Holly's How To's | Lesson ONE!

I'm so excited to start this SERIES with y'all! I know learning to use your fancy DSLR camera can seem very overwhelming and I don't want it to be for you!! So, today I am sharing a simple tip that will help you INSTANTLY get better images!

Last lesson, I shared a HUGE glossary of terms. If you need to reference those terms please click below.

As always, don't forget to ask me those questions!!! I have several questions lined up for the next video! ;)

Click play and let's start camera nerding together!!!

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What is your God Given Talent???

 My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

My sweet boy, we have come so far. My depression cost us a lot of bonding time but the good news is we have now until forever. . .I love you.

It's been on my heart to ask you this,

“Have you ever prayed that God would reveal your “God Given Talents”?”

I know that's super random and you're probably like, "Holly, what does that have to do with photography or learning how to shoot better?" That question and that same prayer is how I found out I was supposed to be a photographer! 

Way back when I was about 16 weeks pregnant with our first baby, RyAnne, I joined a ladies Bible study group. Stacey, our group leader, asked us if we all knew what our God Given Talent was. I was sitting in a group of ladies ranging in age from about 24-50 and they ALL knew exactly what their God Given Talents were! Me on the other hand. . .UHHHHH, nope! Notta clue!!! It saddened me that I didn't have one single idea! So, I started praying and asking God to reveal it to me. Several months later and after I gave birth to RyAnne, I became very depressed. Postpartum depression crept into my mind, body and soul and took over my every being. It was one of the hardest times in my life. 

In December, when RyAnne was about eight months old, I was still suffering through my depression. Two weeks before Christmas my husband surprised me with an early gift, my very first DSLR camera! I had no initial intention of starting a business at that time. Heck, I didn't even know how to turn on my new camera or even know where to put the battery!!! BUT two months after receiving that gift, God made it very clear to me that I was to open a business and become a professional photographer! Without hesitation, I DID IT! It's been the most incredible journey too!! I've been blessed with serving some of the most incredible couples and families over my SEVEN years as a photographer and I hope there will be many, MANY more years to come! 

If you follow along with me on social media, Instagram and/or Facebook, you will know I have tried to be open about my PPD journey after having our son Rocco last June 2017. When he was about three and a half months old, it all came flooding back. This time even worse. It's been one of the hardest things to overcome, but I am finally seeing the light at the end of this dark tunnel! I started back working in the office this January. Although I have done some great things over the past few months for my family and work life, I have felt as though I was just meandering along. Doing but not really knowing the "WHY" I was doing it! So, I found myself praying again. . .

“Lord, what is my purpose? What are you preparing me for?” 

In March, my sweet neighbor Brittany, randomly sent me a text asking me if I wanted to join her that evening for a new workout class that had just started up. I was ALLLLL about it!! For one, any excuse to hang out with Brittany was a YES and two, getting to workout - YES and YES! The class was like non-other I have ever been a part of. Chelsea, our instructor, started off the class asking for prayer requests. I remember thinking, "Hmmmmm, that's different but I like it!" As the weeks passed and we all started getting closer and closer as a group of STRONG ladies, I asked the ladies to pray that God would give me guidance and make my path clear! They prayed for me several times this same prayer for guidance. 

It's been on my heart to find a charity that I have a passion for. So, I started praying, asking that God would lead me to the charity that he knew I would be able to contribute to and also be passionate about. This past Saturday, while folding laundry, it hit me like a ton of bricks! God made it SO CLEAR to me. . .I need to find a charity that contributes to the research of Postpartum Depression!!! NEXT, I stopped what I was doing, grabbed my very empty journal and starting writing!! Chapters and excerpts and a layout for a book started flooding my mind!!! And there is was. . .I am to write a book about my postpartum depression journey and donate 10% of the proceeds to a charity that will help the research towards PPD!!! WHOA!!! 

