, what do we do?

Friends and Family, I saw a very compelling story about a charter school that was started by 2 young women in their 20's in Detroit with no financial support from the city. This school is in the heart of poverty surrounded by some of the po...orest conditions in America.
I believe that our children are the greatest asset that this country has and it's VERY unfortunate that ANY child should have to stay at home, unschooled because their city has filed bankruptcy and can't afford a city funded public school. I believe that as a group we can make a change and make this school a success. Please, please, please take the time to look at the website and to read about what one woman has started due to her passion and love for children and their education.
My ultimate wish is that you would find it in your heart to start showing your support and pass this along so that other's can be inspired to do the same. Even if it comes to the sacrifice of a Starbucks latte or coffee once a week, $25 a month can make the difference on a child being able to have an education or not, is it not worth that? Just something to consider: How can we expect our country to get better if we abandon an entire city of children who will pave the future for the wellness of our country.
We can't continue to turn a blind eye. Let's work together to make a difference and to change the course of our future as a nation united in supporting the education of children in Detroit!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Dia De Los Muertos

As I adorn our dinner table with pictures of loved ones who have come and gone, I get a little ache inside.  Cherished pictures of memories captured in the lens of my mind. Laughter, tender moments, comfort, sadness.

Today is a day of celebration, to remember our loved ones who are no longer with us.  Dia De Los Muertos - Day of the Dead.

My Grandmother - was so close to the Lord.  I miss her so much sometimes, she was quiet by nature but when my grand dad would drive, it was a completely different story.  I always felt loved and accepted by her.  She never lectured or judged me, in her eyes I felt she always loved me regardless of all of my flaws. I sometimes I have dreams that she and I are walking together and I tell her about my life or go to her with issues I may have. She always looks at me with her kind eyes and I feel warmth as though her arms are wrapped around me. 

My Grandad - could easily engage with anyone - complete strangers.  He was strong in his beliefs and wasn't afraid to share.  His smile was infectious, cause when he smiled his eyes would squint and you couldn't help but laugh.  I can still recall the smell of his pipe when he used to smoke when I was 4 or 5.  He could be a joker at times, taking out his dentures while at dinner at a restaurant and giving the waitress a toothless grin.  I can still remember his deep belly, airy laugh.

My Friend Ricky Ainsworth:  it's been a while but it feels just like yesterday that Maggie and I were laughing uncontrollably because of something that he said.  I always thought we'd be together til we were 85 years old talking about all the stupid things we did as teenagers and in our early 20's.  I miss his humor and how passionate he would get about music.  I miss talking to him about all the weird things that sometimes go thru my head, he could always counter react my craziness.  I still remember the first day I met him and how happy I was to see him again when I got to Atlanta. 

My Dad:  This one hurts the most because it's so very complicated. I've come such a long way from where I used to be. I sometimes dream about what I would say if I only had the opportunity.  I know I have a lot more in common with him than I like to admit.  I think about things that he did yet I know he still loved me. "You'll always be my little girl and I will ALWAYS love you" - a conversation I'll never forget.  These days I choose to look back on all the good memories we shared like fishing in the rasaca by our trailer with a coke bottle, some fishing string and beads of bread.  We spent a lot of time at the beach, hence the reason for my love of the ocean. One time that he got into a fight with a hotel manager and flipped him the bird while my aunt Hilda backed us out of the parking lot. (LOL, I like this one because it was so SHOCKING).  I loved going to the carnival with my dad because he was obsessed with carnival games and wouldn't leave until he won something REALLY cool.   He built a fence around the Christmas tree one year and sat in a rocking chair inside the perimeter and I thought he was Santa Clause for a minute.  The last memory I have of him was going to his apartment and he took Lisa, Jr and I out to the park and we flew a kit together - I kept asking him if it was going to go into outter space.  My dad was a complicated man, a great artist, traumatized, emotional, passionate, sad, funny, a charmer. Everyone loved him. I love him too, even despite our complicated history.

Rays Dad Raymond:  I wish I could have met him.  I try to learn everything I can by asking Ray questions or asking other family about his dad's past or how he used to be.  Seeing the love that Ray has for his dad and the utmost respect he still has for him is so admirable to me.  Stories I've heard have taught me that Ray's dad was an awesome trumpet player, he worked really hard, he was respected by his community, he cared about people, he wanted what was best for his children.  He raised an incredible, remarkable son.  I often send up a prayer of thanks because he taught Ray how to be such an awesome human being, a loving husband and father.  He's greatly missed by all those who knew him.

