Seasons are changing, Self Portraits with my children in Jackson Park Chicago IL

Well hello there.

I dragged my kids out for some self portraits and a new adventure. You want to know something.. it felt amazing. I’ve missed getting behind the lens, I used to do it so damn much before. It always felt like it pushed my growth. I think I’m currently stifling my creativity. So tragic right? I’m not sure why I’m holding my self back. When I know I can do anything and everything.

I always get super thrilled when I picture my kids in the future showing these to their kids or their partners and going on and on about all of the adventures I took them on. Making me the best mom ever lol. But little do they know how much of this is for me. It’s healing. Connecting to nature is my jam. I want to point out all of the beauty to them, and also the grandness of them in this beauty. It’s spring time and I’m sure I’ll never stop being in awe of how year after year things just come back. No matter what, trees and flowers bloom. You blink and there are little sprouts everywhere not announcing their arrival, just being. Currently I’m working incessantly to stay present. Everyday is a new way to show up. But I’m super fucking impatient. I desperately want something to tell me “Adri you are healed” Here’s your sign. I guess there will never come a sign, just like the little sprouts, I just have to be. Day in and day out continue to attempt at this (insert your best fucking adjective) life, until I’m no longer trying to heal all of my wounds. Maybe I’m being silly and that’s the point I’m missing. You’re just never finished. I guess time will tell. Time always does. As I look back on my life, Motherhood was a huge catalyst toward healing, or at least the beginning of feeling. I know i need to stay present. stay in the beauty of spring. Let it teach me. Take in all of the beauty and just await the new season of life.

“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

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Luis and Ale celebrating their love in the early morning at the Imperial Dunes in California | Chicago couples photographer

When you have both a dope sister photographer you have to fly her out immediately obviously! . I won’t lie and say there wasn’t awkwardness. I mean a couples session is meant to me intimate and full of connection, trust, love, hands on each other etc… and with your sister there, I’m sure it felt like blah for him haha. But we managed along with a ton of laughs because I’m me and I make a fool out of myself everywhere I go. Do you know how hard it is to walk all of this sand. Plus shooting with Primes means running back and forth like a lunatic for just the right angle and shot. Let’s just say I got a killer work out. Im so incredibly happy with these, It’s a bit like jotting a shoot off my photographer bucket list. Sand dunes are a gorgeous backdrop and these did not dissapoint.

While Luis and Ale are officially married, I can’t wait to see my little brother walking down the isle though. I’ll also see both my mom and dad in tears because I’m sure he’s the favorite above me. He’s 5 years younger, when he was born I remember being annoyed. I didn’t get the point of adding another after 5 years of solitude. Growing up he was always far more responsible than me, opening doors at 4 in the morning as I was getting home from a night of partying. Getting up early to get ready for school, as I just rolled out of bed and headed over. He chose to leave for California for the love of his life, doing the nessesary changes for his happiness. Living in his truth. I’m so proud of him. Ale is such a sweetheart that doesn’t take any shit, perfect for him. We’re tough people to love because we don’t let others do it lol. She’s managed to turn my brother into someone open to love, perhaps turn is a bad word. But she’s made it safe for him to let him be loved and I can see that. So happy to welcome her into my family. I look forward to many trips to capture the upcoming milestones and years as well as babies. ( like for real make me an aunt asap) No pressure though.

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Karen and Jordan visit Galena IL, Chicago and west suburbs couples and wedding photography

Oh these kids! I call them kids because this is my sister and their partner. Karen is the COMPLETE opposite of me they are 8 years younger and at some level we joke that my parenting started w them. We have spend our whole lives at odds. I’ve always been all about swallowing the heck out of your feelings. Not letting people in, vulnerabiity F that. Who needs that. While Karen, I believe has led most of their life feeling a ton. Expressing a ton and being painfully aware. I have seen them go through the motions of life and I am so proud of them. They are at this new stage in their life. I hope that they know how much I love them and how I would go to war for them. I am so grateful to have such an incredible support system that will absolutely celebrate me in my triumphs and be there for me in my failures and set backs. I hope they understand that from me as well.

