Category Archives: Senior Portraits

The fun and easy way to preserve your high school memories forever. Time never stops, but the memories we preserve in this once-in-a-lifetime moment will be there always.



Three short words make up my Manifesto. And they all lead into the most important piece… SHOW THE WORLD YOUR KIND OF BEAUTIFUL! I’ve been pouring over sentences, words, and phrases since last August when I attended a workshop. At the time it seemed so simple when we were encouraged to sit down and write our Manifesto. Why do what you do? Why do you love photography? Why work so hard to build your business? Why do photographs matter so much? I thought it sounded like a simple task to write it down on paper and throw it out into the world.

Mistake #1:: It hasn’t been simple. Did I mention I’ve been working on this since August. I’ve written sentences, then deleted. Added phrases, scratched them out. Made a list of my most important words to include and whittled them down to the most important.

The words & phrases aren’t perfectly eloquent, or express all the reasons why I love photographing teens + headshots, but if I wait for perfect I may never hit publish.

Mistake #2:: Writing from the heart means being vulnerable. That’s a word I’m not good at practicing.  In this age of social media, where people say unkind words hiding behind their phone or keyboard,

it’s tough – I mean REALLY TOUGH to put yourself out there, and be vulnerable.

Will my words be read or shared? No idea. But I finally hit publish and it’s out there! Next, it’s time to print it and add it to my office wall.

Show the world YOUR kind of BEAUTIFUL!






Show Your Kind of Beautiful!


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Have you ever walked into a crowded room and felt out-of-place?

Ever been sitting in a group and have nothing to contribute to the conversation?

Do you feel out-of-place with your own kids sometimes?

It’s kinda hard to stand alone, or not have much in common with someone. But it can turn into something pretty darn cool when you change your perspective!

We celebrated our oldest’s Sweet 16 this week and I sat down to write her another milestone letter. Every year I make a pretty big deal about my kid’s BIRTHday’s because they were…a really big deal ;). And we all know 16 is one of those big milestones with getting their driver’s license. I decided to make her a driving scavenger hunt this year {it was on my InstaStories this week if you follow along}. No car keys at the end of it, which brings me back to my questions that opened this post. She hasn’t been excited about driving, it’s been more of a requirement for her than a treat. I couldn’t wait to get my license, so this has been strange to wrap my head around.  My Dad told me just before she was born, “It’s not about you anymore, it’s going to be about her.” That’s stuck with me for the last 16 years watching her grow. I wanted my license A-SAP, but it hasn’t been a priority for her.

I’d kinda like her to drive and have that freedom, but she’s not ready.

I’d love to go out shopping with her for a cute new outfit and shoes, but she’d rather read a book, dance or go to the latest movie.

I like to go watch sports, but she has no interest AT ALL!

She’s comfortable with who she is in her yoga pants and play t-shirts. She is gitty over the release of the newest broadway play or Marvel movie.

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When I’ve “walked” into her world I’ve felt out-of-place most times. Year’s back I was sad that we didn’t share everything in common or that she didn’t share in my passions. But with my Beautiful Girl I was given what I NEEDED. Because of her I’ve learned so much about music, the theater, books, film, and to be a better speller {LOL, I’m the teacher and I always ask her how to spell}. I’m feeling out-of-place in her world less & less. She is my go-to for character questions, music, or movie trivia 😉

Just one little thing that needs to change…

Lets talk about changing this “NO PHOTOS” policy during her plays shall we?! How’s a Mama suppose to fill her high school Memory Album or add to her collection in her Memory Box?

She may not be able to dribble a basketball, but when you hear her singing it can bring goosebumps up your arm.

I can’t memorize one line for a play, but I can hold my own in a game.

Next time you’re with family or friends, notice how they shine, especially if it’s different than you!

And then, don’t be shy to also Show the World Your Kind of Beautiful!

Shine on & Shine Bright

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What’s Camera-Ready Makeup? | Senior Photographer

Camera-ready makeup, does it really make a difference?


