For sure another overdue session showcase.  I can’t believe this family wasn’t featured yet.  So here we go, a long overdue feature for the S Fam.

The time: Fall of last year

The players: A family I’ve worked with before from places south of Illinois (aka Missouri).  I’ve photographed these fun peeps before – our first session blast from the past can be found HERE

The setting: A chilly November morning on Chicago’s Gold Coast.

The goal: a fun family session at one of their fave places.Thankfully this client was open to shooting in and around the hotel they were staying in and the hotel is always accommodating and all was good on the weather front.  When traveling to Chicago you have to be prepared for ANYTHING weather wise – it was a cool/cold and windy morning this day, for sure that these kids rolled with it and really got a feel for an early November chill during our time outside but these guys were pros and played along.

First up some images in and around the Four Seasons:

Visiting Chicago? Marmalade Photography has you covered for your photography needs. A photo of a set of three siblings in the Four Seasons Hotel, Chicago, IL

Is this what your kids look like?  Heads down in their cell phones?

A quiet moment amongst siblings, just long enough to get a beautiful image of their love for one another.

Sweetness, right? Just long enough to be able to capture this image. 🙂

An image of a family on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago This young lady is in the midst of her senior year in high school Love this image of a mom and her almost grown daughter.  While she is still "hers". This image of a dad and his two sons was taken on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago A quiet moment amongst siblings, just long enough to get a beautiful image of their love for one another. A nice ending of relaxation for the kids during their visit in Chicago photo session

Are you looking for some beautiful family photos while visiting Chicago?  Are you looking for unique imagery that also highlights your family and who you all are at this stage in your lives?  Has it been far too long since you had professional photos created?  I’m your girl!  Give me a call, let’s chat and make some beautiful wall art happen for you.  Creating a set of family images while away from home will add depth and experience to your vacation and create a lasting memory of your time here in Chicago, Illinois!  I pinky swear!!  My phone number is 815-603-8450 and my name is Marianne.  I’ve been doing this for a few years so trust that you’ll be in good hands. 😉

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I keep saying I am behind in sneak peeks and session showcases and I am reminded that I should take care to post some images from this senior’s family photo session in and around Michigan Avenue in Chicago this past fall.  I know I’ve shared these images elsewhere (Facebook most likely) but with all the little blog issues I had around fall busy season 2015 I just never got back to it.  SO in the next few days I’ll be posting a few images from this fun family session in 2015.  Apologies to you Erin, I’ll rectify this oversight asap!

But this sneak peek isn’t about family.  It’s all about one girl who is about to embark on college and life.  High school senior photographs (sessions) are a beautiful way to honor the young person in your life who is on the cusp of adulthood.  Their life is about to “take off” and it’s a great way to honor the child that was yours and only yours and photograph them as independent (well sorta…we all know how that goes) young people who are about to take the world on their own.  I always suggest that we take time to focus on what matters to the young adult as a nod to where they are headed and where they’ve been.  A high school senior photo shoot should be about the young adult’s story and what has meaning to them, a great way to remember this all-too-fleeting stage by.

I’ve photographed J several times in my career.  Most recently last fall (you’ll see a few images from that session in the next  week or so I hope) but the first time I got a glimpse of the young lady she was becoming when she was only 9 (I think).  The wisdom and beauty in her eyes was apparent from the moment I met her.  Beautiful, smart, fun.  For this session I met up with J and her family in St. Louis (yes, Missouri) to capture her at one of her favorite spots in the world.  The Four Seasons is always so accommodating in sharing the beauty of their hotels with their guests and the St. Louis hotel was no exception.  In fact I feel like they went above & beyond (exactly what they’re known for!!)

Here are a few sneak peeks that she and her mom may be (just may be…) looking forward to.  Thank you Erin & Scott, once again for trusting me with your girl.  <3


A senior session photo where I traveled to St. Louis

Isn’t she gorgeous?  Has the best eyes and smile!

We photographed this high school senior at The Four Seasons in St. Louis

Teen and tween photography by Marmalade Photography, this is an example of a high school senior session photographed on location in St. Louis, MO…and one last one because I enjoy this so much!! <3
High school seniors by Chicago photographer Marmalade Photography

High school senior photographs are not just moments in a yearbook, they are excursions to explore the personality of your child and highlight where they’ve been and where they are going.  Many of my high school senior clients tend to get albums and a wall portrait plus files for sharing and for printing up invites, thank you cards and social media sharing.  If you are looking for unique imagery that takes a holistic look at your child and their personality please give us a call.  We have been photographing clients since 2005 and plan to do so for many more years to come!  PHONE: 815-603-8450


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Two sisters in a natural outdoor setting during a photo session


What a joy it is to see littles grow up.  By the looks of it in the next few months I’ll be saying that repeatedly (and I’m so very excited!!)

