Archive: ‘Families and Kids’

K’s Summer of 7

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Oh, to be 7 again! K’s mom contacted me in July, after winning a session I’d donated to Nick’s Race for their raffle. When K’s mom called to book their session, she told me K had JUST had her 7th birthday. She also mentioned that K loves playing softball, going swimming, playing and being goofy. Immediately, my memories took me back to when my summers revolved around softball schedules, sleepovers, and making up dances to Debbie Gibson songs with my best friend, all the while believing that summer would never end. So naturally, I was beyond excited to spend some time with K and get to see the world through HER eyes. When I was a kid, I hoped against hope that summer would last forever, but standing on the other side as an adult, I knew that K’s summer of 7 would be gone in a flash. I was honored to get to capture a little piece of it for K and her mom so that years from now, they could look back and remember just how perfectly wonderful being 7 was!

Child Photography at Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, IL

K was as fun-loving as they come, and as we warmed up to each other, I got to see her multi-faceted personality. My favorite? Her full-on goofy side!

Child Photography at Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, IL

I also got to witness the incredible affection between mom and K — you could tell that these two adore each other. The bond between a mother and her children is quickly becoming one of my favorite subjects to photograph. Really, is there a love more pure?

Child Photography at Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, IL

I loved every moment of photographing this super-cool kiddo, and I even went home with a new recipe to try. As it turns out, K’s mom makes the BEST quesadillas, and K was right…adding mushrooms really takes them to the next level! 🙂

Child Photography at Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, IL

What a treat it was to get to spend a little time getting to know you two. Thanks for coming out and spending a little time with me on a hot July evening. May K always hold on to her exuberant self-assuredness and sense of wonder!

Child Photography at Lincoln Log Cabin in Charleston, IL


P.S. I still have openings for Fall Mini-Sessions! Get more details here or book online today!

A Photo Walk Adventure | Photo Tips and Tricks

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Taking a photo walk with your child is a great way to document your child’s spirit and energy. And a photo walk is a wonderful vehicle for practicing storytelling through your pictures.

Last month, hubby and I decided to spend a weekend sharing some one-on-one time with each of our girls. Miss J and I rounded off our mommy/daughter day with a photo walk through downtown Charleston, IL. She was excited to bring her camera and explore, and I was excited to get out and scout some new locations and have an excuse to get her to strike a few poses for me – a win/win. As it turns out, it was the most fun she and I have had together – just the two of us – all summer long!

Before you head out, have your child pick a favorite toy to take with you on your adventure. Throughout the walk, you can find ways to engage your child by asking him/her to interact with their toy and then use that opportunity to snap a few shots. Also, allow plenty of time and head out with an attitude of “We’re off on an adventure…let’s see what we can see!” Take time to point out flowers, bugs, interesting places – anything that might warrant additional exploration by your child. There’s something so captivating about images of children discovering new things, and a photo walk affords many opportunities to capture these images. Lastly, try to take a step back and document the setting in a few of your images. Every story needs a setting, and having a few images that show your surroundings can add quite a punch to your collection of images from your photowalk.

Here are a few of my favorites from my photo walk with Miss J.

As we started our walk, I asked her to pick her favorite storefront and we took a few pictures of her sitting on their stoop.

As we continued down the way, we found a brick wall in an alley that made for a perfect backdrop to show off some sassiness! And Julia found some rocks that aspired to be models, too. (Love my little photographer!)

Julia grabbed a few shots of a monument at the Court House that grabbed her eye, while I took the opportunity to capture the way the sunlight glowed on her long golden locks of hair. Lucky I did, because the following day, she decided to play beauty shop and chopped them all off!

I let Julia run ahead of me and pick out what we’d photograph next. Both she and I loved looking in the window of an antique shop on the square. These hat boxes were too cool!

Break time! 

We used our “spotting scopes” to help us decide where we’d go next, and of course we had to stop and smell every flower we saw along the way!

By the end of the walk, we’d had an incredible time together, taken a bunch of really fun pictures, had a great story to share with Dad and Sis when we got home — and I was even fortunate enough to capture a few beautiful, wall-worthy images of the coolest three (almost 4) year old in the world!

If you’re interested in planning a photo walk for yourself, here’s a checklist of a few other things to consider before heading out, but I think the most important thing to take along is your sense of adventure! I hope you’ll grab your camera and your kid and head out on an adventure of your own. I guarantee you’ll have a blast!


Summertime + Sisterly Love = F-U-N! | Chicago Suburbs Child Photographer

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

On a recent trip up to the Chicago area, I was so lucky to get to spend some time with these two cuties, Miss M and Miss E. They adore each other like only sisters can, and these two girls sure do know how to have fun!

Two Girls Hugging

Child Portraits

The backyard turned out to be just the place to take pictures, and even their puppy wanted to get in on the action!

A Girl and Her Dog

Miss M was the perfect model…but she didn’t take her job TOO seriously! (Sometimes a girl’s just gotta kick back, you know?!?)

Candid Child Portraits

And Miss E is just a little sweetheart! I love when I’m able to capture those expressions that define a kiddo’s personality, like this one here. This gal’s a thinker, I tell ya….

Close-up Photos of Child

After awhile, Miss E just needed her mom. Is there anything more beautiful than a mother comforting her child?

Mother Comforting Her Child

We wrapped up our session with some good ol’ summertime play — sidewalk chalk and riding bikes.

Kids Playing

I sure do wish summer could last forever! And I look forward to spending more time with these two gals, because they sure do know the recipe for fun!



More Baby Goodness from Chicago | Central Illinois Child Photography

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Meet Zara! I met Zara and her beautiful mother at the recent workshop I attended in Chicago. Zara was such a pleasure to photograph. As soon as she saw the camera, she began hamming it up for us. And those eyes…just look at them! They’re like jewels! While I loved getting to capture Zara’s exuberance and litte sense of humor, some of my favorite moments were those when she snuggled up with her mama. There’s nothing more pure than the love between a mother and her child, and it’s always an honor when I get to capture those little moments of affection.

Image Collage of Baby Photos

Want to learn how to make your kids’ eyes shine in your photos? Tune in tomorrow for my post on catchlights. This is one of those little things that can make all the difference in your photos, and I can’t wait to share it with you! Cheers!

Kaiylen & Kyler | Central Illinois (Mattoon-Charleston) Child Photography

Friday, June 17th, 2011

Over Memorial Day weekend, I attended the most amazing photography workshop in Chicago led by one of my absolute favorite lifestyle photographers, Me Ra Koh, and her husband Brian. The workshop combined classroom and hands-on learning, and I was honored to meet Me Ra and Brian, to learn from them, and to be inspired by them. I feel so much more confident about my camera and all its bells and whistles and fancy settings now — but the big “aha!” moment came AFTERWARDS, as I was riding the train home from Chicago. As I reflected on my weekend experience, I was so grateful for the new friendships that had begun to blossom over the course of the weekend, and I felt a real “settling into” this new career as a photographer. I felt certain that giving a voice to my dream of becoming a photographer was the right thing to do, and that NOW is the right time to do it. And I felt a sense of self-acceptance and confidence in myself as an artist, a wife and mother, a business-woman. Talk about empowering!

I’m super-excited to share with you the first round of photos that I took during one of our baby sessions. Meet 11 week-old Kaiylen and 3 year-old Kyler…aren’t they just adorable? Kaiylen was so alert and present, soaking in everything going on around her, and Kyler was a barrel full of laughs.

Stay tuned for more baby and kiddo goodness from the workshop…I’m so excited to share with you! And in the meantime, head on over to Me Ra’s site and check out her work ( You’ll be glad you did!


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