Engelhardt Photography: Blog http://www.engphoto.com/blog en-us Engelhardt Photography 2018 engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) Wed, 25 Apr 2018 01:12:00 GMT Wed, 25 Apr 2018 01:12:00 GMT http://www.engphoto.com/img/s/v-5/u258637142-o1011962666-50.jpg Engelhardt Photography: Blog http://www.engphoto.com/blog 80 120 Celebrate Mom! http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2018/4/celebrate-mom I'm slowly getting back in the photography game after a long break with my pregnancy and having a new little one at home! I'm excited to be partnering with Fit4Mom to celebrate moms this Spring! If you haven't heard of them, they are an amazing group of women committed to helping mama's like you and me to have healthy bodies and healthy lives!


fit4mom sessions

Here's a link to the event!  Hope to see you there!   

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) downers grove photographer mini session westmont photographer http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2018/4/celebrate-mom Wed, 25 Apr 2018 01:09:46 GMT
On Why I Have Been Missing http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2017/9/on-why-i-have-been-missing It's seems it has been quite some time since I last wrote anything down.  Practically a year.  I could make many excuses  give you all the reasons, but the really important one arrived earth side near the end of August.  The newest member of the team Engelhardt couldn't be any sweeter if he tried and we are so in love. 


Big sister wants to snuggle all the time. She is so in love!


My pregnancy was pretty awful, to put it mildly.  I suffered from lots of nausea and intense anxiety.  I'm so thankful for my family and the tribe of amazing friends who are family that surrounded us during this time.  It was hard for me and my family suffered as well.  My other two kiddos watched so much tv they were sick of it, my husband worked and came home and took care of all of us while I spent lots of time in bed.  I decided it was best to take a break from one of the things I enjoy most because, well, because I seriously couldn't get out of bed.  As my pregnancy got near the end, I was able to pick up my camera again for a few small sessions, but in general it went unused for most of 9 months. 

To say we are thankful that baby is here is an understatement.  I am so much better not pregnant and I think my whole family would agree.  Along with that, I'm stoked to finally pick up a camera again!  Most of these images are quick shots I managed to grab in between feedings and sleeping and taking care of all the things- but some sweet times need to be documented and these are just a few. 


*photo cred to my 5 year old on this one :)

I'm anxious to get back in the photography game, but am taking lots of time to cherish these moments with our sweet boy.  Welcome to the world little man- we love you!  

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2017/9/on-why-i-have-been-missing Tue, 26 Sep 2017 19:38:22 GMT
Creative Juices Stopped Flowing? What to do When you don't know What to do. http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/10/creative-juices-stopped-flowing-what-to-do-when-you-dont-know-what-to-do What do you do when you aren’t feeling creative?  Sometimes I’ve been working on a project for so long, I just totally lose interest- like I don’t even like anything I’m creating anymore.  Quitting isn’t an option, so what do you do to refresh and get back on track?  Here, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite go-to’s when I’m feeling dry.


1) Talk with a fellow creative and ask for encouragement.

In today’s world, we are all supposed to be self-sufficient and independent (especially if you are a woman).  Guess what- I’m going to let you in on a secret?  That’s bulls=&*.  We are human beings created to be with one another- to learn from one another and to care for one another.   In reference to the world, we are in the minority when it comes to not being a communal culture.  What am I saying?  Go ask for help for goodness sake.  When I’m feeling discouraged, I pick up the phone and shoot a text to one of my fellow photographers and ask for encouragement, advice, and constructive criticism.  Without fail I feel better after talking with her.  Truly.  Try it- I dare you. 

2) Step away from the computer. (or canvas or whatever medium you use to create)

Go grab a latte or a steaming hot cup of tea and take a minute (or 5 hours) to clear your head.  Read a good book or take a long shower: all things that help me immensely. 

3) Browse Pinterest.

