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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Goodbye summer | Adri De La Cruz- Chicago + West suburbs family photographer

Goodbye summer | Adri De La Cruz- Chicago + West suburbs family photographer

Yesterday it felt like a sweet goodbye to summer. Yes, while I know the weather is so unpredictable I felt this overwhelming need to capture these very last moments of summer for my kids. I turned on the sprinkler for about 15 minutes and captured their joy. but let’s be honest there were also moments of them fighting for the best spot near the water. After this summer I no longer have a kid at home to keep me busy. There is so much change ahead for us. Schedules are getting full, and so are backpacks.

Next week is the first day of school for my littlest, she’s starting prek. I know she’s going to love it, she is one of the most extroverted kids I know. I look forward to hearing all of the stories. Change is never easy. Nonetheless, we just have to keep moving forward.

 

 

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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.

 

for more of me and my story find me on

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Adri de la Cruz | Chicago + West suburbs lifestyle photographer | beauty of womanhood

Adri de la Cruz | Chicago + West suburbs lifestyle photographer | beauty of womanhood

“The best I can say, it’s like this. A man’s in his skin, see, like a nut in its shell … It’s hard and strong, that shell, and it’s all full of him. Full of grand man-meat, man-self. And that’s all. That’s all there is.

A woman’s a different thing entirely. Who knows where a woman begins and ends? Listen, mistress, I have roots, I have roots deeper than this island. Deeper than the sea, older than the raising of the lands. I go back into the dark … I go back into the dark! Before the moon I am, what a woman is, a woman of power, a woman’s power, deeper than the roots of trees, deeper than the roots of islands, older than the Making, older than the moon. Who dares ask questions of the dark? Who’ll ask the dark its name?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Tehanu

The beautiful Jess never disappoints.

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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 .

Find me on IG 

 

 

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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TIME is | Chicago and suburbs family photography

TIME is | Chicago and suburbs family photography

Time is

Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.

Henry Van Dyke 

______________________

 

It’s hard to find the words. Having seen my mom cry many times after phone calls wishing she could see her mother. It’s been 15+ years. From the moment she told me she’d be able to see her mom soon, it was surreal. You get used to the reality that you may never see that person again when you chose to immigrate to the USA. This is the story of my family. One that is the story of many.

This topic is not black and white.

On this day we arrived far too early. 3 hrs to be precise. We kept waiting anxiously for a familiar face. We even brought balloons, ones that my little 2yr. old released onto the ceiling of the airport shy of the meet and greet. We stat there, staring at strangers reuniting with their loved ones, passengers glad to be back home and kids excited to run the halls of the airport.

When we finally saw her, rushing through just as I remember her. It was a quick moment of disbelief. Her features much more pronounced, time showing heavy on her skin. Her eyes much more beautiful than I remembered, just as kind as always. The hugs were deep, and the tears flowed. Only broken by a moment of laughter as my Aunt emerged from the bathroom upset that she had missed her first sighting. We hope to have her visit us much more often. We hope we can also travel out to her as well. I am so happy to have captured these special images for them.

 

 

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Summer is back | Chicago and suburbs family photographer

Summer is back | Chicago and suburbs family photographer

OH HALLELUJAH !!

Summer is here! and of course we’ll soon be complaining of the high temperatures, mosquitos and the traffic. But for now we bask in the lovely honeymoon phase of when summer returns. Those few days when it is warm enough to get wet and be ok with it and not freeze outside. It is a joke in Chicago that our spring is non existent we go from one extreme to the other.

So finally! We explored with the beautiful sun shinning over us. We were searching for frogs as we always are. As usual we catch none. My son was sad, but quickly recovered playing in the water and being able to see his other favorite bugs and birds. My littlest is just happy to be where her brother is, learning along the way. She of course also wanted to get naked and jump in.

I can’t wait for more exploring and fulfilling our summer bucket list.

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My boy

My boy

This parenting business is no joke 

As long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a mom. I wanted to be young enough to enjoy it all. When we got married, we got pregnant immediately. I was 21 and with a little boy. It was wonderful, it still is. But now life is so much more full. We have so much going on. Life has changed.

Lucas is 4 going on 14. He has opinions and ideas, he yells and he screams.Boy does he scream.  He is angry, he knows mean words, and uses them. He isn’t that little person who fit in between my chest. It is so hard to remember that little person. I’ve been ashamed of my lack of patience with him. I usually forgive myself because I know we all have bad days, and he. He is so forgiving. He loves me unconditionally.

I want to try and be a better person to him. Remember that, even though  he may seem so incredibly mature for his age and so very smart, he still needs guidance. He still need me to help him cope with all of his feelings.

He is the best son I could have ever wished for. He loves so much, and is so passionate about everything he is interested on. Him and I, we are so alike. I hope to build a relationship of trust. For him to know that no matter what, I am here. Not to judge, but to listen and help. For now, we’ll deal with the daily power struggles of a boy who wants it all …attention, love, time, toys, tv, icecream and me.

 

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A little more of that please | faceless portrait Chicago IL family photography

A little more of that please | faceless portrait Chicago IL family photography

Every Year I look forward to winter.

