Happy New Year!

I'm not going to lie, New Year's Eve for me typically includes some sort of take out, watching a marathon of a TV show in my most comfy pajamas, and falling asleep on the couch at least 2 hours before midnight. It's a little embarrassing, but hey - that's how it is at the Madigan house! Einstein on the other hand, is a major party animal, and has been gearing up to ring in the new year...


Here's to a wonderful 2012, full of fabulous photos and many new memories!
Happy New Year!

A look back at 2011...

2011 was a whirlwind year, I'm not exactly sure where it all went! Like every year, it had it's ups and downs but was filled with lots of laughter (and a few tears). We decided early in the year to build a house, and moving was exciting, stressful, and at times bittersweet. I hadn't realized how attached I'd become in just a few years to our first home, and it was harder to leave than I anticipated! Exciting and happy news was also sprinkled throughout the year, with Josh and I getting news from his sister that we would be an uncle & aunt sometime early in 2012, and two of my sisters getting engaged this fall. The year wasn't without it's challenges, as I was chosen for jury duty at a very inopportune time (is it ever convenient though? I don't think so!) and also made some excruciatingly difficult decisions regarding my future. 2011 also included a trip to NYC, lots of photo sessions, plenty of snuggle time with Einstein, rebranding my business, time with friends & family, catching a Maroon 5 concert, and making some dents in my 101 in 1001 list.


What does 2012 have in store? One never can tell, but I do know that it will bring travel, a new niece or nephew, and a new brother-in-law. I hope it also brings good health, happiness, and plenty of time with family and friends. What are you hoping for in 2012?

Happy Holidays!

It's starting to become a bit of a tradition to feature Einstein on my business holiday cards (see last year's photo HERE) , and this year I had the talented Andrea from Forever Handmade crochet Einer a little candy cane striped scarf! I think it turned out super cute, but I'll let you guys be the judge...

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and I hope to see you all in 2012!


Favorite 11 of 2011

Wow, what a year!! 2011 was a bit of a growing period for the business as I went through a branding revamp (which I'm in love with), so I apologize in advance for the two different watermarking on the photos below.

First of all, I am SO incredibly thankful for all of my 2011 clients, both new and returning. I was given the opportunity to photograph several clients again and it was so much fun seeing how much the kids had grown! I cannot tell you how lucky I feel to have such great clients, many of whom I'm thankful to call friends. As always, it was incredibly difficult to narrow down my favorite 11 photos of 2011 (and I admit, I cheated a little bit with the series of three in there).

The faves from this year are shown in the order in which they were taken, starting with the adorable Oliver and ending with Kathleen and Brett. Did any of your faves make the cut?

I have to say this cake smash was a great time, and these photos never fail to crack me up. Love his expressions!






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Cozy Winter Engagement Outfit Ideas

Winter engagement photo sessions aren't for everyone, but they are SO pretty and unique! I have one coming up in late January/early February and I am super excited. I put together a couple outfits for inspiration, along with some tips for staying warm without looking bulky on a wintery photo session.

Tip #1: For women: put some leggings (regular will work fine, or look for a thermal/waffle knit pair for extra coziness) under your jeans. Your legs will thank you!

Tip #2: Better layer with the socks too, or wear a some that are designed to be warm in cold weather situations (like SmartWool).

Tip #3: Thermals are also good for layering under sweaters or jackets, adding thin (to avoid looking bulky) layers are going to also add warmth.

Tip #4: Find cozy hats that are also cute for photos if you want to keep your head warm, best to keep it on for the duration of the session rather than taking it on and off which creates tons of static + hat head.

You can click on any of these images for more information except the men's navy shirt (click here) and women's white hat (click here) in this first set.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

I have to admit, I've been feeling the holiday spirit 100% this year. We put our tree up on Thanksgiving, I finished my Christmas shopping the first week of December (I had a serious online shopping marathon on Black Friday), and I've been listening to the Christmas tunes on the radio (I found myself humming Christmas music while getting ready for work the other day). My favorite part of the holiday season so far was a cookie decorating party I had with my sisters a couple of weeks ago (don't worry, the cookies are long gone) where we ate homemade pizza, gave Martha Stewart a run for her money with our cookie decorating skills, and watched Elf.

I hope you all are enjoying the holiday season with your friends and family as well. I am taking a little time off from sessions from now through New Year's, but I'll be posting my favorite 11 photos from 2011 very soon, so check back to see if your favorites made the list! :) Until then, here are some photos of what I've been up to lately...



Check out the hairy gorilla gingerbread man towards the top of the photo, let's just say we took some liberties with our cookie decorating...

As a kid I always admired those department store Christmas trees with a color scheme, weird, I know. Anyways, my perfectionist tendencies are appeased by this strictly brown and gold tree (although Josh did sneak a Volkswagen ornament in there which he hid very sneakily in between several branches). This year I decided to add a personal touch by printing out some photos of us and Einstein (mostly Einstein) to hang on the tree.


Kathleen & Brett [Iowa City, IA Engagement]

Kathleen was one of the first people I met through the family I work for (she is their daughter's best friend) when I moved to Iowa City, she was 15 at the time (seriously, this makes me feel so old!!). I remember her introduction very clearly, "Hi, I'm Kathleen, Jess' best friend! You'll be seeing a lot of me." Turns out this was a very good thing, as Kathleen is one of the kindest, not to mention one of the funniest people I've ever known. Last fall I had the pleasure of taking photos of Kathleen and Brett (they modeled for me on a random Saturday), which is when I officially met Brett for the first time. Brett is just as kind and funny as Kathleen, and they both truly have the biggest, most genuine hearts - making them both beautiful inside and out.

I feel so incredibly blessed to know these two, and honored that they chose me to document their big day next August. I had such a wonderful time taking their photos last Friday morning, they are so deeply in love and I think it really comes across in these photos. Enjoy!

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I just love this next series of 3 images...
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I think this one is my favorite, but it's so hard to choose!
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At the end of the session, Kathleen asked if I could get some shots of them walking down the bridge. After walking a little ways, they began to skip. It was so cute, and 100% them. These two images make me so happy, I hope they make you smile too!
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