Browsing Tag

Family Portraits

Family Portraits With You | by LeahAndMark & Co.

Have we mentioned that we do family portraits? And newborns? And Maternity sessions? And… heck. Pet Portraits? And I know we should probably have some wording on this website about how we ‘capture the true emotion and essence of your family’  or ‘we capture your personality, your quirks, your You’… um.

Well. I just want to make nice photos. um. Really nice photos?

Whether it’s in Arizona, Pennsylvania, here in Georgia, or anywhere else – having photos of your family is important. Sure I’m a photographer so of course I believe that – but over the past few months we’ve really started focusing on booking more maternity, newborn, and family portraits. Now more than ever as Jonah continues to grow up, - I really appreciate family portraiture. Not just from a photography stand point – but from the simple viewpoint of having a good photo, and being IN a good photo with the people you love the most.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

We’re regularly asked, “What camera do you recommend I buy?” – and our answer is simply the one you’ll use most often. Because a great & expensive camera is useless if you don’t actually pick it up and take photos with it.

Now obviously there is a difference between hiring a Professional Photographer and just taking family photos with your point & shoot on a tripod, or a table – and although we suggest that everyone hire a photographer every now and then – we even MORE suggest that you take the time to make your own photos of the people you love. Because any photographer will tell you that the best photos are always the ‘in-between’ shots.

And compared to the two hours that we have with you during a session, you have opportunities everyday to take photos that we could never dream of making.

So yes – we’re always happy when you hire us and we love making beautiful photos of you and your family – but you should be making those photos that we can’t. Those are the best ones anyways.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Maternity | Newborn |

If you would like to schedule a portrait session, purchase a package, or ask any questions – please fill out the contact form below:

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All photos by LeahAndMark & Co.

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Atlanta Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Mark RoX Tioxon

Atlanta Wedding Photographer | Family Portraits | LeahAndMark & Co. | Videography | Videographer | Video

The Easy Stuff

Remember Tara and Cory? Last month, in Tara’s 9th month of pregnancy, she braved fences and potential trespassing charges for her maternity session, handling it like it was all old hat. And guess what? We didn’t get arrested for trespassing! Yay! Well, that, and… her baby is here! Celeste is here at last and now Tara is an official card-carrying (diaper bag-carrying?) member of the Motherhood sisterhood. And what does being around a newborn do to me, you ask? It might have given me the tiniest(!) bit of baby fever, sure, but it also sends me into major self-reflection-slash-blogging-wheels-are-turning mode. I’m a thinker. Always have been, always will be. So after a shoot like this, reflecting on how you jump into motherhood and life will suddenly never be the same, it flowed for this one. A lot. The fact that I’m also a mom defines my identity in ways that still overwhelm and astound me.

My journey to motherhood wasn’t easy. For a long time, I dwelled on the journey that knocked me down and broke my spirit- what was wrong with me? But then, finally, my dream come true… a little brown-eyed dream that weighed 8 pounds and awarded me the fastest labor of anyone I’ve ever known. And then, a few years and a few more struggles later, my other dream came true… this time, that dream was a 10 pounder with curly black hair and the most squeezable cheeks in existence. It’s funny. The struggles and heart ache and tears that defined my life for what, back then, felt like it would be forever, actually had a purpose after all. They shaped me. They’re always sort of there, lingering in the back of my mind when I’ve had a hard day with my children. They’re there to remind me of how far I’ve come and how very lucky I am. And I am lucky. So very, very lucky.

If you think about it, it’s actually really easy to take care of a baby. Need a diaper change? Done. Hungry? Got it. In need of a walk around the house, at 4 am and only in a very specific position in your arms? That’s the easy stuff. The harder parts of motherhood come creeping in as your babies get a little older. The easy, most primitive needs of a person give way to the more complicated stuff. How do you take a helpless newborn baby and turn it into a smart, kind, productive adult in only eighteen or twenty years? There’s so much to teach them and so little time.


It’s so daunting, the idea that it’s only going to get harder. I worry sometimes (okay, I worry pretty much all the time) that I’m not going to be able to teach them everything I want them to be armed with. And seriously- how am I supposed to help them with their Calculus homework when the last formula flew out of my head years ago?

I wish I had the answer, but I don’t. So here I sit, a few days before my youngest daughter, my Little One, celebrates her first birthday. And I’m a wreck. How can I teach either of them all the stuff in the world when first steps and preschool graduations make me cry? I don’t know. I just don’t know.

