Mon Ami Santa Pictures 2015

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Published: 11/16/2015
Want to have something a little different this year? Not interested in standing in line at the mall? Parlez-Vous Photography is offering "Mon Ami, Santa" sessions on November 22nd and 25th in Springfield, VA.  For more information, or to register, visit

Mon Ami, Santa {my friend, Santa} is a *15-minute interactive visit with your old friend St. Nick. Children are greeted by name, and spend their time with Santa talking about things that make them excited - things that make them genuinely laugh! Santa will guide children into jolly situations, without them ever knowing it. With a little help from you, we will make this time with Santa personalized and special for your family. (Parents are even welcome to send a gift early for Santa to deliver specially for your child).
Santa will be visiting from the North Pole for two special days!
Sunday November 22 (10am-1pm)
Saturday Nov 28 (10am-1pm)

at The Historic Sydenstricker School House
8511 Hooes Road
Springfield, VA 22153
$150 for a 15-minute personalized visit with Santa. Includes:
one-on-one interactions with Santa photographed by Parlez-Vous Photography
Print package including 1-8x10, 1-5x7, 1-4x6, 4 wallets (all of one image)
Online gallery for image review and additional purchases
Complimentary Christmas card design with purchase of cards.

Giveaway: "Playground to Paris" Photography Workshop!

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Published: 08/27/2015
This week's giveaway is an awesome one if you've got aspirations of being a shutter bug!! Check it out, and remember- since spaces are limited, you can go ahead and sign up NOW if you want to ensure that you get a spot, and if you win, your fee will be refunded! 

Maybe it was Christmas morning when you received your first DSLR camera. Or shortly before or after the birth of your first child. You planned to document every milestone with crisp clarity - so perfect that it would appear that you were reliving the moment with each glance of the photograph. You excitedly opened the new box and unloaded a piece of machinery that weighs more than a small child and has more buttons and controls than an airplane cockpit. How in the world will you ever understand how to use this investment? All you wanted were a few good shots of your family!!! 

If you can relate to this common Mom dilemma, then this workshop is for you! 

Don't resort to accepting iPhone shots of your daughter's recital. Don't be ok with your son all blurry as he scores the winning goal! Or worse! Is your "good" camera stored at home - and you aren't even sure where! Gain control of your DSLR and proudly carry it with you to all your events and USE it like a Pro! 

"Playground to Paris" is a 3-hour hands-on experience with Rachael Nichols, teacher and photographer, as you learn how to get your DSLR OFF of Auto and ON to great family memories.

What's included:
Meet other beginning camera users who share your struggles of learning to use their DSLR camera
Discover what all the buttons are and when is the appropriate time to use which setting
An explanation and practical practice of the basics needed for Correct Exposure using Manual Mode. 
How to best work with kids/adults
Hands-on practice inside the meeting room and outside on the streets of Occoquan 
Complimentary Professional Headshots for all attendees (because you deserve to be in the spotlight too!)
Take-home materials for continued practice and review
Morning and Afternoon Snacks
Gift and raffle items 
Invitation to join an informative and interactive Facebook group open to workshop attendees only
Discounts for future sessions and workshops with Parlez-Vous Photography

Other details:
This practical and hands-on workshop will be held on
Sunday, October 4th. 9am-12pm
The Loft Gallery in Historic Occoquan
313 Mill Street, Occoquan VA

**Use the Coupon Code: “PWCMoms" for a discounted rate of $100 (valid for registration before 10/06/15 

Limited seats are available. Please register early to ensure you have a spot. All participants will need to provide their own camera for use in class. 
While this class is perfect for parents wishing to photograph their families, it is also a great place for anyone who wants to get a better understanding of their DLSR camera in a hands-on, practical setting. 

AND it gets better! Enter this week’s giveaway for your chance to win a FREE spot at the workshop for YOU AND A FRIEND!!
(Spots are limited. Register now to be sure you have a spot. If you are selected as the winner, your registration will be fully refunded)

For questions or to learn more about Parlez-Vous Photography (@parlezvousphotography on FB and Instagram), visit, or email

Remember- by entering you agree to our Giveaway Rules!! 

