Stand Out from Your Competition with Professional Photography

Headshots & Lifestyle Portraits

by Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Once upon a time, I discovered how fun it is to be in front of people as opposed to hiding behind the scenes...  

It's no secret that having professional photos is a marketing must. Being visible at catching the attention of your target audience is a game changer. 

In creating beautiful imagery, I aim to help clients fine tune their brand in order to Show Up and Stand Out in this crowded world...often starting with professional headshots!  

Whether you are an entrepreneur or corporate business professional, allow me to help you manifest your vision into reality for the world to see. 

Book Your Private Session Today!

(239) 641-1063

View Portfolio:

Servicing The Greater Chicago Area, Naples, Florida & The Universe. ;) 

Entrepreneurs of Chicago in the Spotlight

 Modern Luxury

The Source Book

•  The Fourth Edition  •

Highlighting Chicago's Premier

Independently Owned Boutiques & Businesses

• • •

I'd like to share you an incredible publication I photographed exclusively for the 2nd year in a row.

Thank you to the CS Modern Luxury team and all the featured independent business owners in the Chicago area.

It's a sincere pleasure to have the opportunity to work with such a great community of people.

Live Edge Chicago - Lakeview gallery featuring 100% salvage materials - hand crafted live edge wood furniture and fine art photography by Mary Carol Fitzgerald

To view more of my work, visit my portfolio:

All me to be of service to you and your business.

I can help you share your Vision so you Stand Out in the crowd!

Show Up • Be Seen • Get Noticed

• • •

For photography service inquiries, contact me directly at 239.641.1063 or

#ChicagoPhotographer #ModernLuxury #TheSource #MaryCarolPhotography #EditorialPhotographer #Advertising #Corporate #Events #InteriorDesign #FineArt


Lifestyle Portrait Photography - "Your Life, Your Style"

People often ask me, "What exactly is lifestyle photography?"

My definition is simply, #YourLifeYourStyle ..

Work with me in natural environments with surroundings that beat represent you. 

I help create image branding to reflect the real you while having FUN throughout the process.

To view my portfolio, visit


Dan John: Kettlebell Fitness Book Revealed!

Exciting work is being published! ~ I've had the honor of working with & photographing master strength & conditioning coaches in the fitness industry to produce several books this year. 

The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge is A Fundamental Guide To Training For Strength And Power.

Get your copy today!

Author: Dan John

Publisher: John Du Cane, Dragon Door Publications

Fitness Models: Robert A. Miller & Katie Petersen

Photography by Mary Carol Fitzgerald

Lighting & Tech Assistance: Dave Markowski

Post from publisher, John Du Cane, of Dragon Door Publications

We are proud to announce a landmark new title from Daniel John. Available now in eBook format. (The paperback will be out in about six weeks) The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge: A Fundamental Guide To Training For Strength And Power

The HKC—A Magical Method for Mastering Your Body

Want the world’s most effective program for becoming leaner, faster, more powerful, more explosive and stronger—in less time? And want that program to keep you performing at your strongest and best for years to come? Then, The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge is for you.

The magic of the HKC program is that you only need three main exercises to deliver these results. Using Dragon Door’s gold-standard HKC kettlebell certification program as his basis, Dan John lays out a field-tested set of protocols for athletic excellence and high-level physical performance, whatever your current condition.

“Dan John is one of the premier strength coaches on the planet. I was thrilled to see him focus a book on the fundamental aspects of kettlebell training, the HKC. The kettlebell swing, goblet squat, and Turkish get-up represent movements that have been a foundation of my own strength programming for both my patients in the clinic, and fitness clients in the gym.

I have seen profound changes in health and performance using Hardstyle kettlebell methods, from the fire fighter recovering from a low back injury, to training partners at my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy.

Dan breaks down the core Hardstyle kettlebell movements like no one else. I thought I had a firm grasp of the technique, programming, and application of the swing, get-up, and goblet squat until I read this amazing book. He truly goes a mile deep on the subject with no fluff, and filled in the missing pieces for me that I didn’t even know I had.

