Chicago Family Photography

Corner-Miller Family // Chicago

This family holds a special place in my heart but this little girl is very special. Mari June was born about a year ago, these photos were taken to mark her first year of life. She was born extremely early and the NICU was a place of home for her in her first months of life. There were pulmonary hemorrhages, oxygen tubes, waiting, unknowing, doctors, blood transfusions, PICC lines, brain bleeds, brain surgeries, scans, ventilators, blood clots, and ultimately a diagnosis of Hydrocephalus - a buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep within the brain. Luckily, Mari will be ok and her life will be fulfilled to the max, plus she has this great family so we all know that smile of hers is a miracle. 

I met Candace, Mari and Henry’s mom at my first day as a Sr. Graphic Designer at ULTA Beauty Corporate in the burbs of Chicago. It was her orientation too, where she was the social media manager. I liked her from the get go. She was confident, smiley and had a cool sense about her that I gravitated to. Maybe it was that she was the young one amongst some IT folks in orientation or maybe it was because we both shared the love of our nose studs. We became friends over time and even managed to get into our own version of a supper club together. Supper club sounds dated but it was really a girl’s date night, where a few of ULTA girls who lived in the city and had to commute to Bolingbrook, bitched about the traffic and laughed about “those” co-workers. 

I met Candace and Johnny at Montrose Beach one August morning and the light was beautiful, perfect in my opinion. The sky was slightly overcast but rays of light peaked through various holes in the clouds. Both kids were smiley and hilarious, and I even got a rendition of Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing” by Henry and Candace. He knew every word! For a three-year-old, I am impressed! These photos are soft and gentle, and I think their outfits are just the cutest, not surprised by the woman who puts all us moms to shame when it comes to Halloween! 

They love these images and I hope they’re cherished for years to come. Thanks Candace and Johnny for allowing me to capture these special moments.

XO

J

Torres Maternity // Chicago

These two were a dream to photograph. Not only were they dressed impeccably, they were down for whatever, even my idea of getting into the water. :) It was a beautiful Sunday night and because I just figured that since it was a Sunday night in the summer at 7pm, that the swimmers wouldn’t be around. I showed up about 20 minutes before the shoot was supposed to start and oh boy, it was PACKED.  They wanted beach photos and with how crowded the small beach was, I needed to think fast. Luckily the man-made concrete peninsula wasn’t crowded. So, when they got there, off we went. The only tricky part about shooting on the concrete that has waves constantly coming in and out is the algae. Me, being the photographer I am, I like to get down low, climb high up, just to get the right angles for the shot, and I biffed so hard. My camera slammed into the concrete, got wet, I bounced off my elbow before my hip hit down and there I was, pregnant little me all wet and laughing. This would of course happen to me. I mostly felt bad because of the looks on their faces. I shook it off and we kept going, these things happen, right? ☺We circled back onto the beach and by this time the sun was just a sliver before setting and we grabbed a few shots (which are my favorite) of Lauren bathing in the water with her dress on. I actually did this for my first maternity shoot with my daughter Penelope and loved it. Just glad she was such a trooper! Hope you enjoy these, they were definitely worth the bruises!

Xo

Brody Michael is Here // Chicago

I shot Michelle and Brian’s wedding a few years ago and I just love when my clients have babies! I was able to meet Brody when he was just 10 days old. He was still so little, wrinkley skin and oh so hungry! Those newborns love to cluster. JI always have to allow for enough time with newborn shoots. Sometimes they won’t eat, they won’t sleep or they just want to be held. And in the end we were lucky enough to get some shots of Chopper with Brody, their beloved boxer who’s been with Michelle for years and years. Thanks for reading!

J

Hall Family // Chicago

I met one of my favorite clients at the beach, normally we just do local shoots at her home but today we ventured out to a bright early summer morning shoot. The sun was bright, the volleyball leagues were playing, the runners were out in full force. For some reason Valentina wasn’t up for a shoot. We tried walking with her, we tried tickling, giving her snacks, and it just seemed that this day was not her day. Her mom felt so bad because we made the trip out, we really wanted to make it work so then we took a stroll near the water. As we got close, we’d run from the wave. That’s when her tears started to dry. Valentina started to open up to me a bit if I just kept back and let her have her moment in the water. That’s when we got our photos!

J

Quinn Lake // Chicago

Quinn was born to some good friends of mine. Their son is just a month younger than my daughter so we were pregnant together. Quinn is sucha well-tempered baby, they are so lucky to have her. She is sweet, she sleeps, she eats AND she looks at the camera. If I was guaranteed to have a Quinn, I think I’d be better equipped to have No. 2! I went over to visit them at their home on a summer night, her brother wanted to go play outside and Quinn and her mommy were the best subjects. After a toddler bribe (happens ALL the time), I was able to capture a few of just the new brother and sister and  This family is so sweet, I am so lucky to have them as friends. <3

J

Lefevour Family // Oakbrook

It had been almost 4 years since the last time I photographed this family. Mikey was barely crawling and Mae was still so little. They’re both so tall now and hilarious. I love their brotherly- sister love. He always wanted to do what she was doing. I love when little boys look up to their sisters, that’s my feminist bone coming out. JWe met on a warm summer night in Oakbrook, I had never been to the Graue Mill, a water-powered gristmill and it sits on the Dupage Country Forest Preserve. It had water, trees, paths, and gorgeous summer light. I just wish it was closer to the city so I could shoot here all the time! So much personality in this family, we even had a to take a few photos with thumbs up to appease Mikey, the youngest. Haha! I hope you enjoy!