Classic Portraits

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Published: 07/03/2015
My momma is a college student (so proud of her!) and is almost done with her degree, so she's amping up her job search, and my dad is on the market, too, so they both needed to update their resumes.

With social media being such a key part of the job search these days, places like LinkedIn want you to have a headshot, and neither of them had a current one.  I was really excited to be able to be somewhat helpful by setting up a gift session with Deanne from Classic portraits.  She did my head shots after I was sick (when I was informed that my headshot no longer looked like me....speaking of which, these no longer look like me- but I did enjoy rocking the short hair!)
And I think she did an amazing job on my parents, too!

Here's my gorgeous mama who will finish her degree in Business Management:

And here's my dad, an IT manager, who we refer to as "Coach Papa" around here:
Deanne is really wonderful to work with.  She's kind and has a great eye for detail, doing things like coming over to fix a stray hair or tilting your head just-so.  When she did my head shots, she stood on a ladder so I wouldn't have more than one chin....not that that's a problem I have....

You can find more info about headshots, maternity, engagements, senior pictures, family portraits, or any other type of pictures with Deanne on her website  (note- it plays music, so if you're at work don't crank the speakers!) or visit her on her Facebook page! 
I love working with Deanne and have never had anyone give me anything but the highest praise when I've recommended they work with her!! If you attend the Real Housewives of Northern Virginia events, you've seen her there, too- she works every one of them! 

Thanks for another great session, Classic Portraits!

Disclosure: I paid for my parents pictures, and it was worth every penny :) I just really love Deanne. 

Giveaway: Back to School Mini Session with Parlez-Vous Photography

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Published: 08/07/2014

Summer is in full swing!
Vacations. Friends. Days at the pool.
But just around the corner is Back-to-School!
And to celebrate the start of another school year,
Parlez-Vous Photography Back-to-School Mini-Sessions are here!!

Winner receives:
15-minute mini-session with props
- 3 Digital images included (additional available for purchase)

Lorton/Springfield Location to be given when you register
Choose between TWO convenient times:
Sunday, August 10, 6pm-8pm
Thursday, August 14, 8am-11am for details and to reserve a spot!
visit a preview of the Back-to-School setup

**Be sure to sign up ASAP to get your preferred time. Winner will be refunded if you have already paid.**

Enter Using the Rafflecopter Below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As always, prize is provided by sponsoring party, in this case Parlez-Vous Photography.  We are not responsible if your child starts speaking French, demanding fresh croissants for breakfast, or develops a highly-attuned sense of style.  By entering, you agree to be bound by our contest rules, available by clicking here. 

January 20th "Day Off" Recap

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Published: 01/21/2014
We don't typically follow the PWCS schedule in our homeschool, but we decided we'd take yesterday off with the rest of you and have a little fun :)

We started the morning off with my reader meetup hosted by The Animated Child, which my kids were SO excited about, especially the boys, because, in a word, Minecraft.  Am I the only mom out there who really has no clue what Minecraft is? My kids were totally addicted to it before we even had it at home.  I'm so thankful to The Animated Child for hosting all the kids at such a special discount.  Their Parents Night Out programs are typically $35/child, and they had us out for $10/child, plus $3 for lunch.  It was such a fun opportunity and I hope that everyone enjoyed learning more about the center!
I have to remember to invite a photographer for every event I host.  My iphone pictures are horrid :)
As for our moms, we had a pretty good crowd- I should've counted- but I think there were about 25 of us.  Not too shabby for a Monday lunch! If you haven't made it out to one of these reader meetups, I do hope you'll join us in the future. In March I think I'll start doing a playdate type meetup and a moms night type meetup, but we'll see if I survive Silver Sparkles first ;)

After we finished up at the reader meetup, we had to drive to Stafford.

Stafford is usually where I draw the line.  I know that it takes me just as long to get there as it does to get to the other side of the county, but for some reason there's a block in my brain about going south! However, today there was a really great reason for me to man up. 