This is an absolute must read for any coach or trainer looking to incorporate kettlebells into their clients’ training. The HKC is also a great starting point for the average person wanting to start strength training but who is lost in the internet sea of (mis)information overload.

I give Dan John’s The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge my highest recommendation, absolutely essential reading for the coach or trainee.”—
Christopher Hardy, D.O. MPH CSCS, Physician and Strength Coach, author of Strong Medicine

“Dan John has put into words so succinct and with laser precision, the absolute value and meaning of Hardstyle kettlebell training. The fact that this comes from such a renowned strength coach gives it a weight that is impossible to ignore.

This book should be in every kettlebell lifter’s library. Even if you have been using or teaching kettlebells for years, there is something in there for you.”— Andrea Jackson DuCane, Master RKC, author The Ageless Body

"If you’re serious about strength training, you study Dan John. If you’re serious about kettlebells, you study Hardstyle. The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge gives you both. What more could you want?"—Pat Flynn, author of Paleo Workouts For Dummies

"Coaches with Dan John's breadth of experience and knowledge are few and far between. Even rarer is one who can articulate their ideas so clearly, and in such an entertaining manner. Dan has an uncanny ability to draw parallels between seemingly unrelated topics and put difficult concepts into words we can all understand.

Mr. John's incredible combination of world-class teaching skills and phenomenal writing talent make The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge an essential read for any fitness trainer or serious student of strength.

My primary training modality isn't even kettlebells—it's calisthenics—but this book still gave me ideas and insights I could immediately put to use."—Al Kavadlo, PCC Lead Instructor, co-author of Get Strong

“I love everything about The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge. In addition to the best writing I’ve ever seen on the swing, the goblet squat and the get-up, Dan John treats his readers to multiple discussions of larger concepts, time-tested wisdom, and realistic coaching tips.

Dan John has the gift of taking extremely complex concepts and making them simple. So much of this book left me nodding my head. The information contained within these pages is indispensable, yet easily approachable. Truly, the author’s humor, wisdom and personal anecdotes make The Hardstyle Kettlebell Challenge a fantastic read!”—Danny Kavadlo, author of Strength Rules, co-author of Get Strong.

Published Work - Real Estate Visionaries Photo Shoot

CS Modern Luxury's Mens Book

July 2017 Issue

As a photographer based in Chicago, I photograph a variety of leading professionals in various industries for branding, editorial and advertising purposes.

Check out these sleek profile portraits exclusively photographed by Mary Carol Fitzgerald Photography in this special real estate section featured in CS Mens Book by Modern Luxury, the nation's largest national branded magazine publication.

To view more, click HERE

Chicago Photography ~ Portraits, Corporate, Event Coverage

Are you in need of photography services?

Consider Mary Carol Fitzgerald Photography for your portrait, corporate & event needs.

Chicago, Illinois  |  Naples, Florida  

• Lifestyle Portraits & Headshots

• Yoga & Fitness

• Event Coverage

• Weddings & Engagements

• Business Professionals

• Team Branding

• Corporate Annual Reports

• Fine Art Photography ~ Interior Design Decor for Homes & Commercial Spaces


Contact Mary Carol directly at | 239.641.1063

Mary Carol Photography LIVE @ Live Edge Chicago

Check out my live stream via MintGood at Live Edge Chicago last week!

Join me while I talk about how our art gallery, furniture showroom and event space came to be at Live Edge Chicago.

I also introduce my fine art photography collections and tell you a bit about my process. 

MintGood is a video platform connecting retailers and consumers by way of a virtual & interactive Q & A experience.

Chicago Fine Art Photographer, Mary Carol Fitzgerald, talks about her furniture showroom, art gallery & event space at Live Edge Chicago while introducing a view into her fine art photography collections. 

View the video feed on MintGood HERE

MintGood Live Stream Special

30% off Fine Art Prints  

Inquire directly to:
Subject Line: MintGood Live Stream 30OFF
Offer expires 3/30/17

Wanderlust in Vietnam - Experiencing Hanoi - Part 1


Join us on a journey through a series of photographic travel posts where we...

walk the sensory streets of Hanoi, sail through Halong Bay’s fascinating scenery, bike Ninh Binh’s rural countryside, to exploring the enchanting ancient city of Hoi An.

