Browsing Tag


The tables have turned | by +Krisandra

It’s not by chance that I am here and it’s not luck that got me here. When all you have done with your whole adult life is photography it is preparation (school, countless hours of shooting, reading, studying, late nights, coffee, my wonderful personality) that has landed me here. And now I am in a position that I have never been in before…

I have interns asking ME questions about how to take a photograph. It wasn’t until last Friday night at Season [X] intern introduction night that I came to realize just how much information I have about photography stored away. Yes, I graduated from photography school and have been working with photography companies and clients for many years. But, it’s not everyday that someone comes up to you with a camera and genuinely wants to know how to use it to make better photographs.



It has become mechanical, at this point, that I don’t think about how to take an image, or what settings I need to make the image I am trying to create. I know my lens and I know my camera. I just feel for the button and start turning and pushing them. I shoot in manual and know when to change ISO and/or change F-stops. When you are surrounded by working professional photographers those questions rarely come up. Yes, there is the occasional question about settings in a new situation, but for the most part the questions are more technical and intense because we are trying something new or equipment fails or something crazy like that.



The tables have turned and I like it! I didn’t realize how great it would be to help someone else create something they could be proud of. Something they may include in their portfolio. I LIKE QUESTIONS! I have a new respect for all my past instructors (trusting in my education), fellow classmates (who I still bug), the other +Photographers (thanks for everything during my internship), Joy (for answering every question under the sun) and Leah and Mark (whom I wouldn’t be here without).

So, here I am. An open book. A +Photographer. Ready for all the questions the new interns may have. It wasn’t luck that has gotten me here. It was preparation.

Good luck Season [X].

Connecting | by +Krista

A few years ago, I came across this really awesome (and very poignant) quote- I found it (or it found me) at a time when my life was essentially flipped upside down. I was questioning things a lot: where I was, where I was going, and who I’d chosen to surround myself with. And then, I found it. I’d like to say it was scrawled someplace significant but it was probably doodled on the inside of a college textbook or something… but it basically slapped me in the face: “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.” And wow. It was exactly the lightbulb moment I needed. And while I’ve stumbled and backslid a few times since, that saying is now always in the back of my mind, like the good advice I don’t always follow but do always remember- eventually. Because life is about connections. Like photography.

It’s easy to snap a picture of something pretty. There’s pretty stuff all around us- a sunset, a bunch of flowers, whatever. But the challenge of creating lies in making something a little bit (okay, a LOT) better than something that’d hang on the wall in a hotel room- and the best challenge of all is connecting. With a face: eyes locked, betraying the mind. With a moment: head thrown back in mid-laugh, shoes kicking up in the air. Or with a place: connecting so well that you’d swear you could pull a Mary Poppins and be inside that place in an instant. The connection is what I love most about photography- connecting with the camera, with another person, anything.

I find myself, especially at weddings, dropping my camera down from my face for just a moment during the first dance- because I love watching that connection between people in love. I sometimes hide around the corner of my living room hallway, watching my daughters and their own little connection: sisterly, fiery, loyal and loving- I stifle my laughter when my Little One fights back against her big sister’s bossiness with a bite. The connections in life- no matter how meaningful or superficial- are what make us.

And I’ve had lots of connections. I still wonder about some- as in, what the HELL was I thinking?- and I miss some. Regret some. Hold onto some. Let go of others. (Sometimes multiple times.) Every single connection really can be divided neatly into a category: season, reason, lifetime. I literally have a photographic memory- a blessing and a curse- and forever have those connections, no matter who they were or why they were, ingrained into my mind. And into my photography too. And that. is. awesome.

hindsight | by +elaine

– Posted by Elaine

the thing about the internship, not all shoots are glamorous. there aren’t always backdrops and lightstands. models and make-up and wardrobe. well, that’s not true. sometimes the backdrop is a wall full of eyeglasses. and the models are doctors. and the wardrobe is a suit. but a shoot is a shoot. even if they don’t fit your definition of exciting. I had Intern Christine come with me on this corporate headshot shoot at Georgia Eye Specialists. I asked her to hold the reflector. after seeing her reaction, I then asked her if she’d ever held a reflector before. she hadn’t. such a little thing, but that’s what stood out most to me about this shoot. how we always need to assume that the interns are starting from zero. not in an insulting way. more in a blank-canvas kind of way.

as the Season 8 Interns wind down their three months, I’m really feeling how that was just me a blink ago. I’ve watched them go through everything I did.  the just knowing you were going to get the internship, while simultaneously being completely shocked you got in. the introduction night “what the hell have I gotten myself into” look. the excitement and nervousness at the beginning. incessant facebook-checking to be first responder in the new-shoot opportunity battle. shooting, shooting, and shooting some more. thinking you were the best intern. thinking you were the worst. having to remind yourself that you’re not a complete idiot when it comes to photography and that you were picked for this internship for a reason. having doubts and insecurities mess with your head. having overconfidence and cockiness mess with your head. blogging like a boss to get more posts in than the other interns. then falling behind. thinking the internship was never going to end and that you were tired and you were not ever going to finish everything you had to edit. feeling panic and indignation at hearing mark announce that applications were being accepted for the next intern season. feeling a little bit like you were being dumped or replaced. then thinking the internship had gone by way too fast and wishing it wouldn’t ever end.