Sweet Scene Photography hosted a "Tea Time with Belle" which, for $15, included snacks, crafts, pictures with "Belle" and a small goody bag for each girl.  My daughter, Savannah, is almost 6 and she'd been looking for an excuse to get some girl time with a few friends.  While she's definitely mine (she shares my appreciation for pink and sparkles) she would rather wear pink jeans than a dress, but she did humor me and dress up for the occasion.
 There were plenty of coloring sheets, along with a decorate your own crown craft, and the girls seemed to have a lovely time.  I appreciated that the photographer took pictures before she let the girls start in on their teatime snacks (mini cupcakes, fruit snacks, and a few candy options).  It definitely helped keep the pictures frosting-free.
All of the girls got a few professional snapshots of them with Princess Belle (there was a library-themed backdrop) and there was also time for- you guessed it- iPhone pictures!! Yay!  I think if I did this again, I'd ask to have my daughter's group get their pictures together with the photographer rather than her alone- they were sweet, but the fun part of the day for her was being with "her girls".  All four of the ladies that came with us had a really fun time, and I definitely think this was a fantastic special treat, especially with the bonus princess time.  Sweet Scene hosts these fairly regularly with various princesses and they also do "Diva Parties" for birthdays. 

One note- if you decide to go, the studio is on the left hand side of 610 across from the Arby's.  If you pass Sherwin Williams you went too far.  There's a sign for the studio (it's in a shopping center) but it's at the bottom of the sign, and if you are me, you will be late because you passed the Sherwin Williams several times....on both sides of the road...

Luckily my friend told me she did the same thing, so at least I was in good company!

I hope you enjoyed your scheduled holiday- and that you enjoy your unscheduled break today, too!!  I know a few businesses are planning to open- but if you go please call first to confirm and use caution when you drive!

Disclosure: I paid for my lunch, just like everyone else, as well as for my daughter's tea time with Belle.  The Animated Child is an advertiser with  However, all opinions are my own and were  not requested by any company/business. 

Sponsored Post: Holiday Sessions with BelaJuli Photography

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Published: 11/02/2013
BelaJuli Photography will be offering Holiday Mini Sessions at the Monuments in DC!! With two dates, November 23rd and December 14th, you'll want to book now to ensure you've got your pictures to impress family!! I especially love the idea of pictures in DC for military families that may only be here for a year or two- what a fun way to capture where you're living this year!!

30 minute sessions are $65.00 plus tax and include 5 digital images with the option to purchase additional.  Email to schedule!

Fall Minis with Heather Chesky Photography

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Published: 10/03/2013

Fall Mini Sessions with Heather Chesky Photography will be held October 26th and 27th and start at $250 for 30 minutes, an online gallery, 5 digital images, and a photo Christmas ornament.  Additional prints are 15% off.  Email to reserve your spot. See more images on Heather's Website and Facebook Page

This is a sponsored ad from Heather Chesky Photography. 

Halloween Mini Sessions: BelaJuli Photography

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Published: 08/27/2013
Kids are so adorable in their costumes- especially the little ones! Capture the fun of your little one's Halloween with mini sessions from BelaJuli Photography.  They're offering two dates, October 6th (Sunday) and October 19th (Saturday), and you'll get a 30 minute session and 5 digital files for $55!

For more information, or to schedule, visit BelaJuli Photography on Facebook, or email!

Giveaway: BelaJuli Photography

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Published: 07/31/2013
Today's giveaway is from Mariana of BelaJuli Photography.  A little about her:
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, I am the mom of two beautiful and crazy girls, Isabela and Juliana. Photography has always been a hobby, but when I gave birth to Isabela, I realized I wanted to capture every moment. I am so lucky to be able to wake up every day and do what I love. Having been a Spanish teacher at an elementary school before having my own kids, patience comes as second nature. I look forward to meeting new families and capturing their moments!
BelaJuli Photography offers gender reveal, maternity, newborn, children, family, and event photography.

Mariana is kind, patient, and easy to work with based on my experiences,  and I love this testimonial from her website: 
"Our photo's were gorgeous, but the most important thing about our experience with Mariana was her patience with our children. We never felt rushed and she was super flexible."
- Mary H.

