Studio News

Introducing: Jenny! New Studio Assistant and Soben Family Member!

New teammate signing in here: I'm Jenny! Yes, this means we have added another Jennifer to the team, but not to be confused with our fabulous studio manager, Jenn/Jennifer.  This is Jenny which is a vastly different name. :) I am so excited to join Soben Studios, lend a hand wherever I can, and to get to know all of the wonderful clients that come through for some memory-making! To properly introduce myself, here are five things about me, and a photo so you can put a face to the voice if you happen to call in while I'm working!

1. I watch too much reality TV. Like...way too much. Too much for any self-respecting Engligh Lit major who also goes to a lot of book clubs. E!, Bravo, MTV (oh that one is embarrassing), you name it, I watch it. Speaking of, I think Teen Mom 2 is on right now... 2. I love to dance! I grew up in dance, was a cheerleader for a million years, and can be found having major dance parties with my two-year-old daughter, Piper in our living room most evenings. 3. I am addicted to Dr.Pepper in a serious, borderline clinical way. When I've given it up in the past, for pregnancy or lame attempts at health, I have pretty much lost all my personality and sense of humor. The world is better when I'm thoroughly full of Dr. Pepper. 4. I am from Phoenix, and would take 122 degree heat over one drop of snow any day! 5. I never, ever, EVER wanted children, then I met my now-husband, and I somehow have a gorgeous little toddler girl, AND a baby boy on the way this winter! He is obviously into witchcraft or something.

That's me in a very small nutshell, looking forward to getting to know everyone in the Soben Circle!



My sweetie, Piper, and I this past Christmas! 

Cloth Diapers: Don't Turn Up Your Nose | Chicago Mommy Classes

It never occurred to me to use cloth diapers back in my boys' diaper days.  I did hear stories about the chemicals in disposable diapers, but I closed my ears. The alternatives didn't seem appealing, but if I had known about the convenience and the benefits of cloth diapers, who knows.... Here is YOUR chance to learn more about the amazing cloth diapering experience at "Cloth Diapering 101" presented by Green Diaper Babies. Find out how cloth diapering can help your child potty train faster, and learn about the environmental impact of disposable diapers so you can help save the planet for your children.

And most enticing: If you can't imagine the thought of washing dirty diapers,  find out how Green Diaper Babies diaper service will do the dirty work for you.

Photo courtesy of Green Diaper Babies

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6:30 p.m.

at Prenatal Fit, 1937 W. Diversey, Chicago

$10/person -- $15/couple


Can't make it on April 29th? Check-out the encore class on May 20th.

And introducing Prenatal Fit. A brand new woman's gym for before, during, and after pregnancy (with babysitting available!)

Stay tuned for more info about our new friends, Green Diaper Babies and Prenatal Fit. Soben Studios is proud to support local small business, and we have an extra place in our hearts for mommy-owned businesses.

From the Heart / Philanthropy

heartland When we think Valentine's Day, we think hearts, and just like you, we are tickled by adorable Valentine's Day images - one of our few opportunities to embrace props and cutesy. But, in the true spirit of celebrating love, we want to showcase these beautiful people, each of whom knows the real meaning of giving and receiving a gift from the heart. Every year, it is Laurie's privilege to contribute to Heartland Blood Centers' annual calendar by photographing regular people with exceptional stories. It's an honor for us to meet these special people who give us the gift of inspiration, and truly touch our hearts. - LN

Happy Everything | Studio News

Screenshot 2013-12-15 10.41.52 It's been a wildly busy fall and holiday season. We've had a great time seeing old friends, meeting new ones and rolling out fabulous new products.

Now it's break-time (if you can call two weeks with with kids off of school a "break"). As 2013 comes to a close, we're looking forward to spending holiday time with friends and family. (OK, there are some family members we could probably do without.) We're anticipating snowball fights, hot chocolate, warm fires, snuggling together on the couch - and some extra rest, if we're lucky. If you're heading to warmer climes, enjoy, and soak up some sun for us.

Remember to take lots of pictures. You can't get these special times back.

Soben Studios will be on limited hours beginning Saturday, December 21st. We will be resuming regular hours on Monday, January 6th. During this time, please don't hesitate to reach out to us. We'd love to hear from you! We will be checking voice mails and returning calls, but it may take us a day or two to respond.

Best wishes for a holiday season filled with love, joy, and peace, and may 2014 bring you good health and much happiness.

~Laurie, Laura and Jennifer

Blushing.... Again | Chicago Family Portraits

It is not every day that we are notified that we're finalists in a fabulous award winning competition, based totally on nominations from our customers (thanks, everyone)! But today was an extraordinary day, and we are finalists indeed. If you are so inclined, we would love your vote and support. And the best part ... you don't need to register. Just enter your email address and give a click. Actually, the best part is knowing that all of you continue to support us here - and for that we will run a totally awesome promotion to give back in January ... Again.

