Browsing Tag

Debra Edgar

Melanie + Sorya | Wedding Preview by + Debra

Wedding Season is in full swing, and the whole Leah and Mark team is busy and loving it!

Sorya and I worked together a long time ago, and I was thrilled when he and the lovely Melanie reached out to me to photograph their wedding.  It was a day to remember.  They did almost everything themselves! A real example of how to have a fabulous celebration, keep your sanity and wallet intact. It was fun to see how they worked together to bring all the friendors and details together.

It was a beautiful day, and a pleasure to be with 2 wholesome, down to earth people who are so obviously in love.

thank Melanie and Sorya for having me capture your special day.

You’re AWESOME. 😀

The wedding was a small and intimate celebration between friends and family.  There was no wedding party, and it was so sweet to see how Sorya helped Melanie finish getting ready, there was about 50 tiny tiny buttons on the back of her dress, and he nimbly put it all together. We shot in the back hallway of a nearby restaurant, and created our own impromptu photoshoot ready space.  Thankfully they had a couch and some chairs in storage.  

I even jumped in and picked Melanies bridal bouquet, her flowers wilted in the heat and we improvised with the flowers available in the area.

Instead of a cake and cake topper they had this adorable bowl of Pho and a mini bride and groom.  The desserts were miniature versions of their favourites, Tiramisu, Cheese Cake, and more.  I just love how the bride looks like she may jump right in.  

Sorya is a chef and engaged his friends to help cook the wedding feast.  The food was AWESOME, with fresh bulgogi, fried chicken, delicious grilled asparagus.  Yum!

The dance floor was packed the whole night and I had a really good time getting out there an dancing and getting great shots.  We all had a lot of fun! 

Best of luck and much love to you both on your journey as husband and wife! 

Mike + Beki | Engagement by + Debra

Posted by + Debra.

Hello, Hello!

It’s seems some time has passed since I last posted.  Things have been busy, we’ve all been busy.  Wedding season is in full swing, Atlanta was bursting with color (and pollen), and I have been a happy little photographer shooting weddings, head shots, babies, weddings, people in love, old friends, and new places.  Whew.  It’s been a roller coaster and I LOVE it!

Meet Beki and Mike.  Isn’t she beautiful.  Good Job Mike!

 

I can say that, since I have been lucky enough to know Mike since, oh man, 7th grade or so.  We went to a tiny little school together, so we’re considered old skool, and I am thrilled to know his charming and beautiful future wife Beki.  She’s a real lady, and real pretty too.

I will be shooting their wedding next month, and I cannot wait!  It’s will be like a big work slash party slash high school reunion.  It.will.be.awesome.  Mike and Beki are really fabulous people and so obviously in love.  I am honored to be a part of their special day.  The rest is just icing on the already awesome metaphorical cake.  Wedding cake that is.

Well, as for me, things have been in a state of flux, and change, and that may be the case for some time to come.  Me and my little family moved out to the big wide open and quite lovely state of Montana for the summer.  Yip, we’re hanging out in Big Sky country and it’s a HUGE change, but it’s quiet and peaceful, and I think it’s an awesome opportunity for the summer.  I have been in cities for so long, I forgot how many stars are in the sky.  No really, there’s SO MANY.

It’s mind blowing.  I look out each night, and am in awe of the natural beauty out here.

It was interesting to fly into Atlanta to shoot a wedding with Mark, then meet up with Mike and Beki for their engagement shoot, and then shoot another super awesome wedding.  In some ways I am living my dream of being a traveling wedding photographer.  Eep! That.is.awesome.  The wierd part was going from still kinda chilly not so green Montana to uber lush and green Atlanta.  When I left Atlanta prior the Wisteria was in full bloom and my heart wept at leaving, returning just a few weeks later to the early summer green made me feel…like a visitor in my home town.  I love Atlanta and am very excited to return for the upcoming weddings this season, and I am learning to love Montana for the things yet to be discovered.

See you next week! And hai, have an AWESOME weekend!

Wedding Preview | Brittani + Ernie | + Debra

brittani&ernie_wedding_debraedgar_leahandmark_atlantaweddingphotographers- (1)

My first wedding for the season was the awesome Brittani and Ernesto!

What a wonderful loving couple.  Congratulations to you both on your marriage.

 

 I had an awesome time spending the day with you and your friends and family.  I wish you the best of luck!

Thank you for having me as your photographer 😀

FULL PREVIEW GALLERY HERE

A Snapshot in Time | + Debra

Debra Edgar | Atlanta Editorial Photographer | Vintage | Trains (13)

Yesterday was a super, awesome, epic shoot  at the South Eastern Railway Museum with the Alumni Intern Brittany, Current Intern Elaine and a couple models  You may remember when we shot there During Season SiX.. I almost shot that day, however I mixed up the times, arrived 2 hours before anyone else and had to go home to relieve the babysitter.  It was a bit frustrating, and I was determined to make it back out there to shoot.  I was not disappointed.  It was remarkable.  There were so many cars and trains, and buses that we didn’t see.

