Browsing Tag

Portrait

Falling down | by +Krisandra

So, what happens when the words don’t come? I sit in front of my laptop and get distracted by anything and everything because I can’t come up with something interesting to say. Something that makes you ponder. Something that makes you say, “wow, yea, I get that!”

I have youtubed the Gang Related soundtrack and wound up on New Kids on the Block music videos. Listened to the Ghost World soundtrack and ended up on Christmas songs- yes, Christmas songs. I tried to convince my boyfriend we needed to go and have a nightcap somewhere… on a Sunday… at 11pm. Anything to avoid writing; anything to avoid getting personal.

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The truth is… during a shoot this past weekend my whole week came into summary by way of a mud puddle. I fell down. I literally fell down. Not only did I fall down, but I did one of those movie type splits down- in mud. Luckily, my client was behind me and didn’t do the same graceful maneuver. I got up and found a stick to scrap the inch thick mud off my behind, leg and shoes and answered “YES, I am ok!”

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[enter cheesy metaphor here] The truth is… the last couple weeks have been a roller coaster for me. I was laid off  (laid off?!) from my “day job” of 3 1/2 years, I took on the role as photo editor with LeahAndMark.com (yay!), and it took me actually landing on my behind to realize- I AM GOING TO BE OK!

I am one of those people who worry about every little, and not so little, thing. It has always been preached to me not to quit my “day job” until it affected my photography or vise versa. So, you can imagine my worry. This is not how I planned things. It wasn’t suppose to happen like this! Or maybe, just maybe, this is the way it’s suppose to happen.

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Truth is… I want to show you images, but I want to tell you stuff too. I don’t only want to talk about f stops, ISO, and other technical mumbo jumbo. I want to tell you stuff too, perhaps personal stuff. Like how I can get so caught up with everything that is happening around me (work) that I don’t see what is right in front of me (a BIG mud puddle). I warned you about the cheesy metaphor!

Atlanta Boudoir Photographer | Krisandra Evans | LeahandMark.com

The truth is… sometimes you just need to find a stick, scrape the mess off and keep going. It took me falling down to realize it’s just stuff. And guess what? I’M OK!

retro | intro -spective | by +Elaine

I’ve have lots of names. lainie, e, shorty, laine brain, nain. and now I’m +elaine. and I like it.

getting an updated portfolio together had me sifting through all my intern shoots. and reviewing what I had in my portfolio before. hard to believe there was even a time in my photography life before my leahandmark internship. it’s amazing to see where I was with my skills and knowledge and experience then. and where I am now.

before, I was hired for the occasional gig, but mostly I just showed up everywhere with my camera. parties, the pool, backyard concerts, school events, playdates, parks. but now my work is filled with babies and children and couples and drag queens. product shoots of granola and books and headbands and dresses and shoes and bread and houses. people new to the country, or on stage speaking or rocking out, or getting married, or breaking boards. models crouched in trunks and strutting on runways and posing in rotted out buses and old trains. so much cooler.

I look back on my “before the internship” work and my “during” work, and now that I’m in the “after” phase, I can’t wait to see what what my portfolio will be filled with next.

with a new role as a + at leahandmark.com comes a new blog location. no longer in the intern section, mark told +krista, +mishaun and me to (re)introduce ourselves. coming up with 200 pictures to whittle down to 20 for our portfolios, posting a blog and showcasing our work… all of this reminds me of the incredulity I felt the first night as an intern when mark told us we had to have 20 images and a blog up by that monday morning. 20 IMAGES! it seemed a ridiculous amount and there was no way I had that many images that were good enough. and just like then, once I got a grip and settled down to work, I find I have more than enough pictures I’m happy to use to fill my portfolio and to post on the blog as I introduce myself. again.

so hi, I’m + elaine, and I’m happy you’re here. now let’s get shooting.

Wednesday by Leah: Before and After

Before I became a mom, I promised myself I would make self-care a priority.  I can’t be a good mom if I’m exhausted/unhealthy/unhappy, right? Makes perfect sense. I did a great job of taking care of myself throughout my pregnancy. I rested when I felt tired. I ate nutritious foods. I said no to anything I didn’t feel like doing. I protected my “me” time ferociously. I meditated. I showered myself with love and kindness and dark chocolate.

