AYear in Review – 2013 – Happy New Year 2014!

Year in Review 2013, Happy New Year 2014!

Happy New Year! 2013 was such a full year for me, and I am looking forward to plunging into 2014 full force! To help myself remember 2013 I am posting a year in review of photos!

I feel like each of us should have a photo journal, memories are so delicate. Our lives are so full, please put memories on your wall in 2014. After my recent move from Chicago to Los Angeles, plastering my walls with memories is one of my biggest goals for 2014!

One of my favorite memories from 2013, my family in the Philippines!

Liesl Diesel Photo and family on vacation in the Philippines

Yes, that is what I look like! I don’t post many photos of myself on my site, so now you all know. I’m a short little ginger with green eyes and pale skin, and the rest of my family are tall and tan! Special thanks to Kelli for taking my camera off my hands and shooting this for us!

And here is my year of work in review!

There is one line of photos from every shoot commissioned by me in 2013 except those commissioned between 12/19 and 12/31 (4 shoots total, don’t worry I will post them soon enough!).

fox news family session liesl diesel photo

Crawford family portrait session

union train station engagement travel theme photo

Union station engagement session

brushes with cancer liesl diesel photo

Scarred for Life

pithi bridal preparation henna tattoo


muslim hindu indian wedding couple portrait white gold black

Hindu Muslim mixed religion wedding ceremony

space theme baby shower doctor who NYE

Space Theme Baby Shower

muslim maternity portrait lightology chicago

Lightology Muslim maternity portrait

art fundraising event brushes with cancer

Cancer Art Benefit at Floating Gallery

chicago bean skyline wedding portrait

Intimate Chicago Wedding

destination family portrait session red wall liesl diesel photo

Destination family portrait session, Myrtle Beach

senior portrait session liesl diesel photo blackandwhite

Senior Portrait session Market Commons

emotional wedding ceremony destination debordieu club

Debordieu, Georgetown, SC destination wedding

first look tel aviv israel destination wedding romantic silhouette liesldieselphoto

Tel Aviv, Israel Destination wedding

malibu creek state park california giant tree black and white liesldieselphoto


santa monica california baby family portrait session

Santa Monica Family Portrait Session

Cme group work day Liesl diesel photo

Community Work Day

museum of science and industry engagement session chicago liesl diesel photo

Museum of Science and Industry engagement session

chicago millenium park indian engagent session the bean liesl diesel photo lurie garden

Millennium Park Engagement session

chicago annual food drive cme group volunteer liesl diesel photo

Chicago Food Pantry collection drive

dumaguete philippines cebu spanish church palm tree scene

Adventure travel to Dumaguete, Philippines

vista mar dive resort batangas philippines sunset boat purple blue orange reflection liesl diesel photo adventure travel destination photographer

Trip to Vista Mar Dive resort, Philippines

destination senior portrait photographer batangas philippines liesl diesel photo

Senior portrait session in Batangas, Philippines

1 year old portrait baby photographer liesl diesel photo

1 year old portraits for Baby C

downtown chicago engagement session wacker bridge adler planetarium indian couple liesl diesel photo

Downtown Chicago engagement session

montrose harbor chicago family portrait session lake michigan skyline

Montrose Harbor Family portrait session

indian wedding ceremony hands coconut bracelets

Indian Wedding Ceremony

indian wedding sangeet portrait peacock theme green blue gold sari sherwani

Sangeet Portraits

wedding day portrait indian couple hindu temple of chicago lemont

Wedding Day portraits

indian wedding reception drury lane theater dancing dj lights liesl diesel photo

Wedding reception

canton pennsylvania outdoor farm wedding lake reflection dress on tree

Destination outdoor farm wedding

infant family portrait liesl diesel photo woods outdoors destination session

Candid family portrait session, New York

lgbt engagement session chicago lincoln park zoo george's ice cream shop rogers park liesl diesel photo

Lincoln Park Zoo and George’s ice cream shop engagement session

muslim mendi henna feet hands tattoo indian bride


muslim wedding nikkah indian couple portrait vidaii liesl diesel photo


chicago cultural center wedding valima muslim reception surprise birthday party liesl diesel photo


empress banquets hindu indian wedding portrait reception liesl diesel photo

Empress Banquets Wedding

rancho de las palmas simi valley wedding liesl diesel photo

Rancho de Las Palmas wedding

croation wedding ceremony liesl diesel photo vows

Croation wedding

fall farm wedding outdoor pennsylvania water reflection red barn cilo liesl diesel photo destination photographer

