Mayslake Peabody Estate | Oak Brook, Illinois | Styled Shootout | Bridal | Maternity | Couture | February 16, 2020
Mayslake Peabody Estate is a Tudor-Revival-style mansion from the early 1900s located in Oak Brook, Illinois. Francis Stuyvesant Peabody commissioned renowned Chicago architect Benjamin Marshall to design what is known today as Mayslake Hall. It resembles the timber-frame buildings which were popular in England at the time. Sections of the estate have been sold over time, and the last 89 acres, including the Portiuncula Chapel, was sold to the Forest Preserve District back in 1993.
I, along with several other photographers, was given the opportunity to use the venue as the backdrop for a styled shoot-out. For those who do not know, a shoot-out is an organized event where models and spaces are styled to be photographed by several photographers. This collaboration with vendors and the educational aspect of such an event is super beneficial to all parties. With that being said, I’d like to thank all of the vendors that participated and the main bodies that made this possible (listed down below!)
Mayslake Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is currently being used as an event venue, including art exhibits, performances and architectural tours. On a beautiful day in February, it was our gorgeous space to photograph a group of fabulous models and very talented vendors. Each room of the estate had a story. Original elements of the mansion gave it its character, but the declining conditions of its walls were just as beautiful. If only those walls could talk!
It took me a minute to take in all of this historic elegance when I set foot into the main library. The grand fireplace with its surrounding woodwork was extraordinary. I was instantly transformed into the world of Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Though I wasn't in France, the Tudor-style was reminiscent of those seen across Western Europe. Carefully selecting a leather-bound book from the mile-high book cases, I was ready to sit down by the fire to enjoy a peaceful read. Surely, no fire was lit, but a girl can daydream!
Thank you for having me! Can't wait to do this again!
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)
Hero Coffee | Chicago Art Institute Gardens | Chicago, Illinois | Maternity Photography | Colleen & Ryan | July 1, 2018
It was almost as if this place only existed on Instagram. The cutest little coffee shop, tucked away between two very tall buildings in downtown Chicago. Such a gem of a find! Well it does exist! And I gotta tell ya, the coffee is super good! While waiting for this beautiful momma-to-be (and her beau) I noticed that almost every passerby stopped to check out this place. Just to snap a photo, and presumably post it on Instagram. So if you find the back of my head in any Hero Coffee hash-tagged photos, it would make perfect sense.
Now back to my sister-in-law. Yup she's family and she's gorgeous. So jealous of her hair (did I say that out loud?). With her hubby being such a handsome guy, this baby should be looking for modelling contacts now! Gerber, GAP, please take note!
Colleen and Ryan can't take a bad photo. Honestly, so adorable shot after shot. Even the couple rain showers and off and on drizzle didn't deter us from capturing these great photos! We even headed over to the Art Institute gardens for some change in scenery. Once again, shot after shot was perfection. Love these two!
Congratulations Colleen and Ryan. Can't wait to meet Baby G next month!
Colleen checking for rain?
All the cousins got together to celebrate Auntie Hannah's graduation today! What happens when the fam gets together? We take pictures! It just happens that this little one is about to turn 18 months! Mimi's backyard was the perfect country/vintage backdrop for these photos! Harper along with her family, baby brother and cousins dressed to impress, coordinating colors for awesome results! I totally ran with the country vintage theme here, even in the editing. So happy with the outcome! Happy soon to be 1.5 birthday, Harper Rose!
Naperville Riverwalk | Noah's Event Venue | Naperville, Illinois | Wedding | Josh + Julie | June 25, 2016
What happens when a pilot marries a doctor? Hearts soar. Sparks fly! Josh + Julie are the perfect couple and it shows. Truly flying on cloud 9! Shall I keep going?
They were married in Julie's home state of Pennsylvania and celebrated with a beautiful reception here in Naperville, Illinois.. Before the party got started, Josh + Julie, and their bridal party, met me at the Naperville Riverwalk to snap some of the formal wedding photos. Dodging the normal elements of summer at the riverwalk (quinceaneras, weddings, heat and humidity) we still managed to captured so many great moments! Julie's lace gown with an open back was simply gorgeous. Her bridesmaid's plum colored chiffon dresses were so right for the season. Let's not forget Josh's pilot-appropriate tie clip! Everything tied in together so perfectly. The reception was held at Noah's Event Venue. Josh + Julie made sure all their guests had a night to remember! The food was delicious, but the cake was spectacular! Who doesn't like Portillo's chocolate cake?! Such a genius idea! Cigars were waiting outside on the patio for everyone to enjoy and the dance floor was happening! Music by Design did an amazing job!
Congratulations Josh + Julie!
Photography allows me to get the opportunity to capture images of so many wonderful people, families and couples. It also gives me a chance to contribute to great causes as well. During this session I got to do both! King is a collegue of mine who participated in a charity auction for a great foundation. I donated my services, and King’s generous bid won her the auction. Though the conditions weren’t the best (pushing 100-deg and high humidity) we had a great shoot. Isaiah is a spunky almost-pre-schooler with no fear. We were lucky enough to run into all sorts of animals at Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary and Heritage Farm. Cows, horses, pigs, sheep, frogs, birds…you name it! Isaiah had a blast experiencing all the fauna and flora this place had to offer.
