We were all waiting for the arrival of this Thanksgiving baby! But just like in most cases, baby has plans of his own. Though he missed his first Thanksgiving Day feast, there was so much to be thankful for just a few days later. So calm and so adorable! Even big brother, Rupert couldn't get enough of him throughout the session. He is already so protective, but yet so gentle with this little guy. I'm so thrilled that your family is growing and can't wait for your new adventures with baby Theo. Congratulations!
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Maternity | Erin + Family | November 24, 2018
Erin + Matt will be expecting their little girl on Christmas Eve and we wanted to make sure that we were able to capture some last photos of them as a family of 3 (minus the doggies of course) before the weather turned. You wouldn't have even thought that a winter storm was approaching with the warmer November we had yesterday. Relatively speaking, the 40s felt really nice.
We are now a few weeks beyond the fall peak and I was surprised to see some color remaining. Though it may have been a sea of yellow leaves on the grounds of the Nature Sanctuary, it made for some nice photographs. We had a great time taking a stroll through the sanctuary and making our way to the Heritage Farm on the other end. I think Brinen really enjoyed the animals there, especially the horses that were extremely friendly. Almost too friendly? Perhaps for my comfort level, but this little boy was braver than I was! You will be an awesome big brother, Brinen!
Congratulations you guys! Can't wait for baby girl to arrive!
Salvatore's | North Pond | Lincoln Park |Chicago, Illinois | Wedding Photography | Hoxie | November 17, 2018
They say that rain on your wedding day is good luck.
What about snow? Both? Well if precipitation is good luck then Anthony and Kathleen hit the jackpot! The day started with flurries, progressed to big wet beautiful flakes of snow and ended with a wintry mix, all before stopping at reception time. If you think you won't be seeing any outdoor formals in this blog you would be mistaken. I just happened to have the best bridal party ever! Let's start at the beginning.
Kathleen + Anthony appeared on my blog last month for their engagement session. Don't remember? Here's a clue: QUACK! (or just click this link). We will revisit Kathleen's love for these cute little creatures throughout their wedding day. Two instances of ducks in this blog entry! Can you spot the duck!? Feel free to contact me with the answers, this can be fun!
Kathleen and her bridesmaids started the day at her apartment where they prepared for the couple's special day. St. Clement was a short distance away where Anthony was awaiting his beautiful wife. The church was simply breathtaking, and the ceremony just the same. As the snow continued outside, Kathleen and Anthony, in front of friends, family + God, committed to each other and became husband and wife.
It wasn't very long after that the temperature rose just high enough to change that snow over to some sleet and rain. Poof, no more white stuff. The bride is the only one allowed to wear white, right?
Umbrellas in hand we headed over to North Pond where the happy couple and their bridal party took some of their formal photos. No coats ladies?! What troopers! I personally wouldn't go without my winter coat, boots and hat! But for photo's sake they braved the cold and the elements! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
With formals completed and still plenty of time before the cocktail hour, the bridal party had their own pre-cocktail cocktail hour (I just made that up, perhaps it will trend on twitter? #precocktailcocktailhour) at Niche 905 rooftop. Views for days! And the best part, we had the place all to ourselves!
Arriving at the reception, I entered into a cute little ristorante, Salvatore's. The intimate space had the ambiance every wedding reception deserves. Warm and inviting! The speeches were heartfelt and the first dances full of joy. Kathleen + Anthony danced to a song that I have loved for years, but they surprised us with a remix. Anthony swept Kathleen off her feet and when they looked in one another's eye, we all saw it. They found their one and only.
Congratulations Kathleen + Anthony!
Hair: Robert Jeffrey - Lakeview East Studio
MUA: Vanessa Rose Makeup
Bride's Dress: Country Bride + Gent
Bride's shoes (formal): Nina
Bride's shoes: Keds for Kate Spade
Suits: Men's Wearhouse
Florals: Bunches Chicago
Cake: Molly's Cupcakes
Cake Topper: Swarovski
Ceremony: St. Clement
Photographers: Monika Thorpe Photography (main)
Sheena Anne Photography (second)
Caleb! The youngest of 3, a Plainfield East Bengal and baseball player just like his brothers, And yes, I did all of their senior photos! Congratulations Caleb! Good luck in college and wherever your road may take you!
Not only are these beautiful people my awesome clients, they are my friends. From bowling together in high school, to capturing their engagement photos, wedding photos (and many in between) to this gorgeous maternity session! Ashley + Dan will have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving as their little one is due just in time for the Holiday. Oh and it's a boy!
Ashley is definitely showing off that maternity glow! Can't imagine a more beautiful mommy-to-be! Daddy-to-be is already prepping to teach his son all there is to know about life...or perhaps just all the things daddy likes. You don't know it yet little one, but you will like bowling, Adidas, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon just to name a few!
