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Apparently 2015 is a year full of milestones for this Washington DC photographer because, for the second time in a row, a family has reached their TENTH portrait session and that feels like cause for celebration. Parents, Margot and Adam, brought me on board from the very beginning to document their family as it grew from a mom and pop show to a five-person parade. The Price family and I go back many years and this session was the picture-perfect way to reach the big 10 milestone.

Washington-DC-family-photographer_11I have been photographing this family since their first child, Vivienne, was only 8 days old, then August arrived as the new man of the house and we did his newborn portrait session, and when baby sister Eleanore came on the scene she had some new baby beauty shots taken as well. If you’re wondering how one family can make use of ten photo sessions, let me tell you that Margot put them to excellent use. For each of her three children, she purchased a First Year Package of photo sessions (3 portrait sessions across a span of 12 months). The eldest daughter, Vivienne, has 3 gallery wraps in her bedroom and Margot plans to do the same for her two younger children as well. Margot has said time and again that investing in my photography has been worth every penny to capture beautiful images of her rapidly changing brood.

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Our latest shoot was the culmination of Eleanore’s first year package – the capstone session that took place right around her birthday. As April wound down the temperature wound down with it, and the day was a bit chilly for us to keep the kids outside for longer than a few moments. So, we got comfortable indoors and made use of the Price family’s home.

Though every shoot we do together includes numerous family portraits, we always try to draw the spotlight in on one child in particular and this time it was Eleanore’s turn. I first worked with her older siblings, leveraging all my savviest Washington DC photographer tricks to win their attention, and then it was time for a solo shoot of the baby sister. We explored different nooks and crannies of the home and wound up with some adorable images of this precocious little girl. Thinking back to her first newborn photoshoot stops me dead in my tracks because I realize just how much she has grown and just how much personality she has acquired in a few short months.

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However, it wasn’t all rose-colored glasses and sunshine because as it turns out, little baby Eleanor is quite the speedy daredevil. Her happydisregard for spacial reasoning and gravity make her a hazard to herself and several times she attempted to propel herself off the bed. Thankfully, Margot has superhuman mommy reflexes and was able to keep Eleanor firmly planted on solid ground.

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Having been blessed with so much time together over the past five years, Margot and I have become close friends and I am so thankful to count her as one of my business’s biggest fans and advocates. She said to me early on that I can’t move out of the area until her kids are out of high school so I can keep photographing them as they grow. For her, Adam, Vivienne, August, and Eleanore, I am more than happy to stay put and help Margot document their childhoods.


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Whether you resist technology or find yourself leading the techie trend, nearly everyone, regardless of age, is consolidating their electronic devices into one, handheld, sleek piece of plastic that is small enough to fit into your skinny jeans. It´s in your purse, your back pocket, your front seat console, and zipped inside your backpack. It can call friends in China, balance checkbooks, track your footsteps, and launch Angry Birds, but does your shiny new smartphone really make for a decent camera replacement?

As a professional Washington DC photographer, you might assume that I am bound by sacred oath to swear off smartphone cameras, demonizing them as a watered-down version of my favorite art form. However, as a photography-loving, business-building, smart phone-wielding mom, I know the value of convenience and I believe smartphone cameras deserve a fair trial.

Just a few years ago smartphone cameras produced pixelated images that were hardly decipherable much less worthy of ever being printed. Today however, healthy competition has spurred leading brands to produce ever higher quality, increased controls, and jazzy new features that nearly blur the line between cameras and video games. But if you are considering replacing your digital point-and-shoot camera with a smartphone, here are some features to consider:

 


 

Is Your Smartphone a Camera Replacement?

What your smartphone has that your camera does not:

Beyond these features, there are many bells and whistles that make smartphone cameras slightly more entertaining than your run-of-the-mill traditional camera.

  • Mobility (most people always keep their cellphones on hand and their cameras in the cupboard)
  • Selfie mode (front-facing camera)
  • One-touch zoom
  • Facial recognition, smile and blink detection
  • Access to instant apps for editing, saving, and sharing
  • Pre-set modes for creative color effects

Is Your Smartphone a Camera Replacement?

