Susie & Becky » Washington DC, MD & VA Wedding Photographer

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You know the crazy thing about Nicholas’ first birthday? If you asked me what I was doing last February 26th… I don’t have the foggiest idea.  If you ask me what I remember… nothing. There was NOTHING special to us about February 26th last year, because we had never heard of Nicholas. We knew nothing of his arrival. For two more months, we would continue to pray for the 4th child God had for our family, not even knowing that he was born.  The only thing I remember about last February was feeling so discouraged about our adoption process that one Sunday morning in church, I prayed to God that He would just…. just show me in some way if it was time to simply shut down the whole process.  I received a very clear answer to that prayer: this was a path we had to continue on. So the ONLY thing I remember about this time last year was knowing we should stay still and patient… that something good was going to come from all the waiting.

While we were waiting and praying, we were oblivious to the fact that a heroic woman had chosen life and chosen adoption for this beautiful, precious boy. There is a woman who very clearly remembers February 26th last year. She remembers every detail of the labor and delivery and, when it was all over, telling the nurses the name she had chosen for him: Nicholas Isaiah. If this post does anything, I want it to honor the woman who sacrificed her body to carry our son, who chose life and adoption and gave us a gift of incalculable value.

Honestly… is there greater love on earth?

There’s another woman who remembers February 26th last year. Around dinnertime, Judy received a phone call that her 170th cradle care baby (yes – one hundred seventy-th!! – and there have been several after Nicholas!) would be coming to stay for an indefinite length of time. I know she stayed up very late that night waiting to welcome Nicholas into her capable and loving arms. For two more months, Judy loved and loved and LOVED our little Nicholas through many long and trying nights.

What words are there for this kind of love?

So today, on Nicholas’ first birthday, I’m humbled to know I am actually the third woman to love Nicholas. The pictures I’m going to share tell the story of the last 10 months of his life. But just know that his story starts before this first picture. It’s a story of being loved. If there was EVER a little boy who was loved… it’s Nicholas.



That picture above is the very first one that I sent to friends and family. When we finally heard about Nicholas in April it all happened SO quickly that I could hardly believe it myself…. I really feared my friends and family might thing I was making it all up! So I sent out that picture from our hotel room the same afternoon we got home from the agency (in April I’ll do a post full of pictures from when we met him).



Judy, Nicholas’s cradle care mom, came to visit us a lot in the two weeks between when we met Nicholas and when I could travel home with him.



Jack, Marcus, and John were home during the week for school, but they came to visit on the weekends.




Joshua stayed back with me and he and Nicholas bonded immediately.



Our beloved best babysitter requested leave from her post in the Navy and drove 6-7 hours to meet Nicholas!!!!  She was back within 24 hours.



We finally got the little guy home… on Mother’s Day, no less!!!!:-)



Patapsco 11042014 1219Patapsco 11042014 1308Patapsco 11042014 1622Nicholas HAIR at 11 months 1033


Coming soon… the debut of the new haircut!!!!!


Nicholas First Birthay 1045


— Becky

Sharon L Case - February 26, 2015 - 4:57 pm

Becky your children are so adorable. Your first two boys are growing so fast. Lovely family. Blessed family.

This is the second post in our Photography for 4th Graders series, born from a seminar that Becky has taught twice to 4th graders at her kid’s elementary school. It’s perfect for anyone interested in learning how to create higher impact images by using composition and light more effectively. See below for links to additional lessons!

Main Point:

If you learn to see symmetry everywhere, you will take pictures that make a viewer stop and STARE!! (Like that, don’t you? Just call me Mrs. Seuss)


1. Symmetry makes us feel calm and peaceful, so keep your image calm and peaceful by cropping out everything except the symmetrical parts.

I took this image on an invitation – there were lots and lots of words below this graphic element, but I made sure to only include the symmetrical wreath.


Susie took this image a few years back and I love it! This was a busy, full, chaotic reception room and Susie noticed the symmetry in this toast and quickly took a shot of it. To me, this image is especially powerful because only the symmetrical arms are included.



I took this in a very busy room that I normally wouldn’t have noticed… BUT it was one of the warmest places we could work on a very cold shoot.  I wanted to stay in this spot as LONG as possible and so was looking to accomplish a lot of different looks in the same space.  I saw that this part of the ceiling was perfectly symmetrical and thought I’d experiment a little bit.  You may not love this image – or you might! – but it’s always important to look for different ways to see a space.  One way to do that is to isolate symmetrical sections you may overlook in an intial scan.



This was a nice wide shot – as wide as I could possibly go.  (By “wide” I mean “zoomed out”.) I would have loved to zoom out even farther, but I couldn’t – it wouldn’t be symmetrical anymore if I did!  If you look to the left of the groomsmen, you see the very beginning of a set of windows.  There weren’t any windows on the other side, so I had to compose this shot exactly as I did.



