Hello + Welcome To Shining Moments Photography Blog

Thanks for clicking by the Blog today! I'm Andrea and the photographer behind the lens of Shining Moments Photography in Sycamore, Illinois. I have a guilty obsession with Starbucks + Instagram and specialize in Teens, High School Seniors and Headshots.

Find more tips + goodies in my monthly Sparkle Notes. It's the perfect way for my clients, past - present + future, to stay in-the-know. I'd love to have you along! It's FREE! Click HERE to get all the SMP goods.

Category Archives: Senior Experience

An epic senior experience captures your best memories of high school. Get some ideas before you meet your senior photographer

Megan | Sycamore Illinois Senior Photographer

I am so very proud of this year’s graduates! It seems with all the negativity in the news and social media, many people have lost their faith. Being a senior photographer has helped keep mine alive; I daily get to meet the outstanding young people who comprise the next generation, and let me tell you…we are in good hands. Megan was part of my senior street team for 2017, representing our local Sycamore High School. She was a delight to work with, and is a highly motivated and active young woman. She loves photography, and always lent her own point of view for our street team projects. Megan graduated in front of her friends and family a few weeks ago, and will be continuing her education this Fall at Kishwaukee Community College. She loved being a mentor in the Penguin Project, was part of the bowling team, and has already began extra classes to earn her nursing degree.

For her senior portraits, Megan was really hoping to include flowers, but we have had a lot of wet and rainy weather just before her session date. I scouted several locations, hoping to bring her vision to life, and found a little area with a few shrubs and evergreens. Then, towards the end of our session, we stumbled across this beautiful lilac bush, which was perfect. I loved hearing Megan and her Mom talk about the how the smell + look reminded of her Grandmother’s yard 🙂 These colorful flowers turned into some of my favorite images from her shoot. Megan, you will be one amazing nurse one day! I admire your drive and passion, and the kind young woman you have become. Congratulations on your accomplishments Beautiful Girl!

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Sycamore, Illinois Senior Photographer

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Your Grad Party Checklist | Sycamore Graduation
and Senior Photographer

Every senior wants a grad party to remember! You want yours to be the one people talk about for years to come, but you also want it to be a stress-free experience…you have a ton of things to juggle when senior year is ending. That’s where we come in. Today on the blog, we have some simple ideas to make your party planning a little easier.

Create a Theme: This doesn’t have to be complicated theme, but a theme can help things be cohesive and really pull your ideas together. I love simple color themes, and you can even use the colors of your high school, or your prospective college home. If you’re heading to nursing school, or planning to play a certain sport, those can be good themes too.

Plan a Photo Booth: I love this idea because it not only gives your guests something fun to do, it also helps you remember who was at your party and preserves your memories. You can set up a simple backdrop with something you purchase (lots of ideas on Etsy and Pinterest, or even just line a wall with solid wrapping paper), or you can make it even easier by having someone come in and set up a Photo Booth your guests will love (wink, wink!). If you don’t hire a photographer, be sure to designate a guest or family member to take photos for you.

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Create a ‘Words of Wisdom’ jar with pieces of paper + pens for guests to share or have it magazine style, which SMP creates for you. Compact & easy to take with you, no matter where your party is!

Decide if you want an OPEN-HOUSE or a PARTY: With so many graduation parties happening this time of year, having an open-house opens the doors to allow guests to party hop and make an appearance at more than one. A party is a set time and usually discourages drop-ins. Depending on when you have your event, consider one or the other.

Don’t miss our other graduation posts below, filled with plenty more tips for your senior experience!

Stepping Out + Stepping Up | Sycamore Senior Photographer

Graduation Announcements | Northern Illinois Senior Photographer


Your Sycamore Senior Photographer ||  Andrea@ShiningMomentsPhotography.com

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Molly’s Session | Sycamore Senior Photographer

Molly is a senior at Sycamore High School, and recently came to me for her senior session. She is an amazing scholar, already earning college credits while simultaneously finishing high school, and we were able to squeeze her session into this early Spring instead of the Fall. We were blessed with lush greenery and lots of pretty floral buds at her Grandmother’s property, and her session was gorgeous! Molly is currently studying at both Kishwaukee College and SHS, and is already well on her way to her nursing degree. We were able to capture her field of study with some professional style photos in her nursing attire!

