Family Photo Session at Howard County Conservancy Does Not Disappoint!

     Last night we headed to one of my favorite locations for family photo sessions, The Howard County Conservancy in Woodstock.  I love this spot for families due to all the barns, open fields, and gorgeous gardens to use as backdrops.  Before the session started I was explaining to my assistant how you never know what to expect with family photo sessions with young children.  You have to be prepared to expect the unexpected and go with the flow. You need to read the family for what would make them feel their best and look their best too.  The little girl had tons of spirit and I am so grateful that my assistant was there to play with her and to keep her happy so that mom and dad could relax while I took their couple photos. 

     When I first met the dad he said, “You’re going to make this painless, right?”  It’s funny because he said what most dads are thinking when their well intentioned wives plan the photo sessions for them telling them that they can go out to dinner after as their reward for being on their best behavior.  The funniest part though was that it was the dad who was keeping everyone laughing throughout the session and when he started striking model poses all on his own I told him that I didn’t believe that he wasn’t enjoying this and could see that he was eating it up.  Some of my favorite images of the session were the ones of the dad holding his little girl.  You could see the love in his eyes when he looked at her with such joy that it melted your heart.  When I was editing the final images, I couldn’t help but think how these same images could end up in his little girl’s wedding day slide show and it made me so happy to think that I could have a part in that. 

     The dad didn’t only look at his little girl in this way though, he looked at his wife with the same love and admiration.  You could tell how much fun they had together as a couple and I kept thinking about how lucky their little girl was to grow up with parents who loved each other in this way. 

     At the end of the session as the sun was setting, the little girl hopped onto the hay and I was able to capture some of the best shots of the night.  She has such a free and happy spirit and I loved being able to photograph such a darling little girl.  I am so grateful that her mom chose me to photograph their family and hope that they cherish the images we created together for years to come!

Who is the photographer behind Summer Mint Photography?

     Hi there!  I’m Julie Goetzinger, the photographer behind Summer Mint Photography.  I am a natural light, portrait photographer for kids, teens and high school seniors.  I mostly serve families in Howard County, Maryland, however, I also have clients in Baltimore and Carroll counties.   I love photographing in Howard County because we have such a variety of locations for our shoots.  If a client is looking for gorgeous gardens I take them to the Howard County Conservancy.  If they love water, we go to Warfield Pond Park or Centennial Park and if they want more of an urban look, we head to historic Ellicott City with its artsy flair and variety of textured walls to work with.  Where I live in Woodbine, we have lots of farms like Larriland Farm, which is a favorite location for fall family portraits.  The opportunities for gorgeous locations where we live are endless.

     Why do I do what I do?  This is a loaded question for me because there are so many reasons why I love what I do.  First of all, it’s in my blood because my ancestor, Matthew Brady, was credited as being the first American photographer.  His photograph of Abraham Lincoln is on the penny and one of his famous quotes was, “A spirit in my feet said go so I went.”  When I read these words of his for the first time, I broke down and started crying because this is exactly how I feel.  My spirit for freedom takes me to do what is in my heart and no one can talk me out of my passions.  When I found photography, I had this feeling of being alive like I’ve never had before.  When I’m outside connecting with another person and surrounded by nature, I feel completely in the flow and it’s so much fun when I get home and get to check out all of the beautiful images that I have helped to create.  I chose the motto, “Embrace the moment,” for my business because more than anything I want people to stop and be completely grateful for the moment they are in and to relish in that.  Each moment we have alive is precious and worth documenting and I love that I get to be a part of that for my clients.

