leesburg family photographer

Wilhelm Family Maternity | Parenthood | Nicoleinbold

This family was so incredibly sweet!

if we wait until we are ready, we will be waiting our entire lives

This family has transplanted from Connecticut, but they fit right into Virginia life. Jeans, t-shirts, and cowboy boots makes this growing family tick. I had the please of capturing their personalities right before school started. With a nervous but excited mom and confident dad these littles are ready to take on this new year of learning and growing.

I feel like growing up you kind of assume people in one family are the same. They look similar right? As I grow up, and slow down I have started really noticing the differences in people, the beautiful, subtle differences.

While everyone in the family was generally on the quiet side, they all had varying levels of curiosity that amazed me. Mom was very open throughout the entire process, dad was quite lovingly along for the ride and these three kiddos, asked more questions than i thought possible, but I probably asked just as many of them. From talking about school starting to welcoming a new baby into the family, we had plenty to chat about! Art class, math class, and hoping to read "big daddy books." I was so happy to see all of their love for life and their willingness to gracefully move towards some big changes this year.

Cheers to a healthy and happy labor and birth blessings for this family!

be inspired. love authentically. live boldly.


How To Take A Family Self Portrait | 6 Steps | Nicoleinbold

Lets face it parents, we can't always hire a professional photographer to capture our family's beauty. I’m in the same boat, trust me. Whether it is timing, funds, fear of picking the right outfit, or just being out on an adventure away from home, or, let's face it, all of the above. We as parents still want to capture the elusive #familyselfie or #usie every now and again. If you find these statements to be true or you just want the in between photo session portrait of your wild and crazy family, this post is for you!

A couple of notes:

I use a camera that supports a wireless remote. I have found that setting a timer and running to get into place disrupts the authentic emotion and connection in images. It is critical to pre-plan, have patience, and be quick. Kids don't typically sit for long, so the pre-planning is key!


  • Camera (with fully charged battery and empty memory card)
  • Tripod (Nothing fancy, keep it simple)
  • Wireless Remote
  • A stand-in (Stuffed animal or possibly your partner)


  1. Scope out locations you think would be best. Keep in mind light is necessary and the more light you have available, the quicker you can have your shutter speed, for those goofy, fast moving littles.
  2. Set up your tripod, attach the camera and test your remote.
  3. Adjust any or all of your settings. This will work in any mode you choose to shoot, from auto to full manual. I like to start with my aperture, choosing a comfortable aperture (typical group images I like to set my aperture just above the number of people I have in my image. For example, I have a family of 3 so I’m going to set it at F3.2 or larger). Then adjusting ISO and exposure for the look and feel I want.
  4. Focus. I place my stand-in where I want my subject or family to be sitting.
    • There are 3 options here. 1) If you are a novice photographer, possibly in auto, no problem. With each click of your wireless remote, the camera will choose the best focus point for you and take the picture. 2) If you are a bit more advanced possibly shooting on a DSLR in aperture or shutter priority mode or even full manual (go you!), you can choose to set your focus point. For this set up, each time you hit your shutter on the wireless remote the camera will refocus on your given point. For this reason, I tend to put the focus point around my shoulder line as our heads will be moving around. 3) The last option for you super advanced go-getter parents, you can utilize back button focusing (BBF). (Please read your manual or search the interwebs to learn how to set this up on your particular model) I have found this to be the most accurate for our family. This option is very similar to the last, you choose your focus point to take the image. However, with BBF you set the focus on the back of your camera, utilizing your stand in, and are good to go. So when you hit the shutter release on the wireless remote, it simply releases the shutter and takes the image. It will not refocus until you reset the focus on the back of your camera. It's pretty spiffy!!
  5. Let's take pictures. Okay, you have everything set up, you have chosen the best focus option for your situation, now it is time to grab your family for an image (or 100). I don't always tell my child what I'm doing because I want candid emotions and moments with her. Sometimes, if I’m capturing all three of us I have my husband sit in for a few frames (making sure my settings are spot on) then I will sit/stand with him for a couple and by that time, my daughter is curious and wants to take part, no arguments. We interact, I snap away or have my husband snap away and we finish as easy as it started. She gets bored and leaves. We take some of the two of us, my husband leaves and I get a few of just me. Keep in mind I am not taking pictures for more than 15 minutes (tops), with the average "session" being 5 minutes.
  6. Check out your handy work. Feel free to leave the camera in place, if it is well stabilized, that way you can document interaction more than once with minimal set up.

This may take a few times to get used to. You may take 100 frames and only have one great image to show for it. That is okay! Great even; you accomplished your goal. Proving you exist with your children and with your spouse more than once or twice a year! Now print that awesome shot and keep it in view for the rainy days or a simple reminder to do it all again.

This version of taking a #familyselfie works great in your home, on vacation, or mini adventures. Especially if you want more than just your heads in images, want to avoid mirrors, or plain don't want to ask a stranger while out and about.  Here are a few shot and a favorite final image from a short  trip into DC a couple of weekends ago. I set everything up while my husband was changing our daughter's diaper (tripod, camera, aperture, ISO, and exposure). Then had my husband sit in place, while my daughter fetched her binkie from our stroller, to set my focus. Then I stepped into the frame and our daughter joined us.

My Family Selfie Loudoun Birth Photographer
My Family Selfie Loudoun Birth Photographer

I hope you found this helpful! If you set up an #usie or #familie please share and tag me #boldusie. I'm excited to receive feedback.

be inspired. live boldly.


Moments in Motherhood Recap2 | Meet Nicole Series

My final thoughts, life lessons, and images from my time at the Mae BurkeMoments in Motherhood workshop. True learning and growth happens when we step outside of our comfort zone.

