Friday, December 5, 2014

Life of a DC Society Photographer: Interview with Tracey Attlee

For a glimpse into what makes a DC society wedding and corporate portrait photographer see the interview with Tracey Attlee "From the White House to Weddings" in this month's Ezine for Entrepreneurs "beinkandescent"
DC, No. VA wedding and portrait photographer Tracey Attlee.  Photo by Todd A. Smith

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Use Accessories to Boost your DC Business and Corporate Portraits by Tracey Attlee

Our longtime client Mrs. Wendy M. Jones of the Protocol School of Washington DC recently requested Attlee Photography to create an updated business portrait for her.

What made this session work so well is of course Wendy’s good taste but also her advance preparation in gathering potential wardrobe and accessories for her new portrait. 

When we arrived she had a selection of suits, scarves and jewelry at the ready.  We talked about what would go best with what, put together two separate ensembles and photographed her on location against a backdrop of her choice. 

Attlee Photography shoots DC and northern VA business portraits with the camera tethered to a laptop.  This way the client can instantly see how they look in our photographs and we can see how to tweak and best customize our lighting for each client’s face and figure.

Our next step while still on location with Wendy was to immediately review the proofs and have her select her favorites.   Tracey Attlee of Attlee Photography, Alexandria, VA then personally hand retouches each client’s selected business portrait for best display online and in publication.

While this article is intended for DC business women it can also apply to gentlemen.  In a business man’s portrait it’s best to have several neckties and neatly pressed shirts on hand so Attlee Photography can help you make the best choices for a great DC or northern VA location corporate portrait session.

The attached image is the very favorite one of Wendy's and ours from the session. 

Mrs. Wendy M. Jones, The Protocol School of Washington
Photo by Tracey Attlee

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Photographic Hand Retouching for Weddings and Portraits Explained by Tracey Attlee

Attlee Weddings and Portraits has a reputation for hand retouching images for their clients.  Hand retouching is an aspect of post production in digital imaging.  Hand retouching involves the use of professional digital imaging programs such as Photoshop but instead of simply hitting buttons and automating the retouching process, Tracey Attlee actually draws and paints on the digital image with a graphic arts pen connected to her computer.  That is how she can address details in wedding and portrait retouching that others would prefer to skip because its too much work.

Hand retouching means once Attlee converts the original image file from RAW to high resolution JPG she then makes whatever enhancements she thinks necessary to bring the work to its best for her client’s wedding album or picture frame.  Attlee makes the enhancements by hand with her graphic arts pen so they appear natural looking and not overdone or automated.

Attached is a sample of a recent Before and After of our lovely bride and groom, Katy and Jim, whose wedding Tracey Attlee photographed in Spring Lake, NJ this September at Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club.  The finished image on the right was used in a program to support a Jersey shore charity called The Samaritan Center that specializes in counseling troubled high school aged youth.
On the left is the image as it came out of the camera.  Notice how cold it looks.  This is because everything in the environment reflects its colors onto people being photographed.  The couple is under a canopy of leaves, green, under a blue sky.  This colors the couple, their clothes and the bridge green and blue.

The finished version on the right displays corrected color cast that removes the ugly blue and green and makes the faces and gown and groom’s shirt warm and balanced with the proper colors and contrast.  This is a tricky process because if too much blue and green are removed it will throw off the couple’s flesh tones.  It requires an experienced artist's eye aided by the use of a calibrated monitor.  With her calibrated monitors Attlee can see and measure the results of her retouching and render them correctly.

Once the colors are corrected in a picture the details are next.  Notice how the leaves under the groom’s nose have also been adjusted, as well as the tree and disturbing boards in the distance behind the couple.  The bride’s beautiful blue eye is squinting on the left and is reshaped on the right.  The sunlight is making the groom’s fingers look too red on the left, there is a blue shadow on the bride’s wrist on the left and the groom’s face is much too dark on the left.

Now that you have seen this Before and After, which one would you rather hang in your home to show to the world?  A picture straight out of the camera, left, or a picture adjusted by a professional photographer with the patience and expertise to see the details through for you?

Former White House photographer Tracey Attlee of Attlee Weddings and Portraits, Alexandria, VA, has photographed weddings in Washington, DC for 25 years in addition to her home town of Spring Lake, New Jersey and New York City.  Attlee individually hand retouches every image her brides order for display in picture frames or wedding albums.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

Alexandria, VA Wedding and Portrait Photographer Tracey Attlee Juried into ArtNOW with "Ice Blue"

Local DC wedding and portrait photographer Tracey Attlee of Alexandria, VA has had her fine art photograph “Ice Blue” accepted into the monthly show “ArtNOW” at The Art League Gallery in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia at the landmark Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 North Union Street on the Potomac River.

