Colin and Angela Thomas share more than their love for each other. As co-owners of Thomas' Photographic Services, the married duo shares their mutual passion for pictures, combining their distinctive photographic specialties to form one suite of services. Angela excels at traditional portraiture, carrying a large black bag that contains toys, treats, and tricks to capture the attention of pets and children. Colin, on the other hand, enjoys more creative forms of portraiture, capturing candid moments and facial expressions. Colin also enjoys retouching old and new photos, whether that means removing redeye or hiding evidence of having worn a powder blue tuxedo.
The couple spends a lot of time and effort reinvesting in their community outside business hours, even going so far as to found The Homewood Project. With this endeavor, they collect photography from neighbors and businesses to build a town yearbook, which serves as a living history of the area.
Olan Mills Inc. provides families with high-quality portraits, continuing a mission that was established more than 75 years ago by founder Olan Mills Sr. Skilled in the art of capturing infants, children, families, and bunny-ears-giving ghost orbs on film, Olan Mills’s experienced smile snappers will take a series of poses amid a variety of backgrounds and lighting options. The studio is equipped with a selection of props—including numbers for birthdays, toys, and boxes—and patrons may bring their own photo-enlivening items from home. The resulting photos find their way to prints in natural color, black and white, or sepia tones; they can also be immortalized in the studio's signature Old Masters style, a canvas brushed with highlights to re-create the look of an oil painting. Like the gentlemanly mariners of ages past with their full schedule of sea battles, the photographers welcome appointments, but do not require them.
The photographers at SanJa Photography don't pose their subjects. Instead, they let them be themselves and capture moments as they unfold. The photographers shoot at various indoor and outdoor locations, and they are skilled in many areas, including wedding, family, and engagement photography.
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.
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.