dramatic photos

I'm So Thankful!

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!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Perks of a Wedding Photographer - Pt 2 - Chicago Skyline

We continue my series of "the perks of a wedding photographer" with: The Chicago Skyline. Part one was all about the interior beauty of churches. Now I'll share a few photographs that focus on the external beauty of the Chicago skyline. Chicago really is a beautiful city - just look around and you'll be amazed by the architecture and personality of this city. These pictures were taken while either the bride was away putting her dress on, or as I waited for the elevator to take me up to her room, etc. I really enjoy looking at the amazing details of the city I get to be in, and I hope you enjoy looking at some of the photos.

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Perks of a Wedding Photographer - Pt 1 - Churches

Being a wedding photographer has a lot of perks. I love having complete access to my brides as they get ready for their wedding. This allows me to take some very warm/intimate pictures between the bride and her friends and family. There's also seeing the groom tear up as he sees his bride walk down the aisle. Those moments are truly special. But there are other things that I get to see/experience that maybe most people wouldn't think about. Here you'll see some of the visual perks I get to experience at every wedding: the details of the church. These aren't even the details you'd expect, like the flowers and decorations. The inside of most churches are works of art, and I have always enjoyed photographing them. Here are a few of my favorites taken at St. Aldabert's Church on 17th & Ashland in Chicago.

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Misuzu+ Alvin // Sneak Peak

I loved shooting Misuzu and Alvin's wedding earlier this year. They are such a wonderful couple - full of love for each other and for their family/friends. I'm looking forward to sharing more of their wedding photos. You can see photos from their engagement session in the meantime. Stay tuned. Here is one of my favorite photos of Misuzu and from the entire 2011 wedding season:

Joliet-Wedding-Photography

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Maureen + Matt // Sneak Peak

Maureen and Matt's wedding was a blast to be a part of. Here is just one photo from the wedding taken at Valley Lo Club in Glenview. There will be a full post coming soon with a ton more photos, along with new (and some older) weddings. I'm also going to be blogging more family shoots, as well as some other works. Stay tuned. Here are a few of my favorite photos from the wedding:

If you live in Joliet, Romeoville, or Crest Hill, then you can check out my wedding photography service page from a cool site I've been using called Thumbtack. You can also see more of my photos there.

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Misuzu + Alvin // Jackson Park's Osaka Japanese Garden

Misuzu and Alvin will be tying the know in a few short weeks and I had the privilege of hanging out it with them for their engagement session. It was Misuzu's idea of shooting their engagement photos at the Osaka Japanese Garden - I later found out that Alvin proposed to her in the garden. So it made a lot of sense to go back there and take a few photos of them before their wedding. Shooting in a new location is always a blast and allows for new ideas to flow. I felt like a kid in a candy store the moment I entered The Osaka Japanese Garden. The colors were beautiful and there was a peacefulness to that area that I was not expecting. I couldn't even tell that we were in the backyard of the Museum of Science and Industry. Misuzu and Alvin definitely compliment each other - she is the heart and he the reason. It's was very obvious to me that they really care and love each other and I cannot wait to see what they do once they are married.

I already told them that I'm looking forward to their wedding. See you guys soon! Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot:

[gallery columns="1" size="large"]

My many thanks to AnnMarie Gilmore for assisting and shooting with me. Her passion for photography is very evident and I look forward to having her assist me at Misuzu and Alvin's wedding. Stay tuned for those photos!

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Sam & Rigo // Chicago Wedding Photography // North Avenue Beach House

I love Sam and Rigo. That's all that needs to be said, but I'll continue for the sake of detail. I photographed their engagement session last year and had a blast hanging out with them. It seemed that the laughter and joy didn't stop the entire evening - a sign of a fun wedding ahead. Sam got ready at her place in University-Village / Little Italy, along with her bridesmaids. The day was rolling and Sam was cool and calm - she stayed this way the entire day. Good for you Sam. After preparations we took off to the beautiful Assumption Catholic Church. It was a great ceremony and it was even better seeing Rigo and Sam smiling the entire time. These guys are so into each other!

The bridal party portraits took place at the North Avenue Beach House. It was a perfect day to be outdoors shooting near the lake. I was hoping for a lot of sun, and that's what we got that day. I love the photos of Rigo with the red background - he was living it up. I sure hope they had a ton of fun that day - I know I did.

The reception took place at the Hyatt Regency Woodfield - Schaumburg. The lobby to this place is really cool, very retro/modern. The floral design was done by Liz Middendorf of Specialties by Liz - she did a great job as the reception area was beautiful.

Here are a few pics from the wedding - one I'll remember for a long time:

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

Thank you again Sam and Rigo. I'm so honored to have shared such an important/awesome day in your lives. My many thanks to my friend and second shooter Steven Ryne. It's always great working together with you!

Info on the venues:

Assumption Catholic Church 323 West Illinois Street Chicago, IL 60654

North Avenue Beach House 1600 N Lake Shore Dr Chicago, Illinois 60614 312.742.7529

Hyatt Regency Woodfield - Schaumburg 1800 East Golf Road Schaumburg, Illinois 60173 847.605.1234

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

By The Way: Use off-camera flash even in the brightest of days. I know it might sound a little counterintuitive, but it rocks!

