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!
Over the summer I made my 15 year old niece lay in a tub of milk at my home. We adorned the tub with flowers and I was determined to get to the bottom of how to photograph these sessions perfectly so I could offer them - as I think they are so beautiful (if done correctly)! We had a few mishaps, but it was a good learning experience and a great laugh and I took notes on how to do it properly and what to do incase anyone ever actually booked one.
Along came this gorgeous mama to be who wanted to do this and I was looking so forward to it. The session. in my opinion, went flawlessly. It was easy, comfortable, and I absolutely loved the challenge and loved the results even more.
We didn't want to make it appear like this was a gender announcement so we kept the flowers to a minimum. I went with darker hued pinks and minimal florals so it didn't take away from the overall image. I also added eucalyptus stems which photograph beautifully through the translucent milk and add a little greenery to the shot without again, overtaking the overall image.
I think our biggest issue was which dress to wear - white or black?! While she particularly loves to wear black, the white gave off a more maternal vibe. I told her to try them both, as we had ample time. Changing after laying in a. tub of milk was probably the hardest part - but she was able to beautifully wear both dresses and I still cannot figure out which color I prefer - she looks absolutely stunning in them both!
What I love about these is how easily you can keep the same look, but tailor it to each individual mama, You can absolutely make it into a gender specific shot, or you can keep it neutral and simple. There are so many varieties of things you can do and any type of tub can work if you have someone photographing it who can control the lighting, visualize and work with angles.
I'm so excited for this gal, and her growing family and a huge thank you to her for letting me use these to show off. It can be a very personal photo shoot and I appreciate her trust in me to take the lead and use the shots for everyone to see. For anyone else interested in these, I now offer them as a single session or a bundle to do as a maternity session, and after the baby is born. Tomorrow I'll be doing a baby milk bath and will hopefully have those soon to show off as well! I am absolutely loving all the things I've done thus far in 2019 - I can feel my self growing and learning and trying new things - can't wait to see what's next!
Wedding season began early this year for LuvEd Photography - and I was so excited to get this year's weddings started with this lovely pair of brides. I was ready to photograph near the lake freezing that day - who knew it was going to be a 50 degree day! I definitely didn't need the stock pile of hand warmers I purchased! It was a beautiful day in terms of weather and every little detail otherwise - as you can see, lovely from the very beginning.
I had met Liz and Courtney briefly, at a previous wedding I photographed, and from the moment we (Brianne and I) arrived to photograph the detail and getting ready photos we could tell this was going to be a great day. The dresses were stunning, the details were perfect and the brides were incredibly easy and fun to work with. They fully trusted us to do what we needed to do, and I am adoring the results!
Liz and Courtney opted to do a 'first look', which we did right at their venue, Theater on the Lake. This was a new venue for us, but I instantly fell in love with it. While it has the iconic Chicago views, there are so many elements that make it an absolutely magnificent space to hold your event. My favorite little nook was the stair case where I spent some time doing some detail shots and where we set up the first look. I loved the color, the simplicity and the privacy for the first time they would see each other.
Their bridal party consisted of all family, and with both coming from big families, it made the perfect party size. We kept it mostly casual - not too posed and everyone was so incredibly nice to work with. Not only the bridal party, but their family and friends were incredibly kind and so fun to photograph.
The decor for the ceremony was UHHMAZING -- truly truly something out of a movie. I think I took around 500 images of decor alone. The dramatic lighting and evening scene outside made it feel so intimate, even though it was in a large space with a lot of guests. Every detail was perfectly placed, and meshed with the perfect sound from the harp, it was a dream. I loved seeing the guests faces as they arrived, completely in awe!
The evening continued just as lovely as the rest of the day. They had a wonderful meal, a visit from the Shannon Rovers, ample time on the dance floor and the gorgeous Chicago skyline to adore amongst fire tables perfectly placed outside in the mild January weather. We are so humbled that we were trusted to capture the memories for this couple, and cannot wait to put together their album of this absolutely perfect day. Thank you to all the vendors that were also, so lovely to work with :
Venue: Theater on the Lake
Wedding Coordinator: Designer Event Chicago
Caterer: Unforgettable Edibles
Band: Steve Edwards Orchestra
Florist: K. La Designs
A very sincere congratulations to the Mrs. and Mrs. - I am so excited to be doing weddings so early in the year, and if this event was just the beginning, I think it's going to be a picture perfect 2019!