family

park hopping with a toddler {fall lifestyle session} | rockford il family photographer

what i've realized over the last few years of doing family sessions with young children is that you can never plan on things going a certain way. you have to go with the flow and flex with the youngsters. and if a nap is cut short to make it to photos, the camera may not be your little ones best friend ;) Regardless of whether the kids are feeling photos or not, we're going to make memories and capture the trueness of who they are.

while this 2 year old wasn't sure taking pictures was on the agenda for the evening (maybe because he missed out on truck-or-treat), we still had fun creating a lifestyle session that reflects what little boys want to do more than anything else - PLAY! We started off a Rockford Arboretum, and then mom and dad suggested we head over to a neighboring park, which was their toddler's favorite park to play at.  the setting sun held out just long enough for us to get some shots of him in action at his familiar turf. 

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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3 little boys {and newborn baby brother} | chicago il family photographer

I briefly met this family one afternoon at the park. Mom was just a day or two from her due date with baby number four. They were about to have four children under the age of five, wow! As I watched her three boys play, I couldn't help but think what an adorable family they would be to photograph. Fast forward a month or so later, and who connects with me?! This family, now with FOUR boys! we hadn't been formally introduced at the park the month before, so I was excited our paths happened to cross again (thanks to a client who referred them to me).

I'm always amazed by families with 4 or more children. Mom's comment to this was, "It's just our new normal...and soon we will wonder how we ever lived without him." Isn't that such a wonderful way to look at mothering and raising a family? Just look at how beautiful the blessing of children is....

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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fall photos at Rockford Arboretum {family of 4} | northern Illinois photographer

This fall I've been photographing so many re-peat families (simply the best!), and this family is one of them. I'm always amazed at how much children grow with each year. When I arrived at the arboretum for our session, the kids were already out playing on a big rock, which ensued grass-stained knees and big smiles. Some of the candid action shots we captured of the kids are my favorite! We also had weather in the 70's (whaaat?!); it was such an enjoyable night. 

Louisa Nickel is a maternity, newborn, baby, and family photographer, serving Rockford, IL and Chicago suburbs. 

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glowing sunset session at Baumann Park {family of 3} | Schaumburg, IL baby photographer

This is SUCH a sweet family. It had been over a year since I had seen them, and it was great to reconnect and see how much their son had grown. He is one of the warmest, happiest two-year-olds I have photographed. We were at Baumann Park in Cherry Valley at sunset, and the sun was pouring through the trees and tall grasses (I was doing a happy dance in my head at how beautiful it was). It's always special when I get to do a shoot into the setting sun, and can't get enough of the glow in their images :)

Louisa Nickel is a maternity, newborn, baby, and family photographer, serving Rockford, IL and Chicago suburbs. 

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handsome birthday boy turns 1 year old | Roscoe, Illinois baby photographer

It's been fun to watch this little man grow over this last year; he's starting to look more "toddler" and less "baby" every time I see him!  We headed over to his neighbor's yard for his photos, which gave the rustic, vintage feel that I love. And then add his sparkling blue eyes and you have a 1 year session that's as perfect as it gets.

We finished up indoors with a cake smash. His mom made a cake (go, mama!), and had a cute bow tie to compliment those baby blues and chubby rolls. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking...

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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picture perfect family of 5 | Naperville, IL photographer

I'm googly eyes over the images we created at this family's session. The early evening lighting was perfection, the warm fall colors were coming to life in the trees, and this family nailed it with their wardrobe choice...it all photographed SO insanely well. My friend and fellow photographer, from Amy Hippard Photography, assisted me for this session. As it usually goes when you have a 2 or 3 year old in the mix, you never know what to expect when it comes time for family pictures. So having an extra hand to make faces behind the camera (or wave a wooden spoon with a ribbon tied around it, lol), is the ticket for grabbing little ones' attention when you need it. Amy's assistance also helped speed up my post processing (I didn't have to do any composites/"head swaps" from one image to another, which can be typical for family sessions with little ones). Thanks to Amy for being silly behind the camera, AND to the Johnson family for being so darn adorable ;)

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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fall afternoon at Rockford Arboretum | Elgin, IL family photographer

This cute family always sits in front of us at church (we're usually late and sit towards the back). I remember when their baby girl was born. I was pregnant at the time with my daughter, and I loved watching her mom hold her during the service. If I can be honest, when we found out we were having a girl, I wasn't sure if I'd know how to switch to "girl" after already loving all that is "boy" of my first born son. But as I watched the way this mama looked at and loved her daughter, my excitement for having a girl started to grow. And now it seems silly that I used to even wonder how I'd raise a girl, because I couldn't imagine my world without her. So it was special to be able to photograph this family, since watching their baby helped me open up to the precious gift God had given me with expecting a girl.  

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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autumn in the lane | Byron, Illinois family photographer

I loved seeing this family again! It's always such a compliment to have clients continue to book sessions with you again, and so fun to watch their kids grow each year. Mr-two-year-old wasn't sure taking pictures was on his to-do list, but what little boy (or girl) does?! His sweet spot was throwing rocks and pulling the wagon, attaboy!  His older sister warmed up to the camera quickly; she's such a doll to photograph. 

