Washington DC Professional Photographer Neil Colton » Professional Portrait , Lifestyle & Travel Photography by Neil Colton

LIFESTYLE & PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: MCKENNA FARM

Lifestyle portait of Sarah and Joe at McKenna Farm

Just a brief trip north of Washington, DC lies the historic City of Frederick, MD.

From the City of Frederic website:

HIP & HISTORIC

Here, museums meet martini bars, scenic landscapes provide thrill seekers with adventure, and cutting edge cuisine is served up in Civil War-era buildings alongside unique specialty shops, galleries, museums, and theaters.

Located less than one hour from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Gettysburg, the city of Frederick, Maryland is surrounded by mountain views, wineries, orchards and vibrant Main Street communities. Visitors can hike on the Appalachian Trail, visit Maryland’s largest brewery, and tour a battlefield all in one day.

This is Frederick County, where hip meets historic every day.

It is there, in the beautiful rolling hills and lush countryside of Frederic County, MD that you will find McKenna Farm, the country home and rural retreat of Joe Mckenna and Sarah Brennan. I spent the day there, recently, creating lifestyle and portrait photography content for the new McKenna Farms website.

About Sarah, Joe and McKenna Farms, in their own words:

Our Journey


In every city dweller, there are dreams of an escape to the country. But what happens when a city couple from D.C. purchase a 220 year-old farm house to try and live out their “Downton Abbey” dreams?

Well……that’s where our story begins and we can assure you that the execution of that dream has been far more difficult than anticipated; and our confidence often outshines our abilities and resources at every turn. But we find opportunity in every crisis and we are slowly mastering our new domain. We hope you’ll settle in and follow our journey from the Capitol to the Country.

The beginning. Like most city couples, we wanted to be part of the farm-to-table movement, eat locally, support smart farming, reduce our impact on the earth, etc. However, our participation stopped at our local farmer’s market because we didn’t have the time or the know-how to bring the country into our city lives.

We toyed with the idea of buying a little country house for years and when we finally did it, we imagined great weekend escapes with afternoons of skeet shooting and evenings of dressing-for-dinner. To our surprise, we quickly replaced those activities with eight-hour days in the garden and enough manual labor to make even the biggest outdoor lovers shutter. Somehow, and to our great surprise, we both became slightly addicted to a simpler lifestyle and all of the amazing things we were learning.

We had no idea just how happy we would be playing in the dirt, learning to grow our own food, raising animals, and bringing an old house back to life.  This is our journey from Capitol to Country.

Joe & Sarah


 

Portrait of Sarah in the garden at McKenna Farm
Lifetsyle Portrait of Joe building a stone wall at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of products at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of Joe at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of the garden at Mckenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah in the garden at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of products at McKenna FarmLifetsyle Photography of a table setting at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography at Mckenna FarmJoe & Sarah at the main house at McKenna FarmLifestyle Photography of Sarah and Joe at McKenna Farm
Mckenna Farm Lifestyle Photography Sarah

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A Washington, DC travel photographer’s view of Charleston, SC, in an ongoing series about travel and travel photography.

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, CHARLESTON, SC

Colton-washington-dc-photographer-charleston-101

 

This was supposed to be Barcelona.

Instead, we are sitting on a hard plank bench at the front of a weather beaten covered wooden wagon, being pulled by two aging mules through the streets of this 350 year old southern city.  Yes, mules. From our tour guide, we learn that mules are best for this sort of thing. Less mercurial. More cooperative. Easier to manage. Who knew. As we start our tour, our resident-scholar-farm-boy-part-time-law-student-turned-tour-guide launches into a monologue about South Carolina’s glorious political heritage,  embodied in that great southern independent thinker, statesman and champion of free thought,  Strom Thurmond. Terrie and I trade concerned glances. I look at my watch. We are 10 minutes into an hour long tour. This is going to be a very long ride. The heat and humidity of high summer in the south is oppressive. We roll on.

Through the streets of Charleston, South Carolina.

Back to Barcelona. That is where this trip was to start. We would fly into El Prat Airport, in Spain, spend a few wonderful days in Barcelona, then hire a car and drive though northwestern Spain to Andorra. From Andorra, we would travel along the eastern coast of France to Marseille and Monaco. Slowly, we would wind our way to Paris, reveling in the French countryside and treating ourselves to the local cuisine, washed down with the wine of the day. It was settled. Done. Reservations had been made. Only the plane tickets were left to buy. Then, at the last minute, an unexpected change for us to come up with a new itinerary, stateside.

A trip to Paris and Barcleona had been easy for us to agree on. Where to go in North America would not be.

