Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Melissa and Zach: An Engagement in Decatur

One of my favorite things about being a photographer is finding places to take pictures where nobody else would expect. When Melissa and Zach reached out to me to cover their engagement photos I asked them what kind of vision they had in mind. Melissa said that she trusted me and was up for anything!

We started at Rock Springs to get some really nice fall colors and then we headed over to an abandoned alleyway! We had a ton of fun exploring and I think that energy comes across in the photos! It is safe to say that I cannot wait to shoot their wedding! Check out their gallery by clicking the picture!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Kelcey and Todd: Family Photos in Rock Springs

I’ve known Kelcey since we were kids and so when she asked me to take her family photos I was so excited! We met up at Rock Springs and had a play in the leaves before heading into the forest for some great photos!

Check out some of their gallery and if you’re looking to update your family photos give me a call!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Emily and Mitchell: Photos in Decatur

You might recognize Emily and Violet from a photo shoot earlier this year! When she reached out to me to shoot their Fall Family Photos I was so excited to work with them again!

You can tell how much this family loves each other the second you meet them, and I hope that comes through in the photos!

Check out their gallery for more and feel free to reach out to me to schedule your own shoot!

Making the Most of Your Wedding Photographer

Photography can be one of the biggest investments for your wedding day. In my experience shooting weddings in Illinois, several factors have allowed me to be at my full potential. Below are 6 tips that I’ve put together to help you to make the most of your wedding photographer. Do these and you’ll be blown away at the quality of your images and you’ll get the best return on your money!



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1. Buffer your Schedule

Falling behind with your schedule is very detrimental on how many images you may receive. As you can imagine, delays can be stressful and won’t be very fun. There will always be something that will come up that will cause you to rearrange your plans. If you allot additional time creating the schedule for your day, you’ll be in a much better place when the unforeseen happens. Hair and Make-up are notorious for consuming more time than planned. Additionally, some tasks that may seem small could potentially take much longer than anticipated. Late bridal party members, late flowers, someone forgetting something, etc can all cause the schedule to come to a pause.

No worries, though. Allow extra time for your time blocks and do #2!

2. Begin Early

Time and time again the biggest hang-up we see is couples beginning to get ready far later than they need to be. Prepare for the unexpected by allowing yourself extra time for your wedding day. The earlier that you are dressed and ready to go, the more photographs can be taken. There is a dramatic difference in the amount of portrait photographs that you’ll receive between couples who begin photos early and those who schedule with just a minimum amount of time.

Start your wedding day early. Just do it. You’ll be more relaxed, you’ll remember more, you’ll enjoy yourself, and it’ll counter any schedule issues that may arise. If you end up having extra time, kick back with your bridal party over some champagne. Beginning your day early and #3 go very well together.

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3. Have a ‘First Look’

We love first looks because they’re incredibly intimate and special, allowing the couple a few moments alone with each other in an otherwise crowded and busy day. First looks typically happen in a quiet area, away from guests, bridal party members, and family. We set up the groom facing away from the bride. We then have the bride approach him from behind and tap on the shoulder. It always provides a great moment between the couple.

The First Look is by far the best way to leverage time for your wedding day. Scheduling one earlier in the day will allow for freedom for you and your photographer to grab many of the portrait shots that traditionally occur after the ceremony. The last big plus for a first look is that you’ll be able to transition from the ceremony to reception quickly, preventing the guests from having to wait around too long for the bride and groom to be introduced. We do, however, recommend a quick 10-30 min shoot with just the couple between the ceremony and reception. This is where #4 comes into play!

4. Remember the Light

Good light is a photographer’s best friend. To make the most of your bridal photos, schedule the time for couple portraits within the golden hour. This is the hour before sunset and it provides gorgeous, warm, and flattering light. Typically, the best time to schedule this is between the ceremony and your reception entrance.

In contrast, scheduling your portraits around noon is far more difficult for your photographer to create beautiful imagery. Harsh, mid-day sun creates heavy shadows, and since during noon the sun is directly above us, it creates raccoon-eye shadows which are unflattering. If you absolutely must schedule your portraits around noon, ensure that there a fair amount of even shade available for your photographer to work in.

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5. Include a Secondary Photographer

Second shooters are commonplace in wedding photography. It’s a considerable amount of effort to photograph an entire wedding solo, so when you’re in the market for a photographer you may want to put emphasis on finding one that includes a second photographer. The price for an additional photographer at your wedding has a great return on investment and will allow you to have a fair amount of additional images. Second shooters are great for grabbing candid shots and generally ease the work load of the primary photographer. Furthermore, second shooters also act as photo assistants when a second shooter isn’t needed, e.g., posed portraits. This assistance to the primary photographer will expedite the work flow.

