You might remember this family from their adorable son’s sixth month photos earlier this year. Today he turns 1! Happy birthday, little guy! I was excited when they asked me to come to commemorate the occasion. I love to see my clients’ kids grow up. We took some photos in their home, and then headed outside to take in Arlington’s fall colors. Then we came back inside for some cake with the birthday boy.

      I love it when my clients trust me to take pretty photos in areas that they don’t recognize as portrait-worthy. When we went outside, I asked them to stand in their street among cars and power lines. They didn’t hesitate, though, because I assured them that the photos would look great and they believed me. The resulting photos give a sense of the setting of their neighborhood, which I think is an important part of a family’s memories.

      And that brings me to today’s photo tip, which is a new aspect of my blog that I’m introducing today. From now on, I will include a section of each blog post where I give a brief explanation of how I took a photo or series of photos. For the most part, I’ll discuss techniques that are attainable for people of all photography skill levels.

      Photo tip:
      For the outdoor photos, I wanted to able to see cars, buildings, and light posts in the background, because they give a sense of place for this family who loves living in the city. But I wanted to keep those background elements from being distracting or unattractive, so I used a telephoto lens and wide aperture to blur the background, and I kept the family far enough away from the trees and cars to increase that background blur. Then I kept their backs to the sun to keep shadows even and add backlit sparkle to the fall trees. I exposed for their faces, and let the light-colored street bounce some light back into their faces.

      We also took photos inside their home, which I lit with an off-camera flash and a softbox.

      Then it was time for cake!

      Happy birthday, little guy! Thanks for letting me be a part of it!

      Would you like me to take your family’s portraits, or photograph a special event? Browse my Families and Kids gallery or my Events gallery, and then contact me to tell me all about it. I’d love to hear from you.

      Related posts:

      Arlington family portraits: An adorable six-month-old in his home

      Documentary family photography: A first birthday party for an adorable little guy

      Reston family portraits: A family with twin babies, a toddler, two dogs, and autumn perfection

      A day in the life of new parents and their sweet baby (and their cat in a Cone of Shame)

      Reston family portraits: Fall colors and an adventurous little boy at Browns Chapel Park

      Reston family portraits: The backyard fun of a little boy, his parents, and their dog

      Charlotte Geary


      Lifestyle, event, and portrait photographer with a vibrant, joyful style and 17 years of professional experience.

      Located in Reston, Virginia near Washington, D.C. and available for travel.