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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:

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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

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

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day is tomorrow, and in a flash it will all be over. The older I get the more I see Christmas as a time to spend with my family and friends. It's really fun and cool seeing my daughter open up gifts and dress up in her "fancy dress" as she calls it. It's also fun to see her in a Santa Hat... I couldn't resist the urge to take a bunch of photos of her in that hat. But this time of year can't just be about shopping and buying stuff for the people in my life. I hope to raise my daughter in such a way that she knows that this time of year is about giving to others and about spending time with the people that she loves.

I can't believe that 2010 is just about done! Have a great Christmas everyone!

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Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way: Christmas is also a time to make cool photos like this outdoors. Don't be afraid to step outside in the cold and make some photos.

    Logan Square Children's Portraits

    My approach towards children's portraits has changed this year. I'm still tempted to take really cute photos of babies and kids wearing funny/furry hats, and the like - I have done that in the past and really dig it. But kids are small adults in the making so I want to light them and photograph them in such a way. The idea has always been to clutter the scene with either a chair, a bunny rabbit, etc, in order to get the kids to laugh or smile and look cute. But with this photo shoot I wanted a totally minimalistic look, and so I photographed them on a white seamless background. I wanted the kids to be the center of attention and to stand out. I didn't want any visual distractions - just their expressions, either sad or happy, or whatever in-between expression they could give me. Plus, I really dig the timeless look that the white background gives.

    Here are a few of my favorite photos from this shoot. A few have been composited for the blog:

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    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 3 Alien Bee 400's
  • Medium Softbox and 60" Umbrella
  • White Seamless background, 4 pieces of 4"x8" foam board and white tileboard
  • Photo Mechanic for culling
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way: A lot of patience is needed when photographing kids. And patience is needed when shooting on a white seamless background. There is a lot to juggle on this type of shoot: kids, tough background, lighting, and interaction with the kids and the parents. Be ready for an exhausting time, but a fun time nonetheless.

    Beverly Family Portraits // The Covington Family

    Family portraits are really cool. Why you might ask? Well, I enjoy meeting new people and I also enjoy spending time with families. Seeing them interact with one another is a fun and there is always something to learn from the people I photograph. My family never got together for portraits, so it means a lot when families contact me and want to take portraits. My hope is that they will remember that photo shoot and that the photos I take will help them remember who they are as a family. So fast-forward to a few weeks back and to the Covington family portraits. They found me via a Google search and contacted me right away - gotta' love Google! We were able to schedule the shoot fairly quickly and ended up meeting at Kennedy Park on the cities south side. It was a really beautiful day, a bit on the hot side, but no one seemed to mind the heat and morning sun. It was fun for me to spend an hour or so with them. I just think that it's the coolest for a family to get together and make the portraits happen. So my many thanks to the Covington family!

    Here are a handful of my favorite photos:

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    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Tokina 12-24mm f/4.0
  • Alien Bee 400
  • Vagabond Battery (portable power)
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 60" Umbrella
  • Photo Mechanic - For culling
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way - Pretty much any location will work for a family portrait session. This session was in the morning and the sun was starting to get really bright and hot. There was also a good amount of construction going on all around the park, so finding the perfect location was a bit of a challenge. Trust your photographers intuition and shoot away!

    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:

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      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.

    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:

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    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!

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    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 :)

    Playing in Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds // Grace Turns 4

    Silver Balloons Make Me Happy

    A good time for me involves a few things: cool balloons, a beautiful afternoon, good food, and taking portraits of a 4 year old full of energy. Thus, this shoot was a good time indeed.

    The portraits took place in Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology - I love the IIT campus! It's a great place to take portraits - it's peaceful and full of locations and amazing backgrounds. The coolest part of Crown Hall was Andy Worhol's "Silver Clouds" exhibit, as well as the Lego City exhibit. This made for an amazing and interesting photo shoot. Running through and around the silver balloons was a blast, and almost surreal. I could feel my imagination running at warp speed.

    The portrait session ended at Pompei on Taylor street. I hadn't intended on shooting there, but the location and lighting was perfect for some candid and posed portraits of Grace. Here are a few of my favorite pictures of the day:

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    Check out more of Crown Hall and the IIT campus.

