Tuesday, December 16, 2014

It's hard to imagine that another year has flown by.  Even my kids noticed and commented that the time is passing quickly; when I was a child, it seemed to take forever from one Christmas to the next one...maybe time is really speeding up?

The passing of a year is yet another reminder that the value of my work is capturing moments that are vanishing too fleetingly.  I am thankful that I have caught my family in pictures at various times throughout the year, although I wish I had taken even more.  I realized mid-December that we had not yet had a family photo taken.  As much as I love my candids, my lazy vacation mood shots, my artsy one-child-in-the-snow shots, I had not one shot of all of us together.

We did manage to have a relative take a quick one of us as we went to cut down our tree, but I wish I had planned more...I wish I made that effort that I have helped so many other families accomplish this year.



Maybe I didn't do it.  But I did enjoy helping others capture memories this year.  What I love about my photography business is that I get to help build and preserve memories for others.  And this year I helped create memories for parents of high school seniors, weddings, families, events and newborns.


And when I photograph a family, a special event or even a portrait, I love that I often get to meet a new people and have fun with their family dynamics. I share in their special moments, and I give them all an excuse to squeeze a little closer together, laugh a little and make a memory.

Thanks to all of you who have brought me into your lives for that brief moment! 






And welcome to my youngest model....


Happy Holidays to all and looking forward to a great (but hopefully not so fast) 2015

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yes, I'm late to write about Thanksgiving, but since I have photos of our annual Christmas Tree Cutting in Pennsylvania, I can say I'm early in writing about Christmas.
I am thankful that we had a peaceful Thanksgiving weekend at home and were able to make our annual trek to meet family and cut down our tree in snow.

We don't get to see family much and I love the fact that Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the gifts.  Just family, friends and food.



Now on to the craziness (I know I sound like a scrooge, and it's secretly my favorite time of year...mostly because of the cookies!)

Monday, October 6, 2014

When my second child was born, 16 years ago, I needed to make a decision whether to return to my job as a marketing and public relations consultant or become a stay-at-home-mom.  As my maternity leave days counted down I met a group of moms that were pretty much the reason I felt comfortable enough to leave my steady job and start a different chapter of my life.  I have mentioned my friend, Wendy, in other blogposts - significantly the one which described how, after introducing me to gardening, home crafts, and baking - she decided to take it all one step further and move out to a farm in the country.

Who could guess that these years later, she would ask me to visit her on the farm to take her son's senior portrait.  It's really so hard to believe, that the handsome young man with the easy nature and casual smile, was the toddler that used to jump in rain puddles with my kids in their diapers, then share large slices of chocolate chip bananna bread, while Wendy and I would peruse seed catalogs, planning our next season's garden.

Here is a shot from way back then....he was one of my first subjects.


I loved photographing Sam on the farm where's he lived since kindergarten. He was quite comfortable among the goats and roosters...and then there's that wonderful red barn. Wendy has indicated that the barn door may be on it's last legs, and I let her know that if she happens to bring it to my backyard in Vienna, I wouldn't be able to refuse it!

When taking some quick shots of my daughter, we realized the hazards of photographing with animals, as the very friendly goat relaxed a little too much during the session...

Friday, September 26, 2014

I always love it when a client calls from years ago calls me and wants to refresh their portrait wall with updated family pictures.  I remember every client and often wonder what becomes of them.  In this case it was three beautiful little children, the exact ages as my own, and I was eager to see their more mature selves.  That's what I love about portraiture.  Capturing a moment and preserving a memory for a family.

We ended up photographing almost across the street from the location of our long ago session, and I joked with the kids that I didn't have to dangle any lollipops in front of them this time!  The mom commented on how the kids (do I still call them this?) remembered the session and pass the pictures on the wall every day.  While culling through the photos I decided to hunt out the old ones for some cute "then and now" comparisons.



 The mom remembered this "walking away" shot from the first session and asked that we restage it.  As a mom of teenagers -  one almost out of the house, I see this picture in a different way.  Somehow it has more significance at this age, a little bittersweet but inspiring to see how they've grown up strong and on their way to self-sufficiency...
 

Friday, August 29, 2014

If you live in the Vienna/Oakton area you may have noticed that the W&O Trail has gotten a bit busy in the last year or so...and you may have noticed that the numbers of one specific gender (female) has been increasing...maybe you have been greeted cheerfully by these women on the trail, or given a little smile of encouragement,  or noticed women encouraging others as they run or walk on the trail or around town.  If so, then you have been witness to the recent phenomenon that is the Vienna/Oakton chapter of the nationwide organization, Momsrunthistown.com

Hard to believe, but it's only been about five years since I was peer-pressured by my then 5th grade daughter to run a 5k race with her "Girls On the Run" group at school.  Never having been an athlete growing up, I convinced myself I could run one, maybe two laps around the high-school track at a time; and then I trained hard to make it to the 5k race.


