What to Wear – Fall 2015 Edition | Family & Couples Photography

It’s October!!! I can hardly believe it! October is usually the busiest month of the year for family & couples photography. My clients are thinking ahead to the holidays, and want to take advantage of our beautiful fall days. This time of year, it’s easy to find the perfect location, but it’s a little harder to find what to wear! Whether you are dressing two or six or more, here are some easy tips and ideas for your portrait session! Haven’t scheduled your annual portrait session yet? Click here!

Dressing for Family & Couples Photography Sessions

  1. Don’t match everyone exactly! No more white shirts and jeans! You want timeless photos, and the perfectly matched polo shirts with khaki pants or jeans will surely make your images appear dated. Instead, look for coordinating colors, and not matching colors.
  2. Don’t be afraid to add a pop of color in an accessory! Whether that is a bright scarf for mom, fun shoes for the kids, or something like a statement necklace, don’t hesitate to brighten your photos up with an accent color. Some of my favorites are magenta and yellow!
  3. Take it easy on patterns. A few patterns here and there are ok. Texture is actually amazing in portraits, but you don’t want to overdo the patterns or clash!
  4. Layers, layers, layers! This is the perfect time of year to layer a cardi over your favorite shirt or dress. You can even layer leggings with tall boot socks and your fave boots. Men look sharp in button down shirts with a sweater vest and sportsjacket. Add a scarf or puffer vest to a more casual jeans look.
  5. Consider both your portrait location and your home decor! Planning on displaying your updated family portrait above the fireplace? If your home is decorated mainly in neutrals, you will want to keep your color palette neutral in wardrobe as well. Taking pictures in a wooded area with lots of yellow and red leaves? Then avoid super bright summery colors and choose jewel tones or browns instead.
  6. Skip all black or all white – especially for children. There is a trend in holiday clothing for children – almost everything is white, black and red. Unfortunately, these colors are extremely severe-looking on most people, but even more severe on children.
  7. Stay true to your comfort zone. Not a cocktail attire kind of couple? Then skip the pearls and find your favorite sweater instead!
  8. When shopping for the kids, try stores that offer “lines” of clothing in a variety of sizes. My favorite is Gymboree, because it is easy to dress multiple kids in coordinating outfits that look great in photos. (Also try Janie & Jack!)
  9. Last tip – for children, please be sure that the clothing and shoes fit properly. What could otherwise be a wonderful, adorable family photo can instantly be ruined by ill-fitting clothing. I understand wanting clothing to “last a while” on your kids, but the annual family photo session is not a time you want to buy a size big! (This is particularly true for shoes – which can also be dangerous when too large! And remember to allow time to break new shoes in!)

If any of you are visual, like I am, here are some great guides put together based on Pantone’s colors for the season. While these guides show adult male and female pairings, they offer great guidance to consider for the kids and even high school seniors as well!

Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015Family & Couples Photography - What to Wear Fall 2015

I still have a few spots open for family and couples photography this fall! Contact me today at 410.921.9232 or schedule your session at this link! Currently, there is ONE remaining space for Fall Mini Sessions on October 18th – book it while you can. These limited edition sessions will be held in one of the most beautiful locations in Howard County, Maryland – near my studio in Savage Mill. Every year the color in this spot is stunning, and a popular choice for my clients. See you soon!

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Moody | Washington DC Area Wedding Photographer

It’s a rainy fall day here in Maryland, as Hurricane Joaquin makes his way up the East Coast. I’m snuggled in with a Twilight marathon, my mug of coffee, and a bowl of oatmeal – oh, and a yummy smelling candle burning on my desk! The forecast is calling for dipping temperatures and rain for the rest of the week! I confess to loving this weather. This is my favorite time of year to hunker down and get some editing and writing done. It’s also the perfect timing for this month’s blog circle theme: moody.

