Category Archives: Outdoor family sessions

fall outdoor family mini sessions northern virginia_collage_a

Dear Friends,

Fall Outdoor Family Mini Sessions are here! Book yours now:

This year, I have set aside one weekend date in October (October 17, rain date October 24) and one weekday morning date (October 23, rain date October 30) for outdoor family mini sessions in Northern Virginia. Morning sessions will be held at Lake Fairfax Park in Reston, evening sessions will be held at a park-like/natural location in Reston (likely same location as last year’s evening sessions). I will be watching foliage and fall colors and I will finalize the exact shooting spot about a week before the session date. (FYI, pets are welcome at both locations!)

Please notice that in the past outdoor mini sessions sold out FAST, so please purchase yours as soon as you decide!

Depending on demand and my studio schedule, I may open a November weekend date for one more day of outdoor family minis, but I will not decide on these until October. Please note that if your preferred weekend time is sold out, I may be able to accommodate alternative scheduling on a limited basis, so please email me to inquire at!
I am excited to reconnect with past clients and to meet new ones this fall!

Olga / Chasing Moments Photography

Fall mini-sessions are here! BOOK YOURS NOW!

This year, I”ll be offering:

– “Back to school” studio minis (coming up soon, so don’t miss the dates: on September 15 and 16),

– “Halloween” studio mini sessions: Monday and Tuesday, October 27 and October 28

– And, my most popular and most in-demand minis, “Outdoor Family Mini Sessions”: Sunday, October 5, and Sunday, October 19, with morning and evening time slot options. This year, outdoor family minis will be held at a park-like, green, location in Reston (I will be watching foliage and fall colors and finalize the shooting spot about a week before the session date). These will sell out FAST, so please purchase yours as soon as you decide!

Chasing Moments Photography_ family mini sessions_outdoor_01_fall2014

In this past, I’ve had families drive out to see me from all over Northern Virginia (Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Springfield, Manassas, Great Falls, Oakton, Leesburg, Ashburn, Loudon County, and even from Prince William County) and from Maryland. Fall minis are a great way to get your updated family photos and your Christmas card pictures done all at once, without the commitment of a full session.

October/November is one of my busiest times of the year, and outdoor family photo session are in full swing! I met this family when they were still a family of three, and was excited to meet their new little man this past week! We got some really beautiful pictures, and I can’t wait to get working on the full gallery! In the meantime, a sneak peek (I know mommy might be wanting to see one 😉

ashburn sterling va_family photographer_01

ashburn sterling va_family photographer_02

A few short weeks ago I met this beautiful couple for a maternity photo session at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens; the weather was great, we got to use several adorable props and ideas for some of the shots and everybody had a great time! It was still a couple of weeks before cherry trees bloomed in Meadowlark, but we managed to get some beautiful flowery and sunlit backgrounds so beautiful for belly pictures!

word love pregnancy belly photo session

Isn’t this expectant mom just glowing? LOVE the happy mommy look!

pregnancy professional photography northern virginia meadowlark

couple maternity photoshoot at meadowlark

maternity photos writing due date on a frame props

Here, I told them to just hold an empty frame and I could photoshop in any message/words/due date. And then I changed my mind and asked mommy to scribble the due date – oh my! – I totally love her handwriting and art!


pregnancy photo shoot due date written on chalk board picture frame

couple pregnancy photo session meadowlark

couple maternity photo session nova

As I am writing this post, I am happy to report that their little baby born was a week before the due date and I met them for the newborn session at my McLean studio this week! The little man was super handsome and did so well during the session – I can’t believe how many different setups he let me photograph and I can’t wait to show mom and dad all the beautiful shots we got!

Sharing a couple of photos from a maternity photo session at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. Now, those who know me know that I LOVE Meadowlark. I recommend it for most of my outdoor sessions, and this one was no exception. We were planning to have the shoot during cherry blossoms, and even ended up pushing the session by a week to try and catch at least some blooming flowers. Unfortunately, mother Nature had other plans and cherries bloomed late this year. This beautiful mommy being 38 weeks pregnant, we decided not to wait any longer and do the session anyways. Meadolwark was pretty bare, but we still got some beautiful shots and we also had a great, fun time during the session as well:)

pregnancy photo session at Meadowlark

couple kissing pregnancy photo shoot photography

pregnant belly hands forming a shape of a heart photography

expecting mom holding baby booties maternity photo

dad and expecting mom maternity photo shoot


Ready for my big news?

