Kim and I go back to our days at the University of Illinois in Gamma Phi Beta (<3 in PKE! ha.). Although we hadn’t spoken or seen each other since our college days, Kim reached out to me one day informing me of her engagement to her long time boyfriend, Andy. She had been following my photography on Facebook, and asked if I was available to be her photographer. Not only was it a pleasant surprise that she had been following my work for a few months, but the fact that she loved it enough to trust me to capture their big day made my heart melt.
The perfectly overcast Saturday Wedding was set in Lake Forest starting at the beautiful St. Mary’s Church, moving on to scenic Fort Sheridan, and ending at the exclusive Exmoor Country Club. Kim was the same beautiful, genuine, and sweet girl from college. On HER wedding day, the first thing she said to me was how happy she was for ME that my business was growing so fast. How sweet is she?
Dressed in her mother’s wedding dress, Kim walked down the aisle to her beaming groom. The gorgeous ladies in the bridal party were draped in deep red gowns with floral inspired straps that perfectly complimented the intricate lace wedding gown. Gorgeous as they were, the gowns didn’t seem to keep the ladies warm as we shot at Fort Sheridan and Exmoor Country Club, but the girls toughed it out for Kim and Andy.
Kim and Andy, you are both truly amazing people. Dominique Strom, my second shooter, had never met you before and loved you immediately. As made apparent in all of the speeches given, it is so clear you are the perfect match for each other… in Kim’s father’s words, “perfect soul mates.” I can’t say enough about how great it was to work with you both. Willing to do anything I asked, happy to keep shooting in the cold, and so kind hearted – I really am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be there not only as your photographer, but as a friend and fellow gamma phi. It was especially fun to see all the girls! Congratulations to you both!
p.s. do the bernie 😉
Reception Location // Exmoor Country Club
Band // Matt Stedman Band
Florist // ArtQuest
Cake Artist // Gourmet Frog Bakery
Bridesmaid’s Dresses // French Novelty
I met the S Family in their beautiful home not far outside of Chicago. We started shooting throughout various places in the house, moving furniture to find the best lighting, and changing Baby S into the cutest little outfits. A santa outfit, plaid hat, Christmas stocking, and even a St. Louis Cardinals onsie… I loved all the options!
I won’t say much because I think the photos speak for themselves, but I will say this. I went to Utah in heart of my busy season… I left two weddings to edit at home, and came home to six shoots in seven days. For me, this wasn’t easy. But there was a bigger goal in mind. I was looking for some clarity. Clarity amidst months that have been jumbled with photo shoots, weddings, stress, and the daily rigors of life.
Let me tell you, anyone that needs to get away – Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are the places to do it. Hiking seven miles in Zion (West Rim and Angel’s Landing) up 1,400ft. elevation and five miles through the hoodoos and switch backs of Bryce Canyon made me forget about everything in life that was stressing me out – and even let me forget about that bronchitis I happened to get the day before I left for vacation!
I’m probably the worst person in the world to hike with since it literally went like this… Jill take 2 steps, stop and take a photo of something. Jill take 2 more steps, stop and take a photo of something. And so on, for 12 miles. Sorry guys! But I have to send a special shout out to my roommate Emily’s family, Brian, Cheryl, and Becca for being amazing hosts, even better guides, and such fun company. Especially Brian for snapping some amazing photos, and I can’t forget about Emily… my photographer prodigy 🙂 Ben, I’m sorry you couldn’t make it out with us but thanks for letting me use your backpack 🙂
I sent some of these pictures to my family that day…. they were not happy. And Danny definitely didn’t think it was cool. But it was definitely my favorite part of the trip. Take a look at the gorgeous views….
Bryce Canyon was utterly breathtaking. Filled with hoodoos (link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
We spend our last day in Utah at the cutest little town at a delicious breakfast place called Xetaca, which was in the middle of the desert with mountains in the background. We also stopped and saw Joshua trees and hunted for arrowheads (well, Emily and her brother hunted for arrowheads while I stayed perfectly still trying to stay away from bushes that snakes were hiding in).
After becoming one with nature for a few days… Emily and I headed over to Vegas for a nice change of pace. A view of the strip (and Belagio fountains) from our windows, plush amenities after “roughing it” in the desert, and laying by the pool with my girlfriend (without our brother boyfriends, sorry guys – love ya!) was exactly what I needed.
The whole trip was such an experience and I can’t wait to go back next year to rappel down those canyons 🙂
I first photographed Amela, Arslan, and their son Aidin exactly one year ago on Aidin’s first birthday. We had a mini outdoor photo shoot followed by a not-so-successful first birthday cake eating shoot (Aidin ended up being absolutely terrified of the cake and wanted nothing to do with it haha). We created some fun, memorable photos that really captured the moment, but this year… Aidin was ALL SMILES for the camera.
From the moment we met up, Aiden was ready and raring to go. We hugged, high-fived, and ran down the path at Lyman Woods (DEFINLTEY a spot I’ll be returning to next fall) while I captured some playful, posed, and candid moments of the wonderful family. Although it was fairly cold and windy when we got there, all that moving around kept us warm and happy throughout the hour long shoot.
Amela and Arslan, thank you so much for coming back to me this year! It was amazing to see how much Aidin has grown into a little boy over the past year, and I really enjoyed catching up with you both! I also love that, even though it’s cold in October, you keep our photo shoot near his birthday like a little Halloween tradition 🙂 Looking forward to next year!
