A Warm Sunday Evening with this Baltimore Family of Four

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A Warm Sunday Evening with this Baltimore Family of Four

This here, my friends, is the best kind of family photography session. Relaxed parents, curious sisters, a gorgeous (and warm!) fall Sunday evening, and almost no posing or orchestrating (until the very end, when we made sure to get one great family photo). The girls played, the parents parented, snacks were eaten, swings were swung, trees were climbed, birds were spotted, shoes were de-sanded, and we captured it all.

I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from the gallery of over a hundred images that were delivered!  And if you might be interested in working with me to create photographs that go deeper than than the pretty pictures we're all grown accustomed to, photographs that capture the depth and breadth of your family's true experience as you're living it this season, please get in touch with me through the link below. I'd love to hear more about your family and share with you how a documentary session can be an amazing family experience.

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Wedding Portraits of this Beautiful Washington, DC Couple

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Wedding Portraits of this Beautiful Washington, DC Couple

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of making these gorgeous images. Not being a wedding photographer, I was a little worried about how the session would turn out. I wanted the images to be amazing for this special couple who, due to a long story I'm sure they would prefer to forget, do not have any portraits from their wedding. So I said a prayer and showed up. In all honesty, I'm shocked by how amazing my contact sheet looks. So the lesson here is a life lesson. Say a prayer and show up. Amazing things will happen. 

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A Summer's Evening with an Amazing Baltimore County, MD Family of Four

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A Summer's Evening with an Amazing Baltimore County, MD Family of Four

Last month I had the extreme pleasure of spending an evening with this amazing Baltimore family of four. Despite a challenging year, these parents and their children truly know how to enjoy each moment and celebrate each day with each other. Mom contacted me with the hopes of creating images that captured the essence of all that they had learned.

She simply said, "I want to look at the pictures and be filled with all the joy that I feel when I look at them [my family]."

Isn't that what we all want from our family photographs? I know it's why I pick up my camera every day.

In completing her pre-session questionnaire, she described her expectations and goals for their session by simply saying:

I loved how you described your sessions on your website--relaxed and interactive allowing you to capture our life as it really is. This is exactly what I want!!

And this is exactly what we did. There was very little directing on my part. They just hung out together and enjoyed each other's company and I captured it all, just as it was. Time flew by and everyone went home with a big smiles and a sweet memory of a fun evening shared.

Below are a few of my favorite images from the session. I've also included the family's complete slideshow below if you'd like to check out what a complete gallery might include. Please keep in mind that the slideshow is set to music, which will begin when you press play.

Again, please keep in mind that the slideshow is set to music, which will begin when you press play.

Are you interested in capturing the JOY OF your family just as you are? 

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6 Tips for Easy & Awesome Back to School Photos

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6 Tips for Easy & Awesome Back to School Photos

6 Tips for Easy and Awesome Back-to-School Photos

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We all want to capture the perfect back-to-school photographs of our little (and not-so-little) ones heading out the door on their first day of school. Here are a few tips to making this year's photographs the best yet!

1.  Plan Ahead--If a beautiful headshot is what you're after, consider shooting before the big event! The first morning is filled with energy and excitement, and kids are much less likely to cooperate. Plan a time before the big day and motivate your child by allowing her to wear her new dress or carry her backpack for the first time! 

2.  Find the Right Spot--Great light is almost always found in your doorway. Have your child sit or stand just under the door frame. If you have a covered porch, ask your child to sit or stand just under the edge where he is covered from above but the light hits them perfectly. 

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3.  Include All the Important People--Include siblings, friends, grandparents, bus drivers, and teachers in the photos! These are the faces that lend context to your photographs and who your child will enjoy seeing in the photos many years from now.

4.  Capture the Details--Don't forget to capture the little details that make both this day and your child special. This might be the perfectly packed lunch for your picky eater, the new sweater she HAD TO WEAR despite the fact that it is going to be 95 degrees, or the perfect pencil case that took an hour to pick out. 

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5. Look for the Moments--Moments are what make photographs. In the image above, the bus driver's caring glance at my daughter perfectly tells the story of his kindness and its affect on her difficult transition to kindergarten last year. Greeting friends, hugs goodbye, or a final glance back towards mom as a child enters the school building are all common moments. Be patient and wait for them. If you know what you're looking for and are patient, chances are you will capture it!

