She was the bride everyone wants to be...beautiful, creative, laid back, friendly, and full of love for her groom! It was so much fun to be included in Michael and Alyssa's wedding day celebration. I'm always amazed and privileged that as a photographer I get a "front row" seat of everything going on during a wedding. I get to be in the front and also behind the stage capturing all of those moments that make the day extra special.
Michael and Alyssa met in college and while their first impression of each other wasn't too great, they soon realized that they did have a common ground and a friendship formed that soon made it's way to Michael popping the question. You can guess the rest...Alyssa said yes and then there was a wedding!!
Congratulations you two! Many blessings on you both!
Second Photographer: Stephanie Sommerfeld
Bridesmaid's Dresses: http://www.modcloth.com
Groomsmen/Groom Attire: https://www.thetiebar.com/product/30445sk
Florals: Bride's Family
Charles + Stephanie
For weeks I was looking forward to this lovely engagement session! I was so excited to get to know Charles and Stephanie - their joy for life is super contagious! After the shoot I left feeling a bit more on eagles wings then when I got there.
These two met online while discussing their faith and how it should be played out in the Christian life. After they met face-to-face...the rest is history.
In less than a month they will be getting married and I'm so excited to get to be a part of their big day! Congratulations again!!
As soon as I saw Natalia step out of the car I knew it was going to be a good shoot! She was wearing a floor length white dress and I couldn't have been happier!!
This was the first shoot back after having my first baby at the end of April and boy was it fun to be back behind the camera! I had missed it and I didn't really realize it.
On the day these two lovebirds met, Tony was basically dragged out (all he wanted to do was have an early night, but his friends convinced him to go. Natalia was already at the bar and after they met...well as they say - "the rest is history"!
These two are getting married in a couple months and then they are going to travel the world! I wish I could join them!
I am SOO excited to be sharing this post with you! Last month I participated in a styled shoot and the result from the group of creatives was simply stunning!! I was so impressed with everyone’s amazing ability to produce such quality work and create such a fun working environment. I had such a fun afternoon and I can't wait to plan my own!!
Every last detail of this shoot was meticulously planned by the amazing Grace of True Grace Photography. For months she worked on acquiring vendors, establishing a theme, and finally on the big day captured the afternoon brilliantly! I was so excited when Grace asked me to be her assistant for this shoot! Firstly because it meant that I would be able to work along side a truly gifted photographer, and secondly because I knew I would be able to get some beautiful images from it. If you think these pictures have done justice to the shoot, you should take a look at what Grace was able to capture!
Here is the amazing team that Grace put together for this awesome shoot!!
Photographer: Grace Willis (And also planner...organizer....problem solver.... and photographer extraordinaire)
Model: Allie Rinka
Dress Designer: Ellyn Goodman
Florist: Kim Stanke, Allium Floral Designs
Invitation Design: Lesley Vesevick
Makeup Artist: Carly Pribich
Hair: Mario Tricoci
Wedding Cake: Julie Gerrish
Associate Photographer: Michelle Kleitsch
Jewelry: Costello Jewelry
Bridal Accessories: Antonietta Cervantes
Dinnerware/Place Settings: Crate and Barrel
A few weeks ago, I had the wonderful privilege of capturing the sweet expressions of this adorable little boy! When I shot these pictures he was only a few old and already he is bringing such joy to his family. I loved watching his big sister love on him and talk to him even though we might have had to remind her that she had to be gentle - it was too cute!
I find it easy to start down the path of self-focus and once I’ve started it can be very hard to pull back out. Dwelling on things I don’t have, things I want, attitudes I want to change, people I want to be more like, styles I wish I could pull off, confidence I wish I had, and stages in life I wish I was at are not healthy things to be focusing on. You see when I am so focused on the things I want to change or the things I wish I had, I’m fail to see all the blessings God has literally dumped in my lap! I live a blessed life (and I’m willing to bet that you do too!)!
This quote by Lewis is a great reminder that the key to humility and I would add contentment, is not to think less of yourself but just to think of yourself less. You see, we don’t need to think of yourself as worthless to gain humility because that’s absurd. God created you, sustains you, and cares for you so you are not worthless - but we shouldn’t be thinking of ourselves so much. Quite frankly there is so much else that we can be dwelling on and thinking about that it’s got to get kind of boring only thinking of ourselves.
Here are 5 ways that you can shift your focus from yourself:
1. Count your blessings!
I’m serious! Get out a pen and some paper and start writing a list of things that you have been blessed with. A family, husband, kids, home, breath, work, friends, etc. Write out at least 10 things and start thinking of all these people and things in your life instead of thinking of the things that you want.
2. Plan a special dinner for someone!
It’s always fun to be pampered and spoiled and it’s equally as fun (at least in my opinion) to plan a special evening with someone else in mind. Make a dinner or order out, buy some flowers, light some candles, turn on some music, and enjoy the night with a friend/husband/wife.
3. Get together with a friend!
I don’t know about you, but when I get together with other people my day is usually better for it. There’s something about seeing another person’s smile and hearing laughter that is just contagious! So call up a friend and plan a time to get together. It can be as simple as getting a cup of coffee together.
