Over the weekend, my dear friend Kristina hosted a berry delightful party for her daughter Addie's 4th birthday! The decorations, the food, the details were nothing short of exquisite and everyone, including Addie, had such a great time! I loved being able to attend and photograph such a sweet celebration! Below are more photos from the day.
I'm just saying, if I could go back in time 10 years, I think I would have hired Kristina as my wedding planner with her exceptional creativity, sharp eye for design, and thoughtfulness to the smallest of details to make people feel special!
There was even a huge photo op with props! As a photographer, I don't think you can ask for anything better when trying to get those must-have family shots!
As you can see, following cake and presents, there was A LOT of playing for the little ones to do between the water activities and the swing set. (Speak of cake, that strawberry cake was DELICIOUS!)
Miss Addie, you are one marvelous little lady! It's been a blessing to know you and your family and I can't wait to see how you grow and all that you do in the future! Happy birthday, once more!
Exactly two months ago I worked with Sweet Roots Photography and helped photograph Dan and Kalyn's wedding. These college sweethearts got married at a Catholic Church and the reception was held on Dan's family's farm. Speaking from experience, being young and in love is kind of the best, and I feel privileged to have helped document their day. Below is some of the highlight reel!
Dan and Kaylyn had a sizable guest list (around 400) and a big ol' bridal party so this day truly felt like a huge celebration from start to finish.
Even though the day began with some serious downpour, it ended up clearing up and drying up after the ceremony and we managed some great outdoor bride and groom pics on the church grounds as well as the farm
It truly was a beautiful start to a new life together!
I wish these two nothing but the best in love and in life!Thank you again for letting me be a part of your amazing day!
I might be a couple months late with posting Ares's one year pics, but he's still plenty cute so that doesn't even matter. He might be just about the happiest fella there ever was. You can frequently find him clapping his hands and saying "YAAAAY!" He crawls at top speed over to Joe to steal sips of smoothies. He loves unraveling toilet paper rolls and throwing things into the bathtub or toilet. He loves climbing up and down the stairs. He is also a huge fan of water, swimming pools, and anything he can splash like a maniac in. He also gives great big bear hugs and enthusiastic high-fives.
Thank you, little man for keeping me constantly on my toes and incredibly happy! Can't wait to see all the places you go this year!
A couple weekends ago I had a special opportunity to photograph a family reunion and celebrate a 25th anniversary! Although it can be a little intimidating, I love working with large groups. I love the challenge, the energy, and all of the ideas that flow! I also enjoy breaking people down to small groups too, that way everyone involved gets a variety of photos for their walls, albums, Facebook pages, whatever they need!
As you can see, we ended the session with Grandma and Grandpa posing in a classic car (#relationship goals right there) and then finished by throwing everyone in the pool!
Happy OFFICIAL START TO SUMMER, everyone! I'm so thankful to have been able to capture these awesome moments!
In between storms and clouds one recent evening, I got the chance to take photos for the Derus family. It was such a treat to work with new clients AND at a new location (The Walker Art Center). Working in unpredictable weather made us efficient and we got a lot of great shots in a short amount of time. Their boys, David and Daniel, were adorable, photogenic gentlemen whom I'd love to see again! We also got headshots for both Mike and Sara that they can use for their businesses. (I'll add those to a different blog post soon).
I've been asking myself WHY have I never offered the headshot option for parents before during family sessions?? From now on, I will always give parents the option for a few individual shots of themselves. Thank you guys again for being such a delight to work with! Here are some of my favorite pics from the evening:
Thanks again for spending your evening with me, guys! Go on now and have a fantastic summer with those boys!
In the spirit of mine and Joe's recent anniversary, I did what any totally normal wife would do... which is reexamine wedding memorabilia including our wedding album and my wedding dress. Cece, my fancy seven-year-old was 100 % on board with unboxing my wedding dress and taking it out! I haven't opened or looked at it since it got "preserved" post wedding eight years ago. We extracted all of the poofiness from the box, got some chip clips to tighten up the back, and Cece had one heck of a dress up experience!
As I said before, i haven't checked out the dress since we got married. There's still massive rips all over the train from a wild reception, but fortunately all of the spray-on tan got cleaned out! Cece loved the dress... especially since there was "built-in boobs"! (I mean, that's pretty much my favorite feature!) She also told me that she'll just plan on wearing my dress when she gets married so she can save money and not have to spend any on a new dress. I highly doubt that will actually be the case, but who knows? Maybe it will stand the test of time!
This was a pretty special and fun afternoon of dress-up! I can only imagine how weepy I'll be if /when she's grown and gets married! Love you, Miss Cecelia, you goofball.
Last month I got around to doing something that's been on my photography to-do list for a long time... hold Mommy and Me mini sessions in honor of Mother's Day! In one day, I got to shoot eight different moms and their kids. I had three former clients and five new ones whom I couldn't wait to meet. You'd think there'd be some hiccups with 8 back-to-back sessions, but the day was smooth like butter and the rain even held off! To be honest, I used to get pretty nervous before sessions, especially if I didn't know the family coming and had no idea what to expect from the kids.
Instead of worrying about the right posing and perfect smiles and perfect camera settings, my number one priority is making sure my clients feel comfortable and relaxed. As a mom, I know that's NOT easy to feel chill right before pics with your own kids. I know that I don't!
I assure that we are in no rush and we don't have to hold them down. We can let the kids run, frolic, find rocks, WHATEVER they need to do to get the wiggles out. I'll let them warm up to the idea of photos and to me and that's when the magic happens. (Oh, and it didn't hurt to have a basket of treats for the kids to pick through at the end of the session. #notmyfirstrodeo)
BY THE WAY... how gorgeous is Kimber with her little fellas? She makes being a boy mom look so dang good. This mama and her family ought to be in a magazine someday... and maybe someday Kimber can take me shopping and style me up??? I'd be ok with that! This was my second time working with Kimber and her boys and they are all so incredibly sweet. I definitely lucked out in the client department with these guys!
