12 December 2011 @ 01:48 pm

Wow, I've been away for a long time! For ten years I blogged frequently, and now I'm writing for the first time in six months. Of course it has been one of the biggest years of my life, and I have tons of photos and stories that I could have written about. Instead I've spent lots of time with Daniel, who grows more adorable and fascinating every day. He is now eleven months old, and active, bright, curious, and affectionate.

I'm on extended maternity leave, but I did do a few client shoots this year. I did some family portraits, maternity sessions, and one wedding. But with a baby who rarely slept and a husband with long work hours, I ended up overwhelmed and exhausted. After Labor Day, I stopped doing any photo shoots, and worked only on albums and print orders for existing clients. Nowadays Danny is sleeping through the night and napping regularly, and I feel much better. I finally have a chance to blog once in a while. Hi!

I haven't decided yet when I'd like to return to work, and what kind of work I'll want to do when that time comes. I plan to make some changes to my business structure, because my new life won't accommodate the long hours and frequent travel anymore. I do miss the adventures and creativity of my photography business, though. We'll see what happens. For now, I'm loving my new adventures.

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19 June 2011 @ 11:55 am

Happy Father's Day to Mike and my dad! Danny and I are so lucky to have such wonderful men in our lives. I wish a happy father's day to all the other great dads out there. Thank you for all that you do.
15 June 2011 @ 02:14 pm
I was in a flash mob on Saturday! My neighbor is a dance teacher who organized a surprise performance at the Reston farmers market at Lake Anne. Through her network of dancer friends, she arranged for secret rehearsals for people all over the DC area. We practiced in small groups for six weeks, and then on Saturday we all came together with a surprise performance.

We started with 20 people in red shirts dancing in different parts of the market to "We Will Rock You." Then the mob of dancers grew to a total of 100 dancers moving in a winding circle around the market. We danced to a medley of eight songs over seven minutes. It was a huge hit! I loved seeing all the people grinning and cheering!

Here is the official video. You can see me starting at 3:30, wearing a red shirt, navy pants, and sunglasses. This video doesn't do a great job of showing how many dancers there were, unfortunately, because we were scattered all over the market and moving in a line. But it's still a lot of fun to watch.

Here are the video clips that Mike took during the flash mob, offering a different perspective (mostly of me, sorry!) ;-)

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23 May 2011 @ 12:39 pm

Daniel, four months old
Reston, VA
May, 2011

May has been a big month for Danny, because his grandparents came from England to visit him! Mike's parents came for three weeks to spend time with their first grandchild, and I loved seeing Danny cuddling and giggling with them.

Danny gets more fun all the time, and four months is a cute age. He's still tiny (only 13 pounds), so he's still small and sweet in my arms. Little toes! Squishy cheeks! Light as a feather! But now he's at a stage where he still feels like a cuddly newborn, with much more of a personality. He is cheerful and fascinated with everything around him, so I take him out everyday to see the trees, geese, flowers, and people. He loves colorful picture books and sitting at the dinner table. The best part is the giggling. Those open-mouthed, toothless giggles.

Sleeping is still a struggle. It's easy to get him to bed at night nowadays - he goes down contentedly, and sleeps for about five hours before needing to eat. The hardest part these days is the napping. He refuses to nap, and when he does, it's only for half an hour. I can spend an hour or two trying to get him to nap for just 26 minutes. It's amazing how much of my day is devoted to nap efforts - I thought naps were supposed to give me free time, but it's quite the opposite.

I love cuddling with him during his last feeding before bedtime. He gets sleepy and snuggly in my arms. We expect that someday Daniel will have a little sibling, and I won't have as many moments like that where it is just him and me. So I appreciate those evening cuddles, because like everything else, they won't last forever.

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16 May 2011 @ 02:24 pm
I've finally created a Facebook for my photography. Please like me there if you are interested in photo tips, wedding ideas, recent images, and special offers. Thanks very much!


You can also find me on:
My other blog
RSS feed

I'd love to hear from you!
14 May 2011 @ 05:12 pm

Purple wedding shoes
Purple wedding shoes

Hello, wedding planners! I know that lots of you are busy putting together the final touches for your weddings, so I thought it was a great time for me to return to my regular Wedding Ideas posts. I have such a huge collection of photos of wedding details that I love to use them to help inspire people for their own wedding planning.

