Portrait Story Images: Blog https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog en-us Copyright Uyen Dang | Portrait Story Images, LLC | Reston, VA [email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:44:00 GMT https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/img/s/v-12/u851910342-o675244760-50.jpg Portrait Story Images: Blog https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog 120 80 Hunt for Bluebonnets https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/4/hunt---for---blue---bonnets

Although I had visited Texas on a few occasions over the last two decades, most of the visits were brief spent with family and a few friends. Ever since I left Texas, I reminisce about the spring blue bonnets that carpet their highways and byways. I remember in the early days of living in Virginia wondering how I grow those lovely lupines on the east coast. And as the years passed, my memories of those blue bonnets waned and my floral passion was replaced white images of the snowy delicate Washington cherry blossoms. However, this past Easter weekend I got the surprise chance to re-experience one of my first floral loves the Texas blue bonnets.

Sam Houston Statue Along Texas Highway Interstate I-45Sam Houston StatueSam Houston Statue Along Texas Highway Interstate I-45

So the early Easter Saturday pre-dawn drive, I was hoping I would be seeking a chance to photograph them. It was the Sam Houston statue along highway I-45 that prompted me to pull off the side of the highway, and find my first patch of blue bonnets. True to Texas style, the statue was an eye-catcher for the little town of Huntsville, Texas - not to be mistaken for the Alabama city. There is a nice little shop and museum to check out if you have the time.

Blue bonnets at SunriseBlue bonnets at SunriseBlue bonnets & Indian Paintbrush at Sunrise

 An occasional break in the clouds allowed me to get this spectacular shot of sun flare kissing the tops of the flowers. Along with the blue bonnets the pop of contrasting red that dots the fields are the "Indian Paintbrush" wild flowers and a some dainty yellow flowers called Tickseeds, or by their latin name Coreopsis.

Indian PaintbrushIndian PaintbrushIndian Paintbrush

Indian PaintbrushIndian PaintbrushIndian Paintbrush

Tickseed wild flowersTickseed wild flowersTickseed wild flowers

As impressive the statue was my eyes kept scanning the highway for my blue carpet of blue bonnets or any iconic Texas scenes - like these grazing cows! And there was a turn off where I was able to get close enough to the bovines. I always have a funny dynamic with farm animals. Maybe because I am not used to their looks, but when I seem to catch their attention I have the feeling that they are eyeing at me like - "What do you think you're doing?" stare. 

Grazing cattle with little house and cloudy skies.Grazing cattle with little house and cloudy skies.Grazing cattle with little house and cloudy skies.

Three Cows GrazingCattle StareThree Cows Grazing and Staring At Me

Lone Cow Grazing at SunriseCow at SunriseLone Cow Grazing at Sunrise

Tickseed flowers in foreground with little house in the backgroundYellow flower sunriseTickseed flowers in foreground with little house in the background

Wild flowers, barn and sunriseWild flowers, barn and sunriseWild flowers, barn and sunrise

I still didn't have the image that I was hoping to capture of the a hillside blanketed with the blue bonnets. As I got closer to Dallas I was sure I would find a hill with them. And to my delight, I found a tall hill cascading with the waves of lush bonnets. As precarious it was to pull off the side of the highway as speedy semi-trucks whizzed by, I was able to photograph the iconic wildflowers fluttering in the morning breeze.

Bluebonnet Cascade Bluebonnet Cascade Hillside of blue bonnets Fluttering Blue bonnetsFluttering Blue bonnetsFluttering Blue bonnets  





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Blue Bonnets Easter I-45 Sam Houston Texas flowers spring https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/4/hunt---for---blue---bonnets Fri, 10 Apr 2015 19:58:38 GMT
Early Arrivals - Maternity Portraits - Owings Mills https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/2/early-arrivals---maternity-portraits---owings-mills  

A few weeks ago I had a blast taking maternity portraits for Jen & Robert. Since I am not familiar with the area, I asked Jen to pick out some spots for me. She choose two locations down the street from their home. And it was perfect for that Sunday afternoon session, especially when we get to be joined by their young pup Max. Since it was a maternity session, I did want to capture some classic poses in their home. After some scoping around their home, I was pleased to find a nice corner with a window light for a few initial portraits with the both of them. 


It was so fun to be able to incorporate little baby shoes into the portrait.  


