The Rosasco’s are a couple that I have to thank Facebook for. I truly believe that mutual friends was the reason that this wedding was even brought to my attention, and I think that building positive relationships with people ended up landing me this wedding.
Miranda and Jimmy were a couple that took advantage of my engagement sessions that are included in my wedding packages. I love being able to build relationships with couples through multiple photo shoots. It makes the wedding day less stressful, and ultimately, I think it makes them more comfortable in front of a camera.
Their wedding day in Lake Geneva was such an awesome getaway from what I have photographed in the past. I have only been to Lake Geneva a handful of times, so it was such a great opportunity to venture outside of where I am comfortable photographing, and it forced me to do some new scouting for locations.
Their fall wedding was beautiful, but I didn’t think it would be as cold as it was in October. The super high winds didn’t help keep us warm either, and they became more of a challenge than an aide for taking wedding portraits. I feel like Lake Geneva always gives the impression that it is beautiful and warm outside, unless there is obvious signs of winter of their photos. Needless to say, I was reminded that we were in the midwest once the winds hit from the lake.
Their wedding day featured photos at a family lake house, a trolly ride, a beautiful traditional service, beautiful scenery at the pier, iconic backdrops in Lake Geneva, and a beautifully decorated venue that was full of elegance and grace.
It also presented a challenge that happens at some weddings. The ceremony ran late, like 30 minutes late, and we had photos planned at a certain location that unfortunately needed to be cancelled. Thankfully, Jimmy and Miranda were super flexible, and we ended up doing their portraits and bridal party portraits right outside of the venue instead of at the wetlands that we had planned. That’s one thing that I don’t think is communicated often enough to couples. You can plan out the perfect wedding day, but unfortunately, there are some things that are out of your control. Flexibility is key in those moments, and being able to roll with the punches is important.
How could I almost forget this: there was a cocktail party on a boat! For an entire hour, we cruised around Lake Geneva and enjoyed cocktails, hor d’oeuvres, and live music before we settled in to venue at the Riviera. By the end of the night, Jimmy and Miranda surprised their guests with a choreographed surprise first dance that produced plenty of full belly laughs and even some tears of joy for the happy couple.
Here are the wonderful people I had the opportunity to work with on this wedding day
Second Photographer: Sara with Lady Appleseed Photography
Coordinator: Jaffe with Graceful Events Weddings
DJ: Pete’s My DJ
Video: Omar Haro Videography
Floral Design: Pesche’s Greenhouse
Venue: The Riviera
Enjoy some of the highlights from their wedding day!
Pete and Nicole’s engagement session was exactly what it needed to be: a practice run through of what could be expected on their wedding day. I’ve written about engagement sessions before (see here) and why you should have one before your wedding day, even if you don’t “need” the photos. Pete and Nicole didn’t need their engagement session; they actually didn’t book with me until May of 2018 and their wedding is this upcoming September. By the time they had booked me for their wedding day, they already sent out their save the dates. Most couples use their engagement photos for their save the dates, but I still offered it to them as a practice session for their wedding day photos. It also gives me the opportunity to know what they know: are they familiar with any poses, have they ever been photographed before, or is this going to be a completely new experience? I’m glad that we got through a couple of hiccups during this engagement session that will be avoided on their wedding day. I was also able to have come conversations with Nicole and Pete about certain poses and styles that they wanted on their wedding day.
The first time we had scheduled this engagement session, there was a torrential downpour. We rescheduled for a couple of weeks later, and we got some pretty humid weather, but Pete and Nicole were great sports and took me up on my offer of a new location that would include a lot of walking. I’ve had my eye on Waubonsie Lake for a while; it’s a path that I’m very familiar with since it’s one of my running haunts during marathon training season. I knew that I wanted to take photos by the bridges, by the dam, and in the more heavily wooded area of the lake. I’ve always noticed spots that I’ve thought would be great photo spots, but I was surprised at so many new places that caught my attention during the session.
