This image is ©2012 Apple

While camera phone images are NEVER a substitute for beautiful professional photography taken by a pro photographer who cares about the entire process from beginning to end, let’s face it, there’s no way you can carry me with you everywhere you go!  There is an old saying that the best camera is the camera that you have with you at that moment.  Photographers everywhere understand that camera ends up being that camera that is attached to your phone since our phones go with us practically everywhere.  The trick is getting to know your camera phone and learning some quick & easy tips to take better photos, you may achieve images that are the envy of all your friends!


This is a simple rule.  Simply use a soft cloth (nothing abrasive!) to wipe off your camera lens from time to time, it can be the difference between blurry, gross looking images and clear and beautiful images.


If you are photographing something that has a lot of detail or texture getting close is a good rule to follow:


This image was photographed with the iPhone 4 at a store in beautiful Seaside, Florida. I chose to crop the image square with the cropping tool software on the camera.

Also getting in close helps keep the focus on the subject and not the distracting background elements.


Newer cameras are equipped with automatic focusing abilities but to optimize your photos it’s best to know HOW to focus properly (if your camera allows you to do so)





To reduce blurriness in your photos a simple trick is to keep your camera steady.  Doing so is easy: simply put it on a steady surface while you’re photographing, lean your phone or hand on a ledge, wall, tree, pole…I know that sometimes that’s not possible.  Another way quick & easy way is to use one hand for focusing and snapping while grabbing the wrist of that hand with your other hand.  It will definitely steady the camera and that means happy, not-so-blurry photos.



This goes for selfies when you’re photographing someone with yourself or when you’re using the camera on the back of the phone.  Subjects closer to the camera appear larger (sometimes WAY larger) than they are in reality.  If you run into this you can use a blur tool in most editing apps to make the image seems less GIANT HEAD like.


The photo above was edited to make Thumper’s head much less prominent and GIANT HEAD like.


Photography is always fun!  It should also be interesting to the viewer.  When you shoot from an angle other than the standard “I’m standing in front of you, smile while I snap your pic” angle it creates a more dynamic image.  Dynamic = good.


Shoot from slightly above or totally above or from below or from a dog’s eye view





Using all the tips above helps you create nice photos.  Being creative is a whole different ballgame and requires practice!

Creativity spurs you onward to continue looking for interesting things.  Creativity is a journey where there is no end destination.  The goal of true creativity is to never have it end, right?

Creativity is great for your self esteem and in the arts (in this case photography) there is never too much creativity.  To be creative means to be unique!  WE ARE ALL UNIQUE, creativity is simply the expression of that innate uniqueness.




and lastly to achieve your vision:





COMING UP SOON: tips for create better self portraits with your phone’s camera.  Come back soon for this next camera phone tutorial installment.

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I know I’m in danger of making this the official website for Harlow’s Fan Club at this point…in this case I’m hoping the power of well wishes will outweigh the cancer that has reappeared in Harlow’s sweet body.  Her story is one that should be shared and I know her mom did a great job sharing it here.   Harlow just finished up with the Chicago Dance Marathon when this bad news came her way, the cancer has resurfaced and she and her mom and dad are in for another fight.

But we already now that Harlow is indeed a special girl, myself I’m a better person for having gotten to know her and knowing her story and I look forward to the many years of photographing her and her beautiful family that are directly ahead of us after this leg of her journey (detour) is finished.  For now I ask that you pray for Harlow and her family while they embark on their journey of healing as her cancer is eradicated forever.  I hope all my readers send up many healing wishes for her and her family and they go through this.

My dearest Harlow, you have a warrior spirit, you are an amazing little girl!!  Here are a few images of this inspiring little girl:

Schaumburg-professional-photographer Chicago-Children Suburban-Chicago-Professional-Photography

and a few from our first session together:

chicagoland-portraits-of-children-and-mothers West-suburban-chicago-photographer



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This past fall I had an opportunity to photograph Little A and her parents at her home and out and about in Chicago.  You may remember beautiful Little A’s 1st birthday party about a year ago, if not you can find it here.

Thanks to A’s beautiful parents for having me out to photograph her this past fall, it is always a pleasure to see my littlest of clients grow. Here’s a peek at what their session looked like this past fall:

Chicago Photographer Chicago Gold Coast Photography Services On location professional photographer for Chicago Families On Location Photographer Chicago Family Chicago Professional Child Photographer Photography at home with Marmalade Photography Chicago-photographer-photos-done-at-home Chicago Gold Coast Professional Photography Lincoln Park Children

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Some of you may know that my father passed away this past August and these past seven/eight months have been a mixed bag of grieving and all that is associated with losing someone you hold dearly to your heart.  When I got news that my father took a turn for the worse my family and I were vacationing on the North Carolina coast – where I consider my second home to be by the sea.  Unfortunately we ended up cutting our trip short by a few days to rush back home.  I flew home, alone, not knowing how long I had to get to my dad’s bedside to say my final goodbye as my family road tripped it home together.  Thankfully all of us were able to make it home in time and I spent a few good and long days (and nights) holding my dad’s hand as he took his last breaths in this life.  Hopefully wherever he is (I like to believe there is a heaven) he is smiling down, able to move his body, no longer riddled with the Parkinson’s that stole his vitality and his life force from us.   I hope he is resting not only in peace but living the afterlife joyfully.

For me it has been particularly difficult to open these images, let alone post about them. While in these images we were romping on the sands of the beach, relatively care free and having fun, I can’t help but be reminded of this very heart wrenching time in my life every time I open the folder that housed these original images.  At the same time I am thankful for having had this experience, not only because death is an inevitable part of life but because it taught me the lesson/opened my eyes to the fact that there are times in your life that are pivotal, when you truly see who your real friends are.  Those friends that drop a note of condolence, those that stop by to pay their respects, those that hold your hand and head as you grieve the loss of the most influential man in your life, those that lend their listening ear, those that hug you so you can sob into their shoulders, those are the people you want on your side and to call friend.  To my true friends who have been there for me, to check in with me, to pay their respects in the most respectful of ways: thank you.  I am forever grateful for your kind words, warm hugs, listening ear.  This is what makes up a good life: good friends, love, respect and concern.  I will never forget those quiet moments where no words were exchanged, nor necessary.

While it was tough to pull these out and edit them before the holidays I did somehow manage to create a holiday card with a few of these images.   I could only bear to work on a few, enough to make up our holiday card and a few personal posts on Facebook.  Anyway that’s the back story of why these images (and my blog in general) are so behind the times.  🙂    Lastly I want to extend a thank you to all my wonderful clients who saw my status on Facebook and on the blog and took time out of their busy lives to drop me a note, a message.  You all have become like my extended family and when the outpouring of love was sent my way I truly felt like my feelings on this fact were spot on – THANK YOU to my extended family of clients and friends.

I hope your day today is as happy and carefree as a day at the beach.

I also need to shout out to my beautiful niece Karen for wielding the camera for us for the family images photographed here.  Love you beautiful girl!

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