This past Sunday I photographed the sweetest boutique baby shower for Julie at the timeless Pleasant Home Mansion in Oak Park. This pretty party was a bit of a surprise for Julie and with adorable details like this I can see why she was beaming the entire morning. Precious pink and green floral with touches of winter flowers were beautifully put together by Erica Mignogna from thebestbabycribs.com, and the perfectly girly cake celebrating the new baby girl to be, was created by Chicago cake master Elysia Root of Elysia Root Cakes. Elysia also happens to be a friend of the Mommy to be, and she and Julie’s other friends Jane and Suzanne worked together to create a lovely, classic, and entertaining celebration which kept everyone warm on a snowy winter day complete with a delicious brunch by Molly at Fig Catering. I especially loved the make your own onesie station which turned out some stellar wearable art. The diaper message center had me laughing out loud literally with one perfectly written message! It was a pleasure to capture such a charming morning and you know that any Mom who can rock a pair of Louis Vuitton’s while 7 months pregnant is going to handle motherhood with style and grace! Congratulations again Julie & Stephen! <3
Its that time of year again when the days get shorter, our schedules start to get a little less hectic and its time to look at where we can improve for the year ahead in our businesses. The number one thing I hear time and time again from photographers looking to hone their skills is that they want to be better at using their flash. Incorporating flash into your technical skill-set is paramount to becoming a well rounded photographer who can better tell the story of our clients most important day.
One of the things that is overlooked when I’ve seen other lighting tutorials and workshops is how to correctly light for not only your couple, but the details and ambience of an event. Your clients spend thousands of dollars working with talented professionals to create a very specific feeling for their wedding or event, and a poorly used flash can erase that dreamy candle lit glow, that hip modern club feel, or the eclectic special effects lighting your clients paid for and want to see. Our job as special event photographers is to capture every detail of our clients experience so when they open their album in 30 years or more, they not only remember what it looked like… but how it felt.
As a photographer who started her career in fashion and editorial portraiture, I was lucky to understand the inns and outs of lighting a bit better coming into the event world, but incorporating those techniques that came so easy in the studio into a quick, seamless and manageable workflow while photographing weddings was much harder than I thought when I first started. After 12 years in the special event industry and 14 as a working photographer, I’ve learned from some of the masters and have created an easy to understand, comprehensive technique to teach other photographers how to light like a pro and make their clients and other vendors swoon over their images.
Join me and the incredible team of designers led by Victoria Claus from Atmosphere Events Group at the timeless Armour House Mansion at Lake Forest Academy on Saturday December 3rd and my West Loop Chicago studio on Sunday December 4th for a full wedding styled shoot, and a lighting, business and marketing workshop. I will show you lighting techniques for every part of a wedding day from getting ready to the first dance using a combination of the natural ambient light and both on and off camera flash techniques to take your images to the next level. This is a very rare opportunity to have a beautifully curated event with lush details and designer fashion available to hone your skills and boost your portfolio, combined with in studio techniques for high end portraiture, photoshop tutorials, and ways to boost your business all in one weekend.
Day One: Armour House Style
Our styled shoot is based on the lush and detailed paintings of 16th century Dutch Still Life masters such as Willem Kalf and Rachel Ruysch and will feature a beautiful wooden table setting with lush velvet, fruit and organic floral arrangements mixed with candlelit luxury to create a firelit winter scene in the Library Room of The Armour House. We will also be creating a classic ceremony space complete with overflowing floral spilling out of the indoor marble fountain in the white marble Garden Room. The Armour house has many breathtaking spaces and we will also be taking advantage of the grand staircase, the upstairs makeup and getting ready suite, the outdoor garden architecture and the “Blue Room” to complete our wedding fantasy. You will be moving from space to space with me throughout the day to photograph our models going through a typical wedding day from hair and makeup to ceremony to the first dance, while having the opportunity to pose them, try different angles, and learn new lighting techniques that you can showcase in your portfolio. Lunch will be provided and we will take a couple short breaks to ask questions and focus on what is most important to you.
Day Two: Studio Life, Editing, and Business
Day two will focus on how to incorporate your off camera lighting techniques into studio quality portraiture using only your speed-flashes, a light stand, and some basic light modifiers. This will help you not only take your wedding portraiture to another level, but show you how to incorporate indoor pre or post wedding bridal portraiture into your packages, as well as giving you the techniques you need should your couple want an engagement or portrait shoot indoors when there is bad weather.
In addition to the studio fashion portion of the day, after lunch we will be discussing basic photoshop techniques based around the most frequently asked questions I get on editing and retouching and how to use these as a way to further sell your clients on your services. I will also cover other business questions on everything from which proofing software to use, how to incorporate your facebook and instagram into your marketing plan and what gear is worth investing in.
IMPORTANT: To attend one or both days you need to have a professional grade DSLR and have a solid knowledge of how to use your camera on Manual. It is also required that you have at least one professional grade speed-flash and a basic knowledge of how to use it either on TTL or Manual. I will be providing a couple sets of basic off camera flash triggers, light stands, and basic light modifiers such as umbrellas for your use, but if you have your own its best to bring it so you can incorporate your gear into your workflow.
You can attend one or both days of the workshop depending on what you are most wanting to add to your knowledge base. All images you shoot on either day can be used for your personal promotion, website, and social media but may not be submitted for publication or sold in any capacity.
Day One: $585 – class and shoot starts at 10AM and ends at 6PM. Lunch and snacks included
Day Two: $585 – Class and shoot starts at 10AM and ends at 6PM. Lunch and snacks included
BOTH days: $950 and includes lunch and snacks on both days, and a one hour private follow up session where I will answer your questions to help you further fine tune your lighting, business and knowledge in a one on one mentoring session.
