STOP. It's Pammer Time.

Well folks, I'm back. But probably not. haha! I have so many weddings to edit before christmas but I wanted to blog a little bit and this wedding was a total blast so I gotta put up some pictures. 

This was in October in Amanda's parents' yard and it was a beautifully RAINY fall day. But we didn't let that put a damper on us and we had a great time. 

We started the day split so Seth was with Dan and the guys. They had rented a huge old house here in our town where they all got dressed and hung out and its huge covered porch came in handy in the downpour. More on that. I love that Dan made time to have a moment with his mom and give her a present. I'm such a sucker for parent-child moments but honestly, they are so important. Too often I see brides or grooms with about a million attendants who distract attention from the parents. So all that to say, just make time for your parents. 

And I was with the girls. ALSO SIDENOTE-I recently attended a workshop and my all time fav photographer said not to blog more than 40 images. WHAT???? I seriously wanted to post every picture I took of the bride and groom with their attendants. It was so funny. But I skipped it to keep it short and sweet. (I still chose 80+ picture...oops.)

So I was with the girls and they are seriously hilarious. So so funny. I'm going to keep my eye on Facebook and see if they check in to places in town for their get togethers and then just happen to show up and hang out.....

So we knew the rain was coming so we ran out and busted some photos in front yard before it hit. We also did the first look right there so we could jump on the bus. I love in the first look photos you can see my photo and Seth's photo of the same moment when Amanda gave her groom a flirty little look. 

So we took off for downtown but before we even hit the main drag, the rain started. We had some cute little bubble umbrellas so we hit the ivy wall that Amanda really liked and then we headed over to the house for some photos inside and under cover. You can see the raindrops in some of the photos. Seth and I were pretty soaked but it was so worth it! 

So am I overwhelming you with photos yet??!?!! Sorry I just can't narrow it down any further!! But now it's time to get married. Amazingly the rain stopped as the bridal party lined up and then as the ceremony started, it poured! It was a beautiful ceremony incorporating many Jewish traditions and a big Mazel Tov to the newlyweds!! (Also, possibly my favorite walking down the aisle photo ever. FRAMER! Dad needs that photo!)

And then the sun....The sun emerged and the weather was perfect the rest of the night. It enabled us to get outside for a few moments. We took some family pictures by the barn and a few with the sun before the party began. I don't post a lot of posed family pictures on here because they are all the same really and not super indicative of our style but also they are so important. Don't skip on taking time to do some family photos. Try not to just rush through for the sake of it. But take a moment and give your mom/dad/brother/sister/grandparent a hug and a kiss and a "love you". These aren't the most artistic photos of any day but they are so important. (also that first one was a test shot and gawd, Amanda is gorgeous.)

Party time!! Due to said image limit I didn't choose photos of everything but just to give you an overview of the celebration we had for Amanda & Dan. It was pretty epic and the fact that they stayed up on those chairs for the entire Hora was impressive! :) 

WHAT.A.NIGHT. 

If you follow us on Facebook or instagram, you'll know that occasionally I talk about a picture that I want taken of me/my family/my kids. Here is another one. This little guy was so good all day and was loving dancing and I just love this picture so much and I hope this little guy cherishes this photo of him and his grandpa (I think) for years. These are the kinds of photos I think are so important. So much more important than shoes and flowers and invitations which is why I choose to showcase them. The details of this weddings were spectacular and the couple will have photos of the details in their photos. But I want people to hire us because we see THIS. THIS IS OUR REASON. 

The fact that this little guy will be getting married someday and they will talk about how he was in a wedding when he was a toddler. They will pull out the pictures and he will see this picture and feel loved. Ultimately that is what we want for all of you. To capture the love. I hope you see and feel it in this wedding, even if you don't know the people because it's there. And we hope you hire us to your wedding or for a family session so we can capture it for you too.

Thanks A&D-you guys are the best. The absolute best. And whenever you are in town, you know we are down for a beer. :) 

Fall is the most wonderful.....ly busy time of year!

I read a funny quote that fall is to photographers what April is to accountants. haha so true. Be nice to a photographer in October. 

