Jen and Tony’s friendship started long before things turned romantic. They met through mutual friends, and although Jen saw Tony as just a friend for the first few years… Tony’s good looks and charm clearly won her over as they are now planning their wedding for 2015. This engagement session is full of Chicago. We started at the Planetarium for breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan that never get old… then we moved over to a grassy field for some nature shots while still having the Chicago skyline in the background (probably some of my favorite moments!), and then we dressed it up a little bit and went over to the Kinzie Street Bridge for some more formal and industrial looks. It was a perfect Sunday morning with Jen + Tony, and I’m so glad we finally found a day in Chicago that was photo worthy! Congratulations on the engagement! Here’s a few of my favorites from our afternoon together…
It was one of those wedding mornings. I woke up and my heart immediately dropped as soon I heard the rain drops hitting the ground outside my bedroom window. Not just a few drops here and there… but an actual downpour of heavy rain. And it kept on this way for a few hours… as I made my wedding day breakfast, gathered together all of my equipment, and made sure I had everything on my wedding day list… the rain never let up. My head was already spinning, envisioning our backup plan at Union Station, where to shoot, what shots I wanted to get, packing garbage bags for anyone that didn’t have an umbrella/to keep my equipment dry… and then as I walked down my apartment stairs and out the front door, something amazing happened. The skies let up ever so slightly and a little sunshine peaked through as less and less raindrops fell to the ground. My prayers (and I’m sure Kristin’s) had been answered.
By the start of the ceremony, by some miracle, the rain had nearly stopped. We had a little scare during the Wedding Party Portraits… but after a few quick drops, it ended up being the most absolutely perfectly, overcast (which photographs BEAUTIFULLY – better than direct sunlight) day. And Kristin + Ryan got their perfect wedding. A lot of people at the wedding talked about how Kristin always knows exactly what she wants… and how Ryan is exactly that. Having worked with these two on both the Engagement and on the Wedding Day, I couldn’t agree more. Kristin + Ryan, you are absolutely perfect for each other… and I am honored to have been there to capture this happy time in your lives. Congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Platt!
I met Sarah + Greg near the gorgeous columns of Chicago Union Station so that we could still shoot if it started raining. Like many days this summer, it was scheduled to downpour on the afternoon of their engagement session, so we wanted to have a backup plan since Sarah and already gotten her hair and makeup done that morning for the shoot. Lucky for us, the afternoon ended up being absolutely PERFECT, and we couldn’t have asked for better weather. We started at Union Station and then walked down to one of the many Chicago bridges to get some river/architecture shots of this great city.
Sarah + Greg were in such good spirits… constantly laughing with each other, flirting, kissing, joking around with me… making the session one of those afternoons that is just so fun and reminds me why I love what I do so much. Sarah + Greg, I loved working with the both of you, and I can’t wait for the wedding in November! Anddddd… I kinda love that you chose your wedding date based on the fact that the Bears and Packers both happen to have a bye that week. Meant to be? I think so.
Originally from Hong Kong, Stephanie + Jason met during grad school at the University of Chicago. Nowadays, the adorable couple lives in London, but decided to stop in Chicago on their way their way to Peru, where they were heading for a little hiking trip through the rain forest. Little did Stephanie know that this stopover in the city where it all started would bring them into the next phase of their lives together. The night before our engagement session. Jason proposed to Stephanie back at the U of C campus… on a bench in the middle of the beautiful courtyard where they spent so much time together. So it only made sense that we go back to that campus and reshoot their love story.
