Imaging USA | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Family Photographer

When my alarm went off at 3 AM, I was seriously doubting my decision to drive to Atlanta for the day.  I watched my family sleeping in bed so peacefully, and almost decided to stay with them.  A four hour drive at that ungodly hour, forget it!  And when I couldn't find a mug to bring some coffee in- well that was just almost too much.

But once I got on the road and got some caffeine in my system, I started to get excited.  I was on my way to Imaging USA, one of the biggest photography conferences out there.  There were famous photographers from all around the world teaching classes, and a huge expo of some of the best vendors around, with tons of products to touch, feel, and smell (what? I love the smell of a fresh printed album). This was definitely an event to be excited about.

Between the classes and the expo, I really enjoyed this event!  I learned a lot from some really amazing people, and found some really great products to offer.  I can't wait to share them with you! I even got to meet the amazing photographer Sue Bryce, who I've been learning from online, and whom I admire very much.

As an added bonus, I was able to meet up with an old friend from El Paso.  It was so great to see her, catch up, and of course talk photography.

I don't have pictures to share, because I was too busy taking it all in, but I can promise you this: You'll be seeing the results in my work and in the amazing new products I'll be offering!

And to all the photographers from around the country that were there- I'll see you next year!

Elliott | Mikaela Joy Savannah Newborn Photographer

CoffeeShop 1V1H Storyboard Template with clipping masks I have another fun share today- more baby photos!  Recently I had one month old Elliott in my studio for some late newborn photos.

Generally, you are supposed to do newborn photos within the first two weeks of life, so I was a bit nervous about little Elliott coming in at over a month old.  It turns out, though, that I had absolutely no reason to be.  This little man was a dream to work with.  He fell asleep easily, posed well, and then woke up for a few bright eyed photos at the end.

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With his red hair and blue eyes, this little guy is certainly going to be a charmer! I had such a great time working with him and am excited to watch him grow up.  What a sweetheart!

To see the rest of his photos you can visit my website here.

Sebastian | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Newborn Photographer

Since I finished setting up my studio, I've been dying to work with some newborns.  Those first few weeks of a baby's life are so special- everything is new, the bond between mom and child is strengthening, and baby is growing like crazy!  One of my favorite experiences shooting photos of my own son was when he was five days old (in fact I shared one of those photos in my last post). The newborn phase is so important to capture because it's gone so quickly.  It's a wonderful experience to be able to be a part of those fleeting moments. sebastian

Much to my excitement, Sebastian came to my studio as it's first newborn visitor.  He was exactly two weeks old and absolutely adorable.  Right on time, mom showed up at the door with a sleeping newborn and I thought, "Oh good, he's already sleeping.  This will be an easy shoot."

Boy was I wrong.  Little Sebastian somehow managed to stay away the entire time he was with us.  He took a few short catnaps in his mom's arms, but always woke up as soon as he was set down.

So we were forced to improvise.  Luckily, Sebastian was perfectly content as long as he was with mom.  We were able to get some lovely portraits of the duo.  He also was willing to pose a bit as long as he got to show off those beautiful eyes.

sebastian2Want to see more? The full album can be found here

Why I Edit| Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

In preparation for an upcoming newborn shoot (which I'm very excited about!) I decided to revisit the photos I took of my own little man when he was 5 days old. At this point I was a bit sleep deprived, inexperienced with babies, and lacking in a proper lighting setup.  I used a blanket, a couch, and some window light and came up with some decent shots, considering the circumstances.  Since then I've fixed everything but the sleep deprivation, and added some new photoshop skills to boot. Since the editing is such a drastic change, I thought I'd share my before and after: before and after

The original photo was fine, but it looks like what it is- a baby sleeping on a blanket draped over a couch.  It's a fine snapshot and gives a good idea of what my little boy looked like at five days old.  But what a transformation a little editing can do! This is the difference between a professional photo and a snapshot.

I've been asked before why I edit every photo I reveal to the client.  Many photographers deliver unedited products in favor of saving time.  They often claim that they "get it right in the camera" and don't need to edit.  If that is true, then great.  But my goal with photography is about more than the snap of the photo.  For me photography is art.  I want to create something beautiful, something that you will want to hang on your wall, something that will be shared outside of a computer screen.

