Every Happy Home is a Castle Unto Itself

Every man wants to be the king of the castle—his wife a queen and his children princes and princesses. That’s how home should feel behind the impenetrable walls of family, and that’s what comes through loud and clear in these regal-looking shots of the Winebrenner clan and their afternoon romp through the old-stone halls of Cathedral Gardens in Washington, DC. Sunny, lush with flowers, and blessed with even a rainbow, the day—like the Winebrenners—couldn’t have been more magical.

Some of my favorite shots are of the family peeping through the Cathedral-style windows, the legs of little Joey, 3, and Elliott, 21 months, dangling from the limestone sill. The backdrop of temple-style arches truly gives each frame a royal feel. And the portraits of each child against the garden walls are truly handsome.

But the greatest asset of these shots (aside from the incredible positive energy of Winebrenners—their joy and fun-loving attitude comes through in every single frame) was the light. Having arrived at 7:30 a.m. to beat the heat, the Winebrenner’s were able to take advantage of the early-morning sun, which adds a crisp freshness to their portraits that you simply cannot duplicate in a studio. They say that kings and queens receive their blessing from heaven. Given the soft glow that pervades each happy scene, I’d say there’s some truth to that. And if you don’t believe me, look for the rainbow.


Fourth of July Retrospective: A Hero’s Welcome

There’s nothing more patriotic than saluting a hero on Independence Day—especially when that hero gets to celebrate his greatest accomplishment: his family.

Garrett Harries missed the fireworks last year. His wife Melisa and his three kids, Sophia (8), Jack (5), and Dominic (1) had to celebrate without the USAID officer who stationed in Iraq. This year, it is fitting and poetic that as a DC family photographer, I can help preserve their precious moments together stateside in a setting that underscores their sacrifice and their significance as a family committed to national service: Washington, DC, and it’s scenic Independence Park along the Potomac River.

I love how these family photographs highlight the independent nature of this proud family. Whether the kids are off on their own gazing out at the horizon or playing in the background while their parents smile at the camera, they get to be their all-American selves—which is the innocence and beauty of America that we seek to protect.

But my favorite shot is a far cry from that independent theme. It’s the one with the Harrieses all linked hand-in-hand, traipsing across the river walk. They are a unit; they are a team; and most importantly, they are together.

As we bite into our watermelon and stare at the fireworks this Fourth, let’s remember that it’s beautiful families like the Harrieses that allow us that luxury—they supporting Dad, and Dad supporting us.