STONEHOUSE by Julie Kennedy

What steps do I take to begin to manifest my dreams?

I asked myself this question a few months ago. Well, maybe not phrased as concisely, and probably sprinkled with a bit of anxiety, but nonetheless, I asked. 

How do I create the life I want to live?

Couple'a'things I've figured out so far in my days on earth: I love to tell stories with photographs. I love the way my mind, body, and soul feels after practicing yoga. My happiness fuels from these things.

An important part about living a mindful life is being able to tap into your subconscious mind. It sounds intimidating but is surprisingly easier than one would think. A critical first step in doing so is to ACT WITH INTENTION. 

"I will speak my truth. I will listen to what I need, rather than what I want."

My truth is telling me to merge these worlds of yoga and photography. Combine what I love to do with how I love to feel, think, and live. This desire lead me to Stonehouse Farm. Located 90 minutes west of Chicago, Stonehouse Farm is a yoga and retreat center owned by renowned yoga teacher and practitioner, Darren Main. The 37-acres of lush land and rustic campgrounds provide the perfect oasis to escape from the noise of the city and enter into a serene sanctuary. 

"Resonate", a summer weekend retreat for yogis and entrepreneurs alike was the perfect opportunity for me to connect with likeminded individuals and document a wonderfully mindful experience. The group was small and intimate. Campfires were filled with music, mantras, and laughter. The food was fresh. Meditations were blissful. The sweat hut was sweaty...

All in all, a wonderful weekend that left me with a new perspective. I am in control of my own destiny. I am the only one who can cultivate what I wish to create. 

You will manifest exactly at the frequency you are vibrating—Law of Vibration.

xo,
jules

JENN by Julie Kennedy

Each time I shoot with Jenn, I like what we create more and more. She always has a vision for what she's wanting to capture for her blog, Cranberry Tantrums. Her blog centers around self-expression and embracing the bold, unique, and unexpected. When it comes to my shooting style, I tend to shy to the softer side of photography. I love natural, golden light and quieter moments. But it's so fun expanding into different realms of this art form and seeing where it takes me. That's one of the greatest things about photography. There are hundreds of thousands of ways to go about it. Well, maybe greatest and worst things if you're like me and confused about which direction to go in...but that confusion I think will always be there. So I am quieting doubt and tuning into my intuition, and my gut is telling me I like photographing humans. So I'm gonna go with that for now.

xo,
jules

THE LEECHES by Julie Kennedy

It's so strange how time can move so slowly yet somehow simultaneously quickly. It's been nearly a year since I started my photography business, and what a year it has been! In a way, I look back and I'm overwhelmed by how quickly time went—I often felt like there was never enough of it. Days went by too quickly. I could never entirely accomplish everything I want to. But at the same time, it felt like time was standing still. Reaching the loftier goals I wanted to reach were never going to be attained in a year's time. Some of my dreams and aspirations will take a lifetime. However, I'm learning that smaller, more attainable goals are just as important. Goals that can be checked off at the end of the day. We all have to start somewhere, and starting is better than not starting at all. Going into my second year, I would like to be more transparent. I want to show more of my work and be okay with the triumphs and mistakes. I want to focus less on perfection and more on being human. After all, that is what I love capturing most in my subjects—their truest, most authentic self. 

Here is a special shoot from last fall—the Leech Family. I had the opportunity to photograph Duncan, Erin, Jackson, and Leila while I was in Baltimore visiting my sister, Alli, and brother-in-law, Eric. This family is particularly wonderful because their son, Jackson, is the godson to Alli and Eric. I was thrilled to finally meet them after hearing so many wonderful things for several years. Thank you, Leech Family for being so warm and inviting. I loved every minute of this shoot.

xo,
jules

BRIT by Julie Kennedy

It's incredibly easy to fall victim to a Chicago winter. The thought of bundling into three layers and two coats exhausts you. You learn to survive off the sad remnants in your fridge. People know not to question why you're crying--maybe it's the 50mph winds or perhaps the thought of the season that gets your eyes to water, no judgement either way. 

Last winter, I couldn't help but feel hindered by these less than ideal circumstances. This year, however, I've felt more inspired to meet this challenge head on. An "eff you winter, you won't kill my vibe" sort of mentality. And hey, it kind of worked! 

