Capture those Special Moments with Dad

Make the fathers in your life feel special and create lasting memories! Arrange for the one gift any dad (or dad-to-be) will love for Father’s Day: a family photoshoot in our backyard studio. 

Book now and present Dad with a gift certificate for professional portraits taken in our outdoor studio, which is specially designed to include elements representing water, wood, air and earth. Give the gift only you can give!

From now through Father’s Day 2021, we are offering two “Daddy Discounts” on purchases of photoshoots in our Decatur Backyard Studio to make your gift-planning easy! Choose between: 

  • 10% off a full sitting (regularly $225)

OR

  • A 1/2-hour mini-session for only $100 (regularly $125).

TAP HERE to book a spot and mention this blog post in your email.

Don’t miss this special opportunity to capture moments like this with dads and their children – or dads-to-be:

Anyone booking time for a backyard studio session is in for a treat! Playful sessions are designed to be an adventure.

Here’s just a taste of what you can expect:

  • AIR: An easily accessible treehouse offers hanging bells, glowing lanterns, a peaceful porch swing and a free-standing swing that brings a smile to everyone’s face. You will love the relaxing hammock!
  • WOOD: A log wall and fire pit are the perfect rustic backdrop for warm family photos -and- an occasional s’mores session!
  • EARTH: Our small flock of hens is happy to welcome you to their coop. They’ll even share their fresh, colorful eggs.
  • WATER: A soothing water feature and an in-ground hot tub encourage water play and relaxation on our lower-level, wheelchair-accessible patio. Water-themed murals provide fun backdrops.

Don’t miss this opportunity to create and save moments you’ll be thrilled to display for generations to come. Mention this blog post when you book to take advantage of the discount. Don’t delay. TAP HERE to book a spot and mention this blog post when you book your slot to take advantage of the special.

We can’t wait to help you create fun memories for Dad and the whole family!
TAP HERE to book a spot and mention this blog post to reserve a time for your favorite people.

No more boring school pictures, please!

What comes to mind when you think of school pictures? If you’re like me, you spent your childhood being disappointed by the awkward, unappealing shots you got back weeks after picture day. In a lot of schools, amazingly, not much has changed. But school pictures don’t have to be awkward and boring, and these students from The Museum School agree!

Why not showcase kids’ personalities? I believe each child is too unique to be stuck behind a fake smile.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get a beautiful, mantle-worthy shot of your child. It just means it will really look like your child–in all his or her goofiness, adorableness, seriousness…You know the right adjective to plug in.

I am so lucky to serve as the photographer for TMS and grateful that the parents, faculty and administration are fans of moment-based photography. I’d also be thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a more unique, kid-centered approach to pictures at other metro Atlanta schools. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher or an administrator, please get in touch!

And the chicken says…moo!

We wouldn’t have been able to finish the backyard studio without my friend Charlie’s electrical talents, so I was absolutely thrilled to have his wife, Kerri, and two beautiful little girls spend some time with us there. Their photo shoot was really fun…and so sweet!

It was Kaylee and Maddie’s first time visiting the studio so they had a lot to keep them busy. Maddie especially loved the chickens…which she insisted were saying, “Moo!” Priceless and precious.

The girls found plenty to explore and spots for climbing and balancing. Those unplanned moments ended up being some of my favorite shots.

Our swing is usually a hit with kids but having Kerri and the two girls on it all together was just the sweetest.

The only thing that would have made this more fun is if Charlie and big sister Caroline had been able to join us. We look forward to having them at the next shoot, hopefully before Caroline heads off to college. Thank you, Kerri, for sharing your time and your amazing little girls with me for the afternoon!

Team Asher Takes the World Cup!

If a kid is smart, stylish and really cool, what kind of Bar Mitzvah does he have? A smart, stylish and super cool one, of course! Asher’s celebration was all of that and more, with a World Cup theme and a fun gang of family and friends.