I’m going to tell you something I haven’t told anyone. when I started my internship, my unspoken, barely-admitted-to-myself goal was to become a “plus”. I was going to work my ass off to become good, better, best. to be solid and reliable. and awesome, of course. “it’s only 3 months” was my mantra. I said yes to every shoot, even if I wasn’t sure I could make it. then I made sure I made it. I ran around. I carried things. heavy things. I didn’t bitch. (well, I bitched. but I didn’t whine.) I showed up, tried to learn, and not be envious of everyone else. in front of clients, I remembered dad-lesson #16: act like you know what you’re doing, even if you don’t. and in front of my LeahAndMark family I actually asked questions when I didn’t know what I was doing.

so anyway, the 3 months ended. my wish granted, Intern Elaine became +Elaine. (I love referring to myself in the third person.) huzzah! except that that mantra which had kept me going ended up throwing me for a loop. I gave the internship everything I had, and I was tired and wanted a break. but then the new crop of interns arrived, and I had to help them. and they were there to help me. it re-energized me. reliving the whole thing through them, trying to help them learn. giving them the opportunity to make mistakes. because the mistakes are what really make you learn and grow. trusting them. teaching them to trust themselves.

not to mention the fact that instead of being the intern, I got to have interns. well, they’re LeahAndMark’s interns. but I have them by association. the best part is having help. extra hands to haul stuff around, an extra shooter (or three or four). having someone to boss around. not that I do…well, a little. but in a kind way. I’m a benevolent dictator.

it’s by interacting with the interns that I really see how far I’ve come myself. their lessons are my lessons. and as the Season 9 applications come pouring in, I realize that the internship never really ends. because as a “plus”  it’s this fantastic 3-month long groundhog day kind of experience that I get to relive again. and again. learning more and more each time around. making myself a better “plus”, a better photographer, a better me, with every iteration.


I read through the most amazing workbook recently, and one of my favorite exercises from it is one I’ve managed to make a part of almost every aspect of my life. It’s called “the airport game.”

The exercise asks that you make a concerted effort to see the beauty of every single human being you see. That the next time you’re in a public place, you look at and study the people around you, seeing each person specifically as someone who is loved. Then your mission is to imagine what this person’s significant other, or family member, or friend loves most about them.

I find myself applying this exercise most when I’m photographing someone, especially for the first time.

Not only that, but I don’t believe in someone being “unphotogenic.” It just doesn’t exist for me.

When I was in high school, I was told that I was “unphotogenic” by a photographer who was shooting my best friend’s senior pictures. Since then, I’ve learned that simply because someone doesn’t know how to capture that certain something that you have doesn’t mean that it’s not there. It certainly has nothing to do with you if the person behind the lens has no eye for beauty, or love. It’s sad for them, but bears no reflection on you.

So, when people come to me, saying that they’re “unphotogenic” or even unattractive, I smile to myself, because I know they’ll soon learn that they’re wrong. And in this instance, their being wrong is the best feeling in the world to me.

Posted by +Raven

Atlanta. Photographer. Weddings. Headshots. Editorial. Photos. +Raven.

Samantha R.

Samantha is in her freshman year of college and she’s studying opera – she’s going to be an opera singer (maybe I should do the whole positive reinforcement thing and say that she is an opera singer.)

I was referred to her father by a friend who’s a vendor at one of the local farmer’s markets that we frequent – it’s always a high compliment whenever someone actually refers us to their friends… especially since up to that point, I hadn’t ever done any headshots. Not real ones anyway. So I had some of that nervous excitement since this was a ‘first’ – and I didn’t want to screw things up. These are for submitting applications to various opera workshops – serious stuff – and generally conservative headshots are required – so no crazy light with lens flares!

Of course – these photos don’t show everything. They don’t show the part where I forgot some of my gear – some seemingly very important items. Once I got into the house and put my stuff down, I realized that I had forgotten to bring my shoot-through umbrellas – they soften the light and make it… better. Sure I laugh now – but at the time I was FREAKING OUT in my head. I can’t shoot her with bare flashes! They’d have to be like 5 inches away from her face and even then who knows!

Of course you can’t let the clients see that. Ha! I did go back out to my car and checked to make sure – and then freaked out some more while I stood there in the cold.

Oh well… I’ll just have to… make this work… and then I walked back inside.

Now – we have a portable backdrop and setup for portraits – but I opted to try to do this without pulling out all the gear. The room in the photo below basically had the only white walls, and this small spot where Samantha’s sitting was IT. Yeah – it’s a narrow strip of real estate but fortunately these were just headshots so it didn’t matter.

Note: At this point I was still freaking out in my head and just really hoping that this would work.

Since I didn’t have my light diffusers – and I wasn’t going to put the flashes right up to her face – I brought out two flashes and aimed them at the wall and ceiling. You can’t tell from this photo, but on the wall to the left (our left) is a window letting in light. I didn’t want any of that so I just upped the shutter speed and closed down all ambient light – all the light you see in these photos is from my flashes only.


Look at the above photo – doesn’t exactly scream ’perfect setup for professional headshots’. I have one light there aimed at the wall and then one on the right side angled up at the ceiling.

At least I’ve learned not to use a wide-angle lens for portraits (ha… I probably did that far too long…hey, I know better now!) – so I threw my 200mm on and stepped back about 10 feet. Yeah. A couple of things really worked out – the white wall, the proximity to the corner (better bounce) and the fact that this room opens across the entrance and into another room – so I could’ve stepped 20 feet back and had room to spare.


After the first few shots – I knew this was going to work and that’s when we really started.