Annapolis Family Photographer | Maryland Fall Photography | Paint The Stars Photography

An Annapolis, MD fall photography season is full of color and vibrance.  I continue to be in awe of the spectacular views Maryland has to offer during the months of October and November.  There are beautiful locations all throughout the Baltimore and Annapolis area.  I love being able to offer my clients gorgeous Baltimore photography and Annapolis photography!

As an Annapolis, MD Family photographer I’m constantly on the look out for locations that will offer my clients the whimsical photography they’re dreaming of.  You will find me in locations with lots of fall foliage and I’m typically climbing through thick fields.  There is something so magical about a young child in nature so I’m always on the hunt for it!

The 2017 fall photography season has been amazing.  Take a look below at some of my favs from this fall so far.
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography
Annapolis Photography

What do you guys think!?  Colorful right!?  So much fun!

I can’t wait to share more with you as we round out this fall season.

Want to see more of what I’m working on?  Visit my Facebook fan page:

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For more information as to book your family’s photography session, visit our website:

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Thanks for reading!  Have a wonderful week!

Annapolis Family Photographer | Pregnancy and Infant Loss Charity Event (Selena’s Day At The Beach) | Paint The Stars Photography

I’m so excited about this beautiful weather that we have for Halloween.  Here in Maryland you can expect FRIGID temperatures when you’re walking your littles around trick-or-treating.  But today we’re expected to have temps in the 60’s!  Yay!!

Although these holidays with my family bring a lot of joy for me.  I also have that little feeling of grief that sits deep in my heart.  Every time there is a fun day to celebrate with my children I wish I could also be celebrating with my little one who lives in heaven.  She is my daughter and her name is Selena.

My 5-year-old has been so excited to get home from school today to get in her costume and go trick-or-treating with her cousins.  But the first thing I was woken up to was a timehop on my Facebook newsfeed from 4 years ago.

It was a photo of my then almost 2-year-old, Sofia all dressed up in her little red riding hood costume with a tiny bag of candy in front of her.  She had a big smile on her face and she was so excited about her candy she collected.  But all I see when I look at the photo is the memory from that day.

See, Selena died at 36 weeks and was stillborn on October 25th, 2013…4 years and 1 week ago.  So on Halloween 4 years ago we had just arrived back at home from the hospital and I was miserable to say the least.  Being a mom I still wanted to give my little 2-year-old a some-what normal Halloween so we walked her around a couple of the houses on our street.  I saw everyone else posting cute photos of their happy families and their children all dressed up on Halloween so I wanted to try and do the same for my little Sofie.  So I took that cute photo of her and posted it.  But to this day, when I see that photo those awful memories still come flooding forward.

It just so happens that October – which to me is Selena’s birthday month – also happens to be pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.  Each year I tell myself that I’d love to get involved in the pregnancy and infant loss community and do an event during the month of October to raise awareness and help in anyway I can.  But I also happen to be a photographer and October is a very busy month for photo shoots.  So, the thought always get put on the back burner.

This year around the beginning of summer I was getting those urges again to do something in October for pregnancy and infant loss awareness.  I kept talking myself out of it and the thought kept coming.  I really think it was God nudging me in the direction to do the event.  Even though I thought I wasn’t capable he knew I was!!!

So I made the decision to go for it!  That’s where the event ‘Selena’s Day At The Beach’ came along.  I wanted to do a fundraiser for a charity that helps in the pregnancy and infant loss community.  I found an organization called First Candle.  They are INCREDIBLE.  They are on a mission to eliminate pregnancy and infant loss through research and education.  To say plainly, they are saving more babies!

So I started my planning.  I’m so very lucky to have people in my life that care so much about me, my sweet little Selena and this awesome cause.  I had a TON of help from friends and family.   Together we organized a beautiful day filled with food, drinks, games, auctions, raffles, dancing, and even a dove release!!!

We held the event at Kurtz Beach in Pasadena, MD.  It is a gorgeous wedding and event venue that is located right on the water with breathtaking views.  I must say, if anyone needs a venue to host their charity event, please do yourself a favor and contact them.  They helped me plan so much of the event and they even donated to my charity!

Selena’s Day At The Beach began with friends hanging out, children playing on the playground and people sharing stories of babies they’ve lost that are in heaven now.  It was a bitter-sweet moment to be amongst so many other people who have experienced loss like I have.  Although I’m so very sorry for their loss, I also cling to that which connects us.  When you lose a baby you feel very alone at first.  So, to think that others have went down this road makes me feel not so lonely.

Somehow we were able to keep this event a super happy one.  It was more about celebrating our heavenly babies rather than crying about losing them.   Everyone was just happy to be supporting this cause and to be helping others from losing their babies.

After a little bit we all sat down to eat the delicious lunch that Kurtz Beach prepared for us.  Then we had time to play the games and participate in some of the raffles and auctions.  We had some really cool items that were available and people were having the best time trying to win them.

Around 2pm we did a dove release.  This was a magical moment during the event.  We gathered everyone together and spoke some words about the significance of doves and how we hoped that the people at the event could take a moment to think about their babies that they’ve lost as they watch the doves fly away.  It was so beautiful and brought tears to everyone’s eyes.

After the dove release we were able to do some dancing and enjoy the rest of the party.  My only wish is that it lasted longer!  We were having so much fun that the time just flew by.  But we managed to make great of the time we did have.  We were able to raise $4,500 for First Candle.  Amazing right?!

I’m so humbled by everyone who helped plan and organize this event and for all who came.  It was a day that will help save future babies and it absolutely helped heal this angel mommy’s heart.

Please enjoy these photos from our special day.

Looking through all these photos again makes me cry happy tears.  I love all of these faces.  You all are so amazing for being involved in this.

Love you all so much!

Happy Halloween!!!

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Annapolis Newborn Photographer | Girly Newborn Photography Session

Sorry I’ve been MIA lately on my blog posts!  I’m hosting a fundraiser in less than two weeks so things have been crazy over here to say the least!

