VanMilligan Family // Willow Springs
I recently found this lush green area outside of Chicago as part of the Cook County Forest Preserves. You can fish, picnic, hike etc. It’s gorgeous! I had Kenny and his family meet me there one summer night in early June and it was perfect. The sun was warm and low and the magic hour really did us a favor. I’ve known Kenny since I was a girl. His family moved into my family neighborhood when I was probably 8 years old. Kenny used to bike me home sometimes after I was at their house playing with his sister. We actually had the same circle of friends in college and he’s always been one of the best, his smiles are contagious. I met his wife, Tyler, and their two beautiful girls at Saganashkee Slough Woods. So full of energy and sweet smiles, I knew this would be a good shoot. You can always tell within the first few minutes of a dynamic. Sometimes it’s off, one child had a bad day, or a meltdown in the car, but this wasn’t that day, everyone was excited. The Slough has a lot of water so there were ducks and geese and lots of curiosity from the girls. We had such good time, just enough for a few shots of just Kenny and Tyler, so in love.
I love these and I hope you do too!
The Zalaznik Family // Iowa
Just a few short years ago, I had the privilege of shooting Madde and Ryan’s wedding, in the exact same spot! I remember because I was pregnant and it was summer, they had the most beautiful atmosphere. The property belongs to her father and it’s actually the house he grew up in. It’s a gorgeous old brick farmhouse with tall ceilings, giant windows and all the character you could expect in a house like that. The property is even more stunning. All the trees, the green and the background of the rolling hills of Iowa, you’d like it was out of a Grant Wood painting. Madde and Ryan were accompanied by their two children, both from previous relationships, and the same age! They were brother and sister and best friends, their dynamic is so fun, I think that you can tell by these photos. I hope you enjoy!
Valentina + Keary // Winter Shoot
These two are some of my favorites to shoot. Keary and her daughter are my lady clients that I get to shoot every three or so months. Keary is a single mom to this adorable, sweet baby girl, Valentina who will be one in Febraury next year. I like it too because Valentina is starting to open up to me a little more, she smiles at me more from time to time. Watching little ones develop their personalties is so much fun.
I stopped over at their house for a little mini shoot, just to get some shots of the two of them and to document V on her growth, getting so incredibly big now! We enjoyed playing on mom’s bed with the dog, reading books, playing with her favorite (the chandelier in her room), trying on tutu’s and being next to the Christmas tree. What a gorgeous little family, so lucky to get to shoot them!
The Glocks // A Snowy Lincoln Park Day
I had the pleasure of meeting this adorable family for the first time this day. It’s always a little funny, because it’s somewhat of a first blind date. I stand with my camera gear at a meeting point and await a family who is somewhat put together (everyone always has cute jackets and their hair done when I get to see them). But when we saw each other in the atrium of the Lincoln Park conservatory, we knew who each other was right away and we laughed because oh boy, the weather was something!
What a day this was! We scheduled our shoot later in the day because we wanted to warm sun to be low and amazing. We didn’t get sun at all! We got a heavy, snowstorm! It was the first of the season, December heavy, wet snow. So we went with it! It was actually quite beautiful, it just made for some more challenging scenes. Nevertheless, Gretchen and family were more than happy to go with the flow. So we tried under some trees, and then some winter hats and then we just went with it! If you can’t beat it, join it right? That was our motto that day. And the snow just kept coming, everything was laced with white, the trees, the benches, even our eyelashes. They turned out to be delightful, and will be amazing photos for their holiday Christmas card. Dreaming of a white snowy Christmas? J
Thanks and I hope you enjoy these!
The Stephensons // Eagle Point Park
I am so glad we decided to push this shoot by a day, Friday was turning out to be a pretty dark and gloomy day so I proposed we push it so that we could get some good light and they were totally flexible. The forecast said there would be sun on Saturday so we went with it. Do you see all this luscious warmth coming through the trees? Not to mention we were days out from December and we didn’t even need coats, the sweaters were perfect.