What your camera has that your smartphone does not:

While smartphones certainly are setting a rapid pace when it comes to improvement and innovation, there are a few noteworthy features that will keep traditional cameras forever in the race. They include elements such as:

  • Optical zoom (As opposed to digital zoom, digital cameras can adjust the lens to move closer to the subject and change the focus, which produces a much sharper image than those using digital zoom magnifying effects)
  • Interchangeable lenses (Allowing for high quality macro and zoom lenses to be used)
  • High-quality, close-up portraits and macro images (produced by optical zoom)

 

Now for the million dollar question: are the days of using a regular digital camera over? Even the professionals in my field agree that smartphones can serve as a replacement for low-end digital cameras. However, for those of us who are serious about producing high-quality images and archival-quality portraits, there is simply no substitute for a stand-alone digital camera. Even with recent industry advances, smartphone cameras just can’t compete with the power of a DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera.

Rather than getting up in arms about a tech trend that is clearly serving a consumer need, I too will reach for my smartphone camera the next time I’m out with friends or juggling my son’s backpack in one hand and my purse in the other. However, when I’m ready for print-worthy photos to hang on my refrigerator, I am going to unzip my camera bag and pull out the DSLR that I know will do the job right.

 

So tell me, who do you side with in this smartphone vs. digital camera debate? Share your opinions in the comments section below!


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One!

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that baby Grace Tindale and I have been working together for the past year. Well, mostly I’ve been doing the working and she’s been simply looking adorable. This most recent baby portrait shoot was the last of three sessions chronicling Grace’s first year of life.

Grace’s parents, Christina and Greg Tindale, have been our family friends for many years and when Christina told me she wanted to do something special with Grace’s baby portraits, I was thrilled to lend my camera to the cause. Any new mom will tell you, that the firstborn baby’s first year of life goes by in lightning speed (with the exception of the sleepless nights – which drag on endlessly). Not only does time reach uncanny velocities, but new parents are so overstimulated by jobs, responsibilities, love, fear, and everything in between, that it can be hard to soak up the special moments and engrain them in their memories. That is where baby portraits come in so handy. In order to document the year, we decided to hold baby portrait shoots at the 4, 8, and 12-month marks.

The original plan was to schedule the final shoot as close to Grace’s first birthday as possible, but with the Tindale family facing an impending move to a new home, we decided to wait until things were settled at the new house. However, their move was delayed and rather than letting any more time slip by, we opted for a new location altogether: the Georgetown Waterfront.

The weather was slightly on the chilly side, but very beautiful. Spring buds were bursting and beautiful flowers dressed the Waterfront in color. Grace’s 4-month session was set at her first family home, for her 8-month milestone we shot at Bishop’s Garden at Washington National Cathedral, and we wrapped up the year at the waterfront. Looking back on the series of baby portrait sessions, it makes for a beautiful progression: from home to nature to a gentle urban scene. As Grace grows and – quite literally – finds her stride, the backdrop behind her also becomes more mature, more appropriate for a little young lady with the world at her feet!

Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One!

Speaking of which, photographing young children who are just learning how to walk is a bit like chasing a newborn puppy around the room. They are thrilled with the miracle of mobility and want to be on the go non-stop, gaining confidence and hutzpah with every step. It can be a challenge to catch them in a still moment and it certainly keeps me fast on my feet so that I can keep up.

Through the lens of my camera I was able to see Grace go from a tiny baby, rolling around on her back and playing with her toes, to an audacious babbling toddler. Even with our 3-part baby portrait project, the year flew by and I’m sure that Christina and Greg would agree. Thankfully, Grace’s cuteness continues on and I’m sure there are many, many photo-worthy moments in her future.

Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One!  Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One! Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One! Tindale Baby Portraits: Grace Turns One!

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

If you’re hunting for a newborn or family photographer, you’ve probably found yourself inundated with hundreds of options and a throbbing headache. Which one is right for you? What questions should you ask? How can you separate the hobbyists from the professionals, and ensure that you hire someone truly exceptional?