But what I do know is that if I could go back in time, years back, and have a choice: the easy road or that road less traveled, full of bumps and setbacks and doctors appointments and ultrasounds and tears and pain and sadness, knowing that it would be a rough journey, guess what? I’d still do it. In. A. Heartbeat. Because I look at my girls, so beautiful and smart and funny, and I know that it was worth it. SO WORTH IT.


So I push along. Like me, Motherhood is a lot of things. Life-changing, rewarding, challenging, fun, exhausting, exciting, boring, busy, lonely, joyful… and more often than not, all of the above, all in the same day. It’s also a process. You become a mother and let’s face it. Most of us have no idea what we’re doing for a good long while. Or ever, really. (And guess what? Those who act like they know EVERYTHING about motherhood, all the while giving you the stink eye because your kid is a genius and wants to eat mud at the playground? They’re lying. They have no clue what they’re doing either.) It’s a learning process, and you figure things out as you go. And the best part of all is that you have the most perfect companion to figure all of this stuff out with over the next few decades: your baby. See what I said? SO WORTH IT.

The Internship | Seasons 1-6

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

– Posted by Mark

We just finished up Season Six of our Photography Internship. That’s a total of roughly 50 Interns over the course of 18 months. Not every one finishes the internship. Sometimes the Intern discovers that they’ve signed up for too much, or they realize that they’re just not into the whole thing (me), or life simply gets in the way. We do our best to try to screen the applicants – with our two step application process – but we never really know who’s going to finish, who’s going to flake, and who’s going to really work the internship.

Because it’s a little bit of a game. While we make a small effort to keep things equally spread out – the fact is that those who put more effort up front, get more back. Basically – we want to work with those interns who take the full-on leap. The ones who don’t hold back. The ones that are in this for the three months unconditionally – and those that understand that what they learn during that time is largely up to them. Some times they get it and sometimes they don’t – and that’s okay.

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Of course – the growth of our photography business has been greatly accelerated with the aid of our Photography Internship. Admittedly – the progress in my own photography over the past two years has greatly benefited by working with so many photographers. I’ve been forced to grow, to figure out how I ‘work’ – and identify my own habits – so that I could make a decent attempt to explain my methods. Nevermind all of the different types of shoots that we’ve only attempted because we had a ‘team’ working on the project.

It’s difficult to haul as much gear and find as many fresh models as we do, when you’re all alone.

The past year and a half would have been dramatically different if it weren’t for the Intern Army and all of their help. I know that not everyone has the same ‘intern experience’ – and that’s okay – because the whole thing is designed that way. It’s not a standard curriculum, and it’s a brand new program every three months. Sometimes we’ll spend 3 months in the studio, other times we’ll be outside the entire time – and good or bad, it’s largely dependent upon my mood – and a little dependent upon what gigs are lined up.

Still. I’ve said it a few times on here – but I like big families – so we created our own photography family. We fight, I make people mad, and they don’t think I’m as funny as I think am.  That’s all okay. Because selfishly – I’m better for having known and worked with all of them – even the ones that quit early. Whether or not they feel the same way is always in question.

But the one thing I am sure about is that I am a better photographer because of the Interns.

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Photography Internship | Atlanta, Georgia | | Training

Season One:

Season Two:


Season Three:

Season Four:


Season Five:

Season SiX:

Paralee Whitmire. Brook Hewitt. Jenna Mobley. Claire Colbert. Vania Ho. Ame Davis. Mary Rebecca. Jason Hensel. Nadine Lindberg. Brittany Wade. Maigh Houlihan. Debra Edgar. Chris Liphart. Ashley Bennett. Robby Bennett. Christy Bennett. Kristen Landell. Christian Klos. Ally Mauro. Blake Burton. Deborah Hakes. Denise Breheim. Nick Rowland. Raven Shutley. Brittany Wages. Brett Falcon. Stephanie Titan. Tristan Brenske. Niki Malek. Laura Polmear. Amanda Summerlin. Sonya Yim Henry. Carrie Tupper. Megan Case. Whitney Hyunh. Gabriel Doty. S Andre Keichian. Jessica Arnold. Silvana Alvarez. Marj Merges. Jen Nash. Kelley Hagen. Tricia Duncan. Mishaun Arrington. Jina Wilson. Liz Frates. Markysha Clarke. Abby Wilhelm. Kristen Bell. Jo Arellanes. Jennifer Giles. Aly Danis. Meagan Thomas O’Neal. Sooji Kim. Brittney Cash. Christopher Wong. Samantha Simmons. Kelly Goodwin.

 Atlanta. Photographer. Photography. Internship. Weddings. Family Portraits.


