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Amato Family | Southern Maryland Family Photographer

One of my favorite things about being a photographer is getting to explore new places and locations with clients. The Amato family’s session was no exception and I’m so glad they introduced me to Historic St Mary’s City. This session was also special because it was a Mother’s Day gift: so sweet!

It was perfect weather for photographs near the water. I love the contrast between the blue sky and the green grass. And aren’t their blue, white, and yellow outfits just perfect?

This session was so fun. There was ant stomping, tree climbing, and general silliness involved. The two youngest were a riot: they even took an opportunity to kiss when I asked mom and dad to!

I love watching siblings together. This big brother was exceptionally wonderful with his brother and sister.

Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to the Dancing Willow Photography family!

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Tea Party Styled Shoot | Southern Maryland Photographer

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of working with Brynleigh’s Closet, Darn Good Cupcakes, and Quilted Cupcake to create a beautiful styled shoot for students from The Studio Cooperative Youth Ballet Program. Please visit the vendors’ sites and leave them some love!

Costumes by Brynleigh’s Closet (Etsy, Facebook)

Garlands by Quilted Cupcake (Etsy, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog)

Cupcakes by Darn Good Cakes (Facebook)

Dancers from The Studio Cooperative Youth Ballet Program (Facebook, Website)

Brynleigh’s Closet made these gorgeous tutus and headpieces. All of the dancers were swooning (and so was I!).

Tea Party (tutu and headband)

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How lovely are these garlands from Quilted Cupcake? They were the perfect addition to the Tea Party atmosphere!

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The girls were so amazed that we had real cupcakes! They were real and so delicious, thanks to Darn Good Cakes.

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Here are some fun moments from the shoot:

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Inspiration Sunday: 3/23/14

There isn’t much I can say about these photos except: GORGEOUS! I love the light, the colors, the beautiful eyes on that baby. Oh my word. I just love how natural and beautiful lifestyle photography is!

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If anyone knows the photographer who took these photos, please let me know because I would love to give them the credit they’re due!

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Photography Assignment: Perspective | Southern Maryland Photographer

I still have plenty of technical posts to add to the 31 Days of Photography series, but I was playing with my camera the other day and thought it would be fun to challenge you with a little “homework”!

Perspective is an important tool in taking photos that are interesting and tell a story. Check out these photos of my little man playing. They’re fine, but they’re incredibly predictable and certainly nothing special. There’s no story, just some toddler playing.

The trouble with these photos is that they are all from an adult perspective. I decided to take photos from my son’s eye level and close to him. I wanted to capture the moments of play as if I were another toddler. I love how they turned out because they are no longer photos of a toddler playing, but photos of my toddler playing. They feel much more emotional and capture him as he is right now.

One of my favorite photos from the 10-20 minutes we spent playing and shooting photos is from a surprising perspective. I held the camera over my right shoulder and let the camera take many shots one after the other. This photo is significant because I cherish the moments we have to snuggle while he is little. And I giggle when I see that little hand going for the goldfish crackers because this kid never stops eating.

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Because I was on the floor already, I started tickling the little monkey with my feet to see if I could get some giggles.

Then I backed off and hid around the corner and got some sweet photos of my boy loving on his husky dog before body slamming it into the floor. These are the memories that I never want to forget as a mom and the moments that I always aim to capture as a photographer.

Here’s your challenge: take some photos of any subject as you normally would (on whatever camera you have: all types of cameras and photography are welcome!). Then change your perspective and go crazy. Does the change in perspective create more interest in your photos? Does this change in perspective tell a story? If you’re not sure, try a third perspective!

I would love to see what you come up with! Blog or share your perspective photos on social media and link them up below:

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Inspiration Sunday: 3/16/14

This photo is spectacular. The details of the eyelashes are so dreamy; as a mama of a little one, I know how precious sleeping babies are. Makes me want to sneak into the boy’s room during nap time with my camera. I’m not usually one to pursue “macro” shots of all the little details, but I am just swooning over this one!

Big thanks to Paula O’Hara for the inspiration!

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How To Choose Photos for Sharing | Southern Maryland Family Photographer

In the 31 Days of Photography Tips series, we have covered the basic technical aspects of photography. Before I get into the more creative aspects and posts on how to pick your photography gear, I wanted to write a post on something that’s subtle, but really important: how to choose which photos to share.

Whether you use a point and shoot camera or a dSLR, if you’ve just taken photos of your kids or a family event, you are tempted to share every single one. I know; I am guilty of oversharing photos.