Yes, it is a lot of work.  Sometimes I will spend an hour or more on just one photo.  Certain types of photos require more, while others are quick. But the proof is in the pictures, and for me, it's worth it.

As a side note, look how little my boy was! Oh my gosh!

Studio Space! | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

DSC_1992 copyBig news guys! Mikaela Joy Photography now has a home studio! It's a small space- best for headshots, babies, and children, but just enough to help me offer several new possibilities for our sessions. So far I've been playing with photos of my little man and a couple self portraits in the space. Later this week we have another baby coming in to help me really test things out, but until then I'll share some of my experiments.



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What's most exciting for me is that I'm now set up to shoot newborns!  With that said, I'm looking for models.  If you or anyone you know has a newborn and is interested in a free session, please get in touch! Send me a message on facebook or through my website.  I can't wait to hear from you!

The Little Moments & Getting in the Picture | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

Baking With BabyThere are constantly moments where I think "God I wish I had my camera."  I see things every day that I frame into a photo in my head but never take the shot for various reasons (no camera with me, no patience for my photography shenanigans from the people I'm with).  Usually these are passing moments with strangers that I won't ever think about again, but often they are moments in my own life- moments that I would have loved to have captured and printed. DSC_0636Being a photographer means that the lives of the people closest to me are very well documented.  I have taken several pictures of my son for every day of his life.  I do photo shoots with him every month.  I take pictures of any friends that will let me and bring my camera to most events I attend.  But I'm hardly ever in the picture.

I think a lot of moms can relate to this.

It's so easy to get caught up in capturing every moment of your kids lives.  But what about one's own progress during this time?  Being a mom completely changes a person.  When I look at photos of myself before and after having my son, I see an entirely different person.  My body has changed, my outlook has changed, everything about my life is a little bit different.

DSC_1058 copyObviously, I believe in the importance of photography.  I want my son to look back at old pictures of us with amazement- at both the changes in himself and in me.  I want him to see the way I smiled at him as he "helped" me cook, the proud look on his face as he takes his first steps.

This is why I place my focus in lifestyle photography.  When I look back at posed pictures from my childhood I laugh at the way we all looked and the clothes we all wore, but it doesn't represent my life to me.  The pictures that resonate are the ones in a baby carrier strapped to my father as he gives commands to the family dog, or the photo of my brother and I playing together, me standing in his work boots.

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As I capture these moments for others, I've been making a point to be sure they are taken in my own life as well. Whether it's through the art of self portraiture (and some  plain old lselfies, too) or by handing off my camera on occasion, I want to be sure that these memories are saved.  They are too important to miss.

Eryn | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

eryncandidIt can be hard to get anything done with a new baby, but last week I was determined to get back behind the camera taking something other than baby pictures. So with my little man tied on to my back, I made my way to Forsyth Park to meet up with a gorgeous model named Eryn. DSC_0851

Eryn posses one of my favorite qualities in a model- she's up for anything.  She showed up with a smile on her face and a perfect outfit, despite the fact that I had only given her a day's notice.  More impressively, she was unphased by my little helper, laughing as he tried to flirt with her.

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Since it was such an impromptu shoot (I seem to be developing a habit here), we decided to keep it carefree with a more candid feel.  These are my favorite types of shots because they really showcase the personality of the model.  When I think of Eryn I think of vintage glamour, and I feel like that's what we captured here.


You can find the rest of the photos from this shoot here.

Spring Cleaning

It's the time of year.  People are climbing into their attics to sift through boxes of unwanted junk, dusting off the bookshelves that haven't been dusted since last spring, and sorting through the junk drawers.  Something about the snow melting (metaphorically of course- I live in Georgia after all) feels like a fresh start, maybe even more so than New Years does. I've certainly been doing my fair share of cleaning.  It seems like the second little man goes down for a nap I'm bolting around the house trying to get something done.  I've cleaned the carpets, worked in the lawn, and cleaned places in my house that should have been cleaned a long time ago. Yikes.