     So what makes me different from all of the other photographers out there?  The first thing is my ability to make an instant connection with children of all ages.  Parents often tell me how difficult it is for them to capture a natural smile of their child on camera and are often impressed by how quickly I am able to make this happen with my calming disposition and genuine interest that I show in them as people before I even take their first picture.  Molly Tourison explained it well when commenting, “Working with Julie is so easy and natural; she made an immediate connection with my kids.  They are so comfortable with her, it feels more like a dear friend is taking their pictures.  Although upon receiving our photos, there is no mistake that a dedicated and talented professional captured many beautiful images!  The whole experience from start to finish was relaxed and enjoyable.”  If your daughter is a teen or high school senior, I have a team of professional makeup, hair and stylists to help her look her best for her photo shoot and to feel more glamorous throughout her session.  I also act more as an interior designer when I come into my client’s homes to help them map out their wall space and we take their family’s style and color palette in mind when designing the wall art, that I help them to hang myself.  My goal is to make the whole process from start to finish as easy as possible by walking my clients through every step of the process and even giving them my personal cell number that they can use to text photos of outfits that are considering wearing for the shoot.  If this sounds like what you would love for your own photo shoot, call the studio today at 443-900-5170 and we can get the process started!

     I would love it if you would comment below why you chose me as your photographer!  What was most important thing to you when choosing your photographer?  What could I do to make this the most amazing photography experience you’ve ever had?  I’d love to hear about it below!



Athloton Senior Rocks Senior Portrait Session

     When I went to meet this Senior from Atholton, my first thought was, “Yeah, he will be a very easy subject to photograph.”  Not only is he gorgeous, but he is down to earth and easy to talk to as well.  He carried my equipment upstairs for me and his mom could not have been more welcoming.  Her house was impeccably decorated and I knew that we were going to have so much fun designing her custom portrait session for her son and deciding where to hang the wall art from the session. 

     Mik told me about how he works at a gym and supervises the kids there and what a fun job it is.  He plays multiple sports himself like hockey and works out a lot too.  He went on to explain how he wanted to pursue a career in acting and modeling and I am certain that he will thrive in his chosen career path.  We talked about his style and he explained that he wanted more of an edgy look and his mom wanted a second, more formal look as well.  I told them how I could accommodate both through outfit changes and location changes.  Being athletic, I asked him to wear his basketball shirt for his third outfit since I knew how much the ladies especially would love that look.

     The shoot itself went amazing just as I had envisioned it would.  The weather was perfect and after we captured the formal shots for his yearbook photo, we headed to the back of a shopping center which when you first drove up didn’t look like much.  His mom even said, “Where are you taking us???”  I told her to trust me and that it would give us the look Mik was going for in his edgy look.  When I showed her the back of my camera she was thrilled and said how it didn’t look like much when we first came to the location but could now see how the small details in the background made the shots we wanted. 

     I was amazed by how quickly Mik could go from one expression to the next so effortlessly and posed so naturally with little direction.  He is an extremely talented model and I can’t wait to hear where he gets hired once he graduates from high school.  At the end of the session I asked Mik to join me for our stylized shoots with my “Street Team” of Junior girls and he happily agreed.  I can’t wait to work with him again and to show him the amazing photos we captured together!  This session solidified my love of senior portrait photography and I told him if there were any guys just like him to please send them my way! 

If you are starting your Junior year in high school and would love to pose with this gorgeous guy, send me a message at  The application process to join our team will begin at the end of October!  I am also currently booking senior sessions for the rising senior class and those portrait sessions will end in October.  There are a limited number of spots available, so call the studio today at 443-900-5170 to reserve your session today!

Quick Makeup Tutorial in 5 Easy Steps!

Want to look your best, but don’t have a lot of time to apply your makeup?  Check out this tutorial for 5 easy steps to look your best in no time!  Prefer to watch videos?  Check out this site and go here to buy the makeup shown. 

Ok!  Here we go!

Step 1:  Focus on your problem area.  For example, if your skin isn’t looking its best that morning, spend the majority of your time on your base.  Swiping a little powder all over will even out your complexion and erase redness. 

Step 2:  Brows, brows, brows!  Your eyebrows are the framing feature of your face!  They draw attention to your eyes so make sure those caterpillars are tame!  A little brow gel will take you far!  If it’s been forever since you’ve shaped them, see Jayshree at Vedic Spa and tell her that I sent you.  She’s amazing!

Step 3: Use your bronzer as eyeshadow!  Adding bronzer to your eyes is a quick way to add some depth and dimension.  Just swipe the bronzer all over, focusing it in the crease.  It’s natural yet with a little mascara, it adds something extra.