I lobbied to go north. Quebec had been wonderful. We fell in love with the city and vowed to return, soon. That was nearly 10 years ago. My vote was Quebec. No contest. Quebec with a Montreal chaser. Let’s book the flight. Terrie loved Quebec, right? Yes, she did, but not for this trip. This time, she decided, we were going south, to the Carolinas.  With day trips into the deep south, where we could enjoy “southern hospitality”, experience the “beauty of the old south” and “travel to places we had never been before”. Reluctantly, I was IN.

Next stop, Charleston, South Carolina.

Consistently ranked as one of the 10 Best Cities to visit in the US, Charleston knows how to take care of tourists and travelers.

From Wikipedia:

‘Known for its rich history, well-preserved architecture, distinguished restaurants, and mannerly people, Charleston has received numerous accolades, including “America’s Most Friendly City” by Travel + Leisure in 2011, and 2013 and 2014 by Condé Nast Traveler and “the most polite and hospitable city in America” by Southern Living magazine.’

Charleston is all that and more.

Looking back, I wish we had planned more time in Charleston. As it was, this was the third/fourth stop on our Southern Tour, after stops along the Carolina coast and a trip to Savannah, Georgia. By the time we arrived in Charleston, I had one eye on the road north, heading home to Washington, DC. This would be the last leg of this trip and we had clearly saved the best for last. In the end, we only allowed for a few days in Charleston. It deserved more.

Back on the covered wagon.

The tour picked up pace, politics made way for historic architecture and stories of this charming city. A cool evening breeze moved in, clearing away the heat and humidity of the day. Our tour guide even taught us how to make southern fried cheese. Really.

 

For Travelers and Photographers

Charleston is a very photogenic city, as you can see. Lots of good eye candy there. I was drawn to the French Quarter on this trip. My background as an architectural photographer, and history buff, led me there. The French Quarter, alone, could keep a photographer busy for days. I had an hour and a half. I tried to use it wisely.

The images I have included for this post were captured on two separate days over a combined period of about three hours. That’s not a lot of photography, at least not for me. On an assignment, or traveling alone, I’ve been known to shoot from dawn to dusk, grab some for fuel, then out again after dark. Depending on the place and the assignment, that could on for days or longer.

Like most vacations, I was not alone.  I shot this more like a vacationer might. A snapshot of the city, but not the whole story. Not compelling content, but rather a collection of photographs that convey a sense of place.

Most of us don’t travel alone to beautiful cities, alone, simply to photograph them. We are traveling with friends and/or family. The challenge for photographers on vacation, and vacation travelers with cameras,  is how to capture a place with memorable images, without straining relationships with friends and family. Here are a few tips that can help you capture the sense of a place and still keep the peace with your significant other.

  • Scout before you go. Take a virtual tour of the city or place you’ll be visiting. Identify the areas, and things, that will help you tell the story of your visit. Have a plan for your photography, before you get there.
  • Work your photography into the flow of the vacation. Wedge an hour of photography into a shopping trip or the like. Take a stroll, together, through parts of the city you want to photograph, with a shared event, like lunch or dinner at a special place, as the end reward for patience.
  • Travel light. I carry one camera body and 2/3 lenses. max. In Charleston, I used my Nikon D4 and 2 lenses to capture all of the images here. The 24-70 f/2.8 is my workhorse for travel photography. For details and tight shots, I use the 70-200 f/2.8. I prefer the VR II version. On this trip, the 70-200 wasn’t with me, so I used a 20 year old 80-200 f/2.8 as my long lens. No VR, but still a great lens. You don’t need the latest and greatest gear to create good images. What matters more is technique.
  • Know your gear. This seems like common sense, right. Funny, though, how people (photographers included) often wait until the moment they are about to press the shutter release (or after…) to learn their way around the gear they have in their hands. Know before you go. Your pictures will be better for it.
  • Keep it simple. Visual story telling, for travel photography, is about creating  a collection of images that convey a sense of place. Trying to capture that singular image that your friends, family (or editor somewhere) will swoon over, will take valuable time away from the rest of the story. Odds are that a completely unscripted, unintended, brilliant scene will come along and you’ll be there to capture it.
  • Be conservative, but be good. This is not a political suggestion, even though this is Charleston. No, this is about doing the best you can to capture images quickly and well, then moving on to the next image. If you’re a professional photographer, you know this. Enough said. What I often find, working with amateur photographers in workshops, is a need to overshoot. Dozens of images of the same scene. Control this and your work, and life, will be better for it. Think quality, not quantity.

To join Neil for travel photography workshops in Washington, DC, visit DC Photography Workshops.