J

Sayers Family // Chicago

Here’s a great little mini family shoot I did for Sarah and Ryan and their not-so-baby anymore, big girl, Frances aka Frankie aka Frenchie. Frankie just turned two shortly before this shoot and it was so fun shooting her. I think my favorite age is two, they are so funny and just talking so the things they say are so entertaining.

We met at a garden park in Logan Square, across the street from their home. It’s a great little space, one city lot with a patio, trees and wildflowers. I love this family a lot, we’ve been friends for years, I go way back with Sarah to my hometown in Iowa so it’s fun to be able to do these kinds of things for her. Enjoy these!

J

Scholls Family // Olive Park

Last weekend I had the pleasure of shooting The Scholls. Abby, a long time friend of mine (we used to build forts and ride bikes) had asked me to shoot her family and I was thrilled. I loved meeting Matt and Sam. Sam is 2 and probably the smiliest child I have every encountered. I know, every kid has their moment of tantrum and just being tired but he was a dream. I also have a sweet spot for 2 year olds.

We met at Olive Park and strolled around Oak Street Beach. The weather was stunning for the end of October, we lucked out. I hope you enjoy these!

J

Hello, World! Baby Aurora // Evanston

Aurora “Rory,” was a great newborn subject, she was making eye contact, she was so alert! And so cooperative! Her older brother, Radley, was very excited to have her around. He wanted to kiss and hug and hold her all the time. It was a pleasure seeing this family again after taking his 1-year-old photos the previous summer. I went to their new home in Evanston, on a beautiful tree-lined street and made me think, hmm, maybe the suburbs aren’t so bad! It was lovely. I hope you enjoy these photos of this beautiful family.

J

Gabriella // Lincoln Park

I took Gabriella’s 14 Month photos on a dreary day in March. She wasn’t so sure of me at first. Her faces in the first few photos below express her feelings, haha! She slowly but surely opened up and ended up being a total goofball. I love see the personalities of little ones come through. She is the same age as my daughter so it’s fun interacting with other children her age, sometimes they are so different! I hope you enjoy!

xo

J

 

 

VanMilligan Family // Willow Springs

I recently found this lush green area outside of Chicago as part of the Cook County Forest Preserves. You can fish, picnic, hike etc. It’s gorgeous! I had Kenny and his family meet me there one summer night in early June and it was perfect. The sun was warm and low and the magic hour really did us a favor. I’ve known Kenny since I was a girl. His family moved into my family neighborhood when I was probably 8 years old. Kenny used to bike me home sometimes after I was at their house playing with his sister. We actually had the same circle of friends in college and he’s always been one of the best, his smiles are contagious. I met his wife, Tyler, and their two beautiful girls at Saganashkee Slough Woods. So full of energy and sweet smiles, I knew this would be a good shoot. You can always tell within the first few minutes of a dynamic. Sometimes it’s off, one child had a bad day, or a meltdown in the car, but this wasn’t that day, everyone was excited. The Slough has a lot of water so there were ducks and geese and lots of curiosity from the girls. We had such  good time, just enough for a few shots of just Kenny and Tyler, so in love.

I love these and I hope you do too!

X

JB

Zalaznik Family // Iowa

Just a few short years ago, I had the privilege of shooting Madde and Ryan’s wedding, in the exact same spot! I remember because I was pregnant and it was summer, they had the most beautiful atmosphere. The property belongs to her father and it’s actually the house he grew up in. It’s a gorgeous old brick farmhouse with tall ceilings, giant windows and all the character you could expect in a house like that. The property is even more stunning. All the trees, the green and the background of the rolling hills of Iowa, you’d like it was out of a Grant Wood painting. Madde and Ryan were accompanied by their two children, both from previous relationships, and the same age! They were brother and sister and best friends, their dynamic is so fun, I think that you can tell by these photos. I hope you enjoy!

Cheers!

JB

The Glocks // A Snowy Lincoln Park Day

I had the pleasure of meeting this adorable family for the first time this day. It’s always a little funny, because it’s somewhat of a first blind date. I stand with my camera gear at a meeting point and await a family who is somewhat put together (everyone always has cute jackets and their hair done when I get to see them). But when we saw each other in the atrium of the Lincoln Park conservatory, we knew who each other was right away and we laughed because oh boy, the weather was something!

