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!

7 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Baby

Wouldn’t it be awesome if you could just have a professional photographer following you around all day documenting every little precious moment as your baby grows?

While I can help you freeze one special day in time forever I can’t be with you 24/7. With that in mind here are seven tips for taking better photos of your baby that will be treasured for generations.  If I am shooting a session for you please feel free to ask me to demonstrate any of these techniques and pick my brain for more tips. I want you to have the best photos possible of your family!


1- Catchlights

tips for tkaing better photographs of your baby, catchlights|EmilyJPhoto.com|Newborn photographer in Atlanta Georgia|Athens Birth Photography|In Home Family Photographer
I turned on the bathroom light behind me to get a nice catchlight without the harsh shadows that would have come if I turned on the overhead light in the room

Catchlights are the little sparkle you see in a person’s eyes. They can really bring a photo to life! When photographing your baby try to get a light reflection of some sort in their eyes. You can do this by turning on a light, moving baby into the light, or making sure that you are not standing in between your baby and the light source.


2- Move Back

tips for photographing baby, get back|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography
I moved back in this image to show the baby’s name on his nursery wall.

It is our natural tendency to want to fill the frame when taking a photo. Often, however, there are important details of the story that can be captured by moving back. The special blanket grandma crocheted or the artwork from Aunt Sue on the wall. Don’t forget to include these details that will tell your child the story of their infancy.


3- Get Close

tips for photographing baby, get close|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography|In home family photography|On Location family photographer
For this image I chose to get in close to capture his chubby little baby feet that were filthy after the first time he experienced mud between his toes.

Sometimes the background details aren’t important and simply introduce clutter. Sometimes there is one special feature you want to focus on. Get in close and grab shots of their tiny toes, little hands, delicate lips and other features that change all to quickly as they grow.


4- Focus on Relationships 

tips for photographing baby, focus on relationships|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography|In home family photography|On Location family photographer
When Wally was fussy his Daddy would sing and he would instantly calm. That moment was far more important than baby sleeping peacefully alone after Dad was done.

Often the most precious images are the real life unscripted moments that show the relationships between baby and others in their life. Get images of mom, grandma, siblings, etc. interacting with baby. Focus in on what makes their relationship special. Maybe it’s a special sway when they walk or a silly game. Make sure you capture those little moments that will make the best stories.


5- Use Different Angles

Documentary family photography|emilyjphoto.com|Bath time photography|Intimate family portraits|Daily life family photographer|In-Home Professional photography session
I moved around to shoot this scene from many angels and get a variety of fun images.

Get up high to show how small baby is. Get down low to show the world from their perspective. Move to the side to capture a profile image. Don’t take all your pictures of a scene from the same spot. Move your feet and try to capture the entire story from a variety of angles.


6- Shoot Through the Moment

tips for photographing baby, shoot through the moment|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography|In home family photography|On Location family photographer
The original “perfect moment” that I captured and thought I could put my camera down.
tips for photographing baby, shoot through the moment|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography|In home family photography|On Location family photographer
The even more perfect moment I caught next.

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve put my camera down only to have baby do something adorable 10 seconds later. Yes this is my baby cat, but human babies do it too! If you are capturing a specific moment or interaction wait a few seconds after you think you have the shot and be prepared to take a few more images. Often my favorite shots are the ones I get AFTER I think I have the perfect image of the moment.


7- A Good Camera

tips for photographing baby, shoot through the moment|Emilyjphoto.com|Atlanta Newborn Photographer|Athens, GA birth photography|In home family photography|On Location family photographer
Yep, even us professionals take a million shots with our phones!

While a high quality DSLR camera is going to get you the most creative control and beautiful shots it doesn’t do any good if you never pull it out because it’s bulky and packed away in a bag to keep it safe. It is often said “the best camera is the one you have with you”. Don’t shy away from using your phone if that’s the camera that’s handy. There are tons of apps out there that allow you to have more control over your phone’s camera and get great images. I great compromise option is to get a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. I personally am using the Sony A6000 (affiliate link). It’s a great compact size that is easy to throw in my purse or leave out on a shelf for quick shots at home, and gives me all the same control as a more bulky DSLR. I have also heard great reviews on the Fuji and Olympus mirrorless cameras.

I firmly believe that it is in the every day moments that the most important adventures of life happen. It is these daily interactions that create the memories that will be treasured for a lifetime. Don’t forget to document them for your children and their generations to follow. If you would like to hire me to capture a day in your life please read my details page to learn more about what I offer and then contact me to schedule your birth, newborn, or family life session.

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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