Custom Painted Portraits

I believe that photographs are the art that preserves our memories for generations to come. As such I put all of my creative efforts into creating the finest art I can for my clients. Usually this means capturing the raw reality of the day in a truly documentary style. These are your memories. These images represent you. I don’t direct. I creatively capture the intimate reality of your special moments.

custom painted portrait|digital painting|canvas portrait

Every now and then, however an image just screams at me that it wants more. I don’t just see your hum drum every day life. I see an amazing beauty in the moments. When the soul of the subject speaks to me I owe it to them to create something amazing.

girl window pastel

This drive to create one of a kind art from every day moments is what led me into learning to use Corel Painter and Photoshop to create custom portraits from my photographs. I create so you can feel the amazing intimate beauty that I see in your relationships. I create so that your future generations will know how amazing that moment in time truly was. I create because I can’t silence the voice in me that cries out for you to understand just how awe inspiring your life is.Aly and Eli

My First Home Birth|Birth Story Baby #6

When we moved to Las Vegas I met an amazing group of ladies at a place called Pink Peas.  It was a wonderful non-profit organization for moms. I am so sad they had to shut down last year due to lack of funds. Pink Peas was the home of 2 midwives who did home births. I decided to finally have the home birth I really wanted when pregnant with #6 in 2012/13.

Unfortunately a little over halfway through the pregnancy my husband lost his job and we no longer had the funds to pay for the midwifery services. Our insurance covered nearly 100% of the cost of a hospital birth, and I was very depressed thinking that I wasn’t going to have the home birth that I wanted. I was commiserating with my best friend at church, and tossing around the idea of an unassisted home birth, when she informed me that another woman at our church was a midwife.

I spoke to Tiffani about my thoughts on unassisted home birth the next Sunday and asked for her input. She was so incredibly supportive. She talked to me about the risks as well as about my previous births and told me she thought I was the perfect candidate for an unassisted home birth. She also told me, however, that if I needed her for any reason to please call as she only lived a 5 minute walk around the corner from me.

Jack final belly

A few days before baby arrived my other kids all went to my moms house in St. George, UT. It was so peaceful with just me, my husband, and my youngest daughter at home.

On April 3rd at about 9pm I felt a little pop and had a small gush of water. It was just a trickle, so I was a little confused, but still pretty positive it was my water breaking. I went to bed just knowing that I would be holding a baby in a few hours. But baby and my body had other plans.

For the next two days my labor would start and stop several times. I would be having contractions every 3 minutes then they would suddenly just stop. I walked, I slept, I sat on my birth ball, I read, I did stairs. I was emotionally completely drained. I called Tiffani at about 4:30 pm on April 4th and expressed my frustration. My previous labors were all fast and furious. This was a completely new experience and I didn’t know what to do! She verified that I didn’t have a fever, I was feeling healthy, and baby was moving as normal. She reassured me that baby and I were both perfectly fine at home with just a small leak. She explained to me about the two layers in the amniotic sac and about how you can have a leak from the outer bag rupturing while the inner bag is in tact. She told me that she was at her daughters softball game and that she would swing by on the way home to check on me. In the mean time she advised me to try out some different positions, including hands and knees, to try to get baby in a better position for birth.

After I got off the phone I jumped on the Spinning Babies website and did some reading about labors that start and stop. One thing it suggested was that baby may have gotten engaged in the pelvis with a less than optimal head position. One thing they suggested was to be on your knees with your chest to the floor through a few contractions to get baby to disengage, then sit on the birth ball and rotate hips to get them to re-engage in a better position.

Well it worked. After a few contractions on my knees I once again sat on my birth ball and felt as his head dropped into my hips. Contractions immediately started increasing again and I chose to move to the bathtub. I told my husband he could stay in the living room with our daughter watching Wreck it Ralph and I would cal for him if/when I needed anything. He told me I wouldn’t need to call. He could always tell when I needed him because I would say “OWIE OWIE OWIE!” like a three-year old every time I was about ready to push. I had never noticed that about myself before!

I had the lights off and just a few candles. As I sat there alone in the dim room in a tub of warm water I was so incredibly at peace. It was beautiful. I was able tot make time to truly breathe through each contraction and connect with my body and my baby. As my husband had predicted about an hour later, around 7pm, I hollered out “OWIE!” and he came in. He helped me move into a squatting position in the tub and delivered our perfect baby boy in 2 good pushes. Rachel, still watching Wreck it Ralph, was a prefect little angel and barely even noticed what was going on. When she came in the room a few minutes later she looked genuinely confused as to where on earth this yelling little creature had come from.

bright eyes low

As I sat back in the tub I was amazed by what we had just accomplished. The feeling of peace and intimacy between me and my husband was beautiful. Together we had brought this life that we had created into this world on our terms, in our home. It was truly the most empowering and amazing experience of my life at that point. After a few minutes of snuggling I told Cameron “Well better text Tiffani and let her know he’s here!” She said that if it was ok she still wanted to stop by and check us out. She did the weighing and measuring for us and checked me out for tearing. Everything was perfect and she left us alone to enjoy our time together.

