A words written by Misty Brewer Lee, images by Marmalade Photography



Chicago Baby Photographer for at home photosWhen you first have children they talk about the challenges of parenting….the struggles of a baby waking in the night,
the toddler who won’t stay in their bed, the cost of childcare, injuries from sports…

Having to take off work to pick them up from school when they don’t feel well, helping them with homework, a messy house, the never ending laundry, the cost to buy school clothes, packing their lunches….

You watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning….and try to soak in the magic of those moments.

You coach them in sports, rushing to practices and ballgames…and tote them all over the country to let them play the game they love…no matter how exhausting or expensive it becomes.

Life is just so busy that you rarely even stop to think what the end of those days look like.

In fact, it’s not really even something you can wrap your mind around.

You go into it thinking that 18-20 years sounds like a long time….

Then suddenly hours turn into days…days into months…and months into years. Sports Performance Volleyball

That little person that used to crawl up next to you in bed and cuddle up to watch cartoons…suddenly becomes this young adult who hugs you in the hallway as they come and go.

And the chaos and laughter that used to echo throughout your home….gets filled with silence and solitude.

You’ve learned how to parent a child who needs you to care for and protect them….but have no clue how the whole “letting go” thing is supposed to work.

So you hold on as tight as you can…wondering how time passed so quickly…feeling guilty that you missed something….

Because even though you had 20 years…..it just somehow doesn’t seem like it was enough.

You ask yourself so many questions…

Did you teach them the right lessons?  Did you read them enough books as a child?
Spend enough time playing with them? How many school parties did you have to miss?
Do they really know how much you love them? What could I have done better as a parent?

…..When it’s time for them to go, it all hits you like a ton of bricks.

Naperville high school senior photographyAnd all you can do is pray….hope….and trust that God will protect them as they start to make their way into the world alone.

Parenting is by far the most amazing experience of your life….that at times leaves you exhilarated….while others leave you heartbroken.

But one thing is certain…..it’s never enough time…?

So for all the parents with young children…who’s days are spent trying to figure out how to make it through the madness…
Exhausted day in and day out…

Soak. It. All. In.

Because one day….all those crazy days full of cartoons, snuggles, sleep overs, Christmas morning magic, ballgames, practices and late night dinners…

All come to an end.

And you’re left hoping that you did enough right, so that when they spread their wings….

They’ll fly…?


If you enjoyed this you may enjoy our thoughts on “Don’t Disappear from the Picture

The only way I’ve found that effectively freezes the passage of time is the creation of beautiful portraits of your favorites’ in a beautiful setting.  October is fast upon us, schedule a photo session for you & yours today!! 815-603-8450



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September light…I can wax poetic about it forever however because we are nearing the end of the month I can’t go on and on (but I’ll include a few images to illustrate my point)

To celebrate one of my favorite of months to shoot, if not favorite, I am offering several “last minute” options for family, senior or a catch up session before the light isn’t so beautiful anymore.  These are exclusive to one of my Marmalade Locations (in the SW suburbs).

The following dates are for afternoon sessions:

Saturday 9/28 | Sunday 9/29 | Monday 9/30 | Wednesday 10/2 | Thursday 10/3 | Friday 10/4 | Saturday 10/5 |  Sunday 10/6

Select your date

These last minute prices are truly special (reflecting the belief that I have about this special time of year for photos) and are normally $195-255.

September Light High School Senior Session in Chicago

Northside Chicago Photographer

downtown chicago photographer

If our dates for the ” September Light Sessions : Now at “last minute” pricing ” do not work out for you, feel free to drop us an email or give us a call at 815-603-8450 to pick another date!!




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Chicago Child PhotographerAh…easily one of my favorite images from the early days of my business.  The year?  2006.  I hadn’t even yet celebrated one year in business.  This beautiful girl stole my heart, her and her brother’s session is still one I replay when I think of the early days of my business.  We spent our time exploring the local children’s garden and I remember how beautifully the light hit.  This little girls’ curls were EVERYTHING and her mom dressed her up so stylishly!  It was a great afternoon.

I loved being able to meet up with both mom and this not-so-little-girl the other day for an urban session for her high school senior year photos.  I loved catching up with this girl, getting a quick fast forward of what her life has been like this past few years and using some really exquisite light and some fun backgrounds to create images that highlight who she is, a sort of “slice of life” in her senior year.

