Browsing Tag

Paralee Whitmire

MacKenzie & Ryan | by +Krista

Through my journey with everything I’ve done and everywhere I’ve been this year, I’ve met a lot of people. A LOT OF PEOPLE. A LOT OF REALLY AWESOME PEOPLE. Amazingly talented, artistic, funny, kind people- honestly, the gaggle of people that have come into my life this year are unlike any others I’ve ever known. Clients. Brides. Grooms. Families. Friends. Children. Performers. Artists. And most of all, fellow photographers from every far-flung corner imaginable… and some that went to high school right down the street from me.

Paralee is kind of a legend. She was the very first Intern- ever- and everyone who knows her thinks she’s the sweetest thing in existence. And so, when I got an email out of the blue from this Very Famous Paralee, asking if I’d like to partner up with her on a wedding in Savannah, I felt like I was entering this new level of being a photographer. My internship may be a thing of the past, but the challenge of what I’m doing never ends- and it’s never going to– and the idea of doing something OTHER than either second-shooting or lead-shooting, but instead, truly building a partnership for a wedding, almost literally split right down the middle, well, I was intrigued- I’d never photographed a wedding that way before. That, and I was thrilled and honored to work with Paralee.

The wedding was lovely. The weekend was lovely. The bride and her family, whom we stayed with in an incredible house right on the beach on Tybee Island, were lovely. The groom and the families and the friends and the beach and the entire three days… just lovely. Really. There was a lot of loveliness going on. The bride’s sister walked her down the aisle. There were fabulous yellow cardigans involved. From a First Look on the beach… ON THE BEACH… to a dock-side ceremony right on the bayou… to the envitable shrimp and grits as synonymous to Savannah as the Spanish moss that I miss again already… it was all just perfect. And fun. And romantic. And… lovely. It’s weddings like these that make me want to get married all over again- to my husband again of course- he humors the shrimp and grits thing so I think I’ll keep him.

Thank you to MacKenzie and Ryan and your families for everything- for opening your home to us and welcoming us so warmly into your family for the weekend. And I made a new friend out of the weekend- Paralee, thank you for everything and I’ll see you at the next one!

Atlanta. Wedding. Photographer. Savannah. Tybee. Beach.

Paralee Whitmire | The Interview

Paralee Whitmire is – and she’s our friend. She’s also an Alumni Intern, having been a member of Season One of our Internship. Honestly? Paralee was an Intern with us before we even started the internship. More importantly – she’s impossibly awesome, and ridiculously amazing. – Interview & Photos by M. Tioxon


I felt really guilty leaving the public school education system. I felt like I was a pretty good teacher and I was abandoning the kids. I felt really bad about it.

I’m internet famous. But not INTERNET FAMOUS! I get messages from students everyday about how I’m helping them pass their tests. The ones that I get to know are the adults – the ones that always wanted to learn a language and tried every program out there, but mine is the one that worked for them. When you get Internet famous, people don’t expect you to respond to them. It’s weird. It’s very strange for me as person who works from home, has a small group of friends and a simple life where no one recognizes me – compared to the online circles where thousands and thousands of people know my name. It’s amazing.

All of the resources on SpanishDict are free. You don’t pay for any of the content. We believe education should be free for everybody.

I would like to be able to do a backflip on a snowboard off a jump and land it. I’d think it’d be awesome if I could be a full time soapmaker. I’d like to go back to the computer being a fun thing. Anything on the computer is work for me. I’d like to make soap.

I taught at Carver high school in Atlanta. It lived up to its reputation as far as being low rent –ghetto. But the kids were in uniforms and we had laptops, and smart boards – we had endless resources – but ONLY if you threatened the administration that you were leaving. That’s the only way you could get those resources. I didn’t have anything first semester. No textbooks, no room. They didn’t even buy me a cart to push my papers around until I threatened to quit and started documenting what they were saying to me – and then all of a sudden I got $10,000 worth of materials AND a classroom.

I found this job on Craigslist. I joined three years ago to write references, how-to articles – and it was a dream. I was like, “OMG, I’m 23 and I get to write textbooks?”

I filmed 90 videos of myself. When we first started we were renting a room in an office building in Buckhead. It was just ‘a room’. We borrowed all of the film equipment we used. Some fancy Sony camera, two spotlights, and a green screen. A really low-rent setup. And HOT.

One weekend we were behind schedule on filming. So I figured I’d film over the weekend. It was July. I thought it would be fine. They turned the A/C off in the whole building. I toughed it out and kept filming. I was pouring sweat. It was disgusting. I couldn’t use any of what we shot.

It IS big. On average, 5 million unique visitors a month.

Being the only employee for SpanishDict – I’ve had the opportunity to learn everything. Marketing. Video production. Sound Production. Public relations. I have done more content production for learning Spanish and English than I ever thought I would do. I’ve reached so many people. I’ve learned to ask for what I want. I think a lot of people just get into their jobs and assume that their bosses have the whole thing mapped out for what you deserve, when you’re gonna get a raise, why you’ll get a raise. And going from hourly for very little money to now where I’m on salary with health and vacation – I had to ask for those. I had to put together a proposal for the things that I wanted.