Can't wait to meet you baby boy! You're so lucky to have such great parents!
***Dan won't probably let me live this down, but I have to tell you how awesome these two are. Side story: when Dan + Ashley arrived for their session I was in a panic. My battery charger had failed and the batteries I had that I assumed were fully charged were dead! I still had enough battery power for a few photos, but surely not enough for a full session. Realizing my panic Dan (calm, cool and collected as he is) helped me locate an outdoor outlet and provided the necessary tools to unscrew the outlet cover so my charger would fit properly...and charge! Needless to say, I pitched the defective charger. And I'm so grateful that they arrived in time to rescue me! Though I know Dan will forever remind me..."Hey remember that time...?"
Thank you both so much! See you in December!
What a gorgeous fall day at Riverview Farmstead. It was nice to see sunshine for the first time in a few weekends. Though our real ray of sunshine was little Alaina, well I guess she's not so little anymore! Perhaps she's more of a firecracker! Oh, the energy!
It is always so nice to see my client families coming back year after year for photos; to be part of their family milestones and watch these children grow-up in front of me is such a cool experience. I keep mentioning Alaina because the last time we met up for photos she was a girl on the run! On the run away from me that is. Definitely got my workout in that time. This year it was different....a lot different! Alaina was the first one in front of the lens, doing her signature pose. Just scroll down, you'll figure out what that pose is!
Ava is 10! We're into double digits y'all! Such a pretty girl! And Bobby is becoming quite the handsome little boy, I have to stop using the world little! It's only a matter of time and I'll be taking their senior photos! (Don't tear up!!!)
Ava, Bobby and Lainey were headed to a Halloween bash at their school right after our photo session. Khalil Mack, Black Kitty and a 50s teeny bopper had a blast! Thank you so much for coming back year after year, to spend that hour together, catch up and capture some more beautiful moments of you and your family. Hope you guys have a wonderful holiday season!
I've been following Hailey Raine Boutique on social media for over a year now. They are a local online boutique selling super trendy and cute clothes! I was lucky enough to collaborate with Hailey Raine Boutique and photograph a few of their cute summer and fall pieces.
Thank you Lauren + Ashley for letting me photograph your cute clothes and support your small business. Thank you Brittany for such a fantastic job modeling the outfits of the day! Even though it was chilly and rainy, you totally rocked it!
"Life may not be perfect, but your outfit can be" with Hailey Raine Boutique! Check them out today!
Model: Brittany Bryla
HMUA: Victoria Piecyk
Dress: Picnic in the Park
Sweater: Pink Marble
Jeans: Distressed Black Ankle Length Denim
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Engagement Photography | Anthony + Kathleen | October 6, 2018
It really is true. Love can be found at the bowling alley! As was true for these two beautiful people! Anthony + Kathleen are getting married this November and I should expect ducks! Yes, ducks! A Swarovski crystal duck will sit upon their cake. Kathleen has a slight obsession. So much so that Anthony used a plush duck as a part of his proposal. That duck will forever be a part of their love story. I'm not sure where else I will find ducks, but I forsee some surprises on their wedding day!
I've known Anthony for a few years when we worked together in the aviation industry. He couldn't have found a better girl! One of the first things I said after meeting Kathleen for the first time at their wedding consultation was, "Hey when can we go out and grab some drinks?" She's so much fun, easy to talk to and just perfect for Anthony! I can't wait to be there for your special day. Many happy years! No matter where life takes you, remember that together is the most beautiful place to be.
Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary | Schaumburg, Illinois | Family Photography | Brandon + Chase and Family | October 6, 2018
I was very nervous about this weekend. Very. Forecasts have been saying rain, all day. ALL WEEKEND! How lucky were we to have this session scheduled in the morning! A little damp, but very comfortable and no rain!
Brandon + Chase are super fun and adventurous little boys. Just ask them about all the superheroes they love! Captain America and the Hulk, ladies and gentlemen. So cute! Remember, all little boys are just superheroes in disguise. But sometimes being a brother can be even cooler than being a superhero. Always love each other, you'll have a best friend for life. Thank you for letting me capture some sweet moments of you and your family.
Hey 2019 senior! Looking at you Sophia! I can't believe you are about to graduate high school. You were literally like 10 years old just yesterday! The cute photos of you and your sisters plastered all over your dad's office...you grew up too fast! But your adventures have just begun!
I wish you all the best as you enter your collegiate years and make a difference in this world. Go into the world and do well, but more importantly go into the world and do GOOD! Good luck, Sophia!
South Barrington, Illinois | At Home | Family Photography | Addison, Ayla and Weston + Family | September 29, 2018
I was so happy to get an e-mail from Jennifer asking me to take photos of her family again this year! And they are incredibly lucky to live in such a beautiful neighborhood that we don't even need to leave! Addison, Ayla and Weston have surely grown in a year's span but so did their family, by one pup! You all know I love Bostons!