This has been a couple of months in the making and I’ve been dreaming it up for quite some time. Over the last year, I felt like my photography work has outgrown the current home photo studio arrangement and I am in need of a bigger, permanent, professional studio space! Today everything finally came together!

This morning I signed a lease for a space to open my own professional photography studio in McLean VA. It will be located in the heart of McLean, in McLean Professional Park, and will offer full studio services for pregnancy, newborn, baby, children and family photos. It is conveniently located for all my Northern Virginia clients within and outside of the Beltway, in a beautiful professional community that caters to small businesses like mine. Besides the photography studio space, the suite offers full amenities, including a kitchen, a bathroom (with a shower), and free wifi.

I am soooo excited! I’ll be moving in next week and will be ready to welcome my first clients in early February!!!

Now, that I feel somewhat caught up with some of my editing (all newborn clients’ proofs are online and only four mini sessions left to edit!!!), at least until the new round of newborn and outdoor family sessions starting on Wednesday and through the end of the weekend, I’d like to take a few minutes to post some beautiful shots from one of my most favorite sessions from this fall. Mom and Dad wanted a photo session to celebrate their daughter’s first birthday and we decided to go to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna VA (one of my most favorite photography locations and the one I always recommend). We were lucky to have gorgeous fall weather (after a morning of stormy clouds and strong winds), “golden hour” light, and little miss M. cooperated really well throughout the shoot, going through a couple of setups and family pictures as well as individual portraits with mom and dad.

one year old baby girl meadowlark northern virginia portrait

one year old baby girl meadowlark northern virginia portrait

one year old baby girl family photos meadowlark northern virginia

one year old baby girl with dad photo at meadowlark northern virginia

one year old baby girl with mom portrait at meadowlark northern virginia

one year old baby girl with pumpkins and fall leaves at meadowlark northern virginia

one year old baby girl with pumpkins and fall leaves at meadowlark northern virginia

And a last-minute “walking” shot – turned out perfect!

one year old baby girl walking holding parents hands at meadowlark gardens va

I currently do not have any more openings for full or mini sessions until mid-December, but if you are ever up for some “winter and snow fun” pictures out in Meadowlark (and I do hope for some snow this winter, yes) – just shoot me an email either at or through my newborn and family photo website (go to pricing/book your session page and scroll down) and I”ll be happy to shoot! My winter months are not as busy for outdoor family photo sessions, and if there is snow – I’ll make my best to make your “snow day” photo session happen!

Thought I’d share some of my favorites from a recent family session I did at a small park near Dulles Town Center. It is basically a green field framed by rows of trees, adjacent to a playground (great for families with kids because we can walk over to the playground for some candid shots of the kids after the more formal family photos). Just a couple of weeks ago it had beautiful fall foliage, and I was lucky to capture some of it for the several family sessions I did there.

Family G. wanted to get some nice family photos for the holidays and to share with family and friends, but since they have two active little boys the session was a combination of posed, lifestyle and semi-posed shots. I had them sit down and pose for family shots when I felt the kids were ready (while keeping the boys busy with a book and some toys), and they got to have some fun playtime with Mom and Dad in-between – I had some trains set up for them, and they also had fun with Mom and Dad reading, running around and playing at the playground. I think everyone (including myself) had a great time!

Here’s what we got for the family and mommy-and-me and daddy-and-me photos:

professional family photograhy near dulles sterling in northern virginia


And a bunch of fun ones:

professional family photograhy near dulles sterling in northern virginia

While there are many beautiful outdoor portrait photography locations in Northern Virginia, very few compare to the beauty of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens! Whether you are planning a family photo shoot, a baby’s “one year” pictures, or a seasonal mini session, Meadowlark is hard to beat. It’s got beautiful landscaping, something in bloom throughout most of the year, great structures and nooks for pictures, and a gorgeous backdrop of a lake. Meadowlark sessions are also an experience! Usually I suggest that Clients with young kids bring a stroller and come prepared for a nice walk through the Gardens and around the lake.

