It is a new month – this year is flying by! This month we are recognizing a client who has come to us on quite a few occasions. She has trusted us with so many of her family’s memories and important moments. We have such fun combining visions and couldn’t be happier to spotlight her!

November’s Client of the Month is Shannon Crawford and her lovely family!

We have prepared a gift for the Crawford family as a thank you for joining us for such an amazing senior portrait session (and, of course, the sessions prior to this year). It was SUCH an honor to have been chosen for these moments and I cannot thank this family enough.

Shannon first brought her family to our studio 3 years ago for updated family portraits. Many things have changed – both in the studio and in their lives – since our first portrait session together, but our visions still aligned perfectly. I couldn’t be more honored to be invited to witness the Crawford family grow and flourish with each and every year. A large congratulations goes out to Ashton as he finishes his senior year and embarks on his next journey. We combined visions to give a vibrant, outdoorsy feel to this portrait session. It was such fun to explore this new location!

View the full gallery here, you won’t want to miss it!

We know that Ashton will go on to do many, many things in life. This is by far not the best or bigger accomplishment this family will see. However, I could not be more honored as the owner – as the photographer – as the collaborator and creative behind the session – to have been chosen for such an important time in this family’s life – to create imagery that represents such a pivotal point in this young man’s life. I speak confidently when I say that absolutely everyone is proud of his accomplishments so far. We are quite excited to see where life leads him – and I hope that I can always be a witness to his success. Thank you.

Shannon and her family will be receiving some goodies in their mailbox this month that I bet they cannot wait to share with you! BUT here is something you don’t have to wait…

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by December 4th, and mention Shannon’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on December 4th.

Did you hear? November 1st every year is National Author’s Day. This year we want to highlight one of our community’s very own. She is the mother to a beautiful baby boy and a Pack of Jacks! They are an adorable, quirky, and fun family who often shares a look into their daily lives of parenthood and fur-foster life. Chelle Wilson, through the help of her family, utilizes her online presence to remind others that life is always beautiful.

“Your fears are gone and love is here to stay…”

We want to allow the book to speak for itself, so this post will be kept short. The above quote says all that you need to know about the story. It shares the story of Bear, her little boy, showing love for every pup that comes through their door. It is a story of kindness, love, compassion, and hope. This story is perfect for pet lovers of all ages. You can get your very own copy here.

We are jumping offline to cozy up with our own pack and read this beautiful, poetic story. Leave comments on how much you’ve loved it!

Okay mama – let’s be perfectly honest with one another. You are sick and tired of waiting in lines, toddler on hip, just to get close and the bawling begin. It is rough! The holidays, while we love them, can simply be…exhausting. It is EXHAUSTING.

You deserve a break, mama. You’ve earned one.

Christmas should be a fun, joyous time – not just for the kiddos, but you too. You as you watch your kiddos enjoy them. This year I am challenging your family to focus on experiences. It isn’t all wrapping paper and gift cards. It is snuggling up and watching that Christmas movie you’ve seen 100 times. It is making s’mores on the barely functioning grill you ordered online. I’m challenging families in our community to focus on family, focus on memories, and make this season the magical beauty that it truly is.

…and, of course, I have a little help with that!

I want to share A Moment with Santa with you! These magical sessions will be taking place on November 16th in Martinsburg, WV. To provide you with the absolute best experience, these sessions are by appointment only. This means no waiting in lines, no million eyes on your (possibly nervous) children, etc. We are focusing on adding another holiday experience to your family’s memories.

We know every great experience comes with food, so there will be cookies, milk and hot cocoa (as well as water, and coffee – for the adults).

Santa visits our studio once a year and makes up for lost time away from your children. There will be story telling, in which he is happy to answer all of those questions your little ones are dying to answer. Santa will lead your children through a number of activities such as opening a gift (that, yes, is theirs to keep), finding their name on the nice list, using his magic dust, painting toys, finding the North Pole, and so much more!

We will have multiple seating available, so that children are not forced to sit on a stranger’s lap – we know Santa is amazing, but we push no one outside of their comforts! Every family will have up to 15 private minutes with Santa to get comfortable. While our set is focused primarily for children, full families, adults, and even pets are welcome to join in the fun this year!

