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Category Archives: Portraits

Liz + Dan — Johansen Farms Engagement Session

Johansen Farms is a quaint little pumpkin farm and "children's" zoo in Bolingbrook, and it turned out to be the perfect setting for Liz and Dan's e-session. We had a blast photographing them wandering through the corn maze (or as I like to call it, the "maize maze"), playing on a giant air slide, posing in front of cheesy stand-ins, petting llamas, feeding goats, and going on a hay ride. And at the end -- apple cider donuts! Mmmmmmm...

Liz and Dan -- thanks for being so fun! We're so looking forward to photographing your wedding next weekend! :]

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Simone + Matthias — Zürich Airport Engagement Session

My first encounter with Simone and Matthias was photographing them briefly as they tore up the dance floor at Ioanna & Andrew's wedding last year. When they asked me to photograph their e-session and wedding in Switzerland where they live, I was absolutely blown away. There's no way I am good enough to justify flying me 4,500 miles to take photos! But thankfully, Simone and Matthias were not aware of this. ;]

I can easily say that I have never had more fun with a camera in my hand than when I was photographing this e-session. Simone and Matthias became fascinated with airplanes several years ago when their apartment used to be under the airport flight path -- instead of complaining about it, they had fun with it! And as luck would have it, Zürich Airport (Flughafen Zürich, as it is called there) is one of the few airports remaining in the world where visitors are not only allowed, but encouraged to come right up to the perimeter fences and watch the air traffic. They even have holes cut in the fence at intervals to accomodate large telephoto lenses! If you look closely, you can see an example in one of the images below. (The military patrols the perimeter regularly, and there has never been an incident.)

This access is so rare, in fact, that as far as I could tell from my web searches, no one else had ever done a portrait session outside at an active, major airport! (Please let me know if any of you do find another example -- I would love to see it.) So we could absolutely not pass up the opportunity to do an e-session right at the airport.

Simone's and Matthias' excitement watching the planes was contagious, and we had a blast the whole afternoon. Even biking around in an off-and-on heavy downpour could not dampen our spirits. :] At the last spot we visited, we were inside the strip of landing lights -- the landing planes would scream by only 50 feet overhead! o_O It easily qualifies as one of the most awesome experiences of my life!

Simone and Matthias -- thank you so much for giving me this great opportunity to work with you and get to know you in such an amazing setting! I hope you enjoy these images, and stay tuned for your wedding pictures which I'll be posting in the next couple weeks!

A big thanks also to my brother, Lawson, who was the second shooter for the e-session and wedding, and to my father, Wendell, who held lights, an umbrella, and other gear for me in the pouring rain -- I couldn't have done it without you guys! :]

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Carolyn + Mike — Morton Arboretum Portrait Session

Each year, Stritch hosts a large auction (2010 photos here) to raise money for their International Service Immersion & Global Health Fund programs. (Photos from our 2010 GHF trip to WV here.) This year, Carolyn and Mike won our photography package that we had donated to the auction, and we could not have asked for a better couple with whom to work!

Carolyn is a 4th year student at Stritch, and her husband, Mike, is a second year resident. While they have been married for two years, they are still clearly in the "honeymoon phase" -- their love for each other is evident! They made my job easy since I didn't have to prompt them to hold hands, hug, kiss, or smile at each other. :]

As for the location, we were at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle. I've been waiting for nearly a year and a half for a good opportunity to do a session there. It's a gorgeous 1,700 acre (yes, you read that correctly) botanic garden with 16 miles of walking trails, 9 miles of paved bike paths, woodlands, grasslands, ponds, streams, and even a large shrub maze! It is so massive that it cannot be fully explored in an entire day -- let alone a three-hour portrait session! Fortunately, we were able to easily find many suitable spots on our first visit, and the weather could not have been more perfect. But if you find yourself visiting during the warmer months...wear insect repellant! ;]

Carolyn and Mike –- it was a joy working with you both! You were such great sports and never complained about traipsing long distances, sitting on the ground, or holding poses while being nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes. Thanks for being so awesome and making this portrait session a great memory for us!

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Kayla + John — Downtown Chicago Engagement Session

Kayla is a third-year medical student at Stritch (one year ahead of Alicia), and her fiancé, John, is a Stritch alum. They will be getting married in Hawaii this fall, but they were nice enough to ask us to do an engagement session with them to capture their life at home in Chicago.

John is a medical resident in the Navy, so they thought it would be fun for their Save the Date cards to replicate this image from the promo materials for "An Officer and a Gentleman". How'd we do? :]

It was a typical Chicago winter day -- overcast skies with a temperature of 18 degrees, and the wind chill in the single digits. Brrrr! But Kayla and John were such troopers and were willing to do whatever it took to get the shot. For our entire session they were walking around in lightweight coats without hats and gloves like it was a balmy fall day -- while we and everyone else in Chicago were bundled up like Eskimos. Hardcore! So yes, in that first picture above, that's Kayla wearing a dress outside in below freezing temps. o_O

Kayla and John recently had to spend a tough year apart while John was working for the Navy in Virginia, but now he is back in Chicago, and it is obvious that they cherish every moment they have together. In our short time we got to spend with them it was clear how much they absolutely adore each other, and I think that really comes across in their images. :]

I hope you guys had as much fun as we did and that you enjoy your wedding in warm and sunny Hawaii!

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The Abrams Family

We had the pleasure of getting to know Lisa on our trip to West Virginia this past summer (see photos of that trip here). She is an internal medicine physician on the north side of Chicago, a Stritch alum, and a joyful, fun-loving person -- totally a kid at heart, and we love that about her!

For her birthday, she asked her family for a portrait session, and we were lucky enough to be asked to do it! It was so neat to get to meet the rest of her family and spend time taking pictures of them around Lisa's home and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Thanks to Lisa's husband, four kids, daughter-in-law, and grandson, Carter, for putting aside their studying, work, and a Bears game(!) to make time for us!

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