Spring Flowers – Plant Pictures

Spring flowers are beautiful and add so much to your outside space.

Here the camera is turned away from portraits of people and being pointed at beautiful outdoor plants.

Last year I tried being a junior farmer. Tried growing tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, and watermelons. I know it’s supposedly easy to do but it didn’t work for me.

This year it’s back to easy to grow flowers. More than ever, I appreciate what farmers and green thumbers do.

Spring Flowers red, yellow, and purple

Plant portraits

Pot of Flowers

blooming orange flowers -asiatic lilly

Spring Flowers

Maryland Portrait Photographer


Plant Portraits – Easy Indoor Plants

Indoor plants in portraits

I am a portrait photographer and I normally just take pictures of people. Here I am turning the camera towards some of my plants.

I’m no export on growing plants but I do enjoy having them around, and feel that they just do something for a space. They are nice to look at too.

I do easy plants – plants they don’t require a lot of work.

Z Z Plant – Zanzibar Gem

This seems to be the easiest plant in the world to grow. It has beautiful shiny green leaves and looks even better than it does in the picture. I just water it every 10 days or so. It loves its spot in the dining room next to the bay window. We put it there and it just took off.

This plant likes the light but ZZ plants, I’m told, don’t require a lot. A couple years ago it was not as tall as the console next to it. In a couple of weeks I will have to trim the sides so it won’t be so wild looking and overcrowd the space..

If you want to bring a plant into your home and you’re nervous about killing it, try a ZZ Plant. Trust, they are easy to grow. I bought this one at Lowe’s.

This ZZ plant came from the large ZZ plant shown above. I just clipped some of the branches, stuck them in water, and when they grew some roots I planted them. It’s doing well in the sunroom.

 Elephant’s Foot – Ponytail Palm

Elephant Foot - Best Indoor plants

I got this plant and pot from Ikea. Yea, Ikea. I figure if a plant can survive Ikea’s warehouse, then it’s a sturdy plant. I have a few other plants from there also.

This is definitely an easy grow! I just water it when it feels dry. It also sits in the dining near the bay window. I like it because it looks different and has never been a problem. I have had it for about a year.

Snake Plant – Dracaena trifasciata

large snake plant in woven basket

This snake plant is the first of the indoor plants I bought because I heard about how easy they are to grow. I think I got it from Lowe’s and I got the woven basket from Marshalls. This plant sits in the basement. We seldom open the shades but some light does come through. Snake plants don’t require a lot of light. It gets watered about every 2 or 3 weeks. It has probably tripled in size in 3 years. I have to remember to water but not overwater it.

medium snake plant in white pot

This snake plant sits in the living room against the wall opposite of the window. It’s doing well and gets watered every 2 or 3 weeks. I think snake plants like to be left alone. I just give it water when it needs it and let it be.

small snake plant - Dracaena trifasciata

This snake plant sits on the coffee table in the sunroom. I got it from Trader Joe’s and probably paid $3 for it. This was a miniature plant in a tiny little pot. It started growing so I transplanted into this pot I think I got from Marshalls. It seems a bit thirsty so I water it more than my other snake plants.

Well, these are some of my indoor plants. Hopefully, you enjoyed seeing them. I have more that I think are interesting, including a couple of orchids that are coming back to life.

So, subcribe to my blog and I will show them. Also, let me know about your house plants and share any growing suggestions that you have.

Of course, people portraits is job one, so let me know when you are ready for those family portraits.

Maryland Portrait Photographer


5 Tips for Good Portrait Sessions – Working with Photographers

Successful Portrait Session

I have been shooting models, actors, families and others for a number of years now and have 5 suggestions that I think will be helpful for those considering a shoot especially for the first time.

Successful portrait session tips with female model in green dress

1. The Appointment.
Sit down and discuss with the photographer the purpose of the photography and what you expect as far as location, looks, wardrobe, delivery, usage, and any special requests. Ask questions and decide whether or not the photographer can deliver and expect to pay a professional price for professional pictures. If you come to an agreement, decide on a date that you know you can keep, sign the contract, make your deposit, and be sure to keep the appointment. Final payment is expected on or before the day of the shoot.

