dc metro area photographer

finn turns 2 (cont'd) // my new canon 5d mark iii

This is a continuation of the below post, journaling Finn's 2nd year; leading up to his 2nd birthday in December 2014. I will be posting all week. 

The first series seen here (Finn in his plaid overalls) was taken at a local music festival in Alexandria, which is one of our favorite local events all summer. The next series (and all photos from hereon out) were taken with my amazingly, incredible, brand new Canon 5D Mark iii. We were in Delaware for the 4th of July, visiting the Grandparents (and Finn was exploring their backyard). The last series was taken in my kitchen. It was so hot out that Finn wanted water time in our kitchen sink, not the outdoor baby pool. The lighting was to die for, so I whipped out my new camera to continue getting familiar with it. 

You can see the astounding difference in image quality/clarity/color between the 5D and my loyal ol' Canon 40D. You could say I'm satisfied with my purchase! If you are thinking about purchasing a professional camera, as a professional or striving-to-be-professional photographer, the 5D is worth the purchase. I've also heard great things about the Canon 70D and 6D, if you don't want to break the bank. If you are just a Mom/Dad or amateur/hobbiest, I would recommend something a bit more affordable. I started with the Canon Rebel, which was an incredible starter camera! Do your research and ask someone who knows about this stuff if researching is too overwhelming. I went with the 5D because I did want the high ISO (for indoor low light situations. I knew I would be diving into the wedding industry, needing high ISO when the flash wasn't an option, or my style of choice.

Little man walking // Lockhouse 25, C&O Canal // Potomac, MD

I think we all tend to take for granted so many things in life- like walking. Can you imagine going through life without this incredible GIFT? One of the greatest joys in raising a child is seeing all of the milestones that they go through. We are all such incredible creatures- starting out as a teeny tiny little speck of chromosomes. Within one short year, give or take- a child is up and walking. Or running. Isn't it INCREDIBLE? From a needle head to a teetering toddler. It is no wonder that these tiny little people tend to be focused, fearless and completely besides themselves when they start using their two adorably chubby legs.

Mr. Landon is such a beautiful little boy. One of those poster babies that could be on a Gerber jar or a Baby Gap ad. His parents are just as beautiful. He looks to be a mix of the two in appearance, and his demeanor seems to come from both sides. Did I mention that they are all very sweet people? I have had the pleasure of seeing this little guy since he was pretty small, and he always has a huge grin on his face. So when I was able to see his toothy grin, along with a focused side- I was beside myself. I love deep thinking. I love to photograph it. His focus and determination was clearly due to his newfound talent. Walking. All he wanted to do was walk. Explore. And there was so much to see… colorful leaves, billowing trees, running water with ROCKS. He is free! This boy has everything- the looks, the cheerfulness, the amazingly genuine parents, the determination and focus… what a cool little man.

turquoise waters // finnstagram // NEW turquoise logo

I decided to write about my BIG news first. I am changing my name to Ann White! After five years of marriage and birthing a huge baby boy, I decided it would be super awesome to share a name with my little clan. I am all about unity, and think that quite honestly–the whole world should be more on the same page with unity. You know, world peace and all that. So, I'm starting with uniting with my family. No more division! I would rather keep things simple, so I am changing my photography name to Ann White Photography also. SO, my url will be changing to www.annwhitephoto.com and my Finnstagram stream is now Annwhitephoto. Please have patience while I slowly make this transition. Blarg. Anywho, you'll also see my new Ann White Photography logo in this post, and my new "AW" mark on the blog post photo. That will be my signature on all photographs posted on my blog–and throughout the interworld. Aw, so cute! Sorry, had to.

For any of you that follow me on Instagram, you know that my stream is called Finnstagram. This is because my son pretty much takes over the whole stream. Don't make fun. Is it so wrong that I am obsessed with my child? Plus, he is a great test subject. Regardless of the fact that I am using an iPhone so frequently, it is PRACTICE. For any aspiring photographers, the best thing you can do is practice, practice and practice some more. The iPhone is great practice, even if you can't use all of the fun settings on your SLR. You are practicing framing, timing and how to use light. I did have the pleasure of assisting my Aunt at my cousin's newborn photoshoot last weekend, and of course I learned a few new things! Such a blast. I will post about that shoot soon!

