September Favorites | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

I've been behind on editing images for several weeks, so I only have about 3.5 days of September done. ;-)  Luckily, those days happen to be images that I love. We've had a dry spell in Northern Virginia and the weather has been quite warm. These hiking images were taken on our favorite trail at Mason Neck State Park in Lorton, VA.

I'm slowly warming up to the idea of fall and the holiday season. It helps that Halloween is just around the corner and I love getting the kids dressed up and going trick-or-treating (though I don't have costumes yet!).  I can't wait to share those, though at the rate I'm going, it may be January before I edit them!

Around Our Clocks - 4pm | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

These two guys have so much fun together.  It's a joy to watch.  We have a lot of open parks and green space in Northern Virginia and one of our favorite things to do is explore new places.  This one just happens to be down the road from our day care near Mount Vernon.  We were playing in the field and noticed this GIANT praying mantis.  Luckily, I had my camera. ;-)

This post is part of a collaborative documentary photography blog circle called Around Our Clocks. We're documenting a day in our life over the course of one year.  This month was 1pm and it's our last month! I can't believe we've completed the year. Continue the circle by visiting Camille Arner to see her September image and stayed tuned for an update on what direction the circle will take next.

Documenting Change - In-home Newborn Session | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Those first days and weeks at home with a new baby are especially sweet. They may also be a blur due to lack of sleep, so documenting them can be helpful in that regard. ;-)  A new baby is a big change for parents, even if they've done it before. For older siblings it can be the most momentous change they've experienced in their whole life.  This little guy had been home about two weeks when I visited his family in Northern Virginia. 

In-home newborn session of Family members each doing their own thing by Northern Virginia Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

Though every family is different, there are some fairly common experiences that come with parenthood and childhood.  One of them is the transition from three to four.  

Father and son cooking breakfast in home by Northern Virginia Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez
Boy showing off his muscle at family breakfast by Northern Virginia Photographer Nicole Sanchez

When I was pregnant with my younger son, even though my older son was very affectionate with my belly and interested in the baby that was growing inside, I still worried that bringing a new baby into our family might traumatize him somehow.  It probably did on some level, but he seems okay anyway. ;-)

Young boy heading out for walk with pet dog and mom with baby in Northern Virginia by Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

Children's responses to a new family member vary, but they are amazing at adjusting to change and it's amazing to watch them interact with their new sibling. The bond siblings share is different than their bond with parents and it's one, as parents, we hope will be forged in childhood and last a lifetime.

Parents waiting for boy Boy sitting in road on scooter by Northern Virginia Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

During a newborn session it might seem that the primary focus would always be on the baby, but I try to feature each family member and capture a glimpse of their role in the new family dynamic. Older children are learning to navigate life with a little less input from parents, new babies are simply adjusting to life outside the womb, and parents are on a moving spectrum of totally rocking it and just holding on for dear life. :-) 

Boy running away from crying baby by Northern Virginia Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

It's a mix of lots of love and a bit of chaos.  And documenting those early interactions and moments of adjustment make looking back on this time a little easier and that much sweeter.  


Want to learn how to document your own family's day-to-day?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.

A birth film | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

I love documenting births, though I don't get to photograph them often. Being welcomed into a family's sacred space to be a part of their experience meeting a new member of their family is an incredibly special experience. I shared images from this birth in Northern Virginia in a previous post, but my primary focus during this birth was video. This film is the result and it makes me cry every time I watch it. So much love and support surrounds this mama as she brings her baby into the world and documenting her family's story was an amazingly rewarding experience.  <3

Want to learn how to document your family's everyday?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.

Around Our Clocks - 1pm | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

I fudged a little this month. This image was taken mid-afternoon, so not quite 1pm, but I'm going with it. :-) It's been a busy month and the more mobile my youngest gets, the harder I find it to bring out my camera. I don't remember where he was when I took this picture, but I couldn't pass up the quiet moment my husband and oldest son were having and sharing with our dog. This is often the scene in our house. Well, the messy part, at least. The quiet part, not so much. And sometimes it comes with a side of screen time.

This post is part of a collaborative documentary photography blog circle called Around Our Clocks. We're documenting a day in our life over the course of one year.  This month was 1pm.  Continue the circle by visiting Megan Nesom to see her August image.

2017-09-17_09-42-30.jpg

A maternity session At Home with big brother | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

I leave every family session feeling grateful for the opportunity to bond with other parents, especially mamas. I've met stay-at-home moms, work-from-home moms, homeschooling moms of teenagers, working moms who are architects or entrepreneurs, former archaeologist moms, military moms... I had no idea how rewarding getting to know all these women would be.  If there's one thing I've learned about parenting, it's that it's one of the most impactful experiences in a parent’s life and something most parents are happy to share their feelings about.