2. The Wardrobe.
Bring the clothes that were discussed but also bring a few additional backup items in case the key wardrobe items that you brought don’t work. Make sure the items you bring fit properly and are flattering. Oversize clothes or clothes that are too tight can ruin your look. If you are doing a variety of looks I often ask people to include a basic pair of jeans and a basic white shirt as one. Also, have your clothes organized so that you can quickly change from one look to another. When you change clothes, keep all your things in one place so that you are not likely to live anything behind.

3. The Hair.
Make sure your hair is behaving and is the way you like it. Guys, get your hair cut or make sure that you are comfortable with it. Don’t get to the shoot and be surprised at how it looks. Ladies, make sure your hair is manageable, and that there are not unattractive loose hairs sticking out or other issues. If you get to the photography session and you decide you don’t like the way your hair looks that can be a real downer. Unless you have made some arrangements there won’t be a hairdresser on the set. You can not expect the photographer to edit your hairstyle unless you are prepared to pay extra.

4. The Makeup.
With digital photography everyone except for young children need makeup. This includes men. This makeup should be applied on site by a makeup artist who understands photography. Having this makeup artist on site allows whatever needed changes that need to be done. It also allows the photographer and makeup artist do a check in the photographer’s light before the shoot begins. The photographer is responsible for the final image and is not going to want to try to digitally correct makeup his team did not apply.

5. The Fun.
Photo shoots are work but should also be enjoyable occasions. Come rested, bring music if you like, and be ready for a fun occasion. Relax, trust the photographer and don’t be nervous about how you are going to look in the pictures. It is the photographer’s job to have the pictures turn out the way you discussed. He or she will make suggestions that will help and will check with you to see if you’re headed in the right direction.

Congratulations! Be happy that you have taken the time to create images that you, your family, organization can enjoy for many years.

I would love to know if you have any other suggestions.

Maryland Portrait Photographer


Successful Portrait Session Tips

Alaska Vacation – Beautiful Day Trip

Alaska Railroad train ride from Anchorage to Seward was a vacation highlight.

Starting in Anchorage during the early morning, the tavelled along the countryside showing beautiful greenery. Other spectacular views included wildlife, glaciers, and aircraft parked in backyards.

As a photographer I could point my camera in any direction and see something unbelievably beautiful. So much beauty that by the end of the trip my hands were tired!

The price for the approximately 4-hour trip in each direction was reasonable.

The trip on Alaska Railroad was well worth it! I look forward to returning to The Last Frontier for another train ride.

Have you been to Alaska? What was your favorite train journey?

Alaska Railroad - Early morning train ride

Alaska Railroad - Anchorage to Seward

Alaska train traveling across bridge

Train in Alaska entering tunnel
Maryland Portrait Photographer


Need a Headshot? One that works for you!

Headshots for models, actors, and business professionals

When looking for professional headshots or portraits, call on Lonnie Dawkins Photography.

headshots in Maryland and Washington DC

Models, actors, and companies have used our photo services and received images that have gotten them great results. Located in convenient Prince George’s County, Maryland we are easily available to the entire Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia Metropolitan Region.

Headshots that get you noticed! Portfolios, comp cards, and more.

We also coach new models in building a portfolio.

Book your photography today!



The Great but Barely Known African American Photographer J P Ball

Black Photographer James Presley Ball like a lot of others made tremendous contributions to art and history but few know of him.

James Presley Ball from Willis Book

by Lonnie Dawkins

J.P. Ball at one time was considered the best photographer in the Cincinnati area and later one of the best and most successful in the nation, yet few people have ever heard of him. Prior to this study this writer’s knowledge of famous African American photographers was limited to James Van der Zee and those who came afterwards such as Gordon Parks and Monetta J. Sleet. Though not renown today for his work, Ball might very well be worthy of being a peer to other better known photographers such as Matthew Brady. It seems that Ball’s peers are often limited to other African American photographers such as Augusta Washington, Daniel Freeman, and Jules Lion. A closer look at his work as revealed in the book J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer by Deborah Willis clearly shows that this was a photographer who has left a treasure.


