XO Mike

Welcome Madeline Elise!

Posted in Personal, Portraits by Michael on March 15, 2014

Elise and I welcomed a new baby girl to our family last week, Madeline. We had a beautifully sunny afternoon and I used the flood of light to take a few portraits of her.


Holiday Portraits

Posted in Family, Personal, Portraits by Michael on February 21, 2011

Before Christmas my sister asked me to get a photo for their Christmas Card and to get some pictures of my new nephew William. Working with a 4-year-old, a 1 month old and an exhausted and unenthusiastic Pat made the shoot frustrating but there were some shots that I liked.

-XO Mike

Click your IT

Posted in Personal, Portraits by Michael on July 14, 2010

If you haven’t heard by now, I’m starting on site computer support business serving small businesses in the western suburbs. I registered with the county, state and US and I’m just waiting on some business cards at the moment. I spent some time today at my dad’s house using his office as a set for a couple of advertising photos. Getting two strobes situated without catching a reflection off of a glass case behind the desk was a struggle but it turned out. I also was model and camera man so the post processing was a bit more necessary than I think it would have if I were 100% operating the camera and not using a remote.

If you have any computer support needs or leads give me a call! (630) 589-9954 http://www.clickyourit.com

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First Wedding

Posted in Events, Personal, Portraits by Michael on June 11, 2010

As mentioned in other posts, I did my first wedding shoot a few weeks ago. The day went pretty smooth aside from people showing up insanely late. I was surprised how many good shots I got and was glad to send the couple about 200 images of their wedding. I need to work on using a hotshoe flash because I used it the entire time at the reception because of the poor which I did not expect, however, my eneloop rechargeable batteries lasted longer and with more power than I expected. I’m quite pleased with that buy.

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-XO Mike

Engagement Photos

Posted in Personal, Portraits by Michael on May 19, 2010

Warning! The following content is overly cutesy!

A few weeks ago Elise and I went out with Brad Meyer and had him shoot some photos of us. The goal was to be just about as mushy as possible and I think we succeeded. We spent some time at the Arboretum, Japan House and Memorial Stadium and had the perfect backdrop of blooming flowers and trees and a wonderful sunset. All images are from Brad.

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-XO Mike


Posted in Events, Personal, Portraits by Michael on May 15, 2010

Elise Nieman in front of Altgeld Hall.

After 18 or 19 years of school (including preschool) I’m finally done! In order to skip disgustingly long lines today and tomorrow, Elise, Xing, Meeker and I went out to all the photo spots around campus and played around in our caps and gowns. I’m glad to be done but nervous about the next few months. Next week I’ll head to San Francisco and Sacramento to visit Chris and Hillary as a mini graduation present to myself. I say mini because travel and lodging will only cost $40 after my free mileage. After that I’m going to be finalizing the plans for my computer repair business and opening doors sometime in June. Wish me luck!

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-XO Mike

Belated Easter Post

Posted in Events, Family, Portraits by Michael on May 4, 2010

Reaghan peers over the balcony as the Easter Bunny arrives.

I have meant to edit and post about this since the day after Easter but I forgot about it until now. I won’t say much, other than it was a great day complete with the Easter Bunny. We took another family portrait which I tried to organize a little better this year. It’s nothing flashy, but it is a good piece of history for the family so long as we do it every year.

Making faces while I setup the shot.

Everyone is welcome and this was our crowd for the day.

Illini of the Week – Paul Ruggeri

Posted in Daily Illini, Portraits, Sports by Michael on April 9, 2010

Illinois' Paul Ruggeri, winner of the Big Ten Championship vault and high bar exercise, and this week's Illini of the Week. Portrait by Michael Stein

Wesley and I went over to get this week’s Illini of the Week and we didn’t come to the gym with many ideas. We wanted to work with the vault and high bar but to be honest, we were unprepared. We tried a few zoom panning shots of him running down toward the vault but gave up when the shots weren’t turning out. We moved over to the high bar and he wanted to do a release. It was really hard to get the timing and focus down because of how he rotated and although we did get a shot of him flying through the air but Wesley grabbed my attention for this shot which was our favorite. In so many of our sportraits we are so focused on an action shot that we largely neglect simple posed shots. If any gymnasts are named Illini of the Week again, I already have a shot list in my head.

-XO Mike

Illini Prosthetics

Posted in Daily Illini, Portraits by Michael on April 6, 2010

Jon Naber, of Illini Prosthetics, shows a prototype prosthetic arm, designed for below the elbow amputees. Naber was awarded the Lemelson-MIT Illinois Student prize for his work.

As I was leaving town for break, I had one assignment before I left which I intentionally chose because I had met the guy before. Jon Naber, an undergrad at Illinois, contacted me last fall about getting involved with the deployment we did in Sao Tome. He told me that he couldn’t be a leader within the group because he already had the obligation of Illini Prosthetics, which was understandable. Little did I know how far his group would go. Naber recently won a $30,000 unrestricted prize for his work with the group and has generously donated it back to the project. The group has developed 5 prosthetic arms and is currently seeking patents for their final prototype which they will be testing in Guatemala this summer. The project is pushing for low-cost (<$50) prosthetic limbs for developing countries and they are well on their way to success.

The portrait was taken in what I understood to be a shared space for similar entrepreneurial startups at Illinois. The white-board had lots of random writing which I liked for a background compared to the rest of the 10×10 room. I liked that this portrait shows how the limb will attach to the user and shows off the low-cost aspects of using rubber-bands to secure the interchangeable hook attachment.

Check back tomorrow morning for another update!

-XO Mike

Illini of the Week – Angela Bizzari

Posted in Daily Illini, Portraits by Michael on March 17, 2010

Michael Stein The Daily IlliniThis girl is taking over the sports front of the DI. Two weeks ago she was the Illini of the Week for winning something, last week she was the #4 Illini of the Decade and this week she is again the Illini of the Week for winning the NCAA Women’s Indoor 3000m Championship. The photos were not all that creative because a) we shot her two weeks ago running, b) her sport has no props to work with, c) the location was changed from outdoor to indoor with less than 30 minutes until the shoot, d) she’s too cute to pull off the tough girl look and e) I was kicked out of a spot on the track because of practice. Anyway, I’m not unhappy with the result but wished it could have been more visually stimulating.

I worked with three flashes to pull off these shots; two on shoot through umbrellas and one on the ground without a diffuser. This was my first time using shoot through and I think I have converted because they allow my flashes to be closer to the subject which uses less power and a fuller flash. I also took to heart another trick and used my 70-200mm lens because I have heard (and noticed) there is less distortion on longer lenses. Technically I was pleased with the result but creatively I was underwhelmed.

Michael Stein The Daily Illini

-XO Mike