now updated for 2023!
Why Is Location Important?
Choosing a location for your photos can feel overwhelming. We're lucky to be in such a great area for photography, from quiet little parks to the epic monuments downtown to strolls in Old Town or Adams Morgan. I've had clients who know immediately what they want because it holds a special memory for them, but more often than not, we work together to figure out the best spot.
Why does it matter? To me, even though it may be in the background, choosing a location that feels like you and yours is important. If you all love the outdoors and hiking, then a woodsy-feel place is perfect, or parks and fields. If you love exploring Washington DC, then let's do something immediately recognizable as DC like a monument or US Capitol. More city than trees? I did a lovely session walking around Adams Morgan, and Georgetown is beautiful and classic.
The Location Guide
I've spent the past months UPDATING my free Location Guide that offers an overall approach to identifying a portrait session location that feels like you. I've personally done fabulous photo sessions at most of the locations in it, and can vouch for how lovely they are. Each location has a photo, a tidbit about it, and insight into current permit costs and ideal timelines for each. If you decide to work with me, then I take care of all that paperwork and the permit fees!
Here's what some of the pages look like:
I love to offer these as a go-to to help my clients decide what works (and, I do have my favorites!). I cover Arlington (my home base) and broader Virginia, then delve into all of the DC options. The great thing is, all of these are within an hour of DC - of course, I've done some further afield and am down for adventure, but I also know that getting everyone out of the house, in their outfits, with snacks and water, semi-on time....is a lot! So, this Location Guide is all about local. I include a "look book" with photos from client sessions and where they were taken. You can also browse this blog, or ask me about any of my photos! I'll always offer my expert advice. If it's a new-to-me location, I do research before getting back to you with my thoughts on it.
What Else to Look For
As a photographer my #1 priority is LIGHT! That feeds into my Location Guide and my recommendations. If the park has either zero or too much tree cover, it can be hard to achieve the kinds of consistent photos I capture - though not always impossible.
I love natural light. It creates photographs that feel fresh, timeless and true to you. Sure, the ideal time is "golden hour" in the two hours before sunset (or after sunrise). BUT I don't limit my clients to that because let's be real, life doesn't always work that way. So, I'll recommend preferred times of day and I also know the power of nap time. Rested and fed children - and adults, for that matter - do much better during photo sessions, so I will always defer to your own expertise of your family!
Whether it's me or another photographer you choose, they should have recommendations and ideas for you. Ask them! We love it :)