While it can be our arch-nemesis, sometimes looking at Pinterest and into someone else’s creativity can re-spark your own.  Looking at image after image of what other people have done can be really helpful- just don’t let it be a discouragement.  Whoever posted that perfect looking living room with matching décor probably took half a year to decide what they wanted and then another half a year to re-decide what they wanted- then they cleaned the house and snapped a photo and then it was clean for another .2 seconds before their 2 year old threw Cheerios everywhere- I promise. 


These are just a few things that I try to do when I need a little creative pick me up.  Do you have anything that helps you?  Feel free to leave your comments below and we can all help a fellow-creative out!  Now, go get that latte and call someone!

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) creativity encouragement http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/10/creative-juices-stopped-flowing-what-to-do-when-you-dont-know-what-to-do Fri, 28 Oct 2016 18:35:02 GMT
Don't Quit Your Day Job http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/dont-quit-your-day-job I’ve been milling around this idea in my head for quite some time and I’m finally able to put some pen to paper , keyboard to computer.  I often wonder about my business and want to know if it’s even worth it.  Will I ever succeed?  What does success even look like?  What can I be doing better?  Questions one and two are directly related to number 3.  As creatives and creative entrepreneurs, it’s easy to get caught up in it all and want to quit your day job, pursue your passion, and make tons of money. 

Who of you knows a creative that makes tons of money right away?  Yeah, me neither. 

ANYWAY, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and reaching out to some of my family (namely my awesome sister co-founder and co-owner of Ju-Ju-Be Diaper Bags)

and friends and have come up with a few tips on “what I can (and you too) be doing better.”  We’re calling this entry “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” and wouldn’t you know it- that’s tip number 1.


  1. Don’t Quit Your Day Job:  Ever heard of that little ol’ book, “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert?  Yeah, she finally quit her multiple other jobs after this book hit number one on the New York Times Best Seller List.  Her book “Big Magic” is an awesome resource and you should be reading it if you aren’t already.  She says this to creatives, : “I also advise against the goal of having your artistic work support your life, financially. Of course this is the dream of dreams—to make a living by your art—but it is a rare thing, when that works out.”  
  2. Dont forget about yourself or your family.  Hard work is great, but if you don't take care of yourself, everyone suffers.  
  3. Work Environment Is King:  Make sure to balance hard work and fun.  It makes everyone in your business happier and healthier and is great for team bonding.  If you don't have a team this is still important.  Read a solid fiction novel once a month (see number 5 for a good one), get lots of exercise, and make your work space a nice place to be in- since you are there a lot.    
  4. Network,Network, Network:  Get to know people, even if it makes you feel uncomfortable.  You may get to talking and find out you have just the skills they are looking for- or maybe even they for you.  You might even find a mentor or seasoned creative who can encourage you to keep going, to keep pursuing your passion. 
  5. Show Up:  Keep practicing.  Keep learning.  Sign up for that online class or check out a new book from the library  If you are a writer, write; a painter paint; a photographer, get out there and shoot something new!  You can’t get any better if you don’t keep trying.  Here’s a great blog post you can read about showing up written by my friend Jackie Lea Sommers, author of “Truest”: https://jackieleasommers.com/2014/06/04/butt-in-seat-why-showing-up-works/


Inspired yet?  I hope so.  Don’t ever stop being a creative and keep on keeping on.  You are doing great work and encouraging others to do the same!    

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/dont-quit-your-day-job Thu, 29 Sep 2016 16:00:27 GMT
Perks of Administrating http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/perks-of-administrating I mentioned in my previous post that I work as an Administrative Assistant Ninja for Joshua Lance CPA, LLC.  One of the perks of being a photographer and an Admin Ninja is that I get to pick the images that people see of us on our website.  And by pick, I mean capture the images myself and make sure they are up to my standard of liking.  That is what I call #winning.  Here are a few shots of my lovely co-workers.  Oh and shameless plug, if you need an awesome firm to take care of all your accounting and tax needs, check us out!


