Chicago Engagement Photos

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I believe a good photograph can only be taken when there’s a connection and open flow of energy between photographer and her subject(s). So when we met for Jackie and MJ’s Chicago engagement photos session I knew we needed to sit down and get to know each other before I could pull out my camera.

 

We met at Dusk’s bar in Pilsen, Jackie and MJ’s neighbourhood. We had drinks and talked about their work (Jackie is an interior designer and MJ is a graphic designer), ongoing house projects, dog, my house that needs some renovation, my little family, their plans for the family, and everything in between. After a while I forgot what we were there for! We would have talked for longer if not for my concern about dusk approaching.

 

We started off at Tack Room (thanks to MJ’s ingenious idea and friendliness of the bar’s staff) and then walked and drove around to some of my favorite spots in East Pilsen. Jackie and MJ played along great and didn’t complain about me choosing some “gritty” spots!

 

Here are some photos from our Chicago engagement photos session. When Jackie first saw the photographs she said she and MJ needed to start a band so the photos could be on the album cover. Ha! Can you believe Jackie initially thought she wasn’t photogenic and was really nervous about having her photos taken? I really can’t wait to see them all dressed up on their wedding day this June!

Prairie Production Weddingurban wedding venue

 

Scheduled over Labor Day Weekend, this Prairie Production wedding was an intimate celebration of love, family, and friends. Jen and Matt opted for a chill & fun day filled with the highest quality food, alcoholic beverages, and dance music set in a modern west loop wedding venue. It didn’t take me long to realize that the couple put a lot of thought and work into the look and feel of the day, and the most important element on their wedding day was the comfort and delight of their guests. And like with everything in life, what you give is what you get – Jen and Matt were showered back with love and appreciation from their family and friends.

Thank you Jen and Matt for sharing your happiness with me and giving me your total trust.

 

Venue: Prairie Production /Dress: Tadashi Shoji / Caterer: Lula Cafe / Flowers: Flowers For Dreams / DJ: John San Juan

 

2015 round-up. Best of wedding and engagement photography

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Diapers. That’s what comes to my mind when I think of 2015. Diapers and…. oh yes, the beautiful smile of my baby boy. I’ve been happy beyond words to be a mom and yet it didn’t stop me from photographing over 20 weddings and engagement sessions in 2015. You can say it was a busy year for me, and one that brought many lessons. The biggest lesson I learned is the need to slow down. As much as I love photographing weddings I won’t take as many assignments in 2016 and will spend more time with personal projects and my family. Another lesson I’ve learned is that of gratitude. It’s been a popular word recently and many books have been written about it, but only when I really started practicing gratitude I realized how powerful it is to live with continuing appreciation of what is. That means some of you will not only be receiving thank-you notes from me but you’ll probably also see me more relaxed and happy when previously I was frustrated and hard on myself and others.


Since we’re on the topic of appreciation I must thank all my 2015 couples for entrusting me with photographing your wedding celebrations! I’m truly grateful for all the connections and friendships my work has created. It’s a trust that ultimately led me to create the images that you see below: Images that are intimate and honest, images that evoke feelings and curiosity.


A lot of the images are from weddings and engagement sessions that will appear on my blog as separate posts in the coming months. Stay tuned!

 

Downtown Chicago wedding. Erin + Danny

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A Downtown Chicago wedding is my thing. Documenting family interactions is my thing too. For me, wedding photography has never been just about the couple. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking portraits of the couple. While I hear I‘m good at portraits that feel authentic and editorial, I also love documenting the emotions of the parents and family along with the little gestures that ultimately create the feel of the day. Isn’t that what we ultimately want to preserve in the wedding photographs? That feel. Those emotions. What’s the point of hiring a photographer for your wedding if they’re not capturing the real stuff?! You know, the stuff that will make you tear up in 20 years when you look back at your wedding photos.  I see the word “EMOTION” in almost all the emails I receive from my clients when they receive their wedding photos. Erin wrote, “You nailed it – the emotion of the day is clear in every single photo”. This was such an emotionally charged wedding; from Erin’s Dad presiding over the ceremony, to the warm welcome of Erin & Danny upon their arrival at the reception via water taxi (!), to the speeches that made everyone tear up.

 

Venue + Caterer: River Roast / Dress: Reddington Bridal / Flowers: May Floral / DJ: Madrid

Andersonville family photography

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If you would have asked me 3 years ago what my primary reasons were for quitting a well paid corporate job and starting the photography business my answer would have been much different from what it is now. I used to dream of having longer vacation time (my entire family lives in Poland, so two weeks of paid time off doesn’t do it), the ability to work from home on my own schedule, and of being my own boss. While those remain meaningful reasons for what I do I can now add another one, a deeper reason, one that I only realized recently: RELATIONSHIPS. It feels so natural to remain in each other’s lives after the very intimate experience we shared during a wedding. I’m fortunate enough to witness everything from the overwhelming emotions of the first look to the exchange of sacred vows, from speeches that reveal the most intimate parts of a couple’s life to even the “no make-up” moments.
A relationship that I’m happy to see grow is that with Lindsay & Nikki. I felt an amazing privilege when they asked me to photograph their newborn son. Only a year earlier I had photographed Lindsay & Nikki’s wedding that you can see here. This time they let me into their home and gave me full access to their family life. This was truly one of my favorite work assignments to date. Those who’ve been in close proximity to a newborn know how absolutely magical these experiences are. I don’t know if it’s caused by the pure energy of the new soul or the sleep-deprived hallucinogenic state of the parents :) It’s probably a mix of both. As a new mom, I’m particularly grateful to share birth experiences, the first unsure sometimes delirious days following delivery, and the overwhelming responsibility of being a new parent. 
Well, I got to hang out with this sweet family in their beautiful home for an entire afternoon and now you can see that love indeed is what makes the earth spin. 

