This is such an exciting post for me, it concerns the finer side of portrait work.  As a busy children’s and family photographer I don’t get many opportunities to “play”.  Photography is still very fun for me but it’s like the old saying about the shoemaker’s children not getting any shoes.

When I was approached to participate in {elevate} a fine art photography exploration – I jumped at the opportunity.  Mostly because to be included in the company of these *amazing* photographers is a complete honor as well as the opportunity to sort of stretch my bounds and get into a new creative comfort zone.  So I have much to be thankful for, most of which is my beautiful beautiful little L who I have photographed for this exercise.


I have much to be thankful for and least of which are good friends who love to create.  My stylist for this shoot was the amazing Miss Laurie who helped with so much pre-session and during the session.  She does an incredible job with hair and make up for these types of sessions and I am humbled to have such talented friends.

I have also included a couple of other little favorites from our brief session together.



Up next is my amazing & talented friend, Nichole Van of  NicholeV photography in Woodland Hills, UT I cannot wait to see what she has created for us.

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  • Brenda - September 12, 2011 - 8:27 am

    Incredible Mare!!

  • Leila - September 12, 2011 - 9:20 am

    These are beautiful and wow has she grown up!!!! No more baby face 🙁 I love her freckles, such a sweet innocence in her face.

  • Marianne - September 12, 2011 - 9:30 am

    Thank you Brenda, Leila.

    Leila, she has. She is very vocal about what she likes/dislikes and she was less than pleased after the marathon hair and make up session. LOL You should see the beautiful detail my friend/stylist did with her hair, huge ringlets pinned up. I have a shot of her being less than cooperative that I’ll have to post on FB. You’ll get a kick out of it.

  • Nichole Van - September 12, 2011 - 10:08 am

    Seriously, Mare! That first image is just killing me! Sooooooo love seeing your beautiful work!

  • Gina Oh | Gina Maxine Photography - September 12, 2011 - 10:08 am

    wow, i just love how her eyes are closed and her hand is over half her face. this is so beautiful and intriguing, loooooove…

  • kamee june - September 12, 2011 - 11:24 am

    i love the juxtaposition of youth with sophistication in the last image. how every little girls dreams to be a big girl…and when she gets to be a big girl she holds tight to the memories of being little…you are making me nostalgic!! 😉

  • Jennifer N - September 12, 2011 - 11:44 am

    The first image is pure art! I love that you chose that image to process it the way you did. It’s just stunning! I want one of my oldest daughter!I was just in Chicago, actually got back last night! Should have booked you for a session. Love your work.

  • Tamara - September 12, 2011 - 11:59 am

    Beautiful!! I love the first image, the use of texture and tone..the placement of her hand, and her sweet expression. I love images of children with closed eyes. Can’t wait to get to know you better, I have always admired your work!

  • Brandie - September 12, 2011 - 1:39 pm

    Absolutely adorable!! Love the texture on the 1st image.

  • crave photography - September 12, 2011 - 1:41 pm

    absolutely stunning! That first image with the texture is beyond amazing!

  • martha schuster - September 12, 2011 - 6:40 pm

    i am so excited to connect with you again after missing so many folks from flickr! i just knew your images would be dreamy and wonderful and i was so right. i love your processing and the feeling packed into the image. it’s whimsical and dreamy – perfection. looking forward to next month’s post!! xo

  • jules - September 12, 2011 - 10:52 pm

    that first image is mesmerizing! i love the processing on it … totally draws me in! beautiful work!!!

  • Dena Robles - September 14, 2011 - 9:48 am

    Mare, so so beautiful. I am thoroughly entranced by the first one and love the creativity there, but wow, then to look at the second, it has a completely different feel and purpose and is equally beautiful.

  • Crackle - October 8, 2011 - 1:24 pm

    Hey Mare – this is wonderful – I have been following the circle around and love how different everyone’s inspiration and creations are. I am stealing the idea and presenting it to some photographers I know to see who is up for a challenge that stretches us and feeds us. Thank you! BTW Miss you – will we ever meet up again!??

I’m playing catch up here on the blog, thank you for bearing with me!  🙂

Several weeks ago I received a call from a fellow photographer, Yuliya of Buffalo, New York’s Yuka Photo Art.  She was coming to Chicago for a visit and it was the perfect opportunity to have an early morning photography session in beautiful downtown Chicago. It’s always a great pleasure to work with other photographers, especially fun because they tend to be up for whatever and are super fun to collaborate with.  This session was no exception.  We had a blast in the wee early hours photographing her beautiful family on Michigan Avenue.  Thank you to Oleksiy and Little V as well – it was enjoyable to get to know you and an honor to be allowed to photograph another photographer’s family.

