New Blog Series! "What love looks like?"

Happy Wednesday Everyone! 

One of my favorite things as a photographer is that I see things through the lens that no one else realizes until they see their pictures. It's my job to capture all that emotion, and then tell their story. I have decided that I need to do a better job at the "telling the story part," rather than just posting pictures here, so I have decided that I am going to post a picture(s) that "looks like love to me", and share the story behind the picture. 

One thing to mention: if you are hoping that this will be a weekly posting of how perfect the people are in the picture, and their perfect life, etc., this ain't the blog for you! ;) In this day and age of Facebook, Instagram, and all the others, it's easy to look at someone's feed and want what they have.... The reality is we are all human, and no one has a perfect day or life! My whole motivation behind creating this blog was to remind everyone that the "imperfections" can be so beautiful, and help shape who we are. The challenge today will be writing this blog without crying the entire time since this story is so special to me! 

Meet Alex and Indranee Wijesinghe

Alex and Indranee at my aunt's wedding (25 years of marriage. Circa 1980)

Q: Why pick your grandparents to start off this series? 

A: They are the oldest love story that I can remember.

Q: What makes them unique? 

A: My grandparents were the perfect "odd" couple! As a child I remember wondering how on earth those two ended up together! 

My grandfather was no picnic. I really believed for the longest time he and I had very little in common. He wasn't the kind of grandfather that showed a lot of affection. He was highly opinionated, loved to compare his camera vs. mine to determine whose was better, and was known for not always saying the right thing at the right time. But more important than any of that...That man LOVED his family! He sacrificed so much to give our entire family a better life, he believed in always doing the right thing (even when it cost him at times), wrote love letters to my grandmother (the love of his life and his whole world), he was a true patriot (America was his home. And woe be it to anyone who had an unkind word to say about his home!), and most of all he was a Godly man. It wasn't until he died that I realized I had so much in common with him. For that I am thankful! 

My grandmother is another story all of its own. I always thought I had the most in common with her. I share a portion of my name with her (Stephanie Indranee), I like to think I am as patient as she is, and I definitely got my talent for wrapping gifts from her! She was the one who was always giving us hugs and kisses, read and played with us, and made it a point to be current on our love lives :) 

I realize now how important it is to have the qualities of both of them! 

Q: What do you think made their relationship work?

A: LOTS OF PRAYER! LOL!

In all seriousness, yes lots of prayer made things work because of their love and devotion to God. But, they also loved each other in a way that I don't think that I can ever be able to put into words. The best I can do is give some examples of things I saw them do for one another that no one else could have done, or appreciated quite like the other. 

  • He always made sure all the knives were sharp in the kitchen for her, and she always cooked him dinner.
  • She always ironed his shirts and sprayed them with cologne, and he always made sure that she got roses on her birthday, Valentine's Day, and their anniversary. 
  • He didn't always say the right thing, and she was always sitting close enough to him to be able to kick him under the table :) 

It didn't always make sense to me, but it did to them. 

The Truth of it all: We can learn so much from both of them! 

While I love the picture I shared above, the picture I really wanted to post for this blog, I can't. My grandmother would kill me if I even dreamed of posting it because she's wearing her bathrobe. But it's a cellphone pic my dad texted us kids two days before my grandfather died. It was a picture of my grandmother holding a cup of water while my grandfather drank from it. And the text he wrote just said: true love. 

That's it. That is what 60 years together, and all those idiosyncrasies had translated to. That's what love looks like to me now. Those last few days and moments together, just doing the things for one that the other could no longer do. So when I see love now, I don't just think of beautiful wedding pictures, or cute family portraits, I think of the two of them trying to hold onto one another for as long as they could knowing that their time was short...Love is patient. Love is kind. But most of all...love is REAL! 

Our whole family came home for the first time since Pappa's death a few weeks ago to celebrate my cousin's wedding. Walking through their house I kept expecting to hear him ask me some camera question, or sit in his chair to take a nap. Instead all that is left is the picture on the wall of him, and all the memories he left us with. 

For all of you out there that are so intent on having the perfect life together, I have news for you...IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN. But, if you take a moment every day to see all the beauty, and embrace the imperfections, I can promise you life will be more amazing that you can ever imagine! 

Until next time...

XOXO, Steph 

Just a few images from the amazing life they shared :) 

 

 

Class of 2017 Summer Senior Portrait Sessions

Marietta High School | Marietta Square | Marietta Senior Photographer | Marietta Senior Photography
Senior Photographer | Senior Photography | Archer High School | Grayson High School

Now Booking Class of 2017 Summer Sessions! 

I am so excited to announce that due to popular demand I am opening booking for summer sessions slightly early this year! 

Also, new for this year, I have partnered with the talented ladies of A Glamour Affair to provide hair and make up services to seniors who purchase certain packages! They do amazing work, and I am do excited for my clients to be able to experience their incredible talents! 

If you will be a 2017 high school graduate, I would love to talk to you about being your senior portrait photographer! I only take a limited number of sessions each year, so please contact me ASAP!

Email: hello@stephanieindranee.com or via Phone: 678-761-3508

Make it a great day!!! 

XOXO, Steph 

Cake Smash Session Tips and Tricks

Happy Monday Y'all! 

Last week I went home to California to visit my family. One of my nieces will be celebrating her first birthday next month, and since I won't be there to celebrate, I wanted to do something special for her! Her mother and I decided that we would do a cake smash session for her, and we were soooo excited! 

As a family photographer, this definitely wasn't my first cake smash session, although this was the first time that the cake would be homemade, rather than store bought!

Here are a few tips and tricks we learned from our session :) 

Tip #1: Go to youtube, and watch how to make the giant cupcake before you do anything else!  