BelaJuli Photography is offering one lucky winner a free 30 minute session and 5 digital copies, with the option, of course, to order more.  Enter using the rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: Whitney Pointe Photography

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Published: 01/26/2013
January 22nd is PwcGrandma's birthday, but we celebrated on Sunday so that everyone would be able to come to dinner.  We headed out to Old Town Manassas for dinner at Carmello's, which is typically the most amazing experience ever, but we learned a valuable lesson about making sure that the "A-Team" of your favorite restaurant isn't away at a Bridal Expo.  Sigh.  Still pretty good, though.

Before dinner, we met up with Whitney Pointe of Whitney Pointe Photography to do a quick preview shoot.  I wasn't camera-ready, and had no aspirations to be, so I decided we'd do some grammy/grandkids pictures to celebrate.  Whitney was friendly and very calm about the kids running all over Manassas (incidentally, pictures before dinner is a pretty good way to get your kiddos to get their wiggles out!) Whitney was named "Photographer of the Year" by InsideNova.  Go Whitney! 

 We headed over to the Harris Pavilion and took advantage of the "Love" sign by the display train.  I had joked about taking a picture of us all crossing the road on the way from Carmello's to the pavilion, and I think I should have gone for that- we could have had an entire Beatles themed shoot! 
 Everyone's loving on Grandma! Whitney was great about letting the kids have a few minutes between shots to play on the trains.  My kids do not make the cutest faces for pictures right now, but I love them anyway :)
 This is me, not being camera-ready.  Somehow I ended up in a picture anyway.  Thing 3 is showing off her way-too-tight-armed pirouette for Whitney.  She's a ham :)

Whitney was friendly and easy to work with, and patient with the kiddos, which is, I think, a great combination.  She's also got some Valentine Mini-Sessions coming up.  For $75 you get a 30 minute shoot, and either 25 Valentines or 1 Digital File with printing rights.  She's going to be doing the pictures in Old Town Occoquan, which is such a fun place for pictures....although maybe she should open up Sunday and use the LOVE sign in Manassas ;)

But, of course, I also have a giveaway for you!!  Whitney is offering a lucky PwcMoms reader:
1 45 Minute Session (over $100 value)
A Disc of 15-20 images with print release
One 8x10 print
$50 print credit with Whitney Pointe Photography

This is a huge package!! You can enter below using the Rafflecopter.  Contest closes on Wednesday, January 30th, 2013.  

PwcMoms received a free 20 minute mini session and digital copies to perform this review.  All opinions are our own.  Giveaway is provided by Whitney Pointe Photography.  Facebook/Twitter are not affiliated with PwcMoms, Whitney Pointe Photography, or this giveaway opportunity.  Winner assumes all liability and risk, and prizes are not exchangeable for cash.

Giveaway: Andrea Gunter Photography

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Published: 11/19/2012
Andrea Gunter Photography met up with my entire crazy family for a mini-session and I want to share a few of her pictures as well as some fun deals for your holiday pictures!

(You do remember you'll need pictures for your cards, right?)
The whole crew- kid 1, girlfriend in law, baby brother, hubby, me, kid 2, PWC Grandma, Coach Papa, and kid 3. You may be noticing that I'm REALLY short for my family. 
I first met Andrea in passing at a birthday party for a friend's daughter.  Andrea was there taking pictures of the party and did such a beautiful job!
This guy isn't mine- but I love this picture so much it's ridiculous.
Andrea is a portrait photographer who, unlike some of the photographers we've worked with in the past, is good about giving some direction as far as position.  Several of the lifestyle photographers we've worked with just have you do whatever you'd like and caputure moments, and Andrea definitely came with a few plans in mind and organized us into groups and provided some structure, so if you'd like a little direction but not to be overly-posed, Andrea would be a great fit for you.


 One thing that I think Andrea is really gifted at is single and small group shots.  Y'all, she didn't even laugh out loud or tease my brother and girlfriend-in-law when they busted out their coordinating orange and blue plaid shirts.  My husband and I, on the other hand, were merciless about calling them giant dorks.  I think our couple shots all turned out really cute.  (PS to my blondes, wearing gold is a horrible idea for pictures.  This sweater looked so cute in the store, and it totally washed me out and made me look even fatter than I really am.  Choose colors.)

