Member Spotlight: Valerie Marie Photography – family portrait photography.

November 15th, 2022
Member spotlight of Valerie Marie photography. Image of mother smiling while holding and feeding child seated cross-legged on a couch.
bio pic of Texas family portrait photographer Valerie Marie Lopez

We chatted with Zenfolio member Valerie Lopez of Valerie Marie Photography, a portrait photographer based in Corpus Christi, Texas, about the making of one of her favorite images. As a self-taught photographer, she has found her calling in capturing the love between families. Whether it is a couple wanting something more special than selfies together or a family with children or fur babies, she has the ability to catch and capture organic moments that otherwise can be overlooked in the day-to-day.

The making of: a candid and intimate family portrait.

Family sessions have become one of my favorite sessions to photograph. This image specifically touched my heart when I saw it. It was a moment where we had to stop for the baby to eat as he was getting fussy and hungry. Dad stepped away to check on their toddler napping and we were left with mom and baby in the room. I was sitting on the floor and told her we would take a break to allow the baby to get comfortable again. While I was sitting there looking through my shots taken so far, I happened to look up and saw mom sitting and smiling at her son falling asleep. It was a moment that even as an observer, I could see the love between a mother and her child. So often, fleeting moments like this end up only in the mothers’ memories, and can go unnoticed by those around them. I saw it, loved it, and had to capture it.

Finding the best light.

In any in-home session I do, I take a look around the home and assess the lighting in each of the rooms we will be using. As a natural light photographer, it is important for me to know the quality of the light and the amount of it I have to use. I see where the light hits in the room to help me decide where we will have the family sit and if we need to make any minor adjustments of furniture to get the best soft lighting for the images. If I need, I will use a reflector to help fill any dark spots and remove or decrease the contrast in the shadows. In this image, there was a large window off to my left that I used to be my main light source. They had a large lamp to my right that gave off a warm light. I typically would have turned it off, but I used it. It helped create a nice warm glow on Mom’s hair which provided separation from the background. 

Using a personalized preset to create a signature look.

After the culling process, I apply my created preset in post as I do with all my galleries. It is a look that is dark and moody, and feels more true to my creative vision than the light and airy look some photographers favor. I love my signature look I have created; it helps tell the stories of my clients as I see them. After the application, I tweak my exposure, highlights, whites and blacks to make the image look and feel intimate. I prefer images like this one to feel as if when we’re viewing it, we are getting a glimpse into the room. 

Noticing the “little things.” 

This image represents my work as a whole. I see a mother’s love for her child, and that is where my love for photography started. After losing my youngest son to SIDS eleven years ago, I am able to look back at all the images I have of him and cherish them. In my photography work, I do my best to capture moments for my clients that can be looked back on years down the road to help them remember the moments in life that can sometimes be forgotten to time. It is the small moments filled with emotion, like the one between this mother and son, that I want most to remember as a parent. I love what I do best when I’m able to provide these visual memories for my clients. Life gets busy and messy and as a photographer, I get to provide the stills of life for clients to look back on.

You can see more of Valerie’s work on her portrait portfolio website, or follow along with her on Facebook or Instagram.

mother smiling while holding and feeding her baby

Camera: Sony A7 III

Lens: SAMYANG AF 35mm

Exposure: 1/160, f/1.4, ISO 400, Manual, Pattern metering

Where: Client’s home in Bulverde, Texas.

Hear Valerie’s insightful and authentic interview in episode 2 of Behind the Photo:


  • Amanda W

    Amanda is a Content Marketing Associate at Zenfolio and the Owner/Photographer of Wild Orchard Studios photography. A BFA graduate from Maine College of Art and Design and professional Lifestyle Family and Branding photographer for over 10 years, she thoroughly enjoys drawing from her experiences to guide new photographers as they are starting out. Amanda lives in the wilds of Maine with her husband and two imaginative daughters. If there’s such a thing as too much dark chocolate, she hasn’t heard about it.

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