Archive for September, 2012

Somehow I made it through September with some of my sanity remaining (and by some, I mean it takes me a few seconds to know what day it is… but I get there eventually). But it hasn’t been easy. It’s been full of hectic planning, editing in my car parked outside an event three nights in a row, emailing clients during my lunch break from my full-time job,  crying for no apparent reason (I’m blaming sleep deprivation), and multi-tasking to the max. I’m actually sitting in the Apple store right now blogging, replying to client emails, and scheduling editing time and shoots while I’m waiting for my data to be transferred to my new laptop because my one month old Macbook Pro had hardware issues (and it isn’t the first time I’m doing work from the Apple store this week).

Anyway, with today being the last day of September, I figured it’d be a good time to recap on my goals for the month, and set some new ones for October.

September Goal: With all the events I have scheduled, I’m hoping to streamline my editing process, create an efficient workflow (I can now use my Client Workflow Check List I created last month), and be able to have the photos edited and out the door within one week (two weeks max.).

  • Results: This is a hard one to measure, since I’ve been doing a lot of second shooting this month and technically can’t get the photos to the clients until the lead photographer does. So this means I have 4 weddings in queue waiting to be released. Working on editing those as we speak.

September Goal: This one is carried over from last month, since well, I did everything in the world except get myself to the gym. I need to workout 3-5 times a week, for at least three out of the four weeks in September. I’ve already looked at the XSport class schedules and have penciled them into my calendar. Now I just have to get myself there.

  • Results: Horrible fail yet again. The only squats I did were when I was trying to get different camera angles at my weddings (surprisingly I do enough that I’m usually sore the next day). There was just no way I was going to get myself to the gym with everything I had going on this month. 12 hour weddings every Saturday and Sunday…. working full-time Monday – Friday, editing until 10:00pm at night after work, and that was only on the days that I didn’t have a night event. Needless to say, I’m gonna try again in October… third time’s a charm, right?

September Goal: Cook one dinner recipe from Pinterest for Danny and blog about it. I look at these all the time and have even made a few, but I haven’t had the time to cook recently. I have a few that I’ve been eyeing for quite some time now so I’d love to get around to making them one night.

  • Results: Well it wasn’t a recipe from Pinterest, but I did make a new recipe for Danny and I blogged about it… so I’m counting it as a win.

September Goal: This is a silly one, but I’ve been in my new apartment for nearly 6 months and I still have picture frames sitting on the floor. I want to fill them with new photos and have them hung ASAP.

  • Results…. yeah, no dice. Maybe in December when things slow down 🙂

September Goal: Don’t sweat the little things. I’m the youngest of three kids AND the only girl. So needless to say I can be a bit of a drama queen. Sometimes I let small things really get the best of me, but my goal for the month is to get better at letting things roll off my back.

  • Results: Umm… sleep deprivation and stress don’t really help in accomplishing this goal. I will say however that I was so preoccupied with the business that it didn’t leave much time to worry about petty things not related to the business. But I did find myself shedding a few tears of stress and overwhelmingness.

Bonus Goal: Learn to juggle, both literally and figuratively. I started to learn to literally juggle over the weekend, and I’m so close to being able to! And of course with all the different events going on this month I’m going to have to juggle my photography, personal, and work life.

  • Results: I definitely learned to juggle all things photography. And I managed to plan a bowling night with my family so I didn’t do sooo bad. But there’s definitely a lot of people that I wish I could’ve seen more of this month.

Honestly, looking back on the list of goals, it was kind of a weak list. This month I’m going to try to set goals that are more measurable and attainable.


Goal: Have all my September weddings edited, blogged, and uploaded onto by the end of the month.

Goal: Workout 5-6 days a week for at least the first two weeks of the month before I head to Utah for an adventure-cation with my roommate. If I don’t, I’m sure the hikes and rappelling down canyons won’t be very forgiving.

Goal: Have at least one date with my girls. I have an Indian food and Champps Restaurant Groupon waiting to be used with my friends Jess and Sam… hopefully we’ll be able to schedule those this month.

Goal: Get a 35mm  f/1.4 lens and start shooting primarily with that and my 50mm 1.2 at weddings. I’ll still use my 24-70mm 2.8 for families/kids, but I’m loving the shooting portraits/events with these prime lenses.

Goal: Although I love how busy I was this past month and it only means great things for my business, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t stressful at times. If I wasn’t stressed out about doing this right, it would mean I didn’t care about my clients, business, and quality of work. I take it as a good thing that I care so much… but I want to work on not caring so much to the point of tears. This month, no crying because of stress.

That about wraps it up. Wish me luck and hopefully I can get it all done this time 🙂


A few months ago, I was given the amazing opportunity to photograph Hendrick’s Gin Voyages Into the Unusual at Salvage One in Chicago. Not only was this a dream location, but the entire event was beyond anything I could have imagined.

The three night event featured vendors from all over the U.S. conducting a Cocktail Academy the first night followed by a 2-day voyage into the unusual. Bizarre characters, outlandish details, and delicious cocktails took over Salvage One, filling it with nearly a thousand people in just three days.

