Three years ago I photographed Kailey + Rob’s Engagement Session. Two years ago, I photographed their wedding. This year, we went back to the Adler Planetarium (where they got married) and I photographed their Maternity Session. They’re expecting a Baby Boy this October (names still to be decided!) and it really was SO special to see them again, catch up on life, and help document this next phase in their lives. Being with couples throughout the milestones of their lives is so important and meaningful to me. It’s the part of this job that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Kailey + Rob, you’re going to be great parents – I just know it 🙂 It was so much fun spending time with you again – best of luck to you with the baby boy – he’ll be here soon!
For the past few years, I admittedly avoided doing “newborn sessions”. I’d done the whole baby in a basket thing, but to be completely honest – I just didn’t like it (kudos to those that do it, though). For me, those photos didn’t really tell the story I wanted to tell – and I thought newborn sessions had to look a certain way and what I wanted to do wasn’t good enough. So I rarely accepted opportunities to photograph newborns.
Then, I photographed the Ilhardts – who just welcomed their new son James into the world only 11 days prior. I sent Jesse a sneak peek after the session (the photo below), and she wrote back, “…it’s like my whole heart in a single frame,” and I just knew. THAT’S what I want my newborn sessions to be like. I want the entire family, together, in their home, and yes – that even means including the dog. I realized I identify with lifestyle family sessions rather than your typical newborn in a basket with styled props and photoshopped babies’ heads because well – you’re more likely to sit on the couch and hang out with the baby than prop him in a basket day in and day out. Now, I’m definitely not knocking other photographers or couples that want styled newborn sessions because, you do you – and I respect that. All I’m saying is that, this is how I want to move forward doing newborn/family/lifestyle sessions. This is what I relate to. This is the story I want to tell. These are the moments I want to document. If you’re not into it, I have some fantastic newborn photographers that will put your baby in a basket and doll them up with the cutest props that I can recommend to you. But, if you’re into it – shoot me a note – and scroll through some photos below to get a sense of what I’m saying.
To Jesse + Ben, thanks for being flat out awesome. Baby James (and Brady) – you stole my heart on this one.
I don’t normally photograph families, but I just coudln’t resist shooting baby Jordyn, my cousin, and her husband during my visit in Arizona. Jordy in that denim shirt and boots…. the cutest!! Blogged by popular demand, here are a few of my favorite shots of this beautiful family. Thanks for having me as a guest in your home this past week – hopefully see you all again soon!
This was my third time photographing the Dautovic family. It has become a yearly tradition to get together right around Aidin’s birthday (Halloween) for their family photo session. It’s something I look forward to every year… even though the past two years have been FREEZING and all the fall leaves were gone. But this year, we got it right. It was 50+ degrees… the leaves were just changing colors… we shot in a new location in the city… and of course, Aidin was ALL SMILES. Seriously. He is one of my favorites, if not THE favorite, child to photograph. And if you follow my blog you know how much I love my nephews. But Aidin, you might be the happiest boy I’ve ever met. I love it.
Amela and Arslan, it means so much to me that you continue to reach out year after year for your family photos. We’ve worked together three years now… I’ll never forget our first year when Aidin was just PETRIFIED of his cake cried the whole time. To think about that and see where we are now… it’s like night and day. I cannot wait to see how much Aidin has grown even more next year!
I’ve held a special place in my heart for these two boys since the day I met them. I’ve not only been lucky enough to watch them grow up over the past few years, but I’ve been photographing them for 4 years – so I am now that crazy aunt that has a million pictures of them 🙂 We played around my neighborhood at Olive Park and Navy Pier, showed them where I live, they met my roommate’s dog (who liked my nephews so much he got overly excited and pee’d on my floor), and even went out to breakfast after freezing in the frosty fall weather. Something as small as holding my nephews’ hands as we crossed the streets I walk across everyday made me smile. It was like bringing a piece of home to my new home and it just reminded me how much I love these two little boys. One day when they’re 16 they’ll read this blog and be so embarassed of their crazy aunt with the camera, but oh well, we’ve all got one, right?
This was my third time photographing this incredible Chicago family and while the first two years might have been a slight struggle to get tons of smiling faces out of the little ones… I think the term “third time’s a charm” couldn’t have applied more. It was a bright, sunny day while we played along the sidewalks outside the Adler Planetarium for those iconic Chicago skyline shots… and we even got our feet wet playing on the beach. In fact, the kids were SO excited about taking pictures this year that they were telling ME where they wanted their photos taken!
It’s always so much fun shooting with repeat families, seeing how much the kids have grown over the past year, and getting to catch up with the parents. Thanks to one of my favorite families for giving me that opportunity 🙂 These are just a few of my favorites from the day…
I first met this little stud muffin when he was just 3 months old. The little guy could barely sit up, so to see him 9 months later at 1 year old… almost walking, muttering almost words, and batting his baby blues at me… oh, it was a treat. His smiles, eyelashes, quirky smile, and the cutest little bowtie ever – all made for an adorable little 1 year old baby shoot. It was a beautiful, warm afternoon that made for the perfect backdrop and wonderfully fun shoot.
I love getting the chance to reunite with past clients… seeing how their lives have changed, how the little ones have grown, and just catching up on what’s new. Thanks to this special family for reaching out to me for their photos again! Check out some of my favorites…
I love my clients. I don’t say it enough, but I really am blessed with the most beautiful, supportive, fun, and appreciative clients. The kind words that have been shared with me after shoots via email, text, Facebook, and Yelp! truly make all my hard work worth it in an instant.
