Posts tagged ‘Atlanta online dating photos’

A gin and tonic, with Hendricks

Sometimes, you meet somebody and you just know you’re going to get along.

Dan and I met up for his session and immediately dove into a pantheon of bad dating stories. After lots of shooting, posing, and laughing, we needed a little something to cool off, so we popped into a bar for a quick drink.

“Gin and tonic. With Hendrick’s, if you’ve got it.”

If the voice hadn’t been deep and obviously male, I would have wondered if I’d just been thinking out loud. Nope! Dan and I share the same favorite drink. You could say also that we share our opinion over what the best drink is. The drink that is better than all other drinks, more refreshing than all other drinks, and generally superior to whatever you’re holding as you read this.

(Sorry, I really like G&Ts.)

All of this is just to say that Dan and I had a great time — and I’ve never seen someone look so unbelievably suave while holding their G&T.


Dan, I wish you all the best in your dating adventures!

The most important reason to hire a photographer (even if you’re single)

Sometimes I hear clients say, I need to wait to have my photos taken because:

I’m losing weight.

I don’t have the right clothes.

I’m not photogenic.

I don’t feel great about myself right now. I’m single, and I want to wait to spend my money once I’m engaged. PISH. POSH. I take your excuse and I reject it. (Lovingly, gently, after promising you it will be ok.)

Don’t kid yourself: you’ve made the same excuses. I’m here to say: stop waiting!

Stop waiting to overhaul your online dating profiles. Stop waiting to have new photos taken for your dating apps. Stop waiting to make a change. Stop waiting to have great photos of yourself right. now.

This isn’t only about finding “the one.” It’s not only about beating the competition on dating sites with professional photos.

Here’s a better reason to hire a photographer: it’s about honoring who you are. Remembering who you are. Documenting who you are.

You look great NOW. You are great NOW. Yes, I promise: you are photogenic. Everyone is nervous in front of the camera, including me! You just need to find the right person to stand behind the camera.

Document yourself now. Document this time.

That scar. That hairline. Those thighs. Your smile. Your beauty. Your best, authentic self.

The one your friends and family see every day and LOVE.

Every person is a world

“Every person is a world.”

I read that quote years ago, when I was beginning to explore opening a photography business. A Spanish chef said it — and it has lingered with me ever since.

My clients bring such a force of joy, love, loyalty, hopefulness, vulnerability, and humor to my life. Especially my clients looking for online dating photography. Honestly? It’s kind of scary to admit when you need help with dating. I have been there myself, and you often need a friend to gently shake you and say, “These profile photos aren’t cutting it anymore.” I’m so thrilled and humbled by the amazing men and women who come to me, ready to try something new.

So I suppose I just want to say thanks: thanks for sharing your individual worlds with me. You’re all incredible humans who deserve great partners. Thanks for taking a few scary risks along the way — and for letting someone like me help you get there.


Sleeping in, drinking coffee, being free

Years ago, Nancy and I woke up, a little hungover. I’d crashed at her house after a fun night with a group of our girlfriends. Nancy made a pot of coffee. We wrapped ourselves in blankets, sprawled across her cozy living room, and let ourselves slowly wake up.

I’d been feeling really sad about being single. One of those tough seasons where I just felt a little lonely. I had recently broken up with a long-term boyfriend who I had truly thought I would marry and have kids with. But it didn’t work out, and that was okay. For the better, I told myself. I didn’t yet believe it, but one day I would.

Nancy piped up. “Isn’t this amazing? We have no where to be.”

I nodded. It was actually pretty nice just slowly waking up.

“Can you imagine if we had children?” Nancy said. “We definitely would not be doing this. We would not be doing this for several more decades.”

I sipped my coffee. “Can you imagine having a hangover and a baby? That sounds horrible.”