Pregnant mom and dad in nursery with son in Northern Virginia by Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

Pregnancy is such a special time and a maternity session is a wonderful opportunity for sharing experiences of motherhood. The mix of emotions that come with waiting for a baby to arrive is like none other, whether it's a first baby or a ninth. Anxiousness, elation and lots of love abound. All of these emotions are part of the journey and such an important part of a family's story.  

It's especially sweet when I get to document a sibling's part of the story too. Introducing a new baby to the family is a big change for everyone and telling the family's story in their home environment is a really personal way of documenting such a special time.

Parents walking with toddler on bike in Northern Virginia by Family Photographer Nicole Sanche

I love trading stories and words of wisdom with other moms and leave every family session with a full heart, looking forward to sharing images that reflect all the love and insightful moments I witnessed, as well as the sometimes chaos and hard work that life with little ones bring.

Mom kissing son's boo boo by Northern Virginia Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

An added bonus with this sweet family in Northern Virginia is looking forward to meeting and documenting their first days with their new little one in just a couple of weeks!

Want to learn how to document your own family's day-to-day?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.

August Faves | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Summer is my favorite. Even when it's at its hottest and most humid here in Northern Virginia. I think I must like the heat because it reminds me of my childhood summers in the Mississippi. Anyway, every August, as school starts back up and people start getting excited about fall, I have a personal mantra. “It's okay,” I tell myself, “it'll stay warm until at least November.”

But something happened this year. Around the end of August, the summer heat broke. I let our dog outside one morning around 6am and it was…chilly. The moist warmth of summer dawns was gone.  The days have been pleasant and mild. But gone is the sticky humidity and heat of summer. I thought for a couple of weeks that it was just a spell, but it's gone. I was not ready for summer to end. I love the colors and crispness of fall, but it's always tinged with sadness at the cold to come and days spent inside, trying to ward off the chill.

I'm still hopeful for a few more warm days in the weeks to come, even if the cool mornings are here to stay.  As a farewell to summer, here's a few of my favorites from last month.

Want to learn how to document your own family's day-to-day?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.

Summer Afternoon At Home Family Film | Washington, DC Family Photographer

I feel like I can't stop gushing about how wonderful video is for rounding out a documentary session.  Capturing the motion and sound of family life and turning it into a film has been a joy for me to add to my sessions this year.  From the fleeting details of babyhood to the hilarious antics of toddlers and beyond, video is perfect for preserving family life. Compiling clips and carefully setting them to music to tell a story that gives a glimpse into a family's everyday is like magic.  Watching it months or years from now instantly transports you back to that moment in time, bringing about memories and emotions already forgotten.  

Here is one of my favorite family films from early summer.  You can check out this sweet Washington, DC family's images from their session here.

Want to learn how to document your own family's day-to-day?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.

Relaxed Summer Session | Washington, DC Family Photographer

It's been a baby bonanza this summer. Besides my own littlest (who's going to be a year old this week!), I've gotten to photograph several other babes in their first year this summer in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. The first year is such a fun time as a parent, getting to watch baby's personality develop (and take guesses at which parent is responsible for specific character traits ;-) ).  It's also a time of learning to adjust to a new family dynamic - a whole new person with new and different needs and wants. Oh, and who happens not to communicate in easy to understand words yet.

Relaxed summer family session by Washington, DC Photographer Nicole Sanchez

One of the things I always marvel about over parenthood is our seemingly never-ending capacity to adapt. Less sleep. Less time. But we make room in our lives to love and nurture these little ones. Adaptability is just what we need. Especially as we learn that just when we think we have things figured out, our little one changes.

One of my favorite things about documentary family sessions with babies is embracing that adaptability and going with the flow. Maybe baby’s schedule is completely off track. Maybe you skipped a nap or are still finishing breakfast at noon.  Taking in the chaos in the context of this tiny human who's changing so fast you want to capture every minute of it is one of the best parts about documenting family life.

It may be hard to see it now, but what you're doing is meaningful and important. And hard work. Your kids may not remember this time. And considering your lack of sleep, you may not either. But these pictures of everyday life tell your family's stories. Of tender care and coming up with endless ways to entertain. Of elation and exhaustion.  It may seem like chaos.  Or maybe you're lucky and it seems just as smooth as you're planning it to be (If so, what is your secret??).  Either way, it's beautiful and it's love.  And you'll want to remember that.

Parents relaxing together after baby is asleep by Washington, DC Family Photographer Nicole Sanchez

Stay tuned later this week, I have a family film to share from this sweet session in Washington, DC.

Want to learn how to document your own family's day-to-day?  Check out 4 Steps to Stop Time and Savor the Moment with Your Family.  It's a simple and fun guide to documenting your family's life with beautiful photographs.