Coffee with : Audrey Grace Photo

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Atlanta is such a hub of creative powerhouses!  So many are excited to collaborate, meet up for coffee, help you excel in your craft, and champion you to help you be a better creative.  Seldom have I found a competitive spirit among the creatives I’ve been introduced to.

Audrey and I are currently neighbors, which we didn’t know until I had to drop off her wedding vows, like literally a quarter mile from each other – in a huge metro area!  We bonded over Davinci Donuts and milk while my younger son watched Thomas the Train and Curious George.

We talked life, photography, and church.  Audrey took some amazing photos of the calligraphy wedding vows I did for her and her husband.  And I got to know another beautiful photographer in this town.

How’d you get started in photography and what advice do you have for newbies?

When I was a kid, my dad had a Minolta film camera that I would play around with. I’d go to the library and check out every book I could get my hands on about photography. If there was a photo I loved, I would literally copy the settings out of the book onto my film camera and try it out. A lot of trial by error! Haha. But my love for photography grew and I kept learning. My advice for newbies; always be teachable. As an artist you are constantly learning and your brain should always be open to learning new technology and new techniques. Just when you think you have learned it all….you learn something else. And always be thankful for where you are and what you have. Comparison really is the thief of joy. So what if you have limited equipment? Rock it! Don’t let anything as silly as what camera or laptop you have hold you back. Think of it as a challenge!

What do you love about the creative vibe in ATL?

Atlanta is such a cool area to live in. I love how diverse the art scene is. There’s not too many areas where you can go to an all white modern studio space and next door is a wall of colorful graffiti. And everyone has that southern charm and respects each other and their art. Love that!

Where are your favorite places to shoot in the ATL?

That’s such tough question! I have so many favorites! Just a few recents; The Goat Farm, Ponce City Market and The Belt-line have beed really fun to explore. I also love…now this sounds weird….but photoshoots in clients homes! There’s something so intimate and cozy about taking photos of clients in their own environment. And the window light is always gorgeous to work with!

What advice would you give to newly engaged couples trying to find their ideal wedding photographer?

Pick me! Haha, ok. Just kidding. But my advice would be to get an idea of what you like before you go “photographer shopping”. It’s so easy to look at it as “how much can I get for the least amount of money?”. Working with a professional will make a huge difference in your experience and end results. I also tell brides that you don’t realize how much your wedding photographer is with you on the wedding day. They are pretty much with you the whole time! So make sure you comfortable with their personality and demeanor. Will they be a source of peace or add stress to your day?

If we were hanging out and having coffee, where would we be and what would you be drinking?

I absolutely love Chattahoochee Coffee Shop on the river. It’s so relaxing and peaceful. I’d have a vanilla latte of course! Or in the summer…an iced americano.

What other creative avenues do you enjoy?

If I have free time, I love watercolor painting. As well as cooking! I’ve been trying a lot of new recipes….even though I usually end up not following them and going my own route. I guess that’s the artist in me! haha.

How do you balance your life and your business?

I’ve always been thinking of ways to implement this more! It’s one of those things that seems easy to do; but practically….I just want to give clients all my attention. I can be such a perfectionist! When really that’s not fair to my family or….even me. I’ve recently made the choice to only respond to emails before 6:00pm. It’s the best! And I have chosen this year to not work on Sundays. Having one day off to just relax and focus on close relationships has been so refreshing and beneficial. I highly recommend it!

A Creative Space

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Creative Space

I’ve come to learn that you really can be creative anywhere: in the car (thinking, hopefully not driving while you are coloring), in a doctor’s office waiting to be called, during your children’s nap time, while listening to a lecture (I multitask pretty well), or my fave place – on the beach.  But, I can’t always get to the beach – and I seldom have quiet time at home with two boys 3 and under – but I still love to be creative.

My ideal work space is definitely not what I have now – but I am thankful for what I have now.  We live in a small-ish town home so my desk (that we got as a wedding gift) is in the corner of our living room.  It has a mirror and a huge window so I’ve got lots of natural light.  I have a little set of drawers that my parents had had forever that I took (with their permission) and repainted with Annie Sloan in a wonderful teal.  I recently repurposed some shelving that was in our son’s room and brought it downstairs to make the tight space more manageable and warm.  When on a tight budget, like we are on now, it is better to repurpose then to buy new.  I love having all my paper, markers, pens, ink, and books!  It definitely helps to have a space to write on – and not just pulling up a lap.  And my husband appreciates me not always taking over the dining room table!

creative space at home

Now, with my ideal space: I would have beautiful pottery barn baskets to hide the “stuff” and anthro pens holders (but I do love my Talenti Gelato containers).  I would have it in a closed room so I could leave it more messy sometimes if I’m working on a big project (like addressing wedding invitations which is my weekend project).  I would also love more bookshelves because I love to read and I think reading spurs on creativity.  And I would love a big comfy chair to curl up in!  And I know laptops are great but I would love a massive mac for photo editing.  And, when I worked as a curriculum writer for a church in NC, I had a round table in my office.  I would mostly work there instead of my desk and it was perfect for having collaborative meetings – definitely get one of those too!  A girl can dream right?

WeWork has inspired me to talk about my ideal creative space.  They rent out creative shared office space in (mostly) big cities to creatives who need to have a studio or just a desk.  It is really helpful for creatives to be around other creatives.  Something about being with creatives that really spurs me on – even if its just talking about our creatives muses or collaborating on a project.  If I have the chance to do that once the boys are in school, and there is one in whatever city we live in at that time (currently live in the metro ATL area), that that would be great for writing and photo editing, especially.

We Work