The entire museum is a plethora of things to discover, echoes of days gone by, vintage everything, plus a very friendly photographer policy.  We were given free reign to shoot wherever our hearts desired.  There was a multitude of preschool children as well, which really made me happy as I imagined when I would take my own little boy there and hear him ooh and ahh over the cubbies and crannies, and cool fixtures and furniture.  Before cars and air travel was so accessible trains were the solution, and there were trains for everything.  Some trains were for sorting and delivering post, others were for sleeping, some were large passenger trains, another train was an entire reading room, yet another was a portable military kitchen!

I have a feeling we could explore and take pictures in the space for days and days to come.  I highly recommend a visit, it’s a very cool and informative place.  An opportunity to see what life was like in days gone by.  As I looked through the photos I couldn’t help but feel they deserved the echo of time, a reflection of the people who may have ridden those trains, lived their lives, shared their love, embraced their sorrows, and pushed social boundaries during the various eras the trains represent.

The initial part of the shoot we worked some basic composition exercises.  The challenge was to keep the models in the same pose, same space, and then shoot 360 degrees around them.  It’s a great warm up and a great way to force you to look for new compositions, to push out of your comfort zone a bit.

After working through the warm ups, ever notice how we treat photography as an olympic sport.  We are in it, to win it.  Shooting is an opportunity to improve a skill.  Every.Single.Time.  That’s also why we shoot everything! Needless to say, we ran around like kids in a candy shop and took lots and lots of pictures!

There was also alot of good natured hair tossing, and laughing, and smiling, and getting to know eachother.  As a photographer being able to connect with people, to see them and appreciate them is my calling, and it never ever gets boring.  Thank you to the wonderful models who spent the morning with us.

And thank you for reading my blog.

Have an awesome weekend!

Advanced Breastfeeding: Traveling Without Your Baby

Posted by +Debra

I recently traveled without my baby for the first time ever.  It was a tough decision, and in alot of ways it was a tough time being away.    As a breastfeeding mom the idea of being away from my baby for longer than a few hours was a bit difficult to wrap my head around, never mind the ache in my heart.  As I prepared for my journey to my birth country of South Africa I scoured the internet and was unable to find any real advice on how to be away from my son, how to prepare him for my absence, and most of all how to maintain the breast feeding relationship even though I was away. I am writing this blog simply so that any mom’s out there who want or have to travel away from their baby can know that it is possible to do so for extended periods, and came home and resume the breast feeding relationship as before.

Basically I was out of country for 12 days, and our son Shannon was 7 1/2 months old.  He is a bed sharing breast fed happy go lucky baby.  It was the first time we had been apart for longer than 12 hours.  He was cared for in his normal home by my fiance and his parents, so Shannon’s daddy and grandparents, Sadie and Coach.

Here’s what I did to prepare before the trip:

The hardest part was struggling to emotionally bolster for being away from my son for almost 2 weeks.  I knew I was going to miss his face immensely! I cried alot at just thinking about leaving him! But when I got over it, I realized how immensely healthy the time apart was for both of us, and was oh so happy to see his little face again.

I researched his age and what types of solids he should eat and shared that information with his caregivers (his grandparents and dad).  The biggest thing was for him to not eat too many solids, and to eat specific solids appropriate for his age.  We haven’t ever really given Shannon purees, from the get go he has been given finger foods, and occasionally soft foods like mashed potatoes.  He feeds himself small quantities with his own hands.  it was important to make sure he didn’t get too many solids, and that he maintained a normal amount of liquids, from either formula or saved breast milk.

I didn’t pump enough in advance to give him frozen milk for my entire trip.  I calculated what he would need for the 12 days and it was well over 300 ounces.  That’s alot of pumping on top of feeding the baby his regular meals.  Let’s say I could express an extra 12 ounces a day, then I could reserve 300 ounces in 25 days.  But the thing is, to get that 12 ounces I was a slave to the pump after every feeding, 3-4 times a day.  I quickly started to feel a bit like a commercial milk cow, and cut down the pumping sessions to preserve my sanity.  I ended up reserving about 150 ounces give or take.  In reality that reserve provided 1-2 bottles a day, the rest of the time he was given formula.

For formula I ordered 2 jars of Natures One Organic Baby formula.  I am told he blew through those 2 jars in a couple of days, and then moved onto commercial Enfamil.  He had no problems with the increased iron from the formula as I had feared.  It did however take a week or so for his bowel movements to move from iron rich black and return to the yellow of a breastfed baby.  We still supplement with Enfamil when formula is needed if I am away on a long shoot or we are in the car.

