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There is something magical about taking someone’s portrait during that “golden hour”. The light pouring over their shoulders, the sun heating their skin and flooding into my camera lens so much that it almost sets the image on fire… There is warmth.

There is something magical about taking someone’s portrait on an overcast morning. The dramatic clouds and the soft even light that makes every spot a great one to stop and use. There’s the quiet, tender mood that the little bit of gray creates that makes us want to grab a book, a cozy blanket, and someone to snuggle with… There is emotion.

But oh, there is something so magical about taking someone’s portrait in their home. In their own space. Where there is comfort and familiarity and ease. Where your story unfolds day in and day out. Where you and the love of your life have created your own little piece of heaven on earth, whatever that may look like. Where your children feel safe and secure. Where they have something that is their own, even if it’s a collection of favorite stuffed animals and their latest piece of artwork hanging on the fridge. Where you rock your babies and feed your babies and grow your babies. Where their childhood memories will have deep roots. Where the legacy you will leave them begins.

A legacy that is full of all the best things…

A legacy full of bedtime stories and quiet lullabies repeated night after night…
A legacy full of holding hands around the dinner table to pray, and realizing that it’s a holy space…
A legacy full of messes and laundry piles and day old glasses of milk on the counter, because marveling at their latest lego creation or playing dress up was just more important…
A legacy that demonstrates that your marriage is always ALWAYS worth fighting for…
A legacy where your family will all know phrases like “I’m proud of you”, “I’m sorry”, and “you are more than enough” as a common part of their vocabulary…
A legacy that says that being close and time spent together is never time wasted…
A legacy full of choosing to continually date your spouse, and picking them above everyone else…
A legacy that is full of compassion, tenderness, laughter, teaching, forgiveness, creativity, compromise, courtesy, and love…
A legacy that teaches that being present, really present, is so very worth it…

And that all of those little moments that you show up for every day are absolutely worth remembering.

I don’t want to wait until the lighting and outfits and setting are all “just right” to photograph your family. It’s about SO much more than that. I want the real, raw, honest moments. The ones full of giggles and the ones full of bumps and bruises. The dancing and the mourning and everything in between. If there are tears, embrace it. How many moments during the day do you spend wiping little tears and holding them close? Why should this be any different?

The rocking and the wiping and the brushing and the chasing and the working and the dancing and the cooking and the playing and the teaching and the embracing… I want it all.

I want to trade the staged for the genuine. Foreign for the familiar. Perfection for sincerity.

Sometimes I think we don’t even know how incredible and holy all of those things are, until we see it through someone else’s eyes. And then OH my gosh, how it makes us stop and stare and soak it all in.

That is the goal with these legacy sessions- to help show the genuine, honest to goodness beauty that exists in your world. To allow YOU to really see it. Because I believe that each chapter is more beautiful than the last, and so worth documenting. From the “rise and shine!” to the “goodnight, moon!” and everything in between. What are those little things that you cherish about this particular season for your family that might look different a year from now? The pile of laundry that will one day be too small for those little people you adore. The early morning snuggles on the couch that remind you they’re not “too big” to come curl up on your lap, thank goodness. The bed time stories that they will one day read to YOU, instead of the other way around. Time flies way too fast, and this season is worth being present for. It’s worth telling the story of the early mornings and the cold cups of coffee (that you’ve reheated twice already) and days where nap time can’t come soon enough…

It’s worth it. Your life is worth documenting. Because it will change before you know it.

//

I am thrilled to be launching these “Legacy Sessions- A Day in the Life”. I feel my clients embracing this concept more and more, and I am committed to delivering the most genuine, authentic images I can every time someone steps in front of my camera. These sessions will be completely documentary; I will merely be a fly on the wall as you go about your day, whatever that looks like. I won’t interfere or direct, but simply come along side of you as you go through your normal routine. Legacy sessions can either be 6 hours long, either morning/afternoon or afternoon/evening, or a full day start to finish with your family. My favorite sessions have always been the ones where my clients simply invite me into their lives, and trust that I’m going to see the same beauty in it that they do, and trust me when I say there is always more than enough beauty to be found in those little in between moments that fill your days.

