2017 Voice Competition Finalist

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2017 Voice Competition Finalist

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I am beyond thrilled to share that one of my images was included among the 210 finalists in the 2017 Voice Competition, selected from over 45,000 entries. This honor is made even more meaningful because of the subject matter--the view from Uncle Joe's farm in Cambridge, Maryland, is a location so special to our family. This photograph stands for so much more than a beautiful Eastern Shore morning. To me, it is a quiet nod to an beloved man who exemplified the life well lived. My husband's Uncle Joe was man whose gentle, modest, and generous ways are reflected in the serene beauty of this place he loved so much. I am grateful for this opportunity to honor his memory and share with you the beauty he generously shared with us.

Here is a short film I made the same weekend as the image above. 

View the entire gallery of exemplary images HERE and in the November/December print issue of Click Magazine!  Look for mine in the “Environments" collection.

Many thanks to  Click Magazine Miller's Professional Imaging and each of the judges.

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An Adorable 4 Month Old Baltimore Baby Boy

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An Adorable 4 Month Old Baltimore Baby Boy

This adorable baby session took place on a gorgeous fall morning here in Baltimore. Baby J had just slept through the night and was wide awake and ready to explore the neighborhood with his adoring parents. Together, we took a walk and enjoyed some outdoor time before before returning to this family's home for a feeding an morning nap.

Spending this typical Saturday morning with these loving parents and their first born baby boy brought back so many memories for me from when my son (now a teenager) was born. There was a sacredness to those days that is hard to replicate now. The quiet focus that came with my first child and my every attention focused on him, partnered with the connectedness I felt with Brian, having created this life together and both of us so equally focused on the wonder of our son, stands out so vividly in my memory. This is especially so compared to our chaotic and often fragmented life today with four kids with so many varying needs, heading in so many directions. It is a reminder of the value of our family's togetherness and our need to carve out some time for us all to spend together. 

Baby J, you were awesome and your just parents adore you. I cannot wait to watch you grow!

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A Warm Sunday Evening with this Baltimore Family of Four

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A Warm Sunday Evening with this Baltimore Family of Four

This here, my friends, is the best kind of family photography session. Relaxed parents, curious sisters, a gorgeous (and warm!) fall Sunday evening, and almost no posing or orchestrating (until the very end, when we made sure to get one great family photo). The girls played, the parents parented, snacks were eaten, swings were swung, trees were climbed, birds were spotted, shoes were de-sanded, and we captured it all.

I hope you enjoy a few of my favorites from the gallery of over a hundred images that were delivered!  And if you might be interested in working with me to create photographs that go deeper than than the pretty pictures we're all grown accustomed to, photographs that capture the depth and breadth of your family's true experience as you're living it this season, please get in touch with me through the link below. I'd love to hear more about your family and share with you how a documentary session can be an amazing family experience.

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Wedding Portraits of this Beautiful Washington, DC Couple

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Wedding Portraits of this Beautiful Washington, DC Couple

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of making these gorgeous images. Not being a wedding photographer, I was a little worried about how the session would turn out. I wanted the images to be amazing for this special couple who, due to a long story I'm sure they would prefer to forget, do not have any portraits from their wedding. So I said a prayer and showed up. In all honesty, I'm shocked by how amazing my contact sheet looks. So the lesson here is a life lesson. Say a prayer and show up. Amazing things will happen. 

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Stunning Baltimore County Family of Six

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Stunning Baltimore County Family of Six

Somehow, I missed blogging this fun big-kid family session at the end of the summer. I love meeting this family that so closely resembles my own, with four children including an oldest boy followed by three daughters. It was such a blessing to capture a glimpse of how my own family may look about 10 years time, when my youngest is heading into her senior year. (Hence the beautiful senior portrait. Enjoy this gorgeous, kind, and connected family and their too cool pups. 

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A Summer's Evening with an Amazing Baltimore County, MD Family of Four

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A Summer's Evening with an Amazing Baltimore County, MD Family of Four

Last month I had the extreme pleasure of spending an evening with this amazing Baltimore family of four. Despite a challenging year, these parents and their children truly know how to enjoy each moment and celebrate each day with each other. Mom contacted me with the hopes of creating images that captured the essence of all that they had learned.

