“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
― Robert A. Heinlein
To the mamas adding to their stories…
“So how on earth can I bring a child into the world, knowing that such sorrow lies ahead, that it is such a large part of what it means to be human?
I'm not sure. That's my answer: I'm not sure.”
― Anne Lamott
To the mamas whose kids are grown and raising children of their own…
“I think that the best thing we can do for our children is to allow them to do things for themselves, allow them to be strong, allow them to experience life on their own terms, allow them to take the subway... let them be better people, let them believe more in themselves.”
― C. JoyBell C
To the mamas just starting out and the mamas who’ve been doing it for years…
is pure radiance.
she is the sun
i can touch
― Sanober Khan
To the tough mamas who make it look easy…
“[Kids] don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson
We live in a world full of “perfect” Facebook families, Instagram worthy photos of siblings who never fight and only ever get along in their perfectly curated, camera ready homes, and holiday cards that rival the royal family/Kardashians (take your pick).
Sorry, but nobody is buying your picture perfect life! We’re onto you!
I don’t know about you, but I’m always relieved to see photos of shit getting real.
I like to see messy, chaotic, funny, silly, sad, happy, frustrated, skinned knees, real tears…all of the things that come with life.
When I look through old photo albums, I prefer the candid moments over the curated moments because it helps me remember that moment. It transports me to another time and that is a beautiful thing.
That’s something that never happens when I look at the “fantasy” version of family photos: Everyone dressed impeccably. No hair out of place. Not a blemish to be found. All eyes on the camera and pained smiles across everyone’s lips (especially mom, because she has been threatening everyone within an inch of their lives).
My hope for all of the amazing people who hire me is that they are able to relax & enjoy the ride. I want them to know that we will get that “perfect” photo, but that they need to be flexible in what their definition of "perfect” is.
Also, bribes are a perfectly legit tool to keep in your bag of tricks! ( I almost always have lollipops to offer up)
Will everyone be looking at the camera? Maybe, but I can’t guarantee it. Will everyone have a smile on their face? Possibly, but I never force people to smile. I have tricks & sometimes they work, but not always!
What I will promise you: I will be there to document your family in this moment. When you look back on the images, they will make you smile, laugh, cry, or maybe all 3.
If this isn’t the reaction you have, I may not be the photographer for you…but, I hope I am.
I love being invited into the chaos and being part of these milestones.
I’d love to tell your story too…(you can book sessions here)
“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.”
― Debra Ginsberg
To all the Super Moms, doing all the things…
“I am a mother and mothers don’t have the luxury of falling apart in front of their children, even when they are afraid, even when their children are adults.”
― Kristin Hannah
To all the mamas who get shit done & keep on doing it, over and over again…
Interested in booking a session for yourself or someone that you adore?
A limited number of Summer & Fall Mini Sessions are available…book now!
“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”
― Washington Irving
Here’s to one of my favorite mamas…
“Children are knives, my mother once said. They don’t mean to, but they cut. And yet we cling to them, don’t we, we clasp them until the blood flows.”
― Joanne Harris
Tough as a mother…
(Interested in booking a session? Find dates & times here: Booking Calendar)
“Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.”
― Jodi Picoult
For May, I’m going to TRY to post a blog every day. Except for yesterday…I already missed that one…
I’ll only be sharing photos of mamas this month.
31 days of mom. Or, 30…
Let’s celebrate mother’s, shall we?
Starting with the gorgeous Q family…can you handle all the beautiful in this family?
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
― Marcel Proust
Last June, my youngest child graduated from preschool. As exciting as that moment was, it was also the end of an era. We had been part of The Day Nursery family for the better part of 7 years and that was coming to an end.
Bittersweet. That’s the word…as cliché as it is.
I’ve mentioned, on many occasions, how grateful we are to The Day Nursery. Not only for the care and nurturing of our boys, but for the friendships that were made while our children attended.
Though we’ve gone in different directions...some at different schools and some moved even further away, many of us still get together regularly. We even got to spend the day with some of our MOST favorite people, The Terrell family, while we were in Texas this past December. We came from Chicago & they came from Boston to reunite for a day in Greenville, TX!
And it all started at The Day Nursery…
Even though I no longer have children enrolled at The Day Nursery, I still get to go back on occasion. Sometimes for work and sometimes for pleasure (mixed with a little work).
This past Saturday, I was able to enjoy a night out at a Pop-Up Event hosted by The Day Nursery.
One weekend a year, The Day Nursery is transformed into a fictional world from a children's book, and local chef and Day Nursery supporter, Melissa Elsmo (assisted by a small army of passionate folks) creates a magical meal to follow the theme.
This year’s Pop-Up was inspired by “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. it was a delicious meal that followed Peter’s adventures through his neighborhood after the first snowfall of the season.
The event serves 60 guests over two nights and takes a team of people, who all volunteer their time and talent to make it happen. This annual pop-up event raises funds that are crucial to The Day Nursery and the children who attend.
