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Jennifer & Matt’s Family Portraits at the Bel Air Mansion

Family Portraits: A family of six posing happily in a garden, with two adults and four children dressed in coordinated autumnal colors.

Felipe and I have been working with Jennifer & Matt for a long while now. I actually went to school with Matt back in the day. After the two of them got together, Felipe and I photographed their wedding in 2019, and let me tell you, they make an amazing couple.

Matt brought his existing children to the marriage, and together with Jennifer they immediately formed a great bond that fits together like a puzzle, creating a new family out of the pieces that each brought with them. Creating a cohesive family unit from the disparate parts of two people’s past lives can be a challenging thing to do, and it doesn’t always stick, but these two have mastered the adhesive arts. They have always valued the practice of family portraits, not just for the sake of documenting their lives together, but also as an act of validation for their family unit, and I think that’s a smart and healthy outlook on the whole thing. In some ways, even among more traditionally formed family units, that’s what family portraits are really about.

After the wedding, Felipe took over as their family photographer, and has been shooting with them periodically ever since. Since their last session back in 2022, they added a new addition to the family — a very cute, grapefruit-cheeked baby boy. Jen scheduled an Express Session just as he was able to sit up on his own, but they wanted to make sure they also had some proper family portraits, too. So, when the colors on the trees started to turn, they decided it was time to get everyone together — including the grandparents — for some family portraits at the Belair Mansion in Bowie.

Felipe met them at the Mansion, where they had a short walk from the parking lot to the property. They shot in the late morning on a mostly clear, but slightly hazy day, when the light looked great. They started in the butterfly garden with a couple shots of Matt & Jennifer together to get warmed up, before bringing in the whole family in for the next photos. When there are small children involved, it’s a good idea to start with the highest priority images first in the event that it becomes impossible once the foxes have taken over the henhouse.

They spent a little while in the butterfly garden before breaking out into other areas of the Mansion property. Felipe spent some time focused on each child individually. All of them, including the one who has only been around for about a year, are superb in front of the camera. The newest addition to the family was super smiley and just loved being involved. Felipe focused some time on photos of just the boys together, and some shots of Matt and the kids alone, along with some other impromptu groupings. He got some great black and white images that have a lot of natural character in the process. He finished up the session with a few more shots of Matt & Jennifer among the brightly colored leaves, and then a few shots of their oldest son who has come a long way toward young-adulthood since being the pint sized ring bearer we remember from the wedding day.

It’s great seeing families come together successfully, and it’s something special getting to watch them grow, and even more special getting to grow along with them ourselves.