If you’re free on Saturday, October 14th at noon you should totally come to the fundraiser by the way.  It’s at Kurtz Beach in Pasadena, MD.  We are raising money and awareness to pregnancy and infant loss.  All the money we raise will go to a charity called First Candle which fund the research and education to stop pregnancy and infant loss.  Amazing cause, right!?

Anyway, what I wanted to do today is share an adorable newborn session I had the pleasure of capturing recently.

Little Savannah was born 3 weeks early on September 7th at 6:07pm.  6lbs and 15oz of pure joy!  And when I say joy I mean it.  You should have seen her at her newborn session.  This baby was as sleepy as sleepy gets.  She let me change her outfits and pose her in different ways all while being very peaceful.  It was a pleasure to work with her.

It’s easy to see where she get’s her easy-going nature from…her parents are some of the nicest people I think I’ve met.  During both the Annapolis maternity session and Glen Burnie newborn session they were just laughing along with me and having a good time.

Savannah’s mommy had this to say about her sessions with Paint The Stars Photography:  “I loved everything about both of the sessions! I love Amanda’s outgoing and fun personality and the fact that she provides outfits and props. And during the newborn session Amanda was a baby whisperer! I have no idea how she was able to keep her asleep through the whole thing, especially while changing her outfits… it was amazing!!”

Thanks so much, Sarah!  It warms my heart to read those kind and thoughtful words from you.

The maternity session with the Ebelein family was magical.  We went to a little park in Annapolis, MD that has a beach and some beautiful greenery as well.  Sarah looked like a goddess with her baby bump and her flower crown.  We were even able to get photos with the family pup!

Here’s some of my favorites from the maternity session:
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

When the Ebelein family arrived at my studio for their newborn photography session, little Savannah was already fast asleep.  She stayed like that for hours!

I immediately wanted to place her on some colorful setups.  So I busted out my light teal flokati and paired it with some soft pink props.  I used my pink knit blanket from Your Spot LLC and a teal romper from Adorable Props.
Annapolis Newborn Photography

I love my knit blankets from Your Spot LLC.  You can see sweet Savannah dreaming away on this purple one.  So cute, right!?
Annapolis Newborn Photography

I loved how she was snuggling this little pink teddy from Little Evie Prop Shop.
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

I’m obsessed with the way Savannah had her feet in the ‘praying feet’ position.  Isn’t this the cutest thing!  She looked so sweet in her dress from The Bookworm Crochet.
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

So, what did you think?  Did you enjoy looking at little Savannah’s newborn photos?  How about the maternity session?  Did you like those photos?

Would you do me a favor?  Would you consider leaving a comment below?  I love reading the comments of my readers!!!

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I hope you all have a fantastic week!  I’ll see ya next week!


Annapolis Family Photographer | Beach Mini Sessions | Paint The Stars Photography

As beach photo shoot season comes to a close and we welcome fall with open arms (at least I do, I don’t know about you guys) we have to take a minute to appreciate a Maryland summer.  There is so much to love about summer here.

The thing I love the most is being near tons of water.  We have all kinds of streams, rivers, lakes, the bay and even the ocean is a little drive away (hey, that rhymes hehe.)  Any given day during the summer you’ll find me with my camera at one of those incredible water locations.

I have to say, this summer has been pretty amazing as far as photo shoots go.  All the little ones were very cooperative, all the grownups were looking STUNNING, and of course, the water was epic!

This year was the first time I decided to host Beach Mini Sessions.  I’m so glad I did.  I’m sure this will be an annual thing from now on.

I never realized how many people long for a dreamy beach photo of their family until I posted information about this event.  I had people calling me and telling me they’ve never had their photos done at the beach but always wanted to.  I also had people saying they have beach photos done a lot but they really wanted a whimsical beach photo shoot.  I’m so honored that all the beach mini families trusted me with their family’s summer photography session.  All the photos turned out great!

When I was planning for these sessions I wanted to find a location that had the look of a big sandy beach….like an ocean beach…not a river or lake beach (if that makes sense.)  I ended up deciding on this little beach located right near the Bay Bridge in Annapolis, MD.  This little gem of a beach provided the PERFECT backdrop for the Paint The Stars Photography Beach Minis.

Once I chose the location I started booking the families.  I was thrilled to hear that most of the families that signed up for these sessions had a similar creative view as I did for the style of their shoot.  I tend to go for the dreamy, fairytale look..which I’m sure you already know by seeing any of my work.

When they were arriving at their sessions I was seeing a lot of gowns, flower crowns, slacks and bow ties.  Can I get an ‘Amen?’  You could probably hear me squealing in excitement all the way in Baltimore!

Some of the families even chose to use some of the gowns from my own stash!  So, if you’re thinking about planning your own Paint The Stars family session make sure you get in touch with me about wardrobe.  I might just have something for you and your children to wear!

Below you’ll find some of my favorite photos from the 2017 Beach Mini Sessions.  I hope you enjoy looking at them! 🙂
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

This little angel wore the same dress that my niece wore in her family’s beach photography session.
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

I was so happy when the mommy of these little sweeties had a collection of seashells for them to play with during their photo shoot.
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

Annapolis Family Photography

I mean come on…look at all of these outfits!  This family photography session was planned beautifully!!!  They are all perfectly coordinated.
Annapolis Family Photography

Talk about beach hair!?  Isn’t this little girl the sweetest beach baby ever!?
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

Okay guys, I’m a little obsessed with this one.  Do you see the happiness in her eye’s?  Look at the little tongue sticking out in the cutest way?  This to me just screams summer!  Love it so much!  I think her mommy will cherish this one for a long time.
Annapolis Family Photography


What do you think?

Did you enjoy the beach photos?  Pretty dreamy, huh?  I think beach portraits are maybe one of my FAVS…it’s a strong tie for beach vs. fall.  I don’t think I can choose!

If you enjoyed looking through all of these photos would you mind doing me a favor?  Would you please leave me a comment below?  I love reading what my readers have to say!

Also, if you have a chance head over to my Facebook page!  You’ll see projects I’m currently working on and all kinds of fun stuff:

I’d love for you to follow me on Instagram:  @paintthestarsphotography

And always, if you have any questions or possibly interested in booking a session with me please don’t hesitate to reach out!!!

