Lexi and Tim are hands down one of the sweetest couples I have been lucky enough to work with. They’re not only sweet to each other, but they’re kind to me, their family, their friends… and even strangers (as Tim was sure not to disrupt Chicago pedestrian traffic during the Engagement Session). Their wedding was one of those days that was just filled with happiness. And I seriously cannot get over how gorgeous Lexi is. It doesn’t matter if she was crying, laughing, eating cake, or just gazing at her handsome husband – the girl doesn’t take a bad photo. And Tim, you brought a serious GQ look to the wedding and I loved photographing every minute of it. I won’t say much more because I’ve been dying to share these photos (yes, I was so excited about these photos that I woke up at 7am the day after the wedding to start editing)… but I will say thank you to Lexi + Tim for having me as your wedding photographer. I truly enjoyed working with you on both the Engagement and Wedding day, and I wish you the best of luck in Colorado! And…. I’ll probably be visiting you out there, just an FYI 🙂
VENDOR CREDIT // Wedding Venue: Immaculate Conception // Reception Venue: Elmhurst Art Museum // Wedding Dress/Veil Designer: Allure, Antonietta Ciaccia Cervantes, Veiled by Cha Cha // Bridesmaid Dress Designer: WToo – Ashley Swenson, Bella Bianca Bridal Couture // Tuxedo Designer: Joseph A. Banks // Hair Stylist: Jillian Koch // Make-Up Artist: Marissa Paulo // Florist: Blossoms & Branches // Cake Artist: Cafe Amano // DJ: Ryan Meeks, Non-Stop Entertainment // Paper Goods Designer: Tag & Company // Caterer: Cafe Amano // Wedding Bands Designer: Amy Pedicini
A lot of my clients ask for suggestions on where to shoot Engagement Photos, so I figured I’d put a little post together with my suggestions for you! These locations can also be applied for Wedding Day Portraits as well! I always like to encourage couples to think of a place that has some sentimental value or meaning to your relationship. Any parks/trails, urban area, farms, or even your favorite coffee shop are all great ideas. Here are a few I’ve done around Chicago to give you a few ideas. Take a look, and hopefully you get a feel of what you like and are looking for. I’m also open to new locations, too!
YOUR FAVORITE HANGOUT/NEIGHBORHOOD //
OUTSIDE THE ADLER PLANETARIUM //
MILLENNIUM PARK //
LINCOLN PARK ZOO SOUTH POND //
OLIVE PARK //
CHICAGO UNION STATION //
CHICAGO RIVER & LOOP AREA //
KINZIE STREET BRIDGE //
BOARD OF TRADE //
A FEW OTHER SUGGESTIONS // Art Institute Gardens, West Loop, behind RM Champagne, Promontory Point, Oak Street Beach, Lily Pond at Lincoln Park Zoo, Montrose Harbor… I also love getting new suggestions! I also think the most personal sessions can be shot in your home (if there’s natural light) or just walking around your neighborhood 🙂
Hope that helps get you an idea of what your photos can look like… Also, if you’re also trying to figure out what you can wear to the session… here are my tips: When it comes to what to wear – I’d say it’s more about personal preference and what you want to see in the photos, but there are a few suggestions that I can make. I think basic works best. Solid colors, simple patterns (nothing too distracting), classic combinations, and comfortable clothing are always a safe bet. Something that reflects who you are – something you would normally wear. You are free to bring more than one outfit, but please keep in mind changing time, how you’ll carry everything around, etc. Head over to a separate blog post on engagement session outfits for some examples: http://bit.ly/
I’m backpacking through Europe in less than a month (whoa!)… and of course I’m super excited about the incredible, once in a lifetime photos I’m going to be taking every step of the way. But, I was a little concerned about carrying my Canon 5D Mark iii everywhere with me since we’re going to be walking pretty much everywhere, I’ve heard to be very weary of thieves, and not to mention that sucker (+ 3 lenses) is HEAVY. So, I toyed around with the idea of purchasing and bringing a Fuji X100S – since the quality is almost comparable and it’s much smaller/lighter and can fit in my purse. But, before making the $1000+ decision, my good friend Ryan Moore was kind enough to let me borrow his to test it out. And I figured what better way to test out the camera I’m considering touring Europe with, than using it to be a tourist around these parts. Sooo… off to Chinatown I went!
