Moms everywhere are celebrating their bodies and their baby bumps by creating pregnancy portraits with the help of professional photographers. The images that result from a maternity photoshoot are meant to celebrate a woman’s femininity while chronicling her baby’s earliest days. It’s the photography industry’s latest trend, but not every expectant mom is on board with the bare belly fashion. While some moms are certain that pregnancy photography is a must, others are stuck on the fence.

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It’s common for women to struggle with body image during the final months of pregnancy, and many find it difficult to feel photogenic during this time. However, sometimes it takes looking through someone else’s lens to get a glimpse of your own pregnancy glow.

If you’re considering pregnancy photography, here are some things to consider:

 

The Importance of Maternity Photography

 

Celebrate the anticipation

Becoming a mother is one of the few transformations in our lives that can never be undone and it requires a great deal of preparation and induces a great deal of anticipation. Sharing pregnancy portraits with adult children is a way of sharing the more complete story of their childhood.

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All about you

As a professional Washington DC photographer, I work with moms almost every day and I know that they pour everything they have into their families. From stuffing sandwich baggies at 6 AM to shuffling everyone from point A to point B, moms rarely get their due time at the top of the priority list. During a pregnancy portrait session, all the noise of life is stripped away and all that matters is one woman’s connection to herself, her body, and her baby on the way.

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Nice & natural

Baby bump photos are not about props, and there are few bells and whistles. Instead the focus is on the curvature of a woman’s body, the way her hands rest on her tummy, the way she smiles every time she imagines the arrival of her child. Maternity photographers often play with dramatic lighting and shooting from extreme angles, but the focus is on keeping things minimalistic and natural.

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A question of confidence

Becoming a mother is a time of immense transition and transformation. Maternity portraits help women celebrate their transformation and can actually provide an enormous confidence boost.

Washington-DC-family-photographer_01-5Gone in a flash

While women are in the midst of pregnancy nine months can feel like forever, but in the scheme of things pregnancy is a fleeting time. As moms, we know that pregnancy isn’t all about flowers and sunshine. But despite an achy lower back, there is a phenomenal amount of beauty. And it’s beauty that is fleeting – just a few months and the bump is gone. Whether it’s your first and only child or your fifth, every pregnancy carries with it different emotions, sensations, and circumstances. Maternity photos encourage expectant moms to enjoy the present, rather than fast forwarding to what life will be like after delivery.

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If you’re considering maternity photography or pregnancy portraits and have some questions about what to expect, don’t hesitate to reach out to me or whomever you’re considering working with. A skilled photographer knows that pregnancy is a sensitive time and should do everything possible to make you at ease before, during, and after your session.

 


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!

Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family

I have known the Marsh Joseph family for several years, though our last photo session together was back in 2011, when their eldest daughter, Aven, was one year old. When little sister Taia joined their household, parents, Abby and Jeremy, decided it was time to renovate their family snapshots and provide Grandma Marilyn with some new images to hang up on the walls in her Arizona home.

As a family photographer, my work is often sent out to thousands of mail boxes during the holiday card season, gifted to friends and family on birthdays and special occasions, but I rarely get to hear about exactly where the portraits wind up in the world. Grandma Marilyn would of course be an exception to that statement.

For readers who aren’t familiar with my family photography process, I tend to guide families through three simple steps: a photoshoot prep session (to discuss goals/ location/ particulars), the photo session itself, and a viewing session to see the edited images and create the photo artwork itself. Well, this family of four introduced me to a fifth member: Grandma Marilyn, loving matriarch and long-distance fan of Julie Kubal Photography.

When it came time for the Marsh Joseph family to sit down for their viewing session, it just so happened that Marilyn was in town for a visit with her grandkids. That meant that we were lucky enough to sit down together and hatch up some new ideas for displaying photographs in her home. Based on her input and my guidance, Marilyn decided to create two different wall displays and to select images for a gift album. Once Marilyn’s home and photo art was squared away, I worked with Abby and Jeremy to select images for their offices, holiday cards, and other gifts.