These two have been together forever, I'm sure it feels that way to most people. Even during the ceremony, "It's about time!" was exclaimed loudly for all to hear followed by some giggles. No matter how long it took Aaron to pop the question, he knew all along Gabi was the one. The perfect moment finally arrived! He got down on one knee on the ledge of the Skydeck of the Willis Tower as the photographer captured this special moment. On the day of their wedding, we went back to the very spot, 1,352 feet above beautiful Chicago. Soon after capturing some amazing photos with the city beneath our feet, Gabi + Aaron had a beautiful and intimate wedding at ZED 451 . In front of a cozy fireplace and surrounded by their closest friends and family, they became husband and wife. Though their fur baby, Lucky, was not present for the nuptials, he too sported a formal doggy tux!
Trump Tower + Chicago Riverwalk | Chicago, Illinois | Engagement | Lindsay + Brian | August 15, 2015
Lindsay + Brian are due to wed September of next year in a beautiful barn in Michigan. You would never have guessed looking at these urban Chicago engagement photos! City dwellers themselves, the couple wanted to capture some of their intimate moments against the city's most beautiful and popular backdrops! We were lucky enough to go up to the Terrace at the Trump Tower for some cocktails (water for me, it was a sauna out there!) and some gorgeous captures from the 16th floor, surrounded by views of the city. LaSalle Street bridge was a must for Brian. He knew exactly the shot he wanted and I think we captured it well. No fear with this guy, even though I'm always a bit nervous shooting on major streets, even though we were on a median. Ahh! Turned out beautifully! We ended with a stroll along the Chicago River on the newly remodeled and reconstructed Chicago Riverwalk, just as the sun set a bit lower.
And yes, I forgot to mention that Lindsay + Brian were our engagement session winners from a few months back! These two lovebirds met in bartending school! How cool! Love cocktails all around! Cheers!
Andy Grammer + Sydney Sierota | Hilton @Play | Palmer House Hilton | Chicago, Illinois | July 10, 2015
Friday I had an awesome opportunity to be one of the event staff photographers for a special private concert at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Andy Grammer + Sydney Sierota (lead vocalist from Echosmith) each performed a short set in a much more intimate setting as a part of Hilton's @Play Concert series made possible by Hilton Worldwide/ Hilton Honors and Live Nation. Sydney performed a beautiful all acoustic set with guitar and tambourine, including Echosmith's hit song, "Cool Kids." Andy Grammer rocked the house with a high energy performance with his current hit, "Honey, I'm Good," among others. Thank you everyone who made this event possible. Everyone's hard work paid off! And thank you for having me! A special thank you to Cole Simon (Cole Simon Photography) for being my partner in crime that night, and helping me capture this awesome event!
Sydney, I'll never forget your Fruity Pebbles photobomb! Epic!
What a great looking couple! I've always wanted to do an engagement session at the Chicago Art Institute gardens and today was just perfect! Can't wait to photograph their special day coming up next month in Holland, Michigan! Congrats guys!
After a small break (well since Valentine's Day), I'm back! Meet Tushima and her husband who are expecting their bundle of joy next month! It was a gorgeous day in the city as the Spring thaw finally starts!
I wasn't always a portrait photographer. In 2008, when I moved to Chicago I met an amazing group of local photographers (Chicago and Northern Illinois Meetup Group & Chicago Photographic Society) who helped me grow and excel in the art of photography while networking and building great friendships. The group met regularly to discuss, socialize and most importantly shoot! I really started with landscape and cityscape photography and slowly moved towards more of the street photography. Chicago is great for that. With the great mentoring that I received I was able to improve and eventually start showing my photography in exhibits and galleries. I even got some of my work published as well. It was a great accomplishment for me! I never even thought about portrait photography for a second. I actually turned down several requests for portraits at the beginning. Perhaps because I was entering the unknown. I wasn't 100% sure of myself. But eventually I gave it a shot. Thank you Amanda Carew for believing in me and setting me on a path of portrait photography. I love what I do.
With all that being said, I no longer have much time devoted to the photography I used to entrenched in. It's not throw back Thursday today, but I wanted to share some of my favorites from years past. Hoping to do more non-portrait blogs in 2014!
After being inspired by a long exposure shot of the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park, Dan contacted me to plan a super secret birthday shoot for his fiance, Ashley! What a guy! After a nice birthday dinner and night out on the town, these two lovebirds stopped at the fountain, and SURPRISE! We also made the walk over to the Adler Planetarium. What a view!
You may be thinking to yourself, "Haven't I seen these two on the last blog?".
Or... "I remember those blue shoes!".
YEP! They are back as a newlywed couple! An extension of their wedding photos, we went out to shoot a few days later to capture more of the city (both in the evening and at night). Sporting their wedding attire once again, though more casually, I give you Kelly and Scott!
So this wasn't my first wedding, but the butterflies in my stomach as we drove up to the W Hotel Lakeshore definitely made it seem like it! Perhaps it was because it was my first "city" wedding, or perhaps because the wedding was immaculately planned and coordinated by Creatively Yours and I wanted nothing more than to shoot my best yet! The ceremony and reception was held at Trattoria Gianni, the couple's favorite local restaurant (aww). The rain stayed away and let me photograph a gorgeous couple, Kelly & Scott! It was really hard to choose just a few photos to share on the blog!