Team Asher–including his mom, her best friend and his soon-to-be step-mom–handled the decor, with fabulous results! Badda Bing of Decatur, led by Chef Michael Condon, catered a delicious meal. This event also proved once again that The Solarium is perfect for intimate events where you can get creative with your festivities.

There was something for everyone, big and small. The kids got into the sports theme with some intense competition of their own in the grass out front. The adults chilled out with cocktails outside and great conversation.

We had the chance to capture some great family portraits outside The Solarium, along with some casual shots.

We loved having the chance to get to know Asher and his family. Thank you for inviting us to capture the many special moments throughout your event!

Rod & Aerin’s Family Portraits

We recently spent a beautiful afternoon in the backyard studio shooting Rod and Aerin’s family portraits–the kind of day I’d begun to think would never return to Atlanta. But the warm temperature wasn’t a figment of my imagination, and neither was their family’s awesome energy and personality! Juggling soccer, basketball, running a business, learning to drive–and that’s just for starters–this super-active family is always on the go. I love how that energy came through in their shots!

One of the first things I noticed was how much fun Rod, Aerin and their kids have together. Even the girls get along great–no small feat for three sisters, especially when they range in age from 9 to 22!

If you caught our post on choosing portrait outfits, you may recognize something else about this family: They are beautifully dressed in complementary colors, with small polka dots and stripes to add interest. They look fabulous!

Thank you, Aerin and Rod, for entrusting us with your family portraits.

It’s Portrait Time: What to Wear??

Choosing what to wear for your portrait session can be a lot of fun, but the thought of how long you’ll be looking at these outfits in prints on your wall or mantle can also cause some stress. One thing to keep in mind is that you and your family–not your clothes–should be the focus of your pictures. Outfits that look gorgeous and well-coordinated will undoubtedly enhance your portraits, but should not be the very first thing you notice when looking at your pictures. So, how do you achieve that balance?

To keep the attention squarely on you and your family members, look for shirts in solid colors and small prints. You can coordinate within a single color scheme and throw in a small print to keep it interesting, like in the gorgeous shot on the left. The variations in shade and the small plaid on the little boy’s shirt help each individual stand out. On the right is a great example of how different colors can be combined as long as they blend in some way, like the soft pastels you see here.

Here’s another idea for a color-coordinated portrait look, courtesy of Polyvore. Everyone has colors that look best on them based on their unique skin tone and features, so let that be your guide on the right palette for outfits. One consideration: People’s faces look noticeably brighter in photographs when they wear a shirt that’s at least slightly darker than their complexion. If you’re light skinned that means white may not be the most flattering option, but any dark solid or small print could work well. Dark-skinned people often photograph beautifully in deep jewel tones or black, like in the image below.

Teal and Black

As with all great and beautiful things, there’s a flipside to the outfits above–and it offers a bit of insight on why some potentially amazing portrait sessions end in disappointment (and why sites like awkwardfamilyphotos.com are never lacking for content!). In the interest of helping you achieve the pictures you’ve always envisioned, we’d like to share just a few considerations:

  • That large print is stunning…but is it so bold that it draws attention from you and your family? That’s a risk with big florals, plaids, as well as prominent logos, slogans or brand names. The beautiful kids on the left are overshadowed by the large floral print on the girls. And despite the joy depicted in the shot on the right, and well-coordinated clothing palette, the eye jumps right to the big print and bold stripes.

  • Putting everyone in matching outfits can help keep things simple, but can also have some unexpected, and undesired, results! The beautiful families pictured below were overtaken by a black blob, an aqua blob and a white blur, respectively. The bottom shot also illustrates how the eye naturally goes to the bright white shirts first rather than the people’s smiling faces.

  • On the topic of calling attention…it can be helpful for the ladies to be conscious of how revealing their tops are (as a little cleavage may look great, but a lot may distract from everything else in the picture). Tight clothes, super short skirts and short shorts can all fall into the category of options that look stunning as you head out the door but end up appearing bolder and more dramatic than you intended in photographs.

