• Tue, 05 May 2015 01:53:00 +0000

    Karley + Joe | Rock Cut Engagement


    One day two engagement sessions and at complete opposite ends of the city all because I love my couples including the amazing Karley and Joe. Welcome to spring and welcome to Rock Cut home of trees, water and wooden structures.

    Shameless plug here for Joe seeing as his family runs Nunzios, a fantastic family style Italian Restaurant, I want all my readers to head out there this month and grab some pasta and fill your bellies. I’m heading up there soon myself so you may see me finishing off a plate of something incredible.

    So I met Karley and Joe deep in the forest and the entire time we chatted, laughed and enjoyed an amazing day to be out and about in the wilderness. The sky was perfect, the breeze was nice and the magic between these two was on point. You two definitely made my job easy by smiling and enjoying yourselves while I hid behind trees snagging images left and right.

    Not sure how many I took this outing but I had a hard time weeding it down to the best because there were honestly so many great shots of these two interacting.

    I definitely can’t wait to chase these two come wedding day. Now go through all the pics and see what true love is because it’ll get you in each and every image.


  • Mon, 04 May 2015 03:14:38 +0000

    Annie + Brandon | Rockford Engagement


    Spring may be in the air but I feel that love is somewhat over powering mother nature when it comes to Anne and Brandon during their engagement session the other day. I had an awesome time chasing these two around and even had two firsts as a local photographer. I not only got to shoot inside of the Nicholas Conservatory but I also shot for the first time over at the par across the street from Sinnissippi gardens.

    So I met our two love birds and immediately noticed they were not camera shy what-so-ever. We jumped right in with comfortable happy expressions and plenty of PDA in front of all the children walking around. Sorry kids but you have to learn this at some point and we brought in a pair of experts.

    Our adventure took us across the street to the other Sinnissipi park where we got to play with Dixie Lou who was as photogenic as their family. I love when I get put into situations where I have no idea where I’m ending up because it means I get to focus more on technique and getting the expressions I need so in the instance where I’m in a place not so beautiful as the couple I know I can make anything happen when I rely on my photographer eye. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone we have this ability. If they knew that we wouldn’t get away with suggesting places that look amazing too.

    We wandered around a bit, snagged some awesome photos and enjoyed a fun afternoon together. All in all I have to say I’m incredibly happy I was chosen by these two and I can’t wait for the wedding day later this year!


  • Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:20:25 +0000

    Keri + Cody | Illinois Spring Wedding


    Spring is in the air and the first wedding of the year is here for myself thanks to the amazing couple in Keri and Cody. Thank you so much for letting me chase you two around all day and capturing all the smiles. You two are pretty much amazing and don’t forget to check in with me from time to time to tell me how awesome the married life has been.

    So it’s been about 4 months since the last time I picked up my camera for a wedding an d boy did it feel fantastic to get out and rock once again. The feeling of being part of someones special day is something you just have to experience to understand fully. The emotion, the tension and the feeling of love run throughout the day and keep you going from start to finish.

    The day started as easy as can be with us just chasing everyone around capturing as much as we could while everyone as getting ready. The fun part happens about 30 minutes before the ceremony when final touches are commencing and everyone is hurrying to keep on schedule. Afterwards there is fun calming feeling that the big part is over and now you have the time to enjoy with the bridal party capturing the awesome portraits they hire us photographers to do. I hand an endless amount of amazing light and with such a great team of people it was so easy to get all the fun shots I love getting.

    As the day winds down we are tired but you can’t stop because the reception has so many key moments you have to keep track of. From the dances to cake cuttings and even the ceremonial tossing of large heavy flowers are always on the list of things to capture. After an exhausting day and tons of amazing images captured you feel like you could accomplish anything if only you had the energy to do so.

    Thank you again Keri and Cody for letting me be part of your day and taking us in like friends. I can’t wait to see you two years down the line so whenever you’re in need of me just let me know. Now let’s go look at some teasers from the day.

    Shout out to Luis Hermosillo for being the best second shooter of the day! Hugs buddy!


