The Sligo Creek Photographer | Maryland small business photographer | Yogi Alison Grass | Be at peace with Alison
So often we think of spring as the time for change, but for my dear friend Alison, fall is that time. Alison recently quit her day job to focus full time on the small business she is growing and I could not be more proud of her.
Since I’ve known Alison, I’ve understood two clear things about her: she loves yoga and she loves helping people. After a recent health scare, Alison decided to combine these two passions through a spiritual wellness, yoga, and coaching business called Be At Peace With Alison.
Through her business Alison helps overwhelmed and exhausted women boost their energy levels, raise their vibration, and live low-stress lifestyles. She is a certified Spiritual Life Coach, breathwork coach and yoga instructor.
For those reading who may feel skeptical of these kinds of Eastern medicine traditions, let me be the first to tell you that Alison has helped me. As part of her business, she teaches a quarterly three-hour yoga and meditation workshop which I’ve participated in numerous times. Even though I don’t practice yoga regularly, I always look forward to these workshops. They are a time for me to unwind, relax, and focus on living in the moment.
To help Alison reach clients and grow her small business, she and I did two photo sessions together – one in the spring and one in the fall. Our fall session focused on meditation and yoga poses while our spring session focused on lifestyle shots.
The photos I’m showcasing here are only a sample of the images we created together. If you want to see more, be sure to follow Alison on Instagram.
In the meantime, I’m going to let Alison tell you about her business and coaching program in her own words:
I have always loved helping people, and felt called to do so. But it wasn't until I healed from chronic stress that I knew HOW I was supposed to help people. You could say I was inspired to start my coaching business after suffering from chronic stress. I was fatigued, had brain fog, suffered from eczema and skin issues, and even digestion problems.
One of the biggest things that changed my life was a daily mindfulness practice - this includes meditation and breathwork. So all of my coaching programs include mindfulness to a certain degree (or focus solely on mindfulness!)
Everyone should have a coach. I have one, myself! Coaches help keep you accountable, move you forward, and reach your goals. They help you identify blocks holding you back in life, and make breakthrough. I love seeing how my clients transform. Through my coaching, I have helped clients reduce the amount of anxiety medication they take, get rid of anxiety-induced night terrors, boost their confidence, boost their energy levels, and so much more. It's an honor and a blessing to help with and witness.
I'm going to share a secret that most photographers probably keep to themselves: As a photographer, you always have favorites.
Favorite lenses. Favorite locations. Favorite photos. Favorite clients.
When it comes my to favorites, Allison, Melvin, and Bernie are it. I just adore this family!
Sadly, because of the pandemic, we haven't seen each other in over a year. It was so good catching up during our photo session near their home in Gaithersburg. It's hard to believe how much Bernie has grown -- the last time I saw him, he had just turned one!
As a photographer, it was also good to be challenged.
This photo session took me out of my comfort zone in two unique ways: location and timing. Not only were we not in Sligo Creek, but the only time Allison, Melvin, and Bernie could meet for photos was around noon.
In most cases, I encourage my clients to meet for photos around 2 hours before sunset because that's when natural light is the best. At noon, and without clouds, the sunlight can be harsh. Because of this, I had to constantly be aware of my surroundings and pay close attention to how and where Allison, Melvin, and Bernie were standing in relation to the sun. I was worried about delivering photos that wouldn't meet my standards.
Allison was kind enough to pose for a test shot, though, and the rest, as they say, is history! I even captured a few images that have become new favorites!
Do you have a favorite from this collection? Let me know in the comments section below!
It is an honor to be named the Local Hero of the week by Rep. Jamie Raskin for my work on Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Voices from Silver Spring.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I documented the lives of friends and neighbors as we lived through this extraordinary time in history. I talked with close friends, local business owners, cancer survivors, teachers, students, and people in our community I had never before met. Each person had an incredible story to share about how they were coping during that trying time.
In this interview with Rep. Jamie Raskin, I highlight four people I met while working on this project and share their stories of resiliency and strength.
The full archives from the project is below.
Life in the Time of Coronavirus: Voices from Silver Spring
I'm thrilled to once again be the event photographer for Silver Spring's very own Taste the World in Fenton Village. This one-of-a-kind festival showcases the best Silver Spring has to offer, including dozens of locally owned restaurants, coffee shops, and bars.
To accommodate COVID restrictions and ensure the safety of guests, workers, and restaurant owners, this year's festival will take place over an entire week. Patrons will have the option to dine outdoors, or order carry out or delivery. I'll be at the festival Sunday, May 16 and again on Friday, May 21 -- and I'll be there with my camera! Stop by, say hi, and you may even end up on Fenton Village's website!
Patrons who visit Fenton Village restaurants three times throughout the week of May 16 - 22 will be entered to win cash prizes. Guests simply need to take photos of their receipts and email them to email@example.com
2020 has been a wild and crazy year full of challenges and heartbreak. It may feel like all hope is lost and all love is gone, but I know that is not true. I know that because of families like the Rodriguezes. This entire family is so full of joy, and their loving spirit shines through in these images. It was an absolute pleasure working with them!
I love working with families, but I especially adore working with moms and daughters. There's just something special about the bond a mother shares with her daughters, and I was honored to be able to capture that relationship in these images. Aisha and her daughters Noelle and Cece were delightful to work with, and their loving, fun spirit really shines through in these photos!
Sligo Creek Parkway has always been a haven for me. Walking along the nine-mile trail offers a chance to slow down, collect my thoughts, and be with nature. It also offers a chance to connect with those who love the parkway as much as I do. That's certainly the case with the Habicht Family.
For this lovely family of four, Sligo Creek was a discovery made during the pandemic. They have spent the year exploring the parkway and couldn't wait to show me some of their favorite spots during our time together. It was at one of those spots, near a favorite boulder, where a Jonna Michelle Photography first happened: daughter Abby lost her tooth DURING our session! It was such a simple, beautiful reminder that even in chaotic and troubling times, life still goes on.
Hey there! I'm Jonna! I'm a family photographer serving Silver Spring, Maryland and beyond. During the Covid-19 crisis, I'm using my free time to document the lives of friends and neighbors as we live through a pandemic. Learn more.