Here’s my email:

Thanks guys!  Have a wonderful weekend!!!!

See ya next week 🙂

Annapolis Maternity Photography | Maryland State Park Maternity Session | Paint The Stars Photography

Today I have something very special for you guys.

Every once in a while you come across someone that the camera absolutely loves.  Guys, I could photograph this girl everyday of my life and never get bored!  Katherine is not only the apple of my photography eye, she’s a very good friend of mine as well.  So, win win for me!  I get to enjoy her beauty from the behind the camera AND when the camera is not around.  She’s just as beautiful on the inside and she’s the kind of girl who makes you laugh about 20 times in one conversation.  So much fun.

So it’s no surprise that when we found out she was expecting her newest addition to her family we all jumped for joy.  This little princess has no idea the amazing family she’s being born into.  She’s a lucky girl, that’s for sure!

When we started planning Kathy’s ‘Paint The Stars Photography‘ maternity session I kept asking: “What do you envision for your maternity photos?”  Every time she would say: “I don’t know, I just know I want WATER!”  She also said she wanted to be on a horse like my daughter’s session but I refused to put an ‘about-to-pop pregnant woman’ on a horse!  So, I was trying to think of a gorgeous location where a preggo would be safe and comfortable in the water.  I’m a Maryland photographer so I have the advantage of being surrounded with water locations.  Lots of lakes, rivers, the bay, even the ocean if we’re willing to drive a little.

One day it just dawned on me.  There’s a beautiful stream that runs through a Maryland state park near us.  So off we went!  I’m so glad we did.  The stream did not disappoint!

We started off on the shore of the stream.  The water was very shallow with lots of little rocks.  It was the perfect place to start our session with family photos.  It was great for the kiddies to play in while we did the grown-up photos too.

Once I captured some ultra sweet photos of the whole family together and maternity photos of Kathy with her husband I switched gears.  Now it was time to get some epic pregnancy photos of Kathy alone.  Well not alone, her and her sweet little bundle of joy that’s about to be born.

We were on one side of the stream but on the other side I could see a really cool spot with big boulders and little water rapids.  I was like: “We’re going!”  The only thing was the stream was about 20 feet wide!  But it looked like it could potentially be quite shallow all the way across.

I told Kathy that I’d walk across first with my camera and test out how deep it was.  Turns out I was right, it was pretty shallow.  About up to my waist (is that considered shallow or deep?)  Still a little unnerving to carry my baby (my camera) through that water.  But nonetheless I made it.  So I put my camera down on the rocks and made my trip back across the stream to walk Kathy across and help her not fall with that precious cargo she’s carrying.

I got across, grabbed Kathy by the hands and slowly and carefully (and cracking up laughing the whole time) we made our way across the stream holding on to each other for dear life.  I really wish someone could have gotten a behind-the-scenes photo of that rediculous-ness.

Finally, we reached the other side.  It was so worth it!  I posed Kathy standing in the midst of the small water rapids and she looked stunning.  She was willing to sit within the rocks in the water too (she’s such a trooper!)  She even let me pour water all over her for the last photo.  She made this Annapolis area photographer so happy.

It was funny when we were across the stream and the kids were still on the other side.  I brought my 5-year-old to this session because she’s friends with Kathy’s kids.  So we had 3 little ones on the shore of the stream playing and yelling to us while we were trying to take epic maternity portraits (Kathy’s husband was over there with them-they weren’t alone, cause I know that’s what you were thinking.)

Once we were finished with the gorgeous-ness of Kathy’s maternity session we started on our way back.  I started to walk towards the water to cross the stream and just then there was a group of people coming out the woods right next to us!  There was a small path to walk down to that side of the stream instead of crossing through the water!!!!!!!  Can you say ‘palm to forehead’ moment?!

We laughed when we saw the group of people come out of the woods so they said: “Did you guys cross the water (With a look of disgust on their faces?”)   Then they had their own little ‘laughing at us’ sesh.  It was quite embarrassing… But you know what?  I captured some amazing photos of my friend so I don’t care.  I’d cross it again and again for her!!!

Here’s some of my favorites from the session.  Take a minute and enjoy them, we worked extra hard to capture them 🙂
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer

What do you think!?  She’s amazing, isn’t she?  Now do you see why I love photographing her?  I’d cross an ocean to get photos like these (maybe not but I still love them.)

Stay tuned for her little sweetie’s newborn session.  Should be any day now!!!

Would you mind doing me a favor?

Would you consider leaving a comment below with any thoughts about this or any other session I’ve done?  Maybe you just want to say “Hi!”  Go ahead and leave me a comment below!  I love hearing from my readers 🙂

Don’t forget to visit our website:

You could also see the new projects and fun we’re working on by visiting our Facebook page:

Or follow us on Instragram @paintthestarsphotography

I hope everyone has a great ‘back-to-school’ week!



Annapolis Newborn Photography | Nora’s Newborn Session | Paint The Stars Photography

Being a Maryland Newborn Photographer has been one of the greatest pleasures for me.  In the last few years I have developed this great love of newborns.  A brand new baby is so precious.  Nothing like it!  The way they cling to their mommy, the way they smell, the way they snuggle into a soft blankey.  It all is just too much for me to take.

I think my love of newborns multiplied when my youngest was born a year and a half ago.  I have a 5-year-old as well but it seems as though those memories when our children are brand new are forgotten quickly.  My little 18-month-old Valentina awakened this baby love in me again!  She came right when I was starting to focus my business all around newborns so I got to work with a lot of babies right when she was tiny too.  I feel like that timing made my newborn obsession explode!

But, that works out perfectly for me… Because I get to channel that love of newborns into my newborn photography!  It’s so fun to snuggle them up in all kinds of cute ways with different colors and props.

For example, a recent newborn baby girl Nora that I worked with was born on 4th of July.  So naturally we used some American flag props!
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

She was so snuggly laying on that flag with her sweet little knit shorts.  I mean, seriously..does it get any better than a baby on her country’s flag?  I love this flag so much.  I used it for my oldest daughter’s 4th of July inspired session too!  View the photos on her blog post.