There's a majestic quality about this season that I never really paid attention to before. When the light is just right and the air is clean and crisp, the beauty is practically tangible.

Here is a collection of shots from my time with the beautiful Brittany.

xo,
jules

*huge thank you to so many of my clients for putting up with the frigid temps and high winds. each and every one of you are bad. ass.* 

CABO by Julie Kennedy

With a family of seven turned eight (hi brother-in-law!), it's rare that we are all together at the same time. Our last family trip was six years ago, so we were in need of some quality fam bonding...and it doesn't hurt that the parents chose Cabo San Lucas as the ultimate bonding destination. Our agenda for the week included eating, drinking, scuba diving, and then more eating and drinking. My kind of party. Apart from nearly getting skunked at dinner and having to listen to the parents butcher Spanish with every native we encountered, it was absolute, hands down paradise. Hi fam, thanks x a million. I love you all infinitely. 

xo,
jules

*2016* by Julie Kennedy

To all my amazing blogger friends, thank you for making 2016 a year that I pursued my dreams *somewhat* fearlessly. Thank you for your trust and vulnerability. Thank you for your time and patience. I am so grateful for the knowledge I've gained from working with each and every one of you. This past year, I have grown as an artist and entrepreneur far greater than I could imagine. I owe so much to those who value my work and never fail to offer their support. Thank you thank you thank you. Here are some of my favorite fashion and lifestyle shots from 2016 <3

xox,
jules

JESSIE COHN by Julie Kennedy

It's been over five years since I graduated high school...which really doesn't seem like too long, but it feels like a lifetime ago. So many of my closest friends are from my high school days. And somehow, through the many twists and turn of life, we have all managed to remain close. I am so so thankful for this. 

Jessie is the little sister of two of my bff's from the Brave days, Alex and Sammy. I was so excited for her senior session to get to know the infamous Cohn sister...and now, I'm not so sure which Cohn sibling is my favorite :) We had so much fun exploring Trader's Point Creamery. Jessie was always down for any and all of my crazy ideas. Her mother came along for the shoot which was wonderful because she helped Jessie relax, be her natural self, and have fun. If only every shoot could be like that!

Jessie—I cannot wait to see what the future holds for you. Wherever you end up, you will do amazing things.

xxo,
jules

THE DAVIS'S by Julie Kennedy

Oh, how this family holds such a special place in my heart <3 I have been friends with the oldest of the four daughters, Emily, since our freshman year of high school...nearly ten years ago...what?! It's safe to say I spent many nights throughout my high school career at the Davis household. One of the first times I was over, I found a fun blue button on the wall of Emily's closet and thought pressing it would be a good idea. Flash forward 30 minutes, the police have arrived to secure the "break-in" and poor Mary, the youngest sister who was probably four at the time, is terrified for her life. Thankfully, for whatever reason, they still invited me back time and time again :) 

It's quite fulfilling to capture the love that's shared between a family...to just sit back and watch the interactions and connections between each member. To witness their love and devotion toward one another. I find it fascinating. This family is so beautiful, loving, generous and kind. It's apparent the second you enter a Davis-filled room. They welcome you will full hearts and open arms. I am so grateful for that.

Thank you Annette, Mike, Emily, Hannah, Caroline and Mary. You make one incredible family.

xxo,
jules

ALI by Julie Kennedy

I've been a little frustrated lately. Frustrated with my surroundings. Frustrated that I don't live in the mountains or by the ocean or on the beaches of Bali. Frustrated by this idea of constantly wanting what I don't have. Constantly striving for something moresomething "better". 

I often forget that so many things in our world aren't obviously beautiful. They don't scream for attention or catch my eye to immediately be photographed. They sit there quietly. Undisturbed. 

This shoot with Ali was about just thatcapturing the extraordinary within the ordinary. Remembering that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I am finding I need to reset from time to time—to twist my perception of the world to be less narrow and more aware. Open my eyes to what I cannot see and do not know. I find that's when my mind becomes most clear.

xxo,
jules

GOLDEN HOUR WITH COURT by Julie Kennedy

Hello dear friends! It's been a hot second. I'm back from my accidental mini summer hiatus and excited to share all the work I've been doing these past couple of months. Let's start with the ever-so-beautiful Courtney. Always bringing the golden light with her whenever we shoot, which is less frequent now that she is living the dream in New York City. 