This was weekend I went to Meadowlark to do “mini sessions”; the weather was gorgeous and I was so happy to capture beautiful, glowing fall colors! And I felt super lucky to have met some new wonderful families and to reconnect with past clients. The portraits below are of a family who I loved seeing again! Just a few short months ago I photographed this beautiful little girl (and her Mommy and Daddy) for her newborn pictures, and I was just so in awe to see how much she’s grown and what a happy sweet little girl she is. I love my job!

mommy and baby professional photography at meadowlark

baby rolling portrait at meadowlark gardens va

baby rolling sequence photography meadowlark botanical gardens

baby and family photography at meadowlark botanical gardens va

happy baby portrait

Fall is gorgeous this time of year, I love doing outdoor photo sessions against the backdrop of yellows, reds and oranges! Fall pictures have a beautiful seasonal glow, and warm tones of fall portraits are just gorgeous. I do miss the greens of summer sessions, so I thought I’d catch up on some of my blogging and post some pictures from my summer sessions. I met this family in June for a family photo session at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, the weather was great for an outdoor session, but due to the bright afternoon light of the mid-day session we had to be picky with the shooting spots and did not get to use the entire park (and there was also a wedding going on at the Gazebo…). Still, I think we got some beautiful family photos, and I know Mom and Dad loved them!

I am trying a new, more photojournalistic and collage-based style of blogging for the outdoor sessions, I think I like it!

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va

family photo session at green spring gardens in alexandria va



Thought I’d post one more sneak peek from another family session. We went to Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, VA, and even though it was sooo hot outside, we found a great shaded area and had a fun family photo shoot! I really like this image – it has such a beautiful, almost Caribbean, feel to it:)

Baby holding daddy



Between doing photo sessions for newborns and families and getting images retouched and ready for clients, I find little time to be a thorough blogger. Today, I really want to show a sneak peek from the family session I did this morning at the Ellanor Lawrence park in Chantilly, VA. The one shot Mom wanted to get was of her handsome little guy smiling, especially, as she mentioned, given that he may be a bit shy with strangers. No worries, Mom, as I was uploading pictures from the session onto my computer I took a quick look at the images and found so many wonderful, heart-warming smiles!!! Love this one!

baby and daddy image by chantilly family photographer


Not so long ago I posted a sneak peak from a family photo session in McLean and noted that Mom did an amazing job picking outfits for the entire family. So, I thought I’d write a post with pictures from the photo session and offer my take on what to wear to a family photo session along the way.

First off, I always recommend consulting with your photographer regarding outfit choices prior to the shoot. She may have her own style, likes, dislikes and recommendations. I, personally, will help my clients with outfit choices as much or as little as they want me to.

All people have their own unique sense of style and likes and dislikes when it comes to clothes. When it comes to “color” and pattern matching, I recommend following one of the two routes: (1) a “simple”, clean look where outfits for the family use a combination of 2-3 colors, possibly 4 (if using some fun accents or accessories). This option is fairly easy and fits pretty much any family’s wardrobe, (2) a “fun” or a “bold” look using bright colors and patterns and layers and textures and mixing them up in any way imaginable. For this option to work, I usually emphasize that colors and patterns need to be bright. Families can also opt to mix and match option #1 and option #2, for example, go the “clean” route for parents and the “fun” route for the kids. Of course, when in doubt – ask your photographer! I often have moms call me the night before their family session and say “Olga, here’s what we have… what is your take on this-this-and-this?”

