Modern Fine Art Studio Loft Boudoir

I love meeting other people who believe photography is/can be/should be a fine art. Who doesn't enjoy connecting with like-minded people? It's one of life's joys to find another person who loves what you love. It's a connection that promotes mutual growth, understanding of self and others and the world around us. It's empowering, it's a joy, it's a challenge- because once that spark of collaborative creativity ignites, we have the responsibility (or I believe we do) to fan those little sparks into flames that bring light and beauty to the world around us. 

(I do see the symbolic irony of this thought pattern while introducing a boudoir session.)

Anyways, it was a true delight to work with this client to create meaningful, lovely photographs to not only celebrate her body for herself but also as a future gift for her spouse. These photographs are a reflection of a great deal of communication, trust, collaboration and mutual love of being women. 

I'm full of gratitude to this woman for loving her gorgeous figure and allowing me to share these beautiful, beautiful photographs. As I'm sure many fine art photographers can attest, some of our most lovely, emotive, elevated, inspired work stems from boudoir sessions- never to be shown. Thank you, thank you!

To create the perfect looks for these fine art boudoir photographs, makeup artist Carly Pribich of @carlydoesmakeup was present with us for the first hour of the boudoir session. Lingerie was provided from the client's own personal collection (#goals) and the entirety of the shoot took place at Loft505, one of my favorites in the Chicago area. I shot the entire boudoir session on a Canon EOS 1-V on Kodak Portra 400 35mm film exclusively (no digital) and sent the rolls for processing to my one and only, tried and true, ride or die PhotoVision film lab in Salem, Oregon. (Believe me, I tried half a dozen labs before finding this gem.

Rustic Chic Illinois Distillery Proposal

SHE SAID YES! On Sunday, June 4, Michel brought Alex back to Whiskey Acres Distilling Co. to propose where they'd shared their "first real date." Having invited their families and close friends to hide themselves away in the tasting room, Michel proposed in the romantic courtyard.

With strings of cafe lights overhead and arrangements of sunflowers and hydrangeas created by Floral Wonders of Geneva scattered throughout, it couldn't have been more beautifully planned. The wonderfully talented Ashley of Higuchi Productions was also on hand to document the occasion. After a teary, happy party, the couple stole away to take several portraits together on the distillery grounds to celebrate the moment. 

Epic Greek Orthodox Chicago Wedding

May 27, 2017 has been marked with a big red heart on my calendar for over a year. Carly and Chris planned a wedding day packed full of celebratory details, surprises and special moments. Kicking off the day with a wedding gift of Christian Louboutin pumps and a mother-daughter whiskey toast, this couple honored family tradition and faith with a Greek Orthodox ceremony at St. John the Baptist in Des Plaines. Following a rose petal-showered church exit, the party bus stopped by Catherine Chevalier Woods for photos of the wedding party and Chris and Carly. Wedding guests enjoyed cocktail hour at The Empress in Addison until the bridal party welcomed the bride and groom with a stunning sparkler entrance to the ballroom. 

carly-chris-25.jpg
carly-chris-56.jpg

A terrific team of vendors included Gaby Raguso of GLAMD, Flowers for Dreams, I Do Video by Leo, Mario Tricoci: Oak Brook all coordinated by Ashley Nicole Events.

Colorful Bohemian Arizona Bridal

arizona-bridal-35.jpg

It's always a delight to photograph in a new landscape with a uniquely wild color palette and textures, air and light. This is an experimental bridal session, shot at Papago Park in Phoenix, Arizona, on 35mm film and processed by PhotoVision film lab.

Hair and makeup design were created by Arizona transplant Lindsay Wallen, including the blush pink color on both models and the flower crown incorporating a custom jeweled headpiece. This headpiece and bespoke white lace dress featured are sourced from local Scottsdale Ali's Fashion Design and hand-crafted by talented in-house designer Lana Gerimovich. The silver metallic slip, photographed as an alternative bridesmaid's dress, is featured in the current cocktail dress lineup at anthropologie

Our fellow Chicago/Arizona wedding double-timers at Hoot & Holler created the stunner of a bride's bouquet using orange poppies, ranunculus, thistle, parrot tulips, eucalyptus and spray roses. These gals are not just wedding florists, but live up to their motto of "floral renegades."

