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Emily {Champaign Central High School}

This session was particularly special to me. This is the senior portrait session of my own oldest who just graduated. We ran into some snags, but those snags ended up causing us to create some truly amazing portraits and forced me to try new things. I’m so glad things happened just the way they happened. I now have huge new found love for night time photography. But, let’s start at the beginning. As we arrived at our first chosen location, it was starting to sprinkle a little bit. Sprinkling, we can work with. As I was getting the camera ready, the down pour began. So, Emily, my assistant and myself ran back to the van. Well, now what. Off we drove, in search of some covered locations. We came upon this parking garage. We ran through a RIVER of drainage from the upper levels and all had soaking wet feet and shoes. But, Emily is a trooper and we got some really fun shots.


By the time we finished here, the rain had nearly stopped, so we headed out to try our original location again. But, on the way back, we passed this area of Urbana that had been under construction for quite a while and is now nearly finished. It provided several very cool back drops. It will be even more amazing when the grass comes in.


By the time we finished here, it was starting to get back and I figured our original location was now a no go, because it was bordering on too dark when we first stopped there. Now as for sure going to be a no go. So, we headed more into down town Urbana and checked out Crane Alley. Because of how dark it was getting, I knew I had to pull out my flash. This was the first time I’d ever done anything like this and I have to say, I’m quite wowed by the results. I’ve done lots of reading and studying, so I had the basic knowledge in my head, and I’ve used my flash in “safer” ways before. But, since this was my own daughter and she’s been right beside me on my photography journey, I knew she was open to me experimenting and was going to be patient with me, so we played. This next shot is one of my top three favorites from the night. First, I happen to think she’s beautiful and she’s such a natural in front of the camera. But I also just love some many elements about this image. The rain drops, frozen in the air. The lights strung across the alley behind. The light flare from my flash. I just love it.


She had one more dress she wanted to wear for her pictures, so we changed and headed to a parking garage again. This time, one that was decently lit. Not enough to use those lights, but we had fun again, using the flash. That’s the first one here below. All elements came together perfectly. A nice breeze lifted her hair just so, the city lights in the back ground. Just perfect. Then, as we were headed home, we made a last minute decision to try our original location again. Now that we had the flash out, we would have no problem with it being dark. And it was. Pitch black out. It was 9 p.m. and totally dark. In fact, we had to use the van head lights to even see what we were doing once we got there. But, it was totally worth it. This shot is amazing.


This session is special to me in many ways. It’s my own daughter. I got to try new things and learned a ton, and best of all, created some really fun memories with my girl before I send her off to college. I love you, Emily, and I just know you are going to totally jump in with both feet and make a huge difference in thousands of lives. You’re amazing!

Jenn - June 2, 2011 - 11:55 am

Beautiful shots! Love the one with the flare!

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Congratulations, Graduates!

This last week or two has brought a significant change in thousands of young lives. I was blessed to be a part of it for these 9 graduates (one of them my own daughter). It’s time to head out into the world to begin to live the lives they’ve always dreamed of. University of Illinois, Olivet Nazarene University and Lincoln Christian University, to name just a few, will be welcoming these high school graduates, now college students, into their programs. Engineering, medicine, nursing, and missions are a few of the areas of study these grads will be participating in. I wish you all the best and hope each and every one of you achieves your dreams.



Signed, your senior photographer, who is now reduced to tears thinking about you all. Thank you so much for inviting me into this very special time in your lives.

tamsen - May 31, 2011 - 3:19 pm

lovely images! and congrats to all the grads!

lindsaykoehler - May 31, 2011 - 8:26 pm

Stacy you have such beautiful Seniors! Your shots are always perfect!

Tracy - June 1, 2011 - 6:37 am

What a wonderful group of great looking seniors. Congratulations to them all. Your senior shots are awesome!

Tina - June 1, 2011 - 8:07 am

Congratulations to all your seniors Stacy! They not only will have wonderful memories to take with them to college of their senior year but gorgeous images as well.

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Prom 2011 {Champaign Central High School}

Ah, the senior prom!! We’ve been preparing for it for months. Finally, the day had arrived. It started like any other Saturday morning. I cow prodded the younger kids into getting the house work done. Amazingly, they did it in record time on this great and glorious morning. Which wasn’t great or glorious, by the way. It was cold and rainy and I saw all visions of beautiful, out door shots in prom dresses slowly fade away from my mind.

We started with hair. What I didn’t realize is that this was the very same day of the University of Illinois’ graduation. The hair and nail salons were on campus. Talk about a parking night mare. Well, we survived and arrived at the appointment on time.

