Liz Zorek Photography » Madison, WI based children, family, lifestyle photography

When Nikki Tupesis of Nik J Designs and Juneberry Studio and Marketplace approached me to collaborate on some product and portrait photography, I jumped at the chance.  Besides designing her own beautiful fabric and products and producing them by hand, she co-owns a super cool local shop (along with her business partner Emily) filled with lovely handmade goods from over 50 artists and craftspeople.  Here’s a small sample of products Nikki designs and creates.  To find more, please visit her Etsy shop, or stop by Juneberry sometime!

We started this session at this family’s amazing home and then moved to Union Terrace.  Originally we were scheduled for a date a week earlier, which turned out to be a gray and dreary day.  The mom and I talked, staring out our windows at the gloomy clouds, and both decided to hold off for a sunnier day.  We were both so happy that we did – blue skies, gorgeous views, perfect light.  Such a beautiful day!

When I ask my kids about the aunts and uncles and cousins they have in their lives, this family is counted in that list.  In our minds and hearts they are part of our family, even if we wouldn’t show up on any actual family trees or ancestry searches.  I’m so grateful they asked me to capture these photos of them in this age and stage.

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Summer is in full swing around here.  Right now as I’m putting this post together, I can hear my girls in the other room playing what we’ve dubbed the “And Pretend” game.  It goes something like this:

Sister 1: “Pretend this area over here is the store where you can buy things like pickles and popsicles.”

Sister 2: “And pretend that you can only ride your bike there, except you also have to wear this scarf when you’re riding to protect you from the wind.”

Sister 1: “And pretend that this is my baby and she likes to ride on my bike too.”

Sister 2: “And pretend that we are having a party and everyone is going to come.”

Sister 1: “And pretend this is my secret hideout where I have my house, and yours is over there.”

This can literally go on for an hour or more.  Sometimes I’ll go down and peek my head around the corner just to see how things are going.  There are often piles of toys around the room, not being used as they were meant to be used when they were made or bought, but are instead being used as props to support whatever world they’ve created for themselves in that moment.

I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t really play with toys per se.  I mean, they have puzzles and games and other “toys,” but they are hardly ever used according to their manufacturer-printed directions for more than about 10 minutes after they are gifted or received.  Instead, they are dismantled, put together with other things, and made into something entirely different.  A deck of cards from a board game?  Money or secret messages.  Dice or other small game pieces?  Pretend food or jewels for the castle.  My husband and I joke that we should start shopping at prop houses instead of toy stores for birthday gifts from now on.  Seriously, give them a stack of paper, some tape, some paper clips, and some beads, and they will be busy for three hours making something you could never imagine.

After weeks of searching for just the right location, I finally nailed down the details this morning and am so excited to announce this styled shoot!

This shoot will take place at Havens Petting Farm, which is located in Blue Mounds (about 20-30 minutes west of Madison).  There will be real live sheep in the shot, inspired by the above illustration, including some baby lambs!

There are eleven spaces available.  A deposit of $50 is required to book a spot.

I hope you can join us!