Today I want to share about an organization that I volunteer with, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. NILMDTS is a non-profit group whose mission is to capture black and white heirloom portraits for families who have lost a newborn baby. I have been a volunteer photographer with them for over five years and it is the most meaningful thing I do with my photography. I have photographed stillborn babies from 16 weeks gestation up to full-term and babies that passed away shortly after birth. Often people say to me "I don't know how you do it." It's hard to describe HOW I do it but one things I keep in mind is that the portraits I capture are the only professional portraits the family will ever get of their baby and I need to do my job to the best of my abilities. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It's also the month that a little nephew of mine was born too early many years ago; I know how much the few photos they have of him mean to his parents and he is one of the reasons I volunteer.

If you'd like to learn more about NILMDTS or make a tax-deductible contribution to them their website is

#pregnancyloss #infantloss

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Saturday October 24th Anne Companion Photography will hold their 11th annual Halloween Portraits Food Drive! For a donation of $10 or $10 worth of food to the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank you will get a 5x7" portrait of your child in their Halloween costume! Each child will be photographed individually; one complimentary portrait per child (additional portraits may be purchased). Go to to see more details and reserve a time.

Continuing with our "tips" series; today we have 5 tips for your family portrait session! I often hear from people things like "we need family pictures; we haven't had them done since the kids were little!" Kids change so fast; you should try to update your family portraits every 2-3 years (bonus tip)! Now for the tips:

1. Location, location, location! Studio or outdoors, the setting is up to you! If you have a spot in mind that’s fine; otherwise we are happy to make suggestions. Think about what suits your family and their style.

2. What should you wear? Some families choose to match (for example, everyone in white shirts and jeans as seen above) while others prefer a coordinated but non-matching look (below). The important thing is to look like you all belong together and aren’t just a bunch of strangers that spontaneously took a picture together.  :) Solid colors are always good. On the beach there is a lot of latitude with color choices but for a shoot in a park steer away from white and very light colors.

3. Don't forget the furry members of your family! Incorporating pets into a family session is always a great idea, especially outdoors! Be sure to check that pets are allowed at the location you're planning to do your portraits at.

4. Consider time of day. The "golden hour" just after sunrise and just before sunset is considered the ideal time for outdoor sessions but if your family members are not early birds, or if you've got a little one that has a firm early bedtime consider a studio session, or a different time of year when the sun rises later and sets earlier. Consider the location too; you will often lose daylight sooner in a park with lots of trees than at the beach.

5. Finally, relax! Family portraits shouldn't be stressful. If the kids are less than cooperative or it's way windier than you thought it would be just roll with it! A good photographer will work with the circumstances on any given day. And most photographers have a re-shoot policy if everything really does just fall apart the day of your shoot. Now schedule those family portraits!

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