For the first time ever, Classic Kids is doing a bunny photo event!  I never thought we would ever do such a thing, mainly because of bad childhood memories of super cheesy posed bunny and chick shots. You all have seen those, right?!  The light bulb went on, however, during a recent trip to a local pet shop that has the most adorable rescue bunnies up for adoption. The early spring we are experiencing here in Chicago also had me dreaming of Easter and the impending Spring.  My ten year old son was crazy for the bunnies, and quite simply, there is no creature on the earth as adorable as a bunny!

Why not do a bunny event if we could do bunny shots in a much elevated way?  Bunnies are great to work with.  Their fuzzy bodies combined with the softness and rosy cheeks of children could be an irresistible combination! Add in the sheer delight of the children and we can create art! It got me thinking…

I began doing some research into bunnies.  They are the third most popular pet in the US behind dogs and cats.  And they are also the third most abandoned pet in the US behind dogs and cats.  It seems that there are oodles of bunnies out there in need of a good home!  Who knew?  There are actually shelters and vets all across the US who take in abandoned bunnies.  The lucky bunnies find no-kill shelters, but unfortunately many do not!  Same as cats and dogs.  The clear trend with cats and dogs has been to adopt homeless animals instead of getting them from breeders.  Makes sense to take care of animals that already exist on this planet.  Same for bunnies.

So our bunny event was born!  We are bringing in adorable rescue bunnies to pose with your children.  Bunny handlers will be present to make sure that the bunnies are carefully loved and not over taxed.  If you fall hopelessly in love with one of the bunnies and want to be it’s forever home, great!  But if you don’t, or can’t, part of the session fee will go to a wonderful bunny shelter to help take care of all the abandoned bunnies.

Bunnies can make the perfect pet for the right family.  Well cared for bunnies can live for 10 to 12 years, don’t make noise, are smart, can be trained for a litter box, and can be very affectionate with their owners when properly socialized.  They don’t need to be walked, but do need plenty of time out of their cages to explore and hop around.  They do need to be carefully handled, so may not make the perfect pet for small children unless the child can be supervised at all times around the bunny.  Like dogs and cats, this may not be a good pet for those with allergies!

Here’s to gorgeous, artistic images of two of the Universe’s most precious creatures, bunnies and children!


– Julie

(owner, Classic Kids)

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Your Family as ART

February 9, 2017

Trend: Black and white fine art photography done large scale in home interiors

Think child photography, highly elevated. So elevated, in fact, that it becomes premier, captivating art in your home. Truly, what could be better than using your own beautiful family to decorate your home? Art work that is not only beautiful, but meaningful to you?


As any parent knows, there is nothing that stirs the soul more than the face and other sweet features of a child. What could be better than to capture these features artfully and create beautiful fine art pieces to be displayed stylishly in the home? Art work that is not only objectively lovely, but also meaningful and emotional?


Black and white photography has been gaining steam in recent years as legitimate art worthy of prominent display in the home. Think Ansel Adams, Irving Penn and Carlos Tarrats. Art galleries are now filled with black and white photography.


Design trends have clearly embraced quality black and white photography as fine art and in bold new ways. Think BIG! Large pieces are so on-trend. But you cannot just use any photograph in these large pieces. They should speak to you in the same way poetry and music do. They should call upon your appreciation of beauty and be infused with emotion. Child photography, elevated.



How wonderful to hang these special pieces on your walls so that your art work doesn’t just look good, but it stirs your emotions as you walk through your home.


We love these art pieces printed expertly by our very own lab on archival fine art canvas. We also frame our canvases in-house with elegant, simple frames that give the pieces a finished look, but don’t draw the eye away from the image. All the pieces in this post are 40×60, except the newborn, which is 40×40 and the girl on a Paris park bench and the boy above the fireplace, both of which are 30 x 40.


Quite simply, we are in LOVE!

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Soulful Sessions

August 12, 2015

To Smile or Not to Smile, That is the Question

For me, there is just no question at all.  There is nothing I love more than a soulful, non-smiling photograph of a child.  I think when children are not smiling, and just looking or engaging in whatever they are doing, they are at their most beautiful.  The beauty of their faces, plump and soft, skin as smooth as cream is more apparent.  Their beautiful clear eyes are at their largest, and their beautiful, plump lips are at their fullest when not contorted by a smile. Their gaze is mysterious and the viewer of the photograph is left to wonder what they are thinking and feeling.

Who can argue that photographs of smiling and laughing children are not precious also? Who doesn’t want to see their children joyous and happy? I love shots like these also. In fact, Classic Kids was built on joyful shots. Nonetheless, for me, the photos I hang of my own children in my home, are the soulful ones. They aren’t unhappy, they are just neutral.  Like my children are most of the time.  Just natural.

This month, we are introducing a new studio look that features soulful expressions. We love it because it’s fresh and modern yet still so very timeless.  We are hoping you love these as much as we do!

It’s all about the eyes………



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Tutu Excited

April 15, 2015

We are Tu Tu Excited!

