Becky and Mitch’s wedding was the absolute perfect start to my 2018 wedding season. I could not have asked for a more genuine, happy, wonderful couple. It’s days like this that remind me why I love what I do so much! And I also could not have asked for a better venue than The Cannery. Rain doesn’t even begin to damper your day when you have a venue like this to work with! We used every nook and cranny of beautiful light we could find and the result was amazing. Here are just a few of my favorites from this day!
I am so excited to share my favorite un-posed family session to date! My beautiful friend Audra of Finding Eminence Farm invited me over to capture some images of homemade pop tarts in the making. When she received the images she said “I didn’t even know these moments were happening!” And I think that’s a really huge thing to recognize. As parents, sometimes it feels like all we do is worry, and argue, and correct, and feel exhausted. It’s easy to miss all the beautiful little moments that happen each and every day.
These moments are worth documenting.
When I first toured Bluestem Hall I was incredibly inspired by the story behind the venue and connected immediately with the owner and her personal story. We decided that this great new venue needed a styled shoot that reflected the beauty of the prairie surrounding it, and the values of the individuals involved. All of the vendors involved are local to the area and wanted to bring a fresh look to a Midwestern wedding. Here are just a few images from this amazing shoot!
Venue - Bluestem Hall
Florist - Finding Eminence Farm
Stationery + Lettering - Dash/Wood
Decorative Rentals - Spruce Wedding Rentals
Linens - Morton Rentals
Cakes + Sweets - Hopscotch Bakery
Jewelry - Champaign Jewelers
My childhood friend Beth and her boyfriend Matt spent the last year converting a school bus into a small house on wheels (a Skoolie). It may be the coolest thing I have ever seen and I had the privilege of spending the day with them and capturing some beautiful images of them in their new home. You can check out more of their adventures here... IreneTheDream
Laura and Matthew began their wedding day at the Pere Marquette in Peoria, IL. The ceremony was held down the street at Sacred Heart Church. Ceremony to follow was held at Waterhouse Peoria.
One of my favorite engagement sessions to date! We started in Kaylee + Timothy’s new home (can I just say that their home is freaking awesome!!!). And then we moved to the windy and extremely cold streets of downtown Peoria. We ended with a nice warm cup of coffee at Zion Coffee Co.
Valerie + Zach began their wedding day at the Mark Twain Hotel where their friends and family joined them for wedding prep. Their ceremony was held at the Apollo Theater and reception at the Waterhouse in Peoria, IL.
I think that Rachel + Richard’s wedding was possibly the most JOY filled wedding I have ever photographed. We started on Saturday night was an amazing reception that ended with Rachel + Richard jumping into the resort pool! The next morning we all met on the lawn for a beautiful wedding ceremony followed by a trip down to the beach for photos.
If you haven’t yet heard, there is a beautiful new event venue in Eureka called The Cannery! Husband and wife team Amy and Brandon have restored the old canning factory into a stunning new event space. The grand opening was on Thursday and it was a packed house the whole night! A group of incredibly talented local vendors teamed up to decorate the space for the evening. Check out the photos below for some wedding decor inspiration! If you’re looking for a non-traditional wedding venue in Central Illinois, this is definitely the place!
Entry Decor : Objects In Eureka
Decor / Design : Spruce Wedding Rentals
Flowers : LeFleur
Stationary : Dashwood Shop
Linens : I Do Events
Stephanie and Gregg’s wedding was such a joy to photograph. I had the joy of beginning with Stephanie and her girls in her childhoold home. I really feel that getting ready in a place with special meaning adds so much. Walking through the halls and seeing her parents wedding photos and just feeling the warmth of the space was really something special. When Stephanie walked out in her wedding dress her dad said, “Second most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen”, while looking across the room at her mom. *Sigh*. Stephanie and Gregg did their first look at her parents (and grandparents!) property and then we headed around the University of Illinois for photos. They were married on the patio of the Foellinger building and it was absolutely beautiful! After the ceremony we walked across the quad to The Union building where there reception was held. So much love and laughter and joy surrounds this couple! It really is infectious. We snuck out for a quick night portrait and while we were walking I had the pleasure of hearing the story of how Stephanie and Gregg met and fell in love. I’d do it all over again tomorrow! Congrats you two!
Venue: University of Illinois
Dress: Watters/ Sarah Steven
Flowers: A House of Flowers By Paula
Suits: Banana Republic
DJ: Bugbees DJ Plus
Natalie and Jonathan’s beautiful wedding at the Bloomfield Barn in Illinois!