Here are some helpful links for wedding ideas:
My favorite wedding details of 2010
My full collection of wedding details

The big color of the moment is purple. I saw tons of purple last year, which of course I loved, because it's one of my two favorite colors. (My own wedding's color theme was blue and purple.) Here are some photos of purple weddings, with great ideas for dresses, flowers, decorations, and favors. Enjoy!

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Maternity photographer Northern Virginia
Fields of Flowers
Purcellville, Virginia
April 29, 2011

My friend Heather is having a baby this week! Heather has been one of my closest friends for 23 years, and together we've gone through high school color guard, college parties, post-college poverty, and professional accomplishments. And now she is having a baby boy just a couple months after I did. Now that I've moved back to Virginia, she and I are looking forward to our little boys' second generation of friendship.

Heather's adorable daughter will be turning three later this year, and I photographed her family back in 2008:
Maternity portraits
Baby Eve portraits

Then last Friday I photographed Heather with her second baby bump. She looks so beautiful at 39 weeks!

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Family portraits Alexandria Virginia
Sophie, BJ, and April
Cameron Station
Alexandria, Virginia
April 26, 2011

My photo shoot with this adorable family was my first client session since my baby was born earlier this year. It felt great to be back! I'm still choosing to spend most of my time at home with the baby, but I am starting to schedule occasional sessions as I return to work gradually.

I absolutely wanted to make time for April and BJ's family. They are preparing for BJ's deployment to Iraq in May. It always breaks my heart to see families separated by deployment, and it's especially sad that BJ has to leave only five months after their daughter Sophie joined the family.

I took their portraits in their home in Alexandria, and then we walked around Cameron Station. April mentioned that she particularly loves black and white photography, which is a great format for the mood of several of their photos.

April and BJ, thank you for asking me to photograph your family during such an important time for the three of you. I hope these photos will help to bridge the distance over the coming year.

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21 April 2011 @ 09:47 am

Daniel and me
Reston, VA
Spring 2011

Wow, I haven't blogged in ages! I think this is the longest that I've neglected my blog since I started it back in 2000. When Danny was six weeks old, I wrote that I was going to start posting regularly again, and now two months have passed and I'm finally getting around to it. Sorry about that!

Danny is now three and a half months old, and he is still a happy, easy-going little guy. He is so much more fun now that he's old enough to start interacting with us. He smiles a huge, open-mouth grin throughout the day, and giggles when his dad makes funny faces. He has even started smiling at the dog, which is sweet, because Ally loves her little human brother. She is always trying to give him little licks on the head and feet. Janie the cat barely notices that he exists.

Daniel at Three Months:

Riding in his stroller
Meeting new people
Listening to nursery rhymes
Dancing around the living room
Grabbing at the danging animals on his play gym
Watching his dad be silly
Looking at leaves, flowers, children, and birds

Sleeping through the night

We've been sleep-deprived around here lately. Starting at 2 months, Danny starting waking up three times a night to eat. He's a slender little guy, at only the 26th percentile in weight (70th in height), so when he's hungry, he really needs to eat. Night weaning just isn't happening, unfortunately. I've deepened my love of coffee over the last few months.

It helps a lot that when we wake up in the middle of the night, we have a gorgeous view of a lake outside our window. Mike and I couldn't be happier with our new house and neighborhood in Reston. It's absolutely gorgeous here, especially with all the springtime dogwoods and cherry blossoms. April in Virginia is sublime. Every day we take Danny and Ally for walks around the lake, and often we stroll to Reston Town Center for coffee or dinner. Reston has a wonderful trail system. We almost never use our cars anymore.

I owe Danny a three-month portrait session, but for now, here are some snapshots of our family over the last two months.

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09 March 2011 @ 03:13 pm
Mike and I have been working hard to update my website over the last few months. He put together a fabulous database that has enabled me to recreate my site in a more easily adaptable format. The site won't look different at first glance, but I now I have a much more thorough collection of detail photos for inspiration on my Wedding Ideas page.