Step 4: Make that highlight POP!  Highlighting will make you look hydrated and awake even though you’re probably not.  Swipe some product over the cheekbones, nose and brow-bone!

Step 5: Spritz your face with a little setting spray like this one to make sure your makeup is still flawless at the end of the day!   You get your own mineral-based misting spray, bronzer, eye shadow and foundation here

Incorporate this tutorial into your routine and watch how much time you save! 

The Conditions Will Never Be Perfect: Do it Now!

     This is a message I’ve been hearing over and over again listening to all the self-help audio books and business books I’ve been reading.  One of my favorites is Jack Canfield’s book called, “The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” that you can find here.  Jack shares a brilliant concept in which he says to live by, “Ready, FIRE, aim,” rather than, “Ready, aim, fire,” like we’re used to hearing.  He explains that you can spend an eternity getting ready and never take the action needed to get the results you want.  Where as if you spend a little time prepping or getting ready and then just jump in with both feet or “firing” then you can make corrections as you go. 

     I can relate to this with the timing that I started my business.  I share more about that on my Facebook live video that you can watch here.  Some would argue that starting a business from scratch when you are home full-time with your 2 and 3 year old children is not the best idea.  Why not wait until they are in school full-time?  My answer to that is that I can get more done in less time when I have a time limit.  I am not always great about setting time limits for myself to get my work done and let work seep into family time far more often than I’d like to admit, but I do know that I am much more efficient when I have motivation like wanting to spend more time with my children.  Another point could be that you should wait until you have the money to invest in start-up costs of a business, but if you wait to get started the momentum and excitement slows and then it will take you that much longer to build the business of your dreams which is why I went for mine only one month after leaving my full-time teaching job.  Having my own business has been on my heart for many years so as soon as I got the time freedom, I jumped on it right away.  Plus, one morning after I completed my meditation, I saw a credit card offer on our stairs, which read, “The time to act is now.”  That was all the sign that I needed to get started right away!

     This past April I went on a life-changing and deeply spiritual retreat and returned home with so many goodies in my swag bag that I dreamed would adorn my new office space that I had been visualizing.  However, I don’t have that office space now and do my work at our kitchen table or in my bed instead.  For this reason, I left the bag in my closet thinking that it would come out once I get my dream office space.  Then, my grandmother passed away and I inherited her beautiful antique desk.  As soon as we brought it home I knew that it was the perfect place to unpack my office goodies. 

     The desk sits in my basement next to our laundry room with fluorescent lighting that is far from my ideal work environment, but it’s what I have right now and I’m grateful for it.  It doesn’t look anything like those other office spaces that adorn Pintrest or Instagram, but it works for me and is from someone who loved me unconditionally and I know how proud she is looking down on me building my own business.  I shared a live video on Facebook of my workspace that you can check out here

     So what are your dreams?  What is it that terrifies you and excites you all at the same time?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!  If you need some motivation to realize the huge potential that we all hold check out Jen Cincero’s video here.  You can pick up your own copy of her book here.  Don’t wait to start your dream life.  Do it now!

Please note that I am an affiliate for Amazon so would make a small percentage of the sale of the book links I shared in this post.  I only share what I know would benefit you!

Make Time for You

     Every time I get a facial, go to a yoga class or get my hair done, I think to myself, “I need to do this more often.”  Taking the time for ourselves to unwind and do nothing but appreciate the gift of relaxation is so rejuvenating and good for your soul.

     This past week, I had a facial at Vedic Spa in Ellicott City with Jayshree and not only did I feel so relaxed, but I left with so much more knowledge about skincare than when I arrived.  She took the time to better understand my personal skincare routine and then told me what I could be doing to improve the areas that need improving.  She explained how breakouts on our skin are directly connected to what’s going on internally and that even the placement of the breakouts can tell you which part of your body is out of balance.  Then, she gave me an arm, neck and hand massage, which put me in such a deep state of relaxation that I literally had to peal myself off of the massage table afterwards. 