Checking out websites and portfolio collections is an excellent place to begin, but no decision should be made before having a one-on-one conversation (over the phone or in person). The default questions that most people ask are about prices and about digital file offerings, but these two questions offer little to no insight into the quality of the final images and don’t provide a true apples-to-apples comparison of photographers.  Arm yourself with a few strategic questions and a notebook to jot down your thoughts, just make sure these seven essential questions are on your list!

E_twins_02 Washington DC Child Photographer Julie Kubal

How to Choose the Right Photographer for You:
7 Questions to Ask Before Handing Over a Check

 

Question #1: Do you have many repeat clients?

Gorgeous website and glimmering portfolio aside, the true test of a phenomenal photographer is how many clients come back year after year to work with him or her again. Asking this question is a great litmus test of customer service as well as quality photography.

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Question #2: How much experience do you have with creating newborns/ young children/ family portraits?

Perusing online portfolios is certainly a great place to start, but keep in mind you’re only seeing the photographer’s select images, which may not be representative of a full portrait shoot package or their overall experience. Rather than allowing a few beauty shots make the decision for you, ask about how many years he/ she has been in the industry, how the business began, and what environments they tend to shoot in.

Also, if you have any special concerns or unique requests, be sure to ask photographers if they have any past experience in that area as well. For example, do you have any experience photographing special needs children? Or if you’ll be incorporating the family pet into the portrait, ask if he or she has worked with animals in the past.

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Question #3: You can Photoshop out the bad stuff, right?

We’ve all got bits that we’d like to change – blemished skin, under eye puffiness, a few wayward strands of hair, which makes editing software such a blessing. However, not all photographers edit images to the same degree or in the same way. Experienced photographers will use posing, location scouting, and camera settings to prevent eye sores, but minor touch-ups are inevitable. Because editing in Photoshop can be very time-consuming, be sure to clarify how many images get full editing and if any additional fees may apply.

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Question #4: How should I prepare my family before the portrait session?

Professional photographers will be able to supply lots of tips for how to prepare for you family portrait session and ways to make the most of your appointment and they will want you and your family to feel comfortable and have fun. Be sure to ask what colors and styles of clothing they recommend, if you should bring a change of outfit, how they will handle a fussy child at nap time, and what they will do if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Photographers who stammer around these questions may not have the level of experience or charisma necessary to pull off a seamless photoshoot.

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Question #5: When will the edited photos be made available for viewing/ purchase?

Every photographer has a different process, some whip out edited images in a matter of days while others may carefully retouch and color balance photos and have a processing time of 1-3 months. Some photographers will polish all your photos, while others may only edit the images that you decide to order. It all depends on the photographer’s style, quality standards, number of images, and overall workload.

on location family photographer Julie Kubal in Alexandria Washington-DC-family-photographer_01-2

Question #6: What photo products are available to purchase?

There’s an industry phenomenon known as “shoot and burn photography,” which refers to photographers that shoot hundreds of images, do very minimal editing (if any), burn them onto a CD, collect the bill, and walk away. I recommend always working with a full-service photographer who will fully edit the images and hand over high quality prints and products that put your photos on display. However, every family and child photographer offers different photo products and varying quality standards. Before booking a session, ask what deliverables are available and if you can see any finished samples.

Julie_Kubal_Ben_R_02 on location baby and family photographer Julie Kubal in Washington DC

Question #7: You know your industry much better than I do. As I’m searching through dozens of photographers, what is it that makes you stand out from the rest?

Evaluating portraiture and various photographers can be a tricky business for someone not familiar with the lingo or the industry. This is a great question to an “insider” help you navigate the search a bit more effectively. Invite photographers to answer honestly and to open up about how they differ from their competition. Their answers may be related to photography style, equipment, turn-around time, price points etc.

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How to choose the right photographer for you comes down to equal parts online research and one-on-one interaction. There are hundreds of family photographers in the Washington DC area alone, and it’s easy to find yourself overwhelmed and confused by how to pick one person out of such a massive crowd. Use these questions – and the positive feedback of past clients – to help you narrow down the search, and eventually land upon the one photographer who best fits your family’s needs.

