Free To Be Me


We can’t believe it’s finally here! Our biggest photo event of the year has arrived!

Free To Be Me has been in the works since last year and we have had too much fun working on it. Think FEEL GOOD, IMAGINATIVE, EMPOWERING, WHIMSICAL, STYLIZED and just plain FUN. The event is our first ever six week long charitable event created to encourage kids, big or small, to be just who THEY want to be. Does your little guy want to wear his cape every day to school? Do you begrudgingly have to tell him he can’t? Well, now’s the time he can not only wear it but rock it out in front of the camera, too! Bring on the superheroes and tiny dancers! Bring on the kids who want to dress up as what they’d like to be when they grow up. Come rock your tutu! This is a time where a child’s special character and individuality can shine bright.




FTBM was inspired by a school project we did for a preschool class last year. All of the kids dressed as they wanted and we created the most adorable class photo. The class was made up of football players, doctors, magicians, fairies and pajama wearing storytellers. Parents, kids and teachers LOVED it. The character and individuality shown in this piece stayed with us in a really meaningful way.

Kids should be empowered to be whoever they want to be! They are unique and special in their own way. That should be proudly shown off and put on display!  Free To Be Me mini sessions are specially priced and 100% of this benefits PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center . Bullying is a serious community issue that many kids and families face in our local schools.  Pacer is committed to bullying prevention in school and the community and to promoting individuality in children of all ages.

Founded in 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, actively leads social change, so that bullying is no longer considered an accepted childhood rite of passage. PACER provides innovative resources for students, parents, educators, and others, and recognizes bullying as a serious community issue that impacts education, physical and emotional health, and the safety and well-being of students.





We also created a special product that will inspire your kids long after their photo shoot – our Free To Be Me art pad. Choose an image from your shoot along with an empowering “I AM _______ “statement and create a special journal or drawing pad.




Look out! Big, beautiful, hand edged FTBM window pieces will be installing in all of our studios next week! We have created over 70 large display prints for our storefronts. We love that these images are quirky, magical and full of unique expression.







 “Before you can be anything, you have to be yourself.” – E.L. Konigsburg








we smell so good.

We’re pretty happy that we are smelling especially good these days. We have a NEW signature scent! Say hello to Leila Lou by Rosie Jane. Step into one of our studios and see (ahem, smell) for yourself.

And before you ask, yes, we’re selling it for you, too. It’s the perfect little treat for yourself (you deserve it)… or as the item to complete the perfect CK gift.

Careful though – it’s totally addicting.






Happy, Happy, HAPPY First Birthday, Digital!

Woohoo! June marks the one year anniversary of our conversion to digital technology from our beloved film. Like I have previously said, this is something that I thought our little company would never do. I have also said that I would never turn my back on a superior technology. I just never thought that digital would ever surpass good old film. That is where I was wrong! Oh, so wrong…….

Digital has allowed us to make our images into fabulous new large sizes. With 35 mm film, we maxed out for quality reasons at 16 x 20, and that was pushing it. Now we are making the most glorious 20 x 30’s and 40 x 60’s, and all with cameras no heavier or more complicated than our old 35 mm film cameras. You just cannot imagine the beauty of the prints we are now able to make!

photo-109_sizedOur lab master & head digital artist preparing a custom canvas for stretching.

We are now making more beautiful coffee table art books than ever before. Because we no longer have to scan film to make the books, the images are “first generation” and flawless. We are also able to provide a custom photo app for smartphones containing every single image ordered by every client. This would have been impossibly expensive if we were still shooting film, again due to scanning issues.

Most retouching is now a breeze and something we do not have to charge extra for! Retouching used be done painstakingly by hand and was very expensive for our customers.

Really though, the very best things about going digital have been:

We did not use 10,000 rolls of film last year! That means we did not use 10,000 metal casings, 10,000 chemical laden plastic strips or 10,000 plastic containers and boxes for the containers!

We did not use the usual BUCKET LOAD of chemicals (film developer, stop bath and fixer) that we needed a toxic waste company to dispose of properly. We did not use the tons of clean water needed to wash the film after processing.

We did not use the 10,000 plastic sleeves or the 1,000 film storage boxes.

We did not make 10,000 contact prints from the negatives.

We cut in half the number of proof prints we printed from 500,000 to about 250,000, because we are now able to see and choose which images are printed before printing.

We did not use 30,000 sheets of wood based fiber paper to make our custom prints and all the chemicals necessary to make those prints. Instead we made 30,000 prints out of the part of the cotton plant that would otherwise be thrown away. No trees were consumed in making our prints this year and the prints are still 100% archival, warm and exhibit a beautiful tonal range.

We are so excited about our digital conversion and are thrilled that our customers see it exactly like we do. We have IMPROVED the quality and range of the products we offer and have done all of this while radically decreasing the environmental footprint of our business. This is a big win for us, our customers and the planet!

– Julie

studio-4-2[1]Finished custom canvases (sized 40×60!) hanging in one of our newly renovated studios.