Ok, back to the images from our outdoor family session in a park in McLean. Mom prepared two outfits for the family, the photo session was a couple of weeks before Easter, so she picked “Easter” colors. She also went the “clean” route and added a couple of very cute accents for her adorable daughter. I brought a couple of props and, amazingly, the props I had with me fit in really well with the outfits! (By the way, huge kudos to Mom – she knew just what to do without ever consulting me about the “what to wear” question). So, here are some examples:

Family portrait, parents and three kids, in a park in McLean, Virginia

Mother and three children during a photography session in a park in McLean, VA

Portrait of three children during an outdoor family photo session in McLean, VA Portrait of three children with mom during an outdoor family photo session in McLean, VA Portrait of three children during an outdoor family photo session in McLean, VA with Father Easter portraits of two childre, brother and sister, in a park outdoors Easter portraits of two childre, brother and sister, in a park outdoors

Detail of a toddler girl

Girl in a yellow Easter outfit with tulip flowers

Little girl in a yellow Easter, spring outfit with a wicker basket in a park in McLean, VA

Little girl in a yellow Easter, spring outfit with a wicker basket in a park in McLean, VA

Little girl in a yellow Easter, spring outfit sitting on grass in a park in McLean, VA

Ok, I totally LOVED photographing the little girl. As a mom of two boys… let’s just say I couldn’t resist! All the moms of boys out there will understand! Notice how we went from “dark blue” outfits to “yellow” outfits! In the sequences below I asked the boy to grab some of the tulips I brought along with me (a prop I’d gotten from a craft store) and give them to Mommy – made for a sweet little “story”:)

Stylized collage of Mother with two kids, daughter and son, giving her flowers

Stylized collage of Mother with two kids, daughter and son, giving her flowers

Portrait of Mother with two children, daughter and son

If you are reading this – thank you for staying with me through the long post with so many images! Cheers!

Many of my clients who book outdoor family session choose a “park” location for their shoot. Northern Virginia offers photographers (and their clients) plenty of wonderful parks suitable for any taste – large and small, wooded or not, with or without playgrounds, gazebos, flowers, and so on. I personally love-love-love parks for outdoor sessions involving families with young children (especially toddlers)  – kids can play, run around, blow bubbles, and have fun with their parents.

Needless to say, parks are not “the only” or “the best” option for an outdoor session with your photographer. There are many alternatives to choose from, one of my favorite local options is Fairfax Corner. It offers a good combination of “greenery” and “flowers” for some shots as well as more urban look for others. I usually meet my clients at the fountain plaza in front of the movie theater (great! in summer if you are looking for some really fun summer shots of your kids playing in the fountain). Here are some collages from a family photo session I did a couple of weeks ago at Fairfax Corner (I also posted a sneak peak earlier as well).

First I did some portrait shots of the super handsome and adorable brothers playing on a bench:

Photo of two happy brothers / baby and toddler

Happy Baby Boy on Bench - Fairfax Childrens Photographer

Then I did some sequences with Mom and Dad and each of the kids. Below are my faves. Some of the collages I put together are “fun”, “action” shots.  I especially loved how both kids really-really wanted to play with Mom’s gorgeous hair:)We did get some beautiful, traditional “smiling and looking at the camera” shots as well.

Toddler and Mother Having Fun; Fairfax Family Photographer

Baby and Mother, Fairfax Childrens Photographer

Father and two sons, baby and toddler

This sweet baby boy cooperate really well and gave me tons of smiles and wonderful shots. Mom also brought this awesome hat for the shoot and Baby had so much fun trying it on!

Happy baby boy sitting and smiling; Fairfax Childrens Photographer

Some of the above portraits of Baby in the making: the hat was obviously a bit too big so it would slide down over his eyes (which was so funny!) and he’d try to crawl away from our little “set” with the hat like this. Of course, Mom was standing nearby to pick him up and place him on the blankets (all the while keeping him happy and entertained and shaking his toy to get his attention).

Happy Baby boy with toy and hat;  Fairfax Childrens Photographer

As  you can see from the above shots, Fairfax Corner has several wonderful setups to offer photographers and clients – beautiful wooden yellow wall with shutters, textured concrete sidewalk with a brick wall, raised flower beds -all offer different setups for a variety of images!