Courtney and her cousin, Kelly, run a fashion blog called Mimosas & Manhattan. I started taking photos for their blog when Courtney and I were in college together a few years ago. It's been amazing to watch these girls grow over the years and see how successful they've become. So proud and so inspiring :)

You're one badass fashionista, Court. I love yah. I miss yah. I can't wait to come visit so soon.
 

xxo,
jules

LINCOLN PARK LADY by Julie Kennedy

Give me golden light, and I'm a happy gal. Give me Lauren Nolan, and I'm a happy gal. Lauren and I shot at the Lincoln Park Conservatory back in April. At the time, it was our third time shooting together (many more to come!), and I can't help but think "third time's a charm". Things began falling into place naturally. We were comfortable. We were fluid. We were trusting of one another. And I'm quite happy with the result. 

Thank you Lauren for creating magic with me. Always a pleasure to photograph your wonderful spirit.

xo,
jules

BLAIR IN THE CITY by Julie Kennedy

An Art Institute shootfinally! Last summer, I took a couple classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and had been dying to shoot here ever since. The gardens and architecture are so beautiful and serene, and Blair was the perfect muse. It's always such a pleasure to work with her because she knows how to move in front of the camera—something I appreciate so much. I've learned the hard way that there's much more to photographing people than pressing the shutter. Something that separates a good lifestyle and portrait photographer from a great one is the art of directing. I included "lifestyle and portrait" in front of the word photographer because I studied photojournalism in school. We were always taught as photojournalists to never manipulate or control the subject you're photographing, but rather let the story develop for itself. When you're job is to report authentic news stories, this is so important. But in other genres of photography, directing is a key element to success. Like I mentioned, this isn't something that has come naturally to me. This is a part of photography that I'm just now learning and understanding. A photographer that I've always admired for his openness, feedback, and dedication to educating fellow creatives is Ben Sasso. He writes an amazing blog post on directing here if any of you want to take a look. 

My point here is that there is always room for growth. There is always room for practice. You can never be too full of knowledge or experience too many things. I have so much to learn and so many things yet to experience. I taught my 85-year-old grandma her first yoga class the other day. She's lived on this earth for 85 years and just discovered a new way to move her body and relieve stress. Life is wonderful in that way. 

xxo,
jules

LAUREN & CPY by Julie Kennedy

Yoga has recently become a huge part of my life. I was a member of the local yoga studio during my last two years of college, and since graduating I've begun practicing nearly every day. It’s unbelievably therapeutic for me. Growing up, I was always flipping, bending or stretching. As soon as I found yoga, I knew it was going to bring so much joy into my life. 

Today, I begin an eight week 200 hour yoga teacher training program with CorePower Yoga. I am beyond excited to deepen my practice and broaden my knowledge of this moving meditation. 

Lauren aka “Lake Shore Lady” completed CorePower’s teacher training this spring. It’s been wonderful to hear about her journey and see how much she’s grown. There’s nothing like having friends who share the same passions and interests as you. 

I look forward to sharing my experience with you all over these next eight weeks. I expect to be challenged mentally, physically and spirituallyalways reminding myself to be patient and trust the process. As the yogis at CorePower like to say, "You are exactly where you are supposed to be." 

xxo,
jules

Click here to see Lauren's experience.

TOBAGO PT. II by Julie Kennedy

It was golden hour on our final evening in Tobago. Lexi and OJ had already left to go back to the states, leaving Becca, Liv and myself to soak in our finals hours on this beautiful island. Our time in the Caribbean was coming to an end and our hearts were feeling a bit heavy. As we sat on the beach, gazing at the Toboggan sunset, I began taking photos of my beautiful friends and the joy that manifested across their faces. Our new friend, Kino, joined in on the fun, making this precious time together so much more wonderful. It had been an incredible ten daysten days of my life I will never forget and forever cherish. Ten days of learning and experiencing so much of what life has to offer. I think these photos do such a beautiful job of capturing just thatcapturing the gratitude and love we have for this little place. Until next time Tobago.

xxo,
jules