We have had a CRAZY amazing fall so far, except that it's been 90 degrees. What gives, Mother Nature? Not cool. I need some cozy fall weather and boots and apple cider donuts. 

Anyway, we had 9 weddings in September and are going on a double wedding weekend at Starved rock Friday/Saturday this week. AND we have had family/engagement/seniors photos booked for the last 3 weeks straight, every night. So we are bogged down over here and I am just trying to cull and edit and get a couple posts and deliver galleries without blogging. SO, check out our Facebook or instagram to see lots of recent fall pictures. And I'll post a few below for ya!! 

Thanks for checking out our work. Hope to dig out from our to do list next week when we have a little breather!!

Tracey & Laura :: Starved Rock Summer Wedding Utica IL Wedding Photographer

It is fun to blog this wedding because I feel transported back in time to this gorgeous day. There was a special excitement in the air for these two college sweethearts to tie the knot AND move back to the midwest. I could feel the joy and happiness from their families and it was fun to play a small role in their day. We were thrilled to be their photographers. 

Tracey & Laura had their wedding at Starved Rock Lodge in Utica, IL (Oglesby technically I think). Here is a little vendor shout out:

Flowers- The Flower Bar

DJ- Get up and Dance

Cake- Mo @ Starved Rock 

Officiant-Hmmm, I don't remember. I'll find out! :) 

We began with getting ready photos. I, Mary went with Laura and Seth went with Tracey. What's funny is we didn't plan the reading letters photo or the pinning corsage photos but I love that we took them opposite ways so as I put them in a collage they were facing. It's the little things that thrill me. haha. 

We did a first look for the ladies on the patio before we headed out for a little hike. I like the first look because you get to spend more of the day together. It doesn't feel as rushed and I think you get time together. But we won't ever force a first look. The couple decides, however, if you want to go out into the park,  you gotta do one at this venue. :) After a nice moment together, we went to Illinois Canyon. The ladies said they liked trees and nature more than the waterfall/canyon look so I like this canyon for that. It's an easy walk and I love the creek and the trees. The sun couldn't decide if it wanted to be out or behind a cloud but it was lovely back on the trail. 

I love playing little games with the couple and the wedding party. It makes it fun, gets everyone laughing and makes their smiles genuine, even with a camera in front of them. :) 

There are a couple weeks when the sunflowers are out at Mattheissen Park and we hit the week. They are in full sun so it's hot at the field in the day so we ran over for a couple pictures and the headed back to the lodge. 

Back at the lodge, we did some family pictures on the patio. I put together a little collage so you can see some of the family pictures we do. This usually takes about 20 minutes since I am organize and what's the nice word for bossy? Oh yea, ASSERTIVE. :0 

They both had their brothers as their men of honor, which I love since I did the same thing with my brother 13 years ago, so we did some hugging shots. :) 

Ok ok ok so I don't usually post a lot of detail shots. We are not detail photographers. It is not our focus. It is not our jam. Do we take those shots? YES. But I don't post a ton of them because I want clients to hire us for what we DO DO. (haha dodo.) Besides making awesome poo jokes, we focus on the people, the candids, the smiling and laughing. BUT this wedding was SO GORGEOUS so I gotta post a couple....

And now, it was time to get married. Tracey & Laura walked together to the ceremony site, which I also LOVE because it's a few minutes when the realness starts to kick in and I love seeing the interaction when that happens. Last kiss as Miss and on to becoming Mrs. 

And then back to the lodge to celebrate and celebrate we did. It was such a fun night as everyone danced the night away. The speeches were so amazing and made me laugh and cry. Tracey's brother made a bar graph of favorite-ness in the eye of the parents and it was hysterical.  I am honestly so glad to have met these two beautiful ladies and be able to celebrate with them as they begin their marriage. They are super sweet, caring and joyful people and we are glad they are back in the midwest so we will get to see them when they are back in IL. :) 

Congrats you two! We could not be more thrilled for you and we wish you a LONG & HAPPY life together! :) 

 

Bloomingdale Golf Club Wedding Photographer :: Bloomingdale, Chicago Suburbs, IL Photographer

Nathaly and Joe had a GORGEOUS wedding day, surrounded by so much love. 