     After the facial I asked Jayshree about the products that she uses for her treatments and she explained that she uses Anoka Skincare products, which are holistic products free of parabens, sulfates, petrolatum and artificial colors, developed by Dr. Naidu, a registered plastic surgeon from New York.  It’s important to Jayshree to work with people who give back to their communities which is why she is so happy that 10% of the sale of Anoka products from Dr. Naidu goes to support the Doctors Without Borders cause.  

Vedic Spa is located at 8000 Locust Mill Street in Ellicott City, Maryland

     Jayshree and I also bonded over our mutual love of essential oils and she said that she mixes her own blends for her clients and favors using Sandalwood, Jasmine, Niaouli, and Patchouli.   Along with being an amazing aesthetician, Jayshree is also a very talented makeup artist.  I worked with her on my stylized photo shoot and I was impressed by how beautifully she did the makeup for each girl, complimenting their unique features.  I asked her to do a makeup demo at an event I’m holding on Friday, August 4th at 7:00pm at Black Ankle Winery in Mt. Airy and she agreed to come and teach us how to apply the makeup.  She will be applying mineral-based makeup to my face from Savvy Minerals by Young Living.  This is the makeup that I use personally due to its use of Arrowroot powder, which is known to heal and improve skin and it doesn’t include parabens, bismuth, talc, fragrance or dyes. 

Jayshree applying makeup to my beautiful model, Julia on our stylized photo shoot

     Because I am so passionate about using chemical-free beauty products and encouraging my friends to do the same, I am offering a complimentary headshot session to anyone who purchases the makeup bundle at my event on August 4th or before then by going online to order using this link. For questions about color choices and makeup products available for purchase, contact me at  To subscribe to my VIP Email list to be the first to hear about upcoming events and receive promotional offers go here.  I hope to see you at our Wine & Makeup Event on August 4th! 

How To Take Better Pictures at the Beach

Notice the cooperative sea gull!

      I have to be honest.  When my best friend asked me to photograph her kids at the beach, it made me a little nervous.  I was thinking about unwanted reflections on the water being distracting, the weather not cooperating, my camera being damaged by the sand and salty air, and whether or not her almost 2 year old would want to have anything to do with me..but I have to say that after doing this beach shoot it made me want to do another one as soon as possible.

     Everything came into perfect alignment.  The wind died down, the humidity disappeared, the children were perfectly styled in their pastel outfits and there was a gorgeous sunset that night that created the most beautiful lighting I’ve ever had out on a shoot.  Even the shyest child of the bunch was chatting it up with me as we walked down to the beach, telling me which flavor ice cream she would get after our shoot.  The seagulls even seemed to be posing for me! 

     It also helped a lot that I already had a well-established connection with the kids, allowing me to capture natural, comfortable shots since the kids are so at ease with me.  I also wanted so badly to make these photos among the best I’ve taken because they were for a family that I care so deeply about.   I had so much fun on the shoot that I could have continued for hours had the sun not set on us…  Here are some things to think about to increase your chances of getting some great beach pictures too!

1. Make sure the kids are well rested and fed before heading out to photograph them.

2. Don’t dress in their outfits until right before you are ready to head down to their shoot to avoid spills or wrinkles on the outfits.

3. Go down to the beach in the evening after dinner so the crowds have gone home and the lighting is at its peak.  90 minutes before sunset is a good time to plan to head down.

4. Make sure there is even light on the subjects and in the background.  Shadows and bright highlights will distract from their faces, which should be your focus.

5.  Bring beach props down with you such as conch shells and starfish for the kids to play with in the sand.

6.  Use the lines of the path to help create great composition in your shots and to create more of a story.

7.  Use the dunes as a great natural backdrop.

8.  If you want the ocean in the background, wait until the sun has almost set so the lighting is softer.

9.  Reward the kids after with a treat like going out for ice cream to keep them motivated.

10.  Allow time for them to play authentically with their surroundings.  This is often when the best shots are captured!

     What would your dream photo session be like?  Is it at the beach?  A farm?  At your family’s favorite park by your home?  I’d love to hear about it and make it come to life for you!  Call the studio today at 443-900-5170 or go here to reserve your summer/fall session today!  There are very few summer sessions left so call soon if you have your heart set on a summer shoot!  To be included on the VIP Email list to be the first notified of upcoming promotions, you can subscribe here

How I Manifested $1000 in 10 Days

My box of affirmations! My vision board- there’s my future home!