I thought about what my life would be like once BabyRoX was here. In my head, it was this perfect balance of mom-time, me-time, friend-time, work-time, and Mark-time. I’m self-employed, so I can set my own schedule. I’m good at the work-life balance. I love spending time with friends, with my husband, and all by my sweet little self. I’m passionate about my work. Soooo… dividing my time between all these should be easy, right? I pictured date nights with Mark while loving family members watched our kidlet, fun nights out with friends while Mark and Jonah had some father-son bonding time, solo hikes in the woods to restore and rejuvenate my mind and body, blocks of time each day devoted to work projects – both creative and administrative. Having a child wasn’t going to strip me of all these other things I wanted to do!

And then I had a baby.

Wednesday by Leah | Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer

And it’s not that I *can’t* segment my time the way I want. It’s not that being a mom is so much more demanding than I anticipated that I just don’t have the time or energy to do anything else. It’s that… as much as I want to do all these other things, as nice as all of that sounds… I’d really rather just hang out with my child.

In fact, the longest I’ve been away from BabyRoX is just over 2 hours. People tell me that this is normal, that of course I want to be with my baby, that of course leaving him is difficult. And that’s good to hear (not that I’ve ever been too concerned with being normal…I mean, I did give birth at home and eat my placenta and teach my baby to pee on the potty and all that jazz)… but I’m wondering if I should just let this progress naturally, and only leave Jonah for longer periods when I feel ready, or if it will just always be difficult until one day its not and I should just power through, and leave him from 3 hours, then 4 hours, then 6, then 8, then a day.

Wednesday by Leah | Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer

I’m supposed to shoot a wedding out of state in May… and I’m already feeling anxious about it. Do I take BabyRoX with me and bring along a trusted friend or relative to watch him? Do I leave him in Atlanta and go away for nearly 3 days without him? And if I do go away for the weekend and leave my child here, I suppose I should start building up to that separation… which means leaving him in someone else’s care for longer than 2 hours before May gets here. And it’s already March. Gah!

I’m really not sure what to do. So I’m asking the internet… what did YOU do? How did you handle this? Help!

In the meantime I’ll just be here, hanging out with my baby. Contentedly addicted.

Wednesday by Leah: Baby Stuff

– Posted by Leah

If you’ve ever been in one of those baby-stuff megastores, you know there is a TON of baby crap out there. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and to think that you need more than you actually need. I know lots of soon-to-be-mamas now, so I thought it might be helpful to do a post on the stuff you actually need… and the stuff I personally liked/used a lot in the first 3 months of BabyRoX’s life. This post is in no way sponsored by anyone or anything. Just one mama’s advice about what worked for us.

So – if you are pregnant and reading this, first go watch the movie Babies. Pay extra-close attention to the babies from Namibia and Mongolia. They are crawling in the dirt. Getting stepped on by animals. Getting poked by bigger kids. Not surrounded by a bunch of plastic or electric stuff. They don’t even have diapers! And THEY ARE FINE. They are healthy, happy, thriving babies. So when it’s time to start getting stuff for your new addition, just keep those babies in mind. You really don’t need much…especially in those first few months.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer - LeahAndMark.com

Of course, there are some things that even if you don’t NEED them, they can make your life easier and/or your baby more comfortable. So here are the products I’ve found really useful in the first 3 months of parenthood! I’ve already done a post about breastfeeding essentials, so I won’t repeat that advice…and since the first 3 months mainly involved holding and feeding the baby, you’ll see that reflected in my product recommendations!

Moby Wrap – BabyRoX loves being snuggled up in this. He’s starting to get heavy now, but until just recently, I could carry him around in this for very lengthy periods of time. Yes, there’s a learning curve with the Moby – for a similar-but-easier wrap, check out the K’Tan. I also own a ring sling, which is easy to take on and off, but hurts my shoulder after a while. Friends I know love the Ergo – we have one, but no infant insert, so we’ll be using that when our lil guy is a bit older.

Boppy Newborn Lounger - we actually had this BEFORE BabyRoX was born because it’s awesome for newborn photo shoots – just drape some fabric over it, position the baby, and start shooting! It’s a pillow with a little indent that is perfect for keeping little babies supported without being flat on their backs.