This is a special family to me, Kira, the mother, has been a dear friend of mine since we were in middle school. We both love cooking, wine, family, friends and OPRAH! Kira and Ricky met while serving our country and after coming back from tour, they got married and had three babies–one of which is not shown, Max. He is a sweet angel who left this earth too early. Kira has taught me so much during all of this painful time and her strength and positivity is second to none. What’s so special about these photos is that after Kira saw them, she expressed her gratitude to me for capturing them and she pointed out how present Max was on this day, you can see him in little light bubbles and rays shining through on each of them. I felt him too that day. I really had fun capturing this amazing family, I hope you enjoy these!
The Bluths // Lincoln Park
This family is from out west, they both went to school here in the city, fell in love and stuck around. They then had Adeline – the world’s most smiley baby. Seriously, if you can’t tell from the photos, every time I had the camera on her, she looked into the lens with those big blue eyes and smiled with her minimal teeth smile. Oh my, to die for. This sweet family requested one of my favorite spots in the city, Lincoln Park, near South Pond. The long prairie grass, the Studio Gang Pavilion, the water and the gorgeous skyline in the background makes it one of the best. Linden, Adeline’s dad, was a great tosser, (sounds funny) but when he would throw her in the air, she just giggled with happiness. This family was one of the best and I’m grateful I was able to capture them.
I hope you enjoy!
I wanted to share a few images of Nicole that I think are beautiful. She wanted something professional but didn’t want a standard stuffy headshot. She loved these and said they were exactly what she was looking for. I thought the nice wall of ivy really was beautiful and think it captured a natural looking portrait. Enjoy!
I ventured over to Erin and Faisel’s home to take photos of their brand new baby, Gabriel. He was only 7 days old and a sweet boy (oh, but all newborns are just so yummy). Newborn shoots are tricky as you have to keep the room warm and keep that baby fed! We had to have a few boobie breaks, but I love it. It’s so sweet to witness, first-hand the new bond between a family. It’s truly remarkable. In a world of madness, seeing things like this fill my heart. I hope you enjoy these, little Gabriel was a dream.
Heidi + Michael // Iowa
Finally getting around to post this gorgeous couple and their stunning wedding back near her hometown in Iowa. Heidi and Michael live in Seattle and wanted to have their wedding close to home. I only met them when I showed up to take the photos that day! I drove in from Chicago the night before and had such lovely time meeting them and photographing their big day. It’s hard to pick just a few, so if I went overboard in picking them, I apologize! Enjoy!
Getting ready at The Julien Inn in Dubuque, IA
Love these robes!
Duke at Sixteen Months
This little boy is a special one, he has a special place in my heart because he belongs to my dear friends. His mother and I were pregnant at the same time, going through the same things at the same time. They are only 4 weeks apart and so they are learning and doing the same things. Duke is more of an energetic one, keeping his parents on their toes. I met them at the park, near the 404 and we just hung out and I followed Duke around, wherever he pleased and he did all the work. He was intrigued with my big bulky camera and had me running all over the place. He is a sweet, sweet boy, so glad I was able to capture him here, at 16 months old. His mom and I laugh that we didn’t get 1 year photos because it’s in the middle of winter when that takes place, so 16 month photos it is! J
I hope you enjoy these!
Hello, World! Baby Aurora
Aurora “Rory,” was a great newborn subject, she was making eye contact, she was so alert! And so cooperative! Her older brother, Radley, was very excited to have her around. He wanted to kiss and hug and hold her all the time. It was a pleasure seeing this family again after taking his 1-year-old photos the previous summer. I went to their new home in Evanston, on a beautiful tree-lined street and made me think, hmm, maybe the suburbs aren’t so bad! It was lovely. I hope you enjoy these photos of this beautiful family.