A HUGE thank you to the other amazing vendors who are participating in curating this event including the following:
And a very special thanks to The Armour House for allowing us the honor of shooting in their beautiful space.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon!
With Love, Genevieve
When I was 11, I saw A League Of Their Own in the theater and spent the next 6 months throwing around a baseball at school pretending to be the feisty redheaded pitcher Kit. Unfortunately, I have almost zero hand eye coordination when it comes to sports where balls are thrown at my face (insert “Clueless” joke here), and so I went back to running, skiing, hiking, and other less dangerous sports. I did however grow up in a very sports heavy household that mostly revolved around The San Francisco 49ers and Monday Night Football with my Dad. I of course being a super tomboy and a daddy’s girl, made sure to pay attention and follow the game as much as I could. I collected football cards, I loved Joe Montana and I was always jumping up and down when we won… which in the late 80s and 90s was a lot. My Grandmother however was a die hard Giants fan even though she had lived in Oklahoma for over 30 years, and she was still yelling at the screen at her boys days before she passed. Loving your team was ingrained in me, but even though I loved the San Francisco teams I grew up with, I never felt like I was truly in love with them like other more diehard fans were and I always felt a little outside of what it is to be a true fan.
Fast forward to spring 2015, and I had been living in Chicago for 5 years at that point and still couldn’t quite wrap my head around the Cubs mania here. Why does everyone love a team so much that never seem to win? Then my Dad came to visit and we went to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. It was my first time in the stadium and I can not deny that the energy and love that fills that place when the Cubs are playing was something I had never experienced before. My Dad isn’t a huge baseball fan either, but I have never seen him so excited to be at a ballgame and being able to sit inside the incredibly historic Wrigley Field was really exciting for both of us. I brought my huge DSLR that day even though I was a bit worried about it getting knocked around, but I knew it was going to be one of those days I wouldn’t soon forget and my Dad was beyond tickled to take pictures around the park even after the game. We lost that day… but I came out of the ballpark completely transformed into a Cubs Fan. Please excuse all the cheesy selfies we took… though I will say I’m so glad we did. These images are some of my favorite moments with my dad in recent years.
This world series win for the Cubs is not only important because it’s historic, but because it is a huge win for the fans. I’ve met so many people since I’ve lived here in Chicago that are die hard Cubs fan year after year, lose after lose… but they continue to love their team with a fierce loyalty that is unfortunately scarce in this world. My Dad is now a part of this too, loving the cubs since that day as well and when we won we called each other crying with happiness. Flying the W here has become a symbol to keep the faith, never give up hope, and never ever stop believing. Schwarber, Russel, Bryant, Rizzo and the rest of the boys have given Chicago, and really… all of America a reason to believe in miracles, because when you put all of yourself into loving something and striving to achieve a goal it will eventually pay off. So today, no matter what team you love, Fly The W for the hopeful dreamer in all of us, and know that anything is possible.
And in the oh so eloquent words of Cubs Pitcher John Lester at the rally this morning… “How ’bout this shit!?”
GO CUBS GO!!!
~With Love, Genevieve
Since I travel back and forth between Chicago and Northern California on a regular basis to do events, sometimes my initial meeting with someone is over the phone, and in the case of Molly and Tarun, I knew from the first 30 seconds of our conversation that not only did I REALLY want them to choose me as their photographer, but I wanted to be friends with them too! Fast forward a year and 2 months, and I am at their wedding, feeling the same way I did on that first phone call. The forecast called for rain which of course isn’t something a couple wants to hear for their wedding day, neither is “you have strep throat” which Tarun had the week before the event… but they just took it in stride and were like ok, I’ll get some rest and we’ll order umbrellas!
The day couldn’t have gone any more beautifully and despite traveling from the suburbs, to downtown Chicago for the ceremony, and back again for their reception everything was easy and fun, which is what I expected from these two. We got a little respite from the rain after the ceremony to take some portraits downtown on the State St. bridge, as well as taking advantage of the insanely cool lobby of the building they live in which was not only super chic, but personal as well. There are a million little moments that made documenting this day so much fun, from the very wet Baraat where everyone danced in the rain anyway, to a special dance for Mollys parents with music sung and mastered by the bride & groom, to Tarun killing it on the mic to Mo Money Mo Problems… but in the end it was just the simple moments between two people who are genuinely in love that made it so precious.
Happy one month anniversary you two. No one deserves a life full of love and happiness more than you. <3
~ With Love, Genevieve
Ceremony Venue – Assumption Catholic Church Chicago
Reception Venue – Esplanade Lakes by Doubletree
Floral Design – Ivone at Chicago Floral Events
Dress – Allure Bridals
DJ – DJ Harsh Chicago
Cake – The Baking Institute
Second Shooter – Jose Uribe
As I sit here in zero degree weather in Chicago this sunny January day, my thoughts were dancing around the beach at one of my favorite places in the entire world, the Sutro Baths at Lands End State Park in San Francisco CA. Splitting my time between Chicago and San Francisco definitely has its perks, but more than the beautiful weather and breathtaking scenery, I am always so lucky to meet couples like Amisha & Tyler. These two could not have been more stylish, gracious, and game for everything I asked them to do. Climb on top of an abandoned ruin… Sure! Traverse across a 5 inch ledge on the edge of the crumbling foundation… no problem! Run around in the ocean in your gorgeous red dress… Oh my gosh yes please! I dream about days like this when everything in the universe just aligns for me to create some beautiful art for some beautiful people. So happy to have been in the right place at the right time… which always seems to happen if you just let it.
~With Love, Genevieve