The idea of Santa can be stressful for many children. We are proud to say that there have been NO TEARS within our Moment with Santa experience. While we know that may not always stay true, we are focused on creating an enjoyable, stress-free environment. We hope that this experience forms a personal connection with Santa for your child to look back on when thinking of their childhood. Every child who brings a letter to Santa will be receiving a handwritten letter in return, to add to these memories.

To make this accessible to many, the session fee for your experience is only $50. This includes the full Santa experience you are receiving, and packages of prints and digital images are purchased separately, if desired. There is no purchase requirement, so if things do not go as planned and you are not in love with the images, you are under no obligation to purchase. We want to create, again, a no pressure, stress-free environment. If you don’t love the images, you are under no obligation to purchase.

A bit more about our set. We are still prepping, as quickly as possible, for the arrival of this wonderful, magical man! You can expect to find Santa in his best, old-timey (deep red) Father Christmas outfit, rather than the new, bright red suit. You will walk into a timeless, classic room setting with simplistic decor, wall and flooring, and two gorgeous places to sit (for Santa and guests). Each year we create a new, magical set. Would you like to see this year’s room?!

Outside of the set, you can expect to be greeted by Mrs. Claus who will point you in the direction of seating if you arrive early, as well as refreshments, and ensure that everyone is comfortable.

We have one more trick up our sleeve! This year Santa will be leading you and your family outdoors to meet his reindeer. During this half of the experience, you will receive additional time with Santa, and even get to take a bell from the reindeer’s harness home with you!

We hope that you are excited as we are…I couldn’t be happier to have this coming back to Martinsburg. What do you think?

Limited spaces remain for this once in a lifetime, magical experience. Would you like to hear additional information and pencil in your experience? Let’s do it!

I already know…those Christmas cards…they probably didn’t make it out on-time last year. Maybe they didn’t make it out at all. In fact, they may not have at any time in the past. Not shaming. Not blaming. I am right there with ya!

If you haven’t sent Christmas cards in the past, but want to start – why wait any longer? I’ve got your back and have collected tips to getting them out on time, but first…

Why Christmas Cards?

You can argue against them. For years, my family didn’t send cards either. The industries my parents were in hardly required much networking and many of the people we cared to follow up with were close enough for a nice cup of coffee. Perhaps you prefer a good phone call over a card in the mail. There are certainly ways to make both work.

I cannot speak for everyone, but for most people Christmas cards are simply a great way to let someone know you are on their mind. You are wishing them happiness during this important time, in your life, of the year – and, since many people take breaks from Christmas to the New Year, you are likely wishing them a fabulous end of the year and start of the New Year.

It can be a beautiful way to catch up with family members who live further away, are not on social media, or simply enjoy a good letter in the mail. Cards, particularly handwritten, can strength work and business ties, bring friendships closer together, and make people feel genuinely acknowledged, important in your life. As we all know, it can be a little tough to get them out – made, written, find the address, etc. If you are sending a card to someone, they know they matter to you – they know that was intentional.

Why NOT Christmas Cards?

I personally LOVE Christmas cards – from a business owner standpoint. If you are on our previous-client list, prepare to receive one, but probably not on time – following my own advice is difficult. Having said that, perhaps I am not the person to speak on this topic, BUT…It’s okay not to do them.

Don’t want to? Don’t.

Don’t have time? Don’t.

Don’t like receiving them? Don’t.

SO MANY just…don’t. I love them. I love sending. I love receiving. BUT if you don’t love it, don’t do it. If you don’t have time, the resources, the addresses, friends that enjoy it, just…don’t. It’s okay. No one is looking around wondering where their card from you is – they are simply admiring the ones they got. They are probably also super busy with the holidays – family, pets, kids, shew. Trust me, you get a pass this year – they won’t notice.

Sent Them Out Late — AGAIN?

Deep breathes. The world really isn’t over. I have received cards AFTER the New Year and just thought “Oop, someone was busy.” I wasn’t outraged. I didn’t immediately toss the card out or blast them on social media. Life carried on as usual, I just noted that someone else had taken the time to send me a card.

