fall mini sessions

so it’s been a long while since I’ve posted anything #momlife #2jobs+baby. Needless to say I’ve been busy lately.

Fall has almost entirely escaped me- sorry cute pumpkin patch photos you will have to wait until next year.

Fear not though I’ve got something else up my sleeve.

I’ve stumbled upon a gorgeous studio space that is setup like a real home (think cute bed/bedding, couch and absolutely to die for natural light)

So this fall I’m offering in studio mini sessions on November 17th.

Here are the nitty gritty details.

November 17th. 30 minute sessions. $250. 10 final images.

Absolutely perfect for those holiday cards (Christmas is almost here- how did that happen?!)

message me to book at colleenmccarthyphotography@gmail.com or call/text 773-860-3282

Here’s a sample image of a recent family session for a general idea of what images i’m going for- cutesy real life family moments.

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Mom blog #1 : Food is essential

Mom blog real talk!
Having a newborn is hard.
My baby is 3 months old and I'm just starting to feel like a real person again. I've learned to inhale my meals now out of pure necessity bc ya know this mom has to survive in order to take care of the baby. Moms to be- I cannot stress this point enough bc I love food/ the first few months I rarely ate actual meals there's literally no time to prepare a full meal when you have a newborn. Snacks that you can eat with one hand are essential- power bars, cereal bars etc. Frozen pizzas are a must have as well. Also Uber Eats is a life saver, and if you are lucky enough to have someone watch the baby so you can go to the grocery store- Trader Joe's is the bomb- their frozen and prepared foods section make it possible to eat semi healthy and when making dinner faster is better, anything that can just be heated up and consumed with one hand is primo in my book. Literally any prep that can be done with one hand is absolutely essential- example take one hand and open package- place food item on cookie sheet or directly in the microwave (ie steam able vegetables etc) and heat, voila dinner is done :).
Y'all probably think I'm nuts and are thinking what is wrong with this lady she doesn't have time to prepare dinner?! Let me tell you something- babies don't have a schedule, so if you're like "hey the baby is napping I'm going to prepare dinner" and then go to the kitchen and start making dinner- mid way in the baby starts screaming- dinner is abandoned half cooked on the stove and that's the end of that- dinner ruined. I've ruined plenty of dinners, noodles left in the water to get nice and squishy, fish burnt, the list goes on and on. Tending to the babies needs first is always my priority. Now I know I'm new at this (first time mom! what's up ! ) Tending to what baby needs is never a quick thing either- one minute the baby could be peacefully napping and the next minute he or she is screaming bc of a dirty diaper, or gas or hunger or bc a loud noise or sometimes all of the above and you have to tend to all of those things, so you change the diaper- make a bottle- feed the baby- burp the baby- hold baby upright for at least 15 minutes (this helps minimize reflux and spitting up and gas) change another diaper- do tummy time or some other activity to build muscle control and stimulate brain activity- rock the baby if he or she is sleepy again and repeat the whole cycle over and over again. 
So if you are looking for unsolicited advice here I would say that having a freezer full of ready to heat meals is the absolute way to go- you will be sleep deprived, you will be disoriented, you will put your babies needs before your own. 
My sister in law actually suggested this meal service thing where friends and relatives can go online and pick a meal they want to send to you and pay for it and it gets delivered- and I was all like "oh no, I totally got this! No worries"- Wrong I was so so wrong!
Take the help, and definitely stock your own freezers and pantry ( a little side bar on why I didn't actually do that for myself is bc we moved when the baby was 2 weeks old, moved out of our condo (found renters for that) and purchased a house, closed on the house when the baby was like 12 days old and moved the weekend after closing. It was nuts- I was lifting heavy stuff and going up and down several flights of stairs to get all of our belongings out of the condo before the renters needed to move in- we moved on a Friday and the renters moved in on Saturday - the following day-  we had stuff packed in boxes for weeks prior to moving but severely under estimated the amount of stuff we had and all of the things that needed to be moved- anyway that's a story for another time) 
So the take away point I'm trying to make here is: freezer meals and anything that can be consumed with one hand while handling the baby is absolutely essential. 

Best of luck other mommas!
 

 

Mini Sessions

Apple Orchard Mini Sessions are almost here! 

Where?! County Line Orchard, Hobart Indiana (super gorgeous Apple Orchard)

When?! September 30th

Price?! $200

Details?! 30 minutes, 10 final images, perfect for holiday cards, engagement photos, new baby photos etc...

 

Spots available from 1pm- 5pm

To book your spot use my Contact page or email me at colleenmccarthyphotography@gmail.com

 

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How to have your dream wedding!

