Marci & Family

Did you see gorgeous Marci & her headshots on the blog yesterday?  Now here is her beautiful family!  Kevin and Marci have been married for 15 years and have 2 awesome kids.  Dalton is 9 and Delani is 7.  Marci and I were first-time moms together with our boys, they were just 3 weeks apart, and together we have sorted through many mommy-woes from fussy babies & sleepless nights to dinnertime pickiness & setting video game boundaries.  Our camaraderie only strengthened when we had our little girls just 1 day apart and our hospital rooms were right across the hall from one another.  Now THAT was a fun 48 hours!

Okay, onto this great family and my favorites from the quick little session we had this past October.

Lots of love to you, Jefferson family!

Marci | Author Headshots

This beautiful gal may look familiar.  Marci’s head shots were one of my very first blog posts.  Marci’s book, The Duchess of Richmond, will be published by Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press in early 2014.  And what do a debut author and her photographer friend do to celebrate said debut author’s book deal?!  They shoot more head shots, of course!

I am so thrilled and proud of my talented friend.  (And I’m excited for me, too, because my photograph will be in a book!)

Congratulations again, Marci!  2014 can’t come fast enough!!

NYC | Creative Live

I’m excited to finally share some of my NYC adventure!  It’s been a bit hectic around here since I’ve been home and it feels surreal to look back at my photographs, especially since so much has happened in New York since I was there.  I hope you’re not looking for great photos of the actual city — most of mine are iPhone pics.  Shame on me, I  know.  Here’s my best city pic taken from Chelsea Piers.

When it comes to recounting stories, I usually go with the long version, so if you read this entire post, I will love you forever.

Nick took me to the airport on Sunday morning (10/21) and the kids joined him for the big send-off!  I had been so stressed about preparing things here at home and making sure I had liquids that were less than 3 oz. (and why don’t I ever have a quart sized bag?!) that I forgot saying goodbye to my sweeties was going to be heart-wrenching.  There is no more of the out-of-sight-out-of-mind comfort that you have when they’re babies.  I held it together pretty well during the ride to the airport, changing every dang country song that came on the radio, because darn it, Hootie, I won’t let you make me cry again.  That is until we pulled up to “Departures” and after my husband put the van in park, I suddenly felt two arms hug me from behind and the familiar shaking-sob of my daughter.  And then I just had to join in.

After saying goodbye and having a good cry in the airport restroom, I went to the security screening, did the whole rigamarole that I can never seem to get right (did you remove your belt? Is that your cell phone in your pocket?  No, you need to put that in a separate bin… ) and headed to my gate.  The bird flying around the terminal was a nice distraction.  No more sitting there being sad, posting pictures of my kids to Instagram.  All I could do was sit there and think, “I need to wear these pants on Wednesday too!  That bird had better not poop on them.”  Luckily, the bird was kind.  Unfortunately, the subway later that day was not, but I’ll get to that.

My first evening in New York was all kinds of fun because I got to meet up with my friend Jessica, who I ‘ve been friends with since we met our first day as freshmen at University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.  She now lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn and this was my second time visiting her in New York.  We did a whirlwind, Instagramed tour of NY on our way to a delicious dinner.  Did you know that ramen noodles were not just in those crunchy little packages?  I had NO idea!  Momofuko was ridiculously yummy and then we even went to their Milk Bar and had dessert.

Between all of the eating, there was A LOT of talking.  Jess is the kind of friend that you can pick up right where you left off the last time you were together.  It was sad to say goodbye at the station and head in opposite directions.  Although, I will admit, I felt pretty cool waving goodbye to my friend across the platform and getting on the subway all by myself.  And that is when I sat in the mystery liquid on the subway seat.  Ew, yuck.  Welcome to New York, Big City Girl.

Monday was the first day of the Creative LIVE class with Lara Jade, and oh my gosh, I did more things that scared me that day before 9:30 am than I usually do in a whole week — it was exhilarating, but a little bit terrifying.  Her Fashion Photography 101 class was from 9-5 for 3 days.  As much as I’m babbling about my trip, I will try to sum up 3 days of learning as best I can.