Gabriella // 14 Months
I took Gabriella’s 14 Month photos on a dreary day in March. She wasn’t so sure of me at first. Her faces in the first few photos below express her feelings, haha! She slowly but surely opened up and ended up being a total goofball. I love see the personalities of little ones come through. She is the same age as my daughter so it’s fun interacting with other children her age, sometimes they are so different! I hope you enjoy!
The Sayers Family // Logan Square // Chicago
Here’s a great little mini family shoot I did for Sarah and Ryan and their not-so-baby anymore, big girl, Frances aka Frankie aka Frenchie. Frankie just turned two shortly before this shoot and it was so fun shooting her. I think my favorite age is two, they are so funny and just talking so the things they say are so entertaining.
Alicia + Kyle // Chicago
Maureen + Clayton // Chicago
So this post is WAYYYY overdue. I apologize. I started a new full time gig and with a baby… well, nothing goes as planned. Never the less, I am SO excited to share this post with you. I not only shot this wedding (totally pressure and care free), but was the graphic designer, the matron of honor, the speech giver and best friend extraordinaire! Maureen just wanted me to take some photos of Clayton and her before the wedding, the two of them and a couple snapshots of their family. Since the pressure was off, I just carried my camera around the whole night. My husband took some shots when I couldn’t and I gave her brother a 10 second tutorial on how to shoot (all settings set) so he could take some photos of the ceremony. It was hilarious and it was fun! After all, your photographer is with you more than your fiance/husband, she just wanted her best friend too and it just so happens I am a photographer.
The wedding took place at Prairie Productions in the West Loop in Chicago. The ceremony was in the courtyard, exposed brick, Italian patio lights and the sweetest words to each other. The event took place on a Friday in September, and it was a beautiful! A warm day with a crisp chill to the breeze, perfect for an autumn wedding!
All taken with my Mark III and a 50 1.2. No double cameras, no switching out lenses, it was quite liberating! I hope you enjoy these photos, it’s not everyday you get to attend your best friend’s wedding and shoot it at the same time.
Mond Family Photos // Galena
I had the pleasure of shooting Darcee and her family at their home in Galena. Their home was built in 1856 and is so beautiful. Their backyard is where most of these shots were taken–we shot in their garden where they grow their veggies, on their tree swing, on the back patio and watering the plants in the front yard. One week after I shot them, Siesta-their beloved pooch, passed away. I was lucky enough to have captured them with her before she was set free. I know they’ll miss her dearly and we’re all grateful she was there for these photos.
Eben got little Huxley to put his face in the hose stream. Too good. This family is the best and I’m lucky to call them friends. Huxley’s shirt let us know how old he just turned and Darcee’s glowing belly let us know there’s a healthy growing baby in there. So happy to have captured them on a perfect summer evening. I loved this shoot and had a hard time choosing only a few shots, so I might have showcased a few more! I hope you enjoy these!
The Riecks Family // Summer in Iowa
I love getting referrals from people, this was a family of four that I was referred to so we had never met before. We met at The Mines of Spain, a beautiful nature preserve in Iowa along the Mississippi River. If you know anything about Iowa summer nights along the river, you know that they’re beautiful but full of mosquitoes! Beau and JC were the friendliest and most un-shy children, we had such a great time! I hope you enjoy these family photos!
Maureen + Clayton // Engagement Photos // Wicker Park, Chicago
It’s not very often that your best friend gets married, and not only that but wants you to photograph them! Um, yes! It’s always nice to photograph people you know so well because you can truly capture the love, it seems that way because they are so much more comfortable in front of you and your camera. Meet Maureen (Mo) and her fiancé Clayton. Mo and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. I was 4 and she was 5, and I still remember the day vividly. Fast forward 27 years later and here we are in Chicago, both living here for almost a decade. I had so much fun shooting these two because they are so HAPPY. It was giggles and kisses one after another. I truly captured the essence of their happiness, I hope you enjoy these!
