Artistic wedding. Laura + Joel

Artistic wedding. Laura + Joel

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Oh Boy, I don’t know where to start when describing Laura and Joel’s wedding. From the ride to the ceremony  during which I learned Laura and her maid of honor knew Beyonce’s songs by heart and were not shy to entertain us by singing the entire ride, to the ceremony that could have been a theatre piece by itself with chorus, live music, and storytelling, and finally to the late night salsa dancing performed by Laura and her Cuban born grandmother, the entire day was magic.

So this is Laura and Joel. Entertaining, artsy, boisterous, and bold.

 

Ravenswood Event Center wedding. Cat + Mike

Ravenswood Event Center wedding. Cat + Mike

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College sweethearts Cat and Mike were married at St Vincent’s church with a reception at  Ravenswood Event Center on one of the loveliest days of the summer.

 

It’s obvious from the photos, but let me just say it just for the record: Cat and Mike not only have great personal style but are also super good looking! Plus, the two are madly in love with each other.

 

There were many beautiful moments during the wedding. We can talk about Mike’s reaction when he pulled off Cat’s veil, or Cat’s emotional response to her dad’s beautiful speech. However, one moment that I want to talk about is Cat and Mike’s first dance. I mean it was no regular dance, but rather a 1st class, pro, choreographed, and meticulously performed First Dance! You know, one of those dances that you see on TV during international dance competitions.

 

Cheers to Cat and Mike! Two lovers who will happily dance through their lives ever after.

Chicago Engagement Photos

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

Prairie Production Wedding

 

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

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

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

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

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

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.