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CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Family. Friends. Hounds. Books. The Beach. Autumn. Cameras. Computer. iPhone. The color orange. Caramel frappucino. The words "dude!" and "nice!". Oh...and world peace ;-)

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20 September 2012

:: a pot of gold ::

Uh, in case you've noticed the GINORMOUS gap between my blog posts - summer has been busy (good!) and fall is turning out to be even busier (sweet!). There's just not enough time in the day to update the various social media! I sometimes feel like an old fart, struggling to keep up with all the wireless younguns.

Remember at the beginning of the year, I said I'd try my hand at wedding photography this year? Wow, is it a different world than portrait photography. All I have to say is: gale-force winds, torrential rain & a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  More details to come.

Here is a preview of the beautiful (and determined) bride & her new husband (congratulations, L+H!):

04 August 2012

:: at home | washington dc family lifestyle photographer ::

While I love exploring the city and shooting on-location with my clients, there is just something so special about shooting a photo session at the client's home. To me, there's nothing better than helping to document a family's life together, surrounded by things which are familiar and beloved. And of course having a gorgeous family, such as this, is a bonus. Thank you, M Family!

27 July 2012

:: hot enough for you? | washington dc portrait photographer ::

As if the typical Washington DC weather is just not hot enough for you, here's C1 in his woolly cap to make you feel extra toasty :-) Happy Friday!

17 July 2012

:: lovely engagement | washington dc wedding photographer ::

One of the perks of living in our Nation's Capital is the array of amazing architectural spaces to choose from. I've always been intrigued by alley spaces as backdrops for portraits. There is something so intimate about the scale of the spaces. I've always wanted to shoot a session in the "alley" walkway connecting Independence Avenue & the Reagan Building  -- amazing architecture, texture and scale...and I was able to convince this lovely couple to join me :-) Congratulations, S & M!!! You guys make a beautiful couple.

10 July 2012

:: p-s twins | washington dc newborn twins photographer ::

I've been excitedly anticipating meeting this duo since the maternity mini-session with their mom & dad. They are worth the wait -- these boys are so cuddlicious and cute beyond words. Congratulations, S & B -- M & E are wonderfully perfect :-)

04 July 2012

:: happy independence day | washington dc family photographer ::

Hello!!! Sorry I've been MIA these last few weeks. A lot of action all happening at the same time -- end of school year, beach holiday, photo sessions & consultations in between. Needless to say, I have some catching up to do :-)

Hopefully I'll get back on track as we settle into the lazy, hazy summer. Here's a view of the fireworks on the National Mall (as seen from the State Dept building. Happy 4th!

31 May 2012

:: photo-a-day {MAY} | washington dc iphonographer ::

You may have noticed -- I've slacked off on my People Pictures exercises. I decided to take a break from the intensity of the People Pictures exercises and do something light and fun. For the entire month of May, I've been participating in the photo-a-day challenge started by #fatmumslim. Each day, I look at the list of topics for this month and take an iPhone photo of the topic of the day.

The idea is to share, share, share -- everyone is welcome to participate and share the photos on whatever social platform you'd like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Flickr, Blog, Pinterest etc. One doesn't have to be super creative or be the most amazing photographer -- just the willingness to share with family & friends...or the world if you're so inclined :-)

Here are some highlights from my Photo-A-Day {MAY} album:

For the complete album, please visit my Facebook page. Tomorrow is the first day of June, so new list and new challenges. I will be posting a photo a day to my FB page.

Won't you join me??? Share your photos with me on the B+N {PHOTOGRAPHY} Facebook page and let's have some fun!

21 May 2012

:: she's one | washington dc family portrait photographer ::

This was such a special session for me. I've known the dad all of HIS life -- he's my younger cousin, R! What makes it even more special is that he is now married to the beautiful, lovely S, and is dad to a soon-to-be-one-year-old gorgeous little A. Thanks R & S for a wonderful afternoon and a chance to cuddle with A :-)

Sidenote: R's dad is my dad's younger brother, and his mom is my mom's younger sister. Really not that strange if you think about it -- just means we have the same four grandparents :-)

Here is a peek of their session at the U.S. National Arboretum:

15 May 2012

:: grass | washington dc plant photographer :;

I'm tying up a couple of loose ends, so no "People Pictures" this week.

