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  • About me

    I am Monique Dolbin and I have a passion for capturing beautiful, natural images for my clients. I enjoy working with everyone from young professionals, couples, families, to children. I am located in the DC area (Arlington VA to be exact), but I also spend a great deal of time in Central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, York, and New Cumberland). If the images in my blog and my shooting style resonate with you, I hope that we'll be able to work together soon!

Danielle’s Bat Mitzvah – Arnold, MD

A few weeks ago I had the honor of shooting and attending my first bat mitzvah. I was quite moved by the beautiful ceremony and by the loving words of Danielle’s parents. She has an amazing voice and did a wonderful job leading the ceremony and reading from the Torah.

The day was filled with lots of laughter and smiles from the rabbi and his pop culture references to Gangnam style to the non-stop party on the dance floor. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I did while capturing them.

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Frank and Sofia – Wedding – Washington, DC

Many of you probably feel as if you know Frank and Sofia via my blog, even if you’ve never met them before. They’ve spent a lot of time in front of my lens and I’ve had the honor of photographing their love story. When they said they wanted to talk to me about the wedding, I was fully prepared to talk photography but was honored when they said that not only did they want me to be their photographer, they wanted me to stand up with them as part of the wedding party.

When Frank and Sofia were preparing for their big day, they knew that they were taking a vow that was for better or for worse & in sickness and in health. However, they didn’t quite expect that the in sickness part to be quite so soon. While Sofia had been not feeling well all morning, she got a burst of energy as we arrived for the wedding ceremony when she realized that she was getting ready to say “I do” and spend the rest of her life with her best friend. However, the excitement quickly wore off after the ceremony when the sickness she had been battling finally took it’s toll. After a bit of debate it was decided that she’d going to the hospital and hopefully make it back for the reception but it just wasn’t in the cards. At the end of the day, the positive news that Sofia has made a full recovery and they were surrounded by loved ones as they declared their love and started the next chapter of their lives together.

The photos below are a combination of shots from Kelly, the second shooter for the ceremony (as I was in it), as well as the photos from our make up session once Sofia was feeling a bit better. I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do. And a special thank you to my dear friends Frank and Sofia for involving me in their wedding day. Love you both!

While waiting and hoping for Sofia to return, guests watched a video slideshow that Sofia’s step-father, Tony, put together for the couple.

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October 1, 2012 - 2:48 am

Sofia Amaya - Thank you so much!!

June 11, 2013 - 2:01 am

Monique Dolbin - Happy Anniversary Frank J. Borden and Sofia Borden! <3 you both! :)

June 11, 2013 - 2:08 am

Jess Veltri - These are beautiful Monique!

June 11, 2013 - 2:19 am

Sofia Borden - :) love you Mo!

The Value of Photos of Loved Ones

Today’s blog post on DPS entitled ‘Take Good Photos Of Loved Ones’ really hit home with me and I thought I’d share this reminder with you as well as my own personal story.

One morning during the fall of my senior year of college,  I was getting ready for class when I received the most devastating call from my cousin who told me that my one of my best friends (who also happened to be a family friend) had passed away in a car accident the night before. I remember the feeling of shock and numbness and all of the other intense emotions that come from grieving the sudden loss of a loved one.

While the next couple of days were a blur, I remember calling my family and having them pull out every box of photos that I had in my room to bring to me at college. I had all of my photos spread across my bedroom floor on the hunt for photos of him. In the end I was able to gather 17 precious photos that I used to make a photo collage for his memorial service.

As Peter West Carey says in his post, “One day someone you love will no longer be here and all you will have are the memories. I know this sounds obvious, but we often forget it in our day to day lives.

… It’s those photos of happier times that can help us along the process of working through our tears. It’s been a week and I’m preparing images to share with friends. While there are still tears, there is more joy in my heart when I look at those photos.

Time heals. Photos help too.”

While taking photos of your loved ones is important, the same goes for the value of professional photos. Getting personal portraits and family portraits taken can easily slip down on our ‘to-do’ lists as we get distracted by our busy lives. However, let today be a reminder to not only cherish those around you but to take the time to take photos and perhaps even let a pro create a beautiful memory for you to cherish.

Even though we’re rapidly approaching 7 years since one of my best friends passed, it still feels like yesterday. I still can’t believe that I only have 17 photos of someone who had such a profound impact on my life. (Keep in mind this was in the days before digital cameras.) I think this is the main reason that I am so became so shutter happy. As an optimist, I can see the bright side is that my drive and love for capturing beautiful images of my friends and loved ones has blossomed into what Life In Focus Photography is today. While he may not be here in the physical world, I know he’s cheering me on from the other side and I hope that I am making him proud.

AJ and I in 2001 watching my younger brother play football.

This is AJ’s classic smile. This photo was taken on City Island in Harrisburg where we spent quite a bit of time together discussing life and having fun.


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Tanner and Carrie – Engagement Session – Washington, DC

Tanner and Carrie are a special couple to me as I actually met them in DC before I ever moved to DC. Tanner and I always managed to cross paths in the DC bar scene and I bonded with his lovely lady, Carrie, because we’re both from Central PA.

Ironically, I ran into Tanner just a few days before he planned to propose to Carrie and I couldn’t have been more excited for them. I loved every minute of the play by play they gave me a few months later when we met up to chat about photography. Nothing made me more excited to hear the good news that they selected me to be their wedding photographer in June!

For their engagement session we started at the National Building Museum in Chinatown. Then we traveled over to Eastern Market since it’s their neighborhood and it’s such a beautiful area. The bonus part of the evening was a few shots at the Jefferson Memorial just after sunset. I think the photos will speak for themselves as to how in love they are.

Also, I’d like to add that there is nothing better than hearing someone who previously told you they don’t enjoy having their picture taken admit that they actually had fun!:)

If you like the pictures too, be sure to like my page on Facebook to see all of my newest work!

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September 26, 2012 - 9:09 pm

Marilee Smith - So proud of my wonderful son and his beautiful bride to be. If these photos can make me cry now…I will be an absolute mess at the wedding. So want to show these off a.s.a.p.!!!!

Kirsten and Dan – Great Falls Park Engagement Session

If you’re like me and you have a soft spot for nature and for love, then this is the blog post for you! It made my heart happy to be able to capture these photos of Kirsten and Dan and I’m even more excited to photograph their wedding this December.

Kirsten and I were roommates during senior year of college and we share a lot of fun memories. Even though much time has passed since we graduated, she discovered via Facebook my love of photography and how it had developed into Life In Focus Photography. I put my heart into all of my photos and so it means so much to hear how my photos touch those who see them.

We kicked off the engagement session with a warm up which really does wonders to help people relax and be present in the moment as they talk about their love. The photos this pair looking deep into each others eyes talking about how they met, how they fell in love, and what their favorite moments are some of my favorites of the day. It wass also a great way to get to know the groom to be, Dan. It was very clear how much they are madly in love and how good of a fit they are for each other. I’m pretty sure you will agree after taking a look at these photos below.

If you enjoy the photos, please leave a comment or like my Facebook page to keep updated on my latest work. Thanks!

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