It's so fun working with these people.  We are all so different and that's one thing that makes our firm super unique.  I like to tease them that they are all nerds but really, we are all nerds, we just geek out about different things.  Somehow I have decided my nerdiness isn't as much since I like cool things like font and color scheme :)  I couldn't really ask for better co-workers!  Thanks guys for being so fun and awesome (even if you are all accountants ;))

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/perks-of-administrating Fri, 16 Sep 2016 18:33:36 GMT
T-shirts and Calculators http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/t-shirts-and-calculators     



When I'm not doing mom/wife things and I'm not out taking your family photos, you can usually find me doing one of three things,

reading a book,

watching my current favorite show (Suits),

or working for Joshua Lance, CPA LLC.


JLCPA is a cloud based accounting firm that provides accounting and tax services to businesses and individuals- primarily focused on tech centric companies, start-ups and craft breweries.  While I know next to nothing about accounting, I can administrate things quite well.  I super geek out about having things organized and making things look awesome.  My latest endeavor has been to re-brand our blog- enter T-shirts and Calculators.   You can read our launch blog here  , written by yours truly! 

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/t-shirts-and-calculators Wed, 14 Sep 2016 19:36:11 GMT
Booking Fall Mini-Sessions! http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/booking-fall-mini-sessions

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) family photo session family photographer westmont family photographer http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/9/booking-fall-mini-sessions Sun, 11 Sep 2016 20:43:49 GMT
Summer Engagement Session with April and Rex- Lemont, Illinois http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/7/summer-engagement-session Have you ever been to Lemont, IL?   Yeah, me neither.  Guess what?  It's the most rockin' little 'burb.  There are so many old, cool buildings with tons of character.  Truly a gem of a little town.  I arrived to my session early to scope things out and realized there would be no shortage of amazing places to capture my friend's April and Rex.  

Both of them really hate the camera, but we were able to capture some natural moments and after some time, they relaxed and just had fun.

These shoes are #winning.  "I think we are a Vans family.  Yep definitely a Vans family," says Rex.  

I can't wait to see what Vans they come up with for their wedding.  

For their first photo session ever, I'd say it was a major success.  Thanks friends, for allowing me to capture your right now.  I'm looking forward to an August wedding!  

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) engagement session, lemont, illinois, http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/7/summer-engagement-session Wed, 20 Jul 2016 23:30:00 GMT
Light Sabers and Baseball: Family Session, Hummer Park, Downers Grove, IL http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/7/light-sabers-and-baseball-family-session-hummer-park-downers-grove-il Summer is so crazy.  Kids out of school, photo sessions and working my other job has gotten me way backed up in the area of sharing all the awesome images I've been capturing.  No excuses, I know, I know.  I'm all about the hustle- but for reals, keeping up on things during the school year is so much easier.  Anyway, enough of this.  

I got to spend an hour long session with these awesome folks and their rockin' kiddos!

Usually I give my clients a questionnaire before our session, just to get to know them a little better and cast a vision for their time with me.  When I asked for the three words that describe them as a family, the number one word was "fun."  And they were SO. MUCH. FUN.  

Though shy at first, the eldest opened up after he realized he mostly just got to use lightsabers and play baseball.  Come on?  Best photo session ever in the eyes of a young boy right?  

The family baseball game was my favorite time of the session.  With both boys having played all day long in the heat, I wasn't sure if they would be up for yet another game, but they certainly were.  Even mom got in on the action!  

We ended our time together with a few quick shots in the field and a little time on the playground.  

Martinez Fam- you rocked it!  Thanks for a fun session!


engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) baseball downers grove illinois family photo session hummer park light saber http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/7/light-sabers-and-baseball-family-session-hummer-park-downers-grove-il Thu, 14 Jul 2016 00:00:38 GMT
Lots of Lemons: The Day Generosity Filled My Soul http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/6/lots-of-lemons-the-day-generosity-filled-my-soul The US of A has been under a whole lot of turmoil lately.  No one can agree on anything and everybody is mad at somebody.  