As the year comes to an end and the photo shoots start winding down, I’ve had some time to reflect on what an amazing year it has been. Here are my 12 best/worst moments of 2012 🙂
1. Happiest Moment:
Doubling the number of weddings I booked in 2012 for 2013, and I’m still going! This was a huge milestone and I’m SO excited to shoot every single one of these special days.
2. Most Embarrassing Moment:
After shooting family formals for about 20 minutes at a Reception, I realized my fly was down – worst part is, my pants happened to have a side zipper, so my upper thigh/side butt was fully exposed. MORTIFIED.
3. Hardest Moment:
Calling a potential bride that I absolutely fell in love with and telling her that her wedding date had been booked up by my best friend’s wedding (luckily we hadn’t signed a contract yet). The decision wasn’t hard to make at all, as I wouldn’t miss my best friend’s wedding for anything in the world. But telling this bride that I wouldn’t be able to shoot her wedding was a heart breaker. I felt like I was letting her down, and I think that’s one of the worst feelings in the world. Special shout-out to Zipporah K Photography, Brittany Bekas Photography, and Robyn Photography for being so amazing and working with me to help find a solution for my bride.
4. Proudest Moment:
Seeing my work published in print and online this year. I was blessed enough to have my work printed in both Inspire Smart Success and Facets Magazine. I’ve seen my event photos published in blogs/newspapers like the RedEye Chicago, Deadspin, BizBash, and The Boozy Beggar. It was especially cool when a few of my friends were so surprised to see my name given photo credit in Deadspin that they thought it was Photoshopped.
5. Biggest Learning Experience:
Second shooting for JordanQuinn Photography and Brittany Bekas Photography in September. September was one big learning experience for me. I purposely scheduled 4 different weddings where I shot along side some other pros in the industry. It was by far the most beneficial thing I’ve done for myself – getting to see how other wedding photographers do things, learning that it’s ok to have fun during the wedding, and just getting more experience really helped me grow as a photographer.
6. Most Stressful Moment:
When I realized that one of my CF cards had an error halfway through an Engagement Reception, and I wasn’t able to retrieve half of the night’s photos. I definitely shed some tears after this mishap, but was lucky enough to have extremely understanding clients.
7. Biggest “AHA” Moment:
When I realized I knew how to shoot in Manual Mode. Up until around May, I was shooting in Aperture Priority. Although I had been watching numerous creativeLIVE sessions on shooting in Manual Mode, and read all about it in online forums – I had never actually tried it. Until, one day – during an actual photo shoot (the M&M Stylized Shoot I did with the Photography Stylistas), I wasn’t getting the results I wanted. I wanted my aperture wide open, but the shutter speed was too slow, was letting in too much light, and I couldn’t control it in AV mode. Without thinking twice, I switched it to Manual Mode, increased the shutter speed – and to my surprise – it worked! I literally couldn’t believe it. So much so that a few weeks later I had a family session and didn’t think I could shoot in Manual Mode with children – but again, I wasn’t getting the results I wanted in AV, switched back to Manual, and I haven’t gone back since.
8. Most Influential Moment:
Going to Jasmine Star’s theFIX and hearing her talk about the importance of template emails and connecting with vendors. Both seem like such simple, common sense ideas, but hearing her talk about them pushed me to do it. Both helped me take gigantic steps towards building my business.
9. Most Hectic Moment:
Probably the week I scheduled 7 shoots – on top of still working full-time 40 hours a week. I’m glad I made it through and I couldn’t be happier with the way the photos turned out, but I’ll probably try to stay away from doing this in the future. 7 shoots in less than a week may not sound like a lot, but it led to months of eating, breathing, and sleeping photography and nothing else.
10. Most Frustrating Moment:
Being stuck in traffic on 290 at 10:30pm at night for 3-hours after a 10-hour wedding day – knowing I had to get up early for another wedding the following morning. Especially when I was looking forward to a quick 25 minute commute since I thought traffic wouldn’t be too bad because it was so late. Boy was I wrong.
11. Most Inspiring Moment:
Connecting with other photographers at Jasmine Star’s theFIX, including becoming part of the Photography Stylistas group. The group of photographers that I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with have not only become insanely helpful in offering advice, but they’ve become a support system that I could have not have done without. Sharing all our stories, experiences, tips, and ideas have inspired me to keep pushing to improve my business and have most of all – let me know that I can do it.
12. Life-Changing Moment:
When I decided I want to pursue photography full-time. When I started a few years ago – it was just a hobby. Now after months of filled with photo shoots and weddings, I know this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.
Being that in 2012 I didn’t offer printing services to any clients other than brides/grooms, I don’t often get to see the fruits of my labor in print. Sure, I look at the hundreds of photos I take after the family session, cull them down to around 50+, edit each photo, and then post the photos onto my Facebook page and blog (admittedly I look at the blog more than a few times after that either criticizing myself or admiring my work – but that’s another story).
It’s very rare that I get to see what photos the clients actually love. I definitely have my favorites. And sometimes those are the same ones that the clients love… and sometimes they’re not.
But, one of my favorite times of the year is when I start receiving Christmas cards from friends and family – ESPECIALLY when all of the cards I have received feature photos that were taken by ME 🙂 As narcissistic as it may sound, I don’t mean it like that. The reason I love getting these cards is 1.) I love that I have that close relationship with my clients. And 2.) I truly enjoy seeing which photos my clients pick as their favorites… Merry Christmas!