Moody may make you think of teenagers, or your grumpy boss, or your Aunt Joan; photographers have a different idea of what “moody” means, and it actually varies quite a bit from one artist to the next. One photographer may love moody black and whites. Another may really love the moody matte look. Yet another may use the idea of moody in his posing or composition, or subject matter.  Due to the nature of what I photograph – weddings, families, and teens – I don’t get a ton of opportunity to really explore my moody side. This month, I think I’ll share some edits that I would consider more “moody” than my norm!

It was actually quite a bit of fun to put these together! I debated showing you the before and afters, but opted for just the “after”, or moody look. I hope you enjoy them! I loved the opportunity to think outside of my usual box! In my art, moody is more than just a “darker” image….it’s conveying emotion through tones and color. Some of these images are still quite bright – as my usual style is – but are more matted or earthy. Definitely a big change for me!


I hope all my Washington DC area weddings are staying dry this weekend, or trying to! For some more moody work, please be sure to visit all of my friends in this month’s circle, starting with Columbia, SC Lifestyle Photographer, Eleventh Hour Goods, LLC!

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July 4th Wedding | Dennis + Ryan | Frederick

A July 4th wedding? I’ve been dying to shoot one for quite a while! When I think of July 4th wedding, I think of fireworks, lots of red, white, and blue, and BBQ. I think of music, and laughter, and bright blue skies. Americans observe the 4th of July as a day of Independence, but it is also a celebration of togetherness, of freedom, and after the recent ruling of the Supreme Court, this particular July 4th wedding had lots to celebrate!

I was introduced to Dennis + Ryan through a mutual friend, Carly. She is another ah-mazing photographer, and was looking for someone to capture their wedding day, as she would be in the wedding party. (She captured the proposal, and you just have to read the story here!) Our first meeting was a Skype date. With busy schedules and wedding planning, it was a great way to connect and get to know each other better. Dennis proposed exactly one year before their wedding day, and I admit, I swooned when I heard Dennis + Ryan retelling the story. Then when we started talking about all the details of their wedding day, I couldn’t help but get excited and silently chant in my head, “Pick me! Pick me!” Well, they did, and I could not have wished for a better day for these two!

A Perfect July 4th Wedding Day

The big day started off a little cloudy. It looked like it might rain, so I made a quick detour to Target to buy a couple of extra umbrellas – just in case wedding party portraits got rained on. As I hung out with the girls while they got ready, the sky gradually lightened up – I think it was all the laughter in the hotel room. The sky just couldn’t be gloomy with all these smiles! When Dennis + Ryan joined us in the room, the amount of excitement literally tripled. And they get the award for Best Dressed Grooms in All of History. The navy blue and gray palette for the wedding party was perfect! The details were simple, but none were overlooked! Simple baby’s breath bouquets for the girls, and coordinating boutonnieres for the gentlemen tied everything together. Carly even brought her film camera along and shot some alongside me, which was a ton of fun! (And her film shots are BEAUTIFUL!)

I was a little nervous about taking wedding party photos in downtown Frederick on the July 4th holiday, but as it turned out, we found some of the most amazing locations just outside the hubbub.  Dennis + Ryan were all smiles the entire time. Soon, it was time to head to the house for the ceremony and reception! The ceremony made me cry – happy tears. Usually I can hold off until the first dance or parent dances before the tears fall, but seeing these two get their Happily Ever After, and hearing the stories and wishes from their friends and family, I couldn’t help myself. It is pretty obvious how loved these two guys are by everyone they meet! This was probably the first and only time I’ve ever wished I was a videographer instead of a photographer. So many touching moments!

A Themed July 4th Wedding Reception

Then it was time to party! Once more, Dennis + Ryan thought of every detail for their reception. Delish food, beautiful July 4th decor, lots of DIY, a fabulous cake, fun music and backyard games. There were lots of tears and laughter during the toasts and mother-son dances. The life-sized Jenga game was a huge hit! And then the fireworks –  the perfect end to the evening!

I’m so thrilled that these two get to spend a lifetime of happiness and love together. Thank you for including me on your day. I love you both!


