This beautiful family brought me so much joy this weekend. ❤️
Hope they bring you a smile, too… 😍
This beautiful family brought me so much joy this weekend. ❤️
Hope they bring you a smile, too… 😍
I had an obsession with horses from the time I was about seven years old. My big sister took horseback riding lessons, and after watching her once I was hooked. I wanted a horse. I needed a horse. Late at night, my mind haunted me with dreams of a horse of my very own: tall, chestnut-brown, with a mane and tail that flew behind it as we raced across wide-open spaces. It was an impossible dream, and I knew it. But for years… YEARS… I was heartbroken that we lived in the Chicago suburbs and not on a farm somewhere that horses were a more reasonable choice of pet. 😂
I watched horse movies all the time. My favorite was National Velvet with Elizabeth Taylor. A twelve year old girl wins a runaway horse in the town raffle, names him The Pie… and quickly realizes that he can run faster and jump higher than any horse around. She trains with a family friend (Micky Rooney), cuts her hair to disguise herself as a jockey, and enters the Grand National, “the greatest horse race in all of England.” I watched The Pie become England’s Grand Champion so many times that our VHS tape began to wear out.
Between the dreaming and horseback riding lessons my parents signed me up for and endless National Velvet viewings, my heart could barely shoulder the disappointment of living horse-less, except for one saving grace:
Jennifer Rebecca Warner, a 35 pound, black-and-white, runt-of-the-litter English Springer Spaniel, was our family dog. We got her as a puppy when I was in kindergarten and she was a member of our household for the rest of my childhood. Jenny was no horse in stature, but her heart must have been as big as any horse’s ever was; she was eager-to-please, patient, and as gentle as any girl could have ever wanted. I would gallop around the block with her running beside me on the leash, pretending we were off on wild adventures as a horse and rider. I made her a harness in the winter and she would “pull” us down the sidewalk through the snow, proudly bearing the title of my sled horse. My dad even helped me build a “horse jump” for her (complete with adjustable pegs) so Jenny and I could train together for our own Grand National.
Looking back, I’d say that Jenny was a fixture… if not a pillar… of my childhood. She was endlessly patient with my antics. She would follow me anywhere. She was the one waiting at the door after school every single day, excited to see me and undoubtedly wondering what kinds of silliness we’d be engaging in that afternoon. She was more than happy to be my horse, and, though she never had the chestnut coat or flowing mane and tail, I knew deep-down that she was and always would be my most special girl.
Jenny was faithful through my childhood and often-challenging teenage years, keeping her place by my side as I moved on from my horse obsession to typical teen things: sports, friends, and boys. And the summer after my freshman year at college, I stood beside my dad and held her head in my hands as she passed. I walked out of the vet’s office that day without my 35 pound heart-of-gold Grand Champion, poignantly experiencing the downside to the risk we all take in loving so deeply.
Last week as I was teaching camera camp, we passed by a lady walking her small, black-and-white English Springer Spaniel around town. The kids begged me to let them take its picture, so I asked the owner who gladly obliged. This sweet dog looked so much like our Jenny that I had to swallow a lump in my throat as they walked away… and even found myself looking back over my shoulder for one last glance as they made their way around the corner and out of sight.
From where I stand, your family’s dog is one of the most important things your child will remember long after their childhood has passed. Dogs are with us for far too short of a time, but the years we have with them are richer as a result of their love. Laying in bed that night last week, I found myself wishing I had better pictures… wonderful, authentic pictures… of my sweet Jenny. It wasn’t a thing back then… but it is now. If I had pictures of her, I would certainly have had them in my hands that evening to enjoy… to get lost in… and to remember. They would have been a balm to my heart, which was still aching a bit after the chance encounter we had in town that day.
Dog sessions are coming up in August… the 17th and the 24th. I’m not charging very much for them because I know this is a tough session to justify and I really want you to consider it… believe me when I say that you will never regret signing up and taking a quick hour out of your Saturday to do this one very important thing.
We will play. We will have fun. And we will celebrate the life, love, and spirit that makes your dog so special to you and your family so you can hold onto those memories forever. Here’s a link… I hope to meet your dog soon!
