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Hi I知 +Mishaun
When I applied for the internship I was looking to shoot more, stretch the limits of my creativity, evolve as a photographer, and meet some new people. From shooting in rivers and old cars to my first wedding, the three months proved to be so much more than what I had envisioned. I know many people have talked about just how fast the internship goes by and it痴 so true. When the three months were over Ididn’twant it to end and now I知 so thrilled that I am now an actual part of the LeahandMark team. I shoot everything from weddings and events to families and babies, models, proposals, pets, just becauses and everything in between. Anything you can dream upI値l shoot it. I love that each shoot is so vastly different from the next. I love to collaborate with my clients and create photos that capture their unique personalities. Whether it is a wedding or another type of event, I strive to create photos that take you back and help you re-live your memories.

I知 looking forward to helping the current interns to accomplish their goals for the next three months and watching their internship journey unfold. I知 also looking forward to seeing where the new journey of plus-dom takes me.

Wednesday by Leah: Sleep!

– Posted by Leah

If you are a sleep-deprived parent, please don’t read this blog post!

Everyone else – I am happy to report that I’m getting a decent amount of sleep! Which is probably the biggest surprise of this parenting adventure for me. I didn’t expect to be getting as much sleep as I do, but Jonah is a super easy baby – he wakes up generally once or twice to nurse for 5 minutes and then falls back to sleep. He’s been doing that for the past 3 weeks. Before then, he was still nursing every two hours, and peeing and pooping about as often. But as he’s grown, he’s started going longer between feedings in the evening and he also doesn’t pee or poop quite so often. Which means more sleep for both of us!

Before Jonah came, I thought we’d use the Arm’s Reach co-sleeper from the get-go. It’s set up right next to our bed, so Jonah can be close by. But then Jonah arrived and he was so tiny and precious, and nursing so often, that he ended up just sleeping on my chest. Even the co-sleeper was too far away – when I would put him in it, I couldn’t sleep. I would just watch him and make sure he was breathing. On my chest, I knew he was breathing because I could feel him. I would prop myself up with pillows, and could nurse him easily throughout the night. And that’s how we slept at first. No, it is NOT the recommended way to sleep. But even the slightest movement from him would wake me up, so I wasn’t worried about his safety – if anything, I felt like he was more safe with me than lying in a bassinet, because I could keep him warm and make sure he was breathing.

Now that he’s sleeping for longer stretches, he sleeps beside me. Still not in the co-sleeper, but I think sometime between 3 and 6 months we’ll transition him over there, and then between 6 and 12 months we’ll transition him to his room. What’s worked great for me and Mark is for me to sleep on my own for a few hours in the earlier part of the evening, while Mark hangs out with Jonah. Then I wake up for a snack (breastfeeding makes me more hungry than pregnancy did!!!), and I take Jonah while Mark’s goes to sleep. Jonah nurses and then we both fall asleep…then he wakes up 4 hours later and nurses again, and falls right back to sleep, and Mark usually gets a full stretch of sleep – 6 to 8 hours.

And that’s what works for us. Which is really the point of this post, other than me being really excited that Mark and I are both getting sleep, period! This is not how I pictured the whole sleep thing working out, but it most definitely is working out for us. This is not what the parenting books say to do, this is not what our pediatrician recommends, but it’s what works for us. And while I understand the concerns about co-sleeping, intuitively this feels right for us, for our family. And practically, it’s allowing us all to get a good night’s sleep. So that’s what we’re doing.

Baby RoX Tioxon

Atlanta Birth Photographer | | Newborn | Water Birth | Home Birth

12:35 a.m.,November 10th, 2011

Baby RoX Tioxon.

Born at home.

Atlanta Birth Photographer | | Newborn | Water Birth | Home Birth

Atlanta Birth Photographer | | Newborn | Water Birth | Home Birth


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.


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:


See the Preview Set Here.

We’ve been photographing many more babies lately – and I’ll admit – that’s great! Because Leah’s got baby fever! and like an addict it helps her um. cravings? No, that’s not the right term. But you know what I mean 泗

Still – one of the best things about this whole photography gig is that we get to share moments in people’s lives – personal moments – and that’s what I really find interesting. Sure I like to photograph models and play with crazy light schemes – but when you strip away all of the fun gear, and you’re left with just your camera – your most important job is to just find some moments to capture.

The thing about being invited into people’s homes is that it’s tricky. We’re there to photograph them and their children – but at the same time that we’re doing everything we can to make them comfortable, we’re also trying to make them act like we’re not there. Because even when the kids are going wild and falls down, or the baby’s crying hysterically – there’s a moment where the parent is comforting the child and a kind of stillness takes over, where there really isn’t anyone else around except them. Even if it’s just for a second or two while the mother is looking into the eyes of the crying child and the child looks back, waiting for the mom to say what she says that makes it all better.

Or when a baby won’t stop crying except for when his father holds him, walking in circles around the house, over and over again.


Zack & Rachel + Adam

Click Here for the Preview Gallery.

Our friends Zack and Rachel just had their first baby – an adorable little boy named Adam. In spite of the haze and delirium of the first few weeks of parenthood, they invited us over to meet their new addition and take all the photos our hearts desired. Pretty awesome, huh? Little did they know that by opening their home to us, they were also inviting Mark to completely rearrange their furniture and deconstruct their newly set-up nursery. My polite GRITS-ness (Girl Raised In The South, y’all) was not totally ok with this arrangement. I cringed and apologized to Rachel as we hauled the armchair and changing table out of the nursery and into the living room.

She laughed, shrugged, and said it was fine. I don’t know if that was the sleeplessness talking, or if she really meant it, but one thing I’ve learned after the past many months of photography with Mark is that when he gets a vision of the shot he wants, there is absolutely no stopping him. None at all. It is futile to try to dissuade him from his pursuit, as I discovered when he hauled our friend Addy on his back down a steep, gravelly hill to a creek bed. It’s best if I just hush up and move the furniture. So move it, I did.

And I’m glad I did. Because I’ve also learned that when Mark gets a vision of the shot he wants, he usually gets that shot, and it’s usually something pretty awesome. Plus, not only did I get to move furniture, I also got to move Baby Adam, and that means I got to hold Baby Adam and smell his precious, lovely baby-ness and touch his soft little baby skin, and Baby is a drug I am totally addicted to at the moment. So I got my fix, and Mark got his. And Adam was a jolly good sport the whole time we clicked away with our cameras and moved him from one position or piece of furniture to the next.

So, congrats Zack and Rachel! Adam is a handsome little man and we look forward to more photo shoots with your beautiful family. Maybe some outside ones, so we don’t rearrange your whole house. (Also, I hope we put your nursery back together satisfactorily! I think we might have put the changing table back in the wrong direction…)

Click Here for the Preview Gallery.