It’s wonderful to see a family get so much mileage out of a single photoshoot, and it just goes to show that there really is a huge return on a single investment when you choose to work with a professional family photographer. Most parents I know take lots and lots of snapshots of their children, but flipping through the files they soon realize that the number of decent images is small enough to count on one hand. Whereas when I work with a family, our viewing session is filled with dozens of print-worthy portraits that are just begging to be put on display. And yes, narrowing down the selection is a challenge for both parties, but it’s a testament to what can be done in a single photo session when you work with a professional.

On the day of the session, Abby, Jeremy, Aven, and Taia met me bright and early in their backyard and came ready to get down to work. Mom did a phenomenal job coordinating the family’s wardrobe with blue and pink hues that echoed across everyone’s outfits. And Jeremy cultivated a beautiful garden that is lush with springtime life and makes for a lovely, natural backdrop. Their yard served as the setting for our previous photoshoot and as I flipped through the edited files on my computer I couldn’t help be recognize the similarities that we’d unwittingly created. I captured a lot of images of Taia that are very similar to those I took of Aven many years ago, and in fact have this great pair of images, one of Aven sitting on Jeremy’s shoulders from before and a near identical one of Taia and Jeremy from this time around. It’s happy accidents like Aven and Taia striking the same pose that make me pause and remember why I love doing what I do – oh, and sitting on the couch with Grandma Marilyn was pretty wonderful as well.
Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph FamilyFamily Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family

Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph Family Family Photography with the Marsh Joseph 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!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve flipped through my photo files only to realize that I have shockingly few photos of my sweetheart and me together with our whole family. Perhaps that’s because I’m always the one behind the camera, but it doesn’t make it easier to watch the years go by without some cute snapshots of us. In a single afternoon with your family, you can easily bring your photo files back into balance and to take some cute images of you and your partner together with the kids in a family photoshoot.

Here are some tips to help you turn up the love with your cuties and capture the whole thing in snapshot! Still need help after reading this article? I’ll be teaching a class, Snap Happy: Photo 101 for parents who want to learn to take better photos of their children. The class will be on July 11, 2015 from 1pm to 3 pm at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. Follow this link to learn more or register! Half of the proceeds will be donated to support the Breastfeeding Center.


 

Create a color echo

We’re probably all in agreement that too much color coordination can become a bit nauseating. That’s why I encourage my clients to think about how to dress for a group photo shoot and plan a color echo – an accent color that unites everyone’s individual look. It’s also important to avoid any clashing patterns as it creates visual disharmony.

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Lean in close

This is a popular tip used in marketing photography that professional photographers use all the time. It’s natural to wrap your arms around one another, but leaning in just an extra inch or two can make a world of difference in communicating the closeness between the you and your children. On a similar note, remember to look at eachother rather than at the camera to achieve a more natural, candid look.

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Don’t primp too much

In preparation for a family photoshoot – whether it’s homemade or with a professional photographer – people are often tempted to try out a new hair style or makeup product the day of the shoot. Well this last-minute primping is certainly well-intentioned, it’s really not advisable. Frankly, you just don’t know how these new changes will look in photos and it’s best to be your natural self and stick to what you know.

photo of boy with toy by Julie Kubal

Capture the almost-kiss

For portraits of the parents together, or even small children together, this is one of my poses. Lean in cheek-to-cheek, touch noses, or simply linger a few millimeters away from giving a kiss. All of these almost-kiss images are rich with sweetness and intensity, not to mention that they fall just shy of making the children blush when they see the printed portrait.

photograph of family with sisters in Chevy Chase, MD by Julie Kubal

Don’t be afraid of props

Bringing props into the family photoshoot can be a great way to make your gang feel a little more at ease even when they’re standing in the spotlight. It’ll give kids something to occupy their hands and an outlet for any of that uncomfortable energy. Consider grabbing up a bouquet of your favorite flowers, invite the family pet to join, or grab up the items that express a shared interest – books, sports paraphernalia, etc.

photo of toddler boy at Westminster Playground

Continuous shooting

Family photoshoots depend on capturing those unscripted, authentic connections that only become apparent when a family is at ease with each other and not focused on the camera.That is what makes continuous shooting mode so invaluable. Set your camera up on a tripod and select continuous shooting mode, or instruct your photographer to keep his or her finger constantly on the trigger. At the end of the shoot, weed through the images and discover the handful of shots that captured the family at its finest.

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Once you’ve got it, Flaunt it!