Yesterday, as I was about to sit down for dinner with my family, I realized I hadn't done my "Photo A Day" exercise for May 14th (composite from the days of May will be posted here at the end of the month). Topic: Grass.

So I quickly pulled on my rain boots, bolted outside and started taking pics of grass/ground cover in our garden. I felt the vegetation needed some "oomph", so I enlisted the help of our trusty Swiss garden gnome (guarding our garden since 2001). I had w-a-a-a-y too much fun with our little friend.

14 May 2012

:: exercise #11 results {people skills} | 30 people pictures ::

My most vivid memories of my mom always involve her sewing (my dresses), knitting (my stuffed toys) and drawing/painting (my BROTHER's art projects). She was a high school teacher back in the day, so we had her all to ourselves after school and during the summer.

To this day, I still bring my clothes to her for mending. I know enough to make small repairs, but nothing like the magic mom could do. Now when my children's clothing or stuffed toys "malfunction", they automatically put the item(s) in their backpacks so they can bring it to Grandmommy's house for mending.

For this week's People Pictures exercise & for Mother's Day, I decided to take some portraits of my mom. I wanted to make sure I document this important memory for me and my children. To set up the shoot, I asked mom if I could take pics of her while she helps me alter O's dresses. We chatted casually the entire time (about 15 minutes), and I think I've captured what are most important to me -- her generosity, her perseverance and her love of family.

Seeing her with my little ones warms my heart. I'm so glad my children will have the same fond memories of my mom that I had as a little girl.

Happy Mother's Day to the most amazing mom and grandmommy in the world :-) We love you!!!

08 May 2012

:: exercise #11: people skills | 30 people pictures ::

  • Goal: Develop people skills.
  • Tools: Camera and lens of your choice.
  • Light: Depends on location.
  • Location: Indoors or outdoors.
  • Duration: 30 minutes for photo shoot.
  • Step 1: {Make Eye Contact}Focus your eyes, pause and connect with your subject
  • Step 2: {Active Listening with a Friend} Actively listen and ask good questions.
  • Step 3: {Where the Rubber Meets the Road} Photograph someone who interests you. Arrive early for the shoot. Greet the subject. Give her a small gift to show your appreciation.
  • Step 4: {Cut to the Chase} Begin the shoot and keep it completely conversational. Keep her engaged with asking questions and listening. End the shoot early and thank the subject for her time.
  • Step 5: {Acknowledgement and Thanks} Show your appreciation by following up with a handwritten note -- no texting or email allowed!

07 May 2012

:: exercise #10 results part 3 {arms length} | 30 people pictures ::

Here we are, at the conclusion of exercise #10 of the People Pictures exercises. This is what I've learned:
  • Empathy for my clients -- It is much easier to hide behind the big camera than to be in front of it.
  • Bracketing exposures -- Since I shoot in manual mode, I had to set the exposure recipe intuitively and then tweak it to get it right. Although I usually use the center auto-focus point, for this, I put the AF on auto for better results.
  • I definitely have a "better" side :-)
  • Photoshop is a middle-aged woman's best friend.
I shot this image in my workspace, with the camera slightly overhead at arms-length. I used the lowest possible F-stop (1.2), in hopes of blurring some of the "no-so-desirable." Of course there is some "photoshopping", but I left the multitude of freckles alone for authenticity :-)

Happy Monday! Please check back tomorrow for the intro to Exercise #11!

30 April 2012

:: exercise #10 results part 2 {self-portrait} | 30 people pictures ::

So this is me. Doing what I normally do during the day. Working on my computer and playing with my kids and their friends outside our house. I would've loved to have taken a self-portrait at the beach (my favorite state of being), but the weather had other plans :-)

Dont' forget to check out the brilliant works of my fellow photogs:

24 April 2012

:: p-s family maternity | washington dc twins photographer ::

This glowing mother-to-be of TWINS is not only beautiful, she has an awesome talent -- she plays the ukulele.  How cool is that?! She is also taking classical guitar lessons, which I've secretly contemplated for myself :-)

Congratulations S & B, I cannot wait to meet your duo!