I never wear makeup, so wouldn’t that be fake?


Camera ready makeup in your senior portraits and headshots smooth out your skin, avoid shiny spots, and help your eyes pop in your images. And we all want our eyes to sparkle! Whenever possible I encourage a splurge of using a professional makeup artist for your day of fun in senior portraits and when we do professional headshots. I recently had my headshots updated and loved every minute of my makeup pampering 😉 Elenia, at Dolce Vita Salon is a master makeup artist + esthetician. This is your day to shine, and a little pampering starts that day off perfectly!geneva-IL, photographers-geneva-il, senior-portraits, makeup-guide, makeup-tipsOkay, now that I’ve stressed how a make-up artist help polish your portraits, I’ll also add that some of my past seniors who love perfecting their own makeup have done a really great job. In that case I’ve created a Makeup Guide to help get you “Camera Ready”. There are 10 really important things to remember when you’re doing your make up for a photo session so be sure to grab my free guide to help.geneva-IL, photographers-geneva-il, senior-portraits, makeup-guide, makeup-tipsgeneva-IL, photographers-geneva-il, senior-portraits, makeup-guide, makeup-tips


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Grad Cards 101 | Tips for Creating Great Grad Announcements

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 friends and family 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’s courteous and important to send grad cards + party invites 3-4 weeks before the event. If you have a lot of out-of-town invites going out, abide by a minimum of six 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’s 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 portraits that are uniquely you for these gorgeous announcements? Let’s talk!

Are you on my Newsletter? I’ve created the PERFECT PARTY PLANNER for you if you on my Sparkle Note newsletter.

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Imagine This… | Shining Moments Photography | Geneva Illinois

Your stomach is flip-flopping like an Olympic gymnast…

Your palms are sweating…

The tournament’s about to begin!

This season, my son’s middle school basketball team needed a coach, and my name was tossed in the hat {yes, pretty sure it was the only name}.

So, why not coach his team? I’ve played basketball since I was in grade school, coached since college, and worked for the Seattle SuperSonics in my dream job… I LOVE BASKETBALL!

My coaching days started in college when I applied + interviewed for a middle school coaching position.  The opening was for the boys’ basketball team. I knew I could coach, but any teacher or coach knows you have to set the tone with players before you get to teach. I knew walking into the gym, all 5-foot-3 of me, that I was NOT going to give a LeBron James persona to junior high boys on a basketball court. There were growing pains to being a new coach, a college kid, and A GIRL.

Fast forward to the end of that first coaching job and it was one of my favorites! I coached a lot more teams after that, and went through more highs & lows. Each one made me better AND stronger.

Why in the world am I, a portrait photographer, telling you this story?

Imagine it…tackling something that other people think you shouldn’t do. Do you love it? Then go after it!

Imagine it…facing insecurities to do something you love, knowing it’s gonna be tough!

Imagine it…being an example of what it takes to go after a passion!

People make snap judgements wherever we go, it’s human nature, but that’s on them. You don’t have to fit into their mold.

I’m 5’3″

I love fashion and all that sparkles + a pair of sweatpants & sneakers and

I get WAYYYY too excited when it comes to sports

I’ve come a long way since my college coaching days {but I still yell, scream, and dance on the court}.


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Is that your picture of a coach? Maybe not, but it’s mine. And that makes it right for me.

Live your life and go after your dreams. Face the obstacles, work hard, and remember to laugh along the way. Shine YOUR KIND OF BEAUTIFUL!

And hey, once you’re on the other side of those obstacles, don’t forget to be kind to those who come after you. They’re facing challenges too.

Live | Laugh | Shine

-Andrea :: a portrait photographer who doesn’t fit into one type of mold 😉

If you’re a junior or senior who is looking for a portrait photographer who gives you a FUN way to capture all sides of your gorgeous self, then let’s chat.

Never heard of Shining Moments Photography? Find out a bit more over on the About Page.

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