Fluttering Shutter Photography: Blog https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog en-us (C) Fluttering Shutter Photography [email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Thu, 08 Feb 2024 06:19:00 GMT Thu, 08 Feb 2024 06:19:00 GMT https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/img/s/v-12/u754028619-o294293082-50.jpg Fluttering Shutter Photography: Blog https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog 80 120 Care Like Caroline https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2024/2/care-like-caroline Caroline MoodyDecember 2020- Morven Park- Leesburg, Virginia This is Caroline Moody.

Since #February is all about #love and #hearts, I wanted to introduce this amazing one.

Caroline's mom and I have known each other almost our entire lives, and I have fond #memories of hanging out with her and talking to her wonderfully kind and loving parents. But like with many #childhood friendships, we took different paths in life. She ended up settling to #Texas with her husband and three amazing children and our main contact moved to seeing each other via social media, but in 2020 she reached out. Her family and her brothers family were coming home to #Fairfax to spend Christmas with their #parents and they wanted to document their time together with a family portrait session. As always, I was both excited and honored to be chosen to capture these moments for them. Seeing all of them after a few decades felt like such a beautiful full circle moment. We had a great session and the pictures turned out beautifully! 

After their images and products were delivered, I would see posts about their family on social media and it would always bring a smile to my face, remembering how much fun we had and how impressed I was with the love that was so abundant in front of my camera.

In May of 2023, Caroline passed away at the age of 12 from what they now believe was a rare form of Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia (CPVT), which is treatable but can often be left undiagnosed until the unthinkable happens. Caroline was so loved that there was a memorial scholarship named after her (http://tinyurl.com/s8xdykbr) and money has been raised in her name to two different national organizations: #bestbuddies and SADs (https://sads.org). 

In this month that is focused on hearts, let's help raise money to research them in Caroline's honor. For the month of February, if you donate to SADs you will get a matching amount off of any regular 2024 session fee with me. Let's help make Caroline a reason that there is more awareness and more research on CPVT. #carelikecaroline

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2024/2/care-like-caroline Fri, 02 Feb 2024 16:00:00 GMT
7 steps to a successful family photoshoot https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/9/7-steps-to-a-successful-family-photoshoot Family - Morven Park - LeesburgFamily - Morven Park - Leesburg

Whether you get pictures of your family every year, multiple times per year or hardly ever, preparing for that photo session can be STRESSFUL! I'm here to help take some of that stress out of your life with some tips and tricks that I've learned over the years. So here is a step-by-step guide to help you prepare:

Step 1: Find your photographer

This is often the hardest part for people who don't get photographed often and there are good reasons for that! How do you know who you're going to vibe with? Can you afford their prices? What do they include? Do you like their work? Are they good? So many questions come to mind and it can be overwhelming! I wrote a three part series to help you narrow down your options, which you can read, but here is a summary:

  • If you start off by posting on social media, make sure that you are specific about what you want. This will lessen the number of responses that you get, but will make the responses more likely to be what you're looking for. Part of this is stating your budget. If you don't know what your budget is, that's okay, just remember that if you say "reasonable prices", it could mean one thing to you and something entirely different to someone else.


  • Look at their work and pay attention to their style. If they're dark and moody and you want light and airy, move on to the next person on your list. If you want true to light/true to color, then keep me on your list!


  • Look at their experience. Know if you want someone who is established or if you're willing to work with a newer photographer. This also means understanding what the difference between those experiences may be. (This is especially true when it comes to newborn photography!)


  • Contact them! This is a great way to see if they feel right to you. Having a good rapport with your photographer makes the session SO much more fun! I have meetings with everyone to talk about what I do and what I offer, but most importantly, I have those meetings so that we can get to know each other and feel more comfortable once the session begins.


  • Know what they include. Are you paying for the session and all of the digitals? Are you paying for the session only? A certain number of digitals? Do you pick those digitals or does the photographer? These questions are vital to make sure that everyone is on the same page.


  • Know their pricing. This piece ties into the last one, but everyone does things a little differently, so it's important to know if the photographer that you're considering hiring is within your budget (or if you want to stretch your budget to get to work with them).

Once you've selected your photographer, you will need to book your session. This looks different depending on the photographer, but many photographers require a deposit/retainer to hold your session date. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, once you are ready to book a session, I will send you a booking link that will include the contract, paying the session fee and a simple questionnaire. 



Step 2: Establish the details

Deciding on when and where to take your family pictures can be a big decision but one question can help narrow down the answer: What kind of mood are you going for in your pictures? During my initial meeting prior to booking, I have this conversation with you so that I can help you decide on a location that suits your style. Timing also plays a role because depending on the location and time of year, you may need a pre-dinnertime session, a sunrise session or a after-dinnertime session. For example, I know that one of my favorite locations gets darker earlier because of where the sun sets, so if you want that beautiful golden back light (like in the image above), that might not be the best spot for you and I'll talk about some other options. Also be sure to tell your photographer about any specific needs your family may have that are important to know. This can be anything from "Bobby is shy" to "Mom is in a wheelchair" to "We only laugh at fart jokes." 


Step 3: Decide what to wear

This is something that I cover in my welcome guide, but here is my general advice: 

  1. Decide what colors you want to use. 2-3 main colors and 1-2 complimentary colors.
  2. Determine who the most difficult person is to dress in your family. (Most parents know immediately who that person is.) Once you know who it is, figure out what they would be willing to wear and build out outfits from there. 
  3. Explore the closets in your house because sometimes you can piece together an outfit that you've never thought of before.
  4. Pick outfits that follow the 4 C's: Clean, Comfortable, Complimentary and Complementary. 
  5. Lay out the outfits all together to make sure that you like the look of them in a group. If in doubt, my clients always have the option of contacting me to help them determine what will look best together!

Family - Morven Park - LeesburgFamily - Morven Park - Leesburg

Step 4: Hype up your session!

When you talk about your photography session with your loves, be positive about it! Make sure they know that it's going to be fun and that you're all going to be there together. Some parents will go out for a special dinner after a session or take everyone for ice cream to give the kids something extra special to look forward to. This can also work on reluctant adults...


Step 5: Primp it up!

One thing that is universal about photography is that if people feel good, they look good. Confidence goes a LONG way, so if you feel better when your nails are polished? Do it! If you want to pamper yourself with a trip to the salon? Go for it! Do something nice for yourself and help boost that confidence for the camera.


Step 6: What to bring

For most family sessions you don't need to bring anything other than yourselves, but here are a few things that I've found to be helpful to have on hand:

  • Wipes- they come in handy in a variety of situations for kids and adults alike!
  • Water
  • Snacks- Please be sure that they're not sticky and/or won't stain teeth/tongue/fingers!
  • Extra clothes- This one is big for smaller children, but having alternatives on standby can definitely be helpful in emergencies.
  • Bug spray- Although I carry bug spray in my bag for both myself and clients, if there are allergies or sensitivities, bringing your own can make for a much more pleasant experience.
  • Lovies- Sometimes kids won't leave home without their teddy or their blanket and it's okay to bring it! They often make for precious images that capture your child as exactly who they are in that moment. Even if the lovie that they want to bring along is their new pet tortoise.

Girl - Morven Park - Leesburg - LoudounGirl - Morven Park - Leesburg - Loudoun

Step 7: Take deep breaths and trust your photographer!

This is my last piece of advice about having a successful family session because it's one of the most important ones. It's important for you to relax and be present in the moment for your pictures. A parent who is facing their child and pointing at the camera to try to get them to look doesn't make for the best moment to be captured and a stressed parent makes for stressed kids. Trust your photographer to see the moments and capture the beauty of your family. Sometimes a shy pre-schooler can make for adorable portraits that capture who they are perfectly.

Girl- Claude Moore Park - Sterling - LoudounGirl- Claude Moore Park - Sterling - Loudoun

I hope that these tips are helpful for you, and if this made you want to book a session with me, let's talk!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) fall family Fluttering Shutter Photography golden kids Loudoun County photography portraits session Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/9/7-steps-to-a-successful-family-photoshoot Fri, 22 Sep 2023 13:30:00 GMT
Your Portraits Are Art https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/9/your-portraits-are-art When you have your portraits taken, you have to make a pretty big decision once they're done: What are you going to DO with them? Are you going to print a few for frames? Send some to the grandparents? Post them onto social media? Hang up a canvas? Make a gorgeous album? Those are all great options!


Whatever it is that you decide to do, I can help! Most of my clients come to me because I offer beautiful portraits but also heirloom products. Most, if not all, parents that I know here in Loudoun County have a pretty big laundry list of things to do on a day-to-day basis: work, dishes, taking care of kids, self-care, appointments, literal laundry, etc., etc. Printing your pictures can be one of those things that you just keep meaning to get to, but don't. My job is to help take that OFF of your to-do list. All you need to tell me is what you would like to have printed and I will carefully design it and order it for you!


Not only do I do the ordering for you, but I can even help you design how you want your art to look on your walls. After our session, we can design your wall art to make it look exactly how you want it, adjusting sizing and swapping out images so that when you get everything ready to hang, you know where everything will go and exactly how it will look! Here is a mock up that I did for a client of HER images on HER wall. She knew the space that she wanted the portraits to go in, but it's a tricky spot, so she wasn't sure how big the prints should be. Since she had already purchased frames, we took the size of those into account as well:

Once everything arrived, she decided that she wanted to move some things around, but because we had taken the time to get the right dimensions, she had plenty of room to do it!

A wall with 5 framed prints of people and one unframed large family portrait.Gallery WallDisplay your family portraits where people will enjoy them!

You deserve to have beautiful portraits of the people that you love the most around your home and I would love to help you achieve that goal!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) art canvas family Fluttering Shutter Photography frames gallery Loudoun County newborn photography portraits prints Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/9/your-portraits-are-art Wed, 20 Sep 2023 18:00:00 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Leesburg https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/8/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--leesburg

Hello lovelies!


It's been awhile since I posted about the picture perfect adventures in Loudoun County, but I think that if you read my most recent blog post, you'll have a good idea as to why! Easing back into it, I wrote the majority of this blog post last week, got distracted and didn't finish it. Today I sat down to finish it and learned the hard way that my website does NOT autosave, so here we go with Round 2! And, as always, please be aware of the nature around you, including poison ivy and ticks. If you want more information on those, you can always visit the first part of this series here

I was saving this particular post because there are SO many places to go here and I wanted to just give you two of my favorites that locals tend to not know about. So, without further adieu, let's talk about places to check out in Leesburg!

The most picture perfect spot that I've found in Leesburg is familiar to anyone that's been a client of mine. I've been going here for almost my entire photography career and I'm still finding new spots for amazing portraits! With over 1,000 acres, there is quite a bit of property to explore! You can also get a little bit of both manicured gardens and high grass, with some beautiful architecture thrown in. Spot #1 goes to:

Morven Park

Toddler girl sitting and smiling in a jean jacket sitting on a stone path in Leesburg, Virginia.Happy GirlSmiling and enjoying her time with Fluttering Shutter Photography at Morven Park in Leesburg, Virginia.

This 1,000 acre historic property is a hidden gem in Leesburg. Most often it's a quiet spot and since it's so big, it's easy to feel like you have the entire property to yourself. There are paved paths, walkable roads, gravel roads, large open fields, immaculately kept gardens, historic architecture and hiking trails. With so many picturesque locations in one spot, it's easy to see why Morven Park is my number one place to go for pictures in Leesburg.

The property was purchased by Westmoreland Davis and his wife, Marguerite in 1903. As a livestock farm, they raised poultry, sheep, hogs and dairy cows. In the interest of helping other farmers, Westmoreland David ran for Governor in 1917 and served until 1922. When Westmoreland died in 1942, Marguerite left their home with a caretaker, claiming that she couldn't imagine being there without her husband. After her passing in 1963, the two were rejoined in the mausoleum that is in her beloved gardens. One of the unique facts about this property is that most of the furnishings and decor in the mansion are original, whereas many historical properties have mostly replicas.

One of the missions of Morven Park is to learn about and honor the people who were enslaved on the property, by finding/organizing information about their lives and lineage and putting it into a free online database. The 246 Project is a way to acknowledge the history of people who were enslaved on the property and help people of Loudoun County be able to trace their lineage in ways that were previously unavailable. I highly encourage people to read about the project and donate if they can, because projects like this one are so valuable and impact so many. 

Since I've been taking photographs here for almost 10 years, I have a LARGE number of images that I could share, but instead I decided to show the variety of locations that are perfect for portraits:

As you can see, Morven is a great place for photographs and will always be a favorite location of mine to bring clients.

What to Bring:

- Stroller/Carrier

- Water

- Bug spray

- Camera


Next on my list is a place that has recently undergone a name change, but the beauty that it holds remains the same. There are so many parks similar to this one, but there's something about this particular location that makes me so happy to bring my camera. It's always strange to drive through a neighborhood to get somewhere, but trust me when I say that this spot is 1,000% worth it. In case you've never heard of it, let me introduce you to:

Bazil Newman Riverfront Park

This park was previously named Elizabeth Mills Riverfront Park but after a meeting to discuss the history of this property, it was recognized that a name change was needed. The park was initially named after Elizabeth Clapham who was a slaveowner that ran a grist mill on the property in the 1800's nearby. Bazil Newman, a free black man who was a successful local entrepreneur and landowner, ran a ferry service nearby the intersection of Goose Creek and the Potomac River. In an effort to honor the enslaved people that were housed on the property and/or transported via the waterway, Loudoun County Parks and Recreation is installing a display to recognize them. 

As I said before, you will need to drive through a neighborhood to get to this park. The parking lot is small and next to a golf course, which you will need to walk through in order to get to the park, but once you get there, it's worth the mini hike!

When you get past the golf course, you'll come to an open field and will have a choice between going a few different directions. We didn't travel too far since it was a really hot day, but I think we got some great shots in in a variety of locations. First, I'll show you the spot that is straight down from the field. As a warning, there are steep steps leading down to the water on this path, so if you have little ones, be prepared to assist them and/or carry them down.

This area of the park has large boulders to climb on and walk out towards the water. It's beautiful and a perfect spot to bring a picnic and explore the nature around you, but it's not very swimming friendly. We saw so many tiny frogs and the kids were so happy just watching them jump around! 

After exploring that large, open area, we ventured down a connected trail and found this gorgeous little spot for pictures and exploring. Elena and Ashley were caught up in adventuring the area, so it was tricky to get them to hang out for pictures, but Levi was all for it!


The last spot that we went to was the opposite side of the field. There were a variety of little paths down to the water, but eventually we found one that led us to the perfect spot to wade a little bit and cool off. 

Be aware that the other side of this inlet is private property and is not to be trespassed upon, but the water is clear and really refreshing to play in!

What to Bring: 

- Sneakers/hiking boots

- Sunscreen

- Bug spray

- Camera


I hope that you've enjoyed this installment of my series, and that you get a chance to go out and explore these locations in Leesburg! 

If you missed the other parts of my series, you can find posts about Purcellville, Hamilton, Round Hill, a Rainy Day idea and Bluemont

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Bazil Newman Riverfront Park Bluemont Fluttering Shutter Photography Leesburg Loudoun County Morven Park pictures portraits Purcellville Rainy Day Round Hill Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/8/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--leesburg Wed, 02 Aug 2023 23:24:23 GMT
Summer Life Updates (and a mini-session announcement) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/summer-life-updates-and-a-mini-session-announcement Hello lovelies!

I know that I am behind on my blog series about places to go in Loudoun County, and I promise that I will be getting back to that, but I wanted to share some personal updates first.

Have you ever seen or read A Series of Unfortunate Events? Well, recently we have been living something similar but since I am working to focus on the positive, I will also be sharing the silver linings of our recent misadventures. So, let's start at the beginning.

One of the most recent parts of my Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County series was about Sleeter Lake in Round Hill. I mentioned that it's a perfect spot for a picnic and my 15 year old and his friend decided to do just that a few days before we were set to leave for Minnesota. I drove out there to pick Levi up and while I was sitting in the parking lot, I noticed that I was getting really warm in my car. Now, if you have lived in Northern Virginia for any period of time in the summer you know that mid-day in July can be BRUTALLY hot and humid and since I grew up here, I wasn't surprised by it. What I WAS surprised by was how hot it was INSIDE my car. As you can see, I was wholly unimpressed when I figured out that the a/c in my car had died....again. That's right! It had been about 2 weeks shy of a year since the last time that our a/c had died in our trusty mini-van and we had gotten it fixed.

Background? Still perfectly picturesque. Me? Not so much.

One thing about Sleeter Lake is that the cell signal is not the best (which is fine until it's 4:30pm and you need to get in touch with your mechanic), so I had my husband call them and thankfully, they said that they would squeeze us in before they closed. The silver lining to this is that I got to hang out with Levi for awhile (who is seriously the coolest 15 year old that I know) while we waited for the diagnosis.

Long story short, a part that had been replaced last year had failed even though it was under a 3 year warranty which meant that the part was covered (yay!), but the labor was not (cue sad bank account). But we love small businesses and this particular small business has always been good to us, so we stick with them. (Shoutout to Purcellville Auto Service for taking care of us!)

With a fresh a/c ready to go, it was time to pack everyone up and head to Minnesota! Since we do this trip every year, we are familiar with the ways to get there, what we need on the road and our favorite places to stop along the way. This year the universe decided that we needed to shake things up a bit....

We usually do this trip over two days usually having anywhere from Ohio to Illinois being our overnight stop, depending on how tired we all are from driving/being in the car. Having older children means that they usually travel really well and there is very little arguing along the way. Truly, the one thing that they fight over the most is who has to pick up Ashley's blanket that she's dropped between her carseat and the door for the 8 millionth time in the past hour. Typically, we leave in the morning but this trip ended up starting in the evening and since it's summertime, the sun was still up when we left. A few hours into our trip was when the universe decided to start speaking up about how boring things were being because we hit a road gator. No, not a live animal, but a chunk of tractor trailer tire that was in the road. It ripped the engine splash guard off of the car, got stuck in the wheel well, made an awful amount of noise and finally popped out to continue its journey down the highway. We, in the meantime, had already booked a hotel for the night and were pulling up to said hotel right after this happened. I ordered a new splash guard for my car on Amazon (crazy, I know) while Seth went to check us in.

Travelling as a family of 6 plus a dog can make finding suitable hotel rooms a tricky business, but we usually make it work relatively easily. (Hot tip: If you use the RoadTrippers app, it is extremely useful for finding things along your travel route!) Even though we can usually find a hotel room, the booking process can be tricky. Why? Because I'm usually on my phone booking a hotel room at 12:30am through a website. The tricky part about that is that the website is confused as to when I want to check in since I need to check in during the wee hours of the morning and not stay until the next calendar day. This is what made it so that our first hotel room was unavailable since I had technically booked us to stay there the following evening, and what finally taught me that I should just call to book hotel rooms on our trips. After a heart pumping evening, we made it to a different hotel and all fell asleep for a few hours.

After a full day of driving, I was sitting in the passenger seat admiring the view of the setting sun, singing along to the music and sending updates to my sister-in-law about our ETA. One minute my view looked like this:

And the next minute, my view looked like this:

I was all of the sudden covered in glass and we were pulling over. A deer had decided to play frogger with our car and lost. We think what happened is that she made it *almost* all the way in front of the car, but her butt got hit by the passenger side headlight area which swung her body around the car making her shoulder hit the door and her head hit my window. I have never been more thankful for safety glass in my entire life. Tyler was sitting directly behind me, so after making sure that I was okay, he was the first person that I checked in on. Thankfully, not one of us had a single scratch, including our dog, Nina. Glass was everywhere, however, and we found it repeatedly over the next few days in several places.

As the kids all huddled together in the backseat, Seth called the police and insurance, while I updated his family about what had just happened. The bright side of being in Cameron, Wisconsin (population of just under 1,900) is that there is a definite small town vibe and the Sherriff's office shows up within 10 minutes. The downside is that the only thing that's open while you wait 2 hours for your AMAZING father-in-law to come pick you up, is the Sherriff's office. So, we sat in a little lobby with access to bathrooms, ordered some Dominio's and hung out for two hours. The Odyssey was towed and we ended up making it to our destination at around 4am. 

Our time in Minnesota was wonderful, as always. We got to spend time with some of our favorite people, relax by the lake and, of course, take pictures! There was a day where the water was so calm that it looked like glass. In all of my years of going to this lake, that was the first time that I had ever seen it this still.

One of my favorite parts of this trip was being able to photograph two of my very favorite people as they enjoy the last few months of it being just them before their baby makes their arrival!

There was fishing done, cousins helping baby cousins learn to walk, Ashley worked hard on a wiggly tooth and macros shot, but overall I spent more time being in the moment than being behind the camera this year.

Our time was great, but we did have to wait to hear from our insurance about the car. We needed a way to get home but wanted to be 100% sure that our car was totaled before we invested in a new one. Now, if you've looked for a car the past few years, you know that the choices are limited and buying a used car is almost as expensive as buying a new one. We looked allllll over Minnesota to try to find an Odyssey but literally every single one was sold before we could look at it or had 100,000+ miles and was still $30k. Ultimately, we ended up going to a Kia dealership to look at an Odyssey that they had. Unfortunately, the one that they had was not in good shape but the sales guy we were working with (who was awesome) told us that he might have something that would work for us: the 2024 Kia Carnival SX Prestige. It had the room we needed, the features we wanted and we could drive it home that day. That last one was important because we had about 72 hours until we were meant to start our trip home.

I have never loved Kia's, but they seem to have really stepped up their game recently. This car has all kinds of awesome technology: LED panels, wi-fi hotspot, parking assist, lane assist, two moonroofs, super adjustable seats, USB ports for every seat, front seats that heat AND cool, BOSE speakers, etc. All of this combined with our timeline made us decide that this was the car for us!

Although I don't love the orange and wish that it had a tiny bit more space for Nina, I do love everything else about this car. The last full day of our trip, Seth's OneWheel fried and one of the younger cousins fell off of the other OneWheel, breaking his arm (both the ulna and the radius). Two more things to add to our list from the universe!

The next day, we headed back onto the highway after many wishes for a deer-free trip home! Ashley was so sad to leave her cousins, but it is so sweet to watch their bond!

Thanks to TikTok I was able to stumble upon the largest candy store in North America, B.A. Sweeties Candy Shop, in Cleveland, Ohio, which happened to be a city that we pass through on the way home! This made it an easy decision to stop by and purchase some sweets (none of which were being eaten in the car, by the way). This is a stop that also has a putt-putt course and a soda shoppe, so you can make it a stop that lasts for a few hours but we really wanted to get back home, so we only stayed for about an hour. It's a great little detour, though!

This is their "cowch" and I am obsessed with it....

Don't mind Tyler and Elena's faces, they had just eaten super sour candy.....that they LOVED.

After our stop we got back on the road and had a pretty uneventful trip home. However, once we got home the universe decided that we weren't quite finished with the unexpected.

Our water main had a leak and was spraying water all over our little utility room. Luckily, some of the water had gone down into the sump pump, but we were still left with about an inch of water on the floor. Thankfully Seth knew to turn off the water at the street (and how to do it), so while we waited for the plumber to come out, we turned off the water and cleaned up what we could. Now the studio's kitchen space is covered in fans and dehumidifiers, waiting to dry out and then it will have new floors put in and a freshly cleaned carpet and trim. So, for the immediate future, the studio is going to be somewhat of a work in progress. The silver lining is that I'm going to be able to do some updates!

In the midst of the plumbers visit, Ashley's tooth was making its grand exit and she was DETERMINED to pull it out herself. Who wouldn't love this gap tooth smile?!

So now that everything has settled down, I've decided to turn things around and do something positive with it!

Returning to 90+ degree weather after spending a week hovering around 72 during the day made me really appreciate the ability to cool off. So let's do some mini-sessions to beat the heat! The best part is that you get to pick which type of mini-session you want! You get to choose between the following:


- Bubbles! This option is ideal for younger kids and can be done either in a kiddie pool or in the grass with bubbles.

- Water Balloons! This is really best for older kids who are able to anticipate it coming so that we get to watch their facial expressions change!

- Playing in the Stream! This option is good for all ages!


The minis will be on three separate days so that you have more options to choose from! I'm keeping an eye on the weather in order to nail down the dates, but let me know if you're interested in booking one of these fun minis to beat the heat!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) car deer family Fluttering Shutter Photography heat Loudoun County mini-session photography summer Virginia water https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/summer-life-updates-and-a-mini-session-announcement Mon, 24 Jul 2023 23:00:00 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Bluemont- Part 1 https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--bluemont--part-1

Welcome back to another part in my series about places to go in Loudoun County that are fun, inexpensive and also beautiful places for pictures!


This week will be a little different since I am on vacation, so I'm going to share with you some places that have been favorites for our family over the years in Bluemont. First up is a place that isn't free, but does get you a ton of bang for your buck.


Great Country Farms

This farm has been one of our go to places to spend a few hours and get locally grown produce for many years. There are a large variety of activities to do and it's a great place to let kids get out some energy. Many places in Loudoun feel adult focused with a few things for kids, but I think that Great Country Farms in Bluemont feels like just the right balance! The past few visits that we've made have been without my camera, so these images are older, but it's still a great place for fun and portraits! Most of the activities are included in the admission fee but there are a few extra things that you can choose to enjoy while you're there, too.

If you want a place where your child can interact with farm animals, this is it! You can feed the animals, touch them (at your own risk) or simply watch and enjoy them from a distance. There are pot bellied pigs, chickens, ducks, roosters, goats and turkeys! If you visit during the spring you'll also get to see the babies, which is always fun!

Hanging out with the animals is always fun, but it won't always eat up a ton of time. With littles it can be hard to keep their attention, but don't worry, GCF has you covered with so many different activities, plus they regularly have special events throughout the year. In the fall, I highly recommend getting some of their apple cinnamon doughnuts because they are absolutely delicious! If you don't want to go to a special event, there are still tons of things to do there to keep everyone occupied. (There is also a cidery on the property, if you want to enjoy some adult beverages!)

All of this PLUS the ability to go and pick your own produce or you can buy it pre-picked in their store. There is a wide selection of good fruits and veggies including peaches, plums, apples, pumpkins, potatoes, asparagus, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, spinach, lettuce and raspberries! Not all of those are pick your own, but they're all available seasonally in the store. They also have local honey, meats, cheeses, preserves, baked goods, locally made crafts and more! Like I said, this isn't a free adventure, but they really do make it worth your money to come for a visit and supporting local businesses benefits everyone!

Not only are there fun things to do, but there are also so many opportunities for beautiful pictures!

There you have it! A fun few hours that supports a local business, while also helping to fill your tummies! 

Join me next time for another fun adventure in Bluemont and, as always, if you have a place that you think we should check out, leave me a comment!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) animals Bluemont farm fruits Great Country Farms local Loudoun County photography Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--bluemont--part-1 Tue, 11 Jul 2023 23:00:00 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Rainy Day Edition https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--rainy-day-edition
Despite all of our best laid plans for fun adventures, we can't control the weather and when rainy days hit it can make for bored kids and stressed out parents. But just because it's rainy outside, that doesn't mean that you can't have a good time and take some fun portraits in the process! Those of you that have visited the studio know that Fluttering Shutter Photography is located in my home, so we always have access to studio sessions, but every once in awhile, we like to change things up.


Obviously this isn't for thunderstorm weather, but when it's just a rainy gray day, all you have to do is put the kids in a bathing suit and (if you want to) some rain boots and let them have fun playing outside! One fun activity that we didn't get to try (but is on our list!) is to make boats and see how far they can go down a stream. You can use leaves, sticks, flowers, pinecones, etc. OR you can craft a boat out of aluminum foil! If you are using a street, be sure to get your boat before it goes down a storm drain, but any nature-based boats can race as far as they can! If you use an aluminum foil boat, you can also turn it into a game to see how much weight your boat can hold before sinking. Here's a link for some guidelines and information on the physics behind this activity. (You can also get aluminum sheets from Dollar Tree to help cut down on cost and make it so that you still have your stash in the kitchen!)


Since we didn't do the boat activity, I just let Ashley play in the rain with a bucket, her rain boots and the clothes that she wore that day (she was uninterested in changing into her bathing suit). Her boots ended up being used to intentionally collect water, but she was having so much fun that I didn't mind.


Some days your house is the very best spot for portraits. Your kids are comfortable and it feels more relaxed in every way. This is also a free activity that gets them outside and seeing your home in a new light. 


Make sure to come back for the next installment of the series!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) boats children Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County photography portraits rainy day Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--rainy-day-edition Thu, 06 Jul 2023 23:00:00 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Round Hill https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--round-hill  

Hello lovelies!

It's time for another adventure in Loudoun County! This time we went to Round Hill to visit a spot that I had always meant to visit but never found the time for. It's such a quiet spot that is so beautiful and I wish that we had started going there sooner! As always, please be sure to be mindful of ticks and poison ivy when enjoying nature. If you want more information on that, check out the beginning of this blog series here. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I do many family portraits and while I have my favorite locations (which I'll highlight in another part to this series), this might be a new favorite place in Western Loudoun!

Sleeter Lake

Sleeter Lake Park is located in Round Hill, Virginia just outside of the Purcellville town limits. It is not packed full of things to do, but is more of a spot to relax and enjoy nature. There are not usually many people there, which makes it a quiet place to relax and bring a picnic, while enjoying the sunshine. There is no swimming allowed in the lake but you can bring a fishing pole, a kayak or a paddle board for some fun on the water. We went on a day when the Canadian fires were making everything hazy, but I can confirm after a second visit today that it's even more beautiful without the smoke!

Currently, there are port-a-potties, a few picnic tables, a dock for launching water craft, a monarch way-station, a pollinator garden, benches and grills. There is a plan for permanent restrooms and a pavilion, but for now it's still just a beautiful spot to quietly enjoy nature. And take some beautiful portraits, of course! One spot that I really want to use more is a little tricky because of the fencing around it, but I've always thought that overgrown/crumbling structures have such a unique beauty about them. If you know the story behind this house, I'd love to hear about it!

Portraits don't always need a gorgeous backdrop, though. I think you can find a great spot for portraits pretty much anywhere, and sometimes a single tree can help to form interest in a photograph. This tree leans out over the water, which I loved because it encouraged a more relaxed look.

This was a really quick trip and the kids weren't super excited, but they still modeled for me and I think the comparison of the next two images shows how much knowing your children (and patience) can influence a portrait. My kids are usually really good about being in front of the camera, but Photographer's Child Syndrome is real!

Was there some slightly elevated speaking on my part in order to get them where I wanted them (mostly)? Yes. Do they look cute? Also, yes. This was at the very end of our trip, so patience was running thin, but I knew that I already had a portrait that is likely going on my wall soon so I wasn't overly concerned. I wish that I had all four of them with me, but 15 year olds can have a really busy social life, so I'm going to have to settle for this beautiful portrait of my three younger babies.

That's all for today! I hope that you continue to follow along on our adventures in Loudoun County!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children family fishing kayak lake Loudoun County nature Northern Virginia paddle board picnic portraits Round Hill Sleeter Lake Virginia western Loudoun https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--round-hill Wed, 05 Jul 2023 23:13:40 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Hamilton https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--hamilton Various images of parks, playgrounds, portraits and hiking trails in Loudoun County, Virginia.Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun CountyPicture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Parks, playgrounds, farms, historic properties, hiking trails and more!


Today I'm going to share with you one of our favorite parks in Western Loudoun, but first here is your reminder to make sure that you be mindful of ticks and avoid poison ivy. Need a reminder of what poison ivy looks like? Not really familiar with ticks? My first blog has some links to some great information that could help you avoid some really frustrating situations. If you haven't already, you can read that here.


Now onto the adventures!

If you live in Loudoun County, you know that the weather this past week has been less than ideal for outdoor adventures, but we still made it work! I decided to break up the blog a little bit, so today I'm just going to share one place to highlight how cute it is!

Hamilton Park

The day was overcast with a heavy threat of rain, but we wanted to get outside to play for a bit. Living in Purcellville, Hamilton Park is less than 10 minutes away and is a perfect place for quick adventure for us. This tucked away park in Hamilton is a perfect spot for kids of varying ages, since there are multiple play areas for different interests. Ashley's favorite spot is always the zip line. She's not quite big enough to give herself the launch that she needs, but she sure loves to try!

