Photos from Kellye and Sean’s Wild Engagement Session at Brookfield Zoo

Kellye (yes she does add an “e” at the end of her name) and Sean had their engagement photos today. As you can see, we used a wild location, the Brookfield Zoo. It was different and a lot of fun, despite the rain. Kellye is a high school French teacher so when we saw this by the Ape house, well…. we just had to take the photo!
Kellye and Sean's Engagement Session at Brookfield Zoo.
Engagement Photo of Kellye and Sean at Brookfield Zoo.
The lake at Brookfield Zoo was the site for this engagement photo of Kellye and Sean.
This engagement photo of Kellye and Sean was taken at the lake at Brookfield Zoo.
A photo of Kellye and Sean at Brookfield Zoo taken during their engagement session

Jackie and Steve/Robin and Rob’s E-Sessions

I had two engagement sessions this week. Two very different sessions. The first was with Jackie and Steve. For their e-session we walked around the Lincoln Square area. It was the area where they first met and spent a lot of time. As we were walking we found the “Bad Dog Tavern” As you can see, we had a little fun at the tavern!

Engagement Photo for Jackie and Steve in Downtown Chicago
Another Chicago Loop engagement photograph of Jackie and Steve

A couple of days later, I was out in the St. Charles area for Robin and Rob’s engagement session. This time we were at a park on the banks of the Fox River. It was quite different from the one a couple of days before, but we still had fun.

A photo of Robin and Rob at the park taken during their engagement session
A photo of Robin and Rob at the park taken during their engagement session

Incredible Weekend

This weekend actually started out on Thursday with an engagement session for Shannon and Derrick. They will be getting married in October. We met for their engagement session and went to the Village Green at Stone Prarie. It was a great evening and you can tell these two are so in love. I had a great time photographing them.

We started a little before sunset. There was a quarter or a half moon in the evening sky which added to the romance of the evening. Looking at these photos, you would never know we were in the middle of an office complex. The area was so quiet and serene that evening. Just us and the wildlife. Finally we had a nice sunset and it was time to go home.
Shannon and Derrik's Engagement Photo at Stone Prairie
A photo of Shannon and Derrik at Stone Prairie taken during their engagement session
A quiet wedding moment during engagement photo session on the trail at Stone Prairie
A sunset engagment photo of Shannon and Derrik taken at Stone Prairie

Friday I photographed Renee and Nick’s wedding. This was the first of two wedding for the weekend. It was a lot of fun. We started at Renee’s house where the women were getting ready. There were a a couple of flower girl’s who were not sure what everything was about.
Renee getting ready for her bridal photograph on her wedding day

When I got to the church, the guys were not ready. So I had some time to experiment a little bit. The church has these great stained glass windows. I wanted to see how I could use the light coming through these windows to my advantage.
Elgin Church Photo on the wedding day.
Nick's wedding day photo

After the ceremony, we went outside the church for some photos. I was lucky enough that there was a light breeze to move Renee’s veil just right for this photo! Sometimes, everything works out.
My favorite photo from Renee and Nick's wedding

Then it was off to the Sheraton Four Points for the reception. After seeing this sweet table I wanted to skip dinner and start with the deserts. I also saw something interesting, the DJ was actually using an I-pod to play prerecorded music. What ever happened to discs? Not records mind you, but CDs! I have seen some DJs use computers before but never an I-Pod.
Photo of the desert table at Nick and Renee's wedding
iPod DJ at the wedding

Saturday, I actually took some time off to celebrate our 9th wedding anniversary with my wife. I can’t believe it has been 9 years with this wonderful woman. In those 9 years, there have been several trips to Walt Disney World, 2 dogs, 3 kids and so much more! If not for her, I would not have been able to open the studio.

To celebrate our anniversary, we ate dinner at Weber’s. A couple of years ago I photographed a wedding at Weber’s in downtown Chicago. The food was great and I’ve always wanted to go back. About a year or so ago, they opened one here in Schaumburg. However, we’ve never had the opportunity to go. For our anniversary, my in-laws came and babysat our three kids so Sheryl and I could go out for dinner. It was nice to be able to eat and talk without the constant interruption from one of the three kids. All too soon the evening was over and time to go back home.