Ray's Grandmother:  As I looked at her picture today I wondered what all her eyes had seen during her lifetime.  Pictures of her and Michael dancing together at their anniversary dinner reminded me of stories Ray's grandad shared with us about how they met and how he courted her.  I wish I could have met her, I'd ask her so many questions about how she and grandpa managed to stay together for such a long time with life's hardships.  An Italian butcher's wife with 5 children. I am convinced she was an excellent cook, if there's any indication from my mom in law's meatballs.  I decided today that I don't know nearly enough about her so I'm setting out to learn more about her this year. 

Dia De Los Muertos is like Christmas - it comes and it goes.  What's important is to always keep the meaning close at heart and remember it during the year.  I've thought about each one of my loved ones this year.  We're not guaranteed a long life on this earth and neither are the ones that you love and cherish.  Be intentional today and cherish every person that you still have the opportunity to talk to.

I know in my heart that even though our loved one's have passed that they are able to look upon on us, they're in our hearts, so they're never truly gone.  We will continue to celebrate as a family these two days ( Nov. 1 and Nov. 2) because I want to pass on the legacy of memories to my children so that they too can remember to honor those who have come before and who have passed.

To learn more about Dia De Los Muertos: Click HERE

What’s the difference between Día de los Muertos and Halloween?Día de los Muertos -- also known as "Día de Muertos," or "Day of the Dead" in English -- is a holiday with Mexican origins that is celebrated on November 1 - 2. While some imagery might be close to that of Halloween, there are significant differences between the two. Día de los Muertos is a day to celebrate death -- or, more specifically, the deceased -- while on Halloween, death is seen as something to be feared. Día de los Muertos has both indigenous origins from the Aztec festival for Mictecacihuatl, The Lady of The Dead, and Catholic origins from the Spanish conquistadors’ All Saints and All Souls Day


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Why is photography pricing WACK?

Hiring a  professional photographer to photograph your newborn, toddler, family, wedding, and  special moments is important. I understand that these days it's considered more of a luxury than a necessity.

I don't understand how people are  willing to pay $25.00 a week ($100 a month) on Starbucks coffee, which is a consumable product that enters and exits the body within 4 hours but we don't place the same financial priority on the imagery of our loved ones that will last several LIFETIMES. 

I'd like to take this opportunity to explain why my pricing is "WACK" by simply attaching an explanation break down from a successful photographer: Nikki Wagner.  Her entire explanation pretty much encompasses all the challenges I face as photographer.  Furthermore, I feel the same explanation can be applied to newborn, family and senior portraiture as well.

Nikki Wagner responded  to a nasty Craigslist ad that was posted by a potential bride who thought that it was ridiculous to pay $2500-$3000 for wedding photography. 

Please consider the follow question : When was the last time you worked in a field and didn't require fair compensation for your work?

