Alexis & Douglas | Engagement

Since we settled on having this session in the middle of January, we decided to escape the cold and have this session at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. I really love the conservatory for engagement sessions in the winter for that very reason with the only drawback being the humidity causing my lenses to get fogged up. Luckily I was able to work through the trouble of having a foggy lens and managed to get some great photos during this session. It was a ton of fun working with Alexis and Douglas for their engagement session. I feel like you can really see in some of these pictures that they don’t take things too seriously and are willing to joke around.

Schuler Career & Internship Fair Headshots

I know I might have disappointed some people when I didn't follow through on getting caught up on posting my photography work. Well, I think I've figured out how to finally catch up and get better about posting in a timely manner. My new plan is to actually devote time out of each day to sorting through photos and writing about them. That's pretty exciting stuff, right?

These headshots are from the Schuler Career and Internship Fair that took place back in early January. This was such a cool opportunity to have since I am an alumni of the Schuler Scholar Program. In fact, I actually had been wanting to headshots for this event a couple years ago, but they already had a different photographer booked. So when they asked me this time around about being the headshot photographer for this event, I was quick to reply.

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2018-19 Waukegan High School Boys Basketball

I meant to sort through and post my photos I took during the Waukegan Bulldogs’ season earlier then I actually am. I finally got inspired to make this post by the fact that Lake County Senior Shootout happened last Friday. I was aiming for having this post ready on Friday, but it ended up being a little more than I could actually handle so here I am posting it now. I also had thought about attending the Lake County Senior Shootout to see Waukegan’s seniors play one final time and I didn’t end up doing that either.

If you didn’t follow the Bulldogs this season, you missed out on one of their best teams in school history. I’ll be the first to admit that I really didn’t take notice and start attending games until the beginning of 2019, but I’m happy that I did. In total I attended 9 of Waukegan’s basketball games as I saw them play Lake Zurich, Dundee Crown, Zion-Benton, Libertyville, Fremd, Warren twice, and Stevenson twice. They were 7-2 in the games that I attended with sole losses being against Stevenson.

What this Waukegan squad composed mostly of seniors accomplished as both a team and individuals this season was great to see. It was awesome getting to see a team that set the school record for most wins in a single season, a share of the conference title, and made a run to the sectional championship. It was also exciting seeing Bryant Brown set the record for most points scored while playing for Waukegan. No doubt hey can hold their heads up high knowing that they made Waukegan proud this year. Next year definitely will not be the same with Bryant Brown, Andre White Jr., Jordan Brown, Jaylin Cunningham, Kavon Colder, Ja’Dyn Brown, and Ryan Edingburg all graduating.

March 2019

I don’t feel like the saying “March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb” is accurate in terms of my month of March. My month had an interesting bit of variety to it when it comes to my photography. Early in the month I participated in a photography meet up hosted by Chi Shooters and We Out Here Gallery. Maybe this week I’ll end up getting to editing the photos from this event. The other photography meet up that I was planning on attending that was hosted by Visions Meet Up was cancelled since the host had an emergency that had to be attended to.

March 16th was a busy day for me that involved photography and my first time doing video work. In the morning, I was helping out the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum doing some video work during the Illinois Reads Book Festival that was taking place in town at the high school. Then, later in the afternoon I did some more video work during the dedication of Ray Bradbury Park as a literary landmark. Once that was finished my responsibilities set in as a photographer and I headed straight over to Undercroft Gallery to be there during ArtWauk that evening.

On the business front, a decent amount of progress is being made as I continue to try to promote my business. I am getting very close to securing one last wedding at my reduced rate that I was offering since I was portfolio building. So right now I have a bit of work to do as I’m planning on promoting my services at my new price. In March, I even had the honor of being the photographer for Dennis and Dareth Reed’s wedding. Be on the lookout for blog post about that some time down the line.

On social front in March, I got out to the sectional game between Waukegan and Stevenson. If you follow the Waukegan’s basketball team, you know it was sadly a loss for Waukegan. Granted, there are few things that can are quite as exciting as high school basketball at the Dog Pound in March. I also always consider running a gallery during ArtWauk to be a social event since I can usually count a few friends coming through and visiting. My final bit of fun for the month was going to Chicago to catch Emancipator at the Chop Shop in Chicago.

For the rest of the month of April, I don’t have many plans for the coming weeks. Right now one of the main events on the schedule is participating in ArtWauk on April 20th. Then the week after that, I’m going to be doing photography for a 50th wedding anniversary party out at Illinois Beach State Park. It is nothing too new for me as I normally am not much of a planner so I’m eager to see what this month has in store for me.

