Expressive Photography Workshops with Julie Fischer McCarter

Meet Julie Fischer McCarter!  A Lucketts, Virginia resident, she is the founder and owner of two businesses that happen to blend well together- she is a licensed therapist and a professional photographer. We asked her to join us for a Q&A and allow you to learn more about her businesses and get to know her a bit better. Julie Fischer McCarter, Shoot Photo Inc., Photo Credit: Heather Chesky

Tell us a bit about your work and your clients: 

As a licensed therapist in private practice (Julie McCarter, LLC), I specialize in helping clients with mood disorders and addiction live fuller and more balanced lives. In my practice, I incorporate with use of therapeutic photography; which is a way to use photography to aid in the healing process.

As a portrait photographer with Shoot Photo Inc., I work with corporate clients and families to create images that beautifully tell their story and capture their unique personalities. My skills as a therapist come in handy here, as it really helps me put people at ease in front of the camera.

How did you get started?

I studied fine art photography at The Academy of Art in San Francisco, but I never thought I’d go into business as a portrait photographer. It’s not until I started photographing my newborn niece (13 years ago),that I fell in love with photographing people. I’ve been shooting portraits ever since. Of course, I still exercise my fine art photography skills by capturing the natural beauty of Loudoun County with my camera. The portfolio I am currently working on is my own emotional expression while practicing presence and mindfulness with Mother Nature.

Julie Fischer McCarter, Shoot Photo Inc.

If the sky were the limit in what you see your business doing, what would that be? 

I teach expressive photography workshops for teens and adults, in which I offer a simple method of photography that can be used as a tool for health, healing and emotional balance. If the sky were the limit, expressive photography would be a daily practice for the masses. I would like everyone to experience the joy, peace and creativity that is so readily available with just a cell phone camera.

What events do you have upcoming to tell our readers about?

My two upcoming workshops are: Girl Vision: A workshop designed just for teens ages 13-17, using photography to explore topics of self-acceptance and empowerment (September 20th).

Girl Vision Julie Fischer McCarter

Expressive Photography and Mindfulness: A workshop for adults to expand their creativity, develop personal insight and practice mindfulness skills (September 27th).

Expressive Photography Workshop Julie Fischer McCarter


What has been your biggest surprise?

My biggest surprise has been how hungry people are for creative expression in their lives and how creative we ALL ARE when given the opportunity to express ourselves.

What is your FAVORITE thing to shoot?

My favorite subject to shoot these days are entrepreneurs who want to change the world. I love that they have such unique vision for their businesses and they have incredible passion which is just really fun to capture with a camera.

What is your favorite way to spend a weekend morning?

My favorite way to spend a weekend morning is a late start to the day with my husband, cooking a healthy breakfast with delicious food from our garden.

Where is your favorite spot in Loudoun County?

My husband and I love the easy access hiking trails at Balls Bluff Regional Park. We take Charlie, our golden retriever, for a dip in the creek and make some time there for exercise and meditation. Shhhh…don’t tell anyone, but we actually got lost once for about a hour (which is hard to do) with no cell phone and no trail guide.

How do you give back to others?

My favorite way to give back to others is by using my skills as a photographer to cover events & portraits for non-profits. I was honored last year to photograph the cast headshots and the live show for This is My Brave (An annual performance that aims to reduce mental health stigma by showcasing true personal stories through poetry, essay and song). I often work with local non-profits that don’t have the budget for photographers, but could benefit greatly from images that showcase their amazing work with others.

This is My Brave Julie Fischer McCarter, Shoot Photo Inc.

What motivates you?

I am motivated by my desire to help others shine their own light in this world, both while in front of my camera or in my therapy practice. I believe fundamentally that we each have all that we’ll ever need to thrive inside of us – and it is both through connection with others or our higher self where this is revealed.


To learn more about Julie and her businesses, or to stay up to date on her workshop offerings, feel free to join her mailing list!

Julie Fischer McCarter, Shoot Photo Inc.

Bridle Paths Northern Virginia Equine Therapy

Lucketts Virginia Summer Series 8th and Home We are excited to feature local events, business, artisans and products in the Northern Virginia area over the coming months! This post continues the series highlighting Lucketts, Virginia! We look forward to sharing more about the communities, neighborhoods and offerings in each corner of Northern Virginia.

Introducing Katie Fallon and Bridle Paths!

