Olive – 6 Month Old Baby Session in the Studio!

Olive is one of my favorite little babies to photograph! I first met her parents, Brad & Genna, when I photographed their wedding, and couldn’t have been more excited when they came back for her baby photos! Olive is part of our New Life program, which follows her through her first year of life. I photographed her 6 month session a couple of weekends ago and just had to share a few of my favorites!

I also got to ply with my favorite new item – my super cool director’s chair! I have wanted one of these since I was a child, and when I found this in Iowa City for $8, I had to have it! The old cover was faded and ugly, so I broke out my sewing machine, made a trip to Hobby Lobby and another to JoAnn’s, and whipped up a few really great new covers for it. I LOVE IT! And when it isn’t being used as a prop, I am totally using it as my new office chair!


Genna Webster - Wendi you do such an amazing job. You have made our wedding memories so perfect and now our daughters frist years have been amazing through your shots! These pictues are so perfect of our little angel! Can’t thank you and tell you how happy I am with all the pictures you have done for our family! Olive is perfect and you can diffidently capture that throught your photography! We Love you Wendi!!!!

Melissa - I think Olive is just adorable and especially love the ones with the directors chair! I love the zebra print… and paired up with Olive and her sweet smile, make it perfection! Great pics :)

Ashleigh Harris - Such breathtaking photos. You do an amazing job capturing the moments that they will cherish forever.

Julie T - Adorable – this makes me all the MORE excited for AJ’s 1 year photos in the studio :). YAY

Katir - Super cute!

Emily Hayhoe - The pictures of little Olive are amazing! Wendi, you do such amazing work! && after moving away, I look forward to seeing her pictures as much as possible! You make them even more special for Brad and Genna to enjoy!!! The ones with the costume jewelry are adorable and I love the directors chair!!! :-) Keep up the awesome work!

Ashley O - Olive is so adorable.. love the pictures, there not something you see everyday which makes them so special and unique!

Elizabeth Smith - She is sooo precious!! Love the pics wit the close up on those piercing blue eyes!!!:-) <3 beautiful little olive <3

Amy Warren - Olive is such an adorable baby, and you’ve really captured her beautifully.

Tracy - What precious pictures!?! Olive is going to grow up to be our little movie star!

Kim Johnson - I loved all of Olive’s six months, she is such a beautiful child and your photos accentuate her beauty. The ones with the pearls were absolutly darling! The directors chair was also unique and so cute with that precious little bundle in it. I am very impressed with how you capture such precious moments perfectly. Your enthusiam for life shows in all your photos.

Brad Webster - Thank you, Wendi! The pictures of Olive are so great! We ALWAYS have so much fun shooting with you, and you always go out of your way to get great shots! Your new studio is so cool… it makes me excited for future photo sessions :)

Kristi Huffman - You captured Olive’s pure innocence beautifully. She is so perfect and you have captured moments that we will cherish forever.

Lynsey - Wow! These turned out great as they always do! :) Your little princess photographs so well! Little Olive is going to love looking at her first year photographed one day and Wendi truly does an amazing job of that.

Jacqueline Brockway - Amazing pictures! :) Olive is such a beautiful baby, and these photos capture her sweet personality. Great job!

Megan - I enjoy looking at these pictures of Olive every time i get on Facebook! She is sooo adorable and love the photos! They are absolutely great! :)

Stephanie Webster - Little Olive is a doll! The photos of Miss O are priceless and will be forever remembered as creative, interesting. I look at each one and just say “awww”! Wendi – you do amazing work!

Jamie - Love the pics. They r adorable!

Aundrea - Genna! Olive is so precious! Wendi did an amazing job on her photos! I absolutely love the ones in the director’s chair! I love the concept of following her through her first year, because it probably seems as if that’s the year that goes by the fastest. Can’t wait to watch her grow!


Ashley – Class of 2012 – Danville High School

I just wanted to share a few quick shots of one of my favorite senior spokes models for the Class of 2011! Ashley is such a total sweetheart, and recently came to model for a photography workshop I hosted in mid-February. She withstood freezing temps and silly requests and is a total trooper! She has also become one of my son’s favorite people and he loves when she comes to babysit!

Good luck after graduation, Ashley! You are going to go places and do big, awesome things, I just know it!.

Joe Armenta - Love your pictures Ashley!!


Chicago Engagement Session, Part 2 – Wendi Riggens Wedding Photography

This was the longest engagement session I have ever photographed, and we also covered the most ground!! After an incredibly delicious lunch at a deli near their place, Jennifer and Kyle and I hopped on the El and explored some more, before heading down to the lake front. I’ve done the moving train shot many times now, but it was never as challenging at this day! Those platforms really shake!!!

I love Millennium Park and the area around the Art Museum!

I love the big silver bean! The real name is Cloud Gate, and it is just so incredible!

I mentioned yesterday that it was a little dreary when we started out that morning, but by the time we got down to the lake front, the sun came out and the sky was blue! I love the skyline here, with Navy Pier, Ellis and Hancock Towers, and many other landmarks visible. SO beautiful!

The Natural History Museum is kind of fun, too!

We also came across a very popular landmark in Chicago – the Chicago style hot dog stand!


The beautiful skies didn’t last long, but that didn’t stop us. We took a walk through a park and found this beautiful spot with a view of the city in the background!

