New Libertyville Studio

The new Libertyville studio is open! I’ve partnered with Studio Share Illinois to offer a full service studio location to all clients.

As a headshot photographer, the Libertyville location brings me just a bit closer to Chicago. And now, groups and large props are easily accommodated. So if your entire office needs headshots, let me know!

Behind the scenes in the new studio.

Behind the scenes in the new studio.

And as a family lifestyle photographer, the studio space will serve as a practical alternative in the event of uncooperative weather (yep, I’m not in Florida anymore…). It also adds another dimension to family shoots. Fully equipped with props, toys, chairs etc–the options are endless. Simply put, a great studio is a photographer’s blank canvas - ripe to create anything the mind can imagine!

The location is also stocked with coffee, snacks, and even a big screen tv, which will be great for proofing your new images in person on a cozy couch.

Whether you’re in Libertyville, Gurnee, or in the surrounding Lake County area, this studio will be a wonderful asset to the area. Don’t wait, contact me about scheduling a session soon!

House and Family

As you might’ve seen from some recent social media activity, my family will be relocating to the Chicago area in the coming months. It will be an exciting change of pace (and change in weather). Having grown up in the midwest, my wife and I know what we’re getting into. The kids, however, are as clueless as the snowman in Frozen.

In preparing our house for sale, I decided to undertake the real estate photography as my own project. We have a great realtor, and she comes with a photographer. But I wanted to put my spin on the images. I will miss our house — our home — dearly. Taking the real estate photos was as much about giving myself a new photography challenge as it was about taking a moment to reflect and pay tribute to this space.  

Though the technical challenges of lighting and composition were considerably different, in some ways, taking these pictures felt just like doing portrait session. It’s all about trying to communicate something of the soul of your subject.

I’ve captured so many great moments in this house over the years that at first I thought I’d have enough existing photos to use for the real estate listing. But my photo library has very few images without someone in them — not surprising, given my portrait photography focus. I figured that prospective buyers probably wouldn’t want to see my kids running around their new house. So we set up a traditional real estate shoot. The house never looked so clean! With kids (and toys), the difficulty level goes up considerably. As you enjoy each shot, remember that all the toys and clutter are piled up just off camera. That made the shots with multiple rooms extra fun.

Looking back at all those great moments helped me realize how big a role our surroundings play in our family life. The house is just a house, but throw in a few people and the space is defined and enriched. A home almost seems to interact and embrace the family living in it.

Whether you live near the beach, the mountains, the desert, or somewhere in between, take a minute to think about how your space defines your family. You’ll see it in your family photos.

So here are a few candid images with house and family. Enjoy. 

The Photographer Must be Photographed

Jacksonville Beach family photographer.jpg

Are you the designated family photographer in your house? It’s a title that comes with great responsibility—even though it may also come with the occasional eye-roll from your kids. You are the family archivist! You’re responsible for making great images, selecting the annual Christmas card photo, and putting some captivating family portraits on your walls or mantle. It’s no small task.

But through all this selfless service, there’s one more detail you might forget: you!

You must get in front of the camera from time to time! This is just as important in those little everyday moments as it is for those bigger family events. Years from now, you’ll want it documented that you were actually on that fabulous family vacation, or even at your child’s cozy little birthday party.

It’s so easy to grab your camera or iPhone and just assume your role. But next time, make the effort to hand the camera to someone else. Your spouse, your parents, or even your kids (some training required). First, you’ll get to see the scene from someone else’s perspective (a child’s point of view often makes for great and unexpected photographs).  But more importantly, you’ll have images in the collection of you at the event, whatever it might be. For extra credit, make a print at Costco or Target. Decades from now, your children and grandchildren will be so glad you did.

My daughter, just 4 years old at the time, captured this image right in our driveway. It’s not going to win any awards for technique—the lighting isn’t perfect, the focus is a bit soft. But life takes many unexpected turns. And you never know when a technically mediocre photograph will become the one you love the most.

Palm Trees and Pumpkins

Jacksonville Beach Family Photographer – Pumpkins.jpg

Palm trees and pumpkins in the same photograph? Now that's what I call spooky.

Halloween in Jacksonville still seems odd to me. I grew up in a colder climate, where it wasn’t uncommon to squeeze a puffy winter coat underneath your plastic superhero costume. I remember coming home after trick-or-treating and feeling more excited to get out of all those layers than I was about the candy! Maybe this is why I appreciate the idea of a good 'breathable fabric' from Lululemon.

I do miss the fall leaves and spectacular midwest colors. We always had to be careful of the neighborhood prankster hiding out in the piles of leaves. Don’t get me wrong, fall in Florida is great, but we just don’t have seasons here.

Take a moment and share some of your own halloween memories with your kids this year. Go ahead and dig out those pictures of you as a kid in your halloween finest—that’s what those pictures are for! As you’re making lots of new memories this year, be sure to take some photos of the getting-into-costume moments as well as the gorey, smudged-make-up, sticky-finger aftermath. It’s all part of the fun.