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Breathtaking Photography offers on-location, natural light photography in Alton, Illinois and the surrounding St. Louis Metro area. Offering birth photography and portraiture.

Photography that will literally take your breath away.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Newborn Madness! | Alton Illinois Newborn & Baby Photographer

I adore newborn sessions. Yes, they're a lot more work (well, maybe not more than a busy 18 month old's session....) and they make me sweat (literally), but I do love me some sweet-soft baby smell. And I'm not having any more of my own tiny, squalling offspring so it's delightful to enjoy someone else's pink bundle of joy for a few hours! Plus, it's a fun challenge to think up new ideas to showcase the tiny precious bubs on camera and in print.

So imagine my sheer delight at not having one, not two, but three newborn sessions over the last several months. I took most of the summer off for a nasty illness and a huge rehab/move-in project but I made time to squeeze these ladies into my calendar. And I'm so glad I did.....

Monday, October 1, 2012

Shooting at the Milton Schoolhouse! | Alton, Illinois Senior Photographer

Good gracious this is possibly the most neglected aspect of my business- blogging! I love blogging sessions, but I have to guiltily admit that I often drop this in favor of Facebook to save myself time. Facebook doesn't pull up on Google though, and there are just tooooo many people in Alton who don't yet know I exist (and we have to change that!)

So let me start by telling you some exciting news! I'm now renting an adorable space in the Milton Schoolhouse here in Alton. It's a historic (and reportedly haunted) building and the plethora of shooting spaces make my head spin. I've been particularly enjoying my senior sessions there this fall! We've been splitting our time between the building and an outdoor location... with amazing results. Check them out- my 2013 senior reps!

More shoots coming soon! I took most of the summer off, first to be really sick with a nasty systemic strep infection and then to rehab and move into a gigantic monstrosity of a house in upper Alton. I've got some really fun stuff on the books and a few sweet newborns to catch up on so keep your eyes out for more coming up!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Newsletter Goodness!

It's about time I jumped on this bandwagon! Powered by Mad Mimi, I am in the process of creating a newsletter for Breathtaking clients and fans. If you'd like to stay in the know about promotions, special pricing, discounts, mini specials, boudoir parties, and the like PLUS get to know a little about me and my business PLUS get to see some behind the scenes PLUS get the low-down on my favorite businesses around Alton, give it a try. You can always unsubscribe if you find it's not your cup of tea! ;)

Just fill in your full name and email address and click the button! You can always find this at the top of every blog post, as well. Enjoy! I'm scheming up fantastic posts so don't miss it. I get a little kick back if you sign your business up for Mad Mimi through this link, so if you're interested please do me the kindness. I highly recommend the service! It's fast, easy, and very reasonably priced. You can even try it out for free (and/or maintain a free account if you don't need a ton of contacts!)

Thanks for being the best clients out there!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Skinny Mini in June Shoot LOCATIONS! | Alton Boutique Photography

By now, I'm hoping you've heard about my Skinny Mini in June promotion. If not, hop over here and read about it. When I was brainstorming this idea, it occurred to me that in order to give all my clients the very best I've got in just 30 minutes of shooting, it would serve us well to go to locations I know like the back of my hand. Not to mention, two of them are my absolute favorite shoot locations in the Alton area! I consistently get good light and amazing images out of these places. After a couple of inquiries, it became clear that what we needed was a blog post, with examples (!), to help you make a selection! So, without further ado, here are your THREE locations to choose from, if you make the excellent decision to book a Skinny Mini this June.

Location One: Beautifully wooded, close to town, just a little off the beaten path so very quiet and private. Beautiful fields and a stunning canopy of trees that arch over the mulched pathways. I don't give out the name very often. If other photogs knew about it we would be over run! *wink*

Location Two: Not very hard to figure out! The beautiful campus of LCCC. Easy to find, lots of variety. Wide open, landscaped spaces plus beautiful old stone architecture. Many of my clients love this location and it's in my top three. 

Location Three: Also not hard to decipher! Beautiful downtown Alton. You probably drive through it on a regular basis if you're reading this blog post. And while it becomes a sort of background to those of us who live in our little river town, it's really really stunning on camera. Old brick, unique backdrops, iron benches, cozy doorways (with amazing light!), and little ally ways give you a hip, interesting (and different) look for your session. 

Dog Farts! | Alton Children and Family Photographer

I get pretty attached to most of "my" families, but this one in particular has a special place in my heart. They are the perfect blend of sweet, funny, and absolutely perfect in front of the camera. I have many, many tricks up my sleeves to help my clients relax and loosen up in front of my lens (did you know it's totally normal to feel uncomfy? you're not alone!) and these four just Well, maybe Carson. You can't tell it from the following images, but he takes a few minutes to warm up to me. Now, a few weeks ago I had a session with one of my other really difficult three year olds and what finally worked to get some grins was teasing him about his dog farting. On a whim, I said to Carson.... "Do I need to say DOG FARRRRRT?!"....and.... it totally worked! Instant funny guy. Love.