MamaRoo Swing - This is totally a luxury item and not at all a necessity – we call it the Jetsons Chair because it’s super space age looking! It has 5 different motions, 5 different sounds, and a mobile. Whew! The Car Ride motion is the current favorite, along with the womb sound. I put it in the bathroom and shower while keeping an eye on the RoXman.

Shatterproof Mirror - BabyRoX LOVES watching himself in the mirror! He has a cute snail mirror toy that lights up and makes sounds, and he also has an acrylic mirror on the wall in his room. He can watch himself for quite some time and really enjoys it.

Cooshee Changer - This is our changing pad, and it’s awesome. Instead of having a fabric cover that you have to wash all the time, it’s a soft, waterproof, antibacterial pad that I can just wipe down when it gets soiled. Which happens pretty much every day.

Leg Warmers - These are a.) super cute and b.) super convenient for diaper changes! No pants to unsnap/pull on or off.

Snuggin Go Infant Insert - This was super helpful for the first 2 months. It’s a soft, memory-foam insert that you can use in the car seat or stroller….or really any infant seat. We used it primarily in the car seat. Most inserts make the baby’s head fall forward, but this one kept BabyRoX comfortable and kept his head comfortably back.

Bubbles!Not just any bubbles, mind you, but the Gymboree ones! A friend of mine used to manage a Gymboree center in Boston and she sent us these nearly-indestructible bubbles. I’ll find them stuck on the carpet, still intact, over 24 hours after I’ve blown them! BabyRoX loves to watch the bubbles and try to touch them. And the wand makes blowing tons of bubbles super easy and not messy.

Shampoo Rinser - My baby was born with a full head of hair! And since I like to touch it all the time, it gets oily and needs to be washed. This awesome, soft pitcher-thingy lets me easily rinse the shampoo out his hair without getting water all over his face or in his eyes.

Hmmm… I think that’s it for now. I’m sure there are items I’ve forgotten, but these are some of the things we used a lot during the first 3 months. Hope it’s helpful for the rest of you!

Wednesday by Leah | Thank You Everyone

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

– Posted by Leah

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 MonthsBabyRoX will be 3 months old next week! I can’t believe it. Now that I’m getting back into “work mode” I’m ever-so-thankful that I am self-employed. There is NO way I could leave my lil man and go to an office 40+ hours a week. Or even 20 hours a week. I would’ve quit my job. These days are too precious and this time is too fleeting for me to miss so many wonderful moments. Yet at the same time, I need to be working – for financial reasons, of course, but also because as much as I love being a mom and spending nearly all of my time with my sweet boy, I’m also more than a mom and I need to spend time on those other parts of myself, too. I love our business. I love the people we’re lucky to work with – clients and other photographers alike!

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

So this week’s post is less informative, less reflective, and more just a big, huge, gushing THANK YOU. Thank you to everyone we work with, to everyone who hires us, for making this awesome life of ours possible. Mark and I say EVERY day – usually multiple times a day – how grateful we are to get to spend so much time with BabyRoX. To see his precious smiles and respond to his adorable gurgles. To show him the world, to watch him take it all in. He comes to meetings with us and he’s even been on several shoots already. Mark and I take turns playing and/or napping with him so the other one can focus on writing blog posts, responding to emails, answering phone calls. It’s busy and sometimes crazy, but that’s how we roll.

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

Even when we are super busy, we make it work (thanks to our +photographers and interns for taking on extra work, and to our free babysitters – aka grandparents). And even though things get hectic, we still get to spend WAY more time together as a family than if we had office jobs. Being self-employed can be stressful and scary at times, but I am now convinced it is worth the risk, worth facing down the fear of failure, worth the blood/sweat/tears/late nights/early mornings. It’s worth it ALL to get to call the shots, be our own bosses, and make as much time as possible for our child.

And we couldn’t have a business if we didn’t have clients. So thank you thank you thank you a million times over! We love you. You make this possible for us. You. Are. AWESOME.