If you haven’t visited Galena please find yourself there. My favorite part of visiting is the drive. I love listening to music while I hit the road. I’ve driven there and the drive is incredibly peaceful . I am a full album type of girl, and I connect songs to feelings and drives lol. I know it’s weird. I love replaying albums and being transported to those specific moments. The town is cute too! Full of history and quirkiness. We created this impromptu shoot just for fun! They are in the early stages of their relationship and I wish them nothing but the best.

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Welcome baby Reese | Chicago IL newborn photographer

I am happy to say that I both a baby person and a dog person. & sessions with both are some of my favorites. I have to say that Big brother pup Norbert (so in love with his name) and adorable baby Reese did not dissapoint. Newborn sessions can be so comical because of their unpredictability. Babies do what babies do, and we just roll with the punches. Also new parents are constantly apolopizing for their tiredness. It’s such a new world, navigating through all of this. I just show up to capture the beauty. Sara + Matt have created such a beautiful space for their growing family. I learned that little miss Reese was beautifully named after her maternal grandma. We chatted about zoom baby showers and how lovely it truly is to not have a whole crowd in the delivery suite. Sometimes there is a silver line to everything.

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From homebirth to a full home, Edgewater Chicago IL newborn and family photographer

One of my favorite things about this job is the storytelling. With some families I have the joy and honor to capture full stories. I meet them right when they find out their life will change in the near future and I get a chance to see them at the different points in the road to that change. For Hannah + Eric I know it looked different. Being pregnant during a pandemic I’m sure was en experience on it’s own. Still we managed to capture all of the beauty of this incredible journey they were on. Take a peek at their Maternity session and their Home birth .

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The Santiago family is growing, Orland Park IL maternity photographer

I had the absolute pleasure to get to capture the joy of this beautiful family. They are expecting their second child and can you see the look on big sister’s face? She was such a wonderful kiddo. She’s awaiting the arrival of her brother. From our session together I learned about her favorite snacks and although it’s been a while, turns out I’m still fluent in toddler lol. Jasmine is due any day now and I get to meet that sweet little boy. Oh did I meantion it’s a boy.

I met Jasmine online sometime ago. She is a fellow photographer and I am so honored to be the one who captures this new stage in her life. Their session although a tiny bit cold due to March in Chicago’s unpredictability, however it was full of ever flowing love. You can tell that this baby will just be such an extension of their love.

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mom and daughter shoot

Hannah and Eric welcome their sweet baby girl at home | Chicago IL birth photographer, Edgewater neighborhood

Each birth I attend is this beautiful unfolding story. My clients are all different, lighting can be diffent. Comfort levels too, Dynamics etc. First time parents however seem to all be the same. They are all at the precipice of a life changing moment, unlike anything before. I can sense the nervousness and the hesitation. When I arrived Hannah spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom challengely lit by one candle. In moments like this, where my lens struggles to find the subject… I freelens. Because I trust that slice of focus. It reminded me of stories I read before, of women birthing in caves all that time ago. She craved the coziness of the bathroom. It almost seemed to sooth her. Of course I would never put any words in my clients mouths but I can only speak to what I was and what my camera captured.

I also saw this beautiful togetherness. They both moved with synchronicity, the pair of fresh to be parents. It was a mighty thing to witness. Eric was a phenomenal birth partner in my opinion. But Hannah’s vigor and courage are the stars of the show. She moved that baby down by trusting her body and she allowed herself to be so vulnerable. Perhaps there’s nothing but vulnerability allowed at home births. Perhaps that’s the beauty of them.

My job is to capture these moments, but with every birth, I leave with such a sense of purpose. The uniqueness in which a mother labors and moves through these moments leave me breathless. A rush of love for life fills me to the brim. I am so grateful I get to be a part of this.

