Birthday Giveaway Winners!

Thank you so much to those who participated in my giveaway! I entered each of your names into The Random Picker website and weighted your name based on how many comments you left. This ensured that each person had the correct number of entries, but could only win one prize. Here is a screen shot of the final results:

giveaway|Photography|Emily J Photographer|Atlanta|Dacula|Winder|Barrow|Georgia

I will contact each of the winners via the email linked to your comment with all of the details! Congratulations again.

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.

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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.
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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.

What is Intimacy?

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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