Ok, I get it. You’re not chomping at the bit to get in front of the camera. 😂 It doesn’t matter… having a solid, professional headshot is sooooo important. Here’s why:
Even if you’re not looking to change jobs anytime soon, there’s a solid chance that those you work for and with will come across your headshot through Slack, LinkedIn, Twitter, Teams… and their impression of you matters. Right or wrong, it can affect how others feel about your work. A good headshot can lead, indirectly, to better opportunities.
So let’s get yours freshened up, shall we? I'll make it quick and painless… and then you can checkity-check it off your list and (literally) put your best face forward.
Below is a link to grab one. Once you book it, I’ll send you all my thoughts about what to wear, how to prep, etc…
Let’s get ‘er done my friends. 📷 Saturday, September 7th. See you then!
Holy moly, there’s SO much to talk about, friends!
As summer officially begins for me and our little family, I am tickled pink to sit down and share what’s going on here on the photography front right now. There’s so much to look forward to!!!
K. Here’s what we’ve got:
1) Sweet Shots Camera Camp!!! The announcement over on Facebook was enough to nearly fill both classes, but there are still a few spots left in next week’s camp (July 8 - 12). If you’re interested, check them out here -there’s one for 3-5th grade and another for the middle schoolers!
2) This year’s summer minis are now open! 🎉 These sessions were a big hit last summer and I think it’s safe to say we all (myself included!) fell madly in love with the images that were captured. Right now there are sessions available on July 13th, August 10th, and August 17th. Sign up now, figure out your outfits later. 😉
My opinion? Families should have a pretty strong reason NOT to do one. Images like these are that important and no parent in the history of ever has regretted capturing loving connections. ❤️
3. Mini 4 hour photographer coaching packages are available for September (when school starts again and weekends are more steady for everyone!) 📷 For those of you looking to strengthen your photography businesses… OR get one off the ground… this is a fab chance to get all your ducks in a row. 🦆🦆🦆 These are usually $600 but I’d love to get them booked up so we’re offering them for $450 right now. Everybody wins… hurray!!!
4. August Sweet Shots Levels I and II are open! Specifically, August 10th (Level I) and August 24th (Level II). These classes are super fun, but more importantly, you’ll learn to use your DSLR like it was meant to be used… and your kids will always have the amazing pictures you take of their childhood from that point on.
And FINALLY (told you there was a lot!)…
5. DOGGO SESSIONS!!! Hehe. I’ve always adored dogs, but this year I’ve intentionally begun to photograph them... and I’m loving every minute of it. If there’s enough interest, I’d like to open up a day of sessions devoted strictly to our sweet pups this August. 🐶 I’m not planning on them being much… perhaps $250 for a session that features your faithful, fluffy bestie. If that sounds like something you might want to do, would you shoot me a quick reply? You’re not committing… I’m just trying to gauge interest. Not sure if I’m the only one crazy enough to love this idea. 😂
Love to each of you!!!
To the twirlers, the giggle-makers, the snugglers, and the ride-givers.
To the secret-tellers, the chasers, the flower-givers, and the protectors.
Here’s to each one of you.
Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, guys. ❤️
Guys. It’s my birthday. 🎉🎉🎉
And it’s not just any birthday… it’s the big THREE-NINE. And (please feel free to begin rolling on the floor laughing right now) I’m freaking out a little.
Hahaha, I know. Those of you who are already in your 40’s and beyond are like, “GIRL! Your 40’s are amazing! You will come into your own and LOVE how you feel about your life.” I know. Thank you. I’ve heard.
But… I don’t know… I guess it’s just that 40 is RIGHT THERE. I can touch it. My “young years” are waning faster than a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos in a room full of middle schoolers. I. Am. Thirty nine. Mom-ing it up in my white Honda Odyssey, feeling ever-so-25 yet feigning surprise at my mom’s reflection every time I pass a shop window. The final chapter of my youth is upon me, and no amount of fast-acting retinol cream can slow this train down.
So it’s time to make peace with this thing called age. Time to do the work. Time to practice gratefulness and focus on a few things that matter more than my fear of growing older. I’ve been giving this lots of thought, and here are the four things I’d like to focus on between now and March 4, 2020:
I’d like to play more, specifically with photography. Expect a few extra model calls this year on Facebook, because I’m learning that (at least for me!) one of the best ways to stay inspired is… you guessed it… to play. ❤️
I want to strengthen my listening skills. My aunt called me today to wish me a happy birthday. She is beautiful, adventurous, and hilarious, and I love every moment I’m with her, but on the phone I tend to talk a LOT due to nerves. Today, though, I closed my eyes and just listened. She told me a story that had us both giggling and left me smiling long after we hung up.