February 2019

As usual February felt like it was gone in the blink of an eye which I guess goes to show you what a difference a few days really does make. I’m struggling to remember the noteworthy parts of the month so I was thinking about skipping out on writing a post altogether. On top of it, this February’s weather seemed to hit pretty hard as well. It seemed like the ground has been blanketed by a layer of snow for most of the month along with bitter cold temperatures.

The trend from January where I had very little in the way of social gatherings with friends in the area continued in the month of February. Luckily that does not mean that I was hauled up indoors for the entire month. I was happy that I was able to find a Superbowl to attend this year (even if both the game and the half-time show weren’t very interesting). Also, I managed to follow through on getting out to some basketball games at the Dog Pound and catch Bulldogs in action. The other bit of fun I had was getting out to the Gaming Goat on a couple Wednesday nights for board game night.

When it comes to my photography, February was a bit slower in comparison to January. I had a weekend with a couple gigs where I did some photography for Sazón Concina Mexicana on a Saturday morning. They even sent me home some delicious food including chilaquiles. Then on Sunday afternoon, I took some photos at a baby shower at the Round Lake Beach Cultural and Civic Center. The final weekend of February I had someone I knew from college come in to have his headshot taken. He’s also trying to setup a day where I go down to Aurora and do headshots for people that are interested over at the Comedy Shrine. So I’m hoping that there’s enough interest to make that happen.

For the month of March, I currently do not have a ton of plans at the moment. Lately I’ve been following the Bulldogs during their playoff run as I’ve been to 2 of their 3 games. I’m looking forward to tonight’s game as the Bulldogs take on Stevenson for the third time this season. I’m hoping that after losing those two previous meetings that the Bulldogs can come out of tonight victorious and move onto the Hoffman Estates Super-Sectional.

On the photography front, I have a couple things to look forward to this month. This weekend I’m looking forward to a couple different photography meet-ups. Saturday night’s meet-up is being hosted in Chicago by Chi.Shooters and We Out Here Gallery. Then on Sunday, I’ll be in Franklin Park for one hosted by Visions Meet Up. Then next week, I’m working on getting some of my work together to exhibit at Undercroft Gallery once again. I know last month I said I was going to do that, but it never ended up coming together. Finally, tomorrow I have a meeting with a potential client about a wedding on March 23rd. So it’s looking like it will be an interesting month when it comes to photography actually.

Jannisha & Kyrie | Christmas Pajama Session

I’m never sure why sometimes posting photos in a timely manner is troublesome for me. I always deliver clients’ galleries on time, yet the posts like this one comes quite a bit after the fact. I think my main problems are a combination of failing to set aside time to tasks related to making posts, such as sorting through pictures and writing about them, and trying post at just the right time. After I get caught up with the 3 or 4 different shoots from the last couple months, I’m going to try to make a better effort to have my posts be more timely.

As you can probably guess based on the Christmas decorations and pajamas that this session happened nearly two months ago at this point. This was the second time that I rented my friend Laura’s studio space for a portrait session. Initially, Kyrie wasn’t all that into the session, but after awhile he would warm up and got some great shots. I think Jannisha and Kyrie’s favorite part of this session was playing around on the bed and you can really see how much fun they’re having in those photos.



Thor Portrait Session

My Thor portrait session was a long time coming so I was happy that I finally knocked it out last month. See one group of my friends that I hangout with occasionally have different members of the Avengers that they consider to be their character. At some point I decided that I should Thor in that group since I was growing out my hair at the time and plus it seemed fitting since Thor's human alias was Donald Blake. 

The inspiration to do this shoot actually came a bit later when I found a Thor t-shirt at a thrift store in the spring last year. The cape ended up getting added in later in the year as it was part of my Thor costume that I wore for Halloween. The thing that really lead to me finally making this portrait session happen was that I decided it was finally time to get a haircut. That decision was kind of a combination of changing things up in the new year and also I just wasn't the biggest fan of having long hair. The very next day after this portrait session, I went out and got my first haircut in over a year and a half and I have to say I don't regret it one bit.  

Plus, I figured I wouldn’t lose my status as Thor since in the Marvel movies Thor was no longer sporting the long locks. As a friend of mine pointed out, I can still wear my Thor costume for next Halloween with the minor addition of an eye patch if I’m going for being him from Thor: Ragnarok. Then again I could just skip the eye patch altogether since Thor get a replacement eye in Avengers: Infinity War. Sorry if that spoiled it for anyone but you’ve had plenty of time to see the latest Avengers movie. It has even been available on Netflix for over a month now.