But that's not what this post is about.

Last week, I was witness to a goodness in humanity that is often more scarce than I care to admit.  My dear friend and fellow photographer Roxanne Engstrom helped empower our young ones to do something that matters.  What started for my children and I as a moment to support their cause, turned into us being drawn in- to be more than just supporters, but participants.  

The kids and their friends set-up a lemonade stand to raise money for World Relief Dupage/Aurora.  These children, no matter the age, were passionate about helping out.  





























Sweet Annikah set up her hand-made jewelry shop, Miss Swapna provided henna art, and the whole lot of them whooped and hollered, poured lemonade, and welcomed/thanked people for their generous donations.  

It is amazing to me how young a child can be and still understand that there are people who are in desperate need of help, and that they can take part in helping relieve even the tiniest of burdens.  These children are innovative and intelligent and we, as adults, have much to learn.











You know what happened?  People showed up.

Here is the blurb from Rox's Facebook page:

"If you need to remember just how kind & generous friends & strangers are I highly suggest having a lemonade stand. These kids were out in the heat today from 10am-4:30pm and they raised $178.64 for World Relief Dupage/Aurora!!! Friends stopped by and brought donuts, iced coffee (hallelujah), paid way too much for lemonade and jewelry, & supported our kids. Strangers stopped and donated & cheered us on, friends from college days came by, friends brought rice to donate to newly arriving refugee families, & we are all hoarse from screaming at cars. We are sweaty & sunkissed. It was a good day because we have such good people and we are grateful."

I am thankful to be a part of this tribe: that encourages me to think outside the box, step out of my comfort zone, and have compassion on those who are in need- we are all in need of that really.  I'm thankful that they invite my children in, encourage them to participate, and to spark their imaginations for what could be, what they could do to help.  My hope is that as each of these children grow, they will always remember these moments and that in their own, unique ways, they will continue to reach out to those in need- seeking to help the lost and the lonely, caring for the stranger and the poor.    



engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) World Relief Dupage lemonade stand http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/6/lots-of-lemons-the-day-generosity-filled-my-soul Mon, 20 Jun 2016 02:29:43 GMT
Father's Day Session- FIT4MOM Stroller Strides, Elmhurst, IL http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/6/fathers-day-session--fit4mom-stroller-strides-elmhurst-il It's summer ya'll.  And you know what that means- it's hot.  And school it out.  We've had crazy hot temperatures- and usually all I want to do is be in the kiddie pool sipping lemonade  margaritas.  ALAS, the days go on and while I do have to spend more time with my offspring (just kidding I love them, but seriously yo, there's a reason people send their kids to year round school)- I also get to go on some pretty great photo shoots.  Most recently, I headed up to Elmhurst College to meet some of the wonderful mamas who participate in the FIT4MOM Stroller Strides class.  If you haven't heard of it, you can check it out here.  These ladies braved the heat to work their tails off, all in the name of staying healthy while taking care of their sweet little ones.  Post workout, the little stroller riders got their time in front of the camera.  It was such a blast and I hope to do it again soon!  Thanks FIT4MOM for choosing Engelhardt Photography!!!



engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/6/fathers-day-session--fit4mom-stroller-strides-elmhurst-il Fri, 17 Jun 2016 02:21:28 GMT
#singingspring http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/5/-singingspring I know, I know, enough with the spring blogging.  But seriously peeps-

It’s finally and officially spring.  The trees are flowering and buds are budding.  I even planted my garden this week.  Needless to say, I am one happy camper. 

The only thing I could wish for more of at this point is the sunshine.  Obviously this is a major #firstworldproblem, so I’m not going to dwell on that. 

With spring comes people thinking about booking summer and fall photo shoots.  I’m so stoked to say that I have 3 weddings on the books for this year.  It should be a lovely end of summer and fall.

My all time favorite part of spring though is definitely the flowers.  Flowers on trees, springing up out of the ground, showing up in the local grocery stores and Home Depot!  Everything is singing spring! 