I’m also a sucker for little cute stuffed animal props.  I love to collect tiny toys for my newborns to cuddle while being photographed.  Look how adorable Nora was holding this tiny pink teddy from Little Evie Prop Shop.
Annapolis Newborn Photography

I knew I wanted to use this cute moss and flower crown prop so I used a wrap that matched it and then a natural colored backdrop to compliment the crown.

Sometimes instead of styling a photo around a prop I will choose a color or two and style around that.  My favorite color to use with newborns is cream/ivory.  It looks so soft and natural!  You can view another way I used this color scheme on baby Shae’s Newborn Photography blog post.
Annapolis Newborn Photography

If I have a blanket in a cool color I’ll try to find complementary colors to pair with it to give a dynamic look.  Little Nora did great showing off this blue and yellow color scheme shown below.
Annapolis Newborn Photography

She looked fantastic on this vibrant purple backdrop too!
Annapolis Newborn Photography

Did I hit the jackpot with this cutie-patootie or what!?  She was like a dream to work with.  Each pose that I set her up in she would sink down and be super cozy.

Although I LOVE using lots of colors and props in my newborn photography, I’m also a sucker for a naked baby!  Being able to see the baby with minimal props, clothes or colors let’s you really appreciate the little one and their beauty!
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

Sweet Nora is too perfect for words.  I was so honored that her parents chose me for their newborn photographer.

We finished off her session with photos with mommy and daddy.
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography
Annapolis Newborn Photography

What a great way to end the shoot.  Mom and dad were happy to snuggle Nora.  We were all so pleased with how wonderful Nora did at her shoot!  I can’t wait to work with this wonderful family again.

I hope you enjoyed reading all about Nora’s Paint The Stars Photography Newborn session.

Would you do me a favor?

Leave me a comment below!  I love reading what you have to say.  Did you just have a baby?  Are you enjoying parent-hood?

Do you just want to say “Hi?”  Leave a comment below 🙂

Love you guys so much!

Don’t forget to visit our Facebook fan page to see what we’re working on:

Follow us on Instagram too: @paintthestarsphotography

Visit our website:

Stay tuned for next week’s blog post 🙂 I hope you have a dreamy weekend!



What NOT to wear to your Family’s Fall Photo Session

Hello everyone!  I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Thursday afternoon.  Here in Maryland it’s 80 degrees and sunny…doesn’t get much better than that!

Although we are in the height of our wonderful summer I wanted to get my clients and friends thinking about fall photography.  I’ve already been booking my calendar up with some fall child and family photography sessions.  So, if you’re considering scheduling a fall session for your fam then I suggest you get on it!

This season tends to sell out the quickest and there’s no secret why.  During a Maryland fall season there are so many gorgeous colors to incorporate into your photos.

I’m a sucker for great lighting that produces vibrant colors so it’s obvious that I love fall.  You mix the perfect sunset with the most beautiful shade of orange and voila, you get an epic family portrait!

With so much potential for an incredible family portrait there’s one thing that is a little cringe-worthy and that is BAD WARDROBE.  I know moms and dads have the best intentions when planning their photos.  But lets be honest, you’re not a designer, you don’t have time to research color palettes and have no desire to do so either.  All you know is you want a great fall family portrait.

Don’t worry.  Most of us are just like that.  We want beautiful portraits but we don’t know where to start when planning our outfits.  Well I’m here to help.

Today I want to share with you a couple of tips on what NOT to wear to your family’s fall photo session.

-DO NOT Dress Extremely Casual

One of the first questions a client will ask me right after they book their session is: “What do you suggest we wear?”  You can ask anyone I’ve talked to before.  I always say “The dressier, the better.”  A family portrait is supposed to capture your family at their best.  To show you off in the finest way possible.  So why not put your best foot forward and try to ‘fancy’ it up.

So, here’s my tip for you as you try to assemble your outfits.  Avoid things that are typically worn in a casual setting.  Instead of wearing jeans to your session, perhaps you could try slacks.  Instead of your hubby wearing his white t-shirt, maybe he could wear his white polo.  If at all possible dress your daughter in a gown!  When else is she allowed to prance around in public looking like a princess?  Seize the opportunity!

In fact, I’ll do you one more.  I actually have an entire wardrobe of gowns for moms and girls to borrow for their Paint The Stars Photography photo shoots.  Boom.  Now you have no excuse!
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

The portraits above were some photos I took of my own bunch.  You know I had to put the girls in super fancy gold sequin gowns!  They had the best time twirling around and feeling gorgeous that day.  It’s great because the kids have so much fun and you get some great photos.  DOUBLE WIN!

DO NOT Forget the Accessories

I love little details that can make a portrait stand out.  I’m talking accessories, people!  The photography industry is becoming more and more artistic.  Gone are the days that you show up to your session in everyday attire.  Now there is just so much you can do to create an eye-catching and jaw-dropping photo.  In a world where Claire’s and Etsy exist there is just no way you can come to your photography session without some kind of awesome accessory.

My suggestion is to pick out your outfits first.  Figure out what theme or style you want to portray.  Then choose your accessory to match the outfit that you came up with.  I typically plan my outfits weeks and weeks in advance so I have plenty of time to search the web to find the PERFECT addition to my family’s outfits.

If the web isn’t big enough and you still can’t find that perfect added touch to your wardrobe then that’s when you need to get your creativity flowing.  Go to Michael’s and MAKE something to match!  I make flower crowns for my girls ALL. THE. TIME!
Annapolis Family Photography

This is my little Sofia wearing a flower crown that I specially made for her fall photo.  See how I matched the gold in the crown to her dress and the green and orange to the scenery?  So cute and so fun to make.

This little guy is rocking his bow tie and suspender accessories!

Accessories can also be sentimental items.  For example, if you or your husband are in the military maybe you could incorporate your hat or your dog tags? 
Annapolis Family Photography

The sky is the limit when it comes to creating a great family photo by incorporating accessories.