This was a highly contested show for area artists; 488 pieces were entered and only 90 were accepted by show juror Cory Orbendorfer, a successful painter, artist and adjunct faculty member of four colleges and universities in the DC region.  Orbendorfer says he was looking for fresh, original work with technical proficiency that reflects the time and care the artists put into their work.

Attlee’s photograph features the blue eye of a Clydesdale horse from the Budweiser stable whose face is dressed in black and silver tack for a carriage ride.  The startling blue eye peers out of the face that fades into darkness.  “He looked so handsome suited up for a carriage ride but when a shaft of light suddenly lit his blue eye I was spellbound.  Luckily I had been photographing him and caught the moment,” says Tracey Attlee, a former White House credentialed photojournalist for the Associated Press and New York Times Washington bureaus.
"Ice Blue" by Tracey Attlee

ArtNOW features new work created in 2014 by Washington, DC region artists and will hang from October 8 until November 1, 2014 at the Art League Gallery, Alexandria, VA.  The Clydesdale horse, Lou, is now owned by Nancy and Wayne Osterhaus, Columbus, WI.  Lou has one blue eye and one brown eye.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Recipe for a Good DC Corporate Portrait by Photographer Tracey Attlee

Lisa M. Hughes, Esq. portrait by Tracey Attlee
This week in the life of Attlee Photography our favorite DC corporate portrait session was with attorney Lisa Hughes of Yates, Campbell & Hoeg of Fairfax, VA. A fresh portrait of Ms. Hughes was in order so her publicist Hope Gibbs would have new material to support a series of articles about estate planning Ms. Hughes is writing that she later plans to develop into a book.

Ms. Hughes was ready and waiting when we arrived at her firm and also had a conference room reserved and waiting for us.  Of great help was her attention to props.  She brought a variety of necklaces and earrings so we could pair up the best combination to go with the necklines of her blouse and suit.

Once we got wardrobe settled we began to work with our lighting to bring out the best in Ms. Hughes' features.  We shoot with our camera tethered to a laptop. Ms. Hughes could instantly see how she looked and the effects our multiple light setup were having on her portrait.  This is what a good DC corporate portrait session is like with Attlee Photography; the subject sees results immediately and then it becomes a great collaboration between subject and photographer.  We work together until we are satisfied the portrait is at its best.

The next step after helping the client choose their favorite image is post production.  Tracey Attlee individually hand retouches her digital photographs to be sure everyone looks their best.

Producing good DC corporate photographs and continuing her reputation as a good DC corporate photographer is what Tracey Attlee of Attlee Photography lives by.  This former White House photographer knows, after 25 years behind the lens, how to analyze faces and figures and light for most attractive results.  "That's why I hired you to photograph my portrait," says Ms. Hughes, "Thank you. I really like it."

Former White House photographer Tracey Attlee of Alexandria, VA produces DC corporate photographs for clients ranging from small businesses to VA and DC law firms to Fortune 500 companies.  For a complete list of her clients and a look at other recent portraits by Attlee Photography please visit  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tip for the Bride: Create a Photo Schedule

A classic June seashore wedding in perfect weather made Texans Ben and Lauren's Spring Lake, NJ destination wedding a delight for their guests.  What helped Attlee Weddings and Portraits capture all the great visuals, the lovely settings Lauren and her mother chose and Lauren's fashionable wardrobe and accessories was the couple's adherence to the photo schedule developed for them.  Among the locations for Attlee Weddings and Portraits photos at Ben and Lauren's wedding were Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony at Spring Lake's historic St. Catharine's Church (actually built by a relative in the bride's family, Martin Maloney), wedding party beach pictures on the Spring Lake shoreline and wedding reception at Spring Lake Golf Club.

Whenever Attlee Weddings and Portraits photographs a wedding, Tracey Attlee makes use of her experience as a formerly cleared White House photographer for the New York Times and the Associated Press by developing a photography schedule.  She asks the bride and her mother for a checklist of the groups and individuals they would like photographed and a general timeline of the major events of the day.  Then Tracey plans locations and times for the requested photographs by visiting the sites in advance to examine the quality and direction of light at the same time of day the photographs will be taken.  "This is what gives our work power." Tracey Attlee says, "Successful wedding photography is all about using flattering light in expressive backgrounds:  no squinting faces, weak exposures or wasting precious time hunting for backgrounds on the wedding day!  We know where to be and when to be there for every shot the family requests because we check it all out about two weeks before the wedding.  This is a service included in our wedding photography coverage for our clients."

