Winning | Bethesda Wedding Photographer

As he walked into the ballroom, her hand in his, he knew he had won. He had officially won her hand in marriage. All her laughter, all her smiles, and all of her heart~ he won it all. If love is a battlefield, then Matt sunk Kristen's battleship. As everyone stared on in love and admiration, their smiles and triumphs radiated across the ballroom. And while Matt stared tenderly into her eyes, Kristen's gaze met his and he knew he couldn't wait to take on the world with her by his side.

And just because I love cake, here is an image of their cake masterpiece.


Vendor Spotlight | Certifikid

If I could pinpoint the exact moment in time that defined the future of my business, it would be the day I got a phone call from Jamie Ratner of Certifikid. Her creativity, support, and friendship has meant the world to me and to many local businesses and families. What makes Certifikid different from Groupon/Living Social? One word: Jamie. She answers every single email, talks to every customer, and was born and raised in the D.C. metro area. Her commitment to her customers and her community is not only remarkable, but refreshing in a world that constantly tries to put $$ first and people last. Besides being a local business trendsetter...she is a mom, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a wife...so she completely understands what it is like to raise a family and still try to find time for yourself. She waits in line at Starbucks, lives for her family date night in downtown Bethesda, and loves a good deal. If you aren't signed up for their email alerts, be sure to hop on over because you are missing out...www.certifikid.com

Tell us a little bit about Certifikid? 
Certifikid is the leading website for families in the DC Area that offers daily deals geared to kids and parents. We try to give families the ability to create experiences with their kids they might never have had the opportunity to do or just might have never known about.

Where is home? 
I grew up in Montgomery County and currently live in Bethesda.

If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be?
Thailand - good food, weather and shopping

If not a daily deal business mogul, What would you have loved to be when you grew up?
I have a master degree in Security/criminal justice and wanted to work for the FBI

What was your inspiration for founding your business?
I was writing a blog daily that covered all the "finds" I had in the DC area (food & deals). It was just a hobby, but I loved it. As soon as I learned about Groupon and thought of the parent twist on the concept I found a way I could turn my hobby into a business!

Favorite flavor cupcake?
anything with buttercream I love

Favorite Bethesda restaurant?
Raku - the best part of my week is my Friday night Raku and half dozen cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcakes

What or who is the greatest love of your life?
Of course Brian, my husband comes first or he will kill me. He is my biggest supporter. I would have quit before day 1 if it was not for him. He is always the half full person.

What item/company do you wish you had invented/started?
Groupon! I can not believe I did not think of it since I was so into the concept of buying discounted gift certificates before they were even popular.

Which five words would your friends use to describe you? 
obsessive, thoughtful, unique

Who would play you in a film (movie) of your life?
Sarah Jessica Parker

Your favorite deal you have ever offered?
Why Dottie Millwater Photography of course since it is my only recognition of the past 2 years of my life!

Any exciting projects you are working on? 
Of course...TOP SECRET!


Heirlooms and Hard Drives | Why it is Important to Print Your Images

In today's digital revolution, we are finding new and exciting ways to share our images. Social media has allowed us to share special moments with speed and ease and I love it. I am one of the rogue photographers out there that truly believes that clients should have access to their digital files. There are a million different ways to share memories, but at the end of the day, print media is still the only sure fire way to make sure your memories last a lifetime.

Why it is important to print your images
Think about it, what if ten years ago, your parents had kept all of your family photos on floppy disks? What would you have now? Photographs, like memories, are meant to be passed along from generation to generation. Your parent's wedding, your first day of school, your brace faced prom night-- all of these things up until recently had been printed out and are easily tangible images.

It is important to think of memories as heirlooms. Heirlooms are passed down and no matter how hard you try, you can't pass down a hard drive, a digital cloud, or even a website to your own grandchildren.

This is why I believe albums to be the most important investment in your photographic arsenol. It allows you to pass down a collection of images that tell a story about a moment in time in your lives. It isn't just a 4x6 print left in a box, it is something that can be put on a book shelf and proudly displayed and shared with the special people in our lives.

I like to think of our family fun shoots as an experience rather than an exercise in getting photographs. What better way to show an experience than a story? That is why my albums(both print and digital) are called storybooks. They are the story of your family. Each image is a special chapter, but together as a whole, all of the images tell the story of our time together. I myself am guilty of still not making my wedding album. I come up with a different reason every week, but my new years resolution is to start creating albums for my own family as well as my clients. How many months have gone by since you said you were going to create an album for your family heirloom?

Pro Printing Sites vs. Costco/Target/Walgreens/Ritz Camera
So I have you convinced now that you need to print your images(as well as back them up to a cloud...but that is another post to be written). A frequent question I get asked by clients is "Where should I print my images?"

I believe that both professional printing sites and consumer printing options have a place in everyday life. The bottom line though is that a professional printing lab will result in the best quality possible of your images. The paper, the ink, the process, the packaging....all of these things are advanced, and yes, slightly more expensive.

I personally use a site called "SmugMug" to deliver and offer printing options for my clients. The reason I love SmugMug is because it is the best of both worlds.  It allows my clients to both share their images electronically with social media AND gives them access to affordable professional printing at a reasonable price point. Is it more expensive than Costco/Target/Walgreens/Ritz Camera? Absolutely. Is it dramatically more expensive than those places? No

If you took some pictures with your point and shoot on a recent trip to the playground, by all means, pop over to Target and print out some pictures to mail to your parents or put in a small frame on your desk. I even have some pictures I printed on my home inkjet printer displayed in our house. The most important tip to using a consumer lab is to make sure they do not auto color correct your images for you. I have seen way too many people look like ooompa loompas or green aliens thanks to various places.

In terms of "special" pictures, it is my opinion that if you took the time to hire a professional photographer, spent weeks trying to find the perfect outfits, and truly love and appreciate your images, then printing them properly and professionally is the final touch your memories deserve.


The best laid plans | Georgetown Family Photographer

Anyone who really knows me knows that I am a planner. I am the kind of girl who made her new years eve plans 3 months ago and already knows what I will be doing most weekends until July. I had today ALL PLANNED OUT.

I picked the perfect location for a holiday mini-session. There was warmth(starbucks), a breathtaking tree (christmas), reindeers made out of ivy(coolness), parking(paid and unpaid, but readily available), and it wasn't even that cold today! Rock. it. out.

As per the saying, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.  The power went out at midnight last night and starbucks couldn't open. By 10am construction workers descended upon MY tree(By then emotionally I thought I owned it until at least noon) and taped it off with caution tape. No problem, we will go to my favorite spot by the canal....oh wait...the park police were there fishing trash out of the water. ughgughgughtught.

So while everyone knows that I am a planner, you might not know that my motto in life is "make it work". Ok, maybe that is Tim Gunn's motto, but I still adhere to it. We had an amazing day with some wonderful families. Thank goodness each of my clients was as eager to make it work as I was. And you know what happened? Instead of 6 families having the same photos, I am now downloading and looking through a diverse array of brilliant smiles in different locations and I LOVE it.

Thanks to everyone who came out this morning and "made it work" with me. Your images are spectacular and I can't wait to share them with you.

In the meantime, I will leave you with a sneak peek of an unexpected client. I don't know his name, but he was so adorable I had to take his picture. Lucy could learn a thing or two from him.