About Maisi Julian Photography:

Welcome to my blog! Thanks for stopping by. I am a Family photographer in Alexandria, Virginia specializing in children and newborns. My style is edgy, modern, sophisticated & fun. I enjoy finding outdoor locations to shoot kids (well, you know what I mean!) in the northern VA and Washington, D.C. area. In addition to photography, I love all things related to design, food, and crafty stuff! So I'll be posting lots of different photos and topics here. Please leave a comment, and check out my website for more info!

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  • Tag: ‘Portraits’

    Old Town Alexandria Family Photo Session

    Saturday, September 6th, 2014




    This little fella liked to RUN!!  We were ALL sweaty by the time their photo session was over, and you can tell that he was ready for a good, long summer nap when we finished.  We explored some of my favorite nooks and crannies of Old Town, Alexandria.

    maisi julian photography

    stephen-14a copy

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    Mother Daughter Portraits

    Sunday, July 14th, 2013

    One of my favorite clients wanted to do a special photo shoot with her daughters for her 10th wedding anniversary.  She wanted to take some photos in her wedding dress as a surprise for her husband, and then do some shots of just the girls.  I loved this idea, and I think we found the perfect location in a gorgeous garden.  We were so excited to find a robin’s egg, newly hatched, in the grass.  It was a magical day.  I love the idea of having a photo in your wedding gown with your girls so they can see how beautiful you looked on your wedding day!

    DeNunzio Girls 108 copy

    wedding dress with daughters

    mom wedding dress daughters

    Mom in wedding dress with daughters

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    robin's egg

    Girls Garden

    Girls garden

    Family of Four, Old Town Alexandria, VA

    Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

    I had so much fun in Old Town with this family.   They made having four children look easy!  I love photographing big families.  It’s neat to see the connections between the siblings, and also between the parents and each child.  I always love to get a photograph of each parent with each child so that the child has it as they get older.  I love my job and the fact that people let me see the love they share for one another.










    Taking Portraits of Your Own Children

    Saturday, May 5th, 2012

    Both of my children were born in April.  So every year near their birthdays I try to do a “real” photo shoot with them.    Taking pictures of your own kids is NOT easy!   This particular shoot was full of lots of yelling, screaming and pouting. . .and that was just from ME!!!!!

    Our own kids know how to push our buttons, and they get bored easily when we take pictures of them.   It can be difficult to get them to smile naturally for us or listen to directions.

    In fact, after I was finished taking these, I went home and didn’t even look at the pictures for a few days because I was convinced nothing came out.   But I did manage to get some cute shots that I think capture my kids’ personalities.  And it *looks* like we had a blast, full of balloons, smiles, and laughs!  (P.S., most of the smiles were a result of lots of potty humor and bribery).   Hopefully my kids will remember this as a fun day, not one where I was yelling, “Stand still, stop touching your sister. . .hug your brother. . .no, not that hard!!” (Don’t worry, I don’t ever yell at my clients’ kids 🙂 ).

    One thing is for sure, my kiddos really do love each other!  Even if there was A LOT of bickering and teasing going on during the photo shoot, these pictures will help me remember the love and affection they feel for one another.

    So here are my TOP SIX ways to get photos of your own kids (I was going to do five, but couldn’t edit it down!):

    1) SET UP the camera settings and your location BEFORE you bring your kids over to take the picture.  Move clutter from the background if you’re inside, set up a chair or pick a good spot outside,  turn your flash on or off, focus, etc. so that your kids aren’t waiting for you to set up the shot.  Time is of the essence!!

    2) DON’T “SAY CHEESE!”  Try to think of funny things that you know will make your kids laugh.  For my kids at this session, I sang “Old McDonald had a fart. . .with a stink, stink here. . .etc.”  They were shocked that I said it and it made them giggle.  Of course, they probably went to school and sang it to their friends (and then their friends went home and told their parents).  But hey, at least I got them to laugh!  Think of a silly song you can make up for your kids and then surprise them with it!

