My Life

Family Photos

Another item has been crossed off of my 30 Before Thirty list! #26: Have an adorable family photo taken.

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Emily, one of my facebook friends, sent me a message shortly after I posted my list. Her husband James Julius is a photographer, and he was working on building his portfolio. Would we be interested in being photographed by him? He may have been working on his portfolio but I was impressed.

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Balch Family Photo Shoot

You know the super adorable engagement photos that people have taken? The kind that always make me a little sad/jealous for not having photos like that taken before Brandon and I got married? Yeah, James Julius takes those. Now I have my own, but they’re even better because Eleanor is in them and we’ve got six years of marriage behind us. In fact, these photos were taken on our anniversary.

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Balch Family Photo Shoot

James photographed us in Austin Gardens, here in Oak Park. Isn’t it a gorgeous setting? He and Emily chose the location, and they chose very well.

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Thank you, Emily, for arranging our photo shoot. And thank you, James Julius for giving us such fantastic photos of our family. We’re thrilled with them!

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Balch Family Photo Shoot

Sources & Paint ColorsNeed design help? Let's work together.

You Might Also Like...

  • Michele
    July 8, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    So incredibly adorable!!! Brings a tear to my eye!

  • RisaJ
    July 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Great pictures…oh, and I’m loving your dress!

  • Danielle
    July 8, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    These are great! So personal and fun! Btw, your dress is adorable!

  • Kathleen
    July 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Aw, you guys! How cute.

  • lala
    July 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    ADORABLE! Simply adorable.

  • Heidi
    July 8, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Not only checked off the list…but checked off mega-adorably!!

  • Felicity Lingle
    July 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Your daughter looks so cute and feisty. : )

  • Jesse
    July 8, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    They are wonderful! And I love the setting! Happy late Anniversary too!

  • LAKR
    July 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    She is such a cutie when she makes her scrunchy face! Great photos of all three of you!

  • sarah
    July 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm


    These are great and I know exactly what you mean, seeing those really cute engagement photos all the time complete with pink or red balloon and wishing you had that too. Now you really have your very own!

  • Angie
    July 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Really lovely photos that I am sure you will cherish for years to come. You look really wonderful! xo

  • Nani
    July 8, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    LOVE them! Family photo’s are always the best!

  • Kel
    July 8, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    These are SO good! They’re so very YOU – perfect for your adorable family!

  • Allison
    July 8, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    These photos are fantastic! I love them! You guys are such a cute family.

  • Nataliya
    July 8, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Nicole, congrats on getting some amazing photos done! I always wish we had someone take pictures of us, instead of Baby C being in the picture with only one of the parents. Here are some pictures of our little munchkin:

  • Chiara
    July 8, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Oh my God, these pictures are beautiful! I called my boyfriend to show him your family and said: “Questo è quello che vorrei fossimo noi tra qualche anno” which means “That’s exaclty what I’d love us to be in a couple of years”.

    The photographer made a great job and you’re a wonderful family :-)

  • Mrs Soup
    July 8, 2010 at 2:18 pm


  • Kathy
    July 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Wow, wow wow!So incredibly lovely :)

  • jodi
    July 8, 2010 at 2:29 pm


  • jennifer
    July 8, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    These are wonderful!!

  • Kristen
    July 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Those pictures are GORGEOUS!! What a cute family and great work by the photographer.

    On another note…I definitely know what you mean about the engagement photos. I wish we’d done pretty ones too.

  • Katie l The Social Secretary
    July 8, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    These are beautiful! What an amazing little spot, too. Good job James!

  • gena
    July 8, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    yaay! these are so great!
    james shot my wedding a couple of months ago and when he and emily old me they were going to shoot you guys i was way jealous! i knew they’d turn out so freaking adorable!

    here’s some from our wedding in oak park!

    • Making it Lovely
      July 8, 2010 at 9:28 pm

      Did you get married at the Pleasant Home!? That’s where I wanted to have our wedding! (We were married in the chapel of Brandon’s family’s church and had our reception at the Nineteenth Century Women’s Club.)

      Also, you guys are total cuties.

      • gena
        July 9, 2010 at 9:38 am

        we DID get married at pleasant home! it was super lovely and awesome! but it was a wedding so i guess that goes with the territory. but pleasant home is so extraordinary. i love it!
        and thanks! we are pretty all right!

    • luuve
      July 9, 2010 at 8:49 am

      just saw your photos..and you guys looked amazing! i wished i lived in the chicago area! i would hire him in a SECOND! great choice! by you and nicole..

    • Michele
      July 9, 2010 at 9:37 am

      At first I thought your husband was Brandon! HA!

      LOVE the wedding pics, you are beautiful!

      • gena
        July 9, 2010 at 9:39 am

        aw thanks!
        i’m glad i’m not the only one who thinks my husband looks like nicole’s husband. because i think they may be twins. separated. and there will be a lifetime movie made about them.

      • Making it Lovely
        July 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

        I think he looks like Brandon too! Can’t wait for the Lifetime movie.

