Valen Studios | Blog

Weekend Fun

June 03, 2014



We had a hard, bitter winter this year but I say it is worth it when I capture amazing images like these! I got to spend my weekend with two amazing little boys. Both of them were troopers! Now that the weather is warming up it can be hard wearing pants and long sleeved shirts outside in the hot beating sun but that didn't stop them from having a good time. 

I love Prairie Crossing for its uniqueness. They have their own barn, a small beach, the homes are colorful, and they are known for their beautiful tall grass. Basically a photographer’s dream location! 


Honored to Share

February 05, 2014

What an honor! Steve and I have been asked to kick off the 2014 Google + hangout for Skip's Summer School.

We love public speaking, Steve and I have both spoken/taught many times before. Steve has spoken numerous times for small to large classes, teaching camera basics (get that camera off automatic, lol) to amateurs and hobbyists as well as to large conferences, attended by 1,000's. Steve actually just got off from teaching for the third year in a row to a large group of corporate photographers on how to create stunning images for their organizations, including adding photo fusion (using the DSLRs to record video then edit the two mediums together). I have taught numerous times over the years on parenting, home life, time management and posing for boudoir and pin up.

This past August, we were honored to be chosen by Skip Cohen and the board of SCU to speak at 2013's SCU unconference. SCU is a week long, hands-on intensive workshop for professional photographers, attended by photographers from around the world to learn side by side with the best of the best in wedding, portrait, landscape and corporate photography. I clearly remember looking out into the group of my peers, my colleagues, people that inspire me, people that I have become friends with from meeting up throughout the year at professional conferences and workshops. eyes met those of my mentors.... people that I have learned so much from, the talented men and women that I have gone to see that have helped me hone my skills as a photographer, business woman and artist. Wow....very humbling indeed.

Now, this morning, as I tighten up my outline for the first SCU 2014 Hangout, I am so aware of the caliber of colleagues that will be tuning in. We take that to heart and want to do right by all of them and present from my heart, knowledge and experience...."I know how you feel, I have felt the same way...and this is what I found..."

Thank you all, our family, friends, past and present mentors and clients for giving us so much more than you could could even imagine. Insights to help us, help others.

Congrats Kristen and Oleg

January 21, 2014

Last year when Kristen and Oleg began their search for a photographer for their wedding they were far from home.  Mom and Dad were sent to the Lake County Bridal Expo at Midlane Golf Resort with strict orders to only look for photographers that have a creative and artistic flare.  Kristen, an artist herself, didn't want they same ho hum wedding photography that had no spark or charisma that many brides get.  She didn't just want her day documented...anyone with a camera could do that....she wanted to connect with her photographers and definitely wanted creative and edgy.  Her parents found us.  We had a delightful conversation with Mom and Dad when they came into our studio.  They gathered information and 2 hours later, pretty much booked us on the spot.  They solidified it after sharing our work and info with Kristen and thus began our relationship with the O'Donnells and Sokolovs.  On the day of the wedding, we met with the ladies at the Embassy Suites in Deerfield.  We set up a Dad's first look with Terry that was just absolutely priceless!  Then we hung out with the guys for a few minutes before setting up a first look for Oleg and Kristen.  Talk about emotion!  Awesome!!  Steve hopped in the limo with the bridal party and in no time we were at Independence Grove in Libertyville.  Kristen's attention to detail and artistic expression was so obvious when walking into this gorgeous venue.  Her motif of rustic/vintage was perfect and cozy.  The night was filled with the love and excitement that every bride dreams of....My personal favorite moment of the night, was after the recessional and the bridal party made it's way into the bridal room, the little ring bearer became quite emotional.  He was so happy for Kristen.  What a precious precious boy!  I felt so blessed to be in the room to witness such amazing love.


Congrats Kristen and Oleg!  Here's to a life of joy and love.  Blessings to you, your families and beautiful friends!


Congrats Christy & Kevin!

April 22, 2013

So, Christy came to me through a Boudoir Living Social Deal that I was running.  We arranged everything through emails and after her photo shoot was scheduled, she emailed me and asked if we did wedding photography.  They were looking for a photographer who was creative and artsy....oh, Baby...did you come to the right place.  This past weekend we were honored to capture the special moments of Christy and Kevin's day at the gorgeous W hotel downtown.  On the way to take some fun pics out and about, we were in the limo and Christy said to me, "Why do you have to be so likeable? I want to hang out with you!"  I want to hang with you too new friend! Congrats to you and Kevin and thank you soooo much for letting me share your beautiful self!  Just a hand full (or 2 ;) ) of Christy's images that she chose for her photobook~


Lingerie Fashion Show at our Studio

February 14, 2013  •  1 Comment

                                                   Pictured:  Bex Anderson, owner of The Fitting Room

Thank you so much to Bex Anderson, owner of The Fitting Room in downtown Grayslake, an upscale lingerie and bra fitting boutique, for co-hosting an amazing benefit for Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.  Bex brought together a wonderul group of ladies to model some of the lines that The Fitting Room carries.  The event was sold out, with about 200 people in attendance!  We had wonderful vendors represented as well, Kelly and Kate from The Bloom Room, Amy and Erin from Paris Hair Design, the gals from Uniquely Sweet, Dave and Danielle Woll and Andres Acevedo from Memory Makers DJ service and photobooth.  What a wonderful time!  We could not have pulled it off without the help of our significant others, Steve (Harper's) and Sean (Bex's), Tess Anderson (Bex's mom) and many other wonderful friends and family who pitched in.  We had a super fun Burlesque Revue with Peeka Boo Revue, starring Sarabella Scandal and Cozzie and Pea (aka Sara Pierce, Kevin and Meghan Cosgrove) followed by the fashion show.  Way to go everyone!  Great event!  We even had local and big celebrities attend.  A couple DJ's from 102.3 XLC were in attendance, and then I was star struck twice....Completely flipped out when Steve pointed out to me that Rob Harvey from the phenomenal band Bella Cain was in the house and then completely lost it when I glanced across the runway and saw celebrity stylisit and makeup artist, Constantine James there!  I still cannot believe that with his crazy rockstar schedule that he came to the show!  Amazing!  Thank you to all the people in attendance!  We raised close to $1,800.00 for Sandy Hook!  Job well done show attendees!  Thank you to all the vendors that also donated raffle prizes!  Much love to ALL involved! Enjoy viewing the gallery!! 

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