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  • Writer's pictureAnne

It's the most wonderful time of the year.

Glenstone museum Pavillion courtyard water garden.

It’s that time again! Holiday cards have been flying back and forth via the USPS the last few weeks! I don’t know who started the tradition of the holiday family photo, but as a photographer, I’m a fan. 

We’ve shared a family photo since the year our older son was born. He’s 23, so we’ve got quite a collection now. And since we moved back to the DC area in 2002, our tradition has been to take our photograph at a local landmark. I shared that story in a post last year

This is our 17th year, so we've already done the rounds of monuments. We're now well into the slightly lesser-known locales. This year, we sort of stumbled into the perfect spot: the awesome new Glenstone Museum in Potomac, Maryland.

You have to reserve your visit to Glenstone a few months in advance. Unrelated to holiday photos, we started talking about going last spring. But month after month we’d forget to sign up. In September, my son’s sweet girlfriend took matters into her own hands and signed us up for an early November slot. It wasn't until after we had the reservation that it dawned on me ... it would be the perfect location for our holiday photos!

I started Google-imaging and discovered that the grounds are fantastic. And bonus, the Pavilions have a sweet interior courtyard with an amazing water garden. It’s all very contemporary, which makes sense as that’s the type of art you’ll find within the galleries. 

Cameras are tabu inside the Pavilions, but the courtyard? That's free game! Sweet!

It being early November, the aquatic plants in the water garden were bursting with fall color. Definitely icing, for me.

Both boys are in their twenties, but their silly comes out during these sessions. Which is fun, but results in more unusable shots than usable ones! Thankfully, it only takes one ... and we got it!

Our holiday photo of the boys in the courtyard at the Glenstone Museum Pavilions

We even had a bonus extra shot of all four of us—I think my son's girlfriend nailed this one! I didn't make it easy on her, handing over my big camera in manual mode. She even had to use back-button focus. But she totally rocked it!

Shot of all four of us on the grounds of the Glenstone Museum.

It's definitely been fun thinking up new places that fit our overall theme. I've already started pondering our 2020 location! 

Do you have a holiday photo tradition? Christmas PJs? Cheesy holiday sweaters? I’d love to hear about them!  

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