Two images of a girl in a park playing on a zip line in Hamilton, Virginia.Zip Line at Hamilton ParkEnjoying a zip line at Hamilton Park in Hamilton, Virginia. There are also two large playgrounds, a suspended web, a climbing dome, a running/balancing/climbing area, a swing set (with an accessible swing), a play train and a sand pit area pre-filled with trucks for those construction dreams! This playground really has something for everyone for playtime!

A set of four swings in Hamilton Park in Hamilton, Virginia.SwingsetThe swingset at Hamilton Park in Hamilton, Virginia.

There is also a pavilion with a grill that you can rent for birthday parties, a large field for open-ended play, lots of shade and plenty of benches for caregivers to be able to take a rest and still be able to watch their littles play. 

Like I said, this was a super quick trip to the park due to the impending rain, but I think that Ashley had a blast considering that this is one of the only "posed" pictures that I got of her as she was running off to play with her new friends. Overall, this is a great park to bring your kids, especially if you have multiple kids with varying ages and/or interests.


Thanks for checking in with Fluttering Shutter Photography and make sure to check back to see where the rest of the summer takes us! Do you have ideas for other places we should check out? Comment them below!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children family Fluttering Shutter Photography Hamilton Loudoun County parks playground portraits trucks Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/7/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county--hamilton Mon, 03 Jul 2023 23:00:00 GMT
Picture Perfect Adventures in Loudoun County- Purcellville https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/6/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county

As the mom of 4 kids that range from 15 to 6, finding things to do to entertain all of them is tricky. As a photographer, I am always looking for new locations for portraits. Finding things that are not only picturesque, but also entertain all of us AND don't cost $100+ is even trickier!

The other day I pulled up the trusty Google and entered "Rainy day activities Loudoun County" and TripAdvisor's list popped up first. Out of the 8 things initially listed, six of them breweries/vineyards.

At this point, I figured that I should add in that this should be kid friendly activities, so I wasn't surprised when the amazing Dulles Moms popped up (as it should, because it is SUCH a wealth of information for parents in this area!). Their initial 8 suggestions included 3 places in Fairfax County and none of them were free.

So I've decided that this summer is going to be the summer that we go on adventures within our county to find things to do that are free (or at least relatively inexpensive) and picturesque. 

Please join me as I share various parks, trails, playgrounds, etc. in Loudoun County (with one *slightly* outside of Loudoun), that are a great place to visit, play or take pictures! I'm going to try to do each blog post by location, so if you have suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment about where we should go next!


First, some important information that I'll include at the beginning of each post:

What To Bring

Although there will be some variations/additions to this list, this is the standard list of things that are great to have on hand for these adventures:

  1. Sneakers/Water shoes
  2. A camera! There are so many beautiful spots that it would be hard to not capture the beauty.
  3. Bug spray/sunscreen/tick repellent 
  4. Water/snacks. This is kind of an "always pack" item for parents, but there often aren't any shops close by and it keeps cost down, so it's best to have something packed. We will often stop by the dollar store to pick up a few snacks for the adventure, if needed, too.
  5. A trash bag. Unfortunately not everyone is respectful of nature, and you may find some trash in the area. If you bring along a bag for trash, it's a great way to discuss taking care of the Earth and making sure that we do our part to protect nature. 
  6. A carrier/sling. If you have a non-walker, you probably usually have this on hand, but for adventures like this, it's much easier to wear them than the varying other options. 

Ticks & Poison Ivy/Oak/Sumac

Since many of the places that we will be going are outside, I want to make sure to mention this upfront: Be mindful of ticks! Living in Loudoun County, we have many gorgeous wooded/grassy areas that ticks love, so it's important to be aware of them and make choices to help prevent a bite. Here is some good information that relates specifically to Loudoun and ticks. When we get home from these adventures, we do tick checks and bathe but even still there is always a risk.

Poison ivy is so pervasive in this area that it's easy to overlook. I was recently reminded of this fact when I had poison ivy barely brush my skin above my gardening gloves and now have a patch of rash on my arm that looks like this emoji: 😕 The Department of Forestry has a good article about the three biggest plants not to touch, but just for quick reference, if you see these things in nature be sure to avoid touching them: 


Hiking Do's and Don'ts

Here is part of a great list that I found on the National Park Service website: 

  • Going downhill is easier than uphill, so let those people past you if you are headed downhill. Everyone yields to people on horses and wildlife.
  • Making yourself a known presence can help to keep you and those around you safe. 
  • Stay on the trails and leave no trace. As I say to my kids, look with your eyes, not your hands.
  • Leave wildlife alone. 


With all of that being said, let's talk about the places that we visited in Purcellville!

Potomac Wayside Park

Since I knew that this project would involve my kids so much, I wanted to start off with a bang. Again going to the trusty Google, I searched for "parks in Purcellville, VA". One had an image of a beautiful little waterfall and I knew that my kids would love it, so that was our first stop.

The first thing that you need to know is that Potomac Wayside Park is actually on the very edge of the Virginia/Maryland border by Harpers Ferry. When you return, you'll actually pass a "Welcome to Loudoun County" sign, so although I don't consider this one exactly fitting the bill, it DID make my kids excited about our adventures. I told my kids to dress "nice" so that I could take pictures, so this is their interpretation of that. (We'll get better at dressing cute and appropriately eventually, I promise!)

Three children snuggled closely together, standing on rocks in front of a waterfall in Purcellville, Virginia.Potomac Wayside Park PortraitPosing together in front of the waterfall.

The walk down to the waterfall is rocky and steep, so be aware of that when bringing little ones. There are several paths down to the water, but the one that is most clearly marked is the easiest terrain to go down. Once you get down to the waterfall, there are many large rocks for climbing on and there is a path to get into the waterfall to cool off. The park is small, but is a perfect place to hang out for a little bit and cool off while exploring the water and the creatures within it. 

Two kids in a rocky creek. One boy sitting on a rock, playing in the water and one girl standing up and looking down at the slippery rocks in Purcellville, Virginia.Exploring the creekPlaying in the water and practicing balance walking on the rocks. One boy standing calf deep in a creek with pants rolled up over his knees, looking down at the water in Purcellville, Virginia.Cooling OffDipping toes into the cool water.


The rocks can be slippery to walk on, so water shoes or barefoot are probably best for adventuring in the water, but sometimes you just need your sisters hand to make you feel confident enough to take a stroll. (Also, be sure to tuck your dress into your shorts to keep it from getting wet!)


Two sisters walking in the water, holding hands in Purcellville, Virginia.Borrowing Your Sisters ConfidenceSometimes holding your sisters hand makes you feel like you can do anything.

This little park also provides some great open shade for beautiful portraits and nature shots!

A boy standing on a rock in a creek in Purcellville, Virginia.Posing12 year old posing like a senior A girl sitting on a ledge on a rock in a creek in Purcellville, Virginia.A perfect natural seatSitting on a rock A girl sitting on a rock in front of a waterfall in Purcellville, Virginia.Waterfall PortraitPicture perfect for a portrait

A slow shutter image of the water moving down the waterfall at Potomac Wayside park in Purcellville, VirginiaRushing waterA waterfall at Potomac Wayside park in Purcellville, Virginia

This is a great little park to visit and explore! Overall, I think it was a successful start to our summer adventures!

A girl with her arms raised in the air, looking excited about the waterfall behind her in Purcellville, Virginia.Successful startExcited about the waterfall



Chapman DeMary Trail

This trail is right in the heart of Purcellville, but its entrance is a little hidden unless you know where to look. The Chapman DeMary Trail has a beautiful entrance behind 205 East Hirst Road. The parking lot is large, so it isn't difficult to find a spot and it's generally a quiet area, which adds to the tranquility of the trail. Once you park, you'll go down some steps and into an open area that has multiple tables and seats, along with a guide for the trail. One of the best things about this trail is that there are often events happening there that are free or inexpensive and mostly super kid friendly! You can keep an eye on their Facebook page to stay up to date on their upcoming events. 

A green sign with yellow writing stating that this is the entrance for the Chapman Demary trail the the town of Purcellville, Virginia.Chapman DeMary TrailSign for Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Virginia. A boy on a scooter and a girl on a bridge before some picnic tables in Purcellville, Virginia.Entering Chapman DeMary TrailEntering Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Virginia A sign with a large amount of information about the Chapman DeMary trail in Purcellville, Virginia.Welcome SignThe Welcome sign for the Chapman DeMary Trail.


The well maintained trail leads both left and right from the initial entry point, with the trail on the right being shorter. Both sides contain benches for rest stops, offshoots to allow creek access and signs along the way to tell you about the nature around you. There is even a spot where they have bat houses and some information about these often misunderstood creatures. 


A painted bench in the sunshine and three signs about the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Virginia.Signs from Chapman DeMary TrailSights along the Chapman DeMary Trail in Purcellville, Virginia.


The scenery is so beautiful and most of the trail is quiet, only getting louder the closer you get to the road. With the creek being relatively shallow, there is comfort to letting kids explore the wildlife in the water and it is a wonderful way to cool off toes on a hot summer day!



And, of course, we found some really picturesque spots along the trail! The light can be tricky and dappled (for non-photographers, this means when light is coming through something in patches instead of an overall even lighting), but there were certainly pretty spots for portraits.


I'm going to interrupt the pretty portraits for a second to introduce my amazing kids a little bit, since they'll be the highlights of this blog series. Levi is my oldest at 15. Being 15 is hard and he doesn't always want to come on our adventures or has plans with his friends, but he is truly one of the most amazing kids that I know, so I soak up every moment that he joins us. Next is Tyler. He is my curly headed, video game loving ball of energy. On this trip, he pointed out that I don't have many pictures of him on my website, so this summer should change that for him! Following Tyler is Elena, who has been modeling for me since before I started my business, so she's a pro by now! An important thing to note is that I will call Tyler and Elena my "twins-not-twins" because they are only 17 months apart and have a bond that is so twin-like! Finally, I have Ashley. At 6, she is also a ball of energy and is probably my funniest child with her random one-liners. Each of my children are amazing and beautiful (not that I'm biased at all), but I thought it was important to share a little bit about them here for two reasons: One, if you're going to follow along on my series, I thought it would be best for you to at least know a little about the subjects but my second reason is actually the most important reason, and I'm going to share that at end of this post BECAUSE it's important.

Overall, this trail is a great place to bring kids for a pretty walk outdoors. It's not stroller friendly but a carrier or sling would be perfect. As far as things to bring, the previously listed things works here, as well. For this trip, I brought my backpack instead of my camera bag and that made it easier to carry all of the water bottles and snacks. I think it's also useful to bring an activity when you have little ones, so I made a little scavenger hunt for the littles to enjoy. Feel free to save it and print it!

Scavenger Hunt for KidsScavenger Hunt for KidsA simple scavenger hunt for kids on a nature walk.

Bush Tabernacle Skating Rink

Bush Tabernacle, also just known as "The Skating Rink" is a great, inexpensive way to spend a few hours outside of the house. Their primary use is for roller skating/roller blading, but there are a variety of things to do there! They have air hockey, foosball, a small section for video games and comfortable seating to put on your skates, take a rest or just relax and watch the skaters! Entry is only $7 per skater (if you're not skating, you don't have to pay), and they offer refreshments that are also inexpensive with a good variety. This is a popular place to have birthday parties and they're even doing a summer movie night starting in July! I don't have many pictures from this trip, but we will surely be back later on this summer, so I'll be adding to these soon! There are also skate carts to help new skaters feel more secure moving around on wheels for a small extra fee.


The what to bring list is pretty short because they have everything you need there and do not allow outside food or drinks. Renting out some tables for a birthday party is the way to bring in a cake and let the kids run wild!


Franklin Park

This is one that we go to frequently every summer. Franklin Park has such a variety of things to do that it's hard to list them all, but I'm going to try! There is an enclosed dog park, frisbee golf, a horse trailer unloading area for trail riding or for riding in the equestrian ring, gazebos, a catch and release pond, pretty little bridges, horseshoe pits, ladder toss, a sand volleyball court, an enclosed playground, multiple rentable pavilions, tennis courts, baseball/softball fields, soccer/rugby/lacrosse/football fields, an in-line rink, a performing arts center and, our personal favorite, the pool! This park has something for everyone and offers a variety of events throughout the year.

The enclosed playground is a great spot to bring kids of varying ages because there are multiple play areas that accommodate different physical skill levels. Unfortunately, it's not an all-abilities playground, but for a true playground for every ability, you'd need to go to Clemyjontri Park in Fairfax County. It is still a great place to bring your kids to run around and play, without having to worry as much about them escaping!


The pool/splash pad are not free, but are worth every penny of that pool pass, especially on those super hot summer days! There is a beach entry, lap lanes, a baby/toddler section, 4 slides at varying water depth/slopes, a lily pad/log/rope walk, splash pad, a snack bar, picnic tables and pavilions! 


Adam's Bike Park

One last stop that I wasn't able to photograph this past week, but is a great free spot to spend some time, you can always check out Adam's Bike Park. Adam Caudill passed away in 2021 in a tragic accident, but his family wanted to make sure that his kind spirit and love of making others happy carried on after his passing. With that idea in mind, they decided to make a bike park in his honor since he loved to ride around Purcellville on his own bicycle. The park is free to everyone and features a variety of rollers, jumps and more for people to ride on. It's a great place to practice staying on a path or to just let lose and ride!

And with that, I've shared some of our favorite places in Purcellville! Every week I'll be sharing different places around the county, so make sure to keep coming back! Also, remember when I said that there is a second reason why I'm doing this blog series? Well, here it is: When I look at these images, my mom heart somersaults. All of the emotions and love and joy bubbles to the surface and I think about what funny thing happened before or after a shot, or how sweet it is to watch my twins-not-twins hold hands while walking through the creek and not let go even when they're standing still. These moments, posed or unposed, are small moments of love captured forever with my camera. I want all of my clients to feel this level of joy when looking at portraits that I have taken for them, but I also want parents to make sure to take pictures of those moments when they're happening. Kids grow up so quickly and life moves so fast that having pictures to look back on is truly priceless. This series will hopefully do a few things:

  • Showcase places that are free/inexpensive around Loudoun County that are kid friendly
  • Provide examples of pretty portrait locations
  • Get kids/families outside, enjoying nature and learning about the world around them
  • Foster moments of connection that can be hard to come by some days


I really hope that you enjoyed this post and that you come along for the rest of the adventures with us! And if you have suggestions of places that you'd like us to check out, leave me a comment and tell me about it! We can even book a session with one of these locations in mind!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) bike creek family free hike kids Loudoun County pad photographer pool portraits Purcellville session skating rink splash summer to do trail Virginia waterfall https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/6/picture-perfect-adventures-in-loudoun-county Mon, 26 Jun 2023 23:00:36 GMT
Are mini-sessions right for you? https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/4/are-mini-sessions-right-for-you  

A pros and cons list of mini-sessionsMini-sessions: Pro/ConPros and Cons of Mini-sessions

Everyone loves a mini-session!

Here at Fluttering Shutter Photography, I usually offer two mini-sessions per year because Loudoun County has two popular seasons for family portraits: spring and fall. In the spring there are the annual fundraiser mini-sessions because who doesn't like to donate to a good cause? In the fall, I offer my regular mini-sessions. Both are big hits and usually sell out quickly, but what makes mini-sessions so popular?

The usual answer is that people feel like they're quick enough that you can convince everyone to get dressed up, get some adorable pictures of the family and it's usually cheaper than a full session. Right?

Welllllll, that's not all that you should consider. So let's talk about the pros and cons of mini-sessions.



  • PRO: Mini-sessions are usually less expensive than full-sessions. At Fluttering Shutter Photography mini-sessions also usually include 2-5 digital images included in the session fee for a more all-inclusive experience.
  • CON: The lower cost is due to the smaller period of time and fewer number of images provided in your gallery.



  • PRO - Mini-sessions are usually around 15-20 minutes long, which can be a great way to convince everyone to participate. It is also a great fit for people who have a busy social calendar but want to update their family portraits.
  • CON- If you have anyone in your family who takes a little while to warm up, this can make mini-sessions a challenge even if you are using your regular photographer. This is especially true for younger children. For example, I've been photographing her family for years and this particular cutie since her birth. The first two images are from full sessions where we had time to help her relax and get comfortable, but that last image is from a recent mini-session where she wasn't feeling great, and although we got great eye contact, we ended up with zero smiles (luckily, she's adorable either way)! A smiling newborn girl, cake smash and not smiling during a mini-session.Full sessions vs. a mini-sessionTwo full session portraits and one mini-session portrait


  • PRO: Mini-sessions are perfect for sending updated prints to family and friends or updating a few pieces of artwork around your home. 
  • CON: If you are looking for a session that will help you create a beautiful album or a custom wall gallery, you will have a smaller gallery which means fewer options for your artwork.



  • PRO: If you are looking for pretty uniform backgrounds for portraits, then mini-sessions might be the best choice for you! Due to the limited time allotted towards these sessions, there is limited movement between locations so your portraits will generally have very similar backgrounds. This is also a consideration for clients who have mobility issues, although full sessions can also be limited in location when requested. 
  • CON:  If you are looking to have a large, varied gallery, mini-sessions will not usually be able to provide that. This particular "con" is a personal preference, but one that I feel is important to point out. Also, if you are looking to have a variety of groupings of people or have a large family to photograph, this can be challenging to achieve with a mini-session due to the time constraints.
    Sibling portraits at golden hourMini-Session SampleLocation changes are limited during mini-sessions.   Beautiful warm family portraits with mom, dad, sons and daughters.Full-sessionDuring a full session, there can be a larger variety of locations used for portraits

With this relatively short list of pros and cons of mini-sessions, I hope it has been helpful for you to decide which one works best for you and your family. If you're still unsure or if you're ready to book a session, contact me and I can help you determine how we can best capture these moments that you want to remember. 


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) albums all-inclusive children family Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County mini-sessions photography portraits prints wall art https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/4/are-mini-sessions-right-for-you Tue, 18 Apr 2023 14:40:39 GMT
Scheduling Your Newborn Portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/2/scheduling-your-newborn-portraits When you're having a baby, there are a ton of things to prepare for and it can feel like the list of things that need to get done before the baby arrives is endless. As a mom of 4 myself, I remember that feeling all too well! But don't worry, I'm going to help make one of those things just the tiniest bit easier. Getting newborn portraits done isn't on everyone's priority list, but if it's on yours, you're going to want to read this generalized timeline to getting your portraits done with the least amount of stress possible.

1. You're pregnant! Congratulations!

Close up of two hands holding up an ultrasound photo.UltrasoundSonogram picture

If you're entertaining the idea of getting maternity/newborn portraits done, now is the time to start casually looking around for a photographer.

Did your neighbor get newborn portraits that were stunning last year? Write down that photographers name or bookmark their website.

Did you see a post on social media recently asking for maternity/newborn photographer recommendations? Take a quick peek at that list and see if anything catches your eye.

Did you see a maternity dress that you just can't get out of your head and dream of posing yourself or your partner in it? Make a mental note of where you saw it so that you can track it down later.

Don't stress about finding the exact one for you yet because right now is the time to look around and see what makes you smile. This process can last as long as you need it to, but my general timeline recommendation for this stage should be up until about halfway through the pregnancy.


2. You have a baby bump! 

A toddler, man and woman standing next to a gate with the woman holding her pregnant belly.Family Maternity PortraitA Family Maternity Portrait

When you are about halfway through your pregnancy is when you should be looking to book your maternity/newborn photographer. Remember all of that casual looking that you were doing before? Now it's time to start making some decisions. I have a blog from years ago that is a bit more in-depth in how to figure out who is the best photographer for YOU, but here is a quick list of 5 things to get you started: 

1) What style do you love? 

  • Posed or lifestyle?
  • Moody/dark edits, bright/light edits or clean/true to color edits?
  • Fancy maternity gowns? Simple, everyday wear that shows off the belly? Intimate/bare portraits?

2) Do you prefer to be in your home or go to a photographers studio?

3) How much experience do you want your photographer to have?

4) Do you want to purchase/provide your own outfits or would you like your photographer to have a selection available for you?

5) What is your budget? (Have a general idea in mind when you start to narrow your list of options.)


Now that you've answered some questions for yourself, it should be easier to start narrowing down your list. Contact your top 3 choices and see whether or not they fit into your photography dreams. This will allow you to figure out if the person whose work you love has a vibe you love, too, or if the person you really want to hire is slightly out of your budget, but worth saving up for. Doing this narrowing down halfway through pregnancy gives you more flexibility and decreases the chances of you feeling rushed once baby is here.

If you are planning on doing maternity portraits as well, I usually recommend maternity portraits be done somewhere from 28 to 34 weeks. Why? Because I want people to be comfortable enough to still walk around and still feel gorgeous with their growing baby bump. This timing also gives you a chance to order that dress that you've had your eye on or go to your photographers studio to try on their dresses and see which one works best for you!

3. Third Trimester Time!

A close up of a pregnant woman's belly in a red maternity dress, with both hands under her belly.MaternityMaternity Photo by Jamie Romaezi Photography

Photo by Jamie Romaezi Photography


During the third trimester is when maternity portraits should be done. As I said before, I always recommend that you do them prior to 34 weeks and the image above is one of the reasons why. That is my very own belly when I was pregnant with my 4th baby. That session was planned and taken when I was barely 33 weeks pregnant and 12 days after this session, my daughter was born! I share that to say that babies come on their own schedule, so it's important to allow for some wiggle room for both maternity AND newborn sessions. 

At this point, you should also have tentative dates set for the newborn session with your photographer. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I pick two dates for your newborn session so that regardless of when baby decides to join us, we have you on the schedule but I also do my very best to be as flexible as possible if those dates become less than ideal. 

4. Baby Time!

A newborn baby being held by a doctor who is using a bulb syringe to clear the baby's airway, just after birth.BirthA few moments old

You did it! Congratulations!

I tell my clients that while I never have to be one of the first people that you contact about baby being born, I always appreciate a quick text or email to let me know so that we can solidify the date for your newborn session. After the date is set, all you need to do is breathe in that sweet baby and try to get some rest. 


So there you have it! A longer answer to the question of when you should schedule your newborn/maternity session. I hope that this was helpful for you, and if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you! 

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) birth born Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County newborn photography portraits pregnant schedule Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/2/scheduling-your-newborn-portraits Tue, 21 Feb 2023 14:00:00 GMT
My Photography Journey https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/1/my-photography-journey Before I get into the beginning of my particular journey with photography, I want to re-introduce myself.

Hi! I'm Justine and I'm the owner of Fluttering Shutter Photography. I'm located in Purcellville, Virginia but I service all over the DC Metro area including (but not limited to) Loudoun, Fairfax, Clarke and Prince William Counties. I've written a little bit before about why photography is so important to me, which you can read here, but I've never written about where my passion for portrait photography really started. 

I started my business in 2014 and have watched it grow so much since then, but every once in awhile I like to look back to see the progress and remind myself of how far I've come. This time, I decided to take you all along for the reflection!

I know that it is common for photographers to find their passion for photography when they become parents, and I am no different. Did I love playing with the Nikon that my Dad had when I was younger? Yes! Did I enjoy documenting moments of my friends as I grew up? Absolutely! Do I have TONS of loose prints sitting around that span my entire lifetime? Naturally! But what pushed me towards the goal of taking portraits professionally?

I am lucky enough to know that it happened when my third child (Elena) was born. I had just gotten a DSLR from my husband and wanted to try my hand at a "professional" photography session. I remember thinking "Newborn photography doesn't look that hard! All you have to do is lay the baby down on something cute and they do the rest!" To set up my "professional" session, I laid a white sheet down over our couch, grabbed some of her cuter outfits, plopped her down, pulled out my camera, set it on auto and away we went! I changed her outfits multiple times, took a ton of pictures and then put them into Lightroom, where I thought that the rest of the magic would happen. After editing, I thought that I had done an amazing job. I was ecstatic about these portraits and showed them to everyone that would look at them!

Three images of a 3 month old girl wearing an outfit that has shamrocks on it, laying on a sheet that was placed over the couch.Momtographer BeginningsThe Beginning of My Photography Journey

Well, I'm here to tell you that I was very quickly humbled (kindly) by some actual professional photographers that I knew, but I felt that push to want to learn more/practice/do better. And as much as it makes me cringe to think that I had done such an amazing job at the time, I learned three large, valuable lessons doing these pictures:

- A sheet over a couch is not what professionals pose babies on.

- On-camera flash (with no diffuser or way to bounce the light) is not my friend.

- Photographing babies and children is MUCH more involved than I thought it was.


So, I decided to learn and push and grow.


Over the next 10 years, I worked hard to learn as much as I could about how beautiful portraits are created. Elena now often volunteers or even requests to model for me and I think it's safe to say that my work has grown up alongside her:

EyesA young girl with sectoral heterochromia in her right eye, on a snowy day wearing a coat with a furry hood looking into the camera.

Needless to say, when I had my fourth child (Ashley), she turned out to be one of the most photographed babies ever! She had multiple newborn sessions (with multiple photographers) and has been pretty regularly photographed her entire life (though cooperation levels and need for bribery varies). This is just a SMALL sample of the sessions that she had in her first few months:

A 16 image collage with a variety of images. Maternity, family, newborn, newborn with a camera, hospital at birth, NICU, sonogram, newborn with a small pink felted elephant, baby on a sled, baby in front of doors on a checkered floor.AshleyThe beginning of Ashley's life

(Photographers besides myself who took some of these are Second Ave Photography, Jamie Romaezi Photography and Kleopping Photography)

Watching her grow up in front of the camera has been pretty amazing, and I am so grateful that I can document her life this way. I am also amazed at how many photographer playdates I got to have because of her! I'm a believer in community over competition, so it was so nice to be able to get closer to some local photographers that I didn't know very well. Below you can see images of her in a pretty dress and wearing a flower bonnet (that she did NOT enjoy), but it was still a fun day at Sandy Williams' studio!

A 35 image collage with a girl from when she was 6 months old to 1 year old. Images include her in a fancy dress, a flower bonnet, in a bowl; a cake smash session with a pink tutu; in front of a backdrop with hearts; her in a St. Patrick's Day shirt with her blanket; another cake smash in her high chair with cake all over her face; playing in Savannah, Georgia,; pigtails and family portraits.First Year of AshleyPhotographing Ashley Growing Up A 17 image collage with close ups of a two year old girls face smiling, pouting, biting her finger, smelling a bottle, playing with rocks and waving. There is also an close up image of her shoes with cute characters on them and her feet crossed at the ankle.Ashley's Second YearAshley's Second Year in Portraits A collage of 38 portraits of a 3 year old girl. Images include her sitting in front of heart balloons; playing on a light table; playing with a water table; with a pink 3 balloon and an Olaf balloon; posing with a picture of herself from the NICU; posing with her blanket, playing on a trampoline that is being sprayed with water; close up portraits of her face and curly hair; posing on the beach and sitting on a chair with golden light behind her.Ashley- Year 3Ashley's 3rd Year in Portraits Collage of 15 images of a 4 year old girl with curly blond hair. Two images of her in a purple tutu dress, one with a small diamond-like tiara; three of her outside in the snow wearing a red coat with black trim and black buttons; five of her with pigtails, wearing a green outfit with shamrocks on it on a green backdrop and five of her with pigtails, a unicorn tutu dress and a "Happy Birthday" tiara on a gray background.4th Year of Ashley4th Year Portraits of Ashley

Ashley is now almost 6, and although she doesn't always love following directions when in front of the camera, we can usually get some pretty awesome shots in anyway: 

A girl with curly blond hair in a black and silver dress with her arms raised as gold, silver and black glitter falls on her, in front of a gray backdrop with a black, silver, white and gold balloon garland and 2023 in silver balloons in front of it.Happy New YearAshley is 5 at the end of 2022

My photography journey started as a child, but my passion for portrait photography really began in 2011. Now that it's 2023,I am always in awe when I look back at the work that I've done over the years and seeing how much my work has grown up right along side of them. So when I tell you that my passion for portraiture started with my kids, I truly mean it. But I think that the reason why parenthood pushes us towards photography is because we are so in awe of this tiny human that we have in our lives and want to remember as much as we can, however we can. Portraits can remind us of times that we may not always remember clearly, and that can be such an amazing gift to ourselves and to those that we love.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family Fluttering Shutter Photography journey lens Loudoun County newborn photography portraits professional Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2023/1/my-photography-journey Thu, 12 Jan 2023 15:15:00 GMT
A re-introduction https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2022/1/a-re-introduction It's been awhile since I've introduced myself on this page and since I've gotten some new followers recently, here we go!


Hi! I'm Justine (she/her), the owner of Fluttering Shutter Photography.

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2020www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2020 (Photo credit to Second Ave Photography)


Here are 5 things about me that can help us connect:


** I've lived in Northern Virginia for all of my life, with a healthy dose of Brooklyn/Staten Island in my childhood and a sprinkle of Salem/Roanoke in my college years.


** I'm a mom of 4 amazing kids (almost 14, 10, almost 9 and 4.5). (And yes, we are done having babies.)

** I L-O-V-E what I do. Photography has always been something that I dabbled in, but once my husband bought me my very first DSLR (a Canon t3i), I fell in love and slowly started to build a business.


** What I want for my clients- I want you to feel comfortable in front of my camera and have a fun session (I'll even accept a "That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be!" from my really camera shy clients.) I want clients to L-O-V-E their portraits and enjoy them for generations to come, whether it be digital images or printed products. 

** My WHY- When I look at this portrait of my grandparents with me and my husband at our first babies baby shower, I can almost hear their voices and feel their hugs. I have one picture of my Grandmother with my second child and it is only of her hand holding his foot at a few weeks old, because it was the only way that she could touch him. She passed a few months after his birth. My third and fourth babies never met either of them because my Grandfather passed while I was pregnant with my third baby. I don't say all of this to be morbid, I promise! These images truly are my why. I want to help people capture those memories and feelings and be able to show them to future generations because I think that having portraits of people that you have loved is an amazing gift to yourself and your loved ones.


Want to get to know me a little better and see what I can offer you for your portraits? Let's chat! I can't wait to meet you and help you to capture the moments that you want to remember.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) camera family Fluttering Shutter Photography kids newborn photography portraits prints products Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2022/1/a-re-introduction Mon, 10 Jan 2022 22:00:00 GMT
In-studio Maternity Sessions https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/in-studio-maternity-sessions For as long as Fluttering Shutter Photography has been open, I have only ever done outdoor maternity portraits. Looking back, I'm not sure why I was so hesitant to do them but now I know how stunning they can turn out to be! My first step was to continue to build my client closet. (What is a client closet? This is just an industry term for things that you, as the client, can borrow for our session!)

Back in the fall, I had talked with my friend Lindsay at Kloepping Photography if she wanted to do a model call with me to be able to get portraits of the maternity dresses that we offer. Lindsay has some GORGEOUS gowns in her client closet. (By the way, they are so beautiful that after this session I decided to add to my own client closet with more maternity dresses!) When this beautiful mama booked her newborn session with me and I decided that she would be perfect for the maternity model call and luckily, she was up for it! She even brought her other kids to the session and so we, of course, had to include them! Check out some of the portraits!

Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session


One of the things that I love about Photoshop is that if I have a dress that I love but it's not the right color, I can change it! Which one is your favorite? Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session

Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session Studio MaternityGorgeous tattooed mama in-studio maternity photography session

I am so excited to do more studio portrait sessions! Are you ready to book, or just want to chat about everything that I offer? Let's chat!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) client closet dresses fluttering shutter photography gorgeous loudoun county mama maternity newborn photography portraits studio virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/in-studio-maternity-sessions Thu, 25 Feb 2021 00:30:00 GMT
Baby A- Purcellville Newborn Session https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/baby-a-loudoun-county---virginia---newborn-session Hi gang! I'm going to try something new and blog more sessions. What do you say? Want to see more portraits from each session? Well, let's try it!!


