Friday, November 4, 2011

Ever Seen a Million Dollar Picture??

At first glance, you probably wouldn't think that this picture is worth a million dollars but it is. This is a picture of my family. 

Growing up, we weren't the type of family that did the sit down family pictures at Olan Mills. Granted, my mother did hot roll my hair one time, forced me to wear a frilly dress and made me pose with my sister and my great-grandmother (who wasn't exactly oozing with sweetness) for a few shots but we didn't keep the local photographer in business. We'd moan, gripe, run and complain every time that mama would bring out the camera. You'd think that she was cutting out our kidney to make us stop for a picture. She'd tell us how we were going to be glad that she did one day and I'd silently say to myself that she must be a closet drinker if she thought that were true. For anyone who has ever seen my childhood picture, I had a tooth that was in another zip code from the rest of my face and would allow me to eat corn through a fence. The last thing that I wanted was to remember that! At least, I thought that was the case. 

We went home for Mother's Day in 2006 and, as was always the case, Tanya and I drug our cameras along. None of us were dressed up or had gone too much out of our way to look presentable but Tanya suggested that we snap a few pictures. Immediately, the griping ensued. "I'm fat. I don't want to have my picture taken". She seemed to ignore everything that I said to her and pushed us all together for a couple of pictures anyway. We made it through the whole process unscathed for the most part but I was thankful that it was over. 

Tanya played around with the camera a little more and snapped this picture of my mama and daddy. 

I liked the pictures (with my fat head and all) and we printed them and stuck them in a drawer at home. Life went on and I didn't think a whole lot about them. I intended to put them up but you know how you get lost in the mundane stuff of every day and things like that just don't seem as high up in importance as compared to the new episode of Modern Family that is coming on. I kinda forgot about them for a while. 

We went back home for Christmas of that same year. My daddy had been sick for quite some time and he died on Christmas morning. As you can imagine, it wasn't our happiest of holidays but the time together started to seem a little more special. I don't know that we took a single picture the rest of the time that we were there but I wish that we had. To my knowledge, the picture that Tanya took of all of us together on Mother's Day of that year is the only picture that I have of our family altogether and I wouldn't take a million dollars for it. (I would, however, sell reproductions of it for less than that because my mama and daddy didn't didn't raise no fool!)

I came home one day and Tanya had put those pictures in a frame beside our bed. It kinda felt a little bit like a punch in the stomach when I first saw it because it was easier to have it out of sight so it wasn't always on my mind but I truly appreciated the sweetness behind the gesture. I began looking at that picture every morning when I got out of bed and it began to make me smile more and more. I started to focus more on the happy memories instead of the sad ones. We always laughed a lot in my family and the simple things that kept us in stitches became the association that I had when I looked at that picture. I remembered my sister's impromptu clogging routine during dinner one night, when daddy tripped over the bar stool coming in the door one day and mama's nosedive when she tripped over the water hose in the backyard. Every time those things cross my mind, I can't help but to laugh out loud. It was these pictures that made me realize the power of a photograph. A quick snapshot had the power to hold a memory that could, at first, reduce me to tears and then suddenly change to offer me side-splitting bouts of laughter. Amazing that could be accomplished by an inanimate object that hangs on a wall. 

I try to remember how happy that picture makes me every single time that we go out to do a session for a family. I can compare our work to more accomplished photographers and be the first to admit that their technique is often better. Some of their images are more crisp and our color could be tweaked a little from time to time. But, I want people to have a really fun memory of the day that they spent together with us. I want them to remember laughing about smelly armpits......

or, a grandmother's special trick for evoking a laugh from her family.....

or, the occasional uncouth joke here and there......

or, the really sweet smell of a baby's skin......

or, how the very sound of your voice could make your child's face light up completely....

or, how it felt to be young and totally & completely in love....

or, how it feels to be not quite as young but still totally & completely in love.....

My friend and AMAZING photographer, Amanda Summerlin of, told me that she keeps a saying taped to her computer monitor that says, "these people will be grandparents one day". What a cool thought! What we're doing here isn't just earning some extra cash for a posed smile of your kids looking all well-behaved. What we're shooting for (no pun intended!) is to help you remember the laughter and personality of the people that you're blessed to call your family. 

So, whether or not you choose us or someone else to take your pictures, TAKE pictures! Get out your own cameras and start snapping! The time is going to pass and you're going to look back one day and wish that you did. Don't gripe about the heat or the cold. Don't wait until your hair is perfect or you've lost 10 pounds. Laugh with your family and smile every time you pick up that picture and remember what you were laughing about. 