Earlier this month Sabrina and her family hired me to photograph their family in Philadelphia – Pennsylvania! (Alright it was actually my first time going to Philly so I was kind of happy about that.) After we discussed the logistics of me flying up – we decided that I would fly up in the morning, hangout with them for most of they day, and then fly back down to Atlanta later that afternoon.

Yeah. Being flown up for the day to photograph a family portrait session? Let’s just say that it was a nice opportunity – and that a few weeks later I got the chance to do it again for an engagement session out in Pomona, California (photos to be posted sometime soon as well.)

Like all photoshoots – portrait sessions can be tricky. Especially considering that I hadn’t ever met Sabrina or anyone in her family in real life. So I was going to be landing in Philadelphia, meeting everyone, and then sticking a camera in their face for 6 hours. The potential for things to go wrong… was present – but like I tell our Interns, work on connecting with your clients.

In no particular order, you must show them that you know what you’re doing, that you have ideas, and at the same time, connect with them on a level other than photography.

There is a reason we’re able to consistently capture natural smiles, and our clients look absolutely relaxed in our photos – it’s because we talk with them, and then we keep talking with them, and when we’ve done that, we do it some more.

Now I’d like to think that I know a few magic tricks to make people comfortable with me – but I don’t. Between Leah and me, she’s the super social people machine. Me? I’m alright. I can’t connect with everyone on everything – but it’s not about that. It’s about connecting with most people on something. It’s even better when that thing is something that matters to them.

It’s different for everyone, and they might not even realize how much it matters to them – but you’ll notice how the tone of the conversation changes when you find it.

Of course, some people are just easier than others. But just because they’re comfortable, doesn’t mean that they’ll give you their genuine selves. It takes time, and that’s why even with our in-town portrait sessions we schedule a 2-hour block instead of the normal 1 hour like many portrait photographers. Sometimes 1 hour is all we’ll need and we’ll cut it short – but we like to have the option just in case.

Since I was going to be with them for most of the day – I made sure to make the regular family portrait shots, but then I also just kept photographing. Sometimes families don’t get together as often as they’d like – and if I’m the reason they’re getting together, then I’m definitely going to photograph as much as possible, and document their day… LIFE magazine style… right? ha.

Of course – the food photos are really just for me. Hey. I was in Philly – of course I’m going to try some cheesesteaks… or two.

Now I know these aren’t regular ‘family portrait’ shots – but don’t worry, we took those as well. Over the course of the day so much more happens – and doing the normal round of ‘stand over here and pose, now stand over there and pose, oh – and stand over here and pose’ – just won’t cut it, and we’ll all get bored after 6 minutes…

As much as we photograph ‘portraits’… there’s a fair amount of life that we try to capture as well. Because while it’s a great thing to capture special events in our lives… it’s just as important to pay attention to some of the normal days we spend with family – because there are even more of those and we tend to take them for granted.

Have a great Thanksgiving.

Atlanta. Philadelphia. Family. Portrait. Photographer. Different. Unique. Travel.

Weekend Shooting Spree

That’s my friend Amy. Please note that she is holding coffee, wearing one of my gear bags, and wearing the Intern orange badge. I cannot thank her enough for helping me out all weekend.

I landed in Phoenix, Az. last Friday and basically started shooting the moment the plane touched down. I went to high school in Phoenix (Tolleson!) and my parents still live here so it’s always nice to visit them – of course, if I can knock out a few portrait sessions on the same trip – that’s even better.

Now – Everything I do is probably part of some kind of experiment I’m running – some new idea I’m testing out – and that’s a good thing for the Interns since they eventually benefit from whatever I learn or find out that works (or what I learn doesn’t work).

For this trip in particular, I was really interested in figuring out how to book as many portrait sessions as I could while I was in Phoenix. Of course doing that from Atlanta seemed like an interesting challenge – but hey, I organized and put together a workshop in Montreal, Canada from Atlanta so booking a few portrait sessions shouldn’t be too difficult right? (Other than the ones for our Interns, that Montreal workshop was the first one ever, and now we’re confirmed to teach one in Kathmandu, Nepal next month.)

One thing that I knew for certain was that I would need an assistant. So I asked one of my best friends from high school (Amy!) to help out over the weekend. I had a few other options as far as assistants, but things got really crazy and after partying too hard on the first night with Amy and another friend from high school (Michelle!) – I was pretty delirious and shooting with half of my brain from Saturday through the end of Monday. Luckily, no matter what, I’ll always wake up to start shooting (just ask Leah).