Fall outdoor wedding

chicago vegan no-kill buddist lgbt wedding liesl diesel photo

Centered Chef Buddhist wedding

montrose harbor mother son portrait black and white skyline candid laughter

Montrose Harbor mother son portrait session

los angeles head shot photographer berlin wall LACMA urban light show liesl diesel photo

LACMA berlin wall and urban light head shot

chic vintage jewish fall wedding outdoor red coat bride groom central new york feast catering liesl diesel photo

Destination outdoor fall wedding central New York

west point new york fall family lifestlye portrait session willow tree orange lake blue sky liesl diesel photo destination baby photographer

West Point, NY outdoor fall family portrait session

wilson creek winery temecula california vineyard wedding portrait sunset liesl diesel photo

Temecula, CA Wilson Creek Winery wedding

laguna beach hawaii theme lgbt wedding portrait sunset palm trees rock cliff liesl diesel photo

Laguna Beach wedding portraits

yin yang blackandwhite palter ego alter los angeles band photographer liesl diesel photo jesse sam barsh

Palter Ego band portraits

venice beach allegorical author portrait head shot liesl diesel photo last quarter

Allegorical Author Portrait

Happy New Year to all of you!

Liesl Diesel

Grau Mill Portrait Session for Seema & Amit

Grau Mill Portrait Session for Seema & Amit by Liesl Diesel Photo

portrait session indian engagement liesl diesel photo black and white

Because of their busy schedules, I first met Seema & Amit separately. I met with Seema with Margi of Olivaire, then later met with Amit to “sign the dotted line.”

This is one thing I love about engagement sessions, I get to see the couple interact and I get to see how they are as a couple, not just as individuals. These two are beautiful inside and out.

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They chose Grau Mill for their engagement session location, which was fun for me since I had never been there!

grau mill portrait session indian engagement liesl diesel photo cottage scene playful candid

Silly and sweet; best combination ever.

grau mill portrait session indian engagement liesl diesel photo

Grau Mill is a great historical place to visit if you find yourself in the western suburbs of Chicago!

reflection grau mill portrait session indian engagement liesl diesel photo water skyline

portrait session indian engagement liesl diesel romantic proposal diamond ring

Seema’s absolutely stunning ring. She said, “Amit picked it all by himself, and he did a pretty good job!”

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These two are so balanced. He cannot stop smiling around her, he makes her laugh so easily. It was beautiful to watch.

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Faces! I love them!

You will all get to see more of these two fun characters soon when I post images from their gorgeous wedding!

Liesl Diesel

Museum of Science and Industry Engagement Session

Museum of Science and Industry Engagement Session.

Annie and Adam scheduled their engagement session in Chicago, Annie’s home city, at the Museum of Science and Industry.

chicago museum of science and industry engagement portrait session liesl diesel photo 1

Annie. How I love her.

People often ask me how I get jobs traveling all over the place to photograph. The truth is, I really don’t know, it happens organically. I think a large part of the answer though, is relationships. Connecting with people is something I am so passionate about, and often this connection will lead to referrals across the globe.

In this instance, it was literally across the globe. I  met Annie when I was in Tel Aviv, Israel to photograph a wedding. Annie was one of my roommates for a week, the one roommate I didn’t already know before arriving in the country.

When you meet someone after an incredibly long flight and major issues at airport security, you don’t necessarily expect a huge connection.  It was the opposite for Annie and me. With everyone a bit jet lagged and moody, I still knew that we should be buds for life. She is sensitive, compassionate, and very giving. All this balanced by a very healthy bit of not caring what others think of her, which is something we have in common. (In a good way).

Fast forward a few days, and after roaming the town and beaches, dining at local restaurants and enjoying local wines, she asked to see some of my work. I didn’t even realize she wasn’t married yet! Annie asked if I would travel to her wedding in Colorado this past October and of course I agreed.