Today on the blog you get to meet Baby A, the 6-pound, 12-ounce bundle of sweetness who belongs to one of my favorite Loudoun families. This session took place in my Purcellville studio AND at their house. Why did they get two sessions? Because when I photographed their oldest, I took portraits of the nursery so they wanted A's album to match his big brothers! Because the theme of his nursery is airplanes, Mom brought this aviator hat and scarf along for our session! Although I don't usually use crochet items, this turned out super cute!



I loved that we included this blanket because it also matches his brother session, who had a similar blanket hand made for him when he was born!


And you can tell that his big brother is in love with his new role!!


Of course, who wouldn't love this sweet face?! Umm… can you say baby model? 


We cannot forget the other "children" in this family, either. They are the sweetest and were so careful around the baby! (But sidenote: this is a composite image and the dogs and baby were photographed separately to make sure that everyone- and everypaw- were safe the entire time.) Can you guess which pup was a little camera shy?

Thanks again for giving me the honor of photographing A, Mom and Dad! He is so loved already!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) brother dogs family Fluttering Shutter Photography kids Loudoun County newborn nursery photography portraits studio Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/baby-a-loudoun-county---virginia---newborn-session Wed, 17 Feb 2021 00:00:00 GMT
You have the digitals, now what? https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/you-have-the-digitals-now-what Bedroom interior.Bedroom interior.Modern bedroom interior. Frontal view. 3d render.


Do you have a ton of digital portraits sitting around on your computer or in your phone? I'm almost positive that you do! We all have portraits that we take on our phone or from professional photographers that we are SO excited about. But what do you do once you have those digital images? If you're like most people, they sit in that folder on your computer or on that USB and soon get forgotten about, because we have 8 million other things on our plates and printing out portraits just keeps falling down the never ending to-do list. I'm here to tell you why you should print your portraits today! At Fluttering Shutter Photography, the overwhelming majority of my clients purchase product collections that include gorgeous heirloom products. Why? Because printing your portraits gives them the chance to become beautiful artwork for your home that can been seen and appreciated by your family and friends. Still not convinced? Here are 5 more reasons to print those beautiful portraits:


1) Your children will not look like this forever and neither will you!

How often have you had portraits done, gotten the digitals and then did nothing with them because, again, that to-do list is never ending? Then, you finally make time to print them out, but they're already outdated! It happens to all of us! Having your portraits professionally printed by your photographer at the time of your session makes it so that you have portraits ready to be displayed as soon as possible!


2) Blank walls beg to be decorated!

You know that spot in your house that has empty wall space? A beautiful portrait of your family would be the perfect addition to that blank space, making it warmer and more inviting!


3) Your office space could do with a family portrait or two!

We all have those days where all we want to do is snuggle with our loves instead of working. Having a portrait of them close by can make your day a little brighter until you can get home to them.


4) Displaying family portraits promotes a sense of belonging.

When kids see themselves up on the wall with their family, they feel a sense of comfort and group cohesion. It helps to show them their people and who they can rely on.


5) Social media platforms are not forever.

Anyone remember MySpace? Although we love to share our portraits on social media with our friends and family, the internet and social media is constantly changing. Printing your portraits is a permanent way to show them off.


The bottom line is that your portraits deserve to be printed and displayed in your home. As parents, we often have to-do lists that are a million miles long and printing our portraits just doesn't rank in high priority, so why not let a professional handle it? At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I will deliver you beautiful, heirloom quality printed products that are ready for display. Want to know more about the products that I offer? Contact me today and we'll set up a consultation :)




[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) display family Fluttering Shutter Photography heirloom Loudoun County office photography portraits products Virginia walls https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/you-have-the-digitals-now-what Wed, 10 Feb 2021 23:15:00 GMT
3 Reasons Why You Should Book A Milestone Session TODAY https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/why-you-should-book-a-milestone-session-today Everyone loves a newborn portrait. They are so teeny and sweet, posed in buckets with that gorgeous newborn skin. They are only that small for such a short amount of time and documenting it is so important. But today, I want to talk about one of my favorite types of sessions: MILESTONES!


Then there are one year portraits. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I always start with non-"smashing" portraits and then move on to the main event! Who doesn't love to see a kid tear into a cake and have a blast making a mess?

However, even with the beautiful, classic newborn portraits and a fun cake smash, I think that there is an opportunity for some really adorable portraits in between those sessions: milestone sessions. Why should you do milestone sessions? Here are three of the best reasons to capture those milestone sessions:

1) Babies around 6-8 months are generally learning to sit on their own but they are also really learning how much they can interact with the world around them. With motion comes muscle and with muscle their adorable baby rolls will gradually start to disappear. Baby rolls are THE BEST and they make me seriously happy. It's just such a sign of a quickly passing age to have those rolls on their arms and legs.



2) EXPRESSIONS!! We can capture some of the most adorable expressions for babies around this age. They are able to look directly into the camera but they also look around, smile at their parents, smile into the camera, pout, cry, giggle, look confused. ALLLLLLL of those faces are worthy of capturing!



3) The first year generally goes by in a blur. (We've all been there!) We try so hard to document everything on our phones, but sometimes those images come out blurry or get deleted or we forget to back it up and lose our first pictures of our baby because our phone completely dies....(hint: that last one was yours truly). Having professional portraits taken during a babies first year will give you a way to look back on that first year and see how they grew from that perfect teeny new baby into the amazing kid that you know now. 


Whether you do a simple milestone session, personality portraits or a Grow With Me collection, let's capture portraits of your little one. Let's decorate your home with beautiful heirloom portraits of the people that you love the most in the world.


Heirloom wall artHeirloom Wall ArtSitter Wall Art black and white



Book a milestone portrait session today and let's get started! 


Fluttering Shutter Photography is based in Purcellville, Virginia and serves all of the Northern Virginia area. This includes Fairfax, Clarke, Prince William, Alexandria, Arlington counties.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) artwork Fluttering Shutter Photography heirloom milestone newborn Northern Virginia photography portraits Purcellville sitter studio Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2021/2/why-you-should-book-a-milestone-session-today Tue, 09 Feb 2021 02:48:45 GMT
How One Room Can Make Your House Into Your Home https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2020/4/a-house-becoming-a-home In 2007, I was planning my wedding, going to graduate school, looking for a house to buy and I was 6 months pregnant. You could say that I was a LITTLE busy. We started off with a realtor that told us that we were never going to find a house that was within our budget, was not a fixer upper and within Loudoun County. She showed us multiple homes that were not at all what we were looking for and I was desperately in need of some nesting, so we switched realtors.


I will forever be grateful that we found Heather Elias (www.locomusings.com). She listened to what we wanted and showed us multiple homes that were good, but not perfect. Then Seth went out of town and Heather called to tell me that she had a house to show me in Purcellville. I grew up in Reston, but I had driven out to Purcellville when I was younger and felt like it was SO far from everything. (I now know that it's only 10 minutes past Leesburg, so not too far from anything!) I came with Heather to see the house and when I walked into it, it immediately felt like a good fit. It wasn't until we walked into the nursery that I knew, with every ounce of my being, that this was our house. There was a perfect little alcove with a bed in it, with wispy drapes hanging on the sides and beautiful light coming through the windows. I was in absolute love with this room.


 In October of 2007, we moved in and I immediately made the nursery for our first born. I don't have many pictures of her room from then, as this was before I was a photographer, but this will always be one of my favorite pictures of her. Her crib placed into the alcove by the windows, she is joyfully standing with a big smile and waving at the camera.



Then in 2011, I prepared that nursery for our next child. I happily hand painted the walls with monkeys and greens, since we knew we were having a boy. The crib was still happily in the alcove, ready to snuggle our little baby boy.




In 2012, I went into the nursery and nursed our second child, whispering to him that he was supposed to have been the baby for longer, but that he had a new little sibling on the way. And so, the nursery underwent yet another change as it was prepared for our 3rd child. This time, the walls became purple and the crib was moved out of the alcove to be turned into a cozy reading nook.


One night in 2014, it was 13 degrees outside. It was bitterly cold and since the nursery is above the garage, it tends to feel colder than the rest of the house. As our luck would have it, that was also the night that our heat in the house went out. All three of the children got to have a sleepover in the room that was once their nursery. 


Finally, in 2017, our 4th child inhabited this room. She started off in a separate room as her official nursery, but eventually moved into the actual nursery. She's had many nights snuggling in her little pink chair reading books before bedtime.



This past weekend, the nursery had yet another change. This time it wasn't for a new baby. Our oldest child was moving back into the room that first made this house feel like home. She's 12 now, and it felt like time to give her her own space again. Although the decor is different and the child is older, she decided on her own that she wanted her bed in the alcove by the window. This time the room was coming full circle. 




I am so blessed to be able to watch my children grow within these walls and I am forever grateful to Heather Elias for helping us find the perfect home for us. This room holds so many memories and will hold so many more. To summarize, the places that we live in become a home with the memories that are made there. So, as we are quarantined in our houses, take the time to document your own home. It doesn't matter if it's messy. It doesn't matter that the kids aren't dressed up. It doesn't matter if you only have your cellphone camera. Those things don't matter because those things are the memories that make your house your home.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family home house LoCo Musings Loudoun County nursery photographer Purcellville Reston Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2020/4/a-house-becoming-a-home Tue, 14 Apr 2020 00:52:13 GMT
COVID-19, Fluttering Shutter Photography and the Small Business Community https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2020/3/COVID19-Fluttering-Shutter-Photography-and-Small-Businesses




I've been trying to avoid having to write this out but since I have already notified the clients that this will effect directly, I wanted to reach out to all of you, as well.


This time in our world is a scary one. Information and recommendations are changing daily, school is on an uncertain hiatus, places that we are used to shopping in are closed, gatherings are cancelled and many jobs are in limbo. Those of us who have businesses that rely on interacting with people face-to-face are being severely impacted by this pandemic. Some businesses are able to convert their work onto an online forum. I've seen some incredible innovation by business owners around the world. DJ's playing from their balconies, fitness instructors live streaming classes, teachers reading books to their students via Google Classroom, restaurants converting business to curbside pickup and delivery..... the list goes on and on.


Unfortunately, the photography industry is not something that can switch so easily to an online platform. Photographers work closely with people and are often the blessed receivers of hugs and snuggles from our littlest clients. We are in close contact with clients to help them pose for portraits. We touch babies to dress/wrap and pose them. We meet with clients in coffee shops to go over details about their sessions. In short, photographers are an in-person service.


If you would like to help small businesses, there are a few things that you can do. Some require money, others are as easy as a click of a button.


1) Gift certificates!

This is probably the most impactful thing that you can do to help small businesses. It allows the business to utilize the money now (when money coming in is few and far between), and you get to use their services later.


2) Social media!

This one is completely FREE! When a small business posts to their social media, comment/react and/or share their post. Why? Because it helps to broaden the reach of their posts and keep their names "alive" on social media. Small businesses spend a TON of time (and money) marketing on social media, so any way that you can help us spread the word is helpful!


3) Tip! (And tip well!)

This goes for almost every single small business out there. Tips are a great way to not only put a little extra money in their pockets, but also to show that you appreciate them and what they do.


4) Make referrals!

Another completely free way to support small businesses! With everything happening, social media is everywhere and people are still looking to utilize services within their community. Tag a small business that you know and love and get their name out there!


5) Leave a review!

Did you use a small business recently that did a great job? Look up their business and write a review! A few ideas of where to start: their website, Google, Yelp, wedding websites, social media pages, etc. There are a variety of places that have places to leave reviews for businesses, but if I had to narrow it down to the top 3 most important places, I would say leave a review on Google, their social media and their website. 


I know that it is a really stressful time for all of us and I am hoping that we are doing enough to help stop the spread of COVID-19, keeping as many people healthy as possible. I am looking forward to working with all of you again soon. In the meantime, have patience, love each other and support small businesses when you can.


As for Fluttering Shutter Photography, I have come to the extremely difficult decision to postpone all sessions until at least April 1. Giving a date is difficult due to the constantly changing information, but that is when I am hoping to be able to resume doing what I love and helping you to capture the moments that you want to remember. 



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography portraits reviews small business social media https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2020/3/COVID19-Fluttering-Shutter-Photography-and-Small-Businesses Wed, 18 Mar 2020 17:41:22 GMT
Picking YOUR Photographer, Part 3 https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/10/picking-your-photographer-part-3


Here in Northern Virginia, it's the beginning of fall. It is the time when the leaves are starting to change and we can finally say goodbye to that summer heat! We have about a month or two where the weather is beautiful, so photographers are usually very busy this time of year. It's busy because everyone wants portraits for holiday cards and we are happy to help you capture those portraits!


As clients, it is SO easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer number of photographers out there. Choosing someone that you can trust to capture good portraits can be a hard job, so I want to help you as much as I can! With that being said, here's a few more tips about finding the right photographer for you. This blog will focus more on things to look for and red flags that you should pay attention to. Please note that although things will be listed as red flags, they are meant to be something that you pay attention to. Sometimes, those red flags are unimportant to you. My suggestion is that you do more research on those red flags with photographers to see if it is something that you are willing to ignore, or if you want to find another photographer. With all of that being said, here are 5 more things to help you determine YOUR photographer:


1) Know if you are choosing a professional with years of experience or someone who is portfolio building. This is a really important distinction. But how can you tell? Sometimes people will tell you that they are portfolio building and charge a smaller fee or have no fee at all. The reason for this is because they know that they are still learning and portfolio building means that they will be able to practice without charging "professional prices". You can often tell a professional vs. someone still building their portfolio by.....their portfolio! Go check out their work and see if those are the kinds of images that you are looking for.


2) RED FLAG: Posting other people's work in their advertising. Have you seen photographers post gorgeous images with a lot of text above it and at the very end say something like "These pictures are not mine, but they are the inspiration!"? If so, you should be wary of hiring them. Using other peoples work to advertise is not only illegal but it is unfair to potential clients because it does not fairly represent their work. 


2) Understand what their stated qualifications are. A personal example is when I first began doing newborn portraits, I explained to my clients that I was portfolio building for newborns but that I had experience with family and child portraiture. In other words, I knew how to use my camera but newborn photography is a different world than family sessions and I wanted to be upfront about that. Some photographers will say that they are certified photographers or certified in newborn safety. Look into what that certification actually means, if you are using it as a reason to hire (or not hire) someone. There are companies that you can pay to be able to say that you are certified in something, but there may not be any actual testing done to prove a level of knowledge that the word "certified" implies. Do some research into what their stated qualifications mean.


3) RED FLAG: The photographer requires that you pay in cash. While cash is awesome because it means no credit card processing fees, if it's required by the photographer, that can mean that they are not running a legitimate business. Why does that matter to you? Because if you end up having an experience where you do not get what you have paid for, it is harder to reclaim your fee.


4) Know what you are getting with your session. This can be covered in their contract but sometimes it isn't. Does the session fee include images? Will there be props available for use? Should you bring anything with you? These questions can make all the difference if you have a specific end goal in mind. A part of this is likely covered in the contract that your photographer will have you review and sign. If they do not do contracts, that can be a red flag, as well.


5) RED FLAG: Offering ALL of your digital portraits included with your session. This is a tricky one because it SEEMS great! You get to have all of the images taken during your session and it's (likely) at a pretty inexpensive price! But here is why this is actually a red flag: A professional photographer will not show you every single image from your session. Why? Because not every image is art worthy. Some portraits have children making stink faces or eyes are closed, or someone is posed awkwardly and it is unflattering. I can easily shoot 200+ portraits in a session, but I will go through them and show you the very best of the ones that we captured. If you had to sort through 200+ images, you would easily become bored of them and lose sight of the gorgeous ones because they're buried in between 20 similar shots. When people offer all of their images, it says to me that they are not confident in their craft to be able to guarantee you beautiful portraits, so they will overshoot to compensate for that.


beyonce on stage at the superbowl bad angle.

Trust us, you don't want them all! :)


I hope that this 3 part blog has been helpful in wading through all of the photographers in your area to find the one that is just right for you! 



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children fluttering shutter photography Northern Virginia photography portraits red flags https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/10/picking-your-photographer-part-3 Mon, 07 Oct 2019 23:27:19 GMT
Cake Smashes https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/9/cake-smashes Cake smashes!! They have become relatively common and can be done beautifully when done right! There are times when things go wrong with cake smashes, as well. I thought that I would share with you all some things that I have learned over the years when it comes to that day that you WANT your child to make a huge mess.


1) You don't HAVE to smash a cake. I've seen smashes use watermelon, tacos, spaghetti, pizza, you name it! You can get creative with this! Pick something that your child will enjoy eating. Cake can often be a new texture, which is strange for babies and can take some getting used to. Sometimes the icing is too sugary. Sometimes they just don't like the cake at all. Let them eat something that they love! It will make the session go so much smoother! (For purposes of this post, I'll be saying "cake smash" just to keep it simple.) I recommend that my clients feed their baby a cupcake or try bites of a small cake at least 2-3 times prior to the cake smash to allow them to become familiar with the texture and taste.


2) There are certain things that people who are not photographers don't think about. One of these things is the following, which can't really be put delicately, so here it is: Red frosting and/or icing will often not photograph well. It tends to look like a bloody mess. Unless it's a zombie theme (which can be awesome), avoid this. And while we're on the topic, any kind of brown anything in the cake can look like poop. Literally.


3) Keep the setup simple. If you are doing a 1 year cake smash, you want the focus to be on the baby, not on the props around them. (Too many props can also be too distracting for the baby.) My setups are very simple because I like to be able to focus on the baby. I have seen some beautiful setups with more props than I use, so it is a matter of personal preference ultimately. Just keep in mind the vision that you have and work with your photographer to try to bring it to life.

Baby- Purcellville- Cake SmashBaby- Purcellville- Cake Smash

4) Get a cake with decorations on the sides. Photographs will be taken head on instead of overhead for the cake, so you want to be able to see the beautiful decorations. The only exception to this is when you are intentionally keeping the cake simple, like above. I also highly recommend hiring a professional baker for your cake smash. I personally recommend LuluBell Cakes here in Purcellville. Not only are her cakes gorgeous, but they're tasty, too! 

Baby- Boy- Cake Smash- PurcellvilleBaby- Boy- Cake Smash- Purcellville

5) Make sure to bring a change of clothes for after the fun! Some offer a little bubble bath session post cake smash fun. At the Fluttering Shutter Photography studio, I have a full tub that you are welcome to use after the session with everything ready for you to use.


However you want to document your little ones first birthday, I hope that you are able to treasure those portraits for years to come!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) cake smash Fluttering Shutter Photography photography Purcellville https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/9/cake-smashes Thu, 12 Sep 2019 20:00:00 GMT
A Heavy Post https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-heavy-post


**Trigger Warning- This is not a happy baby post and talks about 9/11**


Today is 9/11. 

Every day since 9/11/01, it's been a hard day for me.

It's a day where I try to stay off of social media for the most part. 

It's a day where I avoided the television because I couldn't watch everything all over again.

It's a day where the world seems darker and I feel like I'm walking through concrete.

On that day 18 years ago, I was driving to George Mason University to attend my Statistics for Psychology class, listening to Elliot in the Morning. Listening to them talk as the first plane hit, I thought it was a really sick joke. I grew up driving into New York with my parents to see my family. My entire family lived there at one point or another, and the Twin Towers coming into view always made me feel like I was coming home. 

I don't want to go into a detailed account of what I did that day because that's not the point of my post. I will say that I was terrified for my family, especially my uncle who was NYPD. He survived by a twist of fate, but many of his brothers and sisters in blue did not.

Today is a day when thousands of families will mourn the loss of their loved ones.

It's a day where they will talk of those that left that morning and didn't come home.

It's a day where they will look at pictures and videos and wish that they could give them one last hug, one last kiss, one more "I love you".

It's a day where their worlds feel darker and their hearts feel heavier.

Memories and pictures are all that are left of almost 3,000 people.

Please take pictures. Have pictures taken. Be IN pictures. 

This is not self-promotion.

I am not telling you to hire me.

I am telling you that you are important.

I am telling you that you are loved.

I am telling you that one day your photographs will mean the world to those that love you.

Today I will not post happy, smiling babies or promote my business because today will forever be a day of mourning for me. The New York and D.C. that I knew and grew up with will never be the same, and neither will I.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/9/a-heavy-post Wed, 11 Sep 2019 13:15:00 GMT
5 Things To Know About Your Newborn Photographer https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/7/what-to-know-about-your-newborn-photographer Selecting a photographer can be a tricky thing. You want someone who you can trust, whose work you like and someone you can afford. Those are the biggest things that most people look for and if you ask a bunch of friends who to use, they're almost all going to give you different names. They will SWEAR by their photographer, but what if their photographer isn't the right fit for you? How do you find someone that will work for you and your family? Here are some things to consider:

1) What does their portfolio look like?

Is it consistent? I'm not talking about from the beginning of their business to the current images, but are they basically the same look? Do you like the work that you see? Is the editing consistent or is it all over the place? Here are two of my images edited in different ways. Editing in different styles can be really fun for photographers, but it's important that clients receive consistent portraits. 

2) What's included in your payments and how much are you going to spend in total?

Knowing what is included in your payments is vital. If this is unclear, make sure to ask your photographer. There are a variety of different ways that photographers charge for their artistry. Some photographers are charge a flat fee that includes your session and your images. Others charge for their session fee and their products and/or digitals separately. At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I meet with all of my clients prior to them booking a session to review all of my products and pricing. This allows my clients to have an idea of what they would like to invest in their portraits.

3) What about vaccines and illness?

This is a sensitive topic for many, I know, BUT it is important to think about this when you are handing over your newborn to someone who may not have the same belief about vaccines that you do. Newborns have a very delicate immune system and someone with a cold can easily pass it on to your baby which can quickly turn into RSV and a NICU stay. As a NICU mama myself, I try to be very cognizant of illness and have masks and gloves to wear as extra precautions, if they are requested. Also, please keep in mind that since many of us are also parents, we have to take into consideration the safety of our own children, as well. For example, if your child is sick please reschedule or at the very least call to ask if we would like to reschedule due to illness.

4) Are they trained in newborn safety?

Safety is priority number 1 when it comes to newborn sessions! A good newborn photographer will have gone to classes and kept up with current recommendations for newborn safety. Many newborn photographers will spend money each year attending conferences and in-person workshops in order to learn more about how to maintain safety during sessions. Certain poses should never be done without proper training, which can include knowing that hands must stay on the baby at all times, or that certain positions can restrict breathing if not posed properly. Safety should always be something that you consider when booking your newborn photographer. The following is an image that I took at a recent workshop with the amazing Ana Brandt. What you don't see in this shot is how she was placed in the bucket in order to ensure maximum safety and the person who is sitting within arms reach of her with eyes on her at all times to ensure that if she startled, hands would be on her immediately. These things are vital to newborn photography, and it's important to know what kind of education your photographer has.

5) What do they provide for the session?

What comes with the session? Do you need to bring your own props? Provide space in your home? At Fluttering Shutter Photography, I provide access to a large variety of props, outfits and color schemes. It is important to know what is included in your session so that you know what to prepare for.


If you know the answers to these questions and are comfortable with the answers, you may have found the perfect photographer for you!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family Fluttering Shutter Photography investment newborn photography portraits safety session https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/7/what-to-know-about-your-newborn-photographer Thu, 25 Jul 2019 23:15:00 GMT
5 Things Your Photographer Wants You To Know (But is too afraid to tell you) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/3/5-things-your-photographer-wants-you-to-know-but-is-too-afraid-to-tell-you When you decide to hire a photographer for various types of sessions, you should trust that they are experts at what they do. You want beautiful, quality portraits of your family and we want to provide that experience for you. We want you to love every shot that we take and become our regular clients. Why? Because when you find THE photographer for you and your family, you develop a bond with them that makes portraits a better, more relaxed and easier experience. We also want you to know certain things about our business. Here are 5 of those things that you should consider

1) When you are planning a cake smash, it takes a delicate balance of decorations to not overwhelm the portraits (or your baby). I will do my best to help you find this balance to create beautiful first year portraits of your little one. There are certain things that people who are not photographers don't think about. One of these things is the following, which can't really be put delicately, so here it is: Red frosting and/or icing does NOT photograph well. It tends to look like a bloody mess, and unless it's a zombie theme (which can be awesome), it's generally best to avoid this. And while we're on the topic, any kind of brown anything in the cake can look like poop. Literally. 


2) When you go onto social media, please stop asking for "reasonably priced" photographers or ones that "won't cost an arm and a leg". We understand that everyone has a budget, but saying these types of phrases comes across as you want the cheapest possible option. It also doesn't help us figure out if we're a good fit for your budget because you haven't listed one. Besides, an arm and a leg on the black market would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars, and I'm confident that family portraits will cost you less than that. ;) And while we're on the topic of money:


3) Recently, many "big box" photography studios have begin to close their doors. While I do not know the specifics of each company's reasoning for closing, my assumption is that they are closing for financial reasons. The $19.99 deal that allows unlimited images from a 30 minute session is not a sustainable business model. Photography is an art, but it is also a business. Petapixel posted a fantastic article about what people think photographers do, versus what they actually do. In general, photographers work so hard to please their clients, but we cannot run a business without being paid enough to be sustainable. Everyone has a different budget in mind, like I said before, and photographers all have different price points for different reasons. I am always upfront about my pricing and will meet with people before they hire me in order to go over all of my products and pricing. If I am not in your budget, I am always happy to ask around and help you find a photographer who is in your budget.


4) PLEASE ask us for outfit advice prior to the session. There are certain things that just don't photograph well. Neon is something that immediately comes to mind. Although it is fixable in Photoshop, it requires quite a bit of extra work (that you may or may not get charged for), and is easier to just avoid entirely. I have a blog post about preparing for a family session that includes information on how to pick your clothing. We would so much rather help you to pick outfits that will work for your entire family than spend hours in Photoshop trying to get the bright green tint off of your neck and lower face (and off of anyone else that happens to be standing near you). Trust me on this one.


5) We, as artists, are our harshest critics and the first to fear what others think of our work. We want you to love your portraits, and sometimes the first time you see your portraits we aren't with you. Sometimes it's an online gallery, sometimes it's a sneak peek, but either way there are a few things that you can do to tell us that you love your portraits: You can comment on the images, like/love/share them, tag us in your portraits! These are all easy things to do on social media and they mean SO much to us. (Word of mouth is vital in this business!) These things will ease our fears about how you feel about your portraits and they also help our business because you are showing others that you support us.



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/3/5-things-your-photographer-wants-you-to-know-but-is-too-afraid-to-tell-you Wed, 27 Mar 2019 22:30:00 GMT
Finding Your Photographer, Part 2 https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/3/finding-your-photographer-part-2 When you are searching for a photographer, it can be really difficult to narrow down your choice to one. That is why I've decided to keep writing blogs to help explain how you can make the process easier on you and easier for your perfect photographer to find you! If you missed my original "Finding Your Photographer" post, you can read it here


For this post, I decided to decode some of the terms that photographers use. Every industry has their own lingo and sometimes we forget that not everyone knows what all of it means! So, here is a handy dandy guide to help you figure out what terms you should be using in your search and what photographers say when they're explaining their business. Some of it will be obvious, but some are things that bear further explanation. And one or two things are terms that are often seen by photographers when people are searching, and I think that you should know what they are often interpreted as meaning. 

Posed Newborn Photographer: This is the type of newborn work that I do, so I figured that I would start there. Posed newborn photography is where babies are on blankets/fabric, in buckets or bowls and the photographer is posing them in order to achieve the look that they desire. (This is why it is SO important to review photographers portfolios. Make sure that their vision is similar to YOUR vision.) If you are choosing a posed newborn photographer, it is vital to know who you are hiring. Not just what their work looks like, but who are they as a photographer? Did they get safety training? How many newborns have they photographed? How long have they been doing posed newborn sessions? Are they vaccinated? How do they clean their props? All of these things will help you make a more informed decision about who they are and if you want to hire them. You can also read my blog about hiring a newborn photographer, if you want a more in-depth view of this topic.


Lifestyle Newborn Photographer: Lifestyle work is when a photographer will give you direction, but they then capture the natural moments between you and your loved ones. Please note: With babies, these sessions are usually done in the home. Many lifestyle photographers do not do posed work and vice versa.) Fresh 48 sessions that are often done in the hospital within 48 hours of a babies birth is also a lifestyle session.


Documentary Photographer: These photographers will document life as it is. For example, there are sessions called "Day In The Life" where they will come to your house in the morning and document your family throughout the day, doing things that you would normally do.


Studio Photographer: These are photographers that mainly work out of their own studio. They have access to all of their equipment, props and paperwork, which really lessens the stress of having to pack everything up and travel. Most studio newborn photographers primarily do posed work.


On-location/Travel Photographer: This means that they will meet you at a designated location in order to capture your portraits.


Professional Lab: Pro labs are exclusively used by professional photographers. (We need a Tax ID and everything!) Many professional labs print with archival quality, which means that they will last for a very long time and will not fade or break apart as easily as consumer lab products do.


Consumer Lab: Consumer labs are where anyone can have their portraits printed. There are a large variety of them out there, so please be aware that quality does vary based on price and know how. For example, a client of mine had a canvas printed at a big box store because it was cheaper, which is a common concern when it comes to photography products. However, after a few years, the canvas has yellowed and the client doesn't even want to display it in their home anymore because it's just not holding up well anymore. Cheaper often means lower quality work, so be mindful of who you order your photography products from.


RAW Images: We get asked about these often, so I wanted to make sure to include them in this blog. RAW images are like film negatives, unless you have a way to process them (like we do with Photoshop), they are pretty useless to the general public. For photographers, we are able to capture a larger amount of data than JPEGs offer. Also, the overwhelming majority of photographers do NOT give out RAW files. This is mainly because it is not representative of what our work looks like in the end. Also, most photographers contracts prohibit clients from editing their images (including putting things like IG filters over images).


JPEGs: These are what your photographer will likely deliver to you. They are printable everywhere and you can open them without the need for special programs.


Full-service (or IPS) photographers: Full service photographers, like myself, have much more contact with their clients and provide a full range of services. For me, this includes a pre-booking meeting, the session, a reveal/ordering session, ability to order products and product delivery. 


All-inclusive: This means that the investment that you make includes the session AND some images. Some photographers provide a download link, others offer a USB or CD. Some all-inclusive photographers will blend parts of full-service photography with things like pre-session consultations and offering products, as well. If you choose an all-inclusive photographer, be sure that you are aware of what is included in their pricing.

Proof Gallery: Some photographers will do what is called "soft proofing" on your images to show you what they look like before they full edit your portraits. This is so that they can focus on the images that you choose for full, beautiful edits. 


Final Gallery: This type of gallery includes all of your fully edited portraits for selection.


Print Release: This is what a photographer will often give you along with your jpeg's so that you will have proof that you are legally allowed to print your portraits. This is very different from copyright release, which photographers overwhelmingly don't release. 


Model Release: A model release is often within the contract. Model releases allow us to legally use images from the session for things like marketing, our portfolios, social media and our websites, among other things. Living the Washington, D.C. area, we understand that this can often be a point of concern for some clients, so it is important to discuss this with your photographer. Some photographers will charge an extra fee for not being able to use images from a session and some, like myself, do not. If you do not want your images on social media, but you are okay with them being on our website or printed out as sample materials, talk to your photographer and see what kind of compromise you can come up with.


Model/Casting Call: A model call is when a photographer is looking to photograph a specific type of session. There is usually a very specific vision that they have in mind, so it is a way for them to be able to be creative without regular client pressures. They will often provide a complimentary (free) session and include a few digital images, as a thank you for modeling for them. Please note that photographers invest time and sometimes money into model calls, and it is important that if you volunteer yourself that you are able to follow through. This means that you read their guidelines and contract, know what their vision is, and are willing to abide by the conditions of the model call. These sessions are not the time to ask for personal portraits. Even if you want "just one shot", it takes time and energy away from the original intention of the session. Model calls usually require a model release, as well, so if you are not comfortable with your images being shared, model calls are likely not going to be what you are looking for.


I hope that this list has helped you to understand a little bit more about the terms that photographers use!


You can read part 3 of my blog about finding the perfect photographer for you, here





[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) all-inclusive D.C. family gallery IPS lifestyle model call newborn Northern Virginia photography portrait posed RAW studio Terms Washington https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/3/finding-your-photographer-part-2 Mon, 25 Mar 2019 21:30:00 GMT
Shoot & Share Contest https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/1/shoot-share-contest Hello all!