I wasn’t really sure what to expect in Chinatown. It’s a part of Chicago that I hadn’t been to (or if I had, it was when I was just a child and I don’t remember). But I jumped on the Redline to Cermak-Chinatown and just walked around town for a bit soaking it all in. I explored a few of the gift and grocery stores… which actually brought me back to my childhood. I always went with my parents to similar food marts for Oriental food products they couldn’t get at a regular grocery store… so the aroma and little trinkets that might seem unappetizing or meaningless to some, were especially nostalgic for me. I even picked up a few of my favorite childhood treats for the road… Pocky Sticks and Dried Mango 🙂
I ended my little adventure at Yan Bang Cai after reading rave reviews on Yelp! I had heard mixed reviews of some of the more popular Chinatown stops so I decided to stop here instead. And I’m so glad I did because my waitress was super friendly, it was quiet and not overly crowded like some of the other restaurants I had passed, and totally had that hidden gem feel. I decided to go authentic and order the Fu Qi Fei Pian (cold appetizer of thin beef slices – common ingredients in the modern version include beef heart, tongue and tripe, and a generous amount of various spices – in chili sauce served with steamed rice). And as scary as it sounds, it was DELICIOUS. It was almost see-through thin, and the sauce was super spicy with tons of great flavor. To add even more nostalgia to my day, the people seated behind me were a Filipino family with a little girl and they were all speaking Tagalog. Naturally, I spent the majority of my lunch eavesdropping on their conversation trying to see how much I could understand… the verdict: I got the general jyst but could use some practice 🙂
To get to the point… the reason for this adventure and blog post… the camera. Well, as you can see it does take great photographs. It was super light – I barely knew I had it on my shoulder – and it was so easy to fit in my purse. I struggled a little bit with the settings since I’m so used to my Mark iii, though. I also wish I could have shot a little wider (it is basically a 35mm)… which I’m sure I’m going to also want while traveling through Europe. But it really was so convenient not having to carry such a heavy camera and lenses. BUT, long story short… I think I’m going to suck it up and carry my Mark iii, 35mm, 50mm, and 17-40mm through Europe. I figure these are going to be once in a life time photos – some of which I may get large prints of to display in my home – and I’ll want the best photo I could have taken. Years from now, I’ll look at the beautiful photos and I’m sure there will be plenty more for me to remember than how much my back hurt from carrying such a heavy bag 🙂
This year, I’ve chosen to focus my business on weddings, engagements, and events. But, when it comes to my future niece, Adrianna… I just had to make an exception and photograph my brother and sister-in-law’s maternity photos. I’ll admit, I was a little out of my comfort zone stepping away from engagement and wedding portrait photography… but it definitely helped having such a glowing, beautiful, and literally radiant soon-to-be mama. And my brother is a stud, too. You guys are both gorgeous and I’m so happy that I could give you these photos as a gift that will last forever. Can’t wait to meet you, Baby Adrianna <3
I’m not really sure where to start on this one. Liza, you’re literally stunning. You’re beautiful both inside and out… you were such a pleasure to work with… so laid back… so trusting of what I do… just amazing. And Mike, to get a girl as incredible as Liza… you better believe you’re every bit of a keeper yourself. You’re gracious, so kind… and you made sure to take the time to stop at every single table to greet all your guests. Your speech at the reception made everyone laugh and cry at the same time. The way you stole glances at Liza throughout the entire day was adorable, and are some of my favorite shots from the entire collection.
These two are in love in the obvious kind way. You can see it in the way they lovingly look at each other. You can see it in the way they naturally gravitate towards one other. And like Mike said in his speech, “Liza you know I love you more than words can express, otherwise we wouldn’t be here today.” But they also love each other in the quiet, private moments when they think no one else is listening. During the cocktail hour, I shot a few individual portraits of Liza + Mike in a private alley with no one around. And while I was shooting the lovely bride, I could hear Mike saying softly to Liza (but also almost to himself as if he was in awe of his gorgeous wife), “Lize, you look so good.” And when the time came for me to shoot Mike, I could hear Liza saying, “You’re so handsome,” to her brand new husband. It’s the little moments like these, the moments in between all the chaos and all the excitement that make me truly smile behind the camera. Liza + Mike – thank you a million times over for letting me be a part of your wedding day.
VENDOR CREDIT // Wedding Dress Designer: Enzoani Blue, Kathryn’s Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: David’s Bridal // Tuxedos: Men’s Warehouse // Hair Stylist: Jillian’s Salon // Make-up Artist: Marissa Paulo // Florist: Shamrock Garden // Cake Artist: Cupcakes for Courage // DJ: A Posh Production // Paper Goods: Invitations by David’s Bridal // Ceremony Venue: Visitation Church // Reception Venue: Pinstripes
Today I booked my fifth wedding for 2015. While that may not seem like a lot to some, and I’m sure other photographers have many more booked than me at this point… it’s a big deal to me. I look back at my records from last year, and at this point in 2013… I had just two weddings booked for 2014. And now I have 21 booked for the year and have exceeded my goals. When I decided to go full-time into photography last June, I unsure. I was scared. And I didn’t 100% believe that I would be able to make it. But with the encouragement of multiple industry peers (who I now call friends), the support of my amazing friends and family, and hours upon hours upon hours of hard work along the way… I can happily say it was the best decision of my life. Almost a year later, I couldn’t be happier. I am one of those annoying people that LOVES their job, and I am literally living my dream.
