Elm Grove Photographer

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to | William turns one

I absolutely adore photographing one year olds and their cake smash sessions.

That is, once I get over the massive amount of jealousy I harbor for these little humans who are allowed to sit on the floor and dive head-first into a cake they get to have all to themselves. They just don’t know how good they have it!

Echem. Yes, back to the cute little toddlers and their teeny little birthday cakes.

It really is fascinating to watch someone taste a new food for the very first time. This birthday cake is one of the many first tastes in a baby’s young life. It may also be about a zillion times better than pureed green beans. So to watch them react to that sweet, soft and unexpected new flavor is life giving.

Then there’s William. He thought the cake was okay. I’m not even sure he ate much of the cake. However, the blue frosting polka dots were what made his heart go pitter patter. And once they were gone (as far as he could see), he was very clear about his displeasure…

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Um…. Happy birthday William! I hope you’ve recovered from the apparently traumatic experience that was your first birthday cake.


Do you have a little one who’s got a full 12 months under his belt? Let’s do a birthday cake smash session!

When you book your session, we will discuss themes, colors and styling. We’ll do a short portrait session before the cake smash to prove to your family that your baby’s face was clean at one point. Once your little bugger is covered in frosting, that’s when the “fun” begins. It’s a Parent Puzzle - how to successfully squeeze a sugar-buzzed child covered in a slick coating of frosting into a set of clean clothes and a carseat. (Good luck!)

Now that I’ve painted such a glamorous picture of the experience (haha), click below to learn more about child portrait sessions with Stories Framed Photography.

It really IS worth it. (Besides, you get to help “clean up”.)


Her Family Portrait Sneak Peek | to warm your heart

It’s SO cold outside. Snow is everywhere. And it’s just… SO COLD.

I’m not complaining (technically), just stating the facts.

Today’s expected HIGH temperature in Milwaukee (similar to the entire midwest) is ONE DEGREE. One. With a windchill of -24. (that’s not a mark on your screen…. that is NEGATIVE 24 degrees.)

So what better way to warm up (besides jumping jacks and burpees) than by sharing a gorgeous family with you.

This group came to me from all over the country and yet, managed to immaculately coordinate the most stunning outfits. This family’s session was one of the times that, even though I’m behind the camera, I felt completely under-dressed. They were all SO beautifully put together.

I promise to share more from their session so you can see their gowns and bowties, but as this is just an itty-bitty peek, I decided to post only one of my favorite individual portraits from the day.

This is Dana.

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Caught your breath for second, didn’t you?

Forgot you were shivering down to your toes, didn’t you?

She is such a beautiful girl, isn’t she?


It may not feel like spring - or that other season, summer - will ever visit us again, but they will! And when they are back, will you have your session scheduled for your family portraits? Something tells me outdoor sessions will be in demand when we can finally go outside again.

Can’t wait that long? Let’s create some modern-classic portraits indoors at my studio with you and your family.


The Kids Are Back in Town | Estock Family Sneak Peek

When is the best time for family portraits?

The fact is, there is no perfect answer. I tend to be much busier with families during the second half of the year - so if you want some extra TLC, you may want to consider a winter or spring session.

Also, if one of your goals is to get holiday cards from your family session, I’ve got you covered! I’ve had families as early as June ordering Christmas cards. (They come with a free reminder to send them out!)

Here are a few factors to consider when choosing the ideal time of year for your family portraits.

Is your family in town?

If your kids are older, winter break is an ideal time for family photos. They’re already home from college. Your session will take less than two hours and just like when they were little, you can bribe them with food.

Do you want to be indoors or outdoors?

If you are absolutely set on outdoor photos with warm fall foliage in the background, I think you’ve answered your own question. If you want snow photos and nothing else, we clearly know when and where you are destined to go.

Ed. Note: Tomorrow is your magic snow day. Call Abbie immediately and start getting the kids geared up first thing in the morning.

On the other hand, if you love outdoor photos but really don’t mind a nice, clean studio session either, then you’ve opened up a whole year of opportunity. I have a spacious studio in Elm Grove, Wisconsin that is just waiting for you and your family - from three to thirty - quantity is no concern. Bring them all!

What is your decorating style?

No, this isn’t some weird personality test. But knowing how you decorate your home does help me choose where to go for your outdoor session - and what type of setting we use for your indoor session.

Do you like long walks on the beach or roughing it in the woods? Those settings are self-explanatory. We might go to the beach or to the woods. (See? You’re so good at this!) Do you lean more modern and urban? Maybe we go downtown. Are you into the hottest barnwood trend? I know of places you would just adore!