I first met the big sister B a few years back when she was a super little and we did a fall children’s photo session outdoors.  It was a pleasure to get to know her, she has definitely grown!!

Chicago photographer of outdoor family photos, Marmalade Photography created this image on a cool late fall evening in November 2010

Blast from the past!!

The great thing about seeing a child a few years down the line is the surreal progression of little little to a bigger version of themselves.  As you can see big sis B is just a bigger version of herself!!

Photo progression of a child from 2010 to 2016

And little sis B is just as adorable.

A photo of a little sister during a family-sibling session

Thanks to the L Family for coming out to one of my favorite and most versatile locations this past weekend.  I hope you enjoyed your sneak peek!

An example of a family photo from an outdoor family session by Marmalade Photography

Session preview for this Plainfield Family photos by Marmalade Photography.  If you’re seeking an experienced photographer for your next family photo session feel free to give us a call to chat.  Marmalade Photography…since 2005.

And hey!  We still have just a couple of August dates still available.  Give us a call today before the days of summer fly by and your tan fades away.  😉





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First a disclaimer: my proclamation of selfies for everyone is not meant to be a substitution for beautiful quality professional photographs of  YOU with your family, on display in your home.  I promote the display of photographs of family as art but it is also know that displaying photos of family at home is known to raise children’s self esteem and increase their feelings of belonging (based on a research poll I read a few years back).  The taking of family photos and individual photos WITH your kids by a professional is not only a memory making experience it is also a bonding experience.  The quality of the phone cameras is NOWHERE near the quality of a professional even in the hands of a skilled pro.  Having said that selfies are a fun tool for self expression and daily documentation of life.

Ok enough pontificating…on to getting your best selfie tips…

Generation Selfie

The word brings out the tween in all of us!  Generation selfie is the time we live in.  Teen and tween girls (and boys) use selfies on the daily.  And sure maybe my Instagram feed is laden with selfie, selfie, selfie, pretty sunset, Starbucks, selfie, selfie with the bestie, selfie, cute boy, selfie I do find it endearing and yes empowering.  Rather than believe that selfies are self serving and narcissistic (which they sort of are) I embrace them from a more artistic point of view.  I feel like the selfie CAN be a tool for self expression and a type of one’s exploration of self: “Who am I?”  “Who do I want to be today?”

So while tweens and teens have adapted technology and incorporated it into their persona, adults seem to be taking the lead albeit a few years behind.  You too can take the best selfie of yourself with just a few simple rules to follow.  I pinky swear!!

Know how to use your smart phone camera

First of all you should know how to properly take a good photo in general.  If you feel you have a good handle on taking decent camera phone images then follow down for a few tips that can help up your selfie game.

If you don’t I suggest looking over this article I wrote a few years ago about taking advantage of your phone’s camera to the best of its’ ability:

How to Take Better Camera Phone Photos


Upping your selfie game

What’s the secret to any great photo?  LIGHT.

Not too bright…

An animated GIF about lighting

Be careful not to over do the light – while bright light washes away skin imperfections it’s possible to blind your audience. Thanks to my fave, Marina (of Marina and the Diamonds) for this amusing moment.


Not too dark…

An animated GIF of too little light

Not too dark (you want to see more than just glowing eyes!)

You literally need to be in the Goldilocks of light…that’s right – you need “just right light”.

Just right light

Just right light is the avoidance of harsh shadows, squinting eyes and accentuation of skin imperfections.  The Goldilocks of light comes when the light is softly diffused.  No glaring, squint worthy light that casts harsh shadows or low lighting from above that highlights skin imperfections, shadows and undereye circles.  During just right light your face illuminates, your eyes light up and your imperfections are minimized.

Just right light can be found easily right inside a north facing window at almost any time of day, ESPECIALLY if it is diffuse light (like through a sheer window covering).  Ideally to stand at just inside the beginning of the shadow inside a south facing window works for south light.  Anytime outside (and even inside by any window) on a cloudy day. Just right light can be found outside right before dusk or in the early morning light.  If you have a skylight you can use that as well if there’s a neutral gray or white reflecting the light back onto you (examples below):

Perfect selfie light is a three part affair: north light, large window, diffusion panels (ie sheer window covering)

What I like to call “ideal” natural light selfie light is this: you have a large light source (window) with sheer curtains to diffuse the light (in a neutral color tone), the light is north light which tends to be softer than any other directional lighting, voila: nice light in the eyes, good skin tones, flattering light IS good light.  The angle of the shot is flattering: extended out by my husband at about a 25º angled down.

Photographers call this “flat light” and it’s not always ideal.  But for selfie purposes and for simple lighting flat light is flattering (see the “flat” in “flattering”?).  It tends to smooth out the skin, fill in undereye circles and wrinkles (which we have plenty of) and is easy to find and work with.