3. You don’t always have to find symmetry. Symmetry can be created intentionally by the photographer.  All you have to do is choose a simple background and arrange objects symmetrically.  This is a great way to make a photo very dramatic!



3. Symmetrical compositions often still benefit from the rule of thirds.

In the photographs below, each of the subjects is still along the bottom third line, rather than being in the exactly in the middle of the frame.



4. Consider using a diagonal line of symmetry.

When I saw this fallen log, my first thought was “Symmetry!”… a very colorful line of symmetry!



This also uses a diagonal line of composition… there are actually TWO lines of symmetry! First is the line of symmetry created by the seam in the tabletop. This is the main line of symmetry and I made sure to put the garlic and the red circles (almost) symmetrically across that line.  The other line of symmetry is formed by the handles of the red garlic press.


04 Symmetry on diaganol


5. Just because you’re using symmetry doesn’t mean you have to put the subject in the center. The photograph has a little more tension and interest when you don’t….


02 Symmetry does NOT mean subject in middle (2)


and it’s calmer to the eye when you do. Experiment with both!!


Becca and Nick Engagement 11010


5. Use symmetry to compare/contrast and show similarities/differences.

I did this session on a very cold spring morning and we were the only people at the stables. The calm was really a big part of the story that day and I wanted to show the empty stall to help tell the story.


05 Use symmetry to compare (2)


Homework (choose one or more):

1. Take a photo of a symmetrical OBJECT (for instance, an open book).  Make sure you crop out everything except the symmetrical part.
2. Take a photo of a symmetrical PLACE in or outside your home (for instance, two trees next to each other, a set of steps, or a bed).  Make sure you crop out everything except the symmetry.
3. Find a subject and use the symmetry in #1 or #2 to draw attention to the subject.
4. Position two objects (or two people) to create symmetry yourself (instead of finding something that is already symmetrical).
5. BONUS – use symmetry and the rule of thirds at the same time.


The best part about the seminar I do with the 4th graders is discussing their work with them!  Feel free to post a picture in the comment section below!!:-)

Missed a class? Follow the links below:


I. Composition
Choosing what goes into a frame and where to put it. The idea with composition is to place a subject and background together in a way that tells one story!!
1. Rule of Thirds
2. Symmetry
3. Leading Lines
4. Natural Frames
5. Color and Clutter

II. Lighting
Learning to see and use natural light to create a mood and attract the eye.
6. Dynamic Range
7. Expose for the Subject
8. Hard Light vs. Soft Light
9. Backlight vs. Frontlight

This post is one that I’m so thankful to be doing! I’m currently 32 weeks pregnant and can’t believe I’m only about 8 weeks from holding our baby girl. There were times when I didn’t know if I would be on this side of the pregnancy because the first few months were extremely rough.

Last fall only a week or so after I found out I was pregnant, I went to bed because I was feeling so horrible. I was in bed 8 weeks total, and was so grateful that Becky was able to completely handle everything with our photography, because I couldn’t even think straight at that point.

Thankfully, I started improving around mid-November (thanks to a great doctor, medication, and diet changes) and the last few months have been so much better. I’ve been able to live normally again, which makes me (and my husband!) very happy. Akie did such a wonderful job of taking care of everything at home while I was sick, I really don’t know how I would have made it without him.  And, of course, I’m most thankful to God for giving us this baby and for bringing me this far in the pregnancy.  It really has been neat to watch His hand at work in our lives.

Now, I’m getting excited about finishing the nursery, registering for baby stuff, and getting the final things ready for the baby!

Thanks to Shelby for renting us her gorgeous studio for this shoot!  I can’t imagine doing the whole thing outdoors in 15 degree weather.:)

Warning: there are lots of photos in this post!  I had to work hard to get it down this far, because Becky did such a great job with the session I loved so many photos!  I can’t wait to put together an album with these and our baby’s newborn photos.

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I braved the cold for about 2 minutes to get a few outdoor/snow photos.  I figured it would be worth trying and I really like these shots Becky got.

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Then it was back inside to the warm studio.  :)

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Anita Yoder Matta - February 24, 2015 - 2:06 pm

Awww, I love them! You’re so adorable! I cannot wait to see your baby!

Rachel Barker Weaver - February 24, 2015 - 2:23 pm


Rachel Barker Weaver - February 24, 2015 - 2:23 pm

Beautiful! I can’t wait to see the baby photos. Congrats to you all.

Irina Yoder - February 24, 2015 - 2:25 pm

so much prettiness!

Kristina Schafer - February 24, 2015 - 2:31 pm

I love the pictures!!!! Very beautiful!!!!

Joel AndMadison Holloway - February 25, 2015 - 4:37 am

Beautiful! Where did you get the white dress/gown???

Judy Patterson - February 26, 2015 - 3:39 am

Simply beautiful!