Picture Joanna Gains and Christmas having a baby. This year Lens 2 Life is teaming up with Elements Preserved in their Elgin studio and The Real Bearded Santa and Mrs. Claus to offer one-of-a-kind holiday mini sessions! The studio set will be professionally styled by Elements Preserved with their beautiful vintage finds (inspired by the image in the advertisement). The great thing about this location is that families will be able to get into the shots if they wish because there will be plenty of space to work in! There will be presession activities to help little ones get into the Christmas spirit. These limited edition sessions are more than pictures; they’re an experience to remember! Each 20 minute session includes a minimum of 7-10 digital images (in color and in black and white) with a release to print, presession activities, 2 private restrooms for changing, a professionally styled set, Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the option to change the set by removing the couch and adding a vintage child’s bed for fun PJ shots. A survey will be emailed before the session asking your preference on having none, some or all your pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Gallery delivery will be within two weeks of your session so you have time to create and order your cards. Fully edited digital negatives are delivered via private password protected gallery for digital download and a release to print at your preferred lab. Galleries are linked to a professional lab should you wish to order professional prints, although it is NOT required. Photo credit: Grand Vintage Rentals
Booking will be officially open to the public on Wednesday, September 12th, after those who already expressed interest have an opportunity to book.
Picture of optional vintage child’s bed: A bed skirt will also be add to this bed and there will be an assortment of plaid and solid color pillows and blankets to add to the set of white linens if you wish to coordinate with your child’s outfit or PJs.
To book your session, click here.
Alzheimer’s disease affects an estimated 44 million people worldwide. It is said for people suffering from Alzheimer’s that everyday is “The Longest Day.” Alzheimer’s awareness day or The Longest Day is held annually on the summer solstice to honor those living with the disease, along with those who care for them (alzheimersnewstoday.com).
When co-owner of Goddard in Elgin, Sheryl Nelson called me to pitch her idea of a photo booth and dance-a-thon for her fundraiser, I was happy to help out. Before becoming a teacher, I worked in social services and had the opportunity to work directly with individuals suffering from Alzhiemer’s. I’ve witnessed firsthand the disease’s impact on individuals and their families. Approximately a year ago, Sheryl lost her mother to Alzheimer’s and this was a great way to honor her late mother’s memory.
My kiddos and I ran to a few stores and grabbed whatever we could that was purple, the color that represents Alzheimer’s. We also found some things that are symbolic of the illness, Forget Me Nots and butterflies. We were excited and ready to go for the big day! Unfortunately, torrential rains hit the day of the event, and we were going to have the dance party outside. We needed a plan B fast! We ended up setting up the party in the front foyer. It was a tight squeeze, but you know what? The kids didn’t care! They had a lot of fun getting their groove on and celebrating! If you are interested in contributing to Goddard’s fundraiser, click on this link The Longest Day Fundraiser Remember, every little bit helps!
Whew! My first digital photography workshop for beginners that was held at Craft Donuts & Coffee in Dundee, IL was a success. I am so proud of my participants! I threw a lot of information their way and within 2 hours, everyone was shooting manually. That’s not easy, but these ladies were great students! I cannot thank Craft Donuts & Coffee enough for working with me to make sure the participants had the donuts of their choice ready to go. They do sell out, so we planned ahead! Not to mention, they were amazing hosts and allowed us to move things around and use their space for the workshop. If you haven’t been there, you must try them out!
The workshop was 3 hours and went by so fast. A wonderful L2LP client agreed to bring her triplets so the workshop participants could practice their new skills outside in historic Dundee at the end of the workshop. This trio is not only adorable (they are among my favorite little clients), well-behaved, but I felt they would give the participants an experience typical of photographing their own littles. And they did just that!
I’m experimenting with the date of the next workshop. It will be held on Tuesday, July 10th. I wanted to see if there would be interest for a time that is during the week. If you are interested in the workshop and have a group that would like to participate at a different time, please do not hesitate to contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, I have had some interest in classes for middle to high school aged kiddos. If you are interested in having your child participate in a workshop that is designed for this age group and your child has a DSLR camera, please let me know!