To follow: Adventures in Phuket, Beaches of Thailand & a 24-Hour Whirlwind in Bangkok


Part 1

Standing at the street corner I couldn’t help but feel a bit anxious thinking about crossing the road. My eyes were fixed on the sign, waiting for the "walk" to magically appear. This wasn’t just any ordinary stoplight, this was a street corner in Hanoi, Vietnam — the capital of the country and the metropolis' main way of transport for motorbikes and scooters.

As a first time visitor to Vietnam’s second largest city, I was amazed at the number of vehicles zipping around in a form that resembled chaotic disorder. The beeping, honking and muffler rumbles that roused my nervous system, oddly, had a systematic and fluid movement.

Nonetheless, there was an intensity that came with the sights and the sounds of being on high alert with every step. It seemed as if I were in a video game dodging objects in an attempt to get to the other side without being flattened like a pancake.


“You with me?” he said. “We’re going!” I inhaled deeply grasping onto Ryan’s arm as we took those first steps and ‘walked with confidence’, ‘kept moving forward’ and made sure ‘not to step back’. Funnily enough, we had very specific and thoughtful, written instructions from our hotel on how to actually cross the street!

As the hang of the street crossing became somewhat familiar to us, we meandered our way through the city to explore the sites. More interesting than the points of interest on the map, was the atmosphere of sidewalk dining.

Street food carts surrounded the roads while an array of miniature plastic stools and lunch tables lined the narrow walkways. A woman squatting on a small chair washed dishes in a sudsy bucket, another stirred chicken into a boiling pot of of soup mixed with vibrant garden greens.

Complementing this scenery, sensational aromas of fresh herbs, pungent fish sauces and simmering beef, engulfed my senses. The number of scooters parked neatly in rows on the sidewalks was incredible, to the quaint and colorful French architecture of both homes and establishments nestled onto the tree-lined streets of Hanoi.  


A woman wearing a Vietnamese hat (Nón Lá or Conical Hat) rode a bike filled with buckets of flowers for sale. Another hatted lady balanced a pole on her shoulders with two baskets hanging on each end (Quang ganh) laden with greens and vegetables.


A man on his balcony performs a form of meditation or prayer movements, poised and graceful. Another weathered soul peers from his porch taking notice of all the activity going on below — his face worn; his eyes look tired. From across the street below we make eye contact and I wonder about the story he holds.


Man doing meditation in the distance.

We make our way to an opening where there is a small lake in the center of the city.  It was as if we had been gracefully pushed into an alternate world where we crossed a roundabout with ease — serenity in the midst of chaos.

Here we found joggers making their way around the path, locals taking engagement photos, others relaxing on benches, and like us, those wandering around this bustling capital of Vietnam, exploring the character and authenticity of what it is really all about — appreciating the historical beauty and deep rooted culture in the midst of its’ presence.

The historical Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

The historical Hoan Kiem Lake, Hanoi, Vietnam

A couple sits by Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam - Tháp Rùa also called Tortoise Tower in the distance. 

A couple sits by Hoan Kiem Lake in Hanoi, Vietnam - Tháp Rùa also called Tortoise Tower in the distance. 

Ngoc Son Temple, Behind the Scenes ~ Photo by Ryan Cahalan

Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi Read more at:

Ngoc Son Temple in Hanoi
Read more at:


Be sure to check back for Part 2!

Sailing Through Halong Bay


Advertising Campaign Photoshoot

Meet Amy Sunshine & Lisa Reznick

Premier Chicagoland Realtors with At Properties

Gearing up for a 2017 advertising campaign, Amy & Lisa were referred by a client-friend and contacted me to help them with branding lifestyle photography for a new venture.

Featured in Modern Luxury's CS Magazine, January 2017

Having over 20 years of experience as real estate professionals, the seasoned pros complimented each other so well that they joined forces as business partners and kicked off the year toasting to new beginnings.

Representing a sophisticated style of professionalism and genuine care for clients' interests, they have become some of the top realtors in the Chicagoland area. Both have a passion for client satisfaction and pride themselves on their success rates.