I had a wonderful time photographing family M. today at Fairfax Corner. The session involved an almost 2.5 year old toddler and an adorable baby boy, so I didn’t quite know how long the kids will “cooperate” for the camera. Amazingly, both kids gave me a full hour (although they made Mom and Dad really work hard for it – and, boy, they did a great job keeping the kiddos happy, entertained and warm! :). Here is a little teaser /sneak peak from the session:

Fairfax Corner Family Session: Kids, Baby and Toddler

Fairfax Corner Family Session: Toddler Playing with Dad

More to come soon! Thanks for a great session today, family M.!

A couple of weeks ago I posted a sneak peak for my photographer-colleague Jessica, along with a mini story about how our family photo session exchange came about (Jessica also posted a sneak peak from our session on her blog). Now I’d like to show a few more images from her portrait session and offer my readers an FYI for when they work with a professional family photographer.

One of the first questions I always ask my clients is “What kind of images are you looking for”? Their most common answer is “Oh, I’d just like a few nice family photos”, which is a bit too broad and I usually follow up with a few more questions. Understanding exactly what types of images my clients are looking for does a great deal to help me prepare for the session, decide how to structure it, what photos to take first and what props, lenses and equipment to bring to the session. Some of the follow-up questions I may ask my clients are:  Are you looking for portrait close ups (mostly faces) or are you looking for standing, sitting or walking (full length) shots, or may be a combination of both? Are you looking to do traditional, posed photos wearing special outfits or are you looking to do a fun candid session with a lot of active shots, running and jumping around and piggy-back riding, or a combination of both with an outfit change? Is your priority getting more shots of the entire family, of Mom with kids or Baby only? Would you like me to bring some props or would you like to include some special items, toys or memorabilia of your own in the session? So, if you are thinking of getting a professional family photographer to do a photo session for you, please think about how you would answer some of the questions above and don’t be afraid to show your photographer some examples of your favorite photos you may have found browsing online (my clients usually email me links, screenshots or links to their pinterest boards!)

Jessica knew exactly what types of images she was looking for. (Being a photographer and all) she found herself not being in pictures with her husband and kids very often so she was looking to do some family portraits and some pictures of her with the kids. Also, note how well Jessica picked the outfits for the entire family – matching pink elements for the girls and matching green for the boys.

Family portrait of parents and kids outdoors, natural light, Fairfax County

Family Portrait of Parents with Kids, outdoors, Fairfax County

Mother and Daughter Outdoor Family Photographer

Mother and Toddler Son, Outdoor Portrait Photography Session


The location where we went for the shoot is of a special significance to the family and Jessica also asked me to take shots incorporating the wooded path and the bridge over a small creek (all the while having fun and throwing sticks in the creek, jumping and playing peekaboo)

Family, Parents and Kids, Walking, Outdoor Portrait Photography Session

“Warming up” for the walking shot above:

Family Running and having fun during an outdoor photography portrait session in Northern Virginia

And some more fun, action images:

Mother having fun with toddler son, outdoor portrait family photography session in Northern Virginia

Parents having fun with son, outdoor portrait family photography session in Northern Virginia

Family having fun during an outdoor photography portrait session in Northern Virginia

Parents and Children sitting on a bridge, outdoor park family portrait photography

Thank you for the experience Jessica, you were a wonderful model and your family – so fun and easy to photograph!

Spring is my “high” season when I shoot every weekend and photoshop and communicate with clients all week long. In other words, I am one busy photographer and don’t usually have much time to post sneak peaks. Today is an exception. I photographed a gorgeous family in McLean and I absolutely have to show a couple of sneak peaks. Mom did an AMAZING job picking outfits for the session! I usually leave “outfit” decisions up to my clients and offer general guidelines about what to avoid and how to approach outfit selection. My clients have always made great decisions about what to wear, but today I was blown away! Check out how this family prepared two outfits that match, have a great spring-time and Easter feel, and at the same time look so natural. I can’t wait to get working on the proofs. In the meantime, sneak peaks:

Family (parents, two toddlers and a baby boy) photo session in McLean, Virginia, VA

Family portrait (mom and kids) outdoors in McLean, Virginia, VA

Thanks for a great session, family H.!