I wanted to just let it marinate and settle in before I announced to my husband that I am going to be writing a book! The next day, Sunday, I was ready to tell him. . .but for some reason I couldn't! I literally started sweating every time I went to tell him! I am not ashamed, just nervous that he thought I was crazy! EEK! AND, it was my first time actually speaking this to anyone. Several failed attempts and several chocolate bars later (YES, I was eating my emotions!!!), finally, Rocco was asleep, the girls were riding their bikes, Trey and I had just stepped into my office and I asked him to have a seat. Yep, he looked at me like, "Uh oh! What is it???" 

I went into my story and he sat and listened. I cried and talked and talked and talked. . .Mostly out of nerves and excitement. Once I finally stopped talking, he said, "Holly, I don't care what you do. I support you no matter what!" 

Have you ever prayed this prayer and asked God what your talents are? 

I am very excited about this journey and where it will take me AND others too. I'm so thankful for all of your prayers!! This feels like such a huge responsibility, writing about something that is so dark and deep. My prayer. . .

Lord, Please guide me through this journey of writing out my story. Allow positivity and hope to shine through all of the darkness that I will be discussing. Please allow my story to bring hope to many women who are suffering this battle!

I hope my story inspires you to ask God. . .

Happy Tuesday!


Holly's How To's SERIES | A Guide to shooting better!

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I have been wanting to do a blog SERIES like this for many years! I am finally making the time to answer some of your most common questions I receive! A couple of weeks ago I put it out there on my Instagram Stories that I wanted you to send in some “Photog Questions”. Y'all are so awesome! You didn’t shy away from asking ANYTHING and I LOVE that about you guys! I’ve also been trying to also rack my brain from WAAAAY back when I started my photography business. . .what were the main things I wanted to know?!

SO, in this SERIES, I will cover these topics AND SO MUCH MORE!!!

  1. A Glossary of terms! Although, not the funnest part of this SERIES, this will be helpful in the beginning as we navigate through!
  2. My TOP questions: What is my FAVE lens, what lenses do I have and what camera bags do I use?
  3. What editing program do I use and some helpful tips and tricks please?!

AND don’t worry!! I will also be sharing some helpful “How To’s” for you DSLR users later in the SERIES!!! Feel free to SUBSCRIBE to the newsletter!

AND keep the questions coming!! As we go through this SERIES please don't be shy! I remember what it was like when I first started playing around with my camera! I had NO idea what the terms were and to be honest some times I didn't quite know what I was trying to figure out. . .I knew it had a term just wasn't sure what it was all called! Just explain it to me as best you can and I will take it from there. ;)

So, let's dive in with the. . .

I wanted to take this time to go over a few terms that might be new to you. So, if you see them later you will have a better understanding of what I’m referring to and I've tried to add photos under each term to help! I'm a visual learner and thought this would be super helpful for you too!

When you see 85mm, I am referring to the millimeter of the focal length of a lens. This is how wide or how tight a lens will zoom in or out. 


This is the available light that surrounds your subject. Example: the sun!


The shutter is the part of your camera that clicks open and closed and it’s measured in seconds. This is another way to allow more light into your camera to create a darker or lighter image. When your shutter speed is HIGHER (1 second is a really long exposure time), your shutter will stay open for a longer time frame. If there is movement with your camera or from your subject, the image with appear blurry. When your shutter speed is shorter, 1/100th of a second or 1/1200th and so on, your shutter will close quicker and produce a sharper more in-focus subject/image.

Think of it like this: How long do you want to EXPOSE your subject to the available light? Are you trying to keep your shutter open for a long time to create a blurry effect? Or are you trying to create a more sharp image by exposing or closing your shutter faster? It’s how long you want to EXPOSE your subjects to the AMBIENT light. If there is movement, like in the photo below, David picked Win up and took off into the field and their dog, Bug, followed behind. There is a lot of movement in this image and yet it is still in focus because I used a fast shutter speed.

When I shoot outside, depending on how much AMBIENT light there is I will start with determining what my EXPOSURE/SHUTTER SPEED needs to be. As a little guide, if it’s full sun I usually start at about 1/2500th of a second. This allows less light to come in because there is already so much AMBIENT light available and my shutter closes faster. 