We both laughed. Yes, it did sound horrible. And in that moment, we both agreed — being single in our late 20s/early 30s was kind of amazing. We had so much freedom. We could spend our money how we liked, we could make decisions without consulting anyone, and we could drink our damn coffee in peace. It’s a little hard to fathom, but that was maybe the first time I realized the freedom I had as a single person. And how awesome it actually was being single.

Fast forward a lot of years. This is my friend Nancy, and this is her insanely cool apartment (where we’ve gingerly sipped many a cup of coffee). Nancy is embarking on an amazing adventure — a badass job in a new city. Because she has loved and nurtured and designed every inch of this amazing apartment, Nancy asked me to come document it so she can always remember her first home.

As I moved around her apartment, I asked if she remembered that conversation we had so many years ago. She did.

We talked about our friends struggling to be new parents, trying to figure things out. And we both expressed gratitude that we’d had these incredible years to explore and grow.

To travel, solo and with friends.

To develop a sense of style, in our homes and in our wardrobes.

To treat ourselves.

To grow our careers and have work opportunities.

To drink coffee and sleep in, to get full nights of rest. To love our friends’ kids, but to go home to our own beautiful homes not yet covered in burp rags and sticky handprints.

I’m so, so grateful for that. I’m grateful for friendships I nurtured and grew throughout my 20s, and the inspiring men and women I’ve met as a single person. I will miss my inspiring friend Nancy so much, but I’m thrilled to watch all my friends — single and coupled — to grow and succeed. Here’s to the next chapter, the next apartment.

Woman crush Wednesday (#WCW)

Have you ever met someone and instantly realized you were meant all along to know them?

Y’all. I met this gorgeous gal a few months ago, and we started hatching ideas. Within just a few minutes of meeting her, something inside me was like: yes. YES! YOU!

This is the stunning, elegant, feisty, brilliant Lillian Gray Charles. I initially reached out to her about providing wardrobe styling for my online dating profile clients — and we ended up gabbing so long that the parking meters ran out. I’ve got more details hitting the blog soon on how she and I are teaming up — but just know for now that she knows her sh*t, y’all. I worked with her on my own wardrobe — and yesterday, a colleague told me I looked like a supermodel. Worth. Every. Penny.

I love her fresh style and tone, so we headed out a few weeks ago to capture some of her latest looks.

Lillian’s style totally stands out in the sea of Atlanta fashion bloggers and Atlanta wardrobe stylists — I love it!

(My kingdom for those Vince sneakies!)

Lillian, my love, my #wcw. You’re amazing.

West Village vibes

I was recently in New York City and opened up a few spots on my schedule for sessions. This lovely lady Anne (Great name, right?) snapped one up right away! We spent a chilly, gusty evening in the West Village in New York City, getting some fresh, modern dating portraits for her online profiles. I’m still swooning over her incredible dress… and being amazed at how she was able to not look cold. My fingers were icicles after our session!

Are you looking for some new pictures for your online dating profiles? In need of some modern, fresh headshots? Want photos for both? Reach out today to see when I’ll be visiting your area! I’ve always got my camera, and I’ll quite literally be hitting the four corners of our country this year, so let’s get you on the schedule!

Just because

I worked with Annie and Jesse to create a custom session that fit all the things they were looking for — and we had a lot of fun! Including almost making our hip hop video debut… Almost.

It all started with an inquiry (which of course I loved) that said, in short: “We’re not getting married or engaged but wanted to see if maybe we could still do a photo session. :)”  My answer? OF COURSE!

Why would we ever need a special occasion to have photos taken of ourselves? Or to just take photos of ourselves?

Today: I challenge you to grab somebody you like who’s having a good hair day (or even a bad hair day), and take their photograph. Just because.

You don’t need a fancy camera. You just need to document this moment, today. That you were here. That you were here with this person, who means something to you. I’ll do it, too.

Thanks Annie and Jesse, for reminding me and challenging me to make a few photos of my own. Just because.

