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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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Disney Christmas

My family was fortunate enough to be able to spend this past Christmas at Walt Disney World! (Yes, I have just gotten around to sorting the images.) Since we all live in different parts of the country, it was fun to be together in the "happiest place on earth" for the holidays -- nobody does Christmas quite like Disney.

It was truly an unforgettable experience...but just to be sure, we took some pictures anyway to help us remember it! ;] Here are just a few of our favorites from the trip. Enjoy!

There are about 90 additional images in this Facebook album, if you're interested.

Beth Ventura - April 9, 2011 - 04:16

Austin, that picture of woody tucked in to the bed is FANTASTIC. i love it. well done, the pictures look beautiful!

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Stritch Talent Show 2011

Once again, the annual Stritch talent show (fundraising for their HIV/AIDS Awareness Week) left me wondering how certain people can have so much academic and musical talent. Caroline and Ian hosted the event with wit and charm. There were several hilarious song parodies, including Brian's "Shots" music video which you can view on YouTube here. The last act, a superb cover of Cee Lo Green's "Forget You," had everyone up and dancing in front of the stage. Epic.

Major props to Mike for setting up and running the sound for dozens of performers/instruments by himself! And kudos to all the performers -- you were great! I hope to be able to make it to next year's show! :]

There are about 50 additional images in this Facebook album, if you're interested.

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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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