Doug, Cathy, Ben & Erik: A Seneca Creek State Park Family Session

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You guys.
This family was *so* much fun. I have never seen kids as expressive as Ben and Erik were, and the whole gang did their best at quacking like ducks in hopes of making some magically appear, because the boys love ducks. The boys also did really great, in spite of the fact they were less than impressed with the idea of getting their photos taken. Family photos can be challenging – for the photographer and the families – because kids have a mind of their own, but they are also some of the most fun and rewarding sessions, because kids just let their personalities and feelings come through, and I love that!

Cathy and Doug, thank you again for spending your morning with me, and introducing me to such a beautiful location in Seneca Creek State Park.  I hope to see all of you again soon!

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Leah, Kenny, Tyler & Madisyn: A Pumpkin Patch Family Session

I’m so excited to share this session with you! It feels like Leah is one of my “oldest” friends now. She was one of the first friends I made when I moved to DC 11 years ago for grad school and we’ve seen each other through a lot of different life events in the course of those years. I was so happy to spend an afternoon at Montpelier Farms with her, her husband, and two lovely kiddos. We had fun getting pictures with the pumpkins (it is ridiculous how big some of them get) and taking a hayride. Madisyn was such a sweetheart and, once he warmed up, Ty was a really thoughtful, funny kid. One of the best things was seeing how much these two loved each other – it was clear Tyler gets a kick out of being a big brother, and he could make Maddie laugh in a way no one else could! (And they were all such troopers, considering it was almost 90s degrees on a fall day!) Thanks again for a fantastic afternoon!

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The G Family: Great Falls Family Portrait Session

I made plans with the G family to meet at Great Falls for their family photo session. The date we picked ended up being the last, glorious day of fall – and everyone else knew it too! It took almost an hour (eep!) to drive into the park, just because of all the people out enjoying the end of our great autumn weather. Kudos to them for their patience – I think it was well worth it to spend some time in the park taking photos – always such a beautiful spot!

The little girl is such a ham, too. She definitely made me laugh and was always ready to put on a great smile, and had a great time playing with the huge “dinosaur leaves” we found (seriously, these leaves were about the size of my head!). I’m glad I got to wrap up the warm weather and fall colors with this family!

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Jason, Sarah, Sassy, Raven & Lucky: Walkersville Community Park Family Photos

I had so much fun with this family! I got to know Jason and Sarah through my volunteer work with Lab Rescue, so I was super excited when they asked me to do their family photos – especially when they emphasized they meant photos with their three awesome labs, Sassy, Raven, and Lucky! We met up at Walkersville Community Park, which is one of the cutest parks I’ve been too – great trees, little covered bridge, fantastic light as the sun started to set. Great choice, guys! Jason and Sarah were so sweet together – it was easy to see how much they care for each other and their pack. And the dogs were hilarious – quite the challenge to get all three looking at the camera at the same time, but they were wonderful to work with. Thanks again to all of you for having me out!

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I wasn’t sure how this was going to go, but against all odds, the dogs seemed to be perfectly content on the merry-go-round (and I resisted the urge to give it a spin!)

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Focus on a Friend: Fuzzypants Pet Photography

Aaaahhh!! I have been waiting to be able to do this post because I am excited to show off my friend Carina and the amazing work that she does. Carina, of Fuzzypants Pet Photography, is featured in the summer edition of The Virginia Maryland Dog magazine. This issue of The Virginia Maryland Dog features Carina’s sixth cover for the magazine – and all the covers show off dogs in the VA/MD area that are available for adoption! Carina is affiliated with Hearts Speak, a coalition of artists that provides pro bono services to help draw attention to the countless animals that are looking for forever homes.

Carina and I had been talking about doing a photo swap anyway, so I was so honored when she asked if we could do the swap and she could use the images I took of her and her work with my Skylos for the magazine article. OF COURSE. I’m so pleased to have connected with such a talented photographer who also happens to support a cause that’s so very important to me as well.

You can check out the feature on Carina and Fuzzypants Pet Photography here: http://issuu.com/thevirginiadog/docs/vamddog_sum13web (Page 34) and I’ve included below a few other photos from my session with her for you to enjoy as well. Thank you, Carina, for having me take these photos for you, and for the awesome work that you do for animals in need!

