When Thomas Jefferson conceived the University of Virginia in the early 1800s, he assumed that the school would be used exclusively as an Academical Village, not a photographic backdrop. Nevertheless, Matt and I feel that we’re honoring Mr. Jefferson’s vision by shooting young scholars and their families around the Rotunda.

Toddler in blue overalls poses in front of UVA pillars by Park Life Photography and Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia NYC family photography commercial editorial advertising

Intellectual of tomorrow gets indoctrinated into academic culture while wearing pumpkin romper.

Yes, the Grounds are pretty to photograph, but we like to think that our young subjects are positively affected by eating birthday cake off the same lawn where brilliant students have recited poetry, solved equations, and brainstormed public policy.

Cake smash at UVA with icing on toe by Park Life Photography and Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia NYC child photography family advertising kids editorial

Cake at one, cap and gown at 21, sprinkles at every age.

Most of the families that we shoot at UVA have legitimate connections to the university, but I think looking good in front of pillars is license enough to pose there.

Family on UVA lawn by Park Life Photography and Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia NYC child portraits

Smiles (and medical licenses) are all this family needs to take over the Lawn.

Overworked and sleep-deprived students seem to like seeing joyful kids on their turf.

Black and white portrait of girl with leaves UVA garden by Park Life Photography and Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia NYC child family baby kids photos

Still blissfully unaware of homework and term papers.

And a professor would have to be really old and crusty to want to keep the incredible Pratt Gingko tree all to himself.

Family posing with Pratt Gingko tree at UVA by Park Life Photography Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia NYC

These blazing fall leaves are for everyone! (Especially adorable families.)

When shooting on the Lawn, we try to be respectful of everyone’s studies. Only occasionally do we ring bells loudly, leave blue icing on the grass, and paste Santa stickers on fallen leaves. But there’s so little time to let kids be kids before they have to hit the books.

Boy rings bell at UVA by Park Life Photography Matthew Burke Charlottesville Virginia

Everyone please exit the library in an orderly fashion. It’s playtime!