Category Archives: 2009

I can’t wait for a lot of things but 2010 is already proving to be a promising year! I’m excited to be shooting weddings in both Chicago, IL and Jacksonville, FL and would love to shoot yours too! Can you believe that most of the people who are going to get engaged in 2009 are not yet engaged? I guess a lot of guys like to wait for Christmas (good ring sales!) but things are already ramping up over here! If you’re looking for a wedding photographer be sure to check us out! We are also available for destination weddings. With the next wedding photography season coming up I decided to put together a compilation of some of my favorite photos from this past year to post. Enjoy!


Jen Shannon Photography, Chicago Wedding Photographer

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Ok, so recently I started making my own Photoshop actions, because let’s face it. It’s hard to justify handing over $200 for a set of actions that you can probably make yourself if you have time. Well… While I was making some new actions, I decided I should start incorporating some textures for some of them. I used the same photo and created an action with the textures below on them. You can how each changes the picture, but, it really MAKES the picture have that old/vintage feel. Love it! I would encourage you to start looking at textures and seeing how you can incorporate them into some of your photos.

This is probably my favorite. You can see the damask pattern in the left of the photo. That was a window with a ledge that I evened out and then added the texture too, then masked out the texture on the chair and such…

Watermarked 1

This is probably my least fav. I’m not a huge fan of the “jean” texture but I think for this picture it works.

Watermarked 2

This is another great one! I love the words in the background. Obviously they wouldn’t be written on the wall but I think it makes a great collage-ish kind of texture.

Watermarked 3

And last but not least! The wrinkled paper texture! This one also gives it that old photograph/vintage look. Love it!

Watermarked 4Jen Shannon Photography, Chicago Wedding Photographer

Ok, so I’m finally getting around to starting to showcase some of Colby’s work as my second shooter. Here are some of his photos from Ryan and Laurie’s wedding. Colby has been an amazing helper since day one of my business. We are in the process of making a website for him, but in the mean time, here is a blurb from his “about me” page.

Hi there!
I’m Colby, Jen’s husband. I’ve been helping Jen from the start of her business. It’s been amazing watching her go from just a dream of being a professional photographer to blossoming into the professional she is. I’ve been helping her since day one, which was March 24, 2008. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was finishing installing the baseboards in our living room while she was on the couch, pondering starting her own business. Like she usually does, she just made the decision to jump in with both feet. She grabbed her computer, came back to the couch, went to the IRS website and read up on everything she needed to do to start a business. Then she decided to apply for a tax ID. Part of the tax ID required a name. That’s where she got hung up and I stepped in! At the time, she had planned to do both graphic design and photography. She said she wanted something with the words, “Art and Design” in it. To me, Starlight fit perfectly in front of it, but she didn’t like it at first. She loves stars and I like to call her my, “sweetness in starlight” so why wouldn’t starlight work? After she thought about it for awhile, starlight began to grow on her and before I knew it, she was officially Jen Avril-Rae Shannon DBA Starlight Art & Design. She applied and received her tax ID right there and off she was. In August of 2008, she decided graphic design was not for her and went full force with photography. She kept the name Starlight Art & Design for awhile but decided Jen Shannon Photography was her best bet to have people know her name as a photographer.

So, this section is supposed to be about me right? Well, here is where I fit in. I help her in any and every way that I can. In the beginning I helped her with all sorts of technical stuff, then when she’d go on photography jobs I’d set up her equipment while she chatted with her clients. When she started doing weddings I started second shooting with her which is also what I currently do. So… I help her on her portrait sessions with her equipment, accompany her on every job and I second shoot for her at weddings. I also help her when she has IT issues. I’m her “go to” guy :)

So, with that said, you’ll be seeing more of his work soon!

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Scott and Mandy tied the knot last month in Colorado. They had their dream wedding in the Rocky Mountains and had no regrets of it being a destination wedding! Although most of their family couldn’t make it, they still wanted to celebrate so they had a reception here in Illinois with all of their friends and family, but not before we got some great couple’s pictures! Scott and Mandy have had a long but wonderful history together. While I didn’t have much time to get to know Scott and Mandy the time I did spend with them was fabulous and their love for each other was apparent.

Scott and Mandy, thank you for having Colby and I be a part of your home celebration! Congratulations on starting your married life together!

First, I have to start out with my latest addition to my bloopers page! Scott and Mandy’s dogs were too cute but Sadie really wanted to see what was going on. They also have the cutest name for their other dog. His name is Chicken Nugget! I LOVE it!!!

