Weston plays soccer, and Ayla does ballet! And check out Addison! What girl doesn't love a cute pair of cowboy boots (with fringe nonetheless)? Stay awesome you three! May everyday be an adventure, and may your journey always lead you home.
Side note about this time of year: This was the first shoot of the year where I wore boots and a warm fall jacket. I woke up that morning to 48-deg (we are still in September mind you...) and I was hoping the sunshine would keep us all warm, especially the kiddos! Thank goodness that it did! Soon after our shoot, the clouds rolled in and it felt cool again...followed by some drizzle. Oh the joys of changing seasons!
My first shootout with my #happytogs! As many of you know, photography is not my "day job" per se. I work 40+ hours during the week, edit on the weeknights, and shoot on the weekends. No days off for this girl! With that being said, I never have the opportunity to join our lovely ladies from Happy Togs in shootouts or even social activities. So I was super excited to see that this shootout was being planned and I could finally attend.
I'm not going to lie, it was somewhat intimidating. I see all these wonderful ladies and their incredible talents on social media on a daily basis. Even though I've been doing this for 8+ years off and on, I still feel very amateur. I guess that's just my personality, to be modest and always finding ways to improve. Looking back at my work from 2010 is somewhat embarrassing but a constant reminder of how far I've gone. And my journey and what I have learned on the way is thanks to networking with photographers just like these amazing ladies. Thank you for pushing me to grow, for giving me confidence when I was down and providing invaluable guidance and support.
This shoot was a bit different in terms of what I'm used to....which is natural light. Don't get me wrong, we still had some light, but cranking up that ISO beyond 1250 was just not an option for me. I knew light and airy was not doable here without grain, and moody and contrasty was not me. I was totally somewhere in the middle. To stay true to my style and still keep the quality of the photo at its best was a challenge. Quickly, another challenge presented itself. I shoot short and prime. That's just my preference. This means my lenses are fixed (no zoom) and stay between 35 - 85mm, with my 50mm lens being my baby. Well, when you have 15+ photographers trying to get the shot, I was the oddball who had to be upfront in everyone's shot. I can't say I was the only one, but my "shorties" will understand. Though at times I was wishing for a 135mm, I'm sticking to me: my shorty 50m, shooting as wide as I can.
I suppose the lesson for me was: "you do you!'
As soon as I stopped trying to be the photographer I wasn't, my photographs finally made me smile. As much as we try to emulate others, its what is unique to you that makes you successful.
All the proceeds from this shootout will go to an NFP organization which helps bring an end to child trafficking and aids children in such situations. Choosing childhood...let them be little!
Gown: Bentley and Lace
Strong winds and high waves at Lighthouse Beach resulted in a change of plans for this photo session. My dear photographer friend (Sheena Anne Photography) and I wound up back at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. Just like we did 2 years ago! With the new renovations to the park, there is always plenty of options for us to consider.
Sweet little Ava showed up with her hair beautifully done-up and wearing a fluffy tulle dress...in true princess style! Big brother Ethan has grown so much since I've seen him last. It's hard to believe he will be a teenager! And of course my beautiful and talented friend who I have known since we were 16 years old! Thank you for trusting me with your family photo sessions! You have grown to be an incredible photographer and I value our friendship and professional relationship more than you know! Keep learning, keep growing and don't stop being awesome!
(Check them out in 2015 at the wedding of Sheena + Jerimiah!)
Look at those golden curls! Goldilocks, no doubt! Claire, the Moana loving, airplane watching, adventurous little sweet one-year old. It was the perfect day, a bit overcast but perfect even light for our little family shoot. We took a walk around our neighborhood lake and captured some adorable moments of Claire and her mom + dad. And let me tell you, Claire loves family hugs. Smiling ear to ear, running into the arms of her parents. It was the sweetest thing, as she did it over and over again.
Stay sweet little one, and may adventure pave the way to your bright future. Mommy + Daddy are truly blessed! See you around the neighborhood!
Settler's Park | Plainfield, Illinois | Children's Photography | Sisters | Maddie + Hannah + Family | September 2, 2018
Sisters are connected throughout life by a special bond. They are the perfect best friend, a partner in crime and your biggest cheerleader. And when they grow up, a sister will always be a part of that childhood that will never get lost. I saw all that in Maddie + Hannah. A dancer and a soccer player, but sisterhood brings them together. It's like the saying I used before, two different + unique beautiful flowers from the same garden.
Maddie + Hannah may look familiar. In 2015, I had the pleasure of capturing the merging of 2 families at Cantigny Park. You can check out the blog entry for that beautiful wedding day here: Kelly + Steve