Still. I think I figured a few things out about getting more photography ‘work’, managing a schedule, and… drinking lots of coffee. Of course, it’s not like I’m completely clueless on the ways of getting paid work – but coming up with new ideas and methods is always a positive. Not only that – but these are ideas I can share with the Interns so that they can use them to get new paying work.

Because the fact is – I think it’s a unique thing that I convinced a family to drive from El Paso, Tx., to Phoenix, Az., for their maternity session, another family to drive the 3+ hours from Northern Arizona, and three friends who I haven’t seen since high school to drag their families out into the windy, cold, and sometimes rainy conditions for a portrait session. Yes – it was raining during one of the sessions and we just waited it out underneath some trees.

Remember, Leah and I like to say that nothing we do is secret, but not everyone knows everything we do.

Leah arrives in Phoenix on Thanksgiving and then we’re here until Tuesday. With all of the photoshoots we’ve been doing lately – there’s quite the backlog of editing. It’s an all out war on editing right now since I’m flying out to Kathmandu, Nepal on December 6th and staying there until the 23rd.

I always tell our Interns not to rely on ‘interesting’ subjects to ‘make’ your photo. Far too many photographers do that – with their TFP model shoots, using makeup artists and hair stylists (TFP = trade for print). Early on, it’s too much of a crutch. It’s a distraction from what you should really be doing as a people photographer – connecting with your subjects.

Except for the family that drove from El Paso, I basically didn’t know any of my clients this weekend. Sure I knew some of them a little bit from high school – but that was over 10 years ago (what?!).

Everything was like herding cats at times – but in the best kind of way. You might notice that we make it a point to get people to look right into our lens. It takes time. Kids aren’t always in the mood. Heck – adults aren’t always in the mood. I do a lot of talking. Imagine how much talking I might do – and then triple that – I talk a lot and I get the clients to talk a lot. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s… less easy.

But you have to be confident in your ‘people’ skills if you’re willing to fly across the country and spend 5-6 hours with a couple you’ve never met before, follow them around like papparazzi and basically have a camera in their face the entire time. Last Monday I did just that – with Emily & Ben. They hired us to photograph their wedding in Ojai, Ca., and this was their engagement session. I flew into Ontario, Ca. Monday morning, hung out with them for 6 hours and then flew back to Phoenix that same night.

There is a big difference between a 2 hour session and a 6 hour session of constant photographing.

No matter what though – your job as a photographer is to get the clients to a point where they’re no longer uncomfortable in front of your lens. Not the lens. Your lens.

I’ll be editing for the next two weeks… and we’ll be posting again soon. Until then, have a great Thanksgiving.

Atlanta. Phoenix. California. Photographers. Weddings. Family. Portraits.

The Weekend, Phoenix, and More

It’s been busy around here lately. This past week was pretty awesome – a good number of new people signed up for our photography newsletter through our mention on Scoutmob!, and we’ve been working with the interns a good bit.

We’ve also received a good number of emails asking for photography/light classes – and it’s always a big compliment when someone wants to learn from you – and believe me, we’re really flattered by the idea. So yeah. One day, when we’re ready, we’ll offer actual photography classes. Until then, we’re just going to focus on working with our interns and polishing up our delivery – because teaching is a totally different skill and just because you do something well, doesn’t mean you can effectively convey that knowledge to others. We respect good teachers and we don’t want to be bad ones. So we’re practicing.

In two week’s we’re actually going to be holding a Photography Business Marketing class for all of our interns. We don’t really know what’s taught at other ‘photography marketing’ classes but what we do is outline what we’ve done over the past year since we started last August, and then some of the principles we follow. I’ve said this before so none of it’s new, but our three main principles are:

1. Be different

2. Do things that matter

3. Show everyone

To give you an idea of how we go about things – this book is actually one of our recommendations for all of our interns. Fundamentals don’t change. Creative advertising that doesn’t sell product is still failed advertising.

I’ve been working with the interns lately and going on some of their photoshoots with them. I’ll usually help out with lighting and some shot ideas – but they’re leading the shoot. They have to find subjects, the location and basically make it happen. I just show up, help out, answer questions, make up ideas, and we’ll work on different shot setups.

Sometimes people just need a little push to do more. Sometimes we need a big shove. In order to attend our marketing class, interns are required to schedule a photoshoot on their own so that I can come along and work with them. Sure they work with me on my shoots, but it’s something different when it’s your own clients. There is also a quota of deliverables and effort. Just because our internship is free, doesn’t mean that everyone finishes. Sometimes life gets in the way of plans, sometimes it’s just not a good fit – but no matter what, the set deliverables are required (kind of like when you have clients!) and basically everyone has to work hard or they won’t be an intern anymore – and I do mean that in the nicest way possible 🙂

This weekend is the halfway point for our 3 month internship. That means six weeks have gone by, photos have been made and blog posts have been written. Check them out here.

