Lincoln Park Zoo Engagement Photos - Alison & Steve!

I've known Alison and her family since high school, so this was a very fun and rewarding engagement session for me. She moved all the way to Australia for work about 4 years ago and we haven't been able to connect as much as I'd like, though keeping up via Facebook helps a ton. She met Steve in Australia and had only seen photos of them together and I could tell she was super excited. Seeing them together last week was great, and listening to Steve speak with that Aussie accent was super cool. You see, I love British and Australian accents and always practice them while alone in my car.

Here are a handful of our engagement session at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, as well as a few from North Ave Beach. It was a super hot July morning, but it's hard to tell since Alison and Steve were totally into the shoot. I can't thank them enough and I'm looking forward to their wedding next year in April. Thanks guys and what an honor for me to photograph your engagement.

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:

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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!

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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:

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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.

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Araceli + Mike // Navy Pier Engagement Photography

So here is the rest of the post that I blogged last week as promised :) First off, Araceli + Mike were so much fun to work with. Their willingness to try things and forgo the original shooting plan was amazing. Secondly, I loved that they came prepared to be photographed, both in spirit and wardrobe (I mean, C'mon, just look at her dress!). These 2 things made for an amazing experience. That and Navy Pier looks amazing after a day of rain.

The original plan was to meet up at Milton Lee Olive Park, a.k.a. Olive Park, and shoot the engagement photos at the beach. Well, that didn't work out as planned due to rain making the beach look less appealing than usual. So we walked around Olive Park (which I LOVE) and made use of the many nooks and crannies available to shoot in and around. That park is seriously like a candy store for photographers. I had my friend and fellow photographer Jenn assist and second shoot with me. I am so glad that she was there. She is awesome and helped out a ton.

We then headed out to Navy Pier and hung out inside to wait out the rain - yes, it started raining again. A few places were closed off around Navy Pier, which was a bummer. But we were still able to shoot at the indoor garden, the one with the cool water arches. After the rains came and left the dramatic clouds rolled in and the sun came out for a while. Very cool and I could not have asked for a better day to shoot. We went outdoors and finished the shoot to a beautiful sunset.

Here are a few of my favorite images:

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Thank you again Araceli + Mike! This was an amazing shoot and I am glad that I could serve you both. I hope you guys have an amazing wedding in Mexico. I look forward to hearing about it.

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By The Way: Again, stick to your guns and do the shoot. The rain kept coming and going all day and I was tempted to cancel the shoot. After talking with Araceli we decided to shoot!

When It Rains It Gets Colorful

This past Sunday was pretty wild in terms of the weather. The morning was amazingly beautiful - blue skies and all. By the afternoon the clouds started rolling in. By the early afternoon it was POURING! But then it stopped, but then it started again, and so on and so forth. It was a bit frustrating, but "the shoot must go on" I kept telling myself. And the shoot did go on at Navy Pier and it was an amazing shoot with dramatic clouds and a pretty darn cool couple. Here is a quick sneak peak of sorts. More to come. Navy-Pier-Engagement-Pictures

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By The Way: Stick to your guns and do the shoot - that is of course if your client is also willing.

The WINDY City // Jovi & Nedjo's Engagement Session

I love photographing downtown, especially in the early evening. That's when we get that "magic hour" light - the orange/warm light from the setting sun. It's also pretty sweet when we get 70+ degree weather in early April. That is something that rarely happens in Chicago, but we gladly take it when it does. I was shooting the engagement session of Jovi & Nedjo with Ray Pryor of Emotia. Jovi & Nedjo are a loving & fun couple, and so easy to photograph too. There were plenty of smiles and laughter going around, even as the crazy wind kept blowing Jovi's hair all around. I know we live in the "Windy City," but it was too literal that day. It seemed that Ray and I kept making sure that Jovi's hair wasn't in her eyes for a good portion of the shoot. She was so cool and calm about the wind. I feel like we made the most of a beautiful evening at the Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from that portrait session:

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My many thanks to Ray Pryor for having me be a part of this engagement shoot. I am looking forward to Jovi & Nedjo's wedding! Thanks guys.

John G. Shedd Aquarium 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605 312-939-2438

Adler Planetarium 1300 South Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60605-2403 (312) 322-7827

Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my wedding portfolio | my portrait portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

By The Way: This shoot was a blast. Shooting with my friends is something that I am looking forward to this 2010 wedding season. I am blessed to have such talented friends.

