the stratfords


I photographed Dani, Tim, Theo and Vika in their Alexandria home early this summer. Dani reached out to me because they haven't had an official portrait session since her and Tim's wedding (7 years ago). She wanted memorialize this time as a family of three. They have moved four times in the last few years and are really excited to begin setting into a routine. Taking the time to have this session was an opportunity to preserve a few memories that they can look back on with their kids some day.

Can you tell they are a dream client? I mean I was reading her questionnaire answers thinking, "these people are my soul mates", ha!

The day of the session, I was welcomed loving by Vika...their Vizsla and Theo treated me like I was one of the family. He would often look back to make sure I was " Lisa was coming", which was the sweetest thing ever. I ate dinner with Dani and Tim and got to taste some of the family cornbread recipe along with a fresh pot of chilli. It was such a treat to be in their home!

Here is my storytelling session with the Stratford family. 


Going into this photo session, I was a bit nervous. Mostly because I’m usually the one behind the camera of my phone, snapping pictures of other people but rarely remembering to ask for pictures of myself. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to relax and just “be myself”. The first few minutes took some adjusting to, but after that it got easier and easier to just be myself. It really helped that Leslie was able to spend so much time with us—she got to see a lot of beautiful moments that would have been difficult if not impossible to get in a hour-long portrait session. 

The biggest thing I cherish is being able to tell a story and being able to remember that story from the images.  I know that in 5 years, when I wistfully look back at the time I had when it was just me, my husband, and our little toddler, I know I will be able to look at these pictures and remember how wonderful (and how wonderfully hard) these years of our lives were. Yes, I have 2983562394 iPhone photos and videos, and those are absolutely wonderful and have their place. But to be able to *be* in photos with my son and husband—that is the pure joy. I can look back on these not just as beautiful pictures, but of beautiful pictures with our entire family in it.

 What I loved about doing this storytelling session was that I felt that it would help me remember how my life was in that moment: the early mornings, the temper tantrums, the sweet little 2 word sentences, the “I wuf you, mama”, the way he loves his dad so much, the splashing baths and wrestling and nighttime books. It helped me immortalize those memories beyond just writing them down, and made them tangible in a way that only photography can. If you’re on the fence, just do it. You will never regret being able to look back on those memories and having that record of your family. - Danielle Stratford