Appreciate my body. Not just accept it… appreciate it. Regardless of its state of elasticity or size. Lol. I know this is basically everyone’s goal. Mine too. Affirmations, here I come… 😂
Finish something big. I loooove starting projects. I’m an amazing project-starter. If there was a job for project-starters I would probably be a leader in the field. But finishing?!? That’s a whole different ball game. I want to know how it feels to truly FINISH something I’ve started. Right now I have my sights set on Sweet Shots… but am still firming up exactly what that means. I’ll try to keep you posted. 😉
I think those things may bring me a little closer to the way I want to feel about life at 40. In any case, it certainly won’t hurt to try, right?
Here we go… ❤️
Can you even believe it? It’s time to grab your 2019 bunny session!!! 😍
We have the most beautiful litter of baby mini lops coming to our studio this spring!!! For those who aren’t familiar with this, we offer these extra-special live bunny sessions every year... they are authentic, genuine sessions that capture the sweetness of your little ones as they interact with our darling bunnies. Every set of sessions has been more precious than the last…
We’re offering an especially limited number of bunny sessions this year because of my work at our kiddos’ school, but we are definitely still offering them! Here are the days we’ve planned:
As ALWAYS, we do everything possible to make these sessions both safe and enjoyable for everyone… your children and our bunnies alike! :)
Our bunnies are SO very loved (spoiled, in fact) from the moment they come into our care until the moment they are adopted into capable families or returned to our breeder at the end of the season. As a family, we’ve owned rabbits for years and are well-versed in the unique aspects of their care. We’ve communicated with and received approval from the Illinois Department of Agriculture for the use of live animals in these special sessions, and our business is fully licensed and properly insured for this event.
We have a full-time bunny handler at each and every session whose one and only job is to make sure that our bunnies are treated well and handled gently. We also carefully rotate them so that the bunnies get lots of breaks! Our first priority is the animals’ well-being and comfort.
All bunny session clients are required to read and sign a release stating their understanding that there will be live animals at the shoot and, as with any animal, there is the potential for a scratch, bite, or allergic reaction. These rabbits are fully domesticated and handled often, but they are animals and we ask our clients to be aware and respectful of this.
Bunny sessions are only for children, but siblings can all be photographed during the same session, individually and/or together.
I’ve been quiet these past few months. Quiet here on the blog, often quiet on Facebook, quiet on Instagram… and lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why that could be…
I love photography. I love teaching photography, I love coaching photographers, and I love the art form and the freedom and the inspiration I feel behind my lens. I’ve had the privilege of teaching thousands of parents why good photography matters and how to make it happen. I’ve helped hundreds of photographers get their businesses off the ground. You’d think I’d be feeling less… well… less afraid these days.
But here I am, grappling with a fear that I’m usually stronger than: the fear of not being enough. Every time I raise my finger to click “Send Client Gallery,” my stomach goes into knots. No, really.
This summer I had a disappointed client who shared some feedback that was especially difficult to hear: “We hired you because, you know, we wanted ‘Amy Tripple’ pictures. But when we saw our gallery we were like ‘Meh.’ Honestly, we should have just asked one of the many photographers we know and paid half what we paid you…” The phone call lasted a long time and in the end the client had gotten the message across. There was no place for restoration. I had failed to deliver.
It’s not that I haven’t had unhappy clients before. It happens. It has to. It’s impossible to think that everyone sees such a subjective product in the same light, and I’ve been able to accept and even expect it as part of our livelihood. We always handle these situations with as much grace and thoughtfulness as possible. Why this one has been harder to let go I’m not 100% sure…
In her book “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert wrote that she dreaded writing her next book after “Eat, Pray, Love” because she was terrified she wouldn’t be able to stack up to… ready for this? Herself. And yet, her second book, “Big Magic” is one of the most inspirational books I’ve ever read, and I know many who feel the same way. If Liz hadn’t bravely picked up her pen again to write this second book, I’m fairly certain countless lives (mine included) would be less fulfilling in many ways.