An example of a selfie on an overcast day.

This is a selfie taken on an overcast day facing south. You can see the Chicago skyline behind us. We angled the camera down to us at an about 20-25º angle to create a flattering angle. No touch up or filter present on this out of phone image.

The overcast day allowed us to photograph this without worry midday in the city so we could capture that amazing skyline without worry of harsh skin light & shadows.  I also like the way the light sort of kisses our hair and skin.


Example of a selfie by north facing door.

This selfie was captured outside of our front door (north facing). This teen had the phone at a slightly lower but still flattering angle to create a more whimsical selfie highlighting the partying holiday spirit. Filter by Snapchat.

In the above example she captured this fun photo at a playful angle (ever so slightly below directly extended arms) using beautiful north light provided by our front door. Best selfie candidate!


An example of how to take selfies with sky light light

This image was taken with this particular teen in the morning, no makeup. The power of good light (and fun filter) can be seen in the skin tones. We utilized a sky light – which CAN be tricky light if taken at the wrong angle (immediately UNDER the skylight is usually bad news for shadows and undereye circles).

In the above example the teen snapped the photo using the reflected light from the skylight using the light colored walls and large mirror.  The quality of light is great for improving skin imperfections, illuminating undereye issues, etc.


Angles *are* important.  I made mention on the above photos how the angles affect the mood and tone of the image taken.  A quick overview of rules on angles:

    • take the photo from above with the camera facing ever so slightly downward at about 15-25º downward
    • flattering playful angles include photographing from slightly below (see 3rd image)
    • lying down selfies draw the skin back and when the camera is facing downward works well if you have great light (see below)
South facing selfie light combined with a flattering angle makes for best selfie taking opportunities.

Filling the eyes with light, diffusing the skin naturally and smart use of posing and angles makes for a successful selfie every time. Filter by Snap Chat.


The basics of selfies are THAT SIMPLE!  Yes!  JUST RIGHT LIGHT and ANGLES.  In my opinion everything else is is icing on the cake.

If you master these two concepts posing becomes second nature the fourth part of the equation are post processing filters.  Filters are important tools for editing and as you already know there are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of options out there.  My personal favorites are PicTapGo, VSCO and Snap Chat.  I use all three of these at least several times a week.  There are more in the blog post I mentioned at the beginning of this article if you like choices.


If you play with these tips I’d love to see your results.  Post your best selfie on my Facebook page under the link to this post (you may have to scroll down).  If you post your selfie by 7/30/16 I’ll add you to a drawing for an August 2016 free Simply Marmalade session, drawing for July 31, 2016.  It’s the 6th (secret) way to enter the contest. Facebook link to the Marmalade Photography page here:






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Yes you read that correctly!  An opportunity to win a free southwest suburban Chicago photography session.  Actually there are FIVE opportunities to win.  This is an over $1500 value (no joke!!) 

Details below:
This is for a chance to win a free Chicago Photography session with us session at one of our locations in southwestern suburban Chicago

1) COMMENT in the comments section on THIS blog post “I’d love to win this giveaway with Marmalade Photography”
2) “LIKE” our Facebook page and make sure you FOLLOW us for the newest goings on at our studio – comment on our FB post that you LIKED us (or already do)3) SHARE this giveaway on your Facebook page (& make sure you tell us you did so on the pinned post at the top of our business page)
4) FOLLOW US on Instagram and comment that you did so by leaving us a comment here
5) FOLLOW US on Twitter and drop us a direct message that you did so

That’s it!  Literally a few moments of your time to win big!

Drawing will be held on July 31st for this session that will take place in August 2016.  Winner will be announced on the blog and all social media mentioned.  GOOD LUCK!!





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  • Hillary S - July 5, 2016 - 11:03 am

    I’d love to win this giveaway with Marmalade Photography!

  • kAREN sOIFER - July 6, 2016 - 4:54 pm

    I’d love TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY WITH marmalade photography

  • Karen Soifer - July 6, 2016 - 4:58 pm

    I’d love TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY WITH marmalade photography

  • Karen Soifer - July 6, 2016 - 4:58 pm

    I’d love TO WIN THIS GIVEAWAY WITH marmalade photography(

  • Katie - July 9, 2016 - 1:55 pm

    I’d love to win this giveaway with Marmalade Photography!

  • Katie - July 9, 2016 - 1:56 pm

    Follow you on IG!

  • Hillary S - August 1, 2016 - 12:00 am

    Following on IG

  • Hillary S - August 1, 2016 - 12:03 am

    following on twitter

  • Hillary S - September 25, 2016 - 3:29 am

    Did you pick a winner?