Family portraits are the LAST kind of photos that should be hidden away in digital archives. Once you’ve received your prints from your professional photographer, or edited them yourself, be sure to show off your work in your home and office.

Creative Ways to Display Photos in the Home - Julie Kubal Photography


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!

 

May Townsend Newborn Portraits

Little Tommy Townsend, 2,  recently welcomed home his baby brother, George. George was born on May 27th to parents, Dave and Tina May. Though he doesn’t quite remember meeting me, Tommy and I go way back – back 2 years, in fact, to his newborn portrait session when he was fresh out of the hospital. In fact, that was my first photoshoot with the May Townsend family, and when Tina learned that baby George was on the way, she contacted me to set up her second appointment.

Amid the mommy network in any city, tales of “the terrible twos” and older sibling jealousy abound, but little Tommy showed nothing but love and laughter when getting to know the latest member of his family clan. At age 2, Tommy is now bubbling with personality and mom and dad were really pleased with how his personality shined through in the photos. What I didn’t expect was that catching him in a candid moment, involved nearly catching him from rolling off the end of the bed. Tommy was fearless in his exuberance and clearly unaware of the dangers of falling two feet to the bare floor, but thankfully Dave kept a sharp eye on him the whole time while still allowing him to be silly and playful. In my opinion, partnering up with the parents in this way is the perfect strategy: they focus on safety, I focus on shooting.

Half way through the shoot I spotted the family’s gorgeous farm-style dining room table. It’s the kind of furniture piece that sets Pinterest ablaze and sends moms running for the nearest Pottery Barn. I carefully folded up George’s swaddle cloth and placed it under him, which provided both a soft spot to rest his head and a roll-resistant brake pad of sorts. Though at this point, George was more interested in stealing some shut-eye than anything else.

Throughout the morning we snapped dozens of beauty shots and newborn portraits, but this one has to be my all-time favorite. I used a wide aperture to soften the background and let the setting fade away, leaving a sleeping baby George as the center of attention. I’ll admit, rarely do I ever lay a newborn on the kitchen table for a portrait, but this one was an unexpectedly beautiful spot with delicate light and subtle textures.

May Townsend Newborn Portraits

Tina and Dave are really passionate about filling their family home with newborn portraits and beautiful photographs of their two growing boys. In the past we used Tommy’s portraits to create a wall display of gallery wraps that hang above the master bed. But as the family grows, the decor has to shift. Now a single framed photo of George will hang above the bed, while each of the boys’ bedrooms is adorned with framed portraits.

As a mom to a young son, it was especially wonderful to work with this family of four and create a handful of newborn portraits that commemorate George’s initiation into the May Townsend tribe. Outnumbered 3 to 1, Tina certainly has her hands full with a house full of boys, but the love that this family shares is palpable from the first frame to the last. I wish them all the best as they contend with late-night feedings and innumerable diaper changes!

May Townsend Newborn Portraits May Townsend Newborn Portraits May Townsend Newborn PortraitsMay Townsend Newborn Portraits

May Townsend Newborn Portraits May Townsend Newborn Portraits

 


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!

Snap Happy Family Photography Workshop Julie Kubal Photography Washington DC

Become YOUR Family’s photographer
With a 90-minute Snap Happy Photography Workshop

 

Blaming your digital camera for sub-par pictures?

Sick of settling for blurry, dim, unflattering images that make you cringe?

Know you need to read your camera’s manual but can’t make it past page 2?

Here’s the secret: it’s not about your equipment, it’s about being EQUIPPED with simple know-how. Documenting your life’s story and capturing precious moments from your children’s childhood goes beyond buying a digital camera, it requires knowing how to configure settings and set up a great shot at a moment’s notice. My clients hire me for family photo sessions and newborn portraits, but a lot of life happens when I’m not around. This workshop is designed to help you become YOUR family’s photographer and capture the moments in stunning snapshots.

the Snap Happy Workshop provides practical tips that immediate improve your family snapshots.

 

What is Snap Happy: Photography 101?

This 90-minute hands-on workshop is designed to equip moms and dads with the photography fundamentals that capture spontaneous childhood moments with polish and prowess. The workshop translates theory into simple tricks that you can quickly apply to each family snapshot, regardless of what camera model you’re working with. Professional photographer Julie Kubal will teach you the skills and together you’ll put them into practice alongside other local parents.

