best of

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?!)


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.

SFP Style Guide Spring 18 frontcover.jpg

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.


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


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.


Franklin HS class of 2019 | AJ's Sneak Peek

Here's the real, unfiltered truth.

Sometimes I photograph high school seniors who are just not that into being photographed. I get it: Mom is making you do it, Grandma is pestering you for an updated picture for the wall, your school has a yearbook photo deadline you have to meet or they'll use your school ID photo (noooooo!!!!!). 

But the fact is, no matter how badly you don't want your photo taken, it just makes me WANT to photograph you even more. (nanny nanny boo boo!) This goes for grownups, too. Nearly everyone comes in and says, "I hate having my photo taken," or "I'm not photogenic at all."

I don't buy it.

I submit, reasons #1, 2 and 3 for why you should hire a professional photographer.

Not because we are better trained at torturing you (though it may feel like it...). Rather, because we are trained in how to work with our clients - no matter who or how they are - to make them more comfortable in front of the camera.

When I first meet a client on location, I talk to them. Really, I babble. I ask them questions. Then I coach them through some basics of posing. Throughout the session I guide them through different ways to sit and stand for my camera. The key, I have found, is to make it as natural and easy as possible for the subject. 

The results?

This is my favorite part! More often than not, they are literally SHOCKED to see the first few shots on the back of my camera. Hmm... maybe "shocked" is not the best choice of words...

Pleasantly surprised and overwhelmed with joy is more like it.

So.... Does this sound like a portrait experience you could learn to appreciate? Let's talk!

Here is AJ from Franklin High School's class of 2019.

The real, unfiltered truth on AJ? He knocked it out of the park during his session. He may have not been so thrilled to be in front of the camera, but he did SO GREAT that I actually had to make myself put my camera away or I'd keep shooting. Thanks AJ for being such good sport. You rock!


Sneak Peek | Surprise Father's Day Photos at The Landing

Friday night at The Landing in Wauwatosa is an absolute MUST DO! It's a family friendly outdoor beer garden attached to the Hoyt Pool, bike trails, and a beautiful wooded park. If you are looking for something to do on a Friday night, come out and listen to some music, have a drink, order a pizza.

I may be biased because I 100% love Tosa, but it really is the place to be. 

This past Friday night, I met a special family there as a surprise Father's Day session. It was different than anything I'd ever done for a portrait session... and I loved it! 

I caught a mix of candids and posed portraits. Much to Mama Dee's delight (who organized the surprise), I photographed each of her kiddos, different combinations of the family members and her father-in-law who was visiting from Florida. They will all LOVE the photos! 

For now, here's a little sneak peek. I'm saving the real goodies for the Big Reveal. (tee hee)

Cheers to Father's Day!


Does this sound like your type of family session? Contact me right away to reserve your Friday (or other night) at the park. Or maybe you want a little more privacy? Let's talk. I want your family photo experience to suit your needs and desires.

Portrait Photography | is it worth it?

Today I have a quick little story for you. My heart is a'bursting and I just HAD to share. <insert, like, a thousand heart emojis>

The other day one of my family portrait clients came to the studio for their Reveal + Selection Meeting.

little girl with big blue eyes leaning on brick wall

First, i showed them a custom created video featuring all their images. 

This sweet family of three watched their story unfold on the screen -- through tears and laughter. Once it was done, I could hear them collectively take a deep breath. Then they got up from the couch to GIVE ME A HUG. 

three year old quiet with head on hands

Later, after their selections had been made and their order was complete, they paused to ask me a question.

Gesturing his hand around the room to his family, to my laptop and to the big screen TV with his loved ones' smiling faces looking back at us, "So... was this worth it for you?"

In retrospect, I feel a little bad because I actually laughed at him. 

big sister kissing little brother on forehead

Looking at him straight in the eyes, I told the truth.

"The fact that you stood up after seeing your photos and HUGGED ME tells me that you clearly love your portraits. THAT ALONE made it worth it to me."

man and woman with eyes closed embracing bw

YES! It's totally worth it to me. I love what I do - this "job" of making people happy.

Seeing someone smile back at their image, finally admitting she is beautiful, finally agreeing that he is handsome, saying out loud that they love their family finally all together in a photo.... THIS is why I do what I do. 

Curious? Would you like to have the family portrait experience with Stories Framed Photography? Click below for more info, a conversation and to book your session. This is your season!

Elm Grove Family Portraits | At Home with the Kandulas

I really enjoy going to the homes of my clients for portrait sessions. Not only do I get to steal their decorating ideas (hee hee), it gives me a chance to push myself photographically, challenge my creativity and rev up my imagination.

Shooting in clients' homes is not as easy as setting up in my studio. There, I know what to expect from the surroundings, how much space I have to work with and what the background will look like. It's MY home base.

When I go to a client's home, sometimes I get to preview the location, but sometimes it doesn't work out. So I have to wing it. And think on my feet. 

Luckily, I've been to the Kandula home before. The last time I was there, we created some full-on Christmas portraits as well as some beautiful time-neutral extended family portraits.

Merry Christmas, 2015! (Don't forget your fur baby!)

Merry Christmas, 2015! (Don't forget your fur baby!)

This time, they wanted to do something different -- and maybe not quite as festive. After a brief tour of their (gorgeous!!) home, I set my vision in motion. We settled on two rooms (saving some others for next time, perhaps?). One was a basement bar and the other.... well, let's see if you can figure it out.

Aren't they classy? This family has some exceptionally great taste. And that bar? It's not your average Wisconsin basement bar, that's for sure!

Here are some others from the same session... would you believe we were in a WINE CELLAR? The brick wall was calling to me. 

Oh, and you know how I always say, "Quick before they grow up?" The photos below were from our session in 2015. I never kid around when talking about babies growing up. It happens too fast, and amazingly, right before our eyes.

Do you want some in-home family portraits? Would you rather come to my studio for a cleaner look? Or maybe you want an outdoor setting? I aim to please! My number one goal is to create images that will reflect your style and personality. Let's talk!