Also, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love even the dandelions.  Yes they are weeds, but they are bright yellow and full of wishes.  Remember being a kid and blowing the little seedlings off like your life depended on it?  I never thought, “Oh geesh, I’m just spreading more weeds.”  Nope, I was totally spreading wishes.  I see this in my own little ones now.  Walking to school with my almost four year old and he is trying to pick the biggest and best for his mama and his teacher too.  Most mama hearts would agree that there isn’t much sweeter than your little one handing you a bouquet of “flowers-“ handpicked with more love than we know.  I know sometimes it’s hard to realize what these weeds represent.  Look in the eyes of the kiddo giving them to you-it won’t be very hard afterwards. 

It’s spring ya’ll.  Let’s spend less time worrying about the sun and more time being thankful for the little weeds- even I can see them as flowers if I try.  

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/5/-singingspring Sat, 14 May 2016 17:22:06 GMT
Spring Engagement Session in Westmont IL- Lyman Woods http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/spring-engagement-session-in-westmont-il--lyman-woods ‚Äč"Well this is sort of a 'sold the motorcycle to get the ring' type of story," she said.  This is all I needed to hear to know that I would have fun with this session!  

Amy is the sister of one of my dear friends, Leesa.  Much like my friend Leesa, Amy is outspoken and high energy while her counterpart Tami is quiet and calm.  Though let's be clear, Tami is the one who sold her motorcycle (it's always the quiet one's you have to watch out for.)  Just kidding Tami! 

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful morning.  While most of their dates and trips have been filled with rain, this morning the sun was bright and the breeze was warm. 
This session was filled with so much laughter and joy.  We shared some good stories, though I did leave out the one where my daughter almost peed on a snake in the forest preserve- mostly because Miss Amy may or may not be terrified of the slithering sorts.  

                       I'm so thankful I was able to capture these images and for being a part of this special moment for these two.  Thanks Amy and Tami!
engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/spring-engagement-session-in-westmont-il--lyman-woods Mon, 25 Apr 2016 18:04:14 GMT
A Twist of Irony- On Why I Might Change My Mind http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/a-twist-of-irony--on-why-i-might-change-my-mind I’ve been out of touch in the blogosphere for a couple weeks.  It’s been so nice outside it has really taken everything within me to sit down at my computer.  Finally spring is here, real spring.  Anyway, back in March, when it was still snowing, I had this wedding gig.  You may remember my previous posts here and here.  Yet in a twist of irony, I might totally change my opinion.  A lot of this comes from the feedback I am receiving.  Clients are happy with their images, delighted with their images.  Clients are contacting me and asking if I will shoot their weddings.  This, to me, says I might actually have a shot (pun-intended) at something like this.  Second shooter is still my fav because I get to capture what I like, but I’m finding that more and more people actually prefer those candid images to the traditional posed images.   The jury is still out on all of this, but I am open to giving clients what they want- maybe that’s what I have to offer. 

Back to the wedding gig- the lovely bride (who happens to be my step-sister) and her new husband finally had a chance to check out my images.  So for you, my dear friends, I will share a few more of my favorites from this special day.   We started off the morning with some yummy Caribou Coffee (thank you Minnesota) and hair/make-up.  For someone who barely wears anything, it was a stretch for this bride to put on that gorgeous red lipstick.  Eat your heart out T-swift.  

While we waited for the groom and kiddos to arrive (they were driving through some major snow situations), I took the opportunity to capture some of the details of the day.


The snow was good to us.  These images turned out so fantastic!  Also, I highly recommend shooting in a barrel room.  So gorgeous and fun!

And of course, how could I leave out my nieces and nephew.  Too much cute for one wedding.

As best man, my nephew received a pocket knife.  He so badly wanted to use it, but what good is a pocket knife in the middle of a snowstorm in Minnesota?  Solution- someone had to cut the cake.

All in all, the day was so lovely and fun!  Congrats to Kate and Michael and thanks again for allowing me to capture this special day!

