Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Stop and smell the... reptile

What a crazy time of year! For those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah and honor Yom Kippur, I hope your holidays were wonderful, meaningful and filled with family. It always feels like the High Holidays have come out of nowhere because I am so busy doing, working and living; the summer ends and all I can focus on are all the things I have planned for the fall and then, all of a sudden, the holidays are here. It's a good thing though. As much as I like to stay focused on the finish line, it's so necessary to take a break, a full break without the phone, tv, email, or Facebook, and really take some time to meditate on the past year. It's a time to realize the mistakes we've made, the accomplishments we've had, correct our wrongs and make a promise to have more accomplishments and fewer mistakes next year. Isn't that a great way for everyone to celebrate the new year?

On Saturday, I was about to start cooking eggs for brunch when I looked out the window and saw a little turtle walking up our driveway. Now, we have a lot of wildlife in our neighborhood including a stray cat and her kitten who decided to take up residence outside our house for a few weeks. The list also includes, owls, opossum, geese, ducks, squirrels, chipmunks... But a turtle?! That was new. There is a stream right across from our house and with all the rain, the stream overflowed and the streets were covered in water. Thank goodness we are on a hill and
didn't experience any damage from all the flooding, but this little guy must have been looking for something, maybe food, maybe a dry place to rest, but he had no idea he was walking onto the driveway of a photographer with a love for turtles. As soon as I saw him, I ran out to see him. I didn't touch him or try to pick him up because I feel that he's a wild animal (I mean, reptile) and just because I'm higher on the food chain doesn't mean that I should do whatever I want with him. Nick suggested we make him our pet, but I don't think that putting him into a 10-gallon fish tank or even creating an outdoor home for him is really a nice way to live. Don't get me wrong, I've had pets, including turtles, and pets are wonderful but for some reason, I felt that since he's lived his whole life in the wild, I have no right to take him out of that just for my own satisfaction. But what I did do is grab my camera, and Nick grabbed our new Flip HD video camera and captured the little guy.

I think the timing of his arrival was great. The New Year is a time of reflection, meditation and renewal and what better way to symbolize that than by observing something new in nature in your environment. It's amazing what we can see if we just stop every once in a while and look around, and respect nature and all it has to offer us.

Greeting Card samples - arrived!

Can you say excited?! I have been working on these 12 new designs for our greeting card catalog and the samples arrived! I love the variety of designs that really can fit any event. Birth announcement, Christmas card, New Year's card, or, something that's become popular with my clients, an everyday notecard that can be used throughout the year.

We've added some paper selections as well. We've had watercolor, linen and glossy papers from some time. And now we have pearl (an iridescent paper), semi-gloss and a recycled paper. Since we as a studio are all about conserving and recycling, I'm especially excited about offering the recycled paper option.

All holiday card orders must be placed by November 1.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

STuFF - Sara's Totally Fantastic Finds (episode 9)

I am a huge fan of This American Life , the radio show on NPR that explores American life, stories, events both personal and public in a way that is refreshing, captivating and educational. It airs here in Atlanta on Sunday evenings, but I subscribe to the podcasts so I can listen whenever I have time. Usually that means, while I paint our living room, do the huge pile of dishes that have accumulated over what seems like weeks (read 48 hours), or my newest favorite non-photography hobby - cook in our new kitchen.

Anyway, I saw this and had to share. It's an animation of one of the vignettes on an episode. If you haven't had the pleasure yet, I urge you to listen to the next show. You can download old episodes on iTunes, listen to the latest episode here and become addicted, like me! Love it!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Rosh Hashanah!

If you've been following me on Facebook, you already know that I've been making Challah (egg bread) from scratch throughout the last few months. It is such a gratifying experience to know that I'm capable of making bread, and the fact they it is so much more delicious than the store bought stuff makes me (& Nick) especially happy. These are my first round loaves made especially for Rosh Hashanah. One plain, one with raisins - yummy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Picture of the Day

The rabbi at the Orthodox congregation, Beth Israel, in New Orleans, asked if I could send some of the pictures I took while touring their Katrina-flooded building. While editing thru some pictures from our February trip, I came upon this image. It isn't one that previously stood out to me, but it just goes to show how the meaning and impact of a photograph can change. It really appeals to me now. The room was only lit slightly by an overcast day seeping in through nearby fogged windows. The room felt like a cemetery of ruined items and furniture. This pew stood alone. Imagine all the people who must have sat in this pew throughout the years, praying for ill family members, rejoicing at marriages and bar mitzvahs, celebrating Rosh Hashanah's year after year.