Written by:
– Nikki Wagner, Photographer

Dear Bride,
I am a wedding photographer in the Erie, PA area. Wedding season only last about 4 months here, so I photograph an average of 20 weddings per year for an average of $2,500/wedding (which totals about $50,000/year).
  • That being said, I am a small business owner, so I pay all of my taxes, totaling about $15,000/year, which leaves me with a gross income of around $35,000
  • Of that $35,000 I pay $600/month in rent for my small house and garage which I converted into my studio (which is where I would be editing your wedding images). $35,000 – $7,200 = $27,800
  • Then I have my car, which I would use to get me to and from your wedding, which I pay $400/month for the lease, plus $200/month in car insurance. $27,800 – $7,200 = $20,600
  • To get to your (and my other brides) wedding consultation, second wedding pre-consultation, the wedding itself, and to and from the printers I spend $840/year in gas money. $20,600 – $840 = $19,760
  • I also have $500/year insurance in case you sue me, or if any of your drunk guests would happen to break any of my equipment. $19,760 – $500 = $19,260
  • You also probably found me through my website, which I pay $30/month for hosting, and another $30/month so that you can view your photos online and share the images with your friends and family. $19,260 – $720 = $18,540
  • Or perhaps you found me through my advertisements in the newspaper or local bridal magazines, or a bridal show that you attended that I paid to have a booth at. $18,540 – $1,000 = $17,540
  • I also pay $250/month for my own health insurance in case I were to get hurt at your wedding. $17,540 – $3,000 = $14,540
  • I pay $200/wedding for a second shooter for your wedding, so that you can have more images and different angles, as to make sure you get the best images possible at your wedding. $14,540 – $4,000 = $10,540
  • I also need to have a new pair of shoes ($100) every season because my shoes get worn out and dirty from season to season. $10,540 – $100 = $10,440
  • I need high speed Internet so I can upload all of your images online, my home phone for my business and my cell phone so I can communicate with you. $10,440 – $2,500 = $7,940
  • Oh yes, and I also pay a lawyer to make sure my contracts are iron clad and an accountant to make sure that I am paying all of the taxes I need. $7,940 – $500 = $7,440
  • Sometimes I attend workshops and seminars to teach me how to better my business, and make my client happier (that would be you), as well as keep up on the trends and learn new techniques so that I can make sure you have the best quality images available.
That would technically leave me with about $7,000/year to feed myself, buy groceries, pay for my heat and electricity, clothe myself, etc. But, usually I end up reinvesting whatever I have left on upgrades and new equipment:
During your wedding, I bring my professional equipment that I use so that I can make sure you have the highest quality images.
  • I have 2 Canon 5D Mark II cameras (because you always need a backup in case of a camera malfunction, which would ruin your big day’s photographs) which cost $2,500/camera = $5,000
  • I also have quality lenses which can capture your special moments in low light situations:
    Canon 24-70 f/2.8 lens = $1,200
    Canon 70-200 f/2.8 lens = $1,300
    Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens = $500
    Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro = $600
  • …and I have speed lights to catch the fun moments at your reception:
    2 x Canon 580EX II = $1,200
  • Also multiple battery backups and memory cards, lens filters, light stands, umbrellas, light boxes, external battery packs and a bag to carry everything in = $1,500
  • Because this is equipment, sometimes I need to have it serviced or cleaned to make sure it is all working properly = $200
After spending 8-10 hours at your wedding, I then come home to my home office and spend about 20-25 hours editing your images, creating your album, blogging about your wedding, posting pictures on Facebook, ordering you prints and burning your DVDs.
  • I edit your photographs using a 27-inch iMac computer = $2,500.
  • I edit your photographs on Adobe Lightroom ($200) and Adobe CS5 ($400 for the upgrade and $900 for the new program).
  • I print your DVDs on a printer which costs $300 and which uses $200/year in ink.
  • I buy the DVDs and jewel cases you’re getting printed for $300/year
  • I archive all of your photographs on 2 x 2TB external hard drives = $500.
  • I also back up all of my photographs online so if there was ever a fire in my office, you would never lose your photographs = $400/year.
  • I also have office expenses as far as buying paper, staples, envelopes, packaging, filing cabinets and files, etc…
  • I also spend time and money ordering your prints and albums, paying for shipping, going to the post office etc.
All of that being said, I’m usually in the hole at the end of the year, and take on many family portraits, senior portraits and corporate jobs in order to make ends meet.
Photography is my passion and my livelihood, and it is also expensive. Yes, it seems like a lot of money for one day, but one day isn’t all we spend on your photographs or on our business. You will spend thousands of dollars on a wedding dress or flowers or a venue or on catering which you are going to have for only one day, but your photographs will be the only thing you have to remember that one day for the rest of your lives.
I’m extremely insulted by your craigslist post and hope this sheds a little light on why we charge $3,000 for one day of your memories that are going to last you forever.

Consider the options:

Image borrowed from Pinterestfail.com:

Or :


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Father's Love Letter

Last year I had to really evaluate my perception of God.  I've had many life changing events occur in my life that always caused me to have very extreme versions of whome I believed our creator to be.  Luckily for me a close friend pointed me into the right direction where I was finally able to comprehend just how important I am, not just to my family or friends but first and foremost to God Himself.  There's a lot of people that don't feel this way, many of which may feel justified because of life situations or horrible things that have happend for which there is no explanation or reason.  I get it. I've been there. I catch the drift of agonizing over why? how? how dare God? I've asked those questions more times than I'd like to admit.

You are important though, even if you don't believe that the creator of the universe could care a hill of beans and He loves us all for everything we are.


You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring Acts: 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
You were not a mistake, for all your days were written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Ps. 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be together. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.  1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
If your father and mother forsake you, I will take you up...Psalms 27:10

You are loved.... John 3:16

You are forgiven.........Acts 10:43

You are precious...........Luke 12:24

You are beautiful.......Isaiah 61:3

You are mine.....1 Chronicles 29:11

1999 www.fathersloveletter.com Adapted from The Father's Love Letter, Father's Heart Communication

The following image was taken during our time in NY City at St. Patricks Cathedral


Friday, August 9, 2013

Random Facts

Kids are back to school and you could hear a pin drop in my home.