I am a big fan of Wilton Baking Products, and this was the best video I found to explain the process:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuf91NE4GX0

Tip #2: Buy your ingredients and make your cake! 

We used this pan:

 http://www.wilton.com/dimensions-giant-cupcake-pan/2105-5038.html

We totally cheated and bought box cake mix, and pre-made icing! Don't forget fun stuff to decorate! We bought sprinkles! 

Tip #3: When icing your cupcake, piping bag, and use a cake turntable! 

It makes things so much easier! We didn't have either of those things, and our icing turned out a little uneven. 

Also, for parents that are concerned about their little one having too much sugar, go with the sugar free icing. 

Cake Smash Session | Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan | First Birthday | Atlanta Marietta Family Photographer
Giant Cupcake | Cake Smash Session | Atlanta Marietta Family Photographer | First Birthday

Tip #4: Find a clean space with good light for your session! 

I am a natural light photographer, so I prefer to photograph all my sessions outdoors, but the weather wasn't cooperating with us, so we found a great space in the dining room for our session! 

If you end up doing your session outside, I recommend putting down a sheet to narrow the room for mess! Lol! 

First Birthday | Cake Smash Session | Wilton Giant Cupcake Pan | Marietta Family Photographer

Tip #5: Let your little one nap before your session! 

When my niece went down for a nap, it made it so much easier to finish decorating the giant cupcake, and setting up the area we planned on using. Plus, they have so much more fun when they arent tired!! 

Here are a few pics we managed to take outside before our cake smash session:

Tip #6: They will be only be 1 once! Grab your little one, and let them have fun!!! 

Enjoy the leftovers!!! 

Wilton Giant Cupcake | Cake Smash Session | Marietta Child Photographer
Wilton Giant Cupcake | Cake Smash Session | Marietta Child Photographer

Kylie | Marietta High School | The Senior Portrait Experience

Two weeks ago, a very sweet mother called me and asked me to photograph her daughter, Kylie. Kylie is a senior at Marietta High School, but had not yet had her senior portraits done. She was anxious to do something special for her daughter, but had no idea where to start, other than to say she needed portraits done. So, I decided that maybe I should write a blog post about "The Senior Portrait Experience" to help senior girls and their parents learn more about this new trend in senior photography. 

Every photographer has a different definition of the what "The Senior Portrait Experience" means to them. To Stephanie Indranee Photography, it's about creating an amazing experience for the senior from start to finish that they will remember for a lifetime.

Tip#1: Getting to know the senior

One of the first things I do after I have been contacted about photographing a senior is to ask them for some simple information, and I send them a questionnaire that asks questions about their personality, their likes/dislikes, activities at school, etc. This allows me to get to know them a little more, and helps me to make suggestions about their session.

I also try and schedule a Skype meeting, or meet for coffee so that the senior and their parent(s) can ask any questions they have, and we create a plan for their session.

Tip #2: Esthetician

Often times seniors may have skin issues that need to be dealt with before their session. Here is some advice from Priya Crumpton, owner of Sweet Life Skincare, in Roswell, GA about how an esthetican can help you with your session! 

"An esthetician can help you ensure that your skin looks and feels its best for your shoot! She can help you brighten, hydrate, and clear any blemishes that might be hanging around.  Smooth and clear skin will help your face to really shine in your pictures. An esthetician can also teach you how to keep your skin looking fabulous even after your session."

Tip #3: Get your hair and makeup done the day of your session

Senior Portraits | Marietta High School | A Glamour Affair

One of the most amazing parts of my day with Kylie, was watching her sit in the chair while the ladies of A Glamour Affair worked their magic doing her hair and makeup. As she was close to getting done, Kylie kept trying to sneak a peak of herself in the mirror because she was so excited! When she caught a glimpse of herself, it was clear how much she loved her look, and the added confidence that this experience gave her.  

Tip 4#: Pick outfits that showcase your style

One of the biggest concerns that Kylie had was what to wear! She had so many different options! Depending on the session that the senior has chosen, I tell my seniors to pick out between 6-10 outfits, with the idea that we will end up using 4-5 outfits during the session. Pick outfits that are comfortable, and pick outfits that showcase their personal style.

Tip #5: Pick locations that have meaning to you

For her session, Kylie opted to have her portraits done at her school, Marietta High School, and at the Marietta Square. The more that a senior is at ease in their environment, the more confident they will be during their session. 

Marietta High School | Class of 2016

Tip #5: Have fun and be yourself! 

The most important thing to remember during this process is that it should be a FUN experience! I know a lot of seniors hesitate to have portraits done because they don't like to have their pictures taken. I totally get it! I am very shy in front of the camera too!  Part of the senior portrait experience is to create a day of celebrating you! Make the most of it! 

Happy Monday!!
Steph 

 

 

Announcing Digital Photography for Beginners!

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Hope your first week of the New Year has been off to a good start! 

This year promises to be a big year for Stephanie Indranee Photography, and one of the first big announcements of the year is that I have finally created a beginners program for people who want to learn how to shoot in manual mode.

When I first started taking pictures many years ago (like 1999 long ago), one of the things that was so hard for me was to understand the basics of how my camera worked. I read my manual and NOTHING made sense! What was worse is that all the photographers I reached out to seemed very hesitant to teach me anything like they were guarding some big trade secret, or maybe for fear they might lose business. I understood...but it was so discouraging.

I am so thankful that times have changed! When I started my business, the one thing I wanted to make sure of was that if I could help nurture someone's love for photography I would! 

So starting this month Stephanie Indranee Photography will be offering the following: 


1. Digital Photography Class - this class will go over how to shoot in manual mode, basic posing tips, basic editing tips, access into a private FB group where you can post questions and report back about your progress after the class, a mini shoot, lunch, and a few surprises!! 

