A Year in My Life |Project 366|February

I have loved the results that have come from being more conscious of documenting my every day life. So many great memories that would have gone forgotten if not captured. Even just a few weeks later while editing I was surprised by a few photos that I had forgotten I had taken!

mother daughter art|emilyjphoto.com|artist|Athens newborn photographer|atlanta birth photographer|documentary in home family photography sessions
I love this photo my husband grabbed of me and my oldest daughter working on our art together.

What has really made this project so possible for me is my camera. I am currently shooting with a Sony A6000. I switched to this mirrorless camera because of its compact size. I have all of the same control and image quality as a full size DSLR in a little package that fits in my purse. When you have 6 kids ages 7 and under and another on the way you don’t carry a bulky camera bag along with the diaper bag and purse. It just isn’t reasonable.

Using a hammer at the Home Depot kids workshop|emilyjphoto.com|artist|Athens newborn photographer|atlanta birth photographer|documentary in home family photography sessions
We love going to the monthly Home Depot Kids Workshop.

In addition to being a great purse camera its small size allows me to easily carry it around the house. Rather than packed up I try to keep it out on a shelf, on my bed, on the desk etc. That way when I see a great moment happening I can easily grab it and take a few pictures. With easy to use control dials for shutter, ISO, and Aperture on the exterior it is easy to quickly alter my settings and always shoot in my favorite full manual mode.

Baby doing yoga with daddy|emilyjphoto.com|artist|Athens newborn photographer|atlanta birth photographer|documentary in home family photography sessions
When I saw Wally join dad for yoga I was able to quickly grab the camera off the desk, change my settings to adjust for the drastic lighting difference, and capture this picture in just a few seconds.

When I have the 16-50 lens on this little camera isn’t any bigger than most of your point and shoot cameras! When I am at home or out with the hubs who can be my sherpa I have the option of bringing along the 55-210 lens, which is quite a bit larger, to get a greater variety in my shots. I call it my sniper lens. I love sitting far away and capturing the real true moments that happen when people don’t know that my camera is focusing on them.

a little boy with his dog|emilyjphoto.com|artist|Athens newborn photographer|atlanta birth photographer|documentary in home family photography sessions
Wally was desperately trying to get Boris to get up and play with him. This is when the long lens comes in handy, because anytime Wally notices I am photographing him he runs at me to try and get the camera!

I am looking forward to adding an A7ii to my bag, hopefully soon, as well as a few prime lenses. If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera of your own, and don’t quite need the full pro capabilities, I would highly recommend the Sony A5100 or Sony A3000. I have also heard great things about the Olympus and Fuji mirrorless cameras, though I do not have any personal experience with them.

reading in a hospital waiting room|emilyjphoto.com|artist|Athens newborn photographer|atlanta birth photographer|documentary in home family photography sessions
Ben is working on his reading while waiting with me for my Midwife appointment.

What camera do you shoot with and why do you love (or hate) it? Are you doing any photography projects this year? I would love to hear about them in the comments!

A Year in My Life| Project 366 January

In home documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|motherhood is beautiful|Intimate family photography|Lifestyle family photographer|AtlantaFamiyl Photography|Athens Family Photographer
Helping with chores, such as loading the dishwasher, is a valuable life skill that we teach as part of our homeschooling

Documentary family photography is a beautiful intimate look into our every day lives that will be treasured for generations. With that in mind I decided to do a project 366 this year. Yeah I know, started one last year and didn’t make it past a few months. This year I decided to do things a little differently. I am still picking up my camera every day and making sure to document my every day life. Instead of pressuring myself to edit and post every day or even every week I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites once a month. Every month around the 15th you can expect to see a new update of pictures from the previous month. Each month I will also share at least one tip on how to get better photographs of your every day life.

In home documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|motherhood is beautiful|Intimate family photography|Lifestyle family photographer|AtlantaFamiyl Photography|Athens Family Photographer
Mom told me no! Motherhood is beautiful, even when there are tears.

This project is very important to me as a mother. I am amazed by just how quickly my children grow. I have realized that it is the little every day things that I forget so easily. My children absolutely love it when we go through old pictures together and talk about the story behind the image. It is huge self-esteem boost for them to know that these moments are important to me.

In home documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|motherhood is beautiful|Intimate family photography|Lifestyle family photographer|AtlantaFamiyl Photography|Athens Family Photographer
Hanging out at a homeschooling friends house eating lollipops

Hopefully as I share my every day life moments I can also show you the beauty in your own moments. I encourage every mother to pull out the camera regularly and capture a few images to remind them of the beauty in these days. The fact is that motherhood is crazy hard work and sometimes we just need a reminder of all the love and beauty that is present in each day.

In home documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|motherhood is beautiful|Intimate family photography|Lifestyle family photographer|AtlantaFamiyl Photography|Athens Family Photographer
My 7 year old loves to read, I am so grateful that she shares this talent willingly with her younger siblings.

OK I’ve blabbered enough about why it’s important so now for the good part. Your first tip for getting great photos of your kids! MOVE!! Yep it’s that simple. Sometimes I tend to back up, get a good angle on the scene and then take all of our images from that one location. I end up with ten images that are all basically the same. Recently I have been really focusing on moving around more. Get different angles, get close up, get far away. Capture different aspects of the same thing.

In home documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|motherhood is beautiful|Intimate family photography|Lifestyle family photographer|AtlantaFamiyl Photography|Athens Family Photographer
We all love Boris “BoBo” the dog. He is such a sweet loving playmate.

