Life On Film Photography Blog » Where Life Comes Alive Through Photography

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We’re preparing our backyard studio and scoping other great metro locations for Spring portrait sessions. Choosing a location is really important and can be more than a bit challenging. The “ideal” background depends on the type of pictures–senior pictures, engagement shots, mitzvah or family portraits–and even more on the look, feel and personality you want to achieve. Sometimes a client comes with a specific story they want the photos to tell. As we encounter spots we love, we try to catalog them for future reference. We want to share some of those with you–along with a few tips on choosing a location–as inspiration for your own Spring portraits.Collage1

There’s just something magical about natural light and being outdoors. People feel more at ease, look more comfortable and act more natural. When we shoot in the sunshine, it always seems like smiles are easier and unforced. But not all outdoor locations are created equal; some are more “photogenic” and support successful shoots better than others. Piedmont Park is always a safe choice, but there are other spots that may not jump to mind as quickly, like Alice Park and the tree lined Old 4th Ward.Collage2

We advise when choosing a spot to consider that some backdrops can be too eye-catching. Imagine a garden with water features and artwork that is stunningly beautiful in its own right–so much that it actually takes attention away from the people. Too many background elements can be distracting and pull the eye from our subjects to the scenery. Clean, uncluttered backdrops help clients stand out, like a wall or trees in a woodland area. Piedmont Park provided the tree that highlights our young Mitzvah client’s beauty. There are beautiful green spaces across metro Atlanta like in the Druid Hills neighborhood.Collage3

Some of the most unique, creative shoots come from asking clients to think about their favorite places and things to do. If the location is meaningful to you, the shoot will be more personal and fun. We might be planning an engagement shoot and learn the couple is attached to the spot where they had their first date, maybe a quaint restaurant like Julianna’s or a ferris wheel ride. One caveat: Avoid crowded, chaotic locations where we’ll struggle to focus shots solely on you–without unwanted photobombs! Chaos is uncomfortable for everyone and it shows in photos that look forced and unnatural.Collage5

A great option to consider is our backyard studio in Decatur. We have colorful vignettes designed to encourage playfulness, plus a treehouse and hens you can feed! Our log wall and fire pit are the perfect rustic backdrops for warm family photos. And of course we have some spots for the romantics, like a porch swing, hammock and water features. One unique thing about the space is that we designed it with careful consideration for families with special needs. The upper and lower level patios are wheelchair accessible and sensory considerations are in place for those on the Autism spectrum.Collage6Collage7

If you’re hunting for a great spot for Spring shots, just give us a call. We’re happy to help!

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We’re longing for sunny outdoor shoots and green landscapes. Until we can shed the coats and umbrellas, I hope a look at some of the best farm-to-table restaurants in Atlanta–and the vibrant shots we took of them in much nicer weather–will help those fresh summer vegetables and patio dining feel more within reach! Our roundup includes eateries that are on a mission to improve our food and how we treat animals, and to source local, seasonal food because it simply tastes better. Eating fresher and supporting the local economy and environment while we’re at it is now downright easy in Atlanta…and we think that’s something to celebrate.

Al fresco dining at King + Duke

Al fresco dining at King + Duke

1. Kimball House

Kimball House in Decatur combines fine dining with a deep respect for fresh, seasonal, locally sourced food and the farms that provide it. The result is a daily-changing farm to table menu with unusual French panache. The owners passion for preservation and old fashioned hospitality comes through in the unique building, too: A former railroad station rehabilitated in the style of the Kimball House Hotel that once graced downtown Atlanta. The restaurant’s many accolades include being named one of Southern Living‘s Best New Restaurants last year.kimball-exterior-140717liajc090714eatdistricts-decaturlro-0002kimball-house-food-140717liajc090714eatdistricts-decaturlro-0051

2. Empire State South

At Empire State South on Peachtree, Hugh Acheson from Top Chef leads the culinary team in redefining Southern food as something much more–and much healthier–than the stereotypical fried chicken and barbecue. He believes in taking advantage of the agrarian landscape around us, and it shows in the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus that draw heavily from Georgia farms and feature local yogurts and cheeses. ESS’s recipes have been printed in many national magazines and Acheson’s own veggie-centric cookbook, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen, has gotten lots of great press.smaller-foodsmaller-empire-state-south-dessert-140926liajc110214desserts-lendermanlro-00191

