Kendall + Caroline

I had the privilege of photographing these beautiful souls at the beach recently, on a perfect spring morning. I have known Kendall for many years, dating back to high school- I SO looked up to her and her rockstar tennis abilities. Seriously though, she has some serious talent. And now we both have little ones the same age, and it's crazy fun to be reacquainted. These mother- daughter moments make my heart completely melt. It gives me a glimpse of what I have to look forward to as I anticipate the arrival of my daughter in a couple months. But honestly, how precious is little Caroline? Can't get enough of her and I love how at this age they still want to be snuggled close to mom.  I hope that Kendall will look back on these photos in years to come as proof that our little people really were that little and that they will bring her many smiles. 

Galloway Girls

Mother/daughter sessions are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I spent a part of the morning at the beach with these beauties recently for some Mother's Day photos, and oh my goodness it was perfection! It was the kind of day that natural light photographers (or at least I do) dream of- clear, blue skies, 70 degree temps, and not a lot of wind. Kate and her two girls looked absolutely sweet in their spring colors and I so enjoyed capturing and documenting special moments between the three of them. These photos make me smile so big. If I were Kate, I would plaster these all over the walls of my home just to remind me how lucky I am! 

With Mother's Day around the corner, gifting a photo session is one of the best gifts I can think of- for your wife, mom, grandma, mother-in-law, or your daughter. Those of us with kids know how quickly each stage goes, and how quickly our littles grow, so having photos to look back on are absolutely worthwhile and necessary! Contact me for information and booking!

Mommy Mocktails

Now that the weather is getting nicer and the days are getting longer, it is reminding me of some simple summer pastimes that I look forward to. One of which, is listening to music and sipping cocktails on the back patio with my husband after our son goes to bed. As many of you know, we are expecting our second child this July/August, so sipping cocktails is unfortunately out of the question for me for most of the summer. But that doesn't mean I have to forgo all the fun.  

I have come up with some fun, easy (emphasis on easy), and pretty-to-drink refreshments that can be made in about 2 minutes! This is great for hosting a get-together, a baby shower, or for the busy stay at home mom that needs an afternoon pick-me-up, alone, while the kids are napping. Enjoy! 

"The Pink Drink"

  • fill glass 3/4 full with Sparkling Pink Lemonade (Trader Joe's)
  • handful of ice cubes or crushed ice
  • splash of fresh lemon
  • lemon slice (looks prettier than a wedge)
  • 1/2 mint sprig (depending on size) or a handful of fresh mint leaves

"The Mama-Mosa" 

  • 1/2 glass filled with sparkling cranberry juice (Trader Joe's)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice (organic OJ from Trader Joe's is delicious)
  • 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 small wedge of fresh orange for the rim

"The Mommy Mule"

  • fill one glass or copper mug with freshly brewed ginger beer (Trader Joe's)
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • juice squeezed from 1/2 lime 
  • crushed or cubed ice
  • wedge of grapefruit for rim

"Berry Hydrated"

  • fill glass with plain sparkling water
  • ice cubes
  • 1/3 cup of frozen berries 
  • get creative and add cucumbers, melon, anything you can imagine!

Jagutis Family

Recognize these faces?! I LOVE getting to photograph the same family over the seasons. It is so nice when my clients feel comfortable with me and are naturals in front of the camera, I feel as though I am just tagging along on a family outing.  I enjoy watching the little ones grow and change from season to season, it happens so fast! This was such a special occasion because I got to photograph Kaci's extended family as well, who are just the most lovely people! I had such a blast capturing moments of the grandparents with the grandkids together, Kaci's expecting sister, with her husband and daughter, and the entire group together. It was such a colorful setting and a merry event. I am so grateful for these clients who allow me to enter their world and freeze memories for them. Kaci and Chase and their children are just stunning people, in more ways than one, their love and generosity radiate to all who know them. 

B L A C K | F R I D A Y | S A L E

Hey friends! I don't know about you but I am still stuffed with turkey and pumpkin pie (mostly pie) from yesterday. But now, I am ready to get my shop on! Well, just from the comfort of my couch, I am much too timid to ever get out there at 5 a.m. and fight the crowds! 