I get it though – I get the appeal. You want to send them for them to enjoy around the holidays. And…let’s be honest…we all like looking a little more organized and put together than perhaps we are (sending things on time and being on top of the rush can make us appear this way)

Again – it’s OKAY to send late or just never send – but if you want to get those bad boys out by Christmas…

I’ve Got Tips…

  • PLAN AHEAD – Do you want to purchase cards online? go in store? are you doing a custom design? are you including photos – professional photographer or selfie?
  • PHOTOGRAPHY – If scheduling with a professional, contact EARLY. Contact now, like right now, in October – ask when you should have your portraits done for cards and IF they have availability.
  • SHIPPING – Allow 2 weeks for your cards to get to you, depending on where they are coming from. You can always check this and get them sooner, but the last thing you want is to wait until the last moment and have your cards not arrive on time.
  • ADDRESSES – Start collecting addresses early. Now. Just…do it now. Compile an excel sheet of all of those addresses. Figure out how many you want to send based on budget (yikes – postage is rough) and narrow that list down.
  • START EARLY / PACE YOURSELF – About half way through, if that far, you’re going to feel like you’re dying and that this…was a bad idea. Your hand will cramp, your pen will run out, your tongue will be tired of licking envelopes. It’s rough.
  • ORDER – Address labels: lifesaver, seriously, your hand. Stickers: Print their addresses onto these, again, seriously…your hand will thank you. Pens: if writing personal notes, you will need these and lots if that list is big.
  • WHEN TO SEND – It is ideal to send 2-3 weeks before Christmas to ensure everyone receives their copy before the holidays. Essentially, if you send your cards out that first week in December, you should be aye-okay.

If they get there late…DON’T SWEAT IT. There is always next year to try again! We have got your back. For people in MD, VA, WV, and PA looking for Christmas Cards this year – we have a few select portrait spots available in November and would LOVE to help you order cards this year. Contact us.

This month, just like last month, we are spotlighting a client that is brand new to the studio. She came to us because our visions matched up perfectly – inspired by a photograph she saw on our social media, she was ready to plan her very own session!

October’s Client of the Month is Sulay Rosales-Cole (and her beautiful family, of course!)

We have prepared a gift for Sulay as a thank you for joining us for such a magical portrait experience, trusting us with her daughter’s unforgettable memories, and being just being so easy to work with throughout the process. You have no idea how much it means to us, and how honored we truly are to have been chosen for your quinceanera portraits.

Coming to us with a specific photograph (one that we had previously created for another fabulous client), we worked quickly to combine visions and create dream portraits for a beautiful young woman. Throughout the course of planning, we organized a location that fit their whimsical vision – woodland creatures and magic all around. We discussed what Sulay would like to see for these moments – both in photographing and editing. This was one of our more involved sessions (no complaints!) Not all clients make use of our pre-session phone calls and ordering consultations, but this family was thrilled at the opportunity to chat further, combine visions, and work together to create the desired look. It was so much fun!

View the full gallery here, you won’t want to miss it!

We know that life isn’t perfect, but do truly believe in perfect moments – little moments, times in our lives, that are unforgettable. This is, undoubtedly, one of them. I could not be more honored as the owner – as the photographer – as the collaborator and creative behind the session – to have been chosen for such an important time in this family’s life. The love and pride that was presented among this family was one that I cannot describe. It was such a pleasure to capture an emotion of that dynamic and depth. I only hope that we can all experience this and that I continue to have the pleasure to document this among other families. Thank you.

Sulay and her family will be receiving some goodies in their mailbox this month that I bet they cannot wait to share with you! BUT here is something you don’t have to wait…

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by November 6th, and mention Sulay’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on November 6th.

Okay, guys! I’m excited. For those who don’t know, I am a huge Stranger Things fan. Like H.U.G.E. super fan (probably explains a lot about the whimsical sessions, right?) …so when I came across this super adorable, handmade t-shirt design, I flipping lost it. I immediately ordered.

…and when an explosive pen incident ruined my brand new shirt…I immediately ordered it again.

My shirt arrived in this super adorable packaging. It is a small touch, but honestly I was blow away. Shelly, the owner and I, had chosen to meet in person since she is local to Martinsburg. I had expected to be handed the shirt in a plastic bag or, heck, just the shirt itself. It was a wonderful surprise to have such lovely presentation – a nice little touch that left me not wanting to open and “ruin it.”

When I finally got it together and opened up my new present (from me, to me), I was over the moon — the shirt looks EXACTLY like the product I had ordered. The shirt was incredibly soft! It washes nicely, except when you put an ink pen in the washer with it (oops). There was no fading or bleed.

