Savoring the sweet with a Christmas family film | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Making family films is a joy. It's so sweet to see little moments in motion that aren't possible with still images. This is my own family's film from Christmas Day last year. It's amazing to watch and see how much my sons have grown and changed. I'm also grateful for the clips of the boys with my nephew who was visiting. And I'm especially happy for the glimpses of our dog who isn't with us this Christmas. :-(

This year brought many changes. Not least of which is Christmas in our new home. I'm excited to document the changes and excited for what the new year will bring. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


 Nicole Sanchez Photography works with busy parents in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland to create stress-free photo sessions that take all the loving, fun, and chaotic moments of family life to make beautiful photos and films that families will love looking at year after year.  Contact me today to start planning a custom photography experience that's perfect for your family.

How to preserve family traditions that your kids will remember forever | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

Holiday memories are steeped in family traditions.

We take pictures of experiences that are meaningful to us. Places and people we want to remember. Lots of people have the fondest and strongest childhood memories around holidays. They stand out in our memories as more poignant because our recurring family traditions and rituals strengthen the memories over time. And also because we take pictures and videos of them. 

Family decorating for Christmas

It’s so much more than Christmas morning.

Most often, our Christmas photos are from Christmas morning, unwrapping gifts, or playing with new toys surrounded by scraps of discarded wrapping paper, a colorfully lit tree in the background. If we're lucky, there are a few images of our parents too. But rarely do these photos tell more of the story than what happens on Christmas day. This post is my call to take pictures of your family that go beyond the main event.

Family decorating Christmas tree together in Washington, DC

Traditions don’t just happen. We make them happen.

Now that I have kids, I appreciate all the effort my parents, and my mom especially, put into making Christmas a special time for us as kids. Decorating was especially fun. Each year taking out the tiny ceramic village with it's fake snow and lit up houses. Carefully taking out the individually wrapped glass ornaments and the growing assortment of hand made ones from school. And, as we got older, having wrapping parties in the floor passing scissors and tape back and forth whole watching cheesy hold movies. 

I know now that these traditions didn’t just happen. My parents made them happen. And by doing so they shared with us what was meaningful to them and what was valuable to our family.

Father and toddler baking for Christmas

Family photos and videos highlight the best of the holiday spirit.

It's the memories that stand out most for us that we're most likely to pass down to our own children as tradition. And that's why it's important to document more than just the unwrapping of gifts. Documenting this time with your children with photos or a family film is a special way to highlight the best of the holiday spirit. As we all know, it's not about the gifts on Christmas morning. It's about the thrill of anticipation, the magic and mystery, and most of all the joy and love of family. 

Traditions are how we highlight what matters.

Whether that's driving to the local farm to pick out a tree or baking holiday cookies to share with friends and neighbors, traditions are how we highlight what matters.  So this holiday season, document those rituals that are important to your family and preserve those values for your children and for generations to come.

P.S. I’m booking 2019 films and photo sessions now! Happy Holidays!

Nicole Sanchez Photography works with busy parents in Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, and Maryland to create stress-free photo sessions that take all the loving, fun, and chaotic moments of family life to make beautiful photos and films that families will love looking at year after year.  Contact me today to start planning a custom photography experience that's perfect for your family.

A Christmas Family Film | Washington, DC Family Photographer

The holiday season is such a magical (okay, and sometimes hectic) time, especially with small children. And decorating with a toddler can be hilarious, as I found with this sweet Washington, DC family. Their little guy loved taking the ornaments off the tree while decorating. (May he always love cleaning up so much!) Sweet, fun, everyday moments like this at home with his mom, dad and newborn sister peacefully sleeping nearby, made making this film so much fun. An added bonus was their Chinese crested pup who made a game out of chasing light reflections that my camera made on the wall.

I spent a beautiful December morning with them, as they enjoyed getting accustomed to their newest member who was just under two weeks old. Video is such a special way to capture children. They change so fast. A family film becomes like a little time capsule that you open and remember little things already forgotten, like the adorable way your son pronounces his little sisters name or those crazy cute newborn yawns. I love to imagine these little ones watching this film every holiday season and marveling with their parents at how much they've been.

I'm now booking a limited number of family film sessions in 2018. Contact me today to learn more about planning a film session for your family this year. Still images are included in every family film session, so stay tuned for some beautiful images from this session that I can't wait to share!

A mother daughter family film | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

When you have multiple children, it can be challenging to carve out one-on-one time to spend with each child. Time spent with the whole family is special, but it's also special and so rewarding to spend a little time with each child individually.  It's amazing the little details and nuances you can miss during the hubbub of daily family life.  One-on-one time, with fewer distractions, highlights those aspects of their personality that are changing so fast and are so fun to watch as a parent.

It was such a joy to spend a morning with this mama of three in Northern Virginia, capturing some special time with her youngest child and only daughter.  As a mother of two boys, it was especially sweet for me to document these mother-daughter rituals like putting on make-up and hair bows and nursing snuggles in bed after a morning of fun.

Film is a special way to preserve a glimpse of family life at any moment in time.  And any time is a great time to capture those details that make childhood and parenting special.  It's amazing how much change you can see, even when watching a film just a few short months later.  From their voice and the cute way they say certain words to the scurry of little feet so excited about life - they're on to the next thing before we know it.  And it's so easy to forget!

Learn more about family film sessions here or contact me to chat about a unique session for your family.


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.

A Spring Family Film | Northern Virginia Family Photographer

I'm excited to share this family film and the news that I'll be updating my package options soon to incorporate the addition of family films!  It's been a labor of love and growth over the past year+ to learn the art of video, crafting clips into films, and how best to weave that into my documentary family photography sessions.  

I fell in love with documentary style because of the natural way it elevates the beauty and meaningfulness of everyday life.  Looking at images of real, everyday moments with our family reminds us how sweet and fleeting this time is.  It's a visual reminder that what we do matters, even the seemingly mundane daily tasks that make life happen and keep our little people alive. ;-) 

The movement and sound of video adds another layer of emotional connection to the documentary experience.  Seeing your life in motion, hearing your child's sweet voice (and the adorable way she says "Dada") is incomparable to memories that fade and even photos that present only a static visual reminder. 

That's why, for me, creating family films is a perfect marriage with photographs.  You can't print a film and put it on your wall or flip your fingers through its pages of moments.  A film is another piece in the gallery of your family's story.  It's another way to share this glimpse of your family's life in this season for yourself, your children, and future generations.  

Not to belabor the point, but the future generations part is something that really excites me. As a daughter of our family's genealogist, I would have found my family's history much more interesting if I could actually see it.  Even with old pictures as a visual insight, I found myself wondering, "What were they really like? What did they do all day?" That question of what daily life is like is one that anthropologists spend their careers seeking answers for.  

So I'm going to make it easy for future generations to answer this question for my family (assuming the zombie apocalypse doesn't wipe out computers and cloud storage) and hope that this insight into our family's everyday will give them a fun glimpse of where and who they come from. 

I hope you enjoy this fun film with this sweet family.