"It is not joy that makes us grateful; 

it is gratitude that makes us joyful."

Thanks for making it a joyous 2017.

All the best in 2018!


We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic!

I want you all to meet some of the amazing people I am so lucky to work with on my shoots. Meet Amirah Sackett a talented and beautiful make-up artist who provides make-up for the majority of my headshot and branding clients.

Portrait of Amirah Sackett a Muslim hip hop artist in Chicago

For the first few months I knew her I thought she was great. A talented make-up artist, funny, easy to work with, my clients love her and she does hip hop! She was so much fun to collaborate with and I never have had an unhappy client. Little did I know there is more….

Amirah Sackett is an award winning hip-hop dancer, choreographer, and teacher in Chicago. She also formed the all-female, American Muslim trio called ‘We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic’ (WMDP), who uses hip-hop to challenge common stereotypes about Muslim women. WMDP rose to viral video fame and now Amirah travels the country educating, empowering, and creating dialogue between Muslims and non-Muslims through her art. What?!! That is incredible right?

I finally had the chance to have Amirah in the studio as a hip-hop artist and change maker. She came in for a portraits in the studio and location portraits at the Englewood/Woodlawn peace mural. Yeah I thought LOVE would be the perfect backdrop for Amirah. 

We had so much fun creating these images and as always some really thought provoking conversations.  Keep doing what you are doing Amirah!!! 

If you would like to contact Amirah to create some “unity in the community” you can find her here:

"We're Muslim, Don't Panic" - Facebook Page


Here is the YouTube video of her Tedx Talk that is getting the message out loud and stronger:

Amirah doing her thing!

A great piece about her group:


Spring Pop-up Dinner with Big Delicious Planet

The Joinery Chicago, Big Delicious Planet, Fab Flora and photos by Mary Rafferty Photography.

What a great way to start off spring with an evening of farm to table fabulous plates from Big Delicious Planet, gorgeous flowers from Fab Flora all in a new and funky space in Logan square, The Joinery. We even had a hand crafted table especially made just for the event for all of us to dine under the beautiful vintage skylight. 

It was so nice to collaborate with other artists and come together to create something new and exciting. Thanks BDP for putting together the unique and tasty evening. The food and new friends where fabulous. I loved being a part of the evening and your vision!


International Women's Day

In honor of

International Women’s Day 

I wanted to thank and showcase all the women who came in last month for our headshot promotion day. It was a day filled with strong, talented, innovative, smart and fun women. Some have been working hard for years to support themselves, their families and our community. Some are just starting out on their journey with grace and vigor.

It was a day filled with great energy and some laughs. I am so appreciative of all my clients. Everyone was on time or early and ready to rock their headshot.  AND as always my talented and beautiful make-up artist Amirah got in on the act. Mostly cause I make her stand in for a test first thing in the morning when she hasn’t finished her coffee yet!

I am so grateful to help you put your best images out there to support your endeavors.

Thank you!


Licensed Therapist and a woman of incredible style!

Joann Lysiak – 

Founder, Chief Empowerment Officer at Empower Coaching Network, Wellness & Life Transformation Coach and talented retired jewelry designer.

Nikki Werner

Certified Learning and Development professional, facilitator, strategic leader and a rock star smile! 

Maggie Carlo

Feature Reporter WGN-TV, Anchor, Writer, Volunteer & Mom to 2 amazing girls.

Leslie Davis – 

Director of portfolio management, Equator Capital Partners. She often is the smartest person in the room.

Anisa Ciaciura

Senior at Lincoln Park IB and mature beyond her years.

Amirah Sackett -

Make-up artist and founder of the Muslim hip-hop group - We’re Muslim, don’t panic



Getting through the winter creatively with Portrait Thursdays!

At the beginning of the year I posted that I wanted to create something new every week to try out all the ideas that I have on my list and to help me stay motivated through Chicago's dreary winter months. I have been having tons of fun creating every week but I neglected to set a second goal for myself of putting it out there and sharing with all of you. Oops.

After discussing my successes and failures of staying inspired over some pretty awesome tacos and margs with my friend Jami, The General is the bomb if you haven't tried it, a project was born- Portrait Thursday. My good friend Jami Darwin, an endlessly talented paper artist and lover of margueritas, and I will be posting every Thursday our latest attempt at "the portrait". We started this together in the hopes we can push each other creatively, take risks and have some fun along the way. You know how it is, you are on a schedule, getting things done and feeling pretty awesome and then a new obstacle gets thrown into your week. Suddenly anything without a deadline gets put on the back burner. Well now you have a deadline, Thursday!

Join us! Lets stay motivated together. I'll be posting my weekly portrait here on my blog, Facebook and Instagram. Please join in on the fun with #portraitthursday. ALSO, every month Jami and I will collaborate on a piece and will be sharing what we come up with. The ideas are endless. I think Thursday is becoming my new favorite day in the week. 