Born a free man in Virginia in 1825, Ball was a not only an extremely successful Daguerrean/photographer but was a businessman and dabbled in politics later in his life becoming a Montana delegate to the Republican convention in 1894. His reputation spanned from his beginnings in Virginia to Cincinnati to Minneapolis to Montana to Seattle and finally to Hawaii. He produced hundreds of photographs of the white, black, and Chinese community. He was the official photographer of the 25th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and photographed the construction of the Montana state capital. Many of his studio portraits and photographs of public events are archived by the Montana Historical Society. His photographs chronicle a changing community. They depict immigrants from Asia and Europe as well as migrants from all over the United States.[i]


The book J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer by Deborah Willis includes about 300 of Ball’s pictures including people of all walks of life. Mostly it includes portraits of what appears to be well to do people. This collection clearly shows that Ball had a vast array of clients who sought out his work. Curiously it seems that each person has their left arm leaning on a chair, post, or table. There are wonderful group pictures including families and schools. Almost all pictures are of people and only a few are of buildings. Each portrait shows the studio that Ball owned at the time. Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Albumen prints, carte-de-visite and Albumen cabinet card are the mediums. 

Highlight of the book is the pictures of William Biggerstaff which is discussed shortly and the Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C. and the pamphlet that accompanied it.


J. P. Ball’s great contribution to history and photography is his coverage of the injustices of slavery and the lynchings that took place in the 1900. He used his photographic skills to expose the abhorrent institution of slavery by promoting antislavery activities. [ii] Deborah Willis, historian and photographer in her book Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 to Present reflects on how “visual representations of black people commonly produced on postcards and sheet music depicted exaggerated features and demeaning situations that have left enduring negative impact, one that has endured to this day.” Ball’s photography and the work of other black photographers contradicted this by showing more realistic depictions of both ordinary and famous people. “Most of their African-American clients wanted to celebrate their achievements and establish a counter image that conveyed a sense of self and self-worth.”[iii]

William Biggerstaff Lynching

One of his most moving documentation was the photography of the lynching of William Biggerstaff. In a series of photographs Biggerstaff who was accused of murder is first pictured in a suit with a flower pinned to his lapel and a handkerchief in his pocket. The timing was Montana in 1854 shortly before Biggerstaff; a former slave was to be hung for the crime of murdering a man. The next picture is one of Biggerstaff being hanged, again dressed in a suit. Finally, he is shown in a in a casket dressed in a suit. These pictures brought dignity and humanity to a black man. 

Margo Jefferson describes some other photography of lynchings thusly as pictures of perpetrators and spectators who treated lynchings as family affairs, civic celebrations, picnics (the preferred terms was “ Negro barbecue”) and some kind of sexual catharsis. A lot of the men have rugged dusty look of bit players in old westerns, and the strike movie attitudes for the camera or clasp the ankles of the dead man sternly”. Some wear white shirts, ties and straw boaters. (One young man with immaculately styled hair looks dressed to call on his sweetheart once the lynching’s done.) “[iv] Ball made an important contribution to history by showing how these people were human beings with families and dignity.

Noted Portraitures

At the same time he took pictures of a vast variety of people famous and unknown, slaves and freemen. His sitters included Frederick Douglass, Henry H. Garnet, Jenny Lind, and Ulysses S. Grant.[v] Even early in his career it was stated that “Ball was able to attract clients to his rented room: “The Virginians rushed in crowds to his room; all classes, white and black, bond and free sought to have their lineaments, stamped by the artist who painted with the Sun’s rays.””

Abolition Work

Ball is famous for his abolitionist work and his photo panorama: Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C. This work 2,400 square foot antislavery photo panorama and accompanying charted the slave experience through images of the life in Africa, the horrors of the middle passage, and daily routines in America. It included portraits, cityscapes, and significant events in the history of slavery. It was displayed at Ball’s studio and at an 1855 exhibit at Boston’s Armory Hall.[vi] This work was in conjunction with Robert S. Duncan and African American landscape artist.