And of course, there has to be a shot of soon-to-be daddy kissing the baby belly!


After our home session, we drove to a little park near their home. It was such a fabulous location with a little rustic farm-like houses, plenty of woodsy grasses and overgrown ivy covered trees. 

Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitOwings Mills - Maternity PortraitOwings Mills - Maternity Portrait

Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitOwings Mills - Maternity PortraitOwings Mills - Maternity Portrait

Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait26-3337-jarrett-owningsmill-maternityJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait

Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait

Now we get to introduce Max, their energetic pup. The second outdoor location was only a mile away in their neighborhood walking trail. Max was quite happy in his natural element.   

Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait

With this trio it wasn't hard for me get to get a number of handsome family portraits whether it was standing next to the walking path, rummaging through the woods to get to the creek or resting on a big rock. 

Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait

I came to find out that Max, being the protector - as his breed is known for, always jumps to get in the middle of Jen & Robert whenever Robert goes in for the kiss. 

Jarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity PortraitJarrett - Owings Mills - Maternity Portrait

At the time of their maternity session, the baby was about four weeks due. Luckily for them, they had already chosen a name for their precious baby girl. I am so excited that they got to welcome an early arrival for baby Jocelyn this last week! Congratulations to Jen & Robert, lots of love to your new beautiful baby and family!   19-3296-jarrett-owningsmill-maternity19-3296-jarrett-owningsmill-maternity








[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) MD Owings Mills maryland maternity portraits winter https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/2/early-arrivals---maternity-portraits---owings-mills Thu, 12 Feb 2015 22:27:10 GMT
Celebrating Love - Engagement - Georgetown https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/2/celebrating-love---engagement---georgetown

Valentine's Day is coming up soon and it almost coincides with the Vietnamese New Year. And for one of my couples that I photographed before, they will be having their wedding in Vietnam close to the most celebrated holiday for that country.  I wanted to celebrate their upcoming wedding by sharing a few of their cheery engagement portraits in Georgetown. Many blessings and joy to Dao & Justin!







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Georgetown Georgetown Waterfront autumn couples engagement engagement portraits fall https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/2/celebrating-love---engagement---georgetown Thu, 05 Feb 2015 22:34:16 GMT
Belmont Estate - Family Portraits - Fredericksburg https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/1/belmont-estate---family-portraits---fredericksburg

This was an unseasonably warm weekend at the end of December for this family portrait shoot. I ventured down south to Stafford County to a lovely little gem on the grounds of Belmont Estates. It is the home to the home and studio for Gari and Corinne Melchers. The estate is nestled right off of I-95 near Fredericksburg. And though it is winter there is so much character on the grounds of the colonial estate. The extended family portraits for this day included three sets of families. My friend, Winn wanted to give the portraits as a gift for her brother, her parents and her brother's in-law's family. Since they were all coming together for Christmas it was a perfect time to shoot their portraits.

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family PortraitsWhaley Family Portraits

Like many busy families, this session would be the first formal portraits for her brother since their wedding. Initially hesitant that their daughters will be so energetic they would not be able to get a perfect portrait.  Assuring them this is exactly what I hoped to capture, these images show the essence of these two lively girls. Indeed, their daughter had so much energy, spunk and sass. The younger daughter would just get up with such explorative attitude or when she running after their Pop-Pop. On the other hand her older sister had such sweet shyness jumping along the cobbled path.   

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA

It is easy to see how the love from both sets of grandparents overflows to the entire family. All the couples were amused by my request for them to give each of their spouses the little love pecks. 

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA   Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA

Yet one of my favorite couples portrait came from Winn's parents where there's just a confident ease, connection and joy that exudes from the two. 

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA

Coming from a large family myself, I find it rare to have just a portrait with each of my siblings. So it was nice to sneak in a few portraits with the sisters together and the brother-sister portraits.  

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA

Lastly, the amazing woman who orchestrated this portrait session for her family and her brother's in-laws family portrait needed to have a few portrait shots for herself.  She's one of the most generous hearted people I personally know and has one of the best smiles anywhere, and as I recall another friend once quoted "wished she could bottle the sunshine" of her smile. I was glad to be able to give her a few well deserved portraits for this awesome woman! 

Whaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VAWhaley Family Portraits - Stafford, Fredericksburg - VA







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Belmont Estate Fredericksburg Gari Melchers Home Stafford Virginia family portraits https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2015/1/belmont-estate---family-portraits---fredericksburg Mon, 12 Jan 2015 23:34:56 GMT
Waterfalls & Overlooks https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/10/waterfalls-overlooks

Within a few hours we have access to spectacular and scenic parks. The most popular is the Shenandoah Skyline drive. Last weekend was the start of the peak season.

Luckily I got to join one of my friends when she was showing some visitors our great National parks. One of those visitors came to visit from Vietnam so it was especially exciting for him as a photographer to experience the fall in America. As any photographer has experienced visiting a place like the Shenadoah you can easily spend 30 mins one spot and that's before you leave the rest stop!

Getting the backlighting on this one leaf alone would fascinate a photographer for endless minutes.

It was also to great to get pointers from a fashion photographer. Here my friend got to be the model for our amusement. The backdrop of the fall colors are irresistible. 

Although we had some ambitious plans to hike the Hawksbill Mountain trail, due to time left we opted for the Dark Hollows Falls trail. With the number of falls along the path it was a challenge to explore where the light would best illuminate the scene. For an image below, I was able to recover the shadows through post-processing. 

Even with the best technology and skill, nothing beats experiencing the outdoors for yourself. The blue skies, the rustle of the leaves in the breeze, and the smell of the fallen leaves. I wish I was like this woman in this photo who enjoy this beautiful waterfall.

The good and bad thing about landscape photography is that you have to bring a tripod to capture steady images. And the guys on this trip was kind enough to carry my tripod for me. This helped to allow me to experiment and take a few of these beautiful waterfall shots.

Dark Hollow FallsDark Hollow FallsDark Hollow Falls

On our way home we were chasing the light hoping to catch the best view of the valleys lit by the sunset. These are some of the last few images from the day, and for some reason I love framing the image with these deadwood trees. 

After a good long sleep and taking a few Advil, I decided to join my friends to visit one of my favorite little towns - Harper's Ferry, WV. The last time I was there, I did not get to fully climb the Maryland Heights overlook trail with my small group. This time I was determined to make it up to the overlook. My favorite part of the trail was a grove of these tall trees which were in the midst of turning from green to yellow. 

With much anticipation, we finally arrived at the overlook along with a dozen of other hikers. And this was the gorgeous view that awarded us. 







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Harpers Ferry Shenandoah autumn fall https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/10/waterfalls-overlooks Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:34:26 GMT
Owings Mills Vietnamese Engagement Ceremony https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/10/owings-mill-engagement-ceremony

In today's age of over-the-top engagement proposals, I find it so sweet when a young couple holds the traditional Vietnamese engagement ceremony. Earlier this month one such young couple reached out me to photograph their special day. Justin and Dao was hosting a simple ceremony up in Owings Mills, Maryland. Even though the morning started off a little bit foggy, I could tell it will be a nice sunny day for the event. I love the cute archway outside the door for the guests and the sign that Dao's friend wrote for them - it was a perfect blend of the traditional and a little of the rustic trendy style of the chalkboard.  

What I enjoyed most about the day was the real ease and laid-back this couple was all morning. There was a peace in both homes as I photographed the bride-to-be and with Justin as he prepared to go to her house. And you can really sense this ease and sweetness in the both of them in these series of portraits of the two.

In every engagement ceremony the bride-to-be has to ask a number of young ladies to represent the bride's side to receive all the gift's of the groom-to-be. What I always find so delightful are the beautiful traditional ao dai's (long dresses) they are just so colorful and youthful. I love this sassy shot of these beautiful young women and the big group hug for the couple. 

Another favorite, is of the mother-and-daughter portrait which have so much sentiment. Dao's mom flew in from Vietnam for the engagement and you can just see the joy and pride in her eyes. 

Speaking of joy, I love a group picture of Justin's extended family raising the roof. They were so happy for the couple I know that surely laughter is a big part of this family. What I enjoy about these traditional engagement ceremonies is the intimacy of the event, the introductions of two families, and chance to honor the relatives families of the couple. Best wishes to Justin & Dao!







