The Wehmeier Portraits studio has a warm, family feel to it. And that’s no surprise, given that Rob Wehmeier and his wife Elise run the place. Inside, there is a living room with a leather couch, a baby-changing area, and a selection of beverages and snacks—amenities all designed to make families feel at home on the day of their portrait session. As parents themselves, Rob and Elise understand how short youngsters’ attention spans can be, so they encourage kids to play while they set up the studio. Clients return to the leather couches five–seven days after their session to view projections of their photos.
Rob has been a professional photographer since 1991, and he has knack for arranging subjects into poses, whether it’s directing a large family into a unified group or guiding a solo high-school senior into the shape of a diploma. The Wehmeiers' studio allows for some flexibility, too; it has one whitewashed wall, another wall for patterned backdrops, and a third wall for colored panels. Occasionally, the Wehmeiers haul their camera gear away from the homey studio to photograph weddings and on-location events.
Photographer Danielle Eileen captures family memories between flapping shutters during 90-minute photo shoots. Homes or snow-covered parks pose as idyllic backdrops for portraits, which accommodate up to eight friends or two rivaling string quartets. After 90 minutes of snapping photos as subjects show their teeth, smile with their eyes, and periodically add styling gel to their brows, Danielle Eileen digitally uploads the resulting images to her site and burns them onto a DVD for easy reviewing. Materialize a favorite shot by having it transferred onto an 8"x10" page, or fill fists with eight wallet-size prints to throw like confetti each time someone arrives at the office. The 10"x10" storyboard collage tells the tale of the whole modeling experience by mixing posed portraits with candid shots for a mash-up of smiles that demand to be reciprocated.
At The Talent Pros, a multitalented staff of veteran video producers, Grammy nominees, and visual artists combine their talents to offer a wide range of creative services. The team handles everything from audio recording to video editing and post-production as well as projects such as website design and online marketing campaigns. Staff members also share their knowledge with motivated up-and-comers through music workshops, which cover songwriting skills, industry knowhow, and how to operate recording gear and tin-cans-attached-by-a-string professionally.
Despite an ever-growing base of more than 1,000 clients, Amy Tripple prefers to say she's honed her skills through her main source of inspiration: her own three children. The former elementary teacher employs her advanced child-handling skills as she captures candid images of young ones, preserving childhood memories more easily than laminating a beloved stuffed animal. The National Association of Child Photographers member also shares her know-how through regular classes that cover the basic elements of DSLR photography and how to manipulate the resulting images in digital scrapbooks and Adobe Photoshop.
Husband-and-wife photography team Bert and Cindy Behnke would be formidable competitors—if they didn't run Behnke Fine Portraiture together. Both earned master of photography and photographic craftsman degrees from the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), along with numerous accolades. Cindy has been the Illinois and PPA Photographer of the Year, and Bert won the PPA's International Award and served as the organization's president. They strut their shutter-snapping skills at their studio in Mokena, tucked amid 2 acres of wooded areas that give clients a scenic alternative to in-studio shoots.
It wasn’t until she had grandchildren that Toni of Snickerdoodles Photography LLC picked up a camera again, rekindling a childhood passion for photography. She then decided to turn this passion into a business with coshutterbug Laurie, and together, they helm sessions that include newborn photo shoots. They specialize in portraits and welcome families and pets, with a collection of props to use during indoor and outdoor sessions. The photography duo also offers event services and themed mini sessions.