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Summer Vacation Fails | Washington DC Wedding Photographer

A Wedding Photographer Who Takes a Camera Everywhere

Friends and family say it all the time, “Oh, I bet you take your camera everywhere!” And it’s true, I used to. Even up until a few years ago, I took my camera everywhere. It’s part of the daily uniform when you are both a professional wedding photographer and mom to a young child. You never want to miss capturing one of their “firsts” or major milestones. I even carried my gear to events with friends, just to have it handy. But over the years, I started carrying my camera less and less. My harddrives are bursting with tens of thousands of personal images a year from 2007, 2008, 2009; but after 2010, the number in each folder dwindles.

As a mom, I feel extremely guilty that I am no longer taking as many photographs as I used to of our little family. About this time last year, after dragging my camera along on our summer beach vacation and not using it even once, I made a promise to myself that while I wouldn’t take the camera everywhere, I would start taking more photographs of the “important” moments, such as holidays and vacations.

Oops, I did it again.

We just returned from our summer vacation in North Carolina. It was beautiful. Wide beaches with beautiful sunrises and sunsets, calm turquoise waters. We spent an entire evening learning about sea turtles and looking for their protected nests. I packed my beautiful House of Flynn camera bag (more on that in a future post!) and everything I would need to capture these important summer memories, much like my dad used to. Well, wouldn’t you know it. I took about 5 pictures the whole trip, not counting my phone’s camera, which leaves much to be desired.

Major. Mom-Photographer. Fail. 

I took a few photos of my daughter sleeping in on a rainy morning, and then about 5 minutes before we departed to come back home, I snapped these of the sunrise, and they’re not even great photos, as the air was so humid and full of sea water vapor, it was foggy and my lens kept getting salty condensation all over it, so I dashed back inside to protect my equipment.

Washington DC Wedding Photographer | Summer VacationWashington DC Wedding Photographer | Summer Vacation

So many memories lost forever. I’m actually extremely disappointed in myself. I must try harder, and do better. My daughter recently turned 7, and loves photographs, drawing, and telling stories. I bought her some scrapbooking supplies (another hobby I used to enjoy) and promised her that we would start an album this summer. I will continue to remind myself that photography is not just my career, it is her legacy. I should understand that so well, especially after losing my dad in 2004. He lives on in photographs, even after our memories dim, and details of the stories begin to erode.

My Promise. My Vow.

That’s the great thing about being human: when you make a mistake, you have the choice to not make the same mistake twice. So, starting now, I promise myself (and my family) these things:

  • I will take more photographs.
  • I will be in more photographs.
  • I will print more photographs.

Those three seemingly simple vows are my promise. I am so much more than a wedding photographer. I am a storyteller. I am a historian. I am an artist. And I must be a storyteller, a historian and an artist even when I’m “off the clock”. I see so many of my fellow wedding photographer friends posting their exquisite summer vacation photos, and yes, I enjoy them, but for now, I’ll start with taking photographs for my family first and foremost. And never again will this wedding photographer fail on Summer Vacation.

Do yourself a favor, and visit my friends who also participate in this blog circle – I promise they have tons of great summer photos! Start here, with my friend Alicia Q, Jacksonville NC Wedding Photographer


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  • Nicole Gulick - Oh my goodness seriously in tears! your words are beautiful and your images are equally gorgeous! I love that you and your daughter are going to create an album together, I still have mine from forever ago!

  • Kristy Gilmore - Amen sistah! I think so many pro photographers who are moms as well have broken the same promise (more than once). Thank you for being honest and open.

  • Alicia Countryman - Those are some beautiful colors! I know exactly what you mean about wanting to take more personal photographs, especially needing to be in more pictures. We lost my father-in-law in June, and you just don’t realize how important photos of family, friends, and yourself are until that person is no longer in your life. Thanks for sharing. I look forward to seeing more of your posts and pictures! 🙂