I’ll be in Phoenix for a bit of time in November and I’m booking portrait sessions, but I’m also looking for a few assistants to work with me out there. If you know anyone interested in a portrait session, or helping out – let me know. That would be awesome. Just email us at or hey, you can drop a line at my facebook page.

Oh yeah, and I suppose I could also mention that we do portrait sessions here in Atlanta too. All the time. Just ask for one 🙂

This weekend, me and the Intern Army are going to be at Anime Weekend Atlanta (anime convention!). We’ve acquired some staff badges so we have better access and hopefully we’ll make photos that are completely different from your average ‘con’ photo.

These are the test shots we did at Dragon*Con – oh and these too.

Now we’re going to really start shooting. Along with our staff badges we’ll have these super bright orange LeahAndMark Intern Badges. Because you know – we don’t want to be confused with any Counterfeit Interns.

Oh – we’re also going to be competing with each other. We’ll be in teams of two and we’ll be covering the convention however we see fit. The main requirement is that we do not make standard convention photos. Basically – we’re going to be working in a way you couldn’t work if you were shooting alone. Off-camera flash and human light stands.

And then we’ll all get together and photograph the Lolita Fashion show.

I photographed it last year and made these photos. It was really exciting because all of the other photographers never showed up – so I had free reign (and lots of time) to do whatever I wanted. Sure I was naive and I didn’t really know what the heck I was doing (remember, at that point I had only been shooting for about a month). Still – this year I’m going to try some brand new things because why would we try the same old stuff?

Check back on Monday. All of the interns are required to have some new posts up – or they’re cut. Yeah, we’re going all out now.

Atlanta. Photographer. Interns. Internship. Phoenix. Portraits.


This shot above was featured on OffBeat Mama yesterday.

I brought along Intern Paralee on this maternity/family session a few weeks ago. Natasha is actually a very good friend of Megan and Paul – who we photographed a few weeks earlier for their own maternity session (and just last week we photographed their newborn baby Scotty). Megan and Natasha are about a month apart and Megan just gave birth last week. So that means Natasha’s due… today. No, wait. I don’t really know when she’s due – but it’s got to be soon right?

Look at my photographic powers! I can make hyper little dogs stand still and pose for me!

We spent this past weekend in Nashville, TN. – celebrating our 1 year wedding anniversary! – so we’ve got lots of photo shoots lined up, and lots of editing. This week is going to be packed.

Check out the rest of Natasha’s set in Photo Gallery – Here.

Megan & Paul Part II

We first photographed Megan and Paul back in December (click here) – so we were really happy when they hired us to photograph them for her maternity session!

Leah’s actually known Megan since elementary school and recently reconnected over facebook. Megan and Paul keep telling us that they have a great time during our photo shoots and that we’re a lot of fun to work with – so hopefully that comes across in the photos. If anything, I think you can really get a sense of how connected these two are to each other and how excited they are about being parents.

Leah and I realize how lucky we are that people hire us to photograph them. Because when you hire us, you’re not just hiring someone with a nice camera. You’re actually inviting us into your lives and often times introducing us to your family. This is the main reason why we work so hard to deliver meaningful photos. At the end of the day, we know our clients put a lot of trust in us and we take that seriously. It’s also why we have our 100% guarantee.

I think the fact that clients are inviting us back is a good sign that we’re doing something right.

Family Set

Check out the Preview Set:

In case you haven’t noticed – we like playing. Our family portrait sessions are pretty action packed and we only go for the ‘formal’ type shots at the very end, when the kids (and parents) have run out of steam and can actually stand still for a moment.

When Kara hired us, she probably didn’t know what to expect – but she and her husband definitely worked as hard as we did for their photos. Their children are full of energy and after they got over their initial shyness, all they wanted to do was PLAY!

Our family portrait sessions are a little challenging because we ask a lot of both our clients, and ourselves.

Every client should look for a photographer who’s visual style matches what they envision for the photos they’d like to purchase.

Clearly – if you want a studio setting with props that have been used in everyone else’s photoshoots – you don’t hire us. Honestly, we’re looking for more than the ‘perfect’ photo, capturing a ‘timeless’ image of etc, etc, etc…

We aim to create exciting photos that have some energy, and hopefully do more than just document your child at a certain age.

As you can see, we had a really great time with Kara and her family.

Check out the Preview Set: