Standing in the light | Chicago and west suburbs photographer

This post is a little departure from what I usually blog, beautiful families with tiny humans who bring so much joy. But I think throwing something different at you is something you can handle. May even be necessary. I’ve been exploring what my womanhood means to me. & I probably shoud have shared self portraits along with my words, but sharing women who inspire me seemed more fitting. I would say that unless I found myself on the path that I am on I would have never even questioned what I thought about womanhood. These images are from Austin, the last location for the last workshop I hosted. I had a conversation with my friend B via Facetime recently, in which we agreed that for both of us so much perspective and change came about leaving our nests for these workshops. I can’t speak for everyone who has ever ventured out of their comfort zones but for me, I can’t live without the challenge. If I get too comfortable it becomes this nagging feeling that I need to push myself. That’s what these workshops meant. Pushing myself and in the process discovering more about what it means to fail and to get comfortable with the unknown. Im evolving my thinking and have so much to uncover but for now I’ll leave it at this new discovery is beautiful. This new questioning is amazing. Womanhood is dope as hell. I’m so excited to grow more into myself.

Can I also say how important it is to sorround yourself with inspiring women who are living their life in their own way unapologetically. Both Britt and Angela have in so many silent ways encouraged me to live authentically. This ish is hard, I won’t lie. I remember when I first became aquainted with these two women. Their existence and the way they moved through the world made me so uncomfortable. I think it was because to me, they were living true to themselves and I didn’t know at the time how desperately I wanted that to be me. These days I am living and standing in my truth. I know without a shadow of a doubt what I want and I am persuing that passionately. I hope this post encourages you to do the same.

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

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WALK ALONG THE RIVER CHICAGO FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

WALK ALONG THE RIVER CHICAGO FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

Much of our adventures go undocumented nowadays since Im so busy with work and life, I have to make it a point to come back to this. My big boy will be 9 already at the end of the month. How on earth is that possible. It feels like just yesterday I was bringing him home. If you’re a new parent and or a new parent to be know that all the parent cliches are one thousand percent true! Every single one of them. I know I have a special chance to document their childhood and I should take more advantage of that. I can’t wait to have more freesom and explore the city of Chicago with these two more if we can’t venture out further. Life is changing but, it is also coming together at the same time.

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For Grandma | Oak Brook, IL extended family session

For Grandma | Oak Brook, IL extended family session

Sometimes lovely sessions happen in the bitter cold. I had the honor to photograph this beautiful extended family, and while I wish it was 5 degrees warmer I think we can all agree that their love comes through so clearly in these images.

I hope you enjoy this gallery.

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couple in naperville

What a year ! Chicago family photographer

What a year ! Chicago family photographer

This year, no scratch that. This decade has been full of amazing surprises. 2019 was such a revelation. It was a huge year for growth and understanding personally, but also a tremendous year for my business. I want to thank all of my incredible clients that took a chance on me this year. I met some of the loveliest humans, but I also had so many families returning with their own crazy changes and growth. Photography can enable us to capture much more than an image. And I am so lucky to be able to do this. Here is a quick blog of my very own little bunch. We thrive on sponteneity and imprefection.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR TRUST! HAPPY NEW YEAR HOPE THIS FINDS YOU WELL!


McCallum Family, six months later | Itasca IL family photographer

McCallum Family, six months later | Itasca IL family photographer

I am so damn honored to have seen this family twice this year. I cant believe how gorgeous and big baby L has gotten. I met this family back early this year as I was a backup for their home birth. They blew me away with their kindness and just how excited they were to wecome the surprise baby. I eneded up capturing his incredible arrival.

Also can I say just how beautiful this sunset was, we were lucky with such a warm October day. The kids had a blast exploring and you can see just how much they all love each other.

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Dandelion field at the end of spring | Adri De La Cruz Schaumburg and Chicagoland area family photographer

Dandelion field at the end of spring | Adri De La Cruz Schaumburg and Chicagoland area family photographer

It’s been a tough spring. So many feelings and a ton of movement in my head. Lately I have settled that I am way too comfortable where I am. Growth is like that shitty but lovely plant that just won’t budge unless you significant things to help it along. I’ve been stagnant for a while. Yet feeling a bunch of anxiety over nothing. Life is just funny that way.

I needed to capture that incredible end of spring day and I ran to a creek near a park with my kids. Turns out a filed full of nats is just what the doctor ordered. I hope you’re having an amazing start to your summer.

mom in a field of sunflowers in the suburbs of chicago
kid in golden light in a dandelion field
collage of a kid in a red dress in a chicago field
family in a dandelion field
self portrait with a mirror in the woods

North Carolina alley | Adri de La Cruz Chicago + West Suburbs family photographer

North Carolina alley | Adri de La Cruz Chicago + West Suburbs family photographer

The journey to strong self-love is hard. It reminds me if that shitty Chicago street, you know which one I’m referring to. The one that you brace yourself for. The one that is riddled in potholes and you have to maneuver like MacGyver to safety.

