It was a balmy Christmas Eve this year in Joliet, which is a little odd. We're used to snow on the ground and frigid temperatures about this time of year. I'm not a huge fan of snow, but I'll admit that having the fluffy white stuff on the ground around Christmas time is pretty cool. I hope that you and your family have a great and memory filled Christmas this year. Here's my families Christmas Card for 2014.
Meghan and Josh are troopers. You see this was our 3rd attempt at this engagement shoot, we kept getting rained out! But we finally got a break in the weather and were finally able to get together. Honestly, I'm glad that we had to wait because it allowed nature to bloom and look all pretty. If we would've done the engagement shoot a few weeks back most of the trees would have looked a bit on the spooky side. So we were forced to wait and it paid off.
Dominican University has a really beautiful campus. It's just full of little nooks and crannies that I love as a photographer. There's the perfectly mowed lawn, the vines on the east side of the building, the arches, the steps, and the cool silver-art-thing (see below). That entire area of River Forest is amazing & made to be photographed. Meghan told me that it was her mothers idea to take the pictures at Dominican because that's where she was married - how freakin' cool is that?!
Here are a few of my favorite photos from Meghan & Joshes engagement session. Thanks guys and I can't wait to see you again in August!
I always get excited around Mother's Day because it means one thing in my mind - family portraits! I get to set-up my light modifiers and strobes and take get all photo-geeked out. I hope that my family has as much fun as I do. This was the 2nd year I've had the opportunity to work with the Vineyard Church of DuPage and take family portraits for members of their church. We had a perfect day this year and were allowed to shoot outdoors. Below are just a few from that day. My many thanks to Stephanie and the rest of the families for having me. Thanks!
It's finally starting to feel like summer around here & I couldn't be happier. That means I finally get to play outside with my daughters, run & exercise outside & just be outside enjoying the weather. It also means that I get to take family portraits outside of a studio setting! I love being & working outside, especially when photographing little kids. Being outside allows the kiddos to play and have fun in-between taking pictures.
That's how I was able to get the fun family pictures of the beautiful Delaney family. We met a park near their house in Shorewood & hung out for about 45 minutes in the summer-like weather. The girls played, I chatted with mom & dad then we took a few more photos & called it a day - short & sweet. My many thanks to the Delaney family for spending some time with me. I hope you guys had fun!
Ana and RJ are really down to earth and are both a ton of fun to be around. The engagement session was enough to prep me for their wedding at the the Concorde-Centre in Woodstock - the prep, ceremony and reception all took place there. It's always a bit more relaxing to not travel to a handful of locations throughout the day. So everyone was pretty relaxed and ready for the day by the time I arrived. Ana had on a beautiful vintage dress that day and RJ a traditional shirt that all worked together really well. The ceremony official is a close friend of RJ's, so needless to say it was great. Afterwards we walked around the beautiful grounds of the Concorde-Centre and found it to be an amazing place for the bridal party portraits. It seemed like everywhere we went it was a perfect location for portraits.
Thank you again Ana and RJ for allowing me to be a part of your families history. I hope you guys loved the albums!
Here are a few of my favorite images from Ana and RJ's Woodstock wedding. I took a bit of a different approach and designed most of the blog photos like a wedding album - I hope you like them:
I was really looking forward to the wedding after Lucy and Ted's engagement session earlier in the year. I knew that it would be detailed, heartfelt, and fun - and boy was I right! I could go on and on about Lucy's energy and excitement (she rocked!) and about how relaxed Ted was (he looked great in his tux). But I do believe that photographs are worth 1,000 words, so I'll let them tell the story (mostly).
The wedding and preparation photos were taken at the beautiful Union Church of Hinsdale. The rain was on and off that day, but we lucked out and the rain was held back just enough to visit the Katherine Legge Memorial Park and Lodge for a brief bridal portrait session. We were only able to take a handful of portraits at the Katherine Legge Memorial Park since the rain peaked for about 10 minutes. But Lucy and Ted were so cool that they didn't care that it was raining! We got some great shots there and moved on to the beautiful La Grange Country Club where we met up with the rest of the bridal party.
I'll just say that the bridal party was one of THE most amazing parties I have ever met. They were a blast from beginning to end, making my job so much fun. They were, how should I say it... crazy! They were being themselves and allowed the bride and groom to be themselves as well. Just look at the photos on the golf course - so much energy and fun. Thanks to Lucy,Ted and their families - I appreciate your willingness to be silly and to go along with my ideas. I hope you had as much fun as I did (I'm sure you did), and I hope that the west coast is treating you both well.