Amy is especially known for 99% of her customer base being created by referrals due to her high rate of client satisfaction. Lisa is known for her knowledge of the city and her abilities with market research in order to provide her buyers and sellers with the best and most honest knowledge.

These two amazing women have worked immensely hard to become the successful realtors that they are today and they deserve the utmost recognition for all of their hard work. 

 I took such pride in photographing this fun loving duo. They were an absolute joy to work with and their was an abundance of laughter and smiles throughout the entire photoshoot.

I wish them all the best in their endeavors as two of Chicago's finest realtors. 

Featured in Modern Luxury's CS Magazine
March 2017

Keep an eye out for more imagery of them living Chicago's lifestyle in upcoming issues CS Modern Luxury Magazines.

NEW Fine Art Photography Collection


Designed with clean lines, muted colors and simplicity in mind, our Fine Art Print Collections offer classic statement pieces for stunning displays in homes, offices and commercial spaces.

All of the works have been printed and framed with care by some of the best professionals in the North America.

Fine Art Collection prints are limited editions & signed by the photographer. 

• • • 


On a mid summer’s day, the fresh country air filled my senses as we cruised the open road — top down. Just outside of Mason City, Iowa, my soul companion and I set out on a photo trekking adventure in search of farm country scenes for our new fine art series.  

Our exploration was filled with blessings of beauty, guided detours from above and the shared joy of artful creations — from stumbling upon a nearly hidden windmill gem, to finding the perfectly set barn amid the rolling country hills to happening upon the attention of a cute calf, and finding a solitary wonderment of history. Here we share with you, the Iowa Farm Collection, through our eyes. 

Brokedown Barn Amidst a cotton filled sky, the lone Brokedown Barn appeared before us. We were intentionally looking for barns with character and as we pulled onto an overgrown path of what once was a driveway. We gazed in awe at the beauty before us, knowing her presence to us was special. Upon parking, we each slowly stepped out of the car to take a look at the grace of weathered age before us. The core of her structure exemplified the strength and perseverance of a life long lived. After photographing the area and returning to the car, I turned back to her and the land and thanked them for their being, and preservation of the moment. 

Brokedown Barn

Amidst a cotton filled sky, the lone Brokedown Barn appeared before us. We were intentionally looking for barns with character and as we pulled onto an overgrown path of what once was a driveway. We gazed in awe at the beauty before us, knowing her presence to us was special. Upon parking, we each slowly stepped out of the car to take a look at the grace of weathered age before us. The core of her structure exemplified the strength and perseverance of a life long lived. After photographing the area and returning to the car, I turned back to her and the land and thanked them for their being, and preservation of the moment. 

To view more of of this series, visit the IOWA FARM COLLECTION gallery.

Click here to view the COASTAL COLLECTION.

If you would like to view available inventory in person, located at LIVE EDGE CHICAGO (furniture showroom and art gallery) please contact us directly for an appointment.

Thank you!


Live Edge Chicago

Mary Carol Fitzgerald Photography

3633 North Ashland Avenue

Chicago, IL 60613

Cover Feature - Southwest Florida Tourism Publication

Must Do Visitor Guides

A Travel Guide to Southwest Florida's Top Attractions

Fort Myers | Sanibel | Captiva

Winter | Spring 2017 

Cover Photo by Mary Carol Fitzgerald

I've been receiving wonderful opportunities to broaden my experiences with travel photography that coexist nicely with my fine art and lifestyle photography. Apart from my international adventures, I’ve been working with Must Do Visitor Guides, capturing Southwest Florida’s travel and tourism attractions.

As a former resident of Naples, Florida, where my family is currently based, I frequent the seaside paradise I still call home, aside from Chicago.  A couple of years ago, while I was visiting in my mom's office in Naples, I noticed a travel magazine sitting on her ottoman.

I’m always picking these up and looking at the photos, letters from the editor, informational pieces of places to go, and things to do — all the while being inspired by the content and imagery, creating my adventures as a travel photographer.

Flipping through the pages, as a professional photographer with a zest for exploring, the magazine-expressed imagery draws me in.