I met Michelle and Justin at the University of Illinois Arboretum around sunset. We could not have planned better weather! We walked around the gardens and then made our way to the University of Illinois Campus where Michelle and Justin went to school together. We ended our night in front of Kems, a dive bar where the two met!
Ryan and Tori could be the sweetest couple I have met to date. So many happy tears were shed at this wedding. When Tori stepped into her wedding dress her mom immediately started welling up. She looked at Tori and said, "It's just, this is your whole life right here."(And then I cried too!) They were married in a small ceremony in the Evelyn Chapel on Wesleyan Campus and the reception held at Epiphany Farms.
I was so excited when Claire and Jason reached out to me about L&A Family Farms. We had planned on a fall engagement session, but once the news of a blooming sunflower maze reached them, they emailed me and asked if we could split their engagement session into two sessions. As soon as I saw the first image of L&A Family Farms on Google I was all in. These two were absolutely amazing! It was a cloudless, blazing hot, July day and they were nothing but smiles. I feel a little bad asking a couple to cuddle in the middle of a field during a 90 degree day in July, but they jumped right in! The thing that surprised me the most about the farm was all the surrounding land. I love locations that offer such diverse environments. We walked out of the maze, around the tall grass and greenhouses, then stopped at the bridge crossing on our way out as the sun set. It was magic. I could not wait to get home and dive into editing these. Enjoy!!
I have been living in the Bloomington area for almost a year and a half now and I have already made some amazing friends in the industry here. I cannot begin to express how awesome it is to be surrounded by supportive, talented, intelligent women who are killing it in their fields! Women like Audra of Finding Eminence Farm! I tagged along while Audra and her team turned this 150 year old church into a beautiful wedding site with multiple floral installments. If you are in need of florals for your wedding, she is your lady! Check out the images below to see the progress and final product!
Today I got to spend the evening with Marc, Veronica, and Ozzy on the beach. We walked the beach and jammed out to Bob Marley while the waves crashed behind us. The sun set over the city and the sky turned that glowing, hazy blue and it was incredible. After the session they both told me how much fun they had in a way that seemed to surprise them (I’m sure Ozzy would have agreed if he were able to vocalize these types of things). I think that family photo sessions cause people a lot of stress for the wrong reasons. Let’s be honest… it doesn’t really matter what you wear. It doesn’t really matter if you needed a haircut or forgot to wear that new shade of blush you bought just for the photos. What matters is the experience, the memories that you take away from the day. I hope that the second you step out of your car you for your session, you can just let go. You can let go of the expectation of what a “happy family” looks like, or sounds like, or walks like, and just enjoy the experience. Enjoy the dirty toes in the sand and the giggles and bad jokes. And I really hope that when you look at your photos you only see the happiness that you felt in those moments.
I cannot tell you how many couples insist that they will be awkward in front of the camera (possibly all of them)! But I’m telling you, you do not need to be “photogenic” to be photogenic. If you’re in love, you’ve just become photogenic. Just like that.
McKenzie and I met prior to her and Adam’s engagement session and talked about this exact thing. She was nervous, he was nervous, they were both feeling like they wouldn’t be “good at it”. But look at these two. They are amazing. Why? Because they are in love. Honest in love. And that’s all you need.
Yesterday I realized I never blogged these headshots of my beautiful friend Alicia. I really enjoy simple, one-on-one portraits. As an introvert, large crowds of people are not really my thing. But stick my in a room with a awesome person and I’ll stay all day! It helps when your subject is beautiful and honest and authentic in everything that she is!
I have witnessed a lot of love in the last five years. If I had to pick one word to describe the love between Haley and Nate it would be “sweet”. I don’t think I have heard someone say “honey”, “sweetie”, “my love”, so many times in two hours. Nate is the epitome of a southern gentleman (without actually being from the South). They decided to have their engagement session on his grandparents property. And though I may have taken a wrong turn getting there and had my car chased by a very large dog, it was absolutely worth it! I could not have created a better backdrop than this pond at sunset! I am so excited for their wedding in September!
I am always amazed how small the world can be. After moving 100 miles away from home seven years ago, and then moving back last year, I had the joy of photographing a childhood friend and her little squishy last week! It is not hard to understand why I was friends with Kayla as a child. She is kind and loving and genuine in who she is. I feel inspired to be around such strong mamas like her!
There are still some Mommy & Me Mini Session spots open! Shoot me a message if you’d like to schedule one today!
