northern virginia photographer

Aly turns 1 // Old Town Alexandria, VA

I did a photoshoot of this little beauty six months ago. I cannot believe how much she has grown! Yet she is still a tiny little peanut to me, especially compared to Finn. This little one has a big personality, regardless of her size. She doesn't hesitate to speak her mind and "shout" out to the world around her. Yet even her shouting is sweet and adorable. And you should see her pouty face– she would get away with anything in my house! One thing that I love about little Aly are her eyes. She has such incredibly beautiful eyes– that are also probably quite rare. Her eyes are some kind of hazel/green, but her left eye has a splash of blue in it. As someone who is totally obsessed with all things colorful, I couldn't get enough of these multi-colored eyes. You feel like you are looking into another universe when you look into them. Ok, deep thoughts by Ann ;)

She is smitten over Daddy, as beautiful as her Mommy and Babushka (Russian for Grandma) and best buds with Patton (her dog). How I love watching my little clients grow up!

Aubs & Bellas Wedding // Orcutt Ranch, CA

The Aubs & Bellas wedding took place on July 13th, at the Orcutt Ranch Horticultural Center, just outside of Los Angeles, California. It was a typical summer day in the desert– dry and insanely hot. It must have been 100 degrees, or close to it. The location was beautiful, surrounded by an orchard of orange trees with the most delicious oranges I have ever tasted (shhh they aren’t for wedding guests). Those oranges didn’t mind the hot, dry heat. They thrived from it! Oh, and did I mention there was a shaved ice truck?? That shaved ice was the best Hawaiian shaved ice I have and ever will eat. 

These two kids are very special to me. Aubs (Aubrey) and Bellas (John) are two the of the sweetest people I know. I know, I say that a lot about people. But doesn't that mean I surround myself with good people?? And these two are seriously the sweetest. Bellas played club soccer with my husband (Tom) at Penn State University. Those Penn Staters have a bond that I can’t begin to explain. You just have to meet a Penn Stater (actually two, so you see the crazy bond) to see what I’m talking about. They are nuts. Passionate. Crazy about football. Crazy about Penn State. And they are all super genuine. Anyways, when Tom and I moved out to Los Angeles eight years ago, Bellas took Tom in, like a brother. He let Tom stay in his home until we found our own place to live. Then he introduced us to his circle of friends, which soon became our friends. Our memories of LA are so fond, all because of this circle of friends, who we enjoyed numerous adventures with–on the beach, on the soccer field, in Palm Springs, at Chili cook-offs, in the hills, in the valley, in Hollywood, and out on Catalina Island. All of these connections happened because of Bellas. He’s like a big brother to Tom and I. We are just so incredibly happy that he found love with Aubs.

I don’t know the exact story, but I do remember Bellas talking about Aubs frequently when they were first dating. He seemed perplexed by this girl. Like, could he have found the one? Can you really find a partner who is also your best friend? This girl is just so cool, so active, and so easy to get along with. He could hang out with her, like she was one of the guys. And she was super cute. I knew something was serious because of the way Bellas was talking about her. It started out as a friendship, but quickly blossomed to much more. The best part of it all was that Aubs played soccer. And as our dear friend Heller (Matt, who married these two) put it, she may actually be better than him. I’m staying out of that argument though. Regardless, Bellas is one of the most active people I know- and has obviously finally met his match. It is safe to say that Aubs is the second most active person I know (but no less than Bellas). As I type, these two are off enjoying their honeymoon, probably swimming with sharks.

Aubs and Bellas are surrounded with a lot of love. They have touched so many people’s lives, that it is probably easy to lose track of the number. When I first met Aubs, she talked frequently about “Granny”. Granny is now over 90 years old (or close to 90), and smitten over Aubs. You can see that the love between these two runs deep (you’ll see what I’m talking about in the photos below). Granny had the honor of being flower girl on this special day. So adorable! Granny is so beautiful–inside and out. Such twinkly eyes–they made my camera sing!