A couple of years ago, I reached out to Must Do about working with them to capture this type of travel and tourism photography for their publications. I was thrilled with their welcoming acceptance, and was excited to put my skills to good use where they could be shared and recognized.

Since then, during my travels to Naples among work, pleasure and family affairs, I take advantage of being able to photograph for Must Do whenever I have the chance.

It gives me the opportunity to explore my hometown backyard and insight to all the activity that these special places have to offer, whether vacationing from far away lands or local residents looking for a nearby adventure.

The magazine provides information about what there is to do in various locations from reliable, native sources to a plethora night-life to day-time activities, and popular tourist attractions to "just for kids".

During one of my trips to Florida when visiting Sanibel & Captiva Island for a friends wedding, I ventured out to photograph the area. While biking through the beach towns on a typical warm, sunny day in paradise, I made stops at local eateries capturing food photos and outdoor dining scenes, detail shots of souvenirs and environmental photos of parks and beaches, including the interiors spaces of shops and restaurants.

Above is the cover photo I captured during that visit which is featured on the current Winter/Spring 2017 of the Lee County issue covering Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva Islands.

Must Do Visitor Guides really do offer all of the Must Dos for making the most of one’s stay!

Come relax on Southwest Florida’s beautiful white sand beaches and dip your toes in the warm Gulf of Mexico water. While you do, be sure to pick up a Must Do Visitor Guide to experience the best of what the Paradise Coast has to offer.

Must Do Visitor Guides can be found wherever free publications are offered.

I would like to recognize and applaud Must Do Visitor Guides for being a first-class concierge magazine. The energy behind this publication comes from authentic amazing people. They are kind, fun to work with, and have a wonderful work ethic, which in turn, makes it an absolute pleasure and honor to photograph for this publication.

Thank you, Dave & Nita Ettinger!

Mary Carol Fitzgerald Photography

In the News: Live Edge Chicago Wins Award!

Best Art & Design Collective
Modern Luxury's CS Interiors
Best of Design 2017

We are trilled to announce that our young gallery and furniture showroom, Live Edge Chicago, has won Best Art & Design Collective by Chicago's premier interior design magazine, CS Interiors, a Modern Luxury publication. 

A huge thank you to CS Interiors, Andrea Mills and Jessie Sardina (& the CS Modern Luxury team) for this incredible honor. We are beyond excited and grateful! 

As seen in Modern Luxury Interiors Chicago

By Andrea Mills and Jessie Sardina 

Equal parts furniture showroom, gallery and event space, the Live Edge Chicago operation didn’t take long to get on our radar. Founded by Chicago-based photographer Mary Carol Fitzgerald with real estate investor Ryan Cahalan, metalworker Robert Koch and artist Roman Maliszewski, the Lakeview creative collective set out to establish not just a retail space for their own expertly crafted pieces, but a unique exhibition outlet for emerging artists and creatives. The hand-crafted woodworks coexist beautifully with custom steel cabinets and pieces from Fitzgerald’s own portfolio of fine art photography, along with a rotating roster of local artists. With direct access to some of best hardwoods in the country, the beauty of the one-of-a-kind pieces—such as black walnut tables and benches ($7,500)—are enhanced by the carefully curated gallery environment. 3633 N. Ashland Ave., 312.884.9411

To learn more about Live Edge Chicago, visit the post below on

Live Edge Chicago: A Creative Collective

Fitness Photography Session with Erin Stutland

The Soul in the Stroll

Moving Yourself Into Action with Music & Mantras

I love seeing ways clients and friends use the images we create together. I recently received email news from, Erin Stutland, life & fitness coach & founder of Shrink Session & Soul Stroll.

Erin and I had a lifestyle photography session while she was visiting Chicago over the summer. Our photo session centered around a light and fun feeling capturing movement and her free-spirited energized self. As she danced and jammed to music, she also jogged down neighbored sidewalks, free flowed in a studio and jumped for joy on furniture. All fun things that are options to help make oneself feel good

Erin is incredibly inspiring and making a positive impact in this world helping people to move their bodies physically while mentally stimulating us at the same time. In turn, this combination of mind and body movement has magical effects that result in a stronger more powerful you! 