We started on the Chicago River, as Jason wanted to capture some Chicago architecture before heading to their alma mater. I had never been to the U of C campus before, but Jason had picked out a few meaningful and beautiful spots for us, including their very frequented bus stop, the exact bench where he proposed, and a few gorgeous ivy lined buildings along the way. Steph + Jason, thank you for picking me out of the hundreds of other Chicago photographers to capture this special time in your lives. I am so happy I got to hear all about your relationship as we explored a place so dear to your hearts. Congratulations again on the engagement, and happy travels back home! Hope you’re enjoying Peru right now 🙂
Lela + Tommy wanted their engagement session to capture Chicago as they see it. They wanted to be on a rooftop, up in the sky with the gorgeous Chicago skyscrapers, and they also wanted to shoot along the Chicago Riverwalk because they have a lot of memories training for last year’s Chicago Marathon there, they went on one of their first few dates in the area, and also got their first place together just a few blocks away. Needless to say, the area holds a lot of meaning for them – so what better place to shoot their engagement session?
After having to reschedule because of the stormy Chicago weather as of late, we finally got a sunny day together. We started at Terzo Piano on the roof of the Art Institute, then headed over to the Chicago Riverwalk to meet their dog, Wrigley. Sidenote: You can tell Tommy loves Lela because he let her name their dog after the Cubs… even though he’s a sox fan. Despite their differences in Chicago baseball, these two were all smiles and laughs as we shot around these beautiful Chicago locations. And those shoesssssss. Can we talk about those for a minute? Lela has an obsession with Louboutins. And even though this particular pair didn’t seem like the easiest pair to walk in… I still want them. SOOO chic. Lela + Tommy, I had an absolute blast working with the both of you and your session was the perfect way to kick off me being back from Europe in one of the best cities in the world – sweet home Chicago.
I met Courtney + Zach in Grant Park at the Buckingham Fountain, very close to where Zach asked Courtney to be his wife. It was a beautiful, sunny day… and Courtney + Zach had driven in from their home in Wheaton to spend a few hours celebrating their engagement with me. Despite Grant Park being filled with tents and vendors preparing for the Taste of Chicago, we were able to get some AMAZING shots. This couple? Gorgeous. It’s funny because one of the first things they said to me was that they never really take pictures, and that they had even gone on vacation together and took ONE photo. One. Photo. What?? I don’t even know what that’s like because I can’t cook a meal in my own kitchen without taking more than one photo… let alone be on vacation 🙂
Despite their lack of practice being in front of the camera, Courtney + Zach warmed right up and look like seasoned pros during the session. They smiled, they laughed, they gave me their GQ looks… they did it all and rocked it out around Grant Park and along the lakeshore. Courtney + Zach, thanks for coming out to the city to snap a few photos with me. I had a blast working with both of you and I can’t wait for the wedding day!
Ahhhh the last few cities of my European Adventure. If you missed the first two blogs, here are the links: Dublin, Madrid, & Barcelona and Paris & Switzerland. Let’s be honest. If you follow my work and/or any of my social media accounts, it’s pretty obvious that I love food. So up until this point of the trip, I was just excited to be eating different types of cuisines from Ireland, Spain, France, and Switzerland. It was all good and just fine… a corned beef boxty and fish and chips in Ireland; tapas, ham, and endless amounts of seafood in Spain; cheese and bread in Paris; fondue and wienerschnitzel in Switzerland. And then I got to Italy. And all the other good food I had in the other countries was BLOWN AWAY by the Italians.
Florence // Florence was a city that I had been excited about visiting from the very beginning. We gave ourselves 4 nights in Florence because we knew we were going to want to soak as much of it in as possible. Unfortunately, I became very sick in Florence, so I spent a majority of my time there in bed sleeping. But, before I got sick and the times that I absolutely forced myself to get out… we filled out time (and tummies) by going to this incredible little restaurant where the menu was hand written in Italian. We actually went there twice because it was so good and head and shoulders above any other restaurant that we had eaten at in Florence. If you ever find yourself in Florence, I HIGHLY recommend il francescano. We basically got a sample platter of all the appetizers… and I have to say the burrata with truffles might be the most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten. So much better than any other burrata I’ve had anywhere. We also went on a food/wine tour which included two different types of espresso, a truffle sandwich, a wine/cheese pairing lesson, salted olive bread, pasta, breads/meats/cheese/strawberries with different types of olive oils and balsamic vinegars, more wine with biscotti type cookes, and of course gelato. And everything was delicious. We also visited the San Lorenzo leather market, got lost in every possible way because Florence is impossible to navigate, and went up to the Piazza de Michelangelo for some beautiful views of the city.