As we grow, so do the stakes. We raise our own bars higher and higher, expecting more of ourselves (and higher expectations of others) with each new level of growth and success. As our abilities increase, so does the distance we have to fall. And lately, all I seem to be able to say to myself is “Don’t look down.”
You guys, I’ve been so tempted to look down this year. I’ve been focusing more than usual on what the next painful phone call might bring, or how the next unhappy email might be worded. It’s all just been so scary, scary, scary… when it all should be some level of courageous and joyful. I coach photographers on how to move past these seasons, but I’ve been having trouble moving past my own. It’s a subject photographers rarely talk about but all experience if they’re committed to the field.
Anyway… a few days ago I was looking for a photo that I knew I’d posted on my FB photography page way back in 2010. It took a long time to scroll back through all the images, and as I did I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of genuine beauty I saw. Each image represented a touching, emotional moment that really, truly happened… one that meant something very special and had been snatched back from the edge of being forgotten. As I looked at each of over 1,500 photos, I remembered shooting every one. I remembered the emotion I experienced in every single time and place... and I felt courage and joy well back up inside me as though someone had simply turned the spigot back on. Just like that.
Why share all this? To be honest, I’m not completely sure. It’s possible that I’ve just written myself past the line of appropriate vulnerability, and if so, forgive me. I think I just wanted to pass on my experience as a reminder that so much of how we feel… of how we bring ourselves to the world… reflects what we’re choosing to focus on. Life settles back into balance when we pull our eyes away from the ground and onto what matters. This Thanksgiving, I will be focusing wholeheartedly on the joy of photographing you and your families when I think of my business. You’ve made me braver and stronger and I'm grateful now more than ever… it’s an honor to serve you and capture the connections you hold most dear.
All my love,
Some of the MANY pictures of you that grabbed my heart… couldn’t post them all or no one would get through them, lol…
A therapist once told me that yoga is the only exercise that involves mind, body, and spirit, and in my experience this has always been true.
About a year ago one of my closest friends, Jeannette, began her journey of becoming a certified yoga instructor, and in January she earned her certificate. Once she became “official,” Jeannette began offering small classes to friends, which quickly (but not surprisingly) transformed into classes for friends-of-friends, because I’m telling you guys… she’s good.
I’m not just saying that. She’s really, really GOOD. Her instruction is detailed, fluid, encouraging, and easy to follow, but even more than that… the thoughtful, intentional meditations she shares each week have been so centering that I can honestly say it’s brought my anxiety to a new and manageable low. I’ve gotten physically and mentally stronger because of her instruction.
ANYway… here’s the big news:
Our Hinsdale studio is now the location for a number of her weekly yoga classes!!! I can’t begin to tell you how excited it makes me to know that others will be able to use the space to learn and practice yoga with Jeannette.
She’s just opened up registration for five classes. I have no doubt that they will all be wonderful, but there are two in particular that I want to tell you about because I am so excited about them:
A 6 week yoga book club. YES A YOGA BOOK CLUB!!!!!! The morning one includes optional extra time at the end for coffee and socializing (love this). The evening one includes the same, except with wine (love this even more, hehe). I am signing up for the evening one because it will be amazing… anyone want to join me? I mean… how fun would that be?!? This one will be on Thursdays from 8:30 - 9:45 p.m. from November 1st - December 13th.
A 6 week class for tween girls. Jeannette is amazing with girls this age and one of her passions is equipping them to believe in their incredible strength, both physically and emotionally. This class will be on Tuesdays from 4:15 - 5:30 p.m. It runs from October 20th to December 11th, and our tween girl will most definitely be attending. If you have a girl in the 11-14 year old range and you live nearby, take a look!
You can check out the rest of her classes on her website. I really think you’ll love what you see.
Just a glimpse of one of Saturday morning’s minis.
This family NAILED it with the outfits, you guys. I mean… look at those stunning colors! I think what won me over, in the end, was the 3 year old’s shoes. Because: yellow. I love yellow sooooo much!!! And 3 year olds. And 14 month olds. And mamas in fabulous hats. And, of course, daddies with awesome attitudes.
All of it and everything. ❤️