Breastfeeding | Travelling Without Your Baby | How To | by Debra Edgar

A few key pieces of equipment helped as well:

Bottles: I purchased additional Breast Flow bottles and playtex liner system with medium flow nipples designed for the breast fed babies.  I vouch for the breast flow bottles, they are well designed and awesome.

Pump: a good pump is worth every penny! For the occassional to heavy user looking for an efficient and quiet pump I recommend the Medela Swing Pump. It was so quiet, I used it on planes, in cars, and everywhere in between.  Alas,  I burned out the motor on  2 cheaper single Medela Electric pumps, one in 3 months, the other in 4 days.  They are noisy also.  I am not a big fan, but they are fast and efficient if you can handle the noise…just make sure a sleeping baby is nowhere around.  It sounds like a jumbo jet taking off, in contrast the Symphony sounds like a car blinker.  *Pump Bottles: I took along 2 bottles with lids.

Pumping Bra: I I got a Simple Wishes Pumping Bra.  It’s well designed and actually pretty awesome for when I used both pumps simultaneously.  However, I used it a grand total of 3-4 times.  I found I was alot faster using the pump and manual compression.  The bra is designed with alot of attention to detail and thoughtfulness, I personally didn’t use it all that much, mostly because I pumped in alot of semi public places, or small forms of transportation.  I haven’t used it since, but I work from home and feed baby on demand.  I can see it being a highly useful item for a momma working in the office.

Nursing Cover:  I received a nursing cover from Udder Covers when I was pregnant.  I tend to just use a baby blanket when I go out with the baby, and now he is older we seldom nurse when we are out and about.  The Udder Covers material is thin, and given I am tall, I really wished it had more fabric to it, but I only used it for 2 weeks, so it served it’s purpose well.  Leah has an uber cute cover she uses all over town with Jonah, and I know there are alot of varieties and styles to select from on Etsy.

Pacifier Wipes and Microwave Sterilization Bags: Seeing as I was pumping and dumping it wasn’t crucial to sterilize constantly, but it certainly helped keep things nicer having easy ways to keep the bottles fresh and clean.

Me and baby during the trip:

Shannon was just fine, he didn’t melt down, or cry all night, or really seem fazed that I was gone and that he was getting all his meals by bottle.  He was surrounded by people who love him, following his normal routine sans mom, and got to bond with everybody who played with him and fed him and rocked him to sleep.  When he saw me after 12 days away he was very excited and went back to nursing within 30 minutes.  I was elated and relieved.

Uhm, I was not fine.  It took me about 6 days to relax and really get into the awesomeness of the trip.  I cried on the plane to South Africa, big crocodile tears, and then about every 48 hours after that I hit a tough spot and would go take a small break.  I had plenty of printed photos, and my phone was stuffed full of the beautiful pictures that my family sent to me while I was abroad.  The daily pictures helped immensely! I couldn’t have done it without the photos and updates.  They were crucial to my mental and emotional well being, and I am very grateful my understanding family kept sending them to me.

Breastfeeding | Travelling Without Your Baby | How To | by Debra Edgar

A Note about domperidone:

Domperidone is a prescription medicine in the USA, but an OTC anti nausea medicine in other countries.  I first heard of domperidone from Dr Jack Newman, at the Bellies to Babies Event last year.  Dr  Newman is an awesome expert on everything breastfeeding. No really, he knows ALOT and then some.  He’s wicked nice also.  :) Domperidone was initially designed to be an anti nausea medicine, it works by suppressing dopamine, and as a result allows an increase of another hormone called prolactin, which is present in nursing mothers.  I was able to purchase 100 tablets for the equivalent of $50.  I wasn’t having issues with my supply, it was up and down a little, but mostly I was wanting to relax and not have to pump every four hours.  Having the domperidone helped me relax and ease off the rigid pumping schedule.  It really helped with enjoying myself more becasue I knew I would be able to use the domperidone to maintain my prolactin levels. The pills work really well, I was responsive in under 48 hours.  I have a bunch of pills left over, and who knows, they may come in handy down the road.

Pumping in Different Places: wow, I pumped all over the world.  Literally.  I am pretty hardcore about breastfeeding, and feel it is the most important gift after a healthy pregnancy to give my child a head start to a healthy and abundant life.  Breast feeding is to me a social and emotional relationship which nourishes the soul and the body.  I understand that not every woman is able or wants to breast feed, and I am totally ok with their choice, we all have choices on how to raise our kids and I certainly don’t snub one persons choice over the other. However  It is my lifestyle to breastfeed, and  it is very important to me.