6. Get in the Frame--Hand off your camera or phone to a neighbor or use the timer to get in the frame with your child. This day is about you, too! (Stay tuned...I'm determined to get one with me in the frame this year!

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6 Tips for Storing Your Digital Photos

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6 Tips for Storing Your Digital Photos

6 Tips for Storing your Digital Family Photographs

Archiving and protecting your family's digital photographs does not have to be complicate. Stop procrastinating and sleep easy by following these 6 tips!

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1. Keep it Organized.

Take the time to define a system for organizing your digital photographs and stick with it. The most obvious method is by date, but you could also organize your photographs by subject (event, holiday, child, etc.). Once you have a system, stick to it as you are importing or otherwise organizing your images. When you digital files are organized, you will be able to find them easily and working through your printing and backup systems (what we'll be talking about in a second) will me much easier. The easier all this is, the more likely you are to stick with it. I import all my digital images to files organized by date. There is a master folder for the year, monthly subfolders, then daily sub-sub folders. Daily folders are titled by date (year-month-day). If the day is special, I will follow the day with a word or two that makes that file easy to recognize, ie. 2016-12-25-christmas. If you are looking for a great tutorial for organizing your iPhone photos, check out this awesome video.

2. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Take the time to get rid of the bad photographs. The really bad, out of focus, kids got my iPhone photographs that clog up your memory and make the task of printing and archiving the keepers much more daunting, making it much less likely that you will do it.

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3. Print your Photos.

This is the most obvious (and fun!) way to preserve your digital files. Print your photographs either as prints or in albums, and display or store them appropriately. It's important to make printing part of your routine, be it once a week (every Monday), once a month (on the 1st of the month), or even once a year. There are plenty of online sites that make it easy for your to upload and print your photographs or create albums and other products. (I like mpix.com for prints, Artifact Uprising for prints and albums, and Blurb for albums) If your images are organized (see Tip 1), this should be a pretty painless process. Plus, who doesn't love receiving a package in the mail! Also, there are some fantastic options for printing your social media photos. A great article details some options is here. The great thing about printing your social media images is that they have already been curated. No culling through the bad shots, as you hopefully didn't post them!

Tip: Order doubles, like back in the old days! Put one set in your archives and let your kids manhandle the second set.

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4. Back it up. Right Away.

When you download your images, back them up right away. I use a program (PhotoMechanic) to import my photos and have it setup to save them to two separate hard drives. Lightroom allows for immediate backup as well. But even if you can't automate the process, it only takes a moment to copy the file to a separate hard drive or upload it to the cloud. There are a million alternatives these days. AppleAmazon Photos, Dropbox, and Google Photos are a few options that are either free or low cost and easy to use. I also have my entire computer backed up with CrashPlan. Having your images stored in the cloud protects from the perils they face in your home, be it flood, fire, or theft.

Another plus is that some cloud backup platforms, like Amazon Photos, offer print services, making it that much easier to print your photos!

5. Get Photographs (and Videos) Off Your Phone.

If you use your iPhone for taking photos, schedule a time to get the photos backed up and off your phone. I'm not an iPhone expert and am terrible at making sure photos are off my phone, but rarely use my phone for photographs, but if I did, this would be a priority. Your phone is much more likely to get lost or irreparably damaged than your computer. As with the images on your computer, the important thing is to have a system that works for you and to schedule a regular time for the task. Culling, deleting, printing, and backing up should all be part of your system. For a great information on options for backing up your iPhone photos, check out this article. Look for a cloud backup option that offers printing services which will streamline your workflow!

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6. Don't Forget Your Kids' Devices.

Don't forget that your kids have photos on their devices that are just as important as yours. Take the time to print and back-up an their photos too, or teach them how to do it and charge them with the chore of managing yours as well! 

Organizing and backing up photos sometimes feels like one more chore and the endless options can feel overwhelming. But if you take a little time to put together a simple system that works for you, you will sleep easy knowing that these important memories are safe. We all know someone who has lost a phone or whose computer has crashed and lost all their photos. This loss is always more devastating than the device itself, and it is so easily preventable. So take my advice and backup photos. You will thank me one day!