The Stoffel Family // Independence Day // Iowa
This was my first family shoot with this many family members! The Stoffel Family is made of a mom and a dad and their 2 daughters and 3 sons along with their own families. We had met in the morning of the 4th of July at a nature preserve outside my hometown in Dubuque, Iowa. We got some great shots of the individual small families and then some great group shots of everyone. I even got them to agree to all get into the freezing cold creek! The water temperature might have helped add to the great energy. 😉 I hope you enjoy these photos!
Ludovissy Family // Iowa Summer
What a fun shoot this was, triplet 14 month olds. Each with a very different demeanor and personality. 2 girls – Jordan and Taylor, and a boy – Brady. It was definitely a challenge to even photograph them in the same frame since they’re now walking and moving all over the place. They had each of us running around after them! It was the most perfect summer evening, warm with abundant sunshine. I photographed them at a nature reserve outside of my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. We really had fun doing this shoot and what a beautiful family! I cannot wait to photograph them as they get older, triplets are my new favorite! Hope you enjoy these images!
Michelle + Brian // Iowa Spring Wedding
One beautiful spring day, one gorgeous couple and one gorgeous wedding. It was so great to be a part of this special day, I was so excited to shoot it. The ceremony was performed at St. Joseph the Worker in Dubuque, Iowa and the ceremony following was held at a hotel downtown – The Julien. I have shot weddings at both of these locations before so it was familiar to me. Everything flowed so well and the bride and groom were wonderful. Congratulations to you both, Michelle and Brian! Mich
Harris Family // Dubuque, IA
The Scholls // Family Photos // Olive Park, Chicago
Amy + Chris // Sycamore
Capturing Amy and Chris on their beautiful fall day was truly rewarding. My job really has its perks when I get to see the vulnerable sides of people, brought out by the one they love and are marrying that day. It’s so special. The way these two looked at each other was quite magical and made for a great wedding day.
The site for the ceremony and reception was in Sycamore, IL, about 60 miles west of Chicago. The day was warm in the sun and had lovely crisp fall air. They opted out of seeing each other before the ceremony, Chris was really wanting to wait to see his beautiful bride until she walked down the aisle. This is very sweet and traditional which I think is so romantic. The day progressed and the reception was held at Blumen Gardens, a garden and landscaping business with a stunning outdoor garden and event space. It was rustic and beautiful–a great space to capture the newly wed Clabots. I hope you enjoy these special moments!
MacDonald Wedding // Chicago // Fall 2014
I had the pleasure of shooting Andrew and Nicole’s engagement photos last winter and come October, 2014, they’re hitched! The day started off rainy and cold and then it stopped and opened up just for us (at least I like to think so). Nicole and Andrew made my job easy, their chemistry cannot be denied, I think it really shows through these photos. The love and admiration for one another is really special. Please enjoy!
Viviana Joy // Age 3
It’s ok to be a bit biased with your own family members, right? Well this child is my favorite, my niece – Viviana Joy. She is so funny and really truly brings a lot of laughter and joy to our family. Here’s a little bit from our quick photo shoot back in Iowa shortly after her third birthday. Enjoy!