     I was first introduced to the idea of using visualization to get the most out of life by Leah Remillet, of go4prophotos on our photography retreat in Vegas this past Spring. Leah is such an inspiration to me for the way she lives her life so when she mentioned that this was a practice she does daily, I knew that I had to look more into it.  She explained that even her children practice visualization to bring into their lives the things that they are most wanting.  Her 10 year old son is particularly gifted at it and even researched a town where he wanted to move and sent his parents Zillow ads to show them the houses that were for sale in that area.  They responded to him, saying, “Aww, that looks like a great place to live, buddy, but dad’s work isn’t there and it’s just not going to happen.”  He said ok, but continued to visualize this house and town where he wanted to live and repeatedly told his parents that they were going to move there.  Then, one day her friend calls her to say that there is a log cabin for sale in this area and that she should check it out.  Of course, they ended up moving there and are now having so much fun renovating it as a family!  I thought to myself, “OK I have to give this visualization thing a try…”I have been wanting to move to Colorado for a few years now and just didn’t think it was going to happen so I dismissed it as just as a dream.  But then I started talking more about it with my friends, starting researching the neighborhood where I want to live, found a picture of a house that I want to live in there and put it up on my vision board. 

    The next thing I did was to purchase the book, “Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where you Want to Be,” by Jack Canfield that you can get here .I got the hard copy and the audio version so that I could listen to it in my car to imprint the ideas into my head as I was out driving the kids around or running errands.  I got about halfway through the book and realized that although these were amazing ideas, unless I started to implement them I would not see a change in my life.  It’s not enough to dream.  You need to take real action and change your daily habits to see changes happen. 

      On June 1, 2017 I began to implement the practices I learned in Canfield’s book. I begin each morning with a visualization meditation by Bob Proctor that you can find here, I wrote out my affirmations that I read on a daily basis and was so specific so that I would know for sure if this works.  I found a box to include my 3×5 index cards in so that I would be excited to read these again to myself each morning.  Well…on Saturday, June 10, 2017 I received an unexpected $1000 check in the mail!  I thought, “What??? Could this be from my daily affirmations that I’ve been reading?”  I deposited the check into my account and then thought to myself, “This is amazing…if I can manifest $1000 this easily, why couldn’t I manifest $10,000 just as easily?”  So that’s what I’m working on now.  I’ll keep you updated with what happens!  😉

My beautiful models!!!  Makeup by Jayshree Rathod of Vedic Spa.   Styling by Jodi Neal. Clothing and accessories from Junk Girl.  

     Another success that happened since using these practices was that I arranged a stylized session complete with 4 models, a makeup artist, stylist, and clothing store owner.  I had been visualizing in my head exactly how I wanted the shoot to go, the colors, the styles, the poses, the weather, the positive connections we would make and it all turned out exactly how I had written it out on my notecards, down to the very last detail…  I also have almost fulfilled my goal of booking a photo session or being away with my family every weekend this summer and it’s only June! 

     It’s not just the things that have manifested that have brought me such pleasure, but it’s the feelings I’ve had as they have all unfolded and continue to unfold.  I feel so excited, and the fun that I’m having is unreal.  I thought it was just freedom that I wanted, but I’m realizing that the fun along the way is the best part.  I don’t know how it’s all going to unfold, but I do know that this works!  If you want to give this a try, pick up your own copy of “Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” by Jack Canfield here.  If you prefer the audio version you can get that here.  I can’t wait to hear the magic that unfolds for you too!

Please note that I am an affiliate with Amazon, so would make a small percentage of the sale if you decide to purchase Canfield’s book.  Thanks!

