My first baby, my sweet and wild Bennett, recently turned four years old.
Bennett’s fourth birthday fell during our annual vacation to our hometown of Chicago, making it a great reason to gather our family and friends for a big ol’ party at The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a perfect indoor venue smack dab in the center of Lincoln Park. We knew we’d see so many people and have too little time, so we asked Chicago-based mom and photographer, Melissa Zimmer of MZ Photography, to capture our day. Photography is such an art, and the iPhone just doesn’t cut it, especially since I’m the one behind the camera most of the time. We wanted a talented photographer who truly understands children, is high energy enough to keep up with the action of the party, yet subtle enough to capture genuine moments without interruption.
Without a doubt, Melissa exceeded all of our exceptions. She is so lovely and easy to work with, which is a huge priority for me especially when coordinating the many details that go into a party. Prior to the event, we had a number of email exchanges confirming the day/time/location, and on the day of the party Melissa knew just what to do and ran with it. She is incredibly proactive and friendly, and easily worked herself around the room photographing everything from stills of the cake to action shots at the craft table. Afterwards, there was a super quick turnaround, and I honestly had tears in my eyes as I reviewed the images. She saw so many moments and captured them all in soft, natural light: old friends catching up, cousins big and small hugging each other, turtles and snakes making kids and adults squeal, and of course, Bennett’s radiant smile as he enjoyed the wonderful celebration.
This last photo is my favorite picture of all – Bennett eating his cake and smiling at his beautiful cousin Frances. Melissa captured such a sweet and genuine moment; he was so proud of that cake. In the weeks leading up to his birthday he was very particular about the color of the cake and the candle he wanted. Luckily, Lincoln Park bakery Sweet Mandy B’s concocted his perfect vision and he was beyond thrilled.
[Mom tip: if making cupcakes, also make a small cake (if ordering from a bakery they are sometimes called a smash cake or a gem cake) to use for the birthday candle and then let the birthday kiddo eat it themselves. Last year when Bennett turned three he had a wholehearted meltdown when I cut his into cake to give everyone a piece. The whole Broken Food phenomenon is alive and well at our house.]
Thank you to MZ Photography for sharing this great day with our family! Be sure to check out her website and give her a call the next time you are looking for a children’s photographer. Tell her you read about her on Luxe!