Wheaton Wedding Photography // Danada House // Caitlin + Michael

Second shooting a wedding is a lot of fun, especially when I get to do so

    with a friend. These images are from a wedding I second shot with Todd James Photography a few months back. It was great photographing a wedding in Wheaton, especially in the downtown area - what a cool and quaint place it is!

    The reception was at the amazing Danada House in Wheaton. What an elegant location to be at and what a treat, as a photographer, to photograph such a beautiful bride and groom at this place. To see more of Caitlin & Michael's wedding you can check out Todd's photo's on his blog. Thanks again Todd!

    Here are a few pics from the wedding with permission of Todd James Photography:

    [gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

    Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

    By The Way: Being a second shooter is a ton of fun, but also a huge responsibility. Working with Todd was such a blast, but I know that I am there to serve him and his clients first. This was not my client but I still want to make sure that I rock it out for the main shooter.

Sam + Rigo // West Loop Engagement Photography

Sam & Rigo are flat out a cool and loving couple. They have to be one of the most kissy-kiss couples (I just made up this term) I have ever photographed, and I love that about them. They are totally into each other and it was easy to see that right from the start. I'm so pumped to be shooting their wedding in a few short weeks! We started at Milton Lee Olive Park, which is near Navy Pier. I really enjoy shooting at that park, as did Sam and Rigo. Olive Park has one of the best views of the city, bar none. Check it out when you get a chance. The sun was setting fast so we started shooting right away. We had planned on hitting up Navy Pier as well, but changed plans at the last minute and then headed out to the West Loop.

I was excited about shooting in the West Loop, as it's the complete opposite of shooting in a park. The textures and feel of the area is awesome. But the sun was gone by the time we arrived and we were hungry, so we decided to shoot for just a few minutes - I had to follow that photographer instinct. The last 3 images are what we were able to get in the West Loop, so I am so glad that Sam & Rigo were cool about staying out there a little longer.

So next is the wedding and it's going to be a blast. See you guys soon! Here are a few of my favorite images from the shoot:

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

My many thanks to Steven Ryne for assisting and shooting with me. It was great having him along as I whistled Mary Poppins tunes all during the shoot, I'm so glad he didn't judge me. It will be great having him shoot Sam & Rigo's wedding with me.

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

Tabitha + Joseph // A Family Celebration - Pt. 2

A Wedding All Their Own

Here is part 2 of Tabitha + Joe's wedding just as promised. I hope that the photos communicate the fun spirit of this wedding, a wedding that was totally their own.

I really loved the non-traditional setting of this wedding - from the outdoor ceremony to the portraits shot on a hill in a nearby park. The feeling of family and friends was all over this wedding, and I loved it. You see my wife was the matron of honor, my daughter was the flower girl, and my brother-in-law officiated the wedding. So familiar faces were all over the place. It was really cool seeing Tabitha and Joe's families come together to celebrate their wedding day.

Shooting this wedding was special for me because I have known Tabitha since we were teenagers. I couldn't help but feel reminiscent of our teenage years! It was amazing seeing her at the alter and then think about where our lives have headed since we were 14.

So enough of my emotional babble and on to the photos. Here are just a few of my favorites from Tabitha + Joe's wedding day:

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

So my many thanks to Tabitha and Joe for having me be a part of their wedding. It really is a pleasure and honor to photograph someone's wedding, it's one of the coolest jobs I can think of. My many thanks also go to the fabulous, and super talented, Suzy Rohan for assisting and shooting with me. I always have a blast working with her. You rock Suzy!

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

By The Way: During the formal portraits we were invaded by a small army of gnats. We had completed about 80% of the formals. My temptation was to move to a new location, and spend more of my clients time, but I knew that having all of the portraits in the same location would look best. Stick to your vision even if there are nasty little gnats annoying the entire family of the bride and groom :)

Tabitha + Joseph // A Family Celebration - Pt. 1

We Go Way Back

Tabitha and my wife, Christina, are best friends and have known each other forever. I met Tabitha when I was 16 years old, so we go way back as well. In fact, Tabitha was there the night that I asked Christina to be my girlfriend, and was also there on our first date. She means a ton to us, so it was an amazing experience being her wedding photographer. What a treat!

A Few Quick Pics

I am so excited about how well Tabitha + Joe's wedding went. It was supposed to rain the entire day, but we were able to somehow dodge the rain. In fact, the sun came out the moment she started walking down the aisle - NO JOKE! It was awesome.

Here are a few pics from her wedding that I am pumped to share. More to come for sure!

[gallery columns="1" size="large" orderby="title"]

Portfolio Contact Otto Facebook Twitter

By The Way: Let's keep a positive outlook when it comes to weather. The most important part of a wedding is that the couple wed - plain and simple. So we must keep that in mind when the rain is pouring or the humidity is at suffocating levels :)