 

Who should sign up for Snap Happy:

Snap Happy – Photography 101 is designed for busy moms and dads who want to take better pictures of their children and family. These parents have digital cameras and a desire for beautiful portraits, but struggle to find the right settings and strategies to create quality photographs.

Most parents take LOTS of photos of their kids, most of which aren’t worthy of sticking up on the fridge – movement is out of focus, kids are out of frame, and you can’t help but feel that something was lost in translation. Rather than snapping thousands of images and hoping one or two are worthy, Julie will teach you how to hone your focus, apply the same technique used by the professionals, and snap happy.

 

What you will learn:

  • Photography fundamentals to break free from pre-set shooting modes
  • Five simple strategies for setting up the perfect shot
  • How to work with all lighting levels
  • Key components of beautiful composition
  • How to organize and preserve your memories for headache free enjoyment

 

Breast feeding center for greater washingtonWorkshop Details:

  • Time: 1 PM to 3 PM (90 minutes class with extra time for practice and Q&A)
  • Date: Saturday, July 11
  • Price: $60
    50% of your registration fee will be donated back to the Breast Feeding Center!
  • What to bring
    In order to participate in the Snap Happy workshop all you need is a camera (a DSLR is NOT required) and a positive attitude. Charge your camera, bring your equipment, take some notes, enjoy hands-on practice with instant feedback, and watch your photography skills improve with every frame.

 

 

 

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Can’t make it to this Snap Happy Workshop, but dying to come to the next one? If so, sign up to receive announcements about upcoming events, photography specials, and photography tips straight from a pro!


Professional Washington DC Photographer Julie KubalAbout Julie Kubal
Professional Washington DC Photographer

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! Learn more about Julie’s background in her recent interview with Contrario Collective!

 

Washington-DC-family-photographer_04 As the winning bidders at the Murch Elementary School auction, the Strider family took home a photo package that included a family portrait session with me, a Washington DC child photographer, plus a beautiful heirloom photo print. But rather than an at-home photo shoot, the Strider Family opted for what is one of the most beautiful settings in all of Washington DC and one of my favorite backdrops: the Washington National Cathedral. It was 9 o’clock in the morning and the morning’s soft golden light made for near perfect photography.

As a Washington DC child photographer, my dominant client demographic hangs out primarily in the 0-5 age group. That means that there are binkies, diaper changes, the occasional nap-time tears, and an awful lot of squats and floor time for me. I scrunch up my face to induce giggles and smiles, I pander for eye contact, squat down on the floor with my camera in hand. However, this particular family portrait session had me in front of a slightly more mature audience, and while Will, 13, and Pete, 11, have little use for my usual antics, they were just as much fun. I’d go so far as to say that working with this older age group – in the upper elementary school to middle school years – is a joy. It is a pleasure to photograph older children because they are so attentive to my instruction, so willing to follow my directions instead of chasing after whatever woodland critter caught their attention from across the yard.

As we grow up, we polish our ability to form single file lines, wait our turn, sit cross legged, and smile on command – but that youthful wildness that once made us bounce, and run, and flail around…well, it gets a little bit dampened in the process. So while sage-like older children are able to wait their turn to step in front of the camera, they’re not as able to release the same natural smiles and relaxed interactions that the toddler crew has mastered so well. Why? Because self-awareness gets in the way. And nothing obliterates self-awareness quite as effectively as laughter.

While my own family of three appreciates my sly sense of humor (I think), I knew that for the Strider Family photoshoot I was going to need the help of an insider. So, I shamelessly and happily employed each child in turn, so that he could dole out some brother-on-brother teasing that only 11 and 13-year-olds can understand. As one brother sat in front of the camera lens, the other acted as my sidekick, making squidgy faces, slinging punch lines, and helping out the other brother to just let loose a little. It worked like a charm. Gone where those on-demand-smiles with pursed-lips and blank stares, and out came all the sparkle and joy that make Will and Pete such a dynamic duo.

It was a home run, and for first time clients the Strider family really hit their stride (sorry – pun intended). Don’t believe me? Just take a look at a handful of the shots that we created together.

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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!