Madde + Ryan // Zalaznik Wedding // Dubuque, IA
I was so happy to be asked to photograph this wedding. It’s one of my favorite kinds of weddings to shoot–outdoor, rustic, romantic and beautiful. Madde and Ryan each have a gorgeous child of their own and the children were so elated to gain a sibling as well as a new parent. The blending of the four of them was a beautiful thing to witness and I hope you see some of this through the photos below. Congratulations to Madde and Ryan and their beautiful family! J
O’Neill Family Photos // Dubuque, IA
It’s been quite fun having my last three shoots at Four Mounds Inn in Dubuque, IA because it’s where I married my love. I had a great time shooting Remy Bear with her parents, Maggie and Dennis who were in the midwest visiting family from Brooklyn, NY. Enjoy some of these sweet family photos. <3 J
Nixon & Nova // Cousins // Dubuque, IA
I was back in my hometown of Dubuque, IA over the 4th of July weekend and had the privilege of shooting Nixon and Nova. Nova is the daughter of one of my best friends and Nixon is the son one of my husband’s best friend. So going up to meet them to do a photo shoot was just like hanging out. It was a really good time filled with lots of laughs. Everyone contributed to helping capture the moments including impromptu Itsy-Bitsy Spider sing-alongs. These two cousins only see each other a few times a year as Nixon lives in San Diego and Nova lives in Iowa. Since they are both only children, they are like brother and sister complete with kisses and wrestles. Only 3 weeks apart, these two were a whole lot of entertainment including the moment we had them “cheers” with mommy’s and daddy’s wine/beer. 🙂 I hope you enjoy these! J
Collisson Wedding // Four Mounds Inn // Dubuque, IA
Summer is finally here and I started it out heading back to my hometown in Iowa for the wedding of Brian and Emily, college sweethearts from University of Florida. This was a surreal wedding to shoot because Brian and Emily had their wedding at Four Mounds Inn, the same place my husband and I were married. Being there with the tent set up, the tables, the beautiful weather, it brought everything back. Brian and Emily did a beautiful job with the space there. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple very much in love. I hope you enjoy these photos!
Nicole & Andrew // Engagement // Promontory Point
February 23rd in Chicago… not the warmest of days that we’ve seen in the polar vortex but nonetheless beautiful! The sun was shining and we were there at the most perfect time when the sun was low and the water was ever so blue. We met at Promontory Point, a lakeside park that jets into Lake Michigan and oversees the skyline from the South. It’s in the Hyde Park neighborhood, a smarty pants area with the likeliness of University of Chicago professors and the Obama’s family home.
Nicole and Andrew had just had their first anniversary as a couple, only meeting in February of 2013. Fast forward a year later and they are engaged. I will be shooting their wedding in October of later this year and can’t wait, their chemistry is off the charts! I love working with people who are so in love. I hope you enjoy these and see their love through my lens.
Emily and Brian // Winter Wonderland Engagement // Four Mounds Inn // Dubuque, Iowa
It was surreal being up at Four Mounds just under a year and half after my wedding there. It looked very different being my wedding was over Labor Day weekend. Fast forward to December 2013, it’s about an 88 degree difference; yep, a whopping 1 degree this December day. Emily found me because the inn keeper at Four Mounds mentioned that I had a beautiful wedding there and in doing some online research about it, she discovered my photography. The cold day was the first time we had ever met in person. They were so warm and friendly despite the frigid temps. Drudging through the snow and probably a lot colder than I was (I wore layers upon layers and snow boots!), the two of them just radiated, so much love. I can’t wait to capture these two on their wedding day! Stay tuned till next year!
Vogler Family Photos // Christmas in Iowa
While back in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa for the Christmas festivities, I had the pleasure of shooting the Vogler family. The mother Michelle was the older sister of a grade school friend of mine and so it was really great getting to know her own family. Her husband is Jeff and together they have 2 little ones – Collin, 3 years, and Hudson, 3 weeks… hello polar opposites! Oh, and I mustn’t forget their boxer, Daykin, who on every photo opportunity was trying to get front and center between the family and my lens. It was pretty hilarious. It’s always so cool to get to be so intimate with a family and to see their dynamic first hand. Pretty cool part of my job. 🙂
A Cabin in Woodstock // New York // June 2013
ORD > LGA > BQE > BKLN > WDSTK – a long summer weekend in New York with friends. From Chicago to LaGuardia to Brooklyn and then up to Woodstock for a bocce ball competition and summer cocktails. Life is sweet. A little late on this post but certainly not too little. Enjoy these.