SELF LOVE, I mean. It seems to be a selling point for a ton of products these days. If you love yourself then buy this or that. One thing that no one says out loud is that you can’t fake self-love. It’s apparent in every action we make, in the way we speak of ourselves. I hope that you can see my self love in these images. While I still hold on to a ton of self-preservation, I am also not afraid to share my thoughts and love for me with the world. Does it make me selfish, maybe?. Nearing 30 you just care less and less about what others might think.

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Moments with them, spring beach day | Adri De La Cruz Photographer, Chicago and west suburbs family photographer

Moments with them, spring beach day | Adri De La Cruz Photographer, Chicago and west suburbs family photographer

I hate that it took me almost a year to blog these. This was actually last spring, in April. We had such a warm start to our Spring so I loaded my kids and headed towards Indiana. Just a spur of the moment.

Since last year I bet you can guess how much they’ve changed, They are both so much taller but also a lot less patient with me and my camera tendencies. If you’re a mom and are wanting genuine moments with your kids I would say to stop worrying about the smiles and posed images.

I can remember my mom describing my wild antics but only wished there was a photograph to see them, because I know I was wild. I just don’t have the proof of how much :P. I cannot stress enough how important it is to document your kids as they are.  The way their silly girn was full of tiny teeth or the untamed baby hair or in our case the gallos, a Mexican word for hairs that stand straight up and cannot tame no matter what you try. Below you can see all of that in my kids.  Also my daughter in the way she removed her shirt to match her brothers.

 

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Mama, you deserve to see yourself | P52radness highlights| Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

Mama, you deserve to see yourself | P52radness highlights| Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

So at the end of 2016, I was in one of the worst creative ruts of my career. I say career because I’ve finally owned up to the title of Artist. But, that’s a topic for another day. I looked at my work from the past two years and it was full of conforming images. Stuff I had taken to get up on the IG cycle. That is also a separate conversation, can you tell that I have a lot on my mind.

Anyway, it was a portfolio full of beautiful images that said absolutely nothing to me. Nothing at all, except that my kiddos were cute af, but nothing much.

So I decided that I needed something different, and as I shared my thoughts on my lack of inspiration but, more importantly, lack of seeing myself reflected in my work, I heard the echoes from most of my photographer friends. Who, they were too failing at getting themselves documented. So a simple FB post turned into one of my all-time favorite communities. It a safe space to create and collaborate. Its a place where I’ve felt heard, even as 2017 has been one of the hardest of my personal life + and I guess, work-life combined to some extent. I cannot even put into words how much each of these images means to me, and what they will mean to my children one day. I have always been guilty of so much self-awareness and it is both a curse and a blessing.  As I know and I am reminded every day with a tiny clock in my head that time is limited. As somber as that is, I am the happiest knowing that I am making the most of my time on earth living, and breathing, making mistakes, rectifying some and learning from most. These images are reminders too, to cherish my children and my youth.

So you see, you deserve to be seen, mama. Take time for yourself. If it’s not photography that moves you, paint, draw, shop, dance, read, whatever it is, do it for yourself today. I want to give a huge shoutout to all of those women who have inspired me in a hundred ways in these 52 weeks. Your stories mean so much.

I hope you enjoy some of my P52 highlights.

TO SEE MORE INCREDIBLE SELF PORTRAITS GO CHECK OUT ASHLEY ESSIG’S YEAR .

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Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle PhotographerChicago + West suburbs Lifestyle PhotographerChicago + West suburbs Lifestyle PhotographerChicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

Chicago + West suburbs Lifestyle PhotographerChicago + West suburbs Lifestyle Photographer

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The PNW- Chicago lifestyle and documentary photographer

The PNW- Chicago lifestyle and documentary photographer
So last year I dragged my family to Click away. 

I’ve been holding onto these images for no reason at all. Other than feeling overwhelmed to blog them. So I finally narrowed down some faves and got my act together, time just flies and its already going to be a year since them. While I don’t have that many photos of the actual Click away event I do have these of my kids.

We drove 4 hours from our downtown Seattle location, to make a Twilight fan dreams come true. It was so worth it. Granted the drive was longer than our flight but who cares.

My photos do not give this place its rightful justice. My kid is begging to go again, and I think we might have to. If you make it to the end you’re the real MVP.

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