I have been DYING to share this session with you all for weeks now! The Warlick Family was generous enough to allow me into their world for one of the half day legacy sessions (and the first 24 hour session is coming to the blog soon too!) and i truly left my time with their family on cloud 9! It filled my heart SO much being able to do a session like this! Seeing how Hillary and Ryan love their boys, love each other, and what they are pouring into their sons every hour of the day was so sweet to witness. The morning started with some quiet moments for just Hillary and Liam, and then their favorite time of day: family breakfast together! Hillary explained that she has the kindest, most hard working husband, so the mornings when they are all able to make breakfast together is their favorite time of day. Typically after that they all go to the gym, which always ends with one of Liam’s favorite activities: shooting baskets in the big court! There was homemade pizza, trips to the park, potty training, diaper changes, wiping noses, lots of baby giggles, getting dressed, coaxing dad out of bed, playdoh time, races down the sidewalk, learning to make the bed, trips to time-out followed closely by chats and kisses from his mama, good morning kisses, naptime kisses, and lots of anytime kisses… and so SO much more. I am so thrilled to share these images from my time with them, Hillary and Ryan (and Liam and Asher!), thank you for opening up your home and your lives to me for the day. Thank you for letting me into the lovely, the messy, the real, the genuine, and everything in between….Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick06bwThe rest of the text in this post is all from Hillary and her thoughts after the session… “We have created our home to be our family’s sanctuary. It contains our most precious people, treasured things, and cherished memories. These walls have bore witnessed to Liam’s first wobbly steps, my husband’s graduation, the celebration of landing his first nursing job, the joyful bringing home of our sweet Asher, and the most growing season of our marriage. Those memories are each important and noteworthy, and are accordingly photographed, documented, and displayed in our family’s yearly photo books…Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick13bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick14bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick20bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick27Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick32Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick39bw“I would argue that the truly scared moments are the ones that didn’t take the time to pause and wait for our hair to be perfectly styled or our best angles to be found and highlighted. They are the snippets of time that build up to amount to life itself. We are four very flawed people striving to fight a good fight, while running our race. Our race just happens to include family breakfasts, potty training, digging for worms, and happily stolen kisses. This story is ours to write, and it is beautiful…”Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick41Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick50Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick65Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick66Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick70Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick74Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick80

“Having Jessie capture our raw moments was such a treasure. Her pictures allow us to have a personal time capsule of this exact time in our lives. The artistry of her talent captured the full array of emotions that generate our day. She met us in our most comfortable place, and documented the most pure version of ourselves…”

Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick117bw(this next one is one of my favorites from the session- this is Hillary saying “Liam, I’ve asked you three times now to please put on your shoes so we can leave..” I think disciplining and correcting your kids can be such a tough thing to navigate for a parent, and I loved watching Hillary teach her boys with such a sweet combination of strength, authority, and gentleness)Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick128Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick139bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick142Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick157bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick159bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick163Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick164Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick165“I am especially drawn to the definitively unglamorous shots: the picture of our toddler trying to coax my husband out of bed, the kiss my son readily accepts after “serving time” in time out, our family all gathered around the silverware drawer debating the best utensil to pair with our eggs…because these things are important to Liam. Therefore, they are important to me…”Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick177Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick188Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick205bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick208bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick210bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick213bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick221“The love I have for my family is immeasurable. Jessie gave us such a gift through her talents. They are beyond good photographs; they are little chunks of emotion. These morsels matter. They are the framework for the lasting legacy of our lives.”Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick226Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick229Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick246Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick248Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick254Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick257Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick263Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick270bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick274bwNorthern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick284Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick285Northern_VA_Lifestyle_Photographer_Warlick289

