Cruz Family

This portrait session with the Cruz family closed out my very busy month of September. Lacy told me that she was inspired to schedule this photo shoot after she found their outfits during a trip to Gap. The day of this session I was a little worried there would be rain and luckily the weather held up making for a pretty good session. I tried my darndest during this shoot to get the little girl to smile for these photos, but she just was not having it. I’m pretty sure in the ones where she’s smiling a bit, I’m receiving assistance behind the scenes from her parents.

Tim & Korona | Wedding

I’ve been slacking once again on posting photos from the last couple of months so you can expect some new posts over the next week or so. I can’t believe that it has been almost two months since Tim and Korona’s wedding. I think part of it is the contrast in weather between that day in mid-September and today. I remember Tim and groomsman after the formal portraits at South End Park being happy to finally be able to shed their suit coats so they could cool down a bit. Meanwhile this morning after a brief trip out to my car grab something, I decided it was finally time to figure out where I had put my gloves and hat after last winter.

Well, enough about the current frigid temperatures we’re experiencing here and on to Tim and Korona’s wedding day. Their wedding was by far one of my favorite weddings that I have photographed. I always like when people I’ve known for awhile contact me about my photography service and I think that’s what helped make this wedding so enjoyable for me. Tim and a couple of his groomsmen were all connected by the fact that we went to Waukegan High School. It was truly a day where my job did not feel all that much like work.

October 2018

I’m a little late on posting about the month of October, but the optimist in me figures it’s fine since the month of November isn’t quite half way over right now. Overall I would say October was a decent month even if there was not a ton going on in my world in regards to business and social life. I had a couple different photo sessions and one major social event during the month.

My first photo session was late in the month and brought me to the new tower of the Lake County courthouse for wedding photography. I was a little unsure of what to expect when I decided that we should take the formal photos indoors since the weather was not looking particularly good on that Saturday. I was happy that security there helped me out and pointed me in the direction of the best spot for photographs in the building.

The other photo session was with the Vasher family and took place on Halloween at Independence Grove. I was surprised at how nice the weather was for this shoot as it was comfortable to be outside even without a jacket. This is actually the third time I’ve photographed them over the last year-and-a-half. It’s always interesting getting to see the growth over time and being able to capture it.

The big social event for the month of October was going to Florida for Suwannee Hulaween with some friends of mine. Normally when I’ve attended festivals, me and a few people opt for driving to the festival grounds and camp in a tent. This time around we decided to switch it up a bit and fly out and rent a R.V. This was my second year going to Hulaween and enjoyed it as much this time if not more since we had the luxury of our camper to help escape the elements. Some of my favorite acts from the weekend were Manic Focus, Break Science, Minnesota, Gramatik, and Tipper.

Currently, I do not have a ton of plans for the month of November with my business. The only upcoming photography gig this month is capturing pictures for Faith in Place’s Annual Fundraiser. Also, I will once again be participating in Small Business Saturday and selling prints and gift certificates for photo sessions. I will be sharing space with a few other talented artists in downtown Waukegan at the Parlor. I also have some of my artistic work currently on display at Family Piano Co, Urban Edge, and the Jack Benny Center in Bowen Park.

My calendar is looking rather sparse for the rest of the month. This weekend was actually decent as far as events to attend was concerned. On Friday, I paid a brief visit to Booner’s Place for a networking event that drew a pretty sparse crowd. Then on Saturday, I had a good time going to my friend Julio’s new place for an apartment warming party. It was a ton of fun getting to hang out with a group of friends that I had not hung out with in quite awhile. Also, I’m counting this evening as an extension of the weekend since I’m planning on going to Sketchbook Brewing Co. for their 4th anniversary celebration. The rest of the month, I do not have much planned, but then again that can change pretty quickly sometimes. Well, I hope everyone has a good month of November and great Thanksgiving!

September 2018

September was positive month for me with both my business and social life. My biggest victory of this month was the fact that I made my monthly financial goal. With the exception of one week, I had photo work of one kind or another every week of the month. I began September with Mariana’s Quinceañera, which brought me out to Des Plaines for the ceremony and then back to Waukegan for the reception. Then a couple weeks later, I had two very different photography gigs in one week. The first one was a 1st birthday portrait session in my studio on a weekday. Then on the weekend, I went out to Dundee to do photography for the wedding of a former high school classmate of mine. The next Saturday, I worked as photographer for Faith in Place’s Green Team Summit at the Field Museum in Chicago. Finally, the last weekend of September saw me having a family portrait session at Bowen Park.

September was a much more active month for my social life than I originally expected. Going into last month, I was planning on staying in and only going out to catch Modest Mouse at the Genesee Theatre. Instead I ended up getting a little caught off guard by people inviting me to different get togethers and events. One of the bigger events that came out of nowhere was a buddy from high school inviting me out to catch the Cubs playing the Reds for a rare Friday night game at Wrigley. Then another Friday night, I went out to Palatine to catch a couple jam bands performing at Durty Nellies. In addition to these bigger events, I went out to a few local establishments and hung out with a few different groups of people.

Despite being nearly a week into the month of October, I’m not entirely sure what to expect of this month. At the moment, I do not have much scheduled for photography work. In fact, the only day of photography work I have could possibly be in the form of two weddings on a single day with a courthouse wedding in the morning and then a different, formal wedding in the afternoon. On the side, I’m back to helping my brother-in-law with some of his contract work on an as-needed basis. Meanwhile, I don’t have a ton planned for the next couple weeks for the social realm. Although, I am looking forward to going to a music festival later in this month.