She is using these fun workout & exercise photos throughout her newsletters and promoting her new Soul Stroll Single, The Magic of Taking Action!

Soul Stroll is an upbeat soundtrack with music and mantras while you are on the move! I use Erin's Soul Stroll soundtracks mainly when I'm out for a walk or run and absolutely love them! They help to keep me inspired, motivated and feeling empowered. 

Check out Erin's link to her newest Soul Stroll here.

#SoulStroll #InspiredAction #mantras #movement #chicago #photographer

Live Edge Chicago: A Creative Collective

Live Edge Chicago is a furniture showroom and art gallery with a focus on creating a collaborative and nurturing space for its guests and featured artists.

It was developed through the creative collaboration of artists and curators, a group who has a conviction in the beauty of nature and showcasing functional art. Despite being in its infancy, the vision of this creative space launched with a Grand Opening celebration in May of 2016, it is becoming a vital piece of the community. 

All furniture featured is comprised of 100 percent salvaged wood artfully crafted into a variety of elegant tables, benches, countertops and headboards. To help demonstrate how the furniture would fill a space, its layout is punctuated by fine art photographic collections of one of the founding members, who holds a permanent position on the gallery-lit walls. However, to ensure the space is also shared with the community,  other talented artists are featured on a rotating basis.

Live Edge Chicago is the only gallery/showroom dedicated to live edge furniture in the Windy City.  The artists involved are passionate about their work and bring a distinctive set of talents offering a unique experience to each client that they engage.

As the walls fill with work personally admired by the team behind Live Edge Chicago, the goal is also to create a space that inspires and is feasible for the emerging artist. Through a shared responsibility of the space, artists trade gallery-lighting and high-traffic wall space by caring for and spending time at Live Edge. 

By making art accessible to the community and allowing the guests to interact with the artists directly, provides Live Edge Chicago a powerful and unique position in the Chicago art scene since it bridges the gap between artist and appreciator. 

Finally, Live Edge Chicago knows good energy is contagious and the more Live Edge Chicago creates memorable experiences through events and artist interaction, the journey of crafting a vision with an art of furniture piece for a community curious devoid of such woodwork, the more the word will spread and this collective can grow, which is good for everyone.  


Join our mailing list for news, updates and event notifications.

Explore Live Edge Chicago today!


An Exclusive Experience

Photographing Chicago’s Premier

Independently Owned Boutiques & Businesses

for CS Modern Luxury's, THE SOURCE

Coffee in one hand, I cranked open my office window with the other and a warm August breeze greeted me. I always like my space open to the outside air until I can’t stand the heat any longer. It makes me feel as though I am part of the activity in the outer world even though I am inside alone, sometimes for days at a time, often only taking breaks to grab a snack, go for a run or exercise to some capacity. 

What I love about my job is that for weeks at a time I am on the go meeting clients for shoots. Every day is different. As a photographer, I am grateful for the days of hustle and bustle, connecting with people, exploring places new to me and intimately discovering that very outer world around me.  I also welcome the office days of quiet and solitude to focus on creating new business while nurturing current and past relationships. 

On this particular day, I sat down at my desk to begin my office routine which often consists of prospecting: by answering and sending emails, keeping up with social media postings, editing photos, creating new works of art, and then of course the “fun” stuff like invoicing and expensing reports.

As I opened my email that morning, to my delight there was an inquiry from a contact at CS Modern Luxury, a premier Chicago Scene magazine. As a freelance photographer, I work with them on editorial and social event photography.  

It’s always a nice surprise getting unexpected inquiries for new business opportunities, and this was one of those emails. CS Modern Luxury asked me to be the exclusive photographer for an annual publication called, THE SOURCE, highlighting Chicago’s premier independently owned boutiques & businesses. I was thrilled. What a wonderful opportunity. That they asked me to be sole photographer, well....I felt honored to say the least.

I, of course, accepted the invitation. Suddenly, my quiet office days turned into a whirlwind of twenty photo shoots within a few weeks, in addition to my other photography jobs and business travel in between.

I was all across the city photographing portraits of business owners, interiors & exteriors of their spaces and the products they offer. 