  • Tue, 17 Feb 2015 22:16:27 +0000

    Jen + Kane | Illinois Winter Enagement


    Winter is such a gorgeous time of the year here in the Illinois with all the mountains of fluffy white snow making such a beautiful backdrop for portrait sessions and even weddings for those bold enough. Today I met with Jen and Kane for a short walk through the park and some barn hopping for pics so stay awhile as we go on this winter fun shoot.

    We started out at Blackhawk Springs Nature Preserve roaming around the very slippery but extremely pretty surroundings. Lots of nature in every direction but I picked a specific path that leads us right up to the frozen waters of the Kishwaukee river and the entire way Kane helped Jen make it through all the fun icy trials. Yes I know they are called trails but they were more tests of how good your winter boots were and in this case Kane’s actual winter boots trumped the style and fashion of UGZ but only by a fraction. Sorry Jen 🙂

    We made it to our destination in one piece and enjoyed the frigid temps by moving at a quick pace through some poses, plenty of smiles and a whole lot of hugging for warmth. Sadly I was the only one without hugs but I had work to do and some hot hands in my pockets kept me in decent shape.

    We trekked out of the park and did some country barn shooting, with a camera of course, to get those final slightly warmer looking winter pics. This time the walks were slightly less treacherous but the smiles were definitely hiding behind some frozen cheeks. Thankfully Jen shared her blanket with Kane while he shared plenty of warm embraces. In all it was a fantastic time and glad to have suffered through the cold to capture these awesome pics.

    Thank you Jen and Kane and I can’t wait for your wedding day. I’m not saying that just because it’ll be slightly warm out but because I know we will share even more amazing images on a warmer day.

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  • Fri, 15 Aug 2014 03:03:53 +0000

    Meg + Chris | Sunrise Chicago Engagement


    How do you get a photographer who doesn’t like the big city in to Chicago for an engagement session??? Get him up at 3am so he can drive in for sunrise on the beach!

    An early start for a couple I found out had never been to a sunrise on the beach in their own city!! Life moment checked off plus we snagged some AMAZING imagery from the experience so a super win.

    We wandered the beach about 20 minutes before the sun even thought of peaking over the horizon and in that time we snapped away, chatted, laughed and enjoyed the cool morning air together. As the sun began to rise we walked quite a way in hopes that we could shake off some of the awkwardness that many couples have in that first 20-30 minutes. Quickly everything just “clicked” and we went from 0-60 in no time flat.

    The sun finally rose into it’s optimal position and this is when Meg & Chris truly started connecting with each other and the best of the photos came together. Warm orange glow of the sun over the lake was so beautiful that I became a landscape photographer so some strange reason but it was totally worth it.

    Smiles, laughter and sunrise… the perfect morning with an amazing couple! Can’t wait to see you two next year and remember to keep smiling and hugging and using all those great poses we left you with so you look GQ all over the big city.

    Now for the pics!!!


  • Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:33:37 +0000

    Allison + Jon | Aurora, Il Engagement Session


    Have camera will travel is the motto and this time I was teleported to Aurora, Il for an engagement session with the magnificent pair of Allison and Jon.

    Nestled just over an hour away Aurora is a simple town with some great locations and even better food and beverage locations. I met up with Allison & Jon at the Two Brothers Roundhouse, yes the Two Brothers brewery Two Brothers, just outside of the main downtown district. This building not only holds a brewery, a cafe and a bunch of tasty noms but it also contains an amazing partially circular wedding venue and it looks to be pretty much epic so I can’t wait for next May to come back and make some magic happen once again.

    We started our adventure on foot roaming the Metra tracks and found ourselves under a half mile or so of gorgeous stone pillars, streets and rubble. Mind kind of place so we make quick use of the great lighting that btw took 4 total dates to get. Yes… I don’t just shoot these session willie nilly and we were rained and temperatured, yup not a word, out 3 times before we struck gold on this beautiful 71 degree and sunny day. Abusing the amazing day we walked, and walked and walked to the point where my phone let me know I broke my 10,000 step goal for the day and I hadn’t walked at all until that point.