6. Trust Your Wedding Photographer

Weddings are a once in a lifetime event. If you hold conservative views on heat, dirt, sweat, rain, and other things that won’t kill you, it’ll be in your best interest to relax those a bit. Going outside might seem like it will damage your dress or ruin your hair and make-up, but that’s far from the case. Bring your bridesmaids along with you to ensure nothing bad happens. Don’t let temporary things prevent you from photographs that will be with you forever. Keep an open mind and trust that your photographer is doing everything in your best interests to provide you with creative and interesting images. Your photographer may ask you to walk in a field, sit on a road, run around down town, etc. Communicate to him or her if you simply do not wish to have those photographs, but if the reason you do not want to go to a location is because temporary reasons, relax. Lifting these apprehensions will help greatly in getting the most out of your wedding photography.

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Karla and Alex: An Engagement in Chicago

Karla and Alex were such an amazing couple! We experienced one of Chicago’s famous rainy days together during our shoot, but they never let it get them down!

We cracked jokes and had a great time walking around Lincoln Park Boardwalk and I think we got some great photos, check out a few shots from their shoot by clicking the photo!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Kelly and Andrew: An Engagement in Lisle

I am so excited to be able to share a few of Kelly and Andrews engagement photos with you all! We had a great time at the Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago.

We met up super early in the morning and even though it was pretty chilly outside these guys did a great job of staying positive and I think we got some great shots. Click on their photo to see a few shots from their gallery!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Haines Fall Family Photos

Carly reached out to me through Instagram and set up this beautiful photo session for her family. We headed over to Rock Springs in Decatur and were able to get some great photos of the family.

This time of year is a great time to update your family photos, feel free to reach out to me to set up a session for your own family!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Haley and Brian: An Engagement in St Joseph

Haley and Brian are such an amazing couple! Even though we had gale force winds today they met me at Homer Lake right outside St Joseph, IL and we had an awesome engagement shoot!

We took a walk around the lake front and checked out the natural playscape that they have there, it was so cool! We also took a short trip into the woods and got some gorgeous photos of them both.

Click the photo and see how much fun we had!

You can also click HERE to check out their engagement video!

 Click the photo to see more of their gallery

Click the photo to see more of their gallery

Jess and Nick: An Engagement in Champaign

I took a trip to Champaign to take some engagement photos of Jess an Nick! We started out downtown in front of where they had their first date together, how awesome is that?!

We then took a walk around a beautiful pond and were able to get some beautiful photos. Take a look at their gallery and check out Jess’s beautiful ring! I am so excited for their Wedding, June can’t come fast enough!

 

Tips for a great Engagement Session!

We talked a little bit earlier about why you should get an Engagement Session, so now lets talk about how to prepare for it! Check out a few of my top tips down below on how to be best prepared and get the most out of your photos!

I hope that this advice helps you plan your engagement session and as always please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have!

 
 
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Pick a meaningful location

Instead of heading to a random park in your neighborhood, give a bit of though to where you want your photos taken. Some popular and meaningful spots could include: where you had your first date, where he proposed, where you first met, or even where you just like to spend private time together.


Wear Comfortable Clothes

On an engagement shoot you will be walking around, sitting, and generally being active for most of the shoot. It is important for you to wear clothes that will allow you to move freely and not stress about picking at your shirt or trying to cover up.

If you choose to wear something new you might be uncomfortable or worried about how you look in it, and that will come across in the photos. I recommend that you wear clothes that are ironed, comfortable, and make you feel like a million bucks! For the ladies I recommend wearing something that can flow nicely as you move, especially if you are doing your photos outdoors.

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Give yourself time for the shoot

I understand that life gets busy and schedules can get very tight. But you absolutely want to set aside plenty of time not only for the photos but also to get ready. Think of the engagement shoot as a trial run for how you may want your hair and makeup.

You also don’t want to feel rushed or that you have to get done by a certain time. In order to get the most natural photos you need to be relaxed and as stress free as possible.

I normally advise people to allocate about an hour to an hour and half for the photo session, so make sure that you set aside plenty of time to get ready beforehand!


Use the photos!

Engagement photos can be used for a number of things such as save the date cards or as photos to put on your wedding website. You can even blow up a few of your favorite photos and use them as decoration behind your head-table!

Engagement photos are also a time for you to share your vision with me and help me understand what poses or styles you prefer and which you don’t care for as much. This feedback is incredibly important in giving you the best possible experience possible when it comes to your wedding day!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Lesia and PJ: A Wedding in Joliet

I really wish that each and every person reading this post could meet Lesia and PJ. They are an absolute joy to be around and such a happy and loving couple. You could tell right away that they have senses of humor that fit together better than puzzle pieces.