A handful of people asked me recently if I ever have any discounts or deals on my sessions, and I really don't. Unfortunately, due to the nature and high cost of being a film photographer, my prices are about as low as they will ever get. But I don't know if it's just the time of year or what, but I thought I would use Black Friday as one-time opportunity to make my photography packages more affordable to everyone. Get in on these deals for any lifestyle session you'd like: family | maternity | newborn | couples | children. Even if you aren't currently in need of photos, I do offer gift certificates, and what an AMAZING gift to give a friend or family member this holiday season! It's a gift your friends or family will treasure for a life time! 

So if you are reading this, it is now 8:00 a.m. and the sale is LIVE! Yay! Email me at brittjensenphotography@gmail.com if you have any questions or if you are hoping to snag a great deal on a photography session! Sale ends this evening! Hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

xo,

Britt

Super Minis

Recently I tried something new, "super minis" for some clients and friends of mine who were looking for just a few fall shots of their kids, but not an entire mini-session. The day that it was scheduled was pouring rain, and possibly the one day in October that it was below 45. It was a miserable morning and I almost tried to push forward and make it work, thinking there might not be another pretty fall day. Gosh was I wrong! This has been the best Chicago fall I can honestly remember. I decided to reschedule at the last minute and I am so glad I did! We met at one of my favorite parks on a gorgeous morning, and snapped a few there, in between playing of course. I just love watching the personalities of these precious little ones shine through on film and the colors and light that film is able to capture. It is another reminder why #ishootfilm. I am so fortunate for these wonderful families, who entrust me with capturing some sweet life moments! 

Moore Family

'Tis the season of beautiful fall colors, chunky sweaters, and holiday card inspiration! I recently photographed the Moore family in one of the most beautiful parks in the area. The trees are so picturesque and the colors were vibrant that morning. The Moore family has recently moved to Chicago from Dallas and were hoping to get a few family photos for Christmas cards and to document the beauty in the changing seasons. This is their first fall season here, and I hope they realize it doesn't get much better than this! Maria was anxious to get some photos of her children, especially her daughter, as she realized they hadn't had professional photos taken in a while. I so appreciate when families know the value of investing in professional photos and capturing memories. These are the moments that we can't get back, and I am hoping these will be photos that they will look back on years from now, with great delight!  

Christina + Bob

I am a lucky girl…I got to photograph these sweet faces again! I am crazy about these little boys and the friendship they have with my little guy. I have known Christina and Bob for a very long time, and it's so neat to develop a friendship in this new stage of life. I love the secret little spot that Christina picked for these photos. She has some pretty fabulous taste! I am such a sucker for tall grasses, it creates a unique feel and the movement in the photos evokes such emotion. These grasses had a beautiful, warm tone different than anything I've seen. It was a perfect backdrop for these lovely subjects. I love how natural the four of them are in front of the camera and how they interact with one another. It makes my job so easy. And look how stunning they look?! If you ever need help coordinating outfits for family photos, she is one to go to! Happy photo swooning! Keep scrolling. :)

Seymour Family

This is one of my favorite family sessions lately, just look at them. How beautiful are they?! I had so much fun capturing these moments, in the peak of the fall colors, with the Seymour family. They are such a loving family and the boys have the best manners, and are just pure sweetness. Amy is a great mommy friend of mine and I am so grateful for her and every woman in my "mom tribe." Although I am a die-hard White Sox fan, I think it was such a cute idea to bring Cubs gear to change into at the very end! Who knows, this picture may be an incredible memory and reminder of a great year for their team. In any case, these photos are a beautiful reminder of the love these four have for one another, which is the most important thing. I am so grateful for every opportunity to document memories of families like these, and I hope these will be photos cherished for years to come. 

Gigi + David

I had the privilege of photographing these two lovebirds for their one year anniversary session recently, and gosh, they are beautiful people inside and out! Gigi is a very talented wedding and portrait photographer herself, so I would be lying if I said I wasn't a tiny bit nervous. They made the session pretty easy for me though! I was thrilled to hear Gigi and David were bringing their new puppy, Teddy, to the shoot, because he is just a fluffy ball of cuteness. I could tell he was super excited to be in on the memories, and he rocked it! I am so honored that Gigi and David chose me out of a sea of talent in this industry, and I love how we can relate on many levels.  It's so neat that the photography community is a strong and supportive one.  I'm so glad I got to meet you, Gigi and David, and it was a joy to capture these beautiful memories! Happy one year anniversary to you both!