DO NOT Dress Everyone too ‘Matchy-Matchy.’

Another way to miss out on the potential of the GORGEOUS fall season is to have your whole family matched up WAY TOO much.  There’s a difference between matching and matching OVERLOAD.  What you don’t want to do is have everyone in your family wearing the same color shirt.

If I see one more family photo where everyone is wearing a plain white t-shirt I might lose it!  You’re doing yourself (and your photographer) a major disservice when you do this.  You could potentially ruin your photos, waste your time, and waste the money that you’ve invested into getting great photos done.

So, instead of dressing everyone in one color try to choose 2, 3 or even 4 colors to coordinate around.  If you’re wearing a burgundy dress then have hubby wear a grey shirt.  Or if you have 2 children try dressing them in outfits that compliment each other instead of blending them together.  If you’ve chosen navy blue and grey as your colors then you could try dressing your daughter in a cream colored cardigan with a navy blue skirt.  Then dress your son in a navy blue vest with a white shirt underneath and grey slacks.  How sweet would that be!?

So just keep this in mind: choose 2 or 3 colors and coordinate everyone around them.  You can usually use cream and white to compliment any color palette that you’ve chosen.
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

Didn’t this mommy do a great job coordinating her and her son’s outfits PERFECTLY!?  So cute!

DO NOT Forget Make-Up and Hair Styling

Like I said earlier, you want to put your best foot forward during your family’s session.  That means bring in the glam team!  By glam team I just mean do your hair and make-up….However, if you have a professional do your hair and make-up then that’s an added plus!!!

It’s the same concept as stage make-up for performers.  They need to apply extra make-up to be seen from the back of the audience.  Your family photos are similar to that.  Since you’ll be photographed alongside your family and some gorgeous fall scenery you want to stand out.  You don’t want to get washed out by everything else going on in the photo.

If you don’t typically wear make-up and you want to look like your normal self in your photos then that is totally fine.  I don’t want you to make a smokey cat eye if you’re not used to it.  But what I do want you to do is apply some foundation, and get some blush on those adorable cheeks, and if you’re really feeling froggy, some mascara on those gorgeous lashes would be wonderful.  If you just apply these few articles of makeup then you will accentuate what is already there and make yourself stand out without looking like a whole different person.

Now, if you’re like me and you typically wear a lot of make-up, then shoot for the stars for your photography session.  I want your normal make-up but amplified!  Throw on that darker shade of lipstick!  Darken that cat eye just a tad more!  Really go for it.  You’ll thank yourself when you look like a superstar in your family photos.

Style your hair in a way that makes you feel beautiful.  If you’re not quite sure what styles look good on you then take a few minutes and watch a couple Youtube tutorials on your hair type and styling it.  I know this sounds silly but seriously, why even get your photos done if you’re going to dislike the way you look in them.  If you arrive feeling stunning then guess what, your photos will be stunning.
Annapolis Family Photography

Well there you have it.  My little list of what not to wear to your family’s fall photo shoot.  There are many other tips and suggestions on what to wear and what not to but I certainly don’t want you getting overwhelmed.  Planning your photos is hard enough.  But I think if you follow these 4 suggestions then you’ll be in great shape!

What do you think about these suggestions?  Did you enjoy this post?  What tips do you have for creating a fantastic fall family photo?

Please comment below!  I’d love to hear what you have to say!  Even if you just want to say “Hi.”

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I’ll see you guys in front of the yellow and orange fall foliage 🙂 Can’t wait for fall!!!!


5 (Easy) Ways to Improve Your Family’s Beach Vacation Photos

In this digital age we live in we have a lot of pressure to take great photos of every activity we do.  After all, everyone we know will see the photos on some form of social media.  So why not try to maximize each photo op to get the best out of it?

Our family vacations should be no different.  In fact, I think family vacations should be highly photographed!  These are the memories that your child will hold near and dear to their sweet little heart.

There are so many precious moments that fly by on our vacations that could potentially be forgotten.  Like the time your 2-year-old chased the seagulls down the beach.  Or that moment when your teenager helped their little sister make a seashell collection.  Or even that silly time daddy picked up mommy and carried her into the ocean with him.  Had no one pulled out a camera and clicked the photo then these incredible family moments may have been long forgotten!  So we need to do our best to capture these photographs.

I know people who don’t take beach vacation photos simply because they don’t know what the heck they are doing with their camera.  Or they take photos and never like their results and want to give up.  If you’re ready to take better family beach photos then this is the post for you.

In this post I will give you 5 EASY ways you can improve your own family’s beach vacation photos.

Although some of the suggestions in this post will be geared towards DSLR cameras you can still apply some of them towards any camera.  Just because you don’t have the latest and greatest Nikon equipment (I’m a Nikon girl hehe) doesn’t mean you can’t get AWESOME photos!  Most cell phones these days take great photos.  So, if you’re at the beach and you see a moment that makes your heart melt then do yourself a favor and snap the pic (with whatever camera you can get your hands on.)

So without further ado, here are my 5 ways that you can improve your family’s beach vacation photos:


I can see it now, you’re sitting on the beach and you see your son boogie boarding on the biggest wave ever.  He’s getting so much distance and having the time of his life.  You run over with your camera and start snapping away.  You get back to the beach house later that afternoon and realize your photos of that epic surfing sesh were anything but ‘epic.’  In fact, they’re a little blurry….and boring…and there’s a random person’s foot coming in from the side of the picture.  You get discouraged and tell yourself “That’s as good as I can get with this camera.”  Well I say “NO!”  That’s not true.  All you have to do is anticipate your photos.  Instead of snapping away to your heart’s delight actually put some thought into what your photographing.