Rome // We only had a few days in Rome, so we opted to do the Hop on Hop Off Tour Bus so we could see as much as we could. We did actual tours of the Colosseum and the Vatican Museum/Sistene Chapel, but everything else we pretty much just walked around and saw. The city itself is just sold old and ancient, you can just feel how much history there is there. It truly was amazing to be in such a historic city. Sidenote: I watched Gladiator for the first time before going to see the Collosseum to get an idea of what went on there… what a good movie!
London // Our last quick stop on the European Tour was London. It was actually a really great feeling to be in a country where everyone spoke English. When we arrived in London, it almost felt like we were home, aside from the cars driving on the wrong side of the street and being terrified every time I crossed. We were only in London for a day, staying with a friend.. but we managed to see Buckingham Palace, a few churches, London Bridge, London Tower, and I shopped a bit on Brick Lane. We also had Bangers and Mash which was pretty delicious. I apologize for the photos, but at this point in the trip… I still wasn’t feeling well so I didn’t bring my camera when we were walking around. It was too heavy to lug around, so all the pictures from London were taken on my phone…
If you missed the first blog post from my Europe Trip, you can see Dublin, Madrid, and Barcelona here. Blog #2 from my European Adventure includes Paris, France and 3 cities in Switzerland that were some of my favorites from the entire trip: Zurich, Bern, and Lenk.
Paris // After a few nights in Barcelona, Cari and I jumped on a quick hour and a half flight to Paris, France. We weren’t quite sure what to expect here since we had heard mixed reviews, but I am happy to say it was a delightful 24-hours, and definitely a city I would like to visit again. We got into Paris in the afternoon, and I explored the city a bit before dinner… snacking on a nutella and banana crepe and setting my sights on the Eiffel Tower for the first time. I walked around and soaked up the city, practicing the little French that I knew to whatever Parisians would speak to me. Later than night, Cari and I went to dinner at this little restaurant I stumbled upon and had great reviews online. We ate delicious steaks, french onion soup, salad, creme brûlée before heading to a little store to get even more wine, cheese, and bread to have a picnic with on the lawn by the Eiffel Tower. The man at the store was kind enough to give us our bread for free, and he even opened our bottle of wine for us since we didn’t have an opener. The next day Cari and I went for a run around Paris, and then shopped around at the markets again before having another picnic lunch by the tower. It was a quick stop in Paris, but overall I’m glad we stopped in the beautiful town overnight.
(photos below taken with my phone)
Switzerland // Cari’s family was traveling through Switzerland the same time we were in Europe, so we took a quick flight from Paris to Zurich. It’s embarrassing to admit, but Cari and I didn’t even know what language they were speaking when we arrived in Switzerland… and when I bought my train ticket with euros, I was super confused when the machine spit some other type of currency back at me as change… hello Swiss Franks. But beyond my naivety, Switzerland was a BEAUTIFUL country. To be completely honest, it wasn’t on my radar for countries I needed to visit – but after visiting Zurich, Bern, and Lenk… it is definitely a country that I would LOVE to visit again, and might have been my favorite stop of the entire trip. Zurich was kind of like a typical European city, but from there we drove to Bern. The best way I can describe Bern is that it was straight out of a German disney movie. It was quaint little town, nicknamed the Bears Den… and they had a bear area in the middle of the city where bears just walked along the river. From Bern we drove to a little mountain town called Lenk, near Interlaken… and it was unlike anything I had ever seen. The little town we were staying in sat at the bottom of gorgeous mountain tops that were lined with trees, but in the distance the tops were lined with snow. Most people only spoke German, which made ordering dinner interesting, but even just hiking through the hills of this little town made me fall in love with the country over and over. I pretty much couldn’t stop taking pictures…
The last installment of my Europe Trip blog series is coming on Friday – Florence, Rome, and London! I promise it’s full of history, mouth-watering food, and of course pretty-pretty pictures. Don’t miss it!