This is the size of the opening in the lens. It's measured in f/stops. When you open up your aperture (lower numbers like 1.2 f/stop and so on) you will allow more light to come into your lens and soften the background which also creates a brighter image with less in focus. When you use a higher aperture you will close the hole in your lens allowing more will be in focus. In this image below I used a higher APERTURE (2.8 f/stop) to allow all of the bridesmaids to be in focus but still have a soft background.


This will be your BFF in creating a more creative image! Bokeh is achieved when using a lens that has a low aperture (1.2-2.8 f/stop). It’s the little light circles in the background of an image or if an image is out of focus it will create this effect as well. The strand of Christmas lights in the background of this image give that pretty BOKEH effect!


In just about all of my images you will notice the "depth of field". This is where my subjects are in focus and the background is a bit unfocused and soft. I usually get this effect by shooting more wide open with a lower aperture around 1.2-2.8 f/stop.


ISO is usually one of the last settings I will change. This setting will also allow more light into your images. If your ISO is too high you start to lose details in your image, overexpose your image or create too much grain in your image. It’s my last go-to setting when adding brightness to my images. In the image below, I chose not to crank up the ISO in order to keep all of the white fabric exposed correctly. If I would have cranked up the ISO too high, the white fabric of their dresses would have been SO bright it would have become OVEREXPOSED. And just a little tip, if you overexpose an image, you cannot fix that in post processing/editing!


When you look into the little hole on the back of your camera, you are looking through the VIEWFINDER.

When you look through your VIEWFINDER, you will see several little black dots. Some cameras are set up to have 9 focal points and others 49! Depending on how many focal points you have will determine how you can compose your image or place your subject in the image. When you press your shutter button, if you “half click” (press down slightly) your camera will focus on whichever focal point you tell your camera to use. Some cameras are set up for AutoFocus and I don’t recommend that at all! When you use autofocus you are allowing your camera to focus on whatever it finds first and that may not be what YOU want as your subject in your image! Look through the booklet that came with your camera and determine how to control this setting on your own! ;)

The rule of thirds is a simple yet very important guide you can use to compose an image! When you look through your view finder you are seeing a rectangle image (the image in front of you). If you were to section off that image into thirds, whether you are holding your camera horizontally or vertically, you will come up with nine boxes and four intersecting points. Refer to the image below! I know this sounds super complicated but it really isn’t! I promise!!! When composing your subject within that rectangle, it looks more pleasing to the eye, when your subject is lined up with one of those intersections or centered. It’s basically where you choose to place your subject in your image to make it visually pleasing!

In this image below, I chose to place my bride, Allie and her Daddy, in the top left intersection. I loved the tall draped fabric in the background and the BOKEH of the sting lights too!

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This refers to the little black dots that can show up on your image if you are shooting in a dark location or shooting with a high ISO. It’s also called “grain” or “noise”. 

OCF stands for Off Camera Flash. This refers to a speedlite or Alien Bee (another type of COF).


You can get super fancy here or just let you camera take charge of this setting! White balance determines if your image is warm (orange tones) or cool (blue tones). There are several settings in your camera that can help you control this. 

Example: If you take a photograph of a white wedding dress, depending on the surroundings and AMBIENT light, if you are in a room with overhead lights on and those lights are producing an orange glow and the room has dark wooden walls, if your camera is set to Auto-White Balance (AWB) the dress will pick up the warm, orange tones and the image you capture will appear very ORANGE. However, if you choose to shoot in MANUAL or KELVIN, you will have more control over this and can choose your own settings - which equals LESS EDITING!!!

Kelvin is how light temperatures are measured. I know this sounds super nerdy!!! But once you accomplish this setting you will understand how important it is to producing amazing images that are geared towards your STYLE!! Whether you like a more warm image or a cooler image - using the KELVIN setting is how you will create this look IN CAMERA and save you loads of time editing! To give you a guide, the higher the number the warmer the image, the lower the number the cooler the image will appear! When I first got started with using KELVIN, I would relate warmer images with hot temperatures and cooler images with lower temperatures just like we measure the degrees outside. ;) I will go into more detail on this later but I just wanted you to be familiar with the term and to have a general idea of it. ;)

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I found the chart below to help you visualize all this!! The first line is explaining the f/stop. The second line is explaining EXPOSURE/SHUTTER SPEED and how a fast shutter will be more in focus compared to a slow shutter speed, and lastly how a high ISO will create grain in an image.