If you’ve never had a chance to experience one of these events, I highly encourage it!
“He told his mother all about his adventures while she took off his wet socks. And he thought and thought and thought about them.” -Ezra Jack Keats, The Snowy Day
“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else's happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you're not sure what the right thing is...and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
― Donna Ball
Do me a favor and stop what you're doing (I know you just started reading this blog & now I'm asking you to stop reading...stick with me...or not?).
Take a look around your home and your Facebook/Instagram pages.
When you look through the images that tell your story, how do they make you feel?
Here's a better question: When your kids are older and they look back on these same photos (I hope you printed them...), how will it make them feel? Will the story make sense or will there be huge gaps?
For somebody who takes up so much space in our hearts and lives, moms are suspiciously absent from our photos.
When you look through the photos in your home and on your social media accounts, how many include mom? My hope is that mom is in a lot of photos, but realistically, mom doesn't make too many appearances. I'm sure there are a million reasons why, including the fact that mom is usually the one behind the camera.
"So when all is said and done, if I can’t do it for myself, I want to do it for my kids. I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are."-Allison Tate
I think that quote pretty much sums up how I feel about mamas getting in the frame. Do yourself a favor and read the whole piece. It's a quick read, but maybe it will help give you the nudge you've been needing!
The Mom Stays in the Picture
I always try to make sure that my sessions include a few frames with just mom & kids, but I also offer a few mini sessions during the year that are only for mothers & kids. Any of the portrait sessions I offer can be Motherhood sessions, but since mom's tend to prioritize everyone but themselves, I like to give you the option to do something that is only for YOU. It's in the title, so it's just for MOM! Maybe you hadn't considered it before or maybe you just needed "permission"...
Whatever reason you've been using for not being in photos, can we agree that there is a huge reason why you need to put that aside & get in the frame?
Our kids need to be able to see that we were there...we are/were part of the story. Part of their story.
So, whether you want to book a session that's especially for you or you want to book a regular session, just make sure that you grab a few frames with just you and the kids or just YOU. Why not?
Session date: April 27 & 28
Exact location to be determined as the date approaches.
If you'd like to book a Motherhood Mini, follow this booking link
(Motherhood session dates are not available on my regular booking calendar)
Motherhood sessions are for moms & kids only!
“The deep roots never doubt spring will come.”
― Marty Rubin
Every year it happens…March arrives and I’m certain that the ground will thaw and flowers will bloom and trees will once again be covered in green. By the time April rolls around, I start to feel a little defeated and I become desperate for warmer days and sunshine.
Everyday, I think “Today is the day. It has to feel like Spring. We NEED Spring.”
Finally, when we reach May, I forget how horrible and long the winter was.
Is it May yet? I would love to fast forward to May & be done with winter for now. Pretty please?
The next best thing that I can do is prepare for Spring’s arrival: plant seeds indoors and watch them pop out of their soil, plan for summer camp and maybe plan a few getaways.
Some of my clients are planning big things for Spring/Summer as well: I’ve got a couple of weddings booked, several corporate headshot events, and high school graduations.
Speaking of high school graduations…
My niece, who lives in Texas, recently came to visit & we spent a couple of days shooting her Senior portraits. You wouldn’t really know it by looking at her, but it felt very much like winter while we were shooting. On the plus side, the sun did come out…so…it could have felt worse, right?
How do you stay upbeat during these last months/days of winter? What are your plans?
Last year's headshot event was so much fun that I decided to schedule another one!
Due to time constraints, there are only 6 spots available that include professional makeup. Grab your spot NOW…Sara Jean is a magician!
Here's the details:
Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Location: Amy’s Winehouse, 7235 Roosevelt Rd, Forest Park, IL
All paid sessions include a glass of wine and charcuterie...but you should definitely stick around afterward to mingle. (Additional food & wine will be available for purchase)
Fine Print: Each session will last 5-10 minutes and includes 1 image, fully edited* and delivered in color and black & white (2 total files). If you book a session with professional makeup, please arrive 30 minutes prior to your booked session. Within 2 weeks of your session, you will receive a password protected online gallery from which you can choose your favorite image. Additional files are available for purchase.
*Editing includes: color correction, exposure, light skin smoothing, and stray hair removal. Editing that goes beyond that will incur additional fees.
Send me an email if you have further questions: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
― Anais Nin
After an exceptionally busy Fall season (thank you, my amazing clients!), I find that it is necessary to scale back & carve out time for myself. Alone time is crucial & needed, but time with close friends is equally important. These things act as a sort of reset button on my life & I am always grateful that I am able to make myself a priority, even if only for a moment.
Are you making yourself a priority? What are some ways that you do this?
Last night, I was able to share an amazing meal with some friends, made possible by the amazing Melissa Elsmo. My only regret is that there wasn’t room at the table for more friends…
Not only was I able to spend time catching up with some of my favorite people, but I got to do so while eating and drinking a fantastic meal.
