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chicago couples engagement smiling having fun natural

I remember meeting with Azadeh and Mustafa and just loving how sweet this couple is. She is soft-spoken, a little shy about speaking English because it’s not her native Persian language and she’s only been in the States for two years. And Mustafa, the lucky groom-to-be, just couldn’t stop smiling at Azadeh the whole time we were together. I could tell, right off the bat, these two adore each other!

We braved the frigid temps and notorious lake effect in downtown for this Chicago engagement session, just to get those iconic city shots amongst the soaring skyscrapers of the Financial District and the mixed Art Deco, Art Nouveau styling of the Lyric Opera of Chicago. You’d never know it was freezing out, because Azadeh’s bright smile and pretty pink dress really injected a dose of fun into this wintry engagement session. Each time I posed them and told them to snuggle up and laugh with each other, they stayed all wrapped into each other, even when my camera was down. Language was no barrier and that has to be my FAVORITE thing about photographing my couples: they’re so joyfully in love that they don’t need me snapping away in order to show their affection.

After our shoot, we ducked into a French brasserie to warm up, and chatted over soup, oysters and drinks about their upcoming wedding. It’s right around the corner in December and I cannot wait to be part of their big day. Hope you enjoy my favorites from their downtown engagement session!

xo, Melissa

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female birthday photo shoot

When you turn 40, some people celebrate with a big party. Others do something momentous like sky dive or go on a fancy trip. And some gift themselves boudoir shoots like I did, or special portrait sessions. As a photographer, I always recommend every woman to embrace her individuality by doing a custom portrait session – or a boudoir shoot, if you’re feeling risqué.

female birthday photo shoot

Yoko here is a dead ringer for Chrissy Teigen, ya think? Yoko’s 40 and fabulous, and although she said her mom will freak out about the girls peeking out, we managed to walk the line between tasteful and sexy with this empowering portrait session to celebrate Yoko’s milestone birthday. In an artist loft somewhere in Chicago, we experimented with natural light, poses, and paint can props to bring out the best of Yoko – you can see, they don’t have to be of the 50 Shades variety. Read on for a few tips on how to rock your next portrait or boudoir session:

female birthday photo shoot

  1. What to wear. Something I always say: what to wear is really an opportunity for the client’s personality to come out. A cozy knit cardigan and over the knee boots is modest enough but inviting and reflects Yoko’s soft and sweet side. Her casual workout gear in one of her looks brings out the “girl next door” vibe who takes pride in taking care of her body. And of course, always bring a variety of looks to shoot.
  2. What about props? As a portrait and boudoir photographer, what you should wear will dictate both your props and accessories. Yoko paired a coffee mug in her first look, and this worked well to show a quiet time of contemplation by the window. So bring items that define who you are and the symbol you want to portray.
  3. Beauty advice. Don’t neglect to get dolled up for your epic birthday shoot. Professional hair and makeup always looks more finished than when you do it yourself. You won’t regret this!

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female birthday photo shoot

female birthday photo shoot

female birthday photo shoot

female birthday photo shoot

Yoko-137female birthday photo shootfemale birthday photo shootfemale birthday photo shootChicago Portrait and Boudoir Photographer

Melissa Diep Photography is a highly sought after wedding, engagement, family, maternity, newborn, baby, and children portrait photographer based in Chicago. Melissa strives to capture organic moments as works of art. She loves to incorporate natural environments and soft light to create beautiful imagery.

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chicago wedding photographer female

If the recipe for romance is white lace and flowers, then there was no shortage of romance at Jamie and Mike’s wedding at the Westin Lombard Hotel. Earthy colors, white roses dotted with fall florals, beaded lace, bridesmaids all in pale pink – how could this Chicago area wedding get any more romantic? Their wedding ceremony took place in her childhood church, filled with the dreamiest aerial lighting above the altar. It was a fall wedding, though the actual temperature was 100 degrees, but you wouldn’t know it because the bride and groom looked so calm, cool and collected. (You might remember seeing their 100 degree engagement session, which they also rocked like champs, blogged here.) Jamie and Mike’s big day included sentimental details like a childhood diary, the bride’s pink kickboxing gloves, portraits inside Chicago’s famed Harry Caray’s, and Filipino wedding traditions like having sponsors to light the wedding candles, handle the veils, and place the cord. And when in doubt, just add a little sparkle; you won’t regret it. I’m in love, and I know you will be, too.

xo, Melissa

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Jamie and Mike’s Wedding Guide ::

Venue, Westin Lombard Hotel // Bride’s Gown, Justin Alexander Signature Collection // Bride’s Shoes, Badgley Mischka // Bride’s Hair & Makeup, Total Image Bridal // Groom’s Attire, Joseph Abboud // Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Belsoie //  Florist, Fiddlehead Floral // Cake, Creative Cakes // Catering, Westin Lombard Hotel // Music, Robert Monastero with Monastero Entertainment // Officiant, Father John Phan

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