The first class is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2016 from 11AM-5PM.  

Cost for this class will be $149.

Seating for this class will be limited, so that we can cover all the material we need to, everyone can ask their questions, but also large enough that everyone can make new friends and learn from one another! Think Girl's Day Out!! Registration for this class will close January 20, 2016.

For more information, or to sign up for this class, please e-mail me at:

stephanie@stephanieindranee.com or you may use my contact page here.


2. For those of you that like to learn at your own pace, or cannot make it for the first class there will be beginner's guide available for sale on 1/18/15 on my website for $79.

This PDF guide is over 60 pages of definitions, examples, tips and tricks, and more! 

If you would like to purchase this item before it becomes available on the website, please email me at: 

stephanie@stephanieindranee.com


3.  One on one mentoring - this will be 3-4 hours of One on one mentoring. Contact me for pricing. 


To keep up with all the fun things going on at Stephanie Indranee Photography, sign up for the newsletter here.

If you have any friends that need a wedding photographer, let me know! I am offering a special gift for couples that book with me before the end of the month! 

I am so excited to be able to share my love of photography with everyone! 

Make it a great day! 

XOXO, Steph 

 

 

 

Beginner's photography class | Atlanta, GA

Meet Holly...and the Humans that love her!

Happy New Year Everyone! 

My first session of the New Year was with the Schuetz Family who came to visit from Indiana. I guess you could say we are kinda related...Rachel's sister married my cousin, but then again our families have been friends for over 100 years, so at this point we all just claim that we are cousins! 

I made it a point to take 2 weeks off at Christmas since my holiday season had been so busy, but when Rachel said she wanted family pictures, I had to make an exception! Plus, they brought along their 8 week old puppy, Holly, and how can you say no to a little face like hers?? 

East Cobb Park | Marietta, GA | Family Photography

Kent and Rachel's kids have so much personality, and they had me laughing the whole time. Sebastian told me all about recess at school, and Morgan is an aspiring photographer...she is apparently the selfie-queen of the family! These kids are just so adorable that you just want to hug and squeeze them all the time! 

East Cobb Park | Family Pictures
East Cobb Park | Family Photography
East Cobb Park | Family Photography

Some of my favorite pictures of any family portrait sessions, are the ones where each kid gets their pictures taken with each parent. For a few moments, they get to pretend they are an only child, and get to monopolize that parent's attention for a few minutes! 

East Cobb Park | Family Photographer
Marietta, GA | Family Photographer

This image right here....OMG! Just gets me in the heart! Very easily one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken! Sebastian was very cold, and just love the way that he got his mama to warm him up! I truly believe there is nothing quite like a mother's love! 

East Cobb Park | Family Photographer

There would be no family pictures, if two people hadn't fallen in love!

Marietta, GA | Wedding Photography

The gang is all here .... :) 

Fun Family Photography | Atlanta, GA
East Cobb Park | Family Photographer

Many thanks to the Scheutz family for trusting me to capture their adorable family! Make this week a great one! 

XOXO, Steph

10 Tips for Finding THE DRESS!!!

Atlanta Wedding Photographers

Dear Future Bride

Congratulations on getting engaged! I'm so excited that you have found your Prince Charming!  Today, I thought I would write a post just for you!  Tips on how to pick your dream wedding dress! 

When I was younger, I had this diary where I had cut out pictures of my dream dresses, and I figured I would just walk into a bridal boutique and pick one. When I got engaged, and started looking for a wedding dress, I realized how WRONG I was! My dream dress made me look like I belonged on top of a cake, and the dress I thought looked too girly was the dress I ended up picking. 

Gin Creek - Hartsfield, GA | Wedding Photography

Over the years, I have been there with so many different brides as they have chosen their dresses, and all of those experiences have had a few things in common. So here are a few tips...

  1. I have found that if you get an earlier appointment during the week, the bridal boutique will most likely be less crowded, and your consultant can usually devote more attention to you. Nothing annoys me more than having to navigate around tons of brides looking for a dress, potentially having to wait to try on the dress I want, and feeling rushed. Weekends are the worst! 
  2. Wedding magazines, Pinterest, Instagram are awesome places to start looking for ideas for your dress. But do not view them as the bible to finding your dress! I cannot tell you how many brides have been disappointed because their dream dress they saw on Pinterest looked horrible on them! Make sure you pick a gown that will flatter your body type! Your bridal consultant can help you establish styles that will be the most flattering.
  3. Do not take an army to try on dresses for the first time! Going to look at dresses for the first time can be so overwhelming, and if you have too many opinions all at once, it may be difficult for you to decide on a style that you like. 
  4. Check with the bridal boutique before you go there to see if they allow photography. If they do, have someone take pictures of you in the dresses you like, so that you can review them later. 
  5. Try on as many dresses as you can during your first couple appointments. I have only seen a few brides find their dress in the first appointment or two. Nothing wrong with exploring your options! 
  6. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT SIZE DRESS YOU WEAR! The most important thing is how the dress looks on you, and how it makes you feel!  No one is going to be checking out the tag in the back of your dress to see what size you wear! I was probably the worst bride ever because when they told me what size dress I should be wearing I about had a heart attack! I cried! It was 3 sizes larger than I normally wear! But then the consultant explained that because I have a large bust I would need a larger size, and then my gown would be altered to fit me. No one had told me any of this before! So just find the dress! Don't worry about the size!! 
  7. DO NOT BUY A WAY SMALLER SIZE with the thought that you will lose a lot of weight before your wedding! When your consultant recommends a size your should purchase, listen to them! You can take a dress in, but adding additional fabric to a dress is usually not feasible. 
  8. Keep in mind that you will be wearing your dress all day long! A dress that feels heavy when you first put it on is going to feel like a 1,000 pounds by the end of the day! Make sure you find something that you can dance in, sit down with it, walk around in it,  and will be comfortable wearing all day.
  9. Set a budget before you go shopping and stick with it! One of the things that most brides think is that if their budget isn't super high, they won't be able to get the dress of their dreams! WRONG! Most designers know that every bride cannot afford a $15,000 dress, so they have created collections that suit every budget. Also, make sure when you consider your dress budget, do not forget to factor in alteration costs. Also, READ THE FINE PRINT of your contract when you purchase your dress! Usually, all sales are final! 
  10. HAVE FUN!!! Finding your dream dress is such an important part of the wedding process. Do not forget to enjoy it! 