3. King + Duke

The atmosphere at King + Duke in Buckhead is defined by a unique hearth, which also drives the menu: Locally sourced, seasonal ingredients cooked over an open fire. This direct-heat cooking is combined with sustainable, organic advocacy that extends to responsible butchering. And…Chef EJ Hodgkinson is now offering complimentary hushpuppies with housemade chili jam and aioli at the bar from 3 – 6 p.m. if you order a cocktail or glass of wine. Sweet!kingduke-exterior-140312liajc050414alfresco-kingdukelro-0001

4./5. Farm Burger and YEAH! BURGER

I’ve grouped these because Farm Burger and YEAH! BURGER are among a growing number of area restaurants that are on a mission to show people you don’t need a fine dining budget to enjoy locally sourced, healthy food. They’re committed to improving fast food by sourcing from humane farmers who engage in sustainable, environmentally friendly practices (no harmful chemicals, no heavy processing). Farm Burger takes “local” seriously with all-natural buns, hormone-free cattle raised on Southeastern sweet grass and goat cheese from Georgia’s Decimal Place Farm. You can check out Farm Burger in either Dunwoody or Decatur; YEAH! BURGER has both West Midtown and ‎Virginia-Highland locations.yeah-burger-exterior-140519liajc071314vahijohn-walkneighborhoodlro-0011130805liajc090813farmburgeronionringslre-0006130805liajc090813farmburgeronionringslre-0014

Thanks to the AJC for giving us the chance to learn about all of these great spots while shooting for their Living Intown magazine!

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We recently got to do something a little different that was a lot of fun: We helped The Museum School‘s Girl Scout troop earn their photography badge. It’s always valuable to reflect on what it is that makes great photos meaningful and memorable, and having the opportunity to share what we love with such a wonderful group of girls was amazing!150208girlscoutsjgilrm-0027-4

We kicked things off with a prep session after school at The Museum School focused on three photography principles: Fill the frame, have a strong center of interest and keep a clean background. Next the girls came to Life on Film‘s backyard studio with their own camera, and I could see them putting those principles into action. It was so cool to watch them develop their own points of view as they surveyed vignettes from different perspectives and snapped lots of shots.150208girlscoutsjgilrm-0006-3150208girlscoutsjgilrm-0010-3150208girlscoutslwrlrm-0020-1-3

The girls took advantage of just about all of the studio’s features…and the hammock and swing seemed to be at the top of everyone’s “must photograph” list.Girl Scouts

Lyndsey worked with the girls and gave a workshop on photo editing using the basics of Photoshop. Each Girl Scout had the chance to choose their favorite photo and enhance it.Girl Scouts 2

Here is a very small selection from the wonderful shots they took themselves! I love the variety and wish I could include them all. Some girls were drawn to human subjects, while others focused on the landscape and features of the yard.

Many thanks to Kate Grace, their Troop Leader, for letting us work with the girls in developing new skills. And who knows…Maybe we’ve even planted a seed in someone who will grow up to love photography as much as we do!

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It’s that time again! Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Once you’ve lined up a great date, the challenge is figuring out how to spend that special evening. It can be tough to think of something to top what you did last year, or to see beyond dinner at the usual place and a movie. That’s where I’m hoping I can lend a hand. I’m lucky as a photographer for AJC‘s Living Intown because I get to shoot many of the fun, quaint and quirky spots that make Atlanta unique. I’ve taken photographs highlighting some of the best places and sights in just about every metro neighborhood. One thing they all have in common: They’re amazing date destinations!


If you want to go the traditional route with a nice dinner for two, you don’t have to settle for boring. Check out Two Urban Licks, a warehouse turned funky restaurant with a sky high wine wall and floating chandeliers. The vibe gets sultry on Saturday nights with live blues. Or, what could be more romantic than sharing a superb meal and a breathtaking view? The Westin Sun Dial, a restaurant on top of the Westin Peachtree Plaza, actually revolves with an observatory level where you get a 360 degree view of the skyline.