Vendor Shout Outs:

Hair/Make up: Tamara Makeup & Hair Artistry

Florist: Blue Jane Iris

DJ: Music by Design

Venue: Bloomingdale Golf Club

They each dressed in their homes with their parents and siblings and honestly, I just loved it. It was so sweet to see them with their parents as they prepped to get married. 

We then headed over to Daniel the Prophet Church which is a beautiful church. All those Facebook fans will know that they had the three things I love in a Catholic wedding: a balcony, a bubble exit, and when they lean in to talk to each other. :) 

We did their pictures at Bloomingdale Golf Club. It is beautiful out there. They drove us out to this bridge which was pretty but the lake was big so we had to stand very far away! :) Then Nathaly surprised Joe by taking off the tulle skirt and revealing a different dress! It was awesome and his reaction was priceless! 

The above picture is Joe's brother in law and his little daughter. He was walking with her and having the cutest little conversation and he kept calling her his miracle. It was so sweet. I just grabbed this picture (on the left) and thought, it won't be long till he's walking her down the aisle. I'm such a sap but I always think about my kids on wedding days now. I'm sure 25 years will fly by. :)

Anyway, the newlyweds had a great entrance and we straight to the cake cut and their first dance. 

I am putting these couple photos out because I love to showcase some candids. I love how Joe bent down to chat with his niece and then walked with her back to the table. You can see the videographer moving into get a shot of the cake, which is fine. I like to show these pictures because even if a shot isn't perfect (such as videographer) we still include them because we know you will want them. :) Also, while there is nothing wrong with the videographer going into to get a shot of the cake (and maybe he also caught this moment), I like to illustrate how we tend to focus on the people rather than the stuff. :) There are a ton of awesome, detail/editorial photographer out there, but we aren't one of em. 

And now.....we celebrate. A few lovely toasts and the dancing began. The room looked amazing after dark and I love how the windows reflected in the inside uplighting. 

Summer Family Pictures at Brunner Forest Preserve

My, (Mary's) parents live in Algonquin so occasionally we shoot up in the Northwest Suburbs. We had donated to a fundraiser and the Walsh family won the certificate but then we come to learn that they are from Ottawa! Wild! What a small world. We ended up doing the session up at the Brunner Family Preserve in Algonquin, all the while talking about Ottawa and the ever wonderful and famous Bianchi's pizza. :) 

What a beautiful family! We had so much fun with these pictures!! Hopefully this gives you a glimpse into a family session. If you are looking to get family pictures this fall, you need to get on the calendar asap! :) 

LGBTQ wedding at Starved Rock Lodge Utica IL :: Gay Wedding Photographer Illinois

{Disclaimer: Gay weddings are not a different category from straight weddings but we use extra terms simply for google search to find us so more couples get to our site. See our post about it here. But I guess the truth is, gay weddings are a little bit different. There is a special emotion in the air for a gay couple getting married. There is a special joy about finally being able to celebrate two people who love each other who previously couldn't celebrate it officially. Seth & I are honored to be a part of a gay couple's wedding and will continue to fight for equality for all. }

VENDOR SHOUT OUT: Finding Eminence (florist), Guys on the Radio (DJ), Starved Rock Lodge (venue), Jane Schomas (Officiant), Mo @ Starved Rock (cake).

NOW: Kevin & Stewart. Oh man, what a day. First of all, we met a month ago at their engagement session (Have you seen it? Cat shirts. GO SEE IT.) We hit it off and knew we were going to have so much fun at the wedding. We arrived at Starved Rock to find the great hall looking green with amazing florals from Finding Eminence Farm. Moss and wood rounds and wildflowers and the entire place was amazing. We shoot 20 weddings a year at Starved Rock and I honestly can't remember one that seemed so earthy. I loved it and it really reflected these two. 

We had decided to go to Kaskaskia Canyon. It's a pretty easy hike and while it is usually muddy, it was pretty dry. I was a little worried about it being crowded like it was when we got back there. So we took a few by the wall and waited for it to clear out. Then we had about 15 minutes all to ourselves except for some random noises coming from the cave.....