But today I felt like we all needed a much-needed boost that summer is right around the corner. Here are some of my favorite photos form my Babymoon in St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands (almost two years ago!). Oh, and that fat donkey you see? She was pregnant! I fed her because I knew how hungry a prego can get.

welcome, sweet claire

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing one of the most ADORABLE little girls recently. Claire is not only an absolute beauty, but she is also incredibly calm. She might have let out a tiny "meep" during the entire 4 hour photoshoot! Mommy and Daddy–Stacie and Hardy are clearly smitten with this little pink bundle of joy. How couldn't they be? It is hard to take your eyes off of this little girl. 

I had an amazing helper with me too–Stacie's younger sister, Sarah. She also was at their other sister's daughter's shoot over a year ago (also an absolute adorable, sweetheart!). She played the part of the loving Auntie, set stylist and photo assistant. Between her, Stacie, Grandma (or was it Mimi?) and I, we had so much fun playing baby dress up! There is so much love for this little girl. What a fun, sweet, happy, loving, good-looking family. I am so, so happy for them all! 

Baby_Claire1.jpg


Baby_Claire2.jpg
Baby_Claire3.jpg
Baby_Claire4.jpg
Baby_Claire5.jpg

firecracker ford + bump

I am sooo excited to do this post. I was lucky enough to get out of town a couple weeks ago to attend my dear friend, Keri's baby shower in Atlanta. She is pregnant with her first baby (a boy!), and I couldn't be more excited! t hadn't seen her since MY baby shower nearly two years prior! She helped my sister and Mom do an AMAZING job decorating my shower. It seriously was out of a magazine. And these were the days before Pinterest! Anyways, it was my turn to help her Mom and sister with the shower. It was such a blast, and turned out as perfectly as we hoped. Keri's family took me in as one of their own that weekend, never making me feel out of place. I couldn't stop laughing all weekend with this high-energy New Jersey, super-Italian family. 

Keri is one of those people that lights up a room as soon as she walks in. I love that she was born with these amazingly bright, blue eyes.. but her parents both have brown eyes. Apparently they came from her Great Grandfather (I think?). It's as if her spirit was so bright– that when she was born, her eyes had no choice but to be sparkling blue. She came into my life like a beam of light, when I was surrounded by darkness. Isn't it funny how some people walk into your life when you need them most? We are two crazy wackadoos when we get together, talking a mile a minute and making the most ridiculous expressions to support our dramatic stories (usually about our husbands). We always felt like we knew each other from another lifetime. Kindred spirits you could say. 

Mrs. Keri Lynn Ford inspires me in so many ways, aside from her infectious energy. She has MADE things happen in her life through her determination, passion and hard work. She started her very own company, IgniteGirls® Fitness, which is a fitness program that offers KICKass workouts, nutrition plans and guided support towards your goals (and the support of a community of women in the same boat). Go see for yourself. She is SO INCREDIBLY photogenic. Did I tell you she also does fitness modeling? So getting in front of the camera was like 10 cups of coffee for her. And how ADORABLE is she?? She was doing planks and push-ups in no time– showing off her crazy-pregnant-strength. Keri is a prime example of a doer, a go-getter, a make-it-happen-because-there-is-no-plan b. She has always been one of my biggest supporters, and for that and a million other things, I am forever grateful. She is SO thoughtful, caring and hilarious. She is extremely nurturing to everyone. She is the Momma dukes of her company! She takes all of these women under her wing and guides them to a better lifestyle. But she also doesn't. take. shit. So, dear sweet little Peyton Michael Ford, look out. You have one tough Momma that won't let you get away with sh&t. She will however, make you giggle your socks off. 

She is going to be one. amazing. Momma. 

Keri's husband, Dave is the perfect man behind this incredible woman's story. He is her rock. A total goofball without trying. A true gentleman with a huge heart. And he is pretty obsessed with Jeeps. Peyton is going to have such a blast with these two!!! 

Keri_bump_1.jpg
Keri_bump_2.jpg
Keri_bump_5.jpg
Keri_bump_3.jpg
Keri_bump_4.jpg

fluffy face

A year ago I experienced one of the greatest losses of my lifetime. My 12 year old "Fluffy Face" went to Kitty Heaven. Any other pet owner can sympathize with this loss. ANYone who has experienced a loss can of course sympathize. When anyone or anything passes away, it is incredibly difficult. Fortunately, I had only experienced such a great loss as my Grandfather and Grandmother passing away. The passing of my Grandpa was pretty hard at the age of 19. It was confusing and shocking. He was my idol. I still am overcome with emotion over him 13 years later. But to lose such a dear companion like a pet is heart wrenching in an entirely different way. And simply because, I miss her.