Spring is definitely in the air! Yesterday I was lucky to photograph cherry blossoms at full peak bloom at the Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, in Vienna, Northern Virginia. “Lucky” because yesterday was a Friday, not my typical day for outdoor photo sessions, and because it is supposed to rain all weekend, which may ruin some of the gorgeous cherries and blooming flowers.

Late March-early April is the time when cherries bloom throughout the areas and everybody heads outside to enjoy them. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I usually recommend not going to the Tidal Basin in Washington DC for an outdoor photo session with cherry blossoms because intense overcrowding makes it very difficult to get a good photography spot and to get clean, uncluttered shots. Instead, I LOVE going to Meadowlark, where there are tons of gorgeous flowers in bloom right now (daffodils, tulips, magnolias, cherries, to name a few). It is a large park with lots of shaded walkways, benches for resting, a lake (and a couple of smaller ponds) and none of the overcrowding.

Ok, here we go. Some beautiful mommy-and-me shots (to all the mommies out there – I LOVE, love, love doing mommy-and-me sessions!)

Mother and newborn baby in Cherry Blossoms

Outdoor Cherry Blossoms Photographer in Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Childrens and Family Outdoor Photographer Cherry Blossoms

I love how these images come together as a collage:

  Childrens and Family Portrait Photographer, Cherry Blossoms

Also, love is in the air for these two:

Childrens Photographer Cherry Blossoms Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Childrens Photographer Cherry Blossoms Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Childrens Photographer Cherry Blossoms Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Childrens Photographer Cherry Blossoms Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Childrens Photographer Cherry Blossoms Washington DC and Northern Virginia

I LOVE my job!

There is a small $25 fee for having a photo session at Meadowlark, but it is so well worth it! This photography fee is payable to the park right on the spot, and your photographer (myself, that is) will usually make a phone call to the Garden to have your session put on the calendar. I think they like knowing when photo sessions take place in advance so there is no overcrowding, especially if there is a wedding going on (wink-wink, if you are engaged – Meadowlark is one of the best, top wedding locations in the area!)

Today, I had the pleasure of photographing the family of a local fellow photographer of Jessica Monte Photography with whom we decided to swap family sessions. Being a photographer, I always get to be behind the camera and while I have tons of pictures of my husband and kids, I am never in the frame with them. Jessica felt the same way. So here I was today, on this totally beautiful spring day in Reston, Northern Virginia, doing the best I can to deliver some family photos that I hope Jessica will like ! Here are a couple of sneak peaks for her:

Family Photographer Session in Northern Virginia, Reston: Mom and Dad Posing with Two Kids

mother and son image, family photographer session in northern virginia

Glen Echo Park in Maryland is one of my most favorite shooting spots for outdoor photo sessions and I usually recommend it to families with babies, toddlers/young children! It is conveniently located off the beltway and close to residents of Northern Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland. There is a park-like area great for “nature” shots, a playground (so fun for kids and for your photographer to capture fun candid action shots) and a bunch of fun, colorful structures. Here are my faves from a spring family photo session there. First off, a couple of walking shots:

Image of parents and kids walking: maryland photographer

Children and parents photo session in Maryland

Glen Echo also boasts several really fun and great “setups” for photos. I love using these colorful red doors, in combination with concrete, wood and brick textures as backgrounds for family portraits:

Parents and children having fun sitting at colorful red antique looking door

Parents and kids having fun at a maryland outdoor family photo session

This is my favorite area for photos:  bright and colorful red and white doors. A must-have for Glen Echo sessions and so much fun for kids who can play peekaboo in the door frame!

Portrait of brother and sister next to a colorful red and white door

Mother with daughter and both kids - portrait during family photo session in maryland, glen echo park

Portrait of two children and parents at a family outdoor photography session in Maryland, Glen Echo Park

If you like this location and are looking for an affordable professional family photographer in Northern Virginia or Maryland for your outdoor session, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions! I also have some general FYIs for photography clients regarding on location/outdoor photo shoots.