More of this session to come on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/binkiesandnoseprints

23 April 2012

:: exercise #10 results part 1 {reflections} | 30 people pictures ::

Reflected images are really quite interesting. The added dimensionality makes them surreal...a little bit of "Alice in Wonderland" almost. What I see in the reflection goes beyond the mirror-like surface. Instead, I see past experiences, current thoughts and future unknowns -- a focused image of self-consciousness surrounded by swirls of internal subconsciousness. Sounds a little psychedelic, but sure beats agonizing over the acne blemish planted in the middle of my forehead :-)

As you've probably guessed, I LOVE iPhontography (or is it iPhonography???). It's instant gratification for the visually obsessed. So for this week's exercise, I am using my iPhone and Camera+ app, instead of my 50 mm. Here are some images from our visit to the "Suprasensorial" exhibit at the Hirshhorn this morning.

Requisite stop.

This one is not a reflection (as hard as I tried to get a shot of my shadow bathed in this incredible neon), but thought it was a cool installation nonetheless.

Dont' forget to check out the brilliant works of my fellow photogs:

22 April 2012

:: a little bit of sunshine | washington dc lifestyle photographer ::

I'm obsessed with weather forecasts. In fact, I think I use the Weather Channel app more than any other on my phone. "Knowing" today & tomorrow would be chilly & rainy, I took my clan on a last minute beach getaway on Friday.

Here's a little bit of sunshine for you on this cold, wet day:

17 April 2012

:: exercise # 10: self-portrait | 30 people pictures ::

  • Goal: Create 30 self-portraits.
  • Tools: Camera and 16-35mm or 50mm lens.
  • Light: Light or available light.
  • Location: Indoors or outdoors.
  • Duration: 60 minutes
  • Subject(s): You!
  • Step 1: {Reflection Self-Portrait} Photograph yourself in any type of reflective surface -- up close and far away, vertical and horizontal.
  • Step 2: {Outdoors Self-Portrait} Using the self-timer and NO tripod, create well-composed photos of yourself out in the world.
  • Step 3: {Arm's-Length Self-Portrait} Use a wide angle (16-35mm) or normal (50mm) lens, hold your camera at arm's length and point it toward you -- positioning camera high & low.
  • Step 4: {Post-Photo Shoot Reflections} After the shoot, jot down what you learned from this exercise, both in being the subject and how you appear when you are shooting others.

This is going to be a revealing exercise. Check back next Monday for the results!

10 April 2012

:: miracle babies | washington dc twin photographer ::

These twins are truly miracle babies. They were born at 25-weeks gestation and are now healthy and thriving. While I could imagine all the difficulties the parents have encountered during their children's young lives, I did not see any evidence of it in their calm and dedicated demeanor. Mom was sweet & awesome, and Dad was a hoot (thanks M for the laughs!). Thank you MJ & M for allowing me to photograph you with the precious A & A.

Here is a preview of their photo session. More to come on my Facebook page.
**I'm giving myself a week off from the "People Pictures" exercises. Too many things going on all at once. I hope to resume next week :-) **

09 April 2012

:: exercise 9 results {your portrait} | 30 people pictures ::

Alright. I've failed this week's assignment. True, I don't love having my portrait taken, but I really wanted to experience what it's like to be the one in front of the camera. In fact, I was even ready to let Architectdad (who has a really great eye for people pictures) use my camera to take portraits of me. Alas, life got super busy this week and we never got around to it. I will file this one away and promise to finish it one day :-)

04 April 2012

03 April 2012

:: exercise #9: your portrait | 30 people pictures ::

  • Goal: Develop empathy for your photographic subjects. Learn from experiencing how another photographer works.
  • Tools: Journal to record your thoughts & reflections.
  • Light: Light or available light.
  • Location: Indoors or outdoors.
  • Duration: Two photo shoots, 30 minutes each.
  • Subject(s): You!
  • Step 1: {Contact Two Photogs} Find two local photographer or friend whose work you admire.
  • Step 2: {Photo Shoot} Observe how the other photographer works. Let go of control and let the other photographer lead the way.
  • Step 3: {Photographer Interview} Interview the photographer after the shoot. Write a list before the shoot.
  • Step 4: {Post-Photo Shoot Reflections} After the shoot, jot down the photographer's strengths and weaknesses, then write down how you'd change or modify your own process.
  • Step 5: {Repeat the Process} Repeat this process with a second photographer.

This is going to be HARD for me to comply. I am terrible in front of the camera. I fidget, I squirm and I smirk -- none of which look good on camera. Not to mention the fact that I am, ahem, a bit of a stubborn control-freak. I suppose that's exactly the point of the exercise, isn't it?