XOXO,

Steph 

Primrose Cottage - Roswell, GA | Wedding Photography

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Our Family to Yours!

Our family is Sri Lankan, and because of that many people assume our family doesn't celebrate Christmas...let me just stop you there, and say this..."Christmas is a BIG BIG BIG deal in our family!" It is the one day a year that we all just hang out together the whole day and eat, open gifts, watch movies, etc.

This year was different because for the first time I hosted Christmas at my house, rather than us having it at mom and dad's, like we do every year. At first I thought, no big deal....just need to clean up a little, and then cook a few things. Yeah right!! I decorated for a week non stop, cooked for 3 days non stop, cleaned for about 3 days non stop, and then got up after having 2 hours of sleep to cook a ham for 4 hours! Lol! 

All the little details are things that really matter to us. That Mickey was my sister's birthday present a million years ago. We got it on sale at Eckerd...yeah don't feel bad if you have no idea what that is...they aren't around anymore....Our stockings are at least 10 years old, we got them when my brother got married, the snowflake stocking holders were bought around the same time, the bears on either end of the mantle are from Starbucks circa 2004...and the list goes on and on....

Christmas 2015 | Family Photography

I may sound like I am complaining...but I can assure you that I am not! I would have not have it any other way! My family is EVERYTHING to me. They have been my rock and my fortress my whole life, and I would be lost without them! 

This was a first...my mother showed up in a sari for family Christmas pictures! If you know all of us, even though we only do pictures once a year, we all usually come looking very casual...like you have to really convince all of us to put jeans on. Given the option, we probably would show up in sweat pants or yoga pants! LOL! At any rate, mama looked beautiful, and I am glad she still honors our Sri Lankan heritage.

Christmas 2015

My brother and his lovely wife! 

Christmas 2015

My sister and my favorite brother-in-law! LOL! 

The original Wijesinghe crew

The best part of all, our little nephew came to visit us with his parents! 

I am thankful for the amazing family that I am a part of, and I hope you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year! 

The Hacker That Changed Me...

Have you ever attended a seminar or conference, and felt like the speaker was speaking directly at you? Like somehow someone figured out all your secrets and insecurities as a business owner, and sent them to the speaker ahead of time so they could create a speech just for you. I freely admit I am a skeptic about a lot of things. Being an executive in the background screening industry for so many years has really tainted my ability to just sit back and believe things people say. I am usually the one that smiles sweetly, and silently thinks, ..."That's great and all, but what are you hiding??" But all that changed this week...

As part of the Rising Tide Society's first ever summit, Jenna Kutcher was invited to speak to the group. Let me just say that the summit and all of the speakers were AMAZING.I cannot even begin to express the level of peace I had when it was completed knowing that there were so many other fellow creatives that were going through the same things I am, and more importantly trying to encourage one another to keep at it #communityovercompetition. I plan on writing a few more blog posts about the other speakers from the summit and how they touched my heart, but Jenna's message was particularly meaningful to me last week.

So who is this Jenna Kutcher I keep talking about? Well... Jenna Kutcher is this ridiculously awesome wedding photographer, watercolor artist, educator, humanitarian, and in my opinion all around amazing human being. I freely admit to stalking her IG account on a daily basis, and being inspired by her desire to teach and uplift others. 

One of the first things that Jenna said was, "What would you do if everything was gone? Like your FB account, your email account, your website, your blog, and your instagram account?" (Ummm...that whole idea just instantly strikes fear and terror in most creatives hearts...all those platforms  are like lifelines for our businesses!) She went on to say that while she was on her IG account last week, she was getting hacked while she was on there, and her immediate thought was how she had spent years growing her following!  What if that hacker deleted her account??? What would she do? And would she be proud of the way that she had spent her time cultivating her social media? Her response was that she might have felt some relief of the pressure that comes from trying to get more followers, create material that appeals to others, etc.

So, here I am...Queen Skeptic, and two minutes into this talk, I was already wanting to jump up and down and say, "OMG! I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!!!" See, last week, as I was attempting to update my IG feed, someone DID hack my IG account....not only that...but they did DELETE my IG account. I cannot possibly even begin to explain how angry I was. It was one of those kick-you-in-the-gut moments...like why would someone do this to me? Did they have any idea how much time I had spent in the last year trying to grow this account for my photography business? Did they have any idea the time and effort that went into looking at hashtag numbers, and creating new ones?  I really had awful thoughts about hurting the person that did this! I mean seriously...you have NOTHING better to do with your time, but to go around hacking other people's IG accounts? What could you possibly gain from deleting my account? YOU NEED TO GET A LIFE!!!! And then there was this moment where everything went quiet all of a sudden, and I thought to myself, "NO! YOU ARE THE ONE THAT NEEDS TO GET A LIFE!" 