There are a couple little spots along the way where we can stop and get a photo op. Seth likes these roots so we stopped there and then at Council Overhang. 

Since they had wildflower favors, we had to swing by the field. (They burnt this prairie early this year and it's starting to come back.....) I think I am going to actually take my favor out there and throw mine in the field. Then I can call it the Smith-Valetine field and all future couples can thank these two for their pretty flower field pictures!! 

Time to get married! While I was editing these pictures I teared up a bit thinking about what these men said to each other. I think it's because as a parent this is what I want my children to find in a partner, someone who makes them come alive and be fully themselves. Someone who makes them feel loved and appreciated and supported. These two found it and are it for each other.

Back to cocktail hour and then cutting the cake. Good thing too because it was reeeeeeally hard to wait to eat a cupcake. A cupcake??? Sh-yea, right, are you mental? I had all of them. :) And they were amazing. 

Here was one of my favorite parts of the day. They took a minute to just talk about each other and thank each other. I LOVED THIS. Kevin knocking on wood was my favorite. :) Here's to many happy years together. Keep thanking each other. Keep bragging about each other. 

And then we danced the night away. It was such a great day that really focused on their relationship. Although it looked beautiful and amazing, the day felt like it was all about Stewart and Kevin. It was a lovely day to celebrate their love. And in the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE. 

Mike & Chelsea

Another day another wedding at Starved Rock but this one was extra special for two reasons: 1. Chelsea works for Starved Rock and we know her since we are alllllllways there and 2. the groom didn't want to see the bride until the ceremony. We hadn't done that in awhile but it is always fun. 

So we started with some getting ready photos and then the girls around the lodge. Going hiking in the park is fun but it's a lot of work and if you don't want to do that, the lodge has some beautiful spots!

If the couple doesn't want to see each other, that means I do them each separately as well as individuals with their parents and siblings. Then we just have a few group photos after the ceremony and can focus most of our time on their portraits. We had a really good time with this wedding party too. They were all awesome. Some fun stuff happened with these guys.....

Usually before we had to the ceremony, we can take a few details photos while everyone hides and rests (or has a beer at the bar!!). I loved the flower that Emilie at Flowers Plus in Streator did. The mantle, the bouquet, the centerpieces all looks gorgeous. I really loved the trail mix favors as well. Perfect for Starved Rock!!

Time to get married!! I like having the dad and bride stand back but they had to stand waaaaay back since Mike hadn't seen Chelsea yet. I love dad standing back there holding the train. It was a short and sweet ceremony with a little hiccup which made everyone laugh at the perfect time when they about to start the tears. It was perfect and so sweet. 

A couple group shots. Again, these guys had me laughing so hard and the girls were making chelsea smile so well!!

And then we had 45 minutes for pictures and I think we got done in about 30 and had a few minutes to spare. We have some spots we like to use that are out of the way of hikers. We like to get the couple away from everything and just let them have a few quiet moments together.....with our cameras clicking from behind the bushes......

And then it was time to party. Some cake, some awesome toasts, some amazing dinner and we were off to the races. Guys on the Radio had awesome uplights which I love for pictures. They really make things pop! 

Congrats to Mike & Chelsea and their families! What a perfect June wedding! We had a great time and look forward to being photographers turned friends. :) 

Ottawa - Marseilles -LaSalle Family Pictures : Illinois Portrait Photographer

I haven't posted a family portrait session in awhile! At least, not on the bloggity. I post on Facebook a lot more even though Facebook limits our posts. Sidenote: comment and like posts from small business pages on Facebook. It really, really helps boost our posts without us having to pay $10 everytime. :) 

Back to it, I am so glad to share this beautiful family with you and especially glad these are my friends. They are such a sweet and loving family and we are so happy to live life alongside them. 

If you are looking to get family pictures, look no further. (JK-there are lots of awesome togs out there. But if you happen to like our style, yay!) We are SO CLOSE to giving another $500 to a family fund recipient! All family session deposits go into a fund for families going through adoption, surrogacy, fertility treatments or any other expensive way to expand their family. So if you want to get on our calendar, get some pictures with your beautiful children, AND help out a family who wants what you have, shoot me a line. 