If you see your son having a great time out in the ocean riding waves then go over to where he is and bring your camera.  Watch him ride a few waves first.  Notice the moment when he smiles the biggest.  Notice the moment when everyone moves aside and he’s the main focus.  Then when you’re ready set yourself up in the area where you know he’ll be when he smiles the biggest.  That next big wave will come in and he’ll laugh and you take that photo.  Guess what, you now have a photo of your son boogie boarding that you can cherish forever.  All because you anticipated that beautiful photo of him before it even happened 🙂
Annapolis Family Photographer

This applies to all kinds of fun beach moments.  You know your kids the best and you know what to expect out of them.  Next time you want to take a candid photo of them just wait for that moment when you know they’re about to be cute and THEN take the photo.  You’ll be surprised at the difference in results that you’ll get.

You might think I’m a terrible mom but I tend to love taking wipe-out photos.  You know, when the wave knocks them off their feet in the funniest way.  So fun!  If you see your little ones getting washed up a lot on the beach you can totally anticipate a fun shot like the one below of my daughter with her cousins.  My kids love to have framed photos like this in their rooms.
Annapolis Family Photographer


Sometimes we take great photos of our kids on the beach but they are ruined because the sun was too bright in their faces.  When you are considering taking a photo of your sweetie on the beach take a moment to think about what direction the sun is shining.  Try to avoid having direct sunlight in your subject’s face.  If at all possible move to where the sun is shining on the side or back of your subject.  That way you won’t get those super blown out bright spots on your child’s face in their photos.  That can look very distracting and take away from the beauty of your photograph.

This is one of the easiest tips for better beach photos because it doesn’t require much effort at all.  You just need to move your body over a few steps.  A task so small yet gives much better results!
Annapolis Family Photographer

In the photo below of my kids with their cousins, I could have easily posed them with the ocean completely behind them and no beach on the side which may have been a better photo ‘landscape wise.’ BUT the sun would have been 100% in their faces.  They all would have been squinting so bad and it would have looked terrible.  Since I posed them with the sun coming in from the side it’s much more pleasing to to look at.  Although you can’t always get the baby to stop crying for the ‘all kid pic’ (LOL) you can at least pose them in a smart way that gives you the best results possible.
Annapolis Family Photographer


This is a tip I just taught myself during my family’s OBX vacation a week ago.  If you know you’re going to be taking a lot of beach photos on a specific day you can actually try to match your family’s outfits or bathing suits and bring cute accessories to the beach that particular day.  Now, let’s be honest… I know you’re on vacation and you don’t want to be worrying about buying a bunch of matching things and spending too much time planning.  But, you probably have a few bathing suits for each person in your family.  You can choose the ones that match each other the best for a specific beach day.  Or you might have gotten yourself a really cute bathing suit cover-up or floppy hat for your vay-cay.  Your ‘most photographed’ beach day would be a great time to wear those accessories.  That way, you know you’ll be looking your best and more likely to actually get in the photos on the beach with your kids.

During my family’s beach vacation I was on the beach everyday taking photos and they were turing out pretty good.  But towards the end of the vacation I knew I wanted to get a couple great photos of the women all together on the beach and some group shots of everyone.  So one of the last days we were there I told all the grown up girls to wear their black bathing suit so we could get some cool beach photos together.  Since I told them I’d be taking some photos we all also put a little make-up on too (lol) we’re so vein.  But you know how us women are…we refuse to get in any photos unless we feel like we look our best.  So why not take advantage of that?  At least one of your beach days!  When you post your photos on social media it’ll look like you were that glamorous the whole trip 😉
Annapolis Family Photographer


It’s inevitable, at some point if you want to be in any of your family’s photos than you’re going to need someone else to take the photo for you.  I’ve devised a master plan on how to achieve great photos even when you have to hand your camera to someone who has no clue what they’re doing.  It’s all about choosing settings that give a lot of wiggle room.

This tip is geared more towards you experienced mom-tographers who can shoot in manual.  If you’re happy with your auto settings than by all means, hand that camera over to your niece and let her snap some great shots for you.  For me, I like control over my settings..even when I need someone else to take the photo.

So, if you shoot in manual all the time but cringe at the thought of a novice trying to shoot with your settings then listen up.  Put in settings that allow some mistakes to happen without ruining your photos.  For example, I typically shoot with an aperture of about 2.8 but when I hand my camera over to my 13-year-old to get a photo of my husband and I then I will bump that aperture up to 4!  This way, if she doesn’t get the focus spot on then I’ll still have a sharp photo because of that deep depth of field.

I’ll do the same with shutter speed.  When you’re shooting something on a beach at sunset you’ll notice that it gets dark quick.  Once it gets to a certain point I’ll shoot with a shutter speed of 1/125 (which is pretty low) to get a few more in before I have to call it a night.  However, with a shutter speed that slow it’s easy for a newbie (even experienced photogs) to get major blur!  So, if it’s getting dark during sunset but I still want a cute photo of me with my baby then I’ll keep my shutter speed around 1/250, crank up my ISO (to the point of a little graininess), then hand the camera over to my hubby.  I don’t know about you guys but I’d rather have some grain in my photos than have a blurry piece of crap.
Annapolis Family Photographer


I had to learn this lesson the hard way.  I’ve always been the one in my family taking all the photos.  That means I’ve tried many ways to figure out how to get me in the photos too.  Up until two years ago I was doing the ole ‘set the timer on the camera and do a 60-meter dash to pose for the photo’ trick.  My family and I would get a kick out of the first few photos my camera would snap off because you can see me running to the pose.  It’s quite hilarious.

But my ‘beat the camera timer’ days are over!  I’ve got myself a good tripod and a wireless shutter remote so I’m all set.  By using these two pieces of equipment you can set your camera up on the tripod, put in all your settings and point the camera wherever you like.  Then you just stick the remote receiver on top of your camera’s hot shoe and voila, you’re ready to take your own photos…easily!!!  I got my remote from B&H Photo.

Now I’m free to get in as many photos as I want!  If I notice my family is having a really sweet candid moment I can set up my camera on my tripod and plug in the remote receiver to it.  Then I go have my candid moment with my family all the while hitting that remote button.  I don’t have to ask anyone to take the photo for me and I can take as many photos of my own candid moment as I want!
Annapolis Family Photographer

Can you see my remote in my hand?  Nope, me either 🙂 Just looks like a sweet little family beach moment.  Seriously, go get one!