I met Priyam and Vinay through a mutual friend from college. For weeks, Vinay and I exchanged emails back and forth trying to find a date that worked for all of three of us. This proved to be somewhat difficult since Priyam and Vinay aren’t in the same location for more than a few months at a time together.
From Toledo but based in Chicago (for the moment), Vinay lives in Chicago while his fiancé, Priyam, travels all around the country for months at a time for her clinical rotations. Luckily, she’s currently doing a rotation in Chicago right now, but leaves in December to go back home to Jersey for a few months.
The two might not have the average relationship when it comes to time spent together in the same geographical location, but when it comes to love and affection — they give new meaning to the old saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
I met them both on a Friday afternoon at the Lincoln Park Zoo South Pond. As we made our way through the park photographing from spot to spot, it was clear they couldn’t be happier to be spending time together and were more than willing to show their affections for the camera.
Priyam and Vinay, you guys were such a blast to shoot with. I always love when my clients are willing to photograph off the path. And I especially love when couples act like themselves within whatever pose I put them in… it totally makes the shoot personal! Thank you so much for toughing out the cold weather for our photo shoot, too. I think the photos prove it was well worth it…
Diana and Edgar’s love began long before their Chicago fall wedding, and they weren’t about to let a little rain put a damper on something that’s been growing for over a decade. You see, Diana and I drove to basketball practice together in high school. We’ve shared endless car rides filled with conversations about her and Edgar. And although they’ve had their share of ups and downs like any relationship, they’ve finally found their constant “up” that is sure to last a lifetime.
They started their day getting ready at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Hotel located in downtown Chicago. Just a few doors down from each other, the lovely bride and handsome groom prepared for what they will remember as the best day of their lives.
Beautifully set in the heart of Chicago’s south side—a place they hold very dear and live themselves—the wedding ceremony was undeniably gorgeous at St. Thomas the Apostle Church.
After a quick family formals session outside the church to highlight the incredible doorways, the wedding party all headed to Chicago Union Station to hide from the rain.
As soon as we made it back to the hotel for the reception with only a few drops of rain on us, the skies closed in on Chicago and really let loose. I think God was on our side on this one… patiently waiting for us to get back to the hotel before unleashing the heavy rain.
The rest of the night was filled with the most amazing dancing I’ve ever witnessed at a reception. With music from DJ Xavier, couples were out on the dance floor having a blast. I even got to witness such a fun Mexican tradition where the bride and groom stand on a chair and make a tunnel. All the men at the wedding then run under the tunnel and around the reception room, trying to knock the groom down. With dozens of men running at full speed around the room – this truly was an amazing sight. Once they got the groom to fall down, they then throw him up into the air—and they definitely didn’t hold back.
Thank you so much to Diana and Edgar for letting me be there for this unforgettable day. I am so happy to see you both together, and it was great getting to reunite with you, D. I LOVE the picture frame you’ve been waiting to give me for 11 years (she meant to give me this picture frame on her graduation night from high school but never did—in it was a picture of us from 2002, and she had written all our inside jokes around the frame… talk about a flashback!) It truly was a blessing to be there and I’m so excited to show you all these photos! Love you guys!
I first photographed Gavin and Aubrey in September of 2011 to capture some maternity photos. A year later, we played around a forest preserve near their house as their baby girl Kendall and beloved dog Maisy joined us for some photo shoot fun in the fall leaves. Gavin and Aubrey, congratulations on such an adorable little girl. Kendall is insanely cute and proved to be very generous in her excitement to keep giving me rocks off the path. She even almost made it through the full hour without shedding a tear… which is longer than most kids! I really just can’t get over how stinkin’ adorable she is. Every picture of her made my heart melt a little more.
A few months ago, Mark surprised Jackie with a weekend up to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin so he could propose lakeside by the bonfire. It was a windy night, so Jackie wore a scarf to keep her warm. Just like he had planned, Mark got down on one knee, popped the question as his heart almost beat out of his chest, and Jackie said yes while she wrapped her arms around him and hugged him like she was the happiest girl in the world.
It was an absolutely perfect moment. So perfect in fact that the two lovebirds failed to notice that Jackie’s scarf had caught on fire, and had to frantically take it off Jackie’s neck and put the flame out. What an engagement story, huh?
Fast forward to an October Sunday afternoon in downtown Wheaton where I met the engaged couple for their fall e-session. We played around Adams Park (a favorite location of mine), found a couple great alleys in the downtown Wheaton area, and rounded out the hour-long session at a favorite stop of theirs, Starbucks.
During our wedding/engagement consult (which happened to be at Starbucks) Jackie and Mark told me that every morning on their way to work, they stop at Starbucks for a morning pick-me-up. They immediately expressed wanting to take a few shots at their local Starbucks and I absolutely love that they wanted to incorporate this part of their relationship into the shoot. These are my favorite little details that make e-sessions unique, and especially meaningful to the couple. Not to mention, I LOVE the fact that Jackie put her hair up for part of the session because that’s what “she normally looks like” 🙂 – what a perfect way to make sure the session truly reflects you guys!
Jackie and Mark, I had so much fun with you both and I can’t wait for the big day in May! Your ear to ear smiles, infectious laughter, and willingness to have some fun with the poses really made this shoot something special.Plus you’re both gorgeous 🙂
Here are a few of my favorite shots from the day…