Engagement Session: Lisa & Tim

•April 15, 2011 • 2 Comments

My primary goal with every engagement shoot is to get to know my couple better and for all of us to have fun making pictures. Getting to know each couple helps me tailor my photography approach to their personalities, but this time also helps them get comfortable in front of a camera. And in every sense of the word, my session with Lisa and Tim was a success. I got the best compliment from Tim when we said good night–he thanked me for making the shoot fun for someone who finds being photographed awkward. I couldn’t ask for more than that! 

Lisa and Tim will get married in Milwaukee in the fall. We started the engagement session downtown in the loop, for a little antique, a little modern and a little gritty…  

…but also wanted to find some off-the-beaten-path locations.

I loved, loved, loved shooting at the Montrose Harbor Bird and Butterfly Sanctuary. No end to the amount of backdrop choices! And I had so much fun hiking through the brush in the golden light…

…and even more fun watching Lisa and Tim as they became naturals in front of the camera. When a couple is having fun and being genuine their pictures are naturally gorgeous.

To see more of Lisa and Tim’s engagement session, click here to view the slideshow.

Chicago Blizzard 2011: Adding to the Tapestry of Stories

•February 3, 2011 • 2 Comments

Chicago Blizzard 2011

Since the slow of the wedding season my efforts have been diverted my other projects. We’re making headway again on Lion in the Street post-production, and I’ve spent an afternoon experimenting with light at Your Shooting Space in Chicago this month. Both I hope to blog about coming up. But this week’s winter storm brought a welcome day of pure photographic fun and adventure. Stories of perilous commutes and hours of shoveling are echoing each other across the web today, and I thought I’d add to the tapestry with a few photographs of the aftermath in the Chicago neighborhood of Rogers Park. Once the last band of snow and wind lifted from the city, a photog buddy and I hit the streets to see what had transpired. To see more, hit the jump. More>>

Portraits: Nicole & Robert

•October 24, 2010 • 1 Comment

Most of the couples I work with are celebrating their engagement or wedding, and then later the beginning of their family. These are all wonderful milestones in a shared life, and that my job allows me to get to know these couples during these moments is a gift. But often couples forget to continue celebrating their relationship between the milestones. This month I had the opportunity to work with a couple who wanted to do just that, and what a gift that was to share. Nicole and Robert,  I hope you love your photography, and enjoy sharing these images with your friends and family through the holiday season and beyond.

Engagement Session: Amanda & Scott

•October 19, 2010 • 2 Comments

I’ve had several opportunities to do fall portrait shoots this month. Such a beautiful season. This week I have an engagement session slideshow to share of a couple whose chemistry with each other shines. 

Not many people would call themselves entirely comfortable in front of a camera, especially in an intimate portrait setting. It’s the photographer’s job to create an environment and relationship with each couple that puts them at ease, but couples with a pure chemistry and comfortability with each other bring that extra spark that can not be orchestrated. When a couple can let down their guard, take risks and share their personal brand of intimacy without fear – playful, comical, spicy or tender – this is when we create magic.

Amanda and Scott, your chemistry is explosive. You guys are so comfortable with each other and shared such a range. I had so much fun shooting with you, the morning was like a playground. I hope you love your images! 

Guest post on “Beyond the Studio”

•September 29, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today my post is a little off normal thread and more thoughful as I spend some time thinking about my art and what keeps me motivated. Probably something artists should muse on, if only to themselves, more often. But this particular incident was afforded to me by a friend and fellow artist, Frank Juarez. I have known and occasionally collaborated with Frank for more than a decade. He is one of the more motivated and connected artists I know, and rivals or exceeds me in the busy department. His latest endeavor is to connect artists all over the country by sharing a diverse collection of ideas and tips through guest posts on the blog Beyond the Studio. So, when Frank asked me to guest post on this blog it seemed like the perfect opportunity to spend some time thinking about what keeps me moving forward. I thought I would share with my readers a link to the post here, as the practice of experimentation is something I try to apply to art and life.

