Vanessa Wyler Photography

So I finally put myself out there and was brave and officially started Vanessa Wyler Photography.

Back in January I made it a goal to work on my photography. So I signed up for various workshops, breakouts, and became part of a photographer community. So I’ve spent the past 8 months working on things like white balance, nailing focus, metering, editing in lightroom, and much more. Thankfully I had a subject who was fairly cooperative to let me practice on, thanks Emerald.

Doing so I fell in love with lifestyle photography, obviously if you’ve read this blog, you know that I like to document everything, the big moments and the simple moments. I love capturing the non-posed every day simple things, because that is what is truly real and what I’ll want to remember when I look back on these photos (which I do often).

I had toyed around with the idea of doing photography as a business, but honestly was unsure how to make it work, and if I’d like photographing people other than my family. I had a few friends inquire about taking photos and I was just as obsessed with documenting their moments as I was for our own. So here is where I’m at… building my portfolio. I have a few sessions in the works already and hoping that more people will help me build my portfolio as well as gain some great future clients! The best thing for learning now is practice, practice, practice. I’m also so grateful for a few photographers I’ve spoken with that helped me take the plunge to learn and now put myself out there.

Here’s a few photos I’ve done for people other than my own family. To see more, visit my portfolio page.


Vanessa’s 26th Birthday

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22, err 26 – wait when did that happen? How come I still feel so young?!

To celebrate, Drew took off of work to spend the day with Emerald and I. First we were going to sleep in, but Em missed the memo and wanted to party early. Thankfully she just chatted away to herself until 7, so I could still sleep in somewhat. We let her get a good morning nap in (while Drew agreed to take a few photos with me, see below) and then we headed to Chilis for lunch. Then Drew took me shopping to my favorite stores: Target and Hobby Lobby, ha. Next up was the park to play on the swings and then we headed to Moes for dinner.

Then my parents allowed us to have a date night while the watched Emerald. Instead of the ol’ movie & dinner date we decided to try something new and paint pottery – we both picked out a mug to dress up. Drew went with a Milwaukee Tool theme and I went with an ombre theme. We’ll pick them up in a few days after they’ve been fired to see how they look. Then we ended the night with some coffee and relaxing at Starbucks.

25 was a pretty great year, but hoping 26 is even better!
PS when you start asking for new kitchen towels for birthdays you know you are somewhat getting old 😉

Out from Behind the Camera

One of my goals for 2015 was to improve on my photography and document life, every 365 days. To help accomplish my goal I joined a photography group called Shoot2015, which is a combination of an online forum in which we all help critique and inspire each other + we get monthly and weekly emails that educate us on different techniques, whether it be composition, lighting, and so on.

So far I’ve learned a lot and can’t wait to see how much more I learn throughout this year! One of the most recent weekly emails encouraged us to get out from behind the camera and into our images – and that our kids will want to see us with them in photos when they look back at these years from now.

So today we did that – set up my camera with the self-timer and tried to get some “candid” looking shots. Ha, but Emerald likes to look at the flashing light on the timer, so they don’t quite look as candid – but I do love them and I’m going to make it a goal to get behind the camera at least a few times more each month.

She loves playing with throw pillows – my kind of girl!

Zany Zoo

I’ve made it a goal in 2015 to learn more about photography. I’ve already been working on my focus (using back button + manual selection), white balance and nailing the exposure. I’ve also been trying to think about composition, perspective and storytelling within photos.

So here’s a story about a little girl playing with her new Zany Zoo she got from her nanna while her mom got some work done 😉

And then she gets bored and starts watching tv…

Next up, working on consistent lighting/coloring between images in a series.

Maternity Leave – 70 days with Emerald

As maternity leave comes to an end on Wednesday, I’m trying to think of all the great times I had with my little girl and be thankful for this time we had together versus how much I’m going to miss her during the day when I’m at work.

