Why choose me as your photographer?

You are investing your hard earned money, so it is my professional responsiblity and obligation to respect that with investments of my own for YOU: investments in years of experience and education and practice.

Portraits that have lasting appeal and meaning require more than just a good digital camera or natural light or Photoshop. They require an artistic eye, long experience of choosing between natural light, location lighting, and studio lighting, and the knowledge and gear to do any or all of them – even during the same session. For me, it is not only a passion and fascination with all kinds of light, but a love of working with all kinds of people and personalities in all kinds of places.

Whether is it natural light, on-location lighting, or studio light, my goal is to make portraits you will want to print large and display on your walls, will mean more to you with each passing year, and that will make others stop and look.

Please enjoy some examples of my work over these many years, and a few fun notes on how they were done :-)

On-Location Lighting - Getting ready for senior portraits of Katherine who was on her way to swimming at Purdue on scholarship – and also getting ready to get down into the pool with her to get the shots :-)

. . . and here is one of many shots we got . . .

. . . the eyes and reflection of an athlete and competitor.

Natural Light - and a carefully placed reflector - was so fitting and used for this senior portrait of Taylor.

On-Location Lighting - An enormous amount of studio strobe lights up Kevin from the front for this senior portrait and allowed me to shoot directly into the evening sun for a dramatic, high contrast portrait.

On-Location Lighting - High speed strobes capture the ball crush in this senior portrait of Connor.

On-Location Studio Lighting - Four carefully configured and placed strobes and lots of time preparing hair, props, and wardrobe went into this Father's Day Gift - a recreation of Norman Rockwell's "Girl at Mirror". Done in the family's basement.

Natural Light - sort of: Beautiful natural light is a best friend of any portrait photographer and what many want. But what is the photographer's experience and abilities when Mother Nature does not co-operate - especially in the best spot/location at the time of the shoot? Perfect natural light left us in 5 short minutes, and harsh, full bright sun broke in on this Fall portrait.  You can see it at the bottom right of the frame - but not on faces. Large panels called scrims were quickly set up to not only diffuse the light on the family, but to also keep them from looking uncomfortably into bright sunlight.

Blended Light - natural light AND on-location lighting: To residents of Geneva/Batavia/St. Charles, this location may look familiar. It's often used for portraits, but often just ends up looking like a dark shed. On this Fall day very bright window light was coming in, but not falling on Megan and there was too much of a difference between light and dark for the camera to capture this moment on its own. Two studio strobes were placed inside the boathouse. One bounced off the ceiling and back wall, and another places "rim" light on Megan to make her stand out from the back wall.

Natural Light and Candle Light - For this Christmas portrait the only light falling on the family is from the giant candles, so timing was critical to get the balance right with twilight. I will always remember how crazy cold it was, and those candles which were crazy-heavy :-) .

Studio Lighting - On Location - A five-minute portrait of Karina Villa done in her friend's home, and used on card mailers for her 2018 campaign.

Fireplace Light . . . . Actually, it's not from a fireplace but from a carefully configured strobe tucked behind the Christmas tree.

Natural Light outdoors combined with on-location and reflector lighting - Megan, November 2018.

On-Location Studio Light - Same day/session as the photo above, but indoors. Megan, November 2018.

On-Location (and Christmas Tree) Lighting - My own kids, and their Holiday portrait from 2017.

On-Location Lighting - An urban Fall portrait under a Chicago viaduct on a very cold, rainy day. Mariana glows from studio strobe light falling softly on her from the right.

On-Location Studio Light - What to do on another cold, rainy Fall day? Photograph a boy in his room among his favorite things with his idol dunking in the background :-)

On-Location Lighting - One of the most fun senior portrait sessions I've ever done - Lauren. We didn't have access to a boxing ring at session time, so we did this in an open area at Cantigny Park.

"Lifestyle" Lighting . . . . in other words, no off-camera lighting. Let the little one be who he is and do what he wants, and recognize that bad light is the perfect light for the shots :-)

"Hidden" Lighting - Many would think this is all "Natural Light", but this portrait needed a little extra to make the family glow just a bit more than the surroundings - but done so that the result does not scream "flash". A studio strobe slightly above my head bounces off of a silver/gold reflector flat on the ground in front of this wonderful family. If the girl on the right looks familiar, that's Katherine the Purdue swimmer, from the first portrait on this page :-)

Strange and Funny Lighting . . . . the lightbulb is out . . . the lamp isn't plugged in . . . how is the lamp lit? No, this was not Photoshopped :-) A small, wireless flash was tucked inside the lamp . . though there was a bit more to it than just that.

Full Studio Lighting - On Location - Don't have a great business portrait? You and your business are worth it. Get one :-) If you wear glasses that tend to reflect and glare, make sure your photographer has the experience to handle that. For this portrait, "on location" meant in Ed's garage in March. LOL.

Studio Lighting - On Location - Classic-style studio lighting and color treatment in the tradition of Polaroid land cameras and film - done in the family's living room. All the choices were made based on where we knew the framed print would be hung.

"Lifestyle Light" - Natural Light and a non-traditional, fun pose of high school senior Addie with her sisters.

"Hidden Light" - A bright window is to  Matt's back for this senior portrait, so I added studio strobe light to make it look like there was also window light coming from his left and keep him from becoming "dark man". I also picked this spot to try to get his shadow perfectly centered and framed by the window light on the floor.

"Snow Light" - The bright but diffused and natural light of a perfect snowfall for this 2017 Holiday portrait of my own kids and the tree we planted together years earlier.

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