There was a moment a few weeks ago when I was walking down Michigan Avenue going home from my shoot for The Tasting Panel Magazine when it all hit me. I just finished up shooting for a national magazine, photographing a delicious 3-course meal (and hello – I LOVE food), and I thought to myself… how is this my life? How did I even get here? Do I even deserve this? And in that moment I breathed in the fresh spring air, looked up at the gorgeous city buildings around me, and just smiled because I was reminded how incredibly blessed I am to have this life.
Johanna + Jeff… ohhhhh, how I adored these two on their wedding day. They were goofy in love, killer in front of the camera, and good sports about the cold (which I’m sure they booked their wedding in May being pretty sure it was going to be warm by now… what’s going on, Chicago?!?!). But, this wedding was a long time coming. We originally booked for last year, but they had to move the wedding date because Jeff’s job relocated him to Sacramento. So off they went and their wedding vows got postponed until last week.
Inescapable stress comes with relocating across the country. Frustrations of wedding planning are inevitable. Disappointment in Chicago’s May weather being less than warm is perfectly acceptable…. but to Johanna + Jeff, none of that mattered. They were utterly enamored with each other from the moment of the first look. The looks on their faces in the photos show it. I heard with my own ears the words they exchanged in the car about how phenomenal the other looks. I saw them passionately gaze into each others eyes during the portrait session and then playfully banter in between shots. I heard their vows, I saw them dance, and I followed them around the room as they graciously greeted and thanked their guests. One thing I know for sure, they meant every word and cherished every moment. Johanna + Jeff, it was a pleasure to be there for your wedding day. I’ll even admit, although I was mortified… I secretly enjoyed dancing with your dad in the middle of the dance circle at the reception. Next time, I’ll practice my salsa moves a little more 🙂
VENDOR CREDIT // Wedding Dress: David’s Bridal // Bridesmaid Dresses: House of Brides // Tuxedo Designer: Men’s Warehouse // Hair Stylist: Suzanne Ciba // Make-up Artist: Suzanne Ciba & Rachel Raimen // Paper Goods Designer: Dot Press, Mario Galindo // Ceremony & Reception Venue: Carnivale Restaurant // Portraits Location: Kinzie Street Bridge
Last week I stepped away from the wedding photography bubble that I love so much and did a few mouth-watering shoots for The Tasting Panel Magazine. While I specialize in Wedding Photography, photographing gourmet food, craft cocktails, and pretty-pretty details are a close second… and even overlap a bit into my wedding world. So when the magazine reached out and said they needed a photographer for a Wine Pairing Event, Cocktail Speed Tasting, and Chef/Food Feature… I was all in.
The events took place at the 676 Restaurant in the Omni Hotel on Michigan Ave., and at Coppervine Restaurant in Lincoln Park. The days were filled with creative cocktail creations, perfect pairings of wine and delicious dishes, and panels of attendees with only the most refined palettes. The article is going to run in the May issue of The Tasting Panel Magazine… but here are a few sneak peeks into the deliciousness that I got to experience.
VENDOR CREDIT // Magazine: The Tasting Panel Magazine // Wine Pairing Venue: 676 Restaurant // Cocktail Tasting Venue: Coppervine // Wines: Wente Vineyards // Cocktails: 2Nite Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka, Real Russion Vodka, Blue Chair Bay Rum, Dryfly Gin, Zignum Mescal, Glass Vodka, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum
Jackie + Mark have been part of the JTPhoto family since their beautiful fall Engagement Session back in October of 2012. Their May 2013 Wedding was every bit of gorgeous and one of the biggest parties of the year! So it only made sense that we follow up one year later to celebrate their 1-year anniversary. It was heart-warming to see one of my favorite couples again… and witness that they are every bit as in love (if not more) as they were 2-years ago when I first photographed them together! To top it off – they even brought me a super cool eternity scarf with vintage cameras on it… if you know me – you know scarves are right up my alley. But a surprise gift for no reason at all? There’s probably no better way to make me smile 🙂 It’s couples like this that make me love my job more and more every day.
And to make this Anniversary Session even more special, they brought along a new addition to the family – their 3-month old puppy, Chipper. The four of us had a little picnic at Wheaton’s Danada Farm… complete with champagne, flowers, and doughnuts from the delicious Glazed and Infused. It was a beautiful spring day and such a fantastic way to celebrate one blissfully happy year of marriage… and of course the addition of their new puppy – who was very well behaved and a pleasure to work with! Happy Anniversary to Jackie + Mark! I feel blessed and oh-so-thankful to have you guys (including Chipper) as part of the JTPhoto family 🙂