There were various kinds of businesses such as City Escape Garden Center and Design Studio, a beautiful garden supply retailer and landscape designer located in the East Garfield Park neighborhood, Halsted Eye Boutique, an eye glass haven in Lincoln Park, Tracy Clifford Style, a personal stylist in a posh condo in Streeterville, Enaz, a chic clothing boutique in Highland Park, just to name a few. 

Not to forget the gorgeous interior design space of 2Design Group in Lakeview, George the Salon in Gold Coast, Chicago Luxury Bedding, Oscar Isberian Rugs & Lightology in River North.

Walking into Mira Couture in the Gold Coast, a custom design house and bridal boutique, I was mesmerized by the gorgeous flowing gowns. I couldn't help but envision an elegant occasion one would wear such hand-crafted beauty. Owner, Julie Mersine, shares her dream about designing 'incredibly intricate and detailed gowns for real women who get to wear them to real-life fairy tail occasions.' 

Interior photos of mens suits, no problem — check out Daniel George downtown Chicago near Millennium Park and J. Toor in the Bloomingdales building. 

From photographing places on the south end of the city to gorgeous summer morning routes along the lakefront up to Winnetka to capture the luxurious fashion boutique, Frances Heffernan, along with Paul Rehder Salon, I was on the go, producing, creating and connecting and loving the process. 

Once I began to get a handle on the types of businesses I was photographing, the thought suddenly occurred to me that I had one of these boutique businesses! 

Earlier this summer I opened up a furniture showroom & gallery space, with a few business partners, which showcases my fine art photography on the walls. 

We call it Live Edge Chicago as the furniture is hand-crafted from 100% salvaged wood from trees in Central Pennsylvania. The craftsman is a friend of one of our managing partners.  

I asked CS if Live Edge Chicago would be a good fit. They agreed with enthusiasm. So here we are also featured in this beautiful publication. 

It’s quite incredible how a vision, collaboration and inspired action can transform a space from a storage unit to an art gallery. Dream to reality.

Only months earlier I was a craving a sense of community, something I could be a part of with other people — to have a place where we could gather and hold space for our creative juices to flow. 

I dreamt for years of having my own gallery space — I envisioned walls filled with my sweeping landscapes & portraits of people from my travels, cityscapes of my Chicago wanderings, and a special coastal collection of seaside vistas. 

I saw them displayed on various materials such as acrylic & aluminum metal prints exuding a modern look, sophisticated canvas gallery wraps offering the classic feel and look of a painting, and fine art watercolor paper that is truly exquisite. 

During the setup before our grand opening event in the early summer of 2016, as I was unwrapping one of my signature pieces in my coastal collection, Cali Calm — a large format black and white watercolor print, displayed in a clean white frame, I felt as thought I was unwrapping a part of my soul as I peeled the protective layers away revealing the creation.  

As this was happening, I realized that my ‘some day’ of having a gallery space was actually here. It is a story of a dream, being open to opportunity and allowing life to unfold before our very eyes.  My vision had manifested into reality. 

This brought me back to a time when I walked into a photographers gallery in the Florida Keys during one of my travels. I had the exciting opportunity to speak with the photographic artist and asked him how he got started.

He said to me, “It all starts with a dream.” A bit more vague of an answer than I was hoping for, but nonetheless, it was the absolute truth and a wise message that stuck with me. 

In celebration of following our hearts, it is with all these premier boutique and small businesses owners that are featured here in The Source, that I share this commonality. 

It was a privilege to be a part of meeting each and every one of them, stepping foot into their created visions, offering their passions, knowledge, talents and resources that contribute to the art + commerce of the communities in which they live. 

May I encourage you to stop in these establishments if you are in the area, be curious of how they came to be, and consider shopping local in your own community wherever you may live.  

May we all be blessed with opportunity, courage and perseverance to transform our visions into real life dreams come true. May you, in turn, have your own exclusive experience. 

To view the featured pages of these boutique businesses,

in THE SOURCE, visit my gallery of Published Works.

A huge thank you to group publisher, Randy Hano, of CS Modern Luxury as well as the entire

Modern Luxury Team. It's always such a pleasure working with them.