31 December 2016

Goodbye 2016 | Goals For The Upcoming Year

I know there are LOTS of people who cannot wait to see 2016 go. There have been lots of things that have happened over the last year that were not so good, but there were also some really great things that happened this year. I had some pretty rough things that happened this last year and looking back on them I can see the lessons that I learned and how grateful I am for God being by my side and helping me get through them.

As far as my business goes, I had so many moments that I'm absolutely grateful for. My clients are amazing and its why I love this job so much. I'm going into my 7th year as a photographer and I've been apart of over 100 weddings and numerous family sessions and senior sessions. There have been some things that have worked and some things that I'll be changing in 2017.

I've made a list of some personal and business goals for 2017. So here it goes....

• Spend more time with Jesus daily (reading the word)
• Change my eating habits and get healthy
• Drink more water (isn't that everyone's goal for the new year LOL)
• Spend more time with my family
• Work less and enjoy life more
• Get closer to being debt free (I'm so close!)
• Travel to Ireland
• Watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in person
   (it's been a bucket list item since I was a little girl)

• Book 20 Weddings
• Finish design on bridal guide
• Blog more
• No photo shoots on Sundays (unless it's absolutely necessary)
• Keep more organized on paperwork/receipts
• Book a destination wedding out of the US
• Attend another workshop or conference for training

I hope the new year brings you all many blessings. Cheers to a brand new start... bring it on 2017!

23 November 2016

Eli + Ali | A Classic Fall Engagement Session

From the minute I pulled up to their house, I knew I was going to fall in love with Eli and Ali. Ali had this gorgeous cream lace dress on and her hair was curled and Eli had a suit on. They were very well dressed and were so nice. We hugged (I'm a hugger) and they showed me around their new home that they had just purchased. If a wedding photographer could tell if a couple was "love at first sight" this would definitely have been the time! They were so easy going and within the first few minutes it felt like I had known them my whole life.

Eli and Ali wanted to start their session off at their home with their dog Mavis. She's adorable and she was so comfortable posing with mom and dad that she literally fell asleep during pictures. So darn cute!!! After a few photos around the house, we made our way to this old church in Du Quoin, Illinois. When Ali planned on shooting there, she knew she wanted to find a lace dress, and she found the perfect one. It was so pretty she wore it so well. And it's not every day that I see a groom-to-be in a suit for his engagement photos. I liked that they had such great style and changed up their look.

After they changed into more casual outfits, we made our way to a barn just outside of Pinckneyville. If you're from that area then you'll probably recognize it. It was perfect for Ali's style. She likes all things primitive and even brought along an old bench, antique quilt and Coke in old fashioned bottles. I love all the little details that Ali thought of. It's the little details that make up both of their personalities and styles and it was so much fun to capture.

I cannot wait till May when these two say "I DO." But for now, enjoy looking through a few of my favorites from my time with them. If you love chunky blanket scarves, old churches, dogs and Coke... then this blog is for you!

I absolutely LOVED the Coke Bottles.

18 November 2016

Winter Weddings & Timelines

I recently had a bride call me to discuss wedding pricing and information. We discussed my package and what all I offered. When I asked her what wedding date they were looking at to get married, she told me possibly January-March. My first thought was the lighting. About half of my couples that I book choose to do a "first look" and do their portraits before the wedding and the other half is traditional and wait till after the wedding. For spring and summer weddings it's usually okay to be traditional because there's plenty of daylight. I am never going to force a bride to do something she doesn't want to do, BUT when it comes to winter weddings, doing a first look is almost always a MUST. I'll explain below...

It's the middle of November right now and the sun sets around 4:45pm. In January, the sun sets around 4:30pm. If it's a super cloudy day (like most winter days) then it could be really dark around 3:30pm. If you're planning on having a 3:00pm or 4:00pm ceremony, then you obviously don't have any daylight left to do portraits afterwards, even the family formals. Some Catholic services are at 2:00pm which would seem like it would still be great timing for portraits afterwards, but you have to think about everything that takes place after the wedding. After the ceremony you have the receiving line and then signing of the marriage license, then family formals. Receiving lines can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes and family takes about the same amount of time. And don't forget about the whole bridal party. For a 2:00pm ceremony that maybe takes 30 minutes, that puts starting your bride/groom portraits (if you don't do a first look) at 4:00pm. That's pushing it and the last thing a bride needs is to be stressed about time for her bride and groom portraits on one of the most important days of her life.

My goal in telling you all of this, is to give brides a heads up if she's considering planning a winter wedding. Winter is probably my favorite light to shoot in. It fits my style and it's so light and airy. I absolutely LOVE capturing winter weddings... but since I'm a natural light photographer, you'd have to see each other before your wedding if we work together. There are plenty of photographers who can do wonderful things with flash and shoot in the dark but that's not my style. I always say that if a bride likes what she sees on my blog and social media, she needs to work within the timeline that I usually shoot in. She's investing in her photos and it's the one thing she'll get to keep after her wedding. I want her to be happy with those images for years to come. So if by telling her no, we're not a good fit, I'm okay with that. I'm learning that is completely okay to tell people "no" these days and I'm finding it's not the end of the world LOL.

17 November 2016

Alex + Kaitlin | A Glamorous Sequin Wedding | Steeleville, Illinois

I can't believe I'm blogging my last full wedding of the year. I do have a wedding reception in a couple weeks but this is officially the last wedding on the books for 2016. I'm a little sad but at the same time I'm ready for some time with my family and friends. With the holidays just around the corner it's perfect timing. But first, I just have to show you this gorgeous wedding. There are sequins people.... SEQUINS!!! It was my first time capturing such a glamorous wedding with sequin gowns and I was pretty excited about it.

Kaitlin has amazing taste! I could tell from the minute I stepped into the reception hall that morning for detail shots that this was a wedding like no other. She and her mother planned one of the most glamorous weddings ever. There was this cute old fashioned bike, flowers on every table, a gorgeous backdrop with white shear drapes with gold glitter and a "B" covered in blooms. You can tell that Kaitlin likes bling. Her wedding gown was covered in beads and sequins and her bridesmaids were dressed in gold sequin gowns from David's Bridal. I tell you what, David's Bridal is stepping up their game LOL.

The ceremony took place at Peace Lutheran Church in Steeleville, Illinois and the reception took place at the American Legion. Portraits were taken at a friend's barn just outside of Schuline. It was a huge white barn and the golden fall light was perfect. I got some of the most dreamy pictures of Alex and Kaitlin that evening and I cannot wait to show you my favorites below.

Alex's gift from his groomsmen...

Kaitlin reading her letter from Alex...

I absolutely LOVED Kaitlin's dress. So pretty!

Just look at those gowns.... AWESOME!


Awe...... Owen says "I DO TOO".

One of my FAVORITES!

Some reception details....

LOVE this!