Last year when my phone rang, I had a funny feeling picking up the call.  It was my beautiful older sister Diana calling to tell me that she had recently discovered a lump under her arm and that the biopsy had come back with grim news.  It was breast cancer. I was a bit shocked because we have no family history of breast cancer in a family of mostly women. I had pretty much, stupidly, thought we were immune. My sister was stage 2, and, with a double mastectomy, had an excellent prognosis. She is very lucky. We are cautiously relieved!

Almost everyone has been touched by breast cancer at some point in their lives.  If you are lucky enough not to get it yourself, you most surely know someone close to you who does.  That’s why we are thrilled to select the Carey Foundation’s “The Tutu Project” as the beneficiary of donated funds raised in this years “Rock Your Tutu.” This is our 5th annual Rock Your Tutu event, which in the past has benefited St Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  All sitting fees from this event in our studio’s nationwide will go directly to The Carey Foundation.

To understand why we chose the Carey Foundation, look no further than the foundation’s website. On the home page, you will see the back of a middle aged man at the end of a long dirt path (symbolic I am sure) leading up to the top of a hill, with nothing but sky and clouds beyond.  Some of the clouds are white and others are gray. He is standing with his arms open to the heavens.  He is wearing nothing but a pink tutu.  Yep, a pink tutu!

©Bob Carey, George Washington Bridge. Allison Park, New Jersey. 2013

©Bob Carey, George Washington Bridge. Allison Park, New Jersey. 2013

That man is Bob Carey, who along with his wife Linda, established the Carey Foundation to raise funds to benefit men and women with breast cancer. Linda, you see, has been living with later stage breast cancer.  Why the tutu? Because Bob found that it made Linda laugh!  It not only made Linda laugh, but it made other people suffering with breast cancer laugh too…..a lot! So The Tutu Project was born.  Bob, a photographer by trade, has photographed himself all over New York City in front of many iconic landmarks, wearing nothing but his pink tutu. Bob’s extreme gesture to Linda and other people living with and fighting cancer has become a media sensation.

Bob and Linda are amazing people.  Their foundation is doing great work.  That is why Rock Your Tutu will, for the first time this year, be benefiting the Carey Foundation! It is a perfect fit!


Click HERE to watch a short video about The Tutu Project & Bob and Linda Carey (it’s simply heartwarming!).




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Wow, what a year it’s been!

As we wind down our busiest time of the year (yes, so busy that we were ordering lattes and pizza well past your bedtime), we find ourselves taking a deep breath and reflecting on the year that is behind us… and we’re pinching ourselves! Boy, are we lucky!!! We made many memories for families. We were a part of some of life’s greatest milestones and moments. We helped to capture a piece of your family’s very special history. We witnessed growing bellies and babies. We’ve been given dozens of wet, slobbery kisses from the furriest family members…. and we created countless heirlooms that will be cherished for years to come. We really, really, really love what we do.

Thank you to all of our dear friends, clients and families for making this year one of our very best! Join us in looking back on just what made 2014 so magical….

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Here’s to 2015!

The Classic Kids Family

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Oh What Fun and Laughing All the Way

We’d love to share some outtakes with you! These are from our recent efforts to build our holiday windows around a “sparkle and shine” theme…as in “Spread a Little Sparkle this Holiday Season.”

Our images often appear effortless; like the moment captured just happened and we were there to push the little button. But as all child photographers know, that could not be further from the truth! When our little family of CK photographers gets together, we laugh at each others stories until our faces literally hurt from smiling. Behind all the great photos are all of us big goofballs, doing all kinds of crazy things to make the perfect shots happen…and boy do some crazy things happen!


Sarah Dickerson, head photographer of our Chicago studio, got an amazing shot last year of a family with four kids perfectly blowing confetti out of their hands at the camera. It does look completely effortless. We assure you it wasn’t! Then someone (…ok…me…) got the brilliant idea to build this year’s holiday windows around a confetti theme. All we needed were maybe 6 or 7 more perfect confetti shots to go with it. Oh boy.

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We found out fast how difficult it is to take great shots of little ones playing with confetti! In the end, after expending our own blood, sweat and tears (literally) we got our shots, but it was NOT easy and we are all still finding confetti in the strangest of places!


Our biggest fear is that all of our holiday families will come in looking for great confetti shots for their holiday cards because it looks so fun and easy! Oh boy!

In the end, it’s all worth it to get the perfect shot, like this one (our original inspiration) from our Chicago studio!



– Julie

  1. Denise Birdsong: I so love these photos - adorable little ones! (10/03/14, 10:59 am)

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Yesterday, I helped pack up my first born son for his move out of state. He has been living at home for the past year, saving money while working for his company that is now transferring him. The week before last, I moved sons two and three to the East Coast to college, one as a senior and one as a freshman. I am feeling pretty smart right now that I saw the “hand writing on the wall” 8 years ago and had another baby at 43. He was literally my last good egg.

My previously CRAZY home life has instantly become much more civilized, albeit with a few pangs of heaviness, springing from deep within, several times a day. Glad I still have one little boy at home, and he still loves hugs.