My wife and I met Ana through a friend of ours. I was pretty pumped to hear that she had gotten engaged and was hopeful that she would have me photograph her wedding. So I was giddy when I received her email requesting my photography information, and we shortly set-up a meeting over at her place. It was cool seeing Ana again and meeting RJ for the first time. He's a good mix of serious and funny (as you'll see in the photos below) and complimented Ana very well. We chatted about their wedding plans and I had a good feeling about the flow of their wedding plans. The next step was to schedule the engagement session. We stayed near their place in University Village and started the shoot at Holy Family Church and St. Ignatius College Prep. The entrance to St. Ignatius is a location I had been wanting to do an engagement session at and was really pumped to see what we shot there. We then stopped by the Showplace Icon Theater, which is their favorite theater in the city. The photos with the green and purple looking light sabers were taken near the theater. We were stopped by security at least twice before we moved along and ended the shoot over at Ping Tom Memorial park in China Town.
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Ana and RJ's engagement photo session:
Well that's it for now guys! Their wedding photos will be up on the blog soon enough! More to come.
Can I just say that Nathan rocked! There, done. End of post. Okay, just kidding. This little guy came in ready to be photographed. He smiled and played the entire time he was over. I believe he screeched a couple of times as well. Having Jocelyn (my 2 year old daughter) helped as well as she shared her toys and played with him the entire time.
Toddler photo shoots can go in so many directions. The little one could be cranky due to no nap or hunger. They could come in being really clingy to mom, etc. But this was one of those shoots were it was just a blast to shoot. All of the pieces came together and out came some amazing portraits of this little handsome dude. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the session:
Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 (studio shots)
Nikon 50mm f/1.4 (natural light shots)
Alien Bee strobe with medium softbox
Pocket Wizards (2)
36" silver reflector for natural light portraits
Adobe Lightroom 2 for editing
My many thanks to Angie for bringing Nathan over and for being such an AMAZING help! Angie, you made sure that your little guy smiled no matter what. Your energy was awesome. Thanks!
By The Way: I have been mixing up my portrait shoots lately. The 1st half is all studio strobe lighting. The 2nd half is all natural light. This way I get to give my clients a more varied session.
Connections are made in the funniest of ways. I met Kim and Ed through Jennifer, whom I had met years ago at a Collages.net gathering for photographer. Fast forward a handful of years and I get an email from Jennifer saying that her step-mother was getting married, get this, at the VERY SAME hotel that she and I had met. Kind of odd, I know, but also very cool. Seeing Kim's excitement for her wedding was amazing. She's a little older than my typical bride, but her sprit was just as pumped to be getting married. Seeing Ed I knew why - he's kind of a stud. We met up at a Starbucks in Orland Park and talked about their wedding day plans and had a great time. There are some couples that I just love right away and Kim and Ed were one of them. Just look at the photos of them together and you can see that they really admire and care for each other. It's easy taking photos of such a couple - they kind of make it easy. Thank you Jennifer for introducing me to this amazing couple!
I met Yezenia through my Facebook page. We met at a Starbucks near Hinsdale and hit it off. I was finally able to meet Vic a few moths after that at yet another Starbucks, this one near Lamont - thanks Starbucks! I knew this would be a chilled out wedding because both Yezenia and Vic are both down-to-earth and easy to be around. The ceremony took place at the beautiful St Agnes of Bohemia church on Chicago's south side. The Catholic ceremony included some Hispanic traditional moments like the tying of the Rosary around the couple by a beloved family member. Yezenia and I had previously decided to visit the IIT campus for the bridal portraits. We were on a tight deadline, so things had to move quickly. The extreme heat also made things move quickly! I had done a little IIT campus reconnaissance in the morning, so a couple of places had been designated to shoot the bridal portraits.
Kelli and Shaun are crazy in love - the post-ceremony photo below of them walking up the aisle says it all. I love it when my bride and groom are crazy in love with each other. It fires me up to be their wedding photographer and gives me all sorts of energy the day of their wedding. Their hands are pumped-up and their smile expresses pure jubilation - I love that about them. Shaun was so in the moment that he just could't stop from dancing, high-fiving, moving and smiling. He basically hammed it up all day long and was brilliant! Kelli looked so beautiful and was excited herself, but next to Shaun seemed really chilled and relaxed. Having a jubilant couple and a fantastic bridal party takes me to my happy place :)
Star Wars and an epic battle scene. I must admit that these two ideas/visuals never come to mind when I think about photographing a wedding. But lo and behold, Kelly and Corey's wedding provided both, and a ton of laughter and warmth to boot. Just look below to see what I'm talking about. I can easily say that this was one of the most enjoyable weddings I photographed this year. Kelly was such a beautiful and cool bride that being around her was great. I could't take a bad photo of her. There was so much energy and buzz that from the moment I arrived I knew it was going to be a fun wedding. Kelly was surrounded by her fun loving/energetic/emotional sisters and her cousin, and they were something else all on their own.