OK-on to the pictures. 

Here you go. Norems, we sure love you guys!

Chicago Catholic Wedding & Michigan Shores Club Reception

We don't go downtown too often and yet this spring we found ourselves with two chicago weddings in a month!! We don't love the traffic or the crowds or the expense, but damn, Chicago has some beautiful places to shoot! :) 

This wedding took place at St. Francis Xavier in WIlmette. It is a beautiful church and the bride teaches at their school so it was extra special. In fact, some of her students even sang and it was just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen!

The bride dressed at the hotel and the groom dressed/bowled (yeah, it's like that) at the Michigan Shores Club. Charlie from Charlie Hilbrand Films met me to film the girls getting ready and I am so excited to see his video. I was so appreciative of his attitude and I think we made a great team to capture this moment.

At the church, the girls were hanging out in the back room and the windows, while beautiful, gave it a yellow glow. I used this opportunity to get a cool shot of the flowers with the yellow. :) We moved Karen into the hall for her to read her letter and it ended up being the coolest thing. Then Karen took a minute to see her dad and I love when we can make this happen. I like to throw mom in the shot too and give you a few minutes together to breathe in the moment. Then it's time for a special walk down the aisle. 

I mentioned it on Facebook, but Karen's dad was able to be at her wedding and escort her down the aisle because of a generous organ donation. I'm tearing up just writing that. I love that Karen & Rob made sure to make special mention and offer prayers for the donor's grieving family that they would feel comfort and peace knowing they enabled this family to have this oh so special day. Please, random reader, look at your license and make sure you are a donor. And a thank you to those who do donate and their families. It's such a gift. I mean, look at this dad and his only daughter. 

Knowing that the church was special to Karen & Rob, we did a few extra ones around the grounds and I am so glad we did. It is a beautiful place and I know it will be a centerpiece for their life and family as it grows. 

Then down by the lake. Since it was a gorgeous day there were so many people there. (To be fair about 30+of them came on the trolley with us!) but I had to clone out a lot of people. :) We tried to get a few with the lake behind them but because we were so far away it was a little challenging. Thankfully we had this grove of trees so we got some there. All of the picture were taken in about a 10' square. :) 

So I hardly ever post detail photos. Maybe a couple. The dress and shoes usually but not too often. Mainly because I don't want to attract couples who want lots of details pictures. (That's an entire post I need to make.) We focus on the people over the stuff. We just aren't editorial photographers. BUT Michigan Shores Club is freaking gorgeous. So I have a FEW to post here.... don't get used to it. :) 

The toasts were so heartfelt & lovely. And then the first dances. It was pretty packed in the room because so many people love Karen & Rob and I hope they remember how many people came to celebrate them!

I have already posted SO MANY pictures because this day was so full of love so I just couldn't pick out reception dancing photos! But there was lots of dancing and fun to celebrate the newlyweds!

So that's a wrap for Chicago for the spring. I don't think we will be downtown again for a while but it is beautiful and for a couple like this, we'd be up for it! :) Congrats to these families and we hope you enjoy the pictures and remember this beautiful day for years to come!

Vendor shout out:

St. Francis Xavier Church Wilmette

Planner: Anna, Elle Rose Events

Videographer: Charlie Hilbrand Films

Hair/Make Up: Mario Triccoci, Old Orchard

Flowers: Four Finches

Band: High Society Orchestra

Cake: Michigan Shores Club

The Huggenstatters :: Central IL family photographer

I love those Facebook quizzes where you answer all kinds of strange trivia about yourself. A lot of them are about who you were as a child or teenager. Often times they ask who have you known the longest. Here is my answer: Leslie. I love that Facebook has kept us connected all these years and that I can see her family and she can still be answers to my questions. 

I love our family session with the Grabs every year. The kids are hilarious and it's so fun to see my old friends. Delilah is really a crack up and she keeps me on my toes. This year, Leslie, decided to go big and fancy so they dolled up and off to the Soderstrom Castle we went. 

