Life is full of adventure! Family portrait sessions are often full of that adventure that takes you for a wild ride, especially when they happen in DC! Imagine the mechanical bull that keeps trying to throw you off---but against all odds, you manage to hold on and prevail in the end! My portrait time with the Dickson family was one of those wild rides that will make for great, 'remember whens' around the dinner table for the Dickson family!
On a past visit to Washington DC Ashley envisioned how cool it would be to have a family portrait session there some day. Ashley is from Oregon and Ed is from California so marking their time in Baltimore as a Ravens family made DC a perfect choice. Ashley contacted me and we made plans to set the wheels in motion to make her dream a reality. She had a vision and she did some research ahead of time to chart out the path we would take. We were ready to go!
Then the government decided to close down! Our first scheduled date had to be rescheduled to ....well....that was the million dollar question. Who knew when the government would re-open? Ashely visited DC during the shut down to finish scouting the path she wanted us to take and found roped off monuments, fountains turned off and 'keep out' signs. We were bummed and knew we would have to delay the session.
We got a little nervous as we got further into fall that weather would not cooperate. However, we got a beautiful day and celebrated the portrait session could finally happen (about 2 weeks ago). My assistant Hayley and I arrived at the Dickson's home and took advantage of the time before they were ready to go by photographing Jayda, their adorable 6 month old baby girl who was full of smiles all over the place! Trey adores his little sister as well. He was full of hugs for her as he raced around playing. His speed would later give us all a work out every time he broke loose to run completely around the WWII memorial! We all burned some calories that night! I always joke that my sessions are the only active part of this career, 90% of the time is spent sitting so it helps keep my heart healthy!
Our trip started fairly normal and traffic wasn't too bad, until we got closer to DC. Then traffic stopped. Our plan was to start the portrait session at 5:00 and go through sunset which was at 6:10.
Fast forward several hours---DC traffic is barely moving and parking is no where to be found. The portrait session felt like it was slipping away from us so we made an impromptu decision to break into groups to start photographing rather then keep driving in circles around where we were trying to start our portrait time. This would involve quite a bit of maneuvering--but we all rose to the challenge! Ed dropped us off and we started the DC phase of our session, hoping Ed could soon join us!
So I started with Ashley and the kids exactly 10 minutes after sunset. I assured Ashley that we would still create beautiful portraits and was so grateful for all my 'just in case' gear I packed! Prior to our day we talked about the importance of flexibility with family portraits, especially when trying to put the wheels into motion for the session she had planned. Flexibility was key here! Fortunately everyone kept their cool and rolled with the session like champs, trusting the new vision I created for our session time. Even Jayda never grumped once, she just adapted to every thing we did, happy as a peach before she drifted off to sleep in Hayley's arms! I can't say enough how great the kids were through all the hoops we had to jump through to make this happen!
It took a while, but Ed was finally able to find parking and join us in the dark. I knew Ashley and Ed were skeptical that anything could be salvaged from our time; but I was confident we were creating beautiful portraits that would make all the chaos worth it! At the end of the night Ashley said, 'I feel like you deserve some kind of award after all this!'