This philosophy led me to pump in the plane, the car (even with my brother and dad in the front seat!), on safari, in the desert, on the side of the road, random corners of random restaurants or friends houses, hotels, and once even a bathroom, I sat on a windowsill, but still it was kinda icky.  Like eating pancakes on the toilet. 🙂 Either way I was disciplined and maintained a semi-regular schedule to keep up my milk, and was still able to have fun and see lots of cool stuff on the trip.  Each time I pumped I thought lovingly of my son, and treated it is as a gift instead of a burden.  It would have been easy to get burned out, so I made sure to keep a loving mental attitude to prevent any resentment.

Also, pumping on the plane was not a problem, and thank you to Delta Airlines for putting me in the back of the plane with the seat next to me blocked off. I had the last row to myself and plenty of privacy.  I called well in advance to see if they could accomodate me and they kindly obliged. It didn’t bother me when people walked by for the bathroom, and the flight attendants were fabulous.  Delta is my favorite American Airline, hands down.

Returning Home:

It was one looooong plane ride home, but it was easier than the flight out.  I was excited to see baby Shannon and did my best to stay distracted.  After 12 days of being away, I had been able to tuck the longing away in a safer emotional space, so it wasn’t all consuming as it had been on the flight out.  I am a very doting and loving mom, so being away was a challenge, but also a healthy time apart to realize I am also Deb and not just mom.

Shannon was happy to see me when I first walked in the door, he showed me his toys and his new found ability to cruise on the furniture.  I refrained from crying because I didn’t want to confuse him.  I was overjoyed to see his smiling face!  We played and everybody hung out and talked.  After about 30 minutes, Shannon indicated he wanted to nurse, and we picked up the relationship right were we had left off.  It was almost like I had never left.  The only issues we had were latch and nipple sensitivity.

Shannon is old enough to hold his own bottles, and is pretty insistent on doing that.  While he was getting a bottle for all of his meals he had retrained his latch, no amount of thoughtful nipple design could work with him sucking only the tip of the bottles nipple.  It took us about 2 weeks to retrain his latch, and I had to be very patient and thoughtful when doing it.  There were some days of extreme discomfort because my nipples had also become more sensitive away from baby.  Most new mom’s experience a few days or weeks of nipple discomfort while their skin adjusts to the constant friction of nursing.  All in all we were comfortably nursing again within 2 weeks.

I hope this information helps! Please feel free to leave questions in the comments.  Thanks! 😀

 

Atlanta, Boston, and Beyond!

Whew, this week has been a doozy.  It’s been SO AWESOME with confirming a local Atlanta wedding, AND booking 2 weddings in Boston in the space of one week.  What are the chances? And HOW FREAKING COOL!  I am so super excited to travel for weddings, and so happy that my future brides and grooms took a chance and invited me to their party.  Awesome! Thank you! Ya’ll rock!

If you’re getting married this year, you should think about inviting me to your party, or invite LeahAndMark because they are awesome epitomized (Mark especially), and let’s not forget the other super awesome (OMGBBQ!) + Photographers +Raven and +Jo.  We’re a pretty cool group around here.  We liven up any party, and make kick butt pictures to remember the party, just in case it ends up being that kind of party ;)

Let’s not forget that we have an awesome Army of Interns (go check out their blogs right now!)

 

There’s alot of forced change happening in my life, and in some ways it’s exciting and in some it’s a bit terrifying  nail biting awesome.  I remember hitting my 25th birthday and heaving a massive sigh of relief, like, whew I survived.  I went back to college finished my degree and thought blamo, it’s all solved, figured, sorted…and the rest would uhm, just fall into my lap.  Pff, I never thought that, not even for a second, but I did have a restful phase…and now I have a 30th birthday around the corner.and goals and dreams, and insert whatever other real world situations like bills, etc. to support.  Yip.  That’s life…at least a part of it.

Right.  I know it’s not going to fall in my lap, and nobody is going to give it to me.  I just hope I can go get it for myself, and for my family.  It’s a new game this year, and I plan to win it.

Let’s Do This!

Oh, and thanks for checking out my blog.  Have an awesome weekend.

 

Sunny South Africa | The Cape | + Debra

Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (15)

Posted by + Debra

Whew! So I just got home from attending the “A Practical Wedding Book Tour” in Atlanta, hosted by Young Blood Gallery and “A Wedding Day Hooray“.  I am feeling energized! It’s always a pleasure to meet funny, open minded, outspoken, and honest people.  Meg of APW is all that and a bag of chips, probably a coke too.  She had everybody in stitches with funny stories, and sage advice for the female entrepenuers. I loved how she wore a dress that could have been for an ice skater, or dancer…I half expected her to pirouette across the floor, or just as easily strap on some skates and field questions from the audience.  In attendance where were loads of awesome couples, and a fistful of Alumni Interns, and current interns, and the awesome +Raven, and Baby Rox with his wonderful mom and cool pop.  It made me all the more grateful for the wonderful people here at the LeahAndMark.com family.