Ok so real talk- getting ready at some generic hotel with 10 of your "best friends", having your ceremony at some dark chapel and having your reception at a generic hall and running around like a crazy person all day is not how your wedding day should look. I know crazy right?! Your day doesn't have to be stress filled and full of unnecessary to do items. Shocking concept I know ;)

Don't buy into all the things that wedding magazines say you should do. You should make your day uniquely you. Perhaps that means eloping under a waterfall (all the heart emojis) or cliffside in Ireland, or in your backyard all decked out in twinkle lights- whatever it may be- remember the day is about you marrying your best friend and nothing else- not the table settings, or number of guests, or seating charts, or matching bridesmaids dresses, or getting married in a church bc your parents will kill you if you don't. So get rid of all the unnecessary stuff and focus on what really matters- your love for each other.  

Here is some elopement inspiration to get those creative juices flowing!

Oh and don't forget the second most important thing about your wedding day! The photographer (hey that's me!) who will be there to  capture all of your special moments to immortalize them for all time. And extra bonus points I'll help you plan your elopement to make sure your day is epic and stress free!

 

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Baby L

I had the pleasure the other week to photograph baby L and her adoring new parents and their loving family dog (goodness this dog was amazing- so loving and obedient and so interested in protecting the baby- can you say cutest thing ever!!) I absolutely adore lifestyle family sessions, there is something so raw and special about them. Capturing all that love and all of those new moments is something so special to have preserved for a lifetime. 

Here's a sneak peak of the session. 

 

 

Starved Rock Elopement

I have been plotting this styled elopement session for a while now and since it is finally nice outside (thank you sweet baby Jesus) I finally made it happen. Chicago weather is so crazy, the night before it rained a ton but the day of the shoot was all sunshine!

I must admit that dress shopping for this shoot was super fun! I wanted something boho chic and thankfully that is what is popular right now :) Win win for gorgeous dresses and affordable price tags! The dress we ended up using is from Forever21! Score!

The day of the shoot we hopped in my tiny car and headed out on the open road to Starved Rock  A five mile hike and 40 flights of stairs later we were at the perfect location! And that long trek was well worth it! A bit of exercise+ epic location + gorgeous  people = a great day!

I really enjoyed planning and styling this shoot,  I should get into wedding planning at some point :)

Here are a few images from the session there are so many great ones it was hard to narrow them down!! Perhaps I'll post a bunch more in a separate blog post!

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Top 5 Tips for Eloping!

Wedding planning can be extremely stressful! There are so many things to think about, what color theme are you going with, how many bridesmaids are you going to have, what color table linens are you going to have, how many hundreds of people that you don't talk to on a regular basis are you going to invite? The list goes on and on.. a never ending sea of "must have's" because that's what you are "supposed" to do. I say FORGET ALL THAT! Do you what you want, make your wedding uniquely "you". Your wedding should be about the love between you and your significant other and not any of that other nonsense.  So if that sounds fitting for you, please continue reading, I have some great elopement tips for you!

Tip # 1 - First and foremost (and I might be partially biased on this one ;) ) Hire a Photographer! This is the first most important thing (apart from your actual marriage)- hiring a photographer to capture one of the biggest days of your life to preserve those memories for years and generations to come is crucial.  Hire someone whose work you admire and that you get along with. Getting along with your photographer is also very important- you are going to be spending a lot of time with them and having someone that you mesh well with is very important, if you don't like who they are as a person, you won't like the end results in your images even if they are wonderful. Don't worry about finding a photographer in the area you want to get married- you can find a photographer in your home town who is wiling to travel with you to capture your memories!

P.S. I LOVE to travel :) 

Tip #2 - Relax! Planning an elopement can be done in just a few short weeks! Making it easy breezy! Want to get married at your favorite bar, coffee shop, mountain top, an Irish cliffside, a treehouse in the forest? Great! Do it! Pick your favorite spot or plan an epic adventure- the world is your oyster! The great thing about eloping is that you aren't restricted to some dingy banquet hall- you can literally get married anywhere your heart desires! In front of a waterfall in a state park? Do it! If you need help picking the perfect spot consult your photographer! They are great at picking locations! 

Tip #3 -  It's all about the Love- I cannot stress this enough! This day is all about your love for each other. Focus on making your day unique to you, pick small details and style that are fitting to you. Want to wear a black dress? Go for it! Want to wear a flowing floral gown? Go for it! This is your day, be you! Keep it simple because the day is about your love! 

Tip #4 - Save Money! No one wants to spend a small fortune on one day. Typical city weddings cost upwards of $30,000 ::gasp:: Save that money for your honeymoon, a down payment on a house etc...