I found an old red wagon out in the garden garage at our house, and I'm not sure where it's been all my photography life!? I've only had one other photo shoot where the mom brought a wagon for her girls (it was adorable), and I'm so tickled to now have one of my own to use for future sessions. While I'm not much for props, it's the perfect addition for families and kids. So you'll be seeing more of this cute wagon going forward ;)

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving Northern Illinois and Chicago suburbs. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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play at the river video {Baumann Park} | Cherry Valley, IL photographer

We've spent a lot of time outside as a family this summer, but some of these hot days are so stinkin' HOT the only way to keep everyone happy is in the water! The kids are always game to get wet, so we've made many trips to the river. The lack of rain we've had makes playing in the water a whole bunch of fun with how shallow it's been. I took some video to document their joy (and I promise, I don't encourage my kids to drink the water, and they sneak in sips without permission, ha)!

make great videos, easily, with Animoto :) 

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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morning sunshine at the arboretum {adorable family session} | Rockford, IL photographer

It was another hot day, with a beautiful family to photograph. I immediately connected with this happy family and their warm hearts for their cute baby girl and foster son. They were so lovely to spend time with, and it was sweet to see their little girl at such a fun stage of sitting up and eager to crawl. Their son was so helpful with getting the baby's attention when we were taking photos of just the three of them, and he was such an attentive big brother. 

We went to the Rockford Arboretum, a place that I had never photographed at before, but a meaningful location to them. It's where they had engagement, wedding, and maternity photos taken, and so it was special that we could capture them as a family here as well. I'll be adding this spot on my list of places to go for future sessions. 

Additionally, I've be interested in offering "moving portraits" of my clients, where I take a slow motion candid video during the session. Come to find out, this couple does videography, so I was a bit embarrassed to try out my amateur skills in front of them. But they were sweet to understand my newness to it all, and we ended up with a fun little clip of them. 

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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family of 3 {summer in the pasture} | Northern Illinois photographer

At least once a year we spend some time in Nebraska with my husband's side of the family. Our last couple of visits, I've been able to take photos for the Mike and Cheree, first for maternity, and then with their adorable baby boy, Cannen. Those photo sessions couldn't have been more opposite with weather. It was miserably cold for maternity photos, but with the a beautiful dusting of snow outside, we got a stunning winter maternity portrait of Cheree. In contrast, it was a bright, hot morning for family photos. We headed out to my sister-in-law's pasture and found some shade with some dappled light. Cannen was a good sport being woken from his nap in the car to take pictures. He's such a sturdy guy with bright eyes, and I think he's going to grow up to look at lot like his dad! Congrats on your handsome boy, Mike and Cheree!

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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baby Lars turns one {sunset at a mile high} | Illinois family photographer

I have been looking forward to our vacation to Colorado for SOOO long. It's the first time we've been back as a family since we moved to Illinois a couple years ago. My sister and brother-in-law are still in Colorado, and I miss them like crazy. They have since had the cutest little dude named Lars. It's no surprise that a family photo sesh was a must during our visit for Lars' first birthday. 

Amy has been building her photography portfolio (you can find her on Instagram HERE), and it's been really fun as sisters to chat photography and see her grow behind the camera. She let me photograph their family session using her Nikon D7100 and 85mm f/1.8. It was a fun experience using a different camera body and lens than what I'm used to, and I kinda fell in love with her 85mm. Happy 1st Birthday, Lars-burger!

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

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exist in photos {mother-daughter} | Northern Illinois family photographer

Exist in photos with your children:

This is one of the greatest realizations I have come to this past year as a mother and artist. There are two pictures that I look back at again and again with my first born, Harvey. They are both of me holding him, one the day after his birth, and the other just days before the birth of my daughter. I started to think about what it is that makes them so special. To anyone else, they may be just another photo, but to me, they mean the world. Why? Because I'm IN them, and the emotion that's attached to those images brings me right back to the glory of that moment every time I see them.

The art and teaching of Sue Bryce has helped me grasp just how important it is for mothers to be photographed with their children. Sue is a internationally renowned portrait photographer and teacher who empowers women and shows them just how beautiful they are through her portraiture. After taking one of her courses, "Bumps to Babies: Photographing Motherhood," I was inspired to do more with photographing motherhood. I challenged myself to take more pictures of me with my children. While most of these images are mommy-and-me selfies that find their way to my Instagram feed, it's allowed me to find beauty in the everyday moments of motherhood.

To the moms that may be reading this - when you look through childhood albums and you come across a picture of your mom (or dad), what's your reaction? I know mine is, "That's my MOM!" and there's a sense of pride and joy, seeing her part of the childhood memories that I'm so fond of. So, I want to inspire moms to exist in photos not only for yourself, but for your children too, because YOU are their pride and joy. 

The following images are a gift to my daughter June for her first birthday. A big thank you to my husband for taking these photos and helping bring to life what I envisioned in my dreams. These portraits will be close to my heart for always. Thank you, Stu. 

Louisa Nickel is a Rockford, IL photographer, serving the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin areas. She specializes in maternity, newborn, baby, children, and family photography. 

Connect with me HERE!