When your parents are married for 25+ years, you start to realize how special each piece of family history is. For my mom's wedding anniversary present, I photographed my family's wedding memorabilia, along with fragments of items collected along the way to the present moments. On their wedding day, my father wore a pink bowtie, which is just now coming into fashion again. He has always been a bit bashful about it. My mother wore a vintage lace dress with a bow in back, found at a local thrift. It's funny how these trends circulate throughout the years like a tornado, just as the one they saw off the balcony view on their August wedding day. Peek their gallery here to see the special moments they have curated throughout the decades of devotion. <3
best chicago wedding photographer
Brigitte and Scott were some of the nicest people I have ever met, and were an absolute JOY to work with. They met 10 years ago, while in school, and their love has grown and grown since they were "just friends," all that time ago. At their reception, I couldn't wipe the smile from my face! The DJ had me dancing and laughing the whole time. The couple was sweet as pie, as well as their loved ones attending the event. This is why I adore capturing love; because the joy radiates from these amazing individuals, and lights up the whole room. As you will see below and at the end, the sentimental couple recreated the exit shot that their grandparents had taken on their wedding day. The mood of the entire evening couldn't have been more loving, joyful, and bright. I am so grateful to have had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful crowd :)
So you're engaged!!! This is one of the most exciting times to cherish in your life, and you are all set to get started on all of those planning details. I have organized a list of the order in which to book your wedding professionals with some recommendations of my favorite trusted vendors, too!
Book your planner before you book just about anything else. They can give you tips on how to save on a venue, what vendors they have used with success, and what time of day to hold your wedding.
Marquette Avenue Events
Brianne is an expert in luxury weddings. From florists to cake vendors, she has all of the connections!
Kirstyn plans so smoothly and is so sweet. Perfect for intimate weddings and down-home events!
Booking your venue is one of the most important decisions you can make for your wedding day! I have a few recommendations that I have worked with, and you can choose from these based on what you are looking for in terms of price, ambiance, etc.
Intercontinental Hotel Chicago
Tara is a gem, and will go above and beyond to make your wedding day perfect! This venue is a luxurious dream at a premium price point, and is worth every penny! From city views to daring, elegant ballrooms to a gorgeous pool area, this place has it all.
Ace Hotel Chicago
Ginny is sweet as pie, and she will show you the different spaces you can book. This hotel offers special pricing for different seasons, so you can save big while having gorgeous rooftop views and food that is to die for!
W Chicago Lakeshore
Robin is super professional, and easy to speak with. She even invited me in for a drink! This venue has excellent food, cute ballrooms, and an adorable rooftop with gorgeous planters for more intimate ceremonies! I recommend it for a luxury experience that meets price points by guest list size.
Salvage One Chicago
If you're a spunky bride with a passion for antiquities, this venue is for you! (Featured in the picture above). I love shooting here, and you may find it's a good fit for the off-the-beaten-path vibe you seek.
Carriage Greens Country Club
If you're looking for value, to have your wedding look like a million bucks, and perhaps get married outdoors, this venue is for you! Brian is super sweet and always willing to go above and beyond for his clients. He even let me host a styled shoot on his property! To see the styled shoot, contact me :)
Photographers book up fast! (I book up as far as 2 years in advance), so to ensure you are booking with the photo taker of your dreams, contact them as soon as you have secured a wedding date, or even beforehand for engagement photos! If you book in the winter months or slow season, it is possible that I may have your date available, but I generally recommend booking at least a year in advance. I don't require working with a planner, but always recommend it. If you don't have a planner, I have wedding timeline templates and trusted vendor referrals I can send your way. If I am not available on your wedding date, I can help you find a trusted professional who is, or even book one for you!
4. Leave the rest up to your planner! Details, florists, cakes, etc, can all be secured with ease with someone to make sure your special day is stress-free.
Classic Wedding Car Chicago
Sarah (my mom) offers classic wedding transportation from trolleys to buses to limos to Rolls Royces and Bentleys! She has 5 star reviews across the board and never fails to keep her clients happy.
Thanks for reading!
It's only natural that when your friend takes your photo for promotional photos, you grab a few of her too! See our session below for lots of laughs, model poses, and candid memories! :) Model: Becca Waterloo
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to photograph a photographer? Or on the other side of the same coin, have you ever modeled when you have only been the one behind the camera before? I decided that as a graduation gift to myself, I would pay Becca Waterloo at oolretaw.com take my picture :) I wanted to see what it would be like to be the client, so that I can improve my own client experience. The nerves were real! I followed my own style guide, got my hair done, and put my faith into the hands of a talented professional. As I froze up and forgot some of my own posing tips, Becca made me feel comfortable by using an artistic eye, and telling me what looked good. My nerves melted away, and we started to have fun! She went above and beyond by working over our allotted time to make sure I was thrilled with my photos, and I was! Check out our session below:
As Golden hour struck at 6:30 PM on a GORGEOUS sunny June night, Kristin and I hit the field at McGuane Park in Bridgeport, Chicago. As the main motivation for this session was to get tacos afterwards, Kristin and I had so much fun laughing and sharing jokes as the gleaming beams of light danced across the sky and into my lens. "I've never felt this comfortable in front of the camera!" she beamed, and I couldn't have felt more content in that moment. Following my style guide, getting her hair and makeup done, and wearing a dress that made her feel like 1 million bucks, Kristin was the perfect model to have, not just due to her stunning looks, but also to her warm persona that matched the tone of the photos. Peek our session below!
