Trying to choose photographs for this post was nearly impossible. In looking back on 2017, I was overwhelmed with the fact that wonderful clients truly inspire wonderful work. Getting to know more of my community here in Franklin and the greater Milwaukee area was priceless, from photographing smash-cake sessions to the Franklin High School Dance Team. Scroll through to check out my personal favorites as well as read a little back story behind some of these gems.
First I have to comment on the photo above that titles this blog. Marissa was a joy to work with. Oh let me count the ways - a theatre kid, a beautiful person inside and out, and willing to stand in the pouring rain to get the perfect shot! Her mother also deserves a huge shoutout for holding the umbrella over me as we got this photo on the dock at Bass Bay Brewhouse. This is hands down my favorite photograph of 2017. Thanks Marissa for making it happen with me!
Emily was nearly my first senior portrait client of the year which meant going into downtown Milwaukee for the first time after construction was an adventure! We found so many awesome spots for posing which I used for the remainder of the 2017 season. Thank you, Emily for unknowingly being my guinea pig! :)
Jimmy and his family were a total blast to work with (they even came back for family portraits!). Jimmy was fairly straight-faced throughout his senior portrait session, which is totally normal for boys. I don't like to force people to smile so I always roll with it. When I told him his kitty could be in one of his pictures though, he was smiling ear to ear for the camera! I totally get it; I am obsessed with my cats.
For Hannah's senior session we chose Black Cat Mural Alley in downtown Milwaukee as one of her locations because she is an extremely talented artist. I love how the setting completely jived with Hannah and brought out her true essence - laid back and totally stunning.
This is another one of those "getting the boys to smile" for senior portraits. Connor and his mom were such troopers because we had to reschedule literally four times due to the weather. When the day finally arrived we were supposed to have clear skies all afternoon. Of course fifteen minutes into the session we are getting poured on without any warning. There was ONE little storm cloud over Franklin, we were all incredulous! Here Connor is sending his mom the most adorable smile before we had to pause momentarily for the rain.
All my clients know I am obsessed with the "magic hour" or "golden hour" where the sun dips just below the horizon on a clear day. Tori here had one of those perfect sessions! This is such a gorgeous shot and her wardrobe is on point too. Also, serious shout-out to Tori for all the referrals she sent my way this year!
Brooqlenn was so easy to photograph and sent me this awesome energy that I loved capturing. Her mom begged her to take down her mane of curls for just a few photographs and she obliged. I also love that she went barefoot for her Historic Third Ward part of the session!
The light, the wardrobe, the energy! Brandon was such a treat to get photos of for our short and sweet session in downtown Milwaukee. You never know when a picture is going to catch you off guard, and this is one of those for me.
I could write a book about how much I adored working with Chris and getting to meet his mom and dad. This session was one for the books. The whole family was cracking jokes nonstop and, no shame, my snort laugh came out. It's so nice when both parents can make it to a session because I feel like I get to see more of the graduating senior in their "natural habitat." For this shot, Chris' dad was tossing him a volleyball so we could get a great action shot. His love of volleyball totally shines through on this photo.
Livie and her family live on a private lake, so when her mom asked if we could do the session at her place I didn't hesitate to say yes. We met up prior to the session to scope out all the spots that would work for the time of day and had tons to work with. This shot of Livie, who is a part-time fish (aka swimmer), was one of our final ones from the session.
There are so many ways to nab a shot that showcases a graduating senior wearing their letterman jacket, but this one tops my list. Tom and his mom set his medals up just right so we could get this shot. The sun is also pulling it's weight!
I know, I know, another "golden hour" shot. I can't help myself! Working with Sydney was a total blast too. She was so photogenic and ready to dive in to get the perfect shot. I loved taking her portraits!
Where would my 2017 be without these two little bunnies? Their mom, Samantha, was a wardrobe wizard and got these cute coats last minute to beat the cold snap we had during the last of my mini sessions this year. This is hands down on of my favorite family shots of the year.
