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!
Just over a week ago, Montgomery County officials closed three miles of Sligo Creek Parkway to traffic so area residents could safely exercise as we all work to socially distance to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Cliff and I have taken the shelter-in-place order seriously. We've done our best to not venture out during the coronavirus pandemic, which means I haven't taken advantage of the street closures.
That changed today. After five weeks of doing my best to stay indoors, I realized not getting out wasn't healthy. I also realized I was missing an opportunity to document a historic moment in time. So, late yesterday, just as the sun was setting, I grabbed my camera and took these photos of Sligo Creek.
The Sligo Creek Photographer | Silver Spring Family Photographer | Winter Solstice Photos with Alysson, Yemboado, Sienna & Alex
It's funny... the older I get the more I grow to appreciate and -- dare I say -- even love winter. As brutal and gloomy as this season may feel to some, I've learned to embrace the darkness and the cold and reflect upon what winter teaches us about life. To me, there's something special about turning inward, slowing down, finding peace, and just being. That's what this season means to me, and its why Winter Solstice has become one of favorite days of the year.
I couldn't have picked a better way to spend Solstice than with this gorgeous family. Mom Alysson and Dad Yemboado were so lovely to work with, but for me, the star of the show was daughter Siena. She came fully prepared with her own ideas for photos -- and they worked out surprisingly well! During she session we sang, we danced, we even pretended she was a forest queen who lived in a cave! It's been awhile since I've had such creative fun at a family photo session!
As excited as I am to Alysson and Yemboado as neighbors, I'm just as thrilled that their kiddos will get to grow up surrounded by nature. Even for an adult, Sligo Creek is full of beauty and surprises. I can only imagine this place must be a goldmine for kids, and I hope Alex and Siena grow to love the parkway as much as I do. Based on the fun we had during our time together, something tells me they're already well on their way... :)
I'm more than a little behind on blogging, but that's okay -- better late than never, right? I can't believe this session happened almost a full year ago!!
I love using my camera to bring people together and one way I do that is through Silver Spring's food festival, Taste the World in Fenton Village. Not only do I try to photograph this festival every year, but I also donate a door prize -- a family photo session!
The lucky winners of the 2017 prize are the Guinnessy Family. The three of us met in the fall of last year for a family photo shoot and I love how these images turned out! The timing couldn't have been better. Just look at those GORGEOUS leaves!
Want to win a FREE family photo session? Mark your calendars for 2019's Taste the World in Fenton Village happening May 19. I hope to see you there!
I've been thinking a lot lately about kindness, what it means, what it looks like, and how place can shape our definition of kind.
Those who read this blog regularly know that I'm originally from Nebraska, a place where it sometimes feels like being nice is a requirement for living there. Back home it's common to greet people as you're walking down the street, share details about your life with the cashier at the grocery store, and even strike up conversations with strangers.
Out on the East Coast, it isn't always that way. We all know the stereotypes of brash New Yorkers. But even here in the DMV, I've found that the hustle and bustle of city life can sometimes make people more reserved. And until recently, I assumed that’s just the way it is. I assumed that the Midwest has an bona fide kindness that can’t be found anywhere else.
Then I met the Carr family.
This family is authentically, genuinely kind. They approach the world with love, and their enthusiasm for life is contagious. I felt this positive energy in the way they connected with, supported, and encouraged each other. Perhaps most importantly, I see that loving spirit shine through in each of these images.
Even though we only spent a short time together, I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about the Carrs long into the future. Their energy and enthusiasm left an impression on me and defined kindness in a way that I once thought could only be found in the Midwest. They taught me that kindness lies within people, not places, and that showing kindness is a decision we all make each and every day.
When families hire me to take their photos, I always hope I leave a lasting, positive impression on them. But so often, the families I come to know and love leave a lasting impression on me. That's definitely the case with the Lin Family.
It's been awhile since I've posted anything here -- for no reason in particular, other than life. This year has been trying to say the least. Between the every day drama that has become our political landscape, and the death of a dear friend, I've had to practice a lot of self care in 2018. That means the blog has taken a bit of a backseat... until this last weekend.
I've known the Lins for years now, and something about being in my favorite place -- Sligo Creek Park -- with people I adore energized me in a way I haven't felt in months. Honestly, I give the credit to the little one you see, who I'll call C. She was so full of good vibes and positive energy and wasn't afraid to throw out ideas for our session, which I loved! So many of the kids I photograph are shy and need help coming out of their shells (which is totally understandable). But not C. She had no problem hamming it up for the camera, which made my job so easy!