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Baby Diego’s arrival | Bolingbrook newborn and family photographer

hello 2021

I can’t believe it’s a whole new year already. While yes, things are still dicey when it comes to photo sessions and more at home- work, I finally got to photograph my first at home newborn session since the pandemic started. I am the opposite of a homebody, so I’m so grateful for hikes and outdoor activities because I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to keep the health of my little clients safe. I was so excited that baby Diego finally made his appearance! I got to capture his parents this fall in a beautiful maternity session by the South shore in Chicago near Hyde Park. Now look at that beautiful boy that joined this little family. I’m sure it will take some time to get to meet extended family members for him but Im so happy he’s here and healthy as can be. I saw a couple so devoted to this little boy. Slightly exhausted but so excited to start their new life as a family of 3 + the beautiful furry siblings.

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Camblin Family session in Elmhurst IL Wilder Mansion

Well this session was a big surprise. I do believe this was my first big family session without any babies. It also made me think about the direction of my work and how to incorporate my personal work as my kids get older. I do think it’s a thing of beauty to still want to be in images with your folks, as teenagers. The love and connection between this family was amazing. They all were so insanely lovely, even if a big session wasn’t their idea of a well spent Sunday evening, they were kind and patient. And the beauty my god, the women in this family. Just wow am I right? I mean the boys aren’t far behind. But this stunning bunch of women just blew me away. Lori had this incredible energy that you saw reflected in her children.

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Hannah and Eric, Lincoln Park maternity session

Sweet December is here, and the time to meet this sweet little baby is nearing. Time has absolutely flown by. I’ve been pregnant a number of times and have given birth just twice. Both times it was a defferent experience. I brought those babies home and I was a different person. After my son I was a mother for the first time, he was big and beautiful and full of wonder. My daughter surprised me with difficultness. I thought I was a pro by then and she swiftly humbled me with her big big cries. I’ve said it before that being a photographer means you’re often meeting people at the highlights in their life. Hannah and Eric are about to be first time parent’s and it is my honor to capture and witness it. Being a part of someone’s birth team is the biggest deal of my life and I cherish it so. I’m so happy we were able to find a moment in the current world chaos to capture their happiness emerging. You can feel the love, you can see the devotion. Little do they know that the way they will parent is apparent in the way they see each other, in the way they hold each other.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

BY E. E. CUMMINGS

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

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My loves | Adri De La Cruz Chicago family photographer

I cant believe we’re here, so close to December. Just about to celebrate Thanksgiving. As I mentioned in on my previous post things are looking different in the future for us. Perhaps this is too heavy and personal for my photography page or perhaps it’s just what my clients need from me. To see me, to go a little deeper into who I am and to see who the person is behind the lens. I capture the beauty of family because it is my passion. My family is also my passion. and If I am to live my one and wild precious life the way I want, then I guess I’ll have to be judged. I am so grateful for my soon to be ex-husband who agreed to do this for me. In actuality I know he knows it’s for them. We may not have always modeled this great incredible marriage for them, but we will make sure that they now see unconditional love and friendship moving forward. I started the decade of my twenties by having a baby boy, launching my business, absorbing everything I could. In the last decade I’ve also launched photographer communities and workshops all across the United States. I taught others to find their voice and maybe even dabbled in having my own magazine. But all of that would mean nothing without them. I was 21 when my son was born, shy of 22 by mere days. What an incredible journey it’s been. I’m 31 now. The best part of getting old is that you realize that you absolutely know nothing. Such a humbling thing to acknowledge. & in this nothingness I will begin my next decade, and I hope I can sit here at 41 still just admiring all of the greatness that has come, and not focus on the “what -could -have -been”. I hope I am forever a glass half full kinda girl. No matter what comes.

As I climbed out of the tub and shook my hair dry, I told myself: Maybe in a different life.

Isn’t that interesting?

