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Family Photographer in DC | Frequently Asked Questions

The MEP Experience

Family photographer in DC | Family stands near flowers in Brookside Gardens

As a family photographer in DC, I often hear the same questions from clients as we prepare for their session. I wanted to gather the responses here in one place to best meet your needs. You should confidently walk into your DC family photo session feeling great!

It is a true honor for me to document this precious time you have with your family, whether you are expecting a little one, or you have older children already. I want you to feel prepared going into your session so you feel and look confident and love your images for years to come.

Parents stand holding their baby boy at Tudor Place in Washington DC

All too often mothers are stressed going into family photo sessions. I want to alleviate that stress for you. Family photo sessions should be stress-free and enjoyable. Below are answers to some of the most frequent questions I receive about family photography here in DC.

What does the planning process look like?

It is important to me for you to be completely comfortable and prepared going into your session. As part of your custom photography experience with me, I have a few simple things we do before your session.

First, you receive a planning guide in the mail that walks you through each step of the process. You will become familiar with my favorite DC and surrounding-area locations, what to wear, how to prepare your children, etc. You then complete a short questionnaire so I can get to know you and understand your family dynamic to best document your connection and love for one another. Lastly, we meet (typically virtually) to walk through location, wardrobe, what you plan to do with your images, and more.

Toddler girl gives her pregnant mother a flower

You will leave your planning session 1) feeling prepared and comfortable, and 2) already finding a friend in me! I find it so important to meet you before the session so you can have all of your questions answered and you feel like you know me! You can find more information on how to prepare for your DC family photo session in this post here.

Family session at Carlyle House in Alexandira, VA.

Where and when should we have our family photos taken in DC?


This is probably one of the most common I receive. First, for outdoor photography, I photograph in the two hours surrounding sunrise and sunset. This is because the light is soft and flattering. I want you to love the way you look in your photos, and light is THE most important factor.

Don’t worry – I know these times are tough for little ones. I will prep you on how to make this happen successfully. I have never had an issue in the past, and the light is worth it!


I will share my favorite locations with you, and we will select a location based on the aesthetic or feel you desire for your images. We are so fortunate in the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area – there are quite a few stunning locations for photoshoots.

I wrote an entire post on my absolute favorite photoshoot locations in DC that you can read, and my planning guide you receive lists all of them. Whether you are looking for a classic backdrop or a more rustic feel, I’ve got you covered.

Mother and father stand by the columns at Tudor Place holding up their young son

What should my family wear for our DC family photos?

This question can often be one of the most stressful for families, and it really doesn’t need to be. I provide beautiful, whimsical dresses for mom and guide you through how to best coordinate the rest of your family. I have thoughtfully curated the best fitting and most flattering dresses for moms of all stages so you look and feel beautiful for your photographs. You no longer need to endlessly search for something to wear.

Pregnant mother sits in a large window at Salubria during her maternity session

Additionally, I have written posts on what to wear for a maternity session and what to wear for a newborn session. I always recommend starting with mom.

The main points that I encourage my clients to aim for are soft neutrals and pastels, long, flowing dresses, and simple is best.

We coordinate the rest of your family based on what you wear so you will not second guess your decisions.

Washington DC Family Photographer | Mother holds her son up in the air in the gardens at Tudor Place

Wait, you shoot film? What does that mean?

Yes, I adore photographing with film. I shoot with analog film alongside digital during your session. What this means is that I take photographs on thin plastic strips, or film. I won’t dive into all the nitty gritty details, but basically, when a camera’s shutter is released, the film is exposed to what the lens is seeing.

This creates negatives that need to be developed (think back to those disposable Kodak cameras!). Once the negatives are developed, they can be scanned into digital files and printed, just like if I photographed with digital alone.

Carlyle House Family Photo Session

What does the creative fee include?

It is of the utmost priority for me to provide you with a customized experience to fit your specific needs. The creative fee includes your pre-session consultation, your planning guide, access to the client wardrobe, your session on location, and your artwork appointment.

I want you to feel and be fully prepared for your session. The planning process is almost more important than the session itself!

All images and artwork are selected and purchased during the artwork appointment.

Mother holds her son closely during a Maryland Family Photo Session in Brookside Gardens.

What happens during the artwork appointment?

I strongly believe in preserving family legacy through heirloom artwork. We will have an artwork appointment approximately three to four weeks following your session. The turnaround time is slightly longer than usual due to the film being developed. Although it extends the process ever so slightly, I promise you it is SO worth the wait. Film makes for dreamy images that document the fleeting season we are in. I wrote an entire post answering all your questions about film that you can access here.

At your artwork appointment, you will view your images for the first time, and we will order custom artwork to best meet your needs. Perhaps you are building a gallery wall of your family over the course of a year, or maybe you are interested in a family album to leaf through with your loved ones – we will find what holds the most meaning for you and your family. You will receive your artwork around four weeks later.

Family Photographer in DC | Mom cuddles with her baby at the National Arboretum cherry blossoms

What if my kids don’t behave during my session?

As a family photographer in DC, this is probably the MOST asked question. I have seen it all, don’t worry. In the worst case scenario, I will still be able to provide you with beautiful images.

However, we will work hard to set up your family to be as prepared as possible. I wrote an entire post on how to prepare for your family session, but the gist of it really comes down to what you do before the session.

Family photographers in Maryland | Family lays down in field during their family photo session

Having kids be a part of the outfit selection (with some guidance, of course!), ensuring they are well-rested, filling up bellies before the session, packing snacks and toys, etc. – all of these things play such an important role. I have quite a few tricks and games up my sleeve to capture your authentic connection, so please do not worry about directing your children.

I also wrote a post with 3 simple tips to get your kids to smile for photos (I use some of these tricks during our session)!

Sometimes we can prepare all the right ways and our kids can still be independent. That’s okay! I will still be able to provide you with beautiful, authentic images.

Family photographer in DC | Family Session at the US Capitol

I hope this post answered all of your questions about a family photographer in DC! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any additional questions!

Marie Elizabeth Photography | Family Photographer in DC

Marie Elizabeth Photography specializes in fine art Maternity, Newborn, and Family Photography based out of Washington, D.C. She also serves the areas of Arlington, Alexandria, McLean, Falls Church, Vienna, Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Silver Spring, College Park, and Riverdale Park. 

It is always an honor to serve as your Family Photographer in DC. I provide a custom luxurious experience to lead you every step of the way, beginning with a planning guide to make you feel confident and prepared, a consultation to achieve your portrait goals, a client wardrobe, hair and make-up artists, and finally, artwork to adorn your walls and preserve your memories forever. Let me be a part of your story today.

Meet Marie

portrait experience

A stress-free

Hair and make-up, wardrobe, location - I've got you covered.

Before your children grow

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creating timeless memories

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