I figured it's time for our monthly Random Facts and found some good ones today!

1.  Chewing gum while peeling onions will keep you from crying - I'm trying this one tonight!

2. A cockroach can live several weeks with it's head cut off.  Really?  Seriously? I don't know how TRUE this one is but if it's true, that is some freaky deaky flaw of physical death of roach!

3. Most lipstick contains fish scales - the ingredient is known as "pearl essence" it's also found in nail polish.  It's what causes that shimmery appeal of color. Interesting.

4.  12 newborns will be given to the wrong parents daily.  Hmmmm... maybe?

And because we're back to school our final Random Fact for this month...

5. Everyone's favorite choice of art medium is the crayon.  By the time a child turns 10 they would have worn down about 730 crayons. 

Happy back to school days!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

A memorable night at Smith's Olde Bar!

Smith's Olde Bar is a perfect place for small gatherings of people who want to come together to listen to great music. It's also a great venue for bands who want a more intimate setting with their fan base.

Ray and I first visited the location a couple of years back when we were introduced to a friend of a friend, Elliot Holden, a highly talented guitarist who is a native of Atlanta.  We were drawn back to the location last night, to show our support for our local band and neighborhood acquaintance, Kirk Waldrop with Nine Times Blue who was opening up for The Wind & The Wave and the Plain White T's

Being at Smith's Olde Bar reminded me of my early twenties when I saw bands who were first hitting the scene like Ben Folds Five , Snow Patrol , and A Perfect Circle. I have a soft spot for venues such as the Tabernacle, Vinyl which is now called Center Stage, and The Masquerade.  I feel that the personal, intimate, interaction between musician and fan creates an ambiance that is superior to that of larger over commercialized concert halls. Had I known back in my twenties what I know now, Smith's Olde Bar probably would have been my main place to hang out. As of right now however, it's been added to my list of great places in Atlanta to visit.

At Smith's Olde Bar, you reap many benefits, like, being able to meet with the musicians after the show.  You are also able to make eye contact with who's singing without the price tag of $250 +. The lines for a drink are short, and literally only 10-20 feet away so you don't miss any of the show, I must say this in itself is a MAJOR PERK!

Last night, we were able to meet one of my NEW favorite bands, The Wind & The Wave. Front woman, Patricia Lynn's voice reminds me of a young 1971 Bonnie Raitt.  However, the style of the music has a hipster vibe that makes the band completely ideal and relevant for the current time. The griddy, raw intensity strumming of the guitar accompanied by the awesome harmonies shared by Patricia Lynn and Dwight Baker lend a rythmic vibe that had everyone moving. Being able to meet Patricia after the show to express how much I loved her voice and their music only solidified the reason why I stand firm in my opinion that small venues are da' BOMB!

I anticipate that these bands are going to explode and start filling up venues with hundreds of thousands of fans; packed in like sardines and when they do, I can be glad I saw them at Smith's Olde Bar.  As a photographer, I am ASHAMED and completely disappointed that I wasn't at the venue with my camera in tow. The real TRAGEDY was  knowing that the only emergency camera I have, my iPhone, was at home - forgotten.

This is all to express how great I think Smith's Olde Bar is and recommend that if any of you are looking to visit Atlanta or live in the area, it's a MUST for you to see live bands at this place!

As Ray and I drove home I told him, "I only WISH I would have been able to see Pearl Jam in a setting such as the one that we experienced tonight, that would have been AWESOME".  Then Ray replied, "Yes it was!". 

Here's to me hoping that I get to scratch off seeing Pearl Jam in a small venue off my bucket list!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Random Facts!

Did you know:
1.  That if you cuddle before going to sleep, it helps to calm and relax the brain.  It stops you from over thinking so therefore you fall asleep a lot quicker. Using this one tonight!
2.  You can burn up to 200 calories watching horror flicks. - If they said 1000 I still wouldn't watch 99% of them.
3. Due to the extreme temperatures and pressures on Neptune and Uranus, studies have proven that it's raining diamonds on both planets. What are we doing waisting our time on Mars people!
4.  If you force yourself to smile you can cure a bad mood and feel better. Reverse psychology - a good way to have people loath you because they just can't figure out why you continue to smile back at them despite their efforts in ticking you off.
5.  Most hard shinny candies like Jelly Beans and Skittles are coated with crushed bugs - something to think about! 
Happy Monday Everyone!