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I didn’t know it at the time but I grew up in a really creative focused town. Many of my classmates are now big names in comedy, movies, TV, and art. We went to each other’s birthday parties, played kickball at recess, and traded snacks at lunch. I never woulda thought that so many fellow classmates would go on to do big things.

I often wonder what the babies I photograph will “be” when they grow up. I hope they’ll be kind.

With such sweet parents I think little Miss Maren will be the sweetest!


St. Charles Family Photographer: Melissa Marie Photography: ELLIE

I’ve heard that you give someone a drink, you see their true colors. I feel like the same can be true for babies that you wake up early from a nap. (:

Miss Ellie not only was coming off not feeling great, but she even got woken early from a nap. She still was full of personality! Lots of smiles, and even more dancing! While my kid’s are boppin’ along to the ABC’s miss Ellie knows her favorite T-swift songs because dancing to the music videos! Haha! I haven’t even seen the videos. This kid is already so much cooler than me! It’s so fun to see and capture this girl about every 6 months. Seeing her grow more and more into her own is so fun. And now she’s got even more room to grow in her new house! Glad we have photos of her in her first ever home and now some pics in what she’ll at least remember to be her childhood home. Till next time sweet girl!


Independence Grove Wedding: Melissa Marie Photography: JAY + AMY

Back when I was planning my own wedding and looking for venues, my fiancé’s vote was to have a BBQ in the sports complex that we both spent endless hours in as college athletes. That didn’t fly, but I love that Amy + Jay did there engagement photos in the college gym that they both played in. And those coordination skills came in handy during their traditional Korean Ceremony. The groom’s parents are to throw chestnuts and dates and the bride + groom are to catch them in their cloak. However many they catch, it’s said that’s how many kids they’ll have. Well, let’s just say these coordinated athletes are gonna have a ton of kids. (:

I loved everything about this wedding day! Yes, even the rain! They didn’t even mention the weather! They just rolled with it. A word we used on our college team was: “Adaptable.” That is a word I would definitely say these two are!


HOTEL: Holiday Inn Express & Suites Chicago-Libertyville:

VENUE: Independence Grove Libertyville:

FLORIST: Artquest Ltd:

HAIR + MAKEUP: Diem Angie:

DJ: Music By Design:

VIDEOGRAPHER: Our Wedding Movie:

DRESS BOUTIQUE: Bri’Zan Couture:



I love windows for many reasons. They being in gorgeous light, they’re a beautiful detail in a room, but most of all, I think it’s because they are transparent. They reveal the good, bad, and the treasured moments if you just take the time to look through the window.

I want to live life like that. Transparent. Being willing to ask for help in the hard times. Taking a moment within each day to soak up the view of memories being created right before my very (tired, but oh so happy) eyes. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It feels fragile. But there’s nothing that will make you more vulnerable than being a parent. And there’s nothing more fragile than the little life that you hold in your arms. Gosh it’s scary. But oh how sweet it is! 

Melissa - July 28, 2019 - 1:56 PM

Congratulations! What a sweet addition to the family!

Joy Agerter-Hall - July 22, 2019 - 8:25 PM

Love your pics of Iyla, Gail & Matt! So sweet! This is Matt’s Mom, Joy. THANK YOU!


I made it about half-way to Eric + Michelle’s new home (and by new, I mean they literally moved in 2 days prior!) until I saw an eerie wall of dark looming clouds. And just like that, the storm hit. And I mean hit! In an instant there was zero visibility. As in I put on my brakes in the middle of the highway having no idea if I continued forward if i’d hit someone yet if I stayed there, if someone would slam me. As if that wasn’t already tricky the wind began to blow every-which-way and I thought if I don’t get outta here it’s gonna take up car. So I called my husband who google mapped me to the nearest thing out in the farmlands and it was a movie theatre. I couldn’t see what it was at the time but the structure was big enough that I at least knew it was a building. So I took all my camera gear in a back pack (in case the wind really did throw my car) and I ran (or at least attempted to run against the wind) into the building. Which ended up being a movie theatre who’s power was out. So all these movie-goers are now standing in the front door atrium, in the dark, with no power, (which means no AC) with me. Like a greenhouse, it got muggy and hot real quick. And the smell of popcorn amongst it wasn’t great. (: But surprisingly, everyone stayed calm and we just waited on the storm. Well, I started to get texts of photos of 50 year old trees that were feet from my house completely uprooted. Not just the branches or trunk. The whole thing! The big patch of grass surrounding the tree still intact but toppled over with the tree. So now I’m even more glad I’m not in my car! But now what? I’m only half-way to Eric + Michelle’s house, who also have spotty electricity goin’ on. This is supposed to be their engagement photos! Well, they took it like champs and were still down for photos. Once the storm let up to normal rain, I headed their way.  Under and umbrella we went around their super cool property! I mean, they get their mail by riding a retro 80’s cherry red scooter! How rad is that!? Two days into home ownership, moving boxes everywhere,  an absolutely massive storm, taking photos amidst it all, and they’re still taking it all in stride. Ya’ll are rockstars. Thanks so much for goin’ for it!