For additional useful information about choosing a photographer, I often refer clients to this excellent website that provides a wealth of helpful answers on the subject.

Have you ever hired a family or child photographer? Any excellent interview questions that you’d like to add to the list? Tell me in the comments section below!

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and already the race has begun to find flower bouquets, buy boxes of chocolates, and prep a scrumptious breakfast in bed (that is to say – if my family is reading – I hope that’s what is happening). Yet, speaking from decades of experience as a daughter myself, there’s never really an adequate way to get the Mother’s Day message across. I have come to believe that it’s physically impossible for us to fit such a massive amount of appreciation into any gift-wrapped trinket or heartfelt handicraft…though chocolate usually comes pretty close to getting the job done. Though our attempts generally fall short, still we do our best to show them just how much moms matter.

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In the eyes of young children, moms are super-human. They never tire, never waver, never wonder what to do or how to act. They are unbreakable, unshakeable, and even when under pressure they never seem to break a sweat. Then, as we grow up, our perspective changes: we begin to notice the effort. We start to see that school bag lunches are not packed by tiny fairy elves, but by a woman who has worked a 16-hour day and would much rather throw herself on the sofa than fuss with sandwich-sized Ziploc baggies. But she does it anyway. We begin to notice that clean clothes don’t just magically appear in folded stacks, and that stocked refrigerators require endless trips to the grocery store, and that even moms can occasionally catch the flu – yet she’ll still drag herself out of bed to help with homework.

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Whether they work inside the home or clock time inside a cubicle, moms are remarkable women. And they are remarkable not because they are superhuman, or because their pearls are perfectly placed. They are remarkable because of the effort they make. The tireless, thankless, thoughtful effort they put in every single day so that their families are well taken care of.

custom_family_photosAlexandria family photographer photograph of family with mother and daughter in Chevy Chase, MD by Julie Kubal on location baby and family photographer Julie Kubal in Washington DC

That is what I photograph and that is what I help family’s celebrate. So, on this Mother’s Day, I wanted to take a moment to honor the mamas that have created extraordinary families and have given me the privilege of photographing their lives. These are the women who take special care, who plan Christmas cards months in advance, who harmonize half a dozen individual schedules, who plan oufit for all their kids and husband too, and who somehow ensure that everyone arrives to the photoshoot on time. These are the women who know how precious childhood and family truly are, and who make the extra effort to preserve a handful of worthy memories.

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So whether you’re a mother of six, a mama-to-be, or you have a mom who made an effort on your behalf – join me in taking one day out of the 365 to honor the mamas who matter to us the most.

…and to my son, Sasha, I’d still appreciate a box of chocolates.;-)


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

 

 

 

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When longtime clients and friends Bob and Teresa Bernstein were expecting the birth of their third child, Bode, Teresa contacted me to set up a newborn portrait session. Teresa has long been a cheerleader for my photography business, always willing to provide helpful feedback and heartfelt encouragement. But when it came time for her newborn portrait session, she wanted to be sure that the shoot would capture the real essence of her family’s life – a special request that I was sure I could deliver.

Newborn Portraits with the Bernstein Family

As far as models are concerned, newborns can be a blessing to photographers or they can put us through our paces. Without the verbal input and mobility, they – quite literally – bend to the will of whomever is positioning them. Many newborn photographers rely heavily on by-the-book poses and theater props that would look more at home in a Hallmark store than in any family’s actual livingroom. I too swoon at the sight of a bare baby’s bottom nestled among a patch of cabbages, but I still can’t help but roll my eyes at such a bizarre juxtaposition? And unless the family truly has an affinity for gardening, the portrait winds up feeling like a magazine spread rather than an authentic family portrait.

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At the end of the day I believe my clients prefer portraits that are both swoon-worthy and provide a snapshot of real life. That is why I conduct more natural, lifestyle newborn photo sessions – and leave the Hallmark props to my competitors. After sharing my newborn portrait philosophy with Teresa, it became clear that we were very much on the same page. So, we picked a date and I arrived on her doorstep with my camera equipment in hand.