As has been stated before, I’m not a food photographer, but I absolutely had to document the meal so I could share with everyone.
So…enjoy these images…and block some time on your calendar to do the things that make you happy. You’ll never regret doing it.
“Sometimes,' said Pooh, 'the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
― A.A. Milne
It’s January 14 and my new year has been filled with new life.
My first clients of 2019 were a family of 4, whose newest member was a beautiful 6 week old boy. After that, I had the pleasure of photographing a long time client & her 3rd baby…a baby girl who was less than 24 hours old when I got to photograph her. Today, I got to photograph Tina Harle, a friend and fellow Oak Park photographer, and her family of 4, including her newest addition: a baby girl who was a little more than 24 hours old when I got to the hospital.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking when I’m photographing another photographer. You never know how it will all play out, especially when small children are involved. I know that my kids are terribly uncooperative with me, but they do ok with other photographers (usually). Tina and her family were amazing though…there’s nothing I love more than a client who tells me to do whatever I want & that nothing is off limits. I can just shoot what I see & document the moments as they happen.
Tina has a 6 year old who was there for the session. She was so sweet & caring towards her new baby sister…”teaching” her the alphabet, talking to her, combing her hair, and giving her lots of kisses. I was able to capture so many loving gazes from her…these were genuine moments! My newborn sessions aren’t staged, so what you see is what was occurring naturally. It was beyond adorable! It was not the experience that I had with my kids…Oliver wouldn’t go anywhere near Milo in those early days…I think he was terrified of him! HA! (We should all be a little terrified of Milo…just saying!)
It’s truly a gift to be invited into people’s lives, homes, and hospital rooms during these early, hazy, sleepless days. I do not take it lightly and I am so thankful that I get to be an observer of these real and special early days.
How’s your new year going?
What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.”
― Karl Lagerfeld
Are you printing your photos or do they sit on a hard drive, thumb drive, or some other storage device that could (and will) fail you at some point? I often wonder why clients only want digital files...seeing images on a screen can’t even come close to looking at them on display (framed, canvas, block, or book...). There are so many reasons to love digital photography, but this is one of the reasons that I don’t love it.
I daydream about going back to shooting film exclusively, so that giving my clients beautiful prints, instead of files, is the end result. Somehow, handing over digital files makes me feel like I haven’t finished the job. I’ve left clients hanging...
To me, photography has always been about the whole process, as opposed to the sum of its parts. If I don’t have a tangible, beautiful print in my hands...what do I have? What was the point?
Are you printing your images? If not, what keeps you from doing so?
In an effort to get more beautiful prints into the hands of my wonderful clients, I’m running a print promo. The promotion is good until the end of the year. Details below:
20% off any orders of $100 or more using code: 20off100
30% off any orders of $300 or more using code: 30off300
If your gallery is no longer active but you would like to take advantage of this offer, send me an email: email@example.com
PLEASE NOTE: To receive prints prior to our holiday closing, local orders must be received by December 7. For orders that need to be shipped outside of the Oak Park/Chicago area, orders must be received by November 30.
The fine print: This offer applies to a la carte prints and print products only. Cannot be applied to digital files, print/file packages, or sessions. Cannot be applied to previous purchases. Any orders placed after the delivery deadline of December 7 will be processed and delivered after we reopen on January 7.
“Everything turns, rotates, spins, circles, loops, pulsates, resonates, and repeats.”
― Suzy Kassem
October is the busiest month for most family photographers. It can feel a bit overwhelming, at times, but when you finally reach the (almost) end, the relief is EPIC.
I have 3 more sessions to finish up the month and MANY sessions to edit, so I’ll keep this brief.
If you haven’t already scheduled your session for fall, I have bad news…you may have missed it. This week, the colors are finally bursting & in a few days, they will all be on the ground (sad trombone), plus…I am booked until December.
So, maybe you can schedule a winter session?
Enjoy the beautiful day!
Now that I’m knee deep in fall photo sessions, it feels calming to look back to a less hectic time…I mean, it was only about a month ago that I shot this beautiful family, but it seems like longer!
(October feels like a steamroller, so I’m trying to take my moments when I can.)
This session was led by an adorable 2 year old. It was a beautiful, warm, summer-like day in mid-September…these are the best days…the little breaks before the weather changes & we all need our coats & boots.
Enjoy these sunny, warm family photos!
“The best stories are like the best burgers: big, juicy, and messy.”
― A.D. Posey
Photo sessions can be hard for little people.
Let’s be honest...they can be hard for big people!
The most important thing that I want to tell my clients is: Relax. It’s only photos. We will make it through and everything will be fine. We may not get the “perfect” smile, but we will get what’s real and that is worth so much more than “perfection”.
I would argue that the real stuff IS perfection.
When we look back on our photos, we should have a sense of being there. We should be transported to that time and remember how hard or funny or sad or chaotic it was. It should fill us up and help us see how far we’ve come.
This is the real stuff. This is the good stuff.
click on an image to enlarge & scroll through entire gallery