The best (and worst) questions to ask on a first date

A few years ago, I was on a first date with a guy I’ll call Alexander. Finding a time to meet up was proving to be nearly impossible, so we settled on brunch at a hipster place in town.

Over pancakes and hot teas, we settled into a very pedestrian, first date line of questioning: where are you from? How long have you lived in Atlanta? What neighborhood do you live in? Do you have siblings? Oh, really? Where do they live?

Ugh, I’m falling asleep just thinking about it! I have been on so many first dates and answered these questions so many times that I can rattle off my answers while maintaining an entirely separate train of thought. I will truly make a mental to-do list while talking about how I grew to love Atlanta. If the date is really that boring, you probably won’t notice anyway.

And then Alexander threw me a curveball: what were you like in high school?

I hit pause on how many loads of laundry I needed to do when I got home. I thought long and hard. And I struggled. Look, in high school, I was really into matching my tube socks to my Goodwill t-shirts. I was in the marching band. I ate pastries for lunch. I was in the speech and drama club. I had some health issues. I never snuck out of the house. I had an early curfew and I lived in a sheltered world. I wouldn’t trade my high school experience for anything, because it was uniquely mine and it makes me me. But it’s not terribly interesting and I’m definitely not going to seem charming or impressive telling a stranger about it.

I get what Alexander was going for. I do! Fun, off-the-wall question to shake up the conversation. But it wasn’t the best question. What is?

Folks, it’s time to spice up your first date conversations. I’m here to help.

Before I dive in, here is a picture of my dog! Isn’t he cute? I’m quite certain he’d be in your dating profile photos if you owned him. Hold on, I have to tell you about the cute thing he did yester——

STOP. It’s a trap. Stop talking about your pets on first dates. Nobody wants to hear about your dog’s gas or see a video of him being a maniac after a bath. If I don’t have a pet, too, how am I going to keep that conversation going? It’s a rip tide and WE WILL NEVER ESCAPE OUR DESTINY OF BOREDOM.

Let’s start with the negative. Skip these questions. SKIP THEM.

1.) What do you like to do for fun?

Guys, you know what I like doing for fun? Sleeping. Tackling my Netflix queue. I like hanging out in my sweats with my friends drinking beers. None of those things are flattering and making me name my hobbies on the spot just makes me feel super lame. It is impossible to give an impressive answer to this question, unless you are impressed with how many episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend I can watch in one sitting.

A humble suggestion for an alternative: what makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe?

2.) What do you do/where do you work?

I’ll be frank: you probably covered this territory already on the dating app. Asking again might feel like you’re sizing your date up in a superficial way. I have a friend who hates this question so much that she started telling dates she’s a spy. At least she could tell if her dates are listening or not.

Maybe your date is between jobs. Maybe she’s going back to grad school. Maybe he really hates his job or his boss and talking about it seems torturous.

So, if you must go there, how about switching it up and asking, how would a 5-year-old describe what you do? In a city like Atlanta, rife with engineers, this might actually be useful if you’re trying to understand what on earth this person actually does for a living.

You could also try out: what do you love most about what you do? Most of us have something that gets us through long work days. Focus on that good.

3.) Let’s figure out who we know in common!

Ugh, SNOOZE. I don’t really care if you went to college a full 10 years ago with someone I barely know. Oh, you have a funny story about them? None of this is helping us get to know each other! Friend-in-common apps have made this a routine question, but honestly? Playing the “name game” of all your mutual friends is frankly dull, and doesn’t generate good conversation.

4.) Why is a girl like you still single?

This is NOT A COMPLIMENT. Yes, I AM YELLING. If I had the answer to this tiresome question, I would have given it to my grandmother a long time ago.

And if you ask me why I’m not married yet, I will probably light my hair on fire.

5.) How’d you get that scar on your arm?

Hoooooo, boy. Are you sure you want to know? Because it’s embarrassing and not in a cute, giggly way. SKIP.

