Zhenya, Braden and Keaton Prokopchak and Tyler, sons of Rick and Heather Prokopchak, Roanoke, Virginia
Four boys age 13 and under – can you imagine how much energy their mom must have? Heather comes from a large family herself, so it was only natural for her to have a big family too. The boys are typical – they play and fight with each other, and managing the family dynamics is quite the task! In between moments of exasperation and cooperation, we captured this slice of time in the boys’ life, on the family’s front porch. The location will make it all the more meaningful in years to come, when the boys are grown and away from home. Heather was moved to tears by this image because they all look so happy together. It hangs as an oiled portrait in their home.
Maddie and Olivia Reid, daughters of Scott and Michelle Reid, El Dorado Hills, California
Maddie and Olivia were visiting their grandparents, Dick and Betty Reid, at their home on Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia. Since Maddie had just lost her two front teeth, Betty wanted to take advantage of the ages the girls were, before they grew up too much more. In dresses their grandmother had bought for them, the girls patiently put up with our July-in-Virginia humidity, and were perfect models. This image was Betty’s favorite – she wanted a classic portrait of her young granddaughters. As a bonus, the portrait includes her favorite flowers- daisies!- and took place at an arboretum where Betty had been taking classes to become a Master Gardener. This portrait hangs as a Watercolour in Betty’s beautiful lakefront home.
Corbin and Delaney McLaughlin, children of Doug and Natalie McLaughlin of Roanoke, Virginia
Corbin and his baby sister Delaney were in the studio with their family for a portrait, actually Delaney’s first! Corbin was diligently helping Delaney to build towers of wooden blocks. Sometimes with active small children, the best kind of portrait is one where they’re involved in a common activity. This image of two siblings, doing what they would do on any given day, is a moment of their life they will treasure when they get older.
Lara and Sophia Min, daughters of Hong Ki and Natasha Min of Roanoke, Virginia
Could there be a more beautiful portrait of two sisters? There is obviously quite an age difference between Lara and her baby sister, Sophia. Lara was so sweet and patient with her. Of course, both of the girls are beautiful, but Natasha really wanted a portrait that showed their relationship. I especially like the tender way Lara is holding Sophia, and Sophia in turn is so comfortable with her older sister.
Hannah, Reece and Madison Robertson, children of Darren and Allison Robertson of Rocky Mount, Virginia
This portrait is a favorite of almost everyone who sees it. It was created near the end of a session in the mountains of Warm Springs, Virginia, on a beautiful nature preserve. Even though we decided to go on location there at the last minute, the weather- and the children!- were perfectly cooperative! This is such a romantic and tender rendition of siblings together. It hangs in the family’s home as a large wall portrait, over the great room mantle.
Alex, John, Cameron and Clark, children of Dave and Cece Melesco, Rocky Mount, Virginia
Another family of four! We photographed the whole Melesco family inside their home in Rocky Mount, where Dave is a judge. Out of the images of just the kids together, this was Cece’s favorite. I love all of their expressions – mellow but happy. As you’re aware when you have older kids, the hardest part of something like this is getting everyone home at the same time! And that was the case here. Cameron already lived on her own, and Clark was in college at the University of Virginia. Alex and John were in high school. They all get along well, and teased and joked with each other during the session. With all of the kids out on their own for the most part now, this portrait is a treasured memento of family life to parents Cece and Dave.
Greylyn and Avery Padula, daughters of Bob and Libby Padula of Cary, North Carolina
Pure childhood glee – is this not the very picture of it? This is one of the most delicious photographic moments in my career – serendipity. During an outdoor session on a warm, humid September evening in the south – complete with mosquitoes and squabbling – we created some absolutely gorgeous images that belie the less-than-perfect circumstances. 30 seconds before, the girls were glaring at each other – and me! – but something made them giggle, and I was ready. I love the way their eyes are closed in laughter, and everything about the image, including the motion, seems to come alive.
Grace, Sam, and Tanner Whitesell, children of Rebecca Williams of Roanoke, Virginia
Sam is the quintessential older brother- protective, nurturing, making sure everyone is in line, and a little bit on the serious side. Tanner, on the other hand, is open, extroverted, funny. Grace, at the time of this portrait, was the youngest in the family, and was the little princess, doted on by both brothers but especially by Sam. But it’s evident in this image that the children really love each other – just look at those contented expressions! This portrait hangs as an oil in the family’s home, a wonderful memory of the children’s younger years.
Delaney and Faith McGuirt, daughters of Bill and Donna McGuirt of Roanoke, Virginia
One of my all-time favorite sessions was of these two sisters. They were unbelievably patient and cooperative. The thing that I like the most about all the portraits from this session is that you can see the love these two girls have for each other – and their parents feel the same way. I like this one in particular because having sisters myself, it reminds me of that bond that sisters have with each other when they’re little – a time when secrets are still not too serious!
Zoe and Ayla Lampros, daughters of Nick and Linda Lampros of Roanoke, Virginia
While in the studio for a more typical portrait, Zoe and Ayla played together in some tutus. Sometimes with two young children who are of different ages, a traditional portrait with both of them looking into the camera can be difficult to create. But when they’re involved in a fun activity together, it’s easier to capture their relationship.
Claire and Renee Butler, daughters of Sam and Helen Butler of Roanoke, Virginia
Something that Renee’s parents really wanted before she graduated from school and went off to college at the University of Tennessee was a portrait of Renee with her older sister Claire, who at the same time was getting ready to graduate from Roanoke College. This image of the girls together shows their individual personalities in their expressions, and at the same time shows their relationship together. Sam and Helen love this portrait for those reasons, and their easiness with each other, also evident.