Now, to Charleston.

 

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DC PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS: TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY: ICONS OF WASHINGTON, DC

The capital city of Washington, DC is one of the most photographer friendly, photogenic cities in the world. With its broad well-lit streets, low skyline and classic monumental architecture, Washington, DC is often compared to a European city. For photographers and travelers alike, Washington is a wonderland of photographic opportunities!

Spend the day with award winning photographer Neil Colton capturing images of some of the most iconic architecture and historic sights in the world. Whether you are a veteran photographer, in search of new content, a visitor to Washington interested in capturing images of city and it’s historic sites or a traveler preparing for a trip, looking for tips on creating great travel photographs, this walking tour and photography workshop is a perfect choice for you.

Neil Colton is a Washington, DC  based professional photographer, who began his photography career as an architectural photographer. He has worked for several of Washington’s leading design firms, photographing award winning architecture.  He has also worked as a photojournalist, a travel photographer and a documentary photographer. Neil’s travel and documentary photography has been published and featured in publications such as The Washington Post, Elan’ Magazine and Professional Photographer. He understands the power, and the craft,  of visual story telling. Working with Neil, you will not only learn about the city and the sites you will visit, but also how to create a photographic story, with compelling images of some of the world’s most iconic and historic buildings and monuments.

 At the end of the day, you will have a new portfolio of wonderful images of the Icons of Washington, DC and the city that is home to them.

What You Will Learn

We will discuss both the technical and the creative aspects of travel photography, including:

  • Best gear choices for travel photography
  • How to photograph architecture on your travels
  • How to compose your images for impact
  • How to create extraordinary images from ordinary scenes
  • How to create compelling portraits of people on your travels
  • Creating a visual story of your travels
  • Quick and simple post production options
  • Creating a ‘sense of place’ in your work
  • Photographing people on your travels

Sites You Will Photograph

  • The White House
  • The Vietnam War Memorial
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Korean War Memorial
  • The WW II Memorial
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The FDR Memorial
  • The Martin Luther King Memorial

Date: Saturday, October 15, 2016

Time: 9am-2:30pm

Cost: $150

Who Should Attend: This workshop is for photographers and travelers interested in travel photography and general photography. Technical instruction is  aimed at DSLR and mirrorless camera owners with interchangeable lenses.

Questions?: Contact Neil Colton using the Contact Form.

Register here: DC Photography Workshops

To see more of Neil’s work click here and go to the Travel Portfolio. Neil’s  Facebook page is here.

 

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Washington DC Portrait Photography, The Next StepWASHINGTON DC PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY: THE NEXT STEP

For more than a decade, I have been photographing subjects ranging from award winning architecture to beautiful babies and brides.  No complaints here.

I love using my photography skills to create content for a broad and diverse range of clients. As a freelance photographer in the modern marketplace you take whatever assignments come your way. But freelance assignments can take you through an alphabet of subject types, styles and locations.  One week it’s photographing a young couple on a farm, creating content for their new website, promoting organic products and a healthy, alternative lifestyle. Another week finds you deep in the city, capturing images that tell the story of the people and neighborhoods they live in, creating content for an ad agency hired by an international travel company. It’s like being a utility player on a soccer team: one week you’re an attacking  midfielder, the next you’re starting at right back. Still, no complaints at all.

But through the years, there is one subject that has consistently drawn me in, and captivated my interest, more than any other; the portrait.  I never tire of creating images of people.  Although portraits have been a part of many assignments, rarely have they been the focus.  As it turns out, I am a portrait photographer at heart.  I have had the good fortune to work with some wonderful clients to create a few memorable portraits, while creating thousands of images of everything else. That will change.

I am joining a new commercial photography studio, fully equipped with great lighting gear, hair and makeup facilities, changing rooms, visitors areas and 3 separate studios, each with a different look. Located in Alexandria, VA,  just outside of Washington and minutes from Reagan National Airport, the studio will be convenient to local and out of town clients alike.

Studio portrait services will include:

  • Professional headshots of actors, entertainers, musicians, artists and professionals
  • Professional portraits and portfolio sessions
  • Executive portraits and headshots
  • Fine Art portraits
  • Maternity portraits
  • Black and white portraits

Out of the studio, portrait services will include:

  • Outdoor portraits
  • Location portraits (home and business)
  • Environmental portraits
  • Lifestyle portraits

I will be creating a new website devoted exclusively to portraits and headshots, with a new a new portfolio.  For a limited time, I am offering aggressive promotional pricing. If you need a new headshot, porait or portfolio, contact me and we will work together to create great images of you.

