Lovely day for a family portrait at our garden studio in Leesburg, VA.

This is the time of year I most enjoy our garden studio space… lovely weather, beautiful light and lots of gorgeous green. My job is made way too easy with this natural setting and a precious family like this one. You could search all over Northern Virginia looking for the perfect location for your family portrait or you could just book a session at our garden studio in Leesburg, VA.

Family Portrait Washington DC

© 2014 Shoot Photo Inc.Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

© 2014 Shoot Photo Inc. Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

Family Portrait at our Leesburg, VA outdoor studio.

©2014 Shoot Photo Inc. Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

Family Portrait in Leesburg, VA

©2014 Shoot Photo Inc. Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

Family portrait at our outdoor studio space in Leesburg, VA.

©2014 Shoot Photo Inc. Family portrait session at our outdoor studio in Leesburg, VA.

Thinking of my Louisiana folks today / Hurricane Katrina hit 9 years ago

I so clearly remember flying over this desolate area in Louisiana two weeks after Hurricane Katrina and being struck that all of the surrounding structures were flattened except this little white church. Three years later, I drove out to Empire, La. to see if the church had survived and was pleased to find that it was in the midst of much-needed repair. From what I understand, the church is now fully restored and I look forward to seeing it myself next week when I am home in La. It’s still baffling to think of how much healing & rebuilding the fine folks of Louisiana have had to do (and are still doing).  Sending love their way as we remember this tragedy that struck nine years ago today.

Senior Portraits

These lovely twins are off to college…Charlotte in Hawaii and Spencer in Japan!  I know they will both do wonderful things in this world.  Such a pleasure to photograph them.

Washingtonian Mom Magazine

I’m so delighted to see my work in print in the latest issue of Washingtonian Mom Magazine. I had the honor of photographing the fabulous Catherine Merrill Williams (President and Publisher) and Kate Bennett (Editor-in-Chief), along with their cute kiddos. We could title these portraits laughter and love – two of my favorite photographic ingredients. Be sure to pick up the summer issue, which is full of great mom material (including an article where I give a few of my best tips on looking your best in family photographs).

Top 5 Photography Tips for Moms

ONE: Whatever you do, don’t say “smile”! That’s right, just make your little ones laugh by being silly or joking around. I know you are invested in getting the “right” look from your child, but authentic laughter will make the best photographs every single time. On top of that, you’ll create fun memories of taking family photographs – not the painful fake-smile kind of memories.

TWO: Step away from the wall!  Why do we all have a tendency to line people up flat against a wall? Inevitably, there are picture frames or windows that create lines going right into the heads of our subjects. You’ll want to create distance from your backdrop (ideally out of focus) for a beautiful portrait. Even just moving a few feet away from the wall can make a big difference.

THREE: Hit your knees! Photographing your children from their eye level makes a much more intimate portrait , so if they are little that means getting right on the floor with them. Great eye contact with the camera is an essential part of a powerful portrait and that’s the best way to achieve it.

FOUR: Look for the light! Beautiful natural light really makes a portrait stand out. If you are inside, try moving your subject close to the window. If you are outside, try backlighting your subject with the sun or find a spot to photograph just at the edge of open shade.

FIVE: Tell a story! Often we have an idea of how our photos “should” look, but the most beautiful photographs often unfold naturally by letting your kids be themselves. So just try a few photos where you let your kids give each other funny looks, keep their favorite stuffed animal in the photo and focus your attention on capturing their little personalities.

For more in-depth photography tips and to build solid camera skills, just email me for upcoming photography workshop dates at  julie@shootphotoinc.com.

 

I love the natural laughs or these precious sisters!

I love the natural laughs or these precious sisters!

 

 

This Is My Brave – Portrait of Creator/Producer Jennifer Killi Marshall

I am looking forward to photographing the cast of “This Is My Brave – The Show”. The performance will include readings of personal essays, original music and slam poetry of those living with mental illness.  Auditions are just wrapping up this month, so I got a head start with a portrait of Jennifer and her sweet little ones.  Jennifer is one of the bravest gals I know, openly sharing her strength, hope and experience living with bipolar disorder.  I am thrilled to be part of a movement to break down the stigma of mental illness and celebrate life exactly as it is.  The show will debut May 18th, 2014 in Arlington, VA. http://www.thisismybrave.com

One Portrait Session with Three Gorgeous Looks

Just before we were hit with all the snow this season, I was able to photograph the lovely Sue Ann Gleason of Conscious Bites Nutrition http://consciousbitesnutrition.com.  Sue Ann is a food lover, food writer, food-based healer and heart-centered marketing strategist.  She has been featured in Oprah and Runner’s World magazines and numerous online publications.  I am certainly looking forward to doing more sun-filled portraits this spring.