For maternity leave I took the 8 weeks of short term disability, plus an extra two weeks. I’ll then go back to work part-time (working Wednesday and Friday and working from home on Thursday) for two weeks and then going back four days a week. I figured it was good to ease back into things…

I honestly can’t believe how fast it went by. The day before she was born was my first official day of maternity leave and was thinking how these 10 weeks were going to feel like an eternity and now that I only have two days left, it unfortunately felt like a week. I will say we definitely made the best of our 70 days together. We took days of rest, but we also did stuff to cross things off on our summer bucket list. Here is a collection of photos that sum up maternity leave…

// Slept a lot…
 // Some of us took showers…
// Had a lot of doctors appointments to check on her weight and my incision…
 // Took lots of selfies…
 // Got to hang out with grammie and she did a lot of housework for us…
// Went out for ice cream…

// Played with toys…

// Went to dad’s baseball games…

 // Wore the baby…

// Got newborn/family photos done…

// Went on walks to the beach almost every day…

// Went to the zoo…
// Went to a parade, celebrated the fourth and saw fireworks…

// Met new friends…
 // Lounged at the pool…
// Got frozen yogurt…
 // Went to ski shows…
 // Opened a savings account…

// Spent time with my cousins…

// Played at the beach…

In returning to work, what I’m most sad/worried about is missing little milestones like her first giggle, rolling-over, sitting up fully on her own and just all the little endless smiles that I get from her on a daily basis. I’m also not able to wrap my head around how I’m going to “take care” of our home, aka cooking, cleaning and just keeping up with all the work that comes with owning a home. My time with Emerald is going to be super limited to nights, weekends and Mondays that I don’t want to waste my time cleaning our house, I definitely want to spend every waking moment with her!

The good thing about returning to work is who is taking care of her during the day. My mom will watch her two days a week and a good family friend is watching her the other two days. She will be so spoiled and well taken care of, so I’m thankful I have nothing to worry about there!

I’m trying to remember that there is a season and time for everything, sadly this maternity leave season is over, but here comes a new season and hoping there are blessings there. Oh and here comes the tears…

19 Weeks!

Today marks 19 weeks pregnant… only 21 to go!

Yesterday we had our anatomy scan/ultrasound. It’s where they measure every little tiny thing, such as legs, arms, head, stomach, heart, liver, kidneys. That also means we got to see our baby for quite some time. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to eat a snack on the way to the appointment. I was hoping it would give her a little boost to move around. So instead she was sleeping in the most uncomfortable positions. Like completely folded in half with her feet above her head. Towards the end of the appointment she started moving a tiny bit and would suck on her toes.

The tech also confirmed it was a girl (we didn’t even tell her we already knew) so I feel pretty comfortable purchasing all the girl stuff now. Now, we just have to narrow down the name!

I think Eddy will be a good big brother, the way he always has to check out all the stuff we buy for her, or the fact that he kept trying to get in the photos above. Though he is totally terrified of the Mamaroo.

13 Weeks

Woot I’m finally in the second trimester, meaning 1/3 is over which is nice to think about. I am also looking forward to not gagging so much on things such as toothpaste, tylenol, and weird food smells and FINALLY having enough energy once I get home from work or on the weekend to clean my house. I’ve been really slacking since I’m exhausted once I get home from work and usually doze off on the couch by 8:30pm.

And now that I’m finally to the second trimester and starting to show just a tiny bit, I thought it would be neat to document how my body grows with this baby inside of it throughout my pregnancy. So browsing pinterest, I saw this silhouette idea and figured I’d try it out, especially because I’m not very good with selfies.

So as you can currently see the baby is starting to show, however it may just have been my spaghettios I had just eaten for lunch. Obviously it’s not much for the normal person to notice, maybe just me especially since my butt is currently bigger than my belly.

It’ll be fun to look back when I’m huge and try to remember how little I was at one point.

