October 23, 2011   |   engagement

This morning, I woke up at 6AM to prepare for a very early engagement session. When Sarah and Mike contacted me about taking their engagement photos downtown, I told them that–as much as we may want to kick ourselves for the decision that morning–it’d be best to schedule to session right at sunrise. This is for two reasons, really. First, both places we shot–Museum Campus and Millennium Park–are ridiculously crowded during the day. Also, I knew they wanted that iconic Chicago skyline shot, and early morning is the best time to get that.

When we all pulled up to the Adler Planetarium, it was still dark. However, 10-15 minutes later, someone turned on the switch and the light was BEAUTIFUL. We shot a few minutes there and then hopped in our cars and headed to Millennium Park.

To be honest, I’m not much of a morning person. If I’m shooting your photos before 9AM, there’s a good chance that I won’t even have showered (hey, I’m being honest)! However, Sarah and Mike are both so nice, they made it easy. If I’m going to shoot photos this early, I hope it is always with couples just like them.

I’ve always loved the ivy that grows on this structure. 10 minutes later, there’d be too much sun to shoot here.

Mike proposed to Sarah on this bridge… in December!!!

Seriously, how cute are they?

This may be my favorite shot of the day. L-O-V-E.

Y’all know I love me some golden hour light.

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October 19, 2011   |   children, family

This time of year always means one thing to photographers: family portraits! I don’t shoot many weddings outside of the normal season, but I shoot a TON of family photo sessions. Everyone is looking for the perfect picture for their holiday cards. Enter the photographers.

This past weekend, I shot with two families in Lincoln Park. I’ve photographed both of these families before, and it is always great to see the kids–one year older, one year bigger. We shot right around golden hour, and we had gorgeous light. There is a very narrow window of time in Chicago when you can take advantage of the yellow leaves, the golden sun and not freeze your butt off. I like to shoot as much as I can in that time. As I’m writing this blog, it is 40 degrees, rainy and grey outside. So, it’s nice to see a little sun–even if that sun is in a photograph.

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October 15, 2011   |   baby, children, family

By now, you probably recognize this family. I’ve shot with them a half dozen times in the past couple of years. First, I photographed Emerson’s first few years, and now I’m photographing the first year of her baby sister, Marlowe.

Fall is such a great time for family shoots. If the weather is right–which it was when we shot–the outside light is magical. There are leaves everywhere. It’s not humid. The air is crisp. It’s my absolute favorite time for portraits.

Shauna knows me well enough to know how much I love natural light. So, as soon as I showed up, she said, “Should we head outside?” We had a wonderful and casual shoot–my favorite! I know it can be difficult, but I always tell parents that, when we’re shooting with little ones, it is best not to have any expectations. Be comfortable with not forcing any photos; let the little ones determine the course of the shoot.

I left this shoot reassuring both Shauna and Mark, “Don’t worry–I promise we got some good ones.” And even though it doesn’t always seem like it at the time, we almost always do!

Love these next two.

There’s a smile!

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