 

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Though most of my calendar is full of child and family portrait shoots, every so often I get to mix things up and create a set of professional headshots for some of the working moms and dads in my network. On this particular summer morning, Molly Rauch was one such working mom in need of an updated photo to post online.

Molly and I met several years ago when our kids both attended Temple Sinai Nursery School, though they were in different classes at the time. Over the years we have bumped into each other around town from time to time, and then once more when I joined Temple Micah, where Molly just happens to be a member.

Molly is a mom who lives and works in Washington, DC as the Public Health Policy and Outreach Manager for Moms Clean Air Force. She’s part of a national conversation and movement to protect children against the health hazards that result from pollution. Over the years she has shared with me a little bit about her work and I have followed some of her articles as they’ve been published across the web. So, when Molly told me that she was in need of new headshots to use in her work and social media, we set a date to get it done.

The morning of our professional headshot shoot, Molly and I met up at the National Cathedral, a beautiful backdrop that never fails to provide a touch of class and interest to portraits. As with all of my headshot clients, I recommended she have her hair and makeup professionally done. Yes, it is an added expense, but experience has taught me that it’s the only way to ensure a top-notch, professional appearance in every frame. Thankfully, Molly took my advice and I made arrangements for her to work with a wonderful makeup and hair artist, Jjana Valentiner, who managed to provide Molly with a polished look while still maintaining her natural beauty.

We had such a nice time during our short session together, wandering around the grounds of the National Cathedral and chatting about life before DC. We discovered that we’re both from New York City and come from families of theater buffs. In fact, her father is coincidentally on the board of a wonderful theater in NYC where I had just seen an amazing play over Mother’s Day weekend.

I’m happy to see Molly’s new headshots already in use on the Moms Clean Air Force website as well as across Molly’s social media profiles. They look beautiful!

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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!

 

Moms with newborn babies know the deep-seated desire to capture every wink, cry, and yawn on film. We’re dazzled by our babies and entirely smitten by their soft skin and pudgy curves, but when it comes to taking at-home baby photos, something becomes lost in translation.

As a professional newborn photographer, I want to share with you 5 simple tips you can use to improve your baby photography practically overnight. These tricks are used constantly in the photography industry and they can work for you regardless of what camera model you own.

Still need help after reading this article? I’ll be teaching a class, Snap Happy: Photo 101 for parents who want to learn to take better photos of their children. The class will be on July 11, 2015 from 1pm to 3 pm at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. Follow this link to learn more or register! Half of the proceeds will be donated to support the Breastfeeding Center.

Get closer

Standing back from your baby to snap off a few portraits is a comfortable position for you – and a rare chance to realign your vertebrae – but it really doesn’t improve your images. This from-a-distance shot has a tendency to allow the background to take over the photo, causing the newborn baby to become a secondary subject rather than the protagonist. Try stooping to your baby’s level and filling the entire frame with your baby – whether it’s a photograph of his face, toes, hands, or rump, make sure that he is the center of attention. Just avoid shooting up the nose, that’s never a beauty shot.

How to improve your baby photography overnight

 

Soften your camera’s flash  

Baby photography has a way of making people swoon because of its ability to capture the natural delicacy, innocence, and softness of a newborn. The moment you flash an LED on that scene, the softness is as good as gone. For that reason, I recommend moms use indirect sunlight (through a window) whenever possible. Flash has a tendency to wash out and flatten the details of a photograph, so turn off the flash or try creating a soft light box to fit over your camera’s flash to soften the light.

Washington DC newborn photographer

 

Shoot in macro mode

Portraits of tiny babies are all about the details and textures. Capturing these minute elements requires changing your camera’s settings to macro mode or zooming in as much as possible (without sacrificing your image’s definition). Zoom in on your baby’s feed, hands, thigh rolls, and wrinkled toes. Capture a snapshot of the way his tiny hand wraps around your finger, or the way his eyes look up at you when he has just finished nursing.

Washington DC newborn photographyWashington DC Newborn Photographer Abby

 

Widen the aperture for soft backgrounds

Blurry backgrounds in portraits are an excellent way to highlight your baby. This is achieved by widening the aperture (the size of the hole in your lens), just keep in mind that the smaller the number the larger the aperture. Try fiddling with your cameras settings and seeing how it affect the background of your images, when you hit a sweet spot make note of the settings so that you can quickly come back to them in the future.

