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I'm Suzy of Simply by Suzy, and I'm so happy you're here at my blog because I can't wait to serve you with lots of good stuff like a peek into all of my favorite photoshoots for clients, freebies and resources on motherhood, how to get more connected with your life, and how to take beautiful pictures of it. 

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chicago family photographers | redefining the family photography experience

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To be honest, I’m one of those people that has loathed having a photoshoot done of my family (I have 2 scorpio children and a gemini if that explains anything).

Well, actually, I should clarify that I started to loathe having photos taken of us after we had our second child and things became more complex with multiple children to prep outfits and nap schedules, feeding etc. I mean, I personally love having our picture taken but it has traditionally in the past come at the cost of dragging my family through a rather stressful experience IYKWIM.

So while on maternity leave this winter with our third baby and I had lots of time to think while up late night breastfeeding and rocking my son to sleep… I started asking myself…

What would need to change in order for my own family to have a stress-free, fun family photo experience?

Is that even possible?

To start testing out ideas, I’ve been hiring someone to come photograph our family every 3 months and it’s been so much fun! And actually the most recent photo session we had in February, we had a blast. My husband and I were completely maxed out but I had committed to myself that I would get photos of us every 3 months and didn’t want to cancel.. so I decided to just keep it chill and low maintenance for everyone.

I didn’t pick anyone’s outfits, I didn’t buy anything for the shoot ahead of time, I didn’t clean anything in the house, I didn’t put any pressure on my husband to do anything whatsoever, and it was amazing. I didn’t even make any big elaborate plans. I decided for the session itself we would just do our morning routine waking up, giving Rhea a bottle, playing in our play room, going for a walk in one of our favorite places… It was so easy and simple, my husband even said to me afterward, wow, I think that was the most fun we’ve ever had taking pictures. Success!

It was so easy and so fun that I decided to put this kind of plan to the test again for clients so I tried it out when I photographed Angela Wator’s family (side note: Angela owns Shop Ovette and Festive Collective , go check them out, she has such fun taste in everything). Since it was still winter, we came up with this idea of setting up their favorite kind of Saturday morning for the shoot.

So they left the door open for me and at sun rise I snuck in before anyone woke up. Once the girls got up I played with them a bit and then jumped in mom and dad’s bed, made coffee, played chess and baked dutch babies… we played some more and then took a bath, played dress up in Angela’s closet, and said good bye. It was so great and everyone had fun, I even got the chance to test out an old film video camera I’ve been dying to pull out for years.

the Super 8 family video I shot!

With all of that said, I think the big take away here I’d love for you to walk away with is to challenge the idea of what family pictures has to be for you this year. You absolutely can meet up with me or someone else for a more traditional shoot – in fact, I offer select mini session dates every Spring and Fall because I understand that sometimes we don’t have the time or money or desire for the big splurgey experience. Regardless of the reason, sometimes we just want to have fun, easy, quick pictures.


Family photos don’t have to just be traditional and posed pics to update those frames and holiday cards. Family photos can be something big and splurgey and fun. It can be a meaningful experience that you plan and save up for your family like going on a vacation. You could even make it part of your family tradition. Every year or even a couple times a year, depending on how much you love and value photography, maybe you let everyone take the day off from school and work and you go all out because it’s your family tradition. And a tradition where you also get to *literally* create a record of your family’s history (and you get to do it together).

Anyway, below are some highlights of that shoot (both photo and video!). If you’re interested in chatting more about booking your own big family session experience with me this year, click here to reach out. My assistant, Jen will hook you up and take good care of you in setting up a time to chat with me about what your session could look like (because another one of the things you’ll get when working with me is great customer service, I’m all about having fun with my clients and making everybody feel special).



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