I miss the way she would jump up on my bed early in the morning and wake me up with her squirrel call (brrrrrrrrp!!!). I miss how she would snuggle inside my chest and arms, and wrap her paws around my arm. I miss her purr. I even miss when her bratty fuzzy butt would jump up on the dresser and start slowly pushing an object to the edge until…. CRASH! I miss how she would push the door of the bathroom open and barge in, as if she owned the house (and she did). I miss how she would jump up on the edge of the bathtub to get her "steam bath/meditation" session in while I showered. I oddly now miss how she demanded fresh water every morning and evening, but would still jump up on the bathroom sink to drink the water. I miss how she started snoring and getting a white patch on her chin in her later years. I miss that oh-so-fluffy fur that I could burrow my face into. I miss how she played hide-and-seek with my husband and I (no joke), and her tail would always give her away. She would get so worked up and hyper, zipping around the apartment, sliding on the floor. Lol. I miss how on beautiful days I'd find her asleep in a lush, green bush outside. I miss seeing her climb a tree like a monkey and anxiously make her way down backwards. I miss the days that we would sit peacefully together on the stoop watching the sunset. I just. Miss. Her.

How could I forget all of these things? I'm terrified that I will. But recalling them all is also painful. I was told it would get easier with time, and it has. But when I recall those feelings it is just as hard as the moment she left. Sometimes I feel like time crept into my world and stole my Fuzzy Butt like a thief in the night. She was my first child and forever companion. When something becomes your little trusted shadow, and loves you unconditionally, unequivocally–bearing that loss is more than words. Yes, she was old-ish. Yes she lived an amazing life. But she could have lived a few more years. She could have been Finn's buddy. They could have snuggled, and he could have pulled her tail. But what can I do now but cherish those years that I had with her.

I'm sorry if this is hard to read, but it has been cathartic for me. I have bottled up a lot of these feelings over the last year, and it was time to release them. It is time to release her. I want her to be as happy as can be in kitty heaven, and wait for me at "The Rainbow Bridge". What is this bridge of magical colors, you ask? It is one of the three main things that has given me comfort in this grieving process. Our animal hospital was so sweet and sent a card with this poem enclosed.

"Just this side of Heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together…."

-Author Unknown

The other thing that gave me peace was a dream I had about her. I've only had one, and it occurred fairly soon after she passed. She looked like her younger self, but she wasn't a kitten. She was sooo full of energy, you could even see it in her eyes. They were bright with life. Her tail was twitching with excitement. We were outdoors and she was running everywhere and zipped up a tree. I woke up KNOWING she was at peace, waiting for me in this crazy place with rainbows and bunny rabbits. She didn't get along too well with other cats though, so I hope there weren't too many in her little spread of grass. 

The third thing that has already given me peace is the process of letting go. Letting her go. Experiencing the emotion and grief. I came across this awesome blogger over at High On Health, and she went through this herself and suggests a few things. I haven't done them all, YET.. but I have started a few. 

Thank you for reading this, if you did. On with some photos! Here are some of my favorite Instagram photos of the Fuzzy Butt. Follow me! It's all about Finnstagram these days.

You are forever in my heart, Macy. I will never forget the first moment I saw your tiny, squished, grey, fluffy face...

Macy_post3.jpg

Sweet baby Nolan

There was another very special baby that was born right before Christmas. Finn's younger cousin, Nolan. We were so glad that our rotation of holiday visits landed on this side of the family for this past Christmas, which fell two weeks after Nolan was born. The timing couldn't have been more perfect! He came into this world calmly and is just about one of the most laid back babies that I have ever met. He is also incredibly sweet and snuggly. Finn is always SO excited to follow his big cousin Trevor around, trying desperately to keep up. One day Finn, one day. It will be fun to see the three of them following each other around next year!

Here are some tips for any Mommy photographers or Moms that are just trying to take photographs of their newborn: Stay calm, patient, turn up the heat, have a blow-dryer handy, burp the baby, rock the baby and photograph near a window. See more below...