For the past few years, I've been participating in the Shoot & Share contest and I have loved every minute of it! Every year hundreds of thousands of images are submitted and ANYONE is allowed to vote. If you want to see my 2017 results, you can see them here

This past year I placed even higher than I did the year before and I'm so excited to show you which ones placed the highest. Here are the highest placing images that I submitted: 


TOP 30%

11. This little girls mom has always loved strawberries, so I wanted to make sure that they were prominently featured in her newborn session. Out of 29,560 images in this category, this portrait placed at 7,177th:


10. This is my youngest girl. We went over to a photographer friends studio to play. Flower bonnets were apparently not her favorite thing, but I loved how this portrait of her turned out! Out of 28,425 images in this category, this portrait placed at 7,737th:


9. I have had the honor of photographing this family a few times and every time is always an adventure. This little man wanted nothing to with portraits until I told him about my magical chair that I use for kids. As soon as he sat on it, he was perfectly happy to pose for me...and never wanted to get out of the chair! Out of 28,425 images in this category, this portrait placed at 7,618th:



TOP 20%

8. Photographing this cutie was as easy as I could ever hope for. She was so smiley and gave me great eye contact! Unfortunately, I only get to see her once or twice a year, because this was taken in Minnesota, but these portraits of her never fail to put a smile on my face. Out of 28,425 images in this category, this portrait placed at 5,585th:


7. If you follow me at all, you know this cutie. She is one of my very favorite clients, not only because she's so good in front of the camera but also because she is also one of the strongest little girls I know. She is a pediatric stroke survivor, but it doesn't slow her down! Out of 29,560 images in this category, this portrait placed at 4,713th:

6. When I saw the eyelashes on this sweet boy (along with his sisters lashes), I knew that I wanted to capture portraits of them. Keeping the image black and white highlighted how beautiful and long those lashes really are. Out of 28,425 images in this category, this portrait placed at 3,181st:

5. Here is another of the little warriors that I've worked with over the years. Born at just 24 weeks, he was a micro-preemie and spent 242 days in the NICU. He's now a big healthy 2 year old with a smile that would brighten up anyone's day! Out of 28,425 images in this category, this portrait placed at 4,402nd:

4. This was from one of my absolute favorite family sessions from 2017 at Morven Park in Leesburg. Photographing another photographers family is always intimidating, but they were such a blast and did SO well in front of the camera! Their mama has given them plenty of practice over the years and this was one of my favorite portraits! Out of 26,963 images in this category, this portrait placed at 2,756th:


TOP 10%

3. Ever since the moment that I saw this cutie's gorgeous red curls, I knew that I had to get her in front of my camera. The combination of that beautiful light and her amazing hair at Claude Moore Park was absolute perfection! Out of 35,570 images in this category, this portrait placed at 1,927th:

2. Going to Great Country Farms is always a treat for my family. I had just gotten a new lens and wanted to play with it, so I brought along my camera. I sat outside of the chicken coop and this little guy just walked right up to me and stared. I don't know if he wanted food or was just curious about me, but this image gives me a little chuckle every time that I see it. Out of 14,436 images in this category, this portrait placed at 1,114th:


1. This is my own little preemie graduate. If you're interested in reading about our NICU journey, you can start here. We went over to a fellow photographer friends house to photograph her and play. She was already 7 weeks old in this picture, but since she was 6 weeks early, she should have been only 1 week old. After being born at 4lbs 12oz, I was overjoyed to be able to capture those beautiful backrolls. Out of 29,560 images in this category, this portrait placed at 507th!!

I'm so excited that I am ALL IN for the contest this year (which means that I have submitted the maximum number of photos allowed, which is 50). I have picked my favorite 50 images from recent sessions and I cannot wait to see how they do! I'll let you know when voting opens so that you can go look at some amazing portraits! 


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) all in Claude Moore Park contest family Great Country Farms Loudoun County morven park newborn NICU photography shoot and share https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2019/1/shoot-share-contest Thu, 24 Jan 2019 03:50:30 GMT
Picking YOUR Photographer https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/6/picking-your-photographer Every week (sometimes every day), I see posts put up in Facebook groups "ISO Photographer" and there are 180 million responses. Here in Loudoun County, we have a large number of photographers with a variety of styles and budgets. We are also such a melting pot of Northern Virginia with Fairfax and Prince William that those photographers get thrown into the mix, too. So, how do you wade through them all?? How do you decide who is right for you? I wrote a blog post a while ago about investing in a newborn photographer, which you can read here. The following is a general list of tips for people looking for any type of photographer, especially if you are using social media:

1) Be specific! 

If you are looking for a photographer who is within 15 miles of you, is available October 25, will cost you less than $500 total, will give you digitals and is named Susan, say that. Being overly general means that you will get a TON of responses, but only a few will be what you are looking for. The more specific you are, the easier it will be to go through the list. This is ESPECIALLY true when it comes to pricing (even though I have cost listed as the LAST thing that you should consider). Saying "reasonably priced" or "doesn't cost an arm and a leg" doesn't mean anything. "Reasonable" to you, might be totally unreasonable to someone else and what’s reasonable to someone else might be unreasonable to you. For example, my session fees are listed on my website, and then you get to choose what you want to purchase after our session since nothing is included in the session fee. Other photographers have an all-inclusive fee, which includes the session and digital images. Others have a different business model entirely. Listing your specific wants/needs makes it easier for people to respond to you and easier for you to find your perfect match!


2) Look through their portfolio

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important to mention it. Make sure that the photographer is showing images that are consistent and within the style that you want. If you want really bright images and you hire someone who shoots dark and moody images, it's silly to expect them to produce those super bright images because it's not their style. It's kind of like going to a Mexican restaurant and expecting them to make you sushi. That's just not what they do. Are the images in focus? Do they fit your style? Do they do the photography that you're asking them to do? Portfolios can tell you quite a bit about a photographer, but you have to take them time to look through it.


3) Contact them!

If you're shopping around and not really sure what you're looking for, contact your top 3 photographers and chat with them! One of the things that I do for every new client is meet with them face-to-face to discuss their session, my products and my pricing (and it usually comes with a free cup of coffee!), so that we can get to know each other. Genuinely liking the person who is taking your portraits makes the session smoother and more enjoyable. Contacting them also gives you the opportunity to talk to them about specifics regarding your session. For example, if you have a specific location in mind or a special needs child or the session is a cover for a surprise proposal or pregnancy announcement. Letting us know ahead of time will allow us to figure out if we are the best fit for you and, if not, we can send you to people that we know might be a better fit. 


4) Understand what their experience is

Knowing how much experience your photographer has is important for a variety of reasons. Newborn photography, specifically, is something that takes quite a bit of practice and education. You are trusting someone with your tiniest treasure, so make sure that you are comfortable with their experience level. Weddings are also where experience is vital. Photographing a wedding requires quite a bit of knowledge of timelines, managing people and photographing in various lighting situations. Make sure that you have checked their portfolio and understand if they have been the primary shooter in earlier weddings. Now, don't get me wrong, everyone starts somewhere. People need to build their portfolios somehow, which is awesome! The learning in the photography world is never ending, so it's important to know where on that timeline your photographer is. I have clients who have been with me since the beginning and they are some of my best and favorite clients. Some people are generally hobbyists, but have a phenomenal eye and talent for photography. Some people are just out to make some quick money, regardless of the quality of their work. Some people (like myself) run a small business. Understanding what level of experience your photographer has will help to manage expectations and make sure that you get portraits that are what you want.


5) Look at their pricing

I list this last because I truly think that it needs to be the last thing considered. Photography is an investment in family portraits. If you find a photographer that you LOVE and they're too expensive for you? Contact them and tell them that you love their work and that you're saving up for a session with them. Ask to get on their mailing list so that you can see if they're having any special deals. Hire who you love, not just who you think you can afford. A budget is important, so again being specific is important because it will help people be able to respond to you that are within your budget.


I hope that these quick tips are helpful for you when looking to find your photographer. It's always strange to say this, but even when people don't choose me as their photographer, I'm happy to help people find a photographer who will work for them because I believe in the importance of having portraits done. I believe in the importance of capturing the moments that you want to remember.


(Check out Part 2 of this post here and part 3 here!)


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) budget experience facebook fairfax county family loudoun county northern virginia photography portraits prince william county https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/6/picking-your-photographer Thu, 14 Jun 2018 17:38:55 GMT
Where Were You Mama? https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/5/where-were-you-mama As you all know, yesterday was Mother's Day. A day where everyone reflects on their lives as sons and daughters, mothers and granddaughters. Social media is filled with pictures of mothers with their children. But do you know what I noticed? Many of those portraits are from years and years ago, or from when their children were first born. Many of them aren't recent images. I also noticed some of my friends who were mourning the loss of their mothers. They had some pictures of their moms, either with their children or alone. But it was those friends that inspired me to post this blog. 

We, as moms, tend to not be IN portraits with our children. We usually have a million and one excuses as to why we're not in the pictures with our children. We're behind the camera. We're not happy with how our bodies look. We don't have any make-up on. We don't need pictures of ourselves. Etc. Etc. But let me tell you this: Your KIDS need pictures of you. They don't care that you don't have any mascara on. They don't care that you have 10 pounds left to lose. They don't care that you are wearing a sweatshirt that is from 1999. They don't care about any of those things, but they DO care about you. They want to be in pictures with you, and those pictures will matter even more to them once you're gone. No one likes to think about that, but it's absolutely the truth. One day, you won't be there anymore, but they will have pictures. They SHOULD have pictures of you with them. You don't want them to say "Where was Mom?" when they look at the family albums. You want them to see pictures of you smiling and laughing and playing with them! So, forget about not having mascara on, forget about those last few pounds, hand someone else your cellphone or hire a photographer and get in front of that camera!! Get in your pictures! And here's the best part about getting into portraits with your kids: When you're in pictures with them, and they're snuggling you and smiling? YOU are glowing. You have that beautiful smile of pride and calm and JOY. Those faces of joy are absolutely priceless to your children. Those are the moments that they want to remember and should be able to look back on to smile all over again.

To celebrate Mother's Day, here are my favorite images of Moms with their children. Happy Mother's Day!

So, to all of you mothers out there, I hope that you had a wonderful Mother's Day and that you remember to get INTO the portraits with your children. They deserve it, and so do you!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) camera family fluttering shutter photography get in your pictures mom mother newborn photography pictures https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/5/where-were-you-mama Mon, 14 May 2018 22:45:00 GMT
Hug-A-Preemie Mini-Sessions https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/3/hug-a-preemie-mini-sessions Hug-A-Preemie


Hello my lovelies!

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that we welcomed our last child into the world 6 weeks before her due date. Being born 6 weeks early made her a preemie and earned her an 11 day stay in the NICU. While she was there, I saw many babies come and go. Some stayed overnight for observation, others stayed for a few days and some were there for a short amount of time before they were transferred to higher level NICU's in the area.

During our time there, I was so blessed to have the support of two amazing women who are also mamas to NICU graduates. Jamie Romaezi and Blaire Ring are the owners of their own photography businesses and I am honored to join them in helping to raise money for the March of Dimes!

Here is a quote directly from the March of Dimes website about their mission: 


"In 2017, the March of Dimes convened the Prematurity Campaign Collaborative to address the persistent health inequities and rising rate of preterm birth in the United States. Through the Collaborative, hundreds of organizations and experts work together on the shared challenge to “Achieve Equity and Demonstrated Improvements in Preterm Birth.” If you’d like to join the Collaborative or receive its newsletter, send an email to [email protected]

Prematurity Campaign activities fall in five main areas:
1.    Research and discovery
2.    Care innovation and community engagement
3.    Advocacy
4.    Education
5.    Family-centered newborn intensive care units (NICUs)"


Donations to the March of Dimes help them to fight premature birth and support those babies and families that can't avoid a NICU stay.

Are you interested in helping the March of Dimes? Of course you are!

Are you interested in having a mini-session with me? Yes!

After signing up, are you also interested in having your name put into a drawing to get some of the best food in Loudoun at Solo Pizza in Leesburg?! I mean, you're already all dressed up, you might as well make it a fun night out!


If you're ready to sign up, you can fill out the online form here! I'm so excited to see all of you!!!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family fluttering shutter photography hug-a-preemie loudoun county march of dimes mini-session photography preemie virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2018/3/hug-a-preemie-mini-sessions Thu, 01 Mar 2018 17:03:17 GMT
Before and After Shots https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/12/before-and-after-shots When you hire a photographer, you are investing in their knowledge of how to use their camera and how to edit images. Some photographers do beautiful composite work, where they put together images using multiple shots to create a magical portrait. Some do minimal editing and others do no editing at all. Personally, I edit my images so that they are enhanced, but I do my best to keep the portraits close to the way that they looked when I took them. (I should note here that when I'm doing a session, I purposely underexpose images because when you overexpose, you lose parts of your image.) The only exception to this is with newborn portraits, but I'll get to those in a minute.

Here are some examples of family portraits.


After: (A simple, higher-contrast image)




When photographing newborns, safety is the number one priority, so the final product is not always what it looked like right out of the camera. (Note: When photographers do not do this images as a composite, it is not safe. Always ask what they do for safety prior to booking your newborn photographer!) That being said, here are some behind the scenes shots and final products:


Before and After:

Before: (When I saw this image after our session, I immediately saw the heart and knew that I was going to re-shape the purple basket stuffer into that shape.)

After: (I'm so happy that it turned out the way that it did!)

I hope that you enjoyed my before and afters! Feel free to ask me questions about my editing :)


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) before and after composites contrast editing photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/12/before-and-after-shots Tue, 12 Dec 2017 23:30:00 GMT
Full-Service Photographer https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/12/full-service-photographer I moved from being a photographer who gives my clients discs with the option to print them at their leisure or through me, to being a full-service photographer.  This has prompted some questions from both past clients and prospective clients, so I've decided to blog about this transition and why it is the best thing for both my business AND my clients. 

1) What is a full-service photographer?

A full-service photographer has a multi-step process with their clients. For Fluttering Shutter Photography, that means that clients will speak with me before the session to get acquainted with my business and what they should expect. After the session, I will meet with them again to show them their portraits and allow them time to order a collection of heirloom-quality products. 

2) What about digitals? Why don't you give out a CD with images?

I do still provide digital versions of the portraits, but I don't think that that is what my clients really want, so it's not something that I encourage my clients to purchase without prints of those images. Why do I do this? Because I've been a client myself. This is an embarrassing truth, since I am now a photographer, but I share it because it is what happens to many photography clients. I had these amazingly gorgeous portraits by Emily Law at Flom Designs & Photography of my wedding seven years ago. What did I do with these digital copies? I printed a few 4x6's and a couple of 5x7' and then left them on the CD's, where they still sit gathering dust. As of now, I STILL haven't made a beautiful wedding album, or had gorgeous canvases made because it's just not the top thing to do on my daily list of chores while running a business and staying at home and raising my children.

SO, I don't push my clients into buying digitals alone. I encourage my clients to purchase from my collections or from my a la carte menu because their portraits deserve to be seen. CD's are slowly going the way of the floppy disc, so they are no longer a part of what I offer to my clients. Instead, I offer beautiful customized USB's. Digital versions of your images should be backups of beautiful prints.

3) What is a reveal session?

A reveal session is when a client is able to see all of their gorgeous images and place their order. I will meet my clients in their homes or at a designated location and share their images with them. They are able to review each individual image and choose which products they would like to have in their homes.

4) What happens after the reveal session?

After the reveal session, I begin the design process for albums and products. I make sure that my clients approve of the design and then I order the album. It takes a few weeks to get all of the products in for me to do my own quality control. Once I have made sure that your products are beautiful and perfect, I will schedule a time to hand deliver all of my clients products to them.

5) Why should I choose you to be my photographer?

Obviously, I am biased answering this question, but here is why I am a great choice for being your photographer: My goal is to help you have gorgeous images that capture moments of your family. I want you to have portraits on your walls and in albums that you will treasure and pass down for generations to come. Being a full-service photographer is about helping you to create art for your home from beginning to end, and this is what I do at Fluttering Shutter Photography. I would love to talk with you more about what we can create for you!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) fluttering shutter photography photography portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/12/full-service-photographer Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:15:00 GMT
Perfectly Coordinated https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/perfectly-coordinated I had to save this one for close to the end of my busy fall season because they hadn't seen their portraits yet, but I love this session so much! The family was so perfectly coordinated for our session that people at Morven Park felt the need to compliment their outfits! This session made me get a little more creative because the park was full of teenagers on their way to Homecoming. The boys did a great job staying focused and we were able to get some gorgeous family portraits of them!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family fluttering shutter photography loudoun county morven park northern virginia photography virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/perfectly-coordinated Fri, 01 Dec 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Golden Hour at Claude Moore Park https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/golden-hour-at-claude-moore-park This family is always fun to work with. They are just the sweetest! When Mom contacted me to do their family portraits this year, we discussed the look that she was going for and settled on going to Claude Moore Park because it would be easier to get the feel of "fall" in our typical warm Northern Virginia October. That was such a great decision because I love the golden hour light that shows up at Claude Moore!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) claude moore park golden hour northern virginia photography portraits virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/golden-hour-at-claude-moore-park Wed, 29 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Photographing A Photographer https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/photographing-a-photographer Ok, so this is possibly my favorite session from this season. Lindsay is a fellow photographer with Kloepping Photography and had talked about how hard it is to capture your own children because of the dreaded Photographers Child Syndrome. I offered to do a family session for them because I love helping out other photographers (#communityovercompetition) but I had no idea how much I would fall in love with their portraits. We both regularly photograph clients at Morven Park, so it made sense to go there and be comfortable. They were so photogenic that I had a hard time narrowing down their images! Lindsay ended up ordering canvases for her walls with images from this session and I can't even begin to tell you how proud that makes me. Photographing other photographers is always nerve wracking, so having them now up as art in their home is one of the highest compliments I could have ever received.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family morven park photographer's child syndrome photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/photographing-a-photographer Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:15:00 GMT
Newborn With Peter Rabbit https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/newborn-with-peter-rabbit You guys know that newborns are one of my very favorite subjects to photograph, but this sweet girl is particularly special to me. I got to photograph her big sister two years ago and was so honored when her parents contacted me to photograph their newest addition, as well! Both girls have had the Peter Rabbit themed nursery and since we photographed her sister with the Peter Rabbit during her newborn session, we had to incorporate him into this session also and I'm in love with how it turned out!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) newborn nursery peter rabbit photograph photography session sisters https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/newborn-with-peter-rabbit Tue, 21 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Co-parenting + An Amazing Kid https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/co-parenting-plus-an-amazing-kid These two? They created an AMAZING kid together and wanted to have portraits done with their daughter because they know that it's important to have family pictures done. Co-parenting has allowed them to raise one of the kindest girls that I know. I love working with them every single time and can't wait for our next session!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) co-parenting family morven park portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/co-parenting-plus-an-amazing-kid Fri, 17 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Twins At Morven Park https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/Twins-at-morven-park This session was a mini-session for one of my favorite sets of twins. I've been photographing these boys for a few years now and every session is a high energy adventure. Morven Park is, once again, a favorite location because it makes it so easy to keep the focus on my subjects, while allowing the background to be a beautiful addition to the image. These images are from the first part of our session, which was more formal portraits, but afterwards is where I let them just run and do their own thing.


The second part of our mini-session was allowing the boys to wear their superhero capes, but not before I spotted one climbing a low branch in the magnolia trees. After getting him out of the tree, I had them stand in front of the mansion and look out over Leesburg, while preparing to save the town! Then they ran down the hill to save the people! I love these images because I love the movement and pure joy that radiates from the boys. I can't wait to capture their portraits again next year!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) leesburg mini-session morven park photography portraits superheros twins https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/Twins-at-morven-park Wed, 15 Nov 2017 00:15:00 GMT
Why You Should Get Professional Family Portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/why-you-should-get-professional-family-portraits I recently posted in my favorite local Mom group to ask them if they got family portraits taken, and if not, why? The reasons why not were mostly expected, but there were a few that surprised me! So, here are the biggest reasons:

This is one that is the most common and the most understandable. Professional portraits are an investment, and not everyone can afford everything that they want. This is why it's so important to do your research. Find a photographer that you love and see what they cost. Contact them. Talk to them about their pricing. I know that for me, when I truly value something, I will save up for it because it's important to me. OR, I find something that is affordable to me and figure out if that will work. I've also been known to barter on occasion! With Fluttering Shutter Photography, I meet with all of my potential clients before you ever give me a dime so that I can go over all of the products that I offer and what everything costs. I also offer payment plans! :)


Getting everyone to look good

As a mom of 4, I totally get this one! Coordinating everyone can be a chore! BUT I looooove helping my clients choose outfits and I have pretty solid advice on how to choose outfits, as well. In fact, I've written entire blog posts about preparing for a family session! You can read two, here and here. This family coordinated so beautifully and was also able to make sure that they all still had their own style.


Getting kids to cooperate

This one is easy for me to answer, but hard for me to personally do. The easy answer is: Don't force your kids to cooperate. Trust that your photographer knows what they're doing and allow them to do what you've hired them to do. When parents are stressed, they make their kids stressed, which leads to a tricky portrait session for the photographer. Also, parents who hover to the sides of the photographer tend to get a lot of images that look like this: 

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 Not ONE single kid was looking at the camera. Smiling? Yes. Looking? No.  And yes, those are my kids because I was the Mom that I'm warning you not to be. But when I let go and let my awesome photographer (Second Ave Photography) work with my kids on her own, she got amazing images of them. It was only when I was trying to get them to cooperate that they couldn't focus on the photographer. 

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017

That being said, kids don't have to cooperate for long and sometimes I just let the kids be themselves and we get some amazing portraits of them! Can you believe that I got these images (plus a ton more) in 15 minutes? 

Fear of not liking the images

This is always a fear for everyone. Photographers, non-photographers, moms, dads, teenagers, everyone! Here's what I say to this one: You might not love them, but what if you do? Besides, the point of having your portraits taken is to capture this time in your lives as it is. Personally? I hate how I look in photographs. I need to lose about 30 pounds, make sure my hair is appropriately covering the gray and that I have at least a little makeup on. HOWEVER, my kids? They don't care about anything that I just mentioned. They're going to love me if I go entirely gray, gain another 30 pounds and never put on another speck of makeup again. They just want to have fun with me and snuggle. And you know what? That's good because the portraits that I get taken aren't for me, they're for them. They're for my kids and my grandkids and my great grandkids. Also, a great way to make sure that you're going to like your images is to really research your photographer. Make sure that you hire someone whose work you l-o-v-e. Not everyone has the same style, so really try to find a photographer whose style fits you and your family. (This is another reason why although cost needs to be a consideration, sometimes it shouldn't be the number one reason to go with -or not go with- a certain photographer.)


Time/Availability of the Photographer

Finding the time to take family portraits is always a challenge, but with planning, it can be done. I always advise clients to start thinking about their fall family portraits in the summer. This is the best way to try to book with the photographer you want and get it on your calendar before the craziness of school and fall sports sets in. Planning far enough ahead also gives you plenty of time to plan your outfits and figure out payments. For more details on when to schedule sessions, check out this blog post.



This was the one that really surprised me! A few moms commented that they had been disappointed because their photographer shared too many images or shared images when they were specifically asked not to. First, I wouldn't be doing my job in this blog post if I didn't do a little bit of education in the beginning of my response. When you hire a photographer, there should be an understanding up front about what is involved. Occasionally, I will do a model call where I do a free session and my "model" will get a few free digital images in return. I do model calls for two reasons: 1) So, that I can practice something or 2) To get images for my portfolio that I want. I just recently posted a blog about a model session that I really wanted to do because the session that inspired me specifically requested that I not use their images online or in any part of my promotions. I always, always, always respect my clients privacy when they ask me to, so I did a model call and got some great portraits that I could use! Model calls can be great for both the client and the photographer, but it is SO important that both sides know what to expect going into it. 

Model calls aside, clients usually sign something called a model release (mine is in my contract) that states that a photographer can use their images for promotional purposes. We do this because it's the best way to show potential clients what our work looks like! If no one ever signed a model release, we would have a really difficult time selling ourselves as photographers. There are some photographers who charge clients that don't sign the model release. Please know that Fluttering Shutter will NEVER do this because I believe in your privacy. You hired me to do a job and I will do it regardless of whether or not I can share your images. Especially living in Northern Virginia, I know that there are a variety of reasons why people don't want their images online.

The other thing that came to mind when I read this comment is that the photographer who doesn't pay attention to things like model releases or a clients wishes is likely a new photographer....and one who won't have a ton of business unless they start to do those things. Again, this is why it's SO important to really research your photographer before you hire them.


We Don't Want To/We Do It Ourselves

My response to this one is super simple: Okay! If you're not hiring a professional, that's fine, I just want you to have family portraits! If you do it with a timer on your camera or use your cellphone? That's okay! Just be in pictures with your family!


The bottom line is this: BE IN PICTURES! We, as moms, tend to NOT be in pictures because we're the ones taking them and that is really, really sad to me! Your kids want to see you in pictures, and so will future generations! I would love to help you get family portraits done, but I know that professional pictures aren't for everyone and I know that I'M not for everyone, and that's okay! Find a photographer you love, gather the people you love and GET IN THE PICTURE!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children cost family fluttering shutter photography newborn northern virginia photography portraits privacy https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/why-you-should-get-professional-family-portraits Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:23:09 GMT
A Redhead During Golden Hour https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/a-redhead-during-golden-hour Next up in my favorite fall sessions is this awesome session!

Last year, I did a family session at this location and fell in love with it. The family did not want me to share their images online and because I always respect that request for privacy, I wanted to re-create the session using a model. This cutie is a friend of my daughters from preschool and I knew that I HAD to photograph her. With her AMAZING red hair and the addition of that gorgeous golden hour light at Claude Moore Park, it was sure to be fantastic! Her little brother jumped in for a few shots and I was so pleased to be able to deliver this gallery to their parents! 


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) claude moore park fall family fluttering shutter photography golden hour red hair https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/a-redhead-during-golden-hour Fri, 10 Nov 2017 00:00:00 GMT
Fall https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/fall Every year, fall is the busiest season for me (and all photographers). I always explain it like this: Fall for photographers is like spring to accountants. Busy, busy, busy!! 

We are all trying to serve as many clients as possible, which can be a daunting but really fulfilling task! I'm so grateful to live in Loudoun County, where we have some amazing portrait locations. This fall, I think I have captured some of my best work to date and I wanted to share some of those with you, so I'll be sharing a little at a time because some haven't seen their portraits yet and I don't want to spoil the surprise!

First up is my own crew. Being a photographer, I regularly take pictures of them because they're usually willing subjects. Peanut needed updated portraits because I'm determined that she's the most photographed baby ever. For these, she was just starting to sit a little and I found this adorable prop at At Home. I knew that I had to get it because it's just perfect for the sitter crew! Of course, we went to my favorite spot: Morven Park. My oldest was there to spot her the whole time, so that I knew that she was safe while I was shooting. She's pretty adorable, if I do say so myself.

Next up is when my 3rd child decided to chop off her long, beautiful hair. People would literally stop us in the street to compliment her hair, but that doesn't matter to a 4 (almost 5) year old! These were taken right after her trip to the salon to try to salvage as much as we could! She likes her short hair, but recently confessed that she misses her long hair. (I'm not-so-secretly grateful that she wants to grow it back out!)

Here's Peanut again with some 5 month pictures. I can't get enough of her serious face! She loves being in front of the camera and I can always capture at least a few smiles.

I took a trip to Morven with the amazing Blaire from Second Ave Photography to get some shots of the kids. I know that I've mentioned it before but there is a thing called Photographers Child Syndrome and my kids will often have it. I did get ONE shot of them all looking and smiling (except Peanut). I think that I got better shots of the turkeys that live there than of my kids!

That's it for THIS blog, but I'll be posting more blogs over the next 2 weeks, so keep an eye out!

Tell me, do your kids have Photographers Child Syndrome, too?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children fluttering shutter photography loudoun county morven park portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/11/fall Tue, 07 Nov 2017 00:15:00 GMT
5 More Tips for Fall Family Portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/9/fall-family-portraits-101 It's that time of year again! Fall is the busiest time of year for photographers, especially in Northern Virginia. Why? Because it's family portrait time! Everyone wants to get those family pictures done for their Christmas cards, so I've prepared some tips for you. I have a separate blog post with more tips about family portraits and another post about choosing a newborn photographer, but this one is specifically geared towards those of you who are planning on doing portraits of their family this fall.

1)  Decide the look that you want. Do you want candid moments? Do you want more posed family portraits? Or do you want a mixture of both? This is important because it will help you make your next big decision....

Mom and SonFluttering Shutter Photography 2017

A more candid moment vs. a posed moment.

Girl WalkingFluttering Shutter photography 2017

2) Choose Your Photographer. If you ask around to 10 different people, you'll likely get 10 different photographers recommended but before you feel overwhelmed, there are a few things to help you decide:

- Do they fit your style? Do you love candid moments or posed portraits? Is their work something that you are dying to have up on your walls? If not, you can take them off of your list.

- Are they experienced? To find this out, you need to look through their work. Are the images in focus? Do they have good lighting? Are the portraits consistent? Do the people in the portraits look well-posed? All of these things add up to a photographer with experience.

- Are they in your budget? This is definitely something to take into consideration, but keep in mind that *sometimes* cheap equals poor quality. This is why it's important to look through their portfolio and get a feel of their experience.

- One of the best ways to choose your photographer is to actually talk to them. Call them! See if you click! Discuss your expectations and let them explain what they do. This is a great time to ask questions, too!  

** One more note: If you post online for recommendations for a photographer, please be specific in your post. If you're not specific, you're going to get 90+ responses from photographers who are at a variety of skill levels, business models and price ranges. SO, in your post, include the following: 

- Size of your family. There is more planning that has to go into a large family session than a small family one. There is also sometimes an extra fee for families over a certain size.

- What kind of portraits you want to have done. (Lifestyle vs. posed)

- Your budget. And no, "doesn't cost an arm and a leg" doesn't count as specific. What is expensive to you may not be expensive to someone else. 

- When/where you want to do the session. If you're flexible, say that. But, if you want to do the session at your amazing property, say that! We love new locations!


2) Choose a location look. Do you want the leaves at their peak change? Do you want greenery? Flowers? Snow? (Although, that last one can be tricky around Northern Virginia, you just might be able to get it done if you're flexible and work with your photographer.) This leads into location ideas. If you have an immaculate backyard, take a look at the light and take a snapshot with your phone about an hour or so before sunset. Share that shot with your photographer and suggest a session in your backyard. If you're like most of us, who have given up on the weeds we used to call flower beds, a professional photographer should have a few locations to suggest for your session. Loudoun County has so many gorgeous locations, but please keep in mind that certain places require a fee and/or a permit to shoot there. Your photographer should know which locations have requirements and which don't. In an upcoming blog post, I'll be listing a few of my favorite spots for sessions, so keep an eye out!

Do you want this kind of look?

Or maybe this?


3) Decide what to wear. This is usually the hardest part, but over the years I've been able to narrow it down to a few simple tips:

-The 4 C's: Complimentary, Clean, Complementary, Comfortable. The clothing should compliment you and your figure. Make sure that the outfits for everyone in the family is complementary. Each outfit should "flow" with the others. They don't have to be (and shouldn't) be too matchy-matchy, but they should all look good together as a group. It should go without saying that clothing should be clean. With children this is sometimes hard to do, especially when you're trying to get a snack into them before the session so that they'll cooperate. So, if you know that you need to feed Billy/Jane/your husband/yourself a snack before the session, try to wear something to cover your clothing or eat before you get dressed. Each person should be comfortable in what they are wearing. If someone is wearing an outfit that they hate or that is itchy or too small, they're going to be unhappy and that is going to show in your portraits. They will also have a hard time relaxing and cooperating. Put them in something that they like wearing and is comfortable and things will go much smoother! This is a good lead in to my next tip...