Impromptu Portrait Session - Vegas Style // Christine & Iaan

I was so excited to be going to WPPI 2010. I knew that I would be learning a lot about my wedding photography business. I knew that I would meet some amazing people. I knew that I would see some amazing products at the trade show. I also knew that I would go to a few parties. But the one thing that I was really looking forward to was taking pictures! I pretty much had all of my gear - all of it. So imagine my elation when I saw Feuza Dos Reis photographing Christine and Iaan - a fabulous couple I had just met earlier in the day. You see I was on the 9th floor at The Signature (at MGM Grand) talking to my wife. When I looked down and saw the portrait session in progress. I told my wife I had to leave and RAN downstairs to where the shoot was taking place. I asked Feuza if I can shoot and she said yes. Sweet. I was so excited that I neglected to bring my lens bag. I only had my 80-200mm f/2.8 lens. Good thing that Feuza also shoots Nikon, so I was able to borrow one of her lenses.

Christine Meintjes and Iaan Van Niekerk were an absolute blast to talk to and photograph. They are from Cape Town, South Africa, so I made sure to shut my trap and ask questions that would make them talk. I loved their accents, but ended up loving their warmness even more. I wish that we could have spent more time together.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from that portrait session:

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My many thanks to Feuza for setting this up. She followed her photographers instinct and because of that I have 2 new friends. Christine and Iaan, I hope that our roads cross again. Rock on guys!

The Signature at MGM Grand 145 East Harmon Avenue Las Vegas, NV 89109 (877) 612-2121

MGM Grand Hotel & Casino 3799 Las Vegas Boulevard South Las Vegas, NV 89109 (702) 891-1111

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By The Way: This shoot taught me to follow my instinct and approach people with confidence. There have been a lot of times when I see people that I want to photograph. A simple question to photograph them might turn up into a great time.

Wedding Rings are Beautiful - Chicago Wedding Photography

Wedding rings are truly works of art. I have really come to appreciate my bride and grooms rings this year. I remember going to the jeweler to pick out my wife's ring. I was so nervous and very conscience of aesthetics and price. This was a major purchase for me and I wanted to make sure that I purchased the PERFECT ring. This line of thinking has helped me focus more on the rings, placing them in beautiful backgrounds and giving them the spotlight they deserve. Here are just a few of my favorites for this year. [gallery link="file" columns="1" orderby="title" size="large"]

The Set-Up

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon SB-800 - Triggered via Nikon CLS. There was no light modifier on the flash.
  • Nikon 80-200mm f/2.8 lens
  • Rock On! info@ottorascon.com | my portfolio | facebook | twitter | 773.430.4785

    Millenium Park Engagement Photography // Vanessa & Luis

    I am so excited to be shooting Vanessa and Luis' wedding in July. So this engagement session meant a lot to me. I was looking forward to seeing them both again and working with them. They are a blast (man, I have some really cool clients!). I noticed that they both love to laugh, something that I am attracted to big time. They are also willing to try different/creative poses, something that I am also attracted too.

    So we met up at their sweet place in Bridgeport and took off to Buckingham Fountain and Millennium Park. Vanessa's mom was ultra cool and drove us around the city. Seriously, how amazing is her mom?! We set up at Buckingham fountain and the walked around its perimeter. That whole area has some amazing landscaping and we took full advantage of it. If you have never walked around that area then do yourself a favor and check it out!

    We then drove off to Millennium Park. This place has so many places to shoot at. We went to the Crown Fountain (aka water towers), the Cloud Gate (aka the Bean) and finally the Pritzker Pavilion. Each of these places have their own feel and look to them. The last image in the series is copmosed of about 8 photographs that were merged in Photoshop. After the series were taken we took off, literally, to meet up with Vanessa's mom who was double parked on Michigan Ave. I am sure that is was a funny site seeing three people running like mad through Millennium Park.

    Garfield Park Conservatory // Tim & Faith // Engagement Session

    I had the honor of photographing Tim and Faith's engagement session earlier this year. We drove over to the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory and had a great time shooting indoors. The conservatory is amazing with its large and lush plants and beautiful outdoor park. My many thanks to Tim and Faith!!!