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Summer Evening Family Session | Towson, Maryland

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Summer Evening Family Session | Towson, Maryland

August is the season for photographing families with teens and adult children! With students on the verge of heading off to college and new adventures and parents facing yet another shift in their roles and relationships with their kids, it's the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on just how far everyone has come, both individually and as a family! Despite the fact that I'm a few years away from sending my firstborn off to college, I think this season is bound to be similar to so many other seasons of parenting, where one day you wake up and realize that your job has shifted and so have you. That's the thing that has surprised me most about parenting. Everything is always in flux. As your children grow, their needs change, and your job changes. And to make it all more complicated, each kid's needs change and how you need to parent him changes too. 

And while I spend most of my time documenting the rhythm and flow of the everyday, this season is a reminder to take a moment to stop and acknowledge the people and relationships that are most important to us, to reflect on where we've been, where we're going, and the love that supports us through it all.

This beautiful and loving Baltimore family is preparing for the shift of sending their oldest off to college. It was my pleasure to spend an evening hanging out with them and capturing the beauty of their relationships and love for one another. These parents have raised amazing kids, and I'm sure I will be putting Mom on my speed dial for advice as my kids advance into their teens. She's done one amazing job with these two. (I guess Dad deserves some credit, too!)

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Fabulous Family of Five Beach Session | July 2017

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Fabulous Family of Five Beach Session | July 2017

Every year, I offer a few family beach photography sessions during our annual vacation to Bethany Beach, Delaware. These sessions always end up producing some of my absolute favorite photographs of the year and this July 2017 family session was no exception. I know this adorable family well and was beyond thrilled when mom got in touch about the possibility of photographing her son and two daughters as they wrapped up their stay. We met at their beachfront home on a perfect summer night and captured their family in a nice mix of posed and documentary photographs. Enjoy!

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A Morning on the Chesapeake Bay

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A Morning on the Chesapeake Bay

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a workshop offered by photographer Jay Fleming in Annapolis Maryland. Jay's passion for and knowledge of the history, heritage, and lifestyle of the men and women who live and work on and around the water is extraordinary and if you are not familiar with his work, you should check it out.

The two other participants and I spent the early hours of the morning with Jay on his boat under and by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, photographing the watermen crabbing in the area and the Sandy Point Lighthouse. Shooting on the water with a very different subject matter was a stretch for me, one that I enjoyed and hope to have the opportunity to do again soon. Here are a few of the images I made that morning.

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In Hospital Newborn Fresh 48 Session | Baltimore, Maryland

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In Hospital Newborn Fresh 48 Session | Baltimore, Maryland

Photographing this one day old newborn baby girl during her in hospital Fresh 48 session was one of the highlights of my summer so far! Baby N is gorgeous and sweet as a peach! Her parents adore her to the moon and back and are total naturals. I'm not sure I've ever met first time parents as relaxed and content as these so soon after becoming parents. Congratulations to this family and thank you for inviting me to share in your joy!

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A Beautiful Newborn Baby Girl

These images don't need much of an introduction. I was beyond delighted to have the opportunity to photograph my children's newest cousin, this little beauty who is the apple of her parents' eye. Though the day was rainy April day here in Baltimore, this newborn could not have been sweeter. I didn't hear a peep from her the entire time, though she was awake for almost the entire session. Even the family dog got in on the fun. I'm looking forward to seeing her again soon. Hopefully we will have a prettier day when we can get outside!

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A Sunday Afternoon in May

I can't believe it has been since March that I have blogged. Sharing here has taken a back seat to family life and work life. No doubt I've been busy with the kids, but I've also been working on a project that I will be ready to share a little more about this summer. 

But for now, I thought I would stop in here and share a set of photographs from this past Sunday afternoon when my youngest daughter had lacrosse and then came home and played with her sister outside, riding bikes and racing around our front circle. These are typical scenes for us now that the weather is warm and we are enjoying life outside, where is it VERY GREEN!  Enjoy.

