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!

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!

A Museum in a Box!

We love covering The Museum School events and taking student photographs. It’s a great bunch of people, staff and students included, and I’m personally invested because my son attends TMS. If you’re not familiar with it, TMS is a local innovator in education. It’s based on the concept that kids learn best through personal exploration and hands-on learning, and is one of a kind in Georgia. We recently made a couple of visits to the school to cover their Museum-in-a-Box program, a cool way in which TMS is engaging students in experiential learning.

The grant-funded program brings amazing “museum boxes” into the classroom. Each trunk-sized box centers on a specific learning unit and contains a slew of content that helps teachers bring the subject to life.

We got to see teachers and students in action during a lesson on a Susan B. Anthony museum box. The trunk spanned everything from the toys she most loved through her commitment to concepts like equality. It seemed like the best of a field trip–real world learning–without the high cost.

We also covered a workshop where TMS teachers got to see the many different museum boxes they can share with their students. I’d guess one of their biggest challenges is what to choose first!

My right-hand lady, Lyndsey Wright, captured the scene as teachers learned how to implement the museum boxes in the classroom.

If you’ve ever wondered what a stronger partnership between local schools and community organizations could look like, this program suggests one fruitful outcome. The museum boxes are only possible via partnership with Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics and Computing (CEISMC); The Atlanta History Center; Zoo Atlanta; ArtsNow; Fernbank Museum of Natural History and the Georgia Aquarium.

I’m so glad we had the chance to see all of this in person because a Museum in a Box is unlike anything I’ve ever heard of…and now I’ll know what my son is talking about when he comes home raving about it!

Remembering Tami and Jess

No words can express the pain, shock and horror that have haunted us since learning of the tragic loss of Tami Willadsen and her daughter, Jess. Our hearts go out to their family and to the entire Museum School community, where Tami (pictured far left) served tirelessly as Foundation President and Jess was a vibrant a fourth grader.


This loss is personal. I was lucky to come to know both Tami and Jess by virtue of being a parent of my own Museum School student. I’ve also served as their regular photographer for school pictures.

I want to take a few minutes to celebrate the beauty and joy that they brought to all who were lucky enough to know them. Jess just glowed with personality that came shining through every shot we took. One look at Tami and it’s clear where Jess got it!



Tami’s charitable work was far-reaching. She led the school’s capital campaign and served as both Director of Philanthropy for The Nature Conservancy in Georgia and as chairman of the board of EarthShare of Georgia.

The Museum School held a butterfly release last week in Jess’ honor. I was honored to be on hand to witness (and share in) the grief created by this senseless tragedy…along with the love, compassion and joy that filled our hearts in celebrating the life of this beautiful little girl.



Each of us at Life on Film Photography extends our thoughts and prayers to the Willadsen family. If you’d like to show your support, please consider contributing to an online fund-raising effort at that was put in place to raise money to help the family.