Chicago Portraits | The Cusicks

Chicago Children's Portraits by Kristin Serna

Recently I had the honor of photographing again a family who were among the first people to believe in me as a photographer. And more than that, I got to spend time in the presence of the playfulness, patience, and affection with and for each other that comes out when they are being photographed. 

Chicago Lifestyle Portraits by Kristin Serna, Photographer

As these sisters got older they, like anyone else, became more aware of the camera. Sometimes that means a little more nudging to pose less and let go more. Although in this case, the eldest has been throwing her own personal brand of modeling poses for years now. They are part of who she is and so I welcome it into the mix. 

Together they played and talked. We had silly moments and serious ones too. My favorite might have been when I asked them to tell each other their favorite thing about each sister. With no hesitation, they looked each other in the eye and piled on the love. 

Chicago Children's Portraits Photographed by Kristin Serna
Lifestyle Photography by Kristin Serna
Chicago Family Portrait by Kristin Serna

So sweet. So giggly. So cool to be able to document another stage in your lives. Thank you, Cusick Family. Hope you enjoyed this preview of your session. 

Modern Meets Vintage Intimate Wedding | Brittany + Forrest

Modern Meets Vintage Intimate Wedding | Brittany + Forrest

Have you ever stood in a place so filled with love you could feel it pouring off of everyone?

It's warm, happy, and cozy. Time slows down while simultaneously flying right by. 

And no, it wasn't the Texas heat making me loopy. Brittany and Forrest got married on an uncharacteristically rainy, sometimes chilly, sometimes humid summer day.  We had to call on our photo location back-up plans a few times but that couldn't put a damper on the love. It was everywhere. 

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Like That: Good Times with Makeup

Like That: Good Times with Makeup

Bright blue eyeshadow, bold red lipstick – this was the first makeup combo I ever wore. 

It wasn't by choice, but I didn't necessarily mind it either. In fact, I probably thought I made it look good. When you grow up studying dance and eventually theatre too, it means a few weeks or weekends of the year you go into performance mode and wear whatever makeup was assigned you.

Because of this, I never was one of those kids who runs to play in someone else's makeup when no one was looking. I never argued with my mom about when I could start wearing it or how much was too much. (Stage makeup is always too much makeup – at least for everyday wear.) 

When I started wearing makeup off-stage, I tried various brands before eventually being introduced to the Jane Iredale makeup line by my mother. It's hypoallergenic. It's dermatologist-tested. And in some ways (like sunscreen), it actually benefits your skin.

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Limited Edition Chicago Photo Prints

Limited Edition Chicago Photo Prints

Figuring out the best place to sell my travel and nature photography prints is easier said than done. So I'm in a trial phase. Right now I have a pop-up shop on Etsy – or rather, I guess  a digital pop-up since pop-ups are usually brick-and-mortar retail locations. Either way I thought I'd give the concept usually reserved for fashion a go.

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Chicagoland Engagement Session | Cheryl & Phil

Chicagoland Engagement Session | Cheryl & Phil

These two love spending time outside no matter the season. Walks, snowmobiling, fishing, cycling, boating, off-roading, motorcycle riding – they're pretty much up for anything. So before the last leaves fell off the trees we had a photo session outdoors incorporating some of the ways they love to spend time with each other.  

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Wedding Dress Color Inspiration

Wedding Dress Color Inspiration

We all know about the tradition of brides wearing white. It’s said that before 1840 brides used to wear colors and their dress was often one they would wear again and again. 

What happened in 1840? Queen Victoria got married. She wore white. Suddenly it was the trend. 

It’s not 1840 anymore. And I’m pretty sure Queen Victoria won’t come back to yell at you for doing what feels right for you. White was an uncommon color to choose for a wedding dress when she chose it, but she didn't care. 

There are cultural practices that can call for something beyond white too. Tradition doesn’t have to apply to what you wear though. Your wedding day is a celebration of you and the one you love. You should be comfortable. You should feel beautiful. You should feel free to show your own sense of style.

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Indoors vs Outdoors: The Photo Location Showdown

Trees. Grass. Sidewalks. Buildings. Outdoors has a lot going on. 
Couches. Your decorating style. The flowers sitting on your kitchen table. An at-home or indoor session definitely has things going for it too. 

But as I shared in “Choosing a Location for Your Photo Session”, the visuals in the background shouldn’t be your prime reason for choosing a spot. 

Here are some factors that make outdoor photo sessions great: 

Outdoor Portrait Session by Lifestyle Photographer, Kristin Serna

-GOLDEN HOUR:
You know that time not too long after the sun has come up or in the evening before sunset where the way the light touches everything makes it all look so warm? That’s Golden Hour. It’s one of the times I recommend for sessions and it’s best taken advantage of outdoors. That being said, there’s also magical light created by a cloudy day. 

Outdoor Portrait Session by Kristin Serna, Lifestyle Photographer

-FRESH AIR:
Ahhhh. A nice dose of fresh air can be so invigorating.  

-LOTS OF ROOM TO MOVE: 
Outdoor locations usually have plenty of space to move through. Running, skipping, twirling about – all good to go outdoors. 

-WEATHER SPONTANEITY: 
We can’t control the weather, but sometimes that works in our favor. A sudden gust of wind can change things up, beautifully blowing your hair away from your face or blowing it into your face and making you laugh. 

-SOMEPLACE SPECIAL:
The park you picnic in every once in a while, the citywalk from a date night, the beach you visit at least once every summer – these are places that might not be part of your everyday but they still have meaning to you. 


Benefits of indoor sessions include:

At-Home Portrait Session by Kristin Serna, Lifestyle Photographer

-WINDOW LIGHT:
There’s several technical reasons why window light can be beautiful. It can be soft or dramatic and it usually doesn’t shine directly into your eyes the way direct sunlight can.  All we need is at least one window (big is especially beneficial) getting a fair amount of light and we’re set. 

At-Home Couples Portrait Session by Kristin Serna, Lifestyle Photographer

-UNDER-CONTROL WEATHER:
Inside temperatures remain rather steady and if you’re at home you can even set it yourself. Is it raining or snowing? That’s ok. Precipitation doesn’t have much of an effect on an indoor session. 

-FOCUS:
There are usually less distractions at home than out in public. That can mean it’s easier to concentrate on the people you’re being photographed with. Your session can be as tranquil or as exuberant as you want to make it without outside influence. 

-PRIVACY:
At-home sessions tend to make for a quieter environment without chance of an audience. Hello, super comfy photo session. 

-YOUR EVERYDAY SPECIAL PLACE: 
It’s easy to do activities indoors during your session that are a part of your everyday life – cooking together, playing a game, reading, or even hanging out on the couch.  


So which is better? Indoor or outdoor? The truth is there are some really nice benefits to both types of photo session locations. 

There’s still a few weeks to choose whether your session is indoors or outdoors before we move to indoor-only mode for the winter. Head on over to the contact page to start planning your lifestyle portrait session. 

©2016 Kristin Serna. These words and photos are mine. Please do not republish without my permission.