Emily is a high school senior from a small town in Michigan. Emily, her mom, and grandmother all came down to Chicago for a fun weekend and to snap some senior portraits – and we had so much fun! She loves the city, and hopes to make her mark on it next year in college. Her vibrant, outgoing personality will definitely do just that – you will thrive in Chicago! Emily, I’m so excited for you! This is such a special time in your life – so many doors are about to open for you, and I know you’ll take advantage of every single one! Best of luck to you, and ps. you look gorgeous in all of your pics (and in real life!).
I had a great time getting to know Molly during her senior portrait session in Oakbrook last week. It was the perfect day – snow was on the ground but it wasn’t too chilly, the sun was shining at the perfect level, and Molly was all smiles and fun as we snapped a few photos of her before she leaves for Wisconsin to play volleyball. This girl is gorgeous, an amazing outside hitter, and has nothing but bright things in her future. Best of luck to you, Molly!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing this gorgeous high school senior, Clare. We’d never met before, but getting to know each other during the session was so much fun. We laughed, talked about her plans for the future, and all around had a great time. The weather was absolutely perfect, and let me tell you, this girl is stunning. From her infectious laugh, beautiful smile, and mesmerizing eyes – she made my job easy. Clare, good luck with your last year of high school – I know you’re going to have so much fun and cherish all the memories with your friends and family!
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.
I met Allie and her mom, Janice at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg bright and early on a Saturday morning. It was the epitome of a brisk, October fall day… filled with gorgeous sunlight, flurries of perfectly timed wind gusts, and beautiful autumn colors. Allie and her mom chose the perfect spot to capture Allie’s senior portraits before she went away to college. As Allie and I chatted along the yellow tree lined pathways, bridges across little streams, and even through some tall prairie grass, I shot that gorgeous smile of hers while the sun perfectly lit her glowing face. Even though it was nearly 33 degrees, Allie braved the weather even wearing a dress for a few photos.
As Allie changed into her next outfit, I showed her mom a few photos that we had captured… when she had to stop looking because she was going to cry… I knew I was doing my job 🙂
Thank you so much to Allie and Janice for letting me capture these photos. Allie, you are an amazing girl… so sweet, so caring, so genuine… I know you’re going to do amazing in college while you study Occupational Therapy. And special thanks to Janice for keeping the changing room (car) warm for Allie! It was great meeting you both and I hope you love the photos as much as I do!!