If you keep up with the news, then you know what happened in Colorado this past September. It was devastating for so many families and businesses. Annie and Adam had the very difficult choice to make of moving locations or rescheduling their wedding. Watching them go through this difficulty just showed me how right they are for each other. They ended up rescheduling for January on a date I am unavailable, which of course broke my heart because I love them so much. However, I must admit, they got an incredible upgrade as I helped them find a team that is sure to make me cry when I see the photos, Ann and Bill Holland of Holland Photo Arts. I am so excited to see what they create from Annie & Adam’s wedding! If you or anyone you know needs a photographer in Colorado, or anywhere really, you must look through their work. It’s just moving.

chicago engagement portrait session liesl diesel photo

After bonding so much with Annie, I finally got to meet Adam the night before this engagement shoot. I could instantly tell that he had the right sensitivity for Annie. That, paired with being ridiculously good-looking, and they make a perfect match.

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chicago museum of science and industry engagement portrait session liesl diesel photo sunflare

chicago museum of science and industry engagement portrait session liesl diesel photo filmstrip

chicago museum of science and industry engagement portrait session liesl diesel photo architecture pillars

I am so happy for you guys, and I can’t wait to cry over your wedding photos.


Liesl Diesel

Joel & Sarah’s Intimate Chicago Wedding

Joel & Sarah’s Intimate Chicago Wedding.

Joel & Sarah hired me to photograph their intimate Chicago wedding at Ms. Murphy & Son’s Irish Bistro  this past spring. It was a very meaningful and intimate day for them and their close friends and families!


They chose peacock feathers as part of the decor, which set the tone for the colors of the day.


Peacock feathers were incorporated into the boutonnieres, and even on Sarah’s ballet slippers!


After a sweet ceremony on the private upper level of the restaurant, we headed to the beautiful downtown Chicago area. Of course it was cold but they braved it as we shot at Milennium Park, Navy Pier, The Field Museum and Adler Planetarium!





Thank you once again for choosing me, and I hope you are enjoying your album as well as your new family!

Liesl Diesel

Brushes With Cancer; Scarred for Life.

Brushes with Cancer

Last winter I was approached to work on an art project to help raise awareness and funds for Twist Out Cancer, Immerman Angels and Ethan Zhon. Various artists were paired with cancer survivors in order to create a relational connection that would result in an art piece that described the survivor’s story, a piece that would be auctioned off at the fundraising event.

Meet Alana, my beautiful inspiration.


These final five pieces from her story were printed on metal and mounted as a collage, as pictured above.

You can read Alana’s story in her own words here.

Alana and I first met up for dinner at Lily Q‘s, which of course I recommend if you like BBQ and happen to be from Texas, two things Alana and I quickly found out we had in common! When Alana walked in the door it was far from what I expected. I hate to admit it, but when I hear “cancer survivor” I expect to see someone with a thin frail body, colorless cheeks, possibly no hair, very short hair, if not a wig.

Alana strolled in, strong and sexy with a big Texas smile and hair that would shame Farrah Fawcett.

I had made it a point not to “research” her story too much before meeting, so that I would be able to have a real conversation that wasn’t based on assumptions of what I had read. As I asked questions and she shared her story, I jotted notes of things that stuck in my mind.

The image on the left represents Alana’s first encounters with cancer; helping loved ones through chemo. Loving them. Losing them.

The center image was her first personal brush with cancer. She was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Carcinoma. The ink traces her first scar. After going through treatment and cleansing her body of this cancer, she soon discovered she had advanced melanoma.

The top image represents the dyes they used to find all the melanoma on her back before removing it and leaving her body with even more scars.

Young, beautiful and embarrassed by her scars, Alana struggled to grow through this challenge by embracing her scars (bottom image) and fighting for a life worth living. She became a body builder, and even complained to photographers who photoshopped out her scars. To Alana, the scars symbolized triumph. Success. Life. All the things that make her even more beautiful than her perfect features, charming smile, and bombshell  hair. She was scarred. But it was for life.

The final image, on the right, expresses the beautiful, empowered, confident woman that arose from this trial.

I love you Alana, and I can never thank you enough for letting me so close.

Below are images from the Brushes With Cancer event held at the Floating World Gallery.

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So many artists and survivors paired up to raise funds and awareness!

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Below, on the left, is my beautiful model, seeing her story for the first time through my eyes as a huge metal print display.

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It was a hugely successful event and ended with much twisting of the hips with music by DJ. Ben Swislow and Palter Ego!

Miriam & Larry Detroit Wedding Portraits!

Detroit Wedding Photographer

Last December I got to shoot a destination wedding in Detroit at Adat Shalom Synagogue with an amazingly sweet Chicago couple, Miriam & Larry! You can view their engagement photos here!