The key to location choice truly is coordinating your family photos with your decorating style. Afterall, you will be decorating your home with a piece of portrait art - and we want it to pop off your wall in a beautifully natural way.

You don’t have to have all the answers.

I will guide you along the way with phone calls, emails, questionnaires and more. By the time your session rolls along, we will know where and when and why.


So, let’s talk about Tracy.

She knew her kids would be home for Christmas.

She bribed them with haircuts and lunch.

Since it was December, we smartly planned on a studio session. I worked with Tracy on selecting a set that would suit her style and clothing choices.

Here’s a Sneak Peek of Tracy and her sweet little family. Well, they’re not so “little” anymore, are they?

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Let’s talk about scheduling your family photos. You don’t have to know any of the answers, but let’s start the conversation.


2018 | what a year!

Whew. The calendar has flipped.

All the 2018 in reviews are floating around. All the lists of things to do in 2019 (cleverly disguised resolutions - I see through you!) are being shoved down our throat. I’m still reeling from the amazing year I had. Stop making me plan my next move - I’m just happy to be here!

Why so happy? Let me give you that long awaited (or not) 2018 recap…

JANUARY. My head literally exploded. OMGee. I won the Shepherd Express Best of Milwaukee award for Best Children’s Photographer. It was an out of body experience and such an honor. Thank you sososososo much for your support and votes and pats on the back.

(In case you’re wondering about 2018’s award - they closed down my category! Does that mean I get to be the reigning champ?!)

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MARCH. I had a BLAST collaborating with some beautiful and talented people on the Spring Style Guide. Did you get your copy? The tips inside won’t ever get old! Check it out.

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APRIL. I was featured in an article in Professional Photographer Magazine. This was a huge honor considering all the options for photographers they have at their fingertips. Definitely a super-proud moment for me.


MAY. I volunteered to do headshots for a group of women at a makeover event sponsored by Cabi. This was an exhausting day - physically and emotionally - but it was worth every single minute. When someone walks away from me believing - perhaps for the first time ever - that they ARE truly beautiful, my heart fills. This happened over 50 times in one single day. Oh my heart. Ironic that the event is called The Heart of Cabi? I think not.


AUGUST. I had an article published in an industry magazine. If you don’t know my secret past life, I went to college with plans to be a journalist. My life goals twisted and turned and somehow I ended up being a journalist! It was literally a life goal - accomplished! Blow me over!


SEPTEMBER. They say that if you don’t ask, you don’t get, if you don’t try, you don’t win. Well, I asked and tried — and got it and won! I asked to write again for the September issue of Toffee + Honey. She said yes! And THEN. In the same month I was published in Behind the Shutter Magazine. Wowowowow.

P.S. this is the month Shadow the Dog became a diva. Help me.


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OCTOBER. WHUT??? Again?? Speechless. And giddy. And a little bit hungry.

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NOVEMBER. Thanks to some generous sponsors and amazing support, I photographed 21 active duty soldiers and their families for Portraits of Bravery. They all received a package of holiday cards, prints and gifts. Merry Christmas, indeed.

This has been an amazing, mind-blowing year for me. I have to say, before you go, that if it weren’t for the loyal Stories Framed Photography family, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of this. You support me, you build me up. And I am TRULY GRATEFUL for you.

This one’s all you…. THANK YOU for being so GREAT in 2018. Now let’s BREAK RECORDS in 2019. What else do we have going on? CONTACT ME TODAY to get on my fast-filling calendar this year.

xo

Smith Siblings Sneak Peek

Imagine if your grown children got together behind your back.

But instead of whining about how hard their childhood was (or celebrating how great it was!), they were actually gathered for a surprise photoshoot for your Christmas gift.

That was this group. You’ll have to wait to see the entire group until after the holidays. However, there’s a story inside this story that I need to share…

It just so happened that this giggly married couple never had engagement or wedding photos.

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Maybe she wasn’t wearing white lace and he didn’t have a tuxedo, I was honored to capture these two in their first professional portraits of their couplehood.

I had them stand face to face and they could barely hold it together! They were cracking themselves up! It was endearing to watch.

Is your clan due for some updated (or never had) family photos? I would love to help you out with that! And don’t think that the weather outside will keep us from a great session… I have a comfortable studio that can fit any size group. Seriously… I’ve had families of 30+ and networking groups of 70+.

Click below to learn more about my family portraits.