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Maryland Owings Mills autumn engagement fall https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/10/owings-mill-engagement-ceremony Fri, 10 Oct 2014 21:43:03 GMT
Bowne Printers on Water St NYC https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/9/bowne-printers-on-water-st-nyc

Bowne Printers on Water Street NYC

In a recent visit to New York, I had a chance to stroll to the South Street Seaport just past Wall Street. I had only briefly visited this area once before and wanted to revisit it. This was when I walked past this quaint press printing shop and museum. 

I love the texture of fine paper and have an appreciation for classic prints like what I discovered in this little shop. Seeing that they had a few presses on display, I could not resist taking a few snaps of the ornate presses. I love wrought iron eagle and the worn patina of such an industrial equipment.

Hoping to see a demonstration of the press in action, one of their employees - Ally - obliged my curiosity.  He explained how the typeset were wooden, and that this press was setup for test prints or small batch printing. I was hoping to find a nice gift for my niece so he set the type with her name. And I remember my days in art class of inking and hearing the ink crackle once you've rolled over the type block a few times. 

Test Print Test Print And as simple as that you've got a test print. He shows me the characteristics of the print how some letters have that salted look and what they would need to do to fix it. So fascinating to me this entire process. I love the tactile nature of an art form like press printing. The mechanics of placing spacers between the letters, and setting up the roller properly and even the risk that each print isn't exactly the same. I hope that this little print shop will see better days ahead and that it can be appreciated by future generations. If you want to visit for yourself, here's a link with some information about their shop at the South Street Museum website.

Test Print Test Print






[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Bowne Printer New York City nyc small business https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/9/bowne-printers-on-water-st-nyc Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:51:09 GMT
Summer Classic Portraits https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/8/summer-classic-portraits

The explorer in me loves revisiting a location and finding new places to photograph. The changes in the season truly provides a gorgeous back drop, and for this a recent summer mini-session portrait experience it made it more exciting seek out those spots to photograph.  My lovely client has quiet sweet beauty about her that she was a breeze to photograph.  Her classic beauty reminds me those portraits of my parent's generation. 








[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Mini-Portrait Session Summer https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/8/summer-classic-portraits Thu, 28 Aug 2014 21:01:18 GMT
Conversations on the Boardwalk Video https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/7/fuel_video_blogpost

Last year, I got a chance to experience and film the Mclean Bible Church Fuel Single's community in action as they engaged in thoughtful conversations on the Ocean City boardwalk. This was my first time trying out a rented camera with video capabilities. I was also excited to try out the newly learned filming techniques I acquired from CreativeLive courses. After a number of initial edits, I just didn't feel the video was just right, so I didn't touch editing it for months. 

One morning in Fuel I got to hear the presentation and goals for this year's conversations on the beach. They wanted incorporate the creative ways they to reach out to the community that they learned from last year. And I kept thinking the video would be perfect way to communicate and to show what was done lat year. So it spurred me to revisit the video.  

Music really sets the tone of a video is the soundtrack, up until then the track I used just didn't fit. After listening to tracks for hours online from The Music Bed a music licensing site, I found a few cinematic songs. I would get more excited each time I replayed these songs over the video to decide what soundtrack to use.  I finally kept coming back to this one aptly titled, "The Father's Heart."  The music perfectly synched to the progression of the mood of the cuts and in the end it leaves you with a hopeful upbeat mood. When I finally obtained the music and replaced the original soundtrack, I knew it was done. 

Most of all this video made me excited for this upcoming beach retreat, and all the simple ways our community can share and engage in thoughtful conversations about the gospel.

Hope you enjoy!

Conversations on the Boardwalk 2013Conversations on the Boardwalk 2013, Fuel Singles Beach Retreat, Ocean City MD

Music - Tony Anderson - The Father's Heart





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Beach Beach Retreat Conversations on the Boardwalk Ocean City, MD video https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/7/fuel_video_blogpost Tue, 29 Jul 2014 19:38:26 GMT
Longwood Gardens Bloom https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/4/longwood-gardens-bloom

Today's torrential shower made me long for the beautiful day trip I had out to Longwood Gardens, http://longwoodgardens.org,  in PA last week. I had heard great things about the Gardens and was excited to see it for myself. Thanks to an offer of other fellow photographers we headed out there on a crisp Monday morning. The grounds and the conservatory are amazingly stunning with flowers, plants and blooms of all colors. It's hard to take it all in and figure out what to photograph because there was so much to choose. We were given limited time in the conservatory with our tripods and so it was important for me to survey what I wanted to photograph. It's like going to a restaurant where you find the dishes you like but want to branch out and try something new. And a constant challenge I try to pose to myself is to look at the flowers differently. 