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/a-twist-of-irony--on-why-i-might-change-my-mind Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:10:17 GMT
It's Spring- Well, Sort Of http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/its-spring--well-sort-of It’s spring!  Well, sort of.  Here in Westmont, we’ve had some strange weather the past week.  After some lovely mid-60s to 70s and a rainstorm, we transitioned from 70 degrees to snowing all in less than 24 hours.  We aren’t really sure if we should be unpacking the shorts, or keeping the winter accessories out at this point.

 Trying to take advantage of a less than ideal weather situation, my little buddy and I went outside and tried to do a little puddle splashing before it started raining snowing again.

A couple jumps in, he wasn’t so sure about getting dirty- but after explaining that this is what is supposed to happen when we jump in mud puddles- he went all out. 

I’m not sure if our neighbors thought I was being fun or just plain crazy- but I promise, I was super careful and watched for cars as I let my son jump on the side of the street.  Ha.  We had a blast and have a few fun images to show for it! 

Hopefully we have many more puddle jumping sessions and fewer snowball fights.  Happy winter/spring!



engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/4/its-spring--well-sort-of Tue, 05 Apr 2016 23:35:51 GMT
That One Time in Phoenix- Coffee, Beer, and Golf http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/that-time-in-phoenix--coffee-beer-and-golf It’s been a little crazy up-in-here.  When I’m not chasing my rascals, taking photographs for awesome families, or working at a local restaurant- I’m usually working for an accountant (shameless plug- if you still need your taxes hire Josh Lance- email me at Jamie@lancecpa.com for details) running the Westmont Arts Collective (another shameless plug)  or helping out with Holy Week at church (we go all out for this friends- I’m not talking your run of the mill Holy Week- for our little community we pretty much kill it)  J

Needless to say, I have my hands in a lot of different places right now- all of it good, but making for a bit too much crazy.  I digress.

Prior to all this craziness, my husband and I went on a much needed vacation to Phoenix , AZ.  Neither of us had ever been and both of us would go back- what a great city.  

We started off our first full day in Phoenix with a nice little hike right near our hotel.  It was so beautiful and unlike anything we are used to here in the Midwest.

After showering up, we headed out for a lovely day of sampling local coffee, beer, and cuisine.  #bestdayever

We then took in a couple days of the Phoenix Open (it’s the biggest party in golf- no really.)  But no cameras were allowed there so no pics my friends (except for a few iPhone photos J

On our final day, we spent the morning in downtown Phoenix.  Andy watched the tournament on his iPad and I walked around shooting for about 2 hours.   

*yes those canned food items were just randomly sitting in the middle of the sidewalk downtown

                                                                                             * water rock fist

It was so fun to capture the city, though no people really showed up until it was almost time for us to leave.  All in all it was a great trip!  Can’t wait to go back next year (hopefully).    


engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) Phoenix breweries coffee http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/that-time-in-phoenix--coffee-beer-and-golf Fri, 25 Mar 2016 01:16:57 GMT
Top 5 Tips for Making Your Family Photo Session a Smashing Success http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/top-5-tips-for-making-your-family-photo-session-a-smashing-success

  • Don’t stress.  Wait… don’t stop reading- I promise I’ll explain.  Let me preface this by saying, if you don’t already know- I have two little’s of my own (aged 5.5 and 3.5) and trust me I get it.  Kids are bonkers.  Also, they can always, always sense when you really, really want them to cooperate and usually- don’t cooperate.  It’s so hard to not stress because you just want the perfect family portrait.  You are paying good money and dammit, could these kids just cooperate for once?  Let me tell you a little secret- if you don’t stress, your kids won’t either.  They will be much more relaxed and willing to interact with me, the photographer, if they know mom and/or dad are chill.  Which leads me to my next tip…
  • Stop telling your kid to smile- that’s my job not yours.  If I need your help I’ll ask.  Your job, lovely parent, is to love your kids and make them feel comfortable- tickle them, make them giggle, and help them feel like they are the most awesome kids in the world.  I’ll crack some jokes- maybe get a little crazy dancing around (don’t judge) and I would be willing to bet that I can get at least one genuine smile from your kiddo. 

