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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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mommy and me sessio chicago

Some photos you just look at and they make you smile. You can’t help but giggle (and maybe get a little baby fever, too) when looking at these oh-so happy family portraits of Katrina and David’s family. Their adorable chubby-cheeked baby girl, Amelia, is not even 1 year old and she’s just so stinkin’ cute. Big brother Benjie can’t stop kissing and loving on his little sis! When we did this family session last week, it was just the beginning of fall – new beginnings, a crisp new season to look forward to. Here we are chasing fall color with the gorgeous foliage at Morton Arboretum, and we got the last of those carefree end-of-summer vibes and sharing laughs.

Morton Arboretum is 1,700 acres of living beauty. It’s a photographer’s dream, perfect for family photos if you’re local to the Chicagoland area! Momma Katrina had meticulously planned every detail for this shoot, including scouting out popular locations on-site. However, at the end of the day, it’s mostly about the lighting (and kids) which dictates where we ultimately shoot, and this is what I always tell my clients. We ended up catching the best lighting in non-descript areas amongst hidden walking trails and romantic fields of wildflowers. I’m so glad Katrina let me guide the way. No image is too candid, too haphazard, too unplanned, too imperfect. In fact, I have a strong conviction that these might just be the most meaningful to you years down the road.

xo, Melissa

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