Michelle came to me with her three adorable boys who were so well behaved I couldn't believe it. But this little guy totally stole my heart. He was all smiles with nearly NO prompting. Just beaming ear to ear and not minding the cold one bit.
For those of us who own rescues, you know why this picture tugs at my heart. Victoria, her boyfriend, and their rescue pup came to me for a mini session and this shot captured what I have come to know as the unconditional love that only animals can give. Just look at this pup's sweet little face!
Sarah and her lovely family came to me for their FIRST EVER outdoor family portrait session. Before this they had done studio portraits, so I was pumped to let the experience of outdoor portraits wow her. I love how this picture features her two awesome kids (who have the best smiles!).
Photographers know the true pleasure of a returning client you love. That is how I feel about Amy and her beautiful family. It was so hard to choose a favorite from her session with me this last time, but Ivy's cute face makes it too hard to not share this shot!
Smash cake session aka frosting war paint. Enough said.
These sweet sisters! The sun was coming through just right and I love that they willingly snuggled with each other to get this shot.
Another sister shot! Their mom, Heather, came up with this idea to get the girls "superman-ing" their gymnastics leotards. Ideas like this make my heart soar!
I have to share this shot I got of my mom and her two fur babies. My awesome mom just retired from a 35 year career of teaching and I couldn't be prouder.
AJ and Stephanie came to me for a mini session, maternity style. I adore that I was able to catch AJ sweetly looking at his momma-to-be.
Bess and John's wedding (above and below) was a total treat to capture. The St. Croix Woodlands is a gorgeous venue for outdoor weddings, not to mention all the kitties! The cat above was lounging ever so perfectly and I quickly grabbed Bess' bouquet for the shot. Below, we were able to get that, you guessed it, lovely golden hour light photograph.
My cousin, JP, and his wife Katie had a beautiful day for their wedding on John Furber Farm. In the photo above, I love that I caught Katie with her sweet niece gazing out over the arriving guests. Below, JP and Katie have the best sense of humor and I was able to catch one of those perfect moments when JP makes her laugh.
This wedding was one for the books. The bride, Ellen, came down with some serious strep throat on the morning of her big day. We were fifteen minutes late starting the pictures because she was literally getting a shot in her butt to power her through the day!! This bride deserves a medal for her poise and determination to enjoy her wedding despite being sick as a dog. Above, I was able to grab a quick shot of them enjoying a moment alone. Below, this couple did an entire swing dance routine for their first dance which ended in a show stopping dip. Did I mention Ellen is amazing!?
Steph and Josh were another couple I loved working with. They were seriously one of the most low maintenance weddings I have ever done. We were able to steal away from the reception for some sunset portraits and this was my favorite one of the bunch. The way they look at each other makes my heart flutter!
I have to include Dorothy and David's wedding as well and it was nearly impossible to pick a favorite shot from this day. Even though Dorothy told me everything was coming together last minute, it felt like the most beautifully curated wedding. Her father did her bouquet, her best friend did her make up, and we had gorgeous weather for early April. This shot on the rocks with her and David is one of my favorites because it captures one of those "in-between" joyful moments.
My home and community
I can't close out the year without mentioning the Franklin High School Dance Team. One of the dance moms, Wendy, approached me to sponsor their team portraits this year and I immediately said yes. Collaborating with their coach, Sarah, was a wonderful experience and we got some amazing shots.
This 100 year old barn rests across the street from our home, and what a view! There is so much history here in Franklin and these old structures I feel are a beacon to the past.
This year was my second year planting a garden and this shot is of my favorite veggies we grew - purple peas! All my clients know I love gardening and getting my hands in the dirt. This pea plant was not only beautiful to look at, but delicious to eat!
How could I not close out this post without a picture of my chickens?! This is my favorite shot of the girls with our rooster, Falco. We love to grab treats from our lawn (aka weeds) and feed them to our flocks. Here they are nibbling on a little bit of clover.