  • Adventures In Babywearing
    July 8, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    So beautiful!!!


  • Melissa
    July 8, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Gorgeous! They are so precious. Love the photo of you guys kissing Eleanor on the park bench.

  • Two Lovely Spaces
    July 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Really beautiful shots!!!

  • Anne
    July 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    these are GREAT, love them! the colors are just fantastic!

  • Amy Kelly
    July 8, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    These are absolutely darling! Every shot is so cute and perfect!

  • casey
    July 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    oh my oh my oh my! they are amazingly great!! i too am the jealous one every time i see cute engagement pics. i love the one of you two kissing eleanor on the bench!! he did a great job!! thanks for sharing!

  • Elizabeth
    July 8, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Such a cute family! I love the shots of Eleanor’s toothy grin :D

  • luzy
    July 8, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    oh my goodness,
    they are soooo lovely because your sweet family is just gaw-geous!!!amazing james – enjoy -we did!!

  • Ludmila {}
    July 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    These pictures are wonderful! I can see you had so much fun! E is adorable as always, but hey, you all look amazing! great photo shoot!

  • Ginesta
    July 8, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Love those pictures! the 7th one is adorable! love Eleonor’s expression!

  • katie
    July 8, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    thrilled with good reason–those are excellent! i love the slightly faded look they have–it’s like they come with instant nostalgia. your family is beautiful, too, which makes it even better. =)

  • Licia
    July 8, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    The pictures are absolutely adorable. My favorite is the one where you and your husband are kissing E.

  • Your Mother
    July 8, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Love these pictures!

  • Stacey McDonld
    July 8, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Beautiful work, James!

    Beautiful family, Nicole!!

  • Melissa
    July 8, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Awesome photos! I absolutely love the one where you two are kissing eleanor. What a sweet moment to capture.

  • Lora
    July 8, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Beautiful pictures! May I ask where you got your dress and belt….they both go really well with summer :-)

  • tillie
    July 8, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    those are fabulous photos!!!

  • Molly
    July 8, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Absolutely fabulous. They are going on my 30 before 50 list. Oh wait – too late. 35 before 60???

  • Lindsay D.
    July 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    I love these!! Especially the one with the two of you kissing her cheeks. That expression!

  • Steph
    July 8, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    These photos are just gorgeous! Your family is so lovely :)

  • Tera
    July 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm

    Love the one in which you’re all sitting in the grass! So great. Little E is a sweetheart! And love ya’ll’s wardrobe.

  • Trishna
    July 8, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    These brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful. :)

  • Brittany
    July 8, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    she has THE cutest facial expressions!

  • wanderluster
    July 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    Adorable photos Nicole! Love the one where you’re holding Eleanor (I think she looks more like daddy but you can see similarities to mommy in this photo). Okay, now you’re making me want to get a photoshoot done with my little one!

  • Audrie
    July 8, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    Such great pictures! I agree, they’re better with little Eleanor in them. Her face in that last picture is especially adorable!

  • drey
    July 9, 2010 at 12:17 am

    i love the photos nic, they look so sweet :) the new red-orangey hair really really suits you :) i esp love eleanor’s unscripted grins and her crooked face between you and brandon :)

  • Monica
    July 9, 2010 at 12:31 am

    How truly lovely!

  • samarahuel
    July 9, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Now I’M jealous! We may have to do something like this…

  • Victoria
    July 9, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Gorgeous photos! Wow you look beautiful!

  • Samantha
    July 9, 2010 at 4:51 am

    oOoooh these are so cute! reminds me of when my girls where little.

  • Kaylee
    July 9, 2010 at 8:17 am

    These are so precious! Our daughter is almost a year and I can’t wait to get some family photos done! I love how Eleanor’s personality is so evident! You are blessed!

  • April
    July 9, 2010 at 8:19 am

    This post brought a big smile to my face. You’re such a lovely family. The pic of you two giving Eleanor a big smooch on either cheek is just darling!

  • Jakki
    July 9, 2010 at 8:22 am

    i love relaxed fun REAL photo’s like these for family photos….not those stilted stiff store photo’s like I have, LOL

  • Fionnuala
    July 9, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Beautiful photos, eliciting a sound something like “Mmnnaaaaaaw” from this viewer.

  • susan
    July 9, 2010 at 8:40 am

    the one of the two of y’all kissing Eleanor? that has to be my absolute favorite!

  • luuve
    July 9, 2010 at 8:45 am

    1, 7, and 8 are my favorite! i love these! way to go on your list! :)

  • Nicole RJ
    July 9, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Beautiful shots! Elanor’s expression in the one you’re both kissing her is priceless!

  • anne
    July 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Great pictures! Love the one where you’re sitting in the grass with the big trees in the background.

  • Judith
    July 9, 2010 at 11:29 am

    These pictures are so stinking cute! I’ve loved watching your little grow up on here, it’s a lot of fun and she’s pretty darn cute! I just got engaged and I’d love for us to have such an adorable family one day!