And it’s a wrap!!! I had SO much fun shooting this engagement session, and we finished up just as the clouds rolled in. Jennifer & Kyle dropped me off at the train station just as the rain finally broke through! I am hoping for totally awesome weather for their wedding this June, and look forward to sharing those amazing images with you, too!


Linda - Good job on the photos.


Chicago Engagement Session – Wendi Riggens Photography Weddings


Last fall I traveled to Chicago to photograph Jennifer & Kyle’s engagement session, and had such a great time! This is going to be a 2 part blog post because I had way too many favorites to just do one.:)I love shooting in Chicago, and was so happy when Jennifer approached me about coming up. As it turned out, I had plans to be in Chicago anyway for a fashion merchandising market, and our schedules lined up perfectly!

The day started out a little dreary, but the city was still full of life! We headed down to the Chicago River in the heart of downtown. Being surrounded by skyscrapers is always an awesome thing, when you are used to small city life! I love Burlington, but the buildings are all so very short. :)0

We stopped by the Chicago Theater for a few classic shots!

This little park near Jennifer & Kyle’s apartment is where he proposed to her. It is so pretty!

We then ventured up to their apartment for a quick session with their furbabies! These two were SO cute! And I am in love with how Jennifer has decorated her apartment. I totally need her to come and lend her eye to the studio!

The view of the Chicago skyline from their apartment is so amazing!

Come back tomorrow for more from our trek around Chicago!.


Guest Blogger – Jim Cayer – Sports Photographer Extraordinaire!

Every now and then, I like to mix it up and feature a guest blogger that does something very different from what I do. Today, that guest blogger is the awesome Jim Cayer! Jim, also known as “Homer” to the inner circle, is an incredibly talented sports photographer in Long Beach, California. I actually met Jim online, and then officially in person in Tulsa at a photography conference last April that we both taught classes at. His sports photography class was definitely the opposite end of the spectrum from my wedding class!

And now, without further adieu, Homer!

(Photo by Wendi Riggens)

How I got involved in sports action photography

I coached my kids’ t-ball, flag football, and soccer teams while they were young and always brought my camera to take various action shots of the kids.  It was during this time I found I had an eye for the action and most importantly loved doing it. As my son grew older and continued in sports through middle school and then high school so did my love for sports action photography grow.  The weirdest thing is I don’t really watch or pay attention to sports on TV.

This passion for sports shooting has led me to covering my city’s middle school sports program and their championship games, a local high school football team, and recently I was asked by a local sports paper to cover our community’s middle / high school and college sports scene.

Why I love sports action Photography?

How can you not love it?  There is nothing more exciting or intense than attending a sporting event with the fans screaming and the band playing.  What makes it even better is having the best seat in the house while shooting the action!

The thrill of capturing that one shot displaying intensity and emotion all captured with a single expression makes it all worth it!

What is my favorite sport to cover?

My favorite sport to cover would have to be track and the higher the level of track the better.  With track there is just so much going on and so many opportunities for great action.   To break this down even further my favorite action to shoot has to be the high jump.  I am simply amazed at what these athletes can do and I love capturing that single moment as they wrap their body up and over the bar, it’s simply beauty in motion.

What is the most rewarding sporting event you have covered?

This has to be the Southern California Special Olympic Summer Games, which are held at Cal State Long Beach each summer.  I have volunteered my services with them for the last four years as a photographer and can’t think of anything more rewarding.  I take great pride in the ability to capture not just the action, but the intensity and emotion in which our athletes compete at.  Because of this I have been given various assignments through the Special Olympics to cover those sports most photographers stay away from, such as bocce ball and golf.

What advice would I give someone who’s new to shooting sports action?

I can go over things like aperture, ISO, and shutter speeds, but for me the most important thing(s) when shooting sports action is positioning and staying low.  When it comes to getting the shot it’s all about where you position yourself.  A game is constantly changing and moving and so should you as the photographer to get the shot.

What does staying low have to do with sports photography?  Everything!  Now this doesn’t say there aren’t times where you would want to be standing or at a higher position than the athlete, but on the most part you want to be low, such as sitting or kneeling, and even on occasion laying prone.   Being low adds impact and makes the athlete appear larger than life.  This is especially true for youth sports.

(Photo by Charlie Shinn)

What gear do I use?

Currently I use the Canon Mark IIn, along with the following lens; Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, and Canon 24-70 f/2.8L.

(Photo by Steph Allen)

Published in Sports Illustrated

I think a dream for any sports shooter would be being published in Sports Illustrated.  Well in November of 2011 I was contacted by the assistant photo editor of SI inquiring about a particular high school football player from a local high school I cover.  They were doing an article on him and needed an action shot of him running with the ball.  As things would have it I had several shots, which were later sent to the editor for review.  About a month later I was informed they wanted to use one of my shots in their December 5th, 2011 issue.  In the end I was given credit for the published shot and compensated for its use.  “A dream come true”.

When not shooting sports

When I’m in between season / sports I love to venture out to our local wet lands and wildlife sanctuary.  I find it very peaceful and soothing being outside enjoying sights and sounds of both nature and wildlife.  When not shooting I will relax and enjoy my time with my wife and kids or you’ll find me playing an online game with my friends from all over the country.

(Photo by Paige Peacher)

Check out Jim’s website at http://jimcayer.blogspot.com/!



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