As if I had more than one.

-Untamed

About this session. I will forever love our chalk wall. I probably can’t do that in my new rental but we’ve drawned and played a multitude of fun games on it. I’ve been surprised by love notes from my children written on it. Also have seen some incredible freaking art skills displayed on here. I don’t want to take credit lol but maybe thats a little of me rubbing off on them. In reality we know all children are great artists, I’m only happy mine constantly choose to share their work with me often. I wanted to use this as a backdrop for a few portraits then head out to Oak Park and just do something different. I have driven pass that green wall always hopeful to have a session there at some point. I think a lot of people struggle to see beauty in a ugly green wall, but then that’s why there’s people like me. I understand that the point of a session is not the background but the love and fun represented in front of it. From a chalk wall to a green wall. I love how these came out, I mister helped me take the group ones. I didn’t trust a tripod in the middle of a street with winds and cars flowing by. I hope we can make this happen every year until my kiddos say no lol.

I hope you all have an amazing bunch of Holidays.

Love the De La Cruz family.

The Dryfhout Family session | Homer Glen IL photographer

The absolute most kind of people also happen to be the most beautiful. We did the math during their session and I have been photographing their beautiful family since before little miss E was even alive. How insanely special is that. I’ve seen two of their stunning homes and have seen the kids go through various changes. Now they’ve added an adorable pup. I always say that Matt won the wife lottery (mainly to myself) but you can see from these images that theyre all so beyond lucky to have each other. I cannot stress enough how welcoming and lovely they are. Getting to catch up and see the brand new adventures they’ve made is so much fun. Miss Z + E make me jealous, for my own little Zoe, I know she wishes she had a sister. I myself had 2 but they came almost a decade after me. It’s also crazy to see just how tall Mr. A got, close to being over six feet. He will absolutely surpass his dad. He’s just as handsome as ever and so clever. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s no such thing as a bad location. We shot these in their front yard, around their house and in the back. There is always some kind of magic everywhere.

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SISTERS READY FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Quantifiable beauty, self portraits| Adri De La Cruz, Wood Dale IL family photographer

I heard something recently. It said ” dreaming is a form of planning”. It resonated wildly with my soul. Everything I’ve ever wanted started as a dream. Me with my wild expectations. Most of the time when I would voice my dreams to others it would sound like I lost my damn mind. It always made me feel slightly crazy. But the thing that I have learned is that people lack imagination. Most are living and acting from a place of fear. Without intention. I have always felt this nagging voice for more. Not more in a form of quantifiable things, but more beauty, more aliveness more feelings. It’s probably why I felt pulled towards this medium. I want to record and preserve as many feelings as I can. I guess I’m a junky for that.

I took these self portraits right before heading out and capturing my loves. But I felt the need to make a separate post because I want to encourage others to dream. I never grew up being asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, so perhaps thats how I’ve allowed myself to be whatever the (insert bad word) I want. I am a bunch of things. I’ve dreamt about most. Being a mother was a big one. I dreamt of building up little babies to be the best versions of themselves. I dreamt of a marriage, and even though it wasn’t what I expected I am also not too proud to say perhaps that dream can look different now. What ever you want your life to be in the future, you first have to dream it. You have to stop fitting into the mold of what people expect of you. I hope my children read my words someday and look over what they’ve achieved and know full well that they made that happen. Not for others but for themselves. I’ve had some wild dreams lately. Most of them are absolutely within reach currently they just take some work. Others are timely, others I will have to give up. But I’m excited for it all.

“The surest way to make your dreams come true is to live them.”

― Roy T. Bennett

I’ve been thinking of starting a personal blog to write more about those dreams, I’m still debating. We’ll see what happens and the direction I go in .