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Noah & Brady: Great Falls Park Family Session

I first met Brady and Noah back in May, at one of the Frederick Mommies photoshoots. They were such sweet kids and I had a great time photographing them, so I was excited when I got to see them again to take Noah’s 9-month photos at the Great Falls Tavern Visitor’s Center, including getting some photos with his older brother, Brady.

I have to tell you, both boys are really photogenic – Noah can work the camera like no other, and this kid really knows how to rock some stylish hats. Brady has a great smile and is so playful, and even though being a model was the last thing he wanted to do on a Saturday morning, he was still fun to photograph, especially when he started chasing the geese in the park. (And, heck, he’s cute even when he’s cranky!)

So I hope you enjoy these images from the shoot and, as for me, I hope I get to see these great kids again!

Frederick Mommies Photoshoot, Part 2

At the beginning of June, I had another outstanding session with great families from the Frederick Mommies group. We met up again at Fountain Rock Park and, in spite of the heat, had a great time with all the sessions. (I also got a lunch break during which I was able to just lay on the ground and gaze up through the sunlit leaves of the trees. I feel like everyone should take time to do that during the summer!)

Here are just a few shots of all the wonderful families I met. I hope I get to see all these families again sometime. Hope you enjoy, and would love to know which shot is your favorite!

Frederick Mommies Photoshoot

When I first made the leap into photography, I didn’t imagine myself focusing (sorry, terrible pun there) a lot on kids. This is mostly because I don’t have children of my own, so I didn’t really feel like I would know the best way to photograph kids. What I knew were that kids can have quick mood changes, don’t always react well to strangers being all up in their face, and move – a lot, and unpredictably. I wasn’t sure how I would figure out how to manage all of that from behind the camera without having a lot of personal experience.

Luckily, my good friends Kent and Dana asked me to do some photos of their son, Henry. Henry is a sweetheart and he gave me lots of good kid practice. And now I LOVE doing photos of kids! Go figure :) I have very much come to appreciate the spontaneity of kids and the challenge of capturing them in their element, and there is just something about watching kids having a good time that brings extra joy into my day.

So I was really excited when the Frederick Mommies Network asked if I would be willing to participate in a photo fundraiser for them. Families involved in the network sign up to have their photos taken, and a portion of the money goes back to the operating costs of the network. Seemed like a pretty cool idea to me, so on a Saturday afternoon, I started meeting up with families at Fountain Rock Park. I came equipped with my camera, a big yellow ball, and bubbles, and the families came with their best smiles. I took a TON of photos so just wanted to share with you some of my favorites of the awesome families that I got to meet! I am doing this again with this organization this upcoming weekend, and I cannot wait to meet even more great people!

A Child’s Story – Ashlyn

I was recently lucky enough to be asked by a friend to take pictures of her granddaughter, Ashlyn. All kids are special, but Ashlyn is extra special. This tough little girl and her family have not had an easy road. Ashlyn has a lot of medical issues and, to be frank, no one can say how much time Ashlyn will really have. I can’t imagine having to face that reality with a child, but her family seems to handle everything with grace, humor, and love. It is easy to see how much they love each other, and I think that, even though she may not be able to express it, she knows she is surrounded by people who care deeply about her. I really enjoyed my time with Ashlyn, her grandmother Susan, her mom Sarah, and her little brother Jacob¬† – check out some of my favorite shots from the day.

In doing some research, I also found that there is an entire organization, Special Kids Photography of America, that is devoted to helping photographers become more adept at taking photos of kids with special needs. I read a lot of sad stories on various blogs of parents of kids with a disability having a terrible time getting family photos taken – even stories of photographers flat out refusing to work with a child that had special needs. (I find this absolutely appalling.) I love that there is a photography organization out there that strives to help photographers learn to understand capturing wonderful portraits of special kids and their families. Kids are still kids, families are still families, and everyone should be able to have someone to go to for help in telling their story in photographs.

I feel blessed that Ashlyn’s family gave me the opportunity to take her photos. I knew going into this session that these photos were very important to them, and I didn’t want to let them down. Ashlyn is an amazing girl, and I’m honored they trusted me to capture that. I look forward to doing the same for more families in the future!