And when you and your girls want to have some fun and get some silly photos but your husbands are less-than-interested in taking the photos you don’t have to worry.  You have your trusty remote and tripod!  How do you think we got this photo?  You think our husbands put up with handling the camera for this?  NOPE!  If you look closely you can see how my one hand is a fist.  That’s because I’m hiding the remote in there 🙂
Annapolis Family Photographer

So fun, right!?  So very easy too!

We had so much fun on this vacation we went on.  We have so many great memories and we CANNOT wait to do it again next year.  But you know what one of the best parts is?  I have tons of great photos to look back on to remember those wonderful moments we all shared!  My kids get a kick out of all the photos too.  They forgot about some of the stuff we did but when they saw they photos they said “Ohhhhhh, yes!  I remember that!!!”  So if they barely remember it now and we just left a few weeks ago, imagine in 10 years.  They’ll be proud to have an album of photos to look back on to remember these wonderful days.  Your kids will be too when they look back at all the FANTASTIC photos you’ll be getting after reading this!

Before I end this post I also have to share a few of the photos that I took during our EPIC Beach Photo Shoot.  You know I had to do a photo shoot on these gorgeous beaches right!?!?!
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer
Annapolis Family Photographer

I’m so obsessed with the beaches in NC.  They were stunning, a photographer’s dream!

I hope you all enjoyed this post about improving your family’s beach vacation photos.  My wish is that these tips and suggestions significantly help you achieve better photos.  I wanted to make them as easy to understand as possible.  I truly believe that if you follow these tips you’ll see great results.

Would you do me a favor?  Please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on these tips.  I’d love to hear what you think!  How do you photograph your own family at the beach?  Do you struggle to get the results you’re hoping for?  Do you have another suggestion that we should add to this list??  Let me know!!!

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Thank you a million times for reading my blog post today.  I loved writing all about our vacation and ways to improve your beach photos.

See ya next time 🙂

Annapolis Family Photography | 4th Of July Inspired Photo | Paint The Stars Photography

I’m so excited to share this Paint The Stars Photography session with you all today.  I actually photographed this session almost 2 weeks ago.  It’s been killing me not to share the photos but I wanted to wait for 4th of July weekend.

I started planning this session about 2 months ago.  I found an amazing vintage American flag on one of my favorite prop vendor’s website (Blue Stone Sky) and knew I wanted to do something fun for 4th of July with it.

I have 3 daughters so anytime I start dreaming up a styled session I begin to envision which one I’m going to have model for me.  We have a son too but he’s not very interested in getting his photos taken a lot lol.  I’ve been blessed with girls who LOVE to get all dolled up to do these kinds of sessions for me.  They get so excited when I tell them my next idea.  They say: “Oh, Oh, how will you do my hair?!?  Oh, Oh, what outfit did you get for me!?!”

For this session I knew I wanted to focus on little Miss Bella.  I haven’t done an epic session of her in a little while, so it’s about that time!  I knew she would rock this one.

The idea/story behind the photo of Bella on the horse with the flag is this: A princess from around the 1800’s just escaped the castle, threw on her riding boots, hopped on her horse and rode to her freedom.  The photo of her on the horse is when she finally reached her freedom and she is at peace.

Right before I took the photo of my sweet Bella on the horse I told her that idea.  I said I want you to look like you’re at peace, you’re free, strong and you’re happy.  She said “Alright, I got this.” Then she did exactly what I hoped she would.  She looked amazing, and beautiful, and strong and and and…Just perfect.
Annapolis Family Photography

I’m so proud of this girl.  She has really blossomed into quite the model.  Anytime I have a session I tell her the ‘look’ that I’m going for and that’s all the direction I need to give her.  She can listen to the vision and then match her look to what I’m hoping for.  That’s not something that is taught…this girl was born with it!!!

I also need to take a minute to mention that this was the first time she ever rode a horse.  She did pony rides when she was younger but nothing like a giant adult horse!  She did this session with NO SADDLE and by the end it was like she had been riding horses her whole life.  She was directing this horse like a pro!  Another reason she is a great model, she can go with the flow, big time!

We were so lucky to be able to use this horse.  His name is Jagger.  He’s a beautiful horse who belongs to a friend of mine.  He is a little intimidating when you first meet him.  He’s very big and he’s not shy at all.  He will start nuzzling you as soon as he meets you.  To someone who doesn’t frequent horse stables, this is kind of scary.  Within minutes though, you fall in love with this big guy.  He’s so gentle and warm.  He makes you want to go buy a horse of your own (Bella and I actually discussed the possibility of owning a horse one day.)

After the session Bella kept asking “When can we do pictures with Jagger again?  I love him!!!”
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

If I’m doing a session of one of my daughters I will typically dress all of them up and get photos of the others at the same time.  Even though the focus is only on the one, I will find any excuse to get a photo of them all together during each shoot.  So, if I’m going to be around a gorgeous horsey I’m definitely dressing up my 5-year-old too!  I even considered including my 16-month-old on this shoot as well but then I said “That is going to be way too hard, Amanda.  What are you thinkin’!?”

Sofie was so cute at this shoot.  She did pretty good at taking direction but she was a little more interested in the farm cat that was running around.  She kept saying “I can’t go over there to take pictures because the kitty won’t know where I went and she will be sad.”  I was so hot and sweaty by this point that I was like “Fine! Just go play with the kitty then…. BELLLAAA, come here…let’s do more photos of you!  Your sister is not cooperating!”  I was able to capture a few before she ran back to her kitty kitty though.
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

When we were getting ready to leave Bella demanded that she get a few photos with Jagger without the flag.  She was so in love with this guy by the end that she did not want to leave.  I’m so glad she wanted to get more photos with him because the lighting was perfect and Jagger was in a great mood!!!
Annapolis Family Photography

The photo below is Bella’s favorite!
Annapolis Family Photography

I’m so thrilled with how this session turned out.  We absolutely can’t wait to do photos with Mr. Jagger again.  His owner said we can take him to a beach next, so keep your eye out for that epic sesh!!!