I was the captain of the soccer team. I was on the Varsity team my freshman year in high school. I got to UGA and realized that I was a tiny fish in a huge ocean. All of a sudden I wasn’t even good enough to play on intra-mural teams. We had to make our own Jerseys. Stephens County Lady Indians.

Park Tavern. Dollar beers whenever it rains.

I get to make up my own job title depending on who I’m emailing. Director of Interactive Education. Director of Marketing. Director of Public Relations. Always Director of Something. I’m the Chief Operations Officer. I do everything. It’s really cool.

There’s a tiny town in Peru called Huanchaco – a tiny no nothing town on the beach. I could live there. Second would be Florence. I wasn’t expecting that one. I went to Italy after studying Latin for five years. I got to Rome and was totally depressed. Too modern. Too much graffiti, too much fashion – too much tourism. It really hurt my feelings. The people weren’t cool enough to me. They were really stuck up. We got outside of Rome and people were TOTALLY different.

Florence? We LOVED Florence.

An Orthodontist. I think for the money. Because my parents are both teachers in a small town – they made NO MONEY and had 6 kids. I didn’t notice it that much until I was in high school and everyone wanted a pair of these expensive, REALLY UGLY shoes that were ‘cool’. My mom said no.

I was like “This is REALLY important to my popularity!” I really thought the Georgia Boots would raise my status. In college I just got smacked in the head with reality and realized that my parents had it right – living with what you have and a job that makes you happy – and having time for your kids.

Our dictionary? Hands down, we have more dictionary entries for Spanish/English than any other online dictionary out there. Not only that – we have a huge user generated phrase book. Phrases like ‘cat-got-your-tongue’ – things that only make sense in English.

I have Googled myself.

I studied for a summer in Spain. We went to Morocco and got mugged at Machete-point. The brother of the Chief of police asked me to marry him. He did get us out of jail though.

I didn’t realize how much work was involved in Search Engine Optimization. It’s really boring. Keywords. Link building. You’re a spammer. That’s what you are. I was a professional spammer for about a year.

Five Siblings. Elizabeth. Maegdlyn. Porter. Tyler. Paralee. Neelie. I love having a huge family.

It’s all telemarketing, and used car sales – at least when you’re looking on Craigslist for a job that has to do with Spanish.

I do so much work FOR Spanish language learning. But MY Spanish has gotten so much worse since I stopped filming myself in the videos. All I do is edit. And work on other things. I never get to practice. We’re moving to Frisco, Colorado. It’s 20 minutes to Five different ski resorts.

We’ll be there for two months and then three months in Chile.

I have like 12 pairs of pajama pants.

It feels good to get messages from students in far off, tiny countries, telling me that they’re learning Spanish because of something I made.


Interview & Photos by M. Tioxon


Paralee. Whitmire. Photos. Interview.

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Paralee & Aaron


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In case you don’t live here in Atlanta and you haven’t heard – it’s really cold right now. With the daily highs around 30 degrees, we’re freezing (hey, it’s the South, we like it a little warmer alright?) But of course that doesn’t stop me from shooting outside! (Although after this weekend, I definitely have to wear my parka next time.) Still. This past weekend was a great way to start off the new year. Three photo shoots and all of them different. A model portfolio shoot, a headshot session, and then this couples session with Paralee and Aaron.

We met up at Piedmont Park at around 4pm – the temperature dropped down to the low 20’s at that point and there was a slight wind to help make things even colder. Awesome.

The best part of this past weekend was definitely the clear sky, and the brilliant sun. Even though it was freezing cold, it wasn’t rainy and it wasn’t overcast – we had too much weather like that last year (even though it did get us out of our 4 year drought.) Still. With the setting sun and clear skies – we were losing light fast, and I wanted these photos to have a different look than your normal outdoor portrait session in Piedmont Park (it’s a popular location.)

Aside from all of the other considerations (composition, wardrobe, energy) – it’s all about light and how you control it. Sometimes you want the orange cast from a setting sun, and sometimes it’s just too orange. So you make adjustments if you know how. Add light, take away light, redirect light – and do it in a manner that the energy of the moment isn’t lost and your people can move around a bit. Because this isn’t a model shoot where you can take 6 minutes to set up a single shot. You’ve got one. So set up your lights, find a setting and make sure their faces are lit. Then Shoot.


Once you’ve got the cool shots with whatever additional lighting you want, everyone can really relax and start to move around more within the natural ambient light and then it’s just up to you the photographer as far as direction, composition and camera settings. Each photo shoot is different and making adjustments on the fly is the fun part. It’s a constant tweaking of settings and turning dials, along with paying attention to what’s going on, composing the shot and re-directing action. ‘wait, do that again, hold, put your hand there, look over my shoulder, now right into my lens, smile, don’t smile, jump, walk at 3/4th speed, laugh…‘ yeah, shooting with us is a bit run and gun because we always want to keep the energy up, and hopefully it translates into the photos – even when they’re in a still pose.

Here’s to a great 2010.

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