BabyRoX | LeahAndMark | Wednesday by Leah | 3 Months

Wednesday by Leah: Awkward

– Posted by Leah

There was a wonderfully beautiful post on Offbeat Mama the other day – one that resonated with me on several levels – as an adoptee, as a parent, and as a person who loves to ponder the intricacies of identity, of transitions, and of family.

One quote in particular has been bouncing around in my brain: “Sometimes holding yourself back, playing your cards close to the chest, is the only defense we have. Our silence makes us secure.”

I’m a very open person, for the most part. But there are things I’d rather keep quiet. I don’t necessarily want everyone to know all of my weaknesses. I don’t want people witnessing all of my mistakes, my awkward moments.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer - LeahAndMark.com

Before I became a mom, I viewed the transition to parenthood as similar to other transitions in life: the transition to “adulthood” (which, for me, was defined by finishing college, moving across the country, and getting my first full-time job – and a bunch of bills!), the transition to domestic partnership, the transition to married life, and the transition to self-employment. These are all big steps and with them comes a shift in identity, a new role, a change in how others perceive and/or define me. And with any new role, there is a learning curve, a period of adjustment, while I figure out what this transition means to me, how I define this new role and the expectations that come with it, both from me and from others. Do I accept these expectations? Or do I need to adjust the definition of what being a “wife” or being “an adult” means to something more in line with who I am?

With any new role there is the opportunity for awkward moments. New experiences are rife with awkwardness. But in the past I could hide much of that awkwardness. Feigning confidence, self-assuredness… fumbling my way through my first apartment search, my first time filing taxes, my first year of paying bills… I could make mistakes quietly. No one had to know – or at  the very least, only a few people had to know.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer - LeahAndMark.com

Becoming a parent is similar to any other major life transition… but unlike so many of those other transitions, I’m finding this one much more public. As I figure out this new role of “Mom,” as I integrate it into the other aspects of my identity – my life story – there are many awkward moments. Trying to nurse in public – quickly before Jonah starts screaming for the milk. Trying to get Jonah in and out of the Moby wrap the first few times. Trying to get the car seat adjusted properly. Trying to change a diaper without getting peed on. And because I refuse to stay shut up in my house, these things are all happening in public. With onlookers. Everyone out there is witnessing my transition to motherhood – my awkwardness and my fumbling. I can’t hide this part of me. I’m a new mom. And my baby is so darn cute, people can’t help but stare (haha, that’s what I tell myself!).

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer - LeahAndMark.com

Luckily for me, I’m not too easily embarrassed. Like any other transition, the newness will wear off. I will find my groove – in many ways, I already have. I’m so much more comfortable taking Jonah out and about. There will always be awkward moments – children aren’t the most predictable creatures on the planet, after all. But I’m not going to let a fear of looking/feeling uncomfortable stop me from exploring the world with my son. I’m embracing this awkwardness. It feels uncomfortable now, but it already feels less so. My 22-year-old baby adult self would have been horrified to be seen making a mistake or not knowing exactly what to do…my 30-year-old mom self is just going to shrug it off and kiss Jonah’s big squishy cheeks. I have WAY more important things to concern myself with these days. So bring on the awkwardness!

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer - LeahAndMark.com

 

Wednesday by Leah: My New Heart

– Posted by Leah

I love a lot of people. I love deeply, fiercely, easily. But I also love safely. I’ve never truly had a broken heart before. I love people I know will love me back. I surround myself with happy thoughts, happy dreams, happy places, happy faces, and then I let the love flow. It is a controlled love, as controlled as love can be. Which is perhaps why I resisted when I first met Mark – this was a love that threatened my sense of control. So I fought it, and then rationalized it, and finally surrendered to it. He loved me back. And my world continued to be a safe, happy place. And I continued to love.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

I never questioned whether I would love my child. I loved him before he was even growing inside of me – when he was still just an idea, a tentative thought… a possibility. I loved him more when he was 4 cells. And even more when he was thousands of cells…a fledgling brain and spinal cord. And more still when he had a little tail and arm buds.