Those lines around your eyes showed that you've lived a life that gave you smiles. Those extra pounds show that you spent time around the table, laughing with the people that you love. Those hairs out of place show that little boys just aren't all that concerned with grooming but are much more serious about playing. Take the pictures that show that you're living a wonderful, wonderful life!

During the start of this holiday season, when we finally stop and give thanks for so many things, Tanya and I want to say a sincere, heartfelt "thank you" to everyone who has done pictures with us, shared your time & family with us and given us more laughs than we could imagine! We appreciate every single one of you and hope that we've given you lots of million dollar pictures, too!

Love to you all.

Monday, August 22, 2011

T-R-O-U-B-L-E times Two! (Jefferson Family Photographer)

I've always thought that I could take care of myself. Short of ninjas, professional wrestlers and Wal-Mart people greeters, there are few things or people in life that I've ever been scared of. At least, that was the case before I met the McMillan girls.
Oh sure, they LOOK innocent enough....those cute little figures and innocent appearing smiles. (keyword here being "APPEARING") You'll think that it's safe to let your guard down and that's when trouble strikes.
Most kids will just let me heap verbal abuse on them as we work through our sessions. They take my words about how ugly they are and just silently process them but NOT these two! Before I knew it, they had reduced me to tears (or maybe it was giggles....I confuse easily).
Gabbie with her pretty hair, pretty white teeth and pretty tan....I first thought that she was the ringleader. I'm still not sure that she isn't. It's hard to tell. The synchronized rhythm of their attacks made it hard to tell who was in charge.
Then, here comes Gracie who you think is harmless because she's all little and cute...BIG mistake on my part!

They told me that I was old. I think that Gabbie's exact words were, "somewhere around 100" and Gracie just giggles up a storm as she watches Gabbie take me down like a tiger downs the poor, weak, defenseless zebra out in the wild. These two were vicious! maybe I exaggerate a weeee bit. Maybe these two were some of THE most fun peeps that I've spent time around in a long, long time. Say what you want about teenagers, I absolutely love how fun and outgoing these two are. I'm sure that there is lots of laughter around their house. There's no way that there couldn't be with these two on the place.
I honestly don't get these two. I really don't. When my sister and I were growing up, nothing short of a court order could get us to say a nice word to each other. And, the only way that we would have EVER hugged would have been if there were money or international terrorist involved. But, these two are like best friends. It's kinda cool.
As much as I HATE to say, I like these two. Alot. (I threw up a little bit in my mouth as I typed this.) So, thank you Gabbie and Gracie for hanging with an old geriatric case like me. And, thank you to their sweet friend Sarah who will probably get an extra star in heaven one day for hanging out with this pair. Between all of these girls and Lanie, I can truly say that my afternoon was filled with fun!
If you ever need pictures done again, call me. Maybe my cataracts won't be so thick that I can't peer through the lens to snap some good shots of you two ugly kids....I meant, sweet girls. My bad.
The End

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Here Comes Chloe! (Oakwood, GA Photographer)

How do I describe Chloe?? Hmmm.....that's probably the best question that I've asked all day. We had never met Chloe before her session with us. Most of our clients are someone that either Tanya or I know but I'd only talked to Chloe's mom, Julia, through e-mail. She'd heard about our work from a mutual friend and we were excited to hear from her.
You can imagine how happy we were when the door of their car opened and this B-E-A-UTIFUL child was staring back at us! We'd have to cover both of our eyes and shoot with the lens cap on to NOT get good pictures of this little beauty!
Don't get me wrong.....Chloe is far from just a pretty face! This little angel has personality by the bucketloads! She immediately started flashing that beautiful smile and she knew that she had completely wrapped Tanya and I both around her tiny little finger in seconds!
She'd strike her little poses and she did absolutely every single thing that we asked her to do. She did all of this with the most contagious little giggle imaginable! She KNOWS that she's precious and she doesn't waste a bit of that cuteness...she uses every single ounce of it!
Poor Chloe has no love at all from her parents. It really is sad. You can look at the way that they look at her and tell that they just can't stand her.
Can't you see that?? NO? I think that it's more appropriate to say that the sun rises and sets on this child in their eyes.
James and Julia aren't too hard on the eyes either! It's easy to see where Chloe gets those good looks from!
We had a wonderful time with this family and offered to take Chloe home with us...I mean, that just seemed the right thing to do considering how neglected she obviously is!