You could NEVER guess from these photos that it was December in Detroit, Michigan! The sunset was to die for, and it was in the 60’s!

Miriam’s merengue layer dress from Demitrios was so elegant, and I wanted to show it off with some nice lighting.


The coral color of the bridesmaids dresses was a perfect compliment to the sunset!

Miriam and Larry strike a pose in front of the Renaissance Center at General Motors Building!


Beautiful rose bouquets by Breath of Spring Florist


We also stopped by the Detroit Institute of Arts, and I must reiterate that the weather was UNBELIEVABLE!!!



There are SO SO many photos I want to share, so I am breaking this wedding into a few blog posts so that the images will load faster in your browser. It will be worth the wait, more to follow soon!


Little Beans and Ballerinas

Lifestyle Family Portrait Session With Ballerina and Baby

I met Jen at a school picnic last year and didn’t even realize she was pregnant (read, almost due) at the time! Our daughters go to school together and after some play dates and sleepovers Jen took a look at my website and said she wanted me to shoot a family session once their new baby was born!

Although it was incredibly cold outside, we planned to get some cute shots of their new little bean at the Big Bean in Millennium Park! I love this family photo!


Their older daughter is fun, spirited and beautiful!



Did I mention she is also in training to be a professional ballerina?

I love her expression as she holds her baby sister as she started to fuss!


This is the view from on stage in the Oriental Theater, looking into the crowd. All the house lights create such a beautiful background!

However, babies are not impressed with such things, and of course she needed a break from all this difficult work as a model.


Cue the ballerina!


She is such a wonderfully fun balance of talent, poise, and spunk!

Finally her sweet blue eyed sister woke up to give me a little grin and a big yawn!


Very excited to shoot these girls again in August! They change so quickly!

Yukon the Dog! (And Andy & Jennifer)

Lifestyle Engagement session with dog!

Chicago is a pretty big city, but sometimes it feels like a small town! I’ve known Andy for a couple of years through mutual friends and was flattered when he hired me to shoot his engagement portraits. It’s always a little humbling to be hired by friends because they know what a dork I am in real life. What! I didn’t say that! But it’s true. It ends up that Jennifer is also friends with one of my past clients, Kristine! Small town, Chicago!

But the best connection of all was that I got to meet Yukon The Dog. What a little (well, big) ham!

We started out in front of Shedd Aquarium, headed to the Field Museum, Soldier Field Stadium and ended by the Adler Planetarium!


Yukon is gorgeous and cooperative, and loves being in the photos, but I was able to coax him aside for a few shots of Andy & Jennifer alone!


I saw this yellow tree between The Field Museum and Soldier Field, it was glowing with back light!


I loved this perspective on Soldier Field Stadium, it looks like a UFO ;-)


Yukon leads the way!




And of course we cannot skip the classic Chicago skyline photo. What a beautiful city!


Congratulations on your engagement Andy & Jennifer!


Liesl Diesel

Valley Lo Club Wedding

I met Chris & Sarah over coffee about a year before their wedding. I was so happy when they chose me because they wear their love on their sleeves.  Chris is gentle, sincere and attentive and Sarah is the personification of expression and empathy!

Check out their gorgeous engagement session at B’hai Temple!

Venue – Valley Lo Club

Floral – Flower Basket Inc

Gown – Rebecca Schoneveld Cheek

Cakes – Bennison’s Bakery

Music – Standing Ovations, DJ

Hair – Samantha at Salon Roula

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I am so thankful for clients like the two of you, and I hope we are able to capture the whole family soon!


Liesl Diesel

In Love In Chicago

 In a few weeks I will get to photograph Ryan & Nicole’s wedding at The Debordieu Club, which is one of my favorite destinations in South Carolina!

Nicole is Native to Chicago, so having this family session here meant a lot to her. The three of them were in town for a friend’s wedding so we took the opportunity to have their session at a classic Chicago photo spot, the Adler Planetarium!

I love shooting there because it has a gorgeous view of this beautiful city of Chicago, as well as lots of hidden gem spots for photos!

sunset chicago skyline adler planetarium


They are such a playful and affectionate family!

adler planetarium family session lake michigan

blue sky photos

Adler Family Photo Session


Thank you, Chicago for being so gorgeous, and thank you Ryan and Nicole & Haley for being so FUN! I can’t wait to see you all again!



chicago skyline sunset over lake michigan