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A March Snowstorm

A late season snowstorm hit earlier this month here in Baltimore, giving the kids a much dreamed of snow day (or two) and the chance to test out their sleds on the small hills around our new home. Here are a few of my favorite photographs taken over a three day period.

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A Girl and Her Bike

Here I am, easing into my commitment to blog more this year with a few images shot one warm afternoon last week with my youngest daughter outside riding her bike. We moved last fall and it has been an ongoing process to explore and learn the light and location of our new home in search of what works best for my images. I am also working very hard to force myself to commit to one composition and micro-compose, which is such a challenge for my restless mind and body. That's why these images are all so similar. This approach involves selecting a scene and composition and staying still, waiting for my subject, in this case my little biker, to come to me rather than chase her around. There's no doubt in my mind this is a superior approach, and one that will require deliberate practice on my part.

This little set includes backlight and front light. The first few are backlit, which is often not my preference. Nevertheless, the light was lovely and I wanted to see how I could work with the lines and texture of the wall, sidewalk and house. Switching directions, I next turned around and front lit her, which is my innate preference. From this angle, it was easier to focus on capturing her expression as she looped around and spend down the driveway, through the streams of light.

Let me know what you think and what possibilities your see for next time, as we'll surely be back out here soon enough! 

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Joe's Farm

I made this little movie about a place very special to our family. I'm hoping for the inspiration and time to make more films in the coming year. 

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Scenes from a Friday Afternoon

I have neglected this blog way too much this winter. I cringed when I saw that my last post was in December. In an effort to prevent this from happening ever again, I'm committing to a more organized posting schedule that will including personal photos, client work, and tips and videos to let you inside my process. I want this blog to a mode of sharing my own family photographs and client work, thoughts and ideas to inspire you in your own photography, and having a conversation with you about the process. I know this is ridiculously vague, but it will hopefully become clearer to both of us in the coming weeks.

For now, I'm going to go ahead and post what I have. I'm not going to wait around for perfect, or the time to write something thoughtful or clever. It may never happen. I took these photographs of my daughters on Friday afternoon between 4:30 and 5:30. The day was a stunning 71 degrees in February, with blue skies. The sun was starting to set by the side of our house, through the trees you see reflected into the window in the first photograph below. The light was stunning and as you go through the photographs, you can see how it changes so quickly within the course of an hour. 

Enjoy!

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Out on the Town with a Newborn and her Rents | Fells Point, Baltimore City, Maryland

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Out on the Town with a Newborn and her Rents | Fells Point, Baltimore City, Maryland

It is always a privilege to spend the day with new parents. To be invited in to photograph such an intimate and special time is a joy that takes me back to some of the happiest moments of my own life. Newborn babies are special and as a first-born child myself, I can safely say that first-borns especially so. For this newborn family session, we walked around the Fells Point neighborhood of Baltimore City on one of the most gorgeous late fall days ever. This little peanut couldn't have been sweeter, which was no surprise given the ease with which her relaxed and doting parents cared for her. This is the way I believe babies should be photographed. A few portraits are important to capture the beauty of who she is today, which will change oh so quickly, but then more natural photographs showing a family being together. Reality is so much more compelling.

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Scenes from a Family Wedding | Dallas, Texas

This past October, my husband and I traveled to Dallas for his oldest nephew's wedding. Words (at least mine) could never express the extraordinary privilege it was to bear witness to God's goodness and grace in uniting these two amazing people and their families. So, I will let my photos do the talking. These photographs are from a few behind the scenes moments, the rehearsal dinner, and a brief time on the dance floor at the reception. By the way, the band was AMAZING!

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New Neighbors | Baltimore, MD Family of Four

This adorable family of four is new to Baltimore. Mom got in touch for their annual fall photo session after coming across my website on-line. Small world that it is, turns out we live right around the corner from each other and our kids attend the same school! I had such a fun time spending the afternoon outside photographing their beautiful girls and getting to know them a little better.  

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Sweet Family of Four | Baltimore County Family Photography

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and photographing this beautiful Baltimore County, Maryland family of four last fall. There's nothing better than hanging out and capturing natural moments where kids and parents are playing and enjoying each other's company. I can think of no better way to spend my time. 

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