If you have been mulling over a Cap & Gown Mini Event, now is the time to hurry and book, because I only have one spot left! The last remaining session is on Thurs, May 18th (7:45 time slot). This is a perfect way to end your senior year, even if you already had a traditional senior shoot. I also wanted to talk about a new partnership I have made with our local Maurices store. If you’ve never shopped at Maurices, they are a perfect place for a senior wardrobe, or really, any other clothing needs as well! They offer modern, trendy and stylish clothes at affordable price points (and they are an ideal spot if you have a last minute change to your outfit for your portrait session), and their sizes range from 0 to plus size. Molly’s first outfit below came from her shopping trip there. I love that they offer fashion for women of all shapes and sizes, all while looking stylish! Maurices is offering a personal styling service now, which helps seniors and their moms prepare for their shoot! Contact me for more info, if you are interested!

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If you’re looking for a Professional Senior Photographer in the Sycamore to St. Charles area CONTACT today for more details!

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Grad Cards 101
Tips for Creating Great Grad Announcements

The end of May marks our graduation season here in Sycamore and surrounding areas, and I just love getting graduation announcements in the mail! To me, they are like Christmas cards; really fun to receive and display on my fridge to remind me of the milestones loved ones are celebrating. But, times are changing, and I thought it would be helpful today to include some tips about what is appropriate on cards for high school and college grads.

  1. If you’re having a graduation party, you can print the details right on the announcements, or place an extra printed insert (easy to make on your home computer with a nice font and simple paper) into your ceremony announcements. The insert style is helpful if you are trying to save space on your invites, or if we already printed them before planning your party.
  2. When you are sending a graduation/ceremony announcement, it’s just that, an announcement, it’s not a request for gifts. People really do like to hear about your achievement + seeing recent photos of you. Especially out-of-town family and friends who have not seen the graduate in awhile.
  3. But, some do want to send gifts -so remember to include your full address on your envelopes. Registries or suggested gifts are not appropriate on these invitations.
  4. If some do send gifts, keep a detailed list of those sending gifts so you can be sure to send a thank you card…proper etiquette in any year.  {We can even custom make you some beautiful thank you cards along with your graduation announcements, and add personalization for your year. Find out about our graduation card catalog here}
  5. It is courteous and important to send grad cards + party invites 2-3 weeks before the event. If you have a lot of out-of-town invites going out, abide by a minimum of four weeks prior to your event.

Graduation announcements may not seem like much, when you think of all the senior portraits you’ve printed and will keep forever, but as one who has sent + received many grad announcements, it is a really big deal. Yes, I’m obviously a photo-obsessed girl, but I love seeing them. And just like my Christmas cards, they probably stay up on my display board a little longer than most, but trust me, I’m NOT the only one. My grandmother has a floor-to-ceiling display of mailed cards + photos of all her grandkids. More are kept than you think, so why not make it an AMAZING ANNOUNCEMENT?

Need senior photos for these gorgeous announcements? Let’s talk!

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prom-style, senior-prom-st-charles-illinois, shining-moments-photography, prom-photography-illinoisStepping out in Prom style | Sycamore Senior Photographer

Prom is near, and while you may have found the perfect dress, have you found the perfect shoes? It may not seem like much of a big deal, but the right shoes really complete your outfit. I know, by the end of the night, they are sitting in the corner of the room while you are dancing the night away, but you’ll be wearing them for prom photos, through dinner, and the beginning of the dance. Your shoes should be the right style for your dress, and suit your personality. Perhaps high heels for a floor length ballgown, and a pretty peep-toe for a sleek mermaid style? Or maybe your dress brushes the floor, and you can hide a simple pair of ballerina flats underneath! I also love the unexpected shoe choices, like pops of gold, or bold colored shoes. If you’re still hunting for your prom shoes, you can check out my Polyvore site to see where to find these great shoes…Makes shopping easy so you can focus on the FUN!

Last year, we provided eight tips for getting the prom photos you dream of, and you can find that post RIGHT HERE. It’s a great one to look over before you meet up with your friends for those memorable images! Make your last high school prom the best one yet…from head to toe!  I can’t wait to see your prom images start popping up in my Instagram and Snapchat!

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