Sojourner came into the studio to help me with the figure images I've been working on for my yearly Embody Peace project. More about that another day. It was freezing outside and not so warm in the studio that day. Sojourner was a trooper. Not a single complaint. We had some time toward the end of our shoot and I was able to capture this image with a bit more clothing to keep her warm.

Getting through the winter creatively

So every January I have a long list of creative ideas I want to tackle for the coming year. Like most of us life slows down a bit and it inspires me to try something new in the studio or start a new project. I hope to create something each week while I try to get through the sometimes brutal winter months in Chicago.

Here are some new lighting setups I have been meaning to try with the fabulous Mecca Modai. It only took a year but it was worth the wait to have Mecca in front of the camera.  Are you trying anything new? Let me know. We can stay inspired together.

Jillian and Erik

September 25th, 2015

From the minute I arrived to start my day, their wedding day, with Jillian and Erik the energy was amazing. Lots of crying and even more laughs. It was incredible to see so so much family and even more friends support and celebrate Jillian and Erik. What a great day and even better party!

Every note, speech, toast and comment had a constant theme - friendship, loyalty and family. Can't think of a better way to live my life. I guess in the end this is why I love to photograph weddings. It is one of the best reminders of why we are here- friends, family and love.

 Here are a few moments from the day. Happy Day!


Jennifer & Jon

I had the honor to photograph Jennifer & Jon’s wedding this month.  I could not have asked for a better couple. They were gracious, kind, easy to laugh and joyful! Did I mention they had their 2 year in tow for part of the day. She was joyful in only the way a 2 year old can be…. running naked through the park during family portraits. Ha!!!

Thank you, thank you for letting Monique and me be a part of your beautiful day.  Here are a few of our favorites from the day, minus the super cute 2 year old nudies from the family portraits.

Thank you from Mary Rafferty Photography and Be Alright

Thank you thank you to Yellow Dog, Woofy, Dolly, Freeze, Hextor, Teddy, Charlie, Super Cat, Dog, Blankie, Flounder, Emily Bun Bun, Turtle, Elephant, Lambie, Ali . . . and everyone else who came into the studio to help support BE ALRIGHT. Your generosity is in inspiring and will be put to great use.

I had a great time sharing lovey stories, documenting these well loved creatures and starting the conversation about domestic violence. It was a great opportunity for some of us with older children to talk about the importance of these organizations and why they exist.

With your help we raised much needed funds for BE ALRIGHT to support Chicago area domestic violence shelters where many families call their home. Some adorable soft and cuddly new Lovies were brought in along with funds for 29 new BE ALRIGHT BEARS to be given to the children in the shelters.

Here is a look at some of the well loved lovies that made it into the studio this month.

For those of you that loved but lost your lovey this is for you!

This is an on going project. Please contact me if you are interested in the GIVE  LOVE Project.

To learn more or get involved visit www.bealrightchicago.com

Last Weekend for Mini- Sessions for 2014!

Mary Rafferty Photography is offering Mini-Sessions

November 21st and 22nd

Let us take the stress out of holiday cards & gifts. We can create it, design it

and print it all for you.


Mini-Sessions are up to 45 minutes in length at the studio
Session fee is $100 (full sessions are unlimited time at $175 or $250 location)
Ask about our holiday card designs for 2014

Studio address is 1770 W. Berteau Ave. just north of Irving Park and Ravenswood

We love creating holiday memories!



Mary Rafferty Photography is offering Mini-Sessions November 15th and 16th.
Great for portraits of the family, individuals, best friends, pets or most anything else you can come up with.


Mini-Sessions are up to 45 minutes in length at the studio
Session fee is $100 (full sessions are unlimited time at $175)
Ask about our holiday card designs for 2014

Studio address is 1770 W. Berteau Ave. just north of Irving Park and Ravenswood

We love creating holiday memories!


Dinner with a view

Looking for the hottest new venue for your next celebration?!


I’ve got a stunning one for you! I am always inspired and amazed by some of the occasions I get to document with my clients in any given day, but this event was something that I can’t stop thinking about. It was brilliant! A formal dinner for 12 outside on the lakefront with one of the best views of the Chicago skyline. Where you ask? Planetarium? Odyssey?  Some exclusive venue that could take months to get a reservation or cost you an arm and a leg………

Not exactly….The grass just south of the bird sanctuary along Montrose Harbor nestled between a few evergreens and some picnickers . Our public lakefront.  Access to everyone!  My client along with her parents, Jan and Mick, celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary took a risk and embraced the possibilities of what the evening could bring. It turned out to be the perfect evening with a killer sunset.

It was gorgeous, fun, and heartfelt. It was a true celebration of this couple, their family, and how to live in the moment.  Big Delicious Planet came to make the amazing meal all prepared behind a batch of evergreen trees and the running path.

I love what I do, but I am learning that it allows me a front row seat to what is most important in life…. celebrating friends, family, love and life!




August is a great time to create some keepsake images of your not so little ones before they go back to their crazy school schedules or pack up for college


Studio sessions are $175 and location is $200

Includes a complimentary print of your choice up to 8x10 for the month of August