We got some cute family pictures, too, but my middle son seemed to photobomb EVERY shot with a funny face, and I would have rather had a semi-normal smile than the personality factor, but that's just me- I know lots of people who would disagree.

Yeah, he's doing that on purpose. He was a goofball the whole day.

Andrea picked a gorgeous location, and was really nice to work with.  She even juggled our large group around well and came with fun props to use, too.  I think she really likes to capture fun personality and moments, too- this is, again, from her facebook:
That's hilarious. I love it.

Andrea has sessions starting at $125 with various options to meet your particluar needs. Right now she's got a free 16x20 canvas for families that have their session by November 30th.

Andrea will be giving away a $50 gift certificate to use on the session or prints of your choice.  To win, head over to her fan page, like the page and leave a comment on your favorite picture with "I'm from PwcMoms and this is my favorite!".  You'll need to come back here and leave a link to the picture with your comment to be entered.  DON'T FORGET to leave the link in the comments here- you know facebook won't let me enter you just for doing something on Facebook!!

This contest will close on Friday, November 30th so that you've got plenty of time even with Thanksgiving.  Want to take advantage of the pre-November 30th deal? That's okay, you can always use the gift card AFTER your session for prints!  Good luck!!

PwcMoms was provided with a free mini session to use in our review. 

Giveaway: Angel Murphy Photography

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Published: 09/19/2012
A few days ago, my middle child had to do a presentation about his mom.  He really wanted to take in a picture of the two of us, so I started searching.  We have some adorable pictures of me and my baby boy when he was first born....when he was six months old....annnnd.....

Yeah, epic mom fail, I have no other pictures of just the two of us.  Lots of me and the boys or me and the younger two or me and all the kids, but not just the two of us.  That was so sad to me especially since my middle guy is probably the most loving and mommy-adoring child on earth.  Luckily, though, I had an upcoming photographer preview, and when we met up with Angel of Angel Murphy Photography, she made sure to get a picture of me and my sweet little guy, by ourselves.   He enjoyed the special attention :)

What I love about Angel's style of photography is that she does "lifestyle" pictures.  That means that while she'll do some mild posing (especially if you need a picture of you with your middle child!) what she really does is turn your family loose and catch them in the act.  We had a great time playing at Leesylvania State Park, and it just happened that we had our own personal paparazzo.  What's so precious about lifestyle photography is it catches who your child is- not just a perfect moment. Angel is very sweet and easy to work with, and since she also has two little ones, she's patient with kids' moods and whims.

Here are a few of my favorites from the Angel Murphy Photography Facebook Page:
If I got to name this picture, I would call it "Divatude".  I'm not sure if that's a word, but if it's not, it should be! 
I love everything about this, including the yellow around her mouth.  What a happy joyful childhood moment! 
Some day in the future, this will be me.  I hope my boys are this sweet to me. 

Angel Murphy Photography is currently offering Halloween Mini Sessions in the Woodbridge, Virginia area.  You can purchase your spot for a Halloween mini by getting in touch with her now, but we've also got a mini session to give away! (If you book a Halloween Mini, you're also entered to win a Christmas Mini).

Halloween/Fall is a great time to get a few pictures done! They're back in plenty of time for Christmas Cards, or they make a great way to remember those adorable costumes that are going to be in a ball at the back of the closet on November 1st. Just saying. 

Enter using the Rafflecopter below! Contest closes September 21st at midnight.

Like all of our PwcMoms reviews, this represents our opinion, formed during a mini-session provided at no cost so that we could meet the photographer.  All opinions, however, are our own.  PwcMoms is not responsible for satisfaction with your photos, and winner assumes all liability.

Fall Minis with Fotos By Nadine

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Published: 09/04/2012

As you may have picked up on if you read this site with any regularity whatsoever, I'm my own worst critic. In fact, as I detailed, I hate having my picture taken.  However, if anyone can get me to look decent, it's the amazing Nadine of Fotos by Nadine Photography.  In fact, if you've seen my ugly mug trying to pretend I'm cute in Northern Virginia Magazine, Prince William Living Magazine, or on any of my recent interviews, you've seen the miracles Nadine can work with her camera.  