It was so fun and the kids were so good with lots of hugging!

Les-I love that we still laugh together and remember all the good times. I'll love you forever. LYLAS, mar

Family sessions are super fun and chill. We just wander around and take lots of pictures. We play some games and sing some songs and just capture your family as they are. I love seeing pictures that totally show their little personalities. They usually last about an hour and they come with a bad day guarantee. Little ones just sometimes have an off day and despite my best paw patrol efforts, they can't be encouraged to be in the pictures. If that happens, we call it and reschedule. It happens to even the best kids. :) So get on the calendar and get in the picture with your family! :) 

Nature Engagement Session :: by Associate Photographer :: Stephanie

So you might know, we have an associate photographer, Stephanie, and her husband, Jared, taking weddings for us for 2017. It's been awesome. We have so many inquiries that we can't keep up and it's great to have another trustworthy and amazingly talented team to serve more couples. I am in the process of blogging their first s.m|p wedding from a couple weeks ago but Stephanie sent me a couple from her engagement session with Hollie and Josh and I HAD TO POST! I love them!

Stephanie said she had so much fun with these two and thought it was special how encouraging and loving Josh was to Hollie during the session. (We photographers notice those little things) Like how Josh was constantly telling her that she is beautiful and that they just seemed to gel together. WHICH IS OBVIOUS once you see these pictures. 

Without further ado, here is a sneak peek at engagement pictures by Stephanie:

(And if you want Stephanie and Jared to shoot your wedding/engagement-let me know!)

Madonna del Strada & Hotel Allegro Chicago Wedding Photography

It's difficult to even begin the process of blogging this wedding. I usually end up with about 100 pictures to showcase the day, and I have over 160 chosen for this wedding. It's hard to even find the words to put with this amazing, unique couple that weren't said at the wedding. So instead of starting with Ruth & Paul, I'm going to start with Ruth and me, Mary. 

I try to very cautious and specific with what I post on our website and Facebook page. I really want clients who want what we offer instead of clients who want us to copy their favorite photographer they couldn't afford. I post candid shots and showcase our natural posing style photos because I want couples who like that. I often retell the story of a groom who received his wedding pictures and exclaimed, "I don't remember them even taking this many pictures. Those two are straight up ninjas!". It's been our motto for almost 10 years. So when Ruth said she wanted us to do our ninja thing, my heart skipped a beat. I love that she wanted us to capture the day as it was happening. I remember meeting with her and she mentioned that she just wanted lots of pictures with her mom and sisters while she was getting ready. THAT is what I want to capture. While a cute picture of your shoes is fine, I just cannot spend hours taking pictures of details ignoring the interaction between you and the people who love you the most in the world. They are all together. In one room. For one day in your life. I don't prioritize a picture of the flower centerpiece over that. My goal is not to be the next real wedding editorial in a bridal magazine. My goal is for you to remember your day, your family, your friends, your new spouse and re-live the emotions via the pictures. Ruth got it. Then I met her family and I understood. Their connection was evident and  their tribe was priority. I watched as they carefully cared for Ruth and her veil and her dress and made her day about her and Paul. It was lovely to see and so fun to photograph. We started at Hotel Allegro which is a badass hotel in Chicago, where they tapped the first keg after prohibition. It is beautiful and unique and I loved all the little pockets for pictures! Blue walls are my favorite. Just can't resist 'em. 

And then there is Paul. Oh my goodness. He is such a sweet man. You know that old saying about choosing a man to marry who loves his mother. CHECK. MATE. Paul and his parents were just about the sweetest thing I've seen. As an only child, he didn't have the same dynamic as Ruth's family with 5 kids, but he had the same connection with his family. It is no surprise that these two fell in love seeing that their families are so full of love. Paul loved people. It was so evident in the way he treated his parents and in the way he looked at Ruth and even in the way he interacted with us. He shares happiness with those around him. I watched him get up after dinner and give his groomsmen a minute of his time before rushing to eat. He truly cares for the people in his life. 

While the guys took over the lobby, we took a few outside. As I was posing and taking these photos, both moms were right behind me saying how much they loved the shot. Mom approval for the win. So I made sure to get a couple with the moms too, for good measure. 