Tip #5 - You get to Travel! Who doesn't love to travel? Follow your heart and elope somewhere you have always wanted to go. Turn your wedding day into an epic adventure! 

 

Cliffs of Moher- Ireland

Cliffs of Moher- Ireland

How to hire a wedding photographer?

Hello there lovelies!

I thought it would be helpful to write a few tips on how to hire a wedding photographer.

Tip #1-

Forget all of those lists you see on Pinterest- while those can be helpful they are a bit stale. Remember that you are hiring an actual human being and not a robot. Experienced photographers aren't going to need said "list"- they know to capture the first kiss, the first dance, the cake cutting etc.. all those good moments they are already going to be prepared to capture for you. So trust your photographer- you are hiring them for their expertise in the field. If you have any special traditions or ceremonies definitely mention this to your photographer so that they are prepared.

Tip #2-

Make sure to get to know your photographer and that you like their personality, you are going to be spending at least 8-10 hours with them on your special day and you want to make sure that your personalities mesh, you don't want any unnecessary tension on your big day. If you don't like who they are as a person, chances are you aren't going to like the images they give you- even if they are technically solid.

Tip #3-

Make sure their portfolio of work is reflective of your style. If the photographer produces light and airy pastel looking images but you prefer darker moody looking images, then it is not a fit. The photographer is only going to produce work in their style that is reflectively shown in their portfolio.

Stay tuned for more helpful tips in my next blog post!

 

 

 

Photo by OrianaPhotography.com

Photo by OrianaPhotography.com

Baby M- Lifestyle family session

Baby M is the newest member of the McCarthy-Kelleher family.

She's a super teeny tiny adorable peanut. One of the prettiest babies I have ever seen. (I'm not biased or anything she really is a super pretty baby).

Once the baby was born we setup a date after everyone had settled in and adjusted to the new schedule. Jessica advised me that 11am was a good time for baby M so we made it happen this past weekend. I spent about an hour with them, documenting some of their normal routine and making magical images while doing so.

I love lifestyle sessions so much because everyone is comfortable because they are in their own environment. I love making the everyday "normal" into something magical.

Check out the adorable results!

Becky & Bruno- Couples Session

I went to LA last month and got a chance to hang out with/collaborate with and photograph my friend Becky and her boyfriend Bruno.

Becky is an amazingly talented stylist and Bruno is a writer. I love when artists combine to form one super creative force of nature couple.

Becky is currently working on a personal project of creating new Tiki cocktails that she styles and eventually will put them into a book. I was fortunate enough to collaborate with her on this and capture of a few of the cocktail stylings. (I'll show you some of that work in a separate post).

After we were done with Tiki styling we had some time to do a mini couples session.

I had them hang out on the couch and snuggle, relax and talk to each other. I love capturing couples in their natural element and capturing all the real smiles and feelings. Oh and it doesn't hurt that they have cats who wanted to partake in the session as well. LOVE!!

 

Alex & Chris' Garfield Park Conservatory Engagement Session!

Alex and I went to high school together so I was absolutely thrilled when she reached out for me to capture her engagement photos! I love getting back in touch with old friends. We had a few ideas going back and forth on the perfect spot, originally we had planned on visiting Brookfield Zoo and an Arcade nearby, both places are special to her and Chris but Chicago weather had other plans for us. The weather forecast was looking ominous at a balmy negative 15 degrees so I decided that it was best to swap locations and head to the tropical world of the Garfield Park Conservatory. What a difference in temperature, the inside of the Conservatory was about 100 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. I was actually sweating during the shoot! We had a great time and created some really stunning images. The love between these two is so apparent, it gives me all the mushy feels. Below is a little sampling of our super fun session!

Are you nervous about Boudoir?

Hello friends, 

I know that the thought of booking a Boudoir Session can bring about some nervous feelings in some but never fear I am here to calm your fears and ensure that we bring out that inner beauty.  Boudoir sessions are super empowering enabling you to be your sexiest most confident self. Prior to the session we discuss what outfit options work best for you, you can be as daring or as subtle as you like with your outfits. I am here to be your guide in what outfits (or lack there of)  are most flattering. I will also be your posing guru ensuring that your best "sides" are captured. When booking a session you also have the option to pamper yourself by choosing to have your hair and makeup done think of it like a spa day, nice and relaxing. If spa days aren't your thing you have the option to do your own makeup/hair, you can be as glammed up or natural as you wish to be, it's all about what makes you comfortable. This day is for you! So sit back and enjoy a specialty made cocktail (I'm also a pretty good bartender)  and let me bring out your beauty!