If you wanna talk love, this family has lots of it for each other and you sense it the second that you meet them. That theory is only reinforced the longer that you spend time with them. Thank you James, Julia and Chloe for a VERY fun afternoon!
You guys rock! :o)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fun With the Amos Family (Pendergrass, GA Photography)

We almost missed the Amos family session. Not because we didn't show. We were there. They were there, too. We'd just decided to meet at Hurricane Shoals and somehow managed to end up on opposite sides of the park. We noticed a van drive by so we'd drive over to the opposite side of the park to check things out. When we'd get there, we couldn't spot the van anywhere around. Jennifer and Will didn't seem the type to not show for something they'd committed to do so we gave it one more go 'round before leaving and spotted the family loading back up in their van.We caught them just in time and thankfully still had enough time to get some beautiful pictures of them.
It sounds like we're patting ourselves on the back for our photography skills but we're not. These guys are such a good looking family that you'd be hard pressed to NOT get good pictures of them!
Blake just has the most sweet, kind eyes. You instantly want to hug him when you see him.
Then, there is Logan with his easy grin and sparkly eyes. You just can't help but wonder if he's going to be the little firecracker in the family! Something about that little sparkle lets you know that he's got some fun ideas tumbling around in there!
This family just has an ease in the way that they communicate with one another. They play, laugh and have fun around one another but they aren't loud people. I'm sure that they were in shock when they heard our loud mouths but they talked to you just like you were an old friend. We like people like that.

Jennifer and Will somehow talked Grandmother into coming with them. I'm sure that they had to beg FOREVER to get her to come because it was painfully obvious that she didn't care a thing in the world about these kids....NOT! You could see that she was wrapped around those little fingers and they knew that all that they had to do would be to smile to get her to move mountains for them!
Speaking of Grandmother, what a pretty lady she is!

Jennifer and Will have created quite the beautiful family. They've obviously imparted all of their good qualities onto their children and you can expect to see wonderful things out of these guys as they get older.
I was so happy to get an e-mail from Jennifer this week to schedule their holiday session. I'd been working on this blog post so the timing was perfect! I can't wait to see how these guys have grown and to hang out with this sweet family. It's folks like this that make this "job" so much fun!
Thank you to the Amos family for a great afternoon! You guys are wonderful and we will look forward to seeing you soon!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Have You Met The Clarks Yet? (Jefferson, GA Family Photographer)

It's funny how you can pick up on the energy within a family by spending just a little time around them. Some are quiet and reserved and some make you feel like you're part of a big ole' party! I think that the main thing that you pick up on is that you can truly feel a bond between people. They mimic each others mannerisms and they crack inside jokes. It's cool to be a part of that. And, you walk away really, really liking them.

I read Allison's posts on Facebook and learned that little Addison was having tubes put in her ears today. I have only been around her once on their picture day but I found myself thinking about her several times, hoping that everything went well with her procedure, and I sent up a little prayer for her. Thankfully, Allison later added a post saying all was well and it made me happy to know that things were good. I was also impressed with myself that I had turned Addison's tube placement into being all about me. It took work but it was worth it.
I've owned up to being behind on blog posts but I decided to stop procrastinating and get this one posted tonight and dedicate it to Little Miss Addison herself. So, here it goes:
We met with the Clarks and quickly decided that they are some of the nicest people around. We met at Hurricane Shoals park to take some pictures and the weather really could not have been more pretty!

Speaking of runs rampant in this family!
I've seen Will around at different activities before and he's always been one the cutest kids ever. He's got a really sweet smile and no matter how tough teenage boys like to come across, this one loves his mama!
He doesn't seem to dread time around the rest of his family either. Truth be told, I'd be willing to bet good money that he downright enjoys it!  :o)

Then, there's sweet little about beautiful! She was absolutely--without a doubt---one of THE most pleasant babies that I've ever been around. She smiles at EVERYTHING! You look at her sweet little face and she smiles. You talk to her, she smiles. You talk to other people, she smiles. You cough, she smiles. You get the picture. This truly is one happy child. I don't think there's shred of doubt in her mind that she's loved!

If you want to see a couple that is good together, you're looking at them.....
Brian and Allison have such an easy, fun rapport with each other. They're laughing and cracking jokes at each other and all of the sudden, you'll catch a really sweet glance between the two of them and you'll know that they are both keenly aware of the fact that they are blessed beyond measure to have created the family that they have.
This was probably one of the fastest sessions that we've ever done but it doesn't take long to realize that the Clarks are a special family. So much so that I offered to marry Will or at least go out on a date or two with him if he'd consider an older woman but he politely giggled and I took that as a "no". You can't blame me for asking though.
I can't say enough nice things about these guys. They are a fun, loving family and we appreciate getting to hang out with them for a while! We hope that they enjoy looking at their pictures as much as we enjoyed taking them!   :o)