Stay Little Valentine Stay ~ Valentine’s Day Cards from Springfield Illinois Photographer Kari Bedford

Did you know that Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day to send greeting cards? Neither did I! One of my clients chose to do a session in her home so that she could send out custom Valentine’s Day cards instead of Christmas cards. I think they turned out so cute that EVERYONE should send out Valentine’s Day cards instead of Christmas cards. Makes the holiday warm fuzzies last just that much longer.

Just had to share!


Engagement Session at Heritage Prairie Farm in Elburn, Illinois

Let me just say this: I am a total foodie and a complete and utter beer snob. So when Michael and Melissa showed up with their dogs (who were named after breakfast foods) whilst wearing matching Ranger IPA t-shirts, I knew we would get along just fine. They chose Heritage Prairie Farm as the location of their engagement photos. Consequently, it was also the location of their brunch wedding. I love working in a single location like this — especially one that is new to me. It gives the photos a unified feel and allows me to play in a new spot — one that just happened to be right up my alley, in this case.  Enjoy.

Happy New Year from Kari Bedford Photography

After the busy holiday season, I am just easing into the New Year. January is always a great time for catching up on projects around the house, designing sample albums, seeking inspiration for the upcoming wedding and portrait season, and working on pet projects. I have also discovered the addictive nightmare that is Pinterest, so be sure to follow me there. I’ll be adding boards that I hope will be useful to you.

I was so busy with client orders in December that I didn’t have a chance to do our annual Christmas card, but elected to do a New Year’s card instead. It was so fun to do something fresh! I may do one every year. This was an accordion fold card, so you’ll have to use your imagination to picture it folded. :)

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope 2012 is all things bright and shiny for you.

Introducing Richard: Springfield, IL Senior Portrait Role Model Winner for 2011

Awhile back, I hosted a “Role Models” contest/giveaway. The winner, by a landslide, was Richard. He was nominated by his friend (and the mother of one of the grooms whose wedding I photographed this summer), Annette Kramer. She had this to say about Richard:

“To know Richard is to love him. Upon meeting him you would assume he doesn’t have a care in the world. You would have no idea that he often stays with friends for extended periods of time because his home is in a crime-ridden section of town, where drug deals are happening all around. He lost his mom this spring and relies on the generosity of others for his needs – he never asks for anything! He makes so many people smile – I would love to be able to share his smile with others through this portrait session.”

I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Richard. It was not difficult at all to understand why he was nominated — and why he won. When Annette said that he makes people smile, what she really means is that he makes you laugh. And laugh. And laugh. And I didn’t get the sense that it was simply for my benefit — or simply a coping mechanism, like one might expect from a young man who has faced real tragedy. I think that Richard simply presents his true self to the world. It’s up to the rest of us to see him. I think this is true of so most teenagers, in fact — which is one of the many reasons that I enjoy photographing them.

From downtown Springfield to one of Richard’s favorite basketball courts on the East side, we froze our butts off. Nonetheless, I think we succeeded in creating an array of fun, honest, and interesting images. Here are a few of his favorites, as well as mine.





Trust Your Photographer Enough to be Fearless ~ Adventurous Portrait Photography in Springfield Illinois

Since a friend and fellow photographer turned me on to the Fearless Photographers website a few months ago, I have been thinking about how to apply the same approach to portrait photography. There is a tendency to take the safest path to portrait work — a beautiful, traditional portrait of the entire family. Everyone is looking at the camera. Everyone is smiling. We want something that serves as a beautiful record of our existence. Truthfully, there is something to be said for great portrait photography that is both classic and natural. Done well, with beautiful lighting and posing, it should stand the test of time.

That said, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of hanging a huge family portrait on the wall. All those smiling, giant faces looking back at us in bold color. Frozen in time. Instantly dated.

But what about art? How does the personal transcend its ordinary place in our world? How does a portrait become a piece of art? I would hang the above photo of a gorgeous bride checking out her makeup in a tiny cosmetic mirror on my own wall. Would you? Some of my favorite portraits don’t have a single face in them. It is really exciting when a client sees such a photo for the first time and gets it. *Here.* Where it matters. They are experiencing that same fearlessness that I felt when I shot it. It gives me goosebumps every time.

What would happen if people allowed their photographers to create personal artwork — instead of mere facsimiles? Another blogger has addressed this beautifully here. Photographers all over the country are convincing their clients to *trust* them. I believe it can happen here in Springfield.

If you are willing to take a chance on a fearless portrait, I’m your photographer. Fearless portraits can be done at any time of year, in just about any location — including your own home. We can collaborate on ideas — or you can simply allow me to do my thing. You don’t need to wear special clothes or bring anything to the session — with the possible exception of an open mind.