Clearly these two give their everything to people. They are givers. We need more people like Aubs & Bellas in this world. Their registry included donations to The Painted Turtle (a children's camp in southern California providing the wonderful empowering experience of camp to children unable to attend other summer camps due to their chronic and life-threatening medical conditions) and Hillsides (Run independently and alongside the Penn State Alumni Association of Los Angeles, Hillsides has a vision of creating lasting change in the lives of at-risk children and youth). Feel free to donate!

I am beyond honored to have taken part in this extremely special day. Isn’t it funny when life comes full circle? Tomorrow is my 6 year wedding anniversary, and here I am, posting a photographic journal of the very first wedding that I photographed (as the main shooter). I love that. And it was on my wedding day six years ago, that the spark inside of me ignited to pursue photography. The potential was always there, but the flame was lit on that day.

Thanks Aubs & Bellas! You will always be remembered as my very first “wedding”!

What I learned on my first gig as a Professional Wedding Photographer:
• Wearing black is a great idea when photographing a wedding, but not when it is 100 degrees.
• Don’t forget to eat.
• Don’t forget to drink water.
• Don’t go out the night before shooting a wedding. Go to bed early!
• Having a checklist ready the week before the wedding is phenomenal.
• Having your gear charged and ready to go a day in advance is a must (these last two relieve unnecessary stress).
• 2 cameras + 2 batteries for each + 2- 32 gig memory cards each was more than enough
• Experimenting is always a good idea, but not at a new gig (first wedding, first newborn shoot, etc.).
• If the viewfinder of your camera is blurry, it isn’t because of the death of the camera, or the heat. You just have to adjust the focus on your viewfinder (sorry Tom).
• Having your husband as a second shooter is awesome. They have muscles and remind you to eat.
• Don’t stop taking photographs. Change perspectives. Change lenses.
• You can still take photographs that the second shooter is taking. Your perspectives will be different regardless.
• Don’t leave your reflector or sunglasses in an Orchard.
• Take one shot close up, one pulled back and one of the entire scene (pulled all the way back- wide angle).
• Have your subjects play games. Making them run around to loosen up. Give them an activity- like eating an orange.
• TAKE A SHOT OF THE BRIDE AND GROOM at dusk. I don't care how much they are over photographs.
• I love the Canon 70-200MM 2.8
• I still love my Canon 50mm 1.4
• The Canon 35mm 1.4 was amazing for wide angle and group shots, but really isn't THAT wide of a shot.

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Baby Connor & Aunt Pretty

A couple weeks ago I helped my fabulous Aunt Pretty do a newborn shoot for my cousin's new baby boy, John Connor Michaels. Aunt Pretty (Patricia, or Trish) is my Fairy Godmother, and also happens to be a professional photographer. One of my most vivid childhood memories of Aunt Pretty is her kissing on her son's cheek really loudly and saying "OH MY GAWD I WANT TO EAT YOU". The other vivid memory involves her directing a family photoshoot. And that still happens every time we all get together (the cheek kissing and the photoshoots). She is one of the most hilarious people I know. Seriously, Chelsea Handler has nothing on Aunt Pretty. Actually, combine Chelsea Handler and Phoebe Buffay and you will have a slight inkling as to the complexity of my Fairy Godmother. I have always looked up to her, and still do. I love that she is a photographer, and someone I can look up to. Actually, photography runs in the family. My Great-Grandfather was also a photographer. I think he ran a portrait studio actually!

So I was thrilled to do a newborn shoot with her, and help "corkscrew" baby Connor's head around, hold the backdrop blanket, put the set together, prop the pillows and cushions, soothe baby Connor, sweat my butt off, dodge projectile baby poo, and laugh by socks off. SO MUCH FUN! I learned a few new tricks from Trish, and had blast doing it. I hope I get to do it again, sometime soon. Love you Aunt Pretty!

Here are some quick snaps that I took when we put the "Hennessy" hat on Connor. Finn's older cousin Ross wore it, Finn wore it, and now Connor obviously got to wear it! My favorite shot is the one of him in the basket, that Trish took (below).  THAT photograph is hers. The rest I took on my SLR and iPhone. 

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! 

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