January 2019 is a free trial month

At some point during this January I saw the meme “I’ve decided that my 2019 will begin on February 1st. January is a free trial.” This idea has resonated with me a bit so it’s stuck with me since I first saw it. If we go along with this line of thinking, I hope you all had a good trial month and are ready for 2019 to know really begin now. For myself, January a bit of a mixed bag, but I’m looking forward to what the rest of 2019 has to offer.

The month of January went pretty well in regards to the business side of things which has me feeling optimistic since this is generally regarded as a slower time of year. I started the month by doing headshots for the Schuler Scholar Foundation’s Career and Internship Fair at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Skokie. It was very cool working for Schuler since I am an alum of their organization. I also had a couple portrait sessions them month with an engagement session at Lincoln Park Conservatory and a senior portrait session in my studio. My last gig of the month was doing photos for the induction service of Lucy Villalobos, who is a neighbor of my parents.

One of my main goals in the new year was being more social and meeting new people. On one hand I did go to a few more events than I normally do, however, that unfortunately did not result in meeting as many new people as I would have like it have. I feel like the upcoming months will be better for meeting new people as I’ll be more willing to go out as we move past cold, snowy weather that winter brings. There have been a few times this month where I skipped going out because I didn’t feel like dealing with the elements. I’m going to venture a guess that I’m not alone in having a preference to stay in at times for this reason.

Right now, my plans for the month of February are pretty open ended. For my business, the one plan I have for this month is participating in ArtWauk once again with my work on display at Undercroft Gallery. Otherwise, I don’t have any upcoming gigs this month so I just have to get to work on promoting my business in the mean time. I feel like it’s likely that things will be moving in a positive direction with my social life this month. The only semi solid plan I have is to try to attend as many Waukegan High School basketball games as I can this month. For the most part, I’m the type of guy who doesn’t plan too far ahead and instead makes plans as they come along so this month probably won’t be much different and I’m sure I’ll fine some fun adventures.

December 2018

It wasn’t that long ago that I was planning on blogging more often, yet here I am with it being over a month since my last blog post. I guess keeping up with this blog in the month of December was a little more than I could handle really. Going into the month, I did not have much on the calendar for photography work. I was pleasantly surprised when I received a few bookings throughout the month December.

During the month of December, I rented Laura Rodriguez’s studio a couple times for Christmas themed portrait sessions. I blogged about one of those sessions already and is actually the last post i made before I went on a bit of a hiatus from blogging. The other session that I did that studio was a Christmas pajama session and I’m hoping to blog about soon as long as I get permission to do so.

I also did some photography in my studio as well in the month of December. One of them was a fairly basic session where I created a portrait that was meant to be a partner piece for a portrait taken at a studio some years ago. The other session in my studio was part of the women of the Butler family. Since all of the family was in town, they decided it was an opportune time to get some portraits done. This session also was the first time that I’ve had dogs in my studio since two of their dogs were part of the portrait session.

Also, December marked my first foray into real estate photography. I was contacted one afternoon by Mauricio Solano from Greentown Investments with an inquiry about real estate photography. The next day I was out at the property taking photos of it before the remodeling work began. He told me that normally the homes they remodel are finished within a couple months. However, the property I photographed for him was going to take a little more time than normal since they planned on doing work on the driveway and that wasn’t possible until the warmer weather in spring. I’m intrigued to see how much it will change by the time I get to take the after photos.

December was also a positive month in terms of my social life. It was a decent blend between family, friends, and other organizations that I’m a part. It’s always nice how this time of year helps to bring people together. The Lake County Art League and the Waukegan Chamber of Commerce had holiday parties that overlapped so I had the opportunity to do a bit of party hopping one day. As far as my time with my family, we managed to get everyone that lives in the area together on Christmas Eve to celebrate and decorate some gingerbread cookies. Then to end the year, me and some friends of mine went out to San Francisco for Coalesce to celebrate my birthday and to ring in the New Year! I felt like I ended this year right and had a good December.

Christmas Mini Session

Last week, I rented my friend’s studio space in downtown Waukegan and did my first ever mini session! Everything went well with the exception of the little girl not being the biggest fan of my strobe. Right now, I’m even looking forward to getting back into the studio again this weekend for another Christmas session. This was so inspiring that in 2019 I plan on hosting a few mini sessions in my own studio. So be sure to keep an eye out for those dates.