After the ceremony we drove to a family friends house where we were able to settle for a second (literally) and set-up for the epic battle scene. Yes, the men had axes while the women had flowers - not a very fair fight. I was cracking up amidst the crazy heat and intense sun right in my lens - good times indeed. I seriously couldn't believe that they guys had axes! We get to the reception and here is Darth Vader walking towards Kelly and Corey... umm, that was a little weird. Kelly and Corey weren't expecting this Sith Lord as a guest, so I hadn't heard of this until I saw him in fornt of us. We were all a bit surprised and weirded out. Darth Vader was very welcoming and disappeared as quickly as he arrived. Their wedding cake had a Han Solo and Princess Leia topper, which tied the Star Wars theme together nicely.
I photographed Jenn and Terry's engagement earlier this year and had a blast. I was left with a real excitement for their wedding. I kept thinking after the engagement session "these two will make a great couple". It's amazing how a connection can grow so quickly in such a small amount of time - the engagement session was just a few hours and I felt like I really knew these guys. They are just a great couple to spend time with: they laugh a ton and really keep the conversation fresh and honest. The wedding ceremony took place at the beautiful Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, IL. It's a massive structure with really great church architecture. I enjoy photographing the pre-ceremony moments because of all of the raw nerves and excitement coursing through everyone. But I know in just a few short hours everyone will be dancing and having a great time at the reception, so I keep that perspective and love getting to know everyone.
After the ceremony we drove around Riverside and hung out at Guthrie Park and found a few trails to take the bridal party portraits. Just look at a few of the photos below and you'll see that this was an amazing group to be around. They were cracking each other up and I was there to capture a bunch of those crazy moments. A few photos I cannot share on this wedding blog since I try to keep it at least PG. It was a great afternoon to be out and to be with this cool group of people.
I've enjoyed photographing weddings at the beautiful and rustic Byron Colby Barn in Graylake. So I was really excited when Becca and Sam contacted me to photograph their wedding at the Byron Colby Barn. I love how we're all super-connected because of the internet (I know that sounds a little geeky). But without that on-line connection we all share I would never have met Becca and Sam. You see Becca and Sam live in China and found my blog by searching, as I imagine most brides do. She liked my work (thank you very much) and we set up a meeting via Skype. I would loved to have traveled to China for out meeting, but that wasn't going to happen (unfortunately).
The ceremony took place at the Byron Colby Barn in Grayslake. I had photographed a wedding there before, so I felt that very comfortable being there. The range of emotions was beautiful, from laughter to tears, to joy. I know many people expect those type of emotions at weddings, but it's always so intense when you're experiencing them right as they happen. It's really quite amazing.
Thank you again Becca and Sam! It was an honor to serve you on your beautiful wedding. I hope China is treating you guys well - Zài jiàn!
What an amazing 2012 I've had, mostly due to my AMAZING clients! It's been the busiest year for me ever and also one of the most fulfilling. I've had the honor to photograph so many weddings this year, as well as photograph so many families! Thank you to all of my couples and families, you've all been so amazing and fun to work with that I couldn't imagine my life without the experiences that we've created! I'm looking forward to my 2013 weddings and families. Stay tuned to my blog and my Facebook page for more photos and for some fun contests as well - make sure to Like my page to stay up on the latest info. You can also check out some of my photos on Instagram. I am also thankful for the birth of my daughter - Emiliana Christine. We call her Mils and she has been such a joy. Here she is smiling at her sister who was standing behind me as I took this photograph. Emiliana, I love you!
Lucy and Ted are a really cool couple. I love Lucy's energy and her focus - she know what she wants and goes after it. Ted is a bit more chilled and laid back, which strikes a perfect balance to Lucy's energy. I love seeing how my wedding couples balance each other out! Balance is a great thing in a marriage, sometimes it's more evident than others. I could tell that Lucy and Ted are perfect for each other. I met up with them at a Starbucks in Hinsdale, the one next to the Whole Foods Market. Lucy's mom came along with them, which I thought was great (I love it when the parents are involved in some of the wedding plans). We were able to talk about their weddings plans and we also came up with a location for the engagement session. Lucy wanted to shoot at the Graue Mill and Museum which was only a few minutes from our meeting place, but on the Oak Brook side.
