Portrait Playtime | About the Photographer

Jessica Wallach is the owner and lead photographer at Portrait Playtime.   She is a community hybrid photographer in Reston, Virginia.  That is she uses her photography to build community and then provides clients with both stills and videos to give a rich viewing experience.

Jessica has been working to build community in Maryland/DC/Virginia through her photography since 1998.  Portrait Playtime works with families, couples, businesses and community groups to create images that show

Jessica Wallach is a community photographer.  Her work as a children/family photographer, photo educator, and photojournalist is driven by her love of connections and stories.  Jessica is the principal photographer and owner of Portrait Playtime.  She loves to get out and involved within the community using her mobile studio.  Jessica partners with local organizations to support them with photo fundraisers and teach those who share a passion for picture making in various community centers.

The process is as important as the final product

I want my sessions to be a place where young people can go all out, that is work on their edges, use there full body, not be careful and try new things.

I want photos of grown ups to say something real about them, through there expression and body language as well as any props and the background.  I love doing environmental headshots for that reason, the photo really says something about the person from the edges in. 


I want to change the world, make it a better place where each person know they are valued and x.  I used to be a civil rights worker working to stop housing discrimination throughout the country, my work was very punitive.  It was necessary work but I like photography more.  I believe that the photos I take, reflect back to people how smart, competent, connected, willing to connect and caring people are. I also believe that if people know that they are more likely to treat each other well and expect others to treat them well.


What does it mean to be Playful: I use playfulness in my sessions to bring out people's true self, to relax and engage them.  Some times photo sessions can be turtorious, that is not how mine are.  Playful is just the way I go through life and thus it is about of every session.  By playful, I mean thinking out of the box, knowing there is more than one way to do anything and everything and that play is the first language we all learned.

My photo sessions are to be empowering, whether it is a family session or a headshot or a wedding. I want to give you something specific in the photo session, a space to be yourself, to show who you are and something else

I want family photo sessions to be in a place you love with the people you love doing things you love

My pholosophy is simple, people look great when they are connected, so my job in the session is to help connection happen.


For me the process is as important, worthy and  as the final project


Advertising:  Portrait Playtime has always done the majority of advertising by partnering with schools and other community organizations through photo fundraisers and silent auction donations. 

I am a community photographer, meaning I serve my local community first and formost and I use my photography to build community whether it is within a family, a school, a business or a town.  

As a photographer I build community from with every fiber of my being, whenever I am with family, friends, or out in public I am building community and so I naturally do it in conjection of every step of my business and this year I want to talk it further.
I build community from the way I advertise, to the way I set up a session to the session and one of the biggest reason I do my in person is for community to build it one person at a time...I love getting to know my clients, sometimes selling photos is just the avenue to build a community around me...I love that selling session because I get to know people better. 
by doing things never alone, using my photography to break through isolation