Now just imagine what she can do with your adorable kiddos.  

Nadine's sessions are an investment, but every season, she runs mini-sessions, which are a more affordable way to get in your keepsake family photos. 

From Nadine:
People can email me at for details. I am donating $30 each sold slot to one of my client's sister's cancer fund. 

Fotos by Nadine LLC
571 288 6395

My Daughter's Best Friend's Birthday Party's Vendors

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Published: 08/08/2012
Cause that's not a mouthful :)

My daughter's blessed to have an amazing group of little girlfriends.  I don't remember ever having great friends at her age, but she certainly does.  One of her friends has a mom who I adore because she makes me look sane by comparison.  I go all out, but she goes all out times two.  We had a blast setting up for this party together- and when it was done, it looked like a magical place where Pinterest threw up.  When you're having a birthday party in Prince William County, sometimes a little DIY can go a long way ;)
Yup.  who needs sleep when you could be helping a friend fluff crepe paper balls at 4am?  Certainly not me :) Obviously this was going to be an amazing party!  This momma had thought of everything!! From customized water bottles to a candy bar.  It was amazing.  Even better, she'd sprung for a deal-site special on a woman who was going to come and lead a tea party for the girls.  The Little Tea Spoon, which incidentally uses the same theme as my business cards on their website, offers birthday parties, tea parties, baby showers and more.  We were all excited to see what she'd come up with!  However, this ended up being a fiasco as she was supposed to show up 45 minutes before the party to set up and didn't arrive until well after the party started at which point she proceeded to set up as if she was early, which was to say slowly. I totally understand this is Northern Virginia and traffic happens, but if the terrible happens and you're over an hour and a half late, you have to compensate with speed!  The girls were definitely hungry and ready to party and had to wait for quite some time.  (I wasn't asked to do a review, I was just so unimpressed, I asked my friend if it would be okay if I did a warning) The girls had a great time with each other and didn't notice that things weren't going according to plan, of course.

The stand out from the party (besides the gorgeous decorating) was Andrea Gunter, who came and took party pictures. Honestly, this had never crossed my mind, but I thought it was completely genius!! You're always so busy during a child's party, you never get all the pictures you want!! Andrea had a great rapport with the kids and seemed to know exactly which shots to make sure to get without being intrusive.  She's didn't ask for a review, either, but I was so impressed with her work that I wanted to share.   Andrea Gunter Photography offers portrait sessions, mini sessions, birth announcements, maternity shots, family and more.  Check her out on Facebook.  I love the very clean look to her pictures.

These two are naturally gorgeous, but the pictures are awesome, too!  

Look at my cake.  I've never had a cake look as good as when Andrea photographs it :) 

So there you have it, the vendors from my daughter's best friend's birthday party.  One I'd pass on next time, and one who was fantastic!  Who've you used that made your child's party even more fantastic? Leave a comment below and share with the crowd! Have you ever hired a photographer for your party? 

Pictures and Other Forms Of Torture

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Published: 04/20/2012
I have some, shall we say moderate self-esteem issues stemming from gaining 90 pounds with my first child.  Thank you gestational diabetes.  I also have some additional self-esteem issues that I picked up in middle school and just kept.  (Thanks popular kids!)  

As such, I consider having my picture taken to rank somewhere between the 5th and 7th rings of Dante's Inferno, depending on the day.

However, since you sneaky readers pulled a fast one on me and I won something (which I can't announce yet, but it's coming) that I didn't even know I was in the running for, I needed a picture.


Anyhow, the very fantastic Nadine of Fotos by Nadine, who is solidly booked until she takes maternity leave for the birth of her next child, managed to squeeze in 15 minutes to get a picture for me to use.  She was very kind and laid back and tried to make me feel at ease about the whole process, which I very much appreciate.  I think that she got some great results, too, given what she had to work with (namely me and my parent's front yard, which was a convenient meeting space).

What follows is a whole lot of me.  I apologize, but at least they're really fantastic pictures! Thanks so much Nadine, for taking the time to take these!