Humboldt Park Engagement. Laura + Joel

 

 

Those guys are insanely good together (and I’m not just saying it to be nice!). We decided on having Humboldt Park engagement session to stay in Laura and Joel’s neirbourhood and we even ended the session in their super cute bohemian-styled home. You can see their unique, full of love and laughter Chicago wedding here.

If you’re looking for an exceptional, out-of-the box wedding planning, Laura is your girl. Check her out at: http://www.fierce-productions.com

 

 

City View Loft wedding. Kelly + Nick

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It was a late September Indian summer day with clear skies, singing birds, and streets full of people out and about enjoying the last bits of summer. Chicago looked particularly beautiful and I was looking forward to spending a good portion of the day downtown.

As soon as I walked into Kelly’s hotel room at The Godfrey (one of my favorite hotels for getting ready photos) I knew the day would be special. Kelly opened her arms, gave me the warmest of hugs and told me how happy she was I could be there on her wedding day. Wow, I mean, only my 11 month old boy gets as excited when he sees me. I immediately felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having met and worked with another beautiful couple.  

However, I’ll be totally honest here, when I received the timeline for the day I thought the multiple photo locations would make it an intense and over-stimulated day. It was far from it! We felt so exuberant and relaxed I quickly lost track of time. The 5 of us (yes 5, as Maid of Honor, Kimmy and Best Man, Hector play an integral part of the portrait part of the day) laughed, talked, bounced a happy energy off one another while I was taking photos.  When we finally arrived at City View Loft where the ceremony and reception was to take place I was little sad. Being with Nick, Kelly, Kimmy, and Hector felt like hanging out with friends and I didn’t want it to end.

But the day had to end and it did for me in the most unexpected way. Those who know me know I love to dance and know I dance with my camera at weddings. I do that to not only feed my internal dancing queen desires but also to get some amazing shots because people aren’t shy of being photographed by someone who dances just as madly as them! To my surprise Kelly insisted that before I go home I put down my camera and dance with Nick. Boy, he knows how to dance salsa! What a way to end photographing a wedding. Dancing the night away.

To Kelly and Nick. Two people you want to call friends.

 

Southern wisconsin barn wedding photography

Southern wisconsin wedding photographers

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You know that feeling when you meet someone and instantly feel a connection? There’s that something that tells you they are “your people”? I don’t know if it’s Nora and Arthur’s down-to-earth, free-spirited personality, or their international experience (they lived in China for a few years) but the affinity was clearly present from the start. I felt honored to be let into their lives on their wedding day.

 

Their Southern Wisconsin barn wedding took place among the open fields on what was undoubtedly the hottest day of the summer. The extreme temperatures didn’t stop the couple from having the most intentional and thoughtful wedding I’ve ever photographed. The farm where Nora and Arthur were married was the same place where Arthur’s parents married in the early 80’s. The flowers on the tables were freshly cut that morning from the farm’s flower garden. The Chinese lanterns that concluded the ceremony came in the suitcases of Nora and Arthur’s many friends who came in from China. Even the floor on which Nora and Arthur had their first dance was made by Arthur and his friends just days before the wedding. Nothing about the celebrations felt fabricated or pretentious.

 

I hope you can feel the affectionate nature of Nora and Arthur, the dedication of their friends and family, as well as the warmth of the sun, smell of wildflowers and humming of bees and mosquitos when you look at the photographs.

 

Outdoor fall engagement. Cat + Mike

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It was a chilly but sweet outdoor Fall engagement. Cat is a free spirited yoga instructor. Mike is a dog lover and a biker. Together they are the sweetest and funniest couple! (not to mention also good looking and stylish!). This outdoor loving couple brought their bikes and we took photos amongst the yellow, red and green colors of the trees. We walked, talked, and took photos before getting to Lake Michigan just after sunset. I wasn’t completely surprised when they ended the session with a jump into freezing Lake Michigan!  (I got into the water too! …just not as deep;))

Goodbye Summer

 

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As I was saying goodbye to summer I pulled out some photos from our July vacation in Northern California. I’m already nostalgic for this past summer and then I realized that it was the last summer of not being a parent! Yes, we are expecting a baby boy this fall :)  We’re thrilled that our little family is expanding! Our 10 day vacation was just what future mama & growing baby needed. I follow the advice of yoga and meditation masters who believe that connecting with Mother Earth is crucial to our emotional and physical health. We did a lot of connecting with Mother Earth in Northern Cali. I noticed that walking (or napping!) on a beach, hiking in a forest, or biking in the country boosts my energy and creativity (and I’m sure the baby appreciated the time off too!) It’ll be great to show those photos to our son one day and tell him “Hey look! Your travels started early on.” :)

Andersonville Engagement

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Lindsay and Nikki’s Andersonville engagement session was one of the most laid-back and inspiring shoots. The girls suggested the location and the relaxed flow of the session. We started with the summer’s weekly Andersonville Farmers Market and continued on the streets of the neighborhood. As you can tell by looking at the photos, we laughed a lot! During the session Lindsay and Nikki filled me up on the details of their one-of-the kind wedding (it’s going to include a bonfire!) that I’m excited to photograph in October. Stay tuned for photos from their stylish wedding!

Montrose Beach Chicago Engagement Photography. Willow + Dave.

I love when the engagement photography session turns into a hang out time. That was the case with Willow and Dave.  We met late Friday afternoon and spent 2 hours walking around Montrose beach in Chicago. I didn’t realize how beautiful that location was until that afternoon. There’s a large reservoir that’s home for rare birds, and prairie that you can’t imagine being in the city! I was surrounded by the beauty of nature and gentle touches between the two sweethearts. Perfect afternoon!

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