Daddy and Jack low

I can not even begin to describe the emotions I felt. 46 hours of labor. Frustration, sadness, anxiety, were all so completely washed away when I gazed into that little face and into the eyes of my husband. This is what it means to be a woman. There is absolutely no other way for a new life to enter this world except through the sacrifice of a mother. Being a part of this process is something truly miraculous. I was amazed to discover a whole new level and depth of my womanhood as I went through this labor in a peaceful, natural setting rather than a sterile hospital. I felt so intimately connected to the generations of mothers who had done this before me. The connection to my baby without all the nurses and doctors poking and prodding the two of us was beautiful. I can’t say I will never have another hospital birth, I believe in making that decision with each individual pregnancy base don my needs and wants at the time, but I know there are certain things that I will do differently if I am ever giving birth in their world again.

Jackie Boy low

If you’re interested you can read the rest of my birth stories here on the blog as well

Baby 1

Baby 2

Baby 3

Baby 4

Baby 5

Baby 7

Baby 8

Photography- The Best Cure for a Bad Memory

We lived next door to my father’s parents when I was young. Every Sunday we would go next door after church to eat ice cream, talk with Grandma and Grandpa and play with the other cousins who would show up. Almost every week I would go to the bookshelf and grab one of Grandma’s family photo albums. I’d sit on the footstool next to her chair and flip through the pages while she told me stories about the pictures. I loved listening to her soft German accent telling me about my family history. Seeing photographs that went along with the stories made the people in them real to me. I especially loved seeing pictures of my freckle-faced, red-headed father as a scrawny little boy.

My mother also kept scrapbooks of her children. We had a family book and then one book for each child. I have many a fond memory of sitting down at the table with my mom while she worked on adding photos to the family book and I added photos to my own book.

Now as a mom one of my favorite times with my kids is when we all gather around the computer and look through old photos. My kids love looking at their baby pictures and hearing the stories that go along with them. Even more fun now is that we have videos as well as photography. So many times I’ve seen a photo that reminded me of an event I hadn’t thought about in years. How many memories would be lost if I didn’t have those photographs?

photography cure

 

I have been feeling mommy guilt lately for not having more of our memories printed. I know that hard drives can fail, files can be corrupted, and a printed back-up is crucial to ensure the survival of these photos! A few weeks ago I decided to print photos from Cameron’s grandmother’s recent visit. Sitting down with my kids and looking through that book was such a joy! They excitedly talked about the memories from the visit and about how much they missed grandma. We got a second copy to send to her and I hope she loves it as much as we do! I now have a goal of getting at least one book printed for each year we have been a family.

These documentary photos of every day family life are the ones that make my heart sing. I love to celebrate the individual personality of each of the subjects that I photograph. I love knowing that each image tells a story and keeps alive a beautiful memory. I would love to be able to do this for your family. Let me spend a morning, an evening, or even a full day capturing those special moments that tell the every day story of your life.

As a special summer offer book your session by August 15th and receive a $150 credit towards the product purchase of your choice (credit can not be applied to the session fee).Photographer|Lifestyle and documentary family photography| Atlanta, Georgia|Gwinnett|Barrow|Winder|Hall

 

Olivia- Documentary Newborn Photography

When I first started newborn photography I built up a stash of baskets, buckets, blankets, headbands, and many other props. I have a few photographers whose work I absolutely LOVE and I was determined to emulate. I found, however, that each session left me feeling completely drained both physically and emotionally. I couldn’t understand what the problem was. I love babies, and I love photography, so why didn’t I love photographing babies?

I then watched a class on Creative Live titled “Family Photography: Modern Storytelling“. In this class Kristin Bethman taught about using photojournalism to document real family life instead of doing the traditional posed portraits. Suddenly it clicked; I wasn’t enjoying my job because the props, blankets and excessive planning for the perfect lighting in the perfect scene just wasn’t me. I crave authentic intimate relationships. I am impulsive, not a planner. I love simplicity. I decided to get rid of all the props and only offer lifestyle/documentary sessions.

I have done my first few sessions in this style and it has been AMAZING!! A few weeks ago I photographed Olivia. Little Olivia was the perfect model and her family was incredible. Her father just glowed with pride and you could tell they were already the best of friends. Even though I didn’t know Olivia’s mother before photographing them I could see how motherhood had changed her. She was just in awe of this little creature who had been created inside her body. I left their home feeling renewed and invigorated by the time I spent with them. This is where I belong.

I would love to capture these special moments for your family as well. I want to help you celebrate the love and the adventures that happen in your every day moments. Life is messy. Walls are colored on, food is spilled, tears are shed, and it is beautiful. Please email me at emily@emilyjphoto.com to schedule your session.