One of the first striking flowers were these 4-5 ft tall "Tower of Jewels" from the Canary Islands. I had never seen them before, with the spikey foliages and tiny blooms nestled in between them. I wanted to photograph them with the back lighting to show the fuzziness of the curled up leaves.

Tower of Jewels Backlighting the Tower of Jewels spikey furry foliage.

In the photography, there's a term called "chimping" which refers to the sound that people make when they review their images from the back of their cameras. I was chimping even before I picked up my camera. And I must give it to the planners of the gardens on their excellent use of color. The sunny yellow calla lily among the walkway of blue hydrangeas immediately caught my eyes. 

Yellow Duet of Calla Lily Nestled in Blue Hydrangea Yellow Duet of Calla Lily Nestled in Blue Hydrangea

An increasing favorite flower of mine is the ranunculus, and carpeting the aisle are these delightful hot pink Asian Buttercup varieties. I wanted to show the pillowly layers of the petals.  

In the kids garden there were small fairy irises along the paths. Even though we were inside the slightest breeze through the conservatory gave this image the nice dreamy blurred effect. 

Fairy Iris

I was really surprised how much I am beginning to like cactuses as plants. They have such defined and strong patterns to them that I am attracted to them. 

The agave plants dusty pale green color contrasted by their pointed barbs.  

Parry Agave

Photographing in bright daylight is always a challenge, but I enjoy trying to see how to use the strong contrasting light in my compositions. This was one of my favorites how the light sculpts it's pattern on the leaves. 

Century Plant - Agave

As well because of the light you can see how on a cactus the little water droplet is the focus of this image and how important water is to these cactuses.

Speaking of water, the fountains in the conservatory are so soothing and amusing, like this lotus fountain. I love freezing the action of the water sparkles and splashes.  I have so many more images from the trip that I may just end this post with this one. 









[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Longwood Garden flowers https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/4/longwood-gardens-bloom Wed, 30 Apr 2014 21:47:43 GMT
Universal Hello https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/4/universal-hello

I am so glad that spring is finally here, but this drop in temperature reminded me of a stroll I took with my friend Theresa and her mom.  Before this winter she had not seen her mom for three years after she left Egypt. I remember meeting her mom for the first time at Silver Diner one evening, and wanted to photograph them. So one Monday, we met up and walked around Old Town Alexandria. The warm sun was much welcomed given this long harsh winter we've had. I just wanted to casually take their portraits especially with the language barrier, it was really difficult to connect with her mom. She was so tiny and even with the sun, it was still a chilly day. After looking through all my images from that day, I was surprised to notice her wave at me - I got an expression after all! So this was one of my favorites. Next to the smile, a wave is universal.






[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Old Town Alexandria mothers https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/4/universal-hello Fri, 18 Apr 2014 17:58:25 GMT
Winter Love Birds - Amy & William - College Park MD https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/2/winter-love-birds---amy-william---college-park-md

Usually birds fly south to warmer climates, for these two love birds they flew north to visit their family in Maryland and a decided to sneak in a quick engagement portrait session on their weekend visit.  Amy, a sister of my close friend, and her fiancĂ© William met me at the Busboys & Poets cafe in Hyattsville for a pre-session chat to break the ice.  Since I found out that they love food, I thought it would be a great venue to take a few snaps in the cafe to represent one of their shared passions.  

Cozy conversation at the Busboys and Poets cafeCozy conversation at the Busboys and Poets cafeCozy conversation at the Busboys and Poets cafe It's those simple moments like an adoring gazes that I always hope to catch when I photograph an engaged couple.  

 Or the peck on the check that makes this couple so adorable!  

Amy wanting to show her fiancĂ© her alma mater we heading down the street to the campus of the University of Maryland College Park campus. In the center of the campus is a long reflecting fountain, which on this frigid morning was frozen over. This shot was the first one snapped as we got to the fountain really shows the ominous clouds.  

It is always a pleasure to have a couple who can be playful with each other.  William insisted on this image of them kicking back their legs. For two Florida residents, they were great sports as they were not accustomed to this polar freeze we had experienced.

