Monday, August 29, 2011

easy breezy {downers grove photography}

{16x20 custom collage canvas or cafe mount...LOVE it
since i can get so many great photos on one piece of art!}

hi there, i am back & hope the first week of school went well for everyone! i have been doing lots of fun stuff, both with the family & with work projects. my hubby officially graduated with his masters degree in nursing from Rush University last week! the kids started school & i have been designing my 2013 calendar (i will show you soon!) as well as 3 books for tyndale house publishers! it's been a whirlwind of a month, but i wanted to show you another beautiful family i had the privilege of shooting.

i photographed them right after this shoot {insert smile here} & i did NOT know what to do with myself... i mean, they just stood there & SMILED. no bribing, no tears, no whoopie cushion. nada.

so, what did i do? i made them jump, jump, jump!

and, here are some more lovely portraits. don't you just love how all of the children look so unique from one another? i have loved studying their photos, their faces, their details. they are truly blessed!

grace & peace,

Monday, August 15, 2011

behind the scenes: friendship {AND a GIVEAWAY!}

{original photo: warren dunes, michigan}

i came across a lovely saying by poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge a while back and i knew immediately that i wanted to use it for one of my inspirational pieces.

it simply says,
"Friendship is a sheltering tree"

{tweaked photo: where i remove the people, beach "stuff",
add a beautiful & refreshing sky and
soften the focus a bit to make it more dreamy}

now, this saying struck my heart immediately, as i deeply cherish the friendships in my life. and, you know how they are all unique? well, i love that too. i've got the life long friends who have known me since childhood, whom i think of quite often and yet am terrible about keeping in touch. i've got the college friends who saw me grow and change so much into the woman i am now, and who also witnessed me falling in love with my hubby. i've got the mommy friends who i can meet at the park and ask each other for practical advice and just play with our kids. i've got the artist friends with whom we have an instant bond and connection based on our passion for creativity. i love all of the different connections i have experienced with my friends.

{final art: black & white version}

ok, now back to the dunes where we went about a month ago. have you been on the beach when it is so hot, your feet are literally burning in the sand?! well, since i am a midwesterner, i had not. but, that day it was so hot my sunshine girl was crying and i did not blame her. but, the really amazing thing was when you went under the shade of this tree, the sand was instantly cool to your feet.

life can be difficult. we all know that. but, thank God for good, solid friends who are that sheltering tree for us, providing for us refreshment and rest in our time of need (heck, anytime at all!) a true friend loves, protects, and shelters our hearts, providing life and nourishment to our souls.

again, i am so thankful to have those friends!

so, who is YOUR sheltering tree? and, would you like to show them your thanks by giving them this art?!

this week, i will be giving away to ONE lucky winner*
1 5x7 framed "friendship is a sheltering tree" piece AND
1 5x7 framed piece for you to keep for yourself!

to gain one entry: go to my facebook page, "like me", and leave a post on my wall telling me the name of your friend you would like to give the art to. (you will find the link to my facebook page in the left hand column of this blog...the big blue button)

to gain two entries: follow the above, then post this giveaway on your facebook or twitter, and tell me that you have on my facebook wall

to gain three entries: go to my facebook page, leave a post, then if you purchase anything from my shop you will earn another entry & go add that to my facebook page

BONUS FOR THE WEEK: you can enjoy FREE shipping on any purchase in my shop by entering the coupon code: 08FREESHIP

go spread the word and show a little love to your friends!

*offer good for domestic purchases and prizes only. i will choose a winner 08.20.11

grace & peace,

Thursday, August 11, 2011

irish blessings {Downers Grove Photography}

last saturday i had the joy of meeting a new family & photographing them at Danada {in drizzly weather!} the dad is from ireland, so his accent was the coolest. the dog, farley, brought a new dimension to the family portrait & it was so fun {my first family with a doggie shoot!}. the above shot is the "nice family portrait" for the living room, once they had gathered & all looked at the camera, even farley! i love how the daughter took charge of the dog & leaned in to him.

then, mr. farley "had an itch" & the above captures the true family at heart! belly laughs from the parents, as the kids (& i) look in complete wonder as to what on earth this dog is doing?!

i love the above portrait. this little guy gave me a run for my money. if i thought shooting 7 kids, ages 6 & under was a challenge, well, this shoot gave me a whole new challenge. so, at this point in the shoot, he would not play with me or give me a real smile, and i thought it was so funny to pair him with a smiley face balloon {which, sad to say, his little sis was afraid of!}

oh & by the way, i unfortunately did NOT pull out my whoopie cushion. my big mistake & take away lesson: use the whoopie!

thanks to the help of his parents, i captured some really adorable smiles.
{plus, a bribe of a lollipop never hurts.}

and, here is the little sis! i could not get over her red curls and love of the camera. is she not a future irish dancer?!

if you enlarge this photo a lot, you can literally see the raindrops!

here is some art based on my life verse design irish blessing & irish family blessings, personalized just for them with their own family portrait.

and, here are some 10x20 designs i created for the kiddos!

grace & peace,

Monday, August 8, 2011

i love michigan!

a month ago we took a mini family vacation
to lake michigan & we had the best time:
blueberry picking
raspberry picking
cherry picking
(a chen vacation revolves around food most often)
the dunes
sweet breezes
3 very happy kids

here is a 10x20 canvas i created based on a handful of my favorite images, which i took at sunset in st. joseph, michigan near the lighthouse pier.

michigan was not only incredibly relaxing, but also inspiring & i have 2 new pieces up my sleeve.

...more coming soon!

grace & peace,

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

i thank GOD for WHOOPIE CUSHIONS {Downers Grove Photography}

QUESTION: what do you get when you take 7 kids, ages 6 and under and try to sit them next to each other, all look in one direction, and say "CHEESE"?

ANSWER: a really wild & crazy photo shoot!

the above design was created with some of those crazy, beautiful shots which i took last saturday at one of my new favorite locations in the neighborhood, Fishel Park in beautiful downtown Downers Grove!

the photos are a gift for the grandma's birthday, so since there were so many great shots, i decided to design a 16x20 custom contemporary canvas in which she can display the main shot (her & the grandkids) along with many adorable out-takes.

here is a 10x20 contemporary canvas i have come up with for little miss jenna's room.

ok, click on the image to zoom in real close & check out her curls & lashes. TO DIE FOR!

above is a nostalgic style 16x20 canvas i have come up, so that these beauties remain timeless throughout the ages.

here are 2 silly cousins. OH & i cannot forget to mention the whole purpose of the title of this post: knowing it may (ahem) be a difficult shoot, i went armed with lollipops, a barking dog, a rubber duckie, and best of all, the FANTASTIC giggle-getter: my son's whoopie cushion. oh my. 5 little boys could not get enough of it; even the little sweet girls had to hold it. so funny!

here is that other sweetie pie. just look at those brown eyes.

and, why does she look so happy above? well, because her prize (i mean bribe) was lollipops. not just one, but two, thank you very much.

i have never been so entertained at a shoot. this one really taught me a lot & i cannot thank the parents enough for their help and involvement as i stood dumbfounded wondering how to gain control. ha! the great thing is that i got some really beautiful shots, as well as some silly ones!

if you would like me to transform your photography into a work of art, as shown in the samples above, please contact me through my email or etsy shop. thanks!

grace & peace,