We were so humbled and honored to receive this award last year, and I hope, with your support, that we can win again. Thank you, Thank YOU.

Either click HERE or on the badge below to give us a vote!

Don't Save a Tree - Please Print

from Laura Nye.... My father died three weeks ago.

The wounds are raw. I'm told that with time, they will begin to heal, but that there will always be an emptiness.

During his final week, when he was comfortable in his own bed with hospice care (shout out to the wonderful Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care), my brother and I tried to divert ourselves (we were anything but comfortable) by spending countless hours pouring over family photo albums, carefully prying our favorite snapshots off yellowed sticky album pages and sliding them our of plastic sleeves to assemble collages celebrating my father's life.

We laughed and cried over memories long forgotten, cringed over adolescent images we would have liked to forget, and ached as we gazed at pictures of my father's decades of youthfulness.

Do you know what I was thinking? That my husband proudly has 15,000 digital photos that live on the computer (including 100's from my son's self-portrait series of his big toe).  I shudder at the thought of ever going through them, fearing that it will never be possible.  What is going to happen when my kids want to look at their family albums? What are the chances that future technology will be compatible, that they will ever see these images if we they remain digital?

More and more of our clients opt to purchase digital files. We wonder what becomes of these images. Does the disc languish in a desk drawer?

It goes without saying that I am beyond thankful that it was important to my parents to document our family's life: to decorate their walls with professional family photos taken over the decades, even if they showcase me and my brother in matching outfits; or my dad's oh-so-stylish plaid pants; or my mom's bad 80's perm. (Thankfully, these portraits have found their way to the upstairs walls.) The more recent pictures: my kids as babies, then preschoolers, then skiing with the grandparents, are proudly displayed downstairs on tabletops and bookshelves.

And with endless gratitude to Laurie, there is a prominent wall gallery featuring my family, captured just after my father's cancer was diagnosed, when my father was still himself, when we were all together, and hopeful. Even though we knew....

The albums are tucked away, treasures to be periodically discovered, but the wall images (even those that I barely notice) are etched on my brain.  The moments and memories are preserved, not just for my parents, but for me, my children and their children.

The lesson (besides that losing a parent sucks): Print your images. Cherish them. They are your lifeline.

Our Studio | Chicago Suburbs Child Baby Newborn Family Photographer

Well, it only took me 7 months to blog about our new studio! We've just been so busy taking care of our clients, that things like our new studio space took a back seat. However, I am so excited to share our new digs with you -- the space is just lovely and I can't wait to see many of you there! Our new studio is located in downtown Highwood, directly above a nail salon (how perfect is that!?). We've got tons of shooting space, with a great brick wall to enjoy. By far my favorite feature is our bay window, and it has been so much fun experimenting with the lighting there. The window is fabulous for newborn work, but it really shines with maternity silhouettes.

We've always got fresh coffee and tea waiting for you, great books, and our free wifi. Come see us soon!

Love YOU, Thank YOU mini sessions | Chicago Suburban Children's Photographer

FREE "Snap Session" Photo Event!

In appreciation of YOU, our devoted clients and friends, Soben Studios announces our first ever Snap Sessions: 10-minute FREE* photo sessions. (For up to 3 siblings)

Book with Laurie on Sat., Feb. 9th or Tues., Feb. 12th

Book with Susan on Mon., Feb. 11th


THANK YOU for voting us the Totally Most Awesome Friendliest Photography Studio in Chicago.

XOXOXO We love you -- from baby toes, to first steps, to first grade, to braces, and beyond...

BE MINE We love making new friends, and reconnecting with old ones!

If you've ever wanted to try us out, this is the perfect time - nothing to lose Or come back to show us how much you've grown!

For more information, please CLICK HERE

What a Year!! | Chicago Family Photographers

Compiling favorite images of the year is a daunting task - because I personally love so many of the images, and all of our clients!! However, the big task is complete, and I can't wait to share our year in review slideshow below. Clients, if you don't see your sweet faces in the movie below, please don't think "you didn't make the cut".  Rather, your are not depicted because we did not have a signed model release from you on file. :)) Proudly, we present our 2012 year in review. Thank you so much for making us smile ... every day.


A Quiet Victory | Chicago Family Photographer

As we mourn the innocent lives cut short by the recent unimaginable tragedy in Connecticut, and as our hearts go out to the survivors, families and friends, we hesitate to get excited over something as relatively trivial as an award. The shock may be dissipating, our collective wounds beginning to heal, but we remain raw.

While our emotion cannot be compared to that of the community of Newtown, we hurt to the core and we are forever changed.  Hopefully out of this tragedy, will come wisdom and change - change that will make this world a better and safer place.

