The Perfect Holiday Gift: Your Portrait



Many years ago, when I had one of my first newspaper jobs in Dallas, I was frustrated as I tried to think of a holiday gift for my parents. I always tried to think of gifts that were unexpected and a fun surprise.

But that year, I was stumped.

After expressing my frustration to a colleague at work, she suggested I have my portrait made. Of course! It sounded like a great idea as I recalled my mother saying that she really wanted some updated portraits of me and my younger sister. I just knew she’d be pleasantly surprised.

I got some recommendations and found a great photographer and had my portraits made. My colleague’s suggestion was a good one. sm2016-11-04-ilya-ricci-c-robert-dodge-photography-retouched-3322My mom was thrilled and my father was happy, too. A couple prints from that portrait session, along with some of my sister, have been displayed on a prominent wall in my parent’s home ever since.

My mother often mentioned how much she enjoyed having the portraits of her children during their young adult years. My sister and I had left home and were beginning our careers, so as empty nesters, I think those portraits helped my parents keep their children close to their hearts. Those prints are now about 30 years old and look just as good as when they were purchased.

The experience of giving those photos left me with the lifelong belief that there is no better gift than your own portrait. And if you do not want to have your own portrait made, then giving a photo session also makes a great gift during the holiday season. And this is a gift that does not require a trip to the mall or a nail-biting shopping experience on Black Friday.

In fact, you’re going to find that making your portraits and giving them as a gift is an all-round fun experience.

So here’s how it works: We’ll select a favorite location, such as a local park or one of our city’s beautiful monuments. Then we’ll set a date and shoot your photos — and I promise 2016-05-29-justin-clark-c-robert-dodge-photography-hdr-color-nik-final-0303to make that one of the fun parts. After your photo shoot, I will cull down the images to the very best ones. From those selections, you will then make your choices for prints and then enjoy the anticipation of giving your gift.

And the whole package is just $550 — a $200 reduction for the holidays. Just to recap, here is what the fee includes:

  • Pre-shoot consultation on shoot location, apparel and grooming
  • Photo shoot at a pre-selected location, which usually lasts about an hour
  • Password-protected online gallery to view selected proofs
  • One wall-sized print; additional prints available for purchase

Have questions? Ready to book a photo shoot? Give me a call and let’s talk about making some fine-art images for you and those you care about. Call here: 202-986-1758. Or email me at







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