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
Riverview Farmstead Preserve | Naperville, Illinois | Bennett + Family | Family Photography | September 1, 2018
You already saw her cousin Olive on the blog earlier this week, now Bennett makes an appearance with her mom + dad! Spunky little Bennett! This Arizona girl came into town to spend the holiday weekend with her Illinois/Pennsylvania family. I must say, I missed this family so much! Haven't seen Zoe, Sean + Bennett since 2015, when I shot their beautiful wedding at Meson Sabika in Naperville. So much fun, laughter and love when I'm around them. I always say that their wedding was definitely one of my favorites. And their adorbale girl Bennett, a little ray of sunshine. I'll see you in Arizona really soon!
Riverview Farmstead Preserve | Naperville, Illinois | Family Photography | Olive + Family | September 1, 2018
When cousins get together for the holiday, we take photos! Olive and her mom + dad flew in from Philadelphia to spend the Labor Day weekend here in Illinois. Cousin Bennett + family were also visiting from Arizona! We definitely couldn't pass up an opportunity for a big family shoot! (Bennett's blog entry to come!). We were lucky to have a rain free afternoon and evening after a pretty wet few days.
I think Olive enjoyed some time on the farm. Her baby blues looked like sapphires in the light and her smile was the cutest I have seen! Especially when she looked at grandma! Thank you for letting me capture these sweet moments.
I have been taking photos of little Maya (not so little anymore) since she was born. I truly do have a client family, as I get to watch these kids grow and get the opportunity to be part of their milestones. Can't believe how much she's grown! Seems like just yesterday we were waiting for the arrival of this tiny overlord.
Let's discuss the outfit for a moment. LOVE! Red cowboy boots with a bow to match to complement a denim shirt dress? Totally stylin'! Totally fits her personality: cute but sassy with a bit of tomboy. I think this personality shows in the photos.
Oh, and meet Uni the Unicorn. :-)
Memorial Arbortheater | Vernon Hills, Illinois | Family Photography | Heater Family | August 26, 2018
The bunny ears, the silliness and the giggles. I think these two have the cutest brother/sister relationship. So many sweet candid moments captured this day. The sequence of photos shows its all.
Riley, the little ray of sunshine, or spunk! Such a sweetheart, with beautiful curly hair courtesy of her mother. Though she's no girly girl! Climbing, jumping and playing dress up is her forte. Dressing up in Star Wars that is! Which of course she brought to the photo session, naturally.
Big brother Connor is just as playful. He is also full of curiosity. Asking about the VOR (look it up) across the street and geostorms!? Even this meteorologist has her mind blown! I'm looking forward to seeing you soar one day, astronaut!
Blessed parents and big sister, Daisy, welcomed baby Stella 3 weeks ago. Tiny little thing and cute as a button! Tucked into a comfy basket, she still insisted to kick and stretch ninja-style. Similarly to what her mommy felt when she was still in utero. Oh those ribs! But who doesn't love baby feet, she just made sure I got a good shot :-) Can't wait to watch you grow Stella! I know it's no wait, because it happens all too fast. Stay little, stay sweet!
Two more beauties on the blog today! Hallie and Maggie, my golden haired princesses! Maggie just turned one and let me tell you about this girl. She took her first steps at 8 months! She was born to be on the move, and my endless photos of the backside of her pink tutu proves my point. She was running and exploring the whole time. Perhaps this just means she is destined to travel and seek adventure, and so it awaits! Sweet older sister Hallie loved to pose and be my model for testing light. Just look at the photos and her endless poses. Super adorable.
I can't end this blog entry without mentioning their mom and dad who just celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary. We had to snap some photos of just the two of them to celebrate. We have been friends for about a decade and I hope there will be many more decades to come.
Golden hour, when everything is touched by magic! Golden hour requests are now the norm, and that's the way it should be! Though isolated rainstorms, flooded streets, and an ungodly amount of people at the park made photos at Cantigny questionable that evening. Don't fret, we made it happen!
This is my 5th shoot with this wonderful and loving family (yes, 5th shoot! This makes me so happy!). From maternity photos in the city, when it was just the two of them, to a beautiful family of four! Thank you so much for letting me capture every milestone of your growing family. And happy 10th wedding anniversary! I wouldn't let you get away without taking some photos of just the two of you. Don't forget where this all started, when two people fell in love. Congratulations and many happy years to come. You were blessed with two adorable children, and there's no better gift than that.
I don't do many of these cake smashes, but when I do the photos are so super cute and many times will make you giggle. Can you shove cake in your mouth and then proceed to gracefully place your face in it...in public? Yea, didn't think so. Kids. That's what makes them so great. Even big sis got in on the action! C'mon who doesn't like cake? Right, Helen? or was it ice cream?
Happy birthday to Juliana! May you grow and move mountains, baby girl!
Look familiar? Maybe it is because of this post back from 2015? Konrad's baby brother recreating his 6-month photos! So alike and so different at the same time. Much more hair, a little beefier (LOL!) and a whole lot of fun! How things change with your second child. For Konrad's 6-month photos, I remember planning the outfit and location and even had bubbles on standby to add some creative drama to the photos. We were at the park for a good amount of time trying to capture the perfect photo. With our Henry boy, we went in the back yard and shot photos for about 5 minutes while his older brother danced around me trying to make him laugh. Yup, and we were done. About 10 minutes later, Henry was fast asleep.
Henry you are growing so fast. Half of your first year already behind you and so many more to go! Love you, bud!
Konrad, Age 6 months (5/1/2015)
Riverview Farmstead Preserve | Naperville, Illinois | Family Photography | Clancy Family | August 5, 2018
Riverview Farmstead!!!! A fellow photographer told me about this place and I thought I would give it a shot (pun intended!). I am so happy that I did. This place is the cutest little farmstead with so many backdrops and variety to offer. I had to really contain myself. The excitement was real! And thank you to this adorable family for letting me pick this location. It was simply perfect for them. We could have done without the 90+ degree heat and the wind gusts (oh, heavens the flyaways...) but aside from that, this was perfection.
Ava, Emma and Declan were so awesome! The sisters were truly two distinct flowers from the same garden. I heard this quote somewhere and thought it was so fitting for these two little girls...surrounded by wildflowers, wearing flowers and with flowers in their hair (check out Mad for Bows on facebook! Shout out for making these awesome bows! Thank you!)
Brother Declan is such a stud muffin. Walking around the preserve, with his hands in his pockets like he owns the place. LOVED it! Though he is the little brother, I'm sure he will protect his sisters no matter what.
And please, if anyone in the Naperville/Plainfield area is interested in a shoot there, please let me know! It's awesome!