Commercial work for Dockatot | Chicago family photography

I’m always so damn grateful for all of the opportunities this life has given me and continues to give me. I think that being in the industry that I am the comparison joy creeps in often. I have to constantly remind myself that my voice is what sets me apart. Last year I was awarded the opportunity to work on several campains for Dockatot. I learned so much from those experiences. Self sabotage and the feeling that I wasn’t good enough creep in often as well. I think it does for most of my sessions . But you know what, the voice that tells me that I CAN DO THIS is louder. It is the driving force behind owning my ability and power. I can absolutely fail, and will probably will fail more than win at this point. But I have learned that the losses give me more than my wins. I have no idea what any of that has to do with the images of this adorable baby and these cute products but I guess I just want anyone who might be reading this that no matter what hardship, you can do this. Fail, but with grace, knowing you will recover. The way up is hard but so rewarding.

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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Once upon a time in Austin TX | Chicago birth and family photographer

Once upon a time in Austin TX | Chicago birth and family photographer

These images were taken in September of last year in the beautiful Austin, Texas! it was a session led by the incredible Stormy Solis. Being in charge of a big event like this means I don’t really shoot a whole lot. But this light and beautiful family couldn’t be ignored, plus it was the last session of the day. It is always so much fun to see how other artists interpret the same subjects. I hope to go back to Austin someday and get to explore a bit more of that incredible city.

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Brannigan Family |Oak Park IL

Brannigan Family |Oak Park IL

Meeting new clients is always so exciting. For this lovely session we were all so grateful at the way the weather gave us a huge break, you just never know what you’ll get in November/December in Chicago. If you’re a Local photographers you know how repetitive locations can feel. My client lives in the area so it was an easy decision to go with something more simple. River Forest and Oak Park have a ton of history and strong elemenets to use. In 2020 I want to add more local photoshoots to my portfolio. There’s something about the way your enviroment changes and the images you can capture there.

Have I mentioned what a sweetheart this little baby was? What a beauty. Honestly the Three of them were just so fun to work with.

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Lunde’s Wheaton IL tree farm adventure | Adri De La Cruz chicago family photographer

Lunde’s Wheaton IL tree farm adventure | Adri De La Cruz chicago family photographer

It seems like just yesterday I was over capturing baby B’s arrival. Time is not our friend sometimes, babies grow up righ before our eyes. I know Christmas and everything related to this beautiful holiday is so very important to this family. From the small ways in which they gather together to the important way they lead their lives. I see all of the beauty represented for them.

Their story began in a a tiny apartment not far from this Wheaton IL tree farm nursery. Also can we give a shout out to the owners of this place, we are so grateful for their inviting ways. It was fitting that we had a session here. They picked a tree then headed for some indoor warmth, a cup of joe, and hot chocolate for the kids. So many snuggles and memories in between. To say that they are some of my most favorite humans would be an understatement. I look forward to seeing this family expand and grow throught the years.

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Kerlyn Van Gelder’s magic | a little bit of life, Chicago maternity photographer

Kerlyn Van Gelder’s magic | a little bit of life, Chicago maternity photographer

This new decade has already proven that I am going to be completely challenged and pulled in all kinds of crazy directions. So to take a break from that I am going through old images and publishing, erasing, and moving forward. My amazing friend @KerlynVanGelder taught this amazing session for me in Portland and I can’t belive I haven’t shared what I was able to capture through my lens. I hope you enjoy these images. I want to start adding more of raw motherhood images to my work.

Dryfhout Family, Orland Park IL family photographer

Dryfhout Family, Orland Park IL family photographer

These humans I tell you, they pack in so much beauty and kindness. I’m so honored that I continue to photograph them! The insanity of this session still blows me away. From the light and the cold, goodness the cold. We worked under pressure quickly to achive some pretty great images, If I don’t say so myself.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful gallery.

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Mayorca family at the South Shore beach | Adri De La Cruz, Hyde Park family photography

Mayorca family at the South Shore beach | Adri De La Cruz, Hyde Park family photography

Throughout our whole session I felt so connected to their family story. It was so heart breaking to hear the longing to be somewhere else, to go back to their home Venenzuela. But truly the way I saw them, it felt that even though circumstances (much like my own) have forced them to migrate to other places, they truly felt at home with each other. They radiated the word home and belonging. Their children just were so connected and beautiful.

We chatted about how we struggle to hold on to our native tongues for our kids, and how so many words online have hurt us deeply. Home is wherever you are, that may be true. But I hope that they get to return and feel that sense of belonging everyone deserves. For now I get to make new friendships in this beautiful city. One which I’ve adopted as my own. Its my home.

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hair in golden light
family in beautiful golden field

Ajani, Hyde Park newborn session | Adri De La Cruz Photographer

Ajani, Hyde Park newborn session | Adri De La Cruz Photographer

Strong like thunder he came.

While I wasn’t able to be present during his birth, I heard all about her birth plan for him. His mom had all the confidence it took to educate herself and have the birth she always wanted. At home surrounded by light and love. She is definitely full of tenacity.

I should also point out that they were in a midst of a move and we chose a sweet spot to do this session at. Two walls and a window, so if you’re thinking an at home session isn’t for you because of your clutter and space, well I’m here to prove to you that it is possible to create beautiful images with very little.

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Almost the same birthday | Oak Park, IL birth photography

Almost the same birthday | Oak Park, IL birth photography

“Courage isn’t having the strength to go on – it is going on when you don’t have strength.” 
― Napoleon Bonaparte

I am in awe of this incredible mama. The grace and strength she showed during her incredible birth story was so powerful. This sweet baby decided to start making her appearance while I was away in Denver. On my last day of vacation, mama text’d me that her water had broke. It was 10 pm and I was to fly back to Chicago at 5 am. I was so excited for her , but nervous that I would not make it, and my back up would absolutely have to step in and photograph it. Things slowed down and I made it home. I had woken up at 3 am to make my flight and with all the chaos of getting home I didn’t sleep. At around 7 pm I was called to head over to join the birth team. I watched as she worked through her surges.

During the night her amazing team noticed something seemed different. The head midwife joined the birth and she accessed the situation. They determined that the baby was facing the incorrect way. If you’re reading this I completely act like a fly on the wall, I don’t ask questions, so the details are fussy and I’m just typing what I remember. I heard the words “face presentation” among other things. After trying so hard to change the presentation manually, and with a bunch of other incredible ways via her Doula. The call was made to head to the hospital for a C-section. You could feel the amount disappointment and sadness was so real for this mama. She had worked so incredibly hard, and now the reality was things had changed. This was my first C-section experience, and while I wish I had been able to capture the babies arrival, I still was able to see those first moments as she became the mama she was meant to be for a second time.

What an honor to be a part of this story. This is why I photograph births. It is all magical. C section mama’s your story matters. Your birth is just as beautiful.

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