One great example of this is some recent bath time shots I took of my two youngest boys. I intentionally put in a TON of bubbles just so I could get some great fun pictures. At first I was stationary in the doorway clicking away. Then I reminded myself that there was so much more to the story! I got high, I got low, I moved to the other side of the room, I even stood directly above them for a few shots. I had a blast and got a great variety instead of 50 of the same image. It was a lot of fun.

Documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|Bath time photography|Intimate family portraits|Daily life family photographer|In-Home Professional photography session
Lots of bubbles +two little boys= incredible memories!

I would love to give you the gift of memories by documenting these every day moments in your life. Please contact me for more details about my in home documentary family photography sessions.

Family Pictures at Freeman’s Mill Park in Dacula, GA

I had the pleasure of taking family photos for a good friend a while ago. We decided to do the session at Freeman’s Mill Park in Dacula Georgia. I really love this beautiful outdoor location for family photos. there are plenty of places to explore and enjoy time together while getting some great photos in front of gorgeous scenery.

The park has a waterfall with a stream leading to a restored historic gristmill. It is such a beautiful and fascinating location. There is also a large grassy area to play in, beautiful flowers, hiking and biking trails, and a pretty awesome playground. It is one of my favorite parks to go to, and the kids love to explore it as well.

When you come out of the parking lot you can take a right to go down to the playground or a left to walk down a path to the mil. Along the path are beautiful trees and flowers and well as a rustic wood fence. The perfect background for a few family shots!

Lifestyle family photography|Atlanta newborn child and family photographer|Documentary photography|Dacula, Georgia|Barrow county

At the bottom of the path is the wonderful old Gristmill. Unfortunately on this day there was another photographer taking engagement shots so we weren’t able to get any pictures in front of the mill. As you follow the path around the mill you will see the large water wheel and the stream. The water level has lowered to the point that it no longer flows under the wheel. It is really fun for the kids to be able to explore around the wheel and see all of the gears that made it work.

Lifestyle documentary family photography|Emily J Photographer|Atlanta, Gwinnett, Georgia|Hall county|Barrow county

If you continue down the path next to the street you come to a rock wall and the waterfall. It is a beautiful spot. There’s a small sandy beach you can climb down to or an entire section of wall you can climb on without getting wet. They do have signs posted asking patrons to stay out of the water. The rock wall is a fun backdrop for sibling pictures, especially when they have such fun adventurous personalities.



I had such a blast exploring Freeman’s Mill Park with the Gee family. I’d love to have you show me around your favorite park as well. I’m always up for a new adventure. If you schedule your session before August 15th (session to be completed before Nov 31st) you will receive a $150 credit towards your final product purchase. Just click that contact tab above and fill out the form.

Goodbye Gee family! Let’s get you in front of my camera again next year.

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


What is Intimacy?


Often people hear that word and think “sex” and nothing more. To me, however, intimate is a word that oozes vulnerability, openness, communication, and so many more things that many of us struggle with. It is something I struggle with. Something I desperately desire and yet still shy away from. Intimacy is something that can fulfill and enrich our lives or something that can rip us apart.

My marriage has always been a struggle. I know that every relationship has its ups and downs, but ours has been especially rocky. In the last week I have thought that it was not going to survive. As my husband and I have both sought outside help for our problems I have come to believe that the lack of true intimacy is the root of most if not all of our difficulties.

Intimacy is about connecting with someone emotionally and spiritually. It is not about merely sharing positive feelings or having a great sexual connection. Intimacy means finding security in a relationship that allows you to share all of your feelings, including fear, anxiety, anger, disappointment, joy, hope, and so forth. In an intimate and safe relationship, you trust that when you do share, you will not be abandoned, criticized, or judged. That is a huge vision for what a relationship can be — and such a relationship can take a lifetime of training to develop.

Debra Laaser

Why is true intimacy so difficult to achieve? Because when you truly let someone you care about into the deepest parts of your heart and they reject, judge, or criticize what they see it hurts. It is a brutal gut wrenching pain. It can destroy you if you let it. Because of this, we all put walls around our hearts. Some of us have a chain link fence that offers a small amount of protection, but welcomes in most who are interested. Most of us have a 30 foot tall x 10 foot thick wall with barbed wire and vats of boiling oil on top. We then surround it by a moat filled with alligators!

A few days ago my husband and I stayed up until 5 in the morning talking, slept a few hours, then talked all morning until he had to leave for work that afternoon. We laid it all out on the table. We were raw. We were brutally honest. We were truly intimate. There were times when I wanted to climb back behind my alligators, and times where frankly I wanted to shove him in the moat with them, but we pushed through. At the end I was completely emotionally drained, exhausted, and numb. In that moment I had the first glimmer of hope that maybe we can fix this mess that we are in. We both need to seek individual growth, but at the end of the day the thing that will save our marriage won’t be anything either of us does individually. Our marriage can only be saved if we embrace those intimate moments where in the past we have so often walled each other out.

True intimacy isn’t only for marriages. Every relationship worth having requires a certain level of intimacy. It is through open honest communication that bonds are formed which keep us strong. The more we open the deepest parts of ourselves to people we love and trust the stronger we are. When we are authentic with those who are closest to us we are able to extend that authenticity to every relationship in our lives. When someone rejects our true self its ok, because we have the support of those inside our wall to remind us that we are amazing, valuable, and worthy.

I want to help you celebrate this intimacy and authenticity in your family. I want to help you remember those little moments that draw you closer and make you stronger. I want your children to sit down years from now with a book of images that tell a story of love and acceptance. I want them to look at the walls in your home and see the moments that tell them “you are valuable; you are enough; you are loved”. This is why I do lifestyle and documentary photography.

If you are ready to preserve these intimate memories for your family please contact me and let me help you tell your story.

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