I loved him to the point of tears when I saw his heart beating, when I saw the tiny bones in his fingers and toes. I loved him to the point of breathlessness when I felt his first kicks. My love for him exceeded any previous-felt sensations when he was wet and squirming in my hands. Speechless, senseless, intense. My baby. It was almost too much.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

And as I stared at him day after day, hour after hour… as I heard his sounds and learned his gestures and stroked every square inch of his head, his torso, his legs… I realized that I could not bear the love I felt. At least not in my current state. For this was a dangerous love, a completely consuming, impossible-to-control love. I was changing. I had to change. I had to grow a new heart because my former one broke when Jonah was born. It cracked wide open, raw and bleeding from the intensity of this new love. And in the weeks since, my new heart has been growing over the jagged edges, mending the torn tissues, allowing me to accept the infinite abyss that is my love for my son.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

I didn’t expect this. I thought that since I am so used to giving and receiving love, this whole motherhood thing would just mean I was adding people to my circle of loved ones. My child would be on the inner ring, orbiting a bit closer to my heart than others, easily incorporated into my existing circles of love. When people would tell my pregnant self about how there is no love like a parent’s love, I would smile and nod and think, “Well, of course I’m going to love my child an insane amount.”

I didn’t realize just how insane, just how fierce, just how mightily I would love this child. I didn’t know it was a type of love that would rip through me like a tornado, leaving me shaking and sobbing in its wake, unable to put the pieces of my shattered, sheltered heart back together.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

Every day I melt. Every day I surrender. Every day I fall a bit deeper into this abyss of love. Goodbye control. Goodbye safety. My new heart is one without boundaries, without defenses, without rules or rationality. It just beats and bleeds and loves.

And now I know what all those people were trying to tell me… but there really is no preparation for parenthood. You just have to get bowled over, to let yourself drown. I’m here to tell you that you’ll resurface. Not in the same shape or form, but in a more raw and vulnerable state than ever before. Stripped down. Beating and bleeding and loving.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | Newborns | Maternity | LeahAndMark.com

Wednesday by Leah: Motherhood

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Newborn

– Posted by Leah

Wow, so I’m really and truly somebody’s mother now. A month ago I was in labor. Has it really been a month? Jonah will be 4 weeks tomorrow! Mark and I are so very lucky to have such a healthy, amazing son. Jonah is the sweetest little guy ever. It’s been so much fun watching his personality start to unfold, getting to know him – getting to know myself as a mother and Mark as a father.

Right now my life consists of a lot of nursing, a lot of singing, a lot of kisses, a lot of diaper changes, and not a lot of sleep. The sleep thing is not Jonah’s fault, though – he sleeps a lot! I just lost my ability to nap once I stopped being pregnant, unfortunately. He is still nursing every 2 hours, but we usually get one stretch of 3 – 3.5 hours in the middle of the night, which is great for both of us.

Honestly, I started feeling like a mom when I found out I was pregnant. It was a rather passive type of mothering, though. This first month of mothering a child outside of my body is definitely more “real” and active than being a mom to a fetus. Has it been different than I expected? Yes and no. I expected to be completely consumed with my new role, and totally in love in with my sweet boy. I did not expect it to be quite so easy. I expected to feel more exhausted, perhaps a bit harried, overwhelmed, unsure of myself. But it feels very natural, this motherhood thing. Mark and I are a great team, and he’s able to be home with us a lot, so I have plenty of support. Jonah is an angel – a laid-back, easy-to-soothe, hardly-ever-fusses baby.

Atlanta Family Portrait Photographer | LeahAndMark.com | Newborn

The intensity of the love I feel for Jonah – and the love Mark feels for him, too – is impossible to put into words.  We just look at Jonah, and look at each other, and say again and again, “I love him so much!!!” But “so much” pales in comparison to just how much we love our son. I’ve never ever ever felt a love like this before. I miss Jonah if someone else has been holding him for an hour or so. I sleep better when he’s asleep on my chest. My body still feels very connected to him. He cries and my boobs leak. He smiles and I can’t look away. He snuggles up against me and I am instantly relaxed and at peace.

I’m happy to say that I’m completely loving being a mom. I was scared to take this huge leap, to take on this new identity, but so far it has been the absolute best adventure of my life. I was meant to do this. Jonah was meant to be in our lives. Everything feels so right.

And isn’t he cute???!  =) I’m one proud mama.