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Jillian & Eric’s Fall Holiday Portraits at the Kentlands Manor

Two children, a boy and a girl, holding hands and looking at each other on a forest path surrounded by autumn leaves in Family Portraits.

Felipe first worked with Jillian & Eric’s family back in 2019, just a few months after their daughter was born. At that time, their session was mostly about celebrating the new baby, and the four of them spent the afternoon in a park near their home. It was a great session, and they got some really adorable photos. Since then, they’ve come back for family photos each year, and their most recent session with Felipe was a standout.

When they planned this most recent session, Jillian & Eric had an idea. Some of the photos they made were destined for Christmas cards, and they wanted those photos to feel christmassy. The only problem was, the session took place in early November, and Gaithersburg still had quite a lot going on with the trees at the time. Not to be deterred, they decided to set up a little holiday scene on their deck – they put out some Christmas lights, a few small decorations, and their outdoor fire pit, and then they spent the first part of their session wearing pajamas, and with the kids, having a sort of Christmas morning trial-run. They roasted marshmallows over the open flame, and generally acted as if it was Christmas day. It was cute and silly, and the photos they made during this time turned out very cute.

After they felt like they had what they wanted for the Christmas card, they changed clothes, and with the kids now off doing their own thing, Felipe took a few minutes to capture some traditional headshots of Jillian & Eric. They took turns with one, then the other, as they helped the kids get dressed. From their home, the family and Felipe walked over to the area around the Kentlands Manor (on this occasion they didn’t actually visit the mansion itself), and the wooded paths that surround the property, which were brightly colored this time of year.

Once they got out and about, Felipe’s first focus was on their daughter. He got some beautiful photos of her sitting in the path and examining foliage. One photo in particular stands out in my mind – a black and white photo of her sitting in the leaves and smiling at Felipe. Next, without much change in the scene, he fluidly moved onto some photos with the whole family, and then some photos of the parents with each of their children individually. A very nice photo of Jillian and her son giving her a big kiss on the cheek is a stand out. From there, as they moved down the path, he got a nice photo of the siblings walking hand in hand. Felipe stopped for a nice backlit photo of Jillian & Eric together as a couple.

As they began to loop back towards their starting point, they started to take advantage of some of the brickwork in the area. He took some time with their son, who is no longer a large baby, but a small man. Felipe got a nice shot of their son looking very grown up with his overcoat flung over his shoulder.

They began to wrap up their session near the lake, and Felipe took a great photo of the whole family together with a beautiful sunset in the background. Since the sunset was at their backs, Felipe used a little bit of supplemental light on a small strobe to help the family stand out against the warm, watery backdrop. They finished up with some more photos of the children playing and being silly. One particularly striking photo of their daughter, features her with a quizzical expression, holding a big yellow balloon that pops out against the backdrop of colorful trees. She’s also featured in a striking close up photo, leaning against a railing on her wrists, her eyes bright and engaging.

The final photo of the day was a nice portrait of Jillian & Eric together, going back to where it all started, the two of them just laughing and looking into each other’s eyes.

This session is a great example of how a single family session can cover a lot of ground. From a goal-oriented mock holiday, to traditional headshots, to modern lifestyle family portraits with a lot of personality. This works, in part, because Felipe is very talented, with a lot of skill to back it up, and has developed a great rapport with the children (and let’s be honest, the parents too).