I truly could have photographed Kristina and her daughter Addie for hours! Instead we got a whole lot of beautiful shots in less than 20 minutes! I've been so lucky to have Kristina not just consistently as my client (as we are a well-oiled machine now when it comes to taking photos), but to have her as one of my most cherished friends for 13 years!
This was my first time meeting Emily and her three kiddos. This group was a total blast. Also being a mama of two girls and one boy myself we vibed right away. I'm like "Girl, I SEE YOU!" as soon as we met. I wasted no time, turned my shutter speed UP because you gotta act fast when you've got three cuties to capture. I'm so glad these guys got in on the action this morning!
This was also the first time I met Sara and her family. What I loved so much about her mini session was that I could tell her kiddos just adored her and I think it really came through in the photos. They were a delight and I would love a chance to work with all of them again!
Sessahly and her daughter Pearl honestly just made my day. They were both so sweet and every shot I took of them was basically a keeper. I'm so thrilled I got to meet that awesome duo.
Leah and her kids were my first session of the morning and they were the perfectly family to get warmed up with. I love photographing big kids as well as toddlers and they were the perfect blend of sweet, smiley, and spirited.
Nicole and her bunch came to the session with a whole lot of energy and I was A-OK with that! I just want to frame that last photo of them and put it on my fireplace. I kind of love it!
I ended the day with Katy-Jo and her three little ones. I've shot about half a dozen photos for Katy-Jo and her family (the first one was when Annabelle was turning one!). Watching and documenting their family grow has been such a special experience. They were the perfect note to end the day on.
Well, there you have it! Mommy and Mes 2018 was a total success! I love how unique each session turned out even with using the same location. These kids are going to be thrilled someday to have such special photos with their beautiful moms.
If you missed these, FEAR NOT. I will be holding summer mini sessions (date/times TBA, but I promise they are coming).
Also, if you're into more of a fall or winter session, I will be holding those as well this year!
If you made it to the end of this post, thank you so much for reading and viewing!
Hi everyone! Welcome to my official photography blog! I'm planning to share my recent work and sessions here. To start with, I just want to do a little look back to how I got to where I am now.
Nearly seven years ago (at age 25), I became a stay-at-home mom. My daughter Cece was about five months old and sometimes it broke my heart that we weren't closer to my family in Chicago or even my husband's family in St. Cloud, I started a blog keeping track of what Cece and I were up to. The interwebs had way less blogs seven years ago, but one that inspired me tremendously was love, Taza (back then it was titled Rockstar Diaries). I was obsessed with the beautiful candid photography (even just iPhone photography) and I loved how the blog positively celebrated family, motherhood, and all of the simple, yet important moments in life. (You don't have to look far to find a fabulous blog on motherhood these days, but seven years ago, it was gold for me as a new stay-at-home mom.)
At first, all of my blog posts just consisted of iPhone photos that were edited with Instagram filters. I eventually saved up my dollars and got an entry-level DSLR.
Above are a few photos from when I was first trying to figure out my camera. I can't get over how little Cece is. And boy, did I think a tilted horizon was the epitome of creativity. I didn't even notice that that above photo is totally out of focus. I still thought I was amazing and I became an addicted shutterbug real fast.
Slowly, but steadily, friends and families began asking me to take photos for them.
Here are photos from the very first session I did. It's my lovely bestie Sarah and her family from six years ago!
My subjects are adorable, even on auto mode! So this was my jumping off point and I had my list of things to learn about. Like understanding how to focus the camera. Learning about lighting and the elements of exposure. How to conduct a professional yet pleasant session without just dragging people all over to different backgrounds. Being aware of my surroundings (I try not to have as many parked cars in the backgrounds nowadays). And how to get things right straight out of camera and not have such a heavy hand with editing. (Or at least a more consistent hand with editing)
However, I was extremely grateful to have continued opportunities to keep shooting and improving with other friends and family.
There is about a one year difference between that first family photo session and this above one. After attending several seminars, learning what I could online, and by just practicing all the time, I began shooting in manual mode and my images began getting cleaner. I still gravitated toward capturing candid moments, but I also strived to get those nice posed shots that can be used for a Christmas card!
The above photos were just taken a couple weeks ago with that vey same camera as the first session (but with a better lens). I'm quite literally never going to be done learning about photography nor am I ever shooting for perfection- there's no such thing! Instead I'm trying hard to have the mindset of progress over perfection. I strive to improve every time I pick up my camera, be it to take photos of my own children, my friends, or a brand new client!
I could look at the work of more experienced photographers all day long and get down on myself about how I'm not at that level... how I don't have the experience, equipment, education, or editing-savvy. However, I choose to look back on where I started and where I am now. I feel that I've come a long way from when I first started shooting and have begun to really find my style, my voice, and my people!
Speak of finding my people, I'm not really sure how, but the universe kept sending me the most beautiful, yet incredibly low-maintenance brides over the past couple years. They just trusted me to do my thing while they married the love of their life. These were amazing and valuable opportunities. I've met so many spectacular people through shooting photos these past six years and have also reunited with old friends too.
So that's my photography journey in a nutshell (or rather a blog post).
Right now I'm still mainly photographing children and families. This year, I have branched out to creative portraits and headshots which I have been LOVING. I've also recently started holding and promoting different kinds of mini sessions, so stay tuned if that's something you may be interested in!
Thank you so much for stopping by and reading!
Welcome to my photography blog!
Rachel again! Here's where you'll be able to find blog posts about all things photography: recent sessions, upcoming events, and just fun musings on photography in general. Can't wait to fill 'er up with content!