Off to the church! These photos are literally back to back in time. We set up a special moment for Dad & Ruth to see other and then I went back in the chapel to find Paul and his parents together. I have said it before, but I will say it forever-make time for your parents on your wedding day. Don't rush through it. They may not demand it as they work to get everything perfect so make sure you stop and hug them. Extra love to parents. Include them in more photos than just the ones at the front of the church. I had 9 bridesmaids and I talk to 3 of them still. I wish I had more pictures with my parents. 

Time to get married! Madonna Del Strada Chapel has specific rules about where we could go in the middle but I loved that they let us move up and down the side aisles during the service. 

The Madonna Del Strada Chapel is on the lake. ON IT. It is gorgeous. Windy, but so beautiful. Made for some awesome pictures. This wedding party was hilarious and even though I made them wait an extra 12 minutes, they made the best of it "watching that cool dog". :) Thanks guys. Next time TELL ME when you start the timer and I'll do better. 

Also sidenote: the close up photos are mine and the further back ones are Seth's. I included both for a few shots so you could see how we work through photos by getting two different shots at the same time. :)

The reception was amazing.The Bluewater King Band was awesome. I'll have to post it. Ashley Lafleur did a great job of organizing everything and we had a great time celebrating. I loved hearing everyone's toasts and I gotta admit, Tracey's questions are becoming a staple in our home. :) 

I LOVE when people dance at weddings. Yea, it makes for good photographs, but ultimately I love when people are happy and are together. I loved watching everyone dance the night away and even caught my new best bud, Jack, giving Grandma a twirl off to the side. So if you attend a wedding, just dance, people. Or take Seth as your date and with few beers and he'll be jamming to Whitney Houston in no time. :) 

What a glorious entrance to married life for Paul & Ruth and such joy as they begin their life together. Thanks for choosing us, for loving our ninja skills (hopefully they live up to their legendary status) and for letting us be a part of the tribe for a day. I am sure there will be more Berres weddings in the future and I expect to be there as you welcome more people "to the beast". Love to you all! Lots more photos to come (yes even more!!) Thanks to the rest of you for sticking it out for one of my longest blog posts ever!! 

Lakeside Engagement Session Ottawa IL Engagement & Wedding Photographer

Sometimes at weddings, guests will ask us to take their photo with their phone, which is totally fine, but often times we end up taking one with our camera as well. That happened last year:

I remembered Jake because this group of groomsmen was so hilarious and when I dismissed them back to the bus after pictures, they all took off running in tuxedos and it was hilarious. I was so excited when DaNae emailed me. Sadly we already had a wedding on their date, but since Stephanie had decided to work with us shooting as an associate, we are able to work with them for their wedding. So Seth and I shot their engagement session yesterday (whoa-look at me on top of things- just don't look at my messy house and unbathed children) and Stephanie and Jared will shoot their wedding this fall. 

Jake's family owns property right behind where Seth grew up so it was funny to hear them discuss it. It's awesome that they saw the potential of this land and built a beautiful house around a lake that made an awesome backdrop for pictures and will be gorgeous for a wedding. 

Here are a few of my favorites. I went all kinds of hipster with the wood pile, but I just couldn't help myself. :) 

I am so excited for these two and look forward to many photos shoot out at the lake. (and maybe a bbq or two?!?!?! we'll bring beer!) I'm so glad we met them at z&s's wedding and had such a good time. 

It also feels good that when a wedding party who worked with us chooses us for their wedding. I'm glad people like our photos and know that we have fun with it. Stephanie is very similar and has a great personality. Their outdoor fall wedding is going to be beautiful!! 

Lifestyle Newborn Session

I love building relationships with our clients, not just because they are super rad people and I just like being around them, but also because it means that we get to be there for so many big moments in their life. 

As we were prepping for taking some photos of baby Brock, Courtney & I  were talking about their engagement session and wedding and it was fun to think back and remember those happy times, especially because she is so good about printing and hanging pictures. I loved seeing so many familiar pictures around their home. Seth and I feel truly honored that so many people choose us to be their photographer and we love hanging out with all of you. 

