Chicago Maternity Session | Montrose Beach

There are a million places I’d love to visit, a million beaches I’d love to venture to. Sometimes I wish I lived out West to have the ocean and mountains as our backdrop. But, Chicago is a great city and although we don’t have the ocean or mountains we do have an amazing lakefront and I am thrilled to shoot here for sessions. These new parents to be were all for capturing this special time for them at the beach. I had the best time with them and it was a pleasure to capture their love and this mama’s beautiful growing belly.

Chicago Family Session | Garfield Park Conservatory Family Session |

I love Greenhouses and Conservatories. I’m obsessed with greenery and plants and I wish that I was able to keep some alive longer than a couple months. lol. The Ferns were amazing here and the warmth of the rooms felt soooo good! After a long long long winter the warmth and humidity was definitely welcomed. It felt like for a moment that I had gone to a different state or country with this family. I met them last year and when they told me they were expecting, I was so so excited to work with them again. It was a perfect afternoon and I loved the energy that surrounded them.

Lifestyle Newborn Session | Chicago, IL | Chicago Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

This session was a breath of fresh air for me. It’s so cold here in the Midwest and when these two had their little one early on the coldest day of the year, I wasn’t sure if they would still be up for their session. But, after settling into their new roles as first time parents they were ready the next week for their session. I have a small sun-room in my home that I use for sessions if clients choose to not use their own home. It’s cozy and just as if I was in their own home, I capture the very essence of why we are here. To capture them loving on their little one. It’s such a traditional time and it passes so so quickly. I love all the closeness and details. They were so so comfortable and laid back and made my job so easy. I hope you enjoy seeing their joy as much as I did capturing it.

The Art of Self-Portraits | Chicago Photographer

Let me be very clear. Although my self-portrait journey has been one of the most rewarding acts of self love I’ve ever given myself, it has not been easy. 2018 marked my second year of getting behind the frame. Initially, when I started this it was merely to be present in photographs so my kids had proof that I was there. The thought of my kids rummaging through photographs after I’m long gone and wishing that there was more made my heart ache. But, during that first year of this journey I realized that I didn’t want the images to just represent my presence. I wanted them to speak of who I am. I wanted them to depict a time of when I was happy, or playful, or sad. I wanted them to tell my story or at least represent me in a way that my kids or family may not have known.

This year I did not complete the 52 weeks like I did the previous year. Life got in the way and it was so much harder for me to stay on track. But….I do think that this year the self-portraits took on a very different meaning for me. When I did get behind the camera it was usually because there was some kind of pull to be there. It was my voice when I didn’t want to speak. It was my secret space to heal when I was hurting. It was self-love when I didn’t feel like I was capable of giving an ounce of that to myself. I also found that my daughter would come and ask to be apart of my sessions as before I would have to ask her. So I am so happy that there are so many with her in them. I think she feels a sense of bonding when we do these. She even directs them sometimes. I freakin love that. I also noticed that I didn’t pick my self apart as much as I did last year. Maybe I’m on the road to self acceptance, maybe that’s what this thing is secretly teaching me. Whatever it is, I know that there is a crazy pull to keep these going and in this new year I hope to complete the 52 weeks. I’ve said this before but I am incredibly grateful to my P52radness group and for all the ladies I’ve met through there. Here’s to the new year and to a fresh start on this profound journey!

Chicago Family Session | Fall Family Session | Chicago Family Photographer

Ohhh Fall has been showing it’s beauty these last few weeks. I met this family a few years ago and their kiddos are always a blast. It has been one of the coldest and gloomiest Falls that the Chicago area has had for awhile, so when the sun makes an appearance I feel so drawn to capture it’s warmth. I always enjoy spending time with this family, and I can’t get enough of their kids energy. I wish it was contagious. lol. I need some!

Evanston Beach Family Session | Chicago Photographer |Emotive Family Sessions

Gloomy days are my jam. There’s a certain mood that accompanies the overcast skies and dreary weather. I loooove it! I feel that most people are scared of this weather when they have a session scheduled….don’t be!! The magic happens within your families. The weather is just the setting of your story. This mama is a crazy talented photographer (Adridelacruz Photographer) and when she contacted me, I was so freakin excited to work with her and capture her family. It’s been so rainy here in Chicago and after already one reschedule, I was afraid that it was going to happen again. It was calling for rain the day of our session and overcast skies. Thankfully, the rain stayed away and we embraced the overcast day. It reminded me of the beautiful photographs I’ve seen of Oregon. To be honest, there was so much love within this family that it probably wouldn’t have mattered if it was pouring. I left like a kid at Christmas…..and when I came home to this gallery my heart was so full. Perfect gloomy day. Beautiful family. Dream session.

Family Session | Evanston Lighthouse Beach | Chicago Photographer

One of the best things about this job is being able to meet clients and over the years be able to call them friends. I love to see my families grow and I love to see all the changes within their tribe. This family right here has been with me for years, and they have the sweetest kiddos. This is the first time we ventured to the beach. It was absolutely perfect. The kids were in loooove with the water and sand. Some of the best captures of a family is with them just…being. Just in the moment. Love these guys so much!

Lifestyle Newborn Session | Chicago, IL | Chicago Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

Sweet Sweet Baby boy. I always love meeting the new addition to the family. This sweet family is always a pleasure to work with, and I’m so glad that they welcomed me into their home. I love these sessions! Originally, when I spoke with mom, she opted to not do the lifestyle because they were remodeling. Then she ended up changing her mind, which I’m so glad she did. It was a perfect example that life isn’t perfect, and we don’t all have these non lived in homes that instagram and facebook tell us. Remodels are never done, kids makes messes, beds are sometimes left undone, dishes may be in the sink, etc. etc. etc. the list can go on and on. But that’s just it, real Life is the best thing to document. The best thing to keep those memories fresh. It’s honest, and it tells your story. That in itself is perfect.