Historic Ellicott City is Back!

Clothing and accessories from Junk Girl.  Makeup by Jayshree Rathod of Vedic Spa.  Styed by Jodi Neal.  Photography by Summer Mint Photography. Inside Junk Girl, where Julia was styled for her shoot.

     Walking down Main Street in Ellicott City, it’s hard to believe that such a short time ago the streets were flooded, businesses were destroyed and lives were turned upside down.  Today the city is back in full force and it’s just as charming as ever.  It’s a favorite location of mine for Senior portraits and headshots due to its colorful shops, textured walls and fun vintage stores like Junk Girl, where the girls can get dressed and styled for our shoots. 

     Last weekend I photographed a rising Senior named Julia in this very spot and could not have been more thrilled with our results.  She had her makeup done by the talented, Jayshree Rathod, who owns Vedic Spa, also in Ellicott City.  Julia was styled by Jodi Neal, who selected her 70s inspired dress and headpiece from Junk Girls located at 8120 Main Street in Ellicott City.

     Julia was not only a beautiful model, but also had a bright spirit about her that made her energy contagious.  We bonded over our mutual admiration of Justin Bieber (you can’t be too old to be a belieber 😉  as we hunted for the perfect backdrops for her portraits.  Julia is an active young lady, playing field hockey and lacrosse, is a member of the National Honor Society, loves to bake and volunteers in her community through the Horizon Service Learning Club.  Julia is so excited for her Senior year and no doubt has a very bright future ahead!

     What would your dream Senior portrait experience be like?  Would it be in an urban setting like downtown Ellicott City or on a quiet farm like Larriland Farms?  I’d love to hear more about it and to help make it come to life! 

Getting makeup done by Jayshree Rathod of Vedic Spa

     The ideal time to take Senior portraits is the summer before your Senior year.  I would love to take your Senior portrait for you and am currently booking for the end of July.  Makeup and styling are available and outfit changes are encouraged as well.  Call the studio at 443-900-5170 to check on availability and I’d love to hear more about how I can give you a Senior portrait experience you will remember forever! 

A Senior in her Element

      Last night I had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful, dancing senior named Ellie.  She stepped out of her parent’s car and explained to me her aspirations of becoming an art teacher and we immediately bonded over her love of art.  She explained that drawing was her favorite because she could easily correct it to make it look the way she wanted and that although she hadn’t even had her high school graduation yet, that she was beginning her first college course the next day! 

     As I began to pose her in the natural surroundings of Patuxent Valley Park, I told her to channel her inner dancer and to use her ballet hands.  I put her in positions that I reminded her may feel weird, but that will look great in the photos.  She was a champ climbing down paths with rocks to fit in just the right spots framed by the beautiful greenery around her.  As I worked with her I noticed her parents behind us smiling with that proud glance that parents give when they know they’ve done their job well.  I thought it was so nice that dad came too when usually it is just the moms that accompany their daughters on senior photo shoots and he explained that he wanted to be there. 

     Next, we chased down the sun as it began to set to get some great backlit shots as she pulled out her art sketchpad and pens.  I told her to pretend that we weren’t even there and to kick up her legs and draw on her belly while I snapped away.  I caught one of my favorite shots of the shoot this way and her mom saw the back of my camera and gasped, so I know that she was pleased too.  I saw the joy in Ellie’s face as she thought about her drawings and her love of art and her bright future ahead.  Her mom’s one request was that I capture the twinkle in her daughter’s eyes and I feel like I did this while Ellie was doing what she loves most and flipping through her art pad.  After I had finished capturing these shots, I saw one of Ellie’s sketches of a person’s face and was shocked to learn that she had drawn this from memory and without a model.  Her talent was apparent and it was clear the joy that her gift brings her as well. 

     As we wrapped up the shoot and walked back to the parking lot, Ellie explained how ready she was for college and to study what she was most interested in and to be surrounded by people who shared the same passion that she does.  I know that her parents are proud of her and although they will miss the little girl that she once was, they will enjoy watching her mature and grow into the woman that she is meant to become.