I’ve been sitting on a plane for about four hours now, about halfway back to that same old place, sweet home Chicago. If you’ve been keeping up with me… you know that for nearly the past three weeks, I’ve been hopping all over Europe… from Ireland to Switzerland to Italy… and many places in between. I brought my camera along with me to tell most of the stories for me, but I’m going to try and say a little bit about each city I visited… knowing that no words can give my experiences true justice. With 8 cities conquered in just under 3 weeks… there are LOTS of pictures and LOTS to share, so I divided up the trip into three different blog posts 1.) Dublin, Madrid, & Barcelona, 2.) Paris, Zurich, Bern, & Lenk, and lastly 3.) Florence, Rome & London. Feel free to read what you’d like, or even just scroll through the pretty pictures 🙂
Dublin // The incredibly talented Alaina Bos Photography was kind enough to invite me to stay with her and show me around town for my day in a half in Dublin. I arrived at 5:15am, and in that hour before arriving Alaina’s apartment: someone told me I looked like Michelle Obama, I rang the doorbell at the wrong person’s house, I thought a cab driver was trying to steal my phone, I walked in circles around Alaina’s block looking for the wrong address, and then had that same alleged thief cab driver find Alaina’s correct apartment for me and not charge me a dime. Dubliners, you are the BEST. It was a quick stay in Dublin, but Alaina and I managed to see most of what the city had to offer on the Hop on Hop off Tour Bus, did a tour of Kilmainham Gaol, I ate my first corned beef boxty at an Irish Pub, tasted samples of four different kinds of Jameson, and met my European travel partner, Cari, for fish and chips before shipping off to Spain. It was the perfect start to the trip, especially since everyone spoke English, and I can’t thank Alaina enough for opening up her home and giving me some of her time! Can’t wait to see you back in Chicago!
Madrid // After a quick flight to Madrid, Cari and I entered a whole different world that was softened by the beautiful, smiling face of my old college roommate, Jessi. Jessi has been teaching English in Spain for almost a year now and was sweet enough to let us stay with her for the night before we went to Barcelona. First of all, it was GREAT catching up with Jessi. She was such an awesome host and tour guide, but most of all it was so much fun just hearing her stories and sharing laughs over wine and tapas. We only had about 24 hours in Madrid, so we filled our time with wine, patatas bravas, tortilla, croquettes, visited Buen Retiro, made friends with peacocks, saw The Palace, ate at Mercada de San Miguel, and saw as many tourist sights we could fit in…
Barcelona // This was going to be the first European city that Cari and I were left to navigate on our own. We weren’t sure how it was going to go given that it was a foreign country and neither of us were fluent in the language (although we both had a basic understanding of Spanish). We were a bitttttt nervous, but somehow it all worked out! We also had an extended time here, about 4 days… so it was nice to settle in a bit and spend some time exploring all parts of the city. We spent our days drinking sangria, eating delicious tapas at Café L’Academia, touring La Sagrada Familia, walking La Rambla, shopping at La Boqueria, doing a food/wine tour which then turned into a crazy night out with the awesome group and tour guide (and new Spanish speaking friends), traveling outside the main city to a small beach town called Sitges, eating fresh paella, watching the USA vs. Portugal World Cup game at an Irish Pub with our new friends, and touring Park Guell. By the end of our time in Barcelona… I was obsessed with only speaking Spanish (even to Cari), had eaten enough jamon iberico to feed an army, and was quite ready for some cooler temperatures.
Next on the blog // Paris and three Swiss Cities: Zurich, Bern, and Lenk.