Disclosure: Fotos by Nadine did not provide these pictures in return for a post, but I wanted to share them anyway.  It's not narcism, I promise, I just wanted to share that she did a great job.

Guest Post: Photography for Moms

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Published: 04/10/2012

Photography Tips for Moms from Nadine of Fotos By Nadine

Hey there, lovely! I have a great little post for you here.
As busy as we are as moms we always want to make sure to snap cute shots of out little ones in between cleaning, cooking, and other fun things. Making memories and making sure to capture them is one of the most important parts of being a mom! I am going to help you to make this even better.
I took some time to come up with this blogpost for you, my awesome PWC Moms readers, to improve your skills of taking pictures of your precious little stars! (Hang tight, there is a little extra for you at the end of this article)

First things first: You do not need a fancy shmancy camera to take some nice pictures of your kids.
Of course I do use a high end DSLR for my business but in private my iphone is my most frequently used camera for the everyday stuff. What really matters when it comes to the everyday super-duper-awesome snapshots are other things (like composition and light). Of course if you have one....awesome!!! (In case you need a little help figuring out how to use it best, read to the end of this post and find out how you can get there)

Simple simple is the secret
Easy Peasy....simplify your image! It is the most important and easiest rule to follow to improve your images: take distracting things out of the frame when you take your picture. That trash can right next to your kids stroller at the ice cream stand just does not scream ‘awesome picture’ - all you have to do is move a couple of feet to the right or left to eliminate it from your shot - done! Of course all this can be done in post processing of an image by cropping it, but let’s be honest: who has the time to do that with those tons of images you take everyday? I sure don’t so I make sure to eliminate those things from the get-go!

Hocus Focus!
Try focusing on the face and eyes of your subject! Nothing is less appealing than a well composed image with blurry face and eyes. It is always the first thing that you will look at in a picture so it needs to be sharp. To achieve this, make sure to push the shutter release button on your camera half way first while pointing at the subject’s face and then - once focusing has occurred - push it all the way.

Don’t wait for the right moment...
....because you might miss it. But when you take 7 or 8 pictures in a row of the same moment, you have a great chance of capturing that beautiful smile that you wanted!! The beauty of having that awesome digital camera is not only to see the picture instantly, but also to be able to delete all those goofy and quirky shots later on the computer! (save some precious space there too, dear!!)

Light is the key
I don’t like bright and sunny days! (What????) Sounds crazy? I agree - and really - I only meant this from my photographer point of view :) Bright sunshine can make people blink when they are forced to look directly at it and it can draw some harsh shadows on their faces. None of which is very flattering in an image. Solution? Place people facing away from the sun (you will now be the one looking directly at it, but you are not in the pic so who cares LOL) and take them to what we call ‘open shade’. Under a tree, in front of a wall or otherwise shielded from direct sunlight. You will see a huge difference in the image quality.

Compose your images right to make them pop! Pleasing to the eye....what does that mean? We do not like when arms or legs are cut when you take a ‘full body shot’, be sure to include the full body!! When taking a close up portrait make sure to have the full face in the frame and so on. When taking pictures of children, squat down to eye level with the child as opposed to ‘look down’ at them. And one more easy, but effective tip (my last one for today) is to shift the camera slightly when taking a picture so that your subject will be a little off centered (left or right). Try it and be wowed!

About Nadine:
I am Nadine. I am a photographer! I am passionate about everything I do, I am spontaneous and definitely never boring.
Together with my husband I created ‘Fotos by Nadine’, a high end lifestyle photography business. My passion for photography came from wanting to take the best pictures possible of my babies.
I love paying attention to detail when it comes to my photographs and I love capturing the special moments of a family, a milestone in a child’s life or a breathtaking portrait just can follow my work at

If you liked my collection of photography tips, take it to the next level with my ‘Sweet Captures’ Workshop for Moms. If you have a DSLR and want to get out of shooting only in ‘Auto’ mode then this is right for you. Held in August at Confections Cupcakery. Find all the details and sign up information here.

Reviews: Fotos By Nadine

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Published: 03/06/2012

Break out the bonnets and the bunnies- this week's Giveaway is for an Easter/Spring Mini Session from Fotos by Nadine!

