Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

Today I am grateful for all those things that have contributed to my life to create the perpetual feeling of gratitude for my life, my family and those I love most.  I appreciate my husband and children more and more with each passing year and especially so this year as I realize how quickly time is passing with my (now) teenagers.  It feels like it was just yesterday my little littles were running around the house, playing dress up in their Disney Princess dresses and clip clopping on my wood floors with those plastic princess shoes that have long been cast away & replaced with VANs, Doc Martens or UGGs and stylish high heels.  I am also grateful for the realization, all those years ago, that time passes ever-so-quickly and for the sheer quantity of photos I have taken AND printed.  Granted I haven’t organized said images (that’s this years slow season project!) but they are printed and off my hard drives.  And for that I am grateful because I suffered a near miss this past year when BOTH my main & back up drives of personal photos crashed (thankfully I was able to transfer the bulk of my photos to other drives and media!)

This blog title says “a call away from digital” and that isn’t entirely true.  I’m not here to BASH digital photography entirely, it’s great for sharing with friends and family via email or social media and it really does serve that purpose well.  HOWEVER  by using solely digital to display and store our media we do our images (and ultimately ourselves) a great disservice.


You may or may not already know it but time corrupts most forms of digital storage media & digital media types change as does the hardware that reads that media.  Believe me, through the years I’ve heard all sorts of excuses for clients to not have their photos on display.  I admit that one of these excuses makes me even more sad* then the rest because it’s not a final product from something that should be considered full service (professional photography):

I just never had time to go to the framer’s to put together images in frames.

My images are sitting in the original box they came in under my bed.

* “The photographer we used before didn’t offer printed images and our CD of pics is still unopened!


To go through the time, expense and considerable energy it takes to coordinate a family for photos and to not walk away with a final end product (a beautiful wall art piece or wall display or album) makes little sense.  How do you honor your families’ memories and this stage in your children’s lives?  At some point in the past few years it has been thought that clients need every photo from a session in digital form but once in hand the images never get printed (and sometimes not even backed up to another storage media). That’s a sad result of the digital age!

Are we better for having so many digital options in our digitally cluttered lives?  Is it better to line the walls of your home with generic wall art printed in mass quantities in some foreign land?  “Art” that may hang in thousands upon thousands of other people’s homes?  If a home is a reflection of your family than what does it say to hang generic pieces that have no personal meaning in your home?  I’m not sure that the answers to those questions satisfy me and they should most definitely not satisfy you!  Your family is unique, the people in your family are beautiful and your relationships are worthy of being highlighted in your home!!

Whatever your reasons are for not printing or not displaying your family’s history via photos, get over it – sooner rather than later!!  Having come close to losing our family’s history I assure you you do not want to put yourself in that position.  Images that once were an afterthought are now cherished: funny faces, silliness and things that in the moment I didn’t appreciate (and now almost long for) were almost gone forever!  Images almost lost of my (then) toddlers – now teens – playing dress up, playing house together, playing in the back yard, playing with our (now long gone) dogs because back when I went digital I mistakenly had the same mindset many people have: that these images will always be there for me.  NOT TRUE!!  My scare earlier this year reminded me of something I was aware of but it hadn’t hit home: digital isn’t permanent.  Think about the very nature of 1’s and 0’s – it’s just data!  Data that is meant to serve as storage for final output.  Data that is not tangible, it’s in the ether once a drive crashes or a USB media stick corrupts!

It’s heartbreaking to me when people invest in sometimes over a thousand dollars in clothing for a session, the time & energy it requires to put a family together and get them to cooperate for a session to only walk away (as well as hiring a pro photographer like myself) with a “disc” of images that may or may not ever see the light of day in print form after the session.  Photography has been devalued by digital, we are overloaded with imagery on a daily basis and it’s carried over into our homes, so many people don’t display photographic art in their homes while spending their hard earned cash on generic decor pieces found at big box stores.  🙁

Now don’t get me wrong – digital is WONDERFUL in so many ways but it isn’t the ideal solution for your end product.  You should view the investment in time, energy and cash as part of a larger plan.  WHAT will you do with your images?  WHERE will you display these pieces?  HOW do you plan on framing them to complement your decor?




I urge you to be inspired to print your images!  Get them off your phone!  Get your SD card out of your point & shoot camera and download the contents to your computer AND transfer those images to a lab for printing!   Commit to tangible photography, photography that can be viewed without the assistance of a (likely-soon-to-be-outdated) device.  Be it in prints on your desk, individual pieces of wall art or a full wall display or even in many albums print today to document your family’s past with the future in mind.