What a day this was! We scheduled our shoot later in the day because we wanted to warm sun to be low and amazing. We didn’t get sun at all! We got a heavy, snowstorm! It was the first of the season, December heavy, wet snow. So we went with it! It was actually quite beautiful, it just made for some more challenging scenes. Nevertheless, Gretchen and family were more than happy to go with the flow. So we tried under some trees, and then some winter hats and then we just went with it! If you can’t beat it, join it right? That was our motto that day. And the snow just kept coming, everything was laced with white, the trees, the benches, even our eyelashes. They turned out to be delightful, and will be amazing photos for their holiday Christmas card. Dreaming of a white snowy Christmas?  J

Thanks and I hope you enjoy these!

JoAnna

The Stephensons // Eagle Point Park

I am so glad we decided to push this shoot by a day, Friday was turning out to be a pretty dark and gloomy day so I proposed we push it so that we could get some good light and they were totally flexible. The forecast said there would be sun on Saturday so we went with it. Do you see all this luscious warmth coming through the trees? Not to mention we were days out from December and we didn’t even need coats, the sweaters were perfect.

This is a special family to me, Kira, the mother, has been a dear friend of mine since we were in middle school. We both love cooking, wine, family, friends and OPRAH! Kira and Ricky met while serving our country and after coming back from tour, they got married and had three babies–one of which is not shown, Max. He is a sweet angel who left this earth too early. Kira has taught me so much during all of this painful time and her strength and positivity is second to none. What’s so special about these photos is that after Kira saw them, she expressed her gratitude to me for capturing them and she pointed out how present Max was on this day, you can see him in little light bubbles and rays shining through on each of them. I felt him too that day. I really had fun capturing this amazing family, I hope you enjoy these!

J

The Bluths // Lincoln Park

This family is from out west, they both went to school here in the city, fell in love and stuck around. They then had Adeline – the world’s most smiley baby. Seriously, if you can’t tell from the photos, every time I had the camera on her, she looked into the lens with those big blue eyes and smiled with her minimal teeth smile. Oh my, to die for. This sweet family requested one of my favorite spots in the city, Lincoln Park, near South Pond. The long prairie grass, the Studio Gang Pavilion, the water and the gorgeous skyline in the background makes it one of the best. Linden, Adeline’s dad, was a great tosser, (sounds funny) but when he would throw her in the air, she just giggled with happiness. This family was one of the best and I’m grateful I was able to capture them.

I hope you enjoy!

J

Mond Family // Galena

I had the pleasure of shooting Darcee and her family at their home in Galena. Their home was built in 1856 and is so beautiful. Their backyard is where most of these shots were taken–we shot in their garden where they grow their veggies, on their tree swing, on the back patio and watering the plants in the front yard. One week after I shot them, Siesta-their beloved pooch, passed away. I was lucky enough to have captured them with her before she was set free. I know they’ll miss her dearly and we’re all grateful she was there for these photos.

Eben got little Huxley to put his face in the hose stream. Too good. This family is the best and I’m lucky to call them friends. Huxley’s shirt let us know how old he just turned and Darcee’s glowing belly let us know there’s a healthy growing baby in there. So happy to have captured them on a perfect summer evening. I loved this shoot and had a hard time choosing only a few shots, so I might have showcased a few more! I hope you enjoy these!

J

Stoffel Family // Iowa

This was my first family shoot with this many family members! The Stoffel Family is made of a mom and a dad and their 2 daughters and 3 sons along with their own families. We had met in the morning of the 4th of July at a nature preserve outside my hometown in Dubuque, Iowa. We got some great shots of the individual small families and then some great group shots of everyone. I even got them to agree to all get into the freezing cold creek! The water temperature might have helped  add to the great energy. 😉 I hope you enjoy these photos!

J

Vogler Family // Christmas in Iowa

While back in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa for the Christmas festivities, I had the pleasure of shooting the Vogler family. The mother Michelle was the older sister of a grade school friend of mine and so it was really great getting to know her own family. Her husband is Jeff and together they have 2 little ones – Collin, 3 years, and Hudson, 3 weeks… hello polar opposites! Oh, and I mustn’t forget their boxer, Daykin, who on every photo opportunity was trying to get front and center between the family and my lens. It was pretty hilarious. It’s always so cool to get to be so intimate with a family and to see their dynamic first hand. Pretty cool part of my job. 🙂

Enjoy these!

J

Cousins // Dubuque

I was back in my hometown of Dubuque, IA over the 4th of July weekend and had the privilege of shooting Nixon and Nova. Nova is the daughter of one of my best friends and Nixon is the son one of my husband’s best friend. So going up to meet them to do a photo shoot was just like hanging out. It was a really good time filled with lots of laughs. Everyone contributed to helping capture the moments including impromptu Itsy-Bitsy Spider sing-alongs. These two cousins only see each other a few times a year as Nixon lives in San Diego and Nova lives in Iowa. Since they are both only children, they are like brother and sister complete with kisses and wrestles. Only 3 weeks apart, these two were a whole lot of entertainment including the moment we had them “cheers” with mommy’s and daddy’s wine/beer. 🙂 I hope you enjoy these!

J