In the meantime - and it is cliche - we are reminded to cherish each day and make each moment an indelible memory.

As photographers that it what we seek to do.

It is with heartfelt appreciation that we humbly announce that Soben Studios has been named Friendliest Family Photographer in Chicago's Totally Awesome Awards, thanks to you, are loyal clients and supporters. We are excited and honored, especially to be recognized among such a distinguished group of fellow photographers.

To celebrate our award and thank our supporters, Soben Studios will be announcing a very special event next month, so stay tuned...

Until then, share some extra hugs with loved ones and fill your homes with much laughter. -LN


Summerfest Fun / Out-and-About on the North Shore

Looking for a fun family activity this weekend? Come visit us at the Wilmette Summerfest Friday, July 13th and Saturday, July 14th. Find us in the Kids Stage area (with freebies and a coupon) along with our North Shore Children's Business Network partners. Fun for the kids includes an Kids Stage entertainment by the beloved Storybook Mom, face painting, art projects and much more! Mom and Dad will enjoy the fabulous Sidewalk Sale bargains, the scrumptious Taste of Wilmette and Saturday's live Music Stage...For more info, visit Wilmette Summerfest. Hope to see you there! - LN

Consumer Guide to Photography | Chicago Family Photographers

You’ve researched to find the best pediatrician, the highest-rated carseat, and the best bike helmet…Now, you're on a quest to choose a photographer to document your family's special memories. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of an enduring relationship. The choices are endless, the prices vary significantly, and you've become overwhelmed. Custom photography is an investment in your family’s heritage, but how do you choose a photographer? We hope this article will guide you in your process. Long after the carseat and the bike helmet are outgrown and the kids are too old for the pediatrician, your photographs will endure.

Things to Consider...

What is a professional photographer, anyway?

Being a professional photographer is so much more than owning a fancy camera. A true professional portrait artist certainly understands the complexity of operating her camera, but the camera is only one part of the portrait. A professional photographer is part psychologist, part best friend, part technical expert. You want a choose a photographer with whom you're comfortable spending time, dropping your guard, someone who creates an easy, relaxed atmosphere that can yield the truly emotive imagery you desire.

As digital cameras have become increasing sophisticated, so too have the number of inexperienced amateur photographers selling their photography services, displaying sleek websites and charging less and less for a photo session.At Soben Studios, we believe it is important for you, the consumer, to be educated about what you are paying for when you commission a photographer. If, after reading this article, you'd like further information about the costs of custom photography, you'll find a link to an in-depth essay on the subject.

The photographer’s website looks good. What else should I look for?

Anyone can take a picture, but only a skilled artist will create an heirloom portrait.  Certainly you could cut your own hair, but you trust an educated stylist instead. I imagine if you had all of the ingredients you could cook your family a five-course meal, but would it match that of a five star chef?

The clichés are plentiful: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is; You get what you pay for. But that’s the thing about clichés:  They’ve become cliché for a reason – they are usually true.

When searching for a professional photographer, ask the photographers about their training and education. Even if you've selected your most flattering outfit, the wrong light or angle can create unflattering results - imagine adding years or weight!  Look for a photographer who is educated in lighting and posing. In many cases, such an education is developed after years of experience behind the camera as well as ongoing collaboration with professional colleagues. Ask how long they have been in business, and what professional organizations they belong to. Some professional photographic organizations are as easy to join as ebay while others require applicants to submit a portfolio of work.

Consider the photographer’s style, and be sure it matches your own. Do the subjects appear to be engaged with the photographer, or are they most often looking off-camera? Are the smiles genuine, or do they feel coerced?  Is the website full of a variety of subjects, or do you see the same subjects over and over? Most likely, a professional will not feature any images of his own children on his website, but rather will make his website representative of clients over time.

Consider your interaction with the studio: How quickly did the studio respond to your inquiry? Were your questions answered thoroughly? Did you like their demeanor, and feel that you were treated with respect?

I don’t know a lot about photography. What should I look for in assessing a photographer’s work?

Here's a quick Photo Appreciation 101 lesson: 1) Are the images properly exposed? 2) Are the black and white images beautiful - with rich detail - or are they just somewhat gray? 3) Do the skin tones of portrait subjects look natural, or artificially enhanced - or even orange?! 4) Are the important details in focus, or do you notice fuzzy hands moving in the image?  5) Are arms, legs and fingers "chopped-off" in their gallery images? 6) Are there extreme highlights and shadows? If you notice any of these imperfections, chances are you've found a photographer who is new to the business, or has not invested in education, training or technique.

Is the photographer a licensed professional operating a business, or is he an amateur hobbyist with a slick website, and should I care?