Promise | 1st Birthday

Last Thursday was my first time having a photo session specifically for a 1 year old when I had Promise in the studio. It was also the first time where I had a session that included a cake smash. The main challenge in sessions like this is usually finding a way to get some cooperation and attention from the child. Promise was no different as she was intrigued by all the space in my studio and wanted explore the area in the room beyond the backdrop. Another challenge was getting her to look in the proper direction and seemed to be pretty interested in ceiling even though it wasn’t running at the time. Finally, going into the session I was hoping that she would one of those babies that would really get into the smashing the cake. However, as you can see in these pictures, she wasn’t very eager to make and mess and play around with her cupcake.

Mariana's Quinceañera

I began the month of September by photographing Mariana’s quinceañera. It has been a couple years since I had last photographed, but I did a good job picking it back up pretty easily. The ceremony part of quinceañera took place at Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines. I was unsure of what to expect since was unfamiliar with this church. Part of me was a little worried since I was not completely sure if the ceremony portion would be indoors and the weather forecast was looking a little troubling. In the end, the ceremony was held outside on a sizable veranda and the weather actually turned out very nice as well. The reception then was held at the Arches Banquet Hall in Waukegan. While it wasn’t my first time being at the Arches, it was my first time having a photography job take me there.

August 2018

Photography work was minimal for the the month of August. One of the bookings that I thought I might have at the beginning of the month for a Racine couple's 10th anniversary fell through unfortunately. Meanwhile as I posted about in my last blog entry, I did the Larsen family portrait yet again this year. Also noteworthy for my photography is that I will have a few pieces on display at the Family Piano Company. Currently the photos on display are from summer since my plan is to have pieces that coordinate with seasons of the year. It's definitely a very cool opportunity that Family Piano Company has allowed me in using their space.

My big adventure for the month of August was going out to Colorado to see Pretty Light Live perform at Red Rocks Amphitheater. I'm very happy that I ended up finally making a trip out to Colorado after talking about it the last couple years. It was a great weekend with great music and friends in a beautiful environment. The only complaint I can possibly think of is that we did not do more exploring. Granted I'm hopeful that I'll make it back out that way some time to explore Colorado further. 

The month of September will definitely be an interesting one. On the first day of this month, I had my first big gig of the month as I photographed a quinceañera. Right now, I'm less than 2 weeks away from photographing the wedding of one a classmate from high school. Meanwhile as far as fun activities, we are now in the midst of one of the most exciting months on the sports calendar. College football started this weekend with my favorite teams, Notre Dame and the Ohio State University, winning their opening games. Then this weekend, the N.F.L. kicks off and the Bears face off against the Packers. And there's also my Cubs making a strong case once again to participate in playoff baseball again.

Larsen Family

Last Sunday, I did what's starting to become a yearly tradition of the Larsen family portrait session. Before it, they had a couple locations in mind and they asked me if I had any preference of the locations they were interested in for the photo session. I said that I was most interested in Warren Township Park since it's been a very long time since I had been there and that I had never had a photo session there. Since it was a warm, humid day on Sunday, I was little worried that the park was going to be a little busy. Luckily, the weather helped out a little in that regard by giving us overcast skies that probably deterred people form going to the park. That helped make the photography a little easier and gave the Larsen kids, Kitty and Rocky, plenty of a chance to have fun time at the park. When it was all said and done, I felt like this was the most tired I've ever been from a photo session due to a combination of the weather and chasing the kids around during this session.

Nahf Family

This family portrait session occurred on the last Friday evening in July. Originally we had planned on having this photo session a week earlier, but it ultimately got pushed back because the weather forecast looked iffy for most that afternoon.  Seeing as the weather was much better the day of this portrait session, it turned out to be a great decision to re-schedule. Everything went well with the only real trouble was getting the dog, Percy, to not be distracted and look at the camera. 

Spread the Hug

Spread the Hug is an organization that I first became involved with as a volunteer.  It all began in May 2017 when I came across an ad on Craigslist looking for a photographer for free hugs in downtown Chicago. Once I took a more thorough look at the ad and the related site (spreadthehug.love), I was impressed by the organization's mission and felt like it would an interesting opportunity for me to help out. The mission of Spread the Hug is breaking down barriers between people, reducing fear and hostility, cracking open hearts, spreading love, and encouraging a culture of kindness -- ONE BIG HUG at a time.

While the founder of the organization, Mark Abrams, was in Chicago for a business conference, he decided he would spend some time spreading the hug in the city. Our crew for this event consisted of 4 people: myself, Mark, another photographer named Meagan Baker, and a videographer named Anthony Lasala. Going into this, I think most of us thought we were only simply going to be chronicling Mark hugging people outside the Water Tower Place in Chicago. Instead, Mark encouraged us all to participate and we all did at one time or another. 

Helping and participating in this event in Chicago, ultimately lead to me becoming a seed of sorts for Spread the Hug. Once I got my hug dealer t-shirt in the mail, I began to wear it for one of the days of the festivals I attend. Over the last year, I have dealt hugs and given out awesome cards at Hulaween, Pretty Lights Detroit Night 2, Okechobee, Summer Camp, and Electric Forest. And don't worry because I do not plan on calling it quits any time soon. If you're interested in participating yourself, follow this link here.