- Figure out who the most difficult person to dress is in your family. Does that particular person immediately pop into your head? Great! Figure out what THEY are going to wear first. Once you have their outfit figured out, you build off of that in order to be able to follow the 4 C's. For example, if they'll only be comfortable in jeans and a blue button down, find the next pickiest dresser and put them in a gray dress with a mustard yellow bow in her hair, then the next person can wear a mustard yellow skirt and white top and the next person can wear a gray button down and jeans. Pick 3-4 colors and go from there. BUT, be careful about patterns and please, pretty please don't wear neon colors (they reflect off of your skin and you end up with neon yellow/pink/orange skin).

- Once you have picked out outfits, lay them out on the bed next to each other to see how they look all together. You can even take it one step further and snap a picture on your phone and send it to your photographer! Personally, I l-o-v-e being a part of this process with my clients, so feel free to send me those previews!

- Lastly, if your three year old absolutely INSISTS on wearing her pink Peppa Pig rain boots to the session, that's okay. Bring the shoes that you want her to wear and we'll try to get a few with the "right" shoes on, but honestly? You will always remember her obsession with her Peppa Pig rain boots, so why not document it?


4) Read one of my other blog posts. It has some handy tips for your family session that I didn't include in this post. I hope that it's helpful to you!


5) R-E-L-A-X. This is one of the tips that I put into every single blog post about preparing for a session. Crabby, anxious parents make for crabby, anxious kids, so it's a cycle that's hard to break. Plus, sometimes parents get so wrapped up in telling their kids to behave that when the kids DO look at the camera, the parents often aren't. Photographers that work with children will know what to do. Just relax and have fun!


I hope that this blog has helped you feel a bit more prepared and that you all get amazing fall family portraits! Do you have any other tips that you'd like to share?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) blog children family fluttering shutter photography leesburg location loudoun county morven park northern virginia photography portraits virginia wear https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/9/fall-family-portraits-101 Thu, 14 Sep 2017 00:15:00 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 6- Lifestyle Session https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/7/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-6--lifestyle-session Hello!

Welcome back to my blog about being a pregnant newborn photographer! I hope that you've been enjoying the posts so far but if you're just joining me, feel free to go back to the earlier posts to catch up!

Blaire, of Second Ave Photography, is a phenomenal documentary style photographer. She has an amazing ability to capture moments and, as you know, here at Fluttering Shutter Photography, that's what I'm all about! Blaire came over to my house and photographed these beautiful images:

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017

Aren't they gorgeous?! Maybe it's because it's my family, but I think that they're perfection!

I am not a lifestyle photographer, because I just have a hard time "seeing" the moments, but Blaire? She's a rockstar lifestyle photographer! I'm so, so grateful for these portraits of our family. <3

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) children family lifestyle moments newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/7/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-6--lifestyle-session Tue, 18 Jul 2017 01:30:00 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 5- Newborn Sessions https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/7/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-5--newborn-sessions Welcome back to the blog following my journey as a pregnant newborn photographer! If you're just joining us, you can go back to the beginning (the pregnancy announcement), or jump to the maternity session, birth or NICU posts! This blog series is alllllllmost over, but I hope that you all have been enjoying it!

As a newborn photographer myself, my intention the entire time that I was pregnant was to do my own newborn sessions with her. I wanted to play with her everyday! But when she was born so early, she had to spend her first few days in the NICU and by the time we got home, I began to realize the reality of it all: I was TIRED and truthfully, snuggling my little girl was the only thing that I wanted to do. However, having a preemie does have an advantage when it comes to posed newborn sessions! We had a longer period of time to get them done because she was still small and squishy!

I did four official posed newborn sessions with her. Two with Jamie (of Jamie Romaezi Photography), one alone and one with Lindsay Kleopping (of Kleopping Photography).  Each one was beautiful and meaningful, so I'll share a little about each session before sharing the images. This is probably the most portrait heavy blog of the series, but I just couldn't narrow it down anymore, so I hope that you enjoy them all!

First up was one that I did myself when she was about 4 weeks old, so she shouldn't have even been born yet. This was the trickiest for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I was exhausted and my other children were running around asking me to do a million things other than taking portraits of their newest sibling. I took these in my kitchen using all natural light. When you get to the last image, you'll see why the session ended. (If you are easily offended, I apologize, but I felt like it was too funny not to share.)

Next was a posed session with Jamie outside and in her home studio. This session was done when she was 5 weeks old. I looooove these images because Jamie's work is always beautiful and I also loved being a part of the session. I've never done a newborn session outdoors, but I'm so glad that Jamie wanted to. Ashley was a trooper and slept the whole time, plus we got to use my garden wagon prop that I've had forever and just never used. The first session was just with Ashley, but our second session was the family session when Ashley was 6 weeks old, and I am totally in love with this session. My kids did such a great job with Jamie and we ended up with some gorgeous shots.

Next was a session with Lindsay of Kleopping Photography. We were using a light in her dining room (though she does have a studio, it was just easier to set up there). The purpose of this session was to get images of a new romper that she had gotten from Peeka's Boo-tique and I wanted to use new props that I had gotten from Hey Good Lookin' Props. Ashley was already 8 weeks old during this session (around 2 weeks adjusted), but she made us WORK to get her to sleep. Once we got her asleep, she was a trooper! Here are some of my shots from the session:

Here are some of Lindsay's shots from the session:

Overall, I think Ashley is one of the most photographed babies ever. My littlest peanut is growing so quickly and I am SO happy that I got newborn portraits of her because I know that she will never be that small again. Looking back on her pictures from the hospital, I am amazed at how much she has grown and yet she is still so small. 

Next week on the blog: Blaire from Second Ave Photography did some amazing lifestyle newborn images!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family Fluttering Shutter Photography newborn peanut photography portraits posed pregnant https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/7/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-5--newborn-sessions Wed, 12 Jul 2017 00:30:00 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 4- NICU/Fresh 48 https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-4--nicu/fresh-48 Hello! Welcome back to my blog series about my 4th and final pregnancy as a newborn photographer! I hope that you've been enjoying the story so far, but if you're just joining the series, check out the announcement, maternity and birth posts, too! Ok, with that taken care of, I'll continue the story where I left off:

Ashley was all settled into the NICU and I had been moved upstairs to the maternity floor at Reston Hospital Center, and it began to hit me that she wasn't with me. I knew that she was in the NICU, but it didn't really hit me until it was just Seth and I in the room. When I was still in labor, one of the neonatologists came and talked to us about what the NICU would be like, what she was likely to need and about how long she would be there. In my head, I understood everything that she was saying. Of course Ashley would need help maintaining body temperature! She was going to be small! A 34 weeker isn't terribly early but it's not ideal, either. I intellectually understood why she should be brought into the NICU, I just didn't understand what it would mean emotionally. 

I wasn't emotionally prepared for the sense that something was wrong. It felt that way because something WAS wrong: I had just had a baby and I wasn't with her. I wasn't waking up every few hours to nurse her; I was waking up to attach myself to a machine to provide breastmilk for her. This pump and I were best friends. 

Pump- Fluttering Shutter Photography- Reston, VA

I wasn't snuggling her to make sure that she was warm; she was in an incubator for warmth.

I didn't have to document her feedings/diapers; the INCREDIBLE NICU nurses were keeping close track of what she was doing, but it should have been me.

I couldn't kiss her anytime I wanted because I needed to rest and recover myself. (As I write this, she's snuggled on my lap and I'm kissing her over and over again.)

One of my nurses made me promise to sleep because she saw how often I was awake, either pumping or down in the NICU with Ashley. While I was there, Seth had gone home to take care of the older three and I was alone in the hospital. There was a code pink (where not all babies were accounted for) and a nurse came into my room and said "We're just counting all of the babies. Is your baby here with you?" And I had to respond "No, she's in the NICU." That was a hard moment for me because she SHOULD have been in the room with me. (Side note: The "missing" baby was never actually missing and there was just a miscommunication.)

When I was sitting in the NICU, I became very grateful, very quickly. Other babies were brought into the NICU that had trouble breathing or weren't moving well or had consistently low sugar or had a myriad of other medical issues. Not all of Ashley's neighbors were sick, but most of them were. That's why it became my mantra to say "She's not sick, she's just small." And she was! A teeny tiny peanut that was perfect in every other way besides being born almost 6 weeks early. While being in the NICU, I became accustomed to the beeping (especially the really sensitive pulse ox that would alarm whenever she moved in a way that it didn't like). 

I was discharged after 48 hours, but Ashley had to stay in the hospital because she still wasn't regulating her temperature well and was also having difficulty with her billirubin levels. Thankfully my parents live in Reston, so I was able to stay at their house while Ashley was still in the NICU. But leaving that hospital without her was one of the hardest things that I've ever done. I was heartbroken to leave her there. At night, I would spend hours sitting in the chair, holding her close and attempting to nurse her (which was hard because she was so small and nursing is more of a workout for preemies than many of them can handle). I visited her twice a day, every day because the thought of her being in the hospital with no one other than nurses and doctors (as incredible and loving as they were), made me infinitely sad for her. I wanted to be with her and bond with her as much as I could.

As a photographer, I've seen hundreds of Fresh 48 sessions done beautifully. (Fresh 48 sessions are where a photographer comes to the hospital and takes documentary style images of everyone still in the hospital.) But I wasn't going to have that experience. Not exactly. 

Blaire came to see us in the hospital while Ashley was still in the NICU, so we did a preemie session. I am in love with these images because it's a reminder to me of how small she really was. Not everyone knows what a NICU looks like, but that 8x8 space was my whole world for 11 days. Here are some of my favorite images from that day. (All images credited to Second Ave Photography)

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 This space would be where my little girl would fight to get to where she needed to be. This space was where I bonded with her for the first time. And this space was the only place that I felt whole because I had her with me, quietly sleeping on my chest among the steady beeping of the NICU monitors.


I hope that you're enjoying the photographic journey of my last year! Stay tuned for the next part of my series: Posed Newborn Sessions

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) 34 weeks Fluttering Shutter Photography Fresh 48 NICU Reston Hospital Center documentary newborn nurses photography preemie https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-4--nicu/fresh-48 Tue, 30 May 2017 23:24:22 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 3- Birth https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-3--birth Many of you already know the story of my sweet little girls birth, but if you don't, here is a shortened version:

On Friday, March 24th, I was sitting with some awesome friends (and clients) and showing them their beautiful portraits of their three kiddos. I mean, really, how cute are they?!

Siblings- Purcellville, Virginia- Fluttering Shutter Photography copyright 2017

As I'm sitting at their kitchen table, I felt a dribble but I ignored it. Now, if you're a mom, you know what I'm talking about. These things happen sometimes and this WAS my 4th pregnancy. So I continued on admiring these awesome kids and chatting with their equally awesome parents. But then it happened again about an hour later. And it kept happening overnight. I ended up going to Reston Hospital Center on Saturday evening with my sister-in-law and mother-in-law (I was with them when I was told to go to the hospital) to see if I was leaking amniotic fluid.....and I was. They told me that since I was over 34 weeks, they were going to admit me and induce me in order to try to avoid infection. As much as this WASN'T my plan, I knew that it was what was best for my baby and for me, so off to labor and delivery we went! 

Once I was all settled in, I sent a message to Blaire and Jamie which included a selfie of me in my hospital gown. They immediately began making plans to come and see me, with cameras in tow. This post is going to be more image heavy because they were shot over an entire day. Also, I can't narrow it down any more than this without losing parts of the story. 

Before I get into the images themselves, I wanted to say that I am eternally grateful to have these moments forever preserved in photographs. This is my last baby and I wanted to make sure to document as much as I could. Why? Because births are similar to weddings. They are highly emotionally charged and one of the biggest days of your life. The result? Tons of adrenaline (and in the case of birth, possibly drugs) and a hazy memory of the day as a whole. So, I wanted to document the birth just like I had my wedding documented- from beginning to end.

Again, I am so thankful that I had Blaire and Jamie there to help me achieve this goal! I'm going to start with Blaire's images:

(Photo credit to Second Ave Photography until otherwise noted.)

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017

My husband pushing Jamie around on the rolling stool. Birth doesn't always have to be serious business! We spent quite a bit of time sitting around chatting and waiting for the Pitocin to do its thing.



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This is one of the many reasons why I married my husband. No matter what is going on, he can always make me laugh.



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Contractions are no joke.



www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017

This is my AMAZING sister-in-law, who is also a L&D nurse. She was incredibly helpful throughout my entire stay at the hospital.



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Push time!!


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At 7:52pm, Miss. Ashley Grace was born at 4lbs 12oz and 18.5in long.



www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017 www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring ©2017

Mama snuggles are the best!



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Seth walking with Ashley down to the NICU.


Now I'm going to share Jamie's images from the day: 

(Photo credit to Jamie Romaezi Photography)


The kids came to see me before Ashley arrived. Tyler was REALLY uncomfortable with me being attached to tubes.


Looking at the menu of all of the food that I couldn't eat. The circled part on the back is the liquid diet menu. It was pretty sparse, so I decided to daydream about what I would eat once I had given birth.



Blaire doing her thing.



What's funny about this picture is that Ashley still (8 weeks later) almost always has her hands by her face. It's funny the habits that form that early on in life.



After Ashley was settled into the NICU, my parents brought me a pizza. I was so happy!!



After Ashley was born, I knew that she would need to go to the NICU, but I had no idea what that would feel like. I'll talk more about that in the next part of my series. Stay tuned!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Birth Fluttering Shutter Photography NICU Reston Hospital Center baby born contractions friends photography pictures pizza https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-3--birth Tue, 23 May 2017 23:53:31 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 2- Maternity https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-2-maternity Once the announcement was finished, we immediately began to talk about maternity portraits. This is my last baby and I had never done formal maternity portraits, so I wanted to make sure that I did them this time! Since I was due in May and we live in Northern Virginia, we discussed doing a maternity session that would be stunning local favorite: at the DC cherry blossoms! If you live in this area, you know how crazy the weather can be. So, the forecast was for a few more weeks of winter cold and then really warm, springlike weather in rapid succession. Our plan was to do some winter/snow maternity pictures and then do our spring/cherry blossoms. Because where else can you get both sets of images within a few weeks of each other, except Northern Virginia?! Of course, if you paid any attention to what happened in this area, you know that we had a massive cold front come through at just the wrong time and most of the blossoms died! We were so disappointed, but we WERE able to get our winter/snow maternity session in. I am so grateful to Kristen Abraham Photography for lending me one of her maternity dresses. None of the ones that I had available to me were what I was looking for because I really wanted something dark that would pop against the white snow. (Plus, having something with sleeves was helpful in the cold!!)

Throughout the blog, I wanted to talk a little bit about what it was like to be on the other side of the lens and what tips I would offer to women going to have their maternity portraits taken. 

First, I have to say that although I was self-conscious (there's a reason why I'm the one always behind the camera), it was SO helpful to have two people with me that I was comfortable with, and trusted to make me look as good as possible. Knowing their work and that they have the experience and knowledge to create beautiful portraits really made me much more comfortable.

So, tip #1: Find a photographer (or photographers) that you trust to make you comfortable and look good! And if nothing else, you guys will have fun!! 

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(Top image is Second Ave Photography; bottom image is Jamie Romaezi Photography)

Second, standing in the snow in a maternity dress was COLD after awhile! If I had to do it again, I would have an assistant close by to have my winter coat available when needed. 

Tip #2: Be aware of temperature and what your needs will be during the session. 

(Image above credited to Jamie Romaezi Photography.)

Third, I realized AFTER the session that I hadn't done anything with my fingernails. No polish, no filing, no even lengths, nothing. I also didn't touch up my roots! Ahhh! I didn't think anything of it at the time, but I definitely noticed in the final products! 

Tip #3: Take the time to pamper yourself before your session. Get your hair done, get a mani/pedi, have your jewelry cleaned, do what you need to do to present your best self.

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(Top images credited to Second Ave Photography, bottom images credited to Jamie Romaezi Photography.)

Fourth, I wore the wrong bra! 

Tip #4: Maternity dresses are form fitting for a reason, but you want to make sure that you're not going to have lines under your dress. This is important not only for your final product, but also so that your photographer doesn't have to spend time trying to get rid of those lines while they are editing!

(Image above credited to Jamie Romaezi Photography)

Finally, doing a maternity session was empowering! At the end, I felt beautiful and was really proud of my body for carrying this little life around! 

Tip #5: Just do it! You won't regret it!

(Top image: Jamie Romaezi Photography, Bottom image: Second Ave Photography)

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[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) DC Fluttering Shutter Photography Northern Virginia cherry blossoms maternity photographer photography snow tips https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-2-maternity Tue, 16 May 2017 13:17:01 GMT
A Pregnant Newborn Photographer's Journey- Part 1- Announcement https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-1 Welcome!

This blog series is about the journey that I have had as a pregnant photographer with two of my favorite people (and fellow photographers) helping me to document every step of the way. I hope you enjoy the story and the photography!

When I discovered I was pregnant this past fall, I felt quite a wide range of emotions. I was excited about having a new baby, but I was also a bit nervous. With 3 older children and being over 35, I knew that challenges were ahead. I was also in the midst of preparing to attend my very first work trip to a newborn photography conference in Atlanta, Georgia. I was planning this work trip with two women that I knew who are also local photographers, Blaire and Jamie. I wasn't particularly close with either one of them, but we seemed to get along pretty well. Because we were going to be traveling together, I wanted to make sure that they knew that I was pregnant. I didn't want an emergency to come up and them to NOT know, so I told them before I told most of the people in my life. I was 9 weeks pregnant and went to The Baby Summit with two women who (starting with that trip) would become two of my closest friends.

The Baby Summit

So proud to be at The Baby Summit with some of the best photographers in the world!!


The Baby Summit With my girls Jamie (left) and Blaire (right) posing at the photobooth.

In addition to the three of us attending The Baby Summit together, we are also a part of a community called The Rising Tide Society that believes in community over competition. The photography community can be pretty unforgiving when it comes to trying to befriend your peers, but it doesn't have to be that way. We are all able to offer our own style and twist on things so that we can all find the clients that are great fits for us. One of the benefits of having two of your favorite local photographers also become two of your best friends is that you KNOW that you have plenty of photographs coming your way when you have a big life event, like pregnancy, happen.

SO, I knew that I wanted to do something fun to announce our last and final baby. As a photographer, I have seen an endless amount of pregnancy announcements. There are some that are SUPER creative and others that are very simple. We wanted to include our older children and didn't want to do anything too crazy. Blaire (of Second Ave Photography) did a great job giving us a simple, yet perfect pregnancy announcement session. This was a super fast session that got everything we wanted. Kudos to Blaire for being an amazing (and efficient) photographer! Here's one of my personal favorites, but you can also check out the official slideshow announcement that I made below:

www.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring © 2016 secwww.secondavephotography.com | blaire elizabeth ring © 2016 secPregnancy Announcement

Pregnancy Announcement

After making that announcement on social media, I knew that we were going to be sending out holiday cards. I send holiday cards to my clients every year, so I try to also send them to our friends and family. As photographers, we will sometimes trade photography sessions with each other, especially around the fall. I took family portraits for Jamie and she took some for us! (Photo credit goes to Jamie Romaezi Photography.) Here are a few of my favorites from that session.

Family Session Family Session Family Session Family Session Family Session

All of the images captured by Blaire and Jamie are gorgeous, but I'm only showing you a few from each session. Throughout this blog series, I'll talk a little bit about what it's like to have three different photographers all collaborating about the same sessions, but with different styles and approaches. I hope that you'll come back and enjoy the rest of the series!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography The Baby Summit The Rising Tide Society announcement family journey newborn photography pregnancy https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/5/a-pregnant-newborn-photographers-journey--part-1 Wed, 10 May 2017 01:08:46 GMT
Shoot & Share Contest Results! https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/3/shoot-share-contest-results As many of you know, in January of this year I entered a photography contest via Shoot & Share. Last year, I only entered a few images because I was nervous about how I would do. Out of 8 images that I entered last year, this one got top 30% in its category. It made it 4 rounds out of 10 and placed 3,872nd out of 17,751 images entered into the Families category. I felt so honored that one of my images placed at all, considering the competition!

To give you some background on this shot, this is one of my best friends since college, her husband and their daughter. We had just wrapped up their family session at Morven Park and I turned around to see this happening. I immediately snapped away and caught this beautiful moment. I love the way that my eye goes from their daughter to their moment together as a couple. It's still one of my favorite images to this day! 

For this years contest, I decided to go for it! You're allowed to enter up to 50 images, so that's what I did. I selected images that meant something to me or that I thought showcased my best work. The thing about this contest is that there are truly some amazingly talented photographers who enter. Their work is exquisite, so to be put into a contest side by side with them is both amazing and humbling. Here are all of my images that placed in the top 30% or better, with some background about each image. I hope you enjoy them! 


This shot was a part of my magical mini-sessions back in March of 2016. I've photographed this little girl for a long time and she just keeps getting more and more beautiful! It made it to round 6 of 12 and ranked 5,578th out of 23,969 images entered into the Children: Kids/Teens category.


Many of you probably remember this shot that I captured back in October of 2016. This beautiful girl was so sleepy and happy throughout our entire session, and for about 2 minutes she woke up in this setup and shot me this look. She happily went back to sleep afterwards, but this face is priceless and I will always adore this portrait of her. It ranked 4,574th out of 18, 536 images entered into the Newborn category and made it to round 6 of 12.


Black&White-Portrait-Purcellville-Virginia This is a familiar face (and will continue to be in this blog post). As most of you know, it's my (current) youngest child. I photograph her quite a bit because I'm almost always with her, so she gets to be my subject more often than my other children. This is one of the images that inspired me to do an entire mini-session day around this type of shot. It's simple and really focuses on the child themselves, instead of everything else around them. It helps that she's pretty beautiful all on her own.....not that I'm biased or anything ;) This image made it to round 7 out of 12 and placed 4,491st out of 23,969 images entered into the Children: Kids/Teens category.


Baby-Gangster-Purcellville-Virginia-Fluttering-Shutter-Photography This is my nephew during his 6 month session with me. (No, he wasn't actually standing on his own at 6 months, this is the power of Photoshop!) I love this image because I feel like he looks like a little New York mobster, when in reality, he is the sweetest, most smiley baby that I know. This image made it to round 7 of 12 and placed 3,943rd out of 22,953 images entered into the Children: Babies/Toddlers category.



Here she is again! This shot was actually taken while I was location scouting in October of 2016. I was checking out Claude Moore Park in Sterling, Virginia and fell in love with this little path because the colors were gorgeous. Whenever I look at this image, I think about how glad I am that you can't see that her shoes are on the wrong feet! She isn't always in the mood to model, but when she wants to, the camera loves her! Out of 23,969 images in the Children: Kids/Teens category, this image placed 3,368th.



This shot of my son jumping into a lake at his grandparents house in Minnesota always makes me smile. He can swim, but not for long periods of time, and a lake versus a clear pool made this mama nervous. Because of that, he was in "floaties" the whole time he was in the water, but it made both of us feel confident about him being in the water because we knew he was safe. Watching him jump into the lake over and over and over and OVER again was such a joy and I am so glad that he loves the water! This image was entered into the Children: Kids/Teens category and made it to round 7 out of 12. It placed 2,980th out of 23,969 images.



This shot was taken about a year ago during one of our last snowfalls. I had received this coat as a hand-me-down and immediately thought of how pretty it would look against a snowy background. I cut off the image towards the bottom of the coat so that you couldn't see her jeans and her pink princess snow boots! Out of 17,751 images entered into the People Portraits category, this image placed 2,909th and made it to round 7 out of 12.



This was another location scouting shot with one of my dear friends Blaire at Second Ave Photography. We went to Rust Sanctuary in Leesburg because, as most photographers are, I'm obsessed with finding tall grass and my favorite locations had mowed all of theirs down! It was FREEZING the day that we went, so underneath that blanket, she was wearing lined pants, snow boots, a shirt, a sweater and a coat! Needless to say, it was a short trip! This image made it to round 8 in the Children: Kids/Teens category and out of 23,969 images, it placed 1,820th.



Who can resist toddlers in tap shoes?! My youngest is also in this shot (she's in the polka dotted, ill-fitting tights), but I wanted this image to just capture their tiny little shoes and the adorable barre that they got to use at Bella Ballerina in Leesburg. This image was entered into the Personal Work category and made it to round 9, placing 872nd out of 11,400 images!


This image was my best placed image for the entire contest. It ranked 740th out of 8,304 images entered. It's amazing to me because, as you all know, I am not an engagement/wedding photographer. I shot this image for one of my other best friends' engagements, also at Morven Park. The flowers are always immaculate there, but I loved this particular one because of its gorgeous colors.

Next year, my goal is to again enter 50 images and to have even more images place in the top 10% and/or be in the Finalist category. Make sure that you check out the contest next year because the images are truly works of art! Also, be sure to keep an eye on my page and let me know when you think my shot should be included in next years contest!



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) bella ballerina claude moore park contest family fluttering shutter photography kids leesburg loudoun county minnesota morven park newborn photography photoshop purcellville ring rust sanctuary shoot and share sterling teens virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/3/shoot-share-contest-results Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:12:28 GMT
Time Goes By https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/3/time-goes-by Hello all!

As most of you know, I'm currently pregnant with my 4th baby (3rd girl). I will hit 32 weeks on Wednesday and, I have to say, this pregnancy feels like it has FLOWN by. Pregnancy is funny that way though, because in the first trimester and even the beginning of the second, time seems to drag on forever. You wait nervously through until the first 12 weeks are over so that you feel "safe" in your pregnancy. Then you wait until you "pop" and actually look pregnant. Then you wait until you feel those first little movements. Then you wait to find out the sex of your little one. Then you wait until you get to hold them in your arms. Pregnancy is a LOT of waiting, but as you get closer to the end, it seems that time is flying so fast that it's hard to keep up!

Now, this is a blog for my photography and not pregnancy, but all of this contemplation of time really had me thinking about the importance of capturing moments as they come along. While I'm waiting for this baby to be born, my other three children are continuing to grow and thrive and I don't want to forget how fast they're doing it. I don't want to miss a single moment. However, being heavily pregnant can make it hard to chase them around and take more candid shots of them, so I decided to do a really simple setup and photograph them as they are. 

The thing I love about these portraits is that it shows multiple sides of their personalities. For example, here's Lily. She's the oldest and most reserved of the three. She loves to read and is a gamer. She also has this silly side that peeks out to say hello. 


Then we have Tyler. He is my full of life child, who can barely sit still long enough for me to get some good portraits of him, but sometimes he REALLY wants to be in my photographs. He is always a ham and his personality shines through into every image I can capture of him. Tyler is truly one of the kindest children that I have ever known.

Finally, we have Elena. She has days where she ROCKS being in front of the camera and other days, she's just not interested. Such is the life of trying to photograph a 4 year old, I guess. Elena is definitely a child of her own mind. She has her own opinions and is not afraid to share them. On the other hand, she is almost always a people pleaser and KNOWS how cute she is.


All of my children are unique and amazing (not that I'm biased or anything), and I am so happy that I caught each side of their personalities in a super simple setup in my house. But then the question became, what am I going to DO with these images? That's when I decided that I wanted to do a wall collage in our home. I think that I am going to do the collage on one of the larger wall spaces that we have at the top of our stairs and not in our bedroom, but here is the layout.

Bedroom interior.Bedroom interior.Modern bedroom interior. Frontal view. 3d render. (Disclaimer- This is NOT my bedroom. I am heavily pregnant and have three other children. There is nowhere in my house that is this clean and empty.)


I know that I will have to add more images of our littlest, once she is older and can show off her personality a little more besides all of the kicking and punching, but I'm okay with waiting to add her to the group. This wall grouping will not be a cheap update, but I think that it's an important investment. I truly feel that children benefit from seeing pictures of themselves up on the walls of their home. I am willing to save up to buy all of these in heirloom quality canvas, so that they will last for years to come and someday, I can give them to my children or my grandchildren to hang up on the walls of their home. 

After I had this all planned out I wanted to offer YOU something like this, too. That being said, Fluttering Shutter Photography is introducing Luxe Mini-Sessions: Simple and Stunning Portraits. They will take place on March 18th starting at 10am at my home in Purcellville. Each session will cost $50 and be 10 minutes long. After our session we'll set up a date and time to look over all of your portraits so that we can design a personalized display of your stunning child.

Here is what we can do for YOUR home!


There are only 5 spots available, so book soon!


Have any questions? You can post them here or contact me directly. Let's chat about capturing the beauty of your children!



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Purcellville canvas children family photography portraits pregnant https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/3/time-goes-by Wed, 08 Mar 2017 22:45:00 GMT
Momtographer Monday- One more thing about gear https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/momtographer-monday--one-more-thing-about-gear I had a thought this past week that continues the idea of it not being about your gear, so I wanted to make sure to share it with you all:

When you're a broke college student, sometimes all you have is a microwave or an iron and ironing board or even a hotplate. You usually can't afford to buy the "fancy" groceries and end up buying Ramen, bread, cheese, milk, etc. Just the basics to ensure that you have food in your stomach. But you know what's amazing about that time? You become really creative in using what you have. Would it be nice to go to Harris Teeter and spend $200 on groceries? Yes, but as a poor student, that's just not in your budget. So sometimes you take that bread and cheese and make grilled cheese sandwiches using your iron/ironing board (if you have NOT done this, you are missing out). If you had some extra money that week and got yourself some lettuce and tomatoes, you get to add those onto your sandwich! 

So, what does this have to do with photography?

It just goes to show you that you don't need the best gear to take great shots and sometimes you just have to be creative with what you have! How is that homework coming? Do you guys have any questions?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Camera analogy creative gear photography shots https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/2/momtographer-monday--one-more-thing-about-gear Tue, 07 Feb 2017 00:45:00 GMT
Momtographer Monday: Homework https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-homework No, this isn't a blog about doing homework with your kids. This is homework for YOU! 

I assume that you are reading this blog because you want to become a better photographer, so today's Momtographer Monday post is about how you can do that. I've spent the past few weeks talking about how to take better photographs and what to think about when you're taking pictures, but this week I want to take a step back. 

For your homework, I want you take at least one picture of your favorite subject. It can be your kids, your pets, your plants, your shoes, whatever you want it to be! Then I want you to look at it and answer the following questions:

1) What do you like about your image?

2) What do you dislike about your image?

3) What do you think you can do differently next time? (And if you don't know the answer to this one, write it in the comments section and we can figure it out for next time!)

Feel free to post your images below along with your answers to the questions! :) Have a great week everyone!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-homework Tue, 31 Jan 2017 01:19:13 GMT
Momtographer Monday: Why Your Camera Is NOT All That Matters https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-why-your-camera-is-not-all-that-matters I want to talk to you all today about your camera. It doesn't have to be the best and most expensive equipment around, I promise. You can have the best camera and lenses on Earth and still take a crappy picture. Conversely, you can have a really simple point and shoot or your phone and take a great picture. It's truly about the knowledge BEHIND the lens that makes the image amazing. That's one of the reasons that I started this blog. I want people to understand what it takes to make a beautiful image, and also understand that the camera is not the primary cause of that beauty.

When I first started out, I was using a Canon Rebel t3i with a kit lens (18-55mm). All that means is that I got a basic DSLR camera and just used the lens that came with it. I left the camera on Auto and went to town! During that time, I got some really cute shots of my kids that were high quality images like this one: 


My husband still says that this is one of his favorite shots ever, but years on and quite a bit of education later, I find myself only seeing the fact that I used the on-camera flash, which gives it harsh shadows. 

As my love for photography progressed, I got new lenses and really dedicated time to learning about my camera and lighting. I worked to improve my photography and asked for feedback from photographers that I know and respect. Over time, I feel like my photography has improved significantly. Do I feel like I have work left to do? Absolutely. I will never stop learning about how to be a better photographer. I will continue to invest in professional grade equipment, but that's because this is my job. You can take fantastic pictures with any camera if you take the time to invest in learning HOW to take a great picture.

