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turning bad days to good

i don’t know too many people that can say that if they are having a lousy day it will be better once they go to work – but i sure can!!!!!

it always amazes me! not that i have a ton of bad days – i don’t (thankfully!) but you know how life is. . . we all have things going on .  .  . things on our mind . . . stress, anxiety, etc. but when i walk into a photo session everything just melts away.  anything that was bothering me is suddenly gone, completely forgotten and all i see are the beautiful faces in front of my lens. this little guy was such a joy to me on this day and was exactly what i needed.

we laughed. we ran around. we threw the ball. we cooed over his little sister.

he and his family were a complete delight. and when they left my day was a little brighter and my step was a little lighter.


click, click, click

is that my shutter clicking away? or is that me and this couple just clicking and “getting” each other? was that totally and completely cheesy?  aahhh, yes it was.  however!!!! the correct answer is . . . wait for it . . . both!! sometimes people come into your life and you just “get” each other. i felt this way about this couple. i’m very lucky actually, because i feel that way about many, many of the clients that walk through my door. what’s even better about this couple is that they have booked me for an entire year of photos as their sweet baby is born and grows – i can’t wait!!!  not only to meet their sweet little peanut but also to get to know them and watch them become parents. (sidebar: when an expectant mom comes to the studio wearing Chuck Taylors – hello! instant cool factor!)  this is one of the best parts of what i do. watching people make that leap into parenthood.

when i go thru the photos of families that have been with me for their baby’s first year, it is amazing to see the changes in not only the baby, but also in the parents.  and i don’t mean in how tired the parents look or the baby weight that has been lost. i mostly mean the looks of love that pass between a mother and her baby. the way a father will throw his baby up in the air – so high that sometimes i will gasp (!!) as the baby is laughing like crazy looking at daddy because he knows his daddy will catch him. or the looks between mommy and daddy as if to say “look at this amazing person we created.”

so when i see expectant parents it makes me think of what they have ahead of them. i’m excited for them. but i don’t tell them. i’ll let them figure it out for themselves and be there to take the photos.


i’m not very photogenic.

if i had a nickel for everytime a woman said that to me, i’d have a lot of extra $$ to spend!!!!  if i had a dollar for everytime a man said that to me, i’d have about one extra dollar.  little kids don’t say it.  tween and teen girls don’t say it. if you’ve ever followed one on instagram and seen all of the selfies, you KNOW that’s true!!! but that’s a good thing!  i love that!! i pray for those girls that it stays that way for their entire lives. my generation didn’t take nearly as many selfies as this generation, but somewhere along the way most women start to despise getting their photo taken. what is it that causes that? we can point fingers. blame the media and the unattainable, unrealistic images of women that they exploit. we can blame society and all of the pressures they put on women to “have it all” and be perfect in everything we do. heck, we might as well blame the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries while we’re at it, i’m sure they’ve done something!!  but seriously, at some point we need to take some accountability for our own attitudes and beliefs.

maybe we’re not wearing the size we want to be.

maybe we aren’t as fit as we want to be.

maybe our hair or skin isn’t as perfect as it was when we were 24.

maybe if we silenced that inner voice that frankly is being a little rude, and told her that we are beautiful just as we are. maybe she’d listen. maybe she’d start to believe it.

because it’s true.

i had an incredible weekend with some incredible women – some i knew well and some i met that night.  we shared stories about things that were currently inspiring us. the amount of support, love and bravery in that room was overwhelming and it struck me,  if women were as kind to themselves as their friends were, the self-help industry would be completely wiped out. so be kind.  not only to others, but most importantly, to yourself.





Chicago Portrait Photographer | Chicago Family Photographer | Child Photographer in Chicago | Chicago Photographer of Babies


“big kids”

it’s no secret i love babies, but i also love having older “kids” into the studio. it’s a different kind of fun. i also love having older siblings in the studio – especially brothers, probably because i have two boys so i look at it as a glimpse into my future (hopefully!)  these two brothers were laughing and making jokes, wait, maybe, they were laughing AT me instead of WITH me!!!  it’s possible!! just like my boys, i guess!  this family was so much fun to have in the studio and every time i see this gorgeous woman i like her even more.


mother’s day

i’d wager that if you ask the average 2-6 year old girl who the most beautiful woman in the world is, after they answer (insert current Disney princess name here) their reply would be their own mother.  i talk to many, many little girls over the course of a year so i think i may have an inside scoop. as little girls our moms are our first role models and they give us the first glimpse of what it means to be a woman.  i remember watching my mom getting ready for fancy nights out, they probably weren’t even fancy.  she was probably going bowling, or to a tupperware party, but she always looked fancy to me.  i’d watch her brush her unbelievably long beautiful hair. put on her makeup.  sometimes i’d “help” her pick out her jewelry. once, i asked if i could have her jewelry when she was dead.  yes, i really said that.  (sorry, again, mom.) she’d dab on her perfume.  it would either be Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew or Guerlain’s Shalimar (hmmmmmm?)

i’d also wager that as those little girls move into womanhood themselves they would still answer that their moms are the most beautiful woman in the world.  but maybe this time the answer would have more meaning than just the outward appearance. as we grow older we see all of the sacrifices that our mothers have made for us and all of the times she has put others first and herself last.

this is definitely true for me.  i was finally able to have my mom come to my studio to take some photos of her.  and while anyone with eyes that are functioning can see that she is gorgeous on the outside, she is also a knockout on the inside.  let me tell you a little bit about that . . .  this woman is truly always thinking of others first.  whether it’s a family member, a friend or someone she’s just met! she will go out of her way to make someone feel special.  she is also one of those people that is always willing to help – in any way she can.  and not in an “ugh, ok, i’ll help you (exasperated voice)” kind of way, but a friendly, what needs to get done, lets do it, kind of way.  i know this from the obvious first hand experience, but also from seeing her help countless others this way. and i mean countless.  my entire life.

i could go on and on.  but the point is that i think my mother is the most beautiful woman in the world.  both inside and out. i always have and i always will.  and you may think your mother is too.  i hope so.

i will cherish these photos of her until the end of my days.




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Karen Fincannon Thibodeau Bliesath - Shalimar, I am flabergasted over these photos. They are amazing! The most amazing photos I have ever had taken or will have taken!! Wow! If people saw these they would definately sign up for you! Also what beautiful and heartfelt things you said about me. The truth is you have become beyond what I tried for and you are extremely important to me. You are the only one I can talk to about my life and journey that I have chosen, up and down.