    From awesome spot to awesome spot we kept chugging on and basically I just abused the fact that Allison & Jon love each other so much that they actually look amazing just hanging and I just have to click the button. Thanks you two!!! lol

    Eventually the sun was setting and even though some clouds came in so I couldn’t get an epic sunset type shot I did plan for one contingency shot just in case. In every shoot I do I try and force myself to focus on creating one or two new poses or at least trying one new technique that I haven’t done. This shoot I decided to hunker down, stay steady and capture these two loving each others company while the train rolled by. Thankfully math was on my side and it worked out amazingly and I can give myself a gold star for my first attempt! Yay!

    Well, enough verbiage I know you’re itching to see pics so have fun viewing and if you’re in need of a photographer I may know someone!

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  • Mon, 14 Jul 2014 05:20:56 +0000

    Raychelle & Devin | Second Shooting with Luis Hermosillo


    This wedding was from some time ago but I always wait so Luis Hermosillo can post all his goodness and then I can sneak in a few photos for you to see from Raychelle & Devin’s wedding. Btw, Check out the entire set over on his blog at http://www.luishermosillo.com/raychelle-devin.

    This wedding was adventure-tastic filled with uber awesome locations from downtown city streets, to train stations to a mansion! Pretty much envious of this wedding as the two lovebirds of Raychelle & Devin made an amazing party for their friends and family to enjoy.

    The weather was fantastic, the sun was shinning, the group was smiling and as usual Luis put me to work with the guys making sure they had ample awesome photos of themselves which I’m totally cool with. We wandered the city streets for some time and eventually we made a switcheroo and I kidnapped the whole group for some more downtown exploration. Sure my feet hurt a little after a while but it was totally worth checking out all the beautiful areas and getting some amazing photos of this group.

    The reception at the Mansion was amazing and not just because of it’s beauty but also the design and time these two put in to make it look perfect. Stunning elegance at it’s best. The other perk of the mansion was the great backdrop for photos beyond belief so let’s just say the two of us went camera happy.

    In all another successful day and thank you Luis for trusting my camera to capture the other half of the wedding day. We kind of rock. Now let’s look at some pics!

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  • Sun, 13 Jul 2014 18:33:12 +0000

    Welcome to the Family | Wotancraft Scout Bag


    Every photographer needs a good bag but the problem is there are millions of good bags and even some great bags but the amount of good or great bags that do exactly what you need just don’t seem to exist. If you ask any photographer they probably own about 5-10 bags because this is something so personal but also something that has to do so much. So began the hunt and after numerous trials, camera store visits, snagging bags from friends to look at and scrutinize over I think I found the perfect blend that I needed. Thankfully a man named Mark Molencupp pointed me towards the light and I finally got my overseas delivery from Wotancraft just last weeekend.

    Sure every photographer has an ONA bag now and they are great bags. Heck Luis Hermosillo has an ONA bag and it’s beast, but for the price it’s too small for my needs and the one that would fit my needs is really really expensive even though the quality is that good it wasn’t what I was looking for. Plus I have a little bit of ego when it comes to not owning what all the others are owning sooooo yeah that fed into it a bit.

    A small bag, small enough to sit on my shoulder and not weigh me down but also to hold just 3 lenses, 2 memory card wallets and 2 spare batteries. That’s is. Period. Honestly, that’s been one of the most difficult bag sizes to find anything worth while in from any brand. They are either too small or too big or too cheap or priced in the $300+ range or worse they are some rainbow tropic color or plain black, but aren’t even waterproof or built that well when they do fit my needs. Domke, Think Tank, Crumpler, Timbuktu, ONA, etcetera upon etcetera were all candidates for what had to hold so little but also had to look good and do it correctly for the right price. As much as I like to spend money on gear a bag just holds that gear and I don’t mind spending $300-$500 for a bag if it’s the perfect bag and I only have to buy it once, but like anything they just aren’t made to last or just don’t do what you need them to do so I’m not going to spend more than I have to. The ONA Brixton was the closest and I even got to feel and touch one but sadly for the $300 price tag the build quality wasn’t what I hoped for. Don’t get me wrong it’s an amazing bag but it’s not a $300 amazing bag. Now I didn’t think that initially because it felt like a refined Domke bag and was very well built, with the fine waxed canvas and leather accents. It all changed once I got to feel, touch, hold a Wotancraft bag thanks to my friend and fellow photographer Mark. Thanks Mark!