As a final thought, please bear this blog post in mind when you have a professional take your portraits. It's disheartening for a professional photographer to hear the words "Your camera takes great pictures!" Because the reality is, our camera does what we tell it to do and our extensive training and knowledge is what makes the images beautiful. Saying something like that to a professional is the equivalent of saying something like "Your kitchen makes great meals!" Just food for thought :)

Did you enjoy today's blog? What else do you want to learn about?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Canon Fluttering Shutter Photography camera photography pictures https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-why-your-camera-is-not-all-that-matters Mon, 23 Jan 2017 14:30:00 GMT
You Are Beautiful https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/you-are-beautiful For those of you who are new to the blog, welcome to Fluttering Shutter Photography! I'm a maternity/newborn/children, family photographer in Loudoun County, Virginia. That being said, this is coming from a photographers perspective, but it is (more importantly) coming from the perspective of a mom. 

As many of you know, I'm currently in my second trimester of pregnancy with baby #4. Being someone who is on Facebook quite a bit, I'm in a mom group for women who are having babies in 2017 and another mama-to-be posted this morning asking if it was "terrible" if she didn't get maternity pictures done. I wrote out a response, but I wanted to share it wider because I think it's important for ALL mamas. But in order for me to be able to tell you what I think, it's important for you to know a little bit more about ME, personally. This is a more personal post than my usual blogs, so it's a little bit harder to write, but I really do feel passionately about the subject, so I'm willing to share. This is my husband and I pre-marriage and pre-babies. I was 5'4 and 125 pounds. Oh, to be that young (and skinny) again! 

In 2007, I got pregnant with our first child, Lily. I have about 5-7 pictures of me pregnant with her, but this one means the most because we're standing with my grandparents, who have both since passed. This is at about 7 months pregnant.

I remember being pregnant with her and thinking "Wow, this body is so amazing! Look at this cute belly that I have!" I remember feeling her move for the first time. I remember WATCHING her move in my belly for the first time. I remember being pregnant with her and being PROUD of what my body could do. When she was born, I felt amazing. But who wouldn't with a perfect little newborn like her??

Fast forward through some hard times getting pregnant (I'll save that for another day) and I got pregnant with our son, Tyler. While being pregnant with him, I STILL felt like I was in awe of what my body could do, but I also knew that I was overweight and wasn't entirely comfortable showing off my body. Even though I felt incredibly blessed to BE pregnant after trying for so long, I was still having a hard time with my self-esteem. This is one of the very few images I have of me pregnant with him. (This is at 35 weeks. Please excuse the bathroom selfie.)

At this point in my life, I had started to take an interest in photography and really began to see the value in having pictures taken. Why? Because when Tyler was just a few weeks old, my grandmother passed away. I have a single picture of his foot in her hand because she had had multiple strokes. I don't know if she even knew that it was the foot of her great-grandson that she was holding onto, but that picture means the world to me. I felt it was so important to start capturing moments that I had some not-quite newborn portraits for Tyler and Lily done. This one is one of my favorites and I am so grateful to Emily Law at Flom Designs and Photography for getting this shot (and all of the others)!!

When Tyler was about 8 months old, we found out that we were pregnant with our third child, Elena. I was still nursing, had just started to get back into working out and was really trying to lose some of the baby weight. Even though I was really excited, I was also really uncomfortable because I KNEW that it would be harder to achieve my weight goals while being pregnant. So, I just took care of myself and tried to enjoy my pregnancy. (Here I am at 9 months pregnant with her. Note the Canon Rebel t3i WITH the pop-up flash!)

Elena was born about 2 weeks after this picture was taken and I was so happy to have her, but I was still REALLY unhappy with my weight and I was really looking forward to getting back into shape. In the meantime, I practiced my photography on her because I wanted pictures, but I couldn't justify the cost.

Now 9 years later pregnant with #4, I was 160lbs pre-pregnancy. I don't have any maternity pictures....YET. I WILL do maternity pictures this time around because this is DEFINITELY our last baby and because I have an even greater appreciation for pictures now. (And I solemnly swear that I will post those maternity pictures and newborn pictures everywhere, even if I feel huge.) I've learned a few things in the 9+ years that I've been on this motherhood journey and I want to share them with you:

Far too often we, as mothers, don't get into pictures because we don't like the way that we look. But you know what? Our kids don't care about our gray hair, or our extra 15lbs (or if you're me, 35 extra.....), or our messy hair or no make-up. They care about seeing pictures of US with them. And even more importantly? They'll care about having those pictures when you're gone.

Remember when I said that the image that I have of my husband and I with my grandparents is so completely special to me? It's special to me because all that I have left of them are a few physical objects, memories and photographs. Those moments will never happen again. NONE of these moments will ever happen again. All of those bellies of mine? Each one was different. All of those newborn features? Gone. They're all big kids now:

Look, I totally get feeling like a land whale, especially when pregnant, because I feel that way too sometimes, but how often are you going to do this? I didn't do professional maternity/true newborn pictures with any of my other children and now, I regret it. Tyler was the only one that got professional images of him taken as an almost-newborn (he was about 6 weeks old).

I KNOW that professional photography isn't cheap. There are TONS of reasons for that, but one of the most important ones is that being a professional means having experience. That experience comes with knowing how to pose a woman who is self-conscious about her weight in such a way that it truly shows off her beauty and not her weight. It comes with knowing how to pose a newborn in such a way that they are 100% safe and comfortable. There are a variety of reasons to choose a professional photographer (you can read more about that here), but I understand that it isn't always a financial priority. If you can't afford a professional photographer, I'd be happy to talk to you about how to take better pictures at home. You can even follow my Momtographer Mondays blog posts, if you don't want to reach out directly to me. If you WANT a professional photographer, I'll gladly help you find someone who is a perfect fit for you, even if it's not me.

I wish that I could show each of my children every moment of their lives before they could remember, but I can't go back in time. With this pregnancy, I'm blessed to have wonderful photographer friends and to be able to have newborn images done by myself and others, but even if I wasn't a photographer, I'd urge every mama to get portraits done. BE IN YOUR PICTURES! Show your children that you were present with them during their childhood. We often have tons of photographs of our children and a bunch of them with one parent, but mamas are usually taking the picture because sometimes it's the easiest place to hide. Stop being afraid! You.Are.Beautiful!! Your children deserve to see your gorgeous face smiling next to theirs for years and years to come. You are only pregnant with them once and they are only teeny tiny for so long. Capture those moments! Show them how small they once were! They deserve it and so do you

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Virginia children mama maternity momtographer momtographer mondays newborn photography pregnancy pregnant weight https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/you-are-beautiful Tue, 17 Jan 2017 18:28:45 GMT
Momtographer Monday: How To Use Props https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-how-to-use-props Even if you're not photographing people professionally, you can still incorporate props. You don't even have to spend a bunch of money investing in them, because you likely have things that will be perfect for a "session" right in your own home! Today I want to talk about what you can use around your house that can act as props for a quick photoshoot with your kids.


Chairs/Swings: Child sized chairs are perfect for sessions for a few reasons- 1) It gives very specific direction to the child by saying "Okay, can you sit here for a minute?" Simple, direct, easy to follow direction. 2) It adds something to the image without overwhelming your subject. 3) It's something that you likely already have sitting around the house, but if you don't, a friend or a neighbor probably has one that you can borrow! Swings can be a bit trickier because kids tend to want to, well, swing. However, if you have an older toddler/preschooler who knows how to sit still (even for the 1-2 shots you want), they can work really well. PLUS, they can be rewarded by some playtime immediately after sitting for a portrait.


H Family-Sisters-Sterling

Blankets: Blankets are great because you can (again) give your child(ren) really simple direction to sit on the blanket or lay down on the blanket. When choosing a blanket, try to find one that isn't shiny or too busy. An exception to this rule are quilts. Quilts, especially ones that are heirlooms for your family, are perfect additions to your photos because they offer something personal and timeless to your images. Also, don't overlook your child's blanket. Their blankets are great for at least these two reasons: 1) Your child will feel more comfortable simply because their blanket is in their hands 2) Their blanket is something that you will forever associate with your child. Thirty years from now, you'll remember exactly what that blanket looks like. They are a part of their childhood and what better reason do you need to photograph it?


Toys: This is my oldest daughter when she was about 5 months old. She LOVED that exersaucer. On that day, when I tried to take her out of it and lay her down, she screamed because she didn't want to be out of it. Does  your child have a favorite toy or lovey? Again, this creates comfort for your child and gives them something to focus on. You want a toy that isn't going to be distracting in the image, but will ADD to it.


Christmas Tree: The Christmas tree is a favorite backdrop for pictures of your children. It marks another year of their life and it is always amazing to watch the progression of images from one Christmas to the next. When photographing your children in front of the tree, have them sit about 2-3 feet in front of it to try to make the lights pop a little bit more. You can also take pictures of them hanging ornaments or "finding" ornaments on the tree. Kids are almost always in awe of the Christmas season. If you're going to do holiday setups with your child, please read my blog about safety first.



Leaves: These images are from when I got my very first DSLR and was still very much a momtographer. The leaves always remind me of what time of year it was and it made the images so much more fun because the kids (and my husband) had something to play with. The only caveat that I have with using leaves (especially because I live in the Northern Virginia area) is that after doing any playing in leaves/tall grass/woods, please make sure to do tick checks!


I left the leaves picture for last because I wanted to say this: Your images don't have to be professional quality. They don't have to have tons of editing or perfect lighting or cropping. They need to be of things that you love in moments that make you happy. There are at least 5 things that I would point out as being technically wrong in the image above, but when I look at their smiling faces? My Mom-heart doesn't care a bit and I smile away.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Blankets Chairs Christmas Leaves Mom Momtographer Northern Virginia Props Swings Virginia children https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-how-to-use-props Mon, 16 Jan 2017 23:45:00 GMT
Scheduling Your Portrait Session https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/scheduling-your-portrait-session Hello again! I wrote this blog a year ago, but I think that it's SO important that I decided to tweak it a little bit and repost it. Enjoy!


It's the very beginning of a brand new year, so I wanted to talk to all of you about when you should be scheduling your sessions. The answer varies depending on the type of sessions, so I've broken it down a bit according to which session you are booking.


D Family-Sterling

Holiday Cards:

If you are looking to have portraits done for your holiday cards, I recommend that you follow the "Early Booking Rule". What I mean by that is that you should book approximately 4-6 months prior to when you will need your portraits available to use. Fall (especially fall in the DC metro area) is an exceedingly popular time for family portraits. Find your photographer and book them early. If you can book them in February for an October session, do it. This ensures you a spot on the photographers calendar and makes it one less thing that you have to remember during the hustle and bustle of the beginning of the school year! Please keep in mind that because fall is the most popular time for sessions to occur, you may have a harder time booking with your favorite photographer if you procrastinate. Every year I see people posting on Facebook mid-November desperate to find a photographer for their holiday photos and by that time, most Loudoun County photographers are booked solid. So, do yourself a favor and book EARLY. If something comes up and you can't make that specific date, your photographer will likely be able to work with you a little bit, since you were already on the books. However, if you know that you can't do October 15th because it's your Great Aunt Tilly's 90th birthday party, don't book that date just to have a date booked. Pick a date that you're pretty sure will work and go from there.


Maternity Sessions:

I prefer to have maternity sessions done around 28-32 weeks. Your belly is usually showing enough to photograph beautifully and you usually have enough energy to do an hour long session. Try to book these sessions when you're between 24 and 26 weeks. It will give your photographer time to plan your session and discuss the details with you. I've done sessions with women that were anywhere from 24 weeks to 39 weeks and 1 day. Baby bellies are beautiful, no matter how far along you are. 


Newborn Sessions:

Photographers vary on when people should book their sessions, but for me, I like to have your newborn session booked prior to delivery. This is the easiest way to definitely be on my schedule for our session. If you decide to do a newborn session after the birth of your little one, I recommend that sessions take place before they are two weeks old. Why is that? Newborns have just emerged from a very small, very secure space where they have been all curled up and warm. They are the most flexible and the most sleepy directly after their birth.

As a photographer, I am looking for them to be content, sleepy and flexible during our session. Can I photograph them without them being content, sleepy and flexible? Yes, but we may not be able to get the newborn images that you are looking for. Can babies still be content, sleepy and flexible outside of that two week age? Yes, but it's less likely. Will I still work with you if your baby is over two weeks old? YES! We will still be able to capture beautiful images, regardless of their age. If you're struggling with picking a newborn photographer, read this blog post, as it has some advice for how to choose. 

** For boys, specifically, if they are being circumcised, I prefer to do their sessions at least 3-5 days after this procedure. It is more comfortable for them to be on their bellies when they have had some time to heal. 


Children and Family Sessions:

Family sessions definitely follow along with the early booking rule. Children's sessions may require the early booking rule, but they may also be flexible. It depends on the purpose of the session. Do you need some tips for your family session? Read this blog post.


The bottom line is that you should always try to book your sessions early. By doing so, you are able to secure your spot in your photographer's schedule and you (and your photographer) are able to prepare for the session in terms of both planning and finances. 

I hope that this has given you some good guidelines for planning for your portraits this year and I'm looking forward to all of the beautiful moments that we are going to capture together! 



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Leesburg Loudoun County Sterling birth booking children family holiday maternity newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/scheduling-your-portrait-session Fri, 13 Jan 2017 00:45:00 GMT
1k Giveaway! https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/Big-News Hello all!

I started my business officially in 2014, but I was working a regular office job full-time simultaneously. It was in August of 2015 that I officially made photography my full-time job and I haven't looked back! I have had the honor of taking a multitude of portraits in Loudoun County and I am so excited to see where this journey takes me in the future.

As most of you probably know, Facebook can be a great resource for small businesses and "Likes" matter. When you click on a business' Facebook page, if there are very few "likes" on it, you probably think that it's either a newer business or that maybe they're not who you're looking for. That is why I am so pleased to announce that my 2017 started off with me hitting 1,000 likes on my Facebook page!! 

In honor of hitting this milestone, I want to say THANK YOU to my amazing clients and supporters. And I'm not just going to say thank you, I'm going to have a giveaway! Here's what you have to do:

1) Comment on this blog post telling me why photography is important to you 

2) Share this blog post

3) Tag a friend on Facebook who might be interested. The more people you tag, the more entries you get in the raffle!

You must do all three things to have an entry into the raffle! And if you haven't, make sure to "like" my page to ensure that you'll see who the winner is!

Do you want to know what the prizes are?



Third Place: A $75 print credit when a 2017 session is booked*


Second Place: 25% off of a session in 2017 AND a $100 print credit*


GRAND PRIZE: A free session in 2017 AND a free 16x20 Canvas*


The contest will end on 1/15/17 at 10pm. Good luck!!

* All prizes are valid through 12/31/17. Prints, products and digitals are not included in session fees.


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Facebook Fluttering Shutter Photography Giveaway Loudoun County https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/Big-News Tue, 10 Jan 2017 01:57:14 GMT
Momtographer Mondays: Angles https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-mondays-angles Remember when your babies were starting to crawl and everything suddenly seemed like a death trap? The thing you probably heard at least once or twice was "Get down on their level to see what they see and what they can get to." Well, I'm here to tell you that this advice applies to photography as well. If they're laying on the floor, lay on the floor with them. If they're standing up, try to be eye level with them. It will help you to see things from their perspective and it will help to increase the chances of eye contact.

Now with that being said, it's also okay to shoot things from interesting angles. For example, if they climb high up on the playground, it's okay to take a shot from below. It makes for an interesting image! Drawing your viewers eye to your subject is a key aspect of photography, so the angle that you shoot your subject from is really important.

Here's an example of shooting up at my subject. It shows that he's higher up on the playground, but I'm also not looking up his nose :)

Huge Smile Here is a good example of shooting from overhead. Your eye is drawn to her face and those gorgeous curls. Shooting from above also limits the background clutter that often shows up in straight on images. OverheadHere's a good example of an overhead shot. Your eye is drawn directly to her face and those gorgeous curls!

For photographing children, my biggest tip is to get down on their eye level. Kneel, lay down on the ground, sit, whatever you need to do. Shoot them from their level and you'll see things in a different perspective. Babies (think around 3 months old) are a little bit different because their eye level is SO low that I tend to photograph them from above with them looking up at me. Newborns are entirely different story because you have to take a variety of things into account when choosing the angle that you want to shoot from. Two big newborn angle tips are to not shoot up their nose and have the light coming down their face (but I'll talk more about light in another post).

At her level

Here, I got down on the floor with my oldest daughter to be on her level.


I have to preface this image with the fact that I still love this image. This is from my very first newborn session. My light could have been better and I should've avoided shooting "up her nose" because it draws attention to her nostrils and not leaving the attention on her overall gorgeous face.

Less than great light, up the nose

Here's a more recent newborn with better light and NOT shooting up her nose.

Better light, down the nose

This is what you can get if you get down to their level, when photographing children. Especially babies that aren't walking yet.

Contemplative Baby

For adults, especially those of us with curves, it's important to not shoot them straight on (arms at sides, straight legs, looking directly at the camera). This pose isn't flattering for any woman, but for those of us with a little extra to love, it's even more harsh. Now, I'm not Sue Bryce (Goddess of posing/photographing women everywhere), but in terms of how to angle your shots, always try to shoot from slightly above them. (I'm going to talk about posing more in another post.)

The lovely Jamie doesn't have to worry about hiding unwanted curves, but notice how her body is turned away from the camera, with her face turned towards the camera. This is a great angle for most women.

Lovely Jamie

The best tip that I can always give is to play with your angles and see what appeals to you. Photography is an art, so you should do what makes you happy!


Did you enjoy this weeks blog post? What else would you like to see me blog about in the future? Tell me in the comments below!



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) angles momtographer photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-mondays-angles Mon, 09 Jan 2017 23:15:00 GMT
Momtographer Monday: Getting Kids to Cooperate https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-getting-kids-to-cooperate In the photography world there's something called PCS (Photographers Child Syndrome). This is when our kids aren't cooperative because they're so used to being photographed and are D-O-N-E with us using them as models. It's real, ask my kids. Or just look at some of their pictures:

The Building Museum

Then, by some miracle, they can decide to cooperate and the images can be gorgeous. I'd love to say that this is because I'm just THAT good of a photographer, but in reality it's just because they decided to model for me.

Field Portrait

And that brings us to our first tip:

1) Let them lead you. When you want to take pictures of your kids, most of the time you want to capture them doing something that makes your heart melt: playing tea with their stuffed animals, sleeping while sucking their thumb, sitting NICELY with their siblings. Things that aren't seen everyday but are things that make you say "Awwww". The best way to photograph these moments is to not alert the kids to your presence. This is when it comes in handy to be constantly taking pictures, because they stop noticing it after awhile! If they don't want to sit nicely for your pictures, just let them play and photograph what you can. You'll be amazed at the simple shots that you can get that will still make your mommy heart melt.

Play Day

2) Bribery! This is an old trick that's been around forever because it can work! Bribery works best when you're trying to get them to sit for you for a specific shot. If you do use this trick, make sure that you can follow through. Don't promise to buy them a pony for cooperating if you're not, in a million years, buying them a pony. Your bribe can be something as simple as going to play afterwards or getting a treat. It doesn't have to be anything like getting a pony, but something that they will appreciate and look forward to.

3) Get them involved. Sometimes kids just need to feel like they are a part of something in order to want to participate in it. I will sometimes have kids who are less than enthusiastic about having pictures taken come over and be my assistant. I'll let them hold the camera with me and take pictures. They don't understand HOW to take pictures, but they like to pretend! I will also let the older kids help me to pose their family or siblings. Kids love to do this because it makes them feel important and sometimes they get to be goofy and pose their family in all kinds of strange ways. It relaxes them because then having their picture taken is just something fun to do and something that they get to participate in, rather than being forced to sit through.

4) Make them laugh! When you can get a child to laugh, you'll capture some beautiful moments. Sometimes kids need a joke, sometimes a silly face and sometimes they just need you to be goofy with them. You know your child better than anyone, so when you make them laugh, it's the perfect time to capture some images of them! Even if they're total goofball pictures, they're worth it and I promise that they'll make you smile for years to come.

Silly, laughing goofballs

I hope that these tips help you to take some great pictures of your children today! Do you want me to talk about something specific? Let me know in the comments!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2017/1/momtographer-monday-getting-kids-to-cooperate Tue, 03 Jan 2017 00:15:00 GMT
Momtographer Monday: The Importance of Light https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-monday-the-importance-of-light I struggled a bit with what topic to start with for this series, but I decided that I wanted to start with possibly the most important topic when it comes to photography. Although it may be surprising, your camera is NOT the most important thing when it comes to photography. (We'll talk about that in an upcoming blog.) Today, let's talk about light.

A well-lit image is a beautiful image. Sometimes those images are really dark with very little light. Sometimes those images are really bright and airy. Sometimes it's just perfectly balanced light. Regardless, the lighting of an image is possibly the most important part of the image. I can have a gorgeous model in a picturesque scene with amazing props and wardrobe but if I don't light it correctly, none of that matters. So, let's talk a little bit about how light can effect an image.

There are two situations where light can be particularly tricky: when it is really bright or really dark. When the sun is high in the sky, many people think that it's the perfect time to take pictures because there is a lot of light, but that's not always true. If you have your subject facing the sun, you're likely going to have squinty, closed eyes and a lot of details can be lost when you have too much light. But you also have problems when there is not enough light. You can get something called "noise" in your images. Noise is the grain that you see in darker images and it's not always a bad thing. Sometimes noise adds to the authenticity of the image but with too much noise, you lose details and it does't make for the prettiest picture. So what do you do? You're not always going to have great light, but I have a few tips that will help:

1) Open Shade. If you're somewhere outside, try to find something called open shade. Under a tree or a small roof. Shade your subject so that they're not squinting and you're not losing any details of the image. So, if your child is playing with sticks and you want to capture that moment, have them play in the shade for your pictures. 

(Shade is provided by a large tree overhead, with light coming in from the right.)


(Light is coming from the left via a large glass door and from above with skylights.)

2) Dappled Light. Beware the dappled light! Dappled light is that gorgeous thing that happens when light shines through things like leaves on a tree in gorgeous rays of light. This light is beautiful and can be amazing to photograph. However, it can also create strange patches on peoples faces and clothes. If you want to take pictures of someone in dappled light, you need to make sure that they are lit enough to see but shaded enough to not have a bright spot in the middle of their forehead.

(Light is coming through the trees off camera on the right side of the image. But the light just on the edge of her face, plus the small rays of light next to her make this one of my favorite images.)


3) Back lighting. When you're outside and don't have access to open shade, you can back light your subject. What that means is that you can put your subject between you and the sun. Having the sun at their back means that they're not squinting and you're not losing detail to too much light. You can run into the problem of having too little light and losing detail to noise, but you're much more likely to capture a great shot. In the image below, you can see large circles in front of her. These are called sun flares and can happen if there isn't enough shade in front of the lens. These can be tricky because they aren't always the look that you're going for. Luckily, this was a mom-snap, so it doesn't bother me!

(The light was REALLY bright that day. You can even see that she's still slightly squinting even though she's not facing the sun. But I loved how the light showed her crazy flyaways.)

4) Phone Helpers. Your phone can be amazingly helpful with light....sometimes. Personally, I have an iPhone 6. So, if I'm taking a picture, I can touch my subject on the screen and adjust the exposure by touching next to the sun that pops up on the screen before I take the picture. This is incredibly helpful when I don't have enough light, but want to avoid too much noise. You can also edit your images right on your phone to help with exposure. There are a variety of apps out there that can help you edit your photos even further, as well.

5) Light angles. When you're looking at your subject, pay attention to how the light is hitting them. Is it shading half of their face? Can you see everything that you want to see? Move around your subject and see where the light is the most flattering for both your subject and your image. I've often told people that one of the best things I've done to learn light is to take an apple, put it on my kitchen table and photograph it from multiple angles to figure out where the light looks the best. 

(Light is coming from a sliding glass door on the left of the image. I liked how calm the lighting looked on her face. The way that this image is lit is also really bringing attention to her nose, which was the focus of the image.)


So, those are 5 things about light that you should know, but it's in no way a comprehensive look at light when it comes to photography. We'll go over more things about light as time goes on, I assure you :) However, photography is art. Sure there are rules, but rules aren't always what makes things interesting. The important thing is to find the way that YOU love the light and go for it! The amazing Sue Bryce said "Find your light and you will find your style." Play with your camera, taking shots in different light around your home. If you learn more about lighting and use that knowledge when you take pictures, you quickly see improvements.


Was this blog helpful? What else do you want to learn about? Tell me in the comments! :)

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Light Photography Portrait backlight dappled light sun flares https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-monday-the-importance-of-light Tue, 27 Dec 2016 00:15:00 GMT
Momtographer Monday: Safety https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-monday-safety Today I want to talk to you guys about the dangerous things that I've seen floating around the internet recently. I've seen this article floating around Facebook and it describes these "fails" as "hilarious". However, as a professional photographer, I don't think that they're all hilarious. In fact, I think that many of them are downright dangerous. Sometimes even the best children/newborn photographers catch some great outtakes, but that doesn't make them a "fail"; just something funny to share. Here are some of the most concerning things I've seen in this particular article, but these images are all over the internet and I think it's important to share WHY these things are dangerous.

Wrapped in Electricity: We've all seen the pictures of the babies and toddlers wrapped in Christmas lights and gone "Awwww". Well, the reality is that those pictures are really dangerous. Let's think about it for a minute: People are letting their small children (most of whom are teething and biting into everything) hold onto a string of Christmas lights that are plugged in. Does this make sense to anyone? Plus, many strings of Christmas lights are lined with lead! Please don't try to take these pictures with your children.

Newborn Images: Let me preface this with the fact that I love Pinterest! There are some awesome ideas on there and it's great for inspiration. HOWEVER, there are also articles on there that encourage parents to DIY their pictures and some of those DIY ideas are really dangerous. So not only are they Pinterest fails, but they also put children in unsafe situations. This is especially true when it comes to newborn images. Newborn photographers, like myself, have spent countless time learning about newborn safety and practicing how to take certain images. Many of them are NOT single shot pictures. They are called "composites" because they are two or more images put together in Photoshop to result in one image at the end that looks like it was a single shot. A perfect example of a composite newborn shot is the images with the baby "holding" their head with their hands. This should ALWAYS be done with Photoshop and never as a single shot. Newborns are not strong enough to hold themselves up in that way and can easily fall over hurting themselves. If a newborn portrait on Pinterest looks simple enough, please at least consult with a professional before attempting it on your own. They will at least tell you if that picture is a composite or not. Better yet, hire a professional to capture beautiful images of your newborn!

Newborn Composite- Chin in Hands

Boxes, Shelves, Dump Trucks, Oh my!: There are pictures out there of babies in watermelons, actually sitting on shelves or laying on a dump truck. These are also dangerous. As a newborn and children's photographer, when I attempt anything like this with a child who cannot sit up/hold themselves up on their own, I always have someone either with their hands on them (mostly for babies) or standing within arms reach of them, just in case something goes wrong. That being said, these images are also not always what they seem. Those pictures of the babies sitting on a shelf with a teddy bear? That's done with the baby actually laying on the ground and the shelf is just propping their legs up. Those watermelon shots? Often composites where the baby wasn't actually in a watermelon, or at the very least, not in a watermelon that wasn't being held by an adult. The dump truck pictures? Also a composite image, plus there are a bunch of posers placed underneath the baby to give them stability. Even something as "simple" as a picture of a baby on a stack of books isn't always that simple.

The bottom line is that if you're unsure of how to take the images, please don't attempt them on your own. I know that it looks easy, I thought that it would be too! But the reality is that professionals spend a lot of time and money to learn how to take these images safely. The safety and comfort of your child is so important and I would hate to see a child get hurt in the name of an attempt at a cute picture.


Do you have any questions about this blog post? Have you ever had a Pinterest fail portrait session? Tell me about it in the comments!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Momtographer Monday Newborn Pinterest Safety photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-monday-safety Tue, 20 Dec 2016 00:15:00 GMT
Digitals: Are They Worth It? https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/digitals-are-they-worth-it Before I go any further with this post, let me put this disclaimer out there: I don't bash photographers who only give digitals. I don't bash clients who only want digitals. To each their own. I am NOT here to judge how other people run their businesses or purchase their art. This post is to explain what digitals are to me, as a photographer.

SO, why don't I include digitals? Because 9 times out of 10, it's what clients have been told to want, but most clients don't know what to do with digital images besides small prints. We live in a digital age and people are told to expect digitals from their photographers. Personally, I feel that after being able to provide the service of creating beautiful images with them, I want to help them continue on their path. I don't want to walk them part of the way and say "Ok, here's your CD. Good luck!" I want my clients to get high quality prints and products.


There are a few responses that I get when I tell people that I don't include digitals in my session fee:

1.) "But I want to print them for myself."

This is the most cited reason for wanting digital images, and there are a few responses to it.

Clients usually pay quite a bit to have a professional take their images, so seeing them printed on low quality paper with the wrong colors and cropping is a sad, sad sight. I want more for my clients. I want to help them design a beautiful wall with their images. I want to design an album that includes their favorite images for them. I want to take the guess work of design out of the equation. To me, that's a part of my job as their photographer: to provide them with art. 

Another reason why I don't provide digitals is because I know what usually happens to those digital images: Nothing. Sure, maybe a few images will be printed off for relatives, but then the CD/USB gets thrown into a drawer with the idea that they'll print more later. But life tends to get in the way and those images don't get printed off. By the time the Mommy guilt has really set in and the thought of "Man, I really should just print those pictures!", it's a year later and people realize that it's time to update their family portraits, so it's back to square one.

I can say this because I DO THIS. I have a husband, three (soon-to-be-four) kids, a dog, two cats, several rowdy fish, a small business and a LIFE to contend with. Printing my own pictures are not always a priority for me, and that is just a fact of my life. Even though I think that printing your images is VITAL, I forget to print my own because my to-do list is already ten miles long and adding just one more thing makes me a little crazy. 

Plus, we're human; we lose things. It's super easy to lose a CD. It's pretty hard to lose a 16x20 canvas that's hanging in your hallway. Just sayin'.

2.) "But I like having a CD as a back up, just in case."

Do you remember floppy discs? When was the last time you used one of those? I'm assuming that it wasn't any time recently. They're not usable anymore. CD's will go that way, too. Mac's already don't have CD drives on them. So at some point, you won't be able to use that digital media that all of your families images are on. Most photographers have your images backed up, so if anything was to happen to them, they're not lost forever. I've had a rare client tell me that they upload them to an offsite server and keep the USB in a safety deposit box. That is truly the only way that it makes sense to want all of your digital images, but even still, USB's will not be forever.

3.) "But I want ALL of my images."

When people want all of their images on digital media, what usually happens is that they print off their favorites and forget the rest (that is, if they get printed at all). Your photographer can give you dozens of images. In some, someone is making an awkward face. In others, the baby looks like they're about to cry. In still others, no one looks happy. So, why would someone want those images? What will people do with them? These are files that will sit on the disc or USB and never see the light of day, so why spend your money to purchase them?

4.) "But I want to post them onto Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, etc."

How many people remember MySpace? I do! I posted ALL of my images there thinking "Now I'll never lose them!" HA! I have no idea what my password and login for MySpace is now. And those pictures that I thought I had saved on there forever? Lost in the world of cyberspace. Social media is fantastic and we, as photographers, WANT clients to spread the word about how much they love our images, but that shouldn't be the primary way of sharing them with friends and family. Prints and products allow clients to see them every day in their homes and those last much longer than a Facebook post!


After all is said and done, I feel like I need to be clear, I do sell digitals to my clients. I know that people want them, but 100 years from now when their children's children's children want to see what their relatives looked like, I promise you that they're not going to pull out a CD drive to scroll through pictures. And you're not going to have your CD or USB framed and hanging on the wall. People will look through photo albums. They'll look at the framed portraits on their walls. They'll look at what is physically available to them. (I wrote a blog post a while ago about The Importance of Photographs, which is relevant here, as well.) Especially as a newborn photographer, it is so important that these images be available for decades to come. To me, printed photographs are SO much more valuable than digitals. They're not really for the clients, they're for the generations not yet born. So, everyone can decide for themselves if digitals are truly worth it, but to me? A printed image is worth everything.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Virginia Virginia digitals newborn photographer photography prints https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/digitals-are-they-worth-it Fri, 16 Dec 2016 00:15:00 GMT
Momtographer Mondays https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-mondays Hello!