If you're planning a wedding, be sure to check out all the gorgeous details here: Wedding Ideas

My portfolios are all updated, too, so drop by and take a peek: Charlotte Geary Photography

orange wedding details       silver wedding details       yellow wedding details

purple wedding details       red wedding details       brown wedding details
19 February 2011 @ 11:57 pm

Daniel, doing his morning exercises
February 2011

What kind of photography blogger doesn't post tons of adorable pictures of her own baby? One who is too happily busy to spend any time in front of the computer, that's who. Life has been keeping me on my toes lately. But I've been eager to share pictures of our little sweetheart, so I found time tonight to prepare some.

Motherhood has been a surprising adjustment. Even though I don't know what I'm doing, I feel relaxed and confident that everything is working out fine. Instinct seems to take over to some extent - it's impossible for me not to love this adorable little guy and take care of his every need. I had expected motherhood to be much more difficult than it has been. As I mentioned in my previous post, I had assumed that childbirth would be agonizing, so I was surprised to find that I actually enjoyed it. I was similarly prepared for the following weeks to be exhausting and stressful, so now I'm wondering if we've been lucky with a relatively easy baby. Of course I'm tired and have moments that are harder than others, but I've discovered that I love the enormous learning process that is parenthood.

My days with Daniel are filled with feeding, changing, bouncing, cooing, soothing, singing, dancing around the living room, and walking outside by the lake. Mike has been a wonderful partner in this whole experience, and Danny really loves time with his dad. He is also smitten with his grandparents, who have been a huge help as the three of us settle into our new house. Every day I'm happy about our decision to move to Virginia to be near my family. We also adore our new house and neighborhood in Reston. Life is great right now.

Daniel is six weeks old now, and weighs just over ten pounds. He's a laid-back, quiet little guy. My mission at any given moment is to make him smile, which he is starting to do every day. It's adorable when he smiles at his monkey mobile, which is easily his favorite toy. He also likes to go outside in the cool breezes and look at the trees. He'll sit contentedly in his baby carrier as we go for walks, and sleeps fairly well at night.

Here are a few pictures of our last several weeks. I've prepared more that I will post over the next couple days. And now that my first six weeks of maternity leave are over, I plan to get back into blogging about weddings and photography this week. Stay tuned!

More photos of our life with DanielCollapse )
05 February 2011 @ 11:59 am

Daniel's first cry
January 9, 2011

Mike took some beautiful photos of our son's first moments, and I'm excited to share them with you. Here is Daniel's birth story.

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20 January 2011 @ 01:55 pm

Our new neighborhood
Reston, Virginia

If having a baby wasn't enough excitement for one week, we also bought a house last week! We left Colorado on November 1st, and it has taken us all this time to find a house that is perfect for us. My wonderful parents invited us to stay with them during the months that we were house hunting. We had a hard time finding houses that we liked within our budget in neighborhoods that appeal to us, so we took our time.

Finally we discovered a gorgeous, mid-century modern house in Reston, Virginia. This house was beautiful indoors, but we also fell in love with the lake scenery and walkable community. The house is just a few minutes' walk away from restaurants, shops, salons, art galleries, a coffee shop, a post office, a pool, and offices. The lake itself surrounds us with the natural beauty that we loved about our Colorado home. In short, it's our dream house. We didn't think we'd find a house that we love even half as much.

We'll be spending the next few weeks moving in. Having a new baby and a new house at the same time is going to keep us BUSY. I'm taking maternity leave right now, but I understand that wedding planning can't always wait for new mothers. I apologize for the extra time I need right now for responding to emails and phone calls, and I hope you understand. Email is the best way to reach me in the next couple weeks.

After we get settled in the new house, I'll be meeting with clients there. I can't wait! I'm especially excited to have friends and family over in the warmer months for drinks on the patio and canoe trips on the lake. I'm so excited that I can't believe it's not too good to be true.
18 January 2011 @ 12:18 pm

Daniel, age one week
Dreaming of milk and cuddles

Here's our beautiful little boy! Daniel is one week old now, and is the sweetest thing I've ever seen. He's quiet, content, and very cuddly. I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to process or post his pictures yet, so here are a few quick ones from the weekend. Soon I'll share the photos of his first week, including some from his birth. Mike and I are so happy and completely infatuated with the little guy already!

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10 January 2011 @ 09:57 pm

Welcome to the world, Daniel Anthony Pritchard! He was born Sunday, January 9th, weighing 7 pounds 10 ounces. He's adorable, healthy, and very cuddly. Mike too this picture just minutes after he was born, when I held Danny for the first time. We are already smitten with our little blond cherub.