But there's a place in my life that is even more in need of a spring cleaning than the rest of my house- my computer.  Last year at this time I was pregnant and lazy (seriously, how did I sleep that much?!) and so, even though I was taking a lot of pictures, they all ended up in an un-edited pile on my desktop.  I don't even want to know how many raw files have piled up.

So my big spring cleaning project is to go through and edit all those raw files.  I've got a street photography set, some personal family photos, photos from my baby shower, some boudoir photos, and a set of my #1 model at the beach.  This could take a while.

So to kick things off, I'm going to share some photos I took last year at this time during a day walking around Savannah.

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I went back to wander downtown with my sister in law, our babies, and our dogs the other day for the first time in a long while. And even though it's a year later, these photos perfectly depict what's happening in Savannah right now- musicians playing in the park, people relaxing and working in the sunshine, and the gorgeous green grass of spring.  My little family really lucked out to get stationed in such a beautiful vibrant place.

I'm Back. Again.

Hey guys, So I kind of disappeared again.  I know, I know, you've been hearing that a lot from me.  But let me tell you- pregnancy really took it out of me.  And you know whats harder than pregnancy?  Actually taking care of the kid.

Okay so that's a bit harsh.  The truth is that I absolutely love being a mom and really its easier than I thought it would be.  Most of the time.  But how could I not love spending all day with this sweet face?


He's pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself. But I may be a bit biased.

So while I may not be posting as often as I used to, I just wanted to check in and say "Hey, guys. I'm still here."  And while I may not be working on my professional photography as much, I'm taking more pictures than ever of this little guy.  And you know I plan to share.

Stay tuned.

Pregnancy Week 27

27 WeeksGetting bigger!  I'm almost through the 2nd trimester and it's about time for another update.  Everything is going by so quickly. I only have 13 weeks to go and it feels like there is so much to do.  The nursery is nowhere near close to done (not that I'll be using it right away, but I'd still like to have it done), and I still really haven't caught up on this whole housework thing.  Its amazing how messy a house can get when I decide to sleep for 3 months straight.  Funny how that works. I'm running on an energy burst today, but that's nowhere near common for me.  I'm still generally exhausted and only expecting it to get worse.  But I did accomplish quite a bit today.  For instance I found out there is a store in Pooler called Taterbugs that sells all kinds of cloth diapers. So I decided to start my stash today.  Aren't they cute?!


I'm hoping the cuteness will outweigh the stink.  In all seriousness though, Robert suggested the idea of cloth diapering when I very first found out I was pregnant and, while logically and monetarily it seemed like a good idea, I've been a little overwhelmed by it.  I had looked some things up online and kind of figured out how it works, but there are so many types of diapers and so many opinions of how it should be done, that I was pretty lost.

But the woman working at Taterbugs was great in helping me understand the different types of diapers and what they are used for etc.  She walked me through their whole wall of products and helped me pick a few out.  So now instead of being overwhelmed, I'm just excited by all the cute designs.

Of course I may change my mind about all that when there is actually a baby pooping in them.  Who knows.  If anyone has any experience/advice about cloth diapering it would be much appreciated.

In other news, Robert and I finally started painting the nursery.  I've only been bugging him about it for months now.  What can I say, I'm a bit impatient.  We went to Lowe's with a plan in mind about how we were going to paint- and then ditched it almost completely.  We ended up with three grey walls and a bright blue chalkboard wall.  I'm pretty excited about how it's all turning out. It doesn't really go with my original color scheme plan, but I'm loving the new plans.  Grey, blue, and orange is my new color pallet (kind of like that chevron diaper, actually).

Other than that I'm just doing the usual, working and photo editing, cuddling with the dog, and sleeping. A lot.  Just three more months to go until I get to meet baby Riley, and I'm so excited!

Pregnancy Weeks 21-23

21 WeeksI've been getting requests from family and friends for a new bump picture, so I guess it's time to update a bit. I will confess though, this photo is a bit old.  I'm actually almost 23 weeks now and this was taken at 21.  Still the bump hasn't grown that much in the past couple of weeks... at least I don't think so.

I seem to be still in the happy glowy ohmigosh the baby is kicking stage of pregnancy that everyone keeps telling me is so great (and oh boy is there a lot of kicking). I'm hoping to hang on to that as long as I can.  Everyone keeps reminding me that things are all downhill from here in terms of pregnancy ailments, but I think I'll just live in blissfull ignorance for right now.