Here’s a scenario I run into ALL THE TIME.  We are mid- family photo and your kid is smiling, but you don’t know it cause they are in your lap and you are through gritted teeth chanting, “Smile johnny- smile.”  You, my friend, are going to be the one that’s not smiling and probably not looking too.  So stop telling your kiddos to smile- I promise I’ll take care of it. 

  • Communicate what you are hoping for prior to our session.  If you’ve seen my website, you know what I’m about- you know my style.  I’m assuming that is the reason you choose Engelhardt Photography.  If not, I’m afraid you may be disappointed in your end product.  I won’t compromise my images and neither should you compromise what you want in a family photography session.

You will be provided with a brief questionnaire upon booking your photo session.  Take time to fill it out, answer truthfully and in detail.  This will help me better grasp you, your family, and what you are hoping for in the end images. 

  • Timing is everything.  Just a couple things to say here- please be on time for our session. This is my business and I run it like many other businesses with scheduled meetings- it just so happens that “business meetings” get to be clicking images of your awesome family (let’s be honest that pretty much rocks).  Barring any unforeseen natural disaster or emergency, I will be on time for our session- please value my time as much as I value yours.  One more word regarding time- when we book our session- please choose something that works best for your family (i.e. not during nap or meal time).  I want to give you the best images possible and making sure your kiddos are rested and fed is a must.  Let me reiterate- I have kids and I get it- they just won’t cooperate sometimes.  In my experience- kids who are fed and rested are much more likely to do so. 
  • Use bribery.   I will shamelessly offer your child a reward (read lollipop) if he/she does a good job at the photo session.  Feel free to use whatever form of bribery deemed necessary to get aforementioned killer images.        

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/top-5-tips-for-making-your-family-photo-session-a-smashing-success Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:14:30 GMT
As For Me http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/as-for-me Annnnnddd I’m back- seriously the few days after an all day gig I am just absolutely wiped.  My exact sentiments are usually, “I feel like I got hit by a truck.”   Shooting an event is so much different than a one -hour family session.  Adrenaline keeps me going all day, but the crash at the end of the day is intense.

The question I’m sure ya’ll are wondering after my last post- “Well, do you do weddings?”  As I suspected my answer is still, “No.  Well, at least not alone.”

This weekend was a lovely experience and honestly I’ve got some great images to prove it.  I am confident that my clients will be pleased with the end product.  I gave them what they wanted and more.  

However, after looking at everything, there are so many more images that I’d wished I had time to capture.

Enter in “I’m built to be a second shooter.” 

While I am confortable behind the camera, can direct my subjects on where they need to be and what they need to do, in a wedding scenario I really prefer to be the assistant.  I like capturing different angles, in-between candid’s, and the details.  Oh how I love the details.  I like the ability to help the primary shooter with positioning, fixing the dress, and all that jazz.  I’ve never loved being the main person in charge- I can and will do it when necessary, but I definitely function better in an ancillary role- reporting to and helping out the primary shooter.        

The moral of this story friends- do what you do and do it well.  Perform with excellence and deliver a quality product in which you take pride.  As for me, I’ll stick to being a second shooter thank you very much.       


PS: More images coming soon (aka when the bride and groom are back from the honeymoon)    

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/as-for-me Wed, 09 Mar 2016 01:28:04 GMT
Do You Do Weddings? http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/do-you-do-weddings As a photographer, I often get asked, “Do you do weddings?”  My short answer, “No.” 

My long answer: “No- well, maybe. I’ve been a second shooter.  It’s a lot of pressure for one person.”   Let me explain.