On the other hand, I'd love to see how other people work and learn from them. Alright, we'll see what if I am able to get through this exercise without breaking into hives :-)

02 April 2012

:: exercise #8 results {drawing a visual map} | 30 people pictures ::

Exercise #8 asks us to really dig deep and visualize what who we really are and what makes us and our photographic work uniquely ours. It also asks us to layout a road map, if you will, of what we'd like to achieve with our photography in the future.
I found myself analyzing the past (tragedy/loss), taking inventory of the present (word self-portrait & interests/passions), and projecting into the future (connections & goals). It is a process that I think should be renewed regularly in one's life. With a deeper understanding of how we got to the here and now, we are better able to set meaningful goals for ourselves and achieve them. Ultimately, my goal is to be able to distill honest, story-telling pictures by connecting emotionally and intellectually with my subjects and viewers.

One of the most profound experiences for me as a child was moving to the U.S. with my family & adjusting to a brand new way of life. While I found it hard to hold onto the culture into which I was born, I've come to appreciate it more and more each day -- especially when looking at my children, and imagining how rich their experiences will be growing up "mixed" in a diverse yet increasingly blended society.

I'd like to make a series of narrative portraits about children from all over the world -- little global citizens -- with particular emphasis on children with multi-cultural backgrounds. Not the sterile United Colors of Benetton ads, circa 1984, but more meaningful portraits in temporal and geographical context.

Here is one of my little global citizens:

To see what my fellow photographers thought about this exercise, please visit:

01 April 2012

:: abracadabra | washington dc children's photographer ::

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Here's O kicking off Spring Break with a little magic she learned at a birthday party...

31 March 2012

:: blue blue sky | washington dc lifestyle photographer ::

We went to the National Kite Festival on the Mall today. Fanciful, colorful, & with just a dash of nerdy...perfect for us :-)


30 March 2012

:: reflection | new york city pet photographer ::

While walking around Brooklyn with my friends' bullmastiff, Blue -- looking for the perfect "giant blue T-Rex" for my son -- I couldn't resist taking these shots of Blue & a French bulldog. They have the same exact brindle coloring and similar facial profile, but a huge difference in size :-)

Happy Friday! I hope you have a tremendous weekend!

27 March 2012

:: exercise #8: drawing a visual map | 30 people pictures ::

  • Goal: Create 4 visual maps.
  • Tools: Colored pens and paper.
  • Light: N/A
  • Location: N/A
  • Theme: RESONATE --> Becoming in tune with who you are.
  • Duration: 15 minutes per visual map.
  • Subject(s): N/A
  • Step 1: Visit www.visualthesaurus.com to familiarize yourself with visual maps.
  • Step 2: VP #1 {WORD SELF-PORTRAIT} --> Select a favorite colored pen and write your name in the center of a new page. Write down 30+ adjectives that describe who you are with a variety of different-colored pens. Circle the ones you think fit best and connect the words with lines.
  • Step 3: VP #2 {TRAGEDY/LOSS} --> Write your name in the center of a new page using a dark colored pen. Use a muted-color pen to write down tragedies or loss you've experience in life -- be sure to include loss from the different stages of life. Write down the quote, "From crisis comes opportunity." Write notes about how certain challenges have shaped who you are.
  • Step 4: VP #3 {INTERESTS/PASSIONS} --> Write your name in the center of a new page. Write down all of your interests, passions, sports, and hobbies that you've pursued throughout your life. Go back and circle items that stand out most.
  • Step 5: VP #4 {CONNECTIONS} --> Write your name in the center of a new page. Write down 30+ of your current connections in life. Write down connections that you would like to pursue in the future.
  • Step 6: VP #5 {GOALS} --> Write your name plus the word photography (or your photography business name) in the center of a new page. Write down 25+ photographic goals you'd like to achieve. Circle the top 5.
  • Step 7: Tack up your completed visual maps on the wall. Consider how this exercise can help you make images that resonate with who you are. Share your maps with a few friends and write down 10 people pictures that you would like to make in the future. Save this list. You can use it in later exercises in the book.
  • Four visual maps + list of 10 people pictures you would like to make in the future.
For more tips and inspiration, please read Chris Orwig's "People Pictures."