Oh! I haven't shared the latest new yet have I?  I had an ultrasound at 20 weeks and found this little tidbit out:


Yup, I was wrong and the hubby was right.  It's a boy!  I thought I might be disappointed by this, just a little, but the truth is that I'm just happy for a healthy baby (who is normal in size, apparently, which is quite comforting).  And then I started looking at clothes for little boys and oh my goodness are they cute. 

So for now it's all about the baby shower and nursery decorations, and of course buying all those cute clothes that I really don't need!

Renata Maternity | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

renatacolor This was another early morning shoot with the beautiful momma-to-be Renata.  Renata is a photographer herself, so I was a bit nervous about doing her photos.  I was determined that they had to be perfect.

That said, the morning lighting was absolutely great, the location beautiful, and Renata was about as gorgeous as pregnant ladies get.  I didn't have anything to worry about.


My only challenge here was teaching myself about maternity photography.  I'm used to positioning my models to make them look skinny, but in maternity that is out the window.  Everything is about showing off that belly!  The poses are different than what I'm used to, the model doesn't get around as well, and babies and bellies move! But working with Renata was great because we were able to pool our experience a bit and come out with some great photos.

Renata is now the mother of a beautiful baby girl.  It doesn't get any better than that!

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Pregnancy Update Week 18

18weeksWell, now that the big news is out (along with the big belly), I suppose it's time to start doing some pregnancy updates. At 18 weeks pregnant I'm officially and unmistakeably showing.  I'm to the point where strangers now feel comfortable enough to comment on the small orb that is my stomach. It pretty much happened overnight. Speaking of which, since when are people so bold about asking a woman if she's pregnant?  I'm of the philosophy that you should never ask.  Even if she's got a giant 3rd trimester belly.

I think I'll start acting confused whenever people say something.  I'll lead with a, "What? I'm not pregnant," and then act very offended that they think I'm fat.

Since this is always everyone's first question, I should probably mention that no, I don't know whether it is a boy or a girl yet.  I will be finding out in less than two weeks though (how exciting!) I've started to feel movements fairly regularly (at least once a day), but no significant kicks yet.  Definitely nothing that anyone else would be able to feel.  I had my first appointment with the midwife today (after the long battle of trying to get off post with my care) and heard a strong healthy heartbeat and confirmed that both baby and I are healthy and happy.

As for cravings, at this point I pretty much want to eat my weight in cherries.  So if anyone has the hookups on where to get large amounts of cherries for cheap please let me know.  I will be oh-so-grateful.

So that's the news for my 18 week update.  I haven't quite decided how often I plan to do these (maybe weekly) but expect more to come soon!


Two For One Photo Shoot | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

samglamWhenever I shoot with Sam (one of my best friends and my favorite model) we have a tendency to get a bit carried away. We get an idea in our heads, and then we get three more and then we spend most of a day shooting photos.

For that reason my portfolio has more images of Sam than anyone else and they are all a strange mismatch of different genres.

But we always have fun!

This shoot started out early in the morning with a very glam look (pictured above).  She put on a red dress and some makeup and we ventured out into the morning light for some portraits.

And then we got into the black paint and shadows.


This was where both of us got to really play with our creativity.  We worked together to make photos that really evoked emotion and were a step away from my normal type of work to add variety to both of our portfolios.

How did we do?

Announcement Time!

Alright, I know, I disappeared for a bit.  My last post was in April and that's not okay.  I abandoned the 365 project in favor of getting some (much needed) extra sleep.  But guys, I promise, I have a good excuse. Are you ready for this?***


So you can see why I've been a bit sleepy lately.  And hungry.  And nauseous.

But even though I haven't been posting much I have been shooting, and I have a lot of great sessions to share with y'all. So if you've stuck around this long, thank you.  Supposedly I'll be getting a "second trimester energy burst" here in the future (today would be great, please), and I have a lot of big plans for my future photography endeavors.

So stay tuned! There is lots of great stuff coming.

