May 4th was another gorgeous day for a wedding, and I was SO honored to be a part of it! Both the bride and groom got ready in their childhood homes, which I loved, considering they are high school sweethearts. It seemed so fitting to keep everything local, it was nostalgic, in the perfect way. Both sets of parents welcomed us into their homes, and both sides of the bridal party were a blast to photograph!
Rachael and Nick chose to do a first look and get the photos out of the way prior to their ceremony. We chose to go to a park in Oak Lawn that provided enough space for their wedding party and somewhere we could enjoy the outdoors - given that it was FINALLY a beautiful day outside!
I think, needless to say, Nick was blown away by Rachael's bridal look. She looked absolutely stunning from head to toe! Her shimmery Kate Spade Keds, her gorgeous gown and her impeccable hair and make up from Goddess Effect Artistry looked stunning!
What made the day SO effortless for us, was the close bond the bridal party had. Everyone was so willing to work with us, follow directions and were having so much fun. It was an absolute blast to work with all of them - although it made me feel a bit aged as many of them are close friends to my brother and I remember taking photos of them before prom - literally 10 years ago- with the first camera I ever had (eeek!)
Following their formal photos, we headed over to Beth Eden Baptist church where a lovely ceremony was held. Despite having done the first look, when Nick first saw Rachael, I of course started crying - he looked so incredibly happy to finally be at that moment with all his friends standing by - as well as their dog - who was the ring bearer!
....And may I add... Rachael wore the most beautiful blusher which you don't see very often anymore. I was in love!
It was onto the reception after that which was held at Chateau Del Mar in Hickory Hills. The decor was by Bling in the Barn, and everything looked so beautiful. From the unique seating chart, to the gorgeous flower wall that stood behind the head table, everything was impeccably set up for what was about to be an incredibly fun evening!
Before all the dancing and the end of the evening began, I HAD to get these two outside for golden hour - and I'm so happy I did. We went out on the golf course and finished the night with a few more photos before I sent them in to party with a TON of their closest family and friends. One thing is for sure, these two are loved!!
For this couple we stayed until the very end of the night and watched them dance, throw the bouquet, party with glow sticks - they even had McDonald's delivered.... which was a hit! The entire night was planned perfectly and everyone had a blast. To finish it off, they did a sparkler exit and then hopped on a bus to head to the city to continue the night - again with their family and friends!
It has been so much fun working with Rachael and Nick, especially seeing how far they've come and seeing them now all grown up. I am so proud of them, as they have grown into two incredible people, who prove that true love can withstand anything - time, distance - none of that really matters when you have the right person. Congratulations !!!
I had been looking forward to this day for so long - hearing about it from the bride, helping her plan and offering advice as someone who has been attending weddings for a long time . Usually, she is by my side to photograph them as my assistant, but this time she got to be the bride - and a stunning one she was! A gorgeous girl both inside and out, I've loved watching her prepare for this day and I loved seeing her get all dolled up. With the help of You Glow Girl, Chicago, she looked absolutely perfect.
What I loved most was seeing her excitement for the men in her life, not only her soon to be husband, but also their pup - who we were able to incorporate into the photos that day as well. She looks at both of these guys like they are her whole world. They both make her light up and smile like I have never seen. Brendan is a bit goofy, so photographing him had its challenges, but when it came time for her to walk down the aisle he made me cry as I saw him start to get a little emotional - watching him watch her was my favorite part of the day. (Don't worry Brianne I got the emotional shot, but I'm saving that one for the final gallery)
Following the ceremony we hopped on a trolley and took a ride to Beverly Country Club where they met 8 years ago (I think I have that number right) as caddys. It was so fun to see their old stomping grounds and take some fun photos of them in the same spot that they spent so much of their time getting to know each other. It really helped that Brendan could just pick her up and place her on this wall - I love love love how the photos up there turned out! Her train flowed so perfectly, I couldn't stop photographing!
They held their reception at Lacuna Lofts in the Pilsen neighborhood. The incredibly eclectic and unique venue made for an amazing area to photograph all the formal photos. There were so many little corners and art to photograph against - it was so different than what I am used to and the lighting was a bit of a challenge but I absolutely adore the results, and loved the challenge! I missed having her by my side, but I had an awesome fill in as my assistant that day. He made everything go so smoothly and for his first wedding as an assistant, he really impressed both myself and Brianne - and were pretty tough critics!