The sense of accomplishment after finishing gave me a thrill and I thought that just maybe I could do more.  I discovered that a small group of friends were meeting early mornings at the caboose in Vienna a few days a week and they convinced me that I could join them and wouldn't hold them back.  A big draw for me was to socialize with these women and grab a cup of coffee after the run.  A motivator was that they would be there waiting for me these mornings and I needed to drag myself out of bed or let them down.

Fast-forward to 2014 and I am still meeting those women 3 days each week for a run and catch-up on our lives.  And since that first 5k, I consecutively ran a 10k, 10 mile, half marathon, and on the verge of Hurricane Sandy a couple of years ago, I completed the Marine Corps Marathon.  I attribute this accomplishment to my husband challenging me to do it (because anything boys can do...) and great friends who helped encourage me to train through an extremely hot summer!

Soon after this race, I noticed that the parking spaces at the caboose were filling up in those early mornings that I went out to run, and someone mentioned that I might be interested in joining the  Group, Moms Run This Town, a free nationwide running/walking group for women.  I joined and my facebook pages and life hasn't been the same since!

Never have I experienced a more encouraging and inspiring group of women.  The amount of positive energy and support emanating from this group is amazing. There is not a fact or tip about a running style, injury, stretch, race, nutrition, clothing, and more that these women don't know and won't share.  I can relate to these women's posts, as they tentatively photograph and share a picture of their "flat mama" (running attire and shoes laid out on the floor -sort of a selfie without the person) before their first 5k, marathon or even ultra-marathon, and then the next day see a post of their smiling face holding a medal as they completed something that they thought was impossible.

As I delve more into the arena of photographing women, my goal is to present an image of outer beauty and strength that equals inner beauty and strength.  My style is not to overuse photoshop or glamour filters on my subjects but to shoot naturally beautiful portraits that honors the individualism of us all.  Because of this desire, I have taken special notice of organizations that support and nurture this individualism and beauty in women. I love the idea that everyone is different in size, strength, and body type - but we're all beautiful, and MRTT supports each woman as they are.

I recently met with Sarah Talley, who founded the group and is one of four current chapter leaders and requested to be a Community Partner for the Vienna/Oakton Chapter.  Sarah's story is impressive on it's own.  When she moved to Vienna from Singapore only 3 years ago, she was looking for women to run with so she started the Vienna/Oakton chapter of MRTT, and today there are more than 1,000 members!  The creation of this local chapter, in turn spurred the establishment of these groups in Gainesville, Herndon/Reston, McLean/Tysons, Falls Church/Annandale, Woodbridge/Manassas, Fairfax/Chantilly, Ashburn, as well as a Moms Tour de Town cycling group.

I invited Sarah and the other Chapter Leaders, Sarah Thomas Foote, Lynn Collins, and Beth Graham, to come and meet me for a min-photo session at the primary MRTT meeting spot of the Vienna Caboose, and we all had a fun time despite the stormy weather.  Here's a fun, little video I made with more of the shots. https://vimeo.com/104714350  I got a kick out of how the attempt to take "serious" shots were unsuccessful and how easily they struck their "Charlies Angel" pose.  And had to get a picture of the ubiquitous setting of the running watch. But the ones that seem most natural, of course, were the ones in which they were running! 

Since MRTT is a FREE nationwide group, they rely on the support of Community Partners and I have committed Melissa Maillett Photography to be a Community Partner and support a healthy lifestyle among women in the area.  I look forward to participating with this great group and encourage other local businesses to support this great group.

For more information about this great group, here is a link http://www.viennaconnection.com/news/2014/jan/29/vienna-oakton-moms-run-town/




Friday, July 11, 2014

We went on a vacation last week.  It wasn't like some of our adventurous vacations of years past.  A simple week in a cabin on a lake.  It was the kind of place that asks you to relax and regroup.  I spent time catching up on my reading (I will finally have a book finished in time for my bookclub meeting), playing games with the family, kayaking on the quiet lake, and watching and listening to the loon family that lingered in front of our dock.

Sometimes I felt guilty I wasn't taking more pictures.  Where is the annual family vacation photo?  But I felt more like experiencing the vacation than documenting it.  I think I captured some moments and was happy for that, coming to the conclusion that sometimes it's okay not to always have the camera in hand.  I did find myself wishing I had a photographer along to capture our moments so I could be in the moment.  But it was nice.  I watched my husband teach my youngest son to catch a fish on a fly rod, my dog remember that she could swim, and my kids play together in the water.  Board games, card games, and even one game of Scrabble on a rainy 4th of July.  Not many more years of this.  I gave myself a pass.  No spectacular adventure photos, but a lot of nice moments.  And that's okay.

They don't call this place Camp Sunset for no reason.

p.s. I'm still taking applications for 2015 senior reps.  See my previous blogpost for details and application.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I am looking for Senior Reps for the Class of 2015.  If you know of a rising high school senior in the Northern VA area who is interested in participating, please have them fill out the form below.  I will be selecting 4-5 students to be my 2015 Senior Reps/Models, and they will receive a discounted photo session, mobile photo app and opportunities for cash rewards for referrals.

Here are some more examples of my senior portraits, and here are details on the packages.