    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Tamron 12-24mm f/4.0
  • Nikon SB-800
  • Nikon CLS for OCF
  • 30" Umbrella
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way: Be a kid in order to take some fun photos of kids. I had a blast running though the balloons, and I am sure that Grace noticed my willingness to be a kid.

    Henry Turns 3 // Hanging Out in Oak Park

    Just Hanging Around

    Henry's 3 year photo shoot was a cool and chilled out session - just check out his Superman shirt and Keens! We, my family and his, met up at the Caribou Coffee on Lake St. and Oak Park Ave. We ordered some drinks and I started taking photographs, all while chatting and hanging out. I guess this could have been considered my first ever lifestyle session.

    After the coffee stop (no, the kids didn't drink coffee) we walked around the quaint Oak Park downtown area, where we found a few cool places to shoot. We then walked over to Scoville Park and finished the shoot there. The last three photos are from the park.

    It was pretty much the perfect afternoon: hung out with friends, beautiful weather, ate good pizza, and took some cool photos. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our portrait session:

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    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon SB-800
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 30" Reflector
  • Lastolite EzyBox Softbox
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
  • The Park District of Forest Park

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    By The Way: Shoot wherever the light looks best. There was beautiful reflective light inside the Caribou Coffee shop. I hadn't planned on shooting inside, but the light and location made for a great starting point to our session. Rock on!

    My Pride & Joy Turns 3 // And Her Myriad Expressions

    Time Really Does Fly By

    My daughter just turned 3 and I still cannot make sense of how fast that happened. I still remember my wife being pregnant with our daughter, and how special that time was. I remember how we would try to image our daughters face, or how her laugh would sound.

    But now she's here, loud and clear! I love her laughter and I gaze at her beauty everyday. I cannot imagine my life without her, nor can I imagine what I used to do without her in my life. What did I do with all of that free time :)

    Here are a few of my favorite photos from our shoot. We shot these in the beautiful Sunken Gardens on Homan and Polk St.

    Please indulge a proud dad and check out a few of these with me:

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    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Alien Bee 400
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 30" Reflector
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way: Kids never seem to stop moving. So I generally move with them. But stick to your guns and get the shot that you envisioned. I plopped my Alien Bee and battery pack and shot away until I got what I wanted.

    Almost Too Cute // Chicago Fun Kids Portraits

    The β€œHat” Photoshoot

    Hattie is seriously a little cutie. This shoot was a lot different from her 3 month shoot, but a ton of fun nonetheless. She was just so easy to work with, and those hats were amazing!

    The idea for this shoot was to do something a little different and to create some colorful images. The lighting set-up was simple: one light with a beauty dish modifier and colorful background. Here are a few of my favorites:

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    Set-Up

  • Nikon D700 - shooting in RAW
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8
  • Alien Bee 400
  • Pocket Wizards (2)
  • 22" Beauty Dish
  • Adobe Lightroom 3 for editing
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    By The Way: Sometimes a very simple light set-up is all that is needed to create some fun photographs. Total time for this set-up was about 4 minutes, and total shooting time was abut 12 minutes or so. Rock on!

    Chicago Wedding Vendors Unite // Thanks Tweet-Up!

    I had the honor of being the official photographer at the Wedding Industry Cocktail Hour Tweet-Up hosted by the amazing Five Grain Events and bon moment! - Joan and Maureen, you gals are amazing!

    Amazing Chicago Wedding Vendors

    The event was held at Elate Restaurant in the Hotel Felix Chicago. It was the perfect setting for the event. The location and style of the restaurant was really inspiring. Thanks Elate!

    Other sponsored wedding vendors were the talented Keiko of Keiko Studio. Her floral arrangements were amazing and very unique. I had never seen floral arrangements with pieces of lime before. Awesome stuff indeed.

    Candice of cacao sweets & treats provided the delicious treats that we all enjoyed. I loved seeing her work, and tasting it too!

    My many thanks to Joan and Maureen for making this event happen. I had a great time meeting with so many Chicago wedding vendors. I was also able to catch up with a few old friends. I look forward to the next meeting. Rock on!

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    Elate At The Hotel Felix Chicago 111 West Huron Street Chicago, IL 60654-8706 (312) 202-9900

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    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!

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    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 :)