Woodland Child Photo Session at the Hermitage Museum, Norfolk VA

When C’s mom called me to book a session for her 18 month old daughter, the most important thing to her was to make sure we captured her personality. C is at the age of constant movement and exploration. She also loves to wear pretty things that sparkle and to get dressed up. When we were planning the session the word that came to mind that we wanted for the feel of the session was “whimsical.” Mom had this adorable headband made of feathers and sparkles that she wanted C to wear. We decided a woodland background would be perfect for the feel of the session. After bantering around a few ideas, the Hermitage Museum and Gardens in Norfolk was decided as the perfect location.

Woodland photography session with girl toddler

The Hermitage was also the location of the parents’ wedding so it had that sentimental attachment going for it, too. There are so many wonderful spots at the museum grounds to find for photos but we decided to start near the building itself.

Little girl wearing feather headband and exploring park

C loved the perennial flower beds near the museum. I just followed her taking pictures of all she did.

natural child photo session capturing exploration

juxtaposition of child with nude outdoor statue

We started to walk toward the paths that led us through a wooded area not too far from the water. C had so much to look at here: fronds and sticks and walking the pathways.

young child exploring the woods at photo session

young girl in the woods

For sessions like this, I love to just observe and be patient with the child. There is no hurry as she explores. I love the moments and expressions I can capture this way:

Beautiful girl toddler wearing a feather headband

happy toddler dressed up in sparkly feather headband

baby girl sitting on bench at photo session

little girl standing on bench at hermitage museum

After a quick change of clothes into a very special dress her auntie bought her, we wandered over to the boardwalk area on the museum grounds. It was getting pretty darn hot by this time and she was still going strong.

black and white images of toddler at gate and on pier

After leaving the boardwalk area, we came upon an open glade filled with buttercups. She loved the flowers!

little girl holding a bunch of buttercups in a forest glade

little girl holding a bunch of buttercups at her woodland photo session

little girl playing with flowers

toddler holding flowers in both hands at photo session

We found a pathway through the woods that led to the lighthouse on the grounds of the Hermitage.

beautiful toddler walking on wooded pathway

She had fun walking up the steep incline to the doorway and then running down. It was verrrryyy nerve-wracking for me! Toddlers aren’t always sure-footed and every time she started to run down I thought sure she would fall. But she didn’t and after a few times she was done and it was time to end the session.

toddler girl standing against big wood doorway.

I was so excited when mom told me she LOVED the images and it was exactly how she envisioned she wanted the photo session to be. That is so wonderful to hear and is the most gratifying part of my job. This little girl was so fun to follow around and photograph.


Terri Hughes of Simply Human Pictures specializes in capturing children exploring their world. It is important to her to just watch and observe what a child does without direction. The images she creates by letting them be who they are and making a connection with them are honest and full of the essence of the child. These moments of childhood flee so quickly and children are always changing. If you would like Terri to capture your child as they are now, please use the contact button above to fill out the form and begin planning your session.

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