Special thanks to Shane Stanfa, Producer of Events at Momentum Worldwide, for giving me this incredible opportunity. It was literally outrageous and the most insane event I’ve ever been a part of. It was so great meeting everyone, especially my new videographer buddy Jason Mills of Fine Young Man Productions.

Instead of telling you more about the event… I figured I’d let the photos do the talking.




Want to see more? Check out the full gallery here.


When I met Jordan of Jordan Quinn Photograph at Jasmine Star’s theFIX, I was immediately drawn to her energy and welcoming personality. We started talked about me second shooting for her almost immediately since she’d been in the industry longer and I knew I could learn a lot from her, not to mention have a blast double teaming a wedding together. And this was before I had even looked at her work. When I actually got home and looked at her website, I KNEW this was going to be a great match.

Fast-forward six months and Jordan and I shot our first wedding together, and was my first time being a second shooter. While I’ve shot weddings on my own, there’s still much to learn, especially from someone of Jordan’s caliber.

Aside from having a great time with her in the same outfit, (“Oh hey…”), sharing a sandwich during dinner, and hanging out with the band, I learned a lot that I will take with me from this point forward.

1. Don’t be afraid to have fun and be myself. I think the biggest thing I learned from Jordan was to have fun at the wedding! Sometimes I get so nervous and focused at the task at hand that I forget to relax and have a good time. I have to remember that photography isn’t just my job, it’s my passion.

2. Build Personal Client Relationships: I learned that I don’t want to just be someone’s “wedding photographer.” I want to be the bride’s friend. I want to laugh and have fun with the bridesmaids while I make them look even more gorgeous than they already are. I want my clients to feel like they’re inviting a friend to the wedding who happens to take amazing photos…. not just that they’re hiring some wedding photographer they don’t even know. That’s the relationship I want with my clients.

3. Give my second shooters more direction. I really appreciated when Jordan told me exactly what she wanted me to do, what she was looking or in the photos, and what she needed from me. I’m definitely going to start providing my second shooters with more direction as to what shots I’m looking for and what they can expect.

4. Take control. One of the biggest moments of the wedding day that I dread are family formals. It can sometimes be intimidating to organize dozens of people that I don’t know into family portraits, especially when I don’t know Aunt Flo from Grandma Martha. I was also afraid of being too commanding and quickly becoming known as the bossy dictator instead of awesome photographer. But now I’ve learned that it’s best for everyone if I’m more assertive when organizing family photos. Bottom line, it’s faster for me to shoot this way and getting everyone over to cocktail hour quicker = happy family.

5. Selective Shooting. Don’t overshoot. In the end it only increases post processing time, and how many photos of the bride in curlers without make-up on do you really need?

Jordan, thank you so much for letting me second shoot with you!! I had a blast, learned so much, and hopefully we can work together soon…. Mostly because I’ll miss you if we don’t 🙂


Ok, so it’s not from Pinterest. But it was a new recipe and I DID make it for Danny. One September goal checked off the list 🙂

{Whole grain penne tossed in a homemade tomato sauce, sprinkled with italian Sausage, & baked with mozzarella cheese}


Because photog has been crazy busy these past few months and probably won’t slow down until Christmas time, if I want to put in some quality time with anyone it usually has to be planned a few weeks in advance. But on that rare occassion, everything spontaneously comes together, which most of the time results in the most memorable nights.

Earlier in the week Danny and I had been talking about what we could do Friday night (God Bless him… he’s gotten in the habit of planning ahead with me). I knew I had a 12 hour wedding the next day and we’ve both been on a saving money kick lately so we were looking for something fairly inexpensive and nothing too crazy. Redbox and bowling were thrown out there and we decided we’d play it by ear and see how we felt later in the week. The next day I decided to email my brother and sister-in-law and see if they happened to be free that night, as well as my parents. It just so happened that everyone was free on such short notice and I couldn’t have been more excited to spend some quality time with everyone.

We ate cheap bowling alley pizza, drank $15 pitchers of Blue Moon, bowled strikes and sadly even a few gutter balls (mostly from my nephews and me), and I loved every single minute of it. Even though I come from a family of bowlers (my brother, mom, and dad all have their own shoes and bowling ball), I wouldn’t call myself a great bowler. And those of you that know me know how much I hate to lose. You’d think those last two statements would be a recipe for disaster for me, but for once, I never even looked at the score. I was too busy laughing with my nephews. I was too busy catching up with my parents. I was too busy hearing about Vegas and Toronto from my brother and sister-in-law. I was even too busy watching Danny get better at bowling as he got tips from the bowling men in my family.





While I may have lost every single game that night, what I won was something much bigger. Being able to spend a fun night with my family, amidst one of the busiest times of my life, is something I’ll remember and cherish much longer than any bowling game I won. <3




When I first met Teri at the Starbucks around the corner from her beautiful Lincoln Park condo, we sipped on matching Passion Fruit Iced Teas as we chatted about work, personal life, and photography. We talked about how her and Rich’s wedding would be laid back, fun, and all about the love. No distractions from the normal hustle and bustle of most wedding days. The whole day would be centered around expressing their love for one another with only their closest friends and family present before catching a same-day flight to their honeymoon.