I love looking that things a little differently, so I took a portrait of the couple from the other side of the fountain. This is long view standing on the fountain as their legs dangled over the water caught them in a sweet moment. I'm sure William was wishing the sun would come out again. 

The great part of the campus are the tucked away benches, that provided a nice shelter for the couple to get warmed up in the afternoon sun.  And to their delight, the weather did reach the high 40's. This image is certainly of my favorite shots of the day. 







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) UMD cafe college park engagement maryland winter https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/2/winter-love-birds---amy-william---college-park-md Tue, 11 Feb 2014 01:46:40 GMT
Texas Vietnamese Engagement Tea Ceremony https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/1/texas-vietnamese-engagement-tea-ceremony

Over the Christmas holiday I got to travel back to Texas for my niece's engagement ceremony. The ceremony's symbolism and intention is rooted in honoring the bride's family. It is very similar to wedding tea ceremony in its elements of bringing gifts and serving the teas to the relatives. 

The most favorite moment of the ceremony as an auntie was when my sister guided my niece to the families.  To me this was the moment I feel that my sister presented her over to the future-in-laws. 

Since both families are Christian, the key emphasis is introducing both families, getting their blessing of the engagement and the promise that the families would pray for the couple and their marriage.

I'm so glad that my niece and her fiance were able to honor her parents wishes, and especially have the setting to see both families be introduced to one another. And especially I am so proud how God honoring and prayerful both have been in their courtship and relationship.  So happy for them, and look forward to seeing them get married.  

Women's Soccer - USA vs Brazil





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Engagement Houston Texas Vietnamese Winter tea ceremony https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2014/1/texas-vietnamese-engagement-tea-ceremony Tue, 14 Jan 2014 04:43:26 GMT
Folio Presentation Box & Boutique Packaging https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/folio-boutique-packaging

Gratitous Product Shots

All spring I have been researching the types of products I want to offer my clients as part of my Portrait Collections. And I have found these gorgeous presentation folio boxes. Keeping with my muted color theme, I choose the satin textured Cafe Au Latte cover with white trim for my 11x14 presentation box. So thrilled how they turned out. 

8x10 Boutique Box with 11x14 Presentation Box8x10 Boutique Box with 11x14 Presentation Box

The presentation box pictured here shows an 8x10 print in relation to the 11x14 box. The horizontal print inside of the box and standing vertical are 11x14 prints, which gives you a sense of size of these impressive images. 

11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Sample Images 8x10, 11x1411x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Sample Images 8x10, 11x14

A ribbon inside the box allows for ease of lifting the images up out of the box without harming the prints. The longevity of the prints are lengthened with this added touch. 

11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Open Box11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Open Box

Here's a close up of the luscious textured satin Cafe Au Latte fabric. 

11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Fabric, Ribbon Detail11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Fabric, Ribbon Detail11x14 Cafe Au Latte Presentation Box - Fabric, Ribbon Detail





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) 11x14 Presentation Box Cafe Au Latte https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/folio-boutique-packaging Fri, 25 Oct 2013 23:30:00 GMT
Mini-Session Update Fall's Golden Glow https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/mini-session-update-falls-golden-glow  

After the rain these past few weeks, it was getting a little discouraging that the sun would not come out for the fall mini-sessions.  Luckily I had one set of friends who I took their portraits before the schedule Fall Mini-Session promo weekend with the most perfect weather and lighting. The late afternoon golden glow just seem to bath and kiss every image we had taken. It was more than we could ask for that day.  Having their super adorable Boston Terrier, Tebeaux joining us added to the fun. Missy and Clinton were also a blast to photograph because they also have a great playful connection. I loved taking their portraits and can't wait to have more sessions like theirs!





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) bliss portraits couples portraits fall mini-session pet portraits reston w&od trail https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/mini-session-update-falls-golden-glow Mon, 21 Oct 2013 21:06:58 GMT
2013 Holiday Designer Card Collections https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/2013-holiday-card-collections

Customized 2013 Holiday Designer Card Collection

Holiday cards are such a personal way to send your thoughts across the miles to your friends and family. I'm so thrilled to offer a way to customize your own greeting cards by using professional portraits and personalize your own greeting message. These cards covers are a sample of my 2013 Holiday Designer Card Collection which are available in 5x7 Flat Cards as well as 5x7 Folded Cards. Each card are available in multiple yummy paper textures: Stock, Linen, Pearl, Recycled Paper and Classic Felt. 