Deborah Willis Research

Currently there is not a lot of information available about photographers such as James Presley Ball. The authority on his work and on black photography is Deborah Willis. Every effort to research seems to point back to her work. Just as James van der Zee was relatively unknown until about 1969 but now is prominently recognized as having made a tremendous contribution to photography, it is very likely that in the coming years that James Presley Ball and others like Augusta Washington and Daniel Freeman will likely receive their proper recognition as prominent photographers.

Ball’s Splendid Mammoth Pictorial Tour of the United States Comprising Views of the African Slave Trade; of Northern and Southern Cities; of Cotton and Sugar Plantations; of the Mississippi, Ohio and Susquehanna Rivers, Niagara Falls, & C.

[i] http://xroads.virginia.edu/~MA02/amacker/photo/death/html

[ii] Willis, Deborah, Reflections in Black, A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, New York, 2000, page XVII

[iii]Ibid, page XVII

[iv] http://www.racematters.org/blacklifephotos.htm

[v] Willis, Deborah, ed. J.P. Ball, Daguerrean and Studio Photographer, New York, 1993

[vi] Ibid, page XVI

Maryland Portrait Photographer for Headshots, Family Portraits and more!

I’m Lonnie Dawkins, a Maryland Portrait Photographer ready to take family portraits for you and your family. I create beautiful wall presentations, large prints, digitals, and photo albums.

Images I have taken over the last twenty plus years have turned into priceless family portraits treasures.

While I cover Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC; I am available worldwide.

I would look forward to providing photography for you.


Family Portraits - family of 5 including parents and 3 adult children

family portraits - picture of family at lake

Family portraits - mother and 3 sons

Book your photography today!


Maryland Portrait Photographer


The decision to record history with family photography is a powerful and beautiful way to cherish the present and remember the past. A photograph is a timeless asset that grows in meaning and value as time passes by.  David Phillips

We invite everyone – families and individuals – to schedule a time to have beautiful pictures taken.  Don’t be like others who put it off for until some time in the future.  Unfortunately, that some time in the future never comes.  Your taking pictures gives your love ones something that they can treasure for a life time.

Whether they admit it or not everyone wants a picture with their mom, dad, grandmother, grandfather, siblings and other family members.  Your providing those pictures are treasures never to be forgotten.

Don’t put it off.  Today, is a great day to schedule photography to be shared with your loved ones.

Remembering President Barack Obama’s 2009 Inauguration

Barack Obama’s inauguration viewed from the National Mall in Washinton, jam-packed with peaceful attendees.

Barack Obama inauguration on the Washington Mall

It was a freezing cold January day in 2009 when we stood in a massive orderly crowd as President Barack Hussein Obama was sworn into office.

Those were peaceful times and security was not as tight..

On Monday crowds strolled the streets of downtown Washington and the areas immediately in front of the White House to see the preparations.

On Tuesday, Inauguration Day, there was no personal space on the Metro, the Mall, or the nearby streets and no one seemed to mind because they wanted to see their new president. If you were there with someone you had to hold on to them or you would be separated.

What a day!

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Men of Color – Monochrome Images

Black and white images showing the beauty of black men.

No red, no blue, no green. Just black but lots of color.

Colorful black skin

Models: Jamar Reed, Donte Newman, Michael Rice, Eric Dow

Black male wearing hoodie

black bare chested handsome bald headed male model with beard

muscular nude ebony tattooed male model

black man with tattoos and dreads playing cards

black man with hat in chair wearing jeans and sports coat

Maryland Portrait Photographer


Maryland Fine Art Portrait photographer focusing on large prints, portfolios, and albums.

Maryland Portraits and Headshots

Maryland Portraits and Headshot Photographer

Whether you are an actor, model, business executive, high school senior, or an everyday Joe who needs good pictures! We can provide those images!

  • Headshots
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  • and more
Maryland portrait and headshot photography - actor in blue siut and tie

African American female model - Maryland portrait and headshot photography

African American female beautiful hair and yellow high heels

high school senior pictures in Maryland

Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Portraits and headshots - Maryland realtor Timothy Mull

African American model head shot at beach

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Photo Shoots start at $275.

We shoot in studio or at locations throughout the Washington , DC area.


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