Life Indoors

Well… it’s officially freezing out. As pretty as fall is with the changing leaves and all, the cold temps really bring me down. I live for summer! I love the warmth, the growth, the sunshine, the long days and the beach. I especially am a fan of the fact that things outside are growing and full of life: the trees, flowers, grass, bushes and wildlife. In fall and winter, I can’t help but feel a little depressed looking out my window and seeing everything dying and/or dead.

To keep my spirits up, I’ve been trying to introduce some greenery inside: plants, trees, grass whatever. For awhile, I actually had live plants in our house. A couple succulents from Ikea, an indoor fern and an elephant ear from work. However, as much as I love the live plants, my lack of remembering to take care of them (ahem, watering them) took it’s toll and I now have a couple of brown dead plants in my house right now. It’s basically fall inside too, lovely.

Since it seems that our lives only tend to get busier and busier, I’m committing to sticking to the faux route from now on. Seriously… how easy is it to buy a fake plant, put it in a pot or vase and call it done. Easier than making yourself a bowl of cereal, and that is easy my friends.

I recently did a photoshoot for some fake terrariums for work and styled them in our home. After seeing the photos, I thought, wow I better get some of my own. I already have a few fake plants from ikea that I love, but I’m thinking I should get some more (just none of that fake ivy stuff you see in your grandma’s house). For the photoshoot, I loved adding them to my bookshelves or using as centerpieces.

PS don’t these look really real too?!

The Making of our Gallery Wall

Back in February we took a trip to Ikea when visiting my sister and brother in law who had just moved to IL. We purchased a bunch of frames to create a gallery wall in our living room that would hopefully fill a GIANT wall and not make it look so bare.

We hung the frames just in time for our life group, but lived with the fake ikea filler photos for about 6 months until we finally hung some art. Now I’m finally here to share the inspiration and the behind the scenes of making this gallery wall.

Let’s start with the largest piece. We took one of our engagement photos (shot by Valo Photography) and I added the text “Where there is Love, there is Life” on top of it.” I had Walmart print it in one of their poster sizes.
 Let’s move to the left – the piece of the yellow water style feather. During my search for ideas for art prints, I found a few freebies on the web. This was one I found but I edited it a bit to fit the color scheme I had going. You can download it here from the Oh So Lovely blog.

Below that is a three-photo frame. I wanted something that we could change out periodically – so the first photo will remain our wedding day (kind of like the start of our lives together) and then the last photo will change as we grow our family. Right now it’s a photo of us with our house, since that’s the stage where we are at right now. In the center is a print I made. I used the 53 paper app and drew the leafy thing and then added the “W” and “The Wylers est. 2010” in photoshop and had it printed at Walmart.
Now onto the right side of the wall, starting at the top is a piece I made out of paint color swatches. I have about a million of them from when we were selecting paint colors, so I just hand cut them out on a 12×12 sheet of paper and mounted them with some mounting strips. Here is where I got the inspiration to do that.

Then lastly, right below that piece is another piece I made. I love the look of forsythias. I had submitted something similar for but wasn’t selected (unfortunately), however when I was dreaming up this gallery wall I knew that piece would look great, but I knew I needed a bit more color to balance things out. I reversed the colors a bit and got this art print. Again I printed it as a large print at Walmart. Because I’m so nice, I actually have that art print for sale on Society6 currently, along with a forsythia pillow design. So if you’d also like a print like that for your home, please check it out!

I also took a few more of my “minted rejects” and added them for sale on Society6. Please check them out and feel free to “like them” 🙂


Our Home: One Year Later

Exactly one year ago today, we were signing a million papers at our house closing and were handed a set of keys – we were officially homeowners! After our closing, Drew had to head back to work, but I took off to our brand new home and tested out the 101 paint samples on each and every wall. After finalizing colors, we painted almost every room and moved in that weekend.