I can't wait to see what images my clients will use for their own holiday cards. And it's not too late to schedule your portrait session with me to create your own customized card. 






[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) 2013 fall mini-session Holiday Cards https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/2013-holiday-card-collections Wed, 16 Oct 2013 13:20:00 GMT
Fall Mini-Session Promo https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/fall-mini-session-promo

Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year. As the leaves change and the burst of colors in the foliage, I love how the nippiness of the chill in the air comes ushering in.  This is also one of the best times to get the family portrait made before Washington's wintery mix descends in our area. There's still time to book your portrait mini-session for this month. Check out some scenes from the beautiful park location as well. You know where to contact me, [email protected]





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Mini-Session fall promo https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/10/fall-mini-session-promo Wed, 09 Oct 2013 14:00:00 GMT
Reflections 9/11 Memorial https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/9/reflections-9/11-memorial Over a decade later we who experience that day remember it as vividly happened yesterday. Each of us has a story of where they were day that and what they felt. This video are just a small reflection of what they have erected to honor the people who perished that day. 

The waters rush in tribute to the powerful flow of life that perished and the life must continue to flow on. 

Ground Zero Memorial

Music: Ryan Stewart - Memories

[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/9/reflections-9/11-memorial Wed, 11 Sep 2013 22:37:11 GMT
Regal Vizsla Pose https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/regal-vizsla-pose

Charlie, a regal Vizsla, poses on the couch with such dignity and glamour. This was one of my favorite images of my cousins dog at Hilton Head. 







[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) pet portrait regal https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/regal-vizsla-pose Sat, 17 Aug 2013 15:30:00 GMT
Family Heirloom - Dad's Camera https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/family-heirloom---dads-camera

During our family's escape we were fortunate to have our albums, few clothes, and a few precious items to America when we fled to America. Among one of these items is what inspired my design - my father's old Minolta 7a Hi-Matic. As a child I was so enamored with the feel of the leather case and stainless steel body. Although I never had a chance to take pictures from it, it certainly piqued my curiosity for photography. Instead, I was fascinated by all things the Kodak Disc Camera (this certainly dates me) - I digress.

Looking for ideas to represent my photography, I wanted to convey the classic and timeless images, photographs that would be passed from generation to generation.  A while back my mom gave me my father's camera to keep safe. It was tucked away in a drawer with my other camera gear, blending in with all the other leather cases. And one morning when I was searching for one of my lens, the name plate on the camera caught my eyes.

And then the spark of inspiration lit - my dad's camera! What a wonderful rediscovery. I pulled the camera out from the back of the drawer and excitedly looked for other items for props. From there I took the vintage camera out on the balcony, in the golden late afternoon light, I positioned it in every angle like it was the Hope Diamond. And with my macro lens, it just seemed to reveal the camera's beautiful rich details even down to the 60's embossed white-letter brown label with my dad's name on it.

While handling and photographing it, I wondered where did he take this camera? Did he take it with him on his travels a South Vietnamese Navy captain or was it just a family camera? What family memories were captured by it? With the fascination of vintage cameras like this, I am so fortunate to be the family keeper of the camera. 

And I am so proud that this heirloom gets to be a symbol of my photography business - timeless and classic photography.  What family heirlooms have sparked or inspired your inner curiosities or musings? What are your stories of your family keepsakes, I would love to hear from you!






[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) camera heirloom portrait story vintage https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/family-heirloom---dads-camera Thu, 15 Aug 2013 21:00:21 GMT
Poetry of Grace https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/poetry-of-grace

Graceful Poetry of the Traditional Ao Dai

Every country has their traditional dress, in the Vietnamese culture the epitome of grace and beauty is the Ao Dai (pronounced "Ow Yai"). Young girls would typically wear a plain white Ao Dai as their school uniform. And in modern days the dress is worn at special occasions, namely as apart of their bridal dress. For Vietnamese Americans outside of cultural events or weddings there isn't much chance to display the gorgeous flowing and body-fitting dress. My friend recently had a number of dresses custom made from Vietnam. At her recent birthday brunch, I suggested that we do a photo shoot with these lovely dresses. 

