Special Times Captured in Family Portraits

Just a few weeks ago, another “mother runner” member of the Oakton/Vienna Moms Run This Town chapter requested a family session. She was concerned it happen in the next week or so because their beloved old family cat had cancer and was not expected to have much time left.

2016-06-28_0001I squeezed in a weekday, midmorning session at their house where her beautiful little girls loved on the cat and we captured some cute shots of the family at play. The children were precious and the session was longer than usual because of all the hugs the girls gave me in between shots.

By the time Celia had a chance to select the images, the cat had passed away – a couple weeks later, this family made a sudden move for a job across the country to Arizona.

2016-06-28_0002I am saddened for the family’s loss of a precious pet, sorry that this family moved away, just when I was getting to know Celia and watching her build up from being a novice runner to a marathoner.

But I’m happy that this family has some images to remind them of their time in Vienna and the girls will remember how much they loved this first pet. I also am hoping that the images will help capture this fleeting special time in their daughters’ childhood.

Don’t wait to schedule your session. You never know what tomorrow may bring.

Senior Girls Rule! Senior Portrait Sessions Continue Despite the Rain

I don’t know what it is, but my senior girls have been toughing out the weather this rainy season.  Despite rain for almost one month straight, we’ve managed to get in most of our senior portrait sessions.

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An added bonus to  all this wetness is that it makes for some nicely saturated greenery in the parks and gardens.  If you can catch it when the sun is out (especially in the “golden hour” right before sunset) the grass, leaves, and flowers practically glow with dewiness.  This is such a wonderful time of year to photograph outside. The newness and freshness of the flowers and trees literally shine (as do my soon to be graduating high school seniors).

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So, please don’t be afraid of the weather! There’s still time to schedule a senior portrait session – remember, it’s your last chance to urge those high school seniors to have a portrait session before they go off into the big world of college and whatever else lies in store for them.

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As the parent of college freshman, I can attest to the fact that they do come home from college vaguely different in a way that may not easy to describe. Each stage in life is important and has value to be captured in photos, but there’s just something about the anticipation of the graduating high schooler….don’t miss out on your opportunity. Contact me at info@melissamaillett.com or 703-850-7212 to schedule your portrait session.

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What I remember about Mom

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As I have a rare moment this Mother’s day morning to sit and peruse my facebook feed, I am happy to see so many posts about and pictures of friends with their mothers – and  I am startled to realize that it’s been 10 years that I haven’t had mine around me. I am startled not because it’s been so empty without her for those years, but because I know she has been with me these 10 years.

For better or for worse, my mother has imprinted into my being and has made me who I am today. Whether it’s that second thought given when I start to throw away a plate of half-eaten food, or my utter repulsion when passing a fast food restaurant, I am the result of her labor  – in more ways than one.

Although I may do some things to prove I am different, from a different generation and have a mind of my own, when my husband tells me I’m just like my mother, I don’t always take it as an insult.

I chose for this Mothers Day to dwell on what I remember about my mother versus how much I miss her.

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This is what comes to mind:

Clean houses are overrated. Especially if it takes time to away from doing something more fun with your kids, like collecting shells at the beach and painting them on the patio, decorating Ukranian Easter Eggs, teaching them how to hook a rug or hand-sew bedspreads for dollhouses.

Handknit sweaters and mittens and socks are cozier than store-bought. But when it comes to down jackets and prom dresses, maybe it’s better to go to the store.

There’s nothing better than the smell of fresh-brewed coffee in the morning.

Meat “continues to cook after you take it away from the heat”

A few pieces of classic jewelry is more classy than revolving costume jewelry and more opulent items. I think she wore her little gold hoop earrings for over 60 years.

Always know where your food comes from. As one of the first natural or co-op food consumers, I remember flexing my muscles as I stirred the stiff, natural peanut butter on rock-hard whole wheat bread, while sneaking Fritos and bologna sandwiches on white bread at my friends’ houses.

Too much screen time is not healthy.  My brother and I were deprived of many of the 70s TV shows and limited to ONE show a week! And you can always tell if your kids were watching TV while you’re gone by putting your hand on the back of the TV to see if it is hot.

Hiking and getting outdoors is good for the spirit and the body. She gave me my first pair of hiking boots and I never went back to spending Sundays on the couch.

Even if you don’t believe in a specific God (or any God) you should still live by the golden rule of treating others as you wish to be treated. It’s that simple.

Always have at least one pet in the house.

You don’t need to go for the highest salary or job to be happy. Simply choose to want less and value your time not your money.

Most items of clothing, if you hold on to them long enough – will come back in style. And if it is LL Bean or Brooks Brothers purchased in the 60s or 70s, may have some “vintage” value and coveted by the younger generations.

Find a creative outlet (or many). For mom it was sewing, knitting, weaving, quilting, hand-dying fabric, spinning, beading…the list goes on and on. I guess for me it’s photography – although I still hopefully hold on to her looms, knitting needles, sewing machines and spinning wheels (yes, multiple ones) I still go for the camera.

A cancer diagnosis does not mean you should stop living. Try to enjoy and value every day you have. My kids were shocked to learn that their grandma had cancer for most of the time they knew her.  They remember instead the blueberries they picked, the picnics they went on, the beaches they walked, the games they played, the reading of books….and the unboundless love.

And that’s what I remember as well.  I love you Mom.

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Springtime Is for Seniors

The past few weeks have given us weather highs and lows -before you know it the warm weather will be here for good. Some of my fall Seniors haven’t even finished ordering their final prints yet, but I want to give the heads up to all of you who have been telling me “…we need to schedule  our senior session”  that – just as it seems that your graduating senior’s childhood as gone – you blink and graduation will be here!

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Because of all the coordination between sessions and end of year activitities, I will hopefully be uploading a calendar/schedule of remaining weekend opportunities to schedule a session – but since I like to shoot at the “golden hour” of dusk anyway, a weekend session may work for your senior – so don’t discount that.  And be mindful of the craziness that will be enveloping you and your senior’s schedule later in spring.

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I am also currently pre-booking 2017  Seniors – but will give priority to 2016 seniors this spring.

To Schedule a session or consultation, click here

Headshot Day

 

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Who knew a day of headshots would be so fun! (well,  I did I guess…I love taking headshots!)

A portrait photographer’s dream! I got to spend an afternoon with these ladies, updating headshots for their website. It wasn’t a hard task,as you can see from these beauties (that happen to work at a dermatologist/spa).

I photographed both the women who worked in the spa area  and the doctors.

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Another great thing about the session was the natural backdrop we had with their “water wall.” I simply stood in their doorway (luckily it was a warmish day in January) and shot!

Here are some “behind the scenes shots” of the location.