Shoutout to my folks, Craig & Wendy, for being the best assistants, and Lindsay & Katelyn for being so willing to try, test and play with new ideas and experimental posing concepts as bride for a day models. 

arizona-bridal-26.jpg

Vintage Fine Art Luxury Hotel Boudoir

This lovely bridal boudoir series was a dream collaboration with award-winning bridal makeup artist Carly Pribich, talented Chicago Gold Coast stylist Krista of KMarie Hair Studio and Eva's Floral Wonders of Geneva, IL. The vintage lingerie featured was selected from the model's personal curated collection and wedding hair accessories provided by Hair Comes the Bride. PhotoVision processed these boudoir photographs, created using Kodak Portra 160 and Portra 400 film.

True Grace Photography bridal boudoir sessions are inspired by quiet confidence, honesty, personality and the strength and loveliness of femininity.

Special thanks to model, R, for sharing her figure, face, energy and vintage lingerie to expand and elevate the vision of this boudoir collaboration.

Chicago Riverwalk Lifestyle Engagement

Some things are meant to be, some things just happen, and more often than not, things that are meant to be just happen.  These two are no exception. James is from Ireland; Tavia is from Chicago. A work opportunity brought James to Chicago, and he decided to stay after meeting Tavia. 

These two are the kind of fun, easygoing people that everyone wants to hang out with, so it's no surprise that they want to hang out with one another for life.  Tav said YES when James proposed on a ski trip at Breckenridge over the New Year holiday.

When we scheduled their engagement photography session in Chicago this spring, James and Tav shared that they are planning a destination wedding for May next year-- in Ireland! Because of this, celebrating Chicago in their engagement photographs became a priority.

We started with craft cocktails at the terrace at Drumbar on the roof of the Rafaello Hotel in the magnificent mile. From there, we walked down Michigan Avenue to Water Tower Place and took a stroll down the Chicago Riverwalk, a favorite for wedding and engagement photographs in the spring! Congratulations, you two! 

drumbar-chicago-riverwalk-45.jpg

Fresh & Fun Downtown Oak Park Engagement

It's not hard to see why Frank Lloyd Wright chose Oak Park for his home and studio when the spring weather and blooms are this gorgeous.

When Lauren and Kevin chose to do their spring engagement session at special and sentimental locations in downtown Oak Park, I jumped at the chance. When a couple is planning a destination wedding or even a wedding in another part of the Chicago area, there's no better way to celebrate your hometown or new-hometown than an engagement session highlighting your favorite spots. 

We started at Beer Shop (a new-ish local hangout for craft brew lovers) and wandered around Austin Gardens, the Oak Park Metra station, the Lake Theater enjoying the gorgeous redbuds and bistro lights. Warm wedding weather is here, folks!

This engagement session was shot digitally, but processed to have the natural, soft look of film. I'm excited to see how Lynda at Greenstar Paperie uses these photos for Lauren and Kevin's wedding Save the Dates. Enjoy!

oakpark-engagement-63.jpg

Stormy Las Vegas Desert Elopement

This destination elopement has it all: a champagne toast, dramatic winds, a bohemian wedding dress by hot designer Truvelle and dry riverbed picnic.

The team behind this elopement is from Santa Barbara, Las Vegas and Chicago. We believed that vendors from several states can collaborate to create an enchanting experience for clients.

There is a perfectly wild color scheme in the Mojave Desert that appeals to film photography. The ranges of green, from the blue-green juniper to the yellow-green banana yuccas, contrast with the rusty reds and rich golds of the sandstone.

This entire series was shot on 35mm Kodak Portra film and processed by PhotoVision Print Lab. Our couple celebrated at Red Spring in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area with champagne toast, macarons, meringues and cake.