For a variety of picture day outfit ideas in lots of different color palettes, check out the Polyvore website and Maine photographer Michele Stapleton’s Pinterest board. Please don’t hesitate to ask us if you’re wondering whether an outfit you’re considering would work well, or if you’re trying to decide between possibilities. Also, don’t forget to reserve your time slot for the upcoming Portraits and Popsicles event in our backyard studio! Happy shopping!

Join Us for Portraits and Popsicles!

Have you experienced our new backyard studio yet? Whether you dropped in on our Fall open house or you haven’t had a chance yet, our upcoming Portraits and Popsicles event on April 12th and 19th is the perfect time to pay us a visit!

We’re offering mini portrait sessions for $125–including a 30 minute session, sweet treats from King of Pops, 3 high resolution files and a 10% discount on all printing. Space is limited, so click here to reserve your session today! Once you reserve your time, we’ll send you an email with the payment link followed by a confirmation email.

Our backyard studio is the perfect location for great family portraits. Featuring the classic elements of water, wood, air and earth, the space is ideal for all families! We’ve also specially designed it for the comfort of those with sensory, physical and mental challenges. The play-based experience makes for amazing photography.

We can also take the stress out of finding the perfect Mother’s Day gifts! We can have special prints created from your session just in time to give Mom, Grandma and all of the special mothers in your life. We hope to see you at the studio!

Locations we LOVE for Spring portraits!

We’re preparing our backyard studio and scoping other great metro locations for Spring portrait sessions. Choosing a location is really important and can be more than a bit challenging. The “ideal” background depends on the type of pictures–senior pictures, engagement shots, mitzvah or family portraits–and even more on the look, feel and personality you want to achieve. Sometimes a client comes with a specific story they want the photos to tell. As we encounter spots we love, we try to catalog them for future reference. We want to share some of those with you–along with a few tips on choosing a location–as inspiration for your own Spring portraits.

There’s just something magical about natural light and being outdoors. People feel more at ease, look more comfortable and act more natural. When we shoot in the sunshine, it always seems like smiles are easier and unforced. But not all outdoor locations are created equal; some are more “photogenic” and support successful shoots better than others. Piedmont Park is always a safe choice, but there are other spots that may not jump to mind as quickly, like Alice Park and the tree lined Old 4th Ward.

We advise when choosing a spot to consider that some backdrops can be too eye-catching. Imagine a garden with water features and artwork that is stunningly beautiful in its own right–so much that it actually takes attention away from the people. Too many background elements can be distracting and pull the eye from our subjects to the scenery. Clean, uncluttered backdrops help clients stand out, like a wall or trees in a woodland area. Piedmont Park provided the tree that highlights our young Mitzvah client’s beauty. There are beautiful green spaces across metro Atlanta like in the Druid Hills neighborhood.

Some of the most unique, creative shoots come from asking clients to think about their favorite places and things to do. If the location is meaningful to you, the shoot will be more personal and fun. We might be planning an engagement shoot and learn the couple is attached to the spot where they had their first date, maybe a quaint restaurant like Julianna’s or a ferris wheel ride. One caveat: Avoid crowded, chaotic locations where we’ll struggle to focus shots solely on you–without unwanted photobombs! Chaos is uncomfortable for everyone and it shows in photos that look forced and unnatural.

A great option to consider is our backyard studio in Decatur. We have colorful vignettes designed to encourage playfulness, plus a treehouse and hens you can feed! Our log wall and fire pit are the perfect rustic backdrops for warm family photos. And of course we have some spots for the romantics, like a porch swing, hammock and water features. One unique thing about the space is that we designed it with careful consideration for families with special needs. The upper and lower level patios are wheelchair accessible and sensory considerations are in place for those on the Autism spectrum.

If you’re hunting for a great spot for Spring shots, just give us a call. We’re happy to help!

