Blog post by Erika

It’s crazy to think about my life before nephews. I have four beautiful nephews (Wesley, Heath, Lukas, and Hayden) and our families couldn’t be more blessed! My life before they came into the world was pretty dull and boring, I have never had so much to look forward to and I didn’t realize it until after they stole such a huge chunk of my heart.


The newest addition to our family is Lukas Vincent. This little ham is about two months old, he looks just like his momma, and he is already starting to form a personality. It’s safe to say that time flies by quicker each day and I’m not happy about it! Lukas has started smiling and he laughed for the first time the other day! I know by the next time I see him, he will already have changed and grown in more ways than one. Each time I see him, he becomes more alert to his surroundings. He isn’t sleeping as much as he used to and that boy was able to sleep through ANYTHING. Cherishing every moment is so important at this age— before I know it, he’ll be running around with his brother and cousins not wanting to be held.

These little men bring such joy to my life and I can’t imagine living without them. Watching them grow has been so surreal and only displays God’s love and grace even more! They are literally growing like weeds and it amazes me how much each of them changes just within a week. I am extremely excited to watch these little boys grow into young men and to see what the future holds for them; but for now, I’m going to enjoy them being holy terrors and getting into EVERYTHING because I know the day they grow up will be here all too soon.

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Blog Post by Kayla

From the weddings Erika and I have photographed, we find ourselves ensuring we have our things of must haves packed before we leave to photograph a wedding – our “necessity kit”.  In this blog post, I wanted to focus primarily on our necessities that help make the wedding we’re photographing run as smoothly and stress-free as possible.  We of course have our camera bodies, lenses and flashes, and I’ll cover what our camera bags entail in another blog post, so stay tuned for that!

A Battery Bag: Our flashes require AA batteries.  To ensure we have plenty for the day, we purchase a large pack from Sam’s Club.  For easier transportation, we throw all of the new batteries in a medium-sized wrist bag.  We have found that carrying a wrist bag is much easier than lugging around the large package it comes in.  We’ve had some incidents prior to the wrist bag where we opened the pack to grab a few batteries and all of the 20+ batteries spilled all over the place.  The wrist bag we use was actually a free gift when I purchased a certain amount of items from a make-up store.  I’m almost positive, you can also find one of these bags at Target or Walmart.   

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Wedding Day Questionnaire: Several months before our client’s big day, we send them an online questionnaire to help us prepare a photography timeline.  One question we request is a list of the family combinations they want for family portraits.  We have found that having a list and being able to call family members by name has led to a more organized and quicker family portrait session.
Pen: I know this sounds very simple, but there have been times when we didn’t have a pen and we lost our “cool”. The pen comes in  handy when shooting several family combinations.  Some families are very large, which leads to several different portraits with the bride and groom.  To have the ability to mark off the combinations you have already completed will make a huge difference in staying organized.
Cell Phone:  Depending on the photography schedule, there are incidents when Erika and I had to separate (one capturing the bride’s preparation, while the other is taking formal portraits).  In this case, we may be in different locations, driving distances away.  When this occurs, it’s always nice to have our cell phones to update each other, as well as the family and wedding party on whether the bride or groom is on time or running a little behind schedule. Ensure to put your phone on silent prior to the ceremony:)
Bubba Mug:  This mug is a lifesaver on those really hot, humid days!  I think the Bubba Mug is more practical than a water bottle as it holds a large amount of water, has a handle and is well insulated.  I assure you, my water is still cold after 6 hours of work.
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Snacks: A must have! We usually throw a couple of granola bars and munchies in a bag for those weddings where we may not have a chance to eat lunch, or when there are several hours before the reception and we need a quick pick-me-up.
Sunscreen: I have very fair skin and burn easily; Erika on the other hand gets the most beautiful tans.  So, I always have to bring my sunscreen.
A Wrist Watch: It’s very important to stay on schedule with photographs.  If you’re late, you may push back the entire reception time and may make the guests wait longer than expected.  So, Erika wears a wrist watch to help keep us on schedule.
Lens hoods: We didn’t understand the importance of lens hoods until a short while ago.  Lens hoods act as a visor to help block the harsh sun light.
Reflectors: The reflectors we use are the Westcott 4 in 1 reflector and illuminator.  These come in handy if you are shooting your bride and groom under a tree and have “spotty light” from the sun peeking through the leaves.  We use our reflectors to block out the spotty light or sometimes use in the direct sunlight.
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White Sheet: We always have a white bed sheet in the back of our car in case of emergencies. I know you’re thinking, why on Earth would a white bed sheet be in their Necessity Kit?!  Well, it serves two purposes, the first is if the bride and groom ride in your car.  I lay the sheet on the seat cushion to prevent from the wedding dress getting dirty.  Secondly, we like to shoot some poses of the bride and groom either laying or sitting in the grass.  In case the grass is wet, we lay the sheet on the ground for the bride to sit on to also prevent from the dress getting dirty.
Money:  Some receptions may not have an open bar, so it’s nice to carry cash if you are in need of a caffeine boost throughout the night (for clarification – soda or tea only – we do not drink alcohol on the job).
Business Cards:  Business cards are a must!  Weddings are a great way to get potential clients.  Usually, guest’s from the wedding will approach you requesting your information.  Also, I always give my card to the DJ or entertainment.  I think it’s another way to expand your network by exchanging information.  You never know, a potential bride or groom may ask the DJ for a recommendation for photographers.
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Blog post by Erika