I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. A lot of wondering “what the hell am I doing here?”. Sometimes I lose sight of why I started taking photos. I get caught up in marketing and scheduling and I need to to remind myself how I got here. I started taking photos when I was about thirteen. Photos of everything. Slumber parties, softball games, strangers on the street, friends. It’s as if I knew, all along, that these moments are fleeting. Slumber parties will slowly fade, as will friendships and school dances. All these little pieces of life that shaped us into the people we have become, will be specs in our minds. We will remember the big things. The first kisses, winning home runs, broken bones, and heart breaks. But we won’t remember all the little details. The feeling of riding a bike aimlessly for hours, or the way the light from the TV glowed in the dark wee hours of the morning. If I try hard, I can remember the way the dryer exhaust smelled in the summer or how dewy grass felt on bare feet. I can remember the feeling of the swing set pulling from the ground and the smell of sawdust escaping from the garage. I am lucky in that if I want to smell that sawdust again, or hear the bats in the chimney, I can go home. But, like a lot of things, the swingset is gone. I think I started taking pictures when I realized that things slip away. I wanted to document everything. The way my friends smiled, the way my father paced, the way the sun shone through the front door. I just wanted proof that these things were real, that they happened. Photographing weddings has been a really great way to document with a cause. This is a day that flies by. A thousand memories made in eight hours. I want you to remember the way the flowers smelled and the dress felt. I want you to remember how the noise from the hair dryers mixed with the background music and laughter of friends. The way you felt when you walked down the aisle. When I start to wonder how and why I got here, I just think of this, and it all seems so simple. Just to keep these things from slipping away.
I was super excited when my sample wedding album from VisionArt came in the mail! Their books are handmade in Iowa and are absolutely stunning! I love being able to offer something tangible to my clients in this digital world. I hope we never fully stop printing our photos. There's just something magic about holding them in your hands. Here are a few photos of the album I created from Neil and Jaclyn's wedding. Enjoy!
Baby Davis was wide awake for the first half of his session, but as soon as he had a quick feeding from mom he was out like a light! I love being able to capture moments like that between mother and newborn. The way he looked up at her before he fell asleep was so sweet. I was also so excited to use a handmade blanket that was made by a friend of the family. One of the perks of an in-home session is finding meaningful gems to be included in sessions!
I have known Darci for a number of years. Back in the day (said like a person much older than I actually am), we roamed the competitive softball fields together. I was so excited when she reached out about photographing her wedding! These two tried to tell me that they were no good at having their photographs taken when we discussed their engagement session... I have never been told such a lie! They were AMAZING! Especially when you consider that they had planned on a chilly fall engagement session only to wake up to nearly 80 degree weather! I (almost) felt a little guilty sporting my sleeveless shirt while they were sweating in their jeans and warm sweaters. But we were able to cool off a bit in some shallow water in a nearby park. Never have I heard so many giggles and laughs during a session. And the result- amazing! Also- more pups!!
Neil and Jaclyn's outdoor wedding was absolutely perfect! These two beautiful people have been together for 13 years. THIRTEEN YEARS! They decided to read letters written for each other before their first look. It was unbelievable sweet, and a few tears were shed by the bride and groom (and maybe me behind my camera!). Her lace wedding dress and flower crown complimented the scenery perfectly! The ceremony was held at the Funks Grove Forest Preserve and the reception held at Davis Lodge on Lake Bloomington. The couple danced their first dance in a dimly, candle lit cabin with their closest family and friends.
If I could have a repeat of Julia and Caleb's engagement session every day, I absolutely would! The weather was perfect and the dogs were almost as adorable as the couple! This engagement session was at the University of Illinois campus where these two met and fell in love. They were so sweet and from now on I'd like some lovable pups at all my engagement sessions!
Sometimes I see an awesome little alley while walking through the city and I force my brother and his girlfriend to be involved in an impromptu photoshoot with their adorable dog. This is the result!
Where do I start with Jess and Jake? I did their engagement photos last January and it was amazing! Snow on the ground, freezing temperatures, and these two did not even seem to notice! The exact opposite conditions 6 months later at their wedding. It was blazing hot and the sun was beating down and these two just could not care less! The reception was an absolute blast! So much fun to be surrounded by so much love! Their ceremony was held at Luthy Botanical Garden and the reception at Packard Plaza in Peoria.
click here to view the full wedding gallery
click here to view the full wedding gallery
click here to view the full wedding gallery