I am perhaps a bit bias. Shelly is a past client of Erica Danile Photography, so I am naturally inclined to support her, as she has supported me. But I know amazing work when I see it. I know passion when I see it. This girl has passion for the amazing work she is creating – and it goes a long way!

Roses & Weedz Creations is more than deserving of this Magic in Martinsburg spotlight feature. I will be using her for upcoming apparel, most definitely, and encourage you to check out her professional page.

It is no secret that I am a busy bee — even less of a secret that I LOVE it! I am a pet and family photographer based out of Martinsburg, WV but among my favorite things is hitting the road…and coming to see you!

Over the next few weeks, I am traveling all over the tri-state for some A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. events. I feel so fortunate to be invited! So I wanted to make sure you get the 411 on them. They are…pretty amazing, actually.

Let’s help spot Erica (me) and have fun doing so!

Past Events

Last weekend, I was at Bark for Life at the YMCA in Hagerstown, Maryland. This was held on September 15th and benefited Relay for Life. It was a local, amazing event that brought everyone together. I was able to meet some ADORABLE pups, and their equally as adorable, hoomans. I am already looking forward to next year’s event!

Learn more about what they do and how you can get involved!

Upcoming Events

This coming weekend, September 21st, I will be at DogFest! Walk & Festival in Baltimore, Maryland. DogFest benefits the Baltimore Humane Society and I am so excited to be there. We are breaking out a brand new display, never seen before prizes and contests, and you really just won’t want to miss this. If you aren’t able to physically make it, keep a close eye on our social media profiles – I will be running games online ALL DAY! If you are in the area, stop by and say hi! Enter to win goodies, let me selfie with your pup for an extra entry! It’s going to be a good day for a great cause.

Learn more about DogFest, the Humane Society, and how to get involved

On September 28th and 29th, the fun continues for our studio! Come check out the Smithsburg Steam Engine and Craft Show. This is the 45th annual event and we couldn’t be more honored to be a part of it! The donations made to this event benefit the local high school, as there is no entry fee. We are sad, but understanding, that no pets are allowed at this one. Just bring your beautiful human family, and promise us we can meet the fur babies later on!

Get more information and help out the school!

Our last event of the year (and you don’t want to miss it) is happening right back in Hagerstown, Maryland on November 2nd. We will be spotted at the Fall Back Ciders, Wines, & Spirits Fest! There will be amazing food, booze, and music. I am excited to connect with everyone while we kick off fall and the time change. General and VIP admission fees are more than reasonable, but if you’re looking to pitch in more – the event is still looking for amazing volunteers!

Can’t get enough? Read more about the event!

Until Next Year

That’s all folks! We will update our blog if another event pops up.

Come out and spot your Martinsburg Pet & Family Photographer at all of these amazing, local events – participate in our giveaways. Honestly? Just see what the rest of the community is doing! Hint: they are doing AMAZING things. You can be a part of it too, it’s not too late!

To get the latest and greatest info, be sure to follow our blog. Find last week’s blog post here. Last week we chatted about our FREE, online class happening tomorrow!

I LOVE a good class. I especially love a good class on something I LOVE. Andddd I super duper love a good class on something I love that is F.R.E.E.

Okay, guys – this week will be short and sweet. To the point.

I decided a long time ago that I will not keep a single thing I am passionate about to myself. Things that need said politely, I will say politely. I will only speak to audiences that want to hear it. Sure. That’s fine.

BUT I WILL NOT KEEP QUIET.

Not on what I love. Not in this lifetime.

Thus, Third Thursdays was born in my Martinsburg studio, and we are busy spreading that love, that goodness all over the internet.

What is Third Thursday?

It is a…LIVE…FREE webinar that takes place once a month, on the Third Thursday, to be an open discussion on a topic that you are dying to learn more about (in the photography realm).

For example in July…we chatted about lighting!

In August…well my elderly pup had an emergency vet run so it got rescheduled to THIS MONTH. One week from today, at 7pm!

On Thursday, September 19th, we will be chatting about editing.