Film Lab: PhotoVision

Stylist / Planner: You Name It Events

Hair & Makeup: Bianca Sansosti Artistry

Floral Designer: Fern & Foxtail

Floral Ribbon: Bellame

Dress Designer: Truvelle

Bridal Salon: Dame Couture

truegrace-mojave-68.jpg
truegrace-mojave-60.jpg

Invitation Suite & Paper: Greenstar Paperie

Groom’s Clothing: Sene Studio + ALDO

Accessories: Azar Jewelers

truegrace-mojave-29.jpg
truegrace-mojave-15.jpg
truegrace-mojave-41.jpg

Metropolis Ballroom Winter Wedding

On Saturday, January 14, 2017, Caitlin & Brian married at St. Raymond de Penafort in Mount Prospect and celebrated with friends and family at the Metropolis Ballroom in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

As a wedding photographer, I have the privilege to witness emotional moments and remarkable relationships. I often tear up like the rest of you (especially when reliving moments while editing a wedding)- but it was definitely a first when I teared up at Caitlin and Brian's wedding consult. These meetings are one of my favorite parts of my work- it's a time for a couple to share their story and talk about their vision for their wedding and for me to share a little about myself and photography philosophy. Brian and Caitlin asked such thoughtful, considerate questions about my work and wedding photography that I found myself sharing more of my own personal reflection on weddings & love than usual. As I discovered throughout the next seven months of planning for their day, these two possess a warmth and charm together that can only arise from a open-hearted commitment to friends and family and a strength found in a shared love and trust.

As anyone who celebrated their wedding at the Metropolis Ballroom would tell you, this wedding was inspiring, infectiously joyful and full of beautiful light, delightful details and fabulous food.

Many thanks to the vendors who made such a special day so lovely!

DJ: Toast & Jam

Makeup Artist: Carly Pribich Palmer

Photo Booth: Fox and Harrison 

Reception Hall & Wedding Cake: Metropolis Ballroom

Floral Design: Robert's Floral Design Studio

 

Lifestyle Edit: Logan Square, Chicago

Makeup: Carly Pribich Palmer

Styling & Wardrobe: Free People & Zara

Loft: Alisha Siegel

Film Processing: Indie Film Lab

Lifestyle Edit: Brooklyn, New York

I spent 30 hours in New York City, and the course of an afternoon, evening and morning with Jenny. She's a writer, friend, daughter, photographer, girlfriend and supporter of women everywhere. As a Grand Rapids native living in Brooklyn, she explores identity, culture, fashion, design, art and what it means to be a new woman at liberty in the capital of the world. 

Jenny invited me to visit after we connected on Instagram after brushing social circles while we were both undergrads at Wheaton College. (We were both misfits in a way our senior year.) I had admired the way she presented her life through photographs and captions with unabashed verve and loveliness. From her flawless nails to her self-activating philosophy, Jenny's IG profile (@jenhansma) drew me in- and I knew I wasn't the only one who was attracted to such a modern balance of prolific experience and minimal lifestyle.

A lifestyle photography session contextualizes portraits. In this case, this loft is a carefully considered, curated collection of living areas that idealize natural light, open space and cozy corners. An economy of square footage demands that every thing be an artifact beauty serving either joy or a practical purpose. In this case (as most others), Jenny's home reflects her mind & soul.

* This is an off-season personal photo project, and some images are experimental and therefore different from my usual wedding photography style. These images were shot on 35mm Kodak Portra 400 and Portra 800 film and processed by Indie Film Lab

Elegant Monte Bello Estate Wedding

montebello-67.jpg

When Rachel and Andrew first described their vision for a fanciful, modern wedding at the Monte Bello Estate in Lemont, Illinois, I knew it would be any fine art photographer's dream. Andrew and Rachel are truly two best friends in love, and their wedding is an expression of their joy and happiness.

This October wedding was truly a celebration of family, friends and a shared love of design and style. With details from BHLDN and bouquets of blush garden roses by Andrew's Garden, Rachel and Andrew created an elegant, timeless garden wedding with a dash of their adorable shared sense of humor (see the wedding cake toppers!).  

As a photographer, I'm very aware that my work is only made possible by the incredible vendors who create the work I have the joy to reflect. Big thanks to officiant Jeannie Walton, makeup artist Vanessa Valliant, Andrew McGarvey of Back Third Entertainment and Briann at Imagination Designers! Most of all, I'm grateful for my second photographer of the day, Maggie Fortson.