We had the heat set to 80 degrees, went through 5 diaper changes2 feedings and ran the hair-dryer before little Nolan happily fell asleep on his parent's bed. Also, his Mommy's relaxed and soothing attitude (see her hand on him below) helped him fall asleep with not a care in the world. Having the Mom stay close usually helps keep the little one relaxed. If they are hungry though, they will smell her and wail. So keep them well fed! Some babies do get distracted by Mommy's sent regardless, so if they don't calm down, send her away to get some R&R. Using the parents bed is a great way to have a lot of space around the baby to work with. Just make sure you shoot in the room of choice when the lighting is best. Don't get frustrated if the baby is awake, those can be beautiful photographs as well. When they sleep though, they tend to have a more relaxed face, with no "Benjamin Button" wrinkles, haha. A hair-dryer, white noise machine (a ton of apps for your smart phone) or a vacuum cleaner also tend to stop the crying if it gets really bad. Remember to burp the baby after the feedings as well, and don't rush! A last ditch method is to either you or the Mommy hold the baby on their back with the head in your hands and feet pressed into your belly and sway him/her left to right (back and forth), keeping their feet in the same place. This motion creates some kind of effect that is similar to being in the womb. Remember to be patient, and give yourself 2-4 hours if needed. Babies are like sharks and pick up on fear, hahaha! G'luck!

Nolan_2.jpg
Nolan_4.jpg
Nolan_3.jpg
Nolan_1.jpg
Trevor_1.jpg

a brand new baby for christmas

I had the pleasure of photographing the sweetest little family, just before Christmas. The Momma had her third, beautiful baby (a boy) on December 6th, which is RIGHT in the middle of the holiday craziness. I can relate 100% (Finn was born on 12.10.12). SO, I re-assured dear Momma that people would understand if she didn't have holiday cards AND announcements sent before Christmas, in addition to taking care of all of the other typical holiday needs AND a new baby. She sounded just like me last year, trying to do it all. Such an angel! I told her, "I think people would be impressed and surprised if you got all of that done"! Last year I had to be easy on myself and settle on sending a combination birth announcement/new years card (skipping a Christmas card). It can be really difficult trying to get everything done, the way we are used to. But as a Mom you also have to force yourself to let that pile of laundry pile up sometimes (a few days too). It actually is liberating. Meanwhile... flash forward three days and you find me on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floors and cabinets like Cinderella. 

Sorry, tangent! The photoshoot was AMAZING! Not only did I photograph the oh-so-beautiful new baby boy, but I spent the morning photographing his older sister and brother, who built a gingerbread house in the process. It was so much fun! I will be sure to try to plan activities for kids next time I have an indoor shoot. It kept them focused and creative. They did a seriously good job on that house too! These kids were so sweet, silly and adorable. What more can a photographer ask for?

I was thrilled with the light that poured in through their windows... enjoy, enjoy.

Hoover_Family_4.jpg
Hoover_Family_2.jpg
Hoover_Family_1.jpg
Hoover_Family_3.jpg

A shoot on Lake Erie- behind the scenes

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! It snuck up on me fast, and flew right on by.

I was lucky enough to see all of my immediate family, near and afar. Over Thanksgiving we all headed to the Midwest to see my sister and her clan of boys. She has an awesome little family; three boys and a Rottie named Petunia. My sister is my other half. I would be lost without her. I wish we lived closer, but I'll take what I can get.

Here are some behind the scene photos, in addition to the actual photos of me shooting my sister's family photos on Lake Erie, (my husband took iPhone pics of me shooting them). You'll also see a photo of my hubby photographing my sister, brother and I in one. My Dad is the one that took the holiday photo of my little fam (see previous post). Any photo of me in it was taken by either my hubby or Dad. So yea, I ask the family to step up if I need to be in the photo. I just adjust the settings and hand the camera over... and pray they get me in focus!

I have some more awesome shots from the visit, which I'll post soon. Here is the bunch from the Lake. And to any of you who think you can't have a photoshoot in the winter, you are wrong (have you seen my shoot of Finn in the highchair while it is snowing- which the Grandparents thought was cruel, but he loved it, I swear). My sister's boys LOVED being outside, regardless of the chill in the air. Natural light is best, and my absolute standard for shooting. 

holiday_oh_shoot.jpg
holiday_oh_shoot_2.jpg
holiday_oh_shoot_3.jpg
holiday_oh_shoot_4.jpg
holiday_oh_shoot_6.jpg
holiday_oh_shoot_7.jpg