Here at Fluttering Shutter Photography, I think it's so important that we have photographs of our loved ones. Of course I encourage hiring a professional (even if it's only on occasion), but no one can have a professional photographer follow them around 24/7 to document their lives. Even us professionals don't document every moment and we have to hire other photographers to take pictures of our families, too!

I'm calling the series "Momtographer Mondays" but it's not only for Moms. It's for anyone who wants to take better pictures without having to invest in a large amount of education. Each blog will be pretty short and basic. I wanted to create this blog because I used to be a "momtographer", which only means a Mom who loves to take pictures of their children/surroundings. I started with taking pictures with my cellphone and moved up to a Canon Rebel t3i. Now I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark ii, with a variety of lenses. HOWEVER, I got some great shots with my cellphone and some great shots with my Rebel. The camera matters SO much less than the knowledge behind it.

Regardless of the type of camera you have, I want you to be able to take better pictures and have a better understanding of how photography works. Agan, great photographs do not happen because of the camera alone. Having a great camera certainly helps, but the knowledge that goes into the art of photography itself is what can make the difference between an image that will sit on your cellphone forever and the image that will be printed and hung up in your home.

I want to help you understand things like angles, light and how to capture moments (not force them). Make sure to check out my new posts every Monday!

Is there something specific that you'd like to ask about? Leave me a comment below!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Momtographer Monday camera photographer photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/momtographer-mondays Tue, 13 Dec 2016 00:15:00 GMT
Location, location, location https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/location-location-location There are a few things that are important for a good portrait session, but one of the most important ones is location! There are so many options here in Loudoun County. We have beautiful historic towns, plenty of gorgeous open fields and we're close to Washington, D.C. as well! With such a large variety of options, it can be hard to decide on where to go, but one of my personal favorites is a lesser known location. It's Morven Park, which is right in Leesburg, Virginia. 

A little history about Morven Park: It was the home of Westmoreland Davis, the 48th Governor of Virginia. He purchased the Morven Park property in 1903 and was buried there in 1942. The meticulously groomed property is 1,000 acres with three museums and offers a variety of recreational programs. Morven Park relies on donations in order to maintain the property, which is one of the reasons why permits (and fees) are required of professional photographers to utilize the location for portrait sessions. 

There are several different locations that I personally love in the park for sessions, and I'll be sharing a few of them with you today!

My favorite spot has to be this gate. It frames people so nicely and is so beautiful to look at all on its own. Here are a few shots from different sessions there.


Behind the gate is a pretty popular spot for pictures as well: the brick steps. Its path creates great leading lines (lines in a photograph that lead the viewers eye to the subject or point of interest). Even if I don't use the leading lines, I love look of classic brick.



I also really enjoy photographing people by the mansion. There are stunning views of Leesburg and the pathway (again) has great leading lines. Plus, the lights add a special "pop" to the images. 


Morven is truly a hidden gem in Loudoun. It's beautifully maintained grounds are a perfect backdrop for gorgeous portraits. I'm proud to be a photography partner there and I will continue to showcase this gorgeous property for years to come! With the exception of my newborn clients (since I travel to their homes for those sessions), Morven is great for any kind of session!

Want to have YOUR portraits taken by Fluttering Shutter Photography at Morven Park? Contact me today to book your session!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Leesburg Loudoun County Morven Park Photography Virginia Washington, DC Westmoreland Davis newborn https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/12/location-location-location Mon, 05 Dec 2016 23:45:00 GMT
6 Tips To Having A Successful Newborn Session....Probably https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/11/10-tips-to-having-a-successful-newborn-session-probably Everyone wants those perfect newborn images. Getting your perfect little newborn to have their very best (and first) photo session is always the goal! You want the photographer to have a really easy time and you want to get all of those amazing newborn poses that you've seen other babies do. Trust me, we want those things, too! If you're still struggling to pick a newborn photographer, you can read my blog about it here. If you've already selected your newborn photographer and you read no further than this sentence, here's the one thing you need to know: Ask your photographer what they recommend. This is not going to be a be-all, end-all for how to get a perfect newborn session. Every baby is different and every photographer is different. These are just my recommendations to my clients to try to get as smooth a session as possible.


**I should note that these are only recommendations and you should do what  you are comfortable with.**


1- Breastfeeding- No spicy/new foods for 12-24 hours before. This can create a gassy and uncomfortable baby, which can lead to a crying, fussy, awake baby. Other foods that may cause fussiness are things like dairy and caffeine.

                                                      Gassy Baby

                                                 "Relieved Baby"

2-  Give a bath about an hour before the session, then lotion them up, if needed/wanted. Baths are a great way to get the baby warm and sleepy. Plus, they'll be fresh and clean for our session! Some babies peel quite a bit after they're born. Personally, I think it's so sweet because it's a part of their "newness" (made up but appropriate word), but some parents dislike the peeling skin. If you'd like to put lotion on their skin, this is not only a great way to continue the relaxation of the day, but it can also help calm the peeling skin. 


3- Try to hold off on feeding until just before the session. If you're not comfortable with that, that's okay! Again, this is only a recommendation. I recommend this to clients because babies who have a full tummy are sleepier and more content during the session. 

4- Avoid clothing that needs to be pulled over their head or is too tight. Clothes that button or have zippers ROCK! When the baby is in clothing that needs to be pulled over their head, they will often wake up during the changing process. With zippers or buttons, they are more likely to stay sleepy and content. Babies that are in clothing that is tight (or have on a tight diaper), get lines in their skin from the pressure. Try to have them in loose clothing for easy changing.

5- Have a pacifier on hand, even if they usually don't take one. If you are not going to use a pacifier with your baby, I won't force your baby to take one. The reason I recommend having one on hand is so that we can try to keep baby content for as long as possible. Babies tend to like to comfort nurse and a pacifier can help them to relax quickly and easily. 

6- Ask your photographer what they recommend and/or read their prep guide! I mentioned this in the beginning of my post, but I think it's so important that I'm mentioning it again. Your photographer will have their own recommendations (but most of us have the same general recommendations) and it will help your photographer if you read their prep guide or ask them what they recommend. We want you to not only have a fantastic session, but to also get gorgeous images of your newborn. 


As newborn photographers, we photograph babies for a living. We give you these recommendations because these are the things that we have found to work the most often. As previously stated, you should only do what you are comfortable with, because this is YOUR baby. Only you and your partner are in charge of your babies health. We, as your photographer, are there to capture beautiful images of your baby, but we will be happy to guide you towards as easy a session as possible.

With all of that being said, you can follow all of these recommendations to the letter and your baby could still be fussy or uninterested in modeling for the day. It happens! We know it and you certainly don't have to apologize for it. Babies run the show and we can only guide them. Stay tuned for more tips on having a great newborn session!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/11/10-tips-to-having-a-successful-newborn-session-probably Fri, 04 Nov 2016 00:15:00 GMT
Why I Love Butterflies https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/10/why-i-love-butterflies I love butterflies.

I know, I know, you're shocked. ;) 

What you may NOT know is the why of my love for butterflies and I'm going to tell you because I feel that it's important to share personal things, even when they're hard to share.

I grew up an only child to two loving parents in a safe, happy home in Fairfax County, Virginia. My childhood was fairly normal except for one aspect: I was bullied. A LOT. I had a bad haircut with brushed out curls (big no no), acne and braces. (I promise that I looked for a picture. I couldn't find one.....or they've all been mysteriously "lost" over the years.) Anyway, I was also super sensitive, which wasn't the best trait to have at that time. I wasn't pushed and shoved (thankfully), but I was called a large number of nasty names and regularly ended my day crying. The adults in my life weren't sure how to handle it. Remember, this wasn't the anti-bullying world of today, this was 20+ years ago (man, I'm super old!).

To give you an example of the bullying that I went through, picture this: My entire class is in the library and it's my birthday. I had a vague hope that people would be nice to me because, well, it was my BIRTHDAY! So, my biggest tormentor came up to me and handed me a present wrapped and everything! In my innocent little head I thought that maybe, just maybe, he had had a change of heart! I was so excited! By now the whole class is paying attention, because they KNOW that this kid is never nice to me, so they're all curious. I open the present with a huge smile on my face to find....a flea collar. Devastation. I was crushed. Totally and completely crushed. I don't remember anything else that I got for that birthday, but I'll tell you that I remember that moment as clear as day 20+ years later. 

So, that's how my elementary school years went. I was the girl who was picked on and learned what "frenemies" meant before it even had that name. I had kind of resigned myself to being an outcast.

One day, we were watching a video about how caterpillars are transformed into butterflies and that same bully stood up and said that it looked like me. Not the butterfly part, but when the chrysalis is brown and bumpy and kind of gross looking. My fourth grade teacher pulled me aside that day and said "You are making a mountain out of a molehill. The more you cry, the more they're going to be mean." How is a 9 year old supposed to regulate their emotions like that? I don't know, but that's what she expected me to do. At the time, I was so angry that she turned it around on me. THEY were the ones being cruel! I didn't do anything to deserve that kind of treatment!

BUT as time went on, I grew up. I thought often about how I was treated as a kid and would often remember that moment that my personal bully made me feel like I was completely unattractive and gross. I realized that that chrysalis, although it had a rough exterior, was growing something beautiful inside of it. That outer shell was protecting that fragility and wonder that was taking place beneath its surface. Thus began my love of butterflies. They go through so many changes to get to their beautiful end stage that they just make me happy. That's why my logo and my business name combine a butterfly and a shutter because it combines two things that I love dearly.


Now that you know a little more about some of my defining moments, what was a defining moment for you?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Butterflies Fairfax County Fluttering Shutter Photography Virginia photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/10/why-i-love-butterflies Sat, 29 Oct 2016 02:40:35 GMT
Family Portraits https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/10/family-portraits As a family photographer, there are some things that we (as photographers) want you (as clients) to know. We know that you want gorgeous, perfect family portraits and we want to be able to provide them for you! We know that you are stressed about what to wear, how your kids will behave, what the weather will be like, etc. But here's a little insider tip: Those perfect family portraits? They don't really represent your family. 

Your toddler doesn't regularly sit with their hands on their laps with a huge smile on their face, do they? Family portraits are about capturing this specific time in your lives. That "goofy face" that your 4 year old insists on making all of the time? You want to remember that. That favorite blanket or toy that your 2 year old carries around with them everywhere? You want to remember that, too. You want to have portraits taken of your family to show who you are. (By the way, if your toddler really does sit around with their hands on their laps with a smile on their face, please contact me and tell me all of your secrets!) So, although that perfect family portrait is really nice to have (and we WILL try to get it), it's not the most important shot of your session.

So what IS the most important shot of your session? That moment that your toddler gives you a kiss on the cheek. That moment when you and your spouse relax into each other and gaze at your children adoringly. That instant that you and your child look at each other and begin to smile in an unspoken message of "I love you". THOSE are the moments that we want to capture, because those are the moments that you'll want to have portraits of. Those are the moments that 20 years from now you will look at and smile. Those are the authentic moments of you with your family, and they're priceless and beautiful. 

For example, this image is one of my favorite images of all time.

 Yes, she's adorable, but that's not why I love it so much. I love it because it's authentic. It's truly who she was in that moment. A goofy girl who loved to make faces for the camera. So how do you get images that reflect your family?

Here are 7 quick tips for you:

1) Trust your photographer.

And by that, I mean find a photographer whose work you LOVE and don't pick photographers based on their prices alone. Their portfolio should show you images that you wish were yours. We are confident in our skills as photographers. We've spent countless hours learning our craft. We've dedicated ourselves to learning everything possible about how to create the portraits that you will cherish as the precious heirlooms that they are. Trust us to be able to make those beautiful images for you.

2) Choose clothing that follows the 4 C's: complimentary, comfortable, clean and complementary. 

Nope, that's not a typo. Your clothing should compliment YOU and your body. You should also use complementary colors with your family members; matchy-matchy outfits often date the portraits and don't compliment everyone's look/style or personality. You should also be comfortable in your clothing. If you choose clothing that is too tight or too loose, you'll look uncomfortable, which is not what you want. If you Google or Pinterest "What to wear for family photos" you will get TONS of responses. For the fashion challenged (like yours truly), Pinterest can be a big help in understanding this concept. When I say that your clothing should be clean, I mean that it should actually be clean and I also mean that it should not be too busy. The patterns should be simple, if there are any patterns at all. If there are 5 of you and you all show up wearing plaid or stripes, it's not going to be a very flattering image. Your eyes get distracted by the clothing, when we want all of that focus to be on you and your gorgeous family. (Side note: If you are doing any kind of maternity session, please wear something that will compliment your beautiful belly! We want to show you how gorgeous you look with that precious baby awaiting their birth!)

3) Show up on time for your session!

I don't think that I can stress this enough. Remember #1 and how it talks about the amount of time that we have spent learning how to do what we do? Well, a part of that is learning about light. As a natural light photographer, I plan our session according to the sun and its best light. If your session is scheduled to begin at 5 (because sunset is at 6:00) and you show up at 5:30, you are not going to get the best light and you are going to have to cut your session short. 

4) Rewards for children should not include things that will make their faces dirty or candy colored.

If you want to bring a reward for your child to offer encouragement with participation, you are more than welcome to do so; however, I highly recommend that said reward is not a huge lollipop or candy that will turn their mouth blue. It WILL show up in your portraits and it won't look very good. Those rewards can be awesome AFTER the session, but during the session, try to use rewards that will not have to be Photoshopped later. If it's a toy that they've been raving about for weeks, some photographers (*cough, cough*) have even been known to place a toy on their head to get some giggles!

5) Speaking of Photoshop: Try to have everyone clean and presentable once you arrive for your session.

A helpful hint for this one is to bring baby wipes with you to give one last quick cleaning of kids faces. This is especially true for toddlers, who tend to have everything from cracker crumbs to yogurt to boogies on their faces. It's easier to get this right ahead of time than to have to Photoshop it out. (This is my son during an impromptu photo session because I couldn't resist his adorable face.) If you are like me and you almost always have a hair tie on your wrist, be sure to slip it into your pocket/purse or into your hair prior to your session.

6) Don't feel like you have to get your child to smile!

Is your child not smiling? No problem. Let the photographer build a relationship with them. You don't need to stand behind them and try to get them to laugh, that's part of your photographers job. Part of the reason why it's important to let your photographer build that relationship is because if you are being silly in the background, your child is watching you and you will get tons of images with your child looking off to the side. Images of your child with a serious face can be amazingly beautiful. 

Sometimes those images are gorgeous (like the one above), but you also want images of your child looking directly into the camera.

When parents get stressed, children get stressed. Just go with the flow and trust that your photographer knows what they are doing.

7) Have fun!!!

Again, if you're stressed, your kids will be stressed and your spouse will be stressed. Just try to enjoy being with each other without phones, or computers or work or any other distractions. When you allow that relaxed mentality to happen, gorgeous images can be the result!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) family session fluttering shutter photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/10/family-portraits Sat, 08 Oct 2016 00:41:56 GMT
Baby C II Leesburg Newborn Photographer https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/baby-c-ii-leesburg-newborn-photographer A few months ago I was looking for a baby girl to use for a model call. Photographers will do these occasionally to hone their skills and use new props, styles or techniques. This is how I met baby C. When I showed up for our session in their home and saw the space that they had ready for me to shoot in. I was immediately in love. Beautiful windows with fantastic natural light. It was a dream come true!!!

Once I was all set up and ready to go, I got Baby C ready, too. I wrapped her up and began to pose her. Talk about a DREAM session! Given that this was a model call, I was planning on focusing on two new beanbag poses and then a prop or two. This girl ROCKED her session!


When I was about finished doing what I had set out to do, I asked her mom if she would mind if I kept going because C was just being SO good! Mom didn't mind, so we kept playing and C kept being the perfect baby model.

Look at her perfect little lips!! 


I was so blessed to be able to work with this family and I can't wait to work with them again!




Fluttering Shutter Photography

Leesburg Newborn Photographer

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Virginia Virginia newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/baby-c-ii-leesburg-newborn-photographer Wed, 07 Sep 2016 22:45:00 GMT
Investing in Newborn Photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/investing-in-newborn-photography I wanted to write a little bit today about what you should look for in a newborn photographer. This market, especially Northern Virginia, is saturated with photographers, so how do you make a decision?? Many people are tempted to go with the cheapest photographer they can find because they only want a few pictures or because they feel that most photographers are too expensive in general. But picking the photographer with the lowest rates won't always guarantee the most beautiful results. Don't get me wrong, everyone starts somewhere! I fully support new photographers and encourage them to build their client base in the best way possible, but I want clients to consider a few things as they choose who will be handling and photographing their precious new addition:


Becoming a newborn photographer is not as easy as picking up a camera and buying props. Working with newborns there is a primary rule that every one of us should follow: Safety first! Our littlest clients are so fragile and need to be handled with the utmost care. In order to do this, we need to learn about how to do sessions in the safest manner possible. We all learn in different ways, such as in-person workshops, learning through a one-on-one mentor, practice with amazing new technology like a StandInBaby (which I'll talk about later) or through online workshops and classes. These methods of learning can cost anywhere from $200 to $2,000 or more each time, and we never stop learning! 

(Above images taken by me at an in-person workshop with Winnie Bruce Photography.)



Due to the high need for safety when it comes to newborn photography, we also need to have insurance, in case things don't go as planned. This is every newborn photographers worst nightmare! We plan and practice and educate ourselves as much as possible, but there is always a chance that something could go wrong. Being a responsible business owner means having insurance to protect ourselves and our clients in case the unthinkable happens. We have to protect these infants in every way, down to their teeny tiny toes.



Is this their first newborn or their 50th? Photographers all start somewhere and it's important that you know where your photographer stands in terms of experience. How many newborns a photographer has worked with will tell you where they are in the learning process. Photographing newborns is an entirely different session than photographing weddings or families. Typically, the more experience a photographer has photographing newborns, the smoother the session will go. I mentioned the StandInBaby (or SIB) earlier. This is a training baby (or stunt baby, as we call them) that has working, movable joints and is being used in the newborn photography world as a HUGE help in promoting safety while practicing new techniques and teaching others how to be safe. 



While scrolling through a massive amount of photographers in your area, it's important to pay attention to whose work catches your eye. Who has images that you wish you could have on your walls? Picking a photographer that matches your style will make the session so much easier!



You need to make sure that the photographer that you love will be available to photograph your newest addition. For a photographer, it's so hard to turn away sessions especially after you have gone through the trouble of finding us and telling us that you CHOOSE to work with us. I always recommend booking a newborn session while you are still pregnant so that we have time to prepare and plan for you. Personally, I like to photograph babies before they are 14 days old, but this varies from photographer to photographer.


I'm listing this one last, because I truly think that it should be the last thing to be considered when choosing a newborn photographer. There are so many things that are taken into consideration when photographers set their pricing, but here are a few things that come into play: education, training, equipment, equipment insurance, liability insurance, business licenses, taxes, cost of goods, travel expenses, editing time, software, hardware, etc., etc. All of these things add up to our cost of doing business. That helps us to determine what our pricing needs to be in order to be a successful business. This makes newborn photography an investment not only financially, but personally. When you choose a newborn photographer, you are trusting them with your newborn. You are trusting them to provide you with a positive experience and beautiful images of your baby. You are investing in THEM. That's not to say that expensive photographers are the best photographers, because I've seen so many photographers who are priced WAY below what they could be charging and are phenomenal at what they do. I've also seen photographers who charge a large amount of money without having the education, experience or insurance that they should have. 


Investing in newborn photography (and in the newborn photographer) is something that you should decide on after you do some research and find someone who fits with what you are looking for. As a newborn photographer myself, this is strange to write, but true: If you don't pick me, I truly hope that you find someone who is a good fit for YOU. Of course, I hope that that's me, but I understand if it's not ;) 

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) fluttering shutter photography investment loudoun county newborn newborn safety northern virginia photography virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/9/investing-in-newborn-photography Thu, 01 Sep 2016 21:06:17 GMT
A Beautiful Girl, Eternal Love and Kicking Cancer's Butt in Leesburg, VA ~Fluttering Shutter~ https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/6/meet-christine-and-andrew This is not going to be a typical photography blog where it's mainly pictures. At least not in the beginning of the story. I want you, the reader, to know this beautiful couple so that you can appreciate how far they have come.


I first met Christine when she became the Assistant Director at Winwood Children's Center in Leesburg, VA. That is where all of my children attended before I quit my 9-5 job to pursue photography full time. (And PS- we L-O-V-E-D Winwood, and in my opinion, it's the best daycare in Loudoun County.) Christine was often the first person you would see when you walked in the door. She would always have a smile on her face and was always so welcoming and warm. She and the Director (Missy) are a large reason why Winwood feels like a family. 

When I first decided to open Fluttering Shutter Photography, I wanted to do some portfolio building and learn more about how to take great images and use my new camera. So, I offered free sessions. Christine and Andrew were some of my very first clients! (As you can see by the picture below, they are adorable. My photography at the time? It needed some work!) By the way, I promise that I didn't tell her to pop her foot, but she naturally does it when she kisses her love.


Then later that year, they won a mini-session with me for holiday pictures. It was HOT out, even though it was fall, but that's typical Virginia weather. We had to pretend that it was cold with a scarf and matching mugs for some holiday pictures. But this picture is possibly one of my very favorites because you can SEE the love. 

Remember when I talked about Winwood being a family? Well, I truly mean it and you can ask any parent that I know and they'll say the same. Because of that feeling of family, we were all devastated to learn that Christine had been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. She had just been at work with her smiley face and all of the sudden, she had been admitted to the hospital with a really aggressive form of cancer. By the way, Christine explained to me today that because it presented in her lymphnodes, she has Lymphoma. (Lymphoma awareness is lime green, whereas Leukemia awareness is orange, just in case you were wondering.) 

Ever since her diagnosis, she has been fighting to get better. She went through months and months of chemo and trips in and out of the hospital, all the while having to be super careful not to get sick because she had no immune system to fight off an infection. But Christine wasn't fighting alone. She has had friends and family surrounding her from the beginning. Andrew spent so much time in the hospital with Christine, but he also had to work and take care of their adorable (yet skittish) Greyhound, Cupid. So, people filled in the gaps. Her family, his family, their friends, everyone rallied around her and brought them meals, prayed for her, prayed with her, donated money to help cover medical bills. They had (and continue to have) a village of support. 

A few months back Christine and I were talking over Facebook and she said that she really wanted to have an image of her and Andrew for when she goes back into the hospital for her bone marrow transplant. Naturally, I said that I would love to do this session with them. So, we set up a date and I really couldn't be more pleased at how the portraits came out. Christine got her make-up done by the amazingly talented Glossy by Stacy Hockenbury and she looked GORGEOUS!!! Here are some of my favorites from the day:

Hair, glorious haiiiirrrrrrr!!


See?? Natural foot pop!!


Twirling in the grass.


Christine is absolutely a fighter and will succeed in beating ALL. I wish nothing but the very best for her and Andrew. Their love is so beautiful and such an inspiration. Keep fighting Christine, and Christine's Crew will keep rallying around you and reminding you that you can and WILL make it through. You, my friend, are one of the most beautiful people that I know, both inside and out.


PS- You ROCK the short hair!!!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Leesburg Loudoun County Morven Park Northern Virginia Virginia Winwood Children's Center cancer chemo love photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/6/meet-christine-and-andrew Thu, 16 Jun 2016 00:25:38 GMT
6 Tips On How To Be A Photographer's Dream Client https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/how-to-be-a-photographers-dream-client I was at a Rising Tide Society Tuesday's Together meeting the other night and the idea for this blog post was born. We were all sitting around talking about how clients just melt our hearts. I want to share with you what makes ideal clients, but let me start from this side of the lens.

As photographers, we spend quite a bit of time marketing and trying to find our "ideal client". We hashtag everything with phrases that we hope you find. We try to post things where we hope you see them. We try to create an environment for our work which is inviting and makes you want to book with us. In short: Our jobs depend on how we market ourselves. And in all honesty, we probably have to do more marketing than we get to do shooting. But during that marketing, we get to meet with new clients. Here are some ways that we know that you are our ideal client:

1) You pick us for our work, not for our pricing.

First, I understand having professional portraits taken is expensive. If you're like most of us, you're always looking for a deal. But here's the thing with photography- this is our art before it's our business. We pour our heart and soul into this job, but at the end of the day, it's a business and we need to run it like one. If you pick Photographer X because they own a camera and they'll give you a really good deal, and not because you love their work, guess what? You may not love your portraits. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Find a photographer that you L-O-V-E, and you'll end up with portraits that you love. When I have a client say "I love your work!", it makes me feel all kinds of happy because it tells me that they've looked through my portfolio and are hiring me for the right reasons.


2) You give us credit when you share our work.

This is a big one. The other day, a client asked me if they could make my sneak peek their profile picture. I told her that of course she could!! I only request that my watermark not get cropped out. Her response? "I would never do that! You deserve all the credit!!" Instant client love. Many people don't think about tagging their photographer when they post the images online, but we have worked really hard on your session and when you tag us, you're showing us that you appreciate our hard work and that you would recommend us to your friends. 


3) You understand what you are getting with your session.

The photography industry is large and varied. There are different skill levels, different pricing and different options as to what is included with your session. Some photographers have a session fee which includes digital images, others have the session fee that includes nothing other than the time and talent of the photographer and still others include things like prints and products. There are various options and price points, so it is important that you understand what is included. Your photographer should make it very clear what is included with their fees, but sometimes they aren't and you should ask them to explain to you what you should expect.


4) You follow directions.

Many photographers will provide you with a prep guide prior to your session. These are especially important when it comes to newborn sessions, but are helpful with all different types of sessions. We will tell you everything from what to wear, to what to expect, to how to get the most out of your session in our prep guides. When clients read these guides, they are better prepared and will almost always have a more successful session. I say "almost always" because with newborn sessions, those tiny humans are in charge. You can follow the prep guide to a T and things can still go wrong, but following those tips are always a good idea.


5) You do not print your professional images at places like Target/Wal-Greens/Wal-Mart.

We spend time editing your portraits to what we see as perfection. Non-professional print labs are known to destroy the quality of the images that are printed there. They print cheaply, yes, but the loss of quality makes it not worth it. Your photographer can give you ideas on where to print, but some of us (myself included) say in our contract that we are not responsible for print quality through anyone but ourselves. That's because we want you to have the highest quality prints and products that fully represent your gorgeous portraits that we have worked so hard on.


6)You appreciate that photography is art.

Photographers will often be told "Your pictures are so beautiful! You must have a really nice camera!" This is where the photographer will nicely try to remove the dagger from their heart. Beautiful images can be taken with any kind of camera, including camera phones and that comment is equivalent to telling a dinner host that they must have a really nice oven after they served you an amazing, professionally prepared meal. Portraits are the result of hours of preparation, education, planning, editing and presentation. Because there are so many different types of photographers, this is another reason why you should choose your photographer based on their portfolio of work. Our art is a part of who we are and there are little bits of our soul within our images. When clients see our images as art, it makes our hearts flutter!



If you're a photographer, tell me, did I miss anything? If you're a client, tell me, what makes an ideal photographer to you?

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) art client fluttering shutter photography loudoun county newborn photographer photography portraits rising tide society tuesdays together https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/how-to-be-a-photographers-dream-client Mon, 23 May 2016 22:00:00 GMT
Newborn Workshop https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/newborn-workshop Hello all!

This past weekend, I got to participate in a newborn workshop with the amazing Winnie Bruce at Winnie Bruce Photography! I drove from Loudoun County to Crofton, Maryland to hang out in Winnie's home studio with three other amazing women. We had the opportunity to photograph three beautiful little girls in one day and they were all so precious! 


Our first little girl was Cali, who was the DREAM newborn! She slept the entire session and let us pose her without ever making a sound! It didn't hurt that her whole family was beautiful and totally photogenic as well! 



Our second little girl, Emily, was so perfectly teeny and just loved to be snuggled closely. This is called the potato sack pose and she NAILED it. Sometimes babies who like to be snuggled do REALLY well in wraps, but not so well naked, so Emily got to stay wrapped for most of her session!



The final baby was Miss Hannah. She liked to tease us and cry when being positioned, but once she was allowed to settle into a position, she slept like a rock and let us photograph her without a problem. This is called the bum up pose, to show off that cute little tushy!


Having a newborn workshop with Winnie was amazing and I'm so glad that I got to be a part of it. As a photographer, I am always pushing to learn more about my craft, and I'm always happy to learn from some of the best! Thank you, Winnie!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County newborn photography workshop https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/newborn-workshop Mon, 16 May 2016 21:05:30 GMT
Persistence Pays Off https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/persistence-pays-off I officially began my photography journey in 2013, but my love of photography started well before that. As a kid, I loved having disposable cameras and even had one of the super 80's Le Clic cameras. I loved having it around my neck or on my shoulder. I thought that I had the COOLEST camera in the world.

My dad had an actual Nikon, which I occasionally got to shoot with, and I was always so amazed at the crispness of the images taken with it. Taking pictures was just a fun thing to do.  It wasn't my passion then, but I did enjoy it. 

I pursued my other passion for helping people and worked in the juvenile justice system in varying roles for over a decade before I started to take my photography more seriously. It started when I got my Canon Rebl t3i from my husband for my birthday, and a few weeks later, my youngest daughter was born. I knew that I wanted to take pictures of my family and I was always so inspired by major photographers that I thought that it really couldn't be "that hard". (HA!) Throughout this post I'll show you some of my early work versus my more current work, as hard as they are to share, because it's important to show people that persistence pays off.

But before I show you my work in the beginning, let me say this: I am not where I want to be with my photography. I am moving in that direction and I've made some great progress, but I'm not done learning. I am constantly pushing myself to continue my education in the photography world. I take classes on CreativeLive, I'm in a dozen groups for photographers on Facebook where I get to watch other photographers learn with me, I'm taking hands on workshops and I practice.......a lot. So, like I said, although I have made some progress since the beginning, I'm still working on it!

Here is my first "photo shoot" with Elena. She was 3 months old. I used a wrinkled sheet on my couch for a backdrop, my camera's flash and had my camera on auto. The two in the middle are "edited", as well.

Here is one of my latest images of Elena.

And here is one of my more recent newborns. No flash, appropriate backdrop, LOTS of education and camera on AV.


Another early newborn vs. a newborn from about a year ago:

This one is fun because it's a comparison of the same location/lighting, just with additional knowledge of photography.

Just a few weeks ago. 

Here's one final comparison. The left picture is from a portfolio building session in 2013 and the picture on the right is from a fun session that I did back in March of 2016. 

No matter what you are doing, if you are persistent, you WILL get better. Your skills WILL improve. You'll learn just doing things repetitively, but you should also ask for help. Put yourself out there! I know that I am amazed at how far I've come, but more than that, I'm excited to see how far I go!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Virginia Pictures Portraits Virginia family newborn photography toddler https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/5/persistence-pays-off Wed, 04 May 2016 16:29:48 GMT
7 Tips For Portrait Sessions https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/7-tips-for-portrait-sessions When you have the chance to have portraits done, you want everything to go smoothly. You want your children to behave, follow directions, look at the camera and "smile pretty". You want everyone to look polished, poised and happy. We, as your photographer, want those things, too. But more importantly, we want you to love your portraits. I wrote a blog post a few months back about family portraits, which you can read here. This blog is somewhat of a continuation of that one, with a few additional tips and some reiterations of the last one. My awesome friend and fellow photographer, Blaire Ring with Second Ave Photography, allowed me to use her and her beautiful girls to help me illustrate some of these points.

1) Let your photographer do their job. We have spent a long time learning our cameras, lighting, posing, etc. Let us use our knowledge to create beautiful memories for you. If you have an idea or two, great! Tell us and we'll see if we can accommodate it. Lots of clients get ideas off of Pinterest, which is great for giving us a general idea of what you want, but we are not going to be able to replicate that image exactly, nor do we want to. Those beautiful moments are all over Pinterest because they are authentic emotions, not necessarily posed/forced ones. Allow those images to inspire us, but please don't ask us to recreate them. 