Go forward and commit to professional photography by commissioning your professional photographer to print beautiful wall art for you, I urge you to choose a photographer that is a skilled craftsmen, is committed to the art of printed photography by either partnering with a professional photography lab or creates printed art in house.

While we can’t completely forget digital, and we shouldn’t (it serves us well on many levels) let’s be inspired to print more photo art!   Here’s a little wall inspiration to allow you to begin your journey:




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ENJOY this extended family photography showcase, super fun family photos Chicago of a SW Suburban family.  Thank you Jennifer for a great time and the opportunity to create these beautiful photos for all of you!  🙂   This was an exquisite November evening, what a gorgeous day (to go along with an equally gorgeous set of images)!  I am so proud of these images and hope they made Jennifer and her family as happy as I was to create them for her.





Casual_professional_photography_ChicagoAs you can see from these images: Marmalade Photography creates fun family photos for Chicago families.  We mix a lot of silliness during our sessions with a lot of personality infused moments.


There is no need to be so serious during a Marmalade Photography session.  😉










What gorgeous family photos, filled with fun and exuberance.  One of my favorite sessions of the 2014 season.  Thanks Jennifer & Family!

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Posting a really quick long overdue sneak peek for this Chicago family photography session.  For sure this fall season has kicked my butt (figuratively speaking).  Apologies to the beautiful M Family for this long overdue peek.

I was lucky enough to photograph this beautiful family about 7-8 years ago and have fond memories of hanging out with them on a hot summer day at the beach (I call it the “beachy forest” location).  It was a pleasure to photograph them, once again, a couple of weeks ago.  Honestly I think we caught the tail end of the beautiful colors of fall.  This really has been one of the prettier fall seasons in memory.

Thanks to Beth & Brad, M&M – I hope you enjoy your sneak peek of your Channahon family photography session!


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Love this dog, what a sweet sweet pup!


For Beth – I found this random snapshot while I was looking for a family image very recently – I don’t remember if you got a copy of this way back when or if it’s been sitting on my hard drive for all these years (like so many photos that I just never got back to pulling up!).  Look how little!  Look how cute!!

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Oh S family, so many memories and not enough time to describe them all!  These Channahon children’s photos were created with a continuation of style in mind from our many previous sessions together as a Channahon family photography specialist.

I met Whitney and the “Sofa King” back in 2006, not long after I started Marmalade Photography and am always thrilled to see them and their growing family.  Thank you to the kids for being pretty awesome and incredibly adorable (as always)!

I set a personal record for shooting a session with five kids in <25 minutes with some time to spare this time.  I impressed even myself!!  LOL  Enjoy your sneak peek.





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  • Whitney Surane - November 4, 2014 - 4:19 pm

    Mare! I’m in love! And I was a bit nervous this time since the babes were a bit cranky {or a lot} at that point in the day. Can’t wait to see the rest! Thank you! -W

  • Whitney Surane - November 4, 2014 - 4:20 pm

    Amazing! Especially since a few of the babes were a bit crabby at that point! Thank you and I cannot wait to see more! -W

Oh I love this (not-so-much-anymore) Naperville family photography session, I’ve known this guy and his lovely mom since 2006 when he was just a wee little one and I traveled to Antioch to visit them at their home in the far North burbs.  I simply cannot believe how quickly time flies and how big N is now!

Thank you Kim for once again trusting me with images for you and N.  It was an absolute joy seeing you last week!  Hope to see you again very soon.  Enjoy your sneak peek (and some flashback images I was able to dig up!).


Photographed above: a boy and his dog.  😉 Love Stella, she’s like the superhero of the dog world to me, what a great Golden Lab, she has the most beautiful coloration, doesn’t she?



and some flashbacks 🙂 ; these photos make me so happy – it is nothing short of an HONOR to watch my littlest clients grow.

From 2006 when I first met N at about 3 months old:


Flash forward to his one year session in 2007:


Fast forward to 2011:


Naperville family photography sessions with Marmalade Photography are filled with a lot of fun and relationship style imagery.  We specialize in creating beautiful family photos for Chicago and suburban Chicago families.  Please look through our extensive galleries on our website to get a good idea of what a family photography session with us is all about.

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