I guess every year I forget how inspiration + winter just do not go together. It can be hard to find a spark of creativity among the same four walls you see daily. I’ve struggled just like everyone else. I am also currently doing a 366 , and I have to admit I’ve put some pressure on myself to share daily. Unfortunately I don’t thrive on repetition. I love going to new locations and surrounding myself with light, greens, and blue skies. So these last few months ( or weeks according to the groundhog)  inside these walls will finish off,  not so very creatively.

Here is my girl, in just some  pretty light. We are tackling the topic of faceless portraits + details with the TWELVE group . I thought this was perfect for that. I saw her wandering towards the window and playing with her spinning top, and of course I ran to get the camera. The focus can be thrown off when shooting directly into the sun, which is why i do it manually to get this magnificent sun burst. The last shots of her in the shadows and shapes of light did not happen organically but I though it added to the depth of this light story!. What do you think.

I love this light, and wish it were light this every last day of winter. I will take a little more of it please.

 

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Come read through tour BLOG circle with the TWELVE group. Next up is Stephanie from IN her Lens

Letter to my Photography heroes.

Letter to my Photography heroes.

here we go.

I wanted to share my heroes with others.

I can’t believe I am writing this. How cheesy of me! .. I mean really!

I guess technically this is more of a tribute and giving credit to where credit is deserved, than a letter. I personally don’t know these women, I have, however followed their work in every social media platform. Stalker-ish? ..maybe :). It was easy to pick my top four. Why top four? I guess its a lucky number for me. I choose photographers that are alive and creating as we speak.

From merely seeing their work on a daily basis, reading their words in blogs, magazines, and social media photo captions, I have been truly inspired. The way they see the world has resonated and moved from  within me. They have made me pushed myself. In a very big way they have encouraged me. These women are Liz La Bianca , Valeria Spring, Joy Prouty and Summer Murdock. I have so many other favorites. I could prob make a top 100 list, because I love everyone’s work so much. But these 4, they have been my favorites from the very beginning.

My Photography journey start is not  very original,it is the typical ” I became a mom” . That is all I needed really. My passion for photography started way before that though, I have always had a love for the creative mediums, I knew I would dedicate my life to something truly beautiful. Photography became that something.

I remember being very new to Facebook , and trying to find inspiration online always felt so wrong. Or it felt like everything had already been said. Anyway I digress, I came across this beautiful black and white image. ( I wish I still had the links to show you all) Stopped me in my tracks. It was truly a work of ART! it was a little girl, swimming. In perfect light, composition, etc… everything that I didn’t know at that time. It was Liz La biancas’ work being shared. I of course, immediately began following Liz’ journey . I was obsessed with her work. Her willingness to share her knowledge was amazing to me. Here was an  amazing photographer,  in my eyes giving her secrets away.I was baffled as to why someone would do that. Surely she knew people could copy her, and steal her work. I didn’t realize at that time how hard it would be to do that, not that I tried to copy but my love for light had grown so much that I would try similar shots, and of course they would never look like hers, they never will.  She shared to much! and still does. That is one  of the things that I love about Liz. She truly is such a giving Artist! She has no idea how much I learned from her! She filled my daily feed with incredibly shots and words full of experience. I cannot thank her enough for that.

Valeria’s work was another Artist who I happened to come across on fb. I immediately adored her style. It had such a nostalgic edge, that I kept on constantly going back too. The way she captures her life and daughters, it was just a breath of fresh air.  The way she captures families, so effortless.  I knew I would try to incorporate some of that into my work, she has the ability to get and transform a single shot into pure gold. I don’t know her process at all, obviously. She might read this and think I’m bananas, because as we all it is not all that simple. But her work just makes me believe that it is. The makes tiny mundane moments worth remembering. She will forever be one of my favorites.

So as I continued immersing myself into more learning communities I heard about this amazing photographer named Joy Prouty. I had the chance to watch a free broadcast from an event she had done for Clickinmoms. The way she described her family and parenting, was enough for me to become a fan. Of course her work is just stunning, always a source of inspiration for me if I feel stuck, Her use of light and locations it outstanding, she fills me with wanderlust . Anyway, I fell in love with the descriptions of her life first. The imperfections of her life she shared with us, and the struggles of motherhood and doing it as we also are trying to have a business. She is without a doubt, a very beautiful soul. She once took a family road trip across the country with her four tiny humans and husband. If hat doesn’t say brave, I’m not sure what does. She is very surprising to me, always willing to roll with the punches. For that and many reasons I adore her work and is one of my favorites.

Ok last but not least, The always spectacular Summer Murdock. Gosh this lady! Every.single. image. of hers  makes me swoon! She is hard to miss. I am always entranced in her imagery. She always inspires me to see things from a new perspective.The infinite motion of her art makes me feel like I am there seeing it in person. Her use of color and emotion is my favorite. If I could be a photographer for a day, It would probably be Summer.

I hope to one day meet my heroes, or get a chance to learn from them. Nothing would be more of a dream come true than to get to be in their presence,  see their back of the camera, get to see them work their magic! To be able to thank them for their contributions to this photography community would be momentous.  Also they are on my bucket list, I will have a session with them sometime in the near future. I promise!

For now I will keep on learning through them, being inspired by them and continuing on my photography journey by also finding my voice.

 

Soaring high to reach my dreams.

ofthbox

 

Take a moment to go read  Lauren Webster’s Photography post on Her Photography heroes next