Creative LIVE provides courses to photographers and other creatives through an online classroom.  You can watch live during the broadcast or purchase a digital copy of the course.  I have watched a lot of cL classes and it was so much fun to be a part of one.  During each class they have a live audience of students (this time it was me, Christina, Yin, & Chloe) to ask questions, and those watching online also ask questions through Facebook, Twitter, and the cL website.  It is an amazing resource that’s getting a lot of recognition.  It is even up for an award (go and vote here)!  The hosts for the NY class (it is usually shot in Seattle) were Kenna Klosterman and Russ Andes, who were, not surprisingly, as nice in person as they seem on the internet (if not more).

And Lara?  Oh my, she was lovely.  So unbelievably sweet and willing to share her knowledge.  It was such a thrill to meet her, watch her work, and learn all about fashion photography from her.

Lara told us how she started in photography, from doing self-portraits at 14, to moving to London and finding an agent, to traveling worldwide and having major clients.  She went over the different elements of fashion photography and stressed the importance of continuing to do personal work and constantly looking for inspiration.

She walked us through how she does a photo shoot and then allowed us, the students, to shoot along with her.

After the first day’s class a lot of the crew met up for dinner and drinks.  I didn’t know until I arrived at the Creative LIVE studio that there were a lot of photography events going on in NYC that week and so there were a lot of photographers in town.  So in addition to Lara, the cL team, and fellow students, I got to meet a whole bunch of other really amazing people.

Lara had an amazing team of artists who helped with the shoot, providing make-up, hair, props, clothing & accessories.  They also shared their insight on how to put together your own style team to create fashion and editorial shoots, even on a small budget.

Another extra-special part of my trip was a dinner with my dear friend from middle and high school, Kelly.  She and her husband moved to NY last year and it was so wonderful to see her.  I think we did a pretty good job of squeezing 15 years of catch-up into a very short 2 hours.

Three days of fashion photography was amazing.  On day #3 Lara showed us her retouching techniques and how she processes her photographs, plus a ton more.

I was sad to leave all the fun right after the class ended on Wednesday, but I was excited to be home when my kids got up the next morning. It almost didn’t happen because of a delayed flight in NY and missing the last flight to Fort Wayne, but 2 other stranded passengers at O’Hare were heading my way and I caught a ride with my new BFFs, Keith and Trudy.  I felt a little like Kate McCallister, minus the polka band in a U-Haul, trying to get home.

If you’re still reading this, thanks for indulging me.  I haven’t taken the time to sit and reflect on my time in New York.  I’m so grateful for the knowledge I gained and friendships I made, and am super excited to see where my new goals and new passion for photography take me this next year, which sounds like a good topic for a different blog post.  It’s time to wrap this one up!

Feeling blessed…

It’s been quite awhile since I posted something personal, and if you are not on Facebook, but do follow my blog (then you must be my friend Courtney!  Seriously, Court… jump on FB already! ;) ) I wanted to share some of our newest family photos!  Betsy King is amazing and captured the ever-loving madness that is my sweet family.  My mom and aunt joined us for the evening and were wonderful at making the kids smile, grabbing a “runner”, and all kinds of other necessary things!  Here are some of my favorites from the day.

Nick bought our Jeep over 10 years ago, before even Preston was around.  Now we can’t even fit our whole family in the thing!  But it is so much fun for the kids to go on “Jeep Rides” with daddy out to Grandpa Paul’s farm or on a quick errand during Wesley’s nap.  (Because he gets MAD if he can’t go along and there is only room for 3!)  Even sometimes Mommy will treat the little guys to a ride on a beautiful day while their older brother and sister are at school.  I was so thrilled when Betsy went for the Jeep idea!  We had so much fun taking these pictures. 

Wesley thought honking the Jeep horn was the best thing ever!  It got lots of smiles from him (and the rest of us too).  His giggle is just perfection.

I will love these photos forever because they capture my kids’ personalities so perfectly.

If you’d like to see more of our session, you can check out the slide show in Betsy’s original blog post.  Her husband John wrote the music and I can’t get through it without tears.  I love my family so much!