The reception was an absolute blast! The food was amazing, and they had macaroons from Vanille so that's pretty much where I hung out all night! Rick from Your Elite Celebration did an incredible job with the music. I am always so impressed with his professionalism and his ability to read a room and create such a fun atmosphere. It was an absolute perfect evening!
So a huge congratulations to two people I have grown to love in a very short amount of time. I did Brianne's family photos 5+ years ago and her mom told me "my daughter does photography" as many people do. But this girl has proven to be a hard worker, an amazing eye, a dedicated worker and a true friend. She is more than my assistant, she is one of the only people I trust my business with, and if her work ethic with LuvEd Photography is any sign of her dedication - Brendan, you're a lucky man! Congrats you two! Much Luv!
While I love how nicely digital images can be stored for safe keeping, it makes me a little sad how they sometimes make their big debut on social media and then are barely ever seen again. I love going through the boxes at my mom’s house of old baby photos and photos of me growing up. It’s fun to actually touch them and see the printing style of that time and I often wonder how all the littles I photograph now will view their photos when they get older, or will they?
I took a little break away from offering print products for awhile - besides the books that come with wedding and baby packages, but I’ve little by little been doing some research into what products I think are actually valuable, printed nicely, are great quality and can be more than just a dust collector. I will little by little start releasing those products - but I first wanted to show off these mini brag books.
3x3 in size, they are miniature, yet perfect. They are the perfect size to toss in a purse, a pocket, or a weekender bag. Each book holds a total of 10 photos, printed on a felt style paper that is thick, but holds color well and does not fade over time. When you open, the photos fold out like an accordion, and it is double sided, so even if displayed, there are images on both sides. The cover is wrapped in a linen fabric, which comes in almost every color.
I am not very sales woman-ey, but if I had to choose a product to get for Mothers Day - this would be it! They are the perfect size to show off wedding, grandkid, kids photos to friends at work, church and anywhere you go. They come in packs of three, so three books come in the set, all the same so you can keep one for yourself and then one for each set of grandparents.
How to order:
1.) Choose 10 photos from any of your sessions. If you have used other photographers, as long as you have a release, we can print. We can also create these using your personal photos.
2.)Email or send me those photos with your linen color (black, blue, cream, green, lavender, baby blue, orange, pink, red and brown)
The set of books is $65.00 - that includes shipping or delivery to your door. All orders must be placed by May 7th for Mother’s Day delivery!
I think it is safe to say that we are all so so sick of winter! BUT I have to admit, that I have LOVED all my sessions this winter season. I have utilized so many new, fun, exciting indoor spots to do photo sessions and it has really helped me get out of the winter funk and focus on developing my creativity and working with light even further.
But with these cold temps, it is often hard for people to visualize an indoor session so I thought I would show off some of my faves, and give some ideas for those still planning during these cold months. The Groundhog said Spring was near...but I don't always believe him :)
I have realized that not everyone knows that I have a studio - but I do in fact have a quaint little South Side studio located in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood. While it works great for sessions for little ones, newborns and very small families, I have recently expanded how I use it lately to incorporate the entire space - giving the studio less of a studio vibe and more of a life styled, brightly lit open spaced studio.
My next go to for indoor sessions are conservatories. They work really well for little ones who like to run around. They usually have fish to look at, ponds to throw pennies in, flowers to touch and smell, and room to run. In addition, the natural light works so nicely as I chase around the toddlers. I try to schedule these sessions at conservatories that are on the larger side so that we have ample opportunity to use multiple rooms and shades of green. I also shy away from some of the rooms that make it look like I tossed you on a plane to Tahiti! I still want things to look current and natural.
We are so so lucky to be surrounded by cute little downtowns and one huge downtown filled with the cutest of small business spaces. I have worked in a lot of different spaces with owners who are more than willing to allow me to use their space as long as I'm respectful. I especially love hitting up fun bakeries and coffee shops. They are such great backdrops for sessions and it isn't hard to find a place that fits your style with a little digging! This session below we kind of had to choose on a whim as the original plan didn't work out. I love how it came out, and the family was so go-with-the-flow and trusted me to make it happen. When I sense that feeling of trust, I more easily allow myself to just 'do my thing'.
