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.

I just realized I am behind in some sneak peekage.  Oops.  My fail.  🙂  This beautiful family came to see me last weekend from the Naperville area.  It was a quick session with them but we got some amazing shots.  I think they will be *very* happy.

A big thanks to the B Family for allowing me this opportunity to capture this fleeting time in their lives.  Children this sweet age do not stay this age forever and what better way to capture these fun years!

Naperville Child Photographer

She is such a sweet soul


This was a funny moment, when they saw me trying to capture typical brotherly high jinx they stopped and posed.  It cracked me up.

Pet photographer

No posing here.  This dog is a beaut!

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  • Lisa Kelly - November 22, 2009 - 11:20 pm

    What beautiful children they are, and you are right, they are on the cusp of growing up, how clever of the parents to try and capture this time. Stunning images.

  • PamN - November 23, 2009 - 9:55 am

    So, so beautiful!

  • Leila - November 24, 2009 - 6:59 pm

    awww, love the dog shot!!!

  • Desiree Hayes - November 29, 2009 - 3:25 am


Before I proceed to the rest of this post, sessions remain for Holiday delivery, please give us a call at 815.603.8450 to schedule your session in time for holiday cards & gifts.  The last date for sessions is looming ahead so give a call asap if you’re interested in having images in time for Holiday delivery!

…on with the sneak peeks…

This past weekend we had the most amazing weather and I was lucky enough to go out on location to a this family’s west suburban home on the river.  I loved meeting these awesome kids and their incredible parents and look forward to editing the rest of this incredibly fun session. 

A big thank you to them for welcoming me into their lives and their home and showing me around.  I hope you love your sneak peeks!

Geneva Illinois kids photography

Twirly skirt girl.  I can’t help but love this shot!


Family photography

I was told this was the "hungry & bored" look.  Whatever it’s called, this shot cracks me up!


Suburban Child Photographer

Chicago Tween Photographer

Until next time…

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  • Anna-Karin - November 9, 2009 - 11:51 pm

    What a fun session! I love the one of the girl twirling around. She looks so happy and you captured that moment so well.
    I actually giggled when I saw the one of the brother’s sitting down and looking bored and hungry. I think most parents of boys can relate to that capture lol.

  • Lisa Kelly - November 10, 2009 - 1:12 am

    Gorgeous!!!! That first image is so fun, I love the swish of her skirt. And I have totally seen that “hungry bored” look before, I actually love this image.

  • corey - November 10, 2009 - 10:14 am

    Beautiful work! Love that first one – so fun!

  • Mrs Soup - November 10, 2009 - 11:16 am

    What a great looking family! I love the twirly shot!

  • Sherri W - November 16, 2009 - 5:36 am

    How gorgeous. I love love that 2nd shot of her sons. ha ha ha. And the last image next to the fence is fantastic. Great session all the way around!

  • PamN - November 16, 2009 - 8:24 am

    So REAL I feel like I know these kids…yet so beautiful and artful. Everything a mom could want in a portrait!

  • Kristie Chadwick - November 16, 2009 - 11:43 am

    Love the “Twirly Skirt” shot as well! great session.

I hope everybody had a fabulous Halloween weekend this past weekend.  My kids are suffering post Halloween excitement and the candy persists in our home!  Soon enough all the joy of Halloween will be just a memory (but I assure you I tried to hold on to it as long as possible!)

It was a sunny but very cold morning when I met up with the S Family this weekend in Chicago’s Lincoln Park.  What a beautiful family!  It was my pleasure to photograph your lovely children, I enjoyed meeting you all.  Thanks for allowing me to capture your family this past weekend!

On with the bit of sneak peekage!

Lincoln Park Photography Session

A contemplative moment – look at those gorgeous lashes!


Father Son Portrait

Just love this father – son moment.


Family Photographer

I love quiet family moments like this – just can’t get enough!

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  • Leila - November 4, 2009 - 1:09 pm

    Ah, you are inside. I was thinking how on earth is there so much green there this time of year 🙂 Lovely family and lovely images as usual.

  • Brandy Anderson - November 4, 2009 - 1:27 pm

    Beautiful images Mare!

  • Lisa Kelly - November 4, 2009 - 3:00 pm

    These are really lovely family images. Love that last one.

  • PamN - November 4, 2009 - 5:39 pm

    What a cool place! Love the feel of these – so rich with color in the setting and the clothing, and wonderful interaction.

  • lauri - November 5, 2009 - 12:00 am

    Beautiful session!! Your color is always so gorgeous, and these are tender images I bet they love.

It is truly a small world!  When the phone call came from a certain area code & prefix I had a sneaking suspicion the client’s world and my own sort of overlapped.  I was right!!  🙂  It was a pleasure to meet & photograph this beautiful family.  The boys had the most scrumptious lashes (I know, at some point they’ll be insulted I am saying that but because I am currently lashes obsessed I think it’s ok! 🙂 ), we hit it off.  I loved photographing your sweet boys, your beautiful family, loved meeting you both, S & B.  Thank you for allowing me to photograph this time in your lives.  Lastly I am so glad we experienced THE quintessential fall day.  Every year I have a preview that occurs on that day, I think you guys got the luck of the draw this time around.  It was GORGEOUS this past Sunday, thanks for coming out.

Here are only a few sneak peeks of an awesome session:

Naperville Child Photography

Relationship Family Photographer

Gosh I just adore this moment captured here

Suburban Chicago Photographer

I cannot believe how much air was achieved here.  B – I hope your back is ok!  😀

Thanks to the W Family!


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  • Mrs Soup - October 29, 2009 - 12:39 pm

    I was going to comment on my love of the first photo, the moment, the emotion, the tones, the post-processing….

    but then I saw the next one. And the third one. All of these are amazing.

  • Leila - October 30, 2009 - 9:17 pm

    The second one should be huge in their house. I totally love it!!!!!!

  • sushma - October 31, 2009 - 7:04 am

    marianne, you truly have a gift. we had a wonderful time on the quintessential fall day with you. The pics look amazing can’t wait to see the rest.

  • Sylvia Laughrin - October 31, 2009 - 11:53 am

    these are all so marmalicious,,, but the second one is a perfect mom/child pose. a pose that i use to do with my kids all the time.

    beautiful work as always!

  • corey civetta - November 3, 2009 - 8:02 am

    These are so awesome – too hard to pick a favorite! Love how you captured the connections between all of them!

  • Brandy Anderson - November 4, 2009 - 1:28 pm

    Such a happy family! Love your color!