Jen Shannon Photography, Chicago Wedding Photographer

I admit, I read a lot of blogs. I’m a blog-a-holic in both senses (like to blog and read blogs). One of the photographers who’s blog I visit almost daily is Jasmine Star’s. Jasmine is an amazing photographer located in California. Her husband, JD, works as her second shooter. Shooting side by side they make a great team. You can check out Jasmine’s blog here. Today she had her husband JD type up a “top ten list” for second shooters. I’ve been a second shooter twice for Doug McGoldrick and feel like I abided by these rules but wanted to share the post with the people who follow my blog because I feel it is important. I specifically wanted to address #2 because I feel it is very important to abide by this. While second shooting for Doug McGoldrick I had several guests ask me for my business cards. I didn’t bring them along because Doug booked the wedding, it’s Doug’s photography they wanted and it would have been completely inappropriate for me to promote myself at an event that Doug booked.
Below is the post from their blog. Check out Jasmine’s blog and her work. She’s fabulous!
10. Dress Appropriately
Don’t be afraid to ask the main photographer what to wear on the wedding day. Some weddings are casual, others more formal. The most important thing is to always be a reflection of the main photographer’s attire and blend in with guests as much as possible. I always dress according to the Three Piece Rule: Wearing a tie/jacket/pants or tie/vest/pants…and I guess a jacket/shirt/pants works as well, but Jasmine definitely prefers a tie!
9. Same Day Slideshow
If the main photographer creates a same-day slideshow to display at the reception, make sure and find a nearby work station (i.e. chair and outlet). I usually find a place just outside of the reception so we can hear what’s going on and be easily accessible.
8. Gather the Family
It’s so important to help the main photographer during family formal photos. There’s a really short amount of time to execute the photos, so be sure to find grandma and Uncle Kevin (who’s usually at the bar) so the entire group isn’t waiting for one person.
7. Taking Care of Vendors
During a wedding day, I usually don’t have time to cultivate friendships, but I always make sure to include every vendor throughout the day. If they need anything, I offer assistance. If the vendor dinner is served, I try to make sure everyone knows. It’s small things that ensure everyone feels like we’re on the same team…and there’s a high probability we’ll work together again in the future, so make sure to have everyone’s back.
6. Offer to Carry Bags
I’m kinda particular about this because it reminds me of my role as a second shooter…to make life easier for the main shooter. I’m not saying every second photographer MUST carry the bags, but it’s nice to offer. I always carry and maintain the main photo bag on wedding days and I know Jasmine appreciates it.
5. Get Water
Here in Southern California, peak wedding season is during the hottest time of the year, so keeping ourselves hydrated is very important. I always make sure Jasmine has a cold glass of water waiting for her: 1. Before the ceremony; 2. After the ceremony; and 3. After cocktail hour. Usually these are the hottest (and most stressful) times outdoors because there’s so much juggling going on for her. Every time she finishes her glass, she’s recharged (and in a better mood!).
4. Smile
Jasmine usually has to remind me of this one…and when she does, I usually give her a sarcastic smile. In all honesty, I know she’s right. Jasmine reminds me that guests are looking at us even when we don’t realize it and we’re a reflection of the bride’s desire of have us document her dream day. If we look hot, unhappy, tired, or annoyed, it’ll be a poor reflection on our brand. I’ll admit is sometimes hard to smile after hearing We Are Family…I’ve got all my sisters with me! for the thousandth time that month, but I then smile knowing Jasmine’s probably off dancing with the DJ! (just kidding…i had to throw this in here!)
3. Find New Angles
Don’t shoot over the main photographer’s shoulder! When I first started shooting with Jasmine, I shot behind her and captured–basically–the same photo as she did. Okay, just not as cool. She finally explained that she didn’t need another version of her photo…she needs an entirely photo of the same moment. I’ll admit this is harder than it seems, but I know she appreciates creativity and a different photo from the exact same moment.
One of the first weddings we photographed together, we had another photographer tag along with us. The night was flowing nicely until I overheard the third shooter pass his/her business card to a wedding guest…and passed his/her studio name along. I can’t explain how rude this is. On a wedding day, a second and third photographer is just that…an accompanying photographer to the main photographer’s studio. If a guest asks for a business card from a second shooter (which happens often!), the second shooter should always pass along the main photographer’s business card. Period. The end.
1. Leave Ego at the Door
This one doesn’t need much of an explanation as it’s more a rule for life in general. Just remember, as a second shooter, your number one goal is to shoot the best you can and make the main photographer’s life easier…even if it means missing the best photo opportunities at the wedding. Yes, everyone prefers to shoot the bride getting ready, the bride and groom portraits, and getting the First Kiss standing in the center of the aisle. But chances are, it ain’t gonna be like that. So own what you got and make it work. In the words of my main photographer and mentor, “Just be FABULOUS!” ;)