First of all I didn't have 10,000 followers...but I had grown attached to MY followers. I looked forward to seeing their comments and their likes, and in some small way, I felt connected to them in a small way. But I realized that maybe instead of looking for their likes and their comments, I needed to spend more time getting to know them in a more personal way. Maybe doing a client appreciation party, or sending them a surprise gift, or even just a handwritten note that expressed my gratitude for their support and encouragement! I needed to stop hiding behind my keyboard on my laptop (or my Iphone), and really interact with them on more personal level! 

Second,  I realized that I had spent so much time cultivating a following on IG and other social media platforms, that I missed out on getting out of the house and doing some things that I would have rather done like Girl's night with my sister, joined a book club, or taking that cooking class I have been wanting to take....all of which would involved getting out of my yoga pants, and showering before 4 PM lol! But hey!  I'm thankful I have a job where wearing yoga pants is allowed! :) 

Third, and most important of all, my social media platforms are a representation of my work, and my business, however, they DO NOT define me as a person! So what if I had to start a new account? So what if I only have 80 or so followers on IG now? So what if I have to come up with new hashtags and content?? Bottom line? I CAN DO THAT! Not like I can't take new pictures! Not like all of a sudden because my IG account was deleted, I am less of a photographer than I was the second before it happened! People love me for me. Not because the number of my followers. They love me because they know I am so passionate about what I do, and that I will always give 110% to them. They know that I will always strive to create work that 100 years from now people in their family can appreciate. 

So to the hacker that deleted my account....I am saying thank you! Thank you for reminding me that I am more than just some IG profile. Thank you for reminding me that all the years I have spent cultivating and growing the talent that God has given me matter more than anything you could hack and delete. And to Jenna...thanks for keeping it real! :)

XOXO, Steph

P.S. To all the people looking at my blog, and thinking I need to do better about blogging...one of the commitments I made to myself was to make sure that I make the time each week to write at least one blog post! Baby Steps! One foot in front of the other ;) 

Turning 60...

Family Portraits | Gatlinburg, TN

Anyone who knows our family, knows that the heart and soul of our family is our mother! This year she celebrated a milestone birthday! She turned 60! She will probably kill me for announcing that to the internet, but the truth is that my mother doesn't look 60...so I think I will be forgiven! 

When we asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said she just wanted for the whole family to be together! No big party! So we all started suggesting places: Washington DC, New York, etc. In the end, my sister found this amazing cabin (aka large house) in the  Great Smoky Mountains (Gatlinburg, TN). 

The Wijesinghe family is not known for roughing it! We love nature, we love being outdoors, but we also love nice beds, hot water, and an outlet for our curling irons! LOL! We were thankful when my brother-in-law joined the family because he really is an outdoorsman...He and dad fished in the backyard of the house, which was a lot of fun to watch. 

Great Smoky Mountains Vacation

Before we headed home, I took some belated anniversary pictures of my sister and brother-in-law. The love they have for one another is nothing short of amazing.

Anniversary Photographer | Atlanta, GA

Family is everything! I don't know what I would do without mine! I am so thankful that God has allowed us to have so many special moments together, and I pray that they continue for many many years to come! 

XOXO,

Steph

A Day at Circle T Ranch

Any time I get to leave the city for a little bit of "country air", I am ALWAYS excited! See I am pretty much a country girl in a city girl's body! Lol! Well at least that is what I tell myself! Yesterday, I had the privilege of spending the afternoon with the Trotter family. 

Meet Dennis and Anita! They are the proud owners of gorgeous ranch!  They are the proud parents of twin boys, Matt and Jamie.

 Over the last few years, their family has grown quite a bit to include two daughter-in-laws (Krystal and Nicole), and two grandchildren as well (Seaton and Jace)! Krystal is one of my dearest friends. This girl has the ability to take your worst day and cheer you up with just a smile, and a few sentences in that Michigan accent of hers!  I was honored to take their engagement pictures, their wedding pictures, and now all their family pictures! 

Part of the magic of my job is to be able to capture moments that happen in a split second, but the memories last a lifetime...the boys were playing on the hay bales, and we asked them to put their arms around each other...here is the result ;) Jace was having none of that! 

The amazing family picture that we created together! 

Fun candid moments

One of the things that I have always been inspired by, is the bond that keeps this family together. Not only are they blood, but they are friends too. One of the favorite things the boys and their dad do together is hunt! So, we had to make sure we got a camo picture in before our session ended! Next year, will add the little munchkins too, but they were all tired out! 

2015-12-14_0011.jpg

Thank you Trotter Family for once again trusting me with your special moments! I am forever thankful! 

XOXO,

Steph

 

A Walk in the Sunflowers

For more than 19 years, Sheida has been one of my closest friends. We have shared some of the best and worst of times together.

For the first time in years, we had a girls day together in the gorgeous North Georgia Mountains in a beautiful sunflower field near Amicalola Falls State Park. Her mother and beautiful daughter joined us. The weather called for rain the whole day, and yet all we had were clouds! Which, if you are a photographer, is not a bad thing :) We had an AMAZING time!

So thankful that all these years later we are still making all kinds of fun memories together! It was a good reminder to me that no matter how hectic life may get, it is always good to stop and spend time with the ones you love.

Here are some beautiful images I took to document our amazing day together! 

Kyle | Senior Portraits | Archer High School

Senior Pictures | Archer High School | Lawrenceville, GA

Graduating high school is such a big moment in someone's life, so I have was so honored when Kyle's mom, Cathy, asked me to photograph Kyle. I have known him since he was born, and I am so happy to see the amazing young man he has become! 

Along for the session, was my best friend and second shooter, Tina. Tina and I spent the afternoon exploring downtown Lawrenceville, GA, and Tribble Mill Park with Kyle! Guys usually don't like having their pictures taken, but Kyle was such a good sport! 

Senior Portraits | Grayson High School

Here is Kyle playing his sax in front of the courthouse in the square! 