Nadine's Easter Sessions  will take place on two days- Friday, March 16th in Occoquan, VA and Saturday, March 17th in Leesylvania State Park. 

For this years' sessions, there are two packages available:
Package one: $275
Welcome Trifold and Appointment reminder mailed to you
Pre consultation via phone or email
20 minute custom photo session
7 fully edited and enhanced images to view in a password protected online gallery
2 full days of live gallery to place order 
three mounted 5x7 prints in our signature linen texture (3 poses)
two digital files on a custom CD 
Package two: $200
Welcome Trifold and Appointment reminder mailed to you
Pre consultation via phone or email
20 minute custom photo session
7 fully edited and enhanced images to view in a password protected online gallery
2 full days of live gallery to place order 
three mounted 5x7 prints in our signature linen texture (1 poses)

For each person that is referred and that books a slot, Fotos by Nadine will add one digital file to the package (no matter which one you will end up purchasing).  Check out Fotos by Nadine on Facebook as an easy way to refer a friend!!

The giveaway slot is scheduled for Friday March 16 at 4pm. The slot is 30 minutes long- the sessions will run for about 20 minutes.  The winner will receive one of Nadine's $200 packages, and can upgrade to the larger (just pay the difference) if they'd like.  Additional add-on items from Nadine's Boutique will be provided at a 25% discount, as well!
Want to win? Be sure to check out the Fotos by Nadine Facebook page, and leave us a comment here on the blog telling us you'd like to win!!  Nadine's got some beautiful pictures in her gallery- why not add your family's memories to the mix? 

(Contest closes on March 8th at midnight.  Winner will be announced March 9th.  Winner will be selected from comments left on this blog post).

Disclosure: Fotos by Nadine provided a giveaway session in return for this posting, no other compensation was provided.  All opinions expressed are those of

Review: Mamaratzy Photography

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Published: 01/25/2012
I often wonder if kids in the age of "helicopter parents" feel like they're being followed by their own personal brand of paparazzi, so I loved the tongue in cheek name that photographer Tiffany Coles-Brown gave her business right from the start!

Tiffany came to work with my kids for a few minutes so I could see her in action, and she is fantastic with children.  My kids even dragged the poor woman down into the creek behind our backyard for some action shots in the bamboo, and with the stamina and bravery of the coolest National Geographic photographer, she followed right along in stride.

That was really all I needed :) I think it's really important that children's photographers "get" kids! If they don't, it's going to be a long day with a lot of pictures of people rolling their eyes!!

Mamaratzy Photography offers pictures from babies to families to boudoir to weddings and fitness! If you'll pose for it, she'll snap it!

Right now, Mamaratzy is offering a special on Valentine's Day pictures, as well as a Valetine's Day 2012 giveaway on her Facebook page.  If you haven't liked her yet, you'll definitely want to, because she runs giveaways and specials constantly!!

Thanks to Mamaratzy for the great giveaway to PWCMoms Military Mamas, and for her February V-Day Give-Away!! Best of luck, readers!!

Disclosure: Mamaratzy Photography provided PWCMoms with 2 giveaway items for readers, as well as doing a short, 15 minute shoot with PwcMoms for free.  All opinions expressed here are my own.  

Keys Photography

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Published: 05/23/2011

I love all my military mommies.  I also love how brilliant they are, figuring out ways they can contribute financially to their families despite the fact that they move every 2-3 years and have to start over again from scratch.  My friend Megan Keys is one of those entrepeneurial Military Moms, and she'd like to share her business with you!!

From Megan:
I am an On-Location photographer specializing in capturing moments that last a lifetime. Children, Babies, Teenagers, Engagements, Boudoir, Families and Pets. Also Photography coverage for Birthday Parties, Family Gatherings and Major Events. Studio sessions can be set up in my in-home Portrait Studio by appointment only.

Megan is offering a special giveaway for one lucky PWC Moms reader!! Check out our facebook to get all the details!!
The giveaway is closed, but you can still contact Megan for pictures!

Milla's Playland A Play Gym Designed for Parents and Children Aged 10 Months to 4 1/2 Years...