The big day was nothing short of perfect as everything aligned just the way they had planned. After hair, makeup, and mimosas at Alu Salon, the entire wedding party jumped into a limo and headed to the picturesque Lincoln Park Conservatory. The beautiful ceremony held at the fountain in the formal garden was short and sweet as Teri and Rich vowed to be each other’s everything. In the center of a semi-circle of their loved ones, Teri and Rich sealed their love with a kiss.


Thank you, Teri and Rich, for choosing me to document your special day. Not only was I thrilled to ride around in the limo with everyone and sip on champagne, but I am forever grateful for your kindness and generosity… as I’m sure Danny will be too when we use your gift card at Gibson’s 🙂
With so many gorgeous images from the day, it was hard to narrow them down for the preview. But here are a few of my favorite photos that help tell the story of this Chicago garden wedding.


To see more photos from Teri + Rich’s Chicago Garden Wedding, check out their gallery.


To get the iPhone or stick with an Android (First World Problems!). I’ve been going back and forth on this decision for a few months now and now that the new iPhone 5 is officially out and my contract has been expired for a month, it’s time to make a decision. The fact that this is even a hard choice baffles me. I love all things Apple. I love my 27″ iMac, like, really LOVE it. I love my new Macbook Pro. I love my iPod, even though it’s third generation. That’s how much I love it… I haven’t felt the need to upgrade in a decade. Why I haven’t converted over to the iPhone yet just doesn’t add up.

Here’s my predicament. I also love Google. I live and breathe off my gCalendar and Gmail, and I’m not a fan of Apple’s mail interface. Is there an app for gmail and gcal? I’m also worried that the new taller screen simply isn’t big enough. Lastly, I also love Swype, which I don’t think the new iPhone has.


This is where you come in. I need your help making my decision. iPhone users, Android users… why do you love your phones and what should I do?!



As I pulled up to Museum Campus, I found myself in the middle of a cooler carrying, foam finger pointing, football jersey wearing crowd. And then it dawned on me. I had failed to account for the Bears Home Opener when scheduling the location of my Chicago family portrait session. Since Soldier Field is just a few steps south of where we had planned to shoot, this was a major problem. Street parking was shut down, parking lot prices were raised to $50, and there were crowds of people everywhere. Not exactly what you want in family photos.

I called my clients immediately and we discussed our options. I am so lucky they were understanding and were open to shooting in another location, away from all the chaos. We quickly settled on the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond and set out to meet as soon as possible. When we finally were all in the same location, we started shooting immediately. As we walked through the beautiful garden, wound down the dirt paths, and played in the iconic “honeycomb” structure, I snapped away at the beautiful blue eyed family. In the center of Lake Shore Drive, North Avenue Beach, and Lincoln Park Zoo, I was able to find an answer to my morning crisis and come away with some gorgeous family photos.
A warm thank you to my amazing clients for trusting me to photograph your family again. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I do… I literally laughed out loud at more than a few photos of the kiddos…


It was just passed 11:00am as I was sitting in Advanced Algebra 2 Trig, struggling to wrap my head around cosine, tangent, and sine; baffled at how I was supposed to find the value of x, y, and z; and trying to stifle my growling stomach as I wondered what I was going to eat for lunch next period. Counting the minutes until the lunch bell would ring, I sat in my desk as a sophomore at Immaculate Conception High School, completely oblivious of what was going on at that very moment hundreds of miles away.

It was 11 years ago today and I can still picture exactly where I was when I got
the news about the World Trade Center being hit. I remember saying a prayer as a class for everyone involved, getting sent home early from school, and watching live footage on the news. I remember not understanding what was really going and wondering if it had been an accident… and then I heard about the Pentagon and I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. I remember not being able to get a hold of my mom after that, who at the time worked in downtown Chicago, and being so worried that Chicago was going to be hit next. I also remember the huge sigh of relief I felt when I finally was able to talk to her and hear that she was ok. I was lucky that day. Thousands of other families were not.

On this September 11, 2012, we remember those who were not as lucky as I was. We remember those who senselessy lost their loved ones. We remember those who risked their lives to save the lives of complete strangers. We remember those who have served and are currently serving in the military to protect this country and everything that makes it great.

Today, we will never forget.


Sep 07, 2012
posted in Friday Funnies. with 0 Comments

While I thought I had just been fighting off allergies for the past few weeks, it has officially turned into a cold. Sore throat, sniffly nose, ear ache… I got it. Just in time for my busy season, too. Can you tell how excited I am to be feeling under the weather? Needless to say, I needed a few laughs today. Which brings me to Friday Funnies….

Story of my life… I can only watch Casino and Good Fellas in 30 minute increments. Poor Danny.


I really need to invest in one of these given the amount of time I spend editing at my computer. Multi-tasking at it’s finest.


Seriously. All the time.


Danny and I play the alphabet game on the way up to Lake Gevena like it’s a tradition. Unfortunately there aren’t any signs like this…


Stick a mustache on your TV. Every time it lines up with someone’s face, drink! Playing this game immediately.



And if all of these things failed to make you smile, go paint eyebrows on your dog/cat. Works every time.


Happy Friday!!