I *cannot* believe it’s the day before the DAY BEFORE the Christmas Holiday.  I’m certain I’ve forgotten something somewhere on some gift and/or to do list but no matter – I feel calm and cool.  Why, you may ask, are you feeling serene around the holidays?  Well my friends, readers, clients, loved ones & random strangers, I feel good because I was able to complete my holiday card in time for Christmas Eve delivery.

Now this may not seem like a large feat for anyone who is on the outside of the biz, but you busy photographers who may be reading this blog, you know who you are-readying YOUR home after every one gets their holiday deliveries for cards & gifts, putting off getting your card together so that your clients can enjoy their purchased goods from their beautiful photography session with you, ignoring your kids wishes until you know there are no more Zhu Zhu hamsters at the local Toys R Us because everyone (including your clients! LOL) got to them before you did.  You busy photographers who are hurriedly packaging, ordering & reordering items (because of the inevitable rush & mistakes that come with it!) understand what a feat it is to have your cards ready to go.

The secret for me was that I simplified.  I used a few images from our family session with St. Louis photographer Lauri Baker & Bay Area photographer Pam Biasotti from our trip to St. Louis this past summer for one side of the card.  I simplified because I needed to & it made sense because Isimply love the images.  Lauri did an amazing job with our session and I am so thankful to her for letting us hire her on and for being such a gracious hostess during our time in St. Louis.  The other images on our card this year are from our trip to Isle of Palms on the beautiful South Carolina coast this past August.  Had I taken the time to get images of my girls (like I usually do) just for the Holidays – sadly I don’t think the cards would be finished.  Simplification was key.

I am finishing them up and cards go out today.  Here’s some of what the recipients will see when they open the envelope.  I hope the bit of sunshine-y mood from warmer times will warm your hearts during this frosty winter season.


Thank you very much for stopping in.  May your Holiday Season be filled with everything good that warms your heart, mind & spirit.

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  • PamN - December 23, 2009 - 12:33 pm

    That is a stunning card – and stunning images – and stunning FAMILY! Happy Holidays Mare, I hope you enjoy this time with your crew!

  • lauri - December 23, 2009 - 3:01 pm

    Aw…I miss you guys! Have a great Christmas! I’m doing New Years cards too. LOL

  • Whitney - December 24, 2009 - 1:50 pm

    Amazing card! Just beautiful!

  • Lisa Kelly - December 29, 2009 - 2:03 pm

    What a gorgeous card, and family. I agree with everything you wrote about putting everything before your own needs as a photographer leading up to Christmas. Good on you for getting it done.

Early last week I traveled to Wilmette for a photo session with a beautiful mom to be and her family.  I am thrilled to present these gorgeous sneak peeks of this *stunning* mom-to-be.  Doesn’t she look amazing??

maternity photography

pregnancy photo

and finally one with her handsome older boy:

family photography

A huge thank you to C and the W Family for allowing me into their beautiful home for a pregnancy photo shoot.

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  • elizabeth pellette - December 14, 2009 - 2:06 pm


  • PamN - December 15, 2009 - 3:34 pm

    Oh she looks so beautiful and serene! I can’t wait to see the newborn images!

  • Amanda Keeys - December 16, 2009 - 1:05 am

    What a beautiful mama. Gorgeous light too.

Coming soon is this (what looks to be) beautifully filmed movie about one year in four different babies’ lives all around the world.  I cannot wait to see this movie:


Does it not look adorable?

I was just musing about my daughters’ babyhood recently…I created some nice images when they were babies but nothing like I could do now.  I wish I had known that professional photography catered to mothers & children and newborns.  Having a baby now would be bliss…I’d photograph the heck out of that baby!  🙂

Seriously, if you’re reading this blog you have an advantage I didn’t have, the knowledge that professional photographers exist that cater to little babies and the relationship with their parents.  Here are a few favorite newborn / infant and baby images of mine:

Chicago Baby Photography

Mother and baby photograph

Baby Photograph

Baby Photographs

This little guy kept me smiling the whole session.

Thanks for stopping in.


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  • Mrs Soup - December 2, 2009 - 5:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing that trailer! This movie looks phenomenal!! My daughter is almost 11 months, and watching the babies in the different areas, I was really able to connect with the similarities and the differences.

    And I laughed out loud at the goat at the end of it. I am so glad I have been knowledgeable and able to get some amazing shots of my daughter.

  • elizabeth pellette - December 2, 2009 - 6:34 pm

    Cool trailer and great photos

  • PamN - December 4, 2009 - 3:06 pm

    I’m with you Mare; if I could go back in time I would pay ANYTHING for baby shots like yours at this stage in my life. This is from a nanna – take heed, all you young moms! You have the opportunity to do it!

  • Sherri W - December 6, 2009 - 10:11 am

    Oh those are great. That mother and baby shot is PERFECT. Oh my gosh it has the best lighting and sweet hug and perfect. It’s not always easy, but this Mom is obviously VERY comfortable with her new baby to hold her/him so tenderly and “squishy”. =)

  • Kristie Chadwick - December 8, 2009 - 1:33 pm

    adorable little ones! Amazing job!

Good day everyone!!  I’m happy to report the turkey is put away, a good deal of our pumpkin pie is gone (thankfully not by my hands! 🙂 ) and we’re on the count down towards Christmas, Hanukkah and the rest of the end-of-year holidays. 

A really quick tip:  clients-please sign up for our newsletters to receive the most up to date info on products and news from Marmalade Photography.

I thought I’d try something never done before to ring in the 2010 year, if you look at the upper right hand side of the blog you will see CURRENT PROMOTIONS and there you can find out what our early 2010 promo is going to be.  It’s a great one I promise!!  The added bonus is for Black Friday & part of Saturday – don’t forget you have to click on the CURRENT PROMOTIONS tab above to see it. 