Downtown Lawrenceville, GA | Grayson High School

Exploring an alley in downtown Lawrenceville! 

Senior Photographer | Archer High School

Some of my favorite portraits from this session were in Tribble Mill Park! What a beautiful day! We arrived just before sunset.

Senior Portraits | Grayson High School

Here is Kyle's favorite picture of the day! The moment we told him he was done taking pictures! LOL! 

Tribble Mill Park | Grayson High School

Congratulations Kyle!! 

The love of a mother

Happy Monday Everyone!

I hope all you moms out there had an AMAZING Mother's Day! 

Last year on Mother's Day, as I do every year,  I called and texted several special ladies, (including my own mother of course), to say Happy Mother's Day, and to thank them for all they have done for me in my life. I loved making sure that these women realize how special they are, and how valuable their help and counsel has been to me over the years. Then later on that week, I read a post written by my sweet friend Sarah, about her feelings that Mother's Day..and let me tell you...it broke my heart! Made me cry like no other...and even now reading it a year later, it still brings tears to my eyes. So what did she write about that made me cry?? She wrote about having 2 miscarriages...

Here is a short excerpt from her blog...WARNING: Get your tissues BEFORE you read! 

“Nearly eight months ago, we found out we were expecting a much-anticipated baby. Too excited to keep the news to ourselves, we immediately told our family and closest friends. Our joy was met with sorrow, however, when four days later, we lost the baby in an early miscarriage. I’ve known many difficult experiences in my very blessed life, as most people have, but nothing prepared me for the pain the next weeks brought. But with time and prayer comes healing. As we began to heal, we decided to try again right away for another little babe. And the next month, we were blessed with a second little miracle! This time our joy was interwoven with fear, which probably eased the pain when we lost the second baby a few days later. 

I share this story because the best healing for me came through talking about the pain... in prayer, in the arms of my husband, on the phone with my mama as many tears were shed, and with lots of help from my dear friends. As I talked through the hurt, I realized that there are so many women out there who have shared my experience, who have lost babies that no one even knew they were carrying. Those women are mamas, even if they have never been able to see, touch, or kiss their own child. Miscarriage isn’t talked about much, but hearing stories of other women who have experienced it and have made it through the difficult days has helped me in inexplicable ways to heal. I hope that my story can do the same for other mamas out there who have babies they will never be able to hold in their arms. 

God has not yet blessed us with another baby, but we are hopeful that we will one day have the chance to bring our own child into the world. Until then, we have embraced this time to grow in so many ways before we become parents. We are trying to live with intention each day, without wishing these days away with impatience as we wait for our chance to raise babies.

— Sarah Lepak

Ok, PUT THE TISSUES away now :) This story continues with MUCH happier tones! I promise :) This year on Mother's Day I got to add a new member to the list of ladies that I wished for Mother's Day, and when I wrote her name, it brought the BIGGEST smile to my face! As I hit send on that text message, I said a little prayer for her "angel babies (as she calls them)," and all the other moms that have "angel babies" as well. While they may not be present here with us, they are just as loved as the ones that are here. 

I think it was very brave of Sarah to write the blog post that she did. Goodness knows I would definitely not have been as brave as she was. Reading the responses of so many who understood and sympathized made me realize how important it is to share our stories, especially if they can help someone heal. That's the power of human connection and compassion...

I have no words for how much I admire how Sarah and her husband, Garrett, handled this trying experience. If you knew them like I do, you would agree that the idea of those two hurting in any way just makes one sick to their stomach. They clung to each other, and more importantly they were very close to God during this experience. Their faith was and is something to admire.  

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of holding their little boy, Samson, in my arms. I have no words for the amount of gratitude I felt in my heart when Sarah put him in my arms. More than that, it was a very big reminder to me of how important it is to allow God to work; to have faith even when we think we have gone as far as we can. Watching Sarah and Garrett interact with Samson was nothing short of amazing. This new little addition has made them a family; Sarah gets to be the amazing mom we all knew she would be (and Garrett of course is an awesome dad! We can't leave him out of this! lol! ), and at last all of us have a new nephew to love and spoil :) 

Can't wait to see where the next portion of this journey takes this very special couple! I love y'all beyond words or measure! 

Below are some of my favorites from our newborn session together. 

Daron and Leah - Savannah Rapids Engagement Session

Happy Saturday Everyone! 

OMG! This week has been INSANE! I am totally not complaining, but I have been booked every day this week, and I am just now sitting down to try and blog about my sessions! 

On Tuesday, I headed to Augusta, GA to meet with Daron and Leah for their engagement session. I have known Daron since he was a little guy, and it's so incredible to me that in a few short months, they will be man and wife!  Cannot wait to photograph their wedding in Pennsylvania in a few short months. 

Savannah Rapids holds a special significance to this couple. A few months ago, this is where Daron proposed!  I was so touched how he met me there early to walk the location, just so that we could pick the perfect spots for their pictures! 

Here are some sneak peaks from their session! Enjoy! 