Dishonorable mentions: Tell me about yourself (I won’t be able to remember a damn thing, and this is a lazy, unthoughtful question.). What’d you do last weekend? (You’re going to know I’m lying, because I was actually at home on the couch.)

And now, to the good stuff! This is my super-secret list of surefire ways to spark a fun moment on a date. Pull one out of your back pocket the next time you reach a lull in conversation:

1.) Where’s the most overrated — and underrated — place you’ve traveled?

This is a great alternative to asking for a list of every place someone has traveled and their favorite on the list. It’s hard to answer that question without feeling braggy.

Asking instead for their thoughtful perceptions of places is a great way to gauge how they see the world (literally). My most overrated? Charleston. Most underrated? Krakow, Poland. You’ll probably ask why. I’d love to tell you the reasons. I’ll have thoughtful answers.

Another great travel-related question: what’s the last adventure you went on, and what kind of adventure are you planning next?

2.) What’s the most classically MOM thing your mother does? What’s the most UGH, DAD! thing your dad does?

This is a great next-level question about family. And again, it provokes a thoughtful response. Maybe your dad wears earplugs during church worship music, like mine does. Maybe he loves his La-Z-Boy recliner so much that he’s worn a groove into the footstool with his feet.

Maybe your mom has an uncanny way of accidentally making sexual references all the time. Maybe you’ve realized over time that you feel scandalized when you see hickeys on teenagers’ necks, which is something your mom used to do. I have cried on a date from laughing so hard to the answers I got to this question.

3.) What’s your least favorite movie?

Tell me about the one movie you think is terrible that everyone else loved. Have you ever walked out of a movie? What movie did you think was so awful that you will actually defend its awfulness?

And fine, if you must know my favorite movie, ask me this: what movie will you watch over and over again, and without ever getting tired of it?

4.) Rank your top five favorite tacos in the city.

If you live in an amazing food town like Atlanta, you should absolutely talk about food. But please don’t ask me what my favorite food is. (Carbs.) This works great for any culinary genre that excites you: what are the five best burgers you’ve had in Atlanta? Top five favorite cocktails? Five best cups of coffee? Or my favorite: the five best doughnuts (there’s a correct answer!)

Bonus: if you and your date are both feeling the spark, you can use this to generate future date ideas!

5.) What celebrities did you have a crush on in middle school?

This question is purely silly. I had a huge crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, and the guy who discovered the Titanic at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.

Answering this question allows your date to be self-deprecating without embarrassing themselves, if they don’t want to.

Honorable mentions: How did you celebrate your 21st birthday? (This is usually a longer story.) What’s your go-to karaoke song?

Look, you don’t have to be an award-winning after-dinner speaker. But it’s not calculus, either: Try to set aside your mental to-do lists and listen to your date’s answers. Ask follow-up questions. Even if you aren’t feeling the person, or decide you aren’t attracted to them, this is a chance to get to know someone new, to engage in a conversation about something you won’t otherwise discuss. I have been out with all sorts of weirdos, and still found a subject we could both laugh about for a few minutes.

What can you learn? (Lots.) Can you share a laugh? (Yes.)

And don’t talk about your pets. Really.

Gorgeous friend, gorgeous smile

Gorgeous friend, gorgeous smile. Natalie, you’re the Ilana to my Abbi and I will never tire of you calling me “egg.”

Also, you photograph so well I can barely stand it.

I love having my clients do a little walk for me! It’s amazing how much we loosen up when we move.

“I want my life to be art.”

“I don’t want my life to imitate art. I want my life to be art.” – Carrie Fisher

A few serendipitous moments led to my incredibly fun and spontaneous session with Mara — and it was one of those sessions that finally pushed me to put down the inspiration, put aside the Instagram feeds I wish I could emulate, and actually commit to creating something new. Something adventurous.

I wish this for you today: to set aside the lives, the feeds, the social networks for one moment. Shut off the valve for just one minute. Look around you, and say, this is good. This is enough. I can work with this.

Then go.