Maybe a nice meal sounds great but you’d like to keep things a bit more casual. I recommend the Brick Store, a neighborhood pub in Decatur. The menu offers standard pub fare like burgers but also goes well beyond (like pan-seared rainbow trout with roasted butternut squash). Another gem is Chai Pani in Decatur, serving innovative but affordable Indian street food.


After dinner, there are many options to take you and your date beyond the ordinary. The beauty of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is always a date magnet. At their “Valentines in the Garden” event you can stroll through tropical conservatories (orchid time!), dance to live music and enjoy cocktails and desserts from Atlanta caterers. Another option is Paris on Ponce‘s Luscious Love Valentine’s Weekend Event with vaudeville, cabaret dancing and circus entertainment. Or, if you’d rather keep things light, check out the Laughing Skull Lounge‘s show featuring comedy writer Emo Philips.



Atlanta also has plenty to offer if you want to step out of the ordinary with your sweetheart to experience some fine art, culture or history. There’s the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory, which is also having a special Valentine’s event with The Farmhouse at Serenbe. At the Atlanta History Center in Buckhead you can explore two historic homes, the huge Goizuetta Gardens and the Margaret Mitchell House (birthplace of one of the great romances of all time, Gone with the Wind). Let’s also not forget the High Museum for inspiring art and architecture, and the fabulous Fox Theatre, featuring a Pre-Valentine Weekend Celebration with Eric Benet on the 8th and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Valentine’s Day.

If you’d like to make a full day of it, or a weekend getaway, try a treatment or two at Bliss at the new W Atlanta-Midtown before turning in at Urban Oasis B&B.

Even if these destinations don’t make it into your date night itinerary, be sure to add them to your list for 2015, as they’re some of the best Atlanta has to offer. Wishing you much love and happiness this Valentine’s season!

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Sometimes we have the chance to enjoy time with a client in more than one setting or during multiple events. It’s a treat to be able to capture different sides of their personalities and their interaction together in photographs. Meryll’s Bat Mitzvah, the last we covered in 2014, was one of these gems. Working with her fun-loving family was such a joyful way to close out the year. We got to join them for a portrait session, her Bat Mitzvah rehearsal at The Temple, a family gathering at their new home and a gorgeous celebration at the Piedmont Driving Club following the ceremony.141122meryllashercelebrationlrm-0045

Meryll and her Mom chose their favorite photos from the portrait session for her signing book. I love that it perfectly captures her beautiful smile and her sense of humor. The shots of Meryll alone are gorgeous but we also love the ones with her family. She and her Dad, Lee, are just so sweet together! Mom Sarah is hilarious and couldn’t have been more fun to work with. Their affection is so genuine that capturing beautiful moments with a lot of personality was a cinch.141122meryllashercelebrationlrm-0220140927meryllasherportraitslrm-0066140927meryllasherportraitslrm-0050

The family ushered in Shabbat by lighting candles that were a wedding gift to Sarah and Lee from special friends who were at the party. It was beautiful to witness Meryll’s friends and family reciting the blessing.141121meryllasherfamilygatheringlrm-0228141121meryllasherfamilygatheringlrm-0141141121meryllasherfamilygatheringlrm-0131

The focus was on fun at the celebration at the Driving Club with musical entertainment flown in especially from Chicago. Guests made flipbooks courtesy of Flippitydooda (Sarah’s own company) and got to take them home as favors. The flash tattoos and headbands were also a HUGE hit!

Event planners Amy and Kate from Alchemy Event Studio outdid themselves with the glitter-themed decor and delectable food. Wow!  The Driving Club is a gorgeous venue on its own but they made it truly magical–a teenage girl’s dream!

We also captured some great video from the celebration…We’ll be sharing some snippets soon!141122meryllashercelebrationlrm-0329-2

Mazel tov on this wonderful milestone, Meryll! We were so happy to be a part of it.

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