Monday, September 28, 2015

When I first started out with portrait photography I didn't need to look far for some of my first models. Luckily I had two adorable little girls living just around the corner and a family who appreciated having a photographer in the neighborhood.

This is still one of my favorite photos and I've promised them that we would recreate it sometime soon (a bit difficult since the older girl is now a Junior in college. Yikes).

The other day I had the honor of photographing the younger daughter, Lija's senior session, oh so many years later.

The years between that first picture and the second haven't been the easiest for Lija.  I asked her mom for her input since I didn't want to get any details wrong:

On December 15, 2011 Lija was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma and she stated chemotherapy in January of 2012. We were lucky to find it early - but it still took its toll. Lija lost her hair after the first chemo treatments - and ended up in the hospital after the end of each batch of treatments. Through it all Lija never cried; well twice, once when she was diagnosed and once when she had mouth sores. 

 Thoreau Middle School organized a Make a Cut Event for her and she was one of the speakers. She was also awarded the Anthony MCCay Spirit Award - in recognition of her energy, enthusiasm and positive spirit. 

Lija never let cancer own her. One day after her cancer treatments; we were driving to school, and she said that in a way she was glad she got cancer. I asked her why. She said that a girl had come up to her at school and said that Lija was her inspiration because if she could still come to school and be positive even with cancer, then this young lady could deal with the problems that she faced. 

 Lija continues to attend the Make The Cut events and plans to pursue a degree as physician assistant specializing in pediatric oncology.

 I remember that time and how I hurt for Lija and her family as they went through the diagnosis and treatment, and I remember trying to comprehend the enduring fear that follows, even when the healthy diagnosis is given.

But I also believe that some of the beauty and strength that comes out in Lija's pictures are the result of going through that experience and coming out strong. I wish this girl all her dreams and plans come true, and I get the feeling they will, because she will make it happen!

Yes, I feel old when I photograph past clients' senior session, but I also feel special in the participation I've had in capturing memories for my lovely neighbors.

Friday, September 11, 2015

I'm so happy to be photographing my 2016 seniors - and feeling pretty relieved that this is my bump year - I just sent one kid off to college and have one year of perceived rest before my next one becomes a senior (I know it's perceived because junior year is full of pressure too!)

This guy was so easy to photograph and I loved how the outfit changes really changed the attitude of the shots.

I also like how the August drought has made some trees look almost fall-like already - maybe not good for the grass, but adds some nice variety to location shooting.

The fall will be gone in a blink of an eye, so anyone interested in senior shoots before the weather turns cold, please contact me at

Here are some shots from spring's sessions. All were taken close to Vienna - so lucky to live in an area with such diverse locations for fun shots.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

I had so much fun documenting a moment in the life of a fellow runner and her cute family at Colvin Mill Park. I loved seeing all the laughter and all the love....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

When I put the call out there for someone to be my "guinea pig" for trying out an athlete portrait shoot, I was so happy Joann graciously volunteered, but a little nervous that I would do justice to her incredibly sculpted body.

As I am often in the company of beautiful women who are serious about their fitness, I want to try to help them celebrate the fruits of their labor.  Even though, I realize that no matter what we do, our body may never look like this.  After all, Joann is a certified exercise instructor and the co-owner of Grass Roots Fitness, which is celebrating it's 5th anniversary in the business of  helping women achieve fitness, strength and health.  She may look fierce but she is firmly directed in helping all shapes and sizes of women feel better through fitness and healthy eating.

Those of you who have taken her outdoor boot camp classes or cardio fusion and strengthclasses know her as a gentle but firm drill sargent when it comes to directing exercises. And she has convinced me more than once to meet at 6:00 am at the Lincoln Memorial to run the steps and do burpees in front of the reflecting pool. So she must have some magic in her!

I tried to shoot as fast as I could while Joann held these incredible poses. Although I may have been tempted to direct her to hold the pose...just a little bit longer...(payback perhaps?) 

I was also happy to capture Joann's signature "leap of joy" near the end of the shoot.

And here are some in black-and-white. I like how the helps focus on the those incredible muscles.

Thanks again Joann, and for anyone is interested in learning more her's

Friday, May 22, 2015

I often get questions or comments from parents who would love to have their child's portrait session but are afraid because "they are at that age..." the age of stranger-anxiety or clingyness, or just not being such a "good listener."

I say forget all that.

This session started out with a warning from the mom "she's a little clingy"  and these are the first few shots in my camera:

Because I'm a mother of three teenage children, I feel like I've experienced every age and stage (except the college years and I'll soon be doing that!)  and I don't give up that easily!

Yes, it was pretty early to be up and out, and yes it was extremely windy and colder than expected.  But give it a little time, don't push it - and let the children just be...children. With new places to explore - pretty flowers, fun stairs and trees to climb on and around, and a real caboose (!) soon took away stranger anxiety and portrait time became fun time with that lady who just is following us around with a camera...

Here are some of the shots from later in the session:

Friday, May 15, 2015

Special Fun With the Seniors This Year

This year, high school senior sessions are just a little more special and emotional than they usually are. As always, I find them all good natured, mature and polite and I love their uniqueness and the ability to personalize their session.

This year I have my own senior. What type of mom would I be if I didn't take some pictures of my own son?

So, I convinced Jack to stop by after one of my sessions so I could get a few shots of him. Unfortunately we selected the day that he started coming down with a virus that kept him out of school for the next week.  But I'm still glad I got some shots!

But first I got some of these....

But then a couple of these...Good for now

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This Mother's Day - I'm going to offer these word of advice to all moms:

There's a movement out there urging moms to get in photos with kids.  Here's one article about it:

I know, as mom and designated family photographer, the tendency to show off the family vacation photos and have people ask "But were you there?  Where are the pictures of you?"

I may have decided to be behind the camera because I don't love being in front of it, but as I have photographed moms throughout the years who have actually gotten into the photos with their children, these photos will be valued by the whole family for years to come. 

 I also know that kids that are hesitant or clingy in photoshoots, open up and and relax when a mom gets in the focal area and interacts in the photoshoot.  I also get to shoot what I love most - the "in-between" natural moments where it's all about emotion and love and not just a posed shot.

So I URGE all you moms out there.  Next time you schedule a photo shoot, get in the picture! You'll be happy in the long run and are giving your family a gift.