SIGH.  And it hits me hard, to be honest, because this girl and my own daughter are the same age.  It is just highlights to me how quickly time has flown.  I mean in my mind’s eye this “little” girl (pictured above) hasn’t grown up at all!  And when I met up with her she is this beautiful, statuesque dancer.  A beautiful young lady about to embark into her own life.  Bittersweet.  Beautiful.  Frustrating.  Lovely.  I think those four years sum up what most of us moms of seniors feel like.  A mix of dread, fear, worry and happiness that we got to this point and almost a sense of relief that these kids are thriving and about to be their own people but yet so sad because in our mind’s eye they’re still little littles.

Chicago childhood captured

But enough waxing poetic about the past…fast forward to September 2019 where we have beautiful Becca, class of 2020, photographed in some amazing September light.  September really IS magical.  One of my favorite months of the year for photography!!  Becca: you are gorgeous.  You are smart.  You are amazing.  I know the future holds only potential and beauty for you…your mom and dad did a really great job.  You’ve worked really hard to get here.  And it’s crazy to me that you look the same!!  LOL

High School Senior Photos for St. Francis Class of 2020

Chicago High School Senior Photos

St. Francis Wheaton high school senior photos

I also have a old & new set up on the Facebook page to check out.  While you’re there LIKE my page, please & thank you!

Looking for high school senior photos for St Francis Class of 2020 or for any seniors in any local area highschools such as Wheaton Academy, Benet Academy, Joliet Catholic Academy, Nequa Valley, Naperville North, Hinsdale?  Look no further!  We’ve been photographing beautiful faces since 2005 and LOVE photographing high school seniors.  Give us a call at 815-603-8450 to book your own high school senior portrait experience!

Chicago childhood capturedSave


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The B Fam!!  Gosh I love these people.  I’ve been photographing the oldest daughter since she was a wee one, I’ll have to post some back in time photos in the near future just for fun.  For now we will focus on our 2019 session.  This session was originally supposed to take place late last fall but the weather became colder than we anticipated (and rainier!!) so we postponed to create a a fun, relaxed Chicago summer family photo session together.

Fall 2018 to Summer 2019 (:

I was so excited to meet up with this family at one of my favorite locations this past weekend.  It was a perfect summer evening, especially for July.  It was one of those warm but not terribly humid mid summer evenings and there was an ever so slight breeze that seemed to pick up at just the right time.  We were including Jeff’s dad in on the photos and I love the father-son images we captured together, here’s one:


These two young ladies have captivated me through the years.  These speak of summertime happiness.  L’s dress here was the perfect choice for the mood of our session, great job Laini!

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Meanwhile S is growing up too too fast!  I swear she was only a little not-so-long ago.  Growing up to be a beautiful young lady.  Truly an honor to see both of these gorgeous beauties grow up!

Here’s an image of them together from our last two sessions.  I mention in one of the captions that while I know how much they’ve grown up it didn’t really hit me until I opened those images up and saw it.  WOW.  Beautiful babies turning into gorgeous young ladies.


Photographed in 2016, wow, until I pulled this up I didn’t realize what a difference a few years makes!


WOW! 2012. How much they

WOW! 2012. How much they’ve grown up in front of my lens!!

I think we can all agree that they got most of it from their mama…

Chicago Mom with Daughters

Loving the joy and the affection that this photo showcases.  Thank you for being such a beautiful, fun family to photograph.

Chicago Dads

You may have come to this post because you too seek a fun, relaxed Chicago summer family photo session.  Since 2005 Marmalade Photography has been photographing families in and around the Chicago area.  We have some beautiful hand picked locations in the southwest suburbs of Chicago or we can travel to you (we even travel outside of our usual area, inquire within for details).

My name is Marianne and you can reach me at 815-603-8450 if you seek to create beautiful, custom portraiture to adorn your home and show off your gorgeous family.

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It’s time my friends, it is time.  Class of 2020 senior sessions are being booked.  I am really excited about this class, my youngest will be part of the graduating class of 2020 and while it seems like it’s been a long journey in some ways, in so many others it is not.

Before I meander into nostalgia let me showcase a recent session with a dear girl.  This beauty is the whole package.  Athletic, fun and beautiful.  I am so proud of this kid and her tenacity and strength, I know her mama is proud as well.

Thank you Holly & Chris for trusting me with your vision for these images.  I hope you enjoy this brief sneak peek.


High School Senior Photos Class of 2020 Chicago

Minooka High School Class of 2020 senior photos

If you’re looking for a photographer for your high school senior photos…look no further.  Marmalade Photography has been photographing high school seniors (and children of ALL ages) since 2005.  Our high school senior sessions for class of 2020 open now!  Summer sessions are a great way to kick off the beauty of your senior year!!  Call Marianne today 815-603-8450

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