Sunday found me back at Starved Rock for another wedding. This time it was for Lauren and Joel’s wedding. These folks are such great people and so in love. Every time I met with them, you could see the love they have for each other. Believe it or not, this was my first opportunity to photograph a Jewish wedding. The bride and groom do see each other before the ceremony. I did want to provide them the opportunity for a “first look” and get the expression on Joel’s face when he saw his bride for the first time.

Following the advice provided by Cliff Mautner at our photographer’s workshop, I had Lauren stand by herself for a few minutes. Then I had Joel come to meet us. Anticipation! You can tell just from looking at the photos of Lauren that she can’t wait to see Joel. I was able to capture his expression as he rounded the corner and saw Lauren for the first time on their wedding day. Mission accomplished.

Laureen anxiously awaiting a wedding day first look at Joel.
Joel walking to meet Laureen at Starved Rock Lodge.

A little bit later, I was taking Joel’s photos when this butterfly decided to spend some time with Joel. No matter what we did, the butterfly just would not leave Joel alone. It was hyterical.

Photo of an unexpected wedding guest at Laureen and Joel's Starved Rock Wedding

Lauren and Joel’s ceremony was in the Great Hall at Starved Rock. I have never seen this place look any better. Everybody did a fabulous job decorating the place. There were so many little details that when they all came together – WOW.

Starved Rock lodge setup for a Jewish Wedding

At the reception, Joel’s thirteen year old daughter, Robin, sang “At Last” during the first dance. She sang so well that I expect to hear her on the radio or on Broadway someday. Well what is a Jewish wedding without the Hora? This was Robin’s first time being put in one of the chairs. You can see the fear on her face as she is first lifted into the air. As she feels more comfortable, her expression changes to one of excitement.
Starved Rock room first dance reception photograph
Photograph of an expected moment during the Hora.
The Hora Photo during a Jewish wedding reception at Starved Rock Lodge

Finally, it was time for Lauren’s dad’s speech. I guess he is known in the family for his speeches and everybody was waiting for the toast. Well the “confluence of influences” was quite a hit. It had everybody laughing. Some folks were laughing so hard they were crying. You just had to be there. Unfortunately, the evening came to an end about two hours before I think it should have. A great time was had by all.

Laureen and Joel's Jewish Wedding Reception at Starved Rock lodge.

August 2006: Catching Up


I can’t believe that Michah is almost 4 weeks old already. Where does the time go? Somehow, I look back and realized I’ve fallen behind with all of my work. There is so much stacked up that I will just have to start digging and then one day I hope to be all caught up.

The day after Michah was born, I was scheduled to photograph Arianna and Tony’s wedding. Arianna is a big Cinderella fan. So much so that her entire wedding was themed, Cinderella. The couple got married in a beautiful Greek Orthodox Church near downtown Chicago. There was so much to photograph. While I did visit with my family before the wedding, I owe a big thank you to Kelly Moore for giving me an after break for a second visit.

Photo of Bridesmaids flowers at a Chicago Wedding
Arianna and Tony's Chicago Greek Orthodox Wedding
Arianna and Tony's Chicago Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony
Arianna and Tony's Wedding Photo

I did have a weekend off but there was still no time to get anything done. My family was in from Syracuse and Sheryl’s family was in from Milwaukee to see the baby and celebrate Meghan’s 6th birthday. Hard to believe she is 6 and going into the first grade. After my week off, it was time to celebrate with Courtney and Jim. Their wedding ceremony was held at the Naperville Settlement Church. The reception was at Mill Creek Golf Club. It was a long drive from the church to the reception. The golf club made the mistake of letting the groomsmen drive the golf carts to the photo locations. Here are some photos from Courtney and Jim’s wedding.