If you’re a Seinfeld fan, you might remember the episode when George’s two worlds collided and he was not happy about it. Now that I’m in my 16th year of teaching and 5th year of business as a photographer, I’m starting to see my two worlds collide. Unlike George, I love this “phenomenon.” Several months ago, a woman contacted me to photograph her engagement session. This woman is a former student who I taught when she was in fifth grade. She was one of my little cherubs from one of the most memorable years in my teaching career. When I posted a sneak peek of the session, my best friend messaged me and said, “We’re so old!” I replied, “I know!” lol
Vicki was, and still is, a sweet, adorable and incredibly smart young lady. According to her Lexile score, she was reading at a 12th grade level when I had her as a student! I have so many great memories from that year. It was my second year as a teacher and I faced some challenges I knew I was not prepared for. The school I taught at had a high number English Language Learners from all over the world. I had no training in this area and I really had no idea how to tackle teaching a student who, for example, literally just came in from Uzbekistan (What!? Where is that? What language do they speak there?!). Where was I supposed to start? Not to mention, I had “neighborhood kids” who were not immigrants too. I quickly found just by speaking with the parents that there was this “us vs. them” and “my kid’s education better not suffer” mentality. I even saw it creep into the classroom a little with some of my students comments. I knew they were just repeating what they heard at home, but I also knew I needed to help change this way of thinking. We broke down some of these barriers by doing things that celebrated our differences and we learned from one another. We started by doing little things like coloring and decorating the room with flags of the countries we (or our ancestors) came from. On birthdays, we celebrated by teaching each other how to sing happy birthday in the many different languages spoken by the students (5 different languages total, not including English). We took brain breaks every morning during our reading and writing block and did the Cha Cha Slide. Remember that one Vicki? lol On the last day of school, we strung a pinata up from a tree outside and sang Cantos para romper la piñata before scrambling to get special Mexican candy off the ground. By the end of the year, my small class of 22 students became a cohesive group that created and solidified its own unique culture. I was laid off again that year, found another job teaching 7th grade in Crystal Lake and never got the chance to see these guys move on in 6th grade. I was able to reconnect with some of these students over the years through Facebook, which is how Vicki and I reconnected. Never did I think that one day I’d take up photography and end up photographing her engagement session! I was so nervous before this session; I hadn’t seen Vicki in almost 14 years! I enjoyed catching up with her and meeting her fiance, and I look forward to seeing these two “kids” tie the knot next year!
P.S. In fifth grade, Vicki went to Alaska on spring break and brought me back a pretty necklace. I didn’t wear it for a bit and one day she looked up at me with her sweet little face and asked, “Mrs. Lesko, aren’t you going to wear the necklace I gave you?” I felt terrible. For years I’ve been plagued with guilt, so I made sure I wore it to her session. 🙂 Of course, years later, Vicki has no memory of this necklace. lol 😉
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing. –Author Unknown
Big dreams do come with big sacrifices, and Jack and his family know all about this. His dream, to play pro-hockey one day, has not been without sacrifices. At the age of 16, Jack left his family to play with the Omaha Lancers. This meant leaving his friends and family in Carpentersville, Illinois to live with a couple he hadn’t met before and attend a private school in Omaha, Nebraska. Both Jack and his mother said that the family he lives with is wonderful and are “really good people.” While his move was a lot of change in a short period of time, he adjusted well and enjoys what he is doing! Recently, he made the US Under 18-Select team again. This is quite an accomplishment, especially considering more than 200 top players try out for this team. Jack doesn’t get to come home often or for long, but during a 10-day visit at home this summer, he told me he enjoyed spending time with his family and catching up with old friends.
I asked a few of Jack’s past teachers if they would like to share a few words about him. Ms. Nancy Garber stated, “When I think of Jack, I think of someone as a 13-year-old who despite being popular, good looking, and athletic, was the most humble, hard working, engaged student a teacher would want. He deserves every bit of success he has in life, and I wish him all the best no matter what.” Ms. Garber also recalls Jack as being the type of kid who, “. . . always wanted to know how to improve. . . took feedback very well and tried to implement it the next time. A good quality in sports. . . and in life.” Mrs. Gina Hurley says she couldn’t agree more! When reflecting on Jack, Mrs. Hurley stated, “Jack is the type of person you meet and instantly earns your respect. He is hardworking in every last thing that he does. He is the kind of person that is so talented, and you will never hear him brag or utter a word to prove it. He will always have a special place with me and I root for him every day.” We all agree that Jack comes from a great family with great parents, attributing to a solid foundation in which he’s grown.
I know that many of us are rooting for you, Jack as you work hard toward your dream. Keep at it, and I know you’ll get there! Please don’t forget to come back and visit us little guys when you are a big star! 😉