I wanted to write a short blog on Tyler and my engagement session and give you all another sneak peak of our pictures (because Kayla did such an awesome job on them!!!).  I also thought this would be a good opportunity to talk about our outfit choices and why we chose the colors we did. I know one of the first thoughts that ran through my head when I scheduled our photoshoot was, WHAT DO I WEAR!?! So for any couples out there with an engagement shoot approaching who may be struggling with this same question, this blog is for you!

On a side note, for anyone who may be wondering, we took our motorcycle pictures on a random country road outside Bloomington, IL and our formal pictures at Rosa Parks Commons on the Constitution Trail in Normal, IL.

We took a few pictures with Tyler’s motorcycle because, let’s be honest, it was his first true love before I came along—his pride and joy! We have talked about selling it because we don’t get the opportunity to ride it as much as we’d like to and I’m sure you can all relate to how quickly bills tend to add up. We wanted to get some pictures with it just in case selling it becomes a reality. It’s always good to bring something along to your engagement session that has sentimental value to the two of you or something that would just be fun to get pictures with! Kayla and I love when couples bring different props so don’t be afraid to bring something along whether it be your dog, a motorcycle, an old vintage car, etc.!

We had some fun with the motorcycle pictures! For our wardrobe, we stuck with good ole Harley shirts and kept the color scheme black and white. Our motorcycle pictures were meant to be more sexy and serious with a fun twist. We didn’t think too hard on our outfits for these pictures since they were more for fun than anything and since our Harley shirts were a given.


For our formal pictures, I decided to choose a color scheme that would pop! I chose nice bright colors that would stand out from our scenery but wouldn’t draw away from the beauty of it all. Blue is more of a subtle color but is somewhat drawn out, where as yellow gave that pop! I didn’t want Tyler and I to match so that’s why I chose to wear an accent color and then pull in his blue with my necklace and shoes so that we still “matched,” but not too terribly much. You tend to blend in with your scenery if you are both wearing the same colors. Since you are two different people, it is best to wear the clothes that best fit your personality so you are comfortable and confident in what you are wearing. Chunky jewelry is always a plus, but if you don’t feel like chunky jewelry is your “thing,” there are plenty of other ways to bring your personality out through your outfit (scarves, hair accessories, a simple diamond necklace, boots, high heels, brightly colored skinny jeans, etc.).


When planning your outfits for your engagement pictures just remember that these pictures are meant to show the chemistry between the two of you while having FUN! How many times in your life will you get the chance to have your own personal paparazzi!!? If you aren’t wearing something you feel confident in, then it’s hard to feel comfortable from the very beginning of your session and that can sometimes show through in your pictures. So loosen up, wear something you feel good in, and enjoy this time – the moment will be gone all too soon!

If you would like to view some more fun tips on what to wear for your engagement session, click here!

Now for some more pictures from Tyler and my engagement session! Enjoy!:)





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Blog Post by Kayla

What a romantic but fun engagement shoot! Aaron and Misty kept on saying how they aren’t photogenic, but by looking at the photographs, I’d say otherwise. Their props also made for some unforgettable photos, you’ll know what I’m referring to as you scroll through the pictures:) We went to Brimfield, IL to capture these lovely photos.


I can’t get over Misty’s eye color – so blue!

This was so much fun! Aaron is a police officer, so he brought along his handcuffs to include in some of the photos.


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