mom helping son build sand castle on the beach

Why you may feel like hiring a family photographer

It’s true. You don’t need me whatsoever. I’m a big fan of photographing your family on your own, after all nobody knows your family better than you. Photographing your own family allows you to notice your own stories. It’s an archival of all the changes and memories your family is making. It’s...

black and white photo of a girl twirling in a dress

5 things I’d never do as a documentary family photographer

I get questions all the time about what "documentary" family photography is. Documentary and photojournalism are the same. Though, a lot of people assume photojournalism only documents news and thats simply not true! Lifestyle photography is completely different though. All of the things listed below are things a lifestyle photographer...

a little girl wearing leopard print pants and stripped shirt crawls up rock wall on playset

8 reasons why you should do a back yard photo session

My goal is always to create photos that carry meaning. What better way to do that than at your very own home? Would you rather look back on your photos and say “Wow! Remember when our photographer took us to that random field that we had never seen before in our...

A better option for Hampton Roads moms than stressed out mini sessions

Yall, we are entering mini session season. Before you run off to book one like you do every year, I want you to picture these two scenarios: Scenario one Each year you give yourself an ulcer trying to figure out what to wear. Once you've found coordinating outfits, your little...

A silhouette of a little boy running down the beach at sunset chasing bubbles.

Setting realistic goals any time of the year

The New Year often provides the feeling of a clean slate so-to-speak and many of us try and set a full life-makeover! This will be the year when you become your best self, despite the fact that you almost never actually achieve the New Years resolutions. Why even bother? This blog...

Childhood drawing tea towel

8 Holiday gift ideas for the sentimental woman in your life

I know gift-giving isn't always easy, so i'm here to help make shopping a little easier! Being a sentimentalist, I much prefer a gift I can tell someone put thought into over something that cost a fortune. Gifts that revolve around my family are especially treasured. BUT also being an...

Sharon, Lyla and Rhyse dance in the kitchen

Meaningful photo slideshow for Newport News families

I've felt so much appreciation to all the families who've chosen to work with me during the pandemic. Those who've allowed me to come into their home for a Family Story or allowed me to meet them in their backyard for a Mini Story. In the midst of COVID-19, Sharon...

Getting over the fear of being photographed

I know what it’s like to look at photos and not recognize the woman in them. My arms are a little chubbier than I thought, my legs are thicker than what I envisioned and there’s an extra roll around my waist. It would be so easy to hide behind the...

everyday prints

6 companies you can use to print your family photos

You've just had your family photo session and now you're wondering, "Where should I print our family photos?" Now a days there are many options to choose from but I love to make sure my clients know there are affordable options besides Wal-mart, Costco or Walgreens. I love to point...

Hampton Roads Family Photographer – Brannan, John & Ceci’s Mini Story

Mini Stories were inspired by all the time I spent sitting on the porch of our ole country cabin. (You can read the original post here). What on earth are documentary Mini Stories? Well, they’re kinda like a mini session. Except we aren’t meeting in a pretty park— actually you...

How my childhood experiences influence the way I photograph families

I just wanna preface this blog post before you start reading by saying this is a little bit of a heavier post. However, I do believe that by talking about several of my childhood experiences, I can help you be more mindful about seeing the people + places that matter...

boy and girl playing creek

Family vacation to Independence, Virginia

My mind is still in reeling from how much fun we had during our family trip to Independence, Virginia. This is the first really big driving trip we've taken with the kids, it took us over seven hours to drive five and a half hours away. Round trip from Newport...

My favorite Hampton Roads artisans to follow

I love the power of social media and how easy it is to connect with other people, especially local artists! Maybe my love of all things handmade came from my mom who'd bring me along to craft shows or maybe its because I've always loved to create myself.  I've always...

Baby Olivia’s year in the life session in Hampton Roads

Baby Olivia was 3 months old when I got to meet her! Abi and Jim booked a Year in the Life to capture all the changes that were happening. During the year, we met at some places that meant something to them.  Blue Bird Gap Farm is a popular one...