This workshop pushed me mentally, physically, and technically in my personal and creative life. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a hugger and mass transportation alone gives me great anxiety (especially if I haven’t been to the desired location before). For this experience, I rode on the metro BY MYSELF and arrived on time and unscathed; albeit slightly sweaty. I walked into a house full of my peers; I was super nervous, but I spoke up, hugged a few people, asked questions, and learned a few unexpected tid-bits.

  1. No matter our experience level in life we are all unsure, have anxiety, and want reassurance. Just because something worked for one person does not mean it will work for another. Timing, personality, market, and audience readiness are all key factors. With that said, people still want you to succeed. I want to succeed AND I want others to succeed. Follow your heart and do what feels good!
  2. Don’t be afraid of your calling. If you want to share something that moves you, chances are you will inspire someone else as well. Seriously, be unapologetically you! I’m working on this one, and it is a daily challenge. It can be hard at times to be an artist, a mom, and/or a person. So much judgement is constantly thrown around. Please be kind to others!
  3. Don’t be afraid to step back as much as you get close. I love to fill the frame with my subjects, but looking at the big picture can capture just as much and draw your eye into the emotion of your story. Also, don’t be afraid to get close to your calling. Find out who you are and really dissect your heart. Find your why and sit in it. With the information you find, take a step back to find your safe place, and your happy balance in order to be the best you for you and those around you (a reoccurring theme).

I will leave you with images from our workshop session to include a cute out-take and behind the scenes snapshot.

be inspired.


Moments in Motherhood Recap1 | Meet Nicole Series

Do you ever feel lost in your own body, home, or the world? I have always been an artist. I drew everything as a child, delved into music with a passion, and found a fondness for photographic art. When I found out I was pregnant a couple of years ago, I had to slow down. I was so sick for the better half of my journey carrying my daughter. Our house flooded and we were living in a hotel for the majority of our pregnancy as well. It was a crazy time to say the least and I stopped exploring my artistic side.

As my belly grew so did my aspirations for who I wanted to be and what I wanted give to this tiny human. I was a self-affirmation junkie. I researched anything and everything regarding childbirth. I was determined to be prepared! The path to motherhood was fraught with emotions I wasn’t quite ready for, and others I relished.

Fast forward skipping a bit through things, here I am back on my artistic journey sharing my soul with my family and others. To really dive back in I met with a new friend (Emily Gerald) about a workshop that was coming to our area. I got all the information, set aside money and made some sacrifices to get there. Moments in Motherhood with Mae Burke.

Mae is the sweetest and most warm hearted person I have met in a long time! Part of this workshop was to pull together a session that encapsulated who we are as an artist and a person. I was daunted by this task, to say the least. I have a photography bucket list, knowing WHAT I wanted to capture wasn’t the problem. The problem came in figuring out my voice. The WHY. I knew what I wanted, found a couple models and set everything up. I made what I feel are beautiful images of motherhood. I was left with the feeling of, “what does it all mean?”

I took the images. I smiled as I saw my work uploading to my computer. My heart was singing that I could capture these women and really just shoot for myself. My head was still stuck in the feeling of, “so what?” I questioned myself throughout the process. Doubted my ability. I felt a draw to give up and go back to playing with my daughter as much as possible. I nearly backed out of going to Mae’s workshop. I felt a little like an imposter knowing I was going to be in the audience of people who I look up to and admire, celebrities in my mind.

I had to stop myself, change the rhetoric. I am on a path and I believe to the core of my soul that I am where I am supposed to be. I may sacrifice some time away from my daughter and husband, but I want her to know that you can pursue your dreams. That being the best mom is being the best me.

I wanted to give a shout out to Mae. She dropped a truth bomb that left me a bit shaken, but it helped me see that I needed to be more authentic and share my boldness: with myself, my family and what I share with you, my audience. I grew so much that day. Mae welcomed me with open arms, and the women in attendance were so amazing and supportive. When I left, I knew my life had changed.


I cannot be my best self if I don’t have faith in myself. I can’t be the best mom, walk the path of “right and wrong” as a mother if I don’t have faith in my instincts, my positive affirmations. This mini-series calls on all of this. Motherhood to me is the grit and the grace. It is finding the light for ourselves to share with these little people we bring into the world. I still have days that I want to sit and the dark, feel completely in adequate at everything, but I’m here, living and breathing and showing my daughter, my husband and myself that I can be me. For them.

be inspired. love authentically. live boldly.


Snow Day | Meet Nicole Series | Leesburg, Va

Snowflakes are one of nature's most fragile things,

but just look what they can do when they stick together.

-Vista M. Kelly

As the snow began to stick and pile up today this quote really settled in my heart. Life, like snowflakes, is fragile, fleeting, and magical to behold.

Whether you have family, or have created your own through marriage or community, we must stick together. As one person we simply cannot do it all. We can't make everyone happy, we can't be in two places at once, we can't work and play at the same time (there are exceptions, yes; this is a general statement). However, we must reach out and ask for help, be present in out interactions and just plain be open to life.

Today, as the snow fell I decided we were going to play in the snow. It was cold, we got wet, but we giggled and had fun. As a family too, we all went outside. Not for long, I think we spent more time getting ready, but hey it was part of the experience right? My husband rolls his eyes, but whenever we leave the house I tell Miss Bit we are going on a adventure. Life is just that for us. Who cares if it is just grocery shopping, it will be fun because it is something we chose to do as a family. In the end, we went outside twice to play in the snow, ate grilled cheese and tomato soup, built forts, napped and cuddled. The best way to spend this snowy Saturday!!

I hope everyone is staying warm and safe :)







be inspired. love authentically. live boldly.