I really appreciated Meg’s candor, as I have also been appreciating her blog and the many people who contribute to it.  I gotta be honest, I just love anybody who can call bull$___ out in public, and say what they mean, and mean what they say, and all that jazz.  How awesome to have people telling you that your wedding doesn’t have to equal a downpayment on a house? I feel if you got and want to spend it, then good for you.  But, if your like me and “don’t got it” and don’t want to spend it, then you should be able to have your wedding day be just as special, and just as amazing.  this is of course coming from the same girl who was planning on getting married in jeans, at least up until a few hours ago (Thanks Lucy for the inspirational quip).   A very cool group of people this evening, and I can’t wait to read the book, I have a feeling it will be just as funny, honest, and candid as Meg was in person.

Ok, onward to my blog post.  This is the last installment of my trip to South Africa.  This time focused on the Cape.  Now the region of the Cape is very large, there are hundreds of small towns, and one very large city.  It is a diverse and beautiful part of the country with mountains stretching on for days, oceans going on for miles and miles, and epic sunsets every night with great people, awesome food, and amazing wine.  There is no way I could sum up the Cape in just a few blog posts, the end message is really that a country and place as amazing as South Africa can take an entire lifetime to experience.  I could spend a month in the Southern Cape and still feel like I barely scratched the surface.

It.Is.An.Amazing.Place.

Hout Bay: Home of Seal Island.  We rode a small boat out to Seal Island, and got to eat some seriously awesome amazing fish and chips.  OMG YUMMY! Really tasty fresh fish.  It was quite difficult to photograph the seals as the water was very choppy.  My trusty little Lumix did well to get at least this 1 clear shot.  Be advised, if you get seasick, you may want to skip this one.  The waves combined with the intense stench of the seals will turn even the steel lined stomach of the hardiest person.  I was a bit green, and I notoriously can handle just about anything! I absolutely loved getting to see the baby seal with the mom, and the man who cared for them.  We all cheered and such.

Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (26)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (25)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (16)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (24)Boulders Beach: Ok, ok, I have a mild obsession with arctic animals, and the only thing better than seeing flipping penguins could have been seeing polar bears.  But there were no polar bears, so the penguins definitely took the cake for my Cape Town experience.  And the only thing better than seeing penguins, was getting to swim with them.  Sit with them.  Sunbathe with them.  YES! I know right, how cool is that!! Boulders beach is a small private beach with limited entry and gives you a chance to sit, sunbathe, and SWIM with penguins.  Best morning on the beach ever.  There is a small fee, and the beach fills up quickly.  If you happen to go, go to the outskirts, it involves some climbing but gives you a very secluded morning with the penguins (eeeep! so cool!).  Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (22)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (20)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (13)Cape Point: The national park that is home of the continental tip of Africa, and surrounding bays and Capes.  It is a full afternoon, and I recommend a snack, a sweater, and some sneakers.  You will do ALOT of walking.  It is a national wildlife refuge.  The salty air is voluptuous, and hinders the growth of most plants.  Only very hardy and native plants thrive in the park.  These trees are quintessential African trees, strong, tall, and proud.  There are a few of them scattered through the park.  For the most part the horizon is flat, and both sides are flanked by the ocean, making it all the more obvious that you are approaching the tip of the continent.  It was very exciting!Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (1)It felt like the sky and ocean were one and the same here.  Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (7)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (8)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (19)In case you were wondering, the very tip of continental Africa is VERY VERY windy. We had a good laugh trying to get this self portrait of us 3.  My brother would have lost his eyes to my hair if not for his glasses.  We all scribbled on the rocks the initials of the multiple people we love, temporary markings of the time we were in that special place.  Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (21)This is the very tippy tip of Africa! The lighthouse is newish from 1918. Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (17)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (18)These ostriches were on the side of the road, and looked a mite mean.  I didn’t dare roll down the window, I swear I thought he would peck my eyes out. Ostriches are magnificent creatures, and their eggs are made into costly curios quite regularly.

Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (15)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (14)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (9)Sentinel Hill:  offers wonderful sunset views of the Cape and surrounding bays, including Table Mountain.  This evening was special in and of itself because as soon as the sun was down, you were greeted by the rising moon.  Another example of the wild, untamable beauty to be found in the Cape. Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (6)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (5)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (4)Robben Island: Island Prison 11km from Cape Town for Political Prisoners, including Nelson Mandela. Living conditions were unbearable, and many prisoners lost their eye sight working in the direct sunlight in the lime quarry.  It was bright, hot, and an incredible sparse place.  The amazing thing to remember and walk away with after visiting Robben Island is the heroic stories of how the men held captive were able to boost eachothers spirits and work on becoming educated.  They shared letters, and books, songs, and love. It is a testament to the intrinsic wealth of mankind when we turn ourselves inward and love one another despite the misfortune or fortune they might be in the midst of.  Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (10)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (11)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (12)Table Mountain: The wind and weather of Table Mountain is world renowned, almost as well known as the spectacular views.  We tried 2 times to go up the mountain only to be turned away because of the fierce winds howling down.  Wind BTW looks just like clouds.  Who knew? We did finally make it up the mountain the day I flew out of South Africa, it was the perfect last morning in Sunny South Africa.  The views were amazing, all around.  Cape Town and all surrounding areas are beyond breath taking.  Truly one of the most amazing places in the world.  Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (3)Debra Edgar | South Africa | Cape Town | LeahandMark.com (2)

– All photos taken with the Panasonic DMC ZS8 and the iPhone 3.

Sunny South Africa | The Karoo Desert | +Debra

Debra Edgar | African Safari | LeahAndMark.com

Posted by +Debra

 After leaving Kruger National Park we began driving through the country down towards the Cape.  It was about 3 days of driving, stopping the first 2 nights in various cities.  My siblings and I opted to journey the scenic way to give ourselves an opportunity to experience and see the awesome diversity in South Africa’s climates.  We watched the lush green trees, mango orchards, litchi farms, and banana groves turn slowly into the low feld with tall grasses and long thin trees.  The further South we moved the drier and hotter it got.  We crossed the Orange river and then found ourselves in the Karoo Desert.  It was hot.  It was dry. It was beautiful in its own way.

It was in fact so hot that our car broke down, timing belt shredded to pieces and the radiator hose went kaplooie.  In the middle of nowhere.  Literally, we broke down on a scorching hot day in the middle of the desert, just north of this small town called Middleburg.  The same small town where my grandparents ran a mission for 25+ years, the same small town I actually remembered from my childhood many years ago.  However it was still a good 20 miles away, and that is not walking distance in 110 degree heat.  No thanks.

 I am not gonna lie, I was a bit worried when we broke down, and kept picturing newspaper articles on how 3 people went missing, I pictured all sorts of horrible things happening…I mean it’s not like theres a tow truck and a mcdonalds down the road…but I quickly pushed those morbid thoughts away and tried to help my brother figure out how to get us moving again  It was a sparesly populated region, and it was so hot.  Luckily for us, we had tons of water, a leather belt, and some brave ingenuity.  We tied a makeshift hose, filled the water and rollde a few more miles down the highway in search of help.  We spotted a sign for a bed and breakfast, and heaved a massive sigh of relief when a cozy white farm house appeared out of the heat waves.  I could have been imagining it, but a small voice in my head started singing some sort of thankful praise, like my own mental gospel choir.  

 A lovely woman who ran the bed and breakfast came to our rescue, offered us cold drinks, and fresh homemade food which consisted of fresh ground mutton, which her husband raised, fresh corn which she grew, fresh bread that baked, and jam that she made from her small orchard that she lovingly waters from a well on her farm.  It was AMAZING.  The food was so good, so fresh, so simple and just downright wholesome.  It was easily one of the best meals I have ever had, and as an ex chef, and avid foodie, that’s pretty darn good.  We made arrangements for repairs and for lodging for the night and spent the afternoon exploring.

It’s been so long since I was without basic comforts and luxuries, like tv, internet, fridges with food.  I had forgotten what it was like to be child like and explore and wander around, letting my imagination run free and not having other people give me ideas but just letting myself think and explore without influence.  For me, my brother and sister, it was truly an afternoon to be kids again.  We explored under rocks, gawked at bugs, made silly shadows, and all in all had an awesome time.  It was an afternoon to remember, and a real blessing in disguise.  Sometimes I remember to relax and let life unfold.  Sometimes our adult selves are given a chance to be a kid again, and to refresh the good moments of being a child and appreciate the NOW so much more.  It was a special afternoon and will always be thought of fondly.

– All photos from a Panasonic Lumix DSC- FZ8, and Iphone 3s.

We Are All Learning | + Debra

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com

Apply for Season Seven of our Photography Internship Here

Posted by +Debra

I just got back from South Africa this week, and the best part about the jet lag is having a ton of applications to read for Season 7 Interns.  There are a lot of people vying for a spot in Season 7, and theres alot of talent.   I realize alot of people want to be an intern, but not everybody is the right fit, not everybody is not in the right place in their lives to commit, and various other reasons may come up making it difficult to be take full advantage of the internship.  The fact is, there are a limited number of spots each season, and we simply cannot have everybody on board.  It is important to remember that if you don’t get in the first time you apply, there is always the next season.  (Here’s a big hint, don’t resend the application that wasn’t accepted, start over and show where you improved.)