Here is a surprise sneak peek Attlee Weddings and Portraits made from their Spring Lake, NJ beach wedding photos for Lauren and Ben:  

Tracey Attlee is a former White House photographer whose business, Attlee Weddings and Portraits in Alexandria, VA, has covered weddings and portraits in the DC region for over 20 years and is recommended by the private clubs of Washington, D.C. including Congressional, Chevy Chase, Sulgrave, Metropolitan, Kenwood, Ft. Myer Officers Club.  Tracey Attlee grew up in Spring Lake, New Jersey and has photographed weddings along its beloved seashore for 20 years with recommendations from Spring Lake Bath & Tennis Club, Spring Lake Golf Club and The Breakers Hotel on the Ocean.
Historic St. Catharine's Church of Spring Lake, New Jersey was the site of Ben and Lauren's wedding ceremony.  Photo by Tracey Attlee

Ben and Lauren share a kiss for the crowd of guests on the steps of St. Catharine's in Spring Lake, NJ.  Photo by Tracey Attlee

The wedding party gets the party going with a jump on the Spring Lake beach shoreline.  Photo by Tracey Attlee

Ben and Lauren share a minute together before cocktails on the patio of Spring Lake Golf Club.  Photo by Tracey Attlee.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tip for the Bride: Time for Just the Two of You

As the golf world gears up for the 2014 Quicken Loans National at Congressional Country Club next week Attlee Weddings and Portraits had the pleasure of including those marvelously manicured grounds in special photographs of Kourtney and AJ's recent wedding there.  This couple's wedding was pure romance and the visuals were magic.  The day could have flown by as can any wedding day with the seemingly endless stream of high points: getting ready, the ceremony, the family groups and the fun of the reception but this couple made sure to schedule in time for pictures of just the two of them. We always recommend this because it can be the only few minutes of private time you will enjoy during your wedding day!  Kourtney and AJ encouraged us and made time for us to combine our imagination with the lovely light and landscape of Congressional for their wedding pictures so here, with our thanks for their trust, is a little sneak peek into what Attlee Weddings and Portraits saw in Kourtney and AJ's wedding day world!

Tracey Attlee is a former White House photographer whose business, Attlee Weddings and Portraits in Alexandria, VA, has covered weddings and portraits in the DC region for over 20 years and is recommended by the private clubs of Washington, D.C. including Congressional, Chevy Chase, Sulgrave, Metropolitan, Kenwood, Ft. Myer Officers Club.
Kourtney and AJ stroll the meticulously manicured grounds of Congressional Country Club.  Photo by Tracey Attlee

The classic view of Congressional Country Club graced by newlyweds Kourtney and AJ.  Photo by Tracey Attlee

Friday, April 4, 2014

Starring You in Your Northern VA High School Senior Portrait Session

Northern Virginia high school senior portrait photos by Tracey Attlee

Make your high school senior portrait shine with personality by incorporating your favorite hobbies into the session. Maybe you play lacrosse, football, the guitar, or like cars, music or photography?  Let's shoot some portraits of you doing what you love.  High school sports uniforms and props make great additions to a high school senior photo session!  So do musical instruments, riding habits, bikes, outdoor gear, hats, scarves, jewelry.  They add color and life to your portraits.  That is what made our winter high school portrait session of Zoie a favorite.  And what fun, to top it off the lady shoots a Canon.

Tracey Attlee is a portrait and wedding photographer in Alexandria, Virginia and is now booking high school senior portrait sessions for juniors at Bishop O'Connell High School, Bishop Ireton High School, Oakcrest School of McLean, Paul VI Catholic High School and others in northern Virginia and DC.  Please call Attlee Weddings and Portraits now for an appointment 703-751-1778.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tips for High School Senior Portrait Photography in DC, VA, MD by Tracey Attlee

Want to know how to get the best out of your high school senior portrait photography session?  Here is a sneak peek at a session last week with Zoie: 

Following are a few tips that made Attlee Weddings and Portraits' Virginia high school senior photography session so great with Zoie:

l.  Wardrobe:  Have ready two or three outfits or pieces to combine to make each look.  Zoie had several dresses, sweaters, slacks, boot and shoe choices for the shots she requested.  Everything was set out when we arrived and that made final selections easy.

2. Accessories:   Bring a few accessories to change up a look:  Zoie brought extra hats, jewelry, scarves and jackets.  This helped indoors under the studio lights and outdoors in the snowy Virginia countryside.  Of course our favorite accessory was her loving, gentle dog Lincoln.

3.  Lint Pick Up:  Great idea to run this over your wardrobe several times because today's professional portrait lenses are so sharp they will see every speck, lint and dust particle.

4.  Hair/Makeup:  Zoie had hers planned in advance so there was no slowdown in the action on the shoot.

5.  Timing:  Zoie answered the front door herself when we arrived.  Perfect timing!

Tracey Attlee is a former White House photographer in Alexandria, Virginia who photographs weddings, children, high school senior portraits, social and corporate events in Washington, D.C, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.