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Confessions of a Wallflower, Part 2

Happy Friday!!! :)

So by now everyone has probably noticed that I have changed all my social media pictures to ones from my portrait session on Wednesday! I cannot even begin to say thank you to my sister, who took them for me! It was an experience :)

My day of fun started with me having NOTHING to wear...the night before I totally thought, "hmmm...maybe I should pick out my outfit." But there were shows on the DVR to watch, and I figured it wouldn't be an issue! WRONG AGAIN!!!! Oh my word! I think I tried on everything in my closet, and nothing looked right...Funny enough, I had ZERO issue picking out my shoes! Salmon stilettos from White House Black Market that have a zipper in the back! And no...they don't resemble stripper shoes! :)

Anyhow, my sweet sister came and picked me up, and we headed to the mall. Surely in a place with hundreds of stores this girl could find a shirt to wear...yeah....not so much! My poor sister got to sit around as I tried on dress after dress, and top after top. And me complaining the whole time, and continuously saying, "this is why I hate coming to the mall." Halfway through this we decided to EAT! That was a good idea (as I stated before in my previous post)! It kept me from having a meltdown! Plus, Chipotle always puts me in a good mood! :)

We left the mall, went to several other stores, and I found ZERO...shocking, right? Finally in the last store we were in, I was desperate enough to walk by the kids section to see if there was anything there. The look on my sister's face when I suggested that was priceless! It was a combination of "are you kidding me?", " you can't possibly be serious!", and "how do I tell my adult sister no way in heck she can wear anything from that section without hurting her feelings." In my defense, wasn't like I was dress shopping or anything...I was looking for a flannel shirt or something. She seemed relieved when she heard that, but it was one of those moments in our relationship that I will always remember/treasure. We laughed like hyenas for several minutes over that one! :) I did find a shirt to wear, the last thing we saw...on the way out...obviously...and it came from the Juniors department :)

So here's what I came away from my session:

1. It is so important to be relaxed on your session day!

It should be a fun experience...not one of those "do I/we have to" things. My cousin reminded me of the disaster family pictures used to be for us when we were kids. For one, it took nothing short of a miracle to get my dad near a studio. As such, I think we have one "official" family picture of my dad's side of the family together that we took in a studio. All the rest of them have been taken with a tripod in someone's house, or at someone's wedding :)  My immediate family avoids taking pictures as much as possible. We take one family picture a year, and it's on Christmas Day sitting in front of presents. Even then...you should hear the complaints! Hopefully, I can change that moving forward!  My cousin reminded me again how important it is for her to enjoy these moments with her little family, rather than stressing about the whole thing. I think if that first studio experience had been a good one, we have a wall full of pictures.

Bottom line: I got to spend an amazing day with my sister/best friend. We laughed, we ate, and when it came time to take pics, it was a fun experience! I will definitely do it again :)

2. Insecurity is real! For anyone! Photographer or not! 

If people only knew how paranoid I was to have my picture taken alone. Pictures of me in the last 10 years have always had someone else in them. That's been on purpose! Have someone else in the picture there isn't as much focus on you! Or so I have thought...We all have some issues with self esteem. No matter what others may think, or how well we hide it. It is up to each of us to get past that! My sister spent so much time telling me how pretty I was, and all I kept thinking was how fat my cheeks must look or how fat I looked from the side! When I looked at the pictures later, I realized that she was right...no one would notice my chubby cheeks or my side profile. People noticed my smile :)

So for all the people that avoid having their pictures taken, or have avoided doing family pictures...take a lesson from me...schedule the session (with the right photographer of course!!!) :) You won't regret it! My stilettos and I had a great time! :)

Message from my stilettos..watch where you step!

Last week I had the honor and privilege of photographing a maternity session for a couple who is VERY special to my family and I! Garrett, is my brother's best friend and Sarah is his amazing wife, who is madly in love with her husband, and tolerates my brother and his antics out of necessity :) LOL!

When Sarah asked me to take their maternity pictures, I happily said yes! We shared ideas back and forth via a secret Pinterest board (gotta love those), and I couldn't wait to get down there! Little did I realize the butterflies that I would have in my stomach as I drove down to Bluffton at 5AM...no idea why I had butterflies...not like it was the first session I had ever done! Lol! But I think it was because of how much these two mean to me, and knowing the journey they have been on to have a little one...it made me scared that I might let them down in some way....

Sarah had mentioned she wanted a lifestyle session...easy enough, right? Uhhh...not as easy as it sounds :P We started our session off in the kitchen with the two of them relaxing with one another drinking coffee, and their cute dog Katie. The hilarious part was Garrett asking what he was supposed to do, was he allowed to talk, and how come a lifestyle session is technically not supposed to be posed, but it kinda is.... Sarah and I kept telling him what he needed to do! :) We laughed and laughed about this! He is right!

Next we headed upstairs to Baby Lepak's room. It is such a cute room, and I can totally see the little guy loving for years and years to come. As I was sitting on the floor taking pictures, I had to take a minute to notice all the cute little details that have been added for the little man. There was Sarah's little chair, Garrett's monkey, the new wagon Sarah's mama bought her grandson, and the collection of books anxiously waiting to be read to the new little one :) Garrett insisted on actually reading his favorite book, Curious George, and I thought it was so cute he wanted to reminisce about his childhood....Imagine my surprise when Sarah tells me that Garrett got the book for his 12th birthday!! :P

So as Sarah and I were trying to figure out what we wanted next, I asked Garrett if there were any pictures he absolutely had to have....to my surprise, he said YES! :) He said he wanted a picture of them with the dog, the cat, and the chickens. Yes...you read that right...he wanted to make sure the chickens got some recognition in this whole process as well :) I totally laughed thinking he was kidding...no no..the minute I said sure to the idea, he ran downstairs to get food to bribe the chickens, and patiently waited for Sarah and I to join him in the chicken coup. As he ran off, I looked down at my feet and realized I had a brand new pair of stilettos that had never been worn till that day, and I thought..."yeah.. you're a genius....you wear boots to all your other sessions, and today, you wear new stilettos...."