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

It’s important to remember that even if you don’t get to participate in Season 7, you can still watch and learn, work and improve.  There are no secrets to our photography.  We’re very open and honest, we share our triumphs and apologize for our mistakes (you know the few and far mistakes we make…), so here’s a few thoughts for all the applicants, regardless of whether you become an official intern.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Make Mistakes, Learn from them, Move On

Learn to make mistakes, take chances, review where things could have been different and then move on.  Don’t dwell on them.  Focus on what you learned from the mistake, whether it id a good or bad mistake.  Learn from it.  Move on.

Don’t make the same mistakes twice.  That means your not learning, or paying attention, or worst of all, it means you just don’t care.

If you don’t care, stop.  Leave the work and passion and fun to those of us who do care.  The Leah And Mark Family cares, alot.  That’s right We Care Alot, and we’ve all made plenty of mistakes.  I make mistakes, and they can turn into triumphs, of learning, of accomplishment, of imagery that moves and speaks.  Focus on what can be learned, make that positive, and move on to the next project, email, photograph, etc.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Don’t Take Boring Pictures, Make Beautiful Images

Everybody has a camera, and everybody seems to be a photographer these days.  If you want to make it, you need to be heard above the noise, you need to be a flashing neon green sign on a sea of billboards and snapshots.  You want people to look at your work and like your work and hire you, then don’t take boring photographs.  Make beautiful images.  Work on composition.  Embrace all forms of art and let it flow through you and your photographic imagery.  Learn how to deliver, and also surpass expectations.  That is easier said than done, and always a work in progress.

You don’t like to look at boring pictures, so don’t make them.  Work on composition.  Take chances, try new things, take lots and lots and lots of pictures.  Dont take perfect pictures that are perfectly boring.  Make beautiful images.  Shoot as often as possible, shoot everything.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Move! Jump! Play! Have Fun!

Photoshoots should be energetic, people should be having fun.  Ask people to do things like run, jump, skip, hop, do the chicken dance, whatever it takes to get the blood moving and the smiles relaxed.  If your not having some degree of fun, you’re doing it wrong.  :D

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Take Chances | AKA: Shoot As Often As Possible

Shooting often, especially for yourself gives you the opportunity to experiment, to take risks, to make mistakes.  Shooting more helps you learn more, and learn faster.  We learn something on every single photoshoot, and it prepares us for every photographic opportunity, it’s the key to us being able to WOW our clients.

We don’t shoot just paid gigs, we shoot everything.  Every opportunity we are able to go shoot, we are there.  We make friends, we make art, we make a living.  You don’t have to be an intern to have a photoshoot, you don’t have to have fancy equipment to have a photoshoot.  You just need ideas, and a camera.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Be Curious Like a Child | Learn! Learn! Learn!

Learn from everything, everybody and especially from other peoples mistakes.  Read books about anything that excites you.  Read business books, read baby books, read biographies of people who have changed our world and touched our lives.  Read, learn, watch, learn, listen, learn.

Learn from other peoples mistakes.  And when you make your own mistakes, be honest and candid so that you can teach somebody else.

Being curious goes hand in hand with learning.  Be curious about the world, about people, ask questions and take it all in.  We live in a big world, and it’s an exciting place.  Be curious, learn and approach learning with the same humble joy of a child.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Work Hard, Play Hard.

This one is pretty self explanatory, however nobody is really ever prepared for HOW much hard work is involved.  Photography is not for the faint of heart, there is alot of editing, arranging, calling, emailing, schmoozing, learning, playing, fun having, jumping, running, driving, scouting, exploring, testing, failing, learning, falling, blinking, crying, laughing, dreaming that goes on behind the scenes of each photograph.

Work hard, and then work harder.

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Vintage | Modern

Good Luck to all the Season 7 Applicants!

Apply for Season Seven of our Photography Internship Here

– All Images from my internship in Season 2

2011 Review by +Debra

– Posted by Debra

2011 has certainly been a life changing year for me. The most amazing thing to happen this year has been the birth of my son Shannon. Among the many highlights were the many weddings I witnessed, the new babies I met, the new mommy friends I made, the awesome and rockstar season six interns, and all the fun creative out of the ordinary photo shoots I had.

Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com

Each year brings new experiences an lessons, and becoming a mom was the most awesome and amazing thing to happen to me so far. My relationship with my fiancé, Lance, has grown and evolved and become stronger than ever. All of my relationships have changed, because I have changed. I love more fiercely than ever before, I work harder than ever before, and I look forward to the future more than ever before.

Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com

This year has been filled with so many awesome moments and photographs, it would be impossible to show all of them, I have many many favorites. Each photo is a memory, a shared life experience, and I am so thankful for the many people I encountered on my journey this year. One of the biggest life lessons, brought by the many changes in my life this year, was that of humility. I spent many days being humble and thankful for what I have, and just as many hours thinking of how to build a better future for the benefit of my own family. It has been a soul searching year, one filled with love and growing pains.

Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com

As your reading this I am flying to south Africa to the place of my own birth, to reconnect with my family there, and As much as I am missing my Atlanta family, I know this journey will make me stronger for the coming years. I seldom talk about my deep down squishy feelings, you know the stuff that makes you vulnerable, but I am a little scared and a little excited and a whole lot of wishing I could put my outward heart ( my son and fiancé ) inside of me to keep safe, to keep me safe, I have become accustomed to being a unit, a mommy and and a wifey, its the first time I have been just me in a long long time. Maybe it’s a good time to remember, and it will make my family unit stronger too. I can’t wait to share my adventure with everybody when I return.

Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com
Atlanta Photographer | Debra Edgar | 2011 Review | LeahAndMark.com

Until then, enjoy the condensed version of my year in review. I look forward to 2012, it’s going to be the best year yet!

Happy New Year!

Revolution | Atlanta Art Institute Fashion Show | + Debra

AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com

– Posted by + Debra

Is it just me, or does everybody have a camera?

It’s astonishing to me when I shoot events just how many people have cameras.  There are cameras in our phones, in our iPads, touchpads, laptops, and point and shoots. There are cameras in our jacket pockets, our purses.  There are cameras every where.  I shot the AIA Revolution Fashion Show on Wednesday with +Jo and Alumni Intern Gabe, and it was FABULOUS. I love our photographic family, each and every single member is so unique and wonderful, and it is always a pleasure to catch up with friends and comrades.  There were a lot of other photographers there as well.  Everybody was taking pictures, it was full on glitz, glamour, and paparazzi.
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
When people say to me “I want to be a photographer” I have to smile and say with a small hint of humour that they should quit while they are ahead.  Everybody is a photographer.  It’s a great thing.  It also makes being a professional photographer that much harder.  When you shoot a fashion show, you are shooting side by side with seasoned professionals, talented amatuers, and the proud mom in the crowd with lasts years christmas gift, it might be the camera she waited ten years to own, and she is hungry to use it.  When you shoot a wedding, you have bridesmaids with a bouquet and a sleek point and shoot, uncle Bob in the aisles, and the father if the Bride vying for the shot.
It’s a jungle out there.  You should just quit while you are ahead.  You should give up.
 I feel guilty when I am simply moved by a moment and record it with my eyes instead of my camera, because deep down I know Raphael in row 6 has his zoom lense and maybe got the shot I didn’t, or maybe it’s Judy with her camera phone front and center who got it.  But I also know, I didn’t miss the point, and getting the point helps me get the shots all around.
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
Being a photographer is about making pictures, understanding the moment, showing and immersing the viewer in the feel of the moment.  A picture shouldn’t say to you “hey I am a great photograph”, you should feel it.  It’s not always about the sharpest shot, the best exposure, the fanciest equipment.  You should feel a photograph.  You should breath the moment, or it should take your breath away.  However it makes you react, it should make you react.
We are so thoroughly bombarded by images in our society, we forget how to be moved by a moment, as a photographer, I want to capture that moment.  I want you to be moved.
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
It’s wonderful that people are so avid about photography.  It’s more popular than ever, I hope that as much time as we spend capturing the moment we remember as a society that it is also good to relish it.  We are able to learn so much about our world, and humanity as a whole through the millions of pictures that flood the internet everyday.  We are finding the lyrics to us as humans, and how much we have in common through these photos, and I am grateful to be a part of that song.
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
So while I was laying on the floor, trying to avoid being in about 20 different photographers shots, I contemplated my love of photography.  I marveled at what would make me lie on a perfectly cold concrete floor instead of being at home playing with my son, or eating dinner with my family.  My wonder and amazement grew deeper as I stumbled in the dark dressing area snapping pictures that would by some standards be considered unusable, but to me they are beautiful.  I was certainly a bit daunted to see so many other photographers, and all their fancy equipment.  I could have huddled and cowered out of their way, lamenting that my short lenses didn’t allow me to capture finer details.  Or I could use those lenses to drink in the scene, I could use my arms and legs to scoot closer to the action.  I could shoot from where nobody else wanted to (ie the cold floor) and I could make the limitations shape my shapes, and use it to my advantage.
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
It’s all about how you choose to look at it.
Around here we shoot to learn.  We shoot to win.  We don’t believe in giving up, and welcome the competition to teach us how to be better.  Of course, we have just as many reasons not to give up. 
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
AIA Fashion Show | Debra Edgar | Art Institute Atlanta | Revolution | Defoors Center | LeahAndMark.com
Special thanks to Javaun and his team for allowing the LeahAndMark.com team to capture their event.  We had a blast!