She simply said, "I want to look at the pictures and be filled with all the joy that I feel when I look at them [my family]."

Isn't that what we all want from our family photographs? I know it's why I pick up my camera every day.

In completing her pre-session questionnaire, she described her expectations and goals for their session by simply saying:

I loved how you described your sessions on your website--relaxed and interactive allowing you to capture our life as it really is. This is exactly what I want!!

And this is exactly what we did. There was very little directing on my part. They just hung out together and enjoyed each other's company and I captured it all, just as it was. Time flew by and everyone went home with a big smiles and a sweet memory of a fun evening shared.

Below are a few of my favorite images from the session. I've also included the family's complete slideshow below if you'd like to check out what a complete gallery might include. Please keep in mind that the slideshow is set to music, which will begin when you press play.

Again, please keep in mind that the slideshow is set to music, which will begin when you press play.

Are you interested in capturing the JOY OF your family just as you are? 

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6 Tips for Easy & Awesome Back to School Photos

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6 Tips for Easy & Awesome Back to School Photos

6 Tips for Easy and Awesome Back-to-School Photos

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We all want to capture the perfect back-to-school photographs of our little (and not-so-little) ones heading out the door on their first day of school. Here are a few tips to making this year's photographs the best yet!

1.  Plan Ahead--If a beautiful headshot is what you're after, consider shooting before the big event! The first morning is filled with energy and excitement, and kids are much less likely to cooperate. Plan a time before the big day and motivate your child by allowing her to wear her new dress or carry her backpack for the first time! 

2.  Find the Right Spot--Great light is almost always found in your doorway. Have your child sit or stand just under the door frame. If you have a covered porch, ask your child to sit or stand just under the edge where he is covered from above but the light hits them perfectly. 

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3.  Include All the Important People--Include siblings, friends, grandparents, bus drivers, and teachers in the photos! These are the faces that lend context to your photographs and who your child will enjoy seeing in the photos many years from now.

4.  Capture the Details--Don't forget to capture the little details that make both this day and your child special. This might be the perfectly packed lunch for your picky eater, the new sweater she HAD TO WEAR despite the fact that it is going to be 95 degrees, or the perfect pencil case that took an hour to pick out. 

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5. Look for the Moments--Moments are what make photographs. In the image above, the bus driver's caring glance at my daughter perfectly tells the story of his kindness and its affect on her difficult transition to kindergarten last year. Greeting friends, hugs goodbye, or a final glance back towards mom as a child enters the school building are all common moments. Be patient and wait for them. If you know what you're looking for and are patient, chances are you will capture it!

6. Get in the Frame--Hand off your camera or phone to a neighbor or use the timer to get in the frame with your child. This day is about you, too! (Stay tuned...I'm determined to get one with me in the frame this year!

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6 Tips for Storing Your Digital Photos

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6 Tips for Storing Your Digital Photos

6 Tips for Storing your Digital Family Photographs

Archiving and protecting your family's digital photographs does not have to be complicate. Stop procrastinating and sleep easy by following these 6 tips!

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1. Keep it Organized.

Take the time to define a system for organizing your digital photographs and stick with it. The most obvious method is by date, but you could also organize your photographs by subject (event, holiday, child, etc.). Once you have a system, stick to it as you are importing or otherwise organizing your images. When you digital files are organized, you will be able to find them easily and working through your printing and backup systems (what we'll be talking about in a second) will me much easier. The easier all this is, the more likely you are to stick with it. I import all my digital images to files organized by date. There is a master folder for the year, monthly subfolders, then daily sub-sub folders. Daily folders are titled by date (year-month-day). If the day is special, I will follow the day with a word or two that makes that file easy to recognize, ie. 2016-12-25-christmas. If you are looking for a great tutorial for organizing your iPhone photos, check out this awesome video.

2. Delete. Delete. Delete.

Take the time to get rid of the bad photographs. The really bad, out of focus, kids got my iPhone photographs that clog up your memory and make the task of printing and archiving the keepers much more daunting, making it much less likely that you will do it.