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Life is amazing, a little personal – Itasca IL family photographer

Last time at this year I dragged my little family out to a beautiful field for some photographs. I didn’t get to book a photographer early enough and therefore I took these myself with the use of a tripod and self timer. Would absolutely not reccomend it’s so tedious. Oh did I mention coyotes came out of nowhere and scared the crap out of us. But nonetheless we did the best we could with that we had. This year things are different. No I still did not book someone early enough, and I will have to ultimately figure it out somehow. But life is looking differently for other reasons. Life is changing. In many ways it’s staying the same because even though love evolves it persists if its real. Our family moving forward will look different. I don’t mean to vaguely brush over the changes happening but I feel like I’m still working to accept my new normal even though I am the one leading the charge for change. A change that comes with so much love & respect to the life we’ve built and saying goodbye to. 10 years of a relationship that made me grow tremendously.

2020 has both simultaneously been the worst and the best experience. It has propelled me begrudgingly forward. I’ve always loved staying and living in my positivity and I know that the grass is greener where ever I stand. We will be ok, we’ll support each other through the changes. Currently my heart is with my kids, I know that grown up situtations can be so hard on little ones. In my life I have know hardship and have always worked to overcome it, it hasn’t made me tough or think less of the world, if anything it’s made me much more grateful. I love my softness, I think it opens others to think that not everything has to be hard. Changes are scary but well take it day by day.

“This life is mine alone. So I have stopped asking people for directions to places they’ve never been.”
― Glennon Doyle

“A broken family is a family in which any member must break herself into pieces to fit in. A whole family is one in which each member can bring her full self to the table knowing that she will always be both held and free.”

― Glennon Doyle

Jessica and Alex, Maternity session in Hyde Park- Chicago IL

Im completely in love with this location. Let me just start by saying that. Sometimes you get little victories and surprises by taking the time to venture out some way out of your comfort. So much of what makes a good photographer is their ability to connect their clients to the enviroment. Love was certainly ever flowing during this session. First time parents are so beyond special. There is something about the unkown that is so scary and at the same time thrilling. A new baby that just creates a brand new dynamic. If you don’t know, i am completely obsessed (understatement) with clouds so this beautiful weather was just pure perfection. I had such a blast getting to know these two. I also love how important it was for Jessica to include parts of their culture into our session together.

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McCallum extended family session, Long Grove Illinois photographer

This past weekend was just incredible weather for sessions and exploring. I had a chance to catch up with the lovely McCallum family and they brought along her sister and family. Karissa is such a kind and wonderful soul, she is just one of those inviting people that I think everyone should have in their lives. All of her warmth transends onto her children. Her and Patrick are just doing an amazing job raising those three. I look forward to many years of checking in and seeeing them grow and expand into their beauty.

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Lupe and Jordan get married, Chicago and west suburbs elopment photographer

I took on this beautiful elopment of sorts a few months back. Jordan and Lupe were, like most couples just trying to wed in this weird situation of a year. Sorrounded by their extended family and friends and practicing safety protocols they wed in a beautiful ceremony. Lupe looked insanely beautiful, I mean look at that dress! We then headed to this lovely park near for some more portraits. Thankfully it was near, since I guess with all of the nuptial chaos the groom forgot to add gas to his car. We walked over to this hill and I got to experience all of the love and admiration they share for one another. I hope their life is amazing together and that they get to see those images and remeber how not even 2020 could stop them for moving their lives and love forward.

The Anderson Family | a beautiful cloudy morning at Busse Woods In Elk Grove Village

So we managed to see a few beautiful elk cows in the grass on this lovely morning. I love when I meet new families especially close to the holiday season. I learned that Mama is a native to Minnesota and Dad is originally from Wisconin so naturally baby was not even going to be remotely bothered by the slight chill in the air. We had originally planned for a sunset session but you know how weather is and we landed on this lovely cloudy morning. It honestly worked out perfectly. The rich beautiful colors in this gorgeous backdrop have to be a new favorite. & can we just talk about the adorable pup. Oh my goodness. I hope I get more and more clients with their dogs. I couldn’t be more of a dog person if I tried.

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