My friend is talented in music, but she recently discovered her gifting in writing.  Her story telling and poet's voice started to emerge this past year.  As she's described to me, these stories or poems would come as a flood. Some of these poems were only meant for herself, but a few have been shared on some forums. To her surprise, they have been so well received for her sentiments in her stories and poems have also hit a cord in other women's experiences. Although initially this photo shoot was to give her a chance to display her wonderful traditional dresses.  Inspired by her transformation, I wanted to create a portrait that reflects this deeper change.  This composite of three of my favorite image is my attempt to convey her journey in the discovery of her voice.  The first image of her face was so beautiful and contemporary, while the background images reflect the peacefulness of her smile, as well as the faint grace of the Ao Dai - her heritage. 





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) ao dai grace portraits poem vietnamese women https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/8/poetry-of-grace Fri, 09 Aug 2013 01:12:33 GMT
A Smile for Dad https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/7/a-smile-for-dad

I am incredibly thankful for each portrait session that I get to photograph, especially this latest one. As a photographer I love giving people both types of images, the ones where they are natural and relaxed. Equally, I love being able to capture that inner peaceful calm and strength that people don't realize is in them. One of my friends wanted to support me on my new launch of Portrait Story Images, so he contacted me for some portraits to promote some of his freelance development work. And like many men, they haven't ever had a professional portrait taken.  Working through guys initial feeling of awkwardness is normal, especially so for a self proclaimed introvert. 

When we discussed about what type of portraits he was looking for, it was an assortment of causal, professional, and relaxed. But one of my key images I wanted to capture for him is the strong pose. Amazingly even though he kept saying how this is out of his element, every gaze he gave me was perfectly relaxed and fixed on the camera.  There was very little coaxing to achieve that strong look.  

Unfortunately, this was session taken on Father's Day weekend, so he wasn't able to spend it with his dad.  And even though he initially did not have a reason for purchasing prints, he did selected the image below to give to his dad when he will surprise him later this month as a belated Father's day gift. The framed portrait looked really handsome in the frame. 

However, the one I was hoping he would have chose is the one where he is laughing. As a friend, this really reflects who he is. This is the type of portrait that I believe any dad would cherish.  I can't wait to hear back to see how his dad enjoyed his gift. What I love about portrait photography is when I get to show my clients sides of themselves that they don't get to see get noticed or appreciated such as the the strong pose or one's unique laughter. And even more so, is when the portraits reveal to them their own strength that was always within them.





[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) Father's Day Plaza America Reston Strength Portraits framed mens portraits https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/7/a-smile-for-dad Wed, 03 Jul 2013 16:00:28 GMT
Mom & Daughter https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/6/momdaughter

I love sharing portrait stories especially since I recently had the chance to give two amazing women a mother and daughter whose portrait session are featured on my website. One of the first times I recall witnessing them perform a duet at my church for Mother's Day when Emily was probably about 11 or 12 years old. The bond between them was so endearing, the brightness in Emily's eyes and smiles was beaming with pride that she got to sing with her mom on stage. As Emily's youth leader, sometimes Mai would ask me advice about how to relate to Emily while other times I would have to share insights to Emily about her mom's concerns. So as enviable as their beauty, is their friendship. Most of the time, when I ask one about the other there was always joy in their words for either of them.  

Mai humbly nurtured Emily as best as she could as a first generation parent, taking her to activities such karate and ice skating. Even Emily assisted in helping her mom with learning to be an expert aesthetician. Through the years, I got to witness how they truly love, admire, and adore each other. 

So I was truly honored when Emily posted on my Facebook wall about her experience and the portraits taken for them. They both are incredible women and someday I would hope to have this type of bond if I ever have a daughter of my own. 

"Thank you Co Uyen for capturing the light in my eyes. :) For years, I've admired moms hazel/green eyes and it is the first time I've seen it captured in someone else's photography. You gave us an amazing photo shoot session as mother and daughter that allowed us to bond and reconnect. You didn't just capture 'glamour', but you captured 'grace' ♥"






[email protected] (Portrait Story Images) https://www.portraitstoryimages.com/blog/2013/6/momdaughter Mon, 03 Jun 2013 21:42:26 GMT