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Colleen & Tom’s Family Portraits at the Bel Air Mansion

A family is holding their daughter in their arms for portraits in a park.

Back in 2017, I had the pleasure of crossing paths with Tom and Colleen. They were about to embark on the journey of a lifetime – marriage, and they chose me to document it. The venue was the Loft at 600F in DC, a place that was as cool as it was doomed — sadly, it’s no longer with us. We met up for a pre-wedding engagement session at The National Portraits Gallery, the same place we’d be capturing their wedding day portraits. We hit it off instantly, and their wedding was a classy affair with a touch of understated elegance. In a nod to the timeless charm of that day, some of their photos still make appearances in our portfolio.

Life moved on, as it always does. Then, earlier this summer, I discovered that Tom and Colleen had welcomed a new member into their family – a bundle of energy named Maya. This little one was probably more thrilled than anyone else to see a “real” camera in action.

Our meeting point this time was the Bel Air Mansion in Bowie. The day was a bit of a mixed bag, with the weather oscillating between rain and shine. I’ll be honest, my optimism was on the fence. But the family was game for anything, and despite a bit of drizzle, we found the perfect blend of tree cover and scenery at the Mansion. The results were out of the park.

Now, let’s talk about the Bel Air Mansion for a minute. This place is a hidden gem — a lot of locals don’t even realize it’s there. It’s steeped in history, dating back to the 18th century when it served as the summer residence for Samuel Ogle, the then governor of Maryland. Today, it stands as a museum, offering a peek into the life of a wealthy colonial family. The mansion’s exterior is a photographer’s dream, with its elegant brickwork, large windows, and symmetrical design. The grounds are well-kept and offer a variety of picturesque spots for photo sessions. Plus, the mansion’s relative privacy offers a tranquil atmosphere, perfect for clients to feel comfortable and relaxed during their photo session. Plus, parking is super-duper easy.

Tom and Colleen, who were the epitome of cool and collected on their wedding day, brought that same vibe to their parenting during their session. They were naturals, effortlessly juggling their roles as mom and dad, and genuinely enjoying it. And it’s a good thing too, because they’re about to double down on the parenting gig with baby number two on the way!

So, here’s to Tom, Colleen, and little Maya, who braved the unpredictable weather and turned a potentially gloomy day into a memorable photo session. Check out some of my favorite shots in the gallery below!