  • mel
    July 9, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Wow. Beautiful photos Nicole! You just tickle me pink! (and are such an inspiration:))

  • Wendy
    July 9, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Great pictures!!! love the one where you’re both kissing Eleanor! :)

  • AbraCat
    July 9, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    They’re all terrific, but that shot of you both kissing Eleanor is exceptionally adorable.

  • Kalee
    July 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm

    These are amazing! I particularly love Eleanor’s faces in them! And he captured you all perfectly.

  • Liz
    July 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm


    Nicole you have such a gorgeous family. The pictures are AMAZING!

  • meta
    July 9, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    I think I’m too envious to say anything…

  • jbhat
    July 9, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Outstanding. I need to do the same thing here pretty soon. Thanks for sharing that beautiful work with us, and my goodness, you all look amazing. Such style!


  • Ashley
    July 9, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    I <3 Oak Park :)


  • Amanda
    July 9, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    These photos are so amazing! I love the one of you two kissing your little one! Her expression is ALL JOY and so adorable.
    PS Is this why you named James in MiY, or is that just a coincidence?

  • Clearly Composed
    July 9, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Gorgeous pictures of a gorgeous family. :)

  • Susana
    July 9, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    ACK!! These are SOOO BEAUTIFUL!! These are the pictures I dream about having of my own family. But….how will you pick which one to blow up and frame?????? (darn that great photographer and beautiful family for the tough decisions)

  • Milijana
    July 10, 2010 at 3:41 am

    absolutely beautiful… photos look amazing,I can feel how happy you are through them. my faves are where you’re holding Eleanor,bathing in sunlight,and where you’re together,sitting on the grass.

  • Lou
    July 10, 2010 at 5:53 am

    These are just as sweet as those lovely engagement photos!

  • John @ Young House Love
    July 10, 2010 at 9:34 am

    Love ’em! And Happy (Belated) Anniversary to you guys too!

  • Alicia
    July 10, 2010 at 11:40 am

    oh! Eleanor’s little teeth are KILLING me, they’re so cute! Love it. :)

  • Isabel
    July 10, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    They are fabulous!!!

  • Chaucee
    July 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    What an amazing job he did!

  • Valerie
    July 11, 2010 at 8:23 am

    So-so cute, it’s fun and interesting to have the vision of an artist represent what your family is,no? Love and sunshine, that’s what I see! My favourite is the one you both kiss Eleanor, the face she makes cracks me up!

    Amazing shots!

  • Stephanie@Geezees
    July 11, 2010 at 5:53 pm

    These are amazing pictures…Happy Anniversary too!

  • Kalee
    July 11, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    And will there be 4 next year? :)

  • Missy
    July 12, 2010 at 6:21 am

    these are precious. i’m inspired to take some pictures along the Cumberland Trail down the road from our home. So, so precious!

  • Jamie
    July 12, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    Too adorable! I thought I recognized Austin Gardens when I started looking through these pics – I grew up a block away. They turned out amazing! I actually grew up with Brandon (Jess and I have been friends since Kindergarden) so it’s sweet to see him have his own little family now. :)

  • Mariela
    July 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Lovely family, the photos are very beautiful.And the place looks peaceful very pretty.

  • linda
    July 12, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    so beautiful and joyful thanks for sharing

  • Angela
    July 14, 2010 at 4:40 am

    What a beautiful family and you all look so happy!

  • Cristina
    July 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I have the exact same dress! I paired mine up with some super cute shoes from Old Navy for my engagement photos ( I love the dress, mainly because it has pockets that I can put my chapstick in! XD

    Anyhoo your photos are adorable! I like how you added the belt to your dress. I might try that in the future!

  • LindseyBee
    July 14, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    How adorable is your little girl! Looks like such a sweetie!

  • Rebecca
    July 15, 2010 at 10:24 pm

    So cute! And I live just a block from Austin Gardens. I love to walk through there in the evenings.

  • Chyme
    July 19, 2010 at 5:35 am

    Beautiful photos!

  • Christine
    July 19, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    What beautiful family photos!! The lighting is so beautifully golden. Happy (belated) anniversary to you!

  • Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » Silhouette SD Cutting Machine (Review and Giveaway)
    August 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    […] used Adobe Illustrator to trace a silhouette of us, basing it on a photo from the shoot by James Julius. Of course, it’s only going to be accurate for another six months and then I’ll have to […]

  • Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » 30 Before Thirty
    September 14, 2010 at 9:38 pm

    […] Have an adorable family photo taken. (Done!) […]

  • A Lovely Life List | Making it Lovely
    December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am

    […] around town in a cargo bikeTake the family to Disney WorldGo roller skating with Eleanor and AugustHave an adorable family photo takenHave a new adorable family photo taken (the family has expanded since the last one)Celebrate my 50th […]

  • misa
    January 22, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    i was just poking through here from your lovely life list post (via the six-year anniversary post), and i realized that i wore that same dress you have on above for my wedding (with a big yellow belt)!