2) Cell phone- This is a personal pet peeve, but I'm sure that I speak for most photographers when I say this: Please, please, PLEASE take your phones out of your pockets. Do you know how hard it is to fix a square shaped butt/thigh in Photoshop?!?! Leave your cell phones in your purse or in your car. If you have to have it near you, then I'll even put it in my pocket to hold on to it for you. It's okay if my butt is square shaped for your portraits, it's not great if yours is. (Don't hide your cute tush behind a cellphone!)

This next part of the cell phone point is a hot topic among photographers, so I might write an entirely separate blog post about it, but here's the gist: Unless your photographer invites you to do so, please don't take cell phone shots of their set ups. You have hired us to create beautiful images and that is exactly what we will do for you, but when cell phone images are taken of the set ups, it takes away some of the magic. Plus, although cell phone cameras have come a LONG way, they likely have nothing on a professional photographers gear. Some photographers will allow you to take behind the scenes shots or pictures with the photographers in them while they're working, but taking pictures of what they have set up is a no-no. For example, here is what you see:

An appropriate behind-the-scenes shot that was taken with permission.


Here is what I see: 

What I see through my camera.

2) Forcing attention- This tip ties into tip #1. When you snap/point/yell for your children to pay attention to the photographer, it will likely do more harm than good. You're more likely to pull your attention away from the photographer than have the children focus on the photographer. Let us grab your child's attention. Also, when you are focused on what your child is doing and trying to get them to smile, you're most likely not smiling. (Except in my example, where Blaire is trying really hard not to laugh because she knows not to do this.) Relax and enjoy the time with them. I promise your portraits will turn out better!

See? Isn't that a much nicer image than the one above? :)

3) Relaxing- Remember those beautiful Pinterest images that I was talking about earlier? I can almost guarantee you that in those images, everyone looks relaxed and happy and you want to recreate that feeling in your portraits. We would love to help you create images with a sense of calm and happiness, too! So just breathe and have a good time with your family. If you're feeling anxious about your session, tell your photographer. We may be able to ease your fears a bit.

4) The 4 C's* (again)- I put this in my other blog post about family sessions, but it's so important that it bears repeating. It's probably one of the most commonly asked questions when preparing for a photography session: What do I WEAR?!?! Well, that's where the 4 C's come in. You want to have everyone dressed in  Clean, Complimentary, Complementary and Comfortable clothing. There are exceptions to this rule, namely for styled sessions, but in general, the 4 C's work perfectly. Having clean clothing is pretty self-explanatory, but especially when you're having portraits taken of children, it's a good idea to have a back up outfit, just in case toddler-life happens. Complimentary means that your clothing should compliment YOU and your body. This includes beautiful baby bellies. Maternity sessions are the time to embrace the belly and show it off! You should also use complementary colors with your family members; matchy-matchy outfits often date the portraits and don't compliment everyone's look/style or personality. Clothing should also not be too busy. The patterns should be simple, if there are any patterns at all. Your eyes can get distracted by the clothing, when we want all of that focus to be on you and your gorgeous family. (Side note: For styled sessions, almost all of these tips can be thrown out the window, but in general, this is some solid advice on what to wear.)

Dirty (but still adorable) face and a busy (but super cute) dress: 

Clean face and simple dress: 


6) You may hear your photographer take a large number of images and then be surprised to only find a small number of those images at the end. We will take all of the BEST images and prepare them for you to see. This popular photography meme pretty much sums it up: 

Bottom line: We want to show you how beautiful you are. (And by the way: Even someone as gorgeous as Beyonce can have a bad image taken of her sometimes.)


These tips will help you better prepare for your portrait session, but here's possibly the biggest one of all:

7) Find a photographer that you L-O-V-E. If you find a photographer whose work you love, contact them, meet with them and if everything seems awesome, BOOK THEM. If personalities don't mesh, keep looking. Don't get me wrong, if I found a photographer whose work I absolutely adored, but didn't love them personally, I might still book them for a one time session, but I'm talking about finding "your" photographer. (This also goes for portrait cost, but that's another post.) That photographer that will work with your family for years to come. Your family and that photographer will form a bond that can be so incredible! Your kids won't be anxious to go for pictures anymore. Your spouse or yourself won't feel anxious about meeting a new person all over again and having to "explain" about your children or your quirks. Your photographer will know you and you will know them. It makes it infinitely more comfortable and less anxiety producing. Find a photographer that you love and you'll have portraits that you love. Enjoy!



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer family Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County newborn Northern Virginia photography Pictures Pinterest Portraits toddler Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/7-tips-for-portrait-sessions Mon, 25 Apr 2016 14:25:31 GMT
Reston Pediatrics https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/reston-pediatrics Fluttering Shutter Photography at Reston Pediatrics


Some of you may know that I am a Northern Virginia native. When I was little I attended Reston Pediatrics, so when I began having my babies, they began to go there as well! The office we went to isn't in Reston anymore and my doctor isn't there anymore, but the atmosphere of love and caring for children was definitely the same. The office recently moved to a new, larger space in Lansdowne where everything is so beautiful, clean and new! 

Around Christmas last year, I had an appointment for one of the children because they weren't feeling well. I began talking to our doctor (the amazing Dr. Lindlau) about how blank the walls were and told her that I would love to help them decorate their new office with some portraits of my clients. A few weeks later, I got a call to come in and speak with Debbie and Chantelle. We had such an amazing time talking about where the portraits would go and what we could do with them. We came up with some designs and I'm proud to show them off to you! So, if you're already a patient there, or are going to be a patient there, I hope you enjoy the portraits! :)

PS- Thank you SO much to Blaire Ring at Second Ave Photography for coming along and helping me to hang up all of these canvases, PLUS taking these shots for me! What a great friend!! #communityovercompetition



[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Fairfax County Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Virginia Reston Reston Pediatrics https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/reston-pediatrics Fri, 22 Apr 2016 00:00:00 GMT
Community Over Competition https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/community-over-competition Recently, I've been struggling with my work, as all artists do from time to time. I go through phases of feeling like I'm not good enough, or that my work will never look like X Photographer, or that being a business owner just SUCKS and I should go back to a 9 to 5. But before you go thinking this is going to be a "Poor Me Post", it's not. Because here's the thing: All of those things could be true. I'm not as good as I will be tomorrow because I'm going to keep learning and practicing my craft every day. I'll never have work that looks exactly like X Photographer because I don't WANT my work to look exactly like someone else's. And lastly, being a business owner DOES suck sometimes but that doesn't mean that I need to go back to a 9 to 5, it just means that I need a little bit of help. And that is where the inspiration for this post came from.

A few months ago, I was introduced to The Rising Tide Society, named on the belief that a rising tide raises all ships. What The Rising Tide Society believes is that we creatives should be helping and supporting each other instead of putting each other down and being the antithesis of helpful when it comes to our competition. I am so incredibly lucky to have found a pretty amazing group of people locally who are living this ideology. We refer our clients to each other, if we're unavailable. We help each other with ideas for sessions. We help each other with projects. We are friends first, not competition first. Starting a one-person business and working out of your home can be really isolating, so finding a community is VITAL. 

I will regularly refer clients out to other photographers for weddings or engagements or anything else that isn't what I do. But I'll also give potential clients names of people who shoot exactly what I do, just not in the same way. What I do isn't for everyone, and that's okay. Because I want clients to hire photographers because they LOVE their work. I want clients to hire me because they've looked at my work and want those to be THEIR faces or THEIR kids in those shots. I want clients to L-O-V-E their images, no matter who took them because photographs are THAT important to me. So, I will continue to refer potential clients to other photographers if I'm not what they want or what they need because I know that they will refer others to me if/when the time comes. It's the greatest feeling to have formed friendships born out of a passion for photography. It's easy to get stuck in a creative rut and sometimes having a community is just what you need to pull you back up, dust you off and encourage you to keep going. 

I'm so happy to have found this community and I'm so appreciative of every single one of you. 

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Community Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Northern Virginia Virginia competition creative family newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/community-over-competition Wed, 20 Apr 2016 02:46:32 GMT
My Kids https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/my-kids Hello all!

Those of you who know a photographer or ARE a photographer, know that sometimes things slow down. January, February and March are the slow months for me. I have sessions here and there, but it is nowhere CLOSE to the fall season. Don't get me wrong, I'm not entirely complaining. I get to spend more time with my family and then I get to spend more time documenting our lives together while they're still small. So here is an introduction to my little loves and what's going on in my down time:


Lily is 8 going on 20. She is quite possibly the most mature 8 year old I know.....most of the time. She speaks like an adult and expects the world to act according to the rules. For example, the other day we went to Starbucks as a treat for her not biting her nails. As we sat down we started to talk about what's healthy vs. not healthy. (She got a cake pop and I got a butter croissant.) Her response? "In my experience, fruits and veggies are super good for you, but I just like sugar more." What 8 year old kid starts a sentence with "In my experience"?? She's beautiful and brilliant and kind and gentle. 

She used to shy away from my camera, but now she's usually pretty happy to model for me :)



Tyler is 4 and he's my wrecking ball. I say that in the most loving manner possible. He is the one who runs forward while looking over his shoulder back at you to make sure that you're watching. Then he inevitably runs into the wall and says "I'm OK!"He has had more bumps, bruises and scratches on him than any kid that I know, but he is just so full of LIFE that he can't contain himself. The only time that he is still is when he is watching a movie or sleeping. Other than that, he's running, jumping, kicking, spinning or doing any kind of movement that gets into his head. It's a good thing that he's old enough for Tae Kwon Do now, so that he can get SOME of his energy out. Tyler is also the sweetest little boy in the whole wide world. If you're sad, he wants to know what's wrong and to give you a hug to make it better. 

Tyler is always goofing off for the camera. He loves to make silly faces and immediately asks to see his picture.



Elena is 3 and is a full-blown threenager. She has been with me on my photography journey the whole way from my first DSLR. She was my first "newborn session" (which is a post for a different day). Elena is my most naturally affectionate child and wants to be snuggled and loved on at all times...unless she decides that she's done being loved on, then she has no problem saying "Stop touching me!!" (See? "Threenager"!) She loves to dance and be the center of attention, which is easy when you're the baby. Two of her favorite things are "cooking" with me or my husband and going to dance class. We just started going to class, but she's hooked! Every day she asks, "Am I going to dance class today??"


During slow season, I like to spend more time documenting our time together as a family. Since I've left my previous job in order to pursue photography, I get to go see various local spots in the area, which I'll be talking about in other blog posts. Most of the time, we're home (except Lily, since she's at school) and we get to do some fun childhood stuff, like playing with Play-Doh and blocks. Please ignore the messy house ;)

This is my life everyday. It's definitely a switch from a year ago, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. These beautiful little people make my heart full and I love them more and more each day.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Children's Photographer Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun County Northern Virginia https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/4/my-kids Tue, 12 Apr 2016 22:30:00 GMT
Magical Mini-Sessions! https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/3/magical-mini-sessions

Let your daughter show her inner princess in these magical mini-sessions! Three dresses will be available to choose from: pink, purple and ivory (pictured). With only a few spots left, make sure to book your session today!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) fluttering shutter photography loudoun county children magical mini-session https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/3/magical-mini-sessions Fri, 18 Mar 2016 12:26:30 GMT
Wrap-Up of 2015 https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/wrap-up-of-2015 Hello everyone! Here's a look back on 2015. I was so pleased to work with all of my clients this past year and I can't wait to add your faces to this year!


[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) County DC Fluttering Shutter Photography Loudoun Northern Virginia family holiday newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/wrap-up-of-2015 Fri, 29 Jan 2016 18:54:53 GMT
When To Schedule Your Photography Sessions https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/when-to-schedule-your-photography-sessions Hello again! It's the very beginning of a brand new year, so I wanted to talk to all of you about when you should be scheduling your sessions. The answer varies depending on the type of sessions, so I've broken it down a bit according to which session you are booking, but first here is some general timing advice: 

If you are looking to have portraits done for your holiday cards, I recommend that you follow the "Early Booking Rule". What I mean by that is that you should book approximately 4-6 months prior to when you will need your portraits available to use. Fall (especially fall in the DC metro area) is an exceedingly popular time for family portraits. Find your photographer and book them early. This is the way that you will be able to secure a session before they get completely booked for the season. Please keep in mind that because fall is the most popular time for sessions to occur, your photographer will be working extra hard to provide you and all of their other clients with gorgeous portraits. During the rest of the year, there is usually more flexibility. 




Maternity Sessions:

I prefer to have maternity sessions done around 34 weeks. Your belly is usually showing enough to photograph beautifully and you usually have enough energy to do an hour long session. I've done sessions with women that were anywhere from 24 weeks to 39 weeks and 1 day. Baby bellies are beautiful, no matter how far along you are. 












Newborn Sessions:

Photographers vary on when people should book their sessions, but for me, I like to have your newborn session booked prior to delivery. This is the easiest way to definitely be on my schedule for our session. If you decide to do a newborn session after the birth of your little one, I recommend that sessions take place before they are two weeks old. Why is that? Newborns have just emerged from a very small, very secure space where they have been all curled up and warm. They are the most flexible and the most sleepy directly after their birth.


As a photographer, I am looking for them to be content, sleepy and flexible during our session. Can I photograph them without them being content, sleepy and flexible? Yes, but we may not be able to get the newborn images that you are looking for. Can babies still be content, sleepy and flexible outside of that two week age? Yes, but it's less likely. Will I still work with you if your baby is over two weeks old? YES! We will still be able to capture beautiful images, regardless of their age.

** For boys, specifically, if they are being circumcised, I prefer to do their sessions at least three days after this procedure. It is more comfortable for them to be on their bellies when they have had some time to heal. 





Children and Family Sessions:

Family sessions definitely follow along with the early booking rule. Children's sessions may require the early booking rule, but they may also be flexible. It depends on the purpose of the session. 


The bottom line is that you should always try to book your sessions early. By doing so, you are able to secure your spot in your photographer's schedule and you are able to prepare for the session in terms of both planning and finances. 

I hope that this has given you some good guidelines for planning for your portraits this year and I'm looking forward to all of the beautiful moments that we are going to capture together! 




[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) DC Fluttering Shutter Photography Northern Virginia area family holiday newborn photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/when-to-schedule-your-photography-sessions Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:35:35 GMT
For Engaged Couples https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/for-engaged-couples Hello all!

I wanted to share with you all something that wedding photographers sometimes have a hard time talking about. Since I'm NOT a wedding photographer, but I understand their plight, I figured that I am a good person to educate you about this touchy subject.

When you think about your wedding day, you want gorgeous portraits of you and your love. You want memories that you can look back on for generations to come. You want to be able to SEE those moments from your big day because in all of the excitement and nerves, people sometimes are able to only smile and move forward without being able to truly appreciate the beauty of their day. You want to feel the beauty of those magical moments all over again when you look back at your wedding portraits. And you SHOULD be able to do all of those things. Hopefully, you have chosen a wedding photographer who has a style that you love and will be able to capture those moments.


* Above image shot during a wedding with the amazing Jacqie Q Photography!

Side note: I tell every single bride that there are two things to not skimp on for your wedding: refreshments (food/drinks) and the photographer. The refreshments make the guests happy, and your portraits should make you happy. I've had a friend talk to me in tears about how her wedding photographs actually make her SAD because the images aren't great and it is hard to look at them because she regrets not doing more research on her photographer. But I digress.....

If there is one thing that wedding photographers would really like for you to include in your big day, it's to ask that guests do NOT break out their cameras, iPhones, iPads, etc. to take pictures during your big day. Why? Because in their excitement to capture your love, they're blocking the photographers ability to do their job. There are countless articles about photographers who have gone to take portraits of a bride walking down the aisle, only for the shot to be blocked by iPhones sticking out of every aisle (sometimes *gasp* on a selfie stick!) 

Occasionally, like in the image above (also shot with the amazing Jacqie Q Photography), I shot the phone intentionally for perspective because I think it's an interesting photograph. However, I was a second shooter at this wedding, so I had some flexibility in terms of what I wanted to shoot. But just because I am able to go with the flow for a more documentary style shot, doesn't mean that these images should be commonplace. Having an unplugged wedding will make it so that you don't have to worry about shots of you walking down the aisle being blocked by cousin Bob's arm holding out his iPhone on a selfie stick. 

So, while you are planning your wedding, please think of your photographer(s). You are spending thousands of dollars to have them capture the moments that you want to remember from your wedding day. Having those images be photobombed by people's screens is NOT what you want to see.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) engagement unplugged weddings https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2016/1/for-engaged-couples Tue, 05 Jan 2016 22:32:10 GMT
The Importance of Photographs https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2015/10/the-importance-of-photographs Did you know that the very first photographs were created in the 1820's?  Ever since, people have valued the art of photography and the ability to capture moments in a way that you can hold them in your hand as physical proof that those moments existed. Printed photographs allow us to see those memories all around us. Here is something that I never would have seen, had photographs not been around: My grandparents wedding day. This is a scanned image of the original photograph, which has held up beautifully over the years!

Photographs are so very important for many reasons. Sometimes we need photographs to allow us to relive the good times, sometimes we need photographs to get us through the bad times. Photographs can be reminders of people who have left us too soon and they can be reminders to hold our loved ones close and cherish every moment that we have with them. 

For example, I have so many photographs from the past several years (shocking, I know), and of course they're mostly of my children, but I have one that is so deeply important to me. It is of my family the last time I was able to be with my Grandfather before he passed away. All of my grandparents have passed leaving me with only memories and photographs. I never got to meet my paternal Grandfather, so the only memories I have of him are the photographs that I have seen in family albums. 

I could pick apart this image as a photographer. The pose looks forced, my arm looks fat (although I am about 7 months pregnant in this photo), the kids look less than happy, etc., etc. But you know what? NONE of that matters. What matters is that I can look at this photograph and remember my grandfather telling me stories about the war in that beach house. What matters is that I can show this photograph of my kids with my parents and my grandfather to my children when they are older. What matters is that this is the closest photograph that I will have of him meeting my youngest child. Those things are what matters.

Some of you know that I volunteer as an editor for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS), which offers photography to families going through the most difficult experience on Earth: losing their child at or soon after birth. These photographs are treasured by these families. They are physical proof that their child existed and was held and loved, even if for a very short time. Volunteering for this amazing organization is not always easy and there are moments that I have tears falling down my face as I am helping a photographer with their images. But I will continue to volunteer for them because these photographs are memories that these parents will treasure forever and they deserve to have beautiful portraits of their babies.

So often people are NOT in their family photographs because they don't feel pretty or feel fat, or just don't like the way that they look. But here's the truth: Your kids and your family don't care if you haven't lost those last 10 pounds. They don't care if your hair is crazy. They don't care about those perceived imperfections that you think you have. They DO care about being able to see your face snuggled closely to theirs, or your arms giving them a huge hug. They will especially care once you are gone and they are not able to feel your hugs or kisses. What they will have are memories and moments captured in time for them to look back on in photographs. That's why the motto that I have for my business is "Capturing the moments that you want to remember." Of course, I would love to capture those moments for you, but even if you don't choose me to take your portraits, I urge you to have photographs taken of you with your family. Have them printed out. Hang them on the walls in your home. Put them into albums. Have them visible for all of the world to see. Those moments? They are the beautiful reminders of all of the love in your life. And us photographers? We want you to remember them always. 

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Art Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep Photography Reminders Wedding https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2015/10/the-importance-of-photographs Fri, 09 Oct 2015 15:18:08 GMT
Smashing Walnuts https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2015/5/smashing-walnuts As a photographer, I am blessed to be a part of some amazing moments in peoples lives. I've been able to photograph cousins as close as sisters, families that are the very definition of love, couples in the beginning of their journey as a husband and wife and newborns within their first days of life.

Recently, I was able to be a part of something that has been an inspiration to me since 2012.

The Smashing Walnuts Foundation wasn't always a foundation. It started with a girl. She was vibrant and smart and beautiful. But her most important attribute was her bravery. You see, in 2012, 10 year old Gabriella Miller was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a walnut. Her parents and her younger brother would smash walnuts with frying pans to symbolize Gabriella's treatments demolishing the tumor. 

During her treatments, Gabriella became a WARRIOR. At 10 years old, she fought for funding and research and awareness about childhood cancer. She helped write a children's book about cancer, she received an honorary degree from Shenandoah University, she spoke in front of thousands of people, she helped to raise over $275,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, she was brave enough to say (on camera, directed to politicians) that "Talk is bullshit" and she never gave up hope. 

Unfortunately, on October 26, 2013, Gabriella lost her battle to brain cancer, not even a full year after her diagnosis. 

Gabriella and her family were and are an inspiration. Their dedication to raising awareness to the crisis children are facing when it comes to childhood cancer is nothing short of amazing. Her parents, Mark and Ellyn, founded Smashing Walnuts in Gabriella's honor and they continue her fight to raise funding and awareness, in the hopes that there will be a cure for cancer in the near future. 

It would be a disservice to Gabriella and Smashing Walnuts to not write about some disturbing facts about childhood cancer. Did you know...

...only 4% of money for cancer research is specifically directed toward childhood cancer?

...childhood cancers and adult cancers are different and require different research?

...43 children are diagnosed with cancer every day?

...72% of children diagnosed with a brain tumor are under the age of 15?

...7 children die every. single. day due to cancer?

How can we stand for this? How can we allow our children to suffer not only a cancer diagnosis, but also suffer extended hospital stays, emotional trauma, horrific treatments, even more horrific side-effects and open discussions about their deaths? 

Smashing Walnuts Foundation isn't allowing this to happen without a fight. They do pretty amazing things to help raise money for childhood cancer research, and this past weekend, I got to be a part of one of their events. I volunteered my services as a photographer for a few reasons: One, I will help Smashing Walnuts however I can because I believe in raising awareness and honoring Gabriella's fight. Two, I want them to have photographs that show how much they are loved and supported. And three, because as a photographer, I know that sometimes, photographs are the only things that we have left of those we love. So, on Saturday, I spent time at their Walkin' With Gabriella event at Heritage High School. Here are a few photos from that day. 

I encourage you to help support this amazing foundation and raise both funds and awareness!


The amazing Miller Family.

Multiple government officials, on both sides of the aisle, came to smash walnuts and support the event. Those in attendance were Del. Tag Greason  (R-32), Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman, state Sen. Dick Black (R-13), state Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-33), Del. Randy Minchew (R-10), Leesburg Mayor Kristen Umstattd, Loudoun County Board of Supervisors chair candidate Phyllis Randall and U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10).


We'll keep fighting, Gabriella. Gigi's Army won't stop.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) Childhood Cancer Fluttering Shutter Photography Gabriella Miller Pediatric Cancer Smashing Walnuts https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2015/5/smashing-walnuts Fri, 15 May 2015 01:42:26 GMT
Sweet Baby Boy https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/12/sweet-baby-boy In my time photographing other people's babies, I've had almost ALL girl newborns. I had one boy that was half of a set of twins, but that's a whole different blog post. This sweet boy got to be my first newborn boy singleton. I got to photograph him at just 12 days new! There's something so amazing about holding onto a new little life. I wanted to share a little bit about what goes on in a newborn session, and include some precious photographs of this sweet little boy.

First, I will talk with you before the session to discuss any type of specific ideas you have for your session. I'll ask questions about color schemes for your nursery, if there are any special items you want to include in the session, what colors you would like to see in the photos, etc. This sweet little boy has parents who are VERY into music, so this little hat was perfect for him!

Second, I will come to you when your baby is born. Getting out of the house with a brand new baby is hard work! I want this session to be as relaxed as possible for you, and having to start it off by lugging your still recovering self and a newborn out of the house is not a great way to get you some rest. I want you to be relaxed because you've been through a HUGE change within the last 14 days and you deserve some rest! I also want you to relax because your baby feels it when you are stressed. Sleeping babies make for some great photographs! 

Third, it's important that you try to feed the baby right before I arrive, or when I get there. This will ensure that their tummy is full and they're nice and sleepy. I will spend the first 20 minutes or so setting up and chatting with you guys, so it's a perfect time to get the baby settled. I will try to get a variety of poses and props, and some detail shots during the session and those details always include their little feet.

Fourth, and possibly most importantly, the baby runs the show to a pretty large extent. I will go with what they want to do. I will never force a baby into a position that is uncomfortable for them (or for you). Some babies always want their hands by their face. Some babies want to be wrapped up super snuggly and tight ("snuggly" is a technical term) ;).  Some babies take a long time to settle down and some fall asleep and stay that way the entire session. Each baby is different and that's what makes each session so precious and amazing.


Fifth, parents are welcome to sit close by and watch what I'm doing. As a mom of three, I'm used to newborns. I have some tricks up my sleeve for whatever your baby can throw at me. Poop, pee, gas, crying, you name it, I've dealt with it both with my own children and as a photographer. However, that doesn't guarantee that the baby will settle and sleep for me. I will make sure to hand the baby off to a parent if I feel like they aren't responding to me in a calm manner. Sometimes they just need that Mommy or Daddy smell to feel safe and calm, and that's okay!


Finally, please know that I am going to do everything that I can to make the session enjoyable for you and your baby. I want you to cherish these photographs forever and have great memories associated with the session itself.  


**Adorable "Rock" hat by Dsey Designs.

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/12/sweet-baby-boy Wed, 10 Dec 2014 01:58:23 GMT
Baby Ryan https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/9/baby-ryan The other day I got to do more photographs of sweet baby Ryan. She is SUCH a good little model and I absolutely adore working with her and her family! I had the honor of doing her newborn shots and I can't wait to continue to watch her grow!

Here's Ryan at 6 days old:

Here she is again at two and a half months:


Here are a few more of my favorite shots from that session:


How could anyone resist that face?? I can't wait to watch Ryan grow up. She's already such a great little model! Love her!!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/9/baby-ryan Fri, 05 Sep 2014 01:38:55 GMT
5 thoughts on Pinterest and photography https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/8/5-thoughts-on-pinterest-and-photography  

First, I have to admit: I LOVE Pinterest. I use it for personal reasons and to help inspire my photography. (You can find me on Pinterest http://www.pinterest.com/flutteringphoto/!) There are millions of images there that are awe-inspiring and simply gorgeous shots. I think that it can be an invaluable resource for a variety of professions, photography included.

That being said, there are a few things that people (and clients) should know about Pinterest, especially when it comes to photography.

1) Pinterest should inspire you to be creative. Take those images that you see and allow them to help you to create new images. The first photograph was one that I found on Pinterest. I LOVED this concept of brothers being superheros. I wanted to re-create this feeling that comes out of the photograph.  pals... aww, need some superhero capes for my boys

(Photograph by Melissa Deakin Photography)


I was lucky enough to be able to photograph two brothers who happen to LOVE superheros, AND their mom brought capes for them as well! This is what came out of the inspiration from the above photograph:

Copyright Fluttering Shutter Photography #brothers #superheros #superman

Copyright Fluttering Shutter Photography #superhero #cape #photography

I didn't copy the shot, but I allowed it to INSPIRE me. In the first photograph, Evan (the six year old) is showing off how tough he is, and I love how Dylan (the three year old) is simultaneously making a tough face and holding a flower in his hand. The second photograph is just a sweet shot of a boy in his cape! What you can't see off-camera is that he was watching his brother run across the field, and just didn't seem quite ready to run after him.


2) As a client you can help to inspire your photographer using Pinterest. (Before I go any further in this section, I'll say this: When  you are looking for a photographer, you should always hire someone whose work you have already seen and liked. You know what you're looking for in the photographs, and you should choose a photographer who has proven that they take photographs that you love.) When you're preparing for a session with your photographer, take a look on Pinterest and pin some photographs that you like. Keep an eye out for the style of the shot. Is it full color? Black and white? Serious? Candid? Those are the things that will help to inspire your session.


3) On a related note, please keep in mind that some photographs that you see on Pinterest are once-in-a-lifetime shots. Your photographer will likely not be able to perfectly re-create a photograph, and you shouldn't want them to. Those perfect photographs that you see on Pinterest are likely perfect because they are natural. The simple act of trying to replicate that photo will make it near impossible to capture. Your photographer is looking for what's inside of YOU that will make your photographs beautiful. And remember, you hired your photographer because you like the work that they have done already. Why not let them work their magic with you?


4) Pinterest can give you, as clients, TONS of ideas as to what to wear. What colors will go well together, how to dress for the season, etc. I will tell you that for me, you should wear what you want to wear. Your favorite outfits make you happy, which comes across in the photographs. If your 3 year old refuses to take off her cowboy boots, great! They can become a focal point of some of the shots, and you will always remember that those boots were her favorite. Most photographers will allow you to change clothes (or your children's clothes) during the session, so you can always try to get your child to wear the outfit that you had originally planned on.


5) Always give credit where credit is due. Note that below the original photograph that I posted as my inspiration, I made sure to include the original photographer's information. Photographs are people's art and their livelihood. When you crop out someone's watermark (the wording saying who took the photograph on the photo), or don't leave their copyright information in the photograph description, it takes away potential clients and allows other people to steal that image. This one applies to all social media, but I see it pretty often on Pinterest. When you see a beautiful photograph of your family, of course you want to share it! But please, pretty please, include your photographer's information along with that photograph. You never know, that photographer might start a referral incentive program! *wink, wink*

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/8/5-thoughts-on-pinterest-and-photography Wed, 13 Aug 2014 14:21:40 GMT
Straight of camera shots vs. Edited photos https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/7/straight-of-camera-shots-vs-edited-photos Over the year or so that I've been doing photography, I've heard and read a lot of comments about straight out of camera (SOOC) shots versus edited photos. Some photographers are die hard SOOC photographers, while others Photoshop their photographs to the point where the person is almost unrecognizable. Then there are photographers like me, who think that photographs should look good SOOC, but editing can make them look even better. I've put together a few examples of before and after edits to show you what I mean about editing improving a photo:

This is my youngest daughter, Elena. I'm a little biased, but I think that she's beautiful in almost every shot that I've ever taken of her. This particular shot is SOOC. The photograph itself is good, but the shadows are a little harsh and you can't really see how intensely blue her eyes are. So, here's the same photo, but edited:

Everything is a bit softer, and I love the lighting in her hair.


Here's another example of why editing can be so helpful, especially when you regularly photograph children. Kids get DIRTY! They have runny noses, milk stains around their mouths, a stray eye booger, whatever the "dirt" may be. Case in point, my son Tyler. His adorable little face is enough for me, but this photo could look better:

Again, there are shadows that are harsh and LOTS of stuff on his face. So, here's the edited version:

He looks brighter, more alert and definitely more smoochable (that's a technical term, hahaha). 

Here's another example of how edits can make a good picture better, with my favorite (then) newborn, Ryan. 

Here she is looking adorable, but the photo itself could be better. She has some baby acne (totally normal, especially at 6 days old!), and the coloring of the photograph itself is off. It's not as soft as newborn photographs should (in my opinion) be. 

Now here's the edited version with her skin smoothed out, baby acne gone and lighter coloring:

I mean, really, how adorable is she with her little smooshed lips??

The final photo that I'm going to share with you is of my oldest daughter, Lily. We were goofing around with my camera one day and this shot is still one of my favorites of her. She's genuinely laughing and it always makes me smile to see it:

Here's the same shot edited, with making it black and white and playing around slightly with the contrast:

Simple edit, but a more striking photograph. She becomes more of the focus of the picture instead of the background.

So, there you have it. A few examples of how editing can make a picture better, even if it's good SOOC. Editing a photograph to the point of being unable to recognize the person in real life isn't the way photographers should use their tools. It sucks the life out of the photos. Small, simple edits to make the subject look the natural best is the way that I like to edit. 


I hope you enjoyed this blog, and I can't wait to post more in the future!

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/7/straight-of-camera-shots-vs-edited-photos Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:02:42 GMT
Ryan and Jake https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/6/ryan-and-jake I've known this little cutie's parents for years and I had the privilege of taking photos for their pregnancy announcement. So, as you can imagine, I was SUPER excited when I was asked to take pictures of baby Ryan. She was the sweetest baby I could ask for and such a good sleeper! This was my first time photographing a newborn, and I was so honored to take these photos for such a great family. 

[email protected] (Fluttering Shutter Photography) https://www.flutteringshutterphotography.com/blog/2014/6/ryan-and-jake Fri, 27 Jun 2014 03:11:23 GMT