Gorgeous glittery updo! Next was nails. I’ve never been to have my nails done before, so this was a new experience for me, even as an observer.

She went with a French manicure with a thin red line, to match her dress. It looks very classy. After braving the rain, and protecting the do, we were off to the mall for some makeup.

Emily’s request was a natural look except for her eyelashes. She wanted her eyelashes to really stand out. I think that goal was achieved. What do you think?


So, after a few pictures with friends, I got to take some of just my baby. This was really a fantastic day for Emily. However as Mom, it was a little bittersweet. We won’t have any more days like this, until her wedding. I’m looking forward to that day immensely. Now, here are some final images of my own Princess.



I am so happy to have this entire day documented. If this is something you are interested in for your own prom, please contact me for pricing information. And remember, I can only do one prom session per school (or even less if two schools are on the same day). So, get your bid in early. You can even reserve the day now, without knowing the actual date of your prom. If you’re not sure you want this, don’t worry. I’ll send a reminder out in the spring if I still have dates available.



Hair – Lando Hairstyling, Urbana, Campus

Nails – Modern Nail Salon II, Urbana, Campus

Make-up – Sephora, Champaign, Market Place Mall

Photography location – iHotel, Champaign

Tracy - June 1, 2011 - 6:38 am

I love this session! So fun and unique. What a beautiful girl too. Your work is amazing!

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Anna {Urbana Senior Photographer}

We were supposed to do Anna’s session Saturday but the wind was unreal!! So we rescheduled for Monday. Unfortunately, it was a gray, cold, dreary day Monday. While I missed the sunny, blue skies, it didn’t seem to phase Anna. The cold didn’t bother her and she was a complete natural in front of the camera. If all my senior models could be this at ease in front of my camera, I’d have it made.

Anna is headed to the U of I in the fall and I just know is going to do exceptionally well.

Thanks for braving the cold and coming out!




Tiffaney - May 3, 2011 - 3:11 pm

OK this senior rocked this session. I especially love the first picture. Beautiful.

Stacey - May 3, 2011 - 3:54 pm

Oh I know Tiffaney. She was awesome! That first one is my favorite from the whole session.

dalia - May 3, 2011 - 5:14 pm

love these!! great location and location!

Laura - May 3, 2011 - 6:04 pm

She’s so pretty! You can tell by these portraits she has a super sweet personality too 🙂

tamsen - May 5, 2011 - 8:20 pm

the first pic is my fave as well~ lovely work Stacey!

Tracy - May 6, 2011 - 7:15 am

What a beautiful girl. Love these shots that you got!

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Learning to Click!

When I bought my first dSLR, I had no intentions of going into business as a photographer. But I DID want to learn to take awesome pictures with this camera that I had spent so much money on. After all, at nearly $1,000, it should take amazing pictures, right? Right? Well, I very quickly discovered that there is a whole heck of a lot more to taking great pictures than just having a cool camera. So, I started seeking learning opportunities. Surely there would be a community class here in town where I could learn what Aperture was and how it worked with shutter speed and ISO (what is that, anyway?). Well, I was very quickly disappointed. The classes at Parkland were not what I was looking for. They were aimed at the older generation or for people using point and shoot camera. I needed more than that, so I began the long, tedious process of searching the internet. I spent money on paid forums where I could learn from people who knew what they were talking about. I spent hours engrossed in my camera’s manual. I was a sponge, but I had to go out seeking what it was I wanted to soak up.

So, when some online friends of mine put together this great class, I just knew I had to do it. I’ve been working feverishly, getting the class book just how I want it. Taking pictures for examples, planning your “Swag Bag” and door prizes, putting the final touches on everything. Now, it’s ready! It’s time for YOU to get your camera off of the auto settings and learn to think outside the {green} box!

This class is open to anyone who wants to learn more about how to use their dSLR camera to take better pictures. It doesn’t matter if you photographer your kids, your dog or even you flowers. If you have buttons on your camera that you are not even sure what they are there for, then you need this class!

What you NEED for this class:
dSLR camera
The manual

Things that will enhance your learning:
50 mm f/1.8 lens Nikon Canon
Light Modifier for on-board flash
External flash Nikon Canon
Light Modifier for external flash

*All items are linked to B&H Photo Video. You can often find these items for less on Amazon or eBay. You can also check out Adorama.

Now that you’ve got everything you need, go register for class! There are only 12 seats available for each date, so the longer you wait, the more you take the chance of it being full. I’m really excited and can’t wait to see you there!


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