Cabo // Travel // Just a Long Weekend in Mexico
Here’s a peak into my personal life and mini vacation with my sister/brother-in-law and my husband. The four of us at an amazing resort, embracing life. The resort was Esperanza Cabo, if you can ever make it there, GO. You will not be disappointed. The weather was hot, the people were wonderful and the water was warm. We rented a catamaran, snorkeled, drifted into the small town of Los Cabos, dined, drank and relaxed under the umbrellas on the beach. Here’s a snapshot of our time spent there.
Lance and Molly Rose // Wedding // Dubuque, Iowa
Home for the holidays, I had the privilege to photograph Molly Rose and Lance for their wedding. I have known Molly Rose for years as we used to work at the same restaurant when I was waiting tables in college and Molly Rose was the hostess for her high school gig. Fast forward 8 years later and I’m photographing her wedding in our hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. Molly Rose and Lance have been dating since she went off to college at Iowa State, they now reside in Florida. Half the year Lance is gone, as he’s a Special Ops Captain in the US Air Force (hence the fabulous suit and medals). They really love each other and I feel pretty lucky to have witnessed their special day first hand. I hope you enjoy these!
Blissful Engagement in a Blizzard // Amy & Chris // Chicago Lakefront
It takes a special couple to embrace a cold, wintery snow day in Chicago. For many of us that live in the midwest, you know how it feels to just want to stay inside and be warm! Amy and Chris met me at Olive Park on a blistery winter December Sunday with big smiles on their faces and “Best Friends” hats in-tow. The snow was falling like a snow globe but close to Lake Michigan, you can imagine how windy it got in the windy city. Still, I think their love for each other shines through the snow. I hope you enjoy these.
LeFevours // Family Photos // Elmhurst College
As a photographer, you hope your subjects are adventurous, have an open mind and most importantly, just want to have fun. This beautiful family of four did just that. I was so happy they asked me to shoot them, full of energy, smiles and the interaction between them all was absolutely awesome. We met at a clearing at Elmhurst College, just outside of Chicago. The October day was beautiful, crisp with a warm sun. Here are the photos of the LeFevours. I hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Matt // Engagement // Oak St. Beach, Chicago
Taking photos in Autumn can be tricky but we really lucked out with some partial clouds, a crisp day and a Chicago beach to ourselves. As you can suspect, that’s a pretty hard task (especially the beach part). Lauren and Matt were engaged here in Chicago at Oak Street Beach and returned 2 and a half months later to shoot their engagement photos, only this time the bathing suits weren’t packed. Enjoy these sweet moment between them.
The Dankos // Family Photos // Oak Park
A set of 5 year old twin boys and a 1 month old baby. That’s the Danko Dynamic. Quite a ball of energy! It was so fun hanging out with these guys last weekend as we shuffled around Oak Park on a beautiful fall day. Ethan and Elias are the twins and baby Sage is the sweet little brother. Lots of laughing involved here. I hope you enjoy these!
Mikulice Family Photos // Fall in Iowa 2013
I had the pleasure of shooting Andrea, Matt and Nova last weekend in Iowa. It was a chilly fall morning and it blossomed into a beautiful day. Nova was just a burst of laughter all day and Andrea and Matt are so lucky to have such a joyous little girl. Here are the photos from the day, enjoy!
Annah & Jon // Sonoma 2013
Annah and Jon have been dating long before my husband and I started and they finally tied the knot in the beautiful area of California, Sonoma County. The venue was Relais du Soleil which is a small bed and breakfast filled with metal sculptures created by Bryan Tedrick. The place is stunning, rustic and very intimate. It features a long wooden deck equipped with a hot tub on one end and a bar on the other. So naturally you put the dance floor in the middle of it!
The whole wedding weekend was special. A wine tasting bike tour on Thursday, a spaghetti dinner and party on Friday and then the big event on Saturday! A beautiful ceremony under a large oak tree, a perfect amount of guests, great drinks and food, a love letter written to every guest by the bride herself, ice cream sundae bar, a trunk full of provided costumes (still dusted with playa dust from Burning Man), a San Francisco DJ that blew the non-roof off and the best people you could ask for. Love was truly in the air.