Not only did C remind me how much I love photography, but she made me realize I've got something special literally in my own front yard. That something special is Sligo Creek. It's a place I adore, a place I spend a lot of my time, and a place I like to call my studio. That's why from here on out, I'll simply ask you to call me the Sligo Creek Photographer.
I love the energy this place holds. I love how its peace and beauty bring people together. And I love what a hidden gem it is for family photos. I plan to spend a lot of time here in the coming months and years. My goal is to create beautiful images that will last for years to come, and build life-long connections with the families I photograph. If more kids like C come into my life, something tells me that's not going to be hard to do :)
The older I get the more I learn to love and appreciate winter. I know it is easy to complain about the short days and cold temperatures, but I adore everything winter stands for. For me, it's a time to rest, relax, wind down, and focus on living in the moment.
Nothing says winter like snow, and this weekend we got plenty of it. There's always something special about the first snowfall of the season. It's magical and beautiful and it always makes me giddy! The fact that the first snow fell on a Saturday meant I was able to spend my morning with my hands wrapped around a warm cup of coffee just staring out the window. It was so peaceful and tranquil and I loved it!
Another thing that made this year's first snow fall memorable was that I got to share it with friends Courtney-Rose and Adam Dantus! I met Courtney-Rose years ago, and always admired her gentle spirit and easy smile. So when she reached out asking for family photos, I was delighted to oblige!
We actually had this Sligo Creek family photo session planned days in advance, and I had assumed the snow would stop before the shoot even started. But to my delight, it snowed throughout the entire session! I've got to give a huge shout out to Courtney-Rose and Adam for being such troopers. Wintertime snowy sessions make so GORGEOUS photos, but they aren't always easy. Cold fingers and stinging cheeks can get really annoying really fast, but Courtney-Rose, Adam, and their two pups powered through.
I'm so glad we were able to get together and embrace winter in this way. I adore these photos and hope the Dantus Family loves them as much as I do!
Lately I've been thinking a lot about something my friend Stacilyn said years ago: she loves love! Love is what we need more of right now, and love is one of the reasons I adore family photography.
You see, as a family photographer, I get to spend time with people who truly love each other. After having photographed dozens of families, I can honestly say that, like laughter, love is contagious. Being around others who exude love fills my heart with joy, and I pass that positive energy onto my own family and I believe it is reflected in my work. These photos featuring Abe, Laura and their son Martin are the perfect example of that.
The three of us (and Aunt Bethany, who stayed behind the scenes) spent an afternoon in Sligo Creek Parkway where little Martin got up close with nature and got to be photographed doing one of his favorite things: reading! Martin is clearly adorable, but what really stole my heart (and what continues to make me smile when I look at these photos) are all the ways Laura and Abe dote on their son. Watching the three of them together was such a joy, and so much fun. Love is clearly at the center of everything this family does, and being able to document that love is an honor.
It is my sincere hope that Abe, Laura and Martin will look at these photos and smile the way I do, and that those reading this blog will take a moment to appreciate the love they have in their lives and share more of it with the world.
Winter photo sessions don't happen often for obvious reasons, but when they do, I think they're really special.
Last weekend was my first photo session of the year, and it also happened to be on one of the coldest days of the year so far! Despite the freezing temperatures, Bob and Linda were wonderful to work with! (Aren't they just adorable together??)
We met in one of my favorite locations, Sligo Creek Parkway, hours after it had snowed. I have to give them a huge shout out for being incredible sports about the whole thing. Not only was it absolutely freezing outside, but there were actually two photographers on hand! (That doesn't normally happen!) Some of the photos from Bob and Linda's session I'm using for a special project, so my friend and fellow photography Gerry Suchy was there taking photos of me taking photos of them.
Even though temperatures were well below freezing, I'm really glad we were all able to work together to make this session a success. With these images in particular, I adore the contrast between the dull, grayish brown background and the brightly colored blanket Bob and Linda are wrapped in. That warm, cozy feel makes these photos work, and is proof that with a little preparation, cold weather photos can be just as fun as photos taken in the spring and summer!
p.s. Here are a few of those behind-the-scenes images I mentioned earlier. I think they're kinda fun!!
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.