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Shew! I know that was a lot to take in! BUT I know you can totally handle it!

Learn those terms and as we continue on with my Holly's How To's SERIES these terms will be brought up over and over again! So you will pick up on it quickly!! NOW, get ready for the next blog and send in ANY questions you may have! Even if you don't know the terms just explain it the best you can!

Happy shooting!!!


Erin and Josh | Arabia Mountain Engagement Session


Josh and Erin go way back to almost ten years ago! They met while working a summer camp program. Erin was a part of the gymnastics classes and Josh was hired on as a lifeguard. They didn’t really hit it off right away! Erin saw Josh as the cool, motorcycle riding guy that sat in the back of the class! Josh saw Erin as a front row of the class kinda girl with her ducks in a row and maybe he thought she was a little bossy too! Their first impressions of one another weren’t the best but after hanging out together more and more through work they both realized first impressions aren’t everything!

Erin mentioned one day to Josh that she really wanted a chocolate cake like the one on Matilda the movie. He took note and guess what?! He actually baked her a chocolate cake with sprinkles!! How sweet and thoughtful was that?! And Erin was very taken by his surprise!

Once summer camp came to an end, it was time for Erin to head back to school for classes at The University of West Georgia in Carrolton, Ga. One day while at school Erin was hit with a SEVEN hour physics lab followed by a physics lecture and a huge report that was due the next day! It was an “off” day for her and Josh was right there for her! When he found out she was having such a crudy day, he hopped on his motorcycle and made the one and a half hour drive from Conyers to Carrollton to make sure he could be there to lift her spirits and help her finish that report!! That’s about the time Erin realized Josh was a very special guy!!

One very frigid evening, Erin and Josh were walking around Ol’Town Conyers enjoying the twinkle lights in the botanical garden, watching the ice skaters battle to stay upright, dinner at one of their fave places, drinks at a local bar and then ending their walk with coffee and hot chocolate. When Erin couldn’t feel her hands any more they decided to make their way home. They were in separate cars and Josh ended up getting home before Erin. When she walked into their home she found Josh and their dog, Diesel right beside him, standing in the living room. As Erin approached him, Josh dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him!!! She was in complete shock and instantly said YES!!! What a beautiful way to end a perfect night!!! 

We celebrated their love during their engagement session at Arabia Mountain in Lithonia, Ga. this past Sunday. What a beautiful evening it was!! It was my first time photographing at the mountain and I think we captured some serious magic between these two! 

I can’t wait until your wedding day!!


Rebekah's Senior Session | Kennesaw State University Graduate


When I met Rebekah, about a year and a half ago, it was during a very exciting time in her family’s life. Her sister, Makayla, was getting married! While I was photographing Makayla and Tyler’s wedding I met Rebekah! Her and I connected on Instagram and Facebook and have kept in touch over the months. I noticed Rebekah started posting videos she was creating for her college’s sports program. They were incredible! I reached out to Rebekah and asked if she would be interested in helping me out on a project of my own. I REALLY needed an updated promo video. We discussed my ideas and she shared some of her’s too! Last Friday we finished up my video and planned to photograph her senior session as well!!

It was a very busy day BUT y’all! how gorgeous is her session!?!?! I’m so thrilled! The light was perfect and the location. . .I’m a little partial because it’s our farm but I just love it!! Rebekah has a smile that will light up a room and I was able to capture it so beautifully! Rebekah just finished up her very last class at Kennesaw State University this week and is ready for graduation! She has several job offers and with her talent and kindness I have no doubt she will be successful in the next phase of her life!!!

Congratulations Rebekah!!!