    Double thick canvas, double stitched with thick thread, super supple and smooth waxed canvas that doesn’t scratch and get all hazy with use, amazingly durable and well tanned cracked leather with all the accent metals antiqued and made of brass or steel. It’s basically the nicest bag you’ve touched but just that much nicer. As an added bonus the inner liner that is removable, like so many bags like it, is crafted from hovercraft grade rubber and once you’ve zippered it shut is actually submersible in liquid, which is completely unlike any bag ever made. So not only is the outside of the bag weatherproofed, thanks to the military grade waxed canvas, but the inner liner can be zipped up and is waterproof and submersible. The attention to detail is amazing and one of my favorite features in the metal snaps are mounted on a piece of aged tanned leather that gives room for your fingers to get under and securely close the snaps.

    So how much is this masterpiece? $300? $400? $500?! Nope. This bag is actually $100 cheaper than the ONA equivalent and comes in at $209 with a small $15 shipping fee from Asia. The order process was a little different since these are all handmade I literally emailed them in early june and they told me a batch would be ready by early July and would ship then. Once it came in to stock they emailed me and asked if I’d still like the bag, I agreed and the sent me an invoice and viola the bag was shipped next day to the good ole USA.

    Should I go get one of these bags now? Probably not unless you have a need for something like it. Bags are so personal but I will say the craftsmanship and quality is superior to anything else I’ve had my hands on with these same materials in use. It feels, looks and works better. Check it out in the pics and if you have other questions on it let me know!

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  • Sun, 13 Jul 2014 05:33:18 +0000

    Jaci + Andy | Harvard, Il Engagement Session


    Beautiful weather and two amazing people to photograph on their farm in Harvard, Il makes for an amazing end to the week. Welcome Jaci & Andy to the blog folks and make them feel welcome.

    Short 30 minute ride from home base to Harvard, Il so I could arrive at my usual 10 minutes early to the farm and home of these two good looking people. Now, I’m not always in the country, but when I am it’s to photograph a couple or a family or even a wedding cause this guy is definitely a city slicker. Such a good movie btw.

    6:00pm was our target time to start and after a quick showing of the awesome building their wedding is going to be at and learning a little bit about corn and how it’s dried and made we went off on a fantastical adventure through the property and beyond. Wheat fields, corn fields, ponds, corn silos, old barns and even woods surround their beautiful property which basically meant I was a photographer in a camera store with a platinum card in hand.

    Since we had all this amazing light I used it to my advantage and basically just tried to make these two feel at ease with a big bearded guy taking their photos. Thankfully my jokes were working or they are nice enough to laugh when they think I said something funny. We are a few months away from wedding day but I can tell it’s going to be an amazing time and I can’t wait to see you two again. Thank you so much for the adventure and the free mosquito bites!!

    Picture time!

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  • Sat, 12 Jul 2014 18:08:38 +0000

    Baby Haylee Turns One | Rock Cut State Park


    Has it really been a year since little Haylee was just crawling, making funny noises and pooping everywhere? That last part probably hasn’t changed but was has changed is this little princess is getting big and today we wandered around Rock Cut taking some fun photos.

    Haylee is the offspring of one of my favorite people, Kayla, and you can obviously tell that since Haylee is the most beautiful baby girl in these pics that Mom must also be the same and it’s true. We have been trying to make this shoot happen for a bit but schedules and conflicts and even weather had been a bit of snag in the planning stages. Thankfully the weather was gorgeous, mom had her schedule wide open and Haylee was ready for pics.

    I was also using the new Nikon 135mm f2 DC for most of the portrait shots which has some ridiculously beautiful bokeh and I’m definitely hooked on phonics on this lens. Well enough of this text stuff let’s take a look at some super cute photos of Haylee!

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