Engagement Session: Lauren & Adam

•September 22, 2010 • 2 Comments

Happy to share the latest slideshow from an Engagement Session with Lauren and Adam, a couple I met through the alumni association of one of my major departments at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. The two of them met while attending there and even shared their engagement on the steps of Voorhees Hall. I’m so happy to be able to share in this year of their lives as they plan for their wedding, and make a deeper connection with fellow alumni.

Though the wedding will be in southeast Wisconsin, we did their engagement shoot in some more abstract locations in Chicago. It turned out beautifully, even with a small location snag. I had a loading dock area all eyed-up for a nice gritty industrial contrast, only to find the area occupied by a pile of pillows and blankets when we arrived that hadn’t been there when I scouted it earlier in the week. Luckily there were a couple other backdrops in walking distance I had also scouted, so we quickly changed course. I guess that is one of the possible hiccups when shooting in the city. It didn’t even phase my good natured bride-and groom-to-be, and I feel like some of my favorites from the day came from that graffiti wall we shot near just after changing course. With a couple that happy to be together and that nimble in circumstance, they will be well prepared to face the chaos of a wedding day… and life.

Lauren and Adam, thanks for a great shoot! Hope you enjoy the photos.

Newborn photos: Cooper Stanley

•July 26, 2010 • 1 Comment

It’s an amazing experience when the people you know and love start growing their families. Can hardly believe sometimes that we are starting to raise our own little people. When did we become adults? I’m looking forward to documenting this little guy as he grows into a trouble maker, and of course feeding him some trouble maker tips. View the slideshow for photos from the newborn shoot with Cooper Stanley.

On Location: Senior Photos

•July 23, 2010 • 5 Comments

On a recent trip to the beautiful upper peninsula of Michigan I had the opportunity to do some shooting with family. My cousin, Adam, is graduating high school next year. We shot in the last two hours leading into sunset around the lake and on the lakefront property of our grandparents. I captured these primarily using the sun as a hair light, and pocket wizards to fire two off-camera strobes (side keylight and on axis fill). What’s great about what we did for his location is that not only does it mean something to him personally, but it also will be a unique location to those in his graduating class. View the slideshow from Adam’s shoot below.

Bike to Work Week and LGRAB Summer Games 2010

•June 25, 2010 • 3 Comments


Though the logical benefits are many, I have to say that I think what is compelling me lately is just the simple joy I get from biking. Every time I get on my bike, without fail, my mood is elevated. Riding my bike makes me feel like I’m 12 years old. I feel like how Phoebe runs in that one Friends episode – like a kid. After rediscovering biking last summer and then participating in Bike the Drive this May with my family, last week for the first time ever I biked to work.

Last week was Bike to Work week in Chicago, and I promised myself that if all went well, I would make an effort to bike more days a week than I take the train, for the remainder of the summer and well into the fall. Weather permitting. This being the end of the second week, I am pleased to say the bike to work experiment so far… equal parts success and adventure.

For more photos and a recap on some of the lessons learned as I began my biking adventure, hit the jump. More>>

Cookbook Project – becoming a cook

•May 31, 2010 • 1 Comment

Not having a natural inclination for cooking, I have to say I am pretty proud of myself that a month from my first post I have in fact completed four recipes. And, I have actually found myself enjoying the cooking part of the project as much as the photography and eating parts! This weekend I had the honor of cooking my grandmother’s Porcupine Meat Balls for my father and mother. Dad says they were just as good as grandma makes, so it was nice to have an experienced tasting judge. And my mother was able to teach me some helpful vegetable chopping and sauce thickening techniques.

As I photograph more recipes, the styling of the food is becoming easier and harder. In some ways, I am getting more comfortable making styling decisions. In other ways it is getting harder, because I am running out of plate ware. I want to have variety in each setting, and right now I am starting to risk repeats. Thinking I may head to a Goodwill or resale shop and pick up an eclectic selection of dishes for future shoots.  

Enjoy the photos of the new recipes after the jump, and Bon Appetite! Click here>>

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