Newborn Portraits with the Bernstein Family

Little baby Bode was just a few weeks old, though he sported a wonderfully full head of hair, and his siblings, Arabella and Walt, were at his side. Because Bode had joined their family just days before, big brother and big sister were still just beginning to adjust to this recent arrival. However, once Bode was safe in his mama’s arms and my role as a photographer faded into the background, it was easier for the two little ones to step back into their usual family rhythm and join in on the fun.

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The mid-morning light was ideal for the indoor shoot, illuminating the Bernstein home without too much direct sunlight. I particularly loved that Teresa had dressed the family in cool tones of blue and gray, which were offset beautifully by her bright orange throw pillows. Throughout the newborn portrait session, we meandered through the bottom floor of their home, fluffing pillows and carefully posing Bode so as not to disturb his slumber. And as we went along, we added and subtracted family members so that the resulting images could be a hodgepodge of combinations – parents with baby Bode, the three siblings together, baby Bode sleeping soundly etc.

Newborn Portraits with the Bernstein Family

As I sat at my computer to edit the images, I quickly stumbled upon my favorite: the whole family on the couch, a child nestled into every corner, and dad looking into mom’s eyes with a half-cocked grin that can only mean “honey, I love you, but what have we gotten ourselves into?!”

Newborn Portraits with the Bernstein Family

Since Bode’s momentous arrival, Teresa and I have been hard at work turning these images into heirloom artwork that the Bernstein family can enjoy on a daily basis. In addition to my signature luxury coffee table album, we also created some modern pieces with multiple photos matted together in simple white frames that will compliment the colorful decor of their family home.

**Before I sign off, I also want to send out a Happy Birthday shout-out to little Arabella who just turned 4 years old on May 2. Cheers, Arabella!

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

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Mother’s day is right around the corner and this year I have a creative way for you to spread the love and win a fantastic prize in the process with my big Mother’s Day Giveaway 2015. I work with many amazing moms from around the Washington DC area, photographing their gorgeous families, and standing in awe of all they do to keep the kids smiling, dad grounded, and everyone dressed, pressed, and on-time. It’s no easy feat and moms certainly deserve lots of praise! So, in celebration of Mother’s Day, stop by my Facebook page to Honor a Mama who you consider to be a super mom. Nominate a DC-area sister, friend, neighbor, relative, or your own mom by uploading a photo of the special lady and telling us what makes her outstanding. The winning nominee – and the person who nominated her – will EACH receive a free mini portrait session with me.

Mother's Day Giveaway

Here’s how to participate:

  1. Like the Julie Kubal Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/juliekubalphotography)
  2. Post a picture of your favorite Washington, DC super mom on the Julie Kubal Photography Facebook Page and tell us what makes her an amazing mama.
  3. Submit by May 9th and check back on May 10th to discover the two lucky winners!

On May 10th we will select the best story/photo combination and the nominated mom, as well as the person who posted her picture, will both receive a 2015 mini session voucher, guaranteeing them a 30 minute portrait session with me as well as a free 8×10 inch print of their favorite image. Don’t have access to Facebook? No problem. Email the photo and paragraph to me directly at julie@juliekubal.com and I will upload them for you. Share this with your friends and encourage them to Honor a Mama with us this week until May 9th. After all, who doesn’t love to receive a little praise – and potentially a portrait session to go along with it! Happy Mother’s Day!


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

 

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Washington-DC-family-photographer_33The Wasylak family and I have a very special anniversary to celebrate – TEN family portrait sessions. Together with parents, Angie and Greg, son, Tyler, 5, and daughter, Madeline, 1, we have created countless pieces of artwork together and there’s much more to come. I have been photographing Tyler since he was about 6 months old and Madeline since she was a newborn. Watching this family grow together over the course of nearly five years has been one of the sweetest experiences I’ve had as a Washington DC family photographer. Not to mention, a welcomed challenge to always mix things up and invent fresh poses, unique backdrops, and authentic moments that set each photo session apart from the last. And a few weeks ago, when their daughter’s first year album was ready, I couldn’t help reminiscing over our last holiday portrait session and all the portrait sessions that came before.