One spot in particular that caught me by surprise was this massive Weeping Willow. Weeping Willows should catch my attention; after all, they are my wife’s favorite tree. I love the depths that the leaves provide for these images and just the size of this tree. This is definitely a spot that I will be back to with other couples.
Here are a couple of other favorites from Nicole and Pete’s engagement session. I’m excited to photograph their wedding at The City Gate Grille and Hotel Arista in Naperville, IL this upcoming September.
I’ve done a handful of photo shoots in Chicago, and one of the best things about this city is that not one of them looks them same. There are so many different spots to take photos and so many incredible backdrops that each photo shoot in the city is really incredibly unique.
Tyler came my way through one of my teaching colleagues and friends. After several years of dating, Tyler had decided that 2018 was the year when him and his girlfriend were finally getting engaged. He had shared this with my colleague, and she connected us on capturing this special day.
I met up with Tyler on that cold Chicago morning, and we scouted out the best spot at the very end of the pier by the Adler Planetarium. The cafe that they have there was a lifesaver because Tyler had a scavenger hunt for Katrina to complete before her final destination was the planetarium. After the location had been set, we waited. I gave Tyler a couple of pointers, I shared some of the mistakes when I proposed to my wife (make sure you place the ring on her left hand, your right), told him how to position her and where I would be taking photos from, and we waited.
Thank God for Snapchat. It helped keep Tyler’s anxiety in check about the whole situation. He was supposed to receive text updates, but he was able to keep up through a Snapchat story instead. Once they were at the final stop, we waited outside for the moment of the day.To say the least, it was a success! She said “Yes!” Take at look at their special moment. This is an engagement I will never forget.
At the request of the couple, I’ve been holding on to these gems for quite some time. Finally, their wedding day came, and they gave me the okay to post these once they were married. This was such a fun day in Chicago. Both the couple and I had done our research on locations that we wanted to photograph, and we were off to start photographing. We started at the courthouse where they obtained their marriage licence, and we walked down Clark to the Chicago Board of Trade building. We knew that we wanted that as the background for some of the photos, and we were in for some fun with cars driving by honking their horns and congratulating the couple.
From there, we hopped in a taxi and requested to go the Kinzie bridge. Our taxi driver, possibly feeling somewhat creative himself, took us to the array of bridges on Wacker. We spent most of our time on those bridges capturing the beauty of couple and the architecture of the city. We started on the N Orleans bridge and walked walked underneath the bridges along the river as well to get a different perspective of the city eventually making our way to the Lake Street bridge. There are so many hidden gems in Chicago that I love discovering every time I photograph down there.
One of my favorite shots came on the Lake street bridge. In a quick traffic break, we ran out there and captured this moment. The construction crews were holding up traffic, so we had some extra time on there. I just love how the L frames this picture. After the bridges, we made our way to Millennium Park to capture some of the new, cool architecture in Chicago. I felt a bit like a tourist with my camera in hand capturing all of the architecture in the city, but it is such a beautiful city that continues to amaze me.
Finally we ended up at the iconic Chicago Theater marquee. There’s nothing that says Chicago like a literal marquee that says Chicago.
Happy New Year! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new on here; it’s actually been since November. Whoops. With the holiday season, I lose track of time in order to keep up with personal ventures and blog posts. As my Christmas break is winding down to an end, I found some time to update you all on the most recent engagement that was captured.
A friend of mine had asked me to photograph his upcoming engagement after reading a previous blog post. This one was a bit of a challenge because of the time of year. With this taking place in December, I was short on daylight. He planned on proposing around 5pm, which is already in the dark in December. Doug, my friend, had taken this into account and friends and family helped him set up a tressle earlier in the day. The Christmas lights and candles in the background were also a nice touch that he had people set up as well.
The prep work for this event was quite a bit. There were a couple of detailed video messages of how to get to the location, some of which included Doug driving a truck down a path that I’m not sure he was allowed to drive down. Doug treated Caitlin to a wonderful day in downtown Geneva. There were Snapchat updates all day on their wonderful dates, but Caitlin had no idea what would transpire in the evening. Doug even organized and reserved the backroom of a restaurant for friends to take part in the surprise filled day.