Clients often tell me that they love the style of my work because my images look natural, like I am capturing real emotion between my clients. That's all because I am! I love to start out by posing my clients how I want them to stand (see above), and then I add in either a corny joke, a popped bottle of champagne, or just let the clients work off of each other's energy.
On wedding days, I like to act like a fly on the wall to capture those genuine, gorgeous smiles, that first tear, and the shared laughs. I always ensure that my settings are perfect before putting my clients in front of the camera! That ensures that no one has to wait for a shot, and I am always prepared to get those natural moments!
One of my favorite images came by surprise. At Dani and Kevin's portrait session on their wedding day (above), Kevin had brought out a bottle of champagne to open for a photo (I love this idea!!) Kevin was having a hard time with a tightly sealed cork, and this shot was a product of a surprise bottle-pop! I was prepared enough with both of my cameras to capture the exact moment it happened, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the outcome. This is one of my favorite shots from their amazing day!
If you would like to learn more about how I pose my clients, be sure to take Amy and Jordan Demos' Posing Course. They walk you through how to make clients feel comfortable in front of the camera, and educate photographers on posing high school seniors, families, couples, bridal parties, and brides!
This couple couldn't be more in love! Denise and Nathan dressed to the nines for their engagement session at the beautiful, scenic Nature Boardwalk in Lincoln Park over memorial day weekend. You can feel the love for each other and fun we had in the photos! Denise is an absolute doll; from the moment she called me for a photographer interview to the end of the shoot, she didn't stop smiling. I could even hear her beaming through the phone! Nathan is such a goof, and the two of them make the cutest pair. I can't wait for their wedding day at the Onion Pub in Lake Barrington next winter. I feel so fortunate to have the pleasure of meeting these two lovely souls, and we shared plenty of laughs along the way.
I frequently get asked what kind of gear I use, so I thought it might be nice to put it into words on a page!
When I first picked up photography as a hobby, I'd see posts about gear and be so intimidated by all of the nice tools that other photographers used. This has definitely been a continuously growing collection! Camera gear can be pricey, so if you want to grow your business, be prepared to invest over time.
1. Canon 5D Mark IV
This camera has impeccable ISO handling and quality, making it the perfect fit for indoor shoots and receptions!
2. Canon 6D
This camera is a wonderful fit for my portrait lenses, and as a backup for my shoots
3. Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens
This lens is my baby! It's so sharp and clear, and gets those gorgeous creamy skin tones. It's also great for wide shots and ceremonies with the zoom function!
4. Canon 85mm 1.8 lens
This lens is baby #2! I use it for portraits of up to 3 people. The low f-stop allows for a night creamy background and depth of field
5. Canon 100mm 2.8 Macro lens
I LOVE THIS LENS. It is wonderful for creamy and focused details shots that look like a million bucks!
6. Canon 75-300mm 5.6 Lens
This lens has a great zoom on it! I rarely pull it out, but it's nice for situations where ceremony venues have restrictions on photographer mobility.
7. Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens
This was my first portrait lens, and serves as an excellent backup for my 85mm, which has nicer glass.
8. Canon 580 EX II Flash
A high quality, reliable bounce flash. Perfect for receptions and dark situations.
9. Flash Battery Pack
So you never have to wait for a flash to load or replace the batteries in it!
This pairs with my light stand and flash to create soft, even light indoors, or to make nice light on a harsh, sunny day.
A quality tool for low-light situations and long exposures (how fun!)
12. Table Top Tripod
Ideal for ring shots with my macro ring light and 100mm 2.8 lens.
13. Macro Ring Light
Creates perfect lighting for wedding detail shots!
14. Off-Camera Flash Stands
To ensure every moment at your reception is treasured.
15. Canon Flash Transmitter
This high-quality item allows for off-camera flash usage.
16. Vivitar Backpack
It's weather-proof, water-proof, and protects all of my gear!
17. Memory Card Hard Cover Case
This helps me to stay organized, and protects my cards.
18. 90/mps Or Faster Memory Cards
These are super quick, so my clients never have to wait on me to get the shot!
19. 4TB External Hard Drive
Worth every penny. Make sure it's formatted for your computer!
20. 1TB External Hard Drive
Another backup for my files (just in case!)
21. Macbook Pro Next Generation with Retina Display
Editing heaven right here! Can handle Lightroom and other apps running at the same time.
22. Double camera vest
This allows me to never miss a shot, and not have to worry about dropping my gear!
23. Multi-option reflector
This allows me to reflect light back into my client's view on cloudy days to fill in shadows and get dreamy skin tones.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this helps you see my process as a photographer, or helps you to decide on what gear to invest in. It's worth investing in yourself!
When Holly and Sage contacted me to photograph their engagement, I was beyond thrilled! The cutest couple ever asked for my style guide, came dressed to impress, and were such great sports through the cloudy, gloomy and cold weather. I couldn't be happier with their photos, and we had SO much fun!!