4. Visit someone in a nursing home!
While many nursing homes are wonderful places, there’s still something magical about getting a visitor from “the outside” - like a fresh breeze to those living there. Besides being a breath of fresh air to those inside, talking with someone older than yourself does wonders to shift your perspective and cause you to see life from another person's eyes.
5. Write a note to a friend!
Hand written notes are not seen too often anymore, but I know that they are still one of the most treasured pieces of mail ever to receive (if you haven’t received a hand written note in a while let me know and I can fix that for you!). So write a note to a friend and in doing so you start to think about their life and how you can encourage them instead of dwelling on yourself.
These are just a few ideas that popped into my head, but I know there are a ton more that could be added to this short list. What are ways you deal with self-focus? I’d love to have more ideas!!
Rebekah | Senior Shoot
It was a beautiful day and we couldn't let the sun go down without capturing this girl's beautiful smile. Rebekah is definitely a go-getter (I think I might have just made up that word - ha). She is spending her senior year in Colorado and doing school there which will get her college credit at the same time. How cool, huh! She is also an outdoor lover. Rebekah rides horses, goes on 14 hour hikes (I have no idea how a person does that!), and doesn't mind sitting on wet grass. :)
It is always fun to capture someone who has such a beaming smile and finds genuine joy in life. This last minute senior shoot was simply a blast!
Moe + Nisreen | Engaged
Moe and Nisreen pretty much grew up knowing each other. People told them they would be good for each other, but they didn't pay any attention to that. It took this laid back and fun couple a while to realize they were a perfect fit. She is bubbly and full of laughter while he is a bit more stoic until he looks in her eyes or hears her laughter, then a gigantic grin covers his face which most of the time turns into a beaming smile.
The date chosen for their engagement shoot was Valentine's Day Weekend. It was a lovely crisp day (and by that I mean super cold and windy day - gotta love Chicago), but since she is from Virginia and he is from a few hours out of Chicago, we weren't about to reschedule. This was our golden opportunity!
Despite the cold, the sun was out and the sky was clear and there were smiling faces of a newly engaged couple looking straight at each other with anticipation for the wedding in their eyes.
"Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original; whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it."
~ C. S. Lewis
There are many times as a creative, that I compare myself to others. I start down the path of thinking that everyone has it together except me, that everyone is amazingly skilled and I am just an amateur barely keeping my head above the water, that everyone has a perfect work and life balance and I'm still struggling to know when to unplug from my computer and start dinner, and that everyone has a perfectly clean house while I'm sitting at my desk with laundry that needs to be washed and dishes piling up to the ceiling. It's embarrassing how often I allow myself to go down the rabbit trail and trap of comparison.
You see, the fact is that God created you uniquely you with a set of skills, gifts, talents, and heart to tackle the joys, problems, victories, and dilemmas that only you can face. I love this quote by Lewis in which he says that originality is not to be our aim but instead our aim should be to tell the truth and it is quite likely that you will be original in the process.
Telling the truth as a creative can be such an adventure! As a wedding photographer I believe that telling the truth for my couples is to showcase their special day in an artistic way such that when they receive their images they will be overjoyed with how the images serve to tell their story, bring out their personalities, capture the mood of the day, and serve as a way to remember such a special occasion as two lives becoming one!
*Oh, and this picture shows how difficult it can be to capture some stylized images while my baby bump is getting in the way. ha! But I wouldn't have it any other way. :)
I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart. When I was younger I taught myself how to reupholster furniture and tried to make a business out of that. I quickly realized that I didn’t want to invest so much time and energy into it so I learned how to weave and made myself some beautiful throws. I thought that could be a fun business, but in the end that died as well. Then I thought I could learn how to spin wool (my mom’s family lived on a farm in Iowa and they still have connections with some farmers there so I could have access to wool whenever I wanted it), however that quickly died too. I thought of starting a business making cards, but I never felt really skilled in that. Needless to say, I knew that running a business was in my future!
My adventure as a photographer started when my parents gave me a camera after graduating from high school. While I was thrilled with the gift I really didn’t know how to use it besides hitting the shutter button to capture whatever was in front of the camera. So I scoured the manual trying to learn the different modes possible to use but I never touched manual mode - it scared me. I didn’t have amazing lenses, just the kit lens but I still loved taking pictures with my camera and I felt like I was learning a lot, but there was much more for me to learn!
After a while people started asking me to take their family pictures which I readily agreed to. Even though I had no idea what I was doing, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a group of people together and capturing that moment.
I knew there was more to it than that though, so I started listening to workshops online, reading books from the library and asking other photographers what on earth manual mode was. Once I realized the possibilities of manual mode I went home and started playing around with it and I’ve never stopped. It’s so much fun to see an image come to life from inside my head and to capture people having a good time.
It took a while, but my passion has slowly focused more and more on wedding photography. I love capturing the countless details of the day, the raw emotions shown on so many people’s faces, the joy and excitement of such a special day, and most of all, the radiant bride and groom. While weddings are all unique and special in their own way, there is also a good amount of predictability that I find helpful. All weddings have a ceremony in which the bride walks down the aisle to meet her anxious groom, all weddings have a time of congratulations, and all weddings have joy.
Although I still have much to learn about photography, I love it and I can’t wait till my next shoot!
I'm Michelle. Wife to a dashing servant-hearted man, mother to two under two, and making our 900 square foot house our home.