I worked with a videographer, who happened to be Doug’s roommate, to capture this special moment. While the videographer was capturing everything from the front, I snuck around back and was able to capture everything with a nice rim light effect. This was a bit a challenge because of the darkness, and I didn’t want my photos to come out too grainy. In the end, I realized that a photo taken in focus with a bit of grain is better than a photo that wasn’t taken. There was definitely some editing that had to happen in after these were taken.
After the proposal, in which she of course said yes, we had ourselves a mini photo shoot with friends and family joining in on the surprise. We went to the “right side” of the light for a different look on the photos.
Once again, Geneva, IL was the spot for this beautiful capture, and the location of the entire day for Doug and Caitlin. These photos were taken on Island Park, which is in the downtown Geneva area and has a beautiful walkway, bridge, and open area that is great for photoshoots.
To the people that know them, Joey and Savannah go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’ve been together for 5 years, and I think the pressure has been on Joey for a bit for when he was going to “finally” ask the question.
The pressure is understandable. My wife and I dated for just over 6 years before I “finally” popped the question and was able to produce a ring. I fielded questions from others about when I propose to my wife for years before I actually was able to produce what I thought would be the perfect ring for the love of my life. That’s often the issue with young love: being able to produce a ring. The love is indescribable, unquenchable, and unquestionable, and when there is a love present like that, the ring, setting, and idea has to be perfect. This is a once in a lifetime moment that shouldn’t succumb to pressure or be forced on to the groom-to-be.
Joey’s set up was perfect: he told Savannah that a colleague of his wanted to expand his photography portfolio and was looking for models to photograph. Not entirely a lie. Joey and I teach high school English at the same school, and I’m always looking to photograph new people. He set this up as a 5 year anniversary shoot. She had created a sign, and to my knowledge, was going along with the idea of an anniversary shoot.
When we got to the highly anticipated spot, Joey finally popped the question.
What followed afterward was a slue of emotions, which I was enthused to capture. Once the question had been asked, and she said “yes” of course, we had an actual engagement shoot to that needed to happen.
In the day and age where asking someone to prom is being dubbed “promposals,” asking someone to spend the rest of their life with you has to be big too. Make sure it is a moment that can be cherished forever because it was captured.
One of the best aspects of being a photographer is getting to see your clients grow. Watching newborns grow up and document their first steps is beautiful, but watching a family grow can be inspirational. I’m always very humbled and honored when couples take a chance on me to document their weddings, especially for the couples early in my photography career. The Brownings were one of the first couples that trusted me with taking their wedding photos.
Even though they are family, there was no obligation to having me take their engagement photos, then their wedding photos, and then their family photos once they started growing. There are plenty of other photographers that they could have used, but there must have been something in my style that they liked in order to keep using me to document their memories. I almost cringe when I look back at some of the photos I’ve taken early in my career. The quality obviously isn’t as great; I wasn’t rocking a full frame camera with prime lenses at the time. But some of the ideas that I still use are present in my early photos. I’ve obviously grown as a photographer, and the quality of photos that I take are better as well.
Nostalgia at its finest.
This past spring, I decided to run the Chicago Marathon for the third time. My wife gave me the idea that I should run for a charity from now on so that the training that I do not only benefits my health, but it can benefit someone else. I honor of my cousin’s baby, I decided to join Team UPS for DownS. The United Parent Support for Down Syndrome is an organization that offers “support, education, and encouragement for parents, families and others who love and care about persons with Down syndrome” (upsfordowns.org). My wife works with adults with developmental disabilities, so this community has always been near and dear to us. I’m still fundraising even though the race is in a week, and I have already reached my fundraising goal, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t help out. Help support this wonderful organization by clicking here.
My cousin, Sandy, has been blogging about her experiences of motherhood, both with her firstborn son, her second-born daughter, and the challenges and blessings of raising a child who has Down syndrome. If you ever want to read about her beautiful perspective on life, need a word of encouragement, or need a reality check on your own life, check out what she has to say here: http://signet223.blogspot.com/