Which means-KEEP HAVING ADORABLE BABIES, PEOPLE.  

Brock is SO cute. SO SO CUTE. And he is a little snuggle bug. Like Dad's littlest cutest football. Most first time dads take a little while to be comfortable holding a newborn, but not Kyle. All those years of keeping the football safe gives him a leg up on everyone. Brock obviously felt so comfy in dad's arms and keep giving us sleep smiles. 

So here are a few from their newborn session yesterday. I was so glad to be able to capture this time in their life and provide some new material for those frames in the house. :)

Starved Rock & Matthiessen State Park Engagement Session

A lot of people ask me if we can do engagement pictures with the waterfalls at Starved Rock. Sure, we can. But I warn you, the reason there is a waterfall means there has been rain which also means....mud. Lots of mud. 

But still people take me up on the offer to hike through the mud for some pictures and honestly, they always are beautiful and worth the effort. It has been super rainy here this week so the waterfalls are flowing in every canyon in Starved Rock but the river flooded limiting parking and the trails are crazy muddy. 

So we opted for Matthiessen State Park just down the road. It was fun to get Nora & Ryan out for a few pictures to capture their engagement. They were cracking me up with their fun loving nature and Ryan being so excited for a picture reward pizza afterwards. I think Seth was wishing he could have Bianchi's pizza as a reward for taking the pictures. :) 

We had only spoken on the phone when they booked us for their wedding so it was really fun to meet in person and get to hang out for a bit. Really looking forward to November at the Barn at Hornbaker Gardens for their wedding! 

Yorkville Nature Winter Engagement Session by Seth Morris Photography

Devotees will remember the family with 4 boys who I have dubbed the most loving family I have ever seen. I love this family. I want the secrets to raising kids who not only get along but genuinely love each other and their family. I'm so thankful to have met this family and now we get to shoot another epic Libman wedding.

"My name is James. But you can call me Jimmer." Off the bat, Nate ( NOT James) stood out as a fun loving guy. He was so goofy and hilarious and we had a great time at his brother's wedding. So much that he just HAD to propose to his girlfriend of 8 years right away just so he could get his pictures taken again by us. :)

I remember when Jimmer called me to say he was engaged and needed a wedding photographer. I was so excited and still thought to myself, I wonder what kind of woman marries Jimmer.

Enter Jimmer 2.0- Connie. She is so perfectly matched and the two of them together are the kind of relationship I think everyone really wants. They are so goofy and silly and fun and so loving. I have never laughed so hard at a session. Ever. In 10 years. It was obvious that they were in sync and it was beautiful. 

And so, here are some of my favorites from Nate & Connie's session. The future Mr. & Mrs. Jimmer.

Downtown Maternity Session :: Uptown Normal :: Lifestyle Newborn Photographer

One of my biggest regrets was not having Seth take some real maternity photos of me. At the time, I felt (and who are we kidding-looked) huge, but now looking back, I remember being pregnant fondly. Not fondly enough to do it ever again, but it was a nice little stage of life and I wish I had a few non iPhone-in-a-mirror pictures. So I really encourage women to get out there and grab a few shots. For nostalgia. You don't ever have to hang them up in your house, but honestly, I know your child is going to love that photo someday. You anxiously awaiting their arrival and already loving them more than you can understand. 

I include a little mini maternity session with our newborn session. You don't need 2 hours of maternity pictures and if you want to get out your nude jumpsuit and floral crown like queen B, maybe you find a different photog. :) I try to keep it super simple and fun. Not lots of props and signs and outfits and locations. Just a few with your partner so you can really remember......

And without further ado, Julia & Richard. The smiliest, warmest, totally awesome & wonderful people. We shot their wedding and BOWLING reception a few years ago. Yea, that's right. Bowling. Like I said, AWESOME. They are having a little boy here soon and I can't wait to go snuggle and photograph him. 

I love urban settings, especially in winter when everything is kinda dead. But the colors in uptown Normal are some of my favorites. 

So if you are looking for a lifestyle photographer, here I am baby. Shoot me a line and let's get out there!