Most inexpensive photographers are not running an actual business. Photography is a hobby that they hope will bring in some extra money. Consequently, they do not have insurance, top-of-the-line equipment, back-up equipment, or archival systems for imagery (among other things). By contrast, a professional photographer operates a successful studio (either from home or in another space), pays all of her taxes, maintains insurance, and is licensed by the government to operate as a business. Licensure and insurance are both forms of consumer protection. They demonstrate the photographer is serious about her business, complying with the law, and committed to ensuring the highest professional standards. Imagine if you are dissatisfied with your portraits, or even worse, something happens to your child during your session. In the absence of insurance or licensure, you would have no recourse.

Why is custom photography so expensive?

There is not short answer to this important question. The costs of operating and maintaining a successful studio are substantially higher than expected. An average portrait session takes us 12-19 hours to produce. A quality professional camera with proper lenses (and of course back ups for both!) can easily run $10,000 - $30, 000. Necessary computers with adequate memory and applicable software can run thousands as well. For a more detailed breakdown of time spent on sessions and financial commitments, we invite you to peruse this fabulous article by our esteemed colleague, Marianne Drenthe of Marmalade Studios, who masterfully explains to the consumer the costs of custom photography. Thank you, Mare, for putting this into a language that can be understood.please visit

bitty baby | Chicagoland Newborn Photographer

In awe of every. single. part.  

Maternity Minis | Chicago Maternity Photographer

Announcing our First Ever Maternity Mini Sessions!

Sunday, February 26th

at New Mother, New Baby in Northbrook

Attention expectant mamas: Have you considered belly shots? If so, this is what you've been waiting for! If not, you'll be sorry....

Your baby deserves to have the treasured images of his or her awe-inspiring growth in mommy's belly.

At Soben Studios, we're moms. We understand that the body changes of pregnancy may not feel very beautiful...But we know how to enhance the beauty of your blossoming belly -- and camoflauge those areas that cause panic.

In celebration of the miracle of pregnancy and to introduce you to New Mother, New Baby, a fabulous resource and destination for pregnant women and new mothers, we are pleased to offer maternity mini sessions at never-before promotional pricing!

25-minute "mini" maternity photo session for $150


FREE if you book an in-studio newborn session (birth-2 weeks):

Your mini session includes:

  • One or two subjects: mama-to-be and partner, if desired (sorry, no siblings)
  • One outfit change
  • "What to Wear" guidelines
  • Private 3-day web gallery to view and select your images
  • $50 Soben Studios gift certificate valid during baby's first year (may not be combined with other special offers or mini sessions)
  • Special gift from New Mother, New Baby.

For maternity sessions, we suggest women have begun their third trimester.


PLUS amazing special event pricing:

Your choice of: 2 high resolution digital negatives for $275 (regularly $350, savings of $75) or 4 high resolution digital negatives for $500 (regularly $600, savings of $100) or 8 high resolution digital negatives for $725 (regularly $995*, savings of $270) or All images for $995 (regularly $1450, savings of $455).

Receive a classic print with each image selected. Images will be ready for viewing 2-3 weeks after the session.

*Regular price of $995 includes 10 images.


SPACE IS VERY LIMITED! To book your mini maternity photo session, or for more information, please contact us at (847) 374-9123 or Session fee is due at time of booking.

We can only accept a limited number of newborns within a given due-date time frame, so if you'd like to take advantage of the "free mini maternity session with newborn booking offer," you must do so when reserving your mini maternity session. Special event pricing applies only to mini maternity session.

Holiday Cheer & Happy New Year | Chicago Family Photographer

Thank you to all of our amazing clients for another fabulous year. Thanks to you, we are able to make a generous donation in your name to the children's toy fund at Children's Memorial Hospital. Thank you for sharing your smiles with us, and for enabling us to bring smiles to children in need of good cheer. May your holiday season and new year be full of laughter, love and good health.

With love,

The Soben Studios Family

Another Chicago Newborn Baby Boy! | Chicago Newborn Photographer

Yup. We have had sooooooooooo many newborn baby boys in the studio to photograph this fall!! Today we had our first girl in a month!! But for your sneak peak, I just have to share this sweet chub of a bouncing baby boy. He and his mom were so much fun to work with, and I just love his smile (and his pudge!!). Enjoy!

Family Time | Chicago Family Photographer

We had so much fun with this family!! In fact, so much fun that we got together twice - once for a studio session, and again for an outdoor photography session! We'll post the outdoor session soon, but here is a peak from (mostly) our studio time.

New Jewelry Line! {Chicago Baby Photographer}

Sooooo excited for this jewelry!!! LOVE LOVE! Make an appointment at our new studio boutique to see the line anytime. undefined

family fun | Chicago Family Photographer

I know, it has been forever since we posted! We moved the studio last week, and we are still in the process of settling in. Nonetheless, I wanted to share a recent session with you - which was a total blast. This family was all active and all fun - truly enjoyed our nature walks!!! undefined