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Don’t be a poser

As a professional newborn photographer, I can testify to the fact that this tip can really make all the difference in the world. Your newborn baby’s age will determine, to a great degree, how active he or she is. Babies in their third month and older tend to be quite squirmy and active in their own ways, refusing to fold into perfect little poses. That’s just fine. Rather than repositioning your baby into some hallmark-esque pose, challenge yourself to capture their beauty in their natural posture. This will require that you experiment with distance, height, and camera modes but it will also ensure that your camera skills – and artistic eye – improve with every shot.

 

How to improve your baby photography overnight

 

One of the greatest gifts of being a professional newborn photographer is being able to capture these precious portraits of my own children and while I enjoy working with moms from around the Washington DC area, I know that there are millions of memories taking place when I am not around. That is why I want you to get more comfortable with your photography skills and to start using these 5 tips to improve your baby photography overnight. Just be sure to let me know how it goes 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!

 

Gray Family Photoshoot

A few weeks ago I got to leave the bustle of Washington DC behind and spend an afternoon in Great Falls, VA photographing the Gray Family in their beautiful family home. Approximately 30 minutes outside of Washington DC, parents, Awo and Bob, along with their two young children, welcomed me into their home to stage their second portrait session.

Last fall, the Gray Family and I got together for their first family portrait session and were lucky enough to enjoy one of the most beautiful fall days that the season had to offer. Awo first discovered my work after she Googled around on the internet. Then, during our first session’s planning meeting, she expressed an interest in having a kind of ongoing documentation of the family that could chronicle the kids as they grow. As Awo paged through the images in my holiday card collection, she stumbled across a few familiar faces: the Price family! The Prices are Awo’s close friends, my dear clients, and a good omen because thanks to them, Awo felt reassured that she had made the right choice in hiring me. Then, for our second photoshoot together, it just so happened that I was scheduled to photograph the Price Family the day after the Gray Family and moms Awo and Margot consulted each other to help plan for their shoots.

At our viewing session after the first portrait shoot, she took advantage of an offer that is available with the purchase of one of my collections to book a follow-up session at a 50% discount, an excellent deal that is only available when the next session is purchased during a photo viewing session. So, I dropped off her photos and we quickly got another date on the calendar for photoshoot number two.

Brother and sister, Austen, 5, and Carolina, 3, were full of energy and had eyes for everything but being involved in the day’s photoshoot. Thankfully, my own family and my many years of experience as a Washington DC family photographer, I have learned several tricks that help me get the job done. I could feel Awo’s worry that the shoot was unraveling, but experience has taught me that it’s all part of the process.

Austen and Carolina were so eager to be engaged and entertained that I decided the best way to turn the tables would be to give each of them one-on-one time and a little special treatment. Taking a few minutes to do breakaway sessions with each child helped make them feel like they had a little special time to be photographed alone – the star of the show! I also asked them for some creative ideas we could use to spice up the shoot, so low and behold the two little ones wheeled out their bikes and requested that we incorporate them into the shoot.

In order to continue chronicling her beautiful family as they grow, Awo has decided to do two sessions a year with me, an excellent way to capture Austen and Carolina’s childhood!

 

Gray Family Photoshoot Gray Family Photoshoot Gray Family Photoshoot  Gray Family Photoshoot Gray Family PhotoshootGray Family Photoshoot

 

 


Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.

About the Author:

Julie Kubal is a Washington DC family photographer and child portrait artist 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!

 

 

A survey conducted by Dove found that “77% of women feel self-conscious or uncomfortable having their photo taken because they aren’t feeling beautiful.” As a result, women avoid stepping in front to the camera lens and miss out on some of life’s most precious snapshots. Dove also found that 63% of women have destroyed a photo of themselves because they did not like they way that they looked. As a woman and mom, I found the Dove survey pretty alarming. As a professional Washington DC photographer, I can at least play a small part in changing that statistic amongst the women who step in from of my camera.

Women are my clients, my subjects, my friends, and my sisters in arms; I hate to think that camera-consciousness is keeping them from documenting their lives and creating beautiful memories. As women, we worry about everything: if our teeth are jutting out, if our shirt is riding up, if our panty lines are visible, if the colors will combine, if the makeup will last, if the wind will destroy our hairdos. It’s a constant mental litany that keeps us striving for photographic perfection. But, in case you’ve not listened to the news in the last decade, photographic perfection is a lie – a big one.

