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!

School Pictures With a Twist

Remember school picture day? You’d get all dressed up with your hair just right, and spend all morning hoping your cowlick behaved. Your class would be shuffled down to the auditorium or gym, and one by one you’d be ushered onto a stool, then quick smile, click, and done. A few weeks later the picture packages would arrive and everyone would huddle over their prints. The lucky few would proudly display their big grins, others would sheepishly downplay the awkward results.

The school portrait industry has evolved since then. Now there are green screens, digital proofing services, and fancier lighting. Those changes are great, but the basic ‘assembly line’ setup has been left intact. Time to shake things up!

Making a great portrait requires more than a few seconds with the subject. So I’ve been working on a twist of the traditional school model: I decided to bring on location portraiture to the whole school. Traditional school pictures are like fast food: quick and efficient. Not the best, but fine in a pinch. With just a small additional investment of time and care, we can do so much better for our kids. I suppose in the fast food analogy, my approach is like the carefully packed lunch, made with love, attentive to individual preferences. And like the perfect packed lunch, it can be pretty simple but feel like a gourmet meal — because it was made just for you.

I spent a few days at a Lake Forest preschool making outdoor lifestyle portraits of over 100 children! It was truly exhausting, but so much fun! Just 10 minutes with each child allowed me to capture a range of expressions. With kids, it's never really small talk — it's more like making 100 new friends. My knowledge of Disney heroes and princesses has never served me so well.

Enjoy this short slideshow and if you'd like me visit your child's school, drop me a note! 

Hold the Cheese Please


Photographing kids is always a challenge, especially when the kids are your own. When I work with adults that take direction, the job is almost too easy! The great thing about working with kids is that you never know what sort of expression you’ll get.

In this smartphone age, kids are bombarded with cameras. Many have become conditioned to snap out a smile as soon as the camera comes up. But do you really want a cheesy smile all the time? I certainly don’t.  

You’ll almost never hear me ask anyone to directly smile in front of my camera. A forced smile is obvious on anyone. And with a child’s playfulness, it doesn’t take too much to get a far more interesting expression.

So mix it up next time you pull out the iPhone in front of your kids. Ask them to do anything but smile. Ask them to sing a song, do a little dance, whatever comes to mind, and grab a few shots. I bet you’ll get some new looks! Before long, you’ll have quite an outtakes reel (like this shot). But you could also catch a timeless shot perfect for the mantle.

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.