A few things to note…

  • These are NOT recorded. You have to catch me live. Part of the fun is that you can ask questions and get your info right then and there.
  • There is NO cost. None. Zero. No hidden fees.
  • It is totally easy sign up – I just need your email. If you follow our e-newsletter and this blog, you will always know about Third Thursday.
  • It happens at 7pm…and lasts about 30-60 minutes. We may run over 😉
  • This is open to anyone…anywhere…at any place in their photographic journal. It is an open discussion of the topic – with advice, samples, and you just…you have me at your disposal.

Want to join us for Third Thursday this month? Contact me to register.

It’s FREE, don’t miss out.

OH! …and friends don’t let friends miss out on free photo-classes that are thebomb.com — seriously. Give our blog post a share this week.

See you Thursday!

This month we are honoring a client that is brand new to the studio, coming from the referral of her long time friend.

September’s Client of the Month is Tiffany Conklin (and her lovely family).

We have prepared a gift for Tiffany as a thank you for joining us for such a lovely portrait session, trusting us with her memories, and being just fabulous throughout the process. You have no idea how much it means to us, and how honored we truly are.

We threw away the idea that the pups “needed to sit still” (news flash: very, very, very few do. It is my job to make it LOOK LIKE they sit still, same with kiddos!) and rolled with the punches. We combated bugs and heat. We played off of two excited pups’ energy. We enjoyed an evening capturing personalities, creating legacies, and making memories together.

While few things in life are perfect, we feel this family is pretty close. There are few times I have witnessed as much love and understanding between family members as I did during this session. I cannot wait to watch their family grow and continue documenting these important moments (because every day is important and you don’t need to wait for a birthday or holiday)

Tiffany and her family will be receiving some goodies in their mailbox this month that I bet they cannot wait to share with you! BUT here is something you don’t have to wait…

Contact us to schedule your very own portrait session for 2020, by October 2nd, and mention Tiffany’s gorgeous family to receive a special offer! Next Client of the Month will be announced on October 2nd.

Motherhood by definition is a woman in relation to her children, bringing them up with care and affection.

What a dictionary definition fails to address are so many things that often go overlooked in our lives and society.
The bedtime stories, the sick-day cuddles, the snow day adventures (even though mom probably hates the snow)…
The advice that starts early in life and carries us well into our adulthood, when we become mothers and they become grandmothers.

Motherhood is a duty, and honor, that is never ending. It follows us through life. It is easily the most valued, but under recognized action.

We hear it too often…
“No, just photographs of the children. This is about them.”
“I’m not very photogenic. I never have been.”
“I want to lose this baby weight first, but maybe I can book next year.”
“I just can’t justify this on myself, perhaps family photos?”

To each and every mother out there, please take a moment to realize your worth. It doesn’t matter if you are their birth mother, or if you have adopted or share custody. It doesn’t matter if you are 15, 30, or 60. You are a mother for life. Your value only increases as your children grow.
You are creating a life that will outlast you, and a legacy that won’t soon pass.

It is sad to say, but one day your legacy will have to go on without you. While they may have a clear memory of you, they will find themselves saddened that they can no longer pick up the phone and ask mom.
They will want their children, also your legacy, to know of your life – to see you, to remember you, to honor you.

There are, perhaps, a million reasons to say “no” to having your portrait taken…
But if you need a reason, if you cannot do it for just you alone, then please realize that it extends beyond you. The blessing that the luxury of photography is something that extends far past our own lifetime. Don’t let your legacy go on without your memory.

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Exclusive Motherhood Sessions are now being scheduled in spirit of the upcoming Mother’s Day (May 13th, 2018). These limited edition sessions will only be available to you in April and May. Prior booking has begun and will continue through April 18th – schedule as priority and receive 15% off your total order.

Special products are available for these sessions!

All sessions will include a complimentary care basket – filled with goodies from local businesses for mom, as well as the family.

Each mom will receive a welcome and session guide – going over wardrobe and styling, hair, makeup, etc. to find the best options available to you and your family.

To show our appreciation for you gorgeous moms out there, we are gifting each booked session a complimentary 8×10.

These sessions can be used for any mother, of any age.
They can be family portraits, couples portraits, or glamour of the mother alone.

Interested in purchasing a gift certificate for that special woman in your life? We are selling certificates in values of your choice. The certificates also come with a 10% off for the lovely ladies using the gift you’ve purchased!

Contact us today for additional information and to reserve your time slot. Dates are limited.