For those of you that have never taken maternity pics in a chicken coup....here's a bit of advice: WATCH WHERE YOU STEP!!! And think twice before you wear open toed shoes...Free entertainment was poor Garrett cleaning my shoes after (thankfully nothing touched my toes), but I have to say...these pictures are some of my favorites from our session :)

To finish off our session we went to downtown Bluffton to take some pictures by the water. Most people who know me understand that while I am an emotional person, I am by NO means one that cries easily. I am more likely to cry in private, or pretend like I am not crying if people are around... But I can't lie...I did shed a tear as I was taking these pictures...it is so rare to see a love like theirs...Knowing the struggles that they once faced to have a baby, and now to see how anxious and excited they are to meet their little man. I just couldn't help but think that in a few weeks there will be this little life that will take them on their next adventure! And I just stood there thinking how honored I was to have a small part in that...

As a photographer sometimes you get so caught up in your sessions or weddings, and you forget that it's important to take a moment to just breathe and take in what an amazing privilege it is to do what you do. I hope I never take that for granted <3 Steph

Confessions of a Wallflower, Part 1

Morning Everyone :)

Yes! I apparently am one of those crazy people up at 2 AM working on my blog, website, marketing, etc., etc. Before anyone starts thinking I need to get a life, it's all for a good reason! :) 2015 is penned to be a year of big changes for me professionally, and I couldn't be more excited!!!

In the spirit of change, my main goal has been to make changes/updates to everything. No problem! I have been knocking everything out with ease! Then all of a sudden I realized that I should probably have a picture of me on a lot of this stuff. No big deal, right? I mean, I am a photographer, so surely I have TONS of pictures of me, right? Uhhh....WRONG!!! Apparently in the last 5 years, I haven't had a picture of myself alone that I actually approved! :) So now the fun begins...

Confession #1: I actually consider myself a shy person. How is that even possible for a photographer??

Simple....I am ALWAYS the one taking the pictures!! :) I have spent years and years taking pictures of others. Trying to teach them how to relax in front of the camera, and now this week it is my turn! So now I have to take my own advice, and put into practice tips I give my clients....

Here are a few things that make for a successful portrait session in my mind:

1. EAT before your session - hungry people are grumpy people (well at least I am), and grumpy people DO NOT have awesome portrait sessions.

2. Show up on time - we, photographers create works of art, and that takes time. Plus, we are constantly batting the clock to be able to create those perfect pictures during "Golden Hour."

3. If you are a shy person, take someone with you who makes you laugh - Some of my favorite pictures I have taken over the years of people are of them laughing and joking. Nothing posed...just life as it happens. My sister knows me better than anyone, and she can make me laugh like no other :) I know that I am guaranteed awesome pictures because of this!

4. For parents with small kids, don't panic if your kid gets dirty in the first 5 mins of your session! It will be ok! I promise! :) Lifestyle photography is all about capturing life as it happens....

5. Just remember that most likely some of these pictures are going to end up in frames, and on someone's fridge! So SMILE :)

So on Wednesday, my stilettos and I will be having our picture made...we will see what they have to say after! Wish us luck! Lol! :)

Steph

The Storyteller

One of the first things people always want to know about me is where I am from. I mean no one has ever looked at my name (Stephanie Wijesinghe), and thinks Cali born GA girl! This question is always free amusement for me...evil sounding I know...but I love to let people guess before I say anything :) Most people immediately say Indian...which of course is wrong...but let's visit some of my favorite guesses shall we? Mexico, Cajun...didn't know that was a country, Hawaiian...once again, not a country, and then my person favorite...the woman on the beach who thought my tan was fake, and insisted I just didn't want to tell her how I got my year round tan :) The free entertainment in all this continues when I finally answer, and say Sri Lanka...Then people just have this blank look on their face like "she totally just made that country up! " But for all those who don't know...Sri Lanka IS a REAL country, and it's a tiny island below India.

So big deal...you are from Sri Lanka...who cares?? Well,  here's my point...ALL of us come from all over the place. Fortunately for me, I grew up in a family that was very concerned about making sure us kids were exposed to all different cultures, and they made it a point to encourage us to learn about about the world around us, and the world outside of where we grew up! Looking back, I am so thankful for this!  As a photographer I love meeting people from all over the world! It never ceases to amaze me the stories my clients and I end up sharing :)  So as much as my job may be about carrying around a camera and composing pictures, it is also about telling people's stories.  The truth is that telling people where I am from...doesn't tell them my story. But, it does open a door into making people feel more comfortable with me, and by default more comfortable with me taking their pictures! It allows me to become more than just a name in some Google search or one of a million other photographers out there!

That being said, today, I'm sharing a few pictures from my weekend session in Piedmont park, and share a small part of Noemi's story :)

Noemi was born in NY. Brooklyn to be exact! She would want me to make sure that I added that! :) She loves looking good, anything with bling, and she hasn't quite mastered the art of walking in high heels! LOL! But she was a real trooper and almost made it her entire session without changing her shoes!

She is a very proud Latina and Domicana, who is about to have her quinceañera! For those of you that don't know what that is...it's very similar to sweet 16 parties that we have in American culture. It is about celebrating a girl's transition to being a woman!

It was really fun to watch her going from being just another girl in the park getting their picture taken, to the princess that made everyone stop and want their picture taken with her :)

Read. Share. Enjoy! :)

 

Happy Holidays to you and yours!!

With all the craziness of the holidays, it's so easy to forget about blogging! So many parties to go, shopping trips to complete, and food to eat! LOL! 

I just wanted to take one moment to say Happy Holidays from Stephanie Indranee Photography!  Here is a very quick peek into what the holidays look like in my family. My mother spends HOURS and HOURS decorating their home, to make sure that when all us kids walk in the door, that it feels like Christmas! 

We are a Sri Lankan family. We LOVE LOVE LOVE to eat! So the deal I make with everyone in the family is that we do all family pictures BEFORE we sit down to eat brunch! It is INSANE how much food we end up making! Pretty sure we could feed a small army for days! 

May 2015 bring you joy and happiness! 

XOXO,

Steph