Little boy licking the bowl

What to expect during a documentary family photo session

If the thought of hiring an in-home photographer stressed you out, keep reading What to Expect During a Documentary Family Photo Session to ease your mind. Hopefully you'll realize it's actually pretty laid-back and not stressful one bit! Preparing for the Session 1. TAKE IT EASY. A documentary session can...

fun-and-free-activities-for-families-to-do-at-home-during-covid-19

FUN and FREE Activities for Families to do at Home During Covid-19

I had a feeling when things became so serious with the spread of COVID-19 that there would be some good to come out of it. Don't get me wrong..it's still very scary and I pray that none of us or anyone we know becomes infected. BUT our lives get so...

Featured in Documentary Family Photographers March 2020

I'm so excited to be featured in Documentary Family Photographers Capture the Rough Stuff II post. This is the first time I've been featured in one of their monthly themes. Documentary Family Photographers is a directory + community of photographers celebrating real family life and connecting families with photographers in their...

9 favorite 2019 photos of Hampton Roads Family photographer

I can't believe that 2019 is gone and we're entering in to a New Year already! I remember my childhood years when I used to want time to pass to quickly and now here I am wanted it to sloooooow down. Here are some of my favorite images from the...

Holiday Traditions: Christmas Tree cutting in Zuni, Virginia

Traditions: Hampton Roads Christmas Tree cutting in Zuni, Virginia

The holidays are coming, and you may be establishing a new family tradition or simply looking for a local Christmas tree farm on the Peninsula. We have loved visiting the Zuni Tree and Alpaca Farm for the past three years. A few years ago we came across Zuni Tree and...

Front Porch Stories - Mini Sessions in Newport News, Virginia

Mini Story sessions by Virginia family photographer Dreama Spence

What on earth are Mini Stories? Well, they're kinda like a mini session, except we aren't meeting in a pretty park— actually you don't have to step foot in the car! I come to you! When I think about all the FUN that went down on our front porch it...

Chippokes Plantation State Park - Keepsake Video

Chippokes Plantation State Park – Keepsake Video

David spent the summers going to Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, Virginia and swimming in the Pool as a child. I think he was eager to show the kids what a massive pool they had, fit with a diving board and all. It seriously looks like the pool from an episode...

Family Vacation Sessions in Outer Banks, North Carolina

The Entingh family invited me to document their family vacation in the Outer Banks of North Carolina After talking to Jessica and several family members I realized they truly had come from all over; Washington State, Colorado, Canada, Illinois, California etc.   But there was ONE thing reuniting them all—...

Hampton Roads family session at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg

Often times one of the BIGGEST hesitations in hiring a documentary photographer is the pressure you feel to have the "perfect home." I totally understand that having young children means you are living in a home that  “appears to have just been ransacked by intruders” and a little less like...

Stop Saying No and Just Get in the Darn Picture

Stop Saying No and Get in the Picture

One of the things I hear people say over and over: I don't like the way I look in photos. You know what?! I don’t either! But you know what I hate even more? The thought of me dying and my children not having photos of me with them. Stop saying...

Documenting Our Own Family Vacations in OBX, North Carolina

Documenting Our Own Family Vacations in OBX, North Carolina

Documenting our own family vacations in OBX, North Carolina throughout the years has been near and dear to my heart. Some years I document more, some years less, but either way I try and capture what it's like to have our family together all in one place.   June and...

6 Hampton Roads Locations for Family Photography Sessions

6 Hampton Roads Locations for Family Photography Sessions

I don't know if you're like me but the first few signs that Spring is here and I'm already planning what our Spring/Summer will look like. Life tends to get busy for us in the warmer months. We love taking the kids to all of our favorite Hampton Roads locations:...

Why You’re Missing Out on the BEST Photos of Your Life

Why you’re missing out on the BEST photos of your life

You hear the words, "Documentary Family Photographer" and you aren't really sure what a documentary photo session would look like. You may even have major doubts about whether a session like this is even the right fit for your energetic bunch. I'm here to set your doubts at ease. So...

Baby Selah's Fresh 48 Session

Baby Selah’s Fresh 48 Session in Hampton, Virginia

A few weeks ago, I was able to join Jessica and her family at her home for baby Selah's fresh 48 session. Originally when I spoke to Jessica, we were going to photograph her home birth. Selah had different plans, though! She came way faster than anyone expected, which led...