Pumpkin Patch

One of my favorite memories from our recent weekend up north was stumbling upon the greatest pumpkin patch I've been to, maybe ever. I tend to get overwhelmed with crowds and become slightly germaphobic in public places (I have some quirks), so this kind of thing isn't always high on my list. But this farm you guys…oh my beautiful! It was super thought out for families and little ones, with tons of fun fall activities. I appreciated that nothing was scary, so that Beau could enjoy it too. It wasn't packed with people, so that made my day! They had fresh cinnamon donuts, apple cider, and coffee. Their greenhouse was spotless and filled with gorgeous fall flowers, it was a visual feast. The owners took us on a giant tractor out to pick pumpkins off the vine, it was the real deal y'all! I'm not sure which one of us had more fun, but I can certainly say none of us wanted to leave too soon. I can't wait to make this weekend a tradition and go back next year! 

Fall Weekend

I honestly can't remember a recent weekend that has been more fun and more unexpected than this one, at my parents' cottage up north a couple weekends ago. We didn't have any solid plans made, which means no expectations. I am not one to be spontaneous. In fact, I crave structure and routine, but that's where my husband balances me out. I think the fun and excitement just follows him sometimes because we had the sweetest time just going with the flow!

We spent Friday in one of my favorite towns, sipping on coffee while doing some shopping. I think this was the first time I had finished a cup of coffee and shopped leisurely in quite a while, it was a treat. We hit up all of my favorite stores and of course, a few toy stores so that Beau could pick out one new toy (he finished his sticker chart). The look on his face is always priceless. 

As we were heading to our car we realized that there were a lot of families hanging around and laying out blankets along the sidewalks. We quickly heard that there was a 50-truck fire parade taking place within minutes. Um, that's a win. I can't quite figure out what the occasion was, but these Michiganders sure love some good family fun. Beau is dressing up as a fireman for Halloween and has a mild obsession, if that is any indication of how excited we were...or mostly me (free entertainment, snuggles, and a happy boy)! 

Saturday, we spent a beautiful day at my parents' cottage, walking, exploring, just being together. I have realized the best gift I can give my child is spending intentional time with him and be completely present while doing so. That means my phone takes a back seat. Disconnecting is a problem I have, but I'm working on it! Our favorite few hours was stumbling upon a hidden gem…a pumpkin patch farm. More on this on a blog post coming soon.

Sunday we spent some time hiking the dunes at the lake, one of my favorite things to do since I was little. The fall air was crisp and refreshing but the sun was so inviting, even though it was tucked behind the clouds. The colors were stunningly unique. I sure do love the vibrant summer colors, but these silvers, blues, greens, and sandy beiges were just breathtaking. I have a new passion for fall at the beach. If you follow me on instagram, you probably caught a glimpse of the madness...we were running up and down the tall dunes with Beau on our back. It was a serious workout and exhausting exercise for us, but a hoot for the little man. 

I am so glad we have these photos to remember the simple joys and the unexpected blessings. Beau still looks so little but I feel like he is changing every day, which is why I am determined to document so that I will never forget!

P.S. On a side note, if you are thinking of locations for a fall or even winter session, a neutral backdrop at the beach allows the subjects to pop and creates a gorgeous canvas. It's one of my favorites, no matter what season!

 

 

Tiffany's Maternity Session

I must admit I am having major bump envy. Who looks this cute when they are nine months pregnant?! This gorgeous momma is just a couple weeks away from welcoming her second child into this world and she is radiant! Tiffany has become a sweet friend of mine this past year, our boys are close in age. One of the unexpected gifts of having babies is that it connects you to new, amazing friends in such a meaningful way. I know Tiffany is ready to meet this little one! Here's what she said about it, 

"I always knew that I wanted to be a mom but it wasn't until I actually became one that I knew this is what I was truly meant to do with my life. I've always felt my heart was full, I'm surrounded by wonderful family, friends and an amazing husband, but my boys make it overflow. After all, they're the only ones who know what my heart sounds like from the inside! I am so grateful that this moment in time has been captured so beautifully."

I can't wait to meet the little bundle of joy and watch her first born become a big brother, because it will be here before we know it! Cheers to growing humans and looking fabulous!

Brothers

I had the joy of photographing these precious brothers recently, and gosh, they are so much fun. These boys and their momma are dear to me and have been a big part of our lives since my baby was born. I am constantly reminded that having solid mom friends is such a necessity and such a blessing when you are raising little ones. Christina is an absolute rockstar mom and handles motherhood with such grace. These two growing, kind, passionate, playful boys also happen to be my little guy's "best-est" friends, and I sure hope their friendship continues as they get older! If someone paid me a dollar every time Henry or Tommy was mentioned in my household (or "HenryTommy" as Beau says) I would definitely be lying on a beach somewhere by now. Take that back, I would probably use that money to hire a personal chef, a housekeeper, and a grocery shopper, but that's beside the point. Either way, we cherish the times with these smiling faces and love having photos to remember these days!