Baby Loves Disco rounded out the rest of the 2009 season this past weekend and yeah, I know I’m a couple of days late on the updates.  🙂  I feel like I’ve been late on everything this season…here’s a couple shots of the mayhem & fun of Baby Loves Disco Chicago November 2009 (by the way it was PJ Party day at Baby Loves):

Chicago Event Photographer

Look at some of those adorable kiddos in the adorable pjs!  Spiderman wearing guy cracked me up.

Event Photography

One of my favorite little BLDers.

Baby Loves Disco

Even the little littles join in on the BLD fun

Dance Contest Winner

This lucky family won the grand prize in the dance contest (I bet there was one of those awesome Paul Frank stuffed animals that I coveted in that bag!)

Baby Loves Disco is 5!

Baby Loves Disco celebrated their 5 year anniversary / birthday.  Yes, we had cake!!

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The moral of this meandering post has more to do with reflection than client work, personal work, whatever.  It’s a reflection on some lessons I have learned (and will continue to learn).  This past weekend I celebrated (yet another) birthday and have chosen to embrace this age with wisdom instead of ignorance about the passage of time.  Yeah, so what I’m not 21 anymore – frankly while I loved it you couldn’t pay me enough to go back without the wisdom I have gained over the years.

Since I’ve become a ‘professional’ (you know vs. what I used to be before people paid me to create memories) photographer I’ve had a lot of fill-in-the-blank type moments. 

"The PHOTO of the moment"

"The OUTFIT of the moment"

"The EXPRESSION of the moment"

The truth of the matter is this, I’ve missed a lot of fun, beautiful, silly, sad, smart, happy, goofy moments in my own families’ life because I’ve glossed over imperfect expressions, things about my children that seem meaningless or frustrating.  Things that, in the big scheme of things, are part of what make parenting so fun/frustrating/bittersweet/happy/sad/fun/the-best-thing-I’ve-ever-done.

I vow to turn a new leaf.  Starting now. 




So I bring to you now several images that I have fallen in love with.  Not because they are perfect – but because they are IMPERFECT.  And we are imperfect.  And I love every bit of imperfection of who we are.

The first set is from this past summer at my in laws fabulous property:

Minooka Child Photographer

I glossed over this shot.  WHY?  I have no idea.  Perhaps I didn’t love my photographers’ children frustrating high jinx that day.

Channahon Photographer


Those dresses are from Matilda Jane (I’ve been asked a dozen times).  You may remember how much I HART their little girls clothes from past sessions from several years ago.  I love the almost patchwork girliness of their line.


The following images (circa 2005) woke me out of my reverie and allowed me to *really* look at images that back in the day I didn’t see as worthy of my time &/or effort – you know because I was looking for THE expression, THE moment, THE shot.  Images of my then 5 year old’s beautiful soulful expressions – images that, as a mom, I long for now that my baby has grown up and is on the edge of completing her first decade of life.  My tunnel vision (for a long time) failed to encompass who WE are as a family, who THEY are as children, as sisters, as daughters.  In my efforts to find THE SHOT (THE MOMENT, THE EXPRESSION) I failed to see LIFE.

I now realize that in my quest for whatever perfection that perhaps never existed in the moment I neglected the real feelings, the real expression, the real THIS IS WHO THESE KIDS ARE, this is who my family is.  Of the moment.  Of all the moments.

There’s two that stand out to me & here they are:

Child photographer

She was still such a baby then – it’s funny how we (as parents) think of our oldest children as all grown up and perpetually think our youngest children remain babies.  Perspective.

This was October 2005 – I mislabeled it.  LOL  I’m more confused than my camera’s data.

mother child photographer


My personal lesson is this:  Life is too short to focus on perfection.  None of us is perfect.  I’m embracing this motto for my perspective of my family (as I struggle to accept it in myself).  As we round the corner to 2010 it’s time to remind ourselves that life isn’t about moments of perfection, it’s about connections.

Lastly I leave you with this:  Love often, anger lightly, forgive frequently.  Live and rejoice in the imperfect.


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  • Leila - November 23, 2009 - 3:17 pm

    well written as always. I found myself in this same predicament not long ago when I realized I wasn’t really taking snapshots around the house like I once did. Moments of the kids coloring at the table, sitting on the couch together, playing with trucks on the floor, etc. Life. I was only focusing on the “professional” moments getting them dressed up and going to some fab location to get those beautiful, perfect pictures to go big on my walls. Thankfully it was only 6-9 months, but a huge amount of time when I think about never getting it back. So, I always tell everyone, take pictures, lots and lots of pictures AND make sure you as the parents are in them too. After my Dad passed away I cherished every picture I could find with us together, which was sadly not that many. When the kids are grown, memories and pictures are all we will have. Memories will fade but being able to look back at all those albums is what will keep them babies in our minds forever. Love ya Mare:)

  • Dewayne Christensen - November 23, 2009 - 6:14 pm

    I wish that first shot was on Flickr, so I could fave the tar out of it.

  • PamN - November 24, 2009 - 8:21 am

    These images ARE perfect! I wish more parents would see what the real value is in having a custom children’s photographer like you do their children’s sessions; it’s because they capture SO MANY images, each one grabbing a special glimpse into who they are. It’s not about getting a good one – it’s about the whole series fitting together and yeras later showing a real and objective look at just how beautiful and special they are.

  • Shannon - November 24, 2009 - 9:20 am

    Those are some amazing shots. I love that the kids are barefoot, it just makes it feel more natural I guess. Great work.

  • Lisa Kelly - November 24, 2009 - 2:30 pm

    Amen to everything you have written. You totally hit the nail on the head for how I feel when I photograph my children (that is when I remember to). Thanks for the timely reminder. I love all of these images.