The 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.