Just weeks ago, on our annual Lake Tahoe summer vacation, amidst groans from all, I assembled boys big and small for the family Christmas card photo. They dutifully lined up, knowing that protesting would be a waste of energy. When your mom is a photographer, there is just no argument that is going to win. I am one tough bird…..when it comes to photos.

Someday they will thank me?

Starting with our very first year as a couple (25 years now), my husband and I have been doing photo cards each year. My sister-in-law gave us a holiday memories scrapbook when we were first married and I have been nearly religious about writing about where we were, who we were with and anything special or mundane about each Christmas ever since. Each entry always includes the holiday card. Little did I know what a treasure I would have one day!

The holiday cards tell my family’s history. Each new birth, each new milestone is there for all to see and admire. Some of the cards are funny, some are silly and chaotic, and all are just plain beautiful! It’s fun to page through the book and see the gorgeous babies turn into scruffy grade schoolers then awkward teens and finally into full grown men. My goodness. So interesting to see my husband and me go from young inexperienced parents to slightly graying sages who have seen just about everything. Priceless.

My family's Christmas memories book.

My family’s Christmas memories book.


One of my very favorite clients of all time started coming to me for annual photographs of her daughter many years ago when she was a just a 6 month old baby. She plans her sessions at about this time of the year and has us design and produce her Christmas cards. While at her house one day, planning a wardrobe for an upcoming session, I noticed that she had framed, in the most beautiful way, every holiday card, every year, since her daughter was born and they were lining the hallway to her daughter’s room.

The frames for the cards are the same, simple, silver bead pattern, creating a gorgeous visual display. My jaw just dropped, seeing all those gorgeous shots done over the years and literally seeing that little girl grow up right there on those hallway walls. I got goose bumps looking at them all. What a fantastic idea! My wonderful client says she never, ever tires of looking at them. She has been careful to leave more room for the ones to come. I wonder when they will stop? Hopefully never.

My client's holiday card hallway leading to her daughter's room.

My client’s holiday card hallway leading to her daughter’s room.




Every year of my client's daughter's life is captured in holiday cards, simply, but elegantly framed.

Every year of my client’s daughter’s life is captured in holiday cards, simply, but elegantly framed.



Holiday cards are fun to send and fun to get. Beyond simply being seasonal greetings, your holiday cards are telling your family’s story, year by year, person by person. Preserve them. Treasure them.



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In my crazy everyday life as a mother of four and as a full time photographer running multiple studios, I sometimes get lost in the “crisis of the moment” and forget why I fell in love with photography to begin with over 20 years ago. Every now and then something always happens to make me rediscover that love in its purest form.

Yesterday was one of those moments.

One of them made me a paper crane while patiently waiting for his turn in front of my camera, and then, as a thank you, proudly thrust it into my hand. Another hugged me so tightly and for so long that I couldn’t move nor breath very well… but I wasn’t going to be the first to pull away! Yet another made me the loveliest of crayon drawings depicting a beautiful house with a green yard and a bright yellow sun.

These were the kids of the Primo Center for Women and Children, the Chicago area’s preeminent and pioneering shelter for homeless women and children. They visited me in my Winnetka studio to work on a very special photo project. We are attempting to put a face on child homelessness in Chicago. Our goal? To create 15 beautiful 30 x 40 canvas art pieces for display at Primo’s annual gala showcasing the beauty and reality of these vulnerable little people. We hope to create a traveling exhibit of the pieces after the gala in September.

Everyday we hear that there are people in need. Living in Winnetka, Illinois, I almost never actually run across them. My ardent belief is that once you do, there is just no turning your back. This is especially true with these little darlings. They truly are the most beautiful children with the most tender hearts. They are so completely innocent and in such dire circumstances. Even though most people will never actually get to meet these special kids, my hope is that my photos will be enough for viewers to make that critical connection. I am hopeful that the shots I have chosen will give the viewer a window to their souls.

The kids were so incredibly grateful for the attention paid to them. The photo shoots made them all feel special, highly valued and like key contributors to a special cause. Just wait until they see their gorgeous portrait hung proudly on the wall!

Photography is love.

That is why I love photography.



  1. Melissa Mitchell: Beautiful faces - one of a kind shots! (08/27/14, 10:50 am)

  2. Nafisa Skeie: Wow. This post just gave me the chills. I love photographing kids, and the connection and affection I get from them in the process is the reason why I want to further my career with children and photography! These photos look amazing! Thank you for sharing one of the reasons why people do what they do. :) Nafisa Skeie (08/29/14, 1:19 pm)

  3. Wedding Photography Portland: Beautiful photos! These are all amazing... :) Great work of arts! (09/03/14, 9:55 am)

  4. Tera Landman: Thank you so much! (09/03/14, 11:11 am)

  5. Tera Landman: Thank you! :) (09/03/14, 11:11 am)

  6. Denise: Wow... Amazing set of photos! Their eyes were very bright. :) (12/19/14, 12:16 pm)

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Free To Be Me

July 9, 2014


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








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we smell so good.

July 9, 2014

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.






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