French Bisou

There were so many reasons to celebrate. Life. Love. Commitment. Our love of French culture. My parents flew our family to Paris to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, which happened to coincide with my 3rd wedding anniversary with my husband. My parents celebrated by renting a stunning flat in the heart of St Germaine de Pres to enjoy Parisian life with the whole family. Having lived in France, I was so excited to experience a taste of it again. We drank lots of rosé and consumed our fair share of pain chocolat and espresso all while visiting our favorite spots. 

My husband and I decided last year to start a tradition of rewriting our vows to one another every year and this year we knew it would be a little extra special. We biked to the eiffel tower early in the morning to read our letters to one another under the Eiffel Tower. I'm not going to lie, biking in a dress in the blazing morning heat is not as easy or glamorous as you may think. But I will never forget these moments. Whether we are embracing in the romance capital of the world under the city of lights, or are at home on our coach in Chicago, we choose each other. We choose faithfulness and intentional pursuit and romance and commitment. Cheers to 3 beautiful years and a lifetime more. As I engraved on my husband's wedding band and wrote in my letter to him,

j'ai trouvé celui que mon coeur aime. I have found the one whom my soul loves. -Song of Solomon 3:4

 

Calligraphy | Fig & Flourish Calligraphy

Ribbon | Pistils and Stamen

Macarons | Ladurée

Her Dress | Metalicus Australia

Her Shoes | Badgley Mishka

Memory Lane

I was 4 years old when I first walked down this majestic tree-lined lane that will forever hold a piece of my heart and so many of my favorite childhood memories. Countless friendships developed, adventures sought, dreams formed, and loved ones hugged, all on this lane. I typically have the worst memory but for some reason I can stand here on this path and replay my life, all of the memories in my head, like a home video. It's the most marvelous thing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have dreamt of being a bride and a mom since I was a little peanut myself. I never would have imagined standing here someday with my gorgeous husband, who is beyond perfect for me, and my little boy. It's incredible how some things seem so distant when you're young, and then you blink and you find yourself living it. I can't wait to frame these photos to remind myself of how faithful and good God has been to me. Life hasn't always been easy, still isn't. I've had plenty of life-altering hurts and bumps along the way, but God has been gracious to me and allowed me to experience his blessing of family and what a gift that is. I pray that I never take it for granted, for no one is guaranteed tomorrow. I am learning to live each day with a thankful heart, and an eternal perspective. 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Pure Michigan

A few weeks ago my husband was traveling out west for work so I decided to take a nice long vacation with Beau to Michigan, at my parents' summer home. My family has been going to this town since I was 4 years old. It is like home to me, and yet the visits are few and far between now a days that it has the ability to make me feel like I am really "away" on vacation. Summers in Michigan are honestly the best. The beaches are pure, white sand, something we don't get in Chicago. The sand dunes are absolutely stunning, and the sunsets are unlike anything I've seen. This small, country town, set on a beautiful lake that feeds right into Lake Michigan. You have the woods, the farms, the lake, and the BIG lake, which feels more like the ocean, all in one town.

There are always so many things I try to fit in while I am there. My parents' home is right off of the golf club, so we get plenty of sunset golf in while we are there. Also, it's a huge sailing town, like talented sailers who compete in races all over the world, which makes for a colorful scene on the water. Some of my favorite summer activities include: boating, berry picking, beach bumming, sand dune climbing, paddle boarding, kayaking, regatta watching, happy hour drinking, s'more eating, and sunset swooning. Some of Beau's favorite activities include "driving" the boat, golfing, driving in his "new" blue car that his grandpa restored for him from his childhood, swimming (although not such a fan of swim school), eating lots of fresh berries, playing in the beautiful sand at the beach, and staying up as late as possible. Oh yea, and skipping any sort of rest break. There's just so much to do and see, I can't blame him. We both get a serious case of FOMO when we are there. 

Here are a few photos from our recent trip, which included my husband joining us over the 4th of July weekend and celebrating my parents' upcoming 40th wedding anniversary. We also got in a quick trip to a favorite spot just north of our town, called Pentwater. Cheers to all the little moments that summers are made of. 