That closes out my favorite images of 2017. It took me three days to get this doozie of a post together, so I hope you enjoyed going through my personal bests. Looking ahead to 2018 I am so excited to get my mini sessions and senior portraits going in May. Thank you to all my wonderful clients for making 2017 an awesome year!
It warms my heart when families I've photographed come back to me when their family grows! Michelle contacted me initially for my spring mini session deal and was so pleased with my work (yay!). She then asked if I could photograph some in-home newborn portraits for baby Lilah and I was ecstatic. Michele had an adorable outfit lined up for Lilah (the headband is especially cute). She was also super smart and enlisted the help of her sister to corral their toddler while we focused on just Lilah for a portion of the session. My personal favorite is when we got their french bull dog in the photo! We got some amazing photos, scroll through and see for yourself!
Wow, what an amazing photography season! Looking back and reflecting on all the wonderful families I met this year brings me so much joy. All in all, I photographed 85 graduating seniors, 95 Milwaukee area families, nine weddings, and 15 pet portraits. It was a busy year! Now that the temps have officially dipped below freezing, all outdoor portrait photography is done until May 1st. Throughout the winter season I still offer in-home newborn portrait sessions as well as cover indoor corporate events and headshots. Which ultimately begs the question - what do you do, Kelsey, when you no longer are photographing over 150 clients?!
Spend time with those I love the most!
During the photography season I often times won't see my guy until 8:30pm. Basically, if the sun is up, I'm photographing. My partner in life, Paul, works a full time job so our quality time definitely suffers during the photography season. We've found ways to carve out space to take vacations for ourselves when the busy season hits, but nothing compares to the rush of time I get back when the offseason arrives. There's so much more time to plan delicious dinners, go see movies, or work on projects together (we love our projects!). Being able to sync back up is priceless for us during the offseason.
I also have the time to see more of my family. My wonderful mother (pictured above with her babies) retires from a 35 year teaching career this holiday season and I couldn't be more excited to see more of her in the coming months. Ever since Paul and I moved to our little farm here in Franklin, WI, she has been so pumped to come and help us more with the chickens and the garden. I'm jazzed too! Even though it's winter and the growing season is put to a halt, there's still tons to do and plan for. Which brings me to my next off season activity...
Getting our Micro-Farm off the ground!
This year I dabbled in selling eggs and growing extra produce to see if any Franklin residents would be interested in our organic non-GMO farm items. The response was overwhelming! All my clients know how much I love my chickens and my garden, so this winter I get to plan on how to amp up our farm sales in 2018. My father came down in October and helped us renovate one of our old sheds so that we can open a roadside farmstand next spring. My hope is to double our flock size so we can sell 42 dozen eggs a week as well as organic non-GMO popcorn and winter squash. Stay tuned for the website and Facebook page launch my fellow Franklin residents!
Work on all my backlogged projects!
I have a serious problem guys. I, Kelsey Jorissen, am a DIY addict. There I said it! During the year I will start project after project - for our home or for our garden - and it always ends up getting put off thanks to how busy the photography season gets. Pictured above is one of of those projects that FINALLY got completed - yay! This mid century modern dresser has been sitting in our garage half finished for nearly six months. My mother gifted it to me, scuffs and terrible stain and all, and with some sand paper and gel stain I nursed it back to its former glory. There are tons of DIY projects like this that I plan on finishing over the coming months. Yippee!
Read all the books ever!
The other thing I love to do over the winter is catch up on all my reading. I mostly do non-fiction, but thanks to an awesome book club I recently joined I've been expanding into more fiction! Right now I have Annihilation with the Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer on deck for the holidays - really festive reading I know guys!! I have a huge soft spot for science fiction, what can I say? I also firmly believe in reading the books before you see the movie, and the movie looks freaking cool, so I have to get on it quick! Do you have books you'd recommend I read during my offseason? Comment below and let me know!
Hang out with my kitties!
And last, but certainly not least, I plan on catching up on all the kitty snuggles I miss when I'm out and about during the warmer months. We have three adorable kitties we call our own and I can never get enough lap time!