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3. Print your Photos.

This is the most obvious (and fun!) way to preserve your digital files. Print your photographs either as prints or in albums, and display or store them appropriately. It's important to make printing part of your routine, be it once a week (every Monday), once a month (on the 1st of the month), or even once a year. There are plenty of online sites that make it easy for your to upload and print your photographs or create albums and other products. (I like mpix.com for prints, Artifact Uprising for prints and albums, and Blurb for albums) If your images are organized (see Tip 1), this should be a pretty painless process. Plus, who doesn't love receiving a package in the mail! Also, there are some fantastic options for printing your social media photos. A great article details some options is here. The great thing about printing your social media images is that they have already been curated. No culling through the bad shots, as you hopefully didn't post them!

Tip: Order doubles, like back in the old days! Put one set in your archives and let your kids manhandle the second set.

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4. Back it up. Right Away.

When you download your images, back them up right away. I use a program (PhotoMechanic) to import my photos and have it setup to save them to two separate hard drives. Lightroom allows for immediate backup as well. But even if you can't automate the process, it only takes a moment to copy the file to a separate hard drive or upload it to the cloud. There are a million alternatives these days. AppleAmazon Photos, Dropbox, and Google Photos are a few options that are either free or low cost and easy to use. I also have my entire computer backed up with CrashPlan. Having your images stored in the cloud protects from the perils they face in your home, be it flood, fire, or theft.

Another plus is that some cloud backup platforms, like Amazon Photos, offer print services, making it that much easier to print your photos!

5. Get Photographs (and Videos) Off Your Phone.

If you use your iPhone for taking photos, schedule a time to get the photos backed up and off your phone. I'm not an iPhone expert and am terrible at making sure photos are off my phone, but rarely use my phone for photographs, but if I did, this would be a priority. Your phone is much more likely to get lost or irreparably damaged than your computer. As with the images on your computer, the important thing is to have a system that works for you and to schedule a regular time for the task. Culling, deleting, printing, and backing up should all be part of your system. For a great information on options for backing up your iPhone photos, check out this article. Look for a cloud backup option that offers printing services which will streamline your workflow!

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6. Don't Forget Your Kids' Devices.

Don't forget that your kids have photos on their devices that are just as important as yours. Take the time to print and back-up an their photos too, or teach them how to do it and charge them with the chore of managing yours as well! 

Organizing and backing up photos sometimes feels like one more chore and the endless options can feel overwhelming. But if you take a little time to put together a simple system that works for you, you will sleep easy knowing that these important memories are safe. We all know someone who has lost a phone or whose computer has crashed and lost all their photos. This loss is always more devastating than the device itself, and it is so easily preventable. So take my advice and backup photos. You will thank me one day!

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Summer Evening Family Session | Towson, Maryland

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Summer Evening Family Session | Towson, Maryland

August is the season for photographing families with teens and adult children! With students on the verge of heading off to college and new adventures and parents facing yet another shift in their roles and relationships with their kids, it's the perfect time to take a moment to reflect on just how far everyone has come, both individually and as a family! Despite the fact that I'm a few years away from sending my firstborn off to college, I think this season is bound to be similar to so many other seasons of parenting, where one day you wake up and realize that your job has shifted and so have you. That's the thing that has surprised me most about parenting. Everything is always in flux. As your children grow, their needs change, and your job changes. And to make it all more complicated, each kid's needs change and how you need to parent him changes too. 

And while I spend most of my time documenting the rhythm and flow of the everyday, this season is a reminder to take a moment to stop and acknowledge the people and relationships that are most important to us, to reflect on where we've been, where we're going, and the love that supports us through it all.

This beautiful and loving Baltimore family is preparing for the shift of sending their oldest off to college. It was my pleasure to spend an evening hanging out with them and capturing the beauty of their relationships and love for one another. These parents have raised amazing kids, and I'm sure I will be putting Mom on my speed dial for advice as my kids advance into their teens. She's done one amazing job with these two. (I guess Dad deserves some credit, too!)

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