Family Session | Evanston Beach Session | Chicago, IL Photographer

Capturing families are my jam, but when a client asks if we can focus on capturing her and her husband because it’s their 10 year anniversary I am all in! This family is pretty amazing and it was so much fun being able to get mom and dad alone for some alone shots. Beach sessions are the best, and this beach has never disappointed.

Traverse City Michigan getaway | Beach all day everyday | Chicago Photographer

We love Michigan! This was our second time traveling to Traverse City. It was my daughters first time. We live in Chicago and are about 5 hours away. The drive is not too bad and it is well worth it. We explored 9 beaches while we were there. To say that we were beachin hard is an understatement. haha!! We loved all of them! We ventured to beaches in Traverse as well as outside of the city. We explored Sleeping Bear dunes, Empire, Honor, Geln Arbor, and made a pit stop in Ludington on our way back. It was pretty amazing. Of all the beaches our favorite was Platte River Beach. This was in Honor, MI and it is where the River meets the lake. We had a 2 hour lazy river float and it ended right at the beach where we stayed the rest of our afternoon. 

We will be back. Michigan was absolutely beautiful, and it was so much fun to explore.

Beautiful Mom & Son beach session | Chicago Family photographer

This beautiful mom and son session seriously gave me all the feels. There is something so indescribably heartfelt when you see yourself in your clients. I saw myself in her...i saw myself in them. I remembered when my son was this small. I remembered the embrace, the playfulness, and the nurturing. Time passes so fast, I say this alllll the time. Only because I've seen it, with my own son. I'm incredibly grateful that I get to witness and capture these memories for another family. It brings me peace, and for a moment's time it brings me back. I know she will love these and look back someday, and remember this day, and that embrace, and the way he looks at her.  The beach was absolutely perfect to capture this connection. I'm so glad that we were able to bottle these memories up for them. It was a perfect evening, to say the least. 

Not my first rodeo.

I kept my Ella home from school last week. Not because she was sick or because there was some emergency, but because It was going to be 83 degrees and I just wanted to spend time with her. Now, to some of you this may not be a big deal, and I have friends that take their kids out of school here and there for vacations, etc. and do not bat an eye. But, I've never done this. In all the years that my son was in elementary school and even high school for that matter, I've never kept him home unless he was sick. Why am I telling you this? It's because I know all too well what it's like to go through (almost) all the stages of parenthood. My son is 19. He's an adult now. He makes his own decisions, and is learning how to manage his own time. I see him, and it completely baffles me as to how he got here. Where is my baby? Where is my toddler, my 3rd grader, my grade school graduate, my high school grad? It goes so so fast. I know that I did my very best with being as present with him as I possibly could. I was young, I was in school, and worked a full time job. We still went on adventures and we still spent loads of time together. I'm so happy that even at 20, I knew how precious time was. But, it was such a hard balance. And I know sometimes I failed. I am in a different season of my life now, things are different, yet so much the same. I am still in school (went back 4 years ago), work a part-time job, and own my photography business. Life is busy. So busy. But I don't want to miss a thing. I already know all the seasons of parenthood and how fast they pass. This is not my first rodeo.  So If taking the day off here and there to soak in the sun with my babe is what it takes, then I'll gladly throw my rules out the window. She was so happy and it was such a needed break for the both of us. I let her explore and just watched and soaked her all in. 

Lifestyle Newborn Session

I have had the sweetest lifestyle newborn sessions the last few weeks, and it has given me the craziest baby fever! The little newborn feet, the flaky skin, the softest wisps of hair. I miss all of those things. I know that this chapter is closed for our own family, so I am so so  grateful that I get to capture this time for other families. Not to mention, I get my newborn fix in! This family had the sweetest family dog that was so gentle with the new addition. My heart seriously couldn't even take it! They also had such an adorable little girl that...well is pretty evident she'll  be the best big sister. Loved this session and this family! 

Maternity Session

This is one of my favorite maternity sessions from last year. I'm getting so excited for warmer weather and thought I'd share this one. This is my best friend and her beautiful family. She had her rainbow baby not to long ago and he is the sweetest little boy. I was so honored to be able to freeze this moment for them and for their little ones to cherish later in life. 

I had a conversation with my mom not to long ago about why she was not in a lot of photographs when she was younger. She had mentioned all the common things that you often hear; "I hated my teeth, I don't think I photograph well, we just didn't take a lot of pictures", etc. etc, etc. But the funny thing is, she says now she regrets it. We searched for photographs for when she was pregnant with me and I think we found one. Only one. When I look at old photographs of her, I don't care at all about all those things that bothered her then. And to be honest, she no longer cares about those things either.  I wanted to see how she "carried" me in her belly, or how she cared for my older brother while having another on the way. I wanted to see her life as a young mama. That's a piece of her that I don't really know. 

It's so important to get in the frame. I'm truly an advocate for this.  I know we don't always feel our best when we are expecting. We feel large, swollen, uncomfortable, not ourselves. But your babies won't care, I can promise you that. Document this special time, mama's. 

Lifestyle Newborn Session

One of my favorite things to capture is the welcoming of the "new addition" to a family. These sessions seriously have my heart. I know when I had both of my babies those first few weeks were such a blur. I am so grateful for some of the snap shots that my parents took at that time for me. I will cherish them forever. I look back and It's funny how fast you forget the little details. The umbilical cord, the newborn flaky skin, how tiny they are in your arms, and how a sibling looks at their brother/sister with fresh eyes. These are moments I now embrace and love to capture for other families. I loved this session for those exact reasons, and it was pretty amazing watching big sister interact with her new little sidekick.