Category Archives: Virginia Portrait Photographer

Goddesses Galore! – VA/MD/DC Portrait Photographer

There’s many definitions for the word Goddess … a woman of extraordinary beauty and charm, a greatly admired or adored woman are among several that I like. But to me it needs to include the following words — confident, vulnerable, powerful, soft, strong, badass, mystical, magical. As a photographer and portrait artist of Goddesses nothing feeds me more than being able to reveal these qualities in the muses who stand in front of my lens. And back in October I had seven, SEVEN, amazing women do this. 

First, and I can vouch for this because I had a photoshoot over the summer, it can be extremely unnerving, awkward and uncomfortable being in front of the lens. I always knew this but needed to experience it myself so I could better relate to my clients. And yes, I felt all of that and there’ll be another post all about that sometime soon. You also need to trust. Trust that when it’s all over the images that are presented will empower you.

Back to the seven amazing women. This Goddess photoshoot was part of a monthly experience for this kick ass womens group, Charmed Cardinals. Ladies, if you want more me time and to connect on a deeper level, this is the group for you! And I met the owner through another kick ass women’s group for networking, Femworking. This isn’t your typical networking group where you feel pressured to bring all kinds of referrals and there’s only room for one person in your field because everything has to be so competitive. Femworking is all about camaraderie over competition. It’s about support and uplifting your fellow sisters in their businesses. Because giving always gives back.

When I met the owner of Charmed Cardinals we immediately connected when we discovered both of our businesses are about uplifting and empowering women. So it only made sense that a Goddess photoshoot experience would fit in.

Part of what I do with all sessions but on a bigger level with Goddess sessions is styling. I love to figure out the colors, the props, the fabric, the clothing, the location that will most bring out the energy and art of that woman. But I had only ever done that for one woman at a time. Seven was going to be a challenge. But a challenge in a good way. Could I connect with each woman and help her discover her inner Goddess in such a short amount of time? A typical Goddess session for one woman is about 3 hours long. This session with seven women was just over 3 hours long. But between their confidence and trust and what I had planned we pulled it off. And the proof is in the pudding, as they say.

Meet the Goddesses of Charmed Cardinals. Badass, Queen, Ethereal, Sage, Warrior, Earth, Lightworker Goddesses.

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The Badass with her Indian Scout bike and fierce, made by her necklace. And that expression.

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The Queen, so strong, empowered, connected.

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The Ethereal Goddess … so soft, yet fierce, magic emanating from her spirit.

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The Sage, so quiet and full of wisdom.

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The Warrior, strong, fierce, badass all at once.

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The Earth Goddess, so connected and grounded, full of the earth’s vibration and magic.

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And the Lightworker, here to heal and spread her magical light.

What an amazing afternoon we had. What amazing feminine energy. The magic from that day still fills us all.

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Also posted in Goddesses, Portraiture Tagged , , |

You Are Made of Awesome So It’s Only Natural You Are Beautiful – VA Portrait Photographer

“You Are Made of Awesome So It’s Only Natural You Are Beautiful” – First and Chic Blog

I’ve taken to finding quotes that help describe my sessions and clients. It’s fun and I think imparts a deeper sense of connection to what I’m honored to experience. And there’s a whole lot of awesome and beauty in this post!

Back in February I found and joined an AH-MAZING all female networking group. It’s kind of hard to call it networking when really it’s more about female entrepreneurs uplifting, guiding and supporting each other in a wonderful sisterhood kind of way. Joining Femworking was one of the best decisions I’ve made for both my business and myself!

Naturally I have met some incredible women, one of which owns a women’s enrichment society, Charmed Cardinals. More sisters joining together to enrich themselves on a much different level from the typical GNO that usually involves copious amounts of alcohol, a wicked hangover and definitely not feeling uplifted the next day! As soon as I heard what this group was about I thought I’m striving to do the same thing with my Goddess photoshoots — uplifting and empowering women and helping them to connect to their Inner Goddess.

Charmed Cardinals offers its members monthly experiences to get together, learn something new and connect. Well the owner and I both knew we had to do a photography experience. And we did just that a few weeks ago!

I created and led a workshop on how to look great in photographs! Tips and tricks for those times when you’re not being professionally photographed or when you’re out with friends and someone pulls out the iPhone and proceeds to snap away. A girl has got to be prepared! Especially when those photos can wind up on social media outlets. Then after the tips and tricks we got down to the business of letting them practice their newly learned skills in front of my lens!

Can I just say how lucky I was to have six gorgeous women to play with and photograph?! And that they all are truly made of awesome! Seriously oozing awesome.

Now I know how nerve wracking it is to step in front of a camera. I recently had a photo shoot done and I pretty much completely forgot everything I know to guide clients. Yes, I was totally nervous! More on that to come in another post. So I can only imagine that these lovely ladies were a bit nervous and maybe feeling awkward. But that’s ok because my job is to quell that. My job is to guide them to stand and pose in ways that usually feel weird and awkward but make a great image. But more important my job is to make them feel comfortable so they know they are rock stars full of awesome, because they truly are. My job is to help them connect with their Inner Goddess. And connect they did.