Farm-to-Table Eateries in ATL

We’re longing for sunny outdoor shoots and green landscapes. Until we can shed the coats and umbrellas, I hope a look at some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Atlanta–and the vibrant shots we took of them in much nicer weather–will help those fresh summer vegetables and patio dining feel more within reach! Our roundup includes eateries that are on a mission to improve our food and how we treat animals, and to source local, seasonal food because it simply tastes better. Eating fresher and supporting the local economy and environment while we’re at it is now downright easy in Atlanta…and we think that’s something to celebrate.

Al fresco dining at King + Duke

Al fresco dining at King + Duke

1. Kimball House

Kimball House in Decatur combines fine dining with a deep respect for fresh, seasonal, locally sourced food and the farms that provide it. The result is a daily-changing farm to table menu with unusual French panache. The owners passion for preservation and old fashioned hospitality comes through in the unique building, too: A former railroad station rehabilitated in the style of the Kimball House Hotel that once graced downtown Atlanta. The restaurant’s many accolades include being named one of Southern Living‘s Best New Restaurants last year.

2. Empire State South

At Empire State South on Peachtree, Hugh Acheson from Top Chef leads the culinary team in redefining Southern food as something much more–and much healthier–than the stereotypical fried chicken and barbecue. He believes in taking advantage of the agrarian landscape around us, and it shows in the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that draw heavily from Georgia farms and feature local yogurts and cheeses. ESS’s recipes have been printed in many national magazines and Acheson’s own veggie-centric cookbook, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen, has gotten lots of great press.

3. King + Duke

The atmosphere at King + Duke in Buckhead is defined by a unique hearth, which also drives the menu: Locally sourced, seasonal ingredients cooked over an open fire. This direct-heat cooking is combined with sustainable, organic advocacy that extends to responsible butchering. And…Chef EJ Hodgkinson is now offering complimentary hushpuppies with housemade chili jam and aioli at the bar from 3 – 6 p.m. if you order a cocktail or glass of wine. Sweet!

4./5. Farm Burger and YEAH! BURGER

I’ve grouped these because Farm Burger and YEAH! BURGER are among a growing number of area restaurants that are on a mission to show people you don’t need a fine dining budget to enjoy locally sourced, healthy food. They’re committed to improving fast food by sourcing from humane farmers who engage in sustainable, environmentally friendly practices (no harmful chemicals, no heavy processing). Farm Burger takes “local” seriously with all-natural buns, hormone-free cattle raised on Southeastern sweet grass and goat cheese from Georgia’s Decimal Place Farm. You can check out Farm Burger in either Dunwoody or Decatur; YEAH! BURGER has both West Midtown and ‎Virginia-Highland locations.

Thanks to the AJC for giving us the chance to learn about all of these great spots while shooting for their Living Intown magazine!

TMS Girl Scouts Earn Photography Badge with Life on Film!

We recently got to do something a little different that was a lot of fun: We helped The Museum School‘s Girl Scout troop earn their photography badge. It’s always valuable to reflect on what it is that makes great photos meaningful and memorable, and having the opportunity to share what we love with such a wonderful group of girls was amazing!

We kicked things off with a prep session after school at The Museum School focused on three photography principles: Fill the frame, have a strong center of interest and keep a clean background. Next the girls came to Life on Film‘s backyard studio with their own camera, and I could see them putting those principles into action. It was so cool to watch them develop their own points of view as they surveyed vignettes from different perspectives and snapped lots of shots.

The girls took advantage of just about all of the studio’s features…and the hammock and swing seemed to be at the top of everyone’s “must photograph” list.

Lyndsey worked with the girls and gave a workshop on photo editing using the basics of Photoshop. Each Girl Scout had the chance to choose their favorite photo and enhance it.

Here is a very small selection from the wonderful shots they took themselves! I love the variety and wish I could include them all. Some girls were drawn to human subjects, while others focused on the landscape and features of the yard.

Many thanks to Kate Grace, their Troop Leader, for letting us work with the girls in developing new skills. And who knows…Maybe we’ve even planted a seed in someone who will grow up to love photography as much as we do!