Summer Hosting Tips

I thought of a few summer, cost-effective tips I have for hosting friends and family at your house for dinner + drinks. Here are some simple tricks that can add to a lovely evening:

Signature cocktail. I like to have a pitcher of iced tea, a carafe of water, and a signature cocktail poured and ready to go on a bar cart or tray, so guests don't have to feel awkward asking for drink options when they arrive. Better yet, they won't need to go rummaging through your refrigerator. See this previous post for my signature cocktail of choice this summer, the Moscow Mule

Skip the appetizers. For a smaller gathering, I don't always feel like spending the money on a bunch of appetizers and filling everyone up before dinner. It's nice though to give guests something small to munch on while you get things prepared. My new go-to is a bowl of rainier cherries. They always seem to be a favorite in the summer, since they are seasonal and not everyone buys them for their house. My husband is not a big cherry guy, but I found him devouring a bowl recently saying, "wow these are amazing." Put a few bowls out, on a coffee table or serving tray along with a bowl of mixed nuts and after-dinner mints, and you won't miss the appetizers. Make sure you have cocktail napkins nearby for easy disposal of cherry pits. Or you can also pit them yourself beforehand, especially if kids are going to be around, with this tool that I have and love. 

Dinner drink change-up. After guests have enjoyed a signature cocktail, I like to offer something else when we sit down to eat. I typically have the usual wine, beer, and lemonade on hand, but my husband has introduced me to his own twist on a delicious summer drink…Sangria. I have to say he is a master Sangria-maker, so he has allowed me to include his recipe below for all to enjoy. It looks super summery and festive, and you can make it quickly and easily by the glass or pitcher. I'm pretty confident it will be a hit at your next gathering!

Dessert. Being a dessert lover I can never skip it, especially when I am hosting. It can be a bit of a downer, though, when you prepare or buy a decadent dessert, and everyone passes on it. Instead of a heavy dessert in the summer, I offer something lighter like a bowl of sorbet or ice cream (regular and dairy-free options like this, for people who can't tolerate dairy, like myself). Dress it up with some berries, chocolate syrup, or coconut flakes and people won't be able to say no. Also, if there are kids around, they will enjoy a little without getting a major tummy ache! 

Coffee + Tea. Have a pot of coffee brewed in advance for those who love a little decaf with dessert. Or for your non-dessert takers, offer some tea instead. Fill a mason jar full of different tea bags and pass it around. I personally enjoy a nice cup of tea on a summer evening, so when I am entertaining I use a few labeled mason jars, one for caffeinated black teas, one for green and detox teas, and one for caffeine-free and calming teas. I place them on the table after dinner and let my guests choose.  

Decor. Don't want to spend money on flowers but want the house and tablescape to look fresh and nice? I'm all about foraging. It's free, unique, and awesome. Forage for some beautiful greens in your yard. I love using my magnolia tree branches, and sprigs of fern from my front planters. Arrange them in little julep votives or smaller vases so guests can see one another when seated at the table. For a fancier occasion, cut them up and incorporate them into the place setting for a nice touch.  

 Here is my husband's superb Sangria recipe (serving size is per glass) :

  • fill half of the glass with red or white wine    (Postulate chardonnay or merlot boxed wine has become a favorite, available at Trader Joe's. 1 box= 2 bottles of wine, it's super cheap, convenient size for storing, it doesn't go bad, and it's delicious)
  • 1/4 cup - 1/3 cup of plain sparkling water
  • few ice cubes
  • squeeze a wedge of lime juice into glass
  • squeeze a wedge of lemon juice into glass
  • add a fresh wedge of lime and lemon
  • add a couple of frozen raspberries and strawberries
  • top off with a fresh blackberry
  • sip and enjoy, and refill of course!

 

Sunday Stroll

Sometimes it's hard to keep a toddler busy on the weekends (or just in general) so my husband and I have made a big effort to do a lot of exploring with our little man this summer. Not only does he have fun visiting new places, we get to know our area better as well, and spend quality time as a family. It was a beautiful, peaceful Sunday afternoon to go adventuring through a nearby seminary. The views were breathtaking so I obviously had to snap a few photos. I love documenting sweet moments like these that I know I will look back on, years from now, and smile. It was a great reminder to me that I don't have to go far to find a little rest, beautiful vistas, and some inspiration!