Thank you Charmed Cardinals for the opportunity to provide this experience to your lovely members!

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Also posted in Bright Souls, Glamour, Glamour Photography, Goddesses, Headshots & Promo, Portraiture

Every Time She Laughs I’m the One Who Falls in Love – Old Town Alexandria Sunrise Engagement PhotoSession

“They told me that to make her fall in love I had to make her laugh. But every time she laughs I’m the one who falls in love.” – unknown

This. This quote describes this amazingly adorable couple I had the extreme pleasure of photographing a few weeks ago. When I write a blog post about my clients, I try to find words that fit them and their session. I don’t know where this quote came from, but it was a gift from the internet to me:)

Jen, Jeff and I got together on a Saturday morning … EARLY on a Saturday morning for their engagement session. This lovely couple referred them to me. I remember meeting them back in January to chat wedding photos. I LOVED that they had their wedding notebook and that Jeff is just as involved with all the planning as Jen is. We hit it off right away. The vibe between client and photographer is so important and can make or break your wedding day photos! Anyway, they gave me the distinct honor of photographing their wedding and part of that is engagement photos! Yay! Because I LOVE photographing couples in love!!

Anyway, back to the early Saturday morning. So Jen and Jeff wanted a morning session and I thought well then we have to go for sunrise. I’ve captured sunrise images a couple of times and even though it’s a challenge to get up that early when you’re not used to it, it is so worth it. And their session was no exception.

We decided on Old Town Alexandria and River Farm for their locations to get some of that small town America vibe and lots of fun garden pics. And the stars and planets all aligned for a perfect morning session. Just the Saturday before it was cold and snowing! But this Saturday couldn’t have been a better Spring day.

So we started off at Founders Park on the Old Town waterfront. It was truly magical capturing them at sunrise.

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Then it was time to tool around Old Town. Right off the bat we stumbled upon this kick ass painted garage door at the Torpedo Factory! I had never seen this before and it made a perfect backdrop. The vibrant, energetic, full of life colors match Jen and Jeff’s personalities perfectly. And that’s when the laughter began. These two were silly, fun and laughing the whole time. They made each other laugh and I could feel why they are in love with each other. I mean let’s face it, if you’re with someone who can’t make you laugh then you really need to not be with them! My husband makes me laugh all the time, often at his own expense, which makes it even funnier for me!

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Before any of my sessions, I send a questionnaire asking couples how they met, things they like to do, etc … to get some ideas of how their session should unfold. Jen and Jeff like to kickback and have a cocktail or two so I thought, let’s do that. So I grabbed a couple of beers and brought them with me. We found a spot to sit down so they could have their “cocktail” while I snapped some photos. Now, here’s the thing, the bottles were empty. I’m not trying to break any laws or get anyone in trouble, most of the time:) But what’s pretty funny here is that we passed a police cruiser parked right where I wanted to stop and we were being all covert … with empty bottles. What?! I’m pretty sure there’s nothing wrong with carrying some empty bottles around. Anyway, it all worked out and nobody was the wiser.

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Then it was time to change and hit the Farmer’s Market! It was fun to walk around and check out one of the best farmer’s markets in the area. And you know, have fun with vegetables. Tell me you’ve never picked up a cucumber and made a joke about it:) My plan was to see if they would be up for maybe a little dancing in the middle of the market. Sure enough, they didn’t even hesitate. Because they’re awesome like that! I remember one of the vendors getting a pic of them on his cellphone!

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Then it was time to head to River Farm where they shared some Dandelion wishes, a little picnic and more laughs.

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There was so much laughter and love that morning. There will be so much more at their wedding in September. And I know every time one of them makes the other laugh, they will fall in love all over again. Congratulations Jen and Jeff! Thank you so much for including me in this special time of your life.

 

 

 

Also posted in Couples, Engagement Tagged , , , , |

Light Like No Other – VA Portrait Photographer

A few weeks ago I had the honor of photographing a mother and her two daughters. I’ve known the mom for over 16 years now and have known the girls since they were born. I see and feel their bond and connection. It warms my heart knowing the love, respect and admiration that exists between them. And I wish I could have experienced that. I didn’t have that kind of relationship with my mother.  Not everyone does.

My mother was mentally ill — bipolar, personality disorder. And she never sought treatment for it even though she was fully aware she had a mental illness. There was a really bad stigma surrounding mental illness when she was growing up and even though perceptions and attitudes shifted over the years she never bought into it.

As a child I knew something was wrong with my mother and that she needed help. I also bore the brunt of her anger and disenchantenment with life because of her mental illness. My father bore a great deal of that as well. But he was a grown man. I was a little girl. As an adult I became keenly aware of her mental illness and tried helping her many times, always hoping that someday maybe she would come around and we could have a decent relationship. But that never happened.

