Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions.
Lifestyle Session – What is it? | It is MY favorite type of session and if you are feeling adventurous, I highly recommend you try it! The idea is to capture you, your family, and the unfolding day documenting your family’s interactions, activities, chores, emotions, and even struggles. To me, a lifestyle session and the memories it captures is the most powerful and most precious gift photography can give. As a mom of two, I often think to myself – wouldn’t it be great if someone could capture these difficult yet rewarding moments of our lives (cuddling in bed; making cards; baking cookies; reading bed time stories; playing monster; and the list goes on!) This type of session is really about the simple things in life that define your day-to-day. For example, during a morning session, I might capture you making coffee, cooking breakfast as a family, or even brushing the kids’ teeth! You may do artwork or puzzles as a family, play games, read books, or do another activity that you love doing. A lifestyle session could also mean capturing a family moving into a new home; visiting a sick family member or friend in a hospital; or bringing a new baby home.
This type of session is ideal for those who don’t like posing and love artsy, organic images! For in-home sessions, it is mostly ideal for spacious, well-lit homes but any space can lend itself to this type of a session as well.
Light – Why is it so important? | In addition to being a documentary/lifestyle photographer, I am also a natural light photographer, which means I utilize natural light 100% of the time during the photoshoots. Generally speaking, the time of the day for an indoor session is not as important as it is for an outdoor session. For an in-home session, I will ask that you open all blinds and curtains in your home prior to my arrival. Mid-morning to late afternoon seems to work well for most in-home sessions. For an outdoor session, I highly recommend utilizing the “golden hour” (the last hour of the day before the sunset) because the quality of light and subsequently – the images, is really worth it! I do understand that for families with small children, an evening session especially in the summer can seem like an impossible task. We can certainly schedule a session at another hour but will have to be creative about using the available space (in other words, we may not be able to use a specific location that you may have your mind set on).
Images – When will I see them? | As I begin going through the editing process, usually within the first week after your session, I will begin posting some previews on Facebook and Instagram. Sometime after that, once I’ve made some serious progress on editing your gallery, I will post “full previews” on my website. You can share the link with your family, friends, or post it on your social media sites as you wish. Then typically within two to three weeks after your session, you will receive an email with a link to your online gallery, which will stay open for about a week. During this time, you can view, share, and download your high resolution images. A print release will be included with your images, so you are free to print, email, or share your images on Facebook and other social networking sites.
Babies Session – How to prepare? | Don’t stress if the baby is awake and active when I arrive – the beauty of an in-home lifestyle newborn session is that I’m going to capture you and your baby naturally and beautifully regardless if he or she is sleeping! I don’t pose babies in baskets or other props, so if that is what you are looking for – I’m happy to recommend a wonderful photographer for you!
To prepare for our session, I will ask that you open all blinds and curtains so the natural light can flood the rooms. I will walk through your home to look for the best light for most close-ups, but having the windows uncovered will ensure we will have plenty of light for unposed, natural shots. I ask that dads help with making the parent’s bed (white or natural color sheets work best) and help unclutter the space before my arrival, so we have a big space to play with, especially if other siblings are involved who may want to hold the baby safely (or if furry friends want to join in the shoot!) And plus, speaking from my own experience, our family spends a lot of time in our big bed – mostly being kicked in the face by our toddler during the night, cuddling with our kids in the morning, or reading books and sharing our daily adventurous at night.
Keeping clothing simple and comfortable is key. I would avoid busy patterns and really bright colors unless that is your style! I personally love long skirts and knit tops or even strapless maternity dresses on new mommas, but wearing something that you feel good in will be the key!
With all of that said, if it just happens to be a slightly unpredictable day—don’t worry. We will make the best out of what we have!
Newborn sessions should be scheduled within 3-14 days of life. Please reach out early to ensure availability.
Clothing – What to wear? | You should wear something that fits your style and you feel comfortable in. For a more coordinated look, I recommend wearing coordinated, not matching, colors. For a fall session, deep colors would look great (maroon, orange, navy, yellow, etc). For a summer session, lighter shades and pastels would look great. For a winter session, I’d recommend layering. Ideally, you would stay away from busy patterns and logos, however – especially for lifestyle sessions, wear whatever makes you feel good or will one day bring lots of memories and perhaps even smiles!
Locations – Can you recommend any | Of course! Here is a list of my favorite locations in DMV:
DC locations that I like:
- Bishop Gardens: http://dcgardens.com/national-cathedral/
- Rock Creek Park (meeting spot 5200 Glover Rd, NW): https://www.nps.gov/rocr/index.htm
- Georgetown Waterfront Park: http://georgetownwaterfrontpark.org/
- Navy Yard: https://www.capitolriverfront.org/yards-park
- Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens: https://www.nps.gov/keaq/index.htm
- Mount Vernon: http://www.mountvernon.org/plan-your-visit/directions-parking-transportation/ (need to get prior approval and conform with posted hours)
- National Arboretum: http://www.usna.usda.gov/Information/hoursadm.html (requires a permit)
- Tudor Place: http://www.tudorplace.org/who-we-are/ (this location has a fee for professional photography)
- National Gallery of Art: http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb.html
- Mitchell Park: http://www.mitchellparkdc.org/
VA locations that I like:
- Bon Air Rose Garden: https://parks.arlingtonva.us/locations/bon-air-park/
- Green Spring Gardens: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/greenspring/
- Meadowlark Botanical Gardens: https://www.novaparks.com/parks/meadowlark-botanical-gardens (this location has a fee for professional photography)
- Scott’s Run Nature Preserve: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/scottsrun/
- Great Falls Park: https://www.nps.gov/grfa/index.htm
- Founder’s Park: http://www.alexandriafounderspark.org/
- Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve: https://www.nps.gov/gwmp/planyourvisit/dykemarsh.htm
- Crystal City Water Park: http://www.crystalcity.org/active/open-spaces/crystal-city-water-park
MD Locations that I like:
- Bear Island: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/maryland_dc/placesweprotect/bear-island-potomac-gorge.xml
- Rock Creek Regional Park: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/rock-creek-regional-park/
- Cabin John Park: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/cabin-john-regional-park/
- Glen Echo Park: https://www.nps.gov/glec/index.htm (requires a permit)
- Riverdale Recreation Center: http://www.pgparks.com/parks_and_rec_home.htm
- Brookside Gardens: http://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/brookside-gardens/ (this location has an additional travel fee)
Please note, availability and access to these locations may have changed since this list was compiled. Before finalizing the location choice, we will need to confirm that the location is available for professional photography on a selected date.