I’ve watched this more than a dozen times and each time I love it more than the last. Here’s a little slideshow with even more of my favorite images from my time with their family. Hope you love it as much as I do :)
If you’d like more information on scheduling a “Legacy Session” for your family, I would LOVE to talk with you! Feel free to fill out the contact form on my NEW WEBSITE and lets connect :)

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IT’S HERE! IT’S HERE! IT’S FINALLY HERE! :)
After over six months of hard work I am so thrilled to finally be able to share what we’ve been working on! I’ve known for a while that the Jessica Smith Photography brand needed a full re-haul, something that felt true to me and something that would really allow the photos and my incredible clients to be the main focus. I wanted something clean, fresh, with a little bit of southern charm! I didn’t want to necessarily be tied to certain colors or design elements, but I wanted photos that FILLED the pages! I knew I wanted a site that had big full screen images, that was user friendly, and that would translate well for both the weddings AND family portrait side of my business. I am so thrilled with how it turned out and can’t wait for you all to explore the site!

One of my favorite things that came out of this rebranding process, was adding this title of “photography for life” to the brand! For years now I’ve said that one of the best parts of this job of mine is getting to see the same families year after year, even better when I get to photograph them right from the beginning of their life together with engagement portraits. There are so many photographers out there who only shoot weddings or only prefer to photograph families, and that has NEVER been me! I truly love getting to photograph both pieces and couldn’t imagine giving one up. When a couple books me for their wedding, I don’t want the relationship to end when the wedding day is over and the album has been delivered. I want to be able to photograph their family for many years to come! Anniversary portraits! Maternity portraits! and oh man, meeting their kids one day is always SUCH a special moment for me! Your wedding day isn’t just about a big awesome party, it’s the start of something great. It’s the start of your life together, and THAT is the important piece worth documenting. Just like every year that you two continue to choose each other and fight hard for your relationship is worth celebrating. I don’t want to just photograph your wedding day, I want to document your life together.

I love that we were really able to work that concept into this new brand! In fact, make sure you check out the “photography for life” gallery on the website, it’s my absolute favorite!! So head on over to the new WEBSITE and explore! Make sure you check it out on your computer for now since the full mobile conversion is still in the works! and a big thank you to Ravyn with Three Fifteen Design for all her hard work on the new branding and site design!

ALSO! make sure you check back tomorrow for ANOTHER exciting announcement! I’ve been DYING to announce this next surprise for weeks now and I can’t wait to finally share!

AND! if you missed the announcement last week that I’m donating SIX ANNIVERSARY MINI sessions to “The School Sessions” this Saturday April 11th, make sure you go back and check out that special announcement too! So often when I show up to family portrait sessions the parents say, “can we have a portrait of just the two of us?! we don’t have ANY pictures together since our wedding!” So this is the perfect opportunity to get some updated portraits of you and the love of your life!

but for now, head on over to the new website and check it out!!
01Jessica Smith Photography Website-landing page02Jessica Smith Photography Website- about jessie03Jessica Smith Photography Website- galleries04Jessica Smith Photography Website-featured weddings05Jessica Smith Photography Website- photography for life06Jessica Smith Photography Website- Photography for Life Info

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“You were a risk, and a mystery, and the most certain thing I’d ever known.”
– Beau TaplinNorthern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake03 I know I’ve said it before, but getting to see the same families year after year and watch their kids grow is truly one of my favorite parts of this job! I first met Matt and Stephanie back in 2009 for their engagement portraits, and then got to see them again when Mason was first born, then at our first holiday mini sessions, and last fall for their last session as a family of three! I really can’t explain what an honor it is that so many families invite me back into their lives year after year! These days their arms and hearts are a little fuller with the arrival of Mason’s new baby brother, Logan! He was a dream to photograph, and the perfect addition to their family :)Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake05 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake09 Even Mason thinks his baby brother is pretty darn great :)Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake12 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake14 this was his “hey lady! how about you take MY picture next?!” face :)Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake16 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake17 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake24 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake26 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake29 isn’t he the cutest?!Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake31 love those big cheeks! Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake35 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake37 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake38 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake46bw Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake48 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake50 my favorite from their session :) Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake55 kisses for all!Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake56 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake58 Mason is a big fan of his baby brother, but apparently he’s not too sure about holding him just quiiiite yet ;)Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake60 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake62 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake65 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake74 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake76 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake77 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake82Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake88 love those baby yawns!!Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake90bw but not quite as much as i love those sleepy baby smiles!Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake92 Northern_VA_Newborn_Photographer_Daake93Thanks again for having me over for the morning! Can’t wait to see you all again soon! :)