**Since the parts of this exercise are of a more personal nature, I will not post my visual maps here. However, I will try to give a summary of what I learn about myself from this exercise and the photos I want to make in the future.**

26 March 2012

:: exercise #7 results {descriptive portraits} | 30 people pictures ::

My 3 children are like characters out of a Dr Seuss book -- their little personalities are colorful, occasionally non-sensical, yet complex. So for this assignment, I decided to capture portraits of one of my Bar-ba-loots in her natural habitat as inspired by the maestro's work.

To see my fellow photographers' descriptive portraits, please visit:

25 March 2012

:: WARL 03.24.2012 | washington dc pet photographer ::

There's no better way to brighten a gray, chilly weekend than to spend some time with the cuddly pups at the Washington Animal Rescue League. Learn more about these dogs, who are now available for adoption, on the WARL website or better yet...in person!

Hope you had a wonderful weekend! Look for my "People Pictures" Exercise #7 tomorrow!

22 March 2012

:: m family | new york city family portrait photographer ::

This is such a fun & loving family. Each child has a distinct personality and each is adored by their doting parents :-) To see more photos from the M Family mini session, please visit my Facebook album.

21 March 2012

:: j-s family | new york city family portrait photographer ::

A couple of weeks ago, I travelled to New York City to hang out with a group of talented photogs from near and far -- one came down from Cambridge, Mass., while another made the trip all the way from Germany! During this retreat, I had the privilege of photographing the families of two of the photogs and a couple engaged to be married.

Since the area around Bethesda Fountain in Central Park is such an iconic space, we decided to do the shoots there. We were accompanied by sparkling afternoon sunshine and fresh Spring air. Here is a selection from the mini session with the lovely J-S Family. For more of this session, please visit my Facebook album.

20 March 2012

:: exercise #7: descriptive portraits | 30 people pictures ::

  • Goal: 10 descriptive portraits
  • Tools: Camera; normal or telephoto focal-length lens.
  • Light: Natural or available light.
  • Location: Your choice.
  • Duration: 10 minutes per photo shoot.
  • Subject(s): Anyone.
  • Step 1: Brainstorm for 15 minutes and generate portrait ideas based on creative descriptions or words.
  • Step 2: Select & write down the best 5 to 10 ideas from the brainstorming.
  • Step 3: Sketch out a few locations & people you'd like to photograph based on your favorite ideas.
  • Step 4: Review your favorite ideas right before the shoot & use them as internal guides to bring your ideas to life.
  • Ten descriptive portraits.
For more tips and inspiration, please read Chris Orwig's "People Pictures."

13 March 2012

:: taking a break...or not | washington dc portrait photographer ::

Tuesday is usually the day on which I introduce our next "People Pictures" exercise. However, since I have about 6 sessions to edit from the past two weeks, I will need to finish editing those before I return to the exercises. I will post excerpts from the sessions this week and the next. Stay tuned!

I hope you are enjoying the fantabulous, nearly-80-degree weather!!!

12 March 2012

:: exercise #6 results {less is more} | 30 people pictures ::

For Exercise #6, we were supposed to explore the poetic aspects of people pictures -- to make thoughtful and reflective shots which are simple yet profound.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always been fascinated by e.e. cummings's work. Oh, how I wanted to be just like e.e. -- I swear I didn't start re-capitalizing my words until I started architecture school (where everything written in a drawing is capitalized).

Cummings's poems are intriguing in that their true meanings are not always clear-- yet they evoke very strong sensory experiences in the reader through rhythm, rhymes and punctuation. The poem "a pretty a day" is a perfect example of how he uses words to manipulate how one experiences simple,everyday objects (flowers), in order to evoke a deeper emotional experience.

While I was in NYC last weekend, I took some head shot portraits of my friend, A,  for this exercise (see the narrative portrait of A from Exercise #5). Like e.e. cummings's poems, a good head shot should be simple, yet be able to convey the more complex mix of personality and experiences of your subject. My friend is a talented actor, who is a Broadway wardrobe dresser, who is my photography mentor, who is also the loving dad of the gentlest bull-mastiff in the world. All four portraits are taken with the Canon 5D Mark ii, 50 mm F/1.2 L prime lens, indoors with natural light from large windows.

See my fellow photographers' "less-is-more" portraits:

Abbey Road Designs
Claudia Muir Photography
GSG Photography
Elaine Janet Photography
What Eyes See Daily
Workshop Group