Wedding bands
Courtney and Jim's Naperville Settlement Church Wedding Photograph
Photo from Courtney and Jim's Naperville Settlement Church Wedding
Photograph of Courney and Jim outside the Naperville Setllement Church after their wedding
Courtney and Jim's Bridal party photos taken at Mill Creek Golf Course

The week after Courtney and Jim’s wedding, I attended a 4 day Digital Wedding Forum (DWF) Photographers’ workshop. Since it just so happened to be in Arlington Heights, I decided it was well worth the time and effort to attend. There were 4 different days with 4 different photographers. The first day was taught by Jeff and Julia Woods. In addition to talking about balancing our lives (Julia said “balanced” 38 times in 6 hours) they showed us how they photograph an engagement session. Then we got to try it ourselves with some models.

The next day, Cliff Mautner taught us about marketing and how to use difficult lighting conditions to our advantage. Once again, he showed us what he does then let us try it ourselves. The last two days were taught by Becker, workflow and Laura Novak, business strategy. It was an exciting 4 days with information overload. I wish I could have joined the group for the evening events but family responsibilities called.

Last weekend was a little busy as I photographed my first Indian wedding as a lead photographer. It was a major change from the weddings which I typically photograph. All of the women were wearing saris of various colors. It was actually quite colorful. The flowers which Alina selected were also quite beautiful. All in all it was a fantastic day. With over 500 guests, the wedding really kept me going.

Chicago Area Traditional Area Wedding Party Photo
Neat photo of a wedding unity candle
Flowers from a Chicago area traditional Indian wedding ceremony
A photo of the bride during a Traditional Indian Wedding Ceremony

Finally we have Amanda and Joe’s engagement session. There is a nice hidden park at 115th and Harlem just beside the Cal Sag waterway. We were there just before sundown for this session. I really used the new skills and techniques I learned at my DWF photographer’s workshop just the week before. Amanda and Joe were a lot of fun to work with and I think this is one of my best sessions ever.

Amanda and Joe's engagement photo
Amanda and Joes engagement photo
Engagment Photo of Amanda and Joe

Tuesday was Meghan’s last day of summer vacation. We took the family to the Brookfield Zoo. As there are e-mails to read and reply to, albums to design and other work to get to, you will just have to wait a couple of days to see the photos from Michah’s first outing to the zoo.

Outpouring of Support

By now you all know Sheryl and I are expecting our third child any day now. At our last Dr.’s appointment, the Dr. said our son was measuring about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. It is very likely he will be born before his due date of August 7. Mathew followed the same growth pattern and was also born early. This news was not a big surprise to me. The Dr. wants Sheryl to complete 37 weeks of pregnancy before the baby is born. That would be Monday July 17. It basically means the baby could arrive at any moment now.

Meanwhile, I am scheduled to photograph Michelle and Ryan’s wedding on Saturday. The photographer who had previously told me he would be my backup, decided to take another booking. I was panicked. If I have a backup photographer, the baby will wait. With my luck, without a backup available, it is 100% certain my new son will decide to arrive at the worst possible time, on Saturday during the wedding!

I put the word out via several of my wedding photography networks. I received many replies from photographers. Some were available and others were not but they were calling their photographer friends on my behalf to find somebody to assist me. What an outpouring of support! This is one of the benefits I receive as a member of my professional associations. While you hope to never need the help of your fellow photographers, it is nice to know they are there when you are in a bind.

During the week, I have been busy working on several projects. I completed the first draft of Maureen and Jason’s wedding album. They are going to have a great heirloom to show their kids and grand kids about the day they got married.

Collage of wedding photos as seen in the album
Wedding Photo collage for Maureen and Jason's Wedding Album
Collage of wedding photgraphs as seen in the wedding album

On Sunday, I photographed the engagement session for Cheryl and Mark. They are getting married on September 9. We had a lot of fun at Twin Lakes in Palatine during their engagement session. It was a chance to get to know these folks a little better. Mark has a great sense of humor and I can’t wait to join them on their wedding day.

Cheryl and Mark's Engagement Photo taken at Twin Lakes

Next, as a special gift for Meghan’s Kindergarten teacher, I created a 22 page book chronicling Meghan’s first year of school in photos. I started at the first day of school and followed her through the year. We concluded on report card day. Here are some of spreads from Miss Sullivan’s remembrance book.

Event photo collage for an album
Album collage with event photographs
Album photo collage with photos taken at Brookfield Zoo