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A few months ago I got a message from Jamie Delaine explaining this incredible idea she and her husband Randy had developed, where the entire photography community would come together across the globe to raise $200,000 to rebuild a school in Haiti! Currently there are over 500 photographers signed up to participate in The School Sessions! Each one has agreed to photograph a session on or around April 12th, with absolutely 100% of the session fee going directly to help build this school! This project will raise enough to buy land and build a ten-classroom school for 220 students in Mellier, Haiti. Their previous building was destroyed by the 2010 earthquake and these children (ages 3-16) are in desperate need of an earthquake and hurricane-proof school to learn and grow. You can check out The School Sessions website HERE for more information about the project and E.C.C.A School! There are also a few videos on that site where you can get a closer look at the school and what they’re working to accomplish!
Images-TheSchoolSessions01 Images-TheSchoolSessions03 Images-TheSchoolSessions04 I’m so excited to get to participate! I’ve been trying to think of something fun to offer instead of just donating just one session. One kind of session that I don’t get to photograph NEARLY as often as I’d like are ANNIVERSARY sessions! SO often when I show up to family portraits, the mom makes a special request for a photo of her and her husband, quickly followed by “we just haven’t had ANY pictures taken of JUST US since the wedding!” Once kids come along, portrait sessions are typically centered around them! So I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do something fun and give a few married couples out there some updated portraits with the love of their life! Now, I never (ever) offer mini sessions except for that one weekend around Christmas, BUT just this once I’m offering an evening of mini sessions only designated to anniversary/beloved portrait sessions!!

WHEN: Saturday April 11th, 2015, 5:00-7:00PM
WHERE: Leesburg, VA
WHAT: a 20 minute mini session for you and the love of your life! (sorry, no little ones allowed on this date night!)
You will receive 15-20 edited high resolution files in an online gallery for viewing, downloading, and printing!
COST: $175 – 100% of the cost going right to The School Sessions!

There are only SIX sessions available from 5:00-7:00 on that Saturday night, so grab a baby sitter and use this as a great excuse for a date night out! :) Email me ASAP for more information and to reserve your time slot now!! Thank you so much for making a difference and contributing to this incredible project!
Images-TheSchoolSessions06 Images-TheSchoolSessions07 Images-TheSchoolSessions10Feel free to email me with any questions about how you can get involved, or to reserve one of these time slots ASAP! :)

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“may you grow up to be righteous
may you grow up to be true
may you always know the truth
and see the lights surrounding you
may you always be courageous
stand upright and be strong
and may you stay forever young”
-Bob Dylan
Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver01 Look how much this handsome blue eyed boy has grown since his newborn session! He was showing me all of his most favorite things when I came over for his four month portrait session last week :)Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver03oh ya know, just a little light reading to start with.. Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver04 his swing is his favorite spot in the world… can ya tell? ;) Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver10 loooove those baby toes!Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver11 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver14Harrison is the most expressive kid! love that scrunchy nose smile :)Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver15 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver18 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver22 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver25 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver29 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver31Harrison’s pants might have been a liiiiiiiittle too big on him..
Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver33 and just slipped right off ;) Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver36 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver40 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver44 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver45 one of my favorites! love his sweet smile :)Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver55 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver59 i could have photographed this boy all day long!Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver61 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver64 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver67 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver69bw Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver74 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver79 Northern_VA_Baby_Photographer_Oliver82Thanks for having me over for the afternoon! Can’t wait to see you guys again in a few months! :)

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