Planting Pansies: Inspiration for Spring Documentary Family Sessions

I’ve been searching for pansies for weeks now. Then, yesterday, a friend posted a photograph of some she’d scored at a local store, with the simple text: Happiness.

I got it. And then I got the pansies.

Pansy © Diana Sherblom PhotographyMy grandmother loved gardens and spring and especially pansies. She loved “their little faces". When I was a child, she showed me how to dig a hole a little wider and deeper than the plant and fill it with a little water, how to gently ease each pansy out of its plastic pot and carefully encourage its roots to spread from their cramped position, and then cover each one with a bed of soil and more water and pat it down.

Pansies are now a part of our family tradition every spring. Every time I plant them I think of my grandmother and her gardens. I think of planting pansies and digging for worms with my boys and of all the spring discoveries we’ve made. 

I think of my children's joy at finding a robin’s egg or watching baby birds hatch in the nests in the hanging ferns on our porch. I remember tiny raincoats and rubber boots, and sailing tiny boats and stomping in puddles in the rain.

What memories will you plant with your children this spring?

Here are 5 ideas for documentary sessions perfect for this time of year.

1) Nature Walks and Discoveries

Your Northern Virginia neighborhood parks like Huntley Meadows and Green Spring Gardens are full of wonderful spring discoveries! Baby ducks, spring flowers, and frogs await...
Family Storytelling Session at Green Spring Gardens Park, Alexandria, VA ©Diana Sherblom
Green Spring Gardens Park

Family Nature Walk at Huntley Meadows Park, Alexandria VA © Diana Sherblom Photography
Huntley Meadows Park

2) Kites and Wind

There is something magical about kites and other things that fly in the wind. A classic family activity that makes for some dynamic images.

Flying kite at sunset in Northern Virginia park © Diana Sherblom Photography

Family reflection in puddle3) Rain and Puddles

Don't be afraid of cloudy day sessions! Some of the best puddles and photographs happen just after the rain.

4) Planting and Digging

There is something deeply satisfying about digging in the mud and helping green things grow. Don't have a garden of your own? I know of a few parks that let you dig for worms and play in children's gardens.

Gardening with Mom and Grandma Family Documentary Photography © Diana Sherblom

5) Spring Crafts and Egg Dyeing 

If your family traditions include egg dyeing or a similar spring craft or cooking project, this makes a wonderful activity for a storytelling session.







Have a great idea for a session? Let me know your favorite spring activities in the comments and get in touch with me to book your spring family or limited edition session now.


  1. Diana! What amazing ideas for spring sessions!! I love the storytelling aspect. And pansies. I mean, who doesn't love pansies?? Thank you for sharing!!

  2. This post is such an inspiration!
    You made me think about the garden that was a big part of my childhood and all the beautiful flowers that my parents used to plant there. You also made me think about what we are going to plant on our daughter's balcony this spring. And then you made me think really hard about other fun spring activities. So I googled it and found this really fun list: I hope you enjoy it too! ;)

    1. Perfect! Thanks for the link! I think we are all ready for spring.

  3. Such great ideas! I've never thought of those activities for the spring time.

  4. Great ideas for spring sessions!
    And pansies remember my childhood as well. :)


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