Enjoy. I did. :)


Friday, May 4, 2012

Skinny Mini Sessions! | Alton, Illinois Family, Maternity, Newborn, Child, Portrait Photography

As many of you have noticed in the first half of 2012, when the calendar turned over a page last January, Breathtaking went a different direction with pricing and business structure. I wanted to move away from "shoot and burn" and in fact have been planning it for over a year. I've really felt like that sort of business practice, while much less time consuming for me and with far less overhead, wasn't really serving my clients they best way they could be served.

My main objection was that most of my clients weren't printing their images

Or they were printing them at discount chain stores and suffering bad quality. Or they weren't getting those beautiful images up on the wall to make a real IMPACT in their homes. Or they didn't have access to/time to fool with some really neat product offerings (Ever seen a mini-accordion album? They are soooo cute!)

Basically, my expertise and attention to detail were lacking in my final product. 

And let's be honest. We don't spend $350 on a photography session, $200 on outfits, spend hours planning and getting ready, an hour of shoot time, wait 3 weeks to get images.... only to let them sit on a disk in a desk drawer or print out some 8x10's from Walmart. It's a waste

But, it's hard to change a business structure. I took myself out of a lot of my client's price ranges (miss you guys!!!) and that was really sad. I am slowing building a client base but what I'm finding is that many people just don't know WHAT custom photography IS or WHY they should pay for it. I mean, why not buy the $9.99 package at the mall department store or pay your best friend's sister's babysitter who has a digital camera $50 bucks to shoot a disk of 50 unedited snapshots? Isn't that a better bang for your buck, after all?

 Boutique photography is just what it sounds like. It's a "boutique" style of doing things. I am small, I am intimate, I am hands on, and most importantly, I am experienced. I go beyond mall-store-level-service. I get to know you, your family, and your needs. My top priority is what you'd like to have in your final outcome. I spend lots and lots of time with each client planning and you now get double the amount of shoot time (2 hours!) so we get just what we're looking for! And after the session, I come to you for an in-your-home, personalized Ordering Session. You get to view your images and then pick my brain. And your gallery? Full of well lit, well edited, perfectly retouched choices.What images would look best together? Where in your home? What size combinations would look right on this wall? How big do we need to go to fill the space? What's the difference between a canvas and a float wrap? Do you do keychains? My mom would love one! How can we crop this to work in this space? 

I come wielding my tape measure, stack of sample prints and products, and time. Plenty of time. 

You see, I want you to be completely satisfied with your complete experience. From initial contact to final wall hanging. I want people to gasp when they walk in the door of your home and see a beautiful image in a stunning frame from Poppy Tree Frames. I want your Mother-in-Law to laugh with joy and thank you endlessly when she gets that cute little accordion album of your family photo shoot. Won't she love showing that off to all her friends!?

So, you wanna try this out? Try it out and see the difference? It's a little intimidating, huh? Never fear! In an effort to show you how freaking awesome this type of custom photography experience can be, I've put together the Skinny Mini Month of June! For half my normal Creativity Fee you'll be treated to my entire experience. Your shoot will be a "mini" and you'll get 30 minutes with me in one of three predetermined shoot locations. Minimum order requirements will be waived and you'll get three complimentary digital images, included in your session fee, on a keepsake, custom disk just for giving me a try. Want more? It's available for purchase but there's no requirement!

Sound too good to be true? It's not. 

Give me a ring or shoot me an email and I'll get you set up with a date. I can't wait to meet you and show you why the boutique photography experience is worth the price you pay for the quality and attention to detail you'll receive. 



Saturday, April 14, 2012

Little Boy Blue | Alton, Illinois Children's Photographer

This past year has been an exercise in coming home. I've had the pleasure of meeting old friends again and establishing fantastic relationships with many who weren't my "friends" in my youth but who certainly are becoming so now! Many of the families who have chosen to hire Breathtaking this year are connected with my past and Allison is no exception. I'm delighted to be getting to know her better than I did in high school and I was really pleased to get to meet her husband Patrick and her sweet son, Cooper. "The Dude" as they call him, has the most beautiful blue eyes (got those from Daddy!) and the sweetest temperament! 9 month olds can be hard to shoot sometimes. That 'ole Stranger Danger is usually revving up at that age. But not Coop! He happily sat for me, gave me smiles, threw out a few funny faces, and generally gave me a lot of great material to look at! Yesterday, at our in-home ordering session, he spent most of his time devouring cheese or squealing for my attention. I, too, adore cheese. ;)

Enjoy Cooper and his parents!