A sample of portraits from my current portrait portfolio is here:

 

Washington DC Portrait Photography-The Next Step-Julia
Washington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step-ChildrenWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Children IIWashington DC Portrait Photography - The Next Step- Child- HeadshotWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Professional Portrait-AuthorWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step-Professional Portrait-ArchitectWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step-Studio PortraitWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step-Professional Portrait- EntrepreneurWashington DC Portrait Photography-The Next Step-Lifetsyle Portrait-McKenna FarmWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Studio Portrait of a Father and NewbornWashington DC Portrait Photography- The Next Step- Lifetsyle Portrait-Mc Kenna Farm IIWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step - Portrait of an Artist
Washington DC Portrait Photography- The Next Step - Female HeadhotWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Location PortraitWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Portrait of a ModelWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Maternity Portrait of a CoupleWashington DC Portrait Photography -The Next Step- Fine Art Maternity PortraitWashington DC Portrait Photography-The Next Step- Location Portrait of a ChildWashington DC Portrait Photography-The Next Step-Lifetsyle Portrait-McKenna Farm III

 

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  • Jacklin Kido - The next step, Id love to see what we can do

TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: WASHINGTON, DC ICONS & MUSEUMS TOUR

Join us this summer for this exciting new workshop and photography tour, Travel Photography Workshop: Washington, DC Icons & Museums Tour, set in the in the beautiful city of Washington, DC!  The capital city of Washington, DC is one of the most photographer friendly and photogenic cities in the world. With broad, well-lit streets, a low skyline and classic monumental architecture, Washington, DC is often compared to a European city. For travelers, and photographers of all levels, Washington is a wonderland of photographic opportunities, waiting to be captured!

Spend the day with award winning photographer Neil Colton capturing images of some of the most iconic architecture, museums and historic sights in the world. Whether you are a veteran photographer, a visitor with a camera or a traveler preparing for a trip, this photography walking tour is a perfect choice for capturing memorable images of this photogenic city.

Building on the format of the popular Icons of Washington, DC  workshop, the Icons & Museums workshop extends the day to include the iconic sites and museums of the eastern area of the National Mall, located between 14th Street, NW and the US Capitol Building. Along the way, we will visit the National Museums of American History, Natural History, Air and Space and the American Indian Museum. I.M. Pei’s award winning East Wing of the National Gallery of Art and the stunning Smithsonian Castle are also on the tour, plus a visit to the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Gallery, a ‘must-see’ destination for any Washington visitor.

Neil Colton is a Washington, DC  based professional photographer. He began his photography career as an architectural photographer, working with some of Washington’s top architecture and design firms.  Neil’s background in photojournalism helps him understands the power, and the craft, of visual story telling. His travel and documentary photography has been featured and published in The Washington Post, Elan’ Magazine and Professional Photographer, among others. Working with Neil, you will not only learn about the city and the sites you will visit, you will also learn how to create a photographic story, with compelling images of some of the world’s most iconic and historic buildings and monuments.

 At the end of the day, you will have a new collection of wonderful images of the Icons & Museums of Washington, DC and the city that is home to them.

What You Will Learn

We will discuss both the technical and the creative aspects of travel photography, including:

  • Best gear choices for travel photography
  • How to photograph architecture on your travels
  • How to compose your images for impact
  • How to create extraordinary images from ordinary scenes
  • How to create compelling portraits of people on your travels
  • Creating a visual story of your travels
  • Quick and simple post production options
  • Creating a ‘sense of place’ in your work
  • Photographing people on your travels

Sites On The Tour

  • The White House
  • The Executive Office Building (one of the most distinctive and under appreciated works of monumental architecture in Washington, DC)
  • The Vietnam War Memorial
  • The Lincoln Memorial
  • The Korean War Memorial
  • The WW II Memorial
  • The Martin Luther King Memorial
  • The FDR Memorial
  • The Jefferson Memorial
  • The National Museums of American History, Natural History and the American Indian
  • The National Air & Space Museum
  • The National Gallery of Art & The East Wing
  • The Smithsonian Castle
  • The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden
  • The National Museum of African American History and Culture ( Just added. The newest museum and one of the most exciting works of architecture on the National Mall!)

Must see video of the new Museum of African American History and Culture: http://nmaahc.si.edu/Building

Join us for this exciting day photographing the iconic sites, monumental architecture and award winning museums of Washington, DC!

Place: Washington, DC

Date: Saturday, June 25. 2016

Time: 9AM-5PM

Cost: $225.00

Register here: http://www.dcphotographyworkshops.com/workshop/travel-photography-washington-dc-icons-museums-tour/

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