We met at the Graue Mill a few days later and were greeted by a perfect day and an art faire. The actual Graue Mill is surrounded by beautiful little nooks to shoot in or around in. We were able to spend about an hour together since Ted had a flight to catch back to the west coast. I had a great time with them, which got me pumped-up for their wedding. I was able to see how good they are together and was able to capture some really fun photos. My goal was to capture Ted smiling, and I did! My many thans to Effie and Gary (Lucy's parents) for coming out and spending a little time with us.
I'm looking forward to sharing some of their wedding photos, so come back and check those out!
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Lucy and Ted's engagement photo session:
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Well that's it for now guys! More to come.
Cheryl and Craig - what a calming and loving couple. I met with them at a Starbucks in Orland Park a little before the engagement photos were taken. We talked about how they met, about their wedding plans, Cheryl showed me photos on her iPad, and Craig was as cool as can be. I fell in love with these guys immediately (total "couple crush") and was instantly hoping they would hire me to photograph their wedding. I remember coming home and telling my wife about how I hoped they would hire me - and they did! I would love to go on about how much fun we had at the engagement session. I could go on about how loving, affectionate, and respectful Cheryl and Craig are towards each other. But I think it's best to look at the photos and see the warmth for yourself. It's also fun to imagine Cheryl laughing at my corny jokes. Be careful though, her laughter and smile are infectious.
I have to thank my friend David Fowlie for referring Craig to me and my wedding photography services. Without his referral I would have missed out on one of the best experiences of my photography career. Thanks David!
I'm looking forward to sharing some of their wedding photos, so come back and check those out!
Here are a few of my favorite images from the Cheryl and Craig's engagement photo session:
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Thanks for checking out my blog! More to come.
I love the Osaka Japanese Garden. I was introduced to it by Misuzu and Alvin, an amazing couple of mine, when we did their engagement session last year. It's a small and intimate garden, and it only takes a few minutes to walk through it. But the magic is not speeding through it, but taking the time to enjoy its beauty and design. LaRose and her siblings were only in town for the Memorial Day weekend and wanted to have their family portraits taken. I suggested the Osaka Garden and was encouraged/surprised to hear that LaRose had heard of it - it was pretty easy to schedule the rest of the shoot after that.
I met the family that Monday and quickly connected with them. They were fun and willing to walk around with me as we went from location to location. I had a great time and it looks like they did too, despite the muggy 90 degree weather. You have to love the shade.
Here are a handful of my favorite photos from our Hyde Park family photo shoot:
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By The Way - It's always a good idea to arrive early to the shoot. I was able to scout the area and find a few places to shoot that I hadn't seen before. The Osaka Japanese Garden is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.
Here's the annual Easter Family Portrait with all of the grand kids. My daughter and her cousins are growing up so fast and I wanted to capture that older/cooler vibe they're putting out. The exciting part of this portrait is knowing that next year my wife and I will have our newest daughter in the photo. I'm looking forward to that portrait session!
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Misuzu and Alvin quickly became one of my favorite couples. We had a blast at their engagement session, which was a great indicator to how their wedding day was going to be. The ceremony took place at the amazing Alice Millar Chapel in Evanston. I had shot at this church before, but had forgotten just how colorful and awesome it truly is. You can see the amazing architecture and colors in the photos below. It was great seeing the range of emotions shared while they shared their vows. I could tell how much Misuzu and Alvin care for each other.
The bridal party portraits were taken near the Northwestern Sailing Center and the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall. There was a great point in the park where we could see the entire city of Chicago - so we decided to take the portraits around there. It was really sunny that day, so I had to find some shade for the remainder of the photos. I was having a really fun time with the entire bridal party at this point and was looking forward to the reception.
The reception was at Via Veneto in Chicago. My brother had his reception at the same location a few years back, so it was pretty cool being there again. The festivities kicked off shortly after we arrived from taking photos at nearby Hollywood park near Peterson and Lincoln Ave. This is when Robert, a friend of Misuzu's, gave one of THE best toasts I've ever heard. He was hilarious and his delivery was unmatched. He had the entire place laughing! I was glad I didn't have to follow him. The rest of the evening was fun and energetic and all I remember was plenty of dancing and laughter.
Here are a few of my favorite wedding photos from Misuzu & Alvin's ceremony and reception:
My many thanks to AnnMarie Gilmore for assisting and shooting with me again. I look forward to working with her again.