Everything from the ceremony, to the toasts that didn’t leave a dry eye in the room, all the way to the awesome dance moves at the end of the night was perfect.

After shooting their wedding I truly felt like one of the family, and understand completely why so many friends and family attended their special day! I invite you to check out some pictures from their wedding, I hope that they help you feel the energy that they have together!

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Tyler and Chelsey: A Wedding in Crete

Tyler and Chelsey have been two of my best friends for years, and so when they asked me to photograph their wedding I couldn’t possibly say no. They then told me they were getting married after doing a “mud run”! How exciting is that?

They ran together through 5km of mud, obstacles, and fire! Waiting for them at the finish line was a group of their friends and family to watch their ceremony.

It was an amazing and a very unique experience for everyone involved. Check out their gallery and definitely look out their before and after pictures!

 Click to see more of their galley

Click to see more of their galley

Sara and Dan: A Wedding in Carbondale

I have to start this post by saying that this is probably the most beautiful spot that I could think of to have a wedding in Carbondale. The Touch of Nature is an absolutely gorgeous piece of land that is home to several different camps. Sara has a very close relationship with this camp, and spends a lot of her time and energy in making sure that the kids who come and stay there have safe educational fun!

Sara and Dan seem to go together perfectly, from the moment that I saw them both together I could tell that this was literally a match made in heaven. They play off of each others sense of humor and compliment each others strengths.

We had such an amazing time at their wedding and I wanted to share their special day, so please click their photo to see their gallery!

Why should I get engagement photos?

People tend to have mixed feelings on whether or not engagement photos are necessary to your wedding experience and you can read endless articles about why you should or why you shouldn't book an engagement session. I wanted to write up a short post about some of the reasons why I would recommend an engagement shoot, so scroll down to read more!

 
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you get a chance to meet your photographer

Establishing a relationship with your photographer before the wedding gives you a chance to talk to them about what to expect, how to pose, and this allows you to look more natural in your photos. This also allows me to get to know you both as a couple and how we can work together. It lets us get a chance to understand each other and helps to prepare for how you will interact on the day of your wedding!

You will get to see professional photos of yourselves before the wedding

Being able to see photos of yourselves before the wedding allows you to work with me and tell me which poses or angles do or do not work for you. After all, communication is key and really makes a difference in your final photos! You can also schedule your hair and make up trial at this time so you can see if any changes need to be made before it is too late.

 
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You will have nice pre-wedding photos to use

Once you have your engagement photos you will have several different things you can do with them. You can personalize your save the date cards, send a copy as a gift to family members who may not be able to make the wedding, or even mail a copy to the newspaper to add to your wedding announcement. Be sure to ask about other usage ideas!

You will have a chance to reconnect 

Engagement photos are a great opportunity to revisit locations that you and your spouse have fond memories or even where your first date was. Going to a location with history will be a much more meaningful experience for you both rather than just going to a random park and taking photos. You will also be more relaxed and comfortable in a place you know, and trust me, the photos will look better!

 
 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Emma and Jake: A Wedding in Hudson

Where should I start with Emma and Jake... I really wish that I had awards to give out to my couples, because they would definitely win! 

I arrived at the family farm house in Hudson, IL and was immediately greeted by a smiling Jacob and his awesome groomsmen. While Emma was getting ready we went out and got some awesome shots of these guys. 

When we got back Emma was all ready to be zipped up into her amazing dress and have her bridesmaids help us get some awesome photos of them by some beautiful trees on the property! But first we did a "first look" with her Dad, he was so happy to see his daughter in her dress!

We all find our places for the ceremony to start and have a wonderful time listening to Emma and Jake promise to love each other for the rest of their lives, it truly was an amazing ceremony! 

The couples send off was really awesome with everyone getting a streamer to wave around as they walked down the drive to their car, a wonderful ending for a perfect day! Make sure to scroll to the bottom to see the awesome silhouette photo we took!

I hope you enjoy seeing some photos from their special day and wish them all the luck in world with their marriage... I know I do!

 

 Click to see more of their gallery

Click to see more of their gallery

Kaleb and Ashley: A Wedding in Bloomington

I had an amazing time helping my videographer friend Amy Rankin of Rack Focused Productions at this beautiful wedding. We started out at St. John’s Lutheran Church in the early morning to get ready and set up for the amazing ceremony. 

You could really feel the amazing energy between Kaleb and Ashley, when they laughed and you could truly feel the love that they have for each other. I appreciate being a part of this wedding and know that they are going to treasure these memories for the rest of their lives! 

I've got a snapshot of their wedding down below with some of my favorite images from the day, I hope that you all enjoy the quick peek into the story of Kaleb and Ashley!