Bridle Paths Lucketts Virginia

What is the story behind Bridle Paths and how did it come to be?

The Bridle Paths program is a nonprofit organization that offers strength, support, and healing to individuals and families through safe, effective, and high-quality equine-assisted activities and therapies. We offer a unique combination of mounted and unmounted programs, including both therapeutic horseback riding and equine-assisted psychotherapy. The program provides a safe and supportive environment in which clients can be honest and authentic, think clearly about their challenges, and achieve growth, learning, and healing.


The Bridle Paths staff works with both individuals and families, and has particular expertise in working with those coping with experiences of anxiety, depression, and trauma. Although she had worked with horses for many years, Bridle Paths President Katie Fallon did not become involved formally in equine-assisted activities until her daughter was diagnosed in infancy with hydrocephalus and a Chiari I malformation and began participating in therapeutic riding activities. She swelled with powerful emotion as she watched her daughter achieve physical and cognitive milestones that initially seemed out of reach for her, and was struck by the incredible motivation and connection that the horses offered to her.


For that reason, Katie achieved certifications in both therapeutic horseback riding and equine assisted psychotherapy, and founded the Bridle Paths program to integrate the physical, psychological, and emotional benefits of working with horses. Katie notes that working with horses requires her to be her best and most authentic self, and she believes strongly in the efficacy of this work in helping others to discover those strengths for themselves as well.


Bridle Paths Lucketts Virginia


If the sky was the limit with your business, what do you envision happening?

The Bridle Paths program seeks to provide a setting in which clients are defined not by their disabilities, experiences, or diagnoses, but rather by their abilities and possibilities, in partnership with horses. In an ideal world, we would be able to offer equine-assisted activities and therapies at little to no cost to those in need in our community. In many cases, those who stand to benefit the most from these services are those who are least able to pay for them; making these services available at a greatly reduced cost would be a huge benefit for many families. For example, we would love to serve adoptive and foster families and children who have experienced abuse and neglect through the Loudoun County Department of Family Services. We also seek to partner with local governmental, community, and nonprofit organizations to serve youth and adult survivors of sex trafficking. Additionally, we would like to expand our riding, psychotherapy, and camp services to serve the large and growing population of military families in the Northern Virginia area.

Bridle Paths Lucketts Virginia


Are there any goals that are intimidating for you?

Financing these goals is a daunting challenge. Keeping horses is an expensive proposition under the best of circumstances, and many of our program horses have come to Bridle Paths from other careers and require specialized care to remain healthy and sound in service to our clients. We recognize that our clients frequently juggle multiple therapies and treatments, and for that reason we strive to keep our program fees as low as possible. At present, program fees cover less than 50 percent of the total costs of program operations. Community support is vital to help cover the costs of maintaining our herd and offering innovative and effective programs to our clients.


What is your FAVORITE way to spend a weekend morning?

Every weekend morning, you’ll find Katie at the Bridle Paths facility, teaching lessons, running psychotherapy sessions, training volunteers, and caring for the horses. It’s her favorite place to be, and she wouldn’t have it any other way!

Bridle Paths Lucketts Virginia


What is your go to place in the Leesburg / Lucketts area to visit, tell others about?

Katie’s go-to place in the Lucketts area is, of course, the Bridle Paths facility, located at Pat and Bob Meurer’s glorious Stone-Horse Farm. There’s little that compares to the promise of a sunrise over verdant fields, or to the peaceful sound of horses munching evening hay in their stalls. When she’s not at the farm, Katie and her family love sampling the ice cream at Brossman’s and enjoying the bounty of produce at local farmers’ markets. We look forward to the opening of the Little Rock Tea House at the corner of Spinks Ferry Road and Route 15 in the near future!


Image Credit: Julie McCarter/Shoot Photo Inc.

What are your favorite ways to give back to others - whether in your community or on a larger scale?

At Bridle Paths, we seek to give back to the families in our community each day. We strive to provide a safe and supportive setting where clients and families can do their best thinking about challenges, enjoy honest and nonjudgmental experiences, learn new skills, and reconnect and relate in new and improved ways. Without question, however, we get much more than we give; the families are endless sources of inspiration and hope for us, and we hope to provide these services for many years to come.


Bridle Paths Lucketts Virginia


Contact 571.216.9089

Facility Address Stone Horse Farm 43247 Spinks Ferry Road Leesburg, VA 20176

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