On with the sneak peek:


Everything about the above photo cracks me up – the way his form mirrors the negative space created by the spindles is only the beginning.  Cutie cute cute!


I guess we’d totally call this the alternate view, eh?



Thank you Yuliya & Oleksiy for allowing me to capture your gorgeous family!

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I was so happy to hear from Candace when she called to reschedule a session.  A little backstory: Candace and her family moved to Texas a few years ago and were living down south Big Texas style 🙂  So when Candace called a few weeks back to schedule a session with her two adorable littles (whom I haven’t seen since little E was super newborn) I was completely thrilled.  I love seeing my clients grow up and when I get a chance to see them after several years away it’s even sweeter.

Little E is such a sweet shy girl, pretty and very girly.  Little C is a charmer and has this amazing smile that hasn’t changed since our first session together back in *gulp* 2008.  Together we had an amazing Sunday morning hanging out in beautiful downtown Chicago exploring the more manicured side of City life.

Candace – thank you for allowing me to capture this part of your life’s story – it means so much to me to be able to photograph your littles for you!  Much love.

Chicago child photographer

chicago family photo

Thank you so much for stopping in!

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  • Deirdre - February 28, 2012 - 12:09 pm

    Stunning photos – popped over when I realised that Candace & Co had a follow up visit with you. Loved your photos back in 2008 too!

chicago_professional_photographyLife is an amazing journey, isn’t it?  I once read that if you can visualize your goals and the feelings associated with achievement of your set goals-your dreams are more likely to be attained.  I don’t know if that’s right, wrong or maybe somewhere in between but I do know that when I set forth creating Marmalade Photography in mid-2005 I had goals and I felt them in every fiber of my being.  While perhaps I have achieved some of them I know that I need to continue to set goals for myself to grow as, not only a photographer but also as a person.

Last week I traveled to a client’s Michigan summer home on the Lake Michigan waterfront for a session.  This was a session for a repeat client and it was my pleasure to travel to them to capture their lives at the place where they feel most centered and happy.  At a point during our session, the dad took me through their gorgeous home and showed me the images that I had taken last year for them.  He led me to the den and had me stand back and proudly said to me:

“This is where I feel at home, surrounded by these photos of my beautiful family and I have YOU to thank for these.  When someone asks me why I would spend so much on (photography) I simply show them these images.  How can you not see why?”

Again, it’s been said before but I love my clients!!

…back to my original point.   The photo (above right)  represents so much to me, it represents the creation of a business based on my love for the bond between mother & child (child & child, father & child…you know the drill).  It represents the celebration of life, love and moments of happiness.   It’s what my above quoted client said he felt about the images we created together.  The photo to the right is the icon of what I base all my work around.  I even described the feeling of this photo as “nirvana” in my recent Rangefinder Radio podcast interview with Scott Sheppard HERE.

At the heart of it this image represents the beginnings of achievement for me; not moreso than any other image taken at that time but because sometimes there is a need to have an iconic representation of what you set out to do.  This image of my client and friend Sara and her beautiful curly haired boy is totally the mood I set out for each and every session.  Iconic images for my clients to remember the celebration of life that took place at a specific moment in time.  There is no greater goal for me to achieve.

So to all my clients I vow to continue to reach for images that truly represent who YOU are as a family and as individuals.  I vow to continue my goals of creating gorgeous images that you will be proud to hang in your home today, tomorrow, seven years from now and twenty years after that.  It is my pleasure to do so.

Celebrate life and enjoy the moment.


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So question of the day:  What do you get when you combine a good looking family + an amazing sense of humor (x5-yes I’m including myself) + crumbling urban decay?  You get a fun, amazing photo session with some extraordinary humans!

While some of the funner moments of this session will never see the light of day on this blog (I will reserve those for their mom’s blackmail opportunities if she sees fit!!) I have to say it is remarkable to me that this session was even MORE fun than our first session together just a couple of years ago.

Much thanks to their beautiful mom, Michelle, and  K, C & K for a great time.  Michelle-hard to believe, I know, but we actually DID accomplish what we set out to do – really terrific high school senior photography (and an absolutely hysterical session).




and this last shot that is just divine (plastic plant notwithstanding):

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek!  And btw RIP Sanders!  LOL

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  • Macarena Yanez - August 22, 2011 - 11:09 pm

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos. There is nothing like having a great session with a funny and easy going family.