Yesterday was Daniel's birthday, and today is Mike's. My family had a birthday party for the two of them tonight in my hospital room, where they took this picture of us. Happy birthday to both of my beloved men!

I will share more pictures after I get home and settled. In the meanwhile, I'm resting comfortably and loving all the cuddles with the baby.

Mike and I are so touched by the outpouring of love and support from all our friends near and far. Thank you for cheering for us - every message has been cherished.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

06 January 2011 @ 05:46 pm

My official due date of January 3rd has come and gone, so we're officially on Baby Watch 2011 around here. He could come any day now, so stay tuned for our exciting news! I'll update my blogs with baby photos as soon as I can, and I'll be keeping my Facebook and Twitter accounts updated as we go. :)

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd share a few things that I've learned this year about how to photograph weddings while pregnant. I know that I was nervous about how to handle a pregnancy with my hectic and physically demanding career, and I would have loved to have someone offer me tips before I got started. So if you are a wedding photographer who is planning to have a baby soon, here are some tips to help you out.

Before you get pregnant

1. Get in shape.
Shooting weddings requires strength and endurance under normal conditions, so if you gain 25 pounds of awkwardly-distributed baby weight, you'll need to be very fit to handle an eight-hour wedding shoot. Thanks to Weight Watchers and frequent workouts, I lost 13 pounds before getting pregnant. By the time wedding season came along, I was strong enough to trek around steep mountain venues at 11,000 feet of altitude.

2. Try to schedule your pregnancy around wedding season.
Timing a pregnancy is very difficult for most people, but if you can, consider your wedding schedule while planning your pregnancy. I hoped to have a January baby, and amazingly, that worked out just right for us.

My slower spring months took place during my first trimester, when I was at my sickest. By the time my hectic summer months of July, August, and September arrived, I was in my second trimester and feeling much livelier. My last wedding of the year took place in mid-November, when I was 7.5 months along and still very active. I wouldn't have wanted to shoot later than eight months along, because by then I was large, unwieldly, and achy.

The baby is due to arrive in January, my slowest month of the year. I'll have a few months of maternity leave before wedding season begins again.

Surviving morning sickness

1. Rely on adrenaline
I won't sugarcoat it: morning sickness is a lot worse than I'd expected. I was sick all day, every day, for about 17 or 18 weeks. But every weekend I'd arrive at a wedding and suddenly feel great. The excitement of the wedding, the stress of the job, and the thrill of loving my work all created a happy buzz that I could only attribute to adrenaline. Often the only time I felt good was while shooting. If you find yourself suffering from morning sickness, just dive right into the photo shoot and you'll be fine. Really.

2. Bring food and water.
I felt sicker when I was hungry. As soon as hunger pangs hit, I would need to eat immediately. During my morning sickness months, I brought tons of easily digestible snacks to weddings, such as bagels, oranges, and snack bars. Hydration is also extremely important, because pregnant women need more water than other people. Do not let yourself skip water breaks.

3. Rest during the weekdays.
Take as many naps and breaks as you can manage when you're not shooting. I was lucky enough to have a few hours of productive time per day before I started feeling really sick. I used those morning hours to get tons of work done before lying down during the rough afternoon hours. I don't know who in their right mind named it "morning sickness" -- morning was the only time I felt decent!

Outsource what you can

1. Hire good help for the wedding days.
It's risky for a pregnant woman to carry heavy bags, so consider hiring an assistant to do your heavy lifting for you. If you find yourself needing more breaks to rest your feet or use the restroom, make sure that you bring a skilled second shooter to cover those moments.

2. Hire help for when you're not shooting.
Outsource your work during the weekdays, too. If you're too tired or sick to spend much time at the computer, outsource your photo processing. Or hire a bookkeeper. Or administrative assistant. I decided that I wanted to keep doing my own work for the business, but I hired a house cleaner to take care of the home that I was neglecting. I loved having someone clean the house while I was napping!

If your photographer turns out to be pregnant

Please don't worry! I created some of my best work of all time this year, so the pregnancy didn't slow me down at all. Take good care of your pregnant photographer, and offer her lots of water, and everything will be just fine.