Another exciting thing going on my life is an upcoming trip!  I’m off to New York City this Sunday to spend three days learning from fashion photographer, Lara Jade at a Creative LIVE workshop.  I have watched many of their courses online before and am beyond excited to experience one live and up close.   It is a dream to shoot fashion and commercial photography one day and I cannot believe I have been given an opportunity to learn how to make it happen!

I will definitely be chronicling my travels on Instagram (@jillsloffer) and Twitter (@jillsloffer) and Facebook too, if you’re curious about my adventures in the big city! I’ll also blog them here too… you know, for Courtney.

Paige | Class of 2013

Paige is my first high school senior of the year!  We met back before school started and I’m so excited to finally share some of my favorite images!

Paige is a photographer herself and we had so much fun planning out how we were going to style her session.

Paige, you are stunning!  I hope you are have an incredible senior year!!

The Johnson Family

This is my sweet friend Amy, her husband Ryan, and their beautiful family.  I was honored when Amy asked me to capture some family photos for them this summer.  We had so much fun!

I was a little out of practice on my family sessions having shot mostly graduates in the springtime, so I was a little bit nervous to go full-force-family-mode, especially since sweet little Jude is 4 just like my Cal.  And Cal can be, shall we say, “challenging” sometimes when it comes to doing things he didn’t volunteer to do.  But I didn’t need to worry, Jude was amazingly enthusiastic about the photo session.

But just in case that was about to change, we went and got ice cream.

We had a spectacularly gorgeous evening for our shoot…

Oh my word, is he not just a sweetheart?

And Marie & Ryan were amazing little models.  All 3 of them were so fun to work with!

Seriously, they are such a great family.  Loved, loved, LOVED shooting their session!

Thank you Johnson Family!!

Alisia | Class of 2012

Yes, you read that right… it’s my last grad session from the spring.  Tonight is my first 2013 Senior session (if the weather cooperates), so I thought I should PROBABLY wrap things up with last year’s seniors.  I couldn’t not share Alisia’s photos– she is awesome–so much fun and beautiful too.

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Alisia has such a great laugh… 

 Need to schedule your 2013 grad’s photos?  Email me at jill@jillsloffer.com!

 

Sam | Class of 2012

This is Sam and he just graduated this past Saturday!   I thought I’d get some of my favorite photos from his session up on the blog.  We had quite an adventure when we met up at the beginning of May, which included possible trespassing (ok, not really, but the security guard did look up from his desk) and an extremely ungraceful fall by me.

I’ll be honest, shooting senior guys makes me a little nervous because I’m kind of a girly-girl and sometimes feel unsure of how to shoot guys (unless they’re like 3 years old).  When my oldest son was 4 I called him “cute” and he nicely informed me that, “girls are ‘cute’ and boys are ‘cool.’”  I did my best to make Sam’s photos very “cool,” which was actually pretty easy because Sam is a very cool guy.

Happy Graduation Sam– enjoy your summer!

April & May | Self-Portrait

If you don’t know me all that well, you should probably know this:  time-management is not one of my strengths.  I can really be quite a procrastinator.  I sometimes laugh at the hypocrisy when I tell my daughter that she needs to use her time more wisely as I rush her out the door to catch the school bus.  I do my best to keep up with my to-do-lists, stick with a task until completion, be productive, blah, blah, blah… but sometimes things get bumped down a few notches. :)  Alas, this month AND last month’s self-portrait.

I’ve been super-busy (in a good way) with shoots, editing, creating albums and invitations for photography clients these past 6 weeks and getting a photo of myself & taking the time to blog it just didn’t happen.  But I did snap a photo at some point (when my hair was NOT pulled back- which like never happens) and I thought it was fitting for what’s been going on around here lately.

I’ve got next month’s portrait all planned-out.  We’ll see if this public declaration of my flakiness helps with my follow-through!  Wish me luck!

Paige | Class of 2012

This is Paige!  We had a fantastically warm and beautiful evening for her shoot and I had a blast with her and her mom, Christie.  I knew Paige when she was a 3rd grader!  She was in the classroom next door to mine.  (I was a teacher, not a 3rd grader, but I’m guessing you figured that out.)  She is also a very talented dancer and dances at the same studio as my daughter.  She’s also gorgeous! (But you could probably figure that out too!)

I’m so thrilled I got to take your photos, Paige!  Thanks again!