Most importantly - come ready to have fun, no matter the location! A lot of people dream of the perfect outdoor session with perfect weather. But rain happens, snow happens, seasons happen, and I personally love the challenge of a fun location. You're more so coming to have an experience and I'm just there to capture the fun. See below for some other fun ideas!
- train stations - hotel lobbies
- cafes - bakeries
- libraries - conservatories
- building lobbies - work spaces (fun office settings)
- salvage shops. - candy shop
- florists - Navy Pier
- museums - malls
- bars - art galleries
It's so much fun for me to cuddle up these little babes and photograph them - but there is definitely a "finesse" (as a recent daddy recently called it) to making things go smoothly. I have had an enormous amount of experience working with these little ones, but there are some steps to take before I arrive and some questions I always get asked prior to a session that I thought I should lay out so every session can go smoothly.
For whatever package you choose, there is the option to do it in home or in the studio. 95% of my newborn sessions are done in the comfort of home, allowing for everyone to be comfortable and having everything you may need on hand. The studio is also available and I too try to make that convenient with a changing table available and some necessities -changing pads, wipes, etc. When coming to the studio there are different backgrounds to choose from, as well as a main area that gets a great amount of natural light to use as well. When I do them in home most want to know... 'will my house work?!' Yes! House, apartment, condo, studio, townhouse - we can make it work.
The best way to prepare your home is to find the areas ahead of time that get the most natural light around the time I will be visiting. In addition, find a space that you like in your home that you can use for a family photo - a bed, a couch. If you feel like your house isn't photogenic, we can also use corners and windows as a background.
You'll want to then use those areas with the most light and make them nice and cozy. You want that space or your home to be warm, as we will be dressing and undressing baby and we don't want them to be chilly! Any stuff sitting on main spaces, hide. Creams, diapers, random burp cloths, toss 'em in a closet or a corner out of site. If you have a white noise machine, have that ready in the area as well so we can distract baby with calming sounds.
Your little babe will be photographed from head to toe, so to get them nice and ready you'll want to try and clean them up from head to toe! Do not worry about the chord, as that will be hidden most of the session, but please warn me if it's bleeding, almost ready to fall off, etc. Check for toe fuzzies, nose boogies, eye boogies and dry skin. Some of this stuff can be edited in post processing, but it's always best if done before hand.
To try and get those serene little sleepy shots and keep the baby calm you want to undress them down to their diaper and wrap them in a warm and cozy blanket. Feed the baby into a 'milk coma' (as we photographers call it). Have a bottle ready on hand in case we need it, and please have a pacifier if you use one handy. If you do not use one, no problem!
If the session you choose includes the parents, note that mainly your top half will show. If you have recently delivered or are just tired - feel free to stay comfy below. Occasionally bottom half shows, but we can work around that. Even if you choose a package that parents are not part of, try and be somewhat 'ready' as occasionally the baby is most comfortable in your arms, and we have to use mommy or daddy as a prop!
Siblings are more than welcome to join in! I will work with the older sibling off and on throughout the shoot to be involved in one or many of the poses with the baby. If siblings are still tiny themselves, try to keep a snack such as puffs, smarties, m&ms or fruit snacks handy. We can use them to hide near the baby incase the older sibling is a little shy of the unknown little human that just arrived. In my world, pets are siblings too and I am happy to work with them - but just like a toddler - they like their snacks! So have a treat broken up into smaller pieces. With both, safety first. Sometimes the toddlers don't know their strength and the dogs are protective so if I feel like something isn't safe I will come up with a safer posing option involving the parents as well to get a great shot in a safe way.
Some of my packages include me bringing props and some sessions are more "lifestyle" in nature meaning they are more natural and unposed. If you choose a session that includes use of props I will bring fully cleaned and laundered blankets, baskets, wraps, hats, bows, etc. I try and bring as much as I can (tightly wound and folded into a 31 bag) as well as the rest of the gear I will need. If there is anything special you would like to use, having that laid out so I can see it clearly and come up with a plan to incorporate your props with mine. I am happy to work with anything you want to use as long as it's safe.
I have so much fun working with these little ones - but it also can sometimes not go according to plan! Babies eat a lot, fuss a lot and pee and poop a lot. Hiccups will happen, but know that I am experienced, educated and more than anything I try to provide a stress free experience whether baby is cooperating or not. Congratulations on your new little bundle, or bundle to be - I cannot wait to meet them and capture their little cuddles!