Anyway, thought it was appropriate as Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins Friday evening. L'Shanah Tovah! May the year bring you good health, happiness and many pauses to enjoy the little things that make our lives rich.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

2009 Holiday Cards

We know many of you have been waiting for this so thanks for being patient! Our 2009 catalog of holiday cards and birth announcements is here!

Many of the designs are customizable - colors, text, font, size of images on the cards, etc. Also, birth announcement designs can be customized for the holidays, and vice-versa, so don't be afraid to ask if we can adjust a design for you.

Click here to see the complete catalog.

Thanks to our amazing clients for their allowing us to use their pictures in this year's catalog!

Sara Speert Photography | Atlanta Photographer | Holiday Portraits | Holiday Cards

William & Margaret

On Saturday, I had the pleasure of photographing William and Margaret again. As with William's third session, we headed outside for Margaret's third session as well. This time, we went to Emory University. Mom used to work there which I know created a interesting circle-of-life kind of thing for her to have a portrait session of her children in the same place she used to work 5 days a week. They often take walks thru the campus as a family because it's just so darn beautiful and I think the lack of traffic is also a nice perk. So, the kids seem to know the place well and felt really comfortable there - probably one of the top 3 important elements of a great portrait session.

While most of the students were still sleeping on Saturday morning, we wandered around enjoying the break in rain.
But before we left the house, I snagged this moment thru the front door of William and his dad having a quiet moment on the front porch.

Enjoy the slideshow by clicking the image.

Wedding Art

It's hard to believe that Nick and I have been married for 11 months. This year has flown by and it's almost time for our anniversary. Nick and I made promises, more like a bet, to each other and my end of the deal was to finish designing our wedding album by our first anniversary. Well, I'm not even close to being finished. I am finally seeing what my clients have always said about how difficult it is to choose their favorite pictures. While it's always a challenge to design a wedding or portrait album, I can honestly say now that it is easier for me to eliminate, sequence and group pictures than it is for a bride, groom or parent.

But now I'm designing my own wedding album and it is SO HARD! I've probably spent about 3 hours on it already and only designed 8 page spreads - and that includes the invitation on the first page. Anyway, while I keep my head down and try to plow thru, I decided that we needed some eye-candy, something to remind us everyday of our beautiful and memorable wedding. And we shouldn't have to wait until the album is complete to enjoy all the amazing pictures. (A bit of a copout, maybe. So what!)

So, I had a 24x36 canvas made of one of our favorite photos. It was shot during our first dance, a swing number to "You Make Me Feel So Young" by Frank Sinatra. Love the song and performing our well-rehearsed dance, with lifts and a gajillion spins, was one of the highlights of the entire day. What I love about this image is many things. First, the expressions on everyone's faces - priceless. The lighting is superb, lighting up my dress and illuminating everyone's faces. Third, the composition of Nick and me in the frame. Fourth, that I can just barely make out Ben and Chris lighting and shooting this moment. (Thanks, Chris, Katie and Ben!) And most importantly, fifth, the memories is brings back. We love placing it above our bed. Since it's in a private space of the house, we get to enjoy it all to ourselves (well, except for this post, of course!) and it makes it really special.

Love everyone's expressions, and my twirling dress!

Check out the amazing texture of the canvas. Love it.
And, yes, I wore sneakers all day. I'm an all-comfort kinda girl.

Friday, September 04, 2009

New Card Design - Birth Announcements

I've had a really great time designing some new holiday cards. If you are interested in the holiday card package on Portrait Day, email me and I can send you the catalog as soon as it's complete.

While I was working on holiday cards, I took the opportunity to add some birth announcement cards to my collection. I absolutely love this new design. It's a tri-fold 5x5 card that is available in 5 different papers - linen, watercolor, semi-gloss, gloss, and matte recycled paper.


As you open the card, this picture on the left is revealed. The right side is still folded.


And the back.

Contact the studio if you'd like information about scheduling a newborn portrait session, Growing Baby Portrait Packages or birth announcements.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Registration is now open - Portrait Day 2009

The day has finally come after months of planning and a year since the last event. Portrait Day 2009 registration is now open!


Join us at the park... dance among the trees, twirl in the grass, bring a picnic and enjoy a beautiful day while Sara Speert Photography photographs stunning images of your family.

This year's Portrait Day will be held on October 24th, 2009 from 9am to 6:30pm. Mini-sessions will be held all day and offer a wonderful opportunity for holiday or annual family portraits at a great discount.

Our goal is to capture the natural and real emotions of your family, and create custom art for your home with images that will make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes.

Click here or on the image below to learn about all the details and register. This event will sell out so register now. Registration deadline is October 7th.

Thanks to our amazing clients & friends - Pete, Jenny, & Jack, and Dan, Rachel & Joshua for their beautiful pictures featured on this year's Portrait Day flier.