365 days later and we’re still in love with our house, though it is looking much different from the day we moved in, and in a very good way! I’d say just about ever weekend has been an episode of weekend warriors, where we’ve tackled some little projects such as painting a wall, swapping out the yellowed outlet plates, along with larger projects such as demoing the floor, cutting down a tree, and painting all the kitchen cabinets. Words don’t really do justice, so here are a few shots of our house before (the realtors photos) and how our house currently looks, one year later. I’ll also share what we’ve done, and what we are hoping to do in the future.

Disclaimer: Our house doesn’t look this clean all the time, if only you could see what was shoved behind me for each shot so that it appeared all styled and clean.

Foyer & Living Room / aka Vanessa’s Chill Spot

We painted the walls gray, added subtle stripes, got a large couch, made curtains, got a huge rug, hung a small gallery wall, added privacy to our front door, and accessorized! What we still need to do is: figure out something to do with the fireplace, paint trim and doors white, and swap out the fan for a light I purchased. For the foyer, we will need to tear out the existing tile and re-tile with our faux wood tile I won.


We painted (twice) a blue/green/gray color, painted the cabinets, added hardware, painted a chalkboard wall, tore up the tile and replaced with hardwood, painted the trim and swapped out the light above the sink. What we still need to do: install a larger island, new countertops, new sink and faucet, new lighting above new island, ditch the fan, add a comfy chair in the corner by the patio door and maybe a rug.

Master Bedroom

We painted the walls a green color, hung curtains, added shelves, replaced the fan with a new light. What we still need to do: paint the trim and doors white and keep up on laundry so it isn’t such a disaster 24/7.

Upstairs Bathroom

We painted the walls gray, hung a new shower curtain, and re-grouted the shower. What we still have to do: tile floor with penny tile, re-tile shower with white subway tile, swap out countertop to ditch shelf over toilet, paint walls same color as the kitchen, hang shelves above toilet, paint trim and door white, swap out large mirror for smaller and framed one and paint the vanity – oh boy.

Spare Bedroom 2

We re-mudded walls to remove the striped texture, painted the walls a dark gray/navy, painted trim white, hung curtains, hung cork board circles, and painted desk and dresser yellow. What’s left to do: this will eventually become a nursery when the time comes, but for now it’s our office/dump everything room that is being used for our overflow while we work on projects in the kitchen and bathroom.

Family Room / aka Drew’s chill spot

We painted the walls a teal color, my dad added the board + batten, swapped out the media center for a mid century modern dresser, hung curtains, and hung a few things on the wall. What we still want to do: lots… ditch those two tall bookshelves by the media center, get two new couches similar size to the “before” photo, hang more things on the wall, get a colorful rug to ground the room, and finish painting the trim and doors white.

Downstairs Bathroom

We re-texturized the walls, painted them green, painted the trim white, sealed the granite countertops, cleaned and re-sealed grout, and added shelves above the toilet. What’s left to do: swap out the outlet covers to white, paint the door white, and add hardware to vanity drawers because they are impossible to open.

Spare Bedroom 3

We painted the walls gray and some of the trim white – and turned this into our guest room – we purchased a mattress, bedding and all the fun colorful accessories! What we still need to do: swap out the electrical outlets and finish painting the trim and doors white.

Laundry Room / aka Eddy’s room

Ha, this is the least important room to me, so it’s been pretty neglected. The only thing we’ve done is added the new washer + dryer and painted the door frame white. What’s left to do: paint the rest of the trim and door white, paint the cabinets white or figure out a better solution for them and install a countertop over the washer and dryer.


What we did: Planted a bunch of bulbs (here and here) and a few perennials, added mulch, removed weeds, trimmed trees, racked leaves, re-seeded some spots, power washed and re-sealed/stained the deck and added some fun backyard curtains and furniture.

This past year you can visually see the changes within our house, but a quote I was reminded of yesterday from Young House Love’s Oprah special, spells out what our home really means to us. This past year, our home is where we have made plans and dreamed big dreams of the future, made new memories and filled it with love.

“A house is made of walls and beams, but a home is built with love and dreams”.