Last year in mid-November, just before the holiday season kicked into high gear, the Wasylaks and I gathered together for our annual holiday portrait session.  This year, in hopes of putting a unique spin on their holiday cards, we met up at the Baltimore Inner Harbor and Federal Hill, in search of some picturesque backdrops to use as staging for our shoot.

After covering all the ground we could at our two off-site locations, we headed back to the Wasylak family home for a few special shots that I had been envisioning for some time. There home was converted from a warehouse and therefore exhibits a very unique exterior – and the perfect excuse to snap a few more frames before we called it a wrap. The family dog, Molly joined us for the final few shots – adding her sweetness just as she’s done in past sessions, when she snuck a few kisses with baby Madeline.

Now that Madeline’s first year photo album is complete, filled with glossy images of a tiny daughter’s first foray into the world, we won’t be seeing each other quite as frequently as before. However, our annual holiday sessions are a permanent fixture on the calendar and something I look forward to every year.

As a Washington DC family photographer, I have to admit that the Wasylak family is pretty inspiring. Not only do they make taking family pictures a priority, but they also bring those images out of the digital dungeon – and display them around the home where they can be seen and enjoyed. From wall displays to table top frames, gallery wrap series of each child in the master bedroom as well as the two kids together printed on metal on the exposed brick wall of the playroom. After all, photos don’t exist so that we can clutter up our hard drives, they exist so that we can keep the most memorable moments close by.

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Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

 

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Washington DC Family Portraits - SS Family

 

As the fall leaves started to gather on the ground, I had the pleasure of meeting with the beautiful S-S family to create their custom Washington DC Family Portraits. As first-time photography clients they certainly made themselves at home in front of the camera, which made for beautiful images that caputured their family’s personality and natural warmth.

I first met Neesa when she enrolled as a student in one of my Snap Happy workshops a several months ago. As with every workshop I teach, I gathered together with local moms and dads to walk them through the ins and outs of composing great images, empowering them with tips and tricks to polish up their own family photography skills. Neesa assured me that she was able to implement some of the strategies she learned in my class, but was eager to have some polished family portraits that included mom as well. So, she stepped out from behind the camera, gave me a call, and curled up on a picnic blanket with her husband, Benjamin, and daughter, Paloma, who was just 15 months old.

Paloma was at one of the best ages (in my humble opinion) for photographing. She was awake, attentive, and always staring down the camera with her gorgeous big brown eyes. Certainly, there are few things more heart-melting than a newborn baby all folded up in sleepy perfection, but I love to work with a firecracker like baby Paloma. She was an easy smiler and her few pearly whites shone through on almost every frame.

The first Washington DC Family Portraits session that Neesa and I had scheduled fell through as a result of Paloma feeling a bit under the weather. However, the calendar change rewarded us with a beautiful, sunny afternoon. As moms and professionals, we all try to keep a handle on our schedules as much as possible, but inevitably there are wrinkles in the plan: kids aren’t feeling well, rain clouds roll in, baby acne crops up, or some other unforeseen obstacle appears out of nowhere. In those cases, rescheduling a photo session is always a possibility. More often than not I’m able to shuffle things around and accommodate my client’s needs.

As my last mini-session from the fall, I couldn’t have asked to end the season on a higher note. Paloma is already growing up fast, collecting more pearly whites to add to her smile, gaining speed on her tiny legs, and learning to fly in her daddy’s arms.

 

Washington DC Family Portraits - SS Family

 

Washington DC Family Portraits - SS Family

 

Washington DC Family Portraits - SS Family

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

 

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

Are you pregnant and wondering when to schedule your newborn photoshoot? You’re not alone.

Even the most hard-hearted among us cannot help but swoon for a perfectly executed newborn portrait. Everyone has their favorite element – whether it’s sparkling eyes poking through tiny slits of eyelids, minute feet all covered in wrinkles, or arms and legs folded into the perfect little nest for one. Most new moms want all those beauty shots and more, but few realize that it all comes down to knowing how to schedule your newborn portraits and making sure the photographer arrives at just the right moment.