Featured in Fearless and Framed- Iconic Photo Series

Featured in Fearless and Framed- Iconic Photo Series

I'm so happy to have a featured image in Fearless and Framed's Iconic Photo Series: Uncle Perry. Sometimes no amount of planning can prepare you for a story. A few weeks ago, I was prepped and ready for what would be a trip filled with high expectations. I’d gathered questions...

Kelce Family Session in Hampton, Virginia

Kelce Family – documentary photo session / Hampton, Virginia

"You were great company, and yet not so present that we knew the camera was there."  -Tyler Kelce It had been many years since the Kelce's had family photos taken. I mean as a family of eight life has been kinda busy! Photography hasn't really been top of mind for...

Virginia Family Photos Without the Stress

Stress free family photo sessions in Newport News, Va

"I always secretly have some anxiety while preparing for family photo sessions. "- Brittany Finding the right outfits, praying for everyone to have a good hair day, making sure everyone is well rested, fed... Let's not even talk about behavior. 😑 Um..who wouldn't get stressed out trying to coordinate all of...

What is Documentary Family Photography?

What is Documentary Family Photography?

our normal, every day life is breathtaking beautiful. It’s filled with all these little details that make it quite special. But sometimes you need someone to help you see it. I get it, you’re thinking, "How can pictures of us eating lunch, brushing teeth or getting the children ready to get...

Baby girl looking out storm door with reflection

2017 Highlights (and figuring out this whole #bossmom thing)

  Holy moly yall! I can't believe how fast this year has flown by! 2017 was filled with SO many highlights. I can't even explain how blessed I feel to have been at home figuring out this whole #bossmom thing. "A winner is a dreamer who never gives up." - Nelson...

Kelce Family Session in Hampton, Virginia

The Legacy Project – Scholarship Program

The Legacy Project was created for families who are overtaxed, underrepresented, or have a particularly important or compelling story. My mom was once single mother, her time was spent working, sleeping and caring for my sister and I. This didn’t leave much money for extras, much less photos Some of...

small hands big apple

Mentor Workshop and Documentary Session – Mallory & Girls

I was so excited when Chelsea Furlong of Chelsea Lyn Photography said she offered mentoring sessions! Chelsea and I only recently became friends when I realized she was a local photographer. An amazingly talented one at that when it comes to documentary photography. Education is SO important and I had...

Colby jumping on furniture

Jumping on the Couch

HOW MANY TIMES AS A MOM OR DAD DO YOU FIND YOURSELF SAYING, "No jumping on the couch!" There are so many times throughout a day where you have to make a decision whether to correct your child or extend grace. It reminded me of a podcast I recently listened...

Print Your Photographs

In the world of social media and instant gratification we are in the habit of only using our photographs digitally (myself included!). It's crazy how often I delete photos off of my phone, just to add new ones, but where will these photos be in ten years? Archived on Instagram? Filling up...

boy baking

Why Documentary Photography?

DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDES TANGIBLE MEMORIES. As a wife & mama I am forever reminded of how fleeting our lives are. We get caught up in the day to day and dont realize that the habits and routines we implement directly effects the people our children become. Photographs of our children...

boy covering ears sister crying

Happy 3 Months Caroline | Child Photographer, Hampton Roads

Happy 3 Months Caroline It's amazing how much growing this girl has done in the first 3 months of life! Things seem to be flying by even faster with her than they did with Colby. I'm constantly reminding myself to cherish every little thing, even through the challenges. In this...

Simply Sweet | Mamas Famous Sheet Cake

This Valentines looks so different for David and I this year. We've traded in expensive dinner/gifts for a simple night in. It's not at all because today is a Tuesday, it's because we've decided to put our family first. Financially things are totally different. After having Caroline we decided to...

Meet Baby Caroline | Hampton Roads Documentary Photographer

Meet Baby Caroline

Caroline Renee Spence Born December 7th at 11:48 am 7lbs & 9oz At already over a month old she has lots of people who love her dearly (including a very happy big brother). She loves smiling, pooping ALL over her clothes and snuggling with her mama.   Save Save Save...