As a photographer, my job is to capture you in a single image. And without ever meeting you, I already know that you are a complex and beautiful woman, who has lived a full life, brought children into this world, kissed handsome men, and cried under blankets at night. You are multi-faceted, you have depth, highs, lows, shadows, curves, and warmth. My job as a photographer is to tell that story – not contort your body into impossible poses and retouch your skin until it shimmers like porcelain.

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When you step in front of a camera, you carry all your whole self with you – even the bobbly bits that you don’t find all that attractive. And rather than losing sleep over how we can best hide your flaws, I prefer to empower women to highlight their favorite features. It’s always possible to edit out the occasional blemish or wayward curl, but it’s impossible to add in that special little glow we get when we’re feeling confident. A client recently said to me, “I really don’t want [the photos] to look in any way airbrushed; I like all my freckles and wrinkles.” I was thrilled to hear her desire for authenticity and to be recognizable as her true, beautiful self. And I want all the moms I photograph to embody that same attitude. That’s why today’s tips for the camera-conscious ladies are not based around how to contort your neck to prevent double chins, or what brand of suction-shorts will smooth out all your lumps & bumps. It’s about practical things you can do to help you love the woman staring back at you from the photograph. Then watch the video at the end of this post and it will make you see yourself (in photos and in life) a little bit differently, with more beauty and confidence.

 

Cure for the Camera-Conscious Ladies

Do Some Gentle Grooming

Getting comfortable with the way you look is a life-long practice, especially for women. It’s so easy to be self-critical when we stand in front of the mirror inspecting our imperfections. However, a little bit of personal grooming can help us feel more at ease in our own skin. Treat yourself to a professional eyebrow wax, manicure, or face mask. Take time to primp in the days leading up to your photoshoot. Not only will you look more polished, but you’re confidence will be lifted from the moment you strike the first pose.

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Go Easy on the Makeup…

…but not too easy. With an impending photoshoot on the horizon, now is not the time to test out new beauty products or spring for that wacky hairstyle you have been too nervous to attempt. If you’re uncomfortable wearing makeup, now is the time to scale down, settle into your own body, and let your natural feminine beauty come to the surface. If you do wear makeup once in a while, do take the time to apply it. As someone who falls into this category of only occasionally wearing makeup, I can tell you that a photoshoot is one of those occasions when it’s worth going through the trouble. Even better, consider getting it professionally done for your session. Working with a professional makeup artist not only makes you feel pampered, but also takes the stress out of your hands and puts it into the hands of someone skilled at enhancing your natural beauty.  (I can even help set up an appointment with a wonderful makeup artist.)

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Smile Like You Mean It

Unless you’re a professional model, smiling on command probably feels about as natural as walking down the street with a monkey on your face. That’s why I tell my clients to forget about whether or not their teeth are showing or how their jaw line catches the light – let that go. Simply let yourself be in the moment, interact with your family, let your child tell a joke, remember a funny moment, and let the smile surface naturally. Let me worry about angles and lighting, after all I’ll be able to see your good side far more clearly from my end of the camera.

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Practice Self-Care

When you look back on your portraits, you’re going to do two things: evaluate how you look and pull up all the emotions that you were feeling the moment that shutter button snapped. That’s why I recommend my clients take care of themselves before the shoot and put themselves in the best possible frame of mind. Drink plenty of water, get ample sleep each night, avoid foods high in salt, and treat yourself to a little recreation and relaxation.

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At the end of the day, no amount of makeup, aerodynamic poses, or girdles can ever fabricate self-portraits that you will love. I am a professional Washington DC photographer, but I am not a wizard. I cannot capture something that isn’t there, but I can highlight the stunning, beautiful, real woman that you are (and use some clever photo tricks in the process).

 

If you’re still fretting over how to pose, click the link for my tips on how to get started. And then go check out this video or any of the other ones from Dove’s recent campaign. Pretty much every single one of them made me tear up. After watching these, I looked at all my images of all the ladies I’ve photographed a little differently and loved them even more.

What do you do to help feel comfortable in front of the camera? Share your tips 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!

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