Let me just say right off the bat, wedding photographers are amazing. I’ve watched many of them in action, listened to podcasts, and seen countless training/YouTube sessions by one of the best in the industry (#jasminestar you are amazing!!!!)  For real though- if you have any interest in getting into the wedding scene, go check out her stuff www.jasminestar.com.  She will slay you.

As with most photographers, wedding photographers have to envision their product from start to finish and bring their “A” game.  However, one of the biggest differences is that they only get one shot (pun intended) with many of the key moments throughout the day.  Can you imagine if after the first kiss the photographer jumped up and said, “Oh man guys- my exposure was off- can you just do that one more time?”  Yeah, I’m gonna guess that wouldn’t go over so well.  Don’t get me wrong- there can be a fair number of curated shots- but during the ceremony, first dance, and cake cutting- there is only one chance to get it right.  For me- that’s a lot of pressure- probably too much pressure to ever commit to being anything more than a second shooter (which for the record, I enjoy so, so much).  I love getting the details, the candid in-between shots, and in general a more photo-journalistic story of the day.   Here are a few images from my most recent second shooter experience.


I was listening to a podcast where Jasmine Star was interviewed about her “secrets to success” aka how she promotes herself and her brand.   She said she started with a blog and people got interested in her story- so much so that they were more invested in her story than they cared about her images.  Of course, as she has grown her career and brand, her images are what we know today.  People who were along for the ride early on have seen her story progress as well as her skill.  Basically, she started with who she was- letting her images speak for who she was and who she wanted her brand to be- if people liked her, they often liked her images or even if they didn’t love every image, they were intrigued enough to stick with her.  Jasmine was okay with this.   She decided if a client didn’t like her they wouldn’t like her images and that was fine.  Makes sense- who wants to attract clients who don’t like you?  This whole marketing plan, to me, is brilliant.  My images should speak for themselves, for who I am, not for who I should be.  This is my goal: creating images for what they are not for what they should be. 


So guess what?  I’m shooting a wedding tomorrow.  Not as a second shooter.  Just me, my camera, and my plan of attack.  Stay tuned.                       


engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/3/do-you-do-weddings Thu, 03 Mar 2016 21:16:31 GMT
On Why I Choose Friendship Over Competition http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/2/on-why-i-choose-friendship-over-competition  

About a year and a half ago I was connected with another photographer who was moving to our neck of the suburbs.  I stalked her on Facebook (because anyone who is honest will admit they would do the same thing) and we ended up chatting a bit.  Also, anyone who is honest or maybe anyone who isn’t totally secure in their her own unique voice in the photography realm, would admit that a new photographer moving to town might create some anxiety- the dreaded competition.  At the time I didn’t know it, but this photographer would become one of my greatest cheerleaders, a photography mentor, and above all one of my dearest friends.  

Collaborative photo concept: my image take on her idea


Recently, we’ve had an instance of miscommunication.  Roxanne called me immediately and said, “Hey, I just need to know this isn’t what you meant to do.”  To which I was able to respond, confirming that I indeed did not intend to compete with her.  Out of that initial phone call came a great conversation.  We talked about our insecurities, how we would always go straight to one another if we felt even the slightest bit of competition, and how we would always choose friendship over client competition.

Collaborated photo concept: my image, her editing. * Collaborated photo concept: my image, her editing.


Here’s the moral of the story friends.  There are tons and tons of clients out there- plenty for everyone.  If people don’t like my style, that’s okay- maybe they will like Roxanne’s images or maybe some other great photographer out there in the Chicago-land area.   Life is too short to spend all my time comparing every image I create to everyone else.  I want to be for my fellow photographers.  We travel together on this journey- all with different ambitions, hopes, and goals.  We all have something to bring to the table- something that is uniquely our own.  At the end of the day, I’d rather have dear friends than more clients than I can handle- that’s why I will choose friendship over competition any day.   

engelhardtphotography@gmail.com (Engelhardt Photography) http://www.engphoto.com/blog/2016/2/on-why-i-choose-friendship-over-competition Tue, 01 Mar 2016 02:04:09 GMT