Before I end this post I wanted to explain a little about the outfits and where everything is from.  I got Sofia’s gorgeous ruffle gown from Belle and Kai.  I just love how those soft ruffles gave these portraits a dreamy look.  Obsessed!  The headband Sofia is wearing is from Posh Peanut Children’s Boutique.

Bella is actually wearing a shirt from my closet.  My sister bought that shirt for me for my birthday I believe it’s from Target (Love me some Target!)  Her tutu skirt is from BB’s Boutique.  That long skirt was the perfect addition to our rugged princess theme.  The cute little headband she is wearing is actually a tie back that I use for newborns!  Take a look at one of my past newborn clients wearing the same tie back.

I know I have some-what of a prop/gown buying problem.  I’ll openly admit that… But I just can’t help myself!  It’s so much fun dreaming up these sessions and then finding the perfect wardrobe to match my vision.

I hope you enjoyed reading all about this mega fun session we did.  I hold these photos near and dear to my heart.  The photo of Bella on the horse while she’s holding the American flag is actually my favorite photo I’ve ever taken!

I’m proud of my Bella for doing such a great job and you know what.. I’m proud of myself as well…Yeah, I said it.  I’m proud of myself 🙂 I’ve come a long way in my photography journey and my early work is absolutely cringe-worthy (lol!)

To have an idea and see it through to the end and it turn out exactly how I dreamed…that’s pretty incredible.  After doing this session it made me so excited for future styled sessions with my girls.  I can’t wait to see the creative and crazy things we do!

What are your thoughts on this session?  Did you enjoy looking at these photos?  What about the American flag photo?  What emotions does it evoke for you?  Does it give that escaped princess look?  Leave a comment below with your thoughts and I’ll love you forever 🙂

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Love you guys so much!  See you next time 🙂 🙂 🙂

Annapolis Family Photography | Kinlee’s 2-Year-Old Photography Session | Paint The Stars Photography

When you live in Maryland and you happen to be a photographer you basically dream of green all year long.  There are many months where the green is sadly…gone…  It’s brown and dead and dull during the winter months.  Then all of a sudden spring springs!  You see so many gorgeous colors.  Purples, pinks, whites, yellows and of course GREEN.  We are in full fledge summer now so green is in abundance!

I recently photographed a little girl and was very pleased with how everything turned out.  When I did little Kinlee’s photos the green was absolutely vibrant.  When I showed up to the location where we planned to do her photos I was so excited.  I saw how the bright sun was shining off of all the green leaves and trees.  I knew immediately that this session would be special.

Kinlee and her parents are actually past client’s of mine.  I did her 1st birthday photography session last year.  Here’s a photo from that day.  Wasn’t she a cutie in front of that pink cake!?
Annapolis Family Photography

I asked her mommy to tell me some fun facts about little Miss Kinlee.  Mommy said Kinlee’s favorite things are her doggy (she loves to kiss her,) going outside to play, and picking flowers.  I already knew how much she loved to pick flowers because of something I witnessed at her 2-year-old session.  I wanted to get some candid photos of her so I showed her a little patch of flowers.  I was going to tell her to pick some but before I could speak she went right to it and started picking those little white flowers and making a collection.  Look at these photos below of her picking the flowers.  Her parents and I could not get over how cute she was!
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

Every time I meet with this family I can’t help but feel this incredible love they have for one another.  I asked mom to tell me something special that they do as a family.  Mom told me that every night both her and dad put little Kinlee to bed together.  They tuck her in together and Kinlee even tells them “Love you” before she drifts off to sleep.  I just love hearing about happy families.  I can imagine Kinlee years down the road having these wonderful memories of mom and dad laying in bed with her and kissing her goodnight.

These photos of the three of them interacting together and snuggling melt my heart.  What do you think of them??
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

Can you feel the love too?  They are just too beautiful!  Also, do you see what I mean about the sun shining off of the leaves and trees?  Gorgeous, right!?

The location that we chose for these photos was perfect because it was the right mix of sun light and shade.  Kinlee goes to bed rather early so we needed to do this session a little earlier then I like to ensure a ‘good mood’ out of her.  Since the trees were very tall they casted a large shadow over this gorgeous white flower patch which was perfect for the bright evening light we were getting.  We were located in this little valley so the sun was able to peak through the opening in the trees and kiss the back of Kinlee and her parents ever-so-perfectly.

Once I was happy with the family photos that I captured I switched gears into getting more photos of just Kinlee.  When you’re photographing a 2-year-old it’s more about being in the right place at the right time rather then posing them.  They don’t want to be posed and they don’t want to be held down.  They are typically in their own world and on a mission!  It was no different for this princess.  She was having so much fun carrying her little bouquet of flowers as she ran around climbing and laughing.  I definitely got my cardio in for the day as I jumped up and down trying to find the perfect angle and chased Kinlee around.

I’m happy I got my heart rate up because look how cute these photos turned out!
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography
Annapolis Family Photography

This one below is my favorite!  She kept running towards me and then giggling and running back.  She did this a few times before I realized I could probably get a really cute one of her running away.  Boy, oh boy was I right.  She looks so sweet with her little curls and dress flowing in the wind as she runs away.  What do you think?
Annapolis Family Photography

I love sessions where I feel like I’ve made a connection with a little one.  Children are complex little things and it’s so special when they feel close to me.  I really do treasure it!  I got into the right business huh?  I could tell Kinlee was pretty at ease with me so I was a happy camper 🙂

I asked Kinlee’s mom to tell me her favorite part about her photography session with me.  She said she loved how Kinlee and I interacted 🙂 She also mentioned that she loved my patience with everything.  Mom told me that all in all it was a great experience 🙂 My heart is so full.  I just love hearing that.

What was your favorite photo from this post?  Are you a photographer?  If so, how are you enjoying the summer season???  I’d love to hear from you.  Comment below 🙂

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Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read all about little Miss Kinlee’s 2-year-old Maryland photography session.

Paint The Stars Photography is an Annapolis Family Photography company specializing in babies and children.  Contact us today to discuss your dreams for your child’s portrait session!