Van Kampen Family | A Riverside Family Session in Fulton, Illinois

This former family of 4 was ecstatic to add their 5th and final member, baby boy Benson! Mindy was fully prepared to be a boy mom from the get-go and I’d say she totally rocks the gig! All 3 of her little men (and the grown up one) absolutely adore her.

It’s funny how perfectly all 3 boys fit the stereotypes of oldest, middle and youngest! Brayden is the oldest, the calm one and mommy’s helper for sure. He will definitely have his brothers’ backs and always take care of his family. He has such a kind heart. And the middle “wild child,” Braxton, is absolutely hilarious (he removed his pants mid-session hahaha), but has embraced his role as big brother and is just as cute as can be with the new baby of the family. And that brings us to Benson. Of course at only 2 months old he still has to grow into his youngest family member spot, but he is so loved by his parents and big brothers. I’m sure that cute face of his will get him out of trouble often!

I have loved watching these boys grow up in front of my camera and hope to keep capturing their family memories over the years to come!

Ellery Grace's Summer in Iowa {4th Birthday Portraits}

I was so excited to take Ellery’s photos because I actually got to know her more than I usually get to know my clients! It’s a funny story actually…

Around the end of May I took my son, Bennett, to try out a Tae Kwon Do class. He had been curious about it and wanted to learn how to “kick good.” He’s 4 so I’ll excuse the grammar lol! Anyway, we showed up, a little unsure of what to do. He’s pretty skeptical of new experiences and was relieved to find another little girl who was also trying it out for the first time. I sat in the parents’ area to watch and had a nice conversation with the new girl’s parents. I learned they were here for the Summer from Texas and their 3 year old daughter’s name was Ellery. I never did get mom and dad’s names and actually kicked myself for forgetting to ask because I really enjoyed our chat.

The next class time came around and Bennett threw the fit of all fits about not wanting to go. I really have no idea why because he had so much fun! Kids, you just never know. Instead of forcing him to go we decided just to give it a couple months before trying again. No big deal!

A month passed by and I got an inquiry from Lauren for a 4th birthday session for a little girl named Ellery who was living in Iowa for the Summer. Now this may seem obvious to every reading this (because it totally should have been!) but I did not make the connection that this was the same Ellery from Tae Kwon Do! So we chatted through email and got the photo shoot all set up. You guys, I even knew they were from Texas!! I tell ya…

The following week, I was sitting at my kids Gymnastics class and in walks little Ellery and her mommy. It was in that moment that it all connected in my exhausted mom-brain! I quickly asked mom her name this time and confirmed it was Lauren! “I think I’m taking your pictures in a couple days!” I told her and we both laughed about the coincidence! She said I was the only person she’s really met in Iowa and we now crossed paths on 3 occasions. It seems it was meant to be!

Lauren started telling me about this thing called Tinkergarten in Bettendorf that she was planning to take Ellery to. It sounded like a lot of fun! After getting all the details from her I decided to sign my own kids up to go as well. We ended up carpooling a few days and I’ve gotten to know both of them while exploring the great outdoors and finding nature treasures at Tinkergarten. It’s really an awesome program and if you have kids 18 months to 8 years old, definitely look into it! www.tinkergarten.com

Anyway, now I was even more excited to take this sweet girl’s portraits. Our first date got rained out but we finally found the most beautiful Friday evening to get them taken. Dad even got to come along this time and we all explored Eagle Point Park. It’s always fun to have people from out of the area see the beauty of that park. When you’re from Clinton it’s just an everyday thing and often gets taken for granted. But we really are very fortunate to have such a beautiful area in our own backyards!

Anyway let’s get to the pictures! Happy 4th Birthday Ellery Grace; I hope we get to join you on lots more adventures this Summer!

Lemonade Stand Mini Sessions are Happening Again!

My first ever Lemonade Stand Mini Sessions were a huge success! They turned out even cuter than I imagined! And the best part, all of the littles who came were absolutely adorable and so easy-going. I was smiling the entire time I edited these! :)

I would LOVE to have these again before Summer is over… I know it just started, but I also know how fast it goes! To allow for more families to make it work, I’m actually going to schedule them on a weekend this time! Saturday, July 27th from 7:30-10:30am is the new date. Spots are first come first serve and I only have 6 available! Mini sessions are $150, last about 15 minutes and include your choice of 5 high-resolution photos with a print release!

Please Contact Me to claim your mini session time slot!