So over the years I withdrew from her. I cut emotional ties at a very young age, in fact I remember when that happened. I was eight years old and she was threatening to kill herself, showing me the handful of pills she was planning on taking and telling me that she wouldn’t wake up the next day. My thoughts were who is going to make my breakfast and take care of my brothers? So I cut the cord. Why be connected to someone that might not be there the next day? There were many, many, many other instances where that disconnection would prove necessary and vital for my own well being.

And she never understood why I disconnected. It was for self-preservation. And eventually my mother died and I was relieved that it was all finally over.

I embrace my story. I don’t use it as an excuse for everything that hasn’t or isn’t going my way. I’ve forgiven the wrongs I felt were done to me. All of my experiences related to this (as well as other life events) brought me to who I am today, so ultimately I’m grateful for it all.

I’m not relaying this to be dark or to elicit sympathy. I guess what I’m getting at here is that if you have a good relationship with your mother or your daughter, be grateful. Be grateful that any conflict is just superficial and meaningless in the big scheme of things. Be grateful for that bond and connection because not every mother and daughter has it. Be understanding and compassionate to each other. Be forgiving and loving. And if you have a good relationship with your mother or daughter honor it. And if you’re like me and you didn’t or don’t have that, know that you are not alone. It’s very challenging when society deems that we must all have this relationship when sometimes it’s just not possible.

I’m seriously not trying to be Debbie Downer here! I only want to share my experiences and how they affect and drive me to use my vision and talent. Maybe that experience is more lighthearted like this one. Or sometimes maybe it isn’t. Either way, we are all shaped by our experiences and as a portrait photographer those experiences help to shape my work. And that work is to create images that will always be there to remind you of something whether it’s the goofiness of your kids, whether it’s your own personal power or whether it’s the love between you and your mother/daughter.

And now onto the light!!

Simply put this mother and her lovely daughters are beautiful, loving, kind, talented, intelligent and overall AMAZING. Talk about light. They beam it from their very core. What’s that song, something about it’s so bright I gotta wear shades? So, we did a photo shoot to capture ALL of this and honor their wonderful relationship. And it was SO. MUCH. FUN!!!

I wanted to create three distinct looks for them so we went with something more casual, something more glamourous and something more creative with a vintage/boho flair. I knew they would all have fun with hair and make-up and the whole day was meant to be a dress up, pampering, mother/daughter day out. We did groups shots, individual shots and mom with each daughter by herself. We had chocolate covered strawberries, tea and snacks. It seriously was the perfect girls day.

And I had the extreme honor, pleasure and joy of creating images of these three beautiful women for them to cherish for the rest of their lives. It’s difficult to call it work when it brings me this much joy and satisfaction. As I viewed and edited each image, looking at their eyes, their energy and that light, I was constantly finding myself tearing up. This actually happens a lot when I’m editing my clients’ photos!

And now I present the utterly beautiful, incredibly amazing, Sosa Ladies. Put your shades on folks.

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Also posted in Creative Photography, Families, Glamour Photography, Mother/Daughter, Portraiture

It’s about YOU! – VA/MD/DC Glamour & Boudoir Photographer

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I’m offering a Valentine’s Day special, because, well Valentine’s Day is coming up. It’s a mini photo session that includes hair, makeup and a couple of digital prints (plus some AMAZING print products and a cool app upgrade). But why would you want to do this? What if you’re not in a relationship and there isn’t anyone to gift glamorous, sexy photos?

Well here’s the thing, it’s not about anyone else. It’s about YOU. Yes, the gorgeous photos I’ll capture of you can certainly be a gift for someone else but first and foremost they are a gift to yourself! And why not gift yourself? How often do you put yourself first, ahead of your spouse, significant other, children, family, job, friends, commitments? Probably not often. I know I don’t.

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Well it’s about time you did, because you know what will happen? Some good old fashioned self-love and nurturing.

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But wait, there’s more that will happen. Think about your day-to-day life. How often do you take the time to look sexy, to get out of those yoga pants? Ever feel like you just get up, wash your face, brush your teeth, get dressed and then make your way through the day? Hey I do it! Yoga pants rock but sometimes enough is really enough.

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What if you took the opportunity to have someone do your hair and makeup? What if you took the opportunity to put on a sexy outfit (or be even more daring if you want!)? And then what if you took the opportunity to exist that way in photographs? I’ll tell you what will happen. You will be empowered. You will connect with your inner Goddess and she WILL shine through. And once she shines through there is no dimming her light. And you will always have your images to remind you she is there. She is ALWAYS there.

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Don’t think you have her in you? Trust me you do.

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Book your mini session now. Or gift yourself with a full session. Better yet get that significant other to gift it to you!

Here’s to some serious self-love this Valentine’s Day!

 

Also posted in Boudoir, Glamour, Goddesses, Portraiture