Later this year I plan to share tips on how to photograph your babies, so stay tuned!
30 December 2010 @ 02:01 pm

Flushmount wedding albums

Now that Christmas has passed, I can share the beautiful albums from Liz and Brian's wedding. They ordered five albums: a 12x12 leather flushmount album for themselves, two 8x8 leather flushmounts for their parents, and two 8x8 leather coffee table books for their grandparents. I really loved their winter wedding at Donovan Pavilion in Vail, and the final albums are beautiful.

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28 December 2010 @ 09:59 am

senior portrait

After posting several of my favorite wedding photos of 2010 last week, I thought I'd complete the set by including a collection of some of the portraits that I've loved through the year. 2010 gave me an opportunity to photograph engaged couples, families, children, and two births.

More of my favorite portraits of the yearCollapse )
21 December 2010 @ 02:44 pm

Bride and groom under double rainbow

It's been such a full year for me! In addition to nine months of pregnancy and a move from Colorado to Virginia, 2010 also marketed my busiest photography year so far. I had fun looking back through the year's images and choosing some of my favorites. It was hard to narrow them down, but here are some of the ones that really stood out to me this year.

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19 December 2010 @ 07:18 pm

38 weeks pregnant
Mike + me + 1
December 19, 2010

Today I'm 38 weeks pregnant! The baby is full term, and we're just waiting for him to make his debut. The pregnancy has been going well, and the baby seems to be doing great. I feel fine and I'm reasonably active these days, but I do have more backaches and insomnia than ever. I think we have just about everything prepared for the little guy's arrival, so at this point, we're just waiting. I'm excited and trying not to get nervous!

Today my mother took some pictures of Mike and me and the baby bump. Thanks, Mom!

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16 December 2010 @ 08:24 pm

Wedding bouquet made of jewelry
Wedding bouquet made of heirloom jewelry

I saw such clever and beautiful wedding details this year! I thought it would be fun to highlight some of my favorites of 2010 in a blog post. Here are some of the most interesting decorations, flowers, accessories, and food that I saw at weddings this year!

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15 December 2010 @ 01:56 am
Now that it is a busy time of year for wedding album design, I thought I'd offer some tips for brides and grooms who are selecting photos for their albums. It can be difficult to choose the right pictures, especially when you can't visualize how they will all go together in the book.

Because your photographer is experienced in album design, he or she will know what sorts of photographs to include. If you have any concerns about the selection process, I urge you to have your photographer select the photos. I offer my clients a choice: they can choose all the photos, or I can do it. After I design a first draft of an album, my clients can request any changes, so they always have total control over the photos that go in the final book.

If you'd like to choose the photos for your book, here are some tips to follow:
1. Start with a cover image that is meaningful and appropriate.
2. Choose a photo that would make a great opening image on page 1.
3. Include several photos of the details.
4. Include photos that show both action and reaction.
5. Be consistent with photos of family within the general flow of the album.
6. Don't choose photos that won't fit with any other pictures.
7. Trust your photographer's judgment about color vs. black and white.
8. Choose a closing photo for the last page.

More information and example picturesCollapse )
06 December 2010 @ 11:04 am

Japanese maple

Early December is technically still autumn, but it always felt like winter in Colorado. Here in Virginia there are still a few colorful leaves on the trees, mostly due to the gorgeous Japanese maples that are sprinkled throughout town. This one in my parents' front yard keeps me craving pumpkin soup and apple cider. Its bold red color is also a great transition to Christmastime, making the Japanese maple the perfect early December tree!
02 December 2010 @ 07:43 pm

It's album season! I've been busy designing lots of albums for my wedding clients, and it's always fun to receive the finished books in the mail. This one arrived today, and it's gorgeous! Mae and Robby got married in San Francisco, with a reception at the Cliff House, on the Pacific coast. I love this album of their beautiful wedding!

They ordered a 9x12 horizontal Fine Art Book, which is one of my favorite products and sizes that I offer. The book is contemporary, sleek, and lovely, with vivid colors and slightly textured pages.

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01 December 2010 @ 02:48 pm

Stephanie, Baby-to-be, and me, reaping the benefits of our wedding photo booth

Yesterday I posted Part 1 of my annual Behind the Scenes photos. Here's the second half! As the year went on, my belly got bigger, my morning sickness got smaller, and my full wedding schedule marched on. Some of my good friends second shot with me, and as you can see above, much hilarity resulted.

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