    3)  BRIBE.  Buy them a little present at the dollar store and wrap it.  If you really want to get a good picture, ask them to help you out and tell you that it means a lot to you.  And tell them if they really try their best, they can have a special treat or little present.

    4)  BE SILLY and let them be silly!  mix up running around/having fun shots with “posed” shots.  Kids need to move around!  Try to capture them moving as well as posing/smiling.

    5)  THINK OF A LOVED ONE and tell them that the picture is for them.  Sometimes if I tell me kids that the picture is for Grammie or Daddy, they instantly think of that person and I get a great smile from them!

    6) LET THEM BE IN CHARGE for part of the shoot.  Ask them where they think they could sit, or how they could pose.   Involving them makes them want to participate more.  The shot of my son sitting on the tree stump was totally his idea, and I just love it!

    Do you have any ideas that help you when photographing your kids?  Please share!  I’m always looking for new ideas!


    brother sister portrait


    kids running with balloons

    brother sister holding hands

    brother sister portrait

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    little boy portrait

    boy girl portrait

    boy laughing portrait

    boy girl balloons portrait





    Old Town Alexandria Family Fun

    Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

    We had a great time in Old Town doing this family portrait session.  The daddy is leaving for a deployment in Afghanistan, so I was thrilled that they asked me to take some family pictures before he leaves.  His sons could not be any cuter.   I hope being able to look at these photographs makes his time there a little better.  What a beautiful family!! Don’t you agree?  Remember:  Maisi Julian Photography offers a 10% discount to all active duty military families.  Thank you for your service!

    father son portrait black & white

    Inspiration for Children’s Portraits {Washington, D.C.}

    Sunday, June 19th, 2011

    Recently, I went to the Capital Portraits: Treasures from Washington Private Collections at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.   I’ve always loved going to museums.  I’m always inspired when I leave, and this visit was no exception.  There was one portrait in the exhibit that really caught my eye.  It was this painting, entitled “Hildegarde” by Lilla Cabot Perry:

    portrait of little girl

    I’d never heard of Lilla Cabot Perry, so I did some research when I got home.  She was an American artist who studied under Monet in Giverny, France.  Many of her paintings are of children and women.  I love how she captures a moment in time in her paintings. Often, her paintings are of nothing particularly special.   Like Mary Cassatt, Cabot Perry’s paintings depict every day scenes that might not have interested the art collectors of the day.  In the late 19th and early 20th century, paintings of women interacting with their children wouldn’t have fetched a high price in an art gallery (or even be displayed in a gallery).

    This painting shows a little girl sitting, holding a stuffed animal.  It is timeless, really.  Even though the clothing dates the portrait, it really could be any child, in any country, at any time.  I love that the little girl is not smiling.   A lot of the portraits I take of children show them with a natural (non-smiling) expression (although I love smiling pictures, too!).  I also really like the contrast in this portrait between her white dress and black tights, and how her legs fall out of the scene.

    I was also drawn to this portrait because it appeared to follow the “rule of thirds.”  This is a rule of thumb in design linked to the ancient “golden ratio” of the Greeks.   It states that if you imagine a grid on top of a photograph (or painting, etc.) that divides it into 9 even boxes, the important part of the painting, photograph, etc. should fall in on one of the dividing lines or intersection points.  So if you look at this painting with a grid on top, it looks like this:

    example of rule of thirds on portrait

    I was thrilled to see that the little girl’s face falls exactly in the intersection between the two lines in the top third of the painting.  I might try to copy this in a photograph!

    Here is another painting by Cabot Perry that I love:

    mother and baby portrait

    I love the texture in the mother’s dressing gown, and that the mother’s face isn’t shown.  But despite that, you can really feel the interaction and tenderness between the mother and her baby.   And again, the faces are in the top third of the painting.  The colors in this painting are also gorgeous.  There is depth between the dark background and lightness in the baby’s white dress.

    I could spend days in the museums in Washington, D.C.!!  I’m looking forward to going more this summer to get more inspirations for my portrait photography, and to learn about other portrait artists.