***for all honesty's purpose, I totally stole the idea for this from pinterest.  Here's the original.

Monday Photo Dump: Week 17 | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

Image Let me be honest.  I spent this ENTIRE week cuddling with my cats.  That's how my energy level has been and, you know what? I deserve a lazy week every now and then.  So I'm going to skip the commentary this week and instead just dump a bunch of pictures of my pets.  Sound good? I promise I'll do better next week. Image







4-22-14: Ok this one deserves commentary just to say that the farmers marker in Richmond Hill is amazing! I'm addicted to these blueberries.




4-24-14: An adorable petsmart kitten!



I started this week with a very experimental photo shoot with Sam, my favorite model, so you can expect something more than photos of cats next time.  Don't give up on me yet!


I'm Still Here!

I got some news not so long ago. Big news.

And while I'm not ready to share (yet) I will say this.  It kind of stole my brain for a bit.  Photography and blogging and all the other normal daily life things that I do were pushed to the back burner so I could focus on wrapping my mind around this news.  And for that reason I missed some photo dumps.

Like two week's worth. Oops.

My mom asked me the other day if I was going to continue posting my photo of the day blogs, and yes I still intend to do so.  But rather than trying to play catch up and round up two weeks worth of photos on scattered SD cards and cell phones, trying to figure out which photos go where, I'm starting fresh.  I was starting to lose steam on this project and forget about what I was trying to accomplish.  It had become more of a chore than something to enjoy.  So instead of berating myself for missing those two weeks, or giving up because I won't have made a full year by the 2015, I've decided to just let it go and start up again this week.

So my plan is that next monday will be my next photo dump, filled with this week's photos. This week I'll be playing catch up and getting some of my other editing done that I neglected while my mind was elsewhere.

So sorry for the quick pause, but I promise as of this week we are back on track.  Stay tuned!

Monday Photo Dump: Week 14 | Mikaela Joy: Savannah Lifestyle Photographer

Image This week my hubby was out in the field (still) so I had a lot of down time.  This meant that I actually got out and did some stuff this weekend, and I think as a result got some fun pictures. Image 3-29-14: I spent my Saturday evening wandering Savannah and taking pictures of One Love's Paws for a Cause event.  They had dancers performing and, seeing that I minored in dance and have a strong interest in the subject, I really enjoyed photographing it. Image 3-30-14: Sunday I went with some friends and some dogs out to the beach at Hilton head.  This dog (sassy) had the time of her life chasing water droplets.  I'm pretty sure she can fly! Image 3-31-14: I got my exercise this week with some tennis. I attempted to use my phone's camera as an experiment to how well it works. Not very well, it turns out. If this had a proper exposure it wouldn't have been half bad though. Does any know any manual camera apps for android? Image 4-1-14: I've been really enjoying how differently I'm able to grocery shop with my hubby not around.  If I want salami and brie for dinner I can do it, and nobody is here to complain! Image 4-2-14: I got a remote shutter release for my camera and spent some time messing around with it. I was going for a model-like photo, but I guess I'm better off behind the camera, because I do NOT know how to pose myself.  I accidentally got this shot of myself and Jerry playing though. Image 4-3-14: Another cell phone pic! This is one of the Petsmart cats being all belly's up and cuddly, which, after my day at work, I really needed. Image 4-4-14: I bought a new 35mm lens and took it downtown to do some street photography. This was one of the first shots I took with it. I love this lens!

And that's it for this weeks photos.  Next week will kick off with Jerry at the beach and some sharkless shark fishing. Stay tuned!

Paws For a Cause

Last weekend I spent my Saturday at The Foundry Coffee Pub in Savannah for One Love Animal Rescue's Paws for a Cause event. The event involved an artisan fair and some performances in order to raise money for the rescue and have some fun while doing so.


The event was everything from cupcakes to belly dancers.  It was so great to see so much local talent coming out to support our cause.


I especially had fun photographing the dance portion of the evening.  I was a dance minor in college, so I spent a lot of my time watching performances (and of course dancing).  It was so much fun to be able to combine that love with one for photography and to use my dance knowledge to create these pictures.  I see more dance photography in my future!

Anyway, the event was a great success and I'm happy I was able to go out and shoot some pictures.

If you are interested in supporting this cause, fostering, or adopting a pet, please contact One Love Animal Rescue today.