Family photos at Lighthouse Beach, Evanston IL

Michael purchased a photo session for his wife for Mother's Day - can we give him an #AwesomeHusband award??  Such a thoughtful Mother's Day gift - pictures that she will cherish for years to come!

We got so many cute shots during their family mini session at Lighthouse Beach.  Here are a few of my favorites!  I just love all that red hair!

xoxo Liz

How to create a silhouette of child's profile - Liz Hansen Photography - Evanston, IL

On Sunday evening, I suddenly was struck with the desire to create black silhouette images of my daughter's profiles.  I've always loved silhouettes and I thought it would be fun to have some of my girls to hang in their bedroom.  It's a very traditional type of image to create of children's faces and I didn't have any of my girls.

My kids weren't super excited to have their picture taken (I probably try to get them to model for me too often...), but this actually went very quickly.  Start to finish only took about 10 minutes!

The set-up was really simple: I had my daughters sit on a bench right in front of a large soft box and look straight ahead.  You could also achieve this same effect by sitting in front of a large window on a sunny day.  I don't have any large windows in my townhome and sunny days are few and far between during the Chicago winters ... so we used the softbox :)

The light on the softbox was at 1/32 power; I shot with a 50mm lens at 1/125 - f8.0 - ISO200.  Those settings allowed the white background to blow out and the faces to be dark. You may have to adjust a bit depending on how much light you have coming through your window or how high you set your softbox light.  You may even be able to achieve this effect with an iphone camera!

I took a few shots with their hair down, but didn't like how it didn't give any neck definition.  So I slicked their hair back into ponytails (more freaking out from my children).  I also had them put on dark, solid shirts.  Although it wouldn't really matter what they were wearing, I think the dark solid shirts made the post-processing a bit simpler.

Here's a pull-back of my set-up in my messy basement:




In photoshop, I cropped the images and pulled down the blacks and the shadows to create a full silhouette effect: 

As I was working on the images, I also kind of liked another effect, where you can still see some detail in their faces:


Which do you prefer?  And more importantly, which should I print for my girls' room?  

Gender reveal party ... with a PAINTBALL GUN!

David & Katie knew that they wanted to reveal their baby's gender in style, but they weren't sure how.  They threw around lots of ideas before settling on the idea of using a paintball gun (David loves going paintballing and it felt like an original idea).  

At the ultrasound, they had the tech write down "boy" or "girl" on a small card and seal it up in an envelope.  Then they bought pink and blue paintball cartridges online (apparently pink paintballl cartridges are hard to find in stores!).

On the day of the gender reveal party, a trusted friend opened the envelope and loaded the gun with the appropriate colored paint balls without David or Katie knowing.  Then after some cake and everyone making their predictions (almost everyone guessed BOY!), David put on a paintball mask and Katie aimed the gun at David.  She shot a few balls before one hit David on the arm.  The paint exploded and it was ... PINK!!  A pink paint splat on David's arm meant they are going to have a girl!  I think everyone was pretty surprised!  For some reason I think David & Katie were both convinced that they were going to have a boy!

What a happy celebration.  Thank you for inviting me to be a part of it!

Can't wait to meet your little GIRL in a few months!

xoxo Liz

Polar Bear Plunge 2017 - Gillson Beach - Wilmette, IL

Some crazy guys (including my husband) decided to start the New Year off right with a polar bear plunge into the icy Lake Michigan waters!

We met at Gillson Beach Park (in Wilmette, IL) early in the morning and the guys plunged right in!  That water was co-o-o-o-ld.  Someone said the water temp was 34 degrees.  Brrrrrr.....

Fortunately no one split their head open on a rock or got hypothermia (my fears) and their was hot cocoa afterward, so we'll call it a success.

Check out the video clips at the end (thank you to my 8 year old daughter for videoing!)

Happy New Year!