What you don’t realize is that you are distracting friends and family from your developing photography skills by sharing every iteration of the same photo. The more photos you share, the less your photography will make a statement. Viewers will be paying less attention to what you took photos of due to the shear volume of photos, which is unfortunate since the subject of your photos is what is truly important!

Pick a handful of the absolute best and be confident in your work.

An example: on Valentine’s Day I did a mini-shoot with my son. On top of being a restless toddler, he was not in the mood to get his photo taken, so it took a lot of shutter clicks to get a few good ones. I could have posted everything I got and it would’ve looked something like this:

In this example, I didn’t omit the photos with his eyes closed or ones that were completely out of focus. Either way, 30-50 photos is overwhelming as a viewer. Here’s an example where I’ve narrowed it down to a dozen photos:

Do you see how 12 photos in the same pose is still overwhelming? When you take several photos of the same pose, even if from slighting different angles or only minutes (or seconds) later, they are considered the same photo. In this situation, it’s best to choose the best 3-5 photos. That’s even being generous.

If you want to continue to become a better photographer, you need to be conservative in what you share. Only share your very best and if your very best from one shoot are all similar, pick just one to share. When you force yourself to be selective, you will start to improve dramatically!

31 days of photo tips

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Caleb Valentines Day Session | Southern Maryland Family Photographer

Happy Valentines Day from my sweet boy!

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How adorable is this burlap garland? Get yours at Sweet Caroline on Etsy.

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Even tired little boys will smile and giggle when mamas dance around and sing story time songs!

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Happy Valentine’s Day from our house to yours!

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Valentines Ballet | Southern Maryland Dance Photographer

Last week I had the privilege of photographing dancers from The Studio Cooperative Youth Ballet program as they performed at a Valentines Day afternoon tea fundraiser for a local school.

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The tea was to celebrate one of the American Girl dolls, so the dancers dressed dolls up to represent the variety of classes The Studio Cooperative offers.

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Beautiful Valentines details on tutus!

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Beautiful ballerinas!

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This has got to be one of my favorite shots from the day; I love the grace and symmetry.

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It was so much fun hearing all the little girls ooh-ing and awe-ing each time the curtain opened.

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Be sure to check out The Studio Cooperative on Facebook and leave these dancers some love.

Take a moment to enroll in the Dancing Willow Photography Newsletter and never miss a thing. I hate getting too many emails, so I promise you won’t either!

When Do You Book a Family Session? | Southern Maryland Family Photographer

A lot of people wonder when the best time of year is to get their family photos taken. Good news: there’s never a bad time!

As I wrote in my tutorial about lighting, midday with bright sun is a photographer’s least desirable time and lighting situation. Did you realize that winter days are perfect for photos? The air is crisp with none of the summer haze and the sun never gets high enough to make severe shadows.

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Did you realize that winter days are perfect for photos?

Can’t you just imagine having photos already taken of your family in the snow, ready for Christmas card pictures? I strongly encourage you to get your family photos taken early than you think you want them so you can get prints and canvases hung in your house to enjoy for the whole year.

I am a proud mama of a toddler, so I completely understand that going outside with little ones on cold days is not ideal. Not interested in an outdoor session during cold months? Have a session in a local bakery, coffee shop, indoor playground, library, or other special indoor location.

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Good news: there’s never a bad time to get family photos taken!

Contact me right away to book your family session! There are only limited spots available.

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Baby E | Newborn Lifestyle Session | Southern Maryland Family Photographer

I spent the afternoon with this beautiful family the other day. I love how the photos turned out! I really love doing lifestyle sessions because they tell such a story. You can clearly see how in love this family is.

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Big sister Jade needed some loving before we got started!

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Such sweet snuggles!

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I felt like I was trespassing into such sweet, special moments!

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I couldn’t help but giggle: newborn dreams and smiles are the best!

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Baby E had her eyes closed for most of the session, but I am so glad she opened them in this moment. It’s as if she knows just how special she is!

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She spent a lot of time staring at daddy. He is definitely her Prince already!

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Mom thought of this pose and I love how it turned out. It’s a photographer’s dream come true to work with creative people who are so beautiful!

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We wanted to get a picture with the whole family, so Jade jumped up on the bed and stared straight at me!

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Right after this picture, Jade started licking Baby E’s toes. Mom and dad may be staring at the baby, but mom’s still got a free hand to give Jade some lovin’!

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Sweet little baby fingers.

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How beautiful is this nursery?!

Thank you so much to the Huff family for letting me into your special newborn moments!

Interested in a lifestyle session? Contact me for details!

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