Dads are too often the man behind the curtain. He is the secret keeper of cool and the humble rock star that prefers to sit backstage. Without protest, Dad turns dust into gold and broken things into fixed things. He teaches his children by example. Fatherhood turns a rather ordinary man into so, so much more. We think fatherhood gives a man a certain zest for life. It softens him and opens his heart to the world. Being a Dad turns him into a SUPERHERO, a STORYTELLER, ADVENTURER and SINGER of SONGS.

Inspired by our own Dads and our life experiences with them, we wanted show just how special Dads truly are. They’re gentle, kind jungle gyms… tender hands to protect their newborns; they are grandfathers telling stories of a world gone by. They are a little girl’s knight in shining armor. They are funny tickle monsters… and, simply, men full of love for their children & family. Make no mistake, Dad, we like your style!

We want to capture this. Now through Father’s Day, we are offering  special mini photo sessions for Dad & his kids. After all, with everything he does, he shouldn’t be behind the curtain but in front of the camera.


We created this very special movie dedicated to some of our favorite images of dad & his kids.  Enjoy!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

BLOG_BOARDS_SIMPLE_10_web 1. Jessica and her Dad on one of their many adventures together…exploring the wild west! Her Dad always taught her to seek out the adventure in everyday life and  that things are not always what they seem. A little beauty and love is everywhere if you just take the time to look. 2. Julie and her Dad 25 years ago. “I’ve been married to a beautiful saint for 50 years, have 6 successful kids (not a jail bird in the bunch!) and have had all I ever needed.”  His reason for not being sad or afraid when he found out Lou Gehrig’s disease would take him at 72. 3. In Ashley’s words, “here’s a photo of me and my ultimate hero.”4.  In Sarah’s words, ” My dad is my champion! Our hero who taught his boys how to be men and his little girls what to look for in a man. We always had him to turn to for advice, hugs, tickle fights or just an ear to hear about our day.  His family is the most important thing to him  and we all knew that growing up. Thank you, Dad, for all that you do! “5.  Jamie asked, “Like this, Dad?” He replied, “That’s perfect, Jamie!” She always wanted to be his mini-me. Still does!6. Lindsay’s Dad taught her to understand that love makes your life special… In his words, ” If you love what you do—it’s not a job, it’s something that gets you out of bed in the morning.  If you love your soulmate—you’ll always have a partner that can help you and make you laugh. If you are surrounded by love—even the toughest days will end in happiness.”

Way Beyond Spring Cleaning

Wow, what a big week I had last week!  I am still recovering!  I spent the week in Manhattan renovating the Upper East Side Studio.  We basically gutted the place.  I have to admit, it was an absolute blast and so oddly cleansing.  Our neighbors on the street kept telling me I was crazy for renovating.  They thought the studio was lovely, but it just looked worn and so “yesterday” to me.  It looked cluttered and needed a fresh new look. We painted, tiled the floor and put in new carpeting in the camera room.  We got rid of all stand-alone shelves and put absolutely everything up on metal rails on the walls in our new design room. We covered our frame sample wall in gorgeous belgian linen drapery to further reduce the cluttered look.

CK went green last year in going from film photography to digital. In doing so, we were able to cut our environmental footprint in half!  So for our new furniture, we wanted to choose environmentally responsible furnishings. Our new desk, credenza and 8 foot long communal design table are all made from salvaged wood.  The rugs and draperies are made from natural fibers and all of the metal pieces are made from salvaged metals.  Distressed and salvaged goes well with kids!

New in this studio is our emphasis on very large canvas art in gorgeous simple and modern framing.  When you see the artwork in person you will see the truth in our motto “Your Kids are Art.”  Children are one of the planet’s most spectacularly beautiful things and they are a natural for featuring in signature artwork for your home. We still also love multiple photo sets and those remain featured on the rails in the design room.  It is amazing how a small wall with a very large print on it can be absolutely stunning!  I tend to like my art either really big or really small. Next up?  Our Greenwich studio starts renovations in 10 days!  Woo hoo!



Here is our redone design room.  This 8 foot long counter height table is a dream!  It comfortably seats 10! Everything we need for our design work is within a step or two from the table….including a great glass of pinot grigio or a cup of steaming Nespresso!



This gorgeous 8 foot long credenza made of salvaged wood has sooooo many wonderful drawers, perfect for all of our price lists, brochures, etc.  The industrial towers are reclaimed metal and wood. See the large Great Dane?  His name is Sir Lexington.  Kids are loving him!  We’ll see how long he stays white!  The newborn portrait is one of Lindsay’s favorites and is 40 x 60!



This is our little reception table with tufted armchairs in natural belgian linen. Portrait is 40 x 60 and one of our favorites!



This is what you will see when walking in!  No computers, no phones, no cables or wires, just a gorgeous open space with cool art.  We hope our clients will feel so wonderful in our new space they won’t want to leave!  I know I didn’t.  When it was time to return to Chicago, I felt like I had a really long labor and gave birth to a beautiful baby and then had to leave it behind in NYC!.  Let me know how you like it!