I know that expectant moms don’t need one more thing to keep track of, so here is everything you need to know about scheduling your newborn portrait session.

Washington DC Newborn Photographer Abby

 

The Best Time to Schedule Newborn Portraits

 

The First 10 Days

As a professional photographer, I recommend my clients to schedule their newborn portrait session within the first 5-10 days of their babies’ lives. During this time newborn babies make the ideal models because they are:

  • Sleepy enough to tolerate being hovered over and re-positioned
  • Free of rashes, blemishes, baby acne, and colic (which tend to develop after the first two weeks of life)
  • Able to stay curled up in “womb-like” poses in which they neatly fold their precious limbs into their chest

Falls Church photo of newborn baby with siblings by Julie Kubal

During their earliest days, babies are exhausted and tend to sleep right through the majority of the portrait session, rather than fussing for mommy every twenty minutes. That means we have more time to play with poses and snap more frames for the new parents to enjoy.

After the first 10 days of life, babies begin to stretch and awake from their hibernation. It’s nearly impossible to get them into the curled up newborn poses and they tend to have less tolerance for the photographer hovering, nudging, and positioning them.

On the other hand, the older the babies, the more wide-eyed and personable they become. By three months old, babies are starting to smile, exhibit personality, and their necks are strong enough to lift their heads up while lying on their tummies. That means it’s really up to the parents to determine what style of baby photoshoot they prefer – curly newborn with closed eyes within the first two weeks, or open eyelids and personality with an older baby. If you prefer the latter, or miss the newborn phase, I recommend waiting until about the third month to schedule your portrait session. Any time before three months is less ideal due to all the reasons mentioned above.

Washington DC newborn photographer

Newborn Feedings

As a whole, newborn sessions tend to run a bit longer than sessions for older babies and kids. Caring for a newborn requires frequent feedings, diaper changes, and soothing which take priority over taking photos. Plus changing settings, and settling into new poses also take time.

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Morning & Afternoon

Given that newborns have a blatant disregard for time of day, the ideal scheduling time comes down to the photographer’s availability and the quality of natural light. Ideally sessions are scheduled during mid-morning or late-afternoon, when natural light is soft, warm, and at it’s most photo-friendly.

Washington DC newborn photography 

Special Cases

 

  • Hospital Stays and Early Arrivers
    There are, of course, special cases in which newborns simply don’t comply with our adult version of an ideal timeline. Sometimes their birth comes unexpectedly or their kept under close watch in the NICU long after the window of opportunity has passed. If that’s the case, don’t fret. Simply give your Washington DC newborn photographer a call and schedule as soon as possible.

 

  • Circumcision
    For parents planning on circumcising their son, it’s best to schedule the procedure shortly after the birth or shortly after the portrait session. It generally takes 5 days for the child to heal completely and posing a baby during that time period can cause discomfort.

 

  • On the Move/ Cluttered Home
    When it comes time for a newborn photography session, many of my clients fret about whether their house is clean or cluttered. Most sessions take place within your home and it’s understood that you’ve just had a baby – the mopping, dusting, and putting away is just going to have to wait. And the good news is that no one will ever know. I’m an expert at identifying key corners of your house for photography and much of what we’ll do will be in close up. So moving boxes or loose toys are the least of your worries.


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How to Schedule Your Newborn Photo Session

If you or someone in your family is expecting a new arrival, it’s best to give your newborn photographer a heads up before the baby is born to ensure that 1) he/she is in town around the estimated due date and 2) he/she can accommodate another client. After the birth, pick up the phone once again to nail down the final time, date, and location of the shoot. Some photographers will establish a time/date based upon the due date, while others prefer to wait until the baby is born. In my case, I ask clients to put me on their contact list of people to notify when the baby is born. I usually receive the big group email along with all their family and friends and then make sure I get in touch with them to finalize the time and date.

Bringing a new baby into the world is an exciting, exhausting, and emotional time. Working with an experienced, professional newborn photographer allows you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your baby is in good hands and that stunning portraits are on their way.

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

 

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!

 

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