Photographing Sam and her beautiful family was such a treat! Sam contacted me for my Fall Mini Session Deal, which runs through October and November. We were a tad concerned about the cooler temps here in Franklin, so like a total genius Sam got these adorable bunny coats for her two girls. These sisters are the absolute cutest. The bunny coats kept them warm and definitely amped up the sisterly love. Scroll below to check out this sweet mini session!
Photographing AJ and Stephanie for their mini maternity session was absolutely wonderful! My fall mini sessions offered on my property in Franklin, WI are a choose-your-own-adventure type of portrait session. You can include pets, do one for your extended family, focus on just your newborn, or in Stephanie and AJ's case - do a maternity session! We met just before sunset on a beautiful clear day (thanks weather gods!) earlier in November and had the most beautiful light. They also included their pup, which I love. Stephanie did a wonderful job with wardrobe, making things cute, comfortable, and simple. The only downside about the mini session is I always wish I had more time to get to know my couples and families! Take a look at these gorgeous photos below...
"Kelsey was a dream to work with! She was easy to get ahold of to make our appointment. Our session was right on her beautiful land and the lighting was phenomenal. And the photos turned out amazing, quick turn around time to receive as well."
Cassie and her beautiful family were such a joy to work with during my fall mini session season. I encouraged Cassie to bring their family dog, and I'm so glad because we got some amazing shots with her. Some of my favorite shots of just the two girls, so much sisterly love! Moms are always pleasantly surprised with how many poses we can fit into 20 minutes, but when you've been photographing families for ten years it is hard NOT to be efficient. I love all the shots we got, scroll through and see for yourself!
Photographing in the Historic Third Ward for Brandon's senior portrait session was just perfect. Brandon and his mom were so fun to talk to, which always makes the session go by super fast! They opted for my short and sweet Bronze Package, in which you get to wear one outfit and have a 30 minute photography session. The Bronze Package is awesome for senior guys because often they don't want too much fuss. The thirty minutes goes by in a flash and I always end up getting some wonderful shots. This session is no exception!
"Kelsey did an amazing job for my son's senior pictures. I would use her again for my family photos. She captured the greatest shots and she had the greatest locations. She was very pleasant to work with." -Terry
This session was one for the books! Marissa chose to go with my property first here in Franklin and then Bass Bay Brewhouse along Lake Muskego for her second location. Little did we know a storm was barreling down on us out of nowhere!! Brandy, Marissa's mom, was such a good sport and held an umbrella over me while we photographed along the lake so I could get the perfect shot. I loved working with Marissa because she is a theatre kid and so am I. Her beautiful personality shines through in these senior portraits and I couldn't be happier. Scroll through to see for yourself!
Working with Hannah on her senior portrait session was such a fantastic experience! Hannah is a super talented artist so we decided to go with Black Cat Mural Alley in downtown Milwaukee for one of her locations. This alley is such a cool spot and its graffiti is always changing! Hannah incorporated her sketch book and drawings into her senior portrait session, which I loved. Our second spot was in the Historic Third Ward. Hannah loves the water so we had to get some beautiful shots with the river in the background. We totally bonded over the tv show, Avatar Last Air Bender because we both consider ourselves Water Benders. I love the shots we got, so scroll through and check them out!
For Catherine's senior portrait session, she decided to stick to my rustic property here in Franklin, WI. I adored all the outfits Catherine had picked out because they jived so well with the natural background. The cherry on top though was that Catherine brought her puppy with so we could sneak a few adorable shots in of them together! Those are by far my favorite from the session, (aside from the chicken shot